Category Archives: Family

A Slice of summer moments and a giant unicorn float

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

This summer, I have accidentally overscheduled my kids. They are very busy until August. Our mantra has been to find the summer moments to enjoy.

So, I promised the kids an evening at a nearby State Park. There’s a  nice little beach there, and picnic tables. Find the summer moments to enjoy.

“I’ll pick you up from camp with our picnic packed,” I promised the boys, as they dutifully got ready for camp.

My daughter and I ran some errands. We bought some food, sand toys and a cheap giant unicorn float that, inflated, would never fit in our car. After rushing around to buy supplies, pack a cooler, take the dog out, and shove everything into the car including an electric battery pump for the giant unicorn float,  we were off to get the boys and drive the 20 minutes to the park.

I love the drive to this park, up a mountain, down a mountain, around a windy forest road, sunshine filtering through the trees, kids bickering in the backseat. . . Find the summer moments to enjoy.

Once there we had to find a picnic table, or a spot on the beach. We had the age old debate, swim or eat dinner first? Find the summer moments to enjoy. We decided that we should definitely swim first.

That’s when we realized we had left the bag of bathing suits at home.

As Mr. Thought prepared to go home to get the bathing suits, we prepared to blow up the giant unicorns with our big battery pack.

“It’s going to take us awhile to blow this up anyway, so it’s not too bad to have to wait 45 minutes to get our bathing suits,” we told ourselves, and the kids took the giant unicorn over to a grassy area to inflate. I enjoyed my beach chair, my feet in the sand… Find the summer moments to enjoy.

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And then the kids started walking towards me, heads hung, battery pack to L’s side,

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giant unicorn drooping off H’s shoulder.

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The battery had died, with only the head inflated.

So, we spent the next half an hour blowing up a giant unicorn. We took turns, almost blacked out a few times, but kept going. I was wondering if this summer evening was ruined. “I’m so sorry I forgot the bathing suits and now the battery died!” I kept telling the kids. But they didn’t say anything.

They were wading in the water, finding and taking pictures of salamanders, fish, and even a turtle. They befriended a pair of brothers and dug a trench in the sand. They were busy finding the summer moments to enjoy. 

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So, I sat back and took a deep breath (and blew some more air into the giant unicorn).

Soon enough, Mr. Thought came back, the unicorn was ready to float and everyone had their dinner. The kids swam and floated, and got every blanket and towel full of sand. As the sun set, we forced them out of the water, shook off as much sand as we could, cleaned up our spot, deflated the giant unicorn, shoved things back in the trunk, and hopped back in the car.  I wouldn’t say it was the perfect evening in the park, but we found some summer moments to enjoy. 

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A Slice of the Summer Porch

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

 

I don’t mean to be overly dramatic
about brief summer moments
But, I hope I will always remember
Reading on the sunny porch —
Looking over my book, to see you reading
Looking behind me, to see you reading

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I don’t mean to be overly dramatic
You both stopped soon after the timer went off
(But not the second it went off, so that’s a win)
It’s not like you want to stay out here,
reading in the summer heat all day
(like I could)
But, you both said you enjoyed your book
You both stayed until after the timer went off

I don’t mean to be overly dramatic
about brief summer moments
But, I hope I will always remember
Reading on the sunny porch
with you
I hope I will always remember
Looking over my book
Looking behind me
to see you
reading on the summer porch
with me

Oh, my E. A bedtime snapshot

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Oh, my E.

E is finishing second grade, and almost every night he is up later than his older brother and sister. While I tuck them in, he is in his room with legos or a book.  This week he is listening to Endling: The Last. (Great book, please read!)

When I walk into his room to tell him it’s time for bed, and he tells me he’s almost done with the chapter. “2 minutes!”

Of course, I let him finish his chapter. This is a week spot for me.

Time to clean your room. I'm reading. Ok.
Time for bed. I'm reading. Ok.
We aren't buying anything at the store. How about this book? Ok.

Once his chapter is over, he choses a Calm app sleep meditation, and we snuggle in. Some nights he falls asleep in just a few minutes, and other nights, we have a little chat.

Last night he had a few things to say:

“Mommy, if you are measuring something and it is exactly half, do you say the number before or after?”

. . . Nothing like a little rounding conversation with your 8 year old, at 9:45 at night. . . 

“Mommy? You might actually still be alive when I’m 60! You will be like 90, and 60 is actually kind of old. I mean, 80 is when people really start to get old. And wrinkly.”

. . . 

“Mommy? I wish it were my birthday.”

. . .

“You know how some people say Halloween is their favorite because they like the costumes? That’s not true. They like the candy. Halloween is my favorite because of the candy, I have to admit it.”

. . .

“What does relish mean?”

. . . I think I might be falling asleep at this point, but I manage a definition. . . 

“I relish relish!”

. . .

And moments later, he’s asleep.

Oh, my E.

 

 

 

On the Deck, Just E and Me: A slice of life

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

I’m on the deck, just E and me. Our dinner was rushed, and I notice that the chair pillow is indeed wet from the rain a few days ago. It had just needed time to soak into my pants.

