Link Love: Volume 8

linklove

Guys, I’m spent. It’s been a long week that doesn’t seem like it should have been that long – March has a sneaky way of just wiping me out – it’s all runny noses and brisk weather and sudden changes in plans and laundry piling up and zapped motivation. Let’s ignore the world for a few more minutes and talk about…

The Best Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies Ever at Our Best Bites – you guys are going to make me some right? Because I can’t find my kitchen counters right now but these sound delicious.

Jen Hatmaker has the solution to all parenting problems: Just ask yourself “What would my mom do?” Jen says her mom would lock us outside and drink TAB – that sounds pretty good to me! This is about how we sometimes take parenting too seriously and need to cut ourselves some slack. Seriously.

Have you entered to win a Kitchenaid Artisan 5 Quart Mixer at Really, Are You Serious yet?

Life in the Circus has some ideas for your kids’ Easter Baskets that aren’t a total waste of money. I’m always torn between being terribly clever at Easter or being terribly lazy. I’m aiming for somewhere in the middle this year.

Have a great weekend guys!

Who’s going to come make dinner now?

A Rite of Passage: His First Glasses

a rite of passage

I was in the 4th grade when I was told I needed glasses. I barely understood what I was walking into but I walked out with a death sentence.

Odds of Being Cool Now: Zero

I’m not sure if there were simply no stylish glasses to be found in the late 80’s-90’s or if a side effect to being basically poor was that we couldn’t afford anything that didn’t make me feel like a total dweeb but I know that my gawky phase began basically that day, at least from my perspective. 

Sometime in high school I decided that I wanted to be cool and that ditching the glasses was the only way to go about it. For a few weeks I shoved them into a pocket or purse and walked around in a blurry world where I couldn’t read the menus at Subway and I had to ask my friends if guys were cute or not – not a dating tactic I recommend, btw.

I’ve gotten over it. And glasses have gotten cuter. Frankly, I don’t like how I look without glasses anymore – they’ve become a mandatory accessory to every outfit and I’m at peace with it. I can read all the menus and I know my husband is cute. Life is good.

My husband was in a lecture at college, sitting in the back row. He leaned over one day and  grumbled to the person next to him that it would be super if the professor would focus the projector so everyone could see what was being projected. No surprise here, right? The person next to him said, “It’s totally in focus. You need glasses.”

An eye exam later and he was blown away – people can see individual LEAVES on trees? What?? He felt like Super Man with Super Vision and hasn’t looked back. No middle school memories of inferiority involved – glasses were not a big deal to him, just an excellent tool that he’s grateful to have.

This was what we found ourselves talking about on the drive home from our vacation. At some point I commented that MM’s time was probably coming if he got his vision from me. He’ll be starting 4th grade in the fall. Dan started quizzing him on reading license plates on the cars in front of us and was less than impressed with the results. I pointed out that the test wasn’t really all that indicative as moving vehicles were involved but signed him up for an eye exam anyway. I happen to work at an optometrist / glasses retailer after all – I have connections.

The next day he went in for an exam and I couldn’t help but relate as he nervously questioned all the things going on. “Why are we here?” “I can see fine!” “I don’t want to wear glasses.” My heart hurt but I told him not to worry and that everything would be fine.

After the auto refraction, I could see the writing on the wall. His measurements were already on par with his fathers – not horrible but not great. Then in the exam room he mentioned casually, “I can see fine in class – as long as I’m not in the back of the room. But don’t worry, we rotate every few months and right now I’m in the middle!” He saw this as definitive proof that he didn’t need glasses but a) it’s a small classroom and b) he could be moved to the back at any time and c) the autorefractor doesn’t lie. The kid needs glasses.

After dilation, we started to browse glasses. He was still vocally on the fence. He didn’t need them. He didn’t want them. He didn’t like how they looked. I kicked into sales mode and asked him all the things I’d ask anyone about glasses. I showed him plastic and metal frames. He begrudingly agreed that he’d rather have plastic. I found frames that fit his nose pretty well that were in colors he liked.

I sat him at a desk with six pairs and had him try them all on – which ones do you like the most? Which ones do you hate? What do you like about the ones you like? Eventually we had it narrowed down. I complimented him incessantly – you look great! Those are so cute! My coworkers rallied around us and threw in their compliments and opinions, too. We took pictures so he could see himself in glasses in pictures. We sent a picture of his favorite (above) to Dan who called back and agreed they were GREAT and to get them.

