School and Home

Hey! I know, I know. It’s been a while. We’ve got some catching up to do. So, first? School. It’s mostly good. M started 7th grade, and she’s liking it. Over the weekend she caught slugs for extra credit in science, and the fact that one can earn extra credit for catching slugs seems, to me, to be a good sign.

 

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Mostly, though, I hear about soccer. This is the first time that M’s playing soccer for her school, so it is very exciting for her. They practice right after school every day, so she’s gone from about 8:30 am to 6 pm most days. It feels like she’s hardly ever home.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

My Book About Me

At the end of the summer, my sister dropped off an old book at our house: My Book About Me, by Me, Myself with some help from my friends Dr. Seuss and Roy McKie.

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How, oh how, had I managed to forget about this book? It’s the perfect gift for your preschool-to-early-elementary-school-aged kid. I think that I just assumed that they don’t print it anymore, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

First Day of School Eve

I’m filled with the sort of loving tenderness for my children that comes from knowing that they’ll be leaving me tomorrow.

It was a long day. The morning started with technical difficulties, M still simmering with resentment over a disagreement yesterday, and J fretting anxiously over her need to complete a homework assignment in lieu of actually sucking it up and doing the assignment. Before Cute W had even left for work, the girls had managed to set off our car alarm. There’s more to that story, but I’ll come back to it.

So at 9:40 am, I decided that I was going to my exercise class. The schedule’s been nutty lately, and I’ve been missing many of them. My first instinct was to bike to the JCC, but I had some fears that, left unattended, the girls could potentially set off the car alarm again, so I ignored the gorgeousness of the day and drove to take the car out of the equation. And then, on the way, a road was closed. And once I arrived, there was no parking. Like, anywhere. Okay, there was parking, but it was far away, and it was a particular bummer, because if my kids had been in school, I would have biked. But, alright. Then, walking in, I ran into a friend, who broke it to me that the 10 am class I’d planned to attend had moved to 9 am for the school year. Ohhhhhh, I was sad. Really, the timing’s better in general, but now I had no class. In fact, I saw a favorite instructor heading in and hoped that she’d have a class, but she let me know in a nice way that this was more of a “sittin’ senior” kind of exercise class.

So I went back to my car and sulked. The hour of exercise was supposed to be my little sanity break. Then I decided that, since the kids weren’t expecting me, anyway, I wouldn’t go straight home. I remembered that I currently possess a Starbucks gift card. Drinking coffee at an outdoor table, now that sounded good! By the time I was parking by Starbucks, I’d decided that I also fully deserved a trashy magazine to peruse while drinking my coffee.

And then I remembered that I’d left my wallet at home–I’d just put my driver’s license in the pocket of my gym bag.

Dammit.

Much of the day was spent on homework, with occasion breaks spent on the Ripstik or in the hammock.

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By evening, things had improved. J was finished with her assignment and peaceful with relief. I stayed at M’s soccer practice long enough to watch her run ridiculously fast and meet the goal that she’d set. Then I went home and made a special chicken dinner because it would provide awesome leftovers for everyone’s first-day lunches. I’m convinced that my entire family loves me more when I am frying them meat. You might think that I’m imagining it, but I have a compelling stack of evidence, like how both daughters gushed that they love me, or Cute W declaring me The Best Mom Ever and particularly adorable sporting flour on my cheekbone. It almost makes me want to fry meat more often, except that then we’d all be much less healthy, and, more important, they’d start taking my meat-frying for granted (because I’ve noticed that I rarely get fervent declarations of love for providing clean underwear and icy-cold water bottles).

As I was cleaning up after dinner, the girls sprung into First Day Eve action. J, who had been told it was time to head upstairs, asked if she could please get organized first? Of course you can, my little lamb chop. An excellent idea, and it’s more likely to make you mellow for sleep. I walked into M’s room to see her first day of school outfit all laid out: jeans shorts and a t-shirt. She checked my reaction: was I disappointed? Of course not! I’m sure that if I had a daughter who was carefully coordinating the various elements of her outfit and pondering her hairstyle choices, the whole process would make my heart swell. Many of her friends are doing just that, posting photos of their outfits, and debating the merits of sandals versus sneakers, and that just makes her complete lack of concern seem extra-awesome. And, as I was thinking this, J walked into M’s room. She was fretting because she couldn’t fit all of her supplies into her backpack. M volunteered her services, and soon the two of them were helping each other and preparing themselves with the kind of camaraderie that appears on special occasions like Christmas Eve and First Day of School Eve.

And finally, bedtime.  M and I had a semi-philosophical bedtime chat and J chose a selection of picture books (all total girl power stories, my favorite!). Those girls are awesome. I’m going to miss them tomorrow. Well, maybe.

Last Friday

I hope everyone’s enjoying the gorgeous blue skies. And the blazing hot sun. And the humidity. Which have all settled in just as the pools have closed, school’s about to start, and my children have brand-new pants and sweaters that they’d like to wear. Not like I’m bitter or anything.

