Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break 2013, Day 2

It was eight, I repeat, eight freakin' degrees when we woke up this morning. March is seriously the worst month. People say "Oh, January is so cold, waa, waa!". January is supposed to be cold! March has no excuses except that I think March actually enjoys being an a#*. Last year at this time we were in Florida for the kids' spring break. I am trying not to think about that too much.

So, anyway, today actually went by pretty quickly, considering the bleak beginning. (8! I still can't believe it.) I slept in until 7 and then went downstairs to work out, and the kids didn't wake up until right as I was finishing up, so that was awesome. By the time I'd showered and everyone was ready to go out for breakfast we had wasted half the morning already.

We went out for breakfast at a place I routinely took Oliver last year in-between dropping Ali off at school by 8 and needing to have Oliver at preschool by 9. We had a great time. Plus, the food there is excellent, AND they always put pretty designs on the foam of your latte, and I'm a pretty big sucker for that. We lingered over breakfast and I was all aglow with how awesome my kids are and how much I enjoy their company. Then we drove home and walked in the door and one of them asked "What are we going to do now?"

I calmly explained to them that we have three more days of spring break left, not to mention an entire summer, and I have not, nor do I intend to, plan every minute of every day out for them. This is where it gets weird. They both agreed with me, and proceeded to play a game with their stuffed animals until lunch. A smart person would have taken advantage of this time by cleaning the kitchen, something I had fully intended to do today. Since I'm not a smart person I thought it would be a better use of my time to get sucked down the rabbit hole of old posts on this blog ("oh, look at how cute they are!" "my kids say the darndest things!" *sob*" they were so little !"), after which I finally decided to go through the papers on the table only to completely freak out that I didn't know where the envelope containing the tickets for Ali's ice show was and immediately drew the conclusion that I had accidentally thrown it out. Then, as if to prove to myself I'm not a smart person, I proceeded to go through all of the recycling and garbage, piece by piece, from the past week. I came in from outside totally defeated (plus my hands were freezing), before a tiny, dim lightbulb came on in my head and I remembered I'd taken all non-essential items out of my purse before leaving for the airport on Friday. I threw everything in my nightstand, and sure enough, there was the stupid envelope. And that, my friends, is how you waste valuable time. You're welcome.

The rest of the afternoon was spent running an errand and sledding. The kids had a great time and I tried hard not to think about how it was March 19th and the snow wasn't even trying to melt. Before I knew it we were at ice show practice. Then it was home for dinner, a movie, stories, and bed time.

So, if you look back at my day, you quickly realize that the children are not my problem. I am my biggest problem. That's.....well, that's just depressing.

Monday, March 18, 2013

An lo, spring break was upon us...

...and at first I was all "Woo-hoo! A whole week with the kids! With no work and no packing lunches and no waking up crabby little boys and no piling into the car at the last possible second and no homework!"

Then I went to this wonderful wedding in Pennsylvania. It was a wedding with a violinist and a cantor at the church, and a harpist and people walking around with white towels over their arms offering us all sorts of beautiful appetizers during the cocktail hour. The bar was open, and it was top-notch stuff, let me tell you. We had salmon and filet mignon for supper, and the whole time the bar was still open. We got to talk with people we rarely get to see, but love, and dance the night away and have zero responsibility. Then, on the flight home, we got upgraded to first class. FIRST CLASS! Both of us, together! So I sat with my blanket and pillow and free lunch and drinks and relaxed on the two and a half hour flight home.

Then, suddenly, I was home. Here, at home, were two children. Children who are great, yes, but who need. They need lots of things, most of the time. It was quite shocking, really, coming from a weekend where I was responsible soley for being arm candy and having a good time. It was fine, though. We ordered Thai food for dinner and watched The Amazing Race. We were exhausted (would you go to bed early with an open bar of top-notch stuff? No, you wouldn't.), so we put the kids to bed and hit the hay.

But then! Then this morning happened. I woke up and there was snow everywhere, and Silas was packing up a suitcase to leave for the week and there were those children again, running around downstairs, excited about spring break. About five whole days of NOT HAVING ANYTHING TO DO. Dear Lord. What are we going to do all week? No, I'm really asking. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO??

So. I tried to remain calm. I used to spend lots of time with these small people when they were babies and toddlers. Right? Well, I do work a couple of days a week (but I took this week off to spend time with my preshus snowflakes), and they did take naps then, sometimes for hours. But whatever, I can do this. But then my mind wandered back to this past weekend. Where I walked down the hallway after sleeping in on Saturday morning and piled some breakfast on my plate that someone else had cooked and sat with Si's extended family and enjoyed breakfast and coffee and conversation. Then, when I was done, someone took my plate for me! After that we explored the hotel and wasted time (OK, we went back to the rental car place because I'm an idiot and I left my bag on the shuttle from the airport but it's a long story and we ended up back at the airport but then we went back to the rental car place and there was my bag, but you should take away that not once were we pressed for time because we had NOTHING ELSE TO DO and no children to tell us they were bored/hungry/fell down.).

