Category Archives: Uncategorized

The End of Summer

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If you have spent any time with me in real life over the summer, you know I was counting down the days until school went back. I needed the stability of our routine back, I needed dedicated time where I didn’t have to worry about which kid needed to be where at what time during the summer. I needed hours where I could just work and not multitask working/parenting/cooking/driving/etc all at the same time. I’m a much better mother, wife and employee when I have a set time during the day to do each thing, not huge chunks of time when I’m trying to do all 3, and the return to school allows me to do that.

And I loathe feeling like that because I *love* summer. Hot days, vacation, swimming, sunshine and an, in theory, easier schedule. And this summer has been wonderful- we had two great vacations, lots of family time, countless laughs and a lot of great times. The kids were a delight and, as they continue to get older, I love their company more and more. We packed a lot into our short, northeast summer and I don’t regret a single moment of it.

But this summer was also hard – the kids, at 15 and 13, very rightly want to hang out with their friends during the summer. Scorch had football conditioning and practices, the Bean had basketball and I was the one coordinating it all. There were  a lot of days this summer where I was pretty sure I was failing at everything as I tried to keep all the balls in the air. So when the kids went back to school a few weeks ago, I may have danced a jig. 😉

Bean is in 8th grade, Scorch is in 10th. They are fully vac’d and back to school full time, wearing masks. There were a ton of nerves on the first morning (mine and theirs) as I made them pose for pictures in their back to school “finest”. Both have challenging schedules this year and will be juggling a lot but I couldn’t be more excited for them. I adore them both and know that they’ll do well this year – if nothing else, 2020 showed us just how adaptable and resourceful my kids are.

So, school? WELCOME THE FLUCK BACK. Please don’t ever leave me again, you gorgeous institution, you.  Summer 2022, I’ll be counting down the days until I see you.

20 Years Down.

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A few months ago, we were out of town for a baseball tournament. The Hubs and I were tired, hot, hungry, sweaty, stressed over an ever changing schedule that day, and pretty much completely over everything.

Including each other.

Something really dumb happened and he yelled at me and I yelled right back at him for raising his voice at me. (I know…the logic astounds.) Then we just yelled at each other over stupid shit like who was right to be angry and who was wrong for like 5 minutes. We’re not typically yellers – especially with both kids in the car – but we were D.O.N.E.  Shortly thereafter, I dropped the Hubs and Scorch off at the hotel and the Bean and I went to grab our lunches.

As we pulled away from the hotel, Bean says, “I don’t know why you both just don’t get a divorce. Allllll this yelling, come on.”

Wedding Kiss

I started to giggle a little because while we were both being asshats that day, we aren’t on the brink of divorce. When I asked her why she thought we should get a dirvorce, she told me that NONE of the couples fight on the TV shows she watches- The Outer Banks, The Vampire Diaries, etc.

I started to laugh even harder because…yeah. Real life, those shows are not.

~*~*~*

The Hubs and I celebrated our 20th anniversary a short while ago- a few days after my 25th high school reunion, as a matter of fact. (Any time I still feel hip and cool, I’m going to reread that sentence a few times.) I hate to say that our 20th felt anticlimactic, but it 100% did. This past year and a half was insane between Covid, remote learning, a huge home addition, summer travels, work stress and on and on and on. The fact that we survived this one year is more impressive than the past 19, to be honest.

I’ve been trying to figure out something profound that I can say about 20 years of marriage…and I’ve got nothing. It IS a milestone and it should be celebrated – and we did by going away for a night with friends to see James Taylor in concert (10/10 would highly recommend). But there are no magic words of wisdom or secrets I can tell you.

Here is what I have learned:

  • No one has a perfect marriage and there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Anyone who tries to showcase theirs as such is lying to you and themselves.
  • Maintaining my marriage is, at the same time, the easiest and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Some days I kill it, other days I fail miserably.
  • Staying married is a choice the Hubs and I make daily. We choose to put each other and our vows first even when it’s hard.
  • Some days we suck at it – we barely speak and just go through the motions.
  • Other days I look at that man and my heart swells because I have no idea how I got so freaking lucky.

Over the course of 20 years, the days I thank my lucky stars far outnumber the days I wonder what the hell I was thinking. My husband makes me laugh every day, always has my back and is a wonderful father to our kids. I have no idea what the next 20 years will hold but I’m praying hard I walk them with the Hubs by my side.

13.

