April 13, 2015

Searching for spring (we may have found it, not quite sure)

Okay, so the trees didn't have leaves and the grass wasn't green but it was wonderful to be outside watching for signs of barn swallows.  They are late this year because it was such a cold March.  That's okay, I loved having the boys outside in a wide, open space last weekend.  Next Saturday is a big Earth Day celebration and although we have two other things on the calendar, I think we'll make the trek to the nature center in the afternoon.

We've yet to take a long bike ride because the daytime temperatures have been so fickle.  One day it's in the low 40's and the next it's 65.  The trouble is, we never have enough free time on the days it's in the sixties. Instead I'll get serious and clear our calendar for a bike ride the next day.  Then the temperatures plummet.  We end up stuck inside with nothing to do because I cancelled everything.

I sure wish I could find an extended forecast source that was accurate.  The general trend is for warmer weather though, right?  So soon we will be on the bike trail.  (It may be time to attach the new bike carrier to my car--I'm excited and nervous at the same time!)

Today after school, I took the boys for ice cream.  You can see how much three days and a good rain did to bring out the color in the grass.  Liam went back to the car for his jacket but Henry and I were fine in the sun.  I even managed to beat the temptation to join them in a fattening treat.  I've decided to save my calories and fat grams for an emergency.  I will admit that I was half-hoping Liam wouldn't like his root beer float.  He wanted to try one for the first time but only if I agreed to "drink it and buy him something else" if he didn't care for it.  It really seemed like a win-win situation.  Liam would take a risk  and I might get dessert.  Well, he enjoyed every last drop of that float.  I know 'cause I watched him drink the entire thing just to be sure.

Speaking of spring rains, last Thursday just past midnight, I was awakened by the tornado siren.  I spent about ten seconds trying to ascertain if I was really hearing it.  I was convinced enough to get out of my warm bed and race to get Henry.  (Liam was co-sleeping. Again.  That's another post.  Believe me, that's another post.)  Anyway, where was I?  Oh, I raced and shouted for Henry, scaring him quite nicely.  He followed my directions and watched as I carried his sleeping brother to the safest part of our house.  Then all was completely quiet.  I checked my phone--no alerts.   Five minutes later,  I ventured out to the living room to check the television.  No warnings in effect.  Nothing at all in the area.  After ten minutes and more "radio" silence, I let everyone go back to bed.  Of course by now I had two frightened boys (it was thundering) so they slept in my queen size bed.  They slept.  I didn't.  

The next day everyone at work laughed at my story--waking from a dream and "hearing things", disturbing soundly sleeping children....  But what's a mother to do except follow her instincts?  And then, the next day-- redemption:  A coworker has a friend at the local police station.  She said the siren did go off, in error, at exactly the time I reported hearing it.  So, hah! I feel much better on all accounts.  No tornado but if there was one, I would have done my best to protect my family.  You know, in a sleepy, confused middle of the night kind of way.

April 6, 2015

Weekend Highlights (in Pictures) because after all this, I'm too tired to blog


Bunny Bites

No Peeping--I have a surprise for you
preparing for the egg hunt

let's get started!

piecing it all together

a blessed basket and family tradition preserved for a 4th generation

March 30, 2015

Break. Spring not included. Vacation sold separately.

The first day of spring break; it doesn't look good
Last year at this time, I promised myself that this year would be different.  I absolutely would not stay home for another spring break.  Stay-cations had lost all their appeal and I wouldn't make the same mistake twice.  Fast forward twelve months, a new furnace, hot water heater, central a/c unit later--and yes, we stayed home for this nine day "break".  That means I had zero time off.  For fourteen hours a day I was at the beck and call of my children.  There were activities to plan, twenty-seven meals to cook, and suburban destinations to drive to.  Each day, between the hours of 6am and 8pm, I was summoned approximately every 2.5 seconds.  "Mom, I can't find the Lego piece I need."  "Mom, I used all the origami paper."  "Mom, Liam took my pillow."  "Mom, this needs new batteries."  "Mom, that's my balloon and he took it." "Mom, I need a red marker and all we have is magenta."

Now that I've uploaded the photos, I realize that the boys actually did some fun things and probably made good memories.  It's a shame that the temperature never rose above 40 degrees, although the sun did come out.  Once.  Clearly it's been a long winter.  Amusing as they can be I am very tired of indoor activities.  (As I write this, the wind is howling and the windows are creaking in the cold--I guess that new furnace was a good decision after all.)

fast, furious and a little frightening

Liam's three favorite food groups served poolside

Hands-On Mammals 'n More

I can't watch.  But then I do.  He's so brave and determined.

I can't watch this either.  It's not going to end well.
Just how many

can one family



 Henry just brought this home in his school folder.  Guess we made some good memories after all.

