Starting back, but I’m not ready.

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It’s coming….. end of summer, and Back to School. A time I mourn before it gets here, and mourn harder when it comes.

People think I’m weird for being sad to send my plethora of children back to school, but I hate it. For selfish reasons like not having to pack lunches all summer, or forcing children out of bed before seven in the morning each day. I hate how the clock starts ticking as soon as I make the drop off at school, and I have to make sure I get through my work day efficiently enough to make it back to school for pick up on time.

Everything feels like a rush, and too many things have to be jammed in the day.

Don’t get  me started on the fights about homework and dinner, and last minute stops to buy things needed right NOW for school the next day.

Cold weather, darkness, rain, ice, snow…… follow up to round out the crapfest that is the school year.

Hmmmmm. I might be a little pessimistic right now.

I think probably I’m moody because I’m dropping the oldest off at college again on Saturday. Tomorrow is my last day to spend with her, and part of it will be spent doing last minute shopping for things like pens, pencils, book bags, and water glasses to replace what I keep breaking. Not especially memorable, but necessary. Then she leaves, with only a messy room, and the shirts she steals from me as a reminder…..

And the youngest. Oh my god, how did I think she was ready for preschool??!  She starts in 6 days, and I feel the squeeze starting in my chest. I know she’s smart, and social, and so far seems to have no sign of separation anxiety from me…. but she’s never actually been away from the house, without me, for a whole day. I want to pull her out, forget it, we aren’t ready.

I’m not ready.

 

When things go missing

I had a plan the other night…. it was about 8:30 and I was going to let the kids watch something before bed for a treat…. and to keep them away from me so I could get some computer charting done for work.

But where was the remote?

It’s always in a predictable place, but after checking the usual places, and then more places, I started to worry. I couldn’t focus on anything until I found it. Grilled the little kids, checked with the older kids….no ideas for me.

I thought back, and couldn’t recall when I last had the TV on, could it have been days ago? Did my toddler nephew hide the remote when he was over Sunday? Possibly in the pantry where he likes to hide and poop? Nope, not in the pantry. Not under the tables, in any of the other rooms, in the toy boxes, on the mantle. Not in the basement, the bathrooms, my room, my kids rooms…..

Time ticked by…. no remote. After a good hour, I was standing on a chair, looking from a higher place to see if I could find it. Then I saw it. Tucked in next to a dish filled with decorative flowers, the highest shelf of the entertainment center, way off to the side…

The babysitter hid it, then forgot to put it back.

This she does because she has a hard time telling the kids “no”. So she hides the remote, and tells them she can’t find it so they can’t watch TV.

Sometimes I will be cleaning, and find a hidden cache of annoying toys that have been silently tucked away and forgotten…… in an unused cabinet in the basement, or under a couch….

 

 

I found the kids Easter baskets, full of candy, hidden in the top of the pantry last month. Those poor milk chocolate rabbits just dying for some attention.

I’ve asked her not to hide things…. the kids are used to being told “no” if I don’t want them to have something. Besides, they’re on to her, the 6 year old seeing through her excuse that his kindle disappears when she comes over…. but she can’t help it.

I expect when we eventually move, we’re going to find all sorts of things we will have long since forgotten, hidden by a well-intentioned sitter who doesn’t like to be the bad guy. I guess I could put a positive spin on it, and treat every day after work like the scavenger hunt it is.

 

 

 

 

Kidpik Review

Oh guys, I couldn’t resist.

Somehow I stumbled across an ad for Kidpik….an online subscription box for kids fashion.

….can you see where this is going?

I signed up for Jenna. Of course I did. After I checked out the site and read that most pieces are in the 12 dollar range, it didn’t seem like such a bad deal, not to mention the 30% discount for keeping every item.

It’s quick and easy to sign up. A simple style profile to complete online, and we were all set for our fashion box to arrive.

It came today!

We wasted no time opening the box, and Jenna loved seeing a personalized message for her inside, along with some fun things to try on.