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Dear Bean-
As of writing this, you’re 13 and have been for a few weeks now. You’re annoyed that it’s taken me so long to write this, but girl, you know as well as I do that it’s been a summer. But that’s just an excuse because I’m still in denial that you’re 13. I mean, you’re my baby and the fact that you’re this old is mind boggling to me. You’ve heard me say countless times that I adore parenting older kids but that doesn’t mean I want you to grow up at warp speed.

But enough about me, your birthday is about you and you, my child, are amazing. You are smart, and funny, and quiet and loud and animated and reserved. You are ridiculously self-contained and you force me to be a better mother and person on a daily basis. You challenge me, my decisions, and my beliefs and there are days when I wish you were easier while marveling a minute later over how astounding you are.

So 12 was a crazy year, right? You moved to 7th grade which meant a new school allllll during Covid. You started out the year going to school full time, but after a series of never-ending quarantines, you transitioned to fully remote in January. You managed to avoid getting Covid when Dad, Scorch and I got it, but you did manage to get it 5 months later. You can never be simple, can you? 😉 Thankfully we all recovered relatively quickly with no long term side effects.

You took to remote learning like a duck to water- your grades were out of this world and you managed your schedule and to-do’s like a boss. I never had to worry about you when it came to school, I wish I had half your organizational skills. You also played basketball, a sport you’ve loved for years, and volleyball, a new-to-you sport. You excelled in both, made some new friends and challenged yourself which is all I can ask from you. Honestly, girl, you’ve done great this past year. You’ve shown grace during some really crappy situations, rolled with a lot of punches and grew more into who you are as a person. Have I mentioned lately that I adore you?

Now you’re 13 and getting ready to start 8th grade. Hopefully you’ll be in school, full time, with your friends that you missed all last year. Here’s what I hope for you, my wild child, as we enter this new year:

  • I hope you continue to hold on hard to who you are. Don’t break for anyone. You may have to bend a little – everyone does – but hold true to who you are and screw anyone who doesn’t like it.
  • I hope you hold tight to your friends. Your two BFFs are crazy in the best way and I hope you 3 continue to support and love each other fiercely.
  • I hope you make new friends. Two BFFs are amazing, but you can never have too many friends. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, give new people a chance and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Is that scary? Yup. Is it worth it? 100%
  • I hope you do something that scares you. Play a new sport. Join the drama club. Take a new elective. The world is getting bigger for you, embrace it, child.
  • I hope you are kind. You, my girl, are a little scary.  Quiet, self-contained girls in middle school always are – and that’s fine. You don’t have to change who you are, but I do ask that you be kind to others. Give people grace, have a sense of humor and be nice.
  • I hope you remember that your brother is your life-long best friend. Is he annoying? Yes. Does he smell? Yes. But he adores you and while you’re on the same school campus, lean into that. Love him hard and he’ll do the same.
  • I hope you know your worth. You deserve to be treated with respect and consideration – always. Don’t settle for anything else in any relationship.

Most of all, child, I hope you know how amazing you are. Because you truly, truly are. Smart, passionate, funny- you’re a blessing to our family, the piece that made it complete and one of my greatest joys. Know that we will always love you, always be your safe spot and that we are so proud of the woman you’re growing into.

All my love,
Mom

15.

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Dear Scorch-

You are now 15. And the time has finally come for you to butter your own waffles and make your own chocolate milk every morning. That was the deal – you can have social media at 15 in exchange for some self-sufficiency. So, happy birthday kiddo- the butter is in the fridge.

How are you 15 years old? How do you have friends that are driving now? How are you within spitting distance of the end of your freshman year of high school? This- all of this– is a mystery to me.

Days-old Baby Scorch

Here is what I do know. I know I freaking adore you. You are a delight 95% of the time. Hysterically funny, kind hearted, smart, witty and mostly a joy. You have shown more grace, tenacity and adaptability than most adults I know during this pandemic year. The end of your 8th grade year ended with a whimper. Asynchronous school, no sports and a hell of a lot of uncertainty. We went from 100 to 0 overnight – it was jarring and scary for everyone. My anxiety was elevated, so I worried you were going to struggle, but you rolled with the punches with a level of maturity I didn’t know you had.

For your 14th birthday, I took you on a hike (alllllll we did was hike), made you some BBQ chicken and we sat outside, socially distanced from people who stopped by. Sadly, this year looks like it’s going to be an exact repeat of last year since we’re all in quarantine. I’m so, so, sorry about this, bud- more than you can know. But a month or so after your birthday last year, life opened up a bit more with travel baseball, a family vacation and a social bubble that included your best friends. I have no doubt we’ll rebound from this quarantine with no problems either.

