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Showing posts from January, 2012

My Plan vs. My Family's Plans

My plan: spend the afternoon organizing and setting up a workable desk space for myself.

Their plans:

Mom, can you give me a high pony?
Can we make my habitat model now?
Will you teach me how to ride my bike?
Honey, will you print these documents for me?
Mom, I'm hungry!
Mom, c'mere! I want to show you this app, and my new fort.
Mom, where do I put all this stuff from cleaning out the car?
Mom, I left my script at Janet's!  We have to get it!

And wouldn't you know it, the one kid who needs to do his homework is flying under the radar, staying conveniently out of sight, perfectly happy that five other people are occupying my attention.

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I don't think that desk thing is going to happen for me today.

I'm not sure it will happen ever.

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7 Quick Takes: Volume 48, The "Thank You, Jesus!" Edition

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Today's quick takes are brought to you by the Mad Dash Dance.  On the way to school this morning I needed to make sure we (my kids and I) had the following seven items:
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One completed 4th Grade Mission project.  Did you know that the Mission San Antonio de Padua was the location of the very first Catholic wedding in California?  Or that it was the first Alta California mission to use fired tiles on its roof?  Or that this mission was particularly known for beautiful music?
I knew all that!  Thanks to my 4th grader, anyway.
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One signed 7th Grade homework tally sheet.  Oh, and one 7th Grader, who has been home sick for two days, so it wasn't quite the slam dunk you'd think it would be not to leave him behind.
~3~
A small baggie with 6 homemade chocolate chip cookies in it, for the 2nd Grader to give to her teacher and the teacher's aide.  Because we made cookies last night, and Lady E wanted to share.  ♥


~4~
Art pieces for the 6th Grader to put up in his classroom.  O…

How?

We are back at school.  One of my kids hates it.  Let's call the kid Pat, for the sake of this blog post, a non-gender specific name, and let's go with she as the pronoun to refer to Pat, just because.
So Pat is miserable.  She is a smart, kind, funny, generous, well-grounded kid, and she is miserable.  She loved homeschooling...or so she says now, looking back, never mind that some days, getting her to participate in a modicum of school-like activities was challenging to say the least.  But I knew this transition would be toughest for her, of all the kids.
So she's truly miserable.  It's only a little over a week into the new arrangement, so we can still give it time and still play the wait and see game.  But here's the thing.  She's really miserable.
And if there's one thing we moms hate, it's seeing our kid miserable, suffering, struggling to make sense of what seems like the senseless.  One interesting wrinkle is that a handful of folks at the school h…

A New One

"Everyone get your lunch boxes out and finish your food!"  It's a common refrain on the way home from school, sometimes followed by a tirade about the hungry children in the world, depending on how feisty I am feeling.  The kids have given me every excuse in the book for why they didn't eat the lunch I packed.  I got a new one today:
I didn't eat that cutie today because I love cuties so much, and it's so beautiful, that I wanted to save it! Oooooh-kaaaay.  So, you didn't eat your food because I gave you food you love?

And you won't eat your food if I send something you don't like either.

Looks like you will only be eating lunch on the weekends then.

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Three Morning Morsels

Parenting is like riding an endless pendulum set between hair-pulling frustration and spirit-soaring inspiration.  Within the space of 15 minutes, a parent can find herself along many different points on the pendulum's path.  Take this morning for instance: frustration, reprimand, surprise, and gratitude, all in the space of a car ride to school:

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On our way out the door this rainy morning, I double-checked the raincoat status of my young charges.  Lady E's response: "It's in my bag!"  15 minutes later, at school, I discover that by "my bag" she meant her soccer backpack, not her school backpack.  Whuck?!?!  So...Lady E...when I asked if you had your raincoat, you thought I was just confirming that you were leaving it behind in the backpack we were not taking with us to school???  Again: WHUCK?

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Car trips to and from school, as the last week has reminded me, are fraught with arguments.  Lots of bickering, sniping, and hurling of insults.  Lots…

7 Quick Takes, Volume 47

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Hello Friday!  Love ya' baby!  You look fabulous--what's your secret?

Here are some quick takes for your perusing pleasure.  Please visit our lovely host and sample some links to other quick takers.  And a little comment here and there wouldn't kill ya'.


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Every year, we say we are going to have our taxes done early, and every year, we end up being big fat liars. This year?  Taxes DONE.  In the words of my 5 year old: BOO-YAH!


~2~
So yeah, the kids went back to school.  I am sitting in an empty house, blogging with abandon, and reeling from the tornado that is my house in Getting Out The Door For School mode.  Returning to school was a big decision.  The thing about big decisions is that they aren't usually clear cut.  There are pros, there are cons, and sadly, there is no great big neon sign pointing to the right answer.

