Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What is May Day, Anyway? I've Got You Covered.

courtesy parentella.com

So yesterday I was Facebook-chatting with a fellow-mom friend from another state, and it came to my attention that she, too, was in the dark about May Day and May baskets. So of course I schooled her. Every year I write here about May Day and every year someone says, "What the heck are you talking about?"

It seems not everyone was lucky enough to live in an area of the country where May baskets are a normal party of May 1st each year.

But you are lucky! Because it's not May 1st yet. And I'm here to teach you about May Day. So if you've got little kidlets in your house, and you want to do something fun, festive, and kind to celebrate the arrival of spring tomorrow, you still have time.

As I've written in the past, when I was growing up in northern Minnesota, it was a tradition every May 1st to deliver homemade May baskets to the doorsteps of our neighborhood friends, ring the bell, and then run away before they could see who had left the surprise. We always used flowered Dixie cups for the baskets, used pipe cleaners to make handles, and filled them with popcorn and perhaps a few candies (see above).

More creative and/or health-conscious types fill their baskets with paper or real flowers (which I believe is the original tradition).

images courtesy skiptomylou.org and mayday2013.com

While I'd like to say that we deliver flowers to our friends on May Day, my children and I actually fill our "baskets" with things like candy, Goldfish cracker packs, and fruit snacks. And I admit, in my circle, May baskets have morphed from the very simple Dixie-cup-and-popcorn of my youth to, often (not always), more extravagant versions that sometimes feature, in addition to sweets, such treasures as sidewalk chalk, bubbles, or a pretty hair clip or two. Seriously!

Anyway, today is April 30th, so the girls and I will be making May baskets tonight. Sometime after school and playtime with friends tomorrow, we'll go delivering. We generally get caught, because we have strayed (as have our friends) from the original tradition of keeping May basket delivery a neighborhood thing, and we actually drive around town to some of our closest friends who live farther away. Of course, they see our car. Oh well! It's still fun.

There you have it. You still have time to run to the store today for Dixie cups and candy, make "baskets" tonight with your kiddos, and participate in May Day tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe you'll start a new tradition in your neighborhood! Have fun!

(p.s. The radio just said it may snow up to six inches in southern MN--where I live--in a couple days. If that happens, I will seriously cry right into my May basket.)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Life is So Much Better With Sun, Spring, and the Perfect Wedge Slingbacks.

You guys! Life is so weird. Last Tuesday, this was the scene in my backyard:

On Friday after school, this was the scene in my backyard:

By Sunday, we were at the park with a bunch of friends enjoying our first Sunday Picnic Dinner of the season, wearing shorts and t-shirts in near-80-degree weather. What the? I do hear that by Wednesday or Thursday of this week, it's supposed to be in the low 40s with a chance of a rain/snow mix. Since we are now all completely wedded to our spring/summer wardrobes and a normal level sunshine-related feel-good chemicals circulating in our brains, that forecast can officially suck it.

The weekend was fabulous. Saturday, especially, was likely the best Saturday I have had in months if not YEARS. That is what happens when you finally get warm spring weather after five to six months of cold/snow/winter/etc.: it makes life seem so off-the-charts fantastic that you run around feeling like you've won the lottery, found the perfect pair of jeans, and discovered a magical way to make cookie dough calorie-free all in the same day. Believe me, when spring is four to six weeks late and your kids have been wearing boots and snowpants for five months straight, any semblance of good weather takes on a level of wonderfulness all out of proportion to how you would normally experience it.

Weekend highlights: We bought a boatload more (mostly children's) books at our town's used-book sale. We played baseball in the backyard. We went for frozen yogurt at CherryBerry, hella yum. We went to the aforementioned picnic at the park with a bunch of BFFs.

OH AND DID I MENTION? I went up to the Arboretum--you know, my trail-running happy place?--on Sunday morning with the plan of walking a bit just to check out trail conditions: snow? ice? mud? flooded?, and discovered the trails were DRY AND RUNNABLE. Holy ecstatic moment of pure joy. I was practically levitating with happiness. I texted photos to my husband (I couldn't convince my family to come with me, they were too busy playing Uno and making pancakes and whatnot). I emailed my best friend who does not text. From the Arb. On my phone.

