Saturday, August 27, 2016

Remembered

I spend lots of idle moments wondering what my boys will remember from their childhoods. While I realize it's unlikely they'll remember all the cool things we endeavor to provide the opportunity for them to do, I know from my own memories of childhood that it's not easy to predict what the brain will decide to hold in its archives. I also hope that even if they can't recall specifics, they'll remember the general feeling of their growing up as a mostly-good one. I wonder, too, what they'll remember about me. I'm sure they'll remember that I yell sometimes (and honestly, I'm okay with that...I want them to know that I'm a real person with real and sometimes big feelings, so that they know it's okay to be real people with real, big feelings themselves). They'll probably remember that I'm a little bit fat and a little bit loud and that I like to listen to music in the car and that I swear and I'm not a good cook. I hope they'll remember that I bake them muffins to eat for breakfast almost every day. That I track down shirts I think they'll like. I hope they recall being asked to clean up their own messes, to use their manners, to try new things and work as a team. I hope, too, that they remember me as a mom who worked and was good at it, and who also volunteered at their schools and didn't forget about crazy sock day.

When they think about me as adults, maybe with their own kids, I'd like it if they remembered how often I loaded up the car with snacks and a change of clothes for everyone, with water shoes and sand pails and tadpole nets, how many times I smeared sunscreen on their little faces and filled up their water bottles and took them out on an adventure. I hope when I'm an old lady I can remember this, too. The smell of their hair in the sun. The freckles on Nico's nose and Elliott's farmer's tan. Rinsing sand off their legs and mud off their shoes. Changing clothes behind bushes and in the back of the car because there was a creek to jump in or a fountain to play in and I didn't say no. How proud I feel when one of them comes running to show me some cool bug or bone or rock that he has found. The two of them whooping with joy on a tire swing or on a boat out on the river. Tumbling home hungry and smelly and thoroughly happy from a long day out and gone. I can't think of any better partners for this journey of a life, no matter what they remember of it later.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Fiver

1. While the choices of what NBC shows and when are definitely questionable, I'm grateful that MB stopped on his way home last weekend and bought a digital antenna so I can watch the Olympics. It's nuts that in 2016 there isn't an online purchase option for people who don't have cable. I get that NBC is bound by contracts but it's being shown on broadcast channels. The whole thing is so dumb. They could make SO MUCH MONEY by offering an online access pass for purchase. Because we don't have cable and I only watch after the kids are in bed, I've mostly only seen swimming, beach volleyball, and gymnastics, which are my favorite events anyway. I am SO pleased about the women's gymnastic team. How amazing must it feel for little girls with diverse faces to see ladies who look like them kicking ass and showing class?

2. I was initially super excited to look at the new Cat & Jack stuff at Target, after seeing people enthusing over it on facebook and Twitter. But all the best shirts are only available in the girls' section. Really? I am THRILLED that there are science shirts for girls. I think it's awesome and about time. But I am NOT happy that these great science shirts are only being made for girls. Boys mostly have to make do with dinosaurs (fine), sports (blah), and skateboarding (meh). The line even has a unisex shirt section, which is really nice. Why not put the science shirts in that group? When the "Yay, Science" one comes back in stock online, I'm going to order it for Nico anyway. Damn the man.

3. Nico started first grade on Wednesday. He had been begging to start for several weeks, mostly due to excitement over his new backpack. So far they've only gone over school rules and practiced some coloring and writing of numbers. He's very stoked about having a locker and really wants to go pick out some magnets. It's adorable. His hair was VERY LARGE on the first day...not his best hair moment, but he is still happy with all of it, so I'm going along. When it's all ringlets instead of floof, it is really fabulous. Okay, even when he looks like a tiny mad scientist, it's pretty fabulous.



4. I just finished a book about redwood trees, and it's made me yearn to go back to visit Olympic National Park. It's been ten years since our Seattle trip. I was already feeling wistful about taking another trip there, and reading about the amazing temperate rainforests just strengthened the wanting. I really hope we can take the boys to see the coast redwoods and the Hoh Rainforest...to stand under those trees again and share the awe and the joy with my two little woods wanderers.