Cheeks for day

You entered 9th grade going to school full time in person this past September. You’re taking enhanced courses, a foreign language, and a graphic design course. You’ve learned to balance your time, prioritize, and juggle a hell of a lot all the while playing two sports. You skipped football this year since football was jammed between basketball and baseball and, let’s face it, baseball is your one true love.

All in all, 9th grade and your 14th year, hasn’t been all that bad despite Covid-19. You had your first girlfriend, you got to go to school with most of your friends, you lived through a huge home addition / construction project that netted you a new, big bedroom. Hell, we even let you get a TV in your room – something I said I was NEVER going to allow, but Covid quarantines and my need for sanity made a liar out of me. You still hang with the same amazing group of kids outside of school – you and your group of best friends really hasn’t changed since you were little. But you’re happy to hang out with who ever you’re around, wherever you happen to be. Your adaptability and complete faith that everyone wants to be your friend is one of my favorite parts of you.

~*~*~
Every year, I share what I hope for you for this upcoming year. So, sweet child, here is what I wish for you for your 15th year:

  • Never stop being interested. Ask questions, challenge assumptions and be curious about the world around you.
  • Don’t try to plan your life out. You’re 15 – you’re not supposed to know the answers. Ask questions and feel your way around. No one expects you to have your life planned out no matter what they imply – right now your interests should vary and change. I’m 42 and I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. Take this time to learn everything you can, keep your grades up, and set yourself up for success no matter what path you choose.
  • Know that this life is yours. Despite us not expecting you to know everything, we do expect you to be mature enough to start making some decisions on your own. Start exercising your ability to say no or yes. Say yes to the things that bring you joy. Say no to things that you know aren’t right – for you, your friends and your safety.
  • Make smart decisions. Oh sweet boy, as awesome as it is that the world is opening up to you, it scares me silly. You’re going to be presented with situations, scenarios and decisions that you have to be so smart about. Being smart won’t always be cool and it won’t always be easy – but you know in your gut what’s right and what’s wrong. Listen to your gut, always.
  • Be kind. I say this every year and so far, you’ve done a good job of listening. You, child, are the total package and with that comes responsibility. Be kind to others. Choose to lift others up instead of stepping on them. Always punch up, never down.
  • Treat your romantic partners exactly how you want your sister to be treated. Be respectful, be polite and always, always ask for consent. Never assume liberties, take their interests into account and don’t be a douche.
  • Insist your romantic partners give you the same consideration. I don’t give a hoot who you date as long as they treat you well. Kindness, consideration, manners and consent are things that should be given in equal measures on both sides – don’t waste your time on a partner who doesn’t treat you well.
  • Know that you can always ask for help. I don’t care what you need help with, we’ll provide it. From homework to a ride home after you’ve made dumb decisions (because you will make dumb decisions), we will always, always help you. Never doubt that – you, your safety, the safety of your friends, etc are the most important thing in the world to your dad and I. We may yell, we may holler and we may huff in annoyance, but we’ll be there. But we won’t bail you out if you mess up. Bearing responsibility for your decisions is part of growing up, kiddo.
  • Remember that social media is forever. Now that you’re 15, you have social media. NOTHING you post is private. NOTHING is temporary. Be mindful of what you post, be intentional and don’t do anything that can come back to haunt you. No bullying, no sexting, no name calling, nada. Don’t learn this the hard way.

I hope your 15th year is awesome, bud! Keep being the amazing kid you are, mind your manners, be smart, and take chances. Hold your friends tight, but don’t be afraid to make new ones. Do things that make your happy, that scare you and that help you grow as a person. Keep learning, pick up a book or two and remember how very loved you are.

All my love,
Mom

Hopeful.

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Today is April 21 and it’s snowing. Frankly, this isn’t surprising in my neck of the woods – after all, it has snowed on Mother’s Day more years than I can count. We’ve had a span of gorgeous weather for the past few weeks so I’m not even mad at this snow. I can appreciate it for how pretty it is, knowing it’ll be gone in a day or two.

Sunrise

I feel like hopeful is pretty much my general state of mind right now. Last year when the world shut down, I started using Facebook as almost a daily diary to record how I was feeling from moment to moment. It was not good. My anxiety was through the roof as was my frustration and anger and sorrow. But really, it was my anxiety. I worried about everything – our physical health, our mental health, the kid’s schooling, my work, the Hub’s safety at work, friends, family, if our addition was ever going to start (and then end), money, and on and on. Some of the posts are funny, some are sad and some are self-pitying.