I actually didn’t have amazingly high expectations for this box, it was more curiosity to see what they would send. I have to say I was surprised because they sent things I really wouldn’t have purchased on my own, but I found really cute on my daughter. Of course I did…

Jenna loved everything, and found nothing too scratchy or tight. She loved twirling in the dress, the bright colors of the clothes, and the soft hairbands with cute flowers to accessorize with.

I loved that the pants had an adjustable waist, and also gave bonus points for the extras in the box for Jenna….. some iron on patches and coloring pages for her to play with.

checking out…also very simple.

Things I love about Kidpik:

  1. NO styling fee!  It’s free. Just pay for what you keep, you aren’t going to feel “stuck” buying at least one piece because you’ve invested a fee that you’ll lose if you don’t buy something.
  2. You can choose to get 4, 8, or 12 boxes per year… and cancel anytime with no strings. I signed up for 4 per year, so unless I change it, our next box will be for winter 😦
  3. It’s fun!!  And knowing we aren’t paying for anything unless we want it keeps me interested in trying it again..no strings!

Right now, Kidpik is styling girls from size 4-14, they don’t have an option for boys yet. Given that my boys hate wearing anything but the basic athletic shorts and Tshirts, I don’t think that’s a problem for me. If Sammy saw a box of nice clothes for him to try on, he would be wondering why he’s being punished.

There you have it! If you’ve got a girl at home, and especially if you ALSO subscribe to a fashion box service yourself…… your little one might love it too. Mine did, and keeping her box was about $58 for all pieces with the discount. Not a big investment for the big smiles it produced 🙂

 

 

 

Anniversary after divorce?

Today, I felt like I was missing something. An appointment? A call to make? What did I forget??

And then, this afternoon I realized it was my anniversary!  Of my first wedding, way ,way, way back when I was TWENTY years old. It would have been twenty years today!

This didn’t make me sad, or angry, or bitter, but actually kind of nostalgic. How much time has gone by since that day, how much I have changed since that day.

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I love this picture, especially as I get older. I am currently watching my 19 year old navigate life and comparing where she is to what I was doing at her age.

I see this photo and remember how innocent, yet all-knowing I was. How very smart and yet stupid I was. How young I was, and yet-weirdly-how I continue to stay exceptionally young while my MIND alone continues to mature and age…. strange…..

I can’t say I regret this day 20 years ago. I don’t regret being the girl in this photo. Sure, I would have liked to avoid some of the difficulties that came later, but it all brought me to this spot. And that day was a day I will never forget, even if the marriage didn’t last.

Lately, when the oldest is panicking because she can’t figure out how to physically go into the post office and mail a package without hand-holding, I think about what I was doing at her age. Living with my fiancé already, buying our first home with the help of his mother…worrying about paying bills, making enough money, and learning how to grocery shop and planning a wedding.

I’m so GLAD she’s not ready for any of that. I’m not ready for her to be ready for that!! But I’m so thankful for her and her brother, and so also thankful to have had that wedding 20 years ago.

Feels like I should be doing something then, maybe to celebrate? Or acknowledge the date?? How about some low key photo fun, compliments of snapchat……

My headache cure

It started yesterday evening, a stabbing into my skull ranging from a very light throb, to a vicious pounding that makes me wince. Of course, I keep thinking I need to take something for it, but never seem to make my way to the bottle of ibuprofen.

Woke up with same headache, trying to keep myself from scowling at everyone as I continue to forget to do anything about it except be miserable and crabby.

This afternoon, I forced the kids to lie down with me so I could try to close my eyes in a dark room. I finally remembered to swallow the medicine and wanted a chance for it to work. The kids took turns propping stuffed animals on me before the youngest finally cuddled next to me, falling asleep immediately.

Sammy was reading in his bed, I thought…..

And then before I knew it he was standing next to me, big smile on his face.

“I brought you a sandwich and a glass of milk for your headache.”

Sure enough, he had dragged a table next to my bed, and had laid out his headache cure for my enjoyment.

What kind of sandwich?

I was thinking it was going to be peanut butter and jelly…..but not from this fancy guy.

A combination of American cheese and sprouts, nestled between slices of dry wheat bread. Sure to banish any headache in moments.

I ate (some of) that sandwich because he is awesome and I love how much he loves me. Bonus points for his original sandwich making skills.

