Friday, August 28, 2015

Five on Friday: Wishes for my High School Freshman

My oldest daughter started High School this week. She’s always taken a bus to school but now rides her bike. She's really enjoying the independence of getting herself to school (so far). 

High School is going to be full of many other new things that she’s longing for: new friends (“My friends are great but I’m ready to find my people”), more challenging classes, more club variety and exciting opportunities. She was literally counting down the hours until school started and when she got on her bike that first morning she pedaled faster than she ever did before. I mean . . . that girl was really TRUCKING!

As I watched her pedal furiously away I realized that might sound bad to people that don’t know us—like she couldn’t wait to get away from me. And here’s what I realized in that moment, along with some other observations and wishes for my amazing girl. My list for this week is for my daughter:

1.  I love how excited you are for High School to start. Soon enough you’ll know that big building and all of its hallways like the back of your hand. In the upcoming years you’ll find people or policies to be annoyed with but right now it’s all so fresh and full of promise. Remember how you were so excited you put your helmet on backwards? I hope you always remember how you felt that morning.

2. Don’t worry, I don’t take your pedaling away from me so fast as an insult. I know we’re good. I actually like that you did that. You shouldn’t ever be worried about me so much that you don’t go enthusiastically on to your next adventures. I’ll be here waiting for you to get back and tell me all about them.
3.  After you left, your 9-year-old brother assured me that he was “pretty sure” that you’d get home safely. I had no concerns whatsoever. I happen to think you’re pretty worldly for a country girl of your age and I trust that you can manage to get around just fine on your own. I can’t wait to see what parts of the world you get to explore—my first trip abroad was during High School and I’m hoping yours is too.

4. You were so looking forward to meeting new people and when you got home told me  about all of the ones that reached out to you and that you reached out to. You embody the notion that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. That is also something that is going to serve you well in your future travels and I know you're going to have friends around the world.

5. Look at you!  Not caring at all that most people in our community think that a girl's legs should be shaved and her head shouldn't be. Your bold confidence is inspiring to everyone, even if they're too shy to say it or try to mask it behind unkind words or stares. You are a shining star and my last wish is not that you're ready for high school but that IT is ready for YOU. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

Five on Friday: The Sweet, The Strange and The Silly

Summer is ending and so it felt like a good time to share a random collection of pictures from the past ten weeks. 

1. The Sweet: Our oldest is headed to High School next week and so far she still likes us.

2. The Strange: Saw this at the local lake last month. Still confused.

3. The Silly: Guess these port-a-potties are for number two only.

4. And silly  . .  . "E, if you move over just a little it will look like you're peeing a rainbow! Right on your friend!" #motheroftheyear

5. And more silly:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Five on Friday: Things to Do Before School Starts Again

We are in serious crunch mode here, people. My oldest has High School Freshman Orientation on August 26th and then her first real day the 27th. The other kids start a week later but we can't do anything *super* fun without big sister. So we basically have twelve more days to get in everything we meant to do this summer.

Well. Maybe everything is too tall of an order so I guess I'd better prioritize and get these five done at least:

1. One more trip to the Jersey Shore

2. Day trip to NYC, I've got a list of free children's museums and some groupons burning a hole in my iphone

3. Make fire starters: our stash is almost empty and while we can absolutely make our campfires without them, it's a fun project. *OH. WAIT. After I wrote this list the other day we had a slow afternoon and made the fire starters then, plus a sand candle with the excess wax:

3. So I need a new #3 and that will be . . . bowling, if it's not too late to print out some Kids Bowl Free coupons

4. Film short film or two for our annual labor day weekend short film fest in the yard with friends

5. As much as I dread this one . . . and some of my kids are literally begging me to do it . . . I suppose I must find time to go back to school shopping.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Five on Friday: More Titles For the Story of My Life Right Now

Way back in May of 2014 I made a Five on Friday list of potential titles for books about my life ( While all of them are still being seriously considered, I now have some new contenders to share. They are:

1. "Now What?" A two part series made up of these titles: "All The Kids Are in Full Day School This Fall" and "You're Actually Starting to Get Paid Ridiculously Small Amounts of Money for Writing"

2. Never Make Fun of Your Mother: A cautionary tale about a teenaged girl who relentlessly teased her mother for always having food stuck in her teeth who then grew up to be a mother with food always stuck in her teeth

3. Not By the Hair of My Chinny-Chin-Chin or Why I Must Keep Tweezers in My Purse (they're in a little pouch along with the toothbrush and floss. See #2)

4. I Think I'm Too Young to Be Shrinking Already, Maybe the Kids Are Just Getting Taller

5. Having Daughters Starting Kindergarten and High School in the Same Year: How One Mother Straddles Being the Youngest Mom for One Kid's Peers and the Oldest Mom for Another's

Friday, July 31, 2015

Five on Friday: Kids, Your Parents Are Totally Immature

We didn't even have any children with us and these are the pictures we came home from Amsterdam with?

