I Know Where the Summer Goes

It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty stressed lately. Summers aren’t too much fun for me. There’s just so much to do, not enough time to do it. Deadlines and to-do lists plus miscellaneous events and tournaments and practices. I’m a little worn out. Actually, I’m a lot worn out. Stress will do that to ya.

I am so grateful to my mom who just…handled everything yesterday. She just did. Hung out with my kids…even picked Beezus up from her last day of school. My sister joined in the fun with her three kids in the afternoon. So Ramona and two of her cousins were thick as thieves and ran amuck. Well, they ran around doing all the things that kids should do in the summer: trampoline, sprinklers, playing all day…only stopping to nag about being hungry or thirsty. While they were off playing, Beezus and the little bit (who is 2) hung out. They’re good buddies.

It worked out that my dad needed to drop his car off at the dealership after he left his office, so I left mine and went to pick him up. We chatted all the way to their house. The other night, he had started telling stories of stupidity. Well, things he had done when he was younger that were pretty darn stupid and it’s amazing he’s still alive. We continued the conversation…he added more stories and examples. It really IS amazing that my dad is still alive.

My parents still live in the same house I grew up in. We moved there when I was about 7, but most of my growing up years were at this house. When we got there, my mom and my sister were finishing up dinner. I felt pretty darn spoiled and so incredibly grateful. It’s amazing how nice it is to have someone else cook dinner for you every once in a while. Of course, I wasn’t much help at all. I kinda just sat there. I felt bad, but I was just so gosh-darn tired.

Since the evening cooled off so nicely, we decided to eat outside at the picnic table my parents have in their backyard. I ended up being thoroughly entertained by niece most of dinner. That kid cracks me up.

In the back of my mind, I probably assumed it would happen, but I didn’t even notice that my dad had built a fire in the fire pit until I heard the fire crackle behind me. All of a sudden, on a Wednesday evening in my parents’ backyard, it smelled like camping. But even better. My dad brought out all the fixins for s’mores. Because that’s the kind of gramps he is.

My dad has s’more making down to a science. He waits for the coals to burn down so that it’s perfect for roasting marshmallows. I like to break all his rules and light my marshmallow on fire. But since I’m usually not planning on eating actual s’mores, it works out for me. You see, I like to toast the hell out of the mallow and then pull off the outside, toasted layer. It’s like white trash crème brulee, my friends. The crystalized and crispy sugar is the business. Then, of course, you stick the marshmallow back in the fire and toast the hell out of it all over again. Repeat until marshmallow is gone. Or falls off into the fire pit because you let it roast too long.

My sister, my dad and I sit around the fire for quite some time. I stayed much later than I planned, but I can’t seem to make myself leave. The kids are in and out of the house, wanting 17 s’mores and being disappointed when we don’t give them that many. We talk and talk and tell more funny stories. My mom joins us after a little while. Somehow, we are discussing medical maladies and surgery stories. I think my sister’s ultimate goal is to gross my mom out. My brother calls at one point, wondering if I’m still at Mom’s. Him and his family are on their way home and thought they’d stop by if we were all here. I laugh and tell him that I should’ve left hours ago. He said he would take his chances. Surprise surprise, I was still there when they strolled out to the backyard.

I’m not sure how long we stayed out there. Someone stirred the fire up to try and generate some heat. We were all a little surprised at how chilly it got when the sun went down. And then, all of a sudden, my youngest brother was there too. The discussion turned to his wedding plans. At this point, I became very aware of how far two states away really is. Because having the four of us just happen to show up at my mom and dad’s makes you very aware that the 5th (and oldest, ha) sibling should be there, too.

It became too cold to stay outside. And, truth be told, it was exactly the push I needed to get my butt in gear and get home. But even as I had my kids get ready to leave, new conversations began and plans were made and more time passed. Once again, I wasn’t quite ready to leave, but I knew I had to get to all the things I had been putting off the entire evening. Reluctantly, I herded my children out the door and we drove home. My kids were exhausted, but they chattered most of the way. And I was content. An evening with my family was just what I needed. Of course there was still so much to do. But for a moment I let it all go. It’s amazing how you can put off dealing with the stress and deadlines when you smell like campfire and roasted marshmallows…and summer.

