Our last day of school was Thursday.We made it. By the hair on our chins. Not the kids, they had an AMAZING year, but Moose and I as parents. Adulting is so freaking hard.
Bring it 1st and 4th grade! And don’t forget your little buddy, Pre-K!
As soon as we got their sweet tushes off the bus, we headed north to Dallas. My nephew graduated from high school on Sunday and we were ready to celebrate his awesomeness. The drive was wet. Really Texas, we are over the rain. Our kids are excellent road trippers but Red for some reason, wasn’t having it. About every 5 minutes for 4 and a half hours, we heard about how long it was taking to get to his Aunt Kisses. It.was.a.long.drive.
Moose has more points than any one person should and so we stayed at a hotel. The kids LOVED the fact that they got to see how daddy lives. But not as much as they loved jumping on beds and Texas shaped waffles.
Two little monkeys jumping on a bed…
Friday was family day. So we got up early and rode the rails. My nephew is passionate about trains and actually works on one that runs between Grapevine and Fort Worth. On certain mornings, they do an hour-long run that is perfect for kiddos. He wasn’t working on Friday but came along anyway to show us around. And to earn some cool points with the kids, as if he needed it. They love their Cousin Ben. Aunt Gwen (the keeper of the candy) and my sisters’ dad, Grandpa Bob came along as well. We had a blast.
Who knows what Blondie and Grandpa Bob were talking about but it looks like it was funny.
Grapevine has a Legoland Discovery Center, we decided to hit that after some lunch. Ben stayed with us. I adore that boy and was super happy to hang with him all day! He leaves for Kansas in a few months and it will be weird to not have him so close by. We will take any time with him that we can get.
This place is cool ! And look, a store on the way out!
That evening was spent messing around. What the kids don’t know yet is that this buggy is theirs, Uncle Mark found it awhile back at a garage sale and knew they had to have it. Watching them figure out how to drive it was interesting but they will get so much fun out of this bad boy.
The Dude’s belly flop dive attempt hurt to look at but he did just fine!
Saturday was a tornado of activity. Ben had a great graduation open house, tons of food and friends. We ended the night around the fire pit, eating hot dogs and s’mores with our nieces, Ben, and their friends. This is a great group of kids.
I told them to look natural.
Unfortunately we had to leave early on Sunday so Moose could fly out and we missed the ceremony. But I heard he did great! We could not be more proud of him. Ben has Aspergers and it isn’t always easy for him. But he is a hard worker and has a crap ton of tenacity. He is choosing a career to follow along side his passions and for that, I am excited (and a little jealous) for him. Moving so far away from home isn’t easy for anyone but I have a sneaky suspicion that he will do great!
You can’t road trip in Texas without stopping at Buc-ees!
I am currently working on posts about our end of year, our adventure over the weekend, and a series on each of the kids on top of the big announcement. But I wanted to note that today was our first true day of summer at home.
We actually slept in.The Dude staggered in around 7:30 which is 90 minutes later than normal. Moose had to fly out this morning but before he did, he bought us some doughnuts to start the week out right. OR because there wasn’t any food in the house. Whatever. They lasted about 5 minutes.
After he left, they kids went into catatonic states while I fussed around in the office. Screen time on the first day, tsk tsk…. I know but I had things to do. None of which I did but still, I tried.
After lunch, we put clothes on and prepared to enter the real world. Today, our library kicked off their summer reading program. I am all for free programs so we headed over there. Now believe it or not, we have never stepped foot in that library. And it’s been years since we really have used any library. I used to read all the time and even once Blondie was born, I loved all the programs the library offered. But for some reason (the boys), it has just not happened in a long time. But it is on our weekly to do list this summer and so today we walked up to the desk and asked for library cards. Everybody got one, I figured it is never too early for even Red to learn about the process. Once in hand, we went in to pick out our weekly stash. Blondie was in heaven and quickly disappeared in the older kids section. The boys and I wandered around, it took them a minute to grasp the concept.
Let’s all admire Red’s very first library pick
So we are now stocked on books for a week. And I think we did okay, so we should be welcomed back. They have been fairly busy checking out their reads all afternoon. I even managed to put together an office chair, ALL BY MYSELF. I would consider day 1 to be a success.
We are in the homestretch, people. Two and a half days left of school. Which is about 14 days too long. Seriously, I gave up a while back. I didn’t mean to but I did. I was done arguing with Blondie about brushing her hair. I couldn’t care anymore about whether The Dude’s clothes matched. Hell, I don’t even care if he has underwear on. Folders have been barely checked in weeks, don’t even ask me to sign them. Lunches are an embarrassing game of what crap can I find in the back of the pantry (have some black beans, kids). Bath time barely exists and bedtime has been getting later and later. Every morning has been a battle to get to school. Truth be told, I am not even sure I would have managed getting them to school last week if it hadn’t been for Blondie training for safety patrol. We have just been overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time.
