Sweet rewards of parenting

 

Image result for difficult teenage boys cartoon

My teenage son has contributed to the vast majority of my gray hairs, and although I love him a crazy amount, he also makes me crazy.

From his special ability to only see things from his own viewpoint, rendering himself the victim in every possible scenario….. to his disregard for a clean organized room and bathroom which is all I really will ever want from him for Christmas….

It is sometimes quite a challenge.

And, you know, he’s a teenager. So multiply everything by 5 million because if those two chin hairs are any indication….hormones are raging, and rational thought is out the window.

Something is happening though…

Here is an example of something that kind of gives me hope that he might come out the other side of puberty in a good place.

He was at his dads house Monday, because that’s one of his nights with his dad. I get a call from him, around the time I need to put the little ones to bed, asking if I can iron some clothes if he brings them over because he forgot he needed to dress up for school.

“Don’t you guys have an iron??”

He doesn’t want his dad to iron his clothes, and he doesn’t want to….because neither one is capable of doing it well, not as well as me.

This is true….but also designed to inflate my domestic ego so I can’t resist demonstrating my mad ironing skills.

It works. He comes over and hands me a shirt that looks like-and probably was-balled up somewhere before it was fully dry, and a pair of pants with questionable history of cleanliness.

I iron them both, he takes them and leaves.

Later that night, I get a text.

Good night mom, love you. Thank you for everything you do for me. By the way  you need to step it up, you’ve been slacking lately. JK, love you but for real pick it up get your head out of the gutter, JK love you. Tell Gasan to keep up the good work, he’s been ballin lately.

Interpretation: I love you mom. I’m 15 and on the verge of being a man, but still kind of a little boy and I know maybe I’m hard to deal with but I’ll never actually admit that…but we can both just “know it” and I’m going to cover up any expression of feelings with little odd remarks about you not doing your domestic duties well enough and a nod to your husband for being a cool guy.

Progress people. I’ll take what I can get.

 

 

 

It’s almost that time

Elf on the shelf…….

Last year we got sucked into the elf tradition, thanks to my well meaning mom. I learned quickly that it’s not a good idea for the elf to start spying too soon…..for some reason he came to us in October and we just went with it.

To preserve my sanity, I’ve made it clear to the kids that Moe-our elf-won’t be appearing until after Thanksgiving this year.

I got some great ideas last year from Pinterest boards, which I happily copied.

And sometimes I tried my hand at being creative….

I was supposed to have a month of great ideas by now. That was my homework for myself last year. So a couple weeks ago I got some elf accessories to take things to the next level. things like a leather jacket…. a few T-shirts…..and a bathrobe. Maybe we’ll invest in a reindeer for him to hang out with, or a Saint Bernard….

I need ideas, fast.

 

 

Juggling

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mycareertopia.com

I’ve been going through an adjustment the past month or so, some changes in the office that have required me to take a LOT of work home with me. Instead of sitting up at 1am thinking of good blog topics, I’m typing away, bleary eyed, preparing for patients the following day.

The last few days, something occurred to me.

I feel like I can breathe again…..

It’s what happens when you don’t have a choice but to tackle the obstacle in your path. You adapt whether you want to or not. Things find a way to settle in, and you get used to it.

Not that I love the extra time I’m spending….. but at least it’s not overwhelming anymore.

And then I think about what I do in a day, in a week…geez, it’s a lot!

Get up early, shower and get ready for work before I force the two youngest out of bed to get dressed, fed, and out the door to school. We leave by 7:30, which still causes some internal crying and gnashing of teeth, but I act like I love it.

Drop kids off, and depending on the day I may go to the office, or a facility to see patients. Or I may stay at school for an hour and help with a project before rushing off to work. Driving usually to 2 places, timing myself down to the last second so I see enough patients yet get out in time to pick up the kids after school.

Multiple phone calls to different facilities, patients families, my own personal business as I’m driving….