But still, I sit there, just taking a minute before clearing the table. I’m just taking a minute.

I look at E’s 8-year old foot, scooched under his butt as he eats a few chips. The bottoms of his toes are barely visible, and the bottom of his foot has a perfect wrinkle.

“This is what I notice?” I think. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I notice, what I’m thinking behind what I’m thinking, what I want to remember.

Yes. This is what I notice. I want to remember this foot, scrunched and wrinkled. I want to remember this foot, bare on a finally hot spring evening.

I get up to clear the table and E asks me, “Why do you look kinda sad, momma?”

“I’m not sad.” I say.

And later I will wonder if I should have taken that teachable moment to talk about being contemplative.

Or, maybe I should have just taken another minute on the deck, just E and me.

 

Dear Past, Dear Future

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I’m celebrating with Ruth Ayres today! 

 

Dear Past Me,

One day the preschool boy who loves science will absolutely perfect the vegan oatmeal raisin cookie. He will make these while you write (ok, and fall asleep) on the couch, before he makes chocolate chip cookies with his younger brother.

You will still have many messes to clean up in the kitchen, but everyone knows that oatmeal raisin cookies make cleaning up easier.

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Dear Future Me,

There was at least one Sunday where you fell asleep on the couch. Your 11 year old made you vegan cookies, and the dog slept next to you. You decided not to care about the shoes all over, and the dirty dishes that multiply by the minute. Your 8 year old watched Pokemon, and you reminded yourself that it was Sunday (translation: chill out).

There might have been glitter on the kitchen floor, slime supplies piled on the counter and a cone on the dog’s head. . . but there were also cookies, a puppy, and naps.

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With Gratitude and Celebration,

Current Me.

#sol18 March 30 Just a couple slices

Slice of LIfe   

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

The woman at the Dollar Spot at Target was on her phone, talking about the price of the bag of Easter Eggs. I wasn’t really paying attention until she said. “Wait. Are you talking plastic eggs or real eggs? Oh. I was talking plastic eggs.”

And I had to jot it down on my phone notes, because that’s a slice of life.

I picked the shortest line at Wegmans to buy my handful of items. The woman in front of me was all rung up, but then I noticed she was patting down her purse, her pockets, her purse again. I was slowly starting to pay attention as she said, ” I must have left my card at Target. Can you suspend that sale?” As the cashier put on her flashing light and called a manager over to help, I looked at the total. $9.76. I wondered if I should just pay her bill to speed things up.

Instead, I jotted it down on my phone notes, because that’s a slice of life.

At home, L and I hung out with the kittens until, be still my beating heart, she asked me if I wanted to go downstairs and do some bullet journal sketches with her. Soon the dining room table was full of markers and pens. We sketched banners and stick people, and cactus planters. Because, why not? It’s fun even though her sketches are so much better than mine!

I didn’t get my phone out, so I just repeated the phrase in my head. “Want to go down and do some bullet journal sketching with me?” because that’s a slice of life.

 

#sol18 March 29 A slice of time

Slice of LIfe   

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

Time. Remember time? I used to clean the kitchen after my babies were asleep for the night. I’d pick projects to do, or shows to watch, or both!

I noticed today, once again, that my kitchen is always a mess. Someone mentioned to me that they are out like a light around 8:30 every night because they are so tired. Hours later, I was still reflecting on my internal reaction to this proclamation. I had blamed my children, albeit in my head, for my never going to bed on time. But, honestly, I’ve never been able to go to bed on time.

Time. Remember time? I used to sit on my bedroom floor and listen to cassette tapes over and over again, until I had the lyrics memorized. “Tropical the island breeze/ All of nature wild and free/ This is where I long to be/ La isla bonita. . . “

When I plug my phone in my car, my music starts playing alphabetically. This drives me crazy, but sometimes I don’t take the time to skip through, or put it on shuffle, or pick an actual album I’d like to listen to from my library. I love my Hamilton, but I’ve listened to Aaron Burr, Sir a few too many times. (And then yes, The Adams Administration…and then, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that the next “song” is always Air Conditioner – Loopable with no fade.) 

Time. Remember time? I used to get bored. I’d sit in my room, bored.

I read today that phones are a distraction even when they are off. When I’m waiting for something, I pick up my phone. Sometimes I read my book on my kindle app, sometimes I check facebook, sometimes I write an email. The time is gone in a jiffy. I am not bored.

Time. Remember time? I used to sit and think, or get into bed and dream up stories and plans. Sometimes it took over an hour for me to fall asleep!

Tonight, I tucked in all three kids, and fell asleep twice. I’ve gone to bed 2 times already tonight, and I haven’t thought one dream, one story or one plan.

Time. Remember time?

#sol18 March 26 A slice of Someday Maybe

Slice of LIfe   

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

Someday you might be the mom racing into school right on time. Maybe your kids will drag their feet,  maybe it will be you. Maybe a combination. Maybe nobody will listen the first few times you say it’s time to pack their lunches, get their shoes, put away the iPad they aren’t even supposed to have out in the morning… Maybe nobody will listen the fifth time you say it either. Maybe nobody will ever listen to you again.