The first three are from the Rijksmuseum, which loosely translated means something like, "if you're totally immature you'll find plenty to giggle at in here" museum.

1. World's first whoopie cushion. (Not really. But come on! Doesn't it look like one?)

2. A piece from a chess set

3. The "Womb Tomb" (Artist "Ferdi wanted to create a playful and liberating 'environment' . . . The vulva-like opening forms the entrance to the sheltered interior. It is simultaneously a cosy tomb and a womb.")

4. Okay this one wasn't even my idea. But I did participate.

5. Made me chuckle every time

There you have it kids, CULTURE, straight from Europe. I hope this broadens your horizons a bit.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Five On Friday: Day in The Life

I'm away with my husband this week  (without the children!) so I'm writing this in advance (I can be so organized sometimes. Sometimes.) Here's a pic-heavy glimpse into a typical day in my summertime life:

1. I'm practicing benign neglect. They will find ways to entertain themselves when ignored encouraged to. God bless the child that can entertain herself:

2. This boy loves his dog something fierce (and the feeling is mutual):

3. Summer means going outside to pick food:

4. Which makes the cooking more inspired:

5. Sometimes we come home and there's a squirrel stuck in the window. Because our house.

Stay tuned next week for pictures from the "Parents Gone Wild: Amsterdam With No Children" edition of Five on Friday!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Five on Friday: 1500 Miles in a Car With Five Kids: How Did We Do It?

I know. Everyone else has a DVD player in the car but we don't. And not all five of the kids have an iSomething to play on so what did we do to pass the time?

1. Refuse to hand out snacks or anything else for at least one hour into any given ride. This forced them to come up with things like an imaginary restaurant ("Want soda, rafadi, soda or colorful drink?" And we still don't know what rafadi is.)

2. Pen and paper. There was a lot of doodling. My favorite was when 5-year-old A dictated to her 13-year-old brother G to draw "a princess on a bed, with a king and a dragon. And she's vomiting." That was funny enough to overhear but then I saw the finished product plus G's interpretation of why the princess was vomiting. These kids kill me.

3. Mad libs (got two new ones in the free box at the library!) and some homemade ones too (which were my favorite, of course).

4. Name that tune! I'd play a few seconds of a song on my iPhone, pause it, and give them turns guessing what song it was.

5. Wet Ones. Old school, the kind with the Chinese finger trap-type opening. It started with a request for one to clean the rocks they'd collected on one of our stops and ended with them asking for one whenever their was a boring lull (and me gladly handing them out, one at a time). We came home with some happy kids and bags of clean rocks.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five on Friday: Family Songs

A few weeks ago on my Facebook page I asked, "Are families allowed to have theme songs? Because my five-year-old just started singing, 'welcome to the lovely chaos' so I think that might be ours now."

After that post I realized our family actually has created a bunch of songs each with their own unique lyrics and tunes that we sing frequently. None of them would be so perfect a theme song as the chaos song, but maybe they could be worked in as additional verses.

All should be sung at top volume and repeated ad nauseam. Top five favorites are:

1.  I'd like to eat . . . a potato sandwich!

2. Put your library in your pants!! (No idea, by the way. No. Idea.)

3. We--are rock stars, we hope you get us. We--are rock stars!

4. I step in poop and I no even tare! (Invented when he still had a speech impediment, must be sung that way now and yes, he did step in poop.)

5. I have decided . . . to put myself in charge!

And bonus song, which is sort of a cop out because it was created by the parents and is not a unique tune. Sometimes when Daddy O and I look around at the beautiful area we live in and realize that other people travel here specifically for its beauty, we simply must sing (to the tune of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It") . . . "We're not on vacation. No! We're not on vacation! We're not on vacation, we live here....!"