I’ll take hopeful over the hot mess my head was this time last year all day, every day.

~*~*~*~

I’m also feeling a tad nostalgic. My baby boy turns 15 shortly. My baby girl turns 13 this summer.

Y’all, I LOVE these ages and I’d like to freeze them right here. They are old enough to be great company, hysterically funny and a joy to be around but young enough that they rely on us for all rides and activities. So I have the joy of kids that are old enough to put themselves to bed, but young enough that I don’t have to worry about them sneaking out. #countryliving One of my kids is inches taller than I am, one is almost as tall. They are stupidly smart, determined and fully their own people and I really, really like the people they are.

We escaped to the beach in March

I am trying to find my blogging groove again. The STORIES I could tell – raising teens is not for the weak or the easily offended and they make me laugh every damn day. But these stories aren’t just mine anymore.  They are mine and the kids; and the kids are old enough to have a say in what I can and cannot share. So while I want to share dating pitfalls and period stories, I won’t. At least not publicly. One day maybe my kids won’t care, but now they do.

So sporadic updates it is until I hit the season of my life where my life is more mine and less chauffeur / cheerleader / woman-praying-she-isn’t-screwing-it-up-too-badly.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

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(You’re welcome for that ear worm!)

How can this be one of the best summers, while still being one of the worst? How can it have gone by so fast, while draggggggging?

Mixed emotions is 100% the mood of 2020.

The good.
We had a great summer, all things considered. We managed to take two vacations – one to the Outer Banks and one to a semi-local camp ground. 3 days before we were set to go to the OBX, our governor put NC on the do-not-travel list. But, we had already sunk our money into a beach house (reserved pre-Corona) and we were ready to go with my parents, siblings and their families. We weren’t going to be refunded our money if we didn’t go- so we went.

And it was perfect – we split out time between the house, the pool at the house and the beach. There was next to no one at the beach, so we never felt crowded or unsafe. Our only outings were to the grocery store wearing masks, with Lysol wipes in hand. We had zero problems and zero regrets going.

A month later, we went camping for a week. It was us and a tent during one of the hottest weeks of the year and we survived. It was laid back, quiet and lovely to spend time with family even if it did come with a side of mosquito bites and the smell of bug spray on every article of clothing.

Scorch got to play a lot of baseball this summer, the addition on the house is officially under way and really, we just enjoyed the hell of each other this summer.

The Bad
Do I really need to talk about the bad? Thankfully my family haven’t had to deal with the reality of Covid outside of the ramification on our day to day life. We’ve been healthy, something I’m extraordinarily thankful for. We mask up in public spaces where we can’t socially distance, we kept to our quarantine squads and I carry a never-ending supply of wipes and hand sanitizer.

Given the Hub’s job, avoiding the social unrest and protests were impossible, heartbreaking and maddening. That weighed incredibly heavy on all of us this summer, but especially him.

The Reality
But, as of today, summer is officially over. The kiddos started back to school 5 days a week in person. There is mandatory mask wearing, social distancing and an abundance of hand sanitizer every where. I’m confident in our school, our administrators and our teachers that things are as ready for school as possible.

Doesn’t mean I wasn’t a basketcase today though. Y’all – Bean started 7th grade. She graduated her small Catholic school and is now at the public school. When we talked about this is year in years past it was with the reassurance that her person, her best friend L would be there with her. But L is doing her work fully remote this year, so Bean is on her own. She met up with another friend to go into school today- but, my heart, y’all my heart.

Bean and her friends didn’t get their orientation, they didn’t get an organized tour, they didn’t get to meet their teachers or scope the school out ahead of time like Scorch did. Luckily, a friend gave a few kids a tour- but still. I felt like I was kicking my baby off the deep end of the dock without knowing if she fully knew how to swim today.

Don’t mind the porch- it’s being REPLACED with the addition!!!

Don’t even get me started on Scorch starting 9th grade. HOW is that possible?! Technically the junior high and the high school are the same building- but the kids from each don’t mingle much or go into each other’s areas. So while it’s not really a new school, it felt like it. Thankfully he’s pretty good with winging it and we know enough staff and teachers in the high school that I know he’ll do OK.

I hope. I pray. Please, kiddos, do OK.

These past 6 months at home with the kids have been everything good and bad all at once. I hate to say it was a gift because I don’t want to minimize the suffering, sacrifice and loss faced by so many- but for my little family, it was a pause we learned to appreciate. It was a chance to learn more about each other, a time to soak in each other’s company and a time to be thankful for all we do have.

