Tuesday, December 31, 2013

christmas & slothmas

Celebrating Christmas just one time a year doesn't cut it for us.  We do it up right with celebration after celebration.  Some loud, some peaceful, some in pj's but all with great food and lovely people.  Some celebrations are by phone but there is love there none the less.

All of the hustle makes us crave Slothmas with such a fierceness that we started it right after we got home from Christmas dinner.   Don't get me wrong, we love our people but sometimes we need to slow down, be one with the sloth, and just enjoy us.   So, we threw our pj's on, stuffed the leftovers into the fridge and got down to business with some jenga tetras. 

 and some hanging out on the kitchen counter time.
 and some ticket to ride.
 and then for a little change of venue, some snowboarding at Whitepass.  We had to practically beg for a list from our kids this year.  They were good with the "what I need" type stuff but the "what I want" type stuff was too tough.  Eventually they both decided that what they wanted most was just time together.  I know, I know...my kids are good eggs. 


 What they didn't realize, is that we were really getting the gift for ourselves.  This is exactly what I wanted most for Christmas and everything Slothmas was invented for. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I might just harbor this one little jealousy of my childless friends...

It's not the sleepless nights.  I can handle those.  It's not knowing that you will never, ever have anything nice again.

It's the unavoidable (believe me, I tried) family picture.  You know the ones. 

and so it begins. 

It should have begun a month ago, this setting the stage of holiday memories.  We did do a little shopping online.  We put out our tree and decorated modestly.  We prepared a list of must haves for Christmas goodies and Slothmas necessities.  We set some dates for get-togethers and aligned lists with budgets.  We had one afternoon of Christmas ornament crafts.  We attended Christmas programs and watched White Christmas.

But we put off the dreaded family picture again and again and again.  I think it is inherited.  I only remember one family picture from my childhood.  Us girls wore handsewn flowered dresses and James wore a little vest.  I'll have to dig that one up sometime.  It is a beauty.  Come to think of it I was crying in that one too...

I digress. 

The whole process gives me the shakes.  Picking out outfits that show our personality.  They can't be too dressy, or too casual or too matchy matchy.  Thinking of a spot that isn't too cluttered but still holds some interest.  And what about poses?  Nothing too staged, but still something that we can see everyone in and please nothing that has an upward angle. 
And then getting children to smile naturally!  Screw it. 
As more and more perfectly polished pictures popped up on facebook and cards began to trickle in I knew the time was here.  Wait, was it that or was it Karen telling me to get my act together because she will be over in a little bit to snap a picture?  Who can remember.  Just kidding.  Thank you Karen!!


So that means, black and white photos to cover up the fact that we didn't coordinate at all and pictures in the backyard for the third year in a row.  I only threw a tiny little fit and no one ended in tears.  The best part is that my little Christmas photo album has a 2013 entry instead of me drawing stick figures, which was plan b. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Count yourself lucky...

I do.
I don't know where I would be without my Tony.  Sometimes I try to picture it and then I quickly blink it away because I can't imagine a good life without him, let alone this wonderful life we have.  And today is his birthday.  This world has had 37 years of good fortune with this hell of a guy. 

Here is a list of randomness about our Tony.

>>He likes lists and so do I.  Ergo, a birthday list.

>>His favorite movie just might be It's a Wonderful Life.  Followed closely by Pump Up the Volume because he has this rebellious streak (and just might be plotting to stick it to the man) and The Notebook because he is a complete romantic. 

>>His 'working music' is 1970's Country.  Throw on some Johnny Horton or some Marty Robbins(maybe Johnny Cash if he's feeling mainstream) and step back.  He's going to get stuff done.  But his 'pump up' music is usually something with questionable lyrics.  He's been known to love a little Limp Bizkit Nookie and his latest favorite is Rosana by Wax. 

>>He likes to bake and gets a little competitive about it.  Luckily he is dang good at it so I don't have to squish his feelers when he asks if his bread is better than xyz's bread. 

>>If he could do anything in the whole world for a living it would be flip houses.  If he could do anything for leisure it would be a toss up between sail the world, soak in the tub reading a good book and build something...anything...out of wood, out of busted up old cars, whatevs.

>>He will gladly correct any of my takes on his fav's and wishes but you won't see it on a social site.  He just sent me a text about how he sucks at facebook, and anyone who played fantasy football with him knows he doesn't make a trade.  Doesn't as in never, ever. 

