Monday, July 28, 2008

irony

An unopened box of Swiffer cloths found in my laundry room surrounded by cat sized balls of dust.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Moments captured in the heart

I wanted my camera today at the pool. I was taking a break from being a human floatie, sitting and watching my children play together in the water.

The younger two sat on the edge of the pool and were saying something to the oldest. He got up out of the pool and sat between them and put his arms around their shoulders. I first wished I had my camera, then realized that it was one of those beautiful moments that my heart would remember. I closed my eyes and tried to capture it for when they were older.

They were adorable and so loving and sweet.

And then the oldest pushed the other two in the pool.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Just so my sisters will quit asking when I'll blog again.

Since we returned from vacation, I've not been able to get my act together. Clearly, there is no routine and I can't get myself moving. How is that abnormal, you ask?

For example, groceries. Obviously, when you go on vacation, your refrigerator and pantry are emptied for the most part and either taken with you or given away or trashed. But, when we returned, I felt like I was going to the grocery store every other day and still couldn't get all that I needed. Part of it was that when we returned, the children did not, so the groceries were different - more sun dried tomato pesto and less chocolate milk. And now that they're back, there was a need for more goldfish and less gouda. Back to the store I went. Again. And again.

For example, blogging. Clearly, my subjects were gone, and were giving me nothing to write about. Heck, they barely even talk to me when they're at their Granny's. And then it's only because she pities us and bribes them with popsicles.

And work. My goodness, that's one thing I've gotten a lot finished, but the problem lies in the fact that it's all in my front hallway and piling up fast. I have to check for the dog and make sure she's not buried underneath. It's a rather large pile of some rather fabulous curtains. That all need to be delivered in one day. Ish.

And honestly, there are only four weeks left of summer for the children. And while the minutes sometimes go slowly, the moments are precious. And I'm enjoying most of them. But then, come another week from now, my life as I know it ends, and I become the ever perky, ever cheering FOOTBALL MOM. Erm. Yeah.

We've started our "conditioning," which for us, involves playing outside in the mornings, going to the pool in the afternoon and playing outside again in the evenings. It's a hundred degrees out there. The boys aren't the only ones conditioning to the heat - apparently I need it, too, you know, for all that cheering. And watching of endless practices.

Friday, July 11, 2008

indulgences

I'm not one to indulge myself very often, and certainly not in the typical Texas suburban woman sort of way. It's been a year since my last haircut, in fact, the last time my children went to their Granny's. I've not had a pedicure since my sister's wedding. It's just not the sort of thing that I do very often.

But there are other indulgences that I do enjoy, that I've been able to enjoy since I dropped off my children at their Granny's and ran as fast as I could before she changed her mind.

The other day, I started a library book at about midnight. Let's just say Oprah would never choose it as a book club selection. Yet, when I started the book, I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down. So I didn't. I stayed up until about 4 in the morning, just reading this book, doing something so indulgent that I couldn't do it if the children were around, planning their early morning trouble-making.

And, I've been dragging my husband into home decor stores. Not the kind that I usually shop in that double as craft stores and grocery stores, but the kind where I can't actually afford anything, so I can't bring the meddler who would no doubt break something. It's a wonderful way for me to get inspiration for my work and my house and to reconfirm the fact that we both want a house that can be lived in, not a showcase sort of a home. It's nice to know that Sarge would actually choose the style that I've created for our home (minus about 90% of the clutter).

Not very exciting, I know --heck, none of it cost a dime - but my kind of thing to do when I have a week to do nothing useful at all besides spend time with my husband and work, work, work. Like that life that I had before children. That I just never fully appreciated - the peace, the lack of whining, the ability to not only keep up with laundry, but stay ahead of it - oh, my. I'd better go get my kids before I get used to this.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Essentials

For every trip, I forget something essential. You would think that I would eventually make a list, or at least borrow my mother's List Of Everything, but no, every year, it's like a package to open in those first five hours of a car trip, going through in my head all of the things that are in the van and all of the things that aren't.


This year, I forgot soap. And shampoo. And a backpack or anything besides a laundry basket to carry water and snacks in when we hiked. And our camping journal, a notebook of all the places we've been on our road trips, the things we ate, the things we cooked and at the end of each day, everyone's favorite part of the day. Another thing that needs to be transcribed from crumpled up napkins that I'm still finding in the crevices of my minivan.


But there is one thing that I didn't forget, that I didn't forget on every hike we took. It's something that I actually carry in my purse all the time. It's a travel Q-tip container that has been emptied of it's Q-tips. Inside, I carry little alcohol wipes, some neosporin packets and assorted Band-aids. It's a perfect size, and it has the ability to halt crying children in their tracks simply by pulling it out.


Each person in the family had a chance to benefit from my little tiny first aid kit. Sarge was first, when the mean rock at the aquarium jumped out from behind a fish tank and bit his knee.
Then the middle child, then the youngest. The oldest got two bandaids and cream when fell in the water, hurt his pride, his foot and dislocated his baby toenail from it's rightful place. I explained each time that true adventurers always had bloody knees.
It was also then that I told them that they were to stop hurting themselves, that I was almost out of alcohol wipes. Fortunately the trip was almost over when I maimed myself while trying valiantly to rescue a mini-golf ball. It was a heroic effort, and the news was nearly called, until I discovered that they'd probably rather interview the guy who rescued the same ball from bouncing across the parking lot. Or Sarge, who rescued the ball the second time from the parking lot. We won't say who had the runaway ball, because it's my blog and I'd like to protect my image, thankyouverymuch.
I highly recommend my rescue kit to all with children. It saves lots of pain in your ears AND extra emergency trips to the bathroom to wash owies.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Memories

As we were hurtling down I-40, I was quietly listening to my children playing and laughing in the backseat. I believe I took notice because it was unusual that they were all getting along and not begging to go pee or eat or get there already. So don't think that it was all lollipops and roses - unless they were the everlasting lollipop kind, then I'd have been all over it.

