Sunday, May 27, 2012

New stores and temptation

We live in a suburban-ish type of neighborhood. We're not in the city, but we are close to a lot of things so we don't have to drive much. Add in fantastic schools and it's really the best of all worlds. About three blocks from our house there is a little strip mall. It used to have a junky grocery store, a junky clothes store and a Baskin Robbins. On summer nights sometimes we would walk down to get ice cream, but other than that we never went there.

Fast forward through a complete rebuild this last year and behold, we now have the most infuriating and wonderful place ever just three blocks from our house. They replace the old grocery store with a new Zupans. For those of you who don't live around here it's a gourmet, gourmet grocery store. The kind of store that stocks both quails eggs, and duck eggs and grass-fed pasture chicken eggs. They have every type of organic produce known to man, an olive bar that would rival most Italian supermarkets and small-batch blood orange soda. It also has the price tags to match AND it's now the closest store to my house. Hence, my love hate relationship.
Love - it's so close! And the food is delicious! And there's a full coffee bar!
Hate- it's SO EXPENSIVE! And pretentious! And makes me feel like I'm in some kind of 1st world problems skit.

Also, to add to my chagrin they opened up a new delicious and expensive Mexican restaurant AND a french bakery. It's like my land of temptations, 3 blocks from my house.

We had not yet been to the bakery so to get out of the house today, the kids and I walked down there this afternoon. It's everything I both hoped and didn't hope it would be. Delicious pastries, coffees and a full restaurant. So high-end, so expensive and so absolutely wonderful.

Miss E told me her chocolate chip cookie was the best she had ever tasted (apologies to my dear chocolate chip cookie making husband) and after a bite I had to agree. We are in trouble around here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

On Being Married to a Firefighter, part 2

Today was the last day of bike to school week and Peter and Miss E rode to school.

I posted a few days ago ( a little self-pityingly) about how tired I was getting of the fire schedule and how lonely I have been feeling. Those things are true. I am going through a period of being sick of the shift schedule and feeling a bit alone. However, I have been doing this for 10 years and I thought today I would post a few things that we do to make it work. Firefighting is hard on a marriage. There's no denying that. I would also say that Peter and I are not great at being married. On the other hand, we've been together for 17 years and are coming up on our 10 year anniversary so maybe we're doing OK. Or we're just really stubborn.

Here are the things that I do to make the  best of the schedule for me, our family and our marriage.

1) Structure.
We don't have a set "every monday is so and so sort of schedule. Some days Peter works and some days I work. It changes all the time. He has classes and union meetings and trips and during tax season I work much longer hours. When the kids were babies we were kind of all over the place doing whatever the day brought up. When Miss E started kindergarten I realized that the kids and I were on the standard M-F schedule, even it Peter was not. Hence, our house has become organized around the M-F schedule. M-F are work/school days. Sat and Sun are house work/play days. Dinner is served at 5:15 every night. Friday's are pizza and movie night. Saturday and Sunday mornings are sleep in/cartoons. When Peter is here, he partakes and when not, we carry on. It makes the kids and I feel better and work better if we are not adjusting our daily schedule around Peter and it makes him feel less pressure if he has to take an OT shift or wants to go fishing on his day off.

2) Know your limits and say no.
I can do pretty much anything by myself with both kids. Since we have so many weekends with just us, I have to. However, the two things I can't do are amusement parks or swimming. Well, I could but it wouldn't be very much fun for anyone. So what do I do when one kid (non-independent swimmer) gets invited to a swimming party on a day Peter is working? I say no, and I don't feel guilty about it.
There will be other parties and a stressed out mom does not make for a fun weekend with the kids. I also say no to birthday parties where only one kid is invited and that one does not want to be dropped off on days Peter is working. I just can't do it. And that's OK. There are plenty of other parties.

3) Get creative with dates.
We don't have/can't afford regular babysitting and while my mom does watch the kids happily, we like to go out a bit more than she is available. Every two weeks or so, I try to take a day off that Peter has off as well. While the kids are at school we eat lunch out, go to a movie or (like this morning) take an hour long bike ride and get coffee. Sometimes, if we are really busy, we run errands together but still, it's kid free time. Also, for a marriage that is not always strong, for some reason day-dates feel like there's a lot less pressure to make them perfect than night dates.