5. I'm feeling antsy for fall and for camping. I try to never wish time away, but fall weather can get here any day.




Reading:  Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Playing:  Led Zeppelin IV, per Elliott's near-daily requests for Black Dog, played really really loud

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Break

Adulting is a bitch lately, right? The violence in the world, the continued murder of black men in the streets with no apparent consequence, this goddamn slog of an election cycle. All of it is just getting to me. It was piling up so badly the week of 4th of July that I actually cried. I don't cry, generally. But I was at my old Girl Scout camp, one of the most sacred places in my life, and I walked down into the hollow to see the waterfalls and started tearing up. Later I climbed up into the cave to have a quiet moment, and just lost it for a minute. Full-on ugly cry. I guess I needed it. The weekend following, I took the boys on a one-night camping trip with a few families from my Navigators group. It was the first time I've ever taken both kids camping without MB, but it went great. I wasn't stressed (other than by the aforementioned adulty life crap, which I did my best to ignore all weekend), the kids were well-behaved and had a ton of fun. A+++ would do again, basically. It was pretty much exactly what I needed to get my brain right. I'm still low-level cranky and probably would do well to just unplug completely, but I don't feel like I'm close to cracking like I did before we went out there.



What else is up? I finished up my last week of half-day camp at work and got a kickass review on facebook from one of the parents. Nico is SUPER excited about school starting. I'm pretty sad about the summer ending, because I feel like I blinked and missed it, way worse than last year. There are so many things I wanted to do that we didn't have time for. Getting Nico's supplies and new backpack and new shoes is kind of exciting just like it was when I was a kid, and I am glad he's happy about going back. I had more fun than I ever expected narrowing down backpacks for Nico to choose from (he really wanted a pack with two big zipper pockets. I required one with water bottle pockets.) and ordering new shoes for both kids. (backpack and shoes if anyone else likes to peek at other people's school stuff like I do)

The local UU church did a Hogwarts-themed evening camp last week, and I volunteered to teach Care of Magical Creatures two nights. It was SO much fun. Both boys got to go, and even though they know zero about Harry Potter (I know, but Nico is way too sensitive.) they had a good time. Elliott especially seemed really thrilled to be running with the big kids. We have two weeks left until Nico starts school, so if the days could go by slowly, that would be nice.



Reading (just finished):  The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

Playing:  Hamilton

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Things

A thing I never knew I'd need to know

One of my coworkers mentioned a few days ago that her four-year-old daughter had been smelling really bad lately, for no apparent reason. My coworker had tried brushing the kid's teeth more often, she was bathing her regularly, but nothing helped. As she was telling me about it, I remembered that my music teacher had told the class a story in seventh grade about her daughter putting a bean up her nose, and how no one knew until the kid's breath started to stink and no one could figure out why. My coworker took her daughter to the doctor and sure enough, she had a piece of grow capsule sponge in her nose. The more you know! So maybe now someone can google "why does my kid smell bad" and find out that said kid might have something up the nose.

A thing I finally got around to

I finally started listening to Hamilton, about forty years after everyone else. And holy shit, it's just as good as everyone says. I didn't even actively resist it, I just never got around to it and didn't know where to look for it (I don't have Prime). Then I saw this carpool karaoke video and decided I wanted to hear the rest, and I finally realized, duh, the library surely has a copy. And they do, and now I've listened to Act I three times all the way through. I need to move on to Act II, but I just keep replaying my favorites.

A thing that has been great

I've taught two of my three weeks of half-day nature camp at work for the summer and they've been so much fun. I'm so lucky that this is my job. I had a brainwave the other day, and next summer I think we're going to offer a day camp for grownups. (probably just one full day or two evenings, not a full week) My coworkers and I are already making lists of the things we want to do.

A thing that has been satisfying

We spent Saturday taking every single toy out of the kids' playroom, sorting it all, and then moving their old train table and all their Legos (previously mostly stored in Nico's room and scattered across various other surfaces in the house) in for them to share. So far this has been a huge hit - Nico popped out of bed at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and Monday and woke me up (thanks, kid) to ask if he could go downstairs to play with the Legos. I said sure, but you're not allowed to ask me for help with any of it until 8:30. Elliott asks to go in the "Lego playroom" all the time (we put up a baby gate to keep the dog out, and E can't open it on his own). They spent hours of the long weekend playing cooperatively and imaginatively in there, and it is fantastic. THIS. THIS IS WHY WE HAD TWO KIDS. I've also done a satisfying amount of decluttering, which snowballed from the outgrown toys to a leftover stash of outgrown clothes to a bunch of unused stationery to a huge box of VHS movies. I have learned that when I get on a decluttering kick I should just ride the wave as long as I can, just to see how much I can get done.

