Wednesday, August 31, 2011

10 Holes are Better than None

Oh you dirty bird, this is not that kind of blog.

The verdict from yesterday?  Mini golf.  I took the kids and I mini golfing for the first time.  Their first time ever, my second time since going en mass with friends in college while drinking cranberry vodka out of paper cups.  Oh my, how I miss those days.  Flannel shirts and hiking boots.  Pear Jam and Speedy Subs.  The Library and Fawley's Music Shop. Poli-Sci and Taming the Shrew.  Walking through cemeteries to feel alive and scribbling in notebooks about the years of those reduced to memories and weathered headstone font, impermanent despite itself. Waiting in between classes under a tree large enough to hug me from the sun and small enough to welcome a cute boy with black rimmed glasses.  I had a goth heart and a Pollyana face but I would never know the difference. Those beauteous days of yore... 

What were we talking about?

Right, kids and making memories, I'm back to 2011, dammit.

Imagine the kids' surprise when we didn't pull up to Target.  They were all, "Mommy, tell me where we are!  Is this the garden we went to with Miss Sara?  Is it?  IS IT?!?" 

Me:  Nope, not the garden.  Guess again.

The Grayson part of They:   The water park we went to with Daddy last Tuesday?  (It was weeks ago and a Saturday but you're four.)

Me:  Nope, and lower your standards please.  Guess again.




Me:  Hello?

They:  Where are we? (smiling- despite the general lack of terminology)

Me:  C'mon, you'll love it.  Let's go check it out.

And check it out we did.

 Abby made it exactly 2 greens before she decided climbing trees was a better way to spend her time.

Grayson remained poised, however, and ever serious about learning the craft that is getting that little puckered golf ball into the hole in less than three strokes.

I told him he had four but three was his personal challenge because that child is his father's son when it comes to athleticism.  He doesn't know it yet, but not everyone has the hand-eye coordination of a hawk and the patience to steady yourself at age four.  I commend him for his prowess long before he even knows it exists.  Shame on me if this kid does not participate in an organized sport this fall.  He has already graduated from me as his coach and then some.

While playing our game, we got squeezed between a mom and her two boys in front, and a family of mixed generations behind us.  Somehow, on the grandmother's watch, the little girl from her party ended up taking a turn alongside Grayson and by the time we finished they were permanently up in front of us, behind the mom with two sons.

(Abby got a picture of "The Squeezers.")

 I was plenty annoyed but didn't see the point in making a fuss since Abby was scaling retaining walls and climbing the backs of plastic swans.  We were short timers anyway.

 (Another Abby Cam shot.  Apparently, I have a question.)

(Also?  I left my *%$# purse in the car.)

We made it about 10 holes when Sister Meltdown commenced.  She spotted a playground 900 yards away and had to be there right now let's go I want swing Mommy push me high Brubba please oh please can we go.

 (Abby's face after she learned we were leaving the golf portion of our day.)

We went.  Of course we went.  It was only 12:45.

The rest of the afternoon went way less choreographed but well nonetheless.

Kids made their own lunches.  This is new and it is grueling.  A two year old does not belong with a jar of peanut butter, ever. 

After lunch, I glanced at the clock just knowing it had to be almost 2:30.

It was 1:15. 

I grabbed a cold coffee, a smile, and a football as we all made our way to the backyard.  Abby interested herself in giving her baby girls a swim.

 Looks like a tragic afternoon to me but I'm trying to be open minded.

Grayson and I had SO much fun with Abby's pink football.  I think I was meant to be a linebacker.  Or a kicker.  Or some kind of person who throws footballs for a living because holy heavens, you guys, that is a good time.

There was even a football breeze, the kind that makes you hungry for Saturdays.

The autumn's on its way breeze you can smell right before people start hunting for pumpkins and Thanksgiving recipes.  There is nothing better than the fall.  Not even throwing a pink football to my kids in the backyard although that is a screaming second.

So, all in all, we had a DAY.  All our days are capital days it seems.  One afternoon, probably not too far off in the distance, I will look back on my time as their primary fun provider and wish for it all back.  For now?  I'm so freaking glad it's Wednesday.

 Wait, it's Tuesday, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Surprise Day

We still have a week before preschool breathes new life into my kids and into me.

Today I told them we are having a Surprise Day after they get dressed.

I have no idea what to do so am upstairs stalling, trying to come up with a new destination that will deliver excitement and at least three hours outside of our house.

We have visited all petting zoos and botanical gardens, train rides and playgrounds. They've been good sports during errand running and Back to School clothes shopping. We have painted every recycled bottle and egg carton morphing them into bud vases and hair clippy cemeteries. I simply cannot stomach another pool day.

Looks like we are headed to the nearest walking trail to cleanup fallen limbs and branches. "Surprise kids, we are cleaning up The Hundred Acre Wood today, SURPRISE!"

Abby will lose her mind and hyperventilate in anticipation of meeting her fictional boy crush, Christopher Robin. Grayson will heave himself to the ground and ask for spinner bait. Sadie will high paw me and plunge her thick lab body into the brown amoeba water.

I should probably pack some quarters for Chuck E. Cheese, huh?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Post Hurricane Calm

Along with the entire east coast, I spent from Thursday on preparing for Hurricane Irene.  

Andy took Friday off to spend time at home with us and thankfully that gave me enough time to buy everything left at Giant.  We even have that disgusting inedible Orange drink they sell by the gallon.  Probably two if I'm being honest.  

To say I pressed the panic button is a lie, I trampolined on that sucker for over three hours.  

Thankfully, the worst thing the Hurricane did to our neighborhood was leave us without power for half a night and half a day.  While inconvenient at worst, this was not really so awful at all.  