>>He loves me and he loves his Aidan and Nadia.  He tolerates the cats and is mildly fond of Margo.  He is loyal and giving and loving and opinionated in the best way and helpful and handsome and funny and smart and sexy and handy truly the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

a love story

I've been thinking about love stories lately.  I have a great one.  So great that a student of mine told me that she plans to make millions when she makes a movie all about the boy who would give a girl all of the answers to US History during 6th hour English.  Don't worry.  The conversation was totally educational.  It was all about prereading skills and how we can make reading more powerful if we set the scene first. 
But that wasn't the take-away message for my student. 
It was that her teacher, who in the movie version will be a chemistry teacher not a biology teacher, fell in love with the boy next door because he was smart and found his way to her heart with a few American History facts and a knack for making her laugh.

Of course this young lady doesn't know about the rough junior high years or the cold winter hours flirting in his sister's car, waiting for a ride home.  Or how he was always willing to help hang posters with the cheerleaders and somehow managed to be there anytime the (who was just a really good friend and would listen to his girlfriend troubles and occasionally make her blush) girl needed a boost.  The girl in the story is rather short, you know.  Or how she killed his mojo when she said that they were so close that she thought of him like a brother.  Or how he threw caution to the wind and asked her to a movie a couple months later and got so nervous he said the wrong name of the movie!  Or how they went to prom together in their junior year, only to end the night with a peck on the cheek.  And then how he told her best friend that he was giving up!  And she had to make the next move, asking him to go for a drive.  And of course she would never know about how when he kissed her she said a million times over that she needed to remember every single detail about this because she knew right then and there her life was changed forever. 

True story, people. 

No, this student doesn't know all of the ups and downs of that early courtship.  And I'm sure I don't remember most of it.  What I do know is that I freaking love our love story.  Boy moves in next to girl.  They work through the awkward puberty years and build a friendship that lasts a life time.  They realize that friendship was only the beginning.  Twenty years, two kids, two cats and a dog later they still find things to talk about and dreams to dream about and laugh together every single day. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Grandma Sue

I overheard Tony tell his Dad, "We lost Grandma Sue."  What a funny way to say it.  It doesn't seem very permanent.  The lost are often found.  I can't bear to say it in any of the usual ways myself.

I love that woman.  She's my person.  We didn't have to warm up with small talk.  We could just jump into what was really on our minds. 

Our story is complicated, but she loved Tony and she loved me and even in the weirdest moments of in-law drama, I never doubted that.  Nadia asks us to tell her stories of Grandma Sue.  It is easy to come up with them. They all show examples of love and strength and mothering of those around her.  I want to remember them all because I want her to be an example to Aidan and Nadia like she was for us.  I want my kids to know that a little bit of spoiling is good for the spoil-ee, as well as the spoil-er.  The gesture doesn't have to be as grand as dropping everything to pick up a three-year-old and make him fried chicken for breakfast, but can be simply wiping the rain from someone's headlights before they leave, shows them that you love them.  But Grandma did them all, large and small.  I hope they learn too, that the lesson doesn't end there.  I think it ends with gratitude.  Being thankful and appreciative of the little things, like teaching you to make chicken & noodles in your pajamas at 3 in the afternoon, and of the big things, like giving you a place and a purpose in the family. 
Grandma shaped Tony.   She taught him to appreciate his loved ones.  What a gift that woman was!  Equal parts sass and heart.  I feel her missing from me, from us, but know that she is with Pop.  They shared a love that makes you ache to think of one without the other.  It brings peace and happiness to know they are back together. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

gobble gobble gobble

It's that time.  I won't bore you with my thankful list. 

It is a hundred million bazillion miles long. 
It is a good list. 
Maybe even a great list. 

I mean, it includes paper turkeys and time and traditions and Tony and my little tadpoles and internet thesaurus too because I couldn't for the life of me think of a T word for my children.  It includes friends and family and fur babies and food too.

And I am thankful for razors and the end of movember.

But that is where I will stop for now. 
Suffice it to say that I am very, very thankful for this very, very blessed life. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

He will never know...

He will never know how much we worry. 