Obligatory holiday kid photo:



Reading:  (just finished) The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater and Free to Fall by Lauren Miller / (just started) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Playing:  Hamilton, of course.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hello! Goodbye!

In nearly a month since my last stop here, I have worked 22 out of 25 days. I am tired, but school season is OVER, HALLELUJAH.

I drove my long-term rental car for over a month. I never really loved it, though it had a few pleasing qualities (very peppy, very smooth ride, USB port to plug in my phone). Now I have my CR-V back, and I'm glad. Though I just remembered that my registration sticker came in the mail while I had my rental, which means I've been driving around with expired tags since Tuesday night. Let's go ahead and put a reminder in my phone to fix that tomorrow.

I stepped on a Lego in the dark in Nico's room last night and cut a chunk out of my foot. I am both embarrassed and outraged by this injury. It hurt to walk on it all day. I keep bright-siding myself and thinking, well, at least I didn't cut it before last weekend, but still. LEGO INJURY.

Last weekend we went down to Mammoth Cave National Park. MB and the boys and I went down on Friday night, and Laura Danger met us there Saturday morning. On Saturday we went on a two hour cave tour, had lunch, and then hiked 2 1/2 miles. It was tiring but awesome to be outdoors with some of my favorite people. On Sunday, LD and I went on the wild cave crawl and it was fantastic. We were in the cave 9 a.m. to almost 3 p.m., and they claimed we covered about six miles down there. There wasn't as much crawling as I expected, but there was more climbing and more funky obstacle / bouldering type stuff. I got stuck like a cork in one spot, due to my huge boobs. If I'd had any traction for my feet or handholds to grab, I could've made it through, and I never got scared because I could feel that they would compress enough for me to fit if I could just get myself moving, but I wasn't going anywhere until I got a little assistance. Toward the end of the tour there was a another spot as tight as that but with more wiggle room. One of the guides was sure I could make it, so I screwed up my courage and tried it. I'm so glad I did, because just having the room to wiggle-crawl my arms and legs let me shimmy through it. I hadn't been caving since high school and Laura Danger had never been, so it was a good adventure for us. Something about it was so focusing and freeing - there was no sense of time, no sense of direction, no sense of depth. I didn't think about work or my to-do list or even much about what my kids were up to...I just focused on the next obstacle and appreciated the wonder of what we were seeing and was just in the moment for a whole day of moments. It was really refreshing.

It turned out the kids were feeding kangaroos at Kentucky Down Under while I was caving, and MB actually took a few pictures. The children were reportedly VERY EXCITED, especially Nico, which is fantastic. This is a child who usually refuses to feed the giraffes at the zoo that we visit once or more every month, so feeding newly-met kangaroos is pretty huge.

Last week on Tuesday my best friend since we were five years old, the bibliophile, had a baby. I got to meet him on Saturday and then have lunch with them on Monday. He is perfect and smells delicious and I love him immensely already. I find myself wishing I could squeeze in one more visit to see him before we leave for a week away. I'm not sure I'll be able to and it's making me feel a bit bereft.

I am taking my Navigator scouts (and their parents) on a one-night camping trip tomorrow. A lot of the kids have never camped before and we are all stoked. With work eating my life lately, I haven't had a chance to make a single to-do list or pack a single bag, so tomorrow will be a bit of a mad scramble. But it's a one-night trip in a city park campground, so I'm not too worried about it.

On Sunday we leave to drive to Chicago, where we'll stay one night and a morning before driving on to St Paul. I am attending a conference Tuesday through Friday that I'm really excited about, and MB and the boys are coming along to make a vacation of it. After the conference we will probably spend the weekend in Chicago and then come back home.

Yesterday was Nico's last day of kindergarten and Elliott's last day of his first year of preschool. It went by so fast! I couldn't attend any of Nico's last day things, and I was okay with it until I saw his friend's moms posting photos of them with their wonderful teacher yesterday evening and realized I didn't get a single picture of her with Nico this year. She has been truly wonderful and I will be pretty crushed if Elliott doesn't get to be in her class in a few years.

