Friday, June 11, 2021

Five on Friday: Recent Photos from a Tired Mama's Life

Oh hello there. It’s me, your friend currently experience a miserable bout of insomnia (though “miserable” is the only variety these bouts come in, I think). I’m looking forward to this one ending. I think tonight’s the night! (I say with the confidence of someone optimistically trying to manifest the near-impossible)


But I digress.


I have no ideas for today’s post and can’t entirely blame insomnia . . . I mean, sometimes the ideas just don’t come. So I thought I’d just share some pictures from my life lately for just a fun little photo-heavy Five on Friday from a tired Mama. Enjoy, and goodnight, it's nap o'clock somewhere.

1. Last weekend on the one blessed day I didn't have insomnia, I got to lounge by the pool with two girlfriends for hours. This night away with friends has been an annual event for several years now. Of course we had to skip last year, so I extra-appreciated it this time.

It does sort of make me wonder if I need to go away overnight again to cure my insomnia. Seems logical, no?

2. I also got to see another close friend and have an impromptu bubble blowing contest. I'm pretty sure I won.

3. This little doggy is getting weirder and weirder in her old age. She used to be terrified of thunderstorms, like many dogs are, but now I swear she gets worked up the minute there's a passing cloud. If it's daytime when this happens, she feels safe hiding next to the downstairs toilet (?) and recently decided to try to climb into the bathtub (a location she historically despises) when she heard thunder. I don't try to understand.

If it's nighttime, she sneaks upstairs, This is an off-limit place for her, partially because she cannot get back down on her own. So in the morning I've been finding her just waiting for a lift down.

4. Kids number 3 & 4 got their second COVID vaccines recently (hooray!!!) When we were walking around the pharmacy afterwards, they called me over to see something. I can't tell you the last time I heard my 13 and 15-year-olds excitedly wanting me to share something with me. It was such a momentous occasion, I had to take a picture:

If you know me at all, you know their noticing this makes me *so* proud.

5. I could blame the boys' immature sense of humor on their father, but considering I also have this photo on my phone (that I took with no prompting from young teens) . . . I have to admit that I may have something to do with it.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Five on Friday: We're Baaaaaack

Friends, I've had a bit of a week . . . nothing emotionally draining, just hectic. Just a good, old-fashioned, pre-pandemic-feeling marginally-controlled chaos sort of week.
While it has me feeling a bit depleted, the "pre-pandemic-feeling" part of it also simultaneously makes me feel sort of energized, excited that things are moving towards normal.  It's sort of like exercising after a long hiatus--it feels good but then you ache because you haven't built your stamina back up yet.

So what contributed to the "this feels sort of crazy but also kind of normal and good in a way" stamina-building I've felt all week? Things like:

1. The overwhelming sensation that we'd absolutely need a flow chart to get through the day.

2. Dropping a kid off at practice and using the waiting time to purchase shorts that a different kid informed me he'd need for an event a few days later.

3. Making sure two kids were appropriately dressed and ready for additional events that would take place after the appointment we were rushing out the door to get to*. Twice this past week. (*And arriving late to both appointments! Way to go, fam!)

4. Realizing (in the nick of time!) that the carefully laid plans would end up leaving the 10-year-old home alone and having to fend for herself for dinner.

5. Saying screw it all and letting the 15-year-old be that kid with no parent with him at the sports banquet (actually banquets--two in one night, back-to-back! Stamina building, people!) so that I could stop running around and have a private dinner with the 10-year-old.

Honestly? The "saying screw it all" part is what really made things feel normal. Plus it was totally worth it.

Did I mention we're also having a stone spring house on our property restored? I've barely been able to walk outside and check progress this week but as our leftovers were warming up, the youngest and I just took a few minutes to go check it out.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Five on Friday: Signs That You May Live with Athletic & Semi-Feral Teenagers

Friends, have you noticed an abundance of destruction in your home? Are your senses assaulted on a regular basis? You may be living with an athletic and semi-feral teenager . . . or maybe even more than one. Here are some common signs:

1. Socks come out of the dryer or off of the clothesline--after having been thoroughly machine washed with water and detergent--and still smell awful.

2. Observe:

  a. Lid has been removed from snack jar and has not been replaced. It is not lost, no, it is right next to the jar because making the effort to put it back properly is entirely too much effort. (This phenomena may also be seen near garbage cans, sinks/dishwashers and hampers.)

b. Cabinet doors have been left wide open.

c. Likewise, drawer has been left pulled out. Bonus: this is some sort of free cereal package they got at school that appears to have been stepped or sat upon.

3. The musky scent emanating from their bedroom(s) can be best described as neglected barnyard with heady notes of high school wrestling room.

4. Footprints appear in places they should not.

Example A: The Dishwasher Door  
5. Heard with alarming frequency: "Mom, I need new sneakers."



Friday, May 21, 2021

Five on Friday: Five Most "Mom" Things About This Moment

I was racing to get to the supermarket, having gotten a later start than I expected to, when I found myself having to wait in construction-related traffic. As I sort of just . . . observed myself in that moment, I realized, "Wow. There are so many ultimate Mom things about me right now."