March 23, 2015

Learning to love this age

I'm not sure how my children got to be school age so quickly.  On Saturday, we went to the zoo and they ran everywhere.  We were practically the only family without a wagon or stroller.  Part of me missed those days--portability and a place to stash my purse.  I looked at my children and realized, not only aren't they babies anymore, but they're not preschoolers either.  At just six and eight they're not packing for college yet but they seem to be taking the steps toward independence two at a time.  With each young family we passed, I found myself longing for the good old days of diaper bags and sippy cups.

One thing other parents have taught me is that the years will fly by whether I enjoy the days or not.  And there is so much to enjoy.  My boys and I have wise and witty conversations, punctuated by their innocence and optimism.   They watch Pokemon battles on dvd while snuggled under their favorite blankets holding stuffed animals.  They are too "cool" to say a word when I drop them off at school in the morning but run into my arms when I pick them up in the afternoon.  They beg for Minecraft but happily spend hours watching Mickey Mouse cartoons in their pajamas.

Speaking of pajamas, the other day while I was folding laundry and he was getting ready for bed, Henry announced, "Mom--in two years I'll be a tween."  I caught my breath in shock and agreement.  I didn't dare say a word.  Then, as he slipped one leg into his footie pajamas, he asked "What's a tween?"  I explained and then watched for a full five minutes as he struggled valiantly to right the inside-out sleeves of his dinosaur fleece jammies.  The sleeves flapped behind him; he pivoted to catch one and then the other, pulling his long skinny arms through.  Exhausted, he gave up when it came to the sticky zipper.  With his tween comment still ringing in my years,  I was glad to help. As I pulled the zipper to his chin he thanked me then ran upstairs trailing his beloved Superman blanket behind him.

What's not to love?  As someone once said, "The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been."  Thank goodness.

March 16, 2015

If You Can't Be Kind, Be Quiet

Originally I was going to title this post, "People Are Annoying".  Isn't that the truth.  Last week I had a troubling conversation with someone as I was getting ready to head home for the weekend.  This person, we'll call her Charlotte, is an acquaintance with whom I occasionally exchange greetings and comments about the weather.

A friend and I were speaking of motherhood when Charlotte joined us launching into a sermon about why women over 35 should not become mothers.  "They just don't have the energy to properly raise a child.  A women in her fifties cannot parent a teenager.  It's physically impossible.  What seems like a good idea at first, is definitely not because her body will just give out and leave the child fending for himself while she is on the couch trying to survive menopause."

Huh.  Talk about taking all the air out of the room.  There wasn't much to say in response to her strong feelings.  Maybe she speaks from experience but I hate to think that her words are gospel.  Of course I'm tired much of the time.  I attribute that to working full time AND being a full time mom without a nanny/housekeeper--not to being a mom who had her children after the age of 35.  For heaven's sake, people over fifty run marathons, Fortune 500 companies and the country.  It may take better nutrition, regular exercise and salon treatments but then isn't that best practice for anyone, regardless of their age?
People who say it can't be done, should not interrupt people who are doing it. 
-George Bernard Shaw
But wait, there's more.  In a defensive moment, I whipped out my phone and started showing photos of the hands-on activities I do with my boys.  Charlotte made a comment about how big my sons are getting and then asked, "Do they have the same father?"

What is that sound when someone yanks the tape out of a recorder?  That's what I need to type here.
 Did I mention that Charlotte and I are simply acquaintances and have never even shared a one to one chat over coffee?

Who looks at a mom's photos and then asks if her children have the same father? What an incredibly tacky question to ask.  It's not less rude because I conceived my children via a medical procedure.  Since Charlotte is clearly not of childbearing age, she's not asking for information while on her own family-building journey.  She's simply being nosy.

I was so shocked at this woman's effrontery, I simply nodded my head to answer her inquiry.  If I could rewind the tape (you know, the one I yanked out earlier) I would explain that my children do not have a father.  The same genetic donor made each of their lives possible.  I have never pretended anything else.  Beginning, middle and end of story.

Shaking her head slightly, Charlotte went on to make the unoriginal comment "it is a different world today."  Yes.  Yes it is.  I won't be the last person she meets whose family came together in a new and different way.  She needs to know that the nontraditional structure of a family does not give near strangers the right to ask impertinent questions.

But wait, there's even more.  Would you be terribly surprised to learn that during this very awkward interaction, Charlotte also made a Vince Vaughn comment?  As in that Dreamworks' masterpiece I wrote about here.  Let me tell you, once someone goes there, they have lost any and all credibility in my eyes.  Mentally I just cut them off.  They don't exist for me anymore.  It's not worth my time to sink to their level.  Because that would be exhausting.