Winter Wonderland

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We got our first major snow storm earlier this week. It’s still early enough into winter that I find the snow charming and gorgeous. Don’t worry, Mother Nature will suck that joy out of me soon enough. But for now, it’s picturesque and I love rolling around in it with my kids. Have I mentioned how much fun 6 and 8 year old kids are? Because they are. They are funny, quick and really enjoyable to be around. Too bad I can’t freeze them at this age because I totally would if I could.

SnowLandscapeThe only down side to this weather (you know, outside of the treacherous roads, shoveling and car doors being frozen shut) is Crazy, our dog. She’s 12 years old and refuses to spend longer then 2 minutes outside when it’s 60 and sunny. But give her 28 and snow and she’s a puppy again. That’s her to the left of the Bean in the picture above after a long winter’s romp through the yard.

So my day has been spent today trying to distract the damn dog from wanting to go out over and over and over.  Most of the time I failed because when you’re trying to work from home, a barking dog isn’t exactly a boon to productivity and professionalism.

Snippets

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The Bean is playing flag football. She said she wanted to play, so we signed her up and then she lost her mind over the fact that we dared to do what she had asked us to do. Needless to say, getting her to her first practice involved a combination of lying (“Coach won’t have a full team if you’re not there- you don’t want to let the other kids down, do you?”) and bribery (hello dinner at Friendly’s!). But we got her there and she loves it. Can’t-wait-to-go, why-can’t-we-play-every-day loves it.

She’s the only girl on the team full of sweet, funny, nice 5 and 6 year old boys. Last week during the game, one of those sweet boy went up to the Hubs and asked completely out of the blue, “Coach, can I date your daughter?”

The look on the Hubs face was priceless. “No, you can’t. Pay attention to the game.” Then, as an after thought,  “Plus, you’re too young.”

That sweet little boy walked away, then came back 2 minutes later and very seriously asked the Hubs if he could date the Bean in 10 years when they are both 16.

I melted and the Hubs had an internal panic attack.

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The other day I was with the kids and we stopped by a Catholic school. The kids read the name of the school, written on the building in old fashioned script and promptly informed me that it was a Pinocchio school.

It took a lot of persuading to convince them that, no it wasn’t a Pinocchio school- it was a parochial school. Still not sure they believe me.

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We have an Elf on the Shelf, Buddy. Buddy’s been with our family since Scorch was 3 and his return every year after Thanksgiving is a Big Deal in our house. Thankfully Buddy is a lazy elf, so he doesn’t get into trouble or make messes- he just moves from spot to spot every night, finding a new vantage point from which to spy on the kids and narc to Santa.

Except for last night. Last night, Buddy didn’t move. He stayed right where was was because he didn’t want to go to the North Pole to have to tell Santa how rotten the kids were. Instead, he left them a note telling them (nicely) to shape up or face the consequences. I wasn’t sure how my delicate snowflakes were going to take Buddy’s letter this morning- but damned if we didn’t have the most peaceful morning in recent history today.

I’m hoping that elf is feeling verbose and isn’t afraid to drop a stray threat or two as needed the rest of the month!

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This morning on the way to the work, I passed a field of cows and sheep. So, as I’m wont to do, I pulled over, hopped out of my car and took some pictures with my phone (all the while cursing the fact that I didn’t bring my good camera today).  As I got closer to fence separating me from them, all the sheep turned tail and ran away. Then they all stopped at pretty much the exact same time and all turned to look at me. The absurdity of the group-think going on cracked me up, so I laughed the whole walk back to my car.

Babes- lots of them.

Is it any wonder that I got texts from 3 different people asking if I was OK by the time I got back to the car? Gotta love small towns where everyone driving by knows you and wonders at your sanity.

Notice

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Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. What that 5 minutes is up, there are no edits or second-thoughts, those word go live. This week, we write on notice.

Go.

One of  my favorite times of day is picking you both up from school. I walk in to the chaos- the yelling, the screaming, the shrieking and the balls bouncing. There is usually so much chaos that you don’t notice me, but I notice you. I get to watch you both in your element and just bask in your energy and joy and see the life you’ve made outside of our house. The life with friends and sports and markers and basketballs. I get to see how you interact with your friends and your teachers and the college kids that volunteer at the school.