But here we are, in the final stretch. It is almost done. The next two and a half months lay in front of us like a temptress. There is no sleeping in at this house, The Dude prefers to see the sun rise. But there will be lazy mornings. And pool days. Sno cones and s’mores. Adventures to be had and boredom to be embraced. We have made plans and set goals. Trips to the library. Trying new food. Maybe a weekend in hill country, if we can ever agree on a tent. The beach. Learning to ride our bikes without training wheels. 50 cent movies. “Late” nights and board games. Fireworks. The possibilities are endless.
For me this summer means all of this and so much more. It means I will officially have a 4th grader and a 1st grader. It will be the last of my time with Red before he heads off to Pre-K in the fall. This is the beginning of the end for me or the light at the end of the tunnel. if you will. I have not been alone since August of 2007. And in a few short months, I will have more free time than I will know what to do with. Perhaps it is more than consequence that this is all happening at the same time I decided to take back some of my life. This summer I will be working hard to improve this blog. I am beginning to look at it as more of a job than a hobby. So you will see more of me. And I have a HUGE project in the works with a great friend. Within a week or so we will be announcing our endeavor and I really hope you enjoy it because I am really enjoying doing it.
What are your plans for this summer?
Today was The Dude’s kindergarten program. The theme was Bugs, he was cast as an army ant. For months, they have been learning songs and practicing their choreography. For months, we have been practicing his coveted 4 speaking lines. We went over and over the lines, memorizing, slowing down our speech and speaking as clearly as possible. He even worked in a little comedy with a big pretend bite at the end of his statement. It has been a long time coming. The build up has been immense. The amount of excitement has been palpable. It was his breakout moment.
There was singing.
The handsome fellow next to him is Other Jack. They are very similar and yet very different. It has been a pleasure watching them go through Kindergarten together and we hope to know him for a long time!.
There was dancing.
The Marching Ant song was doubly adorable until he noticed the sound equipment behind him. The boy is his father and is drawn to buttons. I held my breath until he refocused. Even his teacher admitted that she thought he was not going to be able to resist the urge mid-song.
And of course, his big moment!
Wait til they have their food in place.
And they are sitting down just right.
Just whenÂ they say “How pleasant this is.”
Give them your very best bite!
Performing with the ants were lady bugs, lightning bugs, one adorable stinkbug who taught everyone a lesson on friendship, and butterflies. He warned me weeks ago that they would be singing a song about caterpillars changing into butterflies that “would make all the mommies cry”. Well, he wasn’t lying. Damn it with the feels. There wasn’t a dry eye in the cafeteria.
Afterwards, the parents joined the kinders for a picnic. Luckily it was dry. Shortly after we wrapped it up, the rain came and the rest of the day has been soggy. It was great fun to watch all these little people who have really grown and gotten to know each other this year run around and play in the field, sticky from celebratory ice pops. A good reminder that we are at a wonderful school.
The Dude’s year is coming to a close. I love watching my kids grow up but I am not a fan of the end of a grade. Between the friends they make, the things they learn, the experiences they have, and the bonds they create with their teachers, seeing that wrap up is almost too much to bear. It makes me sad. A chapter is ending, a new one will begin in a few months. These are the times that I want to hold on to but I know that I can’t and it leaves a weight in my chest. I am incredibly proud of him, my sweet brown-eyed boy. This year could have gone so many different ways for him, it was a gamble to put him in school so soon. But he begged and swore that he was ready. And he is right.
Breasts, ta-tas, boobs, pillows, fun bags, sweater kittens, and the list goes on. Whatever you call them, we all have them. Even men. Hello? Moobs. We all have to take care of them. Amongst other things, that includes self examinations and regular monitoring. Especially as we get older.
I am not due for my first mammogram until at least next year. However at my lady doctor appointment, I mentioned some very minor pain I was having and after her exam, she decided to play it safe and request one with an ultrasound after. No biggie. I spent the next 2 weeks truly not stressed out. I have no indicators for cancer. No huge tumors. No symptoms. No family history. Nothing other than Â some abnormal pain. My plan if there was something there? Get those suckers taken off and get me some of them fancy 20-year-old boobs. Yes, I know there would be more to it than that but a gal has to look at the positive.
Yesterday, I got the kids off to their respective places and headed to the doctor’s office. The mammogram was no worse than I expected. There is some awkwardness to having someone manuever your body while you stand there topless. And I am not going to lie, it was uncomfortable. However my tech (who, by the way, was maybe 5 feet tall) was very personable and made the process effortless on my part. It took 10 minutes, tops. There ended up being two ultrasounds. First a tech came in and then after the radiologist read the results of that and the mammogram, he did another. The gel was even heated and scented, it was practically a spa experience. If you can see past the strangers touching your girls and the possibility of the C word hanging in the air.