But it struck me that we were making memories. And that they could have been doing it at that very moment. I'm sure each parent who takes their children on a trip hopes that they'll remember the fun they had and all of the cool things that they did, and not remember the whining and crying and the "why, oh why would my mom not buy me all those souveneirs?"

But you never know what they will remember, and who will remember it. I think I'm unusual in that I remember so very little. Fortunately I have a sister with a memory for everything (fortunately for me, unfortunately for our mom...) so she makes up for all the millions of cool things that we did as kids that I've forgotten.

I think that it went along with a conversation that I'd had with Sarge the week before the trip - both of us realizing that we remembered the Olympics from the year that we were nine. I remember 1984 and Mary Lou Retton, he remembers 1980 and that whole hockey thing. We both remember being mezmerized by them and watching them whenever we could (of course, that was back in the day when that's all there was on - that or the Oliver North trial). And we realized that we needed to make an effort to expose our children to the Olympics this year, because this was the year for our oldest, that maybe, just maybe, he'd remember something special.

So these are the times in the lives of my children. The summers of fun and innocence, the summer family road trips before the ipods and eyerolling. The summers that coloring and playing board games with your mom and dad are still fun. The summers where we can still surprise them with fun things that they've not ever seen or done before or had a friend who had a friend who did it and said it was totally lame, dude.

The bad part is that I have to wait 20 years to see what they remember. And hopefully they won't only remember whats in the 662 (if only that were and exaggeration!) pictures I took.

Graceland

Inquiring minds want to know - were the seventies really this cheezy or was Graceland bad taste combined with a painful decade of style? Even though I secretly want my house to be decorated a little like Elvis' place. Dude, he had a mirrored ceiling in the basement and peacock stained glass windows in the living room.



But seriously, we go to Graceland, and this is what I photograph. I was disappointed that I was unable to appropriately capture the green shag carpet on the ceiling, but apparently it's difficult to get away from one's work. Does this make this trip tax deductable?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How camping was saved.

My husband very nearly decided that we'd never camp again. Until his boss called him on vacation. Weird, I know.

You see, we camped the first two nights of this trip. My husband is not a camper - until just a few years ago, the only time he'd ever camped was as a nine-year-old cub scout. And he hated it. But a few years ago, he discovered, with a little help from his wife, that there are simply parts of this country that cannot be enjoyed from a hotel room or the interstate, and that there are some pretty awesome places to see. We've camped through storms and cold and wind and hot and snakes outside our tent.

But this year, it was only two days of camping, then a week at a cabin in the mountains. Very romantic, unless you are bringing three little people with you, then it becomes quite the opposite. The first night, we're registering, and the gal at the park says, "I hope you brought your Deep Woods Off!" all nonchalantly. I assured her that we had. After rejecting several campsites for being too slopey or being too close to RV's or covered in poison ivy, we found a great campsite, set up camp, sprayed on the Deep Woods Off. From three years ago. And we went on a hike.

Lather, rinse, repeat the second night, though this time we picked a lovely spot near and RV, the playground, in the path to the restroom, and right across the way from the family of 38 who didn't get along very well. And we played cards into the night while the children fell asleep and marveled at how the bugs didn't seem to be swarming that night.

Until the morning. Sarge said to me, "Gosh, I think the bugs must have been under the table eating me alive - I'm covered in bites, and I itch like crazy!" The boys had their fair share of bites covering their legs. Apparently my daughter and I are bitter - I always knew that would be to my advantage. We drove on all day, Sarge kept itching, but worse than the boys. We explained it away as my old bug spray.

To his credit, he didn't complain all that much, though Benadryl was purchased for him and the boys. Except that he was pretty sure that he never wanted to sleep in the great outdoors again. Ever. But then, he listened to his messages.

Sarge's boss "Hate to bother you on vacation, but wanted to let you know that me and the other guy that chased that guy into the woods the other day have poison ivy. We wanted to check to see if you had it too."

So, it wasn't my camping after all. And he hopes the guy that they were chasing was hiding in a whole grove of it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vacation is Work.

Finally home from vacation, there are little bits of wadded up napkins strewn throughout the minivan-and-a-half load of stuff that oozed out of my van as we unpacked. Each of the napkins has something brilliant written on it. One day, most of these things might make it to the internet. Or maybe not, if they were also used to clean up the three thousand "uh-oh's" from the backseat.

But, alas, we came home to a rather embarassing problem. I had to take my computer to the Nerd Herd and tell them, "The 'on' button doesn't work" Seriously, the on button? Who breaks that? I was so grateful that it didn't work for the Nerd Herd guy either, because I was more afraid of it working for him and having him give me the look of idiocy than I was him telling me that there's nothing that can be done, that yes, you should have backed up the last three years of photographs.

So, until the word is back on my precious, the library will have to do. Me and the homeless people making millions on the library's internet.

But there are stories of the world's smallest washing machine, poison ivy, the oldest and the farting horse and memories made. Coming soon.