summer

Family Summer Challenge: We Are Not Sucking At This

I’m not sure if I’m a genius or an idiot, but starting our family’s summer challenge on a weekend where we would need to eat out a couple of times is a little bit hilarious. These times were special occasions planned well in advance, but still. I guess I could view it as easing us into this slowly, but that sounds a little silly. I do have to say, we did things A LOT different than we would normally, so that’s an improvement right there. For example, we made a bag of snacks for our drive on Saturday while on our way to the Sunset Magazine event so that we only spent money on one meal instead of two. Sunday’s lunch plans with friends have been in the works since March, so I also let that fall under the “special occasions” umbrella. Since the major point of this challenge is that we don’t just stop by and pick up food on the way home from work or from practices, I’m not mad about our special occasions this weekend. One of my biggest goals in doing this is to get us organized so that coming home at 8 o’clock at night doesn’t mean we have to eat out…or eat cold cereal.

Starting all of this in the summer is the best way for our family to make better habits. No school means the kids have more time to help. (And they do.) It means that we can work together to set up meals and lunches and snacks in the mornings and/or evenings. It also helps that they can eat an early dinner BEFORE practices instead of after. We are still super busy, but we’re not quite as pressed for time. All of this makes it a little easier on me since the summer is my busy time at work.

Even though I said that official start date was June 1st, we had been working towards this goal for the past couple of weeks. And we had been doing pretty well. It helped me out a ton that The Dude has tackled the past few Costco trips since he has every other Friday off. And a couple days after his last trip, I took one of Sarah’s genius ideas and implemented it for our own family. It’s not as detailed as what Sarah does, but this list has helped us keep track and be better about meal planning:

 today_list

This has been a game changer. I’m not even joking. You would think that just opening your fridge would give you a glimpse of what food you can choose from, but if you’re anything like me? It doesn’t help at all. Having a list of what’s in your fridge and dinner ideas makes dinner planning so much easier. It also helps me keep track of what we have so that I can be better at making sure that food doesn’t go to waste. Because let’s not talk about how often I forget about that asparagus I bought and now it’s a slimy mess in the garbage. I mean, I know we won’t be perfect at this, but I couldn’t believe how much the list on the fridge helped.

Also, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that everything on that list is the epitome of health and wellness. ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME, MY FRIENDS. But it’s a huge start in that direction.

Now…if your family is like mine, they are more likely to each fruits and vegetables if they are cut up and ready to go. Even if that means staying up way past your bedtime to make a fruit salad.
 today_fruit

I also remind myself that nothing about this has to be perfect. So using a small scoop to do half-assed versions of melon balls is JUST AS GOOD as cutting the entire watermelon. When you’re rushing around making lunches, making the huge mess of cutting a watermelon is unappealing. Weird looking melon balls work fine. They just do.

today_watermelon

Also? Smoothies.

today_smoothies 
When we’re trying to get out the door to school or to a (very, very) early softball tournament, we can pack a lot of healthy goodness and even a bit of protein in our smoothies. (May I direct your attention to my new blender that works so well and I’m probably in love.) Smoothies are great when your kids don’t want to eat a full breakfast because it’s so damn early in the morning and they’re about to go play 34 games of softball. Or 3. Something like that.

SO. Those are the things that have helped us get started with our challenge so far. We’re supposed to grill up some ribs tonight, but since I’ll be driving across town to take a kid to practice, we may do that tomorrow. But the nice thing about having the ideas and the ingredients listed on the fridge is that a lot of the guess work is already done and I won’t feel so stressed about trying to figure out what’s for dinner. And one less thing to stress about totally makes my day.

Tillamook and Sunset and Some of the Greatest Folks on the Planet

I’m a terrible salesperson. I almost wish I could give you some sort of visual that would help explain just how bad of a salesperson I am. I thought about putting together a PowerPoint presentation, but I ran out of time. Also, that just seems like a lot of work to tell you that I’m really bad at something, so it might not be very good for my self-esteem. Let’s just pretend you all totally understand how inept I am at sales.

But here’s the thing…if I like/love something, I’m going to talk about it. In fact, I probably won’t shut up about it. I might even name my children after my most favorite products ever. (JUST KIDDING! I don’t have a kid named M*A*C iPhone Starbucks! Silly…)

(Wait…can I change MY name?)

(Nevermind. Don’t encourage me.)