Scorch, I notice how infectious you are. You are a joyous kid, quick to laugh and eager to run around like a mad man. And you, my sweet Bean, I notice how much fun you’re having.  You’re not as loud and rambunctious as your big brother but your joy is just as evident as you play with your BFFs in the corner. I notice both your bright smiles and shining eyes and I see how the other kids gravitate to you both.

I hope you notice how proud I am of you both every day. I hope you notice how very much you’re loved every second. Never stop noticing that…

For Everything

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Earlier this morning, the Bean and I were playing, having a half dance party / half martial arts battle when she started taunting me. I teased her and told her that if she kept that up, I’d pull her tongue out of her head and fry it up for dinner. She promptly burst into tears, horrified that I would ever think about doing such a thing.

After a long conversation, I finally convinced her that it was joke, that I would never pull her tongue out and her body would remain intact. A pinky swear or two later, and all was well again.

Later we were driving home, listening to Ramona Quimby, Age 8 in the car. The Quimby family was eating dinner and everyone was remarking about how delicious the roast was until Beezus discovered that the family was, in fact, eating tongue. It was cheaper, Mrs. Quimby explained, and the Quimby’s were trying to make every dollar stretch as far as possible.

Bad timing, Quimby Family, bad timing.

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I’ve sucked at this whole blogging thing this month. I wanted to focus on gratitude this month and instead, I froze. Life is crazy busy (as always) and frankly, I didn’t know where to start when I’m thankful for everything. The family that birthed me, the family that I married into, the man who made me a wife, the kids who made me a mom, the friends who make me a better person. My little, warm, snug house hours away from the snow in Buffalo, the jobs that I so enjoy (95% of the time), the books that fill my imagination and the books that spark my children’s minds.  The animals that curl up on my toes at night and the body that keeps moving every day. There is so much to be thankful for that frankly, it’s overwhelming this year.

So I’ll cut myself some slack and hope that this whole blog (or at least most of it) exudes gratitude. I hope that even when I’m complaining about the kids or the Hubs that the amusement and the love ultimately shine through.

Appreciating Good

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Sometimes I struggle because there is so much pressure for life to be extraordinary and amazing every day. We must see the magic in our children and appreciate them for all their specialness every second of every day. Our marriages must consist of flowers for no reason, mushy notes on Facebook and sweeping declarations of love every night. Our house must sparkle and our meals be home cooked (and organic and nutritious) 3x a day.

And that would be wonderful and lovely, but that’s not my reality.

Tonight, I’m feeling thankful for good because that is what my life is right now.  My marriage is strong and healthy – and the biggest declaration of love I’ve gotten today was when the Hubs emptied the dishwasher unprompted. The kids are awesome and healthy – and I only had to send 1 kid to timeout all day and only 1 kid ended up with a bruise from unapproved sibling wresting. Tonight meals was home cooked and amazing- but tomorrows will probably be leftovers and McDonald’s will most likely be dinner once this week. As for the house? Well, we have a fabulous cleaning person to make sure we don’t wallow in too big of mess every week.

So you know what? Good is awesome and good is amazing. I truly appreciate the moments of astounding grace and beauty and love in our lives, but I also appreciate the steady, quiet hum of good that makes up 95% of my life.

lifeisgood

 

Root Bear Baby

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The Bean was taking her bath tonight and when I went into check on her, I found this:

BeanerBath When I asked her what she was doing, she told me she was a teacher, teaching her class and her husband (that good looking fellow with the blonde hair and the khaki shirt next to the orange blob) math. Thanks to the crappy quality of the picture, you can’t tell that she has written 5+?=9 on the wall.

“What?!” I said. “You’re too young to get married!”

“I am not, I’m a root beer baby so I’m older then I look!”

This took me a second to puzzle what she was saying out.

“Do you mean you’re a Leap Year Baby?”

“Yup, that’s what I said!”

“No, that wasn’t what you said and even if you did get it right, being a Leap Year baby technically makes you younger, not older.”

“Oh, then let’s just not mention this again,” she replies.

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My kids make me crazy sometimes. They make me question my sanity and my intelligence and they have been known to push me thisclose to the edge. .But they are two of the funniest monster I know and I wouldn’t trade the privilege of watching them grow for all the money in the world.