Getting homes means homework with the 1st grader, reading with the preschooler, dinner, cleaning up, all the household stuff like pesky laundry that can’t figure out how to wash itself…..

millions of little things like stop at post office to mail the rental contract that I just co-signed so the oldest can rent a house with some friends at college next year. And not worry at all about my credit being ruined if no one decides to pay…….  Call the insurance company about some missing social security number, email the teachers to coordinate time to come in and paint with the kids for the school project that’s due next month…….

And then after kids are in bed, I can get started on my own “homework”, reviewing prescriptions refill requests, and loading patient data for the next day. Maybe having some tea and cookie. Or six. Going to bed around 1:30am, trying to stay awake to read ’til 2…..

Does it sound terrible?

Honestly, I know I’m not unique at all in my busy life. Most of us are juggling all day long, right?

But I don’t know what I’d really change right now. Overall, I’m happy. I’m lucky to have my kids, my home, my job (s), even though I think waking up early is crap, I just count down to the weekends, and summer…..and look forward to being 76, because surely by then I will be sleeping in every single glorious day.

So for now, I will post when I get time to breathe, usually at odd hours when I’m sitting quietly in my home and world is asleep all around me. Also, because as everyone knows, Twix and snickers are magically calorie free during the hours of 12-2am.

 

 

 

You’ll love it, actually

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I had some unexpected downtime this afternoon, thanks to my reliable clumsiness in the kitchen.

It had been at least a week since  my last broken glass, so no surprise when the vessel slipped out of my soapy hands to shatter in the kitchen sink. Of course I decided to keep washing and clean up the glass when I was finished. This allowed me to impale my hand nicely on a jagged shard sticking up at me as I reached for a plastic cup.

An impressive amount of blood and superglue later, I thought I would give myself a couple hours of hand rest to make sure the glue was going to hold under the super tight bandage. Perfect time for the kids to nap and I decided to watch something on my kindle as I sat quietly and safely next to them.

I watched “Love Actually”, for probably the 5th time.

Honestly, I don’t think I could ever get sick of that movie!

It does an amazingly good job of exploring every emotion one can experience in a relationship. The agony of unrequited love. The happiness of mutual infatuation/love. Bereavement, hope, despair, hilarity, and tears as well.

You meet a group of people and explore their relationships with each other, their significant others, as well as families and friends….. all are somehow tied together as you follow along.

Every time I watch, I find a new focus.

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This time…. it’s this couple. Well, not a couple really… She’s been in love with him since she started working at the same office. Everyone knows. It’s been years, nothing exchanged but quick hello’s and furtive glances.

Finally. FINALLY at the office Christmas party, he asks her to dance. You watch them dance, see him play with her hair. See the smile on her face, she can’t believe it…. there is tenderness in the way he holds her, SOMETHING is finally happening.

Skip ahead, he almost drops her off at home and leaves, both still so shy… but he seems tired of this game they’re playing, offers to come in. This is her doing a happy dance around the corner from him, her dreams are coming true!!!

Upstairs, clothes are coming off. Wow, his arms!!

And then her phone rings…. as it rings throughout the movie for her. She tries to wrap the call up, explains to him she has a brother who is “not well”.  He’s understanding….. they proceed.

Rrrriiiinnnnng… RRrriiiinnnnnggg..

He asks her not to answer. She looks so torn, but no….she can’t ignore it.

And that’s it.

The moment is gone. She’s focused on the phone, to a mentally ill brother calling for her, needing her. She covers herself, sinks to the floor, and removes herself from the magic.

This reminds me of another missed moment in another movie…. remember the little Mermaid? Remember when she was soooo close to getting kissed by the prince, and breaking the spell? And then upset by the sea witch and her blasted eels.

It’s that hope, every time I watch this movie, that somehow, somehow the phone won’t ring, won’t interrupt, and this couple will find each other and be able to hold on. Every time that doesn’t happen I just die a little inside for them.

They go back to their lives. Working together. Being polite. That’s it.

This is one tiny moment in a movie full of moments. Big and small, all coming together to leave me feeling both sad and uplifted at the end. Hoping that next time I watch, every one will have a happy ending, and compelled to watch anyway because it’s just so good.