Every once in a while, you find further proof that a product is just as awesome as you thought it was. And even better? The people that represent or work for said product or company are dreamy and wonderful and especially fantastic and I’m super glad that I got to meet them. Like these people. Right here.

Katie, Beezus, Ramona, Me, Dyan ang Gillian
Katie, Beezus, Ramona, Me, Dyan and Gillian

I wasn’t lying when I said I love Tillamook products. You can believe this because I’m pretty much one of the worst liars in the world, but also because I really meant what I said. I didn’t say nice (and slightly ridiculous) things about these fine folks because I felt like I had to. I said them because it just so happens that I would say nice things about them anyway. (Also: YOGURT ADDICTION.)

If you’ll let me, though…I’d really like to say some nice things about those lovely people in the picture. But let me back up first.

Beezus is an excellent Vana
Beezus is an excellent Vanna

This weekend in Menlo Park, Sunset Magazine held their Celebration Weekend. It is a wonderful event, I might add, that highlights some of the awesome products and places and ideas that they include in their magazine with many of the vendors there to answer any questions and yes, probably to sell you on their product a little bit. But first of all, since we know how much I love California, you can blame Sunset for making me want this in my house:

8926062552_5aa3e8ab65_o
this *just* went on a certain “honey-do” list.

And possibly all of these things, too.

remind me to tell you about those chairs that are sitting in the sun and were not HOT.
remind me to tell you about those chairs that are sitting in the sun and were not HOT.

The amazing Tillamook and SodaPop folks invited us down for the day so that we could have a chance to meet up with them face to face and also take part in the festivities.

Ramona painting by number with Benjamin Moore
Ramona painting by number with Benjamin Moore

There really was so much to see and do, but I have to tell you…meeting up with Dyan, Gillian and Katie was one of the best parts of the day. The entire walk to the car, my family talked about how gosh-darn-nice the three of them were. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. And yes, the shade, yogurts and water made it that much more enjoyable, but mostly all kinds of nice and wonderful people! (And there may have been a moment where we shared cute dog pictures and tried to convince Gillian that she needed one. That probably happened.)

So a very big and giant THANK YOU to Dyan, Gillian and Katie…and also to Tillamook and SodaPop PR. We really had such a nice time and loved getting the chance to meet all of you. And, not gonna lie (because I really can’t) we are really hoping make the trip up to Tillamook and visit soon. Because YOGURT ADDICTION. But also to see where all the cheese/yogurt magic happens. We promise to be on our very, very best behavior. Probably.

And because you knew this was coming, and since Facebook is right down the street, may I leave you with the obligatory Facebook sign thumbs up picture. Because my kids are just that cute.

Happened
Happened

I Think This Means I Actually Need to Cook

When you take a good, long look at your budget, sometimes you are horrified by some of your habits. I’m not a shopper, so my money generally doesn’t go there. (Except for makeup. I could buy makeup all day long, every day of the week.) But when I took a look at how often we ate out in April and May? I was appalled. Like, really embarrassed and THEN appalled.

Listen, we all know that my life is crazy. When you don’t get home until 7:30 or 8 at night, cooking is the last thing you want to do. And even if we did cook something up, then we’re not eating dinner until 9. And, well…a 9pm dinner time is embarrassing, too.

So today I was thinking about what I can do to change this bad habit. I know that it is ultimately up to me to get things going. Like it or not, that’s just the way it is. The great thing about my family is that they’ll all jump on board and help out with whatever we decide. I just have to get the ball rolling.

And so here we go:

Starting today, June 1st 2013 I’m going on a mini-spending freeze for the entire summer. The. Entire. Summer. From now until at least September 1st there will be no eating out for my family of four. Now. Full disclosure: We do have some special occasions to celebrate and a few things on the calendar that will take exception, but other than that? NO EATING OUT AT ALL STOP ASKING ME YOU KIDS.

For some of you, this might be pretty ridiculous. And maybe it is. But sometimes, just surviving and getting through each day and practice and insane work projects and other such scheduling nightmares is all you can do. And sometimes that means you pick up Thai food on your way home from a game. But I don’t want it to be like that this summer.

