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Posts tagged ‘vacation’

Picking and Choosing

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It’s a good thing I’m not the type of person who panics easily. I should be freaking out about being told today at 6:45 pm or thereabouts that Jay’s martial arts-themed birthday party on Saturday (less than 48 hours from now) may be without a martial arts instructor. The party scheduler didn’t know that the usual party instructors will be participating in a tournament this weekend.

She said she’s trying desperately to book one of two possible substitutes. Hey, a lot can happen in two days, right? I do wonder about the capabilities of the leftover instructors who aren’t participating in the tournament. Does that mean they suck? Would six-year olds notice? If I can fit into Mae’s uniform, maybe . . . .  Well, the scheduler is going to call me at noon tomorrow and give me an update.

This is our first week back from vacation and then I was home sick on Monday and Tuesday, so I’m still getting my energy back and adjusting to our summer routine. Jay and I both picked up some crud. The pediatrician asked me if Jay had had any recent “exposures.” I said, “Between the zoo, pool, water park, beach, and hotel, I’m sure he was exposed to something, but I don’t know what.”

During vacation, my work piled up and I worked last night and I’ll work tonight to get caught up. I had three great colleagues on standby to babysit help my clients. However, the Lovelies left “urgent” voicemail messages despite my out-of-office greeting and disregarded my email auto-reply asking them to contact my co-workers. Ah, to be valued so much that they would have no one else but me!

I don’t feel like being panicky right now. I chose calm for today. I think better in this state. I have too much to do for home, self, and work and not a lot of time to get it done. Like, I have a hair appointment tomorrow after work and I need to shop for and bake a cake for which I still need to decide upon a recipe.

Woosaaaah . . . .

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Fade to Black

watching fireworks

As 2012 fades to black, I think back on how blessed we have been this year and in previous years. Life hasn’t been perfect or stress-free. All-in-all, though, it’s been darn good.

I had a glorious time in SC with my immediate and extended families during our short winter vacation. We had a Christmas party on the Saturday before the holiday. The food was good, the games were fun, and spirits were high. One of the things I love most about my big (my mother is one of eleven), crazy family is that we manage to consistently have a genuinely good time, without the drama that is typically associated with big gatherings and without the help of alcohol (LOL).

Mae and Jay got to see all of their first cousins. They played well together, and I’m especially proud of Mae. I think she managed to avoid falling out with her big cousin, who is just 9 months older, even once. Usually, Mae whines or has a meltdown about not being able to play with her cousin’s things or something along those lines. No meltdowns at all on the trip. Growth is a beautiful thing, and she’s been doing plenty of it physically and otherwise.  Lately, she’s been asking questions on topics like periods and the N-word.  She’s becoming less and less of a “little girl,” a term she now detests.

Last week, Mae told me that she wonders if she should tell her friends that she has Asperger’s.  She said, “I don’t know what they’ll think of me.”  I told Mae that she can tell her friends if she feels comfortable, and that it’s more important to focus on what she wants her friends to understand about her and show them who she is without using a label.  I told her that the doctor said she’s barely on the spectrum, so Asperger’s may not be the best way to explain who she is.   Her question is an interesting question given recent media coverage of Asperger’s in relation to the Newtown tragedy.  Mae is aware of the tragedy because her school principal made an announcement the next school day.  She’s unaware of the media coverage and how some have attributed the shooter’s behavior to Asperger’s.  We’re not much of a news-watching household, and that’s a good thing.

After we returned home from SC, we buckled down to Mae’s homework.  She actually completed some of it while we were in SC, bless her heart, with little resistance. She has had so much homework over the past few weeks, more than I could have ever imagined for a 3rd grader.  We spent hours each day last Thursday through Sunday working on a book about the planets. There is a required 15-page minimum with limited use of illustrations, which Mae had to create herself. (Thank you, Microsoft, for Insert>Shapes.)

Last night, as Mae put the finishing touches on the book,  she told me that she enjoyed working on it, that she had looked forward to it.  She’s really had a good attitude about this homework business.  Hubby and I have been the ones grumbling for weeks.  I’ve been trying to think of a way to complain to the school, but I don’t know if it’s me or them that’s being unreasonable.  I wanted an accelerated and advanced curriculum, so maybe I should keep my mouth shut. What I didn’t know was that we’d be trading loads of personal time and family time, weekends and holidays included.