A Month of Thankfulness

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Yes, as cheesy as it sounds I’m going to try to talk about all the things I’m thankful for in Nov. Prepare yourself now. In reading over my last month or so of posts, it’s been a lot of complaining and whining which isn’t at all who I want it to be. So it’s time to shake off this funk and concentrate on the good stuff. I’m keeping things simple today – here are 5 things I’m thankful for this very minute:

1) My warm house. It’s really starting to get cold and I’m so thankful for a warm house full of comfortable furniture, thick blankets and cats to snuggle up with.

2) A good book. I started reading a new series that I’m really digging and got another great recommendation yesterday. I pity anyone that doesn’t fall into reading like I do- what a boring life they must lead.

3) The kid’s school community. I had a PTA meeting tonight and while being a PTA officer can be really frustrating, it’s also a great chance to see every month how amazing and giving people can be with their time, energy and talents.

4) Friends that speak their truth. Whether it be a dear friend’s moving, heartbreak essay in Salon about the long term ramifications of his sexual abuse at the American Boychoir School or another friend’s mission to education all women on the lesser known facts about breast cancer during the month of October, I applaud all who speak their mind.

5) Skinny Cow’s Dreamy Dark Chocolate Clusters. These make any night better. God bless chocolate.

 

This Is Why I Love the Internet

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Earlier today, one of my friends on Facebook shared an article entitled The Default Parent. I made the mistake of reading it at work and I almost hurt myself trying to stifle my laughter because that? THAT is my life.  And honestly, I thought I was the only one.

I’ve always been the default parent. The Hubs is an amazing, wonderful father- but he didn’t have the boobs, so I was the go-to person when our newborns cried. Up until Scorch was 5 and the Bean was 3, the Hubs had a high-stress job with erratic hours and a ton of travel. On top of that, we owned a business 45 minutes away that took up a fat ton of the Hubs times so I was the one around the vast majority of the time. It wasn’t because the Hubs didn’t want to be there, that was just how life was.

My kids have literally walked right past the Hubs sitting in the kitchen and banged on the closed, locked bathroom door to ask me to get them a drink. Are you kidding me?!

As funny as the article is, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Is this nature? Is Mom always the default? Is it because I was around more when they were little? Is it because I have SUCKER written on my forehead?

Regardless, I don’t mind being the default parent 95% of the time. I like being my kids go-to person and I like knowing all the crazy silly details of their lives – it makes the control freak in me happy. As the kids get older, this default role seems to be evening out a bit – the kids know a lot of their own info and Hubs is around a ton more which is wonderful! It gives me hope that the next time I go away for a 5 day business trip, I won’t have to leave a 3 page detailed note about schedules, menu and carpooling.

Though She May Be But Little, She is Fierce

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I have been home almost a week now and the Bean is still Not Happy with me.  Or rather she is, 90% of the time. Then she turns on a dime and she’s all of a sudden spitting fire.

There’s no telling what’s going to sour her- the other night it was because I dried her off when she asked me to after a bath (evidently I wasn’t actually supposed to dry her off when she requested it).  Then it was because I wouldn’t contort my body just so to lay on her floor at bedtime (just sitting there like a normal person wasn’t good enough). Then it was feeding her the exact dinner she asked for (she didn’t mean it- she really wanted chicken which wasn’t even on the menu). Each transgression is met with yelling, stomping and dramatic proclamations that I don’t love her and never wanted her (which- what?!)

Frankly, she’s exhausting.

My brave. amazing, gorgeous girl.

My brave. amazing, gorgeous girl.

And I know this isn’t just about me being gone last week- girlfriend has had a lot of adjustments since starting school. 1st grade is hard, like really hard. She’s not exactly struggling, but she’s not breezing through either. Math isn’t just 3+4 any more, it’s 3+4=1+?. The rules are stricter, the expectations higher and play time is greatly reduced.  She loves school and she’s always happy to go, but there is a strain there even if she’s too young to identify it.

There’s been a couple nights this past week when I’ve laid down in bed next to the Bean after she’s fallen asleep to tell her all the things she was too mad to hear earlier. I tell her how loved she is, how wanted, how special, how smart and amazing she is. I hope those messages sink in as she sleeps and she rest well knowing how thoroughly she’s adored even when she is the biggest pain in the ass. I tell her these thing during the light of day too when she’s ready to hear them as it never hurts to hear it twice.

I never, ever want the Bean to loose her fire and her fierceness. I want her to always be strong and smart and opinionated and loud about her feelings. I want her to always feel heard and loved. But most of all right now, I want a nap and some peace and quiet.