Summer is probably the easiest time for me to try this spending freeze and make it a habit. We won’t be rushing around quite as much (although, still SOME) and so that makes a little bit more time to get dinners on the table at a reasonable hour. Plus, living in CA we have so many options for fresh produce and good stuff, it almost makes meal planning a no brainer. And if we’re home more to cook, then we, theoretically, have more time together as a family. Yeah, yeah, yeah…cheesy, yeah.

I’m going to pretend that I don’t hear your heckling.

So. A game plan.

I don’t totally have that all figured out yet, but I’m going to take some cues from my amazing Sarah. She’s an absolute genius who does food prep for the week all in one day. Like chopping all the veggies that she’ll need for the week. I think she even prepares the sauces that she’ll need. Grill several chicken breasts and the like so that SOMETHING is always read. BUT YOU HAVE TO SET ASIDE SOME TIME. This is going to be a huge deal for me. I’m not going to lie to you, finding a specific time that works every, single week is near impossible. But if we plan well, I really feel like we’ll be able to do it. It just might not be the same time every week.

And that’s ok. Because this will definitely be a work in progress.

I decided that saying/writing this out loud is the best way to start keeping me accountable. Because I really, really want to do this. I just need to be really, really consistent and be better at planning.

Welcome to summer everyone.

Don’t you dare ask me out to dinner.

Making Good on the Promise of a Teenage College Drop-Out

Edited to add: I wrote this a few days ago.
There have been some updates or changes to our plan, but I wanted to post this just as I wrote it. Education is a huge issue for me and my kids. But I recognize that what we are looking for is not what everyone is looking for. Which is 100% ok. 

 

I hate not having a college degree.

Like, ridiculous amounts of shame and ugly feelings, I hate it. It doesn’t get brought up very often, because in my crazy, perfectionist mind, it lessens my worth. Lessens what I have to offer. Which is ridiculous. But, in the corporate world…a degree is important. It gives you a leg to stand on.

So here I am. Legless.

I’m sure there is a joke there about having freakishly long legs and being legless, but I’m afraid I cannot connect the dots at this time of day.

Deep down, I know I have importance. I know that I am very smart (brilliant!) and I have a lot going for me. But that doesn’t take away the fact that it’s hard for me to promote myself, my skills…my obvious brilliance (kidding) without that piece of paper that proves that I’ve done the work and the necessary ass-kissing. (Kidding again! Of course you get through college without any ass-kissing!)

I knew it was more important for me to get a job and get benefits when our family was first getting started. It was more important to be able to survive as teenage parents than me getting a college degree. Timing is everything and of course a college degree would’ve helped us not struggle quite so much in the beginning. Maybe. And eventually, we were able to get The Dude through school. But I made a choice. My family needed me to do something different. And I made that sacrifice for my family. Because they are more than worth it.

But that doesn’t mean I still don’t hate not having one. Like always, I have a seriously problem wishing I could have it all.

I’ve spent the better part of motherhood worried about my children’s education. I’ve sacrificed lunch hours and spent so much time driving all over the place to make sure my kids have gone to great schools. I’m ridiculously lucky that my kids’ grandparents could help us so much with after school care and help with some of the driving, too, but we’ve always worried about where our kids go to school. A constant thought process and worry. Thankfully, The Dude and I see eye to eye with regards to schools and the importance of working our ass off so that our kids can have the best opportunities possible.

This may or may not explain why we are in the process of completely rearranging our life and location, in part, for a better education for Ramona.

Currently, we drive Beezus across town every day to the high school that, we felt, would be the best choice for her. That kid is a brainiac and an athlete, so we tried to find a high school for her that would fit her needs and get her into the best colleges possible. And it worked out better than we thought. We lucked out and she is absolutely thriving there. The next step for her is college. (And I will write more about that because DAMN.) We’ve done what we can to get her to the next step. I’m proud of her. And I’m proud of us.

And I want the same opportunities for Ramona. But I want it in a situation and a school that’s right for HER.

Now, I would hate to give the impression that schools where we currently leave are trash and awful. It’s not that. But they don’t offer what we’ve always looked for. And I don’t want to settle when we’ve already come so far. So we’re looking at our options in other areas. Areas where they happen to have schools that fall in line with what we hope for Ramona. Where, hopefully, she will thrive and be successful, too!

