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…..

Friday flop

Now that school is back in session, we don’t get to stay up late until Friday rolls around.

This week I kept reminding the kids to motivate them through waking up early and going to bed early…..Friday’s almost here!!

We usually let them stay up pretty late, watch movies, eat popcorn, play games. Daddy can always depend on them to wait up for him when he finally gets in from work.

So tonight, we were all set… went to the park for a couple hours after school and got home by 8pm. Everyone had a snack, showered, settled together on the couch to pick out a movie. I had my laptop appropriately in my lap, and was catching up on some emails.

Next thing I know, I wake up to the sound of Dora and her friends singing about how they couldn’t have done it without me…….. and no signs of life around me.

Lightweights…..

Clearly, we need to build up our Friday late-night stamina.

 

 

 

the ongoing hole in my heart

Last night together before heading back to college 😦

One might think that after having 4 kids, and sending most of them to school every fall, year after year….. I would be numb to the pain of “the first day back”.

Maybe this year feels worse than usual because last summer I didn’t know what it was going to be like without the oldest at home during the school year. This summer, I enjoyed her at home (most of the time…), but I also knew what was coming when summer vacation ended.

And it can’t be avoided… so I loved having her home, but dreaded her going back-for my own selfish reasons.

Adding to my pain, we have the 3 year old starting preschool tomorrow.

She’s ready! She’s soooooooo ready. But I am finding myself really depressed this week, as the days creep by. I squeezed her and kissed her so hard this morning that she faked an injury to get me to stop.

 

Will her school understand the importance of chocolate cake to her academic success???

 

I know I’ll be at work while she’s at school, but knowing she’s not safe in our little nest while I’m gone is stressing me out. Interacting with her teacher and other kids all day, going potty, eating lunch and snack, napping, playing, learning….. all these things will happen. She will be bossy, she will be bossed back. She will possibly be unhappy at some point.

Hyperventilating.

The 15 year is taller every morning. He’s back in high school, no longer a freshman. Lets me hug him at home, I don’t know about in public……

And the 6 year old started first grade today, away from the “baby wing” of the school, and upstairs with the big kids. He wore loafers today for gods sake…..and he loved it. He told me after school that he wants to live in first grade.

And so we are back in the school year, and all that goes with it.

Dammit, they keep growing up.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

You can’t always blame it on the Chia Seeds

I sweep the floor, and wipe the floor, and wash the floor a lot. It’s important for you to know this so you can really appreciate the breakdown I almost had today.

I had my 1 year old nephew over yesterday, plus the 3 and 6 and 15 year old at home with me. Each kid exponentially increasing the number of times I cleaned the kitchen floor.

messy little buggers…

 

 

My nightmare began when I brought the kids upstairs after playing in the basement yesterday. The 15 year old had just left for his dads house, it was just me and the three littles.

Walking into the kitchen, I notice….dirt…..something…..on the floor. First it’s just a few specks that catch my eye, but as I look, more and more becomes visible. It’s near the side door….and the kitchen table. Little black hard specks. Did Jake go outside and track this in before he left?!  But it’s almost too hard…. I looked at the houseplants suspiciously….did someone knock one over??

I sweep. Holy hell, it’s all over the floor!! Even the hallway?! What…… I swear, I just cleaned this floor!

I blamed it on a Kashi bar with chia seeds. The one year old was carrying it around, still in the wrapper, but I figured there must have been a hole or tear, hence these little black “seeds” all over.

I vacuumed… it felt like tiny chia shrapnel shooting into my ankles…a PILE on the carpet, then Sammy pointed out a trail of them on the couch. I spent a lot of time vacuuming. Sweeping. Wiping up. Eventually, the kids went to bed, chia seed bar went in the trash, and I told the husband about it when he got home. Funny. ha ha ha.

This morning. The three little ones are all with me still. WHAT is this stuff I’m stepping on….feels like….more chia seeds?! But how???

More vacuuming… how did I miss so many on the rug? More sweeping….HOW are they BACK?? Now I’m starting to panic. Are these REALLY chia seeds? There is something a little too hard… an almost metallic glint to some of them…. and chia seeds don’t seem so aggressive usually……

                              They LOOK innocent…….

Mind races…. some sort of insect? Pieces of insect? How are they being left on my floor practically under my nose!!? Cicada’s?? I feel like I’m missing something…. maybe I need to Google “suspicious small black specks showing up on my floor whenever I turn my back”…  I realize I just wanted it to be the chia seeds… that stupid Kashi bar was never opened, I checked….

Back and forth. Back and forth. Every time I look, everywhere I look, there are more.

At this point I’m talking to myself, a little panicked. What is going on? Am I crazy? Looking for the video camera…. is this a joke? Aliens? Am I in hell??  Because I can’t stop cleaning, EVER, if I can’t stop these things from appearing after I just cleaned them up!

This is hilarious….

And then I notice Sammy. Sitting at the kitchen table, eating fake Dorito’s, with a pile of those demonic black specks under his chair. Why are they black and not orange!?  I’m convinced this is the twilight zone. This is my eternity….I just cleaned under that chair!! I creep closer, waiting for some horror to make itself known.

And I notice something.

He’s wearing ankle weights.

And one has a leak. This kid has been spilling that gritty black filler since yesterday, All. Over. My. House.

“Ohmygodsammyitstheankleweights!!!!”

He looks startled….then sheepish as I remove them from his ankles, black evil specks spilling out as I do it.

Now clearly, these are not chia seeds…..but I had to find a way to rationalize what was happening…… so, sorry chia seeds, my bad.