So, this is what we did today:
-We played outside in that beautiful, wretched snow. I shoveled, threw the ball for the dog, buried the kids. Maybe two hours down. MAYBE.
-Cleaned the living room. Involved the kids in it. They actually thought it was fun (score for me!). Half an hour down?
-Made hot chocolate, drank hot chocolate. Made lunch, ate lunch. Don't look at the clock, it'll be mocking you.
-Watched a movie. James and The Giant Peach. Alison thought it was OK, Oliver liked it, I think I fell asleep for some important parts. Two hours down.
-Credits on the movie are rolling, Oliver is already asking "Now what do you want to do?". I wrapped the kids up like burritos in a blanket on the living room floor and pretended to eat them. Kids lost their minds with fun, began acting like crazed, wild animals. I lost control. I am not comfortable with that.
-Regained control by giving them ice cream and making them sit and eat it while watching The Cosby Show. Looked at clock. Cursed.
-Told the kids I was going to pick up kitchen. Ali gets out her Easy Bake Oven and starts to make something tiny. Oliver goes through a few activities before telling me he's bored. I tell him we should probably get rid of all of those toys in his room. Later I find him on the couch grabbing at his bare feet. He tells me his "toes are fighting".
-Make dinner, eat dinner. Clean up dinner. Realize I have more time than I thought and it's not time to take Alison to gymnastics yet.
-Play catch with the frisbee. Yes, inside.
-Take Ali to gymnastics. 6:10-7:45 taken care of! Break one of my rules and allow Oliver to play on my phone almost the whole time.
-Come home. Get out of the car. Oliver announces he is hungry. Usher everyone inside (Why is it so cold and windy? WHY?) Go through the whole "Pick up your stuff, get on your jammies" litany three to four times, wonder if there is any sound coming out of my mouth.
-We all have some crackers, kids finish up getting ready for bed, we read two books, Oliver tells me he doesn't feel like going to bed.
-I ignore him. Tuck in kids. Kiss them. Turn on everyones' music. Come out to kitchen, make a G&T and contemplate the rest of the week.

So, we've got four days left. Stay tuned. It could get pretty crazy.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A letter from my loving daughter...

Here is a note I got from Alison tonight. It's pretty awesome. I found it folded up on my pillow, bound with a hair rubber band and flower clip. On the outside it said "I'm sory". Here is what she wrote on the inside:

Dear mom
i love you
you can be a pane sometime
i still love you
your still my mom

P.S. test tomoro

We'd had an argument right before bed about her spelling words. She wanted me to give her a test, I said I wouldn't because 1) she was supposed to be in bed in five minutes, and 2) she'd only copied them down one night. We save the practice tests until Wednesday or Thursday, after she's had a few nights to copy them down in preparation for her test at school on Friday. As you can see above I'm hoping soon she will be bringing home "pain", "tomorrow", and "sorry".

I can't wait until she has a daughter of her own and I can show her this note.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simmer down. No one is going to be killed.

Ah, parenting. The joys. The sorrows. The frustrating moments. The times where you think you may just know what you're doing. The times when your husband is traveling and you've dropped kids off at school. Picked kids up from school. Taken the dog to the vet. Prepared meals. Cleaned up after those meals. Reinforced some books for the school library. Gotten snacks. Nagged children to do their homework. Nagged children to clean their room. Nagged children to clean up the playroom. Wonder if you are making any sound with your mouth parts while nagging children. Done one or two or eleventy billion loads of laundry. Looked longingly at the book you are trying to read mocking you from the kitchen table while you walk by with the laundry basket. Send text messages to your husband like this:

This is the conversation I had with Oliver just as I was uploading this photo:
"Mama, I hope I am never without you."
"You're never going to be without me, buddy."
"But what if I go to college?"
"I'll always be here for you, Little Man. You couldn't get rid of me if you tried."
Then he wrapped his arms around my neck and gave me a big hug. (You should know he was wearing Batman footie jammies. Yea. Uber cute.) So, I guess I can wipe up sticky messes and make countless meals and nag until I'm blue in the face. It's all worth it.

Edited to add:
After reading books before bed Alison gave me a little note and a snack bag full of my favorite candy, M&Ms. How great are those kids?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Frilly Unmentionables

Wow. I've got a million blog posts rolling around in my head right now. OK, maybe three. Maybe. More probably two. The children each had a birthday, and quite frankly, the fact that parenting is getting harder suddenly clobbered me over the head last night. This post, however, is going to be light hearted, because a stranger saw my underwear today.