4) Have a system/plan for the housework.
Since he is home 3 days a week yet I am the mostly stay at home parent, there can be friction with me directing him on what to do/how to do it while I am gone. We have made a list and have a system in place so we know who does what on any given day. Here's an example: On the days I work, he cooks dinner unless I have told him that I will cook. Usually I meal plan for the week though so in the morning, I either tell him what's on the meal plan for that night or it's up to him to come up with something. For awhile I was getting phone calls at work at 4pm asking what the plan was for dinner and we were both frustrated with that system. Once we got on the same page, it works better.

5) Be prepared.
I know where the flashlights are in case the power goes out. I know how to handle our tricky toilet that tends to overflow. We have a dog because I don't like being alone at night and it makes me feel more safe. I know where the water shut-off to the house is. A few months ago when a branch fell on our van in the middle of the night I knew where our insurance information was, what body shop we use and had it cleaned up, claim filed and to the shop before Peter even came home from work the next day. He feels better knowing I can handle anything that comes up, and I feel better knowing I am not going to be stranded (although if I have to deal with a gas leak, chains on tires, jumping a car or changing a bike tire all bets are off).

6) Have fun/spend some $.
It took me awhile to come around to this but when he is gone all weekend, sometimes I have to splurge on stuff with the kids. Before I would never take them out to eat or to a movie without him because those seemed like "family" things. Like if we were going to spend the money to do it, all four of us should benefit. This resulted in me spending a lot of weekends home, going crazy with the kids and feeling like we couldn't do anything special. Finally I gave that up. If we are home for 2 days, sometimes I take them to a movie and sometimes just the kids and I go out to eat.  Yes, we are sorry he can't join us and yes we wish he was there, but the result is we feel less put out by his job which is better for all of us.

7) Share something.
This may just pertain to us but we have WIDELY different hobbies. I like to read and photograph and write and cook and go out for drinks with my friends and he likes to ride bikes and fish and play drums and see live bands. We both do those things, but during most evenings, when he is home, we make it a point to sit down after the kids go to bed and watch a TV show or something together. We usually have a series that we are working through on Netflicks so it's the same show every night. It sounds lame but I think it's important that we have that time to just sit and be together. We also have always gone to bed at the same time nearly every night he's home. This is something we have always done but it seems more important as the years go by.

I'm sure these ideas wouldn't work for everyone and again, I am CERTAINLY not an expert on marriage, perhaps the opposite in fact, but I think the main thing is that we are both putting in some effort to stay connected and preserve a little bit of time for ourselves as a couple.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Growing UP

1. Miss E: Is sexy a bad word?
Me: kind of. It's not something I would like you to say.
Miss E: Well is saying fuck worse? (the first time I have ever heard that word come out of her mouth)
Me:  YES.

2. Miss E came home today and told me that her reading teacher asked them if they used google and expressed surprise the Miss E never had. She's in first grade. Are we the only parents who aren't letting their kids freely google whatever they want? I will also refer you to point 1 on this.

3. It now strikes a little bit of fear in my heart when Miss E announces that she needs to change clothes 10 minutes before school starts. This never leads to good things.

4. Regarding point number 3, we had an hour long talk the other night about clothes, teasing, how they are both important and unimportant and personal style and the growth of personal style. Again, she's SEVEN.

5. She asked me if she could read the Hunger Games. If she could watch American Idol (we watch no grownup TV when the kids are awake so I'm not sure how this is even on her radar). She asked if she could watch iCarly. The answers to these are: no, yes if it was on earlier, and I don't know. This also ended up with me watching an episode of iCarly late one night BY MYSELF to check it out. It was painful.

Can she please stop growing up now? Or at least slow down enough so I can catch up?

