Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Break Has Sprung

It's Friday! While for me that means many wonderful things, for you it is a great opportunity to visit Dad Blogs and read some great posts at Fatherhood Friday.

Spring may have sprung a week ago, but more celebrated by far is the fact that starting today spring break has sprung. It is the little taste of summer before the real thing descends in force, the teaser that makes the last 9 weeks of school without a single break drag-on like the responsibility lecture your parents gave you as a teen. Here in Sunnyville this spring break is different from the many that have come before. It seems unclear how things will play out, plans may require altering and previously planned activities are now seeming precarious. The culprit? Weather.

Though I have spent the very long winter biting my tongue, largely for fear of being lynched by those of you suffering snowstorms, the time has come for an airing of Sunnyville's unusual weather. Down here in the US jungle, there are predictable patterns. It is DRY in the winter, it rains daily in the summer which is really convenient if you like to take a sauna on your lunch hour. Sweaters are almost obsolete as they are worn for roughly 2 weeks of the year, and what a waste of closet space that is. Camping and outdoor activities are pursued with gusto in the spring. It is hot enough to swim and predictably sunny. But not this year. 

This winter has sent parents scrambling for coats and long sleeved shirts to outfit children who chafe at the mere mention of jeans. In an effort to remain upbeat I reminded myself and my children many times it would be only too soon that they would be sweating and wishing for a cool breeze. But painting an upbeat attitude about rain in March? That is beyond even my Pollyanna abilities. 

And now we are faced with the dilemma of our traditional mom & kids camping excursion. Last year we were sweating and swimming. This year they may or may not have opened the spring run because the Manatees are still huddling for warmth. Last year there wasn't a cloud in the sky, this year there exists a 30% chance of rain! Teen says not to worry, they will find plenty to do. I am sure Teen and her friends will. It is my sister, her kids, my younger kids, and me I am worried about! Note to self: pack plenty of crafts, games, and beer.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mood Elevator

It's Fatherhood Friday. So (as soon as you have posted a comment for me!) click the link and read some wonderful insights by some great people.

You know those moments. The times when kids are more like demon-spawn than the precious little bundles of joy you proudly held soon after birth. You're last nerve has been worked upon and you are just crabby. You think to yourself, why do I bother - no one seems grateful or to even notice you are alive.

Of course, these things have never happened to you. But perhaps you have read about them or seen them on TV. 

I think Hubby may have found the perfect fix to times such as these. While I lounged moody and brooding upon the couch last night, he began by attempting conversation. I was pleasant, but he could tell the irritations of the day hadn't gone peacefully to sleep with the children. He asked what he could do, and I hesitated. After all the guy had only just sat down after working and taking Teen et al to the gym and doing his own workout and then taxi service. I know he was tired too. But eventually it came out. 

I wanted cheesecake. Something we do NOT keep in the house (it's taboo - like cookies, cake, and donuts) So, he said no problem. He checked to be sure there was nothing else needed around the house and then he left. Returning with a bit of heaven in a package. I had a slice while he ate his late dinner and we visited while we both ate. My mood was indeed improved.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Morning Adventure

The stress-free testing day morning plan was coming together perfectly. We were cruising along at a fair clip. Teen had been dropped at school, Boy and Youngest were dressed and ready. 

Garbage had been taken to the curb for collection. Simple lunches were packed and ready. Dogs were watered, fed, and in the yard. It was 5 full minutes before necessary departure time and we were heading out the door. 

Relishing in the glory of a well orchestrated morning, I climbed into the car.

As I shifted the van into reverse, everything changed. Darting out from an unknown escape route, Ollie the Springer Spaniel bolted into the drive. Cajoling, holding the car door, begging and swearing in turns I attempted to lure the beast into the van. Up and down the street he capered, looking back to beckon us to continue the game. 

After 10 minutes of torture I was forced to make an executive decision. I left. Soothing the kids with thoughts that he may return home on his own while my mind insisted he would suffer the fate of countless 'possums I headed to an errand that needed running before school. Guilt won. With errand complete and time ticking away, we headed home to put the other dogs inside, in case Ollie passed on his escapist tricks. 

As we neared home definitely not early or relaxed anymore, six sharp eyes looked toward houses for our Houdini dog. With a sigh and no knowledge of Ollie's whereabouts, I cut through the house to let the dogs in. Of course upon opening the door the first dog to spring into the view was our escapist, Ollie. Springers are a lovable, loyal breed but they require the security of Fort Knox.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pride & Laughter

Children offer parents many opportunities to feel like banging their heads against a wall is a good idea frustration and pride. I know many parents who are proud of the choices their children make, who beam with joy at sporting functions, and who shine at school activities. These parents will proudly point out their child among the throng of youngsters and beam with love.

I also know many parents who are extremely judgmental of other kids. Catching a quick glance at outward appearances and passing a verdict on said youngster's future, parents, and overall emotional state. Though frequently unfair, these judgments are a fact of society.

Being a not-made-for-TV family, on any given day my kids may provide any combination of the above scenarios. In order to keep our sanity somewhat intact, Hubby and I glory in and laugh at what others may see as negatives.

Just recently Teen played in an orchestra fund raising concert at a chain steak house. Due to the relaxed atmosphere, the kids were decked out in their polo shirts and jeans. They were neat and presentable, said Teen included. Wherever she may be, Teen has an individuality that sets her apart and offers parents many opportunities to tsk-tsk, while I am fascinated by her independent nature. As we listened and watched I pointed out to Hubby that he was parent to the only child with an unnatural hair color in the entire orchestra. Hubby's response was that "we-won-pull-your-fist-back" gesture accompanied by an enthusiastic "YES!"

 (note the cellist with the blue hair)

Then it happened that there was a dreaded teacher-email in my inbox yesterday. When your child's name is the subject line, you can bet there is a problem. So it was with sinking stomach and tightening nerves that I read through the pleasantries to the meat of the problem. Seems Boy is having difficulties with one of his 5th grade teachers. His response to his frustration  was the source of the problem. (see excerpt below)

He got mad at Ms. "X" on Wednesday and wrote an restraining order against her.  This is what it said:
        Mrs. "X" must stay at least ten feet away from "Boy"  forever or "Boy" has the right to sue Mrs. "X" for everything she owns.  signed:  "Boy."
Well, he asked me to sign one and I refused after trying to talk with him.  Unfortunately, he made two of them and gave Mrs "X" one.

For many parents this would be mortifying. For me, not so much. The issue with the teacher aside, I felt a warming sense of hilarity. So much in fact, that I shared it with coworkers, Hubby, and sisters. I mean heck, anyone can get angry, but it takes a special gift to write an injunction!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday's Thoughts

It is Thursday and while that means nothing special to many, it provides me a brain-download opportunity in the form of Thursday's thoughts.

1. This is my 101st post. It took over a year to post 100 blogs...I seem to be lacking regularity.
2. While I don't enjoy a messy house, I do endorse a well-used home. So, I am trying to refrain from freaking-out when all the girls are over playing rock band after school.
3. State testing is a bit like mass-hysteria. You don't want to panic, but you see others and wonder why you feel calm. Next the kids feel stress and then the parents succumb. So you wonder. Should I cram something else? Why am I relaxed?
4. When I walk into the gym at 5 am I want to know what all those people are so chipper about. Do they not know they should be home in bed?
5. Due to an unending chill in the air, I have been granted many opportunities to wear this wonderful scarf given to be by Nonna. Love the colors! But wish I could pack it away now.

Now, I need to go cram more knowledge into 7th grade brains before the test next week!