Because here’s the thing: I want a better life for my kids. I do. I want them to have the college experience I didn’t. They deserve that. And I don’t want all these years of sacrifice and hard work to be for nothing. Yes, of course they have a say in their life choices. But in our family? College is part of the plan. College isn’t a maybe. And maybe you think I’m projecting this choice onto my children because college is so important to ME, but that’s ok. I’m not telling them what they have to be when they grow up. They just know that college needs to be part of the equation. So that they have that piece of paper. And they can have the options I don’t have. These kids of mine can be whoever the hell they want to be because their hard work and our hard work has paid off.

It probably sounds crazy to a lot of people. But this is important to me. Because I made a promise to myself long ago that I want to make good on. And I will. I’ll continue to work my ass off and run around like the craziest of all the crazies to make that promise happen. There’s just no other option.

I Think I Just Wrote About My Stinky But Cute Dog

I feel like I cannot unsmell what happened at my house this morning. It involves an upset puppy tummy and…well, a fury backside that sometimes gets in the way.

Did I just talk about furry dog behind and dookie on my blog? YES I TOTALLY JUST DID.

Listen. Shit happens. And sometimes shit happens to your dog the first things in the morning as you’re getting ready for work. And you’re the only one that can deal with it because your husband just left, running late with the high schooler. The 11yo is very little help because DOGPOOP. Also, if you don’t leave right then SHE is going to be late for school. And the doggy-wipes you thought might work, aren’t working at all. In fact, it’s the opposite of working and it probably made things worse.

So the only thing to do is have the 11yo put the dog-kennel in the garage. Except, the dog DOESN’T UNDERSTAND STINKY YOUR BUTT IS STINKY and is losing her ever-loving mind over being in the garage. Because, obviously, the pampered princess doesn’t BELONG in the garage.

At this point, you laugh and laugh on the inside (only the inside) about the conversation you just had the evening before with all the parents of BOTH softball teams and how adorable your dog is and how everyone loves your dog, blah blah blah POOPYBUTTDOG.

 

Ironic heavenly sunlight from last night
Ironic heavenly sunlight from last night

 

Now, you may or may not call your husband in a bit of a rage. It’s not your finest moment, but who else are you going to take it out on? You know that you have to go home and change your clothes and deal with this. You also know that you are now going to be super late for work. OH! And then there’s that thing of cleaning up really gross dog mess on the backside of said dog.

To be perfectly honest, the conversation doesn’t go well for you at all. And you’re thisclose to shoving a certain dog kennel into your car somehow and driving to a dog groomer type place so that they can deal with all of this for you. Until you realize that nothing is open. So it’s back to square one.

Or, you know, all up to you and your Poop Whisperer talents.

 There’s no way you have time to give the dog a full bath. So you arm yourself with dog shampoo, old rags and a pitcher of water and head to backyard. Where there is a poopy dog frolicking in the grass. Because YES you let her run free outside after the garage/kennel debacle. But then you’re going to realize what an idiot you are because now you have to CATCH an overly excited, poopy butt dog.

Because of course.

Eventually the dog is caught. And you continue to traumatize her by trying to de-poopify her bum.  You’re both going to feel a bit violated after this process (finally!) ends. And as you clean everything else off as she dries outside, you’re going to laugh at her pathetic whining at the screen door, because how dare you be inside while she is not.

Well, dog. Some of us need to sterilize all the things including ourselves.

We won’t even talk about the second shower you’ll need to take…or the botched order at Starbucks when all you want is a damn latte…or the smell that still hasn’t left your nose. But once again, you’re going to tell yourself and anyone who will listen: It’s a damn good things she’s cute.

a reminder of her royal (stinky) cuteness
a reminder of her royal (stinky) cuteness

at some point, I’m going to have to learn to let go

I don’t remember being tormented by my children “graduating” preschool or starting kindergarten. I remember being sad that they were nervous and scared, but I don’t remember having a “my baby’s growing up!” moment back then. Even when Beezus started middle school, I was all business. I don’t think it occurred to me to be sentimental or sad. It was just the next step! Part of life!

I’m not saying my heart was made of stone. I just think I was working so hard to just keep us all afloat and alive that recognizing milestones wasn’t something I could focus on.

Until I couldn’t focus on anything else.

