Friday, September 13, 2019

Five on Friday: Short & Sweet

A short and sweet, pic-heavy Five on Friday from the land of Serendip, where the sport schedules are plentiful and the insomnia is a frequent and unwelcome guest.

A few things I've found recently that remind me just how I love this home and life we've created:

1. Another surprising and unexplained message on the white board in the family room. I have no idea what this is about and don't want to, the random messages make me smile:

2. Speaking of messages, I was feeling happy with my rainbow-themed school morning checklist for the kids and then noticed someone messed with it. 

And I laughed. Stop erasing my letters and go brush your teeth, bruh.

 3. My oldest daughter created this cute and tiny little painting late in the summer and left it in the kitchen to surprise me. I got more flowers last weekend and decided to put these two together. Both the flowers and the reminder of B in the house both make me smile:

4. Once upon a time I revealed to the children that they actually did eat the ends of the bread, it's just that I flipped them around so nobody knew. I just found out that now that they make their own sandwiches, some of them have held on to that habit:

 5. Last night when I went to bed I found some surprise drawings waiting for us. Looks like our youngest has learned a lot from her big sister:

Friday, September 6, 2019

Five on Friday: Kindergarten & College

Well, I was right. It was exponentially harder . . . but to my surprise, getting my firstborn off to college actually has had a lot of similarities to when she started kindergarten. For example:

1. I have found that both times my overwhelming excitement for her has been tinged by a bit of bittersweet melancholy.

2. One of the reasons I felt so excited for her in both kindergarten and college was because I knew that she'd be meeting new people and making so many friends.

3. In both cases I also felt excited for her because I knew she would be learning so much! Not just academically--both kindergarten and college are such formative times for figuring out who one is away from their families.

4. Both instances made me realize how lucky I am to still have other children at home. It makes me remember to take the time to appreciate their childhoods a little more.

5. And, of course, I did cry both times . . .

. . . but this time I wasn't alone.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Five on Friday: Funny Things Mom Says

During our road trip, I keep a little notebook handy to write down funny things the kids say both for posterity and to potentially use in upcoming posts (okay, maybe that's the real reason)

I noticed over this last vacation that my oldest daughter was jotting things down that I said. I asked her, "Are you writing down Mom quotes?"

She was.

"Tell me when you get to five of them."

She knew exactly what I was getting at. Here they are:

1.  "Oooh, I'm going to get a Moscow Mule!! They have their own cups!!!"
       Mom's response: I stand by this. The drink is tasty and the cups are cute.

Moscow Mule in a signature copper cup

2. "If you dropped your pizza, I guess you didn't really love it."
      Mom's response: I have no recollection of this whatsoever, but I sure hope it wasn't that pizza we spent $48 on in Utah.

3. (after hearing the beginning of the song "Africa" on the radio and turning it up) "Wait, is this Weezer or . . . Not Weezer?"

Mom's response: I don't know why this was so funny to the kids. Toto, the other band is called Toto. I know that but just forgot for a minute. And I don't like the Weezer cover so I had to know if I should change the station or not.

4.  M: "Do you think farts--never mind, I think I know the answer to this."
      B: "What was it?"
     M: "Were farts always funny? Historically?" (hysterical laughter)
      B: "Is the answer yes?"
     M:  (cracking up) "The answer is YES"

     Mom's response: I'm mature in other ways.

Here I am posing while barefoot on a chaise lounge in a hotel we did not stay at. So. Mature.

5. "Guys, can you not live like . . . Trash Animals???"
     Mom's response: Seeing as this phrase that I came up with on the spot, inspired by the real-life road trip slobs also known as my five children, has become a new family favorite . . . all I can say to this is "You're welcome, Trash Animals."

Friday, August 23, 2019

Five on Friday: Our First Week Without the College Freshman Here

Just when I was starting to feel like I was maybe being a little melodramatic about the whole "B going to college five hours away" thing, I started getting messages and real-life hugs from people who'd either done it before or don't look forward to doing it.

Thank you, friends, for indulging me while we adjust. One friend (the amazingly talented Emma Gordon whom I was fortunate enough to share The Moth stage with)  suggested that I try to "Dive, naked into something creative. It’s the only thing I can think of that may help."

I decided to give it a try. Though some of these projects were started before I got her advice, I got to finish them with a renewed cathartic focus.