While I’m not sad the kids are back to school, I am a little melancholy this week, missing my sidekicks and constant company. I’m wishing all our kids, teachers, staff and administrators dealing with school this year the best of luck!

Not Me

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The Bean found my blog.

I mean, I knew the day would come- my kids are the reason I started this blog, after all. My kiddos don’t have baby books and most of their childhood pictures are stored in Shutterfly, not in physical albums. I didn’t keep many of their childhood mementos outside of a few blankets, some books and a few stuffed animals. But I have been chronicling their childhood for almost 10 years now- since the kids were 4 and 2.

Since she’s been going back and reading my old entries, I got nostalgic and started to do the same.  One of the things I used to on Monday’s was “Not Me Monday” back when widely used blog themes were a thing.  “Not Me Monday” was a way to confess your sins and since the old entries made me laugh, I figured I’d share a few of my gems lately:

  • While in Mexico, the Bean got M&Ms and immediately told Scorch he couldn’t have any. He didn’t want any – but he *always* wants to torment her, so for 30 minutes straight, he followed her around making comments like “Yummm…those M&Ms look amazing!” or “You know what I’m craving, M&Ms!” or “Mom, the minute Bean puts those M&Ms down, Imma going to snagging them.”  I was not too busy laughing hysterically at him to make him knock it off when the Bean pleaded with me to do so.
  • Later that same day, I was blessedly at the pool sans any kids, reading my Kindle. 4 chairs down from me was a mom, trying in vain to read her magazine while her son and daughter squabbled in the pool over things just as dumb as M&Ms. The mom finally LOSES it and goes “This is supposed to be FUN. We are flipping on vacation in MEXICO and you’re making me crazy.”
    I did not want to high-five her in solidarity or at least find some of the Bean’s M&Ms to share with her.
  • Earlier this week, Scorch was in class and accidentally drew on his face with his pencil. When one of his friends told him they could see the mark, my son absolutely did not proceed to draw a penis on his forehead and then have to walk around alllll day with his bangs pulled down to hide it when he couldn’t erase it. (“Mom- it was the only thing I could think of to draw!” #teens)
  • I did not laugh stupidly hard at a “69” reference in an Instagram video because Scorch and his buddies are obsessed with certain numbers (69, 420, etc) which evidently has dropped my sense of humor down to a middle-school level.* I also certainly did not save the video to show him when he got home from school.
  • Within seconds of picking the Bean up from school, it was clear she was in a mood. After 2 minutes of grumpiness and a snotty tone, I told her she wasn’t allowed to speak to me again until she could do so with a civil tongue. We did not not speak for over an hour. #tweens

Hot Mess Express graphic with a purple background and pink words

So, spill – what haven’t YOU done lately?!

 

*Please note: I DID (and do, frequently) absolutely talk to my kid about these numbers, what they mean, how they are not appropriate in a lot of places/context, etc – but he’s 13 and he’s in middle school and kids laugh about dumb stuff no matter how mature and enlightened you try to make them. I can either freak out over it every time or embrace my inner 13 year when something is legitimately funny. This video was NOT sexual in any way shape or form, it was just simply a bunch of idiot teens freaking out when that number was called out in public – and it was really, really funny.

 

SHOTGUN!

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So, it’s been a minute! After I shared my fantastic parenting skills, we got sucked back into the routine of school and sports and general insanity. The re-entry back into the school year was a pretty tame one- neither kid made any major transitions so that made back to school pretty damn easy.  Scorch is in 8th grade and the Bean is in 6th and I’m officially old AF.  The biggest drama going back to school was if Scorch should wear black socks or white socks with his navy blue kicks – the boy takes his sock game very seriously.

Scorch, wearing navy blue sneakers, and Bean, wearing white sneakers, on the first day of 8th and 6th grade.

In early October, Scorch broke his wrist playing in a football game about 2 hours from home. Thankfully the Hubs and/or I always go to every away game (my kids getting seriously hurt when we’re not there is one of my biggest nightmares) and were both there that day. We had to drive by the Big City on our way home, so we stopped by the same orthopedic place that did the Hub’s ACL surgery in the Spring and had Scorched x-ray’d and casted within an hour. He’s been a super good sport, but with less than a week to go until the cast is taken off he’s D.O.N.E. with it.

An x-ray of Scorch's left wrist.