I got a little bit excited.

And if that didn't top off the best weekend ever, I also convinced my husband to let me order these wedge sandals, for which I have been DYING, for my Mother's Day present. (THANK YOU, HONEY! I know you do not understand women and cute shoes.)

Lands' End sandals

I have no idea why this photo is all crazy here. It looks perfectly fine when I preview the post. Sorry!

I told him my life would not be complete without these shoes. They are originally $59 but if I ordered them by Wednesday, I could get 40% off and free shipping, you all! I got them for $35! That is a steal. Especially since, in my experience, Land's End stuff is very high-quality and lasts forever. I am SO. EXCITED. They'd better fit, because if they don't I'll have to go on the lookout for a knockoff pair somewhere.

OK. Sorry. This post is probably interesting to no one but me. And it has little to nothing to do with mothering or stay-at-home parenting or even, really, children. I'll try to pull myself together later this week. Have a wonderful Monday, friends.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Five (or Three) Things

I read a few blogs that do this "quick takes" sort of thing on a particular day--you know, just five or seven or eight little blurbs about different things. I have no idea if it's usually five, and if it's usually on Friday, because I have zero brain cells left in the memory area of my brain you may recall, but it seemed like a good way to mention five random thoughts that in no way go together but with which I am preoccupied right now. So here you go.

* So, as seems to happen every single March-April, I appear to have become a bit overindulgent in sweets as the winter dragged on, and therefore quite maddeningly have a little more junk in my trunk than I did awhile back. (I hate that phrase "junk in my trunk," don't you? It's not really funny anymore. But it's a much more fun way to describe the situation than the depressing, "My rear is bigger than it used to be." Am I wrong?) And, in my Firefox bookmarks menu, I have not only all my favorite blogs but a boatload of recipes that I want to try someday and whose online location I don't want to forget. The other day I suddenly wondered if part of my sweets problem might be the fact that one of the blogs I check the most frequently is listed in my drop-down menu between "Peppermint Bark Milkshake" and "Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt." Literally, every time I go to Camp Patton, I see those two recipe names. This can't be good, can it? The subliminal sugar-pushing?

* Today is Genevieve's 1st-grade all-day field trip to the Minnesota Zoo. It's supposed to be sunny and 68 degrees today. On Monday-Tuesday it snowed 7 or 8 inches. This turn of affairs is nothing short of a miracle. All praise the gods of field trip weather.

* I am reading Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. Clearly this woman has secretly spied on my family since Genevieve's birth, because she is writing about Genevieve. Really. Every word. Genevieve. WHY did I not know about/pay attention to/listen to recommendations regarding/read this book when Genevieve was a year and a half? This advice and wisdom could have helped me for the past five years.

Kurcinka describes "spirited children" as those who are BORN more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, emotional and challenging. She says that their "terrible twos don't end," but rather "go on forever." She says that traditional advice to parents that these children's tantrums and wails just be "ignored" is "ridiculous and useless," because these children can scream for hours. She says these are the children who sometimes scream for an hour or two at bedtime every night for years. She says these children can go from elated to furious and screaming in seconds, experience moods physically and emotionally far more intensely than typical children, and have tantrums that often seem to come "out of nowhere," about the tiniest, most insignificant (to us) things.

They're not all hyperactive, overly energetic, or extroverted; some of them are intensely cautious about new situations; negative and solemn much of the time--and sometimes also very quiet--especially with people they don't know well; easily overwhelmed when they've been stimulated by outside activities, groups of people, or social situations and therefore prone to meltdowns at those times (or right after them). Many spirited children are super-perceptive of environmental stimulation and therefore wake to the slightest noise, never sleep in the car, have great difficulty learning to sleep at different places like a hotel or Grandma's house, and could never, EVER fall asleep in a noisy place such as the middle of a party or on the couch surrounded by family activity. All of this by nature and temperament. 

UM, GENEVIEVE. Genevieve, Genevieve, Genevieve.

You can't imagine my sense of validation and relief in reading this book. Actually, if you are Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, you can, because she says in the book that hundreds of parents over the years have said those exact words to her upon reading this book. (It is quite a famous book and has been revised, updated, and reissued a few times.)