Here are some of the fun creative projects that have helped me occupy me this week, both at work and at home:

1. A fun day for kids at the Museum at work had me helping kids make turtles:

2. . . . and bracelets (and sheep but I apparently don't have any good pictures of them) :

3. Preparing for the Women's Equality Day March & Festival (local friends: join us!) by making lots of fun activities like this face-in-the-hole thing (is there a better name for these???) that my husband helped me assemble:

4. I appreciate his help and his pointing out that it's not accessible for everyone . . . so this morning I had time to make a hand held face-in-the-hole thing (I haven't thought of a better name for these yet since #3)

5. Lastly, I have made myself a Lucy Stone/Suffragist costume for Sunday but I can't reveal that just yet. However, I can show you this Lifting As We Climb banner I made from scraps:

Friday, August 16, 2019

Five on Friday: Reasons I Know She's Going to be Just Fine

I've been whining a lot about sending my daughter to college this weekend. I think I get a pass on this one, it's my first time. I'm sure it's going to get easier with each kid, just like I cried when she got on the kindergarten bus but I was kind of happy and relieved when the fifth kid did.

It's not so much that I'm worried about how much I'll miss her . . . I'm sure I will, but she's gone away without me before and I'm so excited for the adventures she'll be having. Also, she and I text quite a bit and I can't see that changing (more experienced parents: please don't tell me otherwise right now, it's all I've got).

It's more the symbolic end of her childhood that's punching in the gut this week. And, as a well-meaning person pointed out the other day, "It's sort of the end of your family unit as it was."

Great. Thanks.

I'm trying to remember that that's okay. Families are fluid. Kids grow, that's the whole point of this right? To raise them into successful adults?

I saw an article recently warning parents that their child might not be ready for college: just not emotionally mature enough to handle the real world. I felt comforted in the fact that I don't have any worries about my daughter in that regard.  I'm so proud of her every day; she's so very smart, creative, compassionate and amazing.

Looking back on memories from her  childhood, I realize she's always been this way and I really have nothing to worry about:

1. While other preschoolers were making mud pies, she'd wrap onion grass up in leaves and invite me to try one of her "Vegan Grab and Go Wraps."

2. When some older girls were teasing her cousin about her doll not being a real American Girl doll, my daughter defended and consoled by saying, "That's right. This one is a Canadian Girl doll."

3. When asked if she found any hermit crabs in the tide pool on vacation once, she answered: "No, but I saw a bunch of cool rocks and a lot of stories waiting to be told."

4. Some girls she was hanging out with had made up a silly song that included the lyrics: "Harriet Tubman, get on the bus! Kick the white man off!"
My daughter said, "I think you're mixing Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman up."
They replied, "Who cares? They're both Black!"
"Well okay," she said, "then Martin Luther King and my younger brother are the same person."

5.  "Sometimes when I have a wish . . . you know, like my necklace clasp is in front and I turn it around or something. . . I just wish it to go to someone that really needs it. I know it doesn't really do anything, but it's the thought that counts."

Friday, August 9, 2019

Five on Friday: Things My Son Will Let His Own Kids Do

 This week's list is brought to you by my 11-year-old son:

1. When I grow up, I'm going to let my kids put a dart board right next to the window. I'm going to have a totally sick house for them: a huge mansion with a helicopter landing pad on top and a six car garage.

Are you going to have six cars?

Probably. And mini golf that starts at the top of the house and goes to the bottom of the house. And a glass bridge that goes to a separate house for the kids. 

Wow, really? What else are you going to let your kids do?

2. I'm totally going to let them drive golf carts.


3. I'm also going to let them have, like, five dogs. Five Pomskies.

Is a Pomsky a type of dog?

Yeah, Mom, it's a Pomeranian and Siberian Husky.

Wow. And are you going to let your kids eat whatever they want?

4. Well, I'll make sure they eat their vegetables but I'll only make them eat carrots. And apples. I'm going to let them eat a lot of candy but I’ll make them work it off because I’ll also have a gym in my house and also a secret room and also an underground tunnel to the other house that has a treadmill in it. 

Anything else that you're going to . . .

5. Oh! Wait, wait! I know! I'm going to let my kids stand right on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Ha, ha. That's the one I believe least of all.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Five on Friday: Embracing the Vespa Lifestyle

My husband has probably asked me once a year for the past several years, "Would you still ever want a Vespa some day?" and I am pretty sure I answered, "I think that ship has sailed" a few times in a row now.