 

 

Boys are from outer space

Sometimes I feel like my boys just don’t understand me. I wonder what makes it so hard for me to communicate with them meaningfully, because it seems like they will do the exact opposite of what I say-with a smile on their faces, as if it is a good thing they aren’t listening. Almost as though they come from some other planet, where ignoring your parents is actually good manners and expected.

Sammy has become amazingly good at misbehaving in public places, strategically avoiding eye contact, thus avoiding “the look”, and staying just out of arms reach,thwarting my attempts at a quick swat when no one is looking. It is uncanny how he just knows exactly when he will be able to get away with something because I’m powerless at that moment to stop him. Weird alien sense of self preservation?? Perhaps.

 

Exhausting. And so hard to understand when I am told by everyone how well behaved he is at school. Unless he’s got them all brainwashed with his alien mind control powers.

I am fed up with finding all sorts of weird objects stuck at the uppermost and difficult spots to reach in the house. Socks. Rubber dinosaurs. Plastic balls and frogs, a million of them. Every time I drag a ladder into the house and try not to die in my attempt to remove them….. more just appear.  I think this might be some sort of extraterrestrial home decorating that I just don’t appreciate. It must be in their DNA to do it. I’m sure they can’t help it.

I don’t know how the teen manages to get out of most chores I ask him to do. It all starts the same way, I’ll ask, or suggest that he vacuum something….. and suddenly everything goes fuzzy…. I have vague memories of some sort of verbal dialogue between us, he appears to be offended and suddenly far too busy….. and the next thing I know he’s gone. And I’m vacuuming. Possibly more alien mind control??

They have secret handshakes. Elaborate ones that involve a lot of fist bumping and weird finger moves. I think the secret handshake is just a cover for their secret alien communication…. they’re plotting against me, I know it.

I don’t understand them at all. Frankly, they scare me. They seem to stay pretty mellow and not aggressive as long as I keep enough things in the house they like. Yogurt, beef jerky,  pancakes, basketballs, Pokémon.

You have boys??

Word of advice. It’s pointless to yell at them about all the dirt they track around your house. It’ll just confuse them. On their planet, dirt is a status symbol…. they’re programmed to carry as much of it on their bodies and into the home as possible. All in the effort of improving your rank in the alien community. Probably better to just thank them.

How to win a trophy

Sammy finished his first T-ball season yesterday, and the coaches surprised the kids with a trophy for each of them.

Of course Sammy was feeling pretty self important and strutting around holding that trophy for the rest of the night.

We took it with us for celebratory ice cream, the trophy displayed rather blatantly at table center.

Jenna trailed behind Sammy the whole time, just wanting to be near. Of course she wasn’t allowed to get too close. I didn’t hear his explanation to her as he shut down her last attempt at sneaking a quick touch. But it all became clear…..

“Mom…..”  she began, with those big, earnest, brown eyes….

“So I can get a trophy when I’m six…..and a boy?”

Uh. Yes?

 

 

Starlight mints don’t get you elected

Be ashamed…..

 

Took the kids to the Fourth of July parade this morning, and positioned ourselves in the best spot for maximum candy exposure. No other kids right next to us, and close to the start of the parade path, so they don’t run out of the good stuff yet.

Other kids brought plastic bags, but we had our wagon, and even extra space in the secret compartment under the seat.

We saw the police, veterans, the bomb squad!, lots of organizations like churches, schools, and daycares even. And elected officials, plenty of them.

And here is where I see lost opportunity for them to solicit the vote, and also opportunity for me to get to really know those guys before it’s time to cast my ballot.

Sure, sure….  you’re handing me a flyer outlining your greatness that I must take before  you give me the tootsie pop, which is what I really want. I respect that, I do.

But… if you’re throwing starlight mints at me out of the windows of  your sports car as you drive smugly by….you’ve lost me. Even if you splurged and got the green mints. I just don’t feel that you care much about what I like, why MY needs are……

If you decide to throw those white individually wrapped peppermint lifesavers, you know, the ones that burn my mouth??  Well, I don’t think you even like yourself.