The biggest news is that the day I’ve been DREADING finally is upon us. When I took the kids in for their flu shots, the Bean’s height was recorded and she’s finally tall enough to ride in the front seat.

*sigh*

That’s right, I have two kids vying for shotgun for every.single.car ride. Once the kids put the pieces together, they both started coming up with an elaborate way to decide who got to be the shotgun winner. The rules included when you could call shotgun, how even calling shotgun doesn’t mean you actually get to ride in that spot if your sibling can wrestle you out of it and something about headlocks and Scorch using his cast as a club.

Needless to say, that didn’t fly with me, so I quickly instituted an odd/even system – on odd days, it’s Scorch’s turn, on even days, it’s the Beans. They were ticked- I was stripping away ALLLLLLLL the fun out of shotgun- but frankly, I didn’t care. The last thing I needed was those two beating the holy hell out of each other for the privilege of sitting next to me and controlling the radio.

This worked relatively well…except for during school drop offs. I drive both kids to school, dropping Scorch off first, and alllllll Scorch wants to look during drop off is cool. There is a single drop off line – it loops around the parking lot and you can drop your kids off anywhere along the sidewalk. But evidently there is a art to where the perfect drop off location is. Like, he gets concerned if I drop him off too far away (“they’re all waiting for us in line, mom”) or too close (“I don’t want to look like I’m lazy”), the music has to be off just case we’re listening to something that is cringy and the drop off has to be QUICK- there can be no fumbling when you get out.

Which was all doable when he was the always riding shotgun, but now that he’s in the backseat of our van every other day – quick isn’t a thing. First, I have to put the van in park to open the automatic sliding doors -and those doors are slow. Then there is the fumbling for his stuff because he can’t actually wait until the door is all the way  open before jumping out. Don’t even mention the fact his sister is choosing the tunes and Lizzo blasting out of the speakers of our minivan brings down his street cred by like a 1000 points.

Which is why earlier this week, my sweet dumb kid decided that the best course of action was to CLIMB into the front seat – WHILE his sister was sitting in – and going out that way.

Bean, with only her legs showing, is sitting in the passenger seat of the car. Scorch is perched on the leg rest of her chair, trying to climb over her.

Bean’s sitting in the chair, Scorch is trying to climb over her. I’m being the responsible adult and taking pics.

She was super psyched about that idea – he’s lucky she didn’t kick him in the butt and send him sprawling.

So, how’s your fall going?!

Mickey Mouse Does What Now?

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There are a ton of things I adore about raising tweens/teens. I’m happy to go on and on about how awesome older kids are – but I realized very quickly this weekend that the fact that I cannot physically move my children to force them to do something is one of the biggest drawbacks.

This past Friday, the kids and I were driving 45 minutes south to hang at my parents for the day. We had to be there by 8:45 am so I could start my work day – we were already running a tad behind because we had to drop the kitten off at the vet. So, we’re hustling, just about to get on the highway, when the Bean let’s out a shriek from the backseat that can be heard for miles.

There is a spider on the arm rest next to her and she’s losing her mind. The Bean hates spiders – somethings I wrote about here – and she was going into panic mode.

I pulled over as quickly as I could and Beaner jumps out of the car, freaking out. I quickly took care of the spider and told her to get back in the car.  She flat out refused. Nope. Not happening- she’s not getting in the back of the van again. Ever. For her whole life.

I’m quickly looking at my watch, looking the Bean and looking at Scorch, who is laughing his fool head off from the front seat, trying to figure out the best way to manage this nonsense so I can get to work on time. We’ve got two choices: keep going to my parents and go back home. Either way, we have got to get back in the car to get to where ever we’re going.

I take stock and hope that if I can get the Bean to ride shotgun, Scorch will ride in the backseat and we can just go somewhere.  Yes, the Bean is too small to ride shotgun usually but desperate times and all that.*  I tell the kids the plan and Scorch, between snorts of laughter, refuses to move. Flat out refuses to move.  I calmly tell him to move his hiney so we can get going and he’s just like – Nope. And the Bean is like Nope when I tell her to get in the back seat.  So, we have a stand off.

After a quick few minutes of negotiations and some not-so-quietly shared threats, I finally get the Bean back in the backseat and we’re on our way.  But I’m ticked- like, really, really, really angry that Scorch wouldn’t move his seat and that the Bean is scared of spiders and that we’re running behind and that I have so much to do. Basically, I was in a tizzy over everything.