I love that she's getting older and she really is blossoming into the most beautiful girl inside and out.  I can also see hint of the kind hearted, lovely, intelligent and strong woman she will become. The years ahead though? The ones we are barreling at full speed with me clinging on by my fingertips because I thought we had, oh, about 5 more years before she turned 12? Those are freaking me out a bit.

The further I get into this parenting thing the more I realized that the baby and toddler years are NOTHING. The reason folks debate parenting issues so hotly during those years is because they don't matter. Cloth diapers or disposables? Debate until you're blue in the face, they are both the right answer. Now, somebody please explain to me how to explain the definition of the word "sexy" to your 1st grader.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Breakfast with Mr. T

Last night after we dropped Miss E off for her sleepover, Mr. T and I went on a "date". His big thing these days is eating out and getting new "stuff" - bookstore, toy store, etc. He knows I'm a total sucker for the bookstore since, well, it's books, and the library usually doesn't have the books he likes checked in (spiderman, ninjago). So tonight I gave him a choice: we could eat dinner out or breakfast out AND he could have $15 to spend at either the book store, toy store or Lego store. He was REALLY excited about it all! He chose to have dinner at home and go to the toy store. Right after we dropped Miss E off he and I headed to the toy store where he spent quite a bit of time looking at everything, asking how much it cost, adding up to $18 (he added three of his own dollars) and weighing what he could get. Finally he picked two toy jets, we happily headed home for dinner and then ran down the hill for ice cream. Back home we watched an episode of Word World and I let him stay up until 8. He thought it was awesome.

This morning I woke up at 7, helped him get the Netflix going (our weekend tradition) and went back to bed to rest for a minute. Well. I woke up at 8:45! Mr. T proudly told me he let me sleep so he could watch 5 episodes of power rangers. So, no mother of the year award here, but I do feel well rested.

We scrambled to get to the breakfast place and while we were waiting I wrote Mr. T stories to read. He is really coming along with his reading! Sometimes it's hard for me to tell how much he has memorized and how much he is actually reading and by writing original stories I know it's all reading.  Also, he's a super fun breakfast date. He loves everything, ate everything and smiled the entire time. Just like all good dates should.

After we picked up a tired and happy Miss E I took the kids to a movie. It was a bit of a treat but I knew after Peter being gone for three days and Miss E being tired from staying up so late that we were primed for a grumpy afternoon so I figured I'd head it off with some restful time at a movie. It worked perfectly. There was a little snipping in the car but ever since we have been home all parties involved are playing quietly and nicely. Peter will be home for an hour or so for dinner tonight and then he goes off to work but tomorrow we start the week anew.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

On being married to a Firefighter

Warning: pure whining ahead, proceed with caution.

Did you know that firefighters have a 3 times higher divorce rate than the general population? That it's second only to military statistics? Yeah. (See? It's firefighters who are ruining marriage, not gay people) Well after being married to a firefigher for 10 years, I can see why. There are actually several reasons this is true but the one that is getting to me the most these days is time. Over the last four months we have averaged sleeping in the same place 17 days a month. You know how most folks have all day saturday and sunday and then every night together? We have 1/2 that and usually not the weekends. During the week, I work the days he is off so we end up with about 3 week nights together and  maybe 1 weekend day/night. It makes me feel like I can't go out with my friends because well, he's only home half the time, so I feel like I should be here. Bonding.

And boy am I growing weary of being alone so much. Yes, the kids are older and parenting isn't so intensive. That used to be the thing - I needed help. But now, I'm just tired of taking the kids out to breakfast and having everyone assume I'm a single mom. I'm tired of not having him with me to go through our daughter's first sleepover together. I'm tired of having to constantly manage my patience level because I've been alone with the kids for 2 days and they've been grumpy and I've kind of had it but there is no one else there to step in and give me a break. Of him not being here to hang out with the kids a lot. Next year the kids will be in school full time so Mr. T's time with his dad will be cut. And while I do enjoy having the bed to myself a bit, I'm tired of being married and sleeping alone half the time.

I knew going into our marriage that I would have to be strong and alone a lot. That just comes with the territory. But 10 years in, I'm starting to get sick of it. I dream of taking an every Monday night yoga class. Or having another adult home to eat dinner with us more than half time or going out with my friends without feeling guilty that I'm taking time away from our marriage. Or not already panicking about the kids having soccer practice at the same time at different locations.

