Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Best Laid Spring Break Plans...

Right after I wrote my post yesterday, Julia threw up and has had a sore throat and fever ever since, so I am bringing her in to the clinic this morning for a strep test. It wouldn't be Spring Break if poor Julia didn't end up sick.

I guess this is a reason to be glad we're not on some warm trip to Florida or Mexico or Hawaii or Nashville or wherever, like so many families we know. It would be worse to have a truly sick child while far away on vacation than when home in your own town with your own clinic and pediatrician.

And that's called "the bright side."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring/Winter/Spring? Break

My kiddos and I are on Spring Break. It began last Friday afternoon, just in the nick of time, and goes through next Monday.

It has been so, so cold. So depressingly cold and wintry. This is the springiest outfit I have worn so far this year, and it involved cords, so that should tell you something. The bare ankles were honestly too cold for conditions. I barely left the house that day so I got away with it for a few hours.

We have watched "Frozen" on DVD (purchased with intense excitement the day it came out, naturally) twice so far during break. It seems remarkably fitting.

On Monday it turned dark and snowy, and we ate treats in front of the fireplace at Caribou.

So spring-y, I know.

(An aside: During that coffeehouse snack above, Genevieve suddenly turned to me and said, "Mama, remember the old days of afternoon kindergarten and our morning coffee dates at James Gang [coffeehouse]?" And then I simultaneously laughed at my seven-year-old 2nd-grader saying "the old days" when remembering her kindergarten year, and secretly cried inside with nostalgia for when my baby was a kindergartner.)

Despite the weather, I am thoroughly enjoying being home with my girls. We have been staying in pajamas for long periods of time, watching movies, making cookies, and playing school. We have been running errands and going to the college rec center to shoot baskets. We have been taking bubble baths in the morning. We have done a LOT of reading.

And it's only Wednesday.

Right now, however, I would give my eyeteeth for just a smidgen of warmth. Just a bit of sun, the snow disappearing, and temperatures even approaching comfortable. Yesterday morning the windchill was below zero. On the news they kept saying it was January weather. It sure doesn't feel like Spring Break, that's for sure. We are still wearing parkas and boots.

Vivi and I have decided we need to move to California. I'm pretty sure Julia's on board with this plan, too.

Meanwhile, we'll just be here making our own "staycation" fun over Spring Break. Enjoy your week wherever you are and whatever you're up to! xo

Friday, March 14, 2014

What Day is It?

I've been having the kind of month (season? year?) where you (I) can't keep straight what day or date it is. Do you ever do that? I keep writing emails to friends and using the wrong day to describe what's going on this week. Or, I'll be looking at supermarket coupons and trying to figure out if they've expired or not yet, and it literally takes me a minute or two to figure it out. (Yes, I do use coupons. My supermarket puts out great ones and yesterday I bought $150 worth of groceries for $111.) Like, I will stare at it and think, "3/15/14. Is that day over? March 15th. What day is it? We're past that day. Oh, wait! No we're not." This goes on for a long, long time.

This state of mind isn't so unusual, for me or probably most other moms; when the kiddos are young and growing up, our lives are often a whirlwind of kids and meals and school events and homework, and there's often scarcely time to think straight. But I think this month it has been magnified by a.) my husband being gone for over a week for a bike-race trip earlier this month, which meant there really HASN'T been time to think straight lately, b.) my job, which I definitely love but which has generated ripple effects on my life as a stay-at-home mom that I am still getting used to,  and c.) the unfortunate fact that everything seems to have been scheduled for the same three-to-four-or-so-week period: doctor check-ups, parent-teacher conferences, annual mammogram, various school events and work trainings, etc. You'd think that fact would help keep the date firmly in mind each day, but no. All it does is make me frantically consult my calendar on a near-constant basis to make sure my kids and I are where we're supposed to be at the moment.

It's all good, though. The world is melting. Water is running in the gutters. The skating pond is no more. (Well, it's still there; but now it's a goose habitat.) I have received my first regularly scheduled paychecks (i.e., not unpredictable book royalties or random freelance/coaching/consulting payments)--two of them, as of today--in nearly ten years. They go straight into my own checking account like, paychecks do when you're paid for your work. Okay, so they're tiny; it doesn't matter. It's a big deal.

Maybe it's not all good. With every passing day I can't keep track of, my babies keep growing bigger and older. That may be "good" in some theoretical way in the grand scheme of life, but almost daily I just want to wail, Noooooooo! and stop the clock. Of course I've said this countless times here before. But I can still be brought to tears by a fleeting impressionistic memory of driving around town with babies in carseats in the back, or of taking toddlers to library storytime, or of having company at home in the mornings. It feels how I imagine a phantom limb must feel.

Ah, best not to think too much about that. It's March. Tonight is Family Movie Night at my girls' school. It's time to make green cookies. Spring Break is a week away. The "Frozen" soundtrack still runs on repeat around here. Winter is waning. The sun is stronger every day, and so are we I guess.

Happy whatever-the-heck-day/date-it is. Enjoy your weekend. xo

Monday, March 03, 2014

Standing Frozen in the Life I've Chosen* (*sorry Demi Lovato)

out for a verrry cold walk a couple of weekends ago. don't let the grin fool you. it was not pleasant outside.

I am starting to think longingly of living in California. As a lifelong resident of the four-season Midwest, I never thought I would say that. But I read a couple of blogs by California moms, and their photos each day of sun, green grass, leafy trees, and kids in shorts instead of snow pants are starting to kill me. I spend a little too long gazing longingly at them.

It is "meteorological spring" today. No, I'm not sure what that means either, but it's something they said on the radio and it sounds momentous so just go with me here. It is March 3rd, at any rate. Do you know what the temperature is outside as I type this? Twenty-one below zero.  Yes! In March!

Here's the thing about life in California vs. life in Minnesota. It occurred to me that one of my greatest joys is exercising outdoors in nature (and not the nature that's 21 below zero and blanketed in two to three feet of snow, either). It keeps me happy. When I can't partake in it, it makes me sad. And yet, I live in a climate where for five to six months of the year, doing so is uncomfortable if not iffy or impossible. This equation does not add up, people.

Too bad my husband's beloved job and our SUPER-beloved town is here, not in California.

Moving on.

I have been solo-parenting for the past week. Christopher is on another bike-race trip, this one extreeemely far away. The girls and I have been in a good groove. Between school, work, homework, and guitar practice, we've squeezed in plenty of fun. Such as going out for ice cream on one of the coldest days of the year. (Don't even ask why.) And watching "Tangled." And paying to spend a weekend afternoon swimming at a local hotel because gah, it's been days and days and days since the kiddos could play outside and everyone's going crazy and/or becoming a total sloth. In that regard, I also took them to the college rec center where they shot baskets while I ran the track.

At night, they sleep in my bed and it's the best thing ever. Not only do I get to snuggle with my babes all night long (bliss), I get to sleep with Vivi's lovey, Phillip:

Apparently I am a toddler at heart, because I find Phillip adorable beyond words. You can't tell from the photo, but he's very small--like a Beanie Baby.

And that's all from here, friends. Rocking it solo-mama, freezing-cold-Minnesota style. Hope things are going well where you are. xo