Category Archives: Family

A slice of the Eye-roll

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

A Slice of the Eye-roll

She rolls her eyes – just a flick upwards. She’s so mad.

Grabs the paper from me. She’s so mad.

Get’s in the elevator. She’s so mad.

It looks like she is going to stand facing the corner, but she turns around and I laugh and tell her “I thought you were so mad you were going to go stand in the corner.”  

It’s always worth a try at a little joke.

She laughs, but quickly. Like a groan. She’s so mad.

She says, “You didn’t ask me if I wanted to go.”

I say, “You’re right.”

She’s so mad.

But the elevator keeps going on its short trip.

Ding.

We’re there, we walk in and she starts filling out paperwork. She’s so mad.

Jams the pen to the paper, scribbles notes.

Rolls her eyes like a teenager, yes.

But also tantrums like a very quiet toddler.

Then a service dog walks by. He’s adorable, decides to nap.

She takes a break from being mad. Because, dog.

“I know what I’ll do whenever you are really mad at me!” I say. “I’ll just bring a puppy with me! Or flash a picture of a dog. Then I know you’ll smile.”

She rolls her eyes again, but this time with the smile still on her face.

This eye roll is friendlier, it has humor.

 

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A Slice of Halloween Eve

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

I’m trying to attach a pokemon to the sleave of my third-grade son’s shirt. This should be an easy task, and I’m struggling more than I care to admit.

I’m sure it’s because I’m trying to do it with a piece of ribbon and 2 safety pins. It’s all I could find when I was searching for solutions in my craft closet. My mom would probably whip out a needle and some embroidery floss and go to town. There’s simply no comparison between my mom’s arts, crafts and patience, and mine. Also, she has tools and knows where to find them!

My childhood Halloweens were full of handmade costumes – some sewn, some put together with what we had around the house, and always fun and creative. You would think I would have a little more Halloween craftiness. Instead, I encourage kids to be something they can buy in the store, or easily put together.

It’s times like these, when the pokemon keeps tipping over,  that I realize my own kids deserve to have my mom, and then I realize that they do and that she’s only 20 minutes away. However, I’m sure my mom wouldn’t appreciate a late night visit to solve this Halloween craft dilemma. So, I take a deep breath and retry my ribbon and safety pin strategy. I hope that tomorrow the pin doesn’t come out, poke him, or otherwise self-destruct.

Finally finished with that, I turn to my 6th-grade son. “Can you make me the headset to go with my costume?” I ask.

And, he does.

He goes upstairs, collects tools (from his toolbox, of course) and gets to work.

Tomorrow morning before school, my daughter will help my youngest spray paint his hair for his costume parade, just like she helped him with crazy-hair day today.

Thank goodness I have these kids of mine, thank goodness they have each other. Thank goodness the craftiness and patience didn’t disappear — it just skipped a generation!

 

 

A slice of Harry Potter

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

 

I really had to pee, but I knew I’d be home soon so I didn’t run into my friend’s house when I dropped her off.

“Is this going to be a problem?” I asked myself as I drove home. I had been gone for 2 days, so sometimes it’s hard to run right in and go straight for the bathroom. But, my kids are older now, and I knew they’d understand.

I pulled into the garage, grabbed my bags as quickly as I could, and wondered why the dog wasn’t at the window wagging his tail.

As soon as I walked in the house, I noticed something was wrong. The lights were low, the dog didn’t greet me at the door – he was harnessed and held.

Then the music started, and the kids began their Harry Potter performance.

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It was a very intricate performance.

It depicted all 7 books.

There were letters floating in the fireplace, fake smoke, wands, a broom, Quidditch, a Hogwarts Express Trolly stocked with actual candy, and even Voldemort. There were individual candles crafted with tubes, hot glue, and paint. There was even a Deathly Hallows garland strung on the fireplace. A Deathly Hallows garland!

 

I watched the whole thing. I clapped, I hugged. I admired the hard work.

And then, I ran to the bathroom.

 

Slice of Life: The night of homework, the dog, and a little bit of quiet

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

I’ve helped everyone start their homework, and I’ve taken the dog out. He tricked me though and didn’t pee. He just ominously stared into the darkness behind my house. I think he knows just how to freak me out.

Or, he knows something I don’t know about the forest back there.

My house is quiet now. The sophomore is doing her Art History homework, the third-grader is reading a Captain Underpants book. The 6th grader finished his reading (Good Dog) so I think he’s doing scratch or very quiet youtube. It’s quiet though, so instead of checking on him, I write. (I should teach a parenting class, no?)

Did I mention that my house is quiet now?

The dog can sense the quiet so he does his little growl-bark. Again.

“We’ve been through this, Finn.” I tell him.

“If you are lying, I’m going to be mad.” I say as I get up and put my shoes on, open the door and take him out.

He sniffs around. Again. I have to shine the flashlight because if I don’t, that’s when he will find a toad, chase a toad, try to eat a toad, and (hopefully) spit out a toad. I just don’t want to end my night by prying a toad out of my dog’s jaws. Please.

Finn slowly starts towards the back of the house again, and I wonder if maybe this is my small moment of the day; the dog sniffs, the dog barks, the dog is a liar and doesn’t have to pee. “Wow,” I think, “my life is super exciting!” A new thought creeps in though.  I hope my story doesn’t get too exciting, too scary, too interesting. I don’t need a skunk, or a  bear or an intruder.

“What if I can’t even finish writing my slice because I get attacked out here while my kids are inside doing their homework?” (I knew I didn’t like homework)

This thought is interrupted by Finn finally finding a spot to do his business.

Inside, it’s still quiet, but now it’s bedtime. Wish me luck.

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.