The night before Beezus started high school, I realized there were a bunch of milestones sitting on my chest and weighing on my mind. They weren’t going to let me get away with ignoring them anymore. It wasn’t so much that she was starting high school-I was excited for that-but that all of a sudden I was on a deadline. Without realizing it, college became this ticking time-bomb and the countdown on the clock was staring me in the face. It was like I could actually see the glaring red numbers showing me exactly how much time had already passed. How much time I had missed when I was so busy just surviving.

Her starting high school meant I had four years left on the clock. Four years left of her being mine.

I’m not dumb. I know that she’ll always be my daughter…but it will all change when she leaves for college. I won’t be able to squeeze her any time I want. She won’t be around for me to cook her favorite meals. (Shut up, it happens sometimes.) She won’t come home to me and us and our house each night. I won’t be able to just walk into her room to see how she’s doing. She’ll be her own person. She’ll be grown.

b&me

This all hit me like a ton of bricks the night before her freshman year. It was wrecking me in ways that I had never experienced. I have no recollection of most things that night. But I remember climbing into bed. And then getting right back out and walking down the hall to her room.

I wordlessly climbed into her bed with her. She was still awake.

“Hey.” I whispered.

And then there couldn’t be any other words from me. The hot tears ran down my face and soaked her pillow as I tried to take a deep breath.

“Are you crying??” she asked. If only to give her something to say.

She knew that I was, of course. We both laughed. And then we resumed crying. Because of course I made my child cry.

When I could finally speak, I told her that I was freaking out. I told her that I was so excited for her and all things high school, but that all of a sudden, I was losing my mind over the fact that I only had four years left before she left for college. I told her that it had snuck up on me. I told her how proud I was of her…how much I loved her. And that I knew I was being a little bit ridiculous. But that I just couldn’t help myself. We laughed that I couldn’t seem to stop crying. At all.

I knew she needed to sleep. I knew that I was supposed to let her.

But I also didn’t want to leave.

mom n beezus

We grew up together, her and I. When I was a (too) young mother just struggling to just survive, she kept me sane. When my heart was broken in a million pieces, she put me back together. At times when I didn’t think I was doing anything right, she made me believe that I was. She was my bright spot when everything was dark. If you wonder why the thought of sending her off to college leaves me wrecked, this is why. She is more than just a piece of me. She’s one of the very best pieces of me.

And I’m going to have a very hard time letting that piece of me go.

feliz dia de los ninos

Today in Mexico, and every April 30th, children are celebrated. Dia de los ninos. Or, Day of the Children.

I love everything about it. And I hate that I forget every year…until I’m reminded, of course. (Usually by family on Facebook.) Yes, I realize that we spend most of our days caring for or worrying about our kids. But I kinda wish we had a day here to celebrate children. To celebrate childhood.

Because, my goodness, they are pretty damn great. Celebrate the hell out of ’em today if you can.

 

kids

she is my wild

♥I had a hard time writing this all out with all that is going on. But sharing with you how much I love my kid(s) seems like just the thing we need.♥
I think there is a part of me that is worried that if I actually write about her turning 11 on Sunday it will make it true. Which is probably the most ridiculous sentence you’ve read today, YOU’RE WELCOME.

If you have known me for even five seconds, you know that as proud as I try to be about raising two daughters in the craziest of lives, you know that the thought of them leaving for college and growing up is tremendously hard for me. I don’t want to be the mom that can’t let go…that can’t let them live their own lives, so I struggle and war with myself. But I also need to let myself have these moments where I’m sad for the amount of time I was away from them when they were littles. The amount of time I’m still away from them. I’m proud of the life we are able to provide for our girls, but that doesn’t take away the fact that I will never get that “little kid” time back.

So when your “baby” turns 11, you feel like you swallowed a brick. And you feel like time is an insensitive asshole who just won’t leave you alone.

Over the weekend, in a conversation with some of my favorites, we were discussing my dear, sweet and VERY different daughters. I’ve said for years that Beezus is my old soul. You could see it in her eyes as soon as she was born. But my Ramona is different. And when the words “she is a new soul” came out of my mouth, I’m not sure I could have believed them more.

Ramona has spent the majority of her childhood trying to be like Beezus while struggling with the fact that she just can’t. Not because she’s not good enough or not special enough…but because she is aiming for something that isn’t her. The square peg in a circle syndrome. But I worry about her. I don’t ever want her to feel like she isn’t enough. Because she is more than enough. She is the life of the party. She is the sweetness that makes me smile. The generous spirit that gives the best hugs. She is the kid with the big ideas.