So. Laundry. It's gotta' get done, right? In my house I do it. Just another one of those housewifey duties I took over when I got knocked up, walked up to my boss, and told her I would no longer like to show up to work every damn day.

Laundry is a chore that never fails to sneak up on me. I'll spend two days doing it, then walk around all smug and proud that everyone's got clean clothes and sheets and there are plenty of towels and man, I'm good at this whole being a housewife thing. Meanwhile my family is walking around wearing clothing and taking showers and sleeping in their sheets. Before I know it it's two weeks later and those same clothes are sitting in hampers scattered around the house waiting to be washed again. "But, I just did the laundry!" I think. Like those two weeks just didn't happen.

Every once in a while I let it go WAY too long, though, and then I have an epic, epic amount of laundry to do. I could die in the basement in a pile of laundry and it would take weeks to find me. One night this week after Oliver was done with his shower he went to find a clean pair of underwear and declared he was 'all out'. I didn't believe him, because of course I'd just done laundry, so I checked in his drawer and sure enough, no underwear in there. Then I turned around to look at their overflowing hampers. Perhaps I hadn't JUST done laundry.

For the last two days I've been doing laundry. Load after load of laundry. I haven't even touched the towels yet. Which means I've been folding load after load of laundry in the living room. Sometimes an article of clothing spills out of the hamper and I'm unaware of it, or I'm aware of it, but my hands are full and I'll just get it later. So, today, after dropping the kids off at school (and helping with breakfast and cutting out some frog faces for the preschool classroom and getting a box of books to get ready for the library) I came home just in time for the piano tuner to show up. I let him in and he walked over to the piano to take the stuff off the top so he could start his job when I saw them. There, in the middle of the living room rug, was a pair of my underwear. All crumpled up, with a neon arrow pointing at it, shouting "LOOK AT ME! THIS WOMAN IS DISGUSTING! SHE LEAVES HER UNDERWEAR ON THE LIVING ROOM FLOOR FOR STRANGE MEN TO LOOK AT!" These were not, of course, modest mom panties. Nope, if I'm going to leave a pair of underwear laying around, they are going to be humdingers.

What to do? I'm fairly sure at this point he hadn't seen them. I didn't want to draw attention to them, but I couldn't just let them lay there. He was talking pleasantly and I was trying to form coherent sentences and answer his questions and not seem like a total mute freak who leaves her underwear on the floor. I don't know how he couldn't have seen them, because to me they were lit up with a spotlight while the rest of the room lay in darkness. "Get them!!" my brain screamed at me. Still, I didn't want to draw attention to them. I tried melting them with lasers from my eyes but that didn't work (never does), and then I came up with an elaborate plan to pretend to fall and land on them and do some sort of rolling move where I could put them into my pocket without him noticing.  Right before I was about to pull the trigger on my tuck and roll move he sat on the piano bench and turned his back to the rest of the room. I quickly scooped them up, stuffed them into my pocket (classy), and then I went out in the back yard and burned them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things I will not do. Ever.

Now that I've been a mother for seven years and an adult for an amount of time I will not currently specify, I've realized that you should probably not say "I will NEVER do that" very often. Almost never, really. I was the best parent in the world before I had kids. "Oh, I'll never let my kids do that", I'd say to my husband, and we sipped coffee and silently passed judgement on the people around us who had procreated. The reality, of course, is the that you don't 'let' your children do anything. Children are going to do stuff, bad stuff, no matter how great of a parent you are, and it's got nothing to do with the fact that you force them to eat vegetables or not. A good parent knows what battles to fight, and the longer you are a parent, the less battles you're willing to fight.

That being said, there are a couple of things I'm not going to do. Mainly because they are stupid. Also maybe a little bit because I'm old(er) and didn't grow up texting and using the internet. Al Gore hadn't invented it yet when I was a kid. I also didn't hang out in coffee shops much in good ol' Fond du Lac, WI, because there weren't any coffee shops there. When we were in high school the cool (I use the term cool very loosely here) thing to do was to go to the Country Kitchen and drink coffee there. We were rebels, that's for sure.

OK, here they are. Number one, I will not use abbreviations while texting or tweeting, etc. that mean "rolling on the floor laughing", or "laughing out loud", or anything like that. I won't do it. It's dumb. Really? You're rolling on the floor laughing right now? Literally rolling around on the ground of wherever you are, be it in the privacy of your own home or out and about in public? I don't think you are. Perhaps you think what you just read was very amusing, but let's not get too carried away here.

As for "laughing out loud". Well, that's great. Laughing is awesome. You know what isn't? LOL. That, right there, is the first and last time I have typed and or written those letters together as a stand alone abbreviation.

The same goes for all of the other abbreviations people use. I'm going to tell you right now, if you use an abbreviation while texting me, I probably won't know what it is. I just recently learned that IDK means 'I don't know'. I know this makes me sound old, but I don't care. Just say what you mean. We're raising a whole group of kids who are actually going to say things like LOL (whoops, I lied up there), ROFL, IDK, WTH, etc. Words are good. Use them.