Mae worked so hard on her planets book and still needs to make progress on her science fair project, so much so that I can’t even bring myself to ask her to write thank-you notes for Christmas gifts.  That’s normally one of our projects over the winter break.  I may saddle Jay with writing for both of them, if I can get him to be still long enough. He has been a ball of energy, literally running in circles around the house, for no apparent reason.  He’ll go round and round the kitchen table.  He’s in constant motion, still at five and a half.  I don’t remember his sister being this way.

Yesterday, I surprised him when I told him that I like candy cereal too, but I don’t eat it.   He said, slowly, “That’s strange.”  Then, he added, “If you like something, you should just eat it.”  Oh, my dear boy, I have fillings in the double digits and a pouch to prove that I have done plenty of that.

I’ve got to work on my “just eat it” problem in 2013.  I’m not big on resolutions, but I do need to create a new exercise plan and cut back on sugar.  This year was not good for me in terms of healthy living.  I tried to eat healthy (though the green smoothie project didn’t work for me; I decided that eating should involve chewing.  I like chewing.) and exercise (I quit yoga after one session because one full hour of yoga is just too much).  I got off track, mostly due to exhaustion in the evenings from hard, long days at the job I started in March, and then curtailing weeknight gym visits to help with homework in the evenings.  On too many evenings, I ate salty or sweet snacks for dinner instead of a proper meal.

Despite exercising less and eating more than I should have, I’m ending 2012 with a pat on the back for myself.  I’ve already ordered our photo album for 2012, a year’s worth of pictures bound in a hard cover book.   It’s an annual project that I sometimes don’t get to until the spring.  And, I’ve ordered our Happy New Year photo cards to send to family and friends.  I think our 2012 cards went out in February last year.  I feel like I was more organized in 2012.  Also, I spent more time with the kids, making more of an effort to do fun stuff on the weekends whenever we could.  House and yardwork suffered, but I have no regrets about that.

So, I’m good.  We’re good.  2013 will be good.

Summer, Come Back Here!

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I-yi-yi. Summer is slipping away and there is nothing I can do to slow it down. I took mental inventory last night of the remaining fun things I wanted to do this summer and how many weekends we have left. It’s not looking good. We were on track, too, until we met a family at the beach last Saturday and the mom told us about two new must-do places to visit. So, the next three weekends are going to be jam-packed, my house will be a hot mess, and junk food will be a substantial part of my diet.

Oh, wait . . . . that’s actually kind of normal.

37 and Going Strong

We spent last weekend in Myrtle Beach, celebrating my family’s 37th annual family reunion. I love those crazy people! We were close to 160 in number, six generations deep. Reunion is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s amazing that it comes together and gets hailed as such a good time with all of the last minute additions, cancellations, and changes that take place. Planning and execution is now led (supposedly) by my generation. You’d think it would be easy after all these years.

A few weeks ago, one of my cousins and I were “voluntold” to serve as the master and mistress of ceremonies. The head-aunt-in-charge gave strict instructions that we were to begin the program promptly at 6:00 pm. We did as told and then realized after our welcome remarks that Cousin Reverend RD was late and couldn’t deliver the scripture and prayer. Thankfully, an elder cousin stepped up and filled in. My co-host and I plowed through the rest of the program, both hoping it would be our first and last time in that capacity. It’s a role that doesn’t fit me well; I lack the wit, animation, and enthusiasm I think an MC should have. Unfortunately, so does my cousin. Fortunately, the family was kind to us during the program and we can say that we did our part to help. People seem to care more about the fellowship than the ceremony anyway.

It was a short, fun-filled weekend and we packed in as much as we could — mini golf, science museum, amusement park rides, and arcade games. Mae and Jay enjoyed it all, especially the beach and pools. I’m so grateful that they have a high comfort level in the water. It takes away the anxiety I used to feel. Hubby still tells me that I need to learn to swim. At this point, I just need for my kids to be able to rescue me.

The kids seem to have recovered from the trip already. Hubby and I are still exhausted, and probably will be for the rest of the week. I have no major plans for the coming weekend, and I intend to keep it that way. I will rest. I will. I will. I will.

It’s Not Christmas Yet. I think.

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I had a great visit with my Florida sister, her husband and their three beautiful daughters. I love when the cousins get together. They had their share of spats, but they all enjoyed the stay too. The weather was fantastic — nice enough for the kids to play and picnic outside. We ate well and within reason (ahem, in my opinion).

One of the most striking aspects of the trip and the days leading up to it is that my kids and nieces seem confused about where Thanksgiving ends and Christmas begins. Or, should I say where Christmas pauses for Thanksgiving and then begins again?

