Brief Interruptions

The splendid life of a 10 year old boy here has been briefly interrupted for one main reason: a teenager’s attitude with a mouth that has left me speechless.

Those of you who know me know that this is no small feat.

It isn’t swearing. It is ridiculously know-it-all-especially-you-loser-mom mouthiness.

This kid has NO idea how easy he has things.

Except today, he got a little glimpse when he woke up and learned that mom was no longer going to provide assistance until his attitude changed. No cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no assistance with ANYTHING unless life or death issues are involved.

The battle continued most of the morning, so he spent it in his room. After lunch, things turned around. He folded up the Therm-A-Rest he used over the weekend which was the object that sort of projected the trouble into the stratosphere. He made his lunch (a corn dog with a string cheese).

By 4:00 he learned that iPod downloads were done because only mom knows the password.

He learned that his baked goodie supply took a sharp turn south since he couldn’t eat mom’s food. Initially, this was a benefit until he learned it included cake batter cookies, chocolate chip cookie bars and pancakes.

He learned that making his own cookies and brownies was far more complicated than he anticipated.

He learned that you can’t just buy taco meat. (Admittedly, you probably can, but not in this house!)

He learned that trips to Target and other such places were curtailed.

I suspect that his attitude will change within days, but I don’t really believe he will have learned his lesson in fewer than seven days.

That is enough time to require him to do his laundry and to get tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and corn dogs.

A friend wished me luck this way: “may the force be with you.”

I am going to need it.



I’ve been busy…

busy unexpectedly ripping a kitchen floor out because of water damage,

busy ignoring the drywall dust ALL over my laundry room and finding irony in the fact that my clothes actually enter the room to get clean,

busy getting out of town for a long weekend so the hubby could (unexpectedly) tile the kitchen floor,

busy returning to clean grout dust off of EVERY surface and enjoying the new floor,

busy doing less gardening than I should,

busy hosting dear friends for food and sewing and fun and chatting,

busy reviewing papers to see what was learned in school,

busy being sad about my oldest baby graduating from FOURTH grade. How did this year go by so fast?

My cousin’s wife Shannon told me at the beginning of the year that fourth grade is a game changer…they change SO MUCH in so many ways. You think you have more time with them when fourth grade starts, then it ends, and they’ve matured and changed and grown and inched away from you just a little bit more when June arrives.

I didn’t believe her then.

I believe her now.

I started to cry when his teacher sent an email about a zoo field trip this month. There was absolutely nothing in the email that should have led a non-hormonally charged woman to begin crying. Except I’m a mom of a fourth grader who can get on a charter bus at 6:45 am for a field trip to a zoo almost three hours away and return home at 5:45 pm exhausted and weary and thrilled that this milestone has passed. (I was the one exhausted and weary and thrilled BTW.)

I HATED fourth grade. Mrs. Hallow threw Amy B’s desk against the blackboard just a split second AFTER she jumped out of it. Her books went flying. It was shocking for so many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that Amy’s mother was the Police Chief of the neighboring town.

I learned that kids die too when a neighbor kid who was in the other fourth grade died along with his mom in a car crash.

Fortunately, Jack thrived in fourth grade: the teacher, the curriculum that incorporated kinesthetics and art regularly, the reading.

At least I have all summer to prepare for fifth grade. My favorite grade.

let’s be honest

For mother’s day, all I want is 8 hours in my house, alone, so I can do whatever I want to, not what I need to do. For some reason, mothers don’t say this even though I suspect most of us would take this over any other gift. Society says we shouldn’t say this out loud; I say that being true to oneself is more important than worrying about what makes others uncomfortable.

I want everyone to leave immediately after I’ve cleaned the house so I don’t have to be distracted by all the cleaning I have to do while they are all gone. (No, I am not kidding.)

I want to go to the bathroom alone and not worry about the trade-offs of shutting the door while I go. No pounding on the door. No yelling for me as if I’ve left the house in the middle of a dire crisis. No having to ask if everyone could please leave the room so I can wipe my butt.

I want to be able to sew without having to worry about where I placed the scissors.

I want to be able to knock out a project or two in one focused effort and feel good about accomplishing something tangible.

I want to be able to read without having it cost me sleep I dearly need.

I want to be able to eat food I LOVE – a nice spinach salad with blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, strawberries and walnuts.

I want to be able to look over my “lot” in life with a cup of coffee in hand and think, truly think. Focus on my blessings instead of what could be better.

I want to be able to not feel like I have to rush in the last 30 minutes or 60 minutes , or whatever, to do what I want to do. Instead, I want to think 30 minutes, and they’ll be home! They’ll walk in the door and we’ll greet each other with joy because we genuinely missed each other. They can tell me about all the great things they did while away, and I’ll be able to truly concentrate and listen because I’m rejuvenated and refreshed.

I don’t want to have to wait until they are in college because I strongly suspect I’ll wish I were spending my time with them instead.

Some days it feels like I’m parenting with a giant red F across my forehead.

On the day with a seemingly permanent red forehead tattoo, the 10 year old asks for the exact amount of minutes before “I’ll be in” to tuck him into bed and send him off to his dreams with a kiss.