So naturally he bought me a Vespa for Christmas. Which is amazing and generous and fun but, really, I wasn't so sure about the whole thing. First of all, I did that "get your motorcycle license in a weekend" course nineteen years ago and then hadn't driven a motorcycle since. I kept renewing that little M on my driver's license because it's cheap and why not? But I hadn't actually used it.

As I suspected, I was a bit timid on it at first, circling our neighborhood at 15 miles per hour and hoping to work myself up to slightly longer and faster rides. Early spring was kind of chilly, then it was really wet, then we went on a three-week vacation, so I hadn't gotten a lot of consisting riding in until recently.

Now I'm happy to report that I've been getting more comfortable driving Giacomo Prima Né (that's his whole name; I mainly refer to him just as Giacomo.) 

(Oh my god, I am such a weirdo*)

It took me a little while to really get over most of my old-lady-scaredy-pants-ness. I still don't like hills or sharp curves which is unfortunate since where we live is surrounded by roads that are both hilly and curvy, frequently at the same time (so fun!)

But now that I'm driving him several times a week, I've made several realizations:

1. I can go 45 miles per hour, but it is really fast.

2. Pink Vespas get a lot of attention. I've caught two people taking pics and I get a lot of smiles and waves.

3. Jersey Girls do pump gas!

The state of Oregon now allows pumping your own gas in certain circumstances but in New Jersey it is illegal across the board--or is it? Motorcyclists always pump their own gas. I decided to dig around on the Internet and see if that was a legal exception or just how it's done. An official-looking website only told me this:

So I think it's just how it's done. 

But seeing as how I'm a Jersey Girl I don't have much experience using a gas pump. Luckily the two young guys at the gas station were super into the Vespa, cracked up at the "No Pets" sign (found in the under-seat storage which is exposed to reach the gas tank), were happy to help me and truly didn't seem to care when I spilled a little gas on the ground. "That happens all the time."

Grazie, Piaggio.
Also, it only cost $5 to fill up!

4. Squirrels, chipmunks and deer are scared of Giacomo's ridiculous and completely non-threatening beep which is great since those animals are now my enemies. I had the opportunity to see if a large black bear would also be scared but I decided I'd just drive a different way instead . . . just in case.

5. My interest in studying Italian has been renewed.
Ciao, Amici!

*My other vehicles are named Overkill Jones and John Stamos. For the Vespa, I was initially torn between the names Giacomo and Louis Prima. I decided that as much as I enjoy Louis Prima's music, Giacomo would be a better name. I'd name him Giacomo Fee Na-Né to mimic the lyrics of that song by the Dixie Cups. But then my daughter pointed out we could swap out "Fee Na" for "Prima" and so really what I'm saying here is that she's a total weirdo, too. I think she gets it from her father.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Five on Friday: Reasons My Girl No Longer Has a Crush

I know, I know, I promised that last week was the last vacation-related post but this one is only marginally related. It has to do with a funny conversation that happened while we were driving.

I mentioned that even on all-day drives we limit the kids' screen time. I think it's good for them to be bored, figure out how to entertain themselves, create new games and beautiful artwork.

It also frequently helps make hysterical memories . . . like this one. What started as some rousing games of MASH (Remember that one? Mansion Apartment Shack House?) turned into a discussion about who our 9-year-old daughter had a crush on at school. After deciding to reveal the boy's name, she was silent for a few minutes and then declared, "Actually, I don't have a crush on him anymore."

Of course we were curious as to what led her to that decision, so she outlined these five reasons he is no longer crush-worthy:

1. She hates his best friend

2. He says bad words (I am shocked that this bothers her)

3. He doesn't pay attention to the teacher 

4. He's been sent to the principal too many times

5. He takes one shoe off in every special (This one is clearly the weirdest and the best)

After that, I decided to try to make up a new sort of MASH board (maybe Mom was a little travel-bored too, okay?) that was non-crush-related. I call it LOWS--Long weekend, Overnight, Week, Stay forever. 

We determined that she would travel by dolphin with Alan Walker (a Norwegian DJ or YouTuber or something? Both?) to China where they would eat peanuts, stay in an Airbnb, spend time roller skating and buy a stuffed animal unicorn as a souvenir . . . oh, and stay there forever. I will sure miss her funny conversations when she goes.