And Scorch, bless his complete inability to read the room, pipes up next to me as we’re pulling out of the parking lot where all this has gone down, “Mom, do you see….”

And because I’m so freaking ticked off at this point, I cut him off quickly and without much thought to what’s coming out of my mouth, yelling:

“YOU are not allowed to talk. I don’t SEE ANYTHING – and I don’t care what you see. You could see Mickey Mouse shitting rainbows right now and I don’t want to hear a word about it!”

“Mickey Mouse shitting rainbows” is not a phrase I thought I’d ever utter in my life. Yet, here I am, earning my Parent of the Year award in a Wendy’s parking lot on a summer morning.

MickeyMouse

If you need a babysitter or any parenting tips, y’all know where to find me.

(stop judging me, JT, I can hear you from here).

 

Keeping it Real

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A friend on Facebook posted this yesterday and it resonated with me…

Quote: The reason we struggle with insecurity is beacuse we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel. - Steve Furtick

….especially because we just returned from a trip from Florida and I had posted a quick recap in pictures. OF COURSE I picked the best pictures – the ones where the kids were smiling, you couldn’t see my double chin and the sun was shining.  Essentially, all I showed were the highlights, so in the interest of full disclosure let me tell you a bit more about what a 2400+ mile road trip looks like with my family.

First, we drove from our home in NY to Virginia to St. Augustine to Orlando to Tampa and then home again. We are not a family who can drive overnight – we *need* to be in a hotel by 9:30 because no one can sleep in a car and we all start to get a little bitchy if we don’t get our sleep. So, the Hubs had it all planned out- we’d leave our house by 1, run a few errands, get the kids from school by 1:40 and be where he wanted to be in VA by 8 pm to spend the night. He insisted I make reservations at his hotel of choice because he KNEW we’d make it there without any issues. And I refused because this isn’t my first rodeo and I KNOW how a family road trip goes.

As we always do, we left late, forgot to run one of our errands, panicked that we didn’t leave the key for our house sitter, realized the Hubs forgot to put his car charger in my car (which was my fault, some how) and finally grabbed the kids at 2:30. Honestly, not so bad as far as our road trips go. We finally did make it to the hotel the Hubs wanted to that night – a blessed Country Inn and Suites so the kids could sleep* while the Hubs and I relaxed in the living room. (*they didn’t sleep, they wrestled, yelled, had a pillow fight, used the beds as trampolines and generally were loud pains in the asses and we didn’t care because we were tired and it was only Day 1. Parenting: killing it since 2006!).

The Bean and Scorch in the car on the way to FL.

The next day was uneventful (well, as uneventful as 12 hours of driving can be: no blood was shed, no one puked and the car didn’t break down) and we made it to St. Augustine for our overnight. We had a 45 minutes wait at our favorite restaurant so we played on the beach across the street. Pure bliss after 12 hours in the car!

The Bean walking on the beach at dusk.

The next day, it was on to Disney!  We are very, very lucky that the Hubs has family that works there and are kind enough to get us in the parks for free, otherwise there is no way this could be an annual destination because Disney is expensive and I’m cheap. We stayed at the beautiful Coronado Resort and managed to find that great mix between busy and relaxed (read: we spent a lot time at the pool).

We’ve learned over the years that while Disney can be the most magical place on earth, it’s crowded, noisy, overstimulating and overwhelming no matter how many times you go there. I never wanted to be that mom that dragged her sobbing kids through the parks (I *may* still have some issues around Disney as I was the sobbing kid <at age 14> being dragged around the park. Not one of my finest moments) but that doesn’t mean meltdowns don’t happen:

  • While in line for Aladdin’s Magic Carpet, the ride broke down. Really, it was like a 4 minute pause- but it was justenough time for the kids to start arguing over who got to control the ride (choosing if we went up or down or side to side). I had to pull my children- my TWELVE and TEN YEAR OLD children – apart because they wouldn’t stop squabbling over this freaking ride. There was name calling, getting in each other’s faces and posturing over who got to PUSH A LEVER. The family with 5 kids aged 3 – 9 were staring. It was awesome.
  • The hotel has one large pool and and a bunch of smaller pools. There was a smaller pool next to our building that the kids preferred because there were no life guards and they could try to drown each other without anyone yelling at them (don’t judge- my book was good and I was keeping an eye on them. They assured me they’d tap out if they went too long without breathing). One of the days, it was only 65 degrees out, but the sun was shining and we’re hardy NY folks, so the kids wanted to swim. Perfect, let’s do it.
    Only the Bean decided she wanted NOTHING to do with Scorch while in the pool and Scorch decided he wanted to be her “personal helper dolphin” who needed to stick next to her like glue.  We finally told Scorch he had to stay 10 feet away from her at all times, figuring that would solve the squabbling.  Clearly, we’re new to this parenting thing.
    The Bean LOST HER SHIT because Scorch kept looking at her. When we pointed out that the only way she knew he was looking at her is if she was looking at him….well, she didn’t care. He was LOOKING AT HER and that must be stopped. IMMEDIATELY. She was so mad at this point she was vibrating, which made Scorch and I immediately start to laugh so hard we cried and the Hubs to yell at all of us for being morons.
  • Don’t even get me started on the night Scorch found a spider on their shared bed. The boys ended up sharing a bed that night while I shared a bed with Bean, trying (at first calmly, and then not so much) to explain why changing rooms at 10 pm was NOT going to happen.  Gooooood times.