There are a few movies I love like this. An Affair to Remember, The Princess Bride…

Is there anyone out there who loves or hates this movie?

What other movies have you seen that you would never tire of?

 

Lazy pumpkins

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Lately I don’t have time for anything it seems. I’m squeezing in time every day to get my work done so I can get the kids from school, then homework, dinner, quality time, bed time, cleaning time, …and more work from home. It’s never ending right now.

So, imagine my excitement when I found these cute little pumpkin craft kits from Target.  I had already purchased the amazing, deluxe, full of multiple cutting tools and guaranteed to slice through an artery pumpkin decorating kit, with not one but TWO pumpkin scoopers…. but I wasn’t upset about keeping it on a shelf until maybe next year.

Instead, to optimize quality time and reduce stress and clean up, and bandaging later, we got a few of these craft kits.

All went well, it was a beautiful day so we were able to work outside and save the kitchen floor that had just been washed by yours truly.

I’m pretty sure the paint wasn’t washable, and I was flirting with disaster by letting them paint in brand new clothes…… but I was willing to take the risk. Thankfully, it worked out.

There was a kit for every imagination……

Everyone was suitably impressed with their pumpkins, and of course secretly liked their own way better than the other ones.

This lazy pumpkin decorating was fast, satisfying to all parties, and accomplished my goal of “quality time” while allowing enough time for one more activity I had been looking forward to since waking up at 6am that morning…..

Naptime. 🙂

Death to all fruit flies

 

 

It’s that time of year again. I’ve gotten past the tiny black ant phase, and now we’re deep into the pesky fruit fly phase.

Swarming bastards of the fruit bowl……

So for your enjoyment, I offer my most effective method to murder as many fruit flies as possible with very little effort.

  1. Grab a jar, or any tallish container
  2. A plastic baggie
  3. tape
  4. apple cider vinegar

A. Pour vinegar to at least cover an inch of container, up to half of the container

B. Place baggie over top and poke a corner down into the jar after cutting that corner off the bag. You are making a funnel into the container. Ideally the open corner should end just above the fill line, and near the side of the container.

C. Then tape the bottom of the baggie around the container so nothing can escape.

I put out one trap last week….. and I lost track of the number of fruit flies I caught. It gives me great and kind of disturbing pleasure to find them caught…walking around the edges of the container looking for a way out…. so I can smash them and leave their little corpses frozen there, stuck for eternity in their plastic enclosed chamber of death.

Image result for fruit flies apple cider vinegarImage result for fruit flies applie cider vinegar

You get the idea…

Go forth people, let’s make our kitchens great again!

😉

 

 

 

 

 

Apples, Hay, and Tacos

My plans for a playdate are not usually very exciting, so I have my friend to thank for the idea of taking the kids somewhere new today.

I may have been apple picking as a child…. I have vague memories of paper bags and apples on the ground…but no sense of whether I enjoyed it or not. Today I got to try it with the kids at Hillcrest Orchards.

It was a perfect day, sunny and in the low 70’s, and the place was big enough to accommodate everyone without seeming crowded.

Of course there is the requisite hay maze……

As well as the farm-themed cut out boards for the kids to pose as animals, farmers, or pumpkins…..

We finally headed off to the orchard to put the kids to work, getting there on a rickety tractor pulled wagon of course.

We picked honey crisp today, and at first I thought the rows of trees were just baby saplings. I was shocked to see them bearing fruit, an amazing amount compared to their tiny size. Super sweet, we were allowed to eat them right off the trees. Bonus that the kids found that irresistible. Jenna was shocked to find seeds in the middle of her apple….because she has only ever eaten her apples sliced on a plate before. Eating food from it’s original source, off the tree in this case, instead of from the fruit bowl seemed to stimulate their appetites. I wonder what she would do if I pointed at a chicken and told her that’s where her chicken tenders come from??

There were more things for the kids to do, like a track for go cart type bikes. I can’t show you a picture because I spent my time there pushing Sammy on his, or riding Jenna on the back of mine. GREAT workout, but not fond of the unattractive panting after I was finished.