Don't get me wrong, I know it's not going to change. He would be so incredibly grumpy to have to work a 40 hour schedule and he earns a decent income and he likes his job a decent amount.  But oh my goodness, I am getting tired of paying the price of admission for being married, and yet not having a husband around.

Friday, May 18, 2012

How to Make a Fun Play-Structure Dangerous (and more fun)

Add a ladder! And some ropes! And maybe a 2x4 or two propped up on the bars!

The kids will love it. Mama will need to avert her eyes. 

Friday, oh Friday. Peter is gone for 4 days, yesterday for work and then for the next three to Seattle to see some friends. He'll be home for  a quick dinner on Sunday and then go to work Sunday night.  The nice thing about Friday is that when Peter is gone, I don't have to go to work because it's Mr. T's short day at school. Well, work at my paying job. There is always housecleaning and errands on Friday but truth be told, the week days that I stay home with the kids while Peter is at work are my favorites.

I sent Miss E off to school in tears this morning. Not because of yelling or morning craziness but because something is off? awry? troubling? at school. Truthfully I don't know. I'm not sure she does, or if she does, if she knows how to explain it to me.  It's hard for them to put feelings into precise words. I asked a few questions but not enough that I felt like I was pestering her. I do know that it breaks my heart a little to see my gorgeous 7 year old spend so much of the morning worrying about what to wear and how to fix her hair. It seems so young for this, and I know that inside she has an entire pile of confidence and strength but she's having a hard time locating it right now. And it feels like we have such a long road ahead of us.

I'm not going to lie, I felt pretty disheartened and anxious after I dropped her off. My mothering skills aren't that great if my 7 year old is having a self-confidence crisis right? I mean, I expect that at 10, 11, 12 and up but at this age, I kind of feel like I've failed someplace. There is that little bird of fear that lives in every mother's heart that was awoken and beating its wings this morning in me.  Just like everything else in parenting, this will be a process and I'm pretty sure we'll work through it but I wish we were dealing with things like this at an older age.

Once the kids were at school, and after some incredibly awkward socializing at the local Starbucks,  I went to mall to get Mr. T his new backpack (incidentally, this is a fantastic time of year to buy backpacks, everything is on sale). While there, I indulged in a little retail therapy myself to help my mood (I know...not the healthiest but better than eating too much, drinking, and if you limit it to cheap stores - H&M- it can be a bit of a guilty pleasure).

Then home to meet the bus, give Mr. T his backpack, he fell in love, quick trip to library and grocery store, home for rest time (yes we have brought back the blessed hour that is rest time), snack and outside play. Mr. T hasn't taken off his backpack yet. He even carried it through the library and put all our books in it.

Tonight it is pizza and movie night (Harry and the Henderson's anyone?) and bedtime.

Tomorrow is Miss E's first real sleepover. And truthfully, I'm really excited for her. Yes, it makes me nervous and worried but practically all new things do but overall, I'm pretty proud of her that she's able to do this at such a young age. She is so much stronger than she appears to others and than she thinks she is on her own. Still though, for me, as happy as I am for her, I'm feeling a little nervous also. Soooo.... I guess I'm saying my anxiety level is going to stay elevated until I pick her up Sunday morning. Or maybe until my kids are adults.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012



Mama would love a new pair of sandles.

Register for a summer Camp.

New backpack to replace Mr. T's broken one.

Sunscreen for the family.

Miss E's first friend sleepover and she doesn't want to bring her camo boys sleeping bag. New sleeping bag.

Peter takes a weekend trip to Seattle

Reserve space for Mr. T's birthday party.



Power bill

Register for soccer next fall

No new sandles for Mama. Maybe next month.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Tidbits and a Lazy Cat

My tangerine baby

Tidbits and Snippets:

1) It's been really hot here the last few days. Hot as in bordering on the kind of hot that makes me whine a lot. But I haven't been because it's not there yet.