Somewhere along the process, MM started to come around a bit. He was faking the smile in the picture above but by the time he left he was mostly okay with the situation. I will admit – I’m nervous, too. Will the kids at school make fun of him? Probably some for sure. Will he be sensitive about it? Will he even wear them at all? How long until he breaks them? Or loses them? I know my son – I didn’t hesitate to buy that warranty – I’d have bought it anyway but for him I’d have bought two warranties if it helped. He, the absent minded professor.

But I also know that wearing glasses today is so different from when I was a kid. It’s almost cool now – lots of kids wear them, there are lots of cool styles and lots of kids wish they needed glasses because they come in so many cool styles – my daughter included. Maybe the teasing will be minimal. Maybe this won’t be a cool kid death sentence. Maybe it doesn’t matter either way.

My husband talked to him for awhile that night – he told him about that college class years ago and how much he LOVED wearing glasses because of how much better he could see. He made sure to talk up the fact that he didn’t think he needed them either until he saw what they could do for him. We assured MM that this was going to be a good thing and I think he’s starting to believe us.

It’s a rite of passage and it’s kind of scary but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence anymore. We’ve come a long way. And MM’s got an engineer and an optical salesperson on his side. And a store full of cool glasses.

The question is:

How long until I have to put that warranty to use? Any bets?

Spring Break: Geeking out at the Wisconsin Dells

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We went on vacation this week. Our kids have spring break a few weeks before the rest of the town. A fringe benefit to private education is having Spring Break all to ourselves I guess. That and the stellar education and lack of common core. Whatev.

We stayed at the Mount Olympus Hotel Rome. I’m not sure I can recommend it in good conscience. We’ve been to better places. But that’s coming from the snooty grown ups who were like “These beds are uncomfortable” / “this indoor waterpark reeks of chlorine and the bottom of the pools feel like knives in my feet” / “stuff seems kinda run down” / “stop trying to upsell me” – that kinda stuff. My kids didn’t really notice any of that.

They noticed:

tea cups and slushees - a match made in heaven?

TEACUPS!!! (and bumper cars and go karts and laser tag and MORE)

slushee love

thank you God, for this delicious slushee

ready for the waterpark

Being able to go to the water park in March!!

So yeah the kids thought Mount Olympus was awesome. And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. Dan and I decided to check out of some the tourist attractions we’ve ignored in the past because “there is so much to do right here at the hotel!!!” Without that excuse holding us back, we  finally checked out:

TOP SECRET

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This place is ridiculous in kind of a great way. They were running a discount that day so we all got in for $16. A lot of the hotels in the area have discounts for stuff like this, too. The premise is that in 2002 the White House somehow crash landed upside down in the Wisconsin Dells. Now it’s a tourist attraction. Like furniture is bolted hanging from the ceilings and there are weird creepy passages and famous historical guys lurking about. It’s campy entertainment and we kind of loved it. We also went to the…

Tommy Bartlett Exploratory

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More campy fun. This place is kinda like a kid’s science museum and kind of like a Star Wars rip off theme park. You barely know what you are walking into when you go inside and three hours later when you stumble back outside you will have no idea how so much time as gone by. But in addition to the silly Star Wars-esque robots there are tons of hands on science-y exhibits that the whole family geeked out over. Some highlights included:

pattern talk

attempting to create the same patterns by describing the pattern to each other

and:

muscle man

Lifting a 5,000 ton SUV using a giant lever system.

And of course the best part about going on vacation is how comfortable your bed feels when you finally get home!

Where is your favorite place to go on vacation with the family?

Link Love 2015: Volume 7

linklove-jesuischarlie

I’m still waiting for someone to make me this cheese toast recipe from Food52. Why don’t my children know how to use the oven yet?

I totally want to make these super cool Space Eggs via Adventure in a Box with the kids for Easter this year. Although part of me also just wants to get a generic egg dye kit and be done with it. So I’ll definitely do one of those!

Katie at the Art of Simple is talking about simple birthday parties. So apparently I’m not the only one. I think it’s time to take this tradition back.

I want to make these brownie cookies from Ree and then finally clean my oven using this method from craptastical that sounds decidedly non-crappy. And then make more cookies.

Have a great weekend!