The best thing about Hurricane Irene was that she brought my brother, sister-in-law, my nephew, and their dogs over to our house for the night.  It was a little house filled up with warmth, conversation, and a hilarious Adam Sandler movie called Grown Ups.

I had so much fun I actually felt a little guilty reading what others were experiencing on Friday and Saturday and parts of Sunday (New York, New Jersey?).  

Hopefully, wherever you are, you have your power on and your trees still standing.  Also, I really hope you didn't have to resort to the orange flavored jungle juice.  We never did.  Our gastric system thanks us all.

After the clouds parted yesterday, we took the kids to a nearby pond so Grayson could finally go fishing.  He loves it more than sword fighting or chocolate chip pancakes.  If that's even possible.


Meanwhile, the girls kept themselves busy with some newly acquired doll house stuff (Thanks, Joanne!) and a fallen tree limb (Thanks, Irene!)

I like how even the tree got tucked in to the bathtub. (Safest place on the tarmac, Yo.)  EVERYbody's goin night night when Abby's in charge.  Good call, Abs.


The sun felt so good and beamed down on us with her starry starry fingers.

Just the thing to give me pause at the end of a stressfilled but somehow very meaningful weekend.

I am thankful for the natural disorder of things (earthquakes, hurricanes, no power, oh my) because that reminds me to stop taking my luxuries for granted.

And to remember how good the sun feels when it comes out after the rain.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Project Runway

 For our next challenge, Designers...

I introduce our newest fashion expert of our esteemed panel of judges...

 Wait, are these last season's flats?
Yes, yes they are.  Oh, this is embarrassing.  Take five, Designers, I must consult with wardrobe.

 Okay, I'm back.  Heidi says these flats compliment my reverse apron bolero so let's continue...


INTRODUCING....our very own Sadie Garcia!

She's got a big bark, but appreciates fine linens and can spot a loose hem from a mile away. 

Make it work, Designers.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Most days I literally cannot wait until bed time.  My bed time.  Which means I spend fourteen wakeful hours wishing I were asleep.

That can't be good.

Some people get chemically altered in this state.  Then they get something called depression.  Makes sense, doesn't it?  Then there are others, like me, who get tired and there's no fancy name for what comes after that because our brain does not become chemically altered.  It's just thick with black stuff and some other worldly force (probably my grandmother) to move forward to get things done.  It's like a well seasoned iron skillet that adds more and more seasoning until you can no longer see the original color underneath.  It is warped, for the better, so much so that even the shape of the hardware becomes something else entirely. And oh man is the shape of my hardware something else entirely...unrecognizable.

I am more tired than before the before.  And so on.

I know I'm not alone in how this feels.  I would wager a crisp dollar bill that many other parents of young children are stuck in the same cycle:  unable to hire help to relieve them and plugging away at it solo because the other parent is off someplace else making a living.  This doesn't make the other parent a bad person, it just makes him a whole lot gone.

The other day my husband treated me to a surprise spa day.  He prepaid for an entire afternoon of massage, facial, manicure and pedicure.  Then he reserved a room for me at a nearby hotel so I could spend the night with fluffy pillows instead of waking up whenever the mood struck Abby or Grayson.  Heaven, right?  The whole thing probably cost us a healthy kidney but he did it because he can see the unraveling of his wife and wanted to give me a break, bless his own tired heart. 

Here's the insane part.  I didn't want to go. 

My husband had quite literally just gotten off a plane from a week long sojourn out west when I was to be shipped off to a fancy spa for the entire day.  While I appreciated the gesture, what I really wanted wasn't an entire day and night away from him or us as a family.  I miss him; more time away from him doesn't feel right either. So I did what any good woman would do, I indulged in the first spa part and canceled the hotel room (A saint, I am not.  But how cute are my toes?)

And then, less than 24 hours after he returned home from work, he was off again on another work related thing that took him away for more days and more nights.  It's just the way it is.

I try so hard to man up and suck it up because other people have it worse.  I know there are worse things that can happen.  I am friends with many women who are going through real and very horrible things like sickness, death, and a burned down workplace.  The fact that I cannot get over my own brain fog long enough to lend them a hand makes me feel 1 inch tall.

I complain (mostly) to only my mom who remembers what it was like to raise small children on her own.

I hate being this person, you guys.  I hate wanting to always be asleep instead of awake.  I miss enjoying the precious time I have with my kids.

Believe me, I get it.  I know they're only little once.  I realize these are the tender years.  Intellectually, I am totally on board.  Cognitively I know I should just eat healthier, rest more (ha!) and suck it up, Buttercup.

My insides, however, are completely oversaturated with this way of doing things and just plain effing exhaustion. I've done this gig alone for an extremely long time.  On the heels of his deployment, his new never being home work schedule feels like salt in my eye.  I see his dirty laundry more than I see him.

I just want to go to sleep but I won't.  There is more fight left so fight I shall and suck it up until school starts.  Then? Believe me, I'll be racing back home to yank the covers of my beautiful bed and plop these fried bones down to sleep.

I'm fine, by the way, there is no need to check in or call the cops or send balloons although I do love balloons.  It's the curse side of the blessing.  I think everything has both if you look hard enough.  Being a stay-at-homer isn't glamorous and it surely isn't healthy all the time but it is worth it.

Mostly, I wrote this today because nothing else would come.  Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for happy.  Sometimes you have to push through the suck to get back to good.  This is me pushing through the suck.  I will return to good, it's what I do.  I'm just dragging you along with me for the ride this time, is all.

Also, I think I felt like pulling down the Oz curtain (Osma curtain?) and letting you all in just in case you were in the same boat.  If you are, or if you've been?  Don't be quiet, please tell me what you do or did to get by.  Caffeine and puppy shopping isn't working for me anymore, I'm open to better suggestions.  Go.