 

More acceptable ride that doesn’t require mom to exert herself…

 

Didn’t mean for this to be freaky…but reminds me of “The Ring” and if she had started crawling on the ceiling I would have left her there…

 

And the day would not be complete without dried corn stuck in everyone’s pants

 

And finally. The best part. The grand finale of my trip. The reason I will definitely more than consider going back……..

Before we left we wanted snacks. There was a little eatery inside with cider, water, apple cinnamon donuts and cookies.  There was a food truck outside, with a menu posted on it’s side.

I was amazed at the selection of food…. and please, please forgive me for not having a picture of the actual menu. I can recite a couple things by heart…. such as the all beef hot dog in toasted pretzel bun, complimented by apple chutney and cheddar cheese….. or how about the rosemary parmesan fries, complete with garlic aioli dipping sauce? Or my personal favorite….. drum roll please….. butternut squash and black bean tacos. Oh my god. I’m so glad I ordered them, because they were amazing. Not what I expected from a food truck at this farm out in the boonies.

I did not take photos of my food because 1. I didn’t want to look weird and 2. I ate it way too fast. But I checked Pinterest and found something close to just give you a tiny idea….

fries

Trust me when I say the tacos and fries I ate today were so much better looking and tasting than these examples, but you’ll have to trust me unless you check out Hillcrest Orchards yourself.

 

 

 

Important friendship criteria

 

 

My friendship criteria….were I to actually  have time to cultivate a friendship…..

  1. Must be funny, but not the annoying funny that just laughs at everything. The kind of funny that can be light and dark, funny ha-ha, and funny “god my life is depressing”.
  2. Must not judge my parenting. Unless I ask. And then always follow up judgement with a story about how they are even a worse parent than me because….etc..
  3. Must be able to keep the secrets I tell them, that are secrets I’ve promised others not to tell. The buck must stop somewhere after all.
  4. Must not be evil or possessed by any sort of demon, this is kind of a deal breaker.
  5. Sarcasm is required

There are more things of course, intelligence and wit, integrity-but not too much, don’t want me to feel bad about myself…… kind of difficult to find someone with all these requirements, probably just easier to continue hanging out with the kids……

What made me start to think of what qualities a new friend of mine would need to have? A conversation with Jenna about a boy at school she’s chosen as her friend. I don’t know if he shares the sentiment, but every day I hear his name.

What made her choose him, out of 13 other kids whose names she’s not in the hurry to remember?

Jenna’s friendship criteria:

  1. Must have a Blaze and the monster machines lunch box.

A simple and effective method to weed out those not worthy……

 

 

Dinner observations

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I took the kids to dinner the other night, only because Sammy had it in his head that we should go and I liked the idea of not making dinner. Besides, we needed a break at the end of a loooooong week of school.

He picks Cheesecake factory, and we are seated outside. The tables are so close together, you can’t avoid sitting in the middle of the conversations around you.

On my left, is a family of 5. Two parents and three children, all seem to be under 5. They are loud, kids take turns screaming, actual screams…. and the parents both speak a mixture of English and Italian to them. I like the sound of the Italian, but not when the mom is speaking in a constant yell, right into my ear.

Jenna likes to watch other people, she’s still too young to realize it’s rude. And knowing her, she probably wouldn’t care. I keep directing her attention to our own table, but the noise and activity next to us are hard to ignore. First she comments that one of the boys goes to her school. I don’t look over, but I sense the mom turning her head toward us as though she knows they are being mentioned. Jenna says later that one of the boys is looking at her, as she continues to stare at him. I feel eyes on us again, and lightly tell her to just look at me then.

She continues to watch the progress of the family, parents attempting to stop the screaming and fighting of their kids and not doing a great job of it. During a lull in the noise, she comments to me “Yeah, I like the dad better than the kids”… Since the mom is practically in my lap, I am sure she hears it. The head turning toward us confirms it. I think I tell  Jen to eat her dinner and keep her eyes on her food.

But she’s so right. He was definitely the quietest…..