Someday you might be the mom who uses your lunch break to walk the dog, make some popcorn for lunch, and stuff your kids’ karate things into bags before heading back to school. Maybe popcorn for lunch will seem normal to you.

Someday you might be the mom racing out of school, 8 year old racing along with you. Maybe you’ll have to pick up your 9th grader and somehow get to your 11 year old’s volleyball tournament at the high school. Maybe it will be next to impossible for you to park. Maybe you’ll be stuck behind buses, have to turn around on a side street, and then be stuck behind more buses. Maybe you’ll park just as a high school student gets to his car. Maybe he’ll open his doors, blocking your daughter in her seat. Maybe you’ll have to smile and ask him to move.

Someday you might be the mom getting your kids to karate half an hour late. Maybe the volleyball tournament went a little longer than you had planned for. Maybe your kids were starving after that so you had to stop for a quick snack. Maybe little containers of apples and pretzels will be the healthiest thing you can get them. Maybe your kids will bicker in the car, and beg to not have to even go to Karate because they are tired, sick, late anyway. Maybe you’ll drink too much seltzer water, maybe you’ll find a parking space, maybe you won’t.

Someday you might be the mom stopping by your own parents’ house after the first karate class. Maybe you’ll have your youngest with you. Maybe you’ll let him use your phone to play a game. Maybe when you mom says, “What can I get you?” You’ll say “What are you offering?” Maybe you’ll eat her homemade vegan chili without feeling guilty. Maybe you’ll have a secret wish that your parents had a homemade soup delivery service.

Someday you might be the mom who fails the early bedtime almost every night. Maybe you’ll be the mom who snuggles each kid, plus the dog, and then the kittens. Maybe you’ll stick to your no snacks after the kids go to bed, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll catch up on your work when the house is quiet, maybe you’ll finish your dystopian book. Maybe you’ll go to bed on time, or maybe you’ll play with the kittens first.

Who knows!

#sol18 March 25 A sunny Sunday celebration slice (from my chair)

Slice of LIfe  celebrate-image 

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! I’m also celebrating with Ruth Ayres today! 

I sit to write at a sunny window. It’s quiet-ish around here, and I look around. From my chair, I see some lovely Sunday celebrations. I see…

H sitting next to me, his mini paper towels are complete, and he’s working on his mini Harry Potter Book. He sits chatting and singing Into the Woods songs, making miniatures.

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Finn,  somehow still downstairs, not staring at the the bedroom door trying to sniff out the kittens. He sees something outside and leaps to our rescue. I don’t know what it was. A bird? A neighbor? A leaf? We will never know.

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E,  drawing monsters in the kitchen. He has pages and pages of creative monsters he’s drawn. They have strengths, weights, evolutions, and awesome names. So many details, so much color.

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Things don’t stay the way they are for long. That’s the only thing that’s constant around here: Change.

E was frustrated with his pictures, he’s taking a break from his coloring. H is done with this miniature book, he’s searching for his next project. Finn is finally tired out enough to rest on his couch in the sun. (As he should be, since I took him out for a 2 hour walk…) And that, friends, is something to truly celebrate.

 

#sol18 March 24 Before That… Kitten Edition

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

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Home to slice, before I go hang out with my dog, and then snuggle the new kittens.

Before that, we went out to dinner. I confess, I mostly wanted to go to get a little break from our dog, Finnegan whining about the new kittens.

 

Before that, we spent time trying to get Finnegan to calm down at the closed door where the kittens were playing.

Before that, I took Finn on an hour walk, hoping to tire him out a little.

Before that, Finnegan was crying at the door and straining at his leash to see those kittens.

Before that, we had the dog sniff the carrier holding a fluffy orange and white kitten. He stared a little, whined a little, and lunged a little. Fluffy kitten didn’t care — Didn’t even flinch.

Before that, we took the tiny tabby kitten in her carrier towards the house. Finn sniffed, and the cat hissed. She was scared!

Before that, we drove 2 kittens home from the shelter.

Before that, we sat at the shelter deciding. We knew we wanted the orange and white cat, but the little tabby sat on my chest, all curled in. She was purring.

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Before that, we walked in. The kids went to the orange and white fluffy cat they knew they wanted. A little tiny tabby cat stared up at me, so I picked her up.

Before that, the shelter volunteers told us two cats was better than one, and that it didn’t matter if we got one later.

Before that, we took our one pet carrier out of the car and walked into the shelter. We only needed one. Because we were only getting one kitten. The orange and white fluffy one.

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Before that, the pet supply store people told us that we should get one cat now and two cats later, rather than two cats now and one cat later.

Before that, I took a deep breath, reminded the kids that it was going to be a lot of work training Finnegan to ignore any new kittens.

Before that, the kids did so many things to remind me that they needed kittens. I didn’t argue. I  need cats in my life too!

Before that, I saw a quote online. “Sometimes the best way to honor the life of the pet you lost is to save another. . . Don’t wait too long, a shelter animal is waiting for you…”

Before that, we were a home without cats for the first time in a long time.

Before that, Susie passed away.

Before that, Billy passed away.