Monday, April 25, 2016

current status


Plumb fucking tuckered out. I worked six days last week and I'll work six days this week, too. It's 11:08 PM and this is the first time my ass has hit this couch all day. There is a kid activity every single night this week, then I have a thing Saturday night. And I have a class basket to assemble for PTA and muffins to make for preschool and I'm supposed to be ripping out the carpet on the front stairs and the house is a mess. I'm trying to not be too woeful about it all because it's just the busy season at work plus typical end-of-school insanity, and a busy season at work means I'm doing my job. And I am doing my job. I am killing it lately and I don't care if it's immodest to say so. But I miss writing here. I miss watching Supernatural and tweeting at my friends about it. I miss Twitter people in general. I keep telling myself I just have to get through May and then it'll slow down. It has to eventually, right?

Reading (audiobook):  The Wrath and the Dawn by RenĂ©e Ahdieh

Playing:   the driving mix I finally figured out how to sync to my phone

Monday, March 28, 2016

Three

A letter came in the mail a week or so ago, alerting me to the Honda airbag recall. It said hey, not to alarm you, but the airbag in your car may have a defect which can cause it to explode upon deployment, spraying you and your passengers with metal fragments and possibly killing everyone. Don't worry, though, we'll have replacement parts ready by the end of summer! My first thought was, holy shit, how many times did this have to happen before they realized the cause? Hopefully once...but probably not. And second, holy shit, I'm supposed to drive around until the end of summer just hoping we don't have an accident? I mean, sure, odds are we won't. But do I want to bet my kids' lives on those odds? No, thank you. I called the national hotline number, and got a recording instructing me to call my local dealer to arrange a rental. That sounded promising. But then when I called my local dealer, the service guy I always talk to basically blew me off. Don't worry about it, you'll get a letter later IF your car is included in the recall, and then we'll worry about fixing it. So...in the meantime I just hope for the best? Gah.

Then today a friend tweeted that she'd been offered a rental already, and I got pissed. Are rentals available or not? I called again and got the same brush-off -- letter will come IF needed, just wait and see, blah blah. Then when I asked, well, why is my friend getting a rental then...it was like a switch flipped. He was all, Oh, you want a rental? Okay. I'll set that up. So I guess I get what I wanted, but damn. Why should I have to ask? Why so much effort to get me to shut up and go away? And when he called back later to say the rental will be ready tomorrow, he said they'd run out of Honda rentals and moved on to Nissans, they'd handed out so many. SO WHY DID I HAVE TO CALL TWICE AND BASICALLY DEMAND ONE? And it's super awkward because this is the guy I have to talk to every time I schedule an oil change, so I don't want to make a big stink over it. UGH. We'll see how the rental thing turns out. I hope they don't give me some tiny car with a minuscule trunk to haul around my kids and all their crap. Or what if they give me a minivan, and I end up...liking it? The new parts are supposed to be ready by mid-April instead of the end of summer, so that's better than all summer. Probably the kids will be excited, if a little bit confused. I suspect I will miss my car.


We unknowingly drove our (possible) deathtrap car to St. Louis last Sunday for a quick trip with the kids, since our hoped-for week away in Memphis didn't pan out. It was a nice visit, and the boys had a lot of fun. We went to the Museum of Transportation and the Magic House on Sunday and the zoo on Monday. The kids loved the transportation museum. So many trains! The Magic House was so crowded that it was more stressful than fun a lot of the time for the grownups, but I think the boys had a good time. The zoo was nice, but we were tired and barely made it through half. Our hotel was right next to the Arch, and Elliott especially was enamored of it. He kept calling it something that sounded like the Arch and the C, which we couldn't figure out until he finally pointed to a photo of it and we realized all the pictures everywhere show it with the Mississippi River in front, looking quite like the ocean. The Arch in the sea! Unfortunately the Arch was closed for renovation and we couldn't actually go inside. We'll have to go back in the next year or so to check it out.




























We had a pleasant if short Easter visit with family. Bubbles and an egg hunt with cousins, then dinner, then home to get to bed on time for our post-Spring-Break re-entry. I'm quite fond of holiday traditions that are just for children, things that adults do solely so that kids can have fun.










Reading:  (just finished) Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Playing:  still Led Zeppelin