Oh my goodness, that was NOT a "quick take." Sorry. Let's make this post just three things on Friday. I'm sure you've read enough by now, if you're still even reading, which you're probably not unless you are my mother.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Digging Out

Well, no surprise, we survived our ten zillionth snow day. Because what else are you gonna do?

The day started out looking like this:

But before too long it looked like this, a sky-blue-and-white wonderland like something from the "January" page of a nature-photography calendar:

We baked.

We played in the snow for nearly three hours straight. (And by "we," I mean "they.")

We watched a lot of cartoons. (Because on the zillionth snow day for the winter--when it's loooong supposed to have been spring--this may be integral to the mental health of a stay-at-home mom.)

And then yesterday the sun came out, it eventually got up to a hard-won 49 degrees, the kidlets went back to school, and life got back to normal.

Well, semi-normal. I have decided to take a week or so off from running--from all exercise, actually. I'm so burned out on running the asphalt streets around my house. In a typical year, I could easily have been back running my beloved trails for a month by now, my real running place:

images courtesy carleton.edu and thoos.com

As it is, I haven't seen the Arboretum trails for five full months. They are full of snow, ice, mud, and floodwater. And even though the sun is out and the snow is melting, I just can't summon the motivation to pound the house-lined streets of my neighborhood anymore. I'm used to solitude, peace, privacy, and nature when I run. Instead, five months of town running is testing my gumption and enthusiasm (which aren't winning).

It is what it is. Once or twice a year I go through a week or few when I'm burned out and stop exercising completely for awhile. Then I magically get excited about it again, and return to my usual routine with gusto. I'm assuming that's what will happen this time too. One thing I'm always amazed at when I take a break from working out is how much more time I have. It's crazy! There are huge chunks of my week that normally are filled with mileage and Jillian Michaels but are now empty. I use that term loosely. Of course they are filling up with things to do just like any other available time. But it's a nice change of pace, sort of.

In other news, yesterday I went to my town's annual used book sale. It's this HUGE fundraiser for the hospital, and it is famous. The entire ice arena is filled with tables of used books arranged by category, and they're mostly a dollar each. After three days, that goes down to half-price. Then on the last day of the sale, you can fill up a paper grocery bag for five dollars, whatever you can fit.

People donate used books to the sale during a designated week each spring. Volunteers go through them all and run the sale. It's truly incredible. And, in a town like mine, with two elite private colleges and tons and tons of hyper-literate professors and others, uh...there are a lot of books. Many of them GOOD books.

Honestly, I don't need many (any?) more books, so I usually avoid the sale. But this year a friend's comment about it changed my mind (she called the annual book sale her "happy place"), and I went. It was fantastic!

I found a parenting book I was waiting for at the library and a whole pile of books for my kiddos.

 So needed. So, SO needed.

I could have spent all afternoon and a ton of money there, but I stopped myself after an hour and came home with these. I'll probably go back tomorrow for half-price day. My daughters are voracious readers and go through books like water, then read them over and over and over again because we can't keep enough "new" books around.

Oh, and I also found this:


WHO in their right mind would give away my book?!? Aren't they going to keep it forever and hand it down to their children??! Just kidding, you all. I got a good laugh out of it and texted this photo to my husband and my best friend. At least there was only one copy there! Ha!

And that's all my news. I know, my life is somewhat pedestrian. Guess what? That's EXACTLY how I like it. Minus the snow, snow, snow, and snow.

Cheers! Love you. Bye.

p.s. By Saturday it's supposed to be in the mid-70s. Yes. We will have been in parkas and shorts in the same location within the same week. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Great. Terrible. Just Fine. Horrifying.

I know I've linked to this before, but I just can't help doing so again, because this pretty much sums up Spring 2013 in my house/brain/life lately. And it makes me chuckle every single time I see it.

Clearly This is the End Times.

*Edited to add: After the post below was written, another automated phone call came from the school district, CLOSING SCHOOL ALTOGETHER FOR THE DAY. Is 7 a.m. too early to start drinking?

It's April 23rd. School is once again delayed due to a snowstorm--just two school days after the last snowstorm school delay. I can't even recall how many snow days this is for the year so far, let alone the number we've had since "spring" arrived. This is what it looked like outside my window when I got up this morning:

This is what it is supposed to look at this time of year:

via Northfied News

This is what I look like:


This is what my kidlets look like on a snow-day morning:

Awww, aren't they cute?

