Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I amuse myself.

We went to Great America last weekend. We have the pleasure of going every other year when J's company rents it out for an employee-only bash. It's fantastic, except for the fact that it has spoiled my kids and they have never had the soul-crushing two hour wait to ride a 90-second rollercoaster.

We always get to go as they are setting up for Fright Fest. When you first walk in, you get to walk through the "Seven Sins Cemetery." Oooooooooohhh. Our DD has always had a bit of an anger issue, and humored me enough to let me take her photo in front of the ANGER crypt.

Obviously, I then had to take a photo of DS in front of one of them. Pride sure seemed appropriate for an almost-11-year-old boy who love loves loves sports.

So, then we kept walking and I saw the "Lust" crypt. And I thought it would be HILARIOUS if J and I took a self-portrait in front of that one. Mainly, because with both of us working, two kids involved in multiple sports and activites, an old house that needs lots of work, who has time for lust? Let's be real here.

I darn well couldn't ask the kids to take this one. So, please forgive the bad angle. It was a self-portrait, taken with my P&S, trying to do it as quickly as we could before one of the kids asked, "Hey, what's Lust?"

I am not ready to go there.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Having a moment...

Being a parent it hard.
Where do you draw the line between comforting a broken heart and taking the hard stance of, "Life lesson, honeybunch."
Especially when you know that a little more hard work might have made all the difference.
But, there's that whole idea of natural consequences. I love natural consequences, as long as they don't cause physical harm, or severe emotional damage.
She'll be over it tomorrow, right?
And maybe try a little harder next time.
Or not.
Because in the grand scheme of things, she's eight and this isn't going to affect her ability to become a contributing member of society.
Ugh. Being a parent is hard.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ushering in Fall

All I have to do is get out this candle, and it is fall.

There is something about Yankee Candle's Spiced Pumpkin that soothes me. It takes me back, way back, to when J and I first got married. I think that fall was the first time I bought and burned that particular scent. It's yumminess filled our crummy little apartment in Buffalo Grove. It welcomed me home from teaching school and coaching volleyball games. It was in the background enjoying newleywed life and not running up $400 long distance bills.

It also takes me back to when KJ was just turning one. We'd spend the days out in the grass, playing in the few leaves we had in our yard from our dying, decrepit oak tree. Then we'd come inside, I'd light this candle and enjoy some quiet moments while he napped. It also makes me think of the fall when my daughter, Boo, was 6 months and KJ was 3 and we would sit outside and hit wiffle balls and enjoy the crunchy leaves. Or the fall when Boo was 2 1/2 and wandered away from me at the Apple Orchard so that she could go to the bathroom all by herself. Those were the most terrifying 8 minutes of my life, and highlighted the difference between my independent daughter and my son with the apron strings.

There's something that makes me feel a little melancholy, thinking about all of the falls that have come and gone. I've been married for 14 years. My little boy is now almost 11. My baby girl is 8 1/2. I am back to work. The memories we are making are different now: Pumpkin Festival crazy carnival rides, fall baseball, volleyball camp. I love watching their worlds expand, yet miss the simpler times.

Someone once told me that smell is the sense most closely associated with memory. I can't smell this candle and NOT be trasported to fall. I love fall. I love the crisp mornings and the leaves rustling and football on tv. I love the beginning of school, hooded sweatshirts and weenie roasts. I love this scent.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm a little bit messy

So, I've mentioned that I love fountain pens. The problem with the fountain pens is that they sometimes dry out. And when they dry out, they need to be rinsed with water. Because the inks are waterbased, this works well, except for the fact that one's hands end up covered in ink. See Exhibit A.
This wasn't too bad. There have been times I have ended up with it on my face. Sometimes the pen gets clogged and one must blow through the pen like a straw to clear it. And then one ends up with ink on one's face.
No lie. This is a typical event in my life.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's Football Season and I am Happy!

I wish I could explain it. There is something about football season that just makes me happy. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the lazy Sunday afternoons. Maybe it's the regularity of the schedule (Seriously, baseball, 162 games?)
Whatever it is, I am a happy girl right now. I tolerate college football. Too many teams and quickly changing rosters for my little girl brain. Not to mention the bizarre BCS formulas. But the NFL gets under my skin.
I know these guys get paid too much, and have egos the size of Texas.
I know it's ridiculously expensive to go to a game (unless you know someone willing to share some free tickets.)
I know a lot of these guys are terrible role models for kids.
I just can't help it.
When I was growing up, my mom and dad would sit down every Sunday morning with the paper and the point spread and bet (just for fun.) There was such cameraderie there. Now, we have fantasy football. I even got my mom to set up a team this year. My 10-year-old son had to help her set her roster and show her how it works. It was a cute bonding moment.

I love the Steelers. I know that the off-season has not been kind to the organization. I'd be perfectly content to see them dump #7 on his ear and go with Dennis Dixon. I've been told it would be a poor business decision. So, I hope Dennis Dixon takes the first 4 weeks and rocks and then #7 becomes an afterthought.
Pipe dreams?
And I digress and need to go to bed.
But, again. It's football season and I am happy.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Look Mom, I'm spitting

At what age do boys start this whole spitting ickiness?
Here's my son, getting ready for baseball practice with a wad of sunflower seeds stored in his cheek. I asked him to pose for me and as I shot this one, I caught the spit flying out of his mouth.
And he was proud. And he wanted me to take more pictures of him spitting. And I did.

But, I must ask again. When do boys start spitting? He certainly didn't learn it from me.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Joy and Pain

Ahhhh, the joys of raising a daughter.
Don't get me wrong here, I love my daughter. She is smart and funny and is a great helper. She loves animals and loves to read and is starting to love volleyball. She is a great student and is perfectly well-behaved at school and for other people.
Our only struggle is that she is unimaginably strong-willed. Our first glimpse of that was when she was about 10 months old and threw up on her cherished "Yellowie" (the blanket) in the car. I changed her clothes and tried to put her back in the carseat without the barf-soaked blanket. 25 minutes later, we were still walking around the parking lot. I could not physically get her into that car seat. And she was under a year old.
Then there was the day we were shoe shopping. She was a little over two and insisted on getting in the car seat by herself. I forgot about that and tried to put her in. Kicking, back arching and screaming ensued. After about 5 minutes, I got her back out and told her in a less-than-kind manner to climb back in herself. She threw her head back, right into the edge of the door and started crying more. That's when I looked across the parking lot and saw a lady watching me, cell phone in hand. I put DD back in the car and then climbed in myself and counted to 10. My sweet little, 4 1/2 year-old son said, "Mommy, you are scaring me." It took another 10 minutes of "Scary Mommy" plus almost all my weight to get her into that car seat.
Fast forward 6 years. She's beautiful and smart and wonderful and every once in a while, that bull headedness comes out. (She's a Taurus. No surpise there.) Today it was over homework, for no good reason other than she didn't want to do it.
My parents tell me my sister was similarly strong willed, and she grew up just fine. In fact, she's quite awesome.
So, I have faith that DD will do the same. There are just those moments when I feel like a failure as a parent. And then she comes over and gives me a hug out of the blue and it's all better.
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