She is amazing.

Several weeks ago, I learned about a website called “You Are My Wild” where a group of photographers document their kids being kids. Ever since then, the children’s book/poem that inspired the title of that website has been on my mind. Because if there were a way to describe my Ramona, I do believe this is a start.

“You are my I love you”

I am your parent you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggle
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your audience, you are my clown
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down
I am your Carrot Sticks, you are my licorice
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish
I am your water wings, you are my deep
I am your open arms, you are my running leap
I am your way home, you are my new path
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath
I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your finish line, you are my race
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favourite book, you are my new lines
I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you

Author: Maryann K Cusimano

 

She is my wild. My beautiful, beautiful wild.

11thbday

Happy birthday, baby girl.

I Find Other Parents Fascinating

Tonight is the big Sports-a-Rama (SAR) and Beezus’ school. Go ahead and Google the crazy awesome that is SAR. I’d much rather you do it because I’m kinda too lazy right now to do it. But basically, SAR is a school wide competition between the classes. It started a couple months ago with each class deciding on their themes. T-shirts are designed and made. Then practices start. Decorations are decided. And then the big day arrives and everyone is too tired to even remember what they’re supposed to do. (Ok, that last part is only partly true.)

Last year, the only reason I bought tickets was because I wanted to support my kid. That’s it. This year I bought tickets because I had an absolute freaking blast watching these high school kids compete in the most ridiculous activities. (Tug-o-war, crab-ball, “critter country”, I don’t even know what else. But it’s awesome.)

There is so much (overly-exhausted, delirious) school and class spirit in that room. I don’t know about your high school, but mine didn’t have anything like this. I can’t even begin to tell you how  much fun it is to just be a spectator. Plus, it’s pretty great to see my kid enjoy the hell out of her high school experience.

There’s this part of the program that’s called Statue. I have no idea why it is called that because there is nothing statue about it, but it is basically a type of choreographed routine that the kids come up with that goes along with their theme. (Last year, the Freshmen put a spin on Finding Nemo with the theme “Finding Frosh” and their statue was a choreographed…play? Skit? To go along with that. Imagine 50 freshmen “swimming” into formation of an arrow much like the tuna from Finding Nemo.) So as the kids get older, they wait until the last minute to teach their teammates the statue routine so that they don’t forget it. (This makes sense to high schoolers. Whatever.)

All of this is taking a really long time to tell you that last night, the Sophomore class pulled their “overnighter” to learn their statue routine. (Beezus was home by 11. Overnighter is a loose term.) Beezus, after getting permission from us, had 3 teammates come home with her so that they could finish a prop/decoration of some sort for tonight’s event. I totally didn’t even mind because I was already in bed! (The Dude was on duty because he had today off.) (I should’ve just gotten up with these kids, because I kept waking up to make sure The Dude was checking on them.) (I’m super helpful.) (I’m done with the parenthesis.)

At about five this morning, The Dude went out to check on the kids only to basically find out that they have no ride home and that they’re pretty much just hoping to get a ride with us to school. My husband was weirded out by this. He was overly concerned that we would basically be sending these kids off to school without their parents seeing them at all.

As he comes back in our room to tell me all of this, I have a couple thoughts:

1: Eh…no big deal. We’re driving that way anyway.

2: THIS IS SO WEIRD, OMG WHAT KIND OF PARENTS DO YOU KIDS HAVE?!?!?!?!

To be clear, I don’t mind that these kids were at our house. They all seem to be nice, respectful kids. But, as a parent, I’m completely horrified that these parents don’t mind that their (15-16yo) children don’t come home because they are staying the night at some stranger’s house? I find this FASCINATING! Horrifying, yes…but fascinating! This is not something that I would feel comfortable with. At all. I’m also glad we’re nice people!

During homecoming, we allowed Beezus to go to the “overnighter” to work on the float because I met the parents first AND I picked up around 2am. (Because I’m pretty much the coolest/strictest mom ever.) But just not checking out the family at all? Am I the only one that would have a problem with this?

Beezus jokes with us that we’re the strictest parents of all her friends. And I’m totally ok with this. But now I’m getting a glimpse of what she sees in her other friends’ parents.

And I find it all a little…crazy. But I *am* the strictest mom ever. So there’s that.