Although truth be told, even my children are tired of snow.

Monday, April 22, 2013

If I Wanted Snow Until May I Would Live in the Upper Peninsula.

There are no words. Therefore, I have nothing to write. I'll get back to you. Maybe in July.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Beautiful and Terrible

 This is not mine. It is from Glennon at Momastery.

Such important, soul-soothing words for this week. Read it again.

Here is the world. (Get ready; jump in.)

Beautiful and terrible things will happen. (It is a given.)

Don't be afraid. (Love has always won in the end, and it always will. Look for the good.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stay Strong and Carry On.

Oh friends, it's been a tough week. Winter remains where I live (it's still freezing cold, it's been snowing and sleeting, we're currently under a Winter Weather Advisory), if you can believe that, and there was a terrible, deadly bombing in Boston. (Scary fact: my daughters' BFF's dad ran the marathon and left the finish line area mere minutes before the explosions occurred.) And then the Senate blocked the legislation for gun-sales background checks. What is the world coming to? I am sitting here in the blue glow of my lightbox trying valiantly to carry on. I have been reading Glennon's book and chanting in my head, "Love wins, love wins, love wins."

And yet. It's just a few weeks till Mother's Day. Which means that if you are thinking at all about mamas or mamas-to-be that you know and considering Mother's Day gift options, I would like to humbly remind you that, particularly if the mom in question has children under, say, six or so (although moms of older kids seem to like it too) and if she is a stay-at-home mom or plans to someday be one (although several working moms tell me they love it too), my book The Essential Stay-at-Home Mom Manual: How to Have a Wondrous Life Amidst Kids and Chaos might be the perfect gift. It's a nonfiction, part self-help book-part motherhood memoir, based on this blog and using my role as a clinical health psychologist to help moms live happier and healthier lives. It's less than ten dollars on Amazon! Moms seem to like it. I've had dozens of moms email me or come up to me at readings or later on to tell me they saw themselves in it, found comfort in it, laughed at it and teared up at it and used it and bought it for their sisters, friends, cousins, sisters-in-law. Just a suggestion.

I'm sorry to self-promote during such a somber week. But I'm realistic and I know that some of you are Mother's Day shopping already. If you buy my book, I thank you to my core. If not, that's fine too. I still love you and hope you come back here to read.

Stay strong, mamas. Or, carry on, warriors.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't Look Outside. Just Eat This Cake Instead.

Over the weekend someone in our house had a birthday. So of course, a decadent homemade deep dark chocolate layer cake with vanilla buttercream icing was needed. Which means little hands helping to decorate.

decorating Daddy's birthday cake

I won't say exactly, but this birthday was a particularly momentous one. Julia even told Daddy that he now has white hairs in his beard. I'm not sure that's true, but it was funny at the time.

We had friends over to help celebrate. This involved me feeding seven children, ages three to almost nine, accidentally large slabs of thickly iced cake festooned with M&Ms. With ice cream on the side. And then I sent five of those children home with their parents. Sorry, fellow parents. I hope the sugar crash wasn't too dramatic.

I am choosing to focus on the cheery topic of birthday fun rather than on the $%!@ weather we've been having, because the $%!@ weather has been so horrible that it is not possible to express the horribleness in words. I'm sorry, but SNOW and ICE and COLD TEMPERATURES and FROZEN GROUND COVERED IN SNOW (did I mention snow?) should NOT be happening in mid-April. No. Just no. No to the extended forecast that calls for MORE snow later this week. Everyone I know wants to strangle someone right about now, only we're not sure who. The weatherman? It's not his fault. God? Not possible.

Oops, looks like I talked about the $%!@ weather after all. Good thing later this week I am hosting a moms' coffee in honor of my BFF's birthday, because that means I will be making the homemade dark chocolate cake with the vanilla buttercream a second time. Twice in one week! Because if there was ever a week that called for cake, it's this one, in mid-April, when it's still winter outside.

Eat up!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Snowstorms and Style

Gah! Horrifying.