After a string of rainy, chilly days (including our camping trip), I knew that the weather would improve last week, because J was committed to her (indoor) Circus Theatricks summer camp at the Ciccotti Center from 9 am to 3 pm each day. Even though the weather made me wish we were at the pool more often, J had a wonderful time. The camp ends with a Friday afternoon performance, and I was pretty sure that there was going to be a bit of a let-down from last year, because last year, J seemed to be a star of the show. She had her own act which involved her hanging and twisting around on an aerial hoop.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

Camping at Northampton Beach

I’d retrieved M from Cape Cod on Thursday because we had a weekend family camping trip already planned before she was invited on the vacation.  I’d checked out my list of recommended places to camp, and we decided on Northampton Beach on Lake Sacandaga largely because it was one of the few campgrounds that still had lakeside spaces for last Friday and Saturday night. Cute W and I really enjoyed Little Sand Point on Lake Piseco last year, but the girls wanted to try someplace new.

It was not an auspicious beginning. You may recall that it was rainy and cold on Friday. Cute W even floated the idea of cutting the camping trip to only one night, but I was like, heck no. Of course, I was as unprepared to go as I was adamant about going. I spent Friday feverishly shopping, cooking, and prepping. J had gymnastics on Friday afternoon, and Cute W didn’t want to miss too much work, so we planned to in the early evening. This turned out to be an ambitious plan. By early evening Cute W and I were throwing things into the car in a desperate race with the sun.

As we drove north, it continued to drizzle, and we noted that the cloud cover would make for an extra-dark night. Luckily, the campground was only an hour away. We’d planned to buy our wood when we arrived, but when we caught our breath and conferred en route, we realized that we had about $6 cash between us. Excellent.

But, phew! It was still daylight when we arrived, and the camp office took credit cards for their bundles of wood–kiln dried, making it pretty much the only thing dry in the place. Our campsite (#208) was lovely:

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Unfortunately, the grate over the fireplace was gone. It made us wonder if all the cooler campers had known about the deficiency, and that’s why it was the only campsite that still had an open lakeside spot. Oh, well.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

Best. Mom. Ever.

Guess who drove to Cape Cod in one day yesterday?

Yep, me. M was invited for the week, but we had family stuff this weekend, so I went to fetch her.

I decided to make it a mini-vacation, complete with lobster roll and onion rings. . .

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(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

Movies

The girls and I went to see The Giver.

We all loved the book.  I was especially excited to finally have a new release to see asap with J, because M and I had gone to see The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Catching Fire for their opening nights, but J hadn’t read the books in time (she’s since caught up with two out of three). I was a bit shocked by how empty the theater was.  Bottom line: the book’s better than the movie, but the movie didn’t ruin the book. We enjoyed it, mostly, although we all thought it would be confusing if we didn’t know the story ahead of time. And the ending was much less. . . ambivalent in the movie. Also, the lead boy was a cutie-patootie. M said, “In the book he wasn’t supposed to be attractive, but I’m totally okay with him being hot.”

But before the movie, we watched a huge pile of previews. And since my lovely daughters were fighting over custody of the popcorn and slushy, I did my best to ignore them. Instead, I focused all of my attention on the previews and took mental notes to share with you.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

Keeping Time

It was an absolutely beautiful day today, so of course M was inspired: she desperately needed to clean out her closet. Oh, man! Really?  But this was a task that I’d been nagging about for a long time, and she very politely asked me for help. So I took one for the team and spent all morning inside, pondering which artwork which needed to be saved forever and picking up picking little plastic beads out of a box full of change and Krazy gluing knick knacks.

But I loved re-discovering this little beauty (you can click on it to make the image bigger):
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(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

My Vacation

So what does a girl do when the whole entire family is out of town? Well, I:

  • Watched Cirque Éloize and wrote a review of it. I really enjoyed the show, but it was a little bit tragic because I went All. By. Myself. I had a press pair of tickets, but I got them pretty shortly before the showtime. So then I contacted three different friends, all of whom were out of town. And then I put it as a Facebook status (#feeling pathetic), like, 3 hours before the show, and there were crickets. Well, that’s a damn shame.
  • I slept in. A lot. What’s especially comical is that our cat is usually up and meowing for food or to be let out by the crack o’ dawn, but she gradually followed my lead through the week, and this morning she was still happily snoozing between my legs at 9:15 am.

Shopping Adventures and Misadventures

Last week involved some shopping. Oh, come on. Much as I loathe shopping, most weeks include at least some shopping, right? But since I was striking out into uncharted territory, I took some pictures along the way.

First, Hannaford has bowed to the massive grocery competition yet again. When grocery stores starting cropping up hither, thither, and yon around my house, I was not particularly psyched. I have to make a pretty major schlep to buy crafts or office supplies, but the grocery stores are practically stacked on top of each other. Historically, Hannaford’s been my favorite. When I first moved to the area with my teensy baby, there was a Hannaford and a Price Chopper near me, and I made a list of the items I bought most often, checked prices at both places, and started going to Hannaford because the prices were cheaper. But it morphed into the nostalgic favorite, especially when I can drag my 12-year-old to the store and the cashiers and baggers greet her by name and recall the good ol’ days when she fit into my baby carrier, while she smiles, puzzled, and refrains from rolling her eyes. So when they decided to renovate the place, I was bummed. I used to know where everything was. I used to be able to zip through there like it was a game show.  And now they’ve got shopping online, which just makes me worry that they’re not doing well in the face of all of this competition.