How he occupies so much of our thought and our late night talks. 
How we agonize over the way we say things to this very literal being, knowing that he will hang on to it. 
How we are trying to be the very best for him because he tries to be his very best for us. 
How we tossed and turned while he was on a boy scouting adventure in seven degree temperatures and how I was just sure he was going to freeze. 

How he might never fully understand how much we love him and his laugh and his heart and his brain and his mouthy mouth.

He might never know any of those things, but I hope he feels them. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

put that one in the books too

Another successful Girls On The Run season came to a close.  The big finale was a toe-numbingly cold Jingle Bell Dash.  Nadia beat her goal.  Mind you, this was a goal she set for herself.  Oh yeah, I have  a 10 year old who sets and meets goals.  That's pretty freaking awesome. 

It's a fantastic program.  We had fantastic coaches.  We had fantastic girls.  And the Jingle Bell Dash was filled with fantastic volunteers, some of the sorority variety even.  Such great examples for our beautifully strong little ladies!  I am so very ready to kick it off again in the spring. 




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

i love it when...

I don't have to get up in the morning but I can't stay in bed because all I want to do is say good morning to Tony.

And then I get to go back to bed.  Yea, that's the best. 

And so are my kids.  They do their morning thing without a peep in my direction because they like to let me sleep in.

And when I do roll out of bed I get the chance to go for a run in the sunshine.  Just a little one, but a good one. 

And I love it when my kids help without complaint.  Folding the mountain of laundry, washing dishes, putting them away and helping with dinner!  They don't know about that last one yet, but I know they will be game.  And I love it when one of them wants to snuggle while the other one is giving up some of his 'day off' to perform a flag ceremony for deserving Vets. 

This is one of those posts where it sounds like I live in a dream.  Sometimes I do, I guess.  Sometimes I have to write it down so I will believe it when I need it.  And sometimes I have to remember to be thankful for a day like today where I get to live it instead of just rush in and out of it.  I am thankful for my job.  I really, really am.  Since I have to work, it really is one of the best gigs around.  But I really love my days home. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

ready//not ready

Aidan has spent all last weekend away on another scout campout.  I spent all day Friday at WSU on a field trip picturing him fast forwarding through these next 7 years. 

I'm ready to enjoy him growing into his sense of humor.  I'm ready to see him facing challenges like never before, with a sense of maturity and a knowing that he is supposed to have some growing pains.  It kinda amazes me at the calm he has when he talks about his grades and his learning.  While I'm freaking out inside about perfection and future and seizing the day bullcrap, Aidan is saying things like, "it's ok.  I'm learning.  Every day I get more organized.  Everyone has to fall a little before they figure things out".  Yeah.  He really says those things.  Honestly, I thought he would be my anxious one.  And he is, about some things.  But he is calm about learning.  Even when Tony, God love him, is getting all nerdy math on him.  Please, please, please let him stay this way. Even when- especially when- he has to learn something that he can't quite see the value in. 

But I am so not ready to see him grown.  When it is just the three of us I can't shake a coldness, a quietness.  Nadia tries to fill the space and I am grateful for the time with her.  It is just not the same.  We like the normalness of the four of us, the balance of the four of us, the weight of each of us holding our place in this family. We joked about what it will be like when he goes off to school and we have a year with just her and we wondered if we could convince him to wait a year so we could rip the Band-Aid of their leaving off all at once. . .

And then our plan is to follow them around their college campus, park ourselves on their front steps and build ourselves little in law suites at their homes when they are all grown up.  That sounds completely normal and balanced, doesn't it?

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'll say it again

I am so very, very lucky. 
I am sitting here at work eating yogurt and sliced peaches.  I never actually told Tony that is how I like my yogurt these days, but he pays attention.
The nastiest of nasty stomach viruses hit me hard yesterday.  Like, out of no where hard.  Like, stuck in bed until my tailbone was on fire hard.  Like, 3 saltine crackers were all I could manage for an entire day hard.  Like, breaking my 4 1/2 year strike on pop because all I could imagine keeping in was some lemon-lime soda hard. 