[Oops! Correction: the author of the Ain't No Mom Jeans blog (see below) does not currently live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; she grew up there and now lives elsewhere. Sorry! Still a strange coincidence.]

Yes. We had a snowstorm. It was more like a three-day snow event that started with buckets of pouring rain. It's not entirely over. My kids made a snowman yesterday after school. A BIG snowman. Let's just say the landscape outside would be beautiful if it were December. Ahem.

Because my week was lost in multiple days of bad weather and all that comes with it, I don't have much to deliver. So, how about I just tell you about a few fun sites you might like as much as I do, and I'll try to rally and come back here next week when life (hopefully?) gets back to normal.

Awhile back I discovered the VERY funny Camp Patton. It has quickly become one of my favorite daily reads. A gorgeous, adorable, super-stylish mama with an OB-GYN resident (i.e. working all hours of the day and night) husband and THREE BABIES UNDER THREE? That makes for some good material, friends. Add in Grace's hilarious writing voice and enviable personal style and you've got a winner. Check it out.

Camp Patton led me (I think) to Stethoscopes, Style, and Grace. This blog's author, Erika, is not yet a mom, but she is a married medical student who wants to be one someday. She, much like Grace above, has enviable style and great clothes. Erika and I have already bonded over our love of J. Crew Factory and the fact that she lives in the Upper Peninsula (Northern Michigan), where my husband grew up and some of his family still live. Now, the latter detail alone is interesting because very few people live in the Upper Peninsula. It is a frozen and isolated hinterland. But apparently it is not completely devoid of style and grace! Because look: Erika!

Somewhere in there I stumbled upon Ain't No Mom Jeans, a mama-style blog to which I have quickly become addicted despite the fact that its authors are clearly far younger, fresher, and prettier than I am. Seriously, ladies, how old are you?? You look like college students. I've envious. Anyway, this blog is a fab resource for the stylish mama (or the mama who wants to be). I think I've read the entire archives. The style here doesn't always match mine--I'm in my forties, remember, and my kiddos are no longer babies or toddlers, which, yes, DOES impact one's style choices--but overall it's adaptable, brilliant, and full of good rules of thumb when it comes to fit and style. Oh, and at some recent point I discovered that this blog's author also lives in UPPER MICHIGAN. In fact, the same town as Erika of Stethoscopes, Style, and Grace. What the? Has the U.P. suddenly become a hotbed of style blogging? I don't know, but it all makes for great reading, so...enjoy!

Happy weekend, you all! I hope it's spring where you are. At least one of us should be able to enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I Will Be Dragging Her There, I Promise You.

via kevinhenkes.com

Sure enough, I start talking about shorts and (on Facebook) wearing Minnetonka mocs with no socks again because it's spring now, and the weather service issues some kind of winter storm alert for later this week. What?? I just washed the kidlets' snowpants and packed them away in the upstairs closet. (A foolish, foolish move, on April 8th. I don't know what I was thinking.)

Let's change the subject. Snow in April is just too depressing.

So, yesterday a promotional brochure came in the mail from a children's theatre up in the city--the one where I took my kids last summer to see the little-kid version of Seussical (we all loved it). We can't go to the theatre very often, because tickets are very expensive, so I wasn't even going to look at the show schedule for 2013. But I grew up doing children's theatre and it still means a lot to me, so of course I couldn't help taking a peek.

I don't even know what all the shows are for the upcoming season, because once I saw the show slated for next September-October, I didn't even look at anything else. You guys, they're doing a stage version of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. Now maybe you're not familiar with the children's author Kevin Henkes (but you should be!). But in our house, he's a huge fave. I've loved his little mouse drawings since the girls were toddlers and we would check out his board books from the library. (Oh, that Sheila Rae and her peppermint stick.) When Julia was super-shy and nervous in preschool, her brilliant teacher read Wemberley Worried to her so many times that they both had it memorized. Both girls did "author studies" of Kevin Henkes in their classrooms during the first grade. Julia even wrote a fan letter to Kevin Henkes one time and got a bookmark in response.