Are you a twizzlers thrower? Starburst, skittles, fruity taffy? Ok, I’ll take your candy, and even pay attention to the name on your banner. You are at least making an effort. But come voting day, I remember lots of fruit candy….. you aren’t going to stand out a whole lot.

We got two almond joy bars, and one tiny bite sized snickers. I wish I’d seen who tossed those to the ground in front of us… because obviously, that person has their finger on the pulse of voters everywhere. Clearly, you know what talks to us…. it’s not crappy peppermint or that cheap pink gum that loses flavor before you toss the wrapper.

Mini tootsie rolls…. you play it safe. Conservative. Lots of beige in your house.

And to the nestle crunch bar thrower….. just sad. If you’re going to commit to investing in chocolate, do it right…please. You’re the city representative that’s going to choose the quick fix ’cause it’s cheaper, instead of investing in the best option for your community. First it’s nestle crunch bars, then our basements are all flooding because you didn’t think we needed to worry about the drainage problems.

What???

You’re telling me I’m over analyzing, and this candy is actually for the kids?

You think I’d wake up late, race through the shower, force those kids out of bed and sprint, pulling a wagon holding 75 pounds of offspring like half a mile so I can get the best spot, wave to everyone like an idiot in the hot sun for almost an hour, and then give THEM the candy???

Huh…..

And you’re also out of touch with reality.

Final stash…..not bad. Frisbee, anyone??

Farming in the burbs

Last year I had grand intentions of growing stuff, gardening, feeding my family the vegetables I lovingly tended…. but it just didn’t happen. Thank god for Trader Joe’s, picking up the slack for me in the whole fresh organic produce department…

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humble beginnings

 

This year, I found the ready to plant seed pods I had in the garage, leftover from last years pipe dream…. and for some reason found myself with a smidge more motivation. Well, I told the kids about planting a garden, and then was forced into action by their very effective nagging to get started on it.

I got these big container things as we zoomed through home depot, knowing we don’t have a good area for planting in the yard right now. Wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but we really had nothing to lose. The kids loved filling everything up with dirt, choosing which pods to plant, and watering. Of course we didn’t end up marking what we were planting….but all the more fun when we find out what’s growing.

See it!!! They actually started to grow!!  And Sammy has watered them daily, he takes his job very seriously.

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It’s alive!

first casualty….

It’s a daily event, Sammy waters “his” plants. We try to figure out what each one is, and wonder when we will notice actual food growing. IF actual food will truly grow.

Guess what I saw today?

hello zucchini!!

I told the kids we at least know one of our plants is “working” and we will be eating our very own zucchini soon!  They didn’t seem very excited. “But we don’t like zucchini!”

I don’t think it was wrong of me to suggest that home grown veggies taste a lot better than the stuff we buy at the store.

And it’s magical, and might make you fly.

Go figure……

I planted mint, along with some other herbs, maybe 2 years ago.

I planted them close to my front door….. in the middle of a nicely mulched and landscaped section of the front yard. figured it would just add to the foliage…

Of course, the mint took over. It killed the basil, and the cilantro…and whatever else I planted with it. The mint flourished, and then it just kept going. Every time I see it, it’s bigger….and I finally realized the lawn guys aren’t going to fix it for me.

 

Today, after work…. I decided it was time. I grabbed the 3 and 6 year olds, armed ourselves with gloves and yard tools. We pulled, and hacked, and yanked, and dug. They were having a ball, and thanked me, THANKED me for letting them help me.

As I’m sweating, and slashing away, I think of how silly I am to ever waste money on these kids. Going to movies, which is what I originally intended to do with them today….Taking them on toy runs, walking to get ice cream.

Instead, hard labor. Dirt and sweat, these are the things they are jazzed about. They didn’t want to take out ALL the mint, because they wanted to be able to come back and tear it out again. I promised them it will be back, probably next week….. And I get Jenna, beaming at me, “Oh, Thank You momma! You’re the best!!”

And then, guess what?

We washed the huge gross garbage cans outside and I let them help throw buckets of water into them as I rinsed them out.

We were dirty, hot, sweaty, gross, and I’m sure smelly…and I didn’t spend a dime.

And they LOVED it. Best day ever.

Weirdos.