But even with all of that sucky dumb tummy ridiculousness, I know I am lucky to have Tony as my partner.  He busted his butt around the house and checked on me in regular intervals.  He took the kids on a bike ride and packed our lunches. 
I am lucky and I freaking love this man. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

'they would box me up and tell me to change'

Our little Nadia has always been a little 'up in the clouds' but she is also the most grounded being I know.  I wouldn't change one little thing about her.  Even when I am at my wit's end in a fit of parenting what-have-yous she is exactly the kid she should be.  She is a little bit sassy and a whole lot messy and every bit the balance between staying out of drama and being the biggest advocate of those in the middle of it all.  So, in keeping with my theme of writing down the little things that I never, ever, ever want to forget because I know some day my sweet kids will ask me what they were like at 10 and I will only be able to tell them the big moments not the every day conversations, I am writing this one down. 

(truth be told, this was one of those moments where I tore a scrape piece of paper out of my lesson planner and wrote while we were driving because I had to get her depth inked down)

I had a late meeting so our schedule was backwards which meant I got to spend a little extra time with her.  My mind was tuck in our old routine which had me taking the long way around to get us back to dutch brothers, and brought us by an overcrowded school bus stop loaded with children who looked a little like an ad for hands across America.  A beautiful mix of beautiful children representing the diversity of our growing hometown.  There were some children wearing traditional hijab, jumping and skipping around.  Nadia said out of no where, that she thought they were beautiful and that no one should make fun of them ever.  She said she had two kids at her school who wear those scarves.  I asked if kids do make fun of them.  She said no, but she knows people can be mean.  She knows that sometimes they do in other places.  Then she said that people are not perfect and it is good that we aren't because if we were no one would learn. 

Seriously, people! 
Will you get a load of that? 
Rest easy tonight, my loves. 
She is not perfect, but she is perfect for me.....and I am convinced she is perfectly suited to change this world in her silly and lovely little way. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

leave it margo

For all of your slobber and your ridiculous barking at airplanes and your hatred of the vacuum, we love you all the more. 

Sometimes we just have to work real hard to remember that. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

i take one step forward, you take two steps back...

please tell me you are singing it?  You know, the Paul Abdul song Opposites Attract and I certainly hope you are picturing that creepy cat dancing up and down the stairs. 

We are not exactly losing ground.  We are just sort of hanging on.  Let's just agree to pretend that we am keeping our heads comfortably, measurable if only slightly above water, ok?  Not to say that we are sinking, but we sure have been diving deep and holding our breath while trying to balance all of this stuff in our crazy paced life. 

And stuff has happened people.  Lots of stuff.  Stuff I should remember but I don't.  Not in any sort of systematic way anyway.  Some of it has been pretty freaking awesome.  Most of it has been more of the same.  But in all of this there are some stories that I need to get out because my head is too full most of the time to remember them for any length of time (and especially not when I need them most). 

But here are some highlights. 
we went to the fair:

It's not the same as when I was a kid.  We spent all of our time in the animal barns.  We enjoyed it.  My kids just want to hang out with the carnies.  Although Aidan humored me by checking out the reptile guy and Nadia milked a goat, but still, it's not the same.

As per tradition, we went to Sausage Fest.

And the Gravel Pit Championship to get our annual dose of rivalry sporty stuff out of the way. 

Aidan loves middle school.  Whatever they are doing there they need to keep it up.  There have been a few hard lessons but it has been mostly smooth and pretty fantastic to see him liking school again.  Ok, not mostly smooth but not the bumps I thought we would have.  He is loving Scouts too, especially when they go on campouts. 

Nadia is hitting her groove in 5th grade.  She has started orchestra and is enjoying playing the violin.  She is in choir...for the moment...annnnd the moment passed.  It has been tough giving up every recess to balance the two.  She is on the Girls on the Run team mostly because they have awesome coaches but also because she has great friends on the team too.

Tony has been Tonying. 

Tinkering and building and working overtime and being SAHD every Friday that he can because our kids love him to pieces. 
I ran my second half marathon.  I didn't do as well as I wanted but the training was way more fun this time because of the one and only Lindsay Bates! 

AND there is more, people!  Much, much more. 
Like stuff with friends ...

and birthdays that were celebrated ...

and weddings...

 and fun stuff and stuff that should have been boring but wasn't because of people we love. 

An loads more every day stuff.  The real stuff I want to remember.  The funny stories and the important moments and the conversations ...
(because WHOA, we have had some real conversations as these little people are becoming big people) ...

the moments that someday my kids will ask me about and I won't remember because I was too frazzled. 

So I am going to catalog more frequently.  Even if it is just a picture that helps us remember.
No really.  I am.