I loved homeschooling.  It was damn hard, and it didn't always go well, and there were plenty of days when I felt certain I was accomplishing…

I Would Like To Live...

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...inside my 9 year old daughter's imagination:



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Things Change

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It's garbage day here at Casa Airy5.  That used to mean mayhem.  But children get older, and garbage day doesn't signal delirium around here anymore.

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Every morning, I get up before the kidlets and sit on the couch strategizing about how I'm going to survive the day.  It's a golden quiet time for me.  Little T is always the first one to get up, and as soon as she does, my solitude endeth.  She demands cuddling, breakfast, attention, conversation.

But children get older.

This morning, I heard the tell tale thuds on the stairs as a sleepy Little T made her way to the living room. I prepared for the end of solitude with my usual dismay.  But did she immediately smash up right next to me and begin making demands?  No.  She did this:


And my heart did sing.

Things change.

Halleluia.

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The Question Before Us

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From Martin Luther King Jr.'s final speech, April 3, 1968:

That's the question before you tonight.

Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job?"

Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as pastor?"

The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?"

The question is: "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?"  That is the question.

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Text and video of MLK Jr.'s "Mountaintop" speech can be found here.

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When You Have A Noisy Family...

...your five year old will say, after a particularly loud and lively car trip: "Someone owes me some quiet!"

Also, when you have a noisy family, and you attempt to soothe your 7 year old's disappointment over not being able to go with the bigger kids to a Saint Mary's College basketball game by saying, "You wouldn't like it! It's super crowded, really noisy, and you probably wouldn't be able to see over the people in front of you," she will say: "Yeah! It's just like our family! I can do that!"

In the immortal words of Russell Brand in Bedtime Stories: she's got a point there.

Also, when you have a noisy family, your head spins a lot.

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Why I Can't Solve the Fruit Problem

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So I decide to follow the suggestion from wifemotherexpletive and keep my fruit in a large bowl on the dining room table.  I head to the dining room table and see that it's covered with stuff: the CD collection my spouse started culling through on New Years Day...art projects (damn the art projects!) ...newspapers ...folded laundry waiting to be whisked away by the Laundry Fairy (whose name is Bruce) and tucked into dresser drawers ...several sticks carved into extremely sharp weapons by my 11 year old ...and a whole bunch of other stuff.
I can't put my fruit bowl there.

But wait–I CAN put my fruit bowl there if I just organize stuff a little bit!  So I head to the closet where we keep games, DVDs, and CD's, thinking I'll just put the un-culled collection back where it goes.  Step one in making the table a proper fruit bowl spot.

I can't get to the closet door.  There are too many soccer backpacks, soccer balls, sweatshirts, and puzzle pieces in the way.  And a g…

Today's Burning Issue

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What to do with the fruit?

I have a small kitchen and many children.  I also have a fruit problem.

Because of the many children, I usually have lots of fruit on hand, especially bananas.  Often, we go through all that fruit quickly.  Right now, my method of storing fruit is to stick it all in bowls on my counter, usually one or two, sometimes three medium to large bowls.  They take up lots of space on my counter.

I bought one of those metal wicker hanging baskets once and had it clanging around in the kitchen for a few months before I had to confront the fact that there really is no good place to hang it.  All of the possible places are either too close to a bright window (sun and heat: no good for fruit) or too close to a traffic lane.  That was a bummer.  For me anyway, but not for some lucky Goodwill shopper.

So what do I do with all the fruit?  It takes up space, sometimes goes bad, and generally looks cluttered sitting there on my counter.  When we are out of fruit, which is r…

Even Children Get Older

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And I'm getting older, too.

See this picture?



I can't convey the nostalgia this picture represents for me and my husband.  He took the kids out of the house today so I could sort socks -- which takes longer than fathomable -- and sent me pictures from their adventures.  This one, of our littlest, got me.  Caught in a rare resting moment, sipping on the hot chocolate I sent along with them (which, as it turns out, was their lunch; oops), she makes me happy just to look at her.  I look at this picture and I know that despite our yelling, despite our particular brand of dysfunctional family, we are giving these kids a good childhood.

But that's not what gets me about this picture.  It's the background.  Because I can see where she is, at exactly what point along the trail around Lake Anza she is sitting.  And it's a spot as old as the memory of my courtship with Rick, a spot I first came to know because of this other being we used to take care of:



To see my kids there…

Who Knows?

Maybe the new look will inspire me to write something.

Crazier things have happened.

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