I am clear. He saw nothing to be concerned about. He said the pain is probably a result of one of two things.
A: Hormones. It is slightly possible I am headed into the VERY early stages of menopause.
B (and more likely): Excessive caffeine intake. I MAY drink too much coffee and iced tea.
He suggested that I cut back. In my head, I suggested he shut his dirty mouth. But being the lady I am, I said, “Yes, I will work on that.” In the meantime, I will start taking Vitamin E. It is supposed to make a difference. Because let’s be completely honest. I am not going to cut back. Nobody wants me to do that.
So I have crossed something off my list of turning 40 cons and it wasn’t too scary. Adulting still sucks but in the long run, this stuff is worth it. At the very least, it is reassurance that you are healthy. And at the most, early detection is key to successful treatments and longer lives.
**Full disclosure** I did treat myself afterwards to a Whataburger breakfast sandwich and a medium coffee. It could have been a large. Baby steps, baby steps.
I woke up today in a bad place. It has been a long week. The Dude’s flare up caused us to stay inside more than I would have preferred. We are sleep deprived. The kids were rough, who could blame them. They are bored, they don’t feel good, they miss daddy, and spring break has been meh at best. I wish we had left town like I had originally thought of doing. Did I mention that we are electronics free due to an incident two weeks ago where they thought it would be a good idea to tag my fence with a permanent marker? To make things worse, I have had a bad case of woe is me. Two weeks into Moose being gone is where I usually have a few days of being incredibly lonely, it is a tall hill that I eventually get over and slide back down the other side where I am fine. On top of that, life is very up in the air right now which often leaves me very anxious.
I ate an amount of doughnuts this morning that makes me a little ashamed. I let the kids watch several movies when we really should have been doing something productive. Then I had to do something. So I cleaned a little house and took a shower, the first one in several days. In the shower, right after Red brought me the jar of peanut butter to open, I decided to take a break. I need a break. I have every right to one and the only thing holding me back is the lack of desire to put a bra one. Heck, I even have relatively easy child care at my finger tips. No excuse.
So I dropped the kids off and went on my way. I could have easily used this time to hit the grocery, the food pickings at home are worse than slim. Or to Target, Easter is in a week and I have nada for it. But I didn’t. I went to the movies. I walked up to the booth and bought one ticket to a movie that isn’t animated. I went to the counter and ordered a giant extra buttery popcorn and a large soda that I had no intention of sharing. I sat where I wanted to, the very top row, and no one argued about who was going to sit where. I tried to not let it really irritate me when some chick sat one seat over when she had an entire theater to choose from. WTF lady. I silenced my phone and sat back. I didn’t have to shush anyone or take multiple trips to the bathroom or nudge Moose awake when he started to snore. It was nice. And I felt better when it was all done.
I love the movies. Before kids, Moose and I would go all the time. But now we either don’t want to spend the money or when we do get out sans kiddos, we don’t want to spend two hours being quiet. But still, I do love the experience. So every once in a while, I go by myself. I know some people find the thought of solo theater going to be lonely or sad. But I find it to be very therapeutic. It is dark. I can escape into a movie for 2 hours and leave the million voices in my head behind. I don’t have to share an arm rest or my snack with anyone.
I relish being alone. It is rare though with being the primary caregiver to the monkeys, a wife, an employee, a friend. I can’t even tell you if I have ever been alone in this house. I believe I lean towards being an extroverted introvert (is that a real thing?) most of the time but it is often exhausting. Sometimes I need to shut down and today was just what I needed. And I need to do it more often. I believe it will be easier and easier to make this time for myself once Red starts preschool in the fall but for now, I need to make more effort to decompress. I have to be a priority. I spoke with Moose on the way home and I think even he was genuinely happy and relieved to hear that I had done it.
As a final note, I saw Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I went into it a little timid, the reviews have not been good. But I found it to be a great film and I would recommend it. I adore Tina Fey to pieces and she did not disappoint. The casting throughout was well done and the storyline kept my attention easily. Go see it. By yourself. Get extra butter on your popcorn while you are at it. And for the love of all that is good in the world, if you walk into the theater and a woman is sitting by herself, don’t freaking sit by her. She doesn’t need company.
As noted in my last post, A Promise To My 40 Year Old Self Part 1, 40 is creeping up on me fast. Still not anxious about it. Still just happy to be invited to the party. Still just a bit concerned about how I got to 39 so fast and what I am going to do to enter 40 like a diva.