The kids swimming in the hotel pool

That’s the “personal helper dolphin” dogging his sister. What is a “personal helper dolphin”? Damned if I know- 12 year olds are weird.

We survived Disney and headed over to my parent’s place on the Gulf side of the state for a few days of pure relaxation before heading back home. Honestly, despite some glitches, the trip had really been fantastic.

But, sadly, all good things must come to an end and Friday we packed the car back up and got on the road to head home.  All was well until we hit South Carolina and, within miles of crossing the boarder, we ran over debris over the road.  The Hubs and I exchanged a look, hoped what we ran over was soft plastic and crossed our fingers. That worked great until the tire pressure light went off about 20 miles later – at 4:15. On a Friday. Did I mention my snow tires were still on my car? Do you think tire shops in South Carolina even stocks snow tires? Yeah, me either.

Blessed be southern hospitality though because, after a panicked phone call, we were able to limp into a tire shop at 4:40 (with an audibly hissing tire) and have our car looked at immediately by Buddy.  Buddy, my new BFF, was able to patch our tire – otherwise we would have been stranded until MONDAY afternoon – and we were back on the road within an hour. Buddy, a man who I will name my next pet after <because I’m NOT having more kids> stayed an hour late to get us rolling, charged us $23 and bid us a safe trip.

Clearly we didn’t make it as far as  we wanted that night, something that infuriated my type-A husband, but we did manage to book another suite in a hotel so the kids could go to bed while the Hubs and I decompressed.  Only, when we checked in, there weren’t any suites left – something they told me AFTER I paid, despite telling me that was what I was booking over the phone.

Again, no big deal- talk about a first world problem right? We’ll just all turn in and get an early start in the morning.  Only- the other thing we weren’t told was that there was a biker convention in town.  *sigh* I have no issues with bikers, but what I do have issues with is bikers pulling in and out all night in front of our hotel, revving their engines keeping us all awake. To add insult to injury, all the beds were all sagging in the middle, the kids refused to sleep in the same bed and the ice machine was right outside our door.

The only upside was that we got on the road super early the next morning. The drive home went swimmingly until about 2 hours in when the Bean got sick.

Because, of course she did.

Thankfully she was just car sick and not sick-sick and I’ve learned my lesson to never travel without Dramamine and a bucket – so all was well(ish) pretty quickly.  We got home safely after 12 hours on the road and my newly fixed tire didn’t decide to start leaking again until this morning.  And the Bean? Well, she decided to puke an hour after getting to school today.

Scorch on the breakwater in the Gulf

All in all, the trip was amazing – but honestly, if you looked at the pictures, you’d think it was amazing 24/7. But it wasn’t. Life isn’t and to expect it to be is unreasonable. I’m very thankful that I’m blessed with two amazing kids, a husband who drives the whole time so I can read, the means to travel and jobs that give us this flexibility.  We’ve had some amazing trips and some truly terrible trips (I’m looking at you, camping trip of 2018).  We’ve had trips where 3 out of the 4 of us have gotten the stomach bug (Disney, 2017), trips where 3 out of 4 of us have ended up crying on vacation, trips where the Hubs got both the flu AND mono (FL 2016) and trips where just everything sucked and we really didn’t like each other.

That’s just how life goes. But we keep going, keep making memories (good and bad) and use Facebook or Instagram to highlight the very best parts. When we share stories of our trips with friends and family a few years from now – are we going to remember the short wait time in Epcot? The killer dinner in St. Augustine? Most likely not.  But we’re never going to forget the the kindness of Buddy and the absolute fit Scorch threw when Bean started puking!