2) Parenthood has given me the reason to master the I-didn't-know-I needed-it skill of developing a good Yoda voice. As a result Mr. T thinks I'm awesome AND hilarious.

3) Tonight while explaining what abusive parents were to Miss E, she had a hard time understanding the difference between me occasionally yelling at her and child abuse. I said "well, an abusive parent would be one who hits their kids a lot". She looked confused for a moment and then said "well, I thought you got fired if you did that". I love that sweet innocence of childhood.

4) Last week was teacher appreciation week. I am the room parent for Mr. T's class so I sent out a little questionnaire about the teacher for all the parents to ask the kids. Then i put their answers together with some pictures in a Shutterfly book. It really wasn't a huge project. I gave it to her in front of the class adnd she seemed pretty excited about it but, well, she's a kindergarten teacher and they kind of get excited about everything (the good ones do at least). Then later that day, this is the email I got from her:


I just got through reading my whole book thoroughly. Priceless. I don't think I can really express how much it means to me. BY FAR, it is the most thoughtful Teacher Appreciation gift I've ever received. The best gift I've ever received as a teacher. It is the most appreciated I've ever felt. I am so grateful for your time and care in creating it. What a true GIFT.
Now that made me feel good! 

5) Miss E and her friend want to have a sleepover and they each want it at their own houses. I am having a mild (big) panic attack because I don't know this girls parents very well. Yes, the girls have gone to school together for a few years and yes, they have had playdates and I have met both the parents but I don't really KNOW them. Previously Miss E has slept over at my parents, my sisters and one of my best friends houses. And truthfully, she's been fine every time. But......this makes me feel uncomfortable in all the ways that every other letting-go milestone has. I'm thankful for my friends though because my first thought was to get Miss E (at 7) a cell phone so she could call me if she wanted to come home. They assured me that this was, in fact, crazy. Except they said it nicer than that. I hate letting go of my kids. 

*Just re-read this and want to add that her friends parents both seem lovely and have always been so when we have talked, etc. This is totally not about them. More about me.  

6) I may never be caught up on laundry and dishes. I'm about to raise my white flag in surrender and let everyone go naked and eat off paper plates. 

7) I have written before about our housing dillema but the short story is we love our neighborhood/location/school and yard (kind of) but our house is small. Today I found out that my dream house, the one I have been eyeing every time I walk by it for the last three years, is going on the market. Alas, it is a few years too early for us but hopefully the new owner will buy it, hate the neighborhood or something and sell it in about 5 years. One can dream right?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

We had my parents over for brunch. The kids gave me the sweetest home-made cards I have ever seen. Mr. T even painstakingly wrote out "Happy Mother's Day 2012. My love for you grows and grows and grows." For a kid who is not enjoying writing very much, that touched my heart. Miss E made me a card and later in the day, on a whim, just wrote me a book. You know, because she does stuff like that. Peter and the kids got me a few thoughtful gifts that I have wanted for awhile and in the afternoon, Miss E and Peter went to a play and Mr. T agreed to come shopping with me. He really WANTED to do something nice for me for mother's day and so he said "of course, we can go shopping for you and I don't have to get anything at all" but then the 2nd store in he looked a little like this:

Which cracked me up because he was trying SO HARD but clothes shopping with their mama's is pretty painful for a 5 year old boy. He was a sport though and we ended up getting frozen yogurt together.

All in all it was a deliciously wonderful mother's day and I was reminded again and again of how blessed I am to have my own mother and to be a mother to these two wonderful, amazing children.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In honor of Mother's Day

I know this blog is very much about me, my kids and our life. That's kind of the point of it - a photo album of sorts for our family. However, in honor of mother's day I think all mothers, and all people should read this.

Where is the mommy war for the motherless child?