I love all Kevin Henkes' books, but Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse is my favorite. In addition to perfectly capturing the complex emotions and often irrational reasoning of young children, the book offers one of the most colorful but also the most sensitive and thoughtful picture-book characters--with perhaps the wisest quote--of any I know. The beloved teacher Mr. Slinger, who says calmly and steadily (in a little folded-up note) to chagrined little Lilly, "Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better." This line has been repeated in our household--and in my own head--more times than I can count. (Later on, Lilly happily realizes, "Mr. Slinger was right: It had been a better day." Also a good reminder.)

I jumped up and down and told the girls about the play. Apparently Julia, at almost nine, has decided that picture books are beneath her, because she told me that sounded boring and if I was going to see Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse at the children's theatre, I'd be going by myself.

Excuse me? No way, little girl. You're never too old for the message that tomorrow will be a better day.

(So. Excited.) (Yay!)

Monday, April 08, 2013

Snuggle Bunny

image courtesy factory.j.crew.com 

So, as of last night, I am done solo-parenting for awhile. Christopher's flight got in at the girls' bedtime, which was a bit unfortunate, but that's okay. Get this: Not one, but TWO friends offered to pick him up at the airport for me, after I wrote about it on Facebook. This is a big deal, since we do not live in the city where the airport is located! Turns out I should have taken them up on it, since we didn't get back home until almost nine o'clock, when my daughters were whimpering about just wanting to be in bed already. But honestly, my Minnesotan Scandinavian Protestant upbringing just does not allow me to easily accept help when I am physically capable of doing something myself. I would have felt hella guilty making someone else drive two hours (or even one hour) in the dark in the rain for basically no reason. But doesn't this speak volumes about the amazing awesomeness of my friends and neighbors?! OMG!

While my husband was traveling, my daughters slept in our big king-sized bed with me. As some readers know, this isn't always the most restful, but I love it as much as they do. Vivi is the best cuddler when she is asleep. Julia mostly tosses and turns, but I still love having both my babes in one spot with me all night. It assuages my irrational mama-bear anxiety about something happening to my children in the night. Moms know what I mean.

One night when I was tucking the girls into my bed, Genevieve said, "Mama, I never notice when you come to bed because I'm asleep. But one time last night I woke up a little, and you had your arm over me, and I loved that because it made me feel so at home." She smiled contentedly with her eyes closed, and snuggled further down into my covers.

Couldn't you just die? I promise you, her first night sleeping in the dorms when she moves out for college, I'm going to be remembering that moment and crying my eyes out.

Spring is here. And while my legs might not quite be ready for them, I've decided on the yellow shorts. (I'm sure no one cares anymore.) The neon pink is just too....neon. Which is disappointing, but maybe I'll find a just-the-right-shade-of-pink, J.-Crew-knockoff pair at Target this summer or something. Believe me, the yellows are shockingly-bright enough. In the meantime, more running, less eating Oatmeal Carmelitas. (OMG! Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Are You Daring Me to Keep the Neon Pink Shorts??

 image courtesy factory.jcrew.com
in real life this color is VASTLY different than it appears here

You guys. You are really falling down on the job when it comes to providing your fashion opinions in regard to the neon pink J. Crew Factory chino shorts question. I know that for mysterious Blogger reasons, it is next to impossible for many people to leave comments here anymore---something I should no doubt ameliorate, but you all--no time to figure that out!!!---but no one has even e-mailed or Facebooked me with their opinions. Might this mean that no one else cares? Gasp! Possibly. However, I will say that over at Ain't No Mom Jeans (one of my new favorite blogs! check it out!), where neon has been the topic of conversation lately, two fellow fortysomething moms say, "Go for it!" I'm still on the fence. I like the bright yellows too and am trying to decide which shocking color would go with more things in my closet.

Moving on. It has been quite a week. Getting back to school after a break is always busy and a little crazy--getting the kiddos back on their regular schedule, etc.--but this week has been doubly so for us, since we have/had several events going on AND Christopher went on a four-day trip out of town. I am currently halfway through my latest solo-parenting stint and it is going fine, but I'm tiiiiired. (More so than usual, I mean.) The girls love to sleep with me when Daddy's gone, and I love snuggling and cuddling with them all night in my big king-sized bed, but....I don't get a whole lot of sleep. As you might imagine. Much tossing and turning and hogging of covers and accidentally kicking me in the back and whatnot. You know. It's worth it to me, so I still let them. I just drink extra coffee in the morning.