Of course my immediate reaction to that was, "This might be a fun Five on Friday post!" So when I parked at Shop Rite, I recreated my waiting in traffic moment just for you. (No need to thank me.)

Can you spot the most "Mom" things about me in the picture? Bonus for coming up with any not included on my list!

1.  Eating breakfast on the run, in the car.

2.  "Do as I say, not as I do."  

(Hard to see but that's the paper towel my breakfast was in--yup, there I am eating a semi-messy breakfast in the car that we literally just spent half an hour cleaning two days before.) 

3.  Abundance of grey hair. 

Me: This last child has really brought out my grey hairs.

Sister-in-law: Well, you were also older when you had her than when you had any of the other kids, so . . . 

Me: You obviously need to spend more time with your youngest niece.

4.  After my son came home from college, I found two of these PERFECTLY GOOD AND USABLE lidded cups at the top of the kitchen garbage can. So, yes, I totally took them out of the garbage to wash and use.

5.  The cup itself: this truly was the impetus for the post. I don't have . . . I don't do . . . how to say this? I'm not a big "school pride" type-Mom. I'm not in any alumni associations. I don't have nor do I want a sweatshirt or a bumper sticker of any of my kids' schools. So drinking out of a "Panther Central" cup is sort of a big deal for me.

How'd you do? Could you name them all? Did you come up with any others? Let me know!


Friday, May 14, 2021

Five on Friday: Mothers' Day Recap

Another Mothers' Day has come and gone, complete with potted plants, artwork and thankfully no breakfast in bed! (Worst idea ever.)

Here are some highlights:

1. Remember how I told you recently that my parents sold their home, where they operated a nursery business for the past 45 years? When I was a kid, my teachers frequently purchased Mothers' Day flowers from my parents so that the kids could decorate pots at school. 

I'm sure it was a lovely gift for every other mother in the township.

This year it occurred to me: I CAN BUY MY MOTHER FLOWERS FOR MOTHERS' DAY NOW! But then it further occurred to me that they're sort of between houses right now, staying in the lake cottage while they get floors sanded at the new place, so a potted flower is maybe not a great choice this year. But next year, watch out, Mom!

2. Also, this is ridiculous and simultaneously sort of predictable: we had a quick visit to my parents' new, not-yet-lived-in home that is absolutely not a nursery and somehow my Dad still gave me several potted plants to take home. Happy Mothers' Day to me!

3. Forced artwork: Kids each made a card . . . well, no, actually. I admired each of the four cards presented to me and then recalled I had a fifth child around here somewhere. When his siblings asked why he didn't make a card with the rest of them while I was at work, he replied, "What? I thought we were only making birthday cards for Grandma!" 

4. Non-forced artwork: later in the evening, my youngest child disappeared for awhile and then returned to present me with this, a homemade "blind bag" of paper doll and accessories. Which would I get? Alana or Lucie? What accessories? Party or cozy? I had to open each little package to discover before assembling.

5. Sometimes you have to ask for what you want, Mamas, and I thought I was clear with my chalkboard demands suggestions made earlier in the week. I did get no breakfast in bed as requested, the cards and a quick hike to a place of my choosing that even had historical markers (squeal! They must really love me.)

However, I did not get what I wanted the most, which was a surprise cleaning of the cabinets and drawers. Then I remembered: it doesn't have to be a Hallmark holiday for me to boss my kids around! Wednesday afternoon we pitched in and got the kitchen--and then the car interior, because why not keep bossing them around?--sparkling clean.

Happy Belated Mothers' Day from Me to Me!


Friday, May 7, 2021

Five on Friday: Signs of Spring to Tide Me Over 'Til the Nice Weather is Here to Stay

Is it really April that’s the cruelest month? Because we’re a solid week into May and the weather is still teasing me with one nice day followed by several chilly, rainy ones (and a forecast that is bumming me out). I am a warm weather fanatic. I have big Vespa-riding plans but once we start dipping below 62° it’s just too chilly for me to ride comfortably.

I keep telling myself I need to hold on just another week . . . or two . . . and we’ll be firmly into gorgeous, eat-outside-all-the-time, good-riding weather. In the meantime, those random teaser days with temps in the 70s have provided lots of little signs of spring, (some of them true for everyone, some just for parents) that help me realize spring really is here, even if it’s not providing the consistently higher temperatures I long for.

1. It must be spring because I am finding weird shit outside, not just inside.

Okay, it's not that a paintbrush is weird, per se, it's just . . . why was it inserted into the bunting like this? Another flag had a little stick in it. Why?