So here I am. I have been reflecting a lot. Mostly on how I have lost myself and have been drifting along in survival mode for too long. I am guilty of pushing myself to the side and saying, “Maybe tomorrow Copper” too many times. Years have gone by where my goals never change and my to do list never gets checked off. I am making a stand and taking me back. It may not all happen before December 29th and that is okay. Some of it will be a continuous effort on my part. Some of it is deep stuff. Really personal stuff that I struggle with. Some of that I won’t be making public. And some of it is superficial and I make no excuses for that. That superficial stuff that I have allowed to pile up weighs a ton on my shoulders and I am ready to be done with that. Some of it will change. As I go along, things may be replaced by others. Perspective is ever-changing, as is our circumstances, and my priorities shift day-to-day.
The Original 40’s Bucket List
Okay, there ya go. We will see where this goes and I will touch on this subject often. Please feel free to let me know what you think. I would love to know if you think about what you want to change or if you have any “Before I turn ____, I want to ___” revelations.
Now I have to go deal with the repercussions of locking myself in the office for an hour during Spring Break. It sounds like Lord of the Flies out there and I don’t want to but before Red gets hog tied and roasted above a campfire in the living room, I am going to make some sammies and pirate booty.
I turn 40 this year. In 10 month and 4 days to be exact. We often kid, it is the obligatory thing to do, about the horrors of it. Truth be told though, I am not upset. At all. In the least bit. Come December 29, 2016, I will get up and have what I am sure will be a normal day. There will be no wailing, hair pulling (well, no more than usual), sobbing in an empty tub surrounded by wine bottles. At the most it has made me more reflective on how I have lost myself a little bit. Okay, a lot. Like Grand Canyon size a lot. But alas, I am more of a “Let’s fix this shit.”kinda gal and not a “My life has been wasted, I might as well pick out a grave plot and call it a day.” lady. I do have a list of what I want to accomplish. Some of it is trivial. And some it is huge. And some of it is private and not appropriate to share. Boundaries people, believe it or not I do have them. But first, a pros and con list of turning forty. Because I love lists.
So there ya go. This is going to be a two part blog. It would be terribly long otherwise. So I have chopped it in half and saved the other half for this weekend. I can only assume most of you read this while using the bathroom and I have read that it isn’t good for you to sit on the toilet for too long. You will get the ‘roids (ooh maybe that should be in the con section). So I am doing this for your own good. But please feel free to comment and let me know if you have any pros or cons to add. I would love to hear where others stand on this age thang.
Last Friday, I got so pissed at Blondie that I yelled. Yelling happens a lot in our house. I am not super proud of that but it is our go to form of communication. I am a work in progress, what can I say. She didn’t even do anything terribly wrong. I didn’t catch her breaking into homes or making meth in her room. Simply I caught her with something outside that I had told her multiple times, including the day before, that she needed to leave in her room. She got me on a bad day and I laid into her as she sat on her bed and cried. After several times of asking/yelling why she took it when she knew I didn’t want her to, she broke down sobbing and said those dreaded words….”I just want them to think I am cool.” This is the point where you could hear my heart shatter into a million pieces.
Blondie, to my knowledge, makes friends very easily. She is adored by the neighborhood kids (the very ones she was trying to impress), younger and older. She has not reported to me any difficulties at school, minus one little girl last year who tried to tell her that it was super weird that she wasn’t more girly. She shrugged that off easily enough or so I thought. I have raised her to be kind to all, a trait that fits her sweet nature and helps her fit in wherever she goes. And yet, she worries about being liked. She worries about being cool. She worries about fitting in. I feel like I am entering into a whole new territory. I struggled at her age with self esteem and fitting in. I struggled until I was in my twenties. I really don’t want her to do that too. I don’t want her to lose who she is in order to fit the norm. because she is different, she is amazing.
Back to last Friday, those words hung in the air for awhile. I took five deep breaths and sat down. “You are so awesome kiddo. And so loved. Why do you feel you need to impress someone? Did something happen?”
“No. I just worry a lot. I know I am a little weird and I think they might realize that one day.”
“Everybody is weird. Weird is good. Otherwise. life would be very boring. I promise you baby, you are impressive in your own right and do not need to go out of your way to impress people to like you. If you have to do that, they are not worth knowing.”
We talked a little longer but somehow my anger dissipated and was replaced with sadness. I am not ready for her to carry these weights on her heart. I don’t know what to do for her when she hurts like this. I don’t want her to change one bit. Not for others. Saturday morning, we went out and got supplies for her Doctor Who themed Valentines box and cards and grabbed some lunch. She seemed to be back to herself but my worry lingers. We haven’t talked again on the subject but we will. Instead at lunch, I put my phone away and let her control the conversation as we slowly ate our fries and sipped our “beers’ (mine was of hops, hers of root). She designed a new superhero and we made up his powers. She spoke briefly of a little crush at school. And then proceeded to go into great detail about Benjamin Franklin and his involvement in the Revolutionary War. I dare say, I may have learned a thing or two. But mostly I just sat there and thought about how cool she was already.