It speaks a truth that I cannot overstate. Wasting time judging other's benign parenting choices while there are many many children out there with either no parents or downright cruel and abusive parents is pointless. Once all children have a loving family then let's start arguing about cry it out or not. Until then, we should be more concerned about the kids growing up with nothing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Prayer and being the squeaky wheel

This Wednesday, Miss E had her first "cross-over" girls scout meeting. Previously only her Daisy troop had met and in the evenings. This was after school with the 4th grade Juniors group. It was a celebration of sorts, to welcome the girls into Daisy's and they all got Junior "big sisters" which is kind of awesome. Overall I LOVE Girl Scouts. It has done a lot for my girl toward helping her get to know other kids at school, combating some shyness and just being comfortable in her wonderful skin.

As we were driving home she said "we said a prayer before we ate". What? I asked her what she meant and the conversation went like this:

Miss E: "like at Grandpa Randy's house."

Me: "Oh. Christians do that to give thanks for their food and while we do not, since we aren't Christian, I don't think it's ever a bad thing to be grateful for your food so I don't mind sitting through it as long as I don't have to do it all the time. Did you mind?"

Miss E: "No, i just kind of sat there. I thought only boys could do that"

Me (feeling more confused now): "Well, every family is different, I think some take turns, some sing, some say it all at once and some only have the boys do it. Why did you think that?"

Miss E: "Because only Grandpa Randy does it at their house"

Me: "Well, I guess that's just the way they've chosen to do it. Did all they girls know the prayer?"

Miss E: "All the juniors did but not all the Daisys."

Me: "Well, maybe it was just a one time thing."

Honestly, she didn't seem too bothered by the whole thing, but then again she wouldn't. I was a bit shocked, the Girl Scouts is not a religious organization but they do allow individual troops to make decisions about prayers at meetings and using the word God in the Girl Scout pledge. Our troop has never done it before so I'm thinking it's something this other group does. Maybe it was a one time thing? I don't know. It's hard for me to know the correct way to address it.

On one hand, Miss E of course is free to make her own decisions about religion WHEN she gets old enough to truly understand the complexities of it. She is not at that age yet. On the other hand, I'm sure she will go to have dinners with people who pray before they eat, as to her grandparents, and she needs to be respectful. But the difference is, in those situations she will be in someone's private home. Not sitting in the school library. I really don't think it's fair to force all the girls to sit through a prayer for a religion that only some of them adhere to. It only makes the ones who don't feel like outsiders, which I think is counter productive to the cohesiveness Girl Scouts promotes.  Peter, of course, didn't want me to say anything until I asked him this:

"Imagine a Christian girl going to a non-religious school where half the kids are Religion X (hindu/Buddhist/ muslim/ jewish/ etc). Now imagine a school group of them sitting down for snack and having them all say a Religion X prayer and the Christian kid having to sit through it. Do you think the Christian community would stand for that?"

To which he, who grew up in that culture, emphatically agreed that no, that would never be stood for and in fact there would be a huge amount of out-cry about it. But here were are with MY daughter having to sit through, feeling like an outsider, a prayer for a religion that we don't adhere to and that is not a fundamental tenant of the group she is a part of. I don't think that is fair or right. But what to do about it?

This brings me to the complexities of the situation. Our leader is fighting her second battle with cancer and I don't want to add to her plate. It was a meeting unlike any others they have had so maybe it was a one-time thing. I'm not willing to go through the training and step up to be a Girl Scout leader so to a certain extent I feel like I need to go with the flow. Overall, it was a learning experience for Miss E and we have decided to wait and see if it happens again and then talk to the leader. I think I'm going to try and go to the next meeting as well so if I have to say something it will be first-hand information. But my goodness, we moved here to get away from this kind of crap and I'm kind of annoyed that I have to deal with it at all.

*I'm not sure I even need to put this but I want to re-iterate that I am not anti-religious. We have our own strong and educated beliefs about the world but I wouldn't dream of saying that someone else can't have theirs. I just want our schools and school groups to be ideology free so ALL children may be included, regardless of family situation. 

*Also, I took pictures of chickens today. It was kind of a debacle. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I need a Q&A parenting manual. Seriously. One for older kids because I have more questions now than ever before.