These days, it feels like I’ve done all sorts right.

Despite the red raw marks all over my forehead.

I heard this song on the radio today while in the car driving to work.

I sang my heart out while smiling because when Jack and his little ten year old friends hear this song, they rock out too. It is so fun to see them giving it their all including special emphasis on “a Ferrari.”

I need to remember this when he is running around with these same friends at 17 past curfew.

the Easter Bunny has help this year

It was freezie weather today for this neighborhood!

It is Saturday night, and my house is nearly 80 degrees because of the incredibly beautiful day we had today. I’m all right with that when it is April. July, not so much. I’m enjoying the heat while sipping a CC7, my favorite drink of summer until the mint leaves are ready to Mojito.

I’ve been wanting to try this for a couple weeks, and what better than a 80 degree house to help the dough rise? I originally saw this over at Annie’s, but have seen it pop up a few other places since then. She says to put on ALL that sugar, but I just couldn’t. I stopped about 1/4 cup short.

Just got word that the UMD Bulldogs won the Frozen Four! I attended college there for one year and absolutely LOVED it. Ended up loving my alma mater more, but there are few places more beautiful than Duluth.  The hills. The view. The Lake. The campus. The hiking. The pizza.

God, I love that place.

This week, Jack, out of the blue, came out after waking up and said, “I don’t think I believe in the Easter Bunny anymore.”

Mom: Well, why is that?
J: Well, it is pretty impossible for a BUNNY to carry enough stuff for all the kids in the world in a basket ON his arm. I mean, really! I don’t think so.
M: (in my head) Yet somehow Santa CAN??? (out loud) Who do you think does it then?
J: Parents.
M: Are you sure you want to know the truth? (nod) Yes, it is the parents.
J: I thought so.
M: Well, this kind of works out well because I have an idea…

While it was fun to play Easter Bunny for the first few years, it starts to wear on you as the kids get older and more numerous and harder to buy for. Plus, these kids have generous grandparents who don’t miss a single holiday. Because of this, I’ve been thinking that more participation from all would be a lot more interesting and fun.

My idea, then, was that we put everyone’s name in a hat and draw. You purchase $10 worth of items to fill that person’s basket for Easter morning. Mom will still take care of the candy.

After I shared that parents would pay for the $10 per person, Jack was all for it. Since Troy was here this weekend, Jack couldn’t wait to draw names and go shopping.

So, tonight at dinner, we drew names. I got Troy; Mila (who was shopping with me) got Daddy.

Jack immediately started fretting about what he could get his person.

After dinner, we headed to the dollar store where we each grabbed a cart and started shopping. On the way, Aaron was not convinced by any of it. He only saw that we were going to blow $50 (5 people x $10 each) at a stupid dollar store.

For the first 10 minutes, Aaron was completely cart-less and sulked. Then, from behind me, I heard a familiar voice ask me if I were to choose an ice cream scoop, which would it be?

Hehe. I knew he’d come around!

In passing, I mentioned to that familiar voice something I would like.

We lined up cart behind cart at the check-out with each cart bagged separately. Each kept his or her eyes away from other carts.

On the way home, Jack said how he really thought hard about each purchase to make sure the person would like it.

I (heart) that! It was EXACTLY what I was aiming for!

Mila and I chose for Daddy several things that he could really use. Traditional flavored Tootsie Pops (he HATES the new flavors), bubbles (Mila cannot get enough), a back scratcher, flash cards to share with M, daddy loves some good radishes and he loves to plant flowers for his M, shower scrubbie, lint roller, car wash rag-thing and fake money (since Dad was saying how he was wasting his money).

For Troy we also choose many things he could really use! Gatorade, pocket tissues, a tripod for his Flip Video, pencils, chapstick, Chiclets!!! (it took a lot of control to not grab those for my own basket!), ear plugs, candy that Mila nabbed and stink bags.

Initially, I thought $10 was too little given that I spent more than $50 on Easter for two kids, but next year I will probably lower it to $8 per person, particularly if we stick with the dollar store.

What I’ve Learned in the Last Week

A beautiful 55 degree spring day is wonderful, but is less so when it is followed by a 25 degree day.

A good chunk of the day should be devoted to watching the squirrels and birds outside your window.

This $1.50 find from the restaurant supply store is handy for more than just sugar cookie flooding. It made the counter top a lot less messy when I made pancakes!

A Christmas cactus that begins to bloom in March is a hopeful sight.

When I take the time to “buckle down” and sew, I love it. It makes me think I can actually sew this for a fraction of the cost.

When I saw this tutorial, I knew I’d make a necklace and a wreath. Must buy a chain, and a foam wreath to complete these projects this weekend. I felt like I was channeling Katie the whole time!

Sometimes when you round the corner, you unexpectedly see your 14 month old baby sitting on the top of the table coloring with crayons. After you are done panicking, you think it is cute. But not cute enough to leave her to get your camera.

Applying for what you may consider your second most desired job can still make you feel sad because the timing is all wrong.