 2. I'm harping on the kids to put their bike helmets and basketballs away properly instead of their boots and gloves.

3. "Pick up your toys so we can vacuum the rug" is morphing into "Pick up your toys so we can mow the lawn."
Who's more excited? This guy for getting to mow the lawn or Dad for having someone that really wants to mow the lawn? Might be a toss-up. 
4. Ah, the sounds (birds in the morning, spring peepers in the evening) and sights of spring . . . I went outside to take a picture of my little baby bean plants and found a pair of damp sneakers drying on the deck rail.
5. This little gal is taking more of her naps outside in the sun these days . . . and even though I'm having trouble believing it, I know that soon I will be, too.


Friday, April 30, 2021

Five on Friday: Milestones That Go Unnoticed

Baby's first tooth, haircut, holiday . . . starting preschool, kindergarten, graduating . . . these are milestones that are celebrated. Parties are held. Products exist solely to commemorate them. 

But they're not the only milestones that indicate the growth of children. There are others that we experience that don't get parties, like when we can actually go to the bathroom by ourselves or the kids start doing their own laundry.

Still there are others that not only lack public celebration, they tend to slip by completely unnoticed. Until today! Today I celebrate these neglected milestones, true indicators that my children are growing up:

1. I don't have to fight, cajole, bribe or trick anyone into taking a shower anymore. I don't know how or when it happened but all of a sudden I can say, "You need a shower" and be met with almost no push back  . . . save for the occasional, "I just took one yesterday!" (We are not daily showering types. It wastes resources and is generally bad for most hair and skin.)  

That may be true child, but today you are RIPE. Trust me, sometimes you need a shower two days in a row.

2. I am consistently the first one awake in the house each morning. I am also, frequently, not one of the last ones to go to bed.

3. Nobody fights over these guys anymore. Nobody even wants them when I offer them up. Wah.

4. I can't really blame stains on my clothes on the kids anymore. Dang.

5. This errant Sharpie has been sitting in the living room all week and seeing it there does not fill my heart with utter terror.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Five on Friday: Birthday Week in Review

1. Who could have ever imagined that I'd think getting an injection would be a wonderful way to start celebrating my birthday week? 

Perhaps a little sleepy but actually thrilled to have this badge of honor in the form of an upside-down bandage that ended up giving me a little itchy rash. Cheers!

2. I shocked myself with no bad side effects! Why would I be so surprised? Well, in the history of my husband, me and any medical procedure, things go something like this:

Me: You really need to go to the dentist.

Him: Why?

Me: It's been, like, five years.

Him: Fine. (goes and then) All good!

Me: (goes every year) Dentist said it was an absolute pleasure to work on someone who obviously takes great care of her teeth and also I have three mini-cavities to take care of and might need a root canal.


Me: (needs to go for regular colonoscopies starting at age twenty-five, have experienced years of vomiting and uncontrollably shivering my way through prep. ended up in ER and then admitted to hospital overnight once, etc, etc. Whine throughout entire procedure from getting appointment reminder up until moment the anesthesia kicks in because it's usually so fucking miserable.)

Him: (goes once, sails through prep, no issues at all) It wasn't that bad!

You get the idea. 

So I was absolutely convinced I'd have a bad reaction to my second shot; so much so that I started to worry that I'd give myself psychosomatic symptoms. HOWEVER, by some birthday week magical miracle, my only issue was a sore upper arm for two days. 

(Please note: my husband's reaction was more along the lines of "I guess if I press on my arm, I can tell I had a shot, but sore? No, I wouldn't say it's sore at all." Of course.)

 3. But enough about shots! Let's talk about the weather. The forecast for my birthday morning was rain, which really bummed me out because I wanted warmth and sunshine. It turned out to be a perfectly lovely and sunny morning, much to my delight.

In the afternoon, a thunderstorm blew in, which I have to admit, I also sort of enjoyed. But while it was happening, I spent some time getting some summery clothes out, which was obviously the reason the next day and half felt like winter again (including a light dusting of morning snow!) I apologize, truly. 

But--my plans to have friends over wine and cheese was not thwarted by the extreme change in weather. I know I'm not 100% immune until 2 weeks after my 2nd shot but my friends had already reached that milestone so I felt fine about moving the celebration inside. Hurrah!

When my Mom was purging her house last year, she asked if I wanted that old circus sign she had. I wasn't sure what she was talking about, didn't think I wanted it, but then remembered it had my birthday on it!

4. One of my friends has an artist for a son who made an amazing, moving-parts birthday card featuring me on my Vespa at the museum I work at. 

5.  Last week I told you that my parents were selling my childhood home but even though they'd accepted an offer six months ago, moved most of their stuff out five months ago and began temporarily living elsewhere, the deed was still not officially done. Nor did we have a date for the closing on the new house . . . but now, the deeds are done! Or, um, the deeds are signed? The old house is officially sold and the new house is officially purchased. Hooray and congratulations to my Mom and Dad!

Bonus item! Last year I got chosen to participate in a live storytelling show in NYC which of course got postponed and postponed and postponed due to the pandemic. Eventually they decided to scrap the live show and start a podcast. After a months of edits, rewrites and a few makeshift recording studio sessions , I was finally able to share this story about my amazing Grandmother, Babci. Enjoy!