What do you do when your have an extreamly picky eater (no vegetables whatsoever)? When do you step in on sibling arguments? What is the line between teaching that hitting is not OK, but at the same time it's OK to defend yourself? What about when you find out a prayer was said at your daughter's girl scout meeting and you're not religious? How do you deal with sass and attitude in a way that conveys that you deserve respect but doesn't squash every budding sense of independence they are feeling?  How much do you force reading practice on a kid who doesn't LOVE it but needs it? Where is the line about what music is too grown up for a 7 year old? Same question for books. When should you start giving allowance? Talking about sex and romantic relationships? If your 1st grader says they have a crush on someone do you address it or brush it off? What exactly does that mean anyway? How much is too much activity (scheduling)? How much is too much down time?

This is the reason why my mom used to always tell us that the hardest (and best) job she ever had was to be a parent. We used to groan at that answer because how difficult was it to cook dinner for us? But now, as a grown 30 something year old lady, with a 7 year old and an ALMOST 6 year old, I get it. Because who the heck has the answers to all those questions?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Homework Help

I haven't been writing much because we've been super busy.

No, I haven't been writing much because I haven't made time for it.

Most days are filled with working at the kids school, work at the office and then, when I'm home, there is always laundry and cooking and dishes to do and floors that need cleaning and weeds to be pulled. Every time I sit at my desk there is a pile of papers next to me with bills and forms and information sheets to all be read and gone through and dealt with.  Not to mention the children who kind of like it if I read a book to them once in awhile and hang out in their rooms. On top of that, all three of my family seem to be needing a little extra time and attention from me. That is a good thing as I feel like all four of us are functioning better, the kids are arguing less, Peter and I are arguing less and it all takes time. Truth be told, if I had to allot out my time according to my whims it would go like this: family, my projects/interests, cooking, making our house nice, work. However, since I don't get paid for any of the first three here is the way it actually goes: family, family management (schedule, errands, etc.), (trying to) make our house nice (i.e. cleaning), work, cooking, and my projects and interests. Sigh.

The best part is I know this is just the season of life we are in. It won't last forever, someday I will have lots of time to write and take pictures and travel but not right now. And that's OK, because what i have right now is great. Someday I won't need to read aloud endlessly or go "buy" books from Mr. T's book sale or help with kindergarten projects, or get my kids drinks of water whenever they need it (come to think of it, that should be something they can do themselves....).

For now though, we have this. Homework in the sun, strawberry frapuccino at her side, and a mom she wants to ask for homework help from even though she doesn't need it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beach Bed

First day of our annual ladies beach trip and we're staying in my favorite beach house ever. For the next two mornings, I will be waking up to this view. Ahhh.........

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rhododendron Garden

I'm madly packing to leave tomorrow for a ladies trip to the beach but thought I would put something up in the meantime. Things have been wonderful lately, not perfect, but wonderful.

This morning I went on the kindergarten field trip to the Rhododendron garden and it went very well. No migraines, minimal telling the kids to "quit it" and the one I was telling it to the entire time was the same guy the teacher is telling that to all the time. We ran around, fed ducks, took pictures and I briefly looked at the flowers as I was racing past them trying to keep up with three 5 year old boys.

I still am not fond of field trips and probably won't go on many in the future, but it felt a little redeeming to get off the bus today happy and migraine - free.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Miss E's Sleeping Buddy

Every night before I go to bed, I go check on each kid - you know, to make sure they're still breathing. It has become a habit and I've never skipped doing it any night I'm at home. I'm not sure I'll ever stop. Maybe when they're at college, I'll be sneaking into their dorm rooms to check and make sure they are still breathing. Or maybe they'll have long-range video monitors by then. Not that that's weird or anything. I'm also not sure WHY I think that me checking on them will make sure they keep breathing all night or WHY I think that my perfectly healthy 5 or 7 year old might stop breathing in the middle of the night, but my only defense is that there is very little rationality involved in a mother's love.

Anyway.... more often than not these evenings, when I check on Miss E, this is what I find. Her fast asleep and an indignant cat face looking at me like "you can't possibly be thinking of moving me?". And then I move him off and he give me haughty looks and slowly stretches his stiff limbs and flips his tail up at me and moves out of the room. I tell you, cats can give disdain like no other creature.