The other thing I refuse to do is use coffee shops' terms for small, medium, and large. No, I don't want a grande. I want a medium. The middle size. A tall* is not a small. Some may say it's the opposite of small. I, for instance, am not tall. Today I went to Target and decided to stop at the Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte. I rarely get fancy coffee drinks, but it was rainy and dreary and windy and I had no kids with me. It was clearly time to celebrate.

"Hello! What can I get for you?"

"I'll have a pumpkin spice latte with skim milk."

"What size?"


"Would you like whip on that?"

(Is it really so hard to say whipped cream?)


"OK, that's a grande skinny pumpkin spice latte with no whip..."

Is it just me or does that sound kind of ridiculous?

I know this whole post makes me sound like some crotchety old person who has nothing better to do with her time than complain. I know that. Yet I still wrote it, which is another nice thing about growing up and getting out of your twenties and starting to feel really comfortable in your own** skin. You care less and less what people think of you.

*Full disclosure. I totally had to go to the Starbucks and Caribou coffee websites to see what their sizes were. I now know that at Starbucks a small is a small, the next size up is a tall, then the top two sizes are grande and venti. I still have no idea what they are at Caribou.

**I proofread this and the first time I typed it I said "old skin" instead of "own skin". Wow. Freudian slip much?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hair is what almost brought me down today.

Today was the first day of school for Alison. Hooray! Except not hooray because I love having both of those kids home with me. And next week Oliver starts preschool. And Alison is getting so old! And what am I going to do when Oliver goes to school full time next year? And also, my Grandma died. So, yea. This has been a tough week. My emotions are a bit...unstable.

Today we went to get the kids hair cuts after picking Ali up from school. I am not a vain person. (Silas's head just exploded because maybe I am about my hair. A little bit.) I don't treat my children like living dolls (although I totally could, have you seen my children?).

We have been swimming at my in-laws' pool a lot this summer. Two years ago after another summer of swimming Alison ended up with hair that closely resembled that of those trolls that crazy people bring to Bingo halls and rub for good luck. She cried every time I brushed it, but refused to have it cut. I didn't want to go through that again, so I've been spraying it with watered down conditioner before she goes in the pool and washing it with swimmers shampoo I bought at the very salon we were getting their cuts at. Mostly because they were on sale two for one, but still, I was trying.

So, the kids are getting their cuts side by side. The woman who is cutting Ali's hair starts brushing it and says over her shoulder at me: "Do you use a clarifying shampoo after she is in the pool, mom?" I'm sorry, but when people call me "mom", and their names are not Alison or Oliver, it tends to drive me nuts. CRAZY. My name is not mom. I am not your mom, in fact, I'm not even close to old enough to be your mother. Maybe, JUST MAYBE, you are even older than I am, in which case it would be physiologically impossible for me to be your mom.

Anyway, I dug my fingers into my palms and said, while perusing Alison's planner, and in the breeziest manner I could, "yes".

"Oh, which one?"

"The one I bought from here." I said this rather smugly. 'I've got her now!', I thought.

"Which brand, was it the Malibu?"

OK, really, is she even serious? Which brand? It's shampoo for my kid. It said swimmers shampoo on it. I couldn't tell you even now, after I had this inane conversation, which brand it is. I finally looked up from my inspection of Ali's planner, which I'd read about five times now, since it was just the first day of school and it turns out there was really nothing to read, and looked at the shelves of products in front of me. I pointed to one.

"That one, with the picture of the little girl on it." To demonstrate the fact that I. do. not. care. At all.

"Oh", she says, "next time buy the Malibu, it is probably a little better and would do a good job of getting out the chlorine residue. Her hair feels like adult hair, with all of the texture in it already."

I stopped pretending to read Alison's planner and looked up.

"In fact", she continued, "you should think about a Malibu treatment. It would really improve the texture of her hair."

I stared at the top of her feet because I couldn't look her in the eye. Had this woman seen directly into my soul? If there is one thing I want more than anything in this world it is for my children to maintain their child-like innocence for as long as possible. No, not just child-like. YOUNG child-like. You know, before they realize that cynicism is even a thing. Before they worry about someone making fun of them for what they wear, or lose that glorious confidence that young children seem to have in abundance. Before they develop, God forbid, hair with the texture of an adults. I'm being serious. This comment really bothered me. I mean, one minute she's telling me how much she loves me and the next she's making me pick her up from school around the corner with Oliver hiding under a blanket in the back seat. It's a slippery slope.

I'm seriously contemplating the Malibu treatment. There isn't much I can control in my life right now, but so help me, I CAN make sure my daughter has soft, child-like hair for as long as humanly possible.