Anyway, that's why I barely wrote anything here this week--I've been too busy getting everyone back on track and doing everything I need to do without childcare back-up. I wish I had more to write, but the most exciting thing that happened to me since my last post was that I got my highlights touched up after an egregiously long lapse. Which was THRILLING. I'm not even being sarcastic.

I also realized that winter is definitely over, and I only got two colds--and didn't get sick at all in January, February, or March (or April). This may seem unexciting, but I have two school-aged children who come home with weekly "a case of strep throat [or whatever] has been confirmed in your child's class" notes, I volunteer at the school every Wednesday, I have two extra children at my house four afternoons a week, and every family I know has been ravaged by the stomach flu this winter....and yet, I've had my healthiest year ever. Hallelujah, people! I can't imagine why this would be--more running? in better shape? taking zinc supplements that my nurse friend swears by?--but whatever the reason, it's been fantastic.  

Other things going on around here are not blog-worthy or blog-ready. So, bear with me. And let me know what's going on in your world. Surely there's something we could talk about besides pink shorts?

Monday, April 01, 2013

It's Time for Spring Break to Be Over.

You know it's the end of spring break when a perfectly wonderful school vacation devolves into endless, mysterious tears, crankiness, and an overarching sense of ennui. And I'm not even talking about myself!

Good thing school starts again tomorrow.

Honestly, we had a great spring break (after the stomach flu). Before vacation started, I made myself a list of potential spring break activities, just so we'd have plenty of ideas to keep us busy. In the end, I think we did all of them but one. Which meant that we were happily busy with field trips to a reptile museum, Cabela's, the library, the bakery, and the Mall of America (LegoLand, American Girl Store); salt-dough spring-garland crafts; playdates; movies; Easter egg-dyeing; E-Z Bake Oven-baking; manicures; homemade Play-Doh; sidewalk chalk....and probably other things I'm forgetting right now. All well and good. Especially considering the fact that the weather was decidedly chilly most of the time.

We even performed pet-sitting duties for two families, which meant that the girls got to walk our friends' cute shibu inu dog. Twice!

But all good things must come to an end, and after a five-hour playdate today (I watched my friend Laura's kiddos since she had to work but they were still on school break), my girls gradually dissolved into the horrible fussies, compelling me to feed them dinner at 4:50 p.m. and then put them straight into a bubble bath. It helped.

Over Easter weekend, Christopher and I watched "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Have you seen it? I loved it immensely, although my husband proclaimed it incomprehensible. If you haven't seen it--rent it. It's really, really good--the kind of movie you can't stop thinking about afterward. Plus, the back story is fascinating. If you get the DVD, be sure to watch the extra feature on "The Making of Beasts of the Southern Wild." I stayed up way too late on Easter Eve because I couldn't stop watching even though it was past my bedtime. I mean, come on---Vietnamese potbellied pig babies trained to wear costumes and do tricks, and then filmed in such a way as to appear as mammoth ice-age creatures of a six-year-old child's imagination? What the?!? I challenge you to turn off the "Making of" feature once you hear about that. I was actually talking back, out loud, to the TV, I was so stunned.

This week promises to be a little crazy: I'm solo-parenting for four full days and nights, the span of which overlaps with the children's school's annual Arts & Literacy Festival, my turn hosting the Third-Grade Girls' Mother-Daughter Book Club that Julia and I are a part of, and the opening reception for the spring All-Schools Art Show at a gallery downtown, for which one of Julia's paintings was chosen. Yikes. I'll be lucky if I can squeeze in a run or two this week, let alone regular  blog posts.

In the meantime, who here has seen the J. Crew Factory chino shorts in neon azalea? I've wanted these babies for a year or two, but I wasn't aware that the pink is indeed a TRUE NEON (far, far brighter than they appear online). I can't decide if a fortysomething mom of two can get away with wearing blinding pink shorts all summer. What do you all think? There's always the bright yellow, instead. Also: five-inch, or seven? I've done the seven in the past, but I'm a tiny shortie; maybe five-inches are more proportional and flattering? But again--at 42? really? Even if I'm toned and tight from a school year of Jillian Michaels' Killer Buns and Thighs twice per week? I just. don't. know.