About a week before Thanksgiving, Jay asked if we could “set up” for Christmas. I told him that we would decorate after Thanksgiving because I can handle only one holiday at a time. Last Saturday, he and Mae started writing out their wish lists, and chica is up to 50 items.

On the eve of our trip to Florida, Jay and I stopped at the pharmacy. Of course, there were Christmas decorations galore and all kinds of things associated with the holiday were on display. Jay started whining, saying that it’s Christmas and we need decorations. I told him that it’s too soon. He told me that he had seen other houses with decorations. I had to think about that for a minute. There are houses in our neighborhood where it seems the residents leave Christmas lights up year round. It’s also possible that there are some households where zealous adults have followed the retailers’ lead on getting an early start or anxious children have brow beat their parents into decorating. I didn’t bother to argue with him. I told him that we’d decorate after we returned from Florida, end of discussion.

My sister and I took the kids to a children’s museum on Wednesday, and there were lights, green garland and “‘Tis the Season” signs outside of the entrance. The kids were skipping and singing “Christmas, Christmas!”. The next morning, on Thanksgiving day, my four-year old niece came to me with a sad face. She said, “Is Christmas gone?” I told her no, that Christmas will come later. I reminded her that it was Thanksgiving. L’s mind was elsewhere. She asked, “Why didn’t I get any presents?” I told her that she may get presents for Christmas, but not Thanksgiving.

We went to see the Muppet movie on Friday. Fortunately, it’s a sleepy mall and we weren’t overrun by shoppers. Looking at the decorations as we entered the mall, L said, “It’s Christmas!” Jay told her that it wasn’t. They went back and forth a few times. Finally, I told them they were both right: it’s the Christmas season but not Christmas day.

I know Jay will be on my back about “setting up” shortly after we pull into the driveway this afternoon. We have actually two other celebrations before we can get to that. Today is Hubby’s birthday, and our 12th wedding anniversary. Two grand occasions. Hubby is even more awesome than he was 12 years ago. I’m grateful for him and everything he’s been to me. So, we have to honor him first.

We’re in Atlanta, awaiting our last flight, which I’m sure will go as smoothly as the others went. Then, it’s celebration time for the rest of the day, and tomorrow begins the race to the “C” word. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe . . . .

Mini Momcation Postponed

I thought I would give Hubby and the kids a break from me this weekend.  I had planned to go to NY to help a good friend, V, celebrate her birthday.  V is fun and funny, and I was looking forward to hanging out with her and her awesome sisters and friends.  V plans BIG every year for her birthday, and the full celebration lasts for about a month.

Unfortunately, I have had a string of body weirdnesses this week that started with pain, swelling, and numbness in my left calf and progressed each day to a different part of both arms, legs, and feet feeling numb or tingly.  Throw in some light-headedness and blurred vision, and you have the making of a canceled mini vacay for moi.  Per doctor’s orders, I’m taking aspirin everyday and I had an MRI last night.  I hope to get results on Monday.

Meanwhile, I figure it would be terribly inconvenient for me to have a stroke or brain aneurysm on a bus to NY and ruin the other travelers’ weekend.  Instead, I will stay home and try this recipe for red velvet brownies.  Good luck to me!

4 Is the New 2?

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I don’t know what happened to the sweet little boy that we left in SC two weeks ago.  The boy that we picked up is taller, has a more mature face, and talks with a smart mouth.  My mother warned me on Thursday evening.  She called to say that Jay had left a 4-inch scratch in his big sister’s back, and that when she told him she was going to tell me and Hubby, he said “Soooo.”

What? 

Nonny said that he had been fighting and picking at Mae all week.  Mae was complaining that he had spit on her several times during the week (which means that he blew raspberries at her), including on this particular day.  For Jay, that’s a pretty contemptuous act, and he knows how much it aggravates Mae.

My first thought was that he was acting out fatigue.  His nap schedule lapsed during this two week vacation.  As much as he argues that he doesn’t need a nap, he can be quite the grump when he’s tired. 

He was sleeping when Nonny called me, so I figured that I’d see what was going on with him myself once we arrived to get him and Mae this weekend.

For sure, Saturday morning, it was clear:  he looked different and he had an attitude!  I couldn’t believe it then, and I’m having trouble believing it now as we head back up to MD.  He flat out refused to brush his teeth and have his face washed on Saturday morning.  I had to put him behind a closed door until he agreed to cooperate.  Before, a warning alone would have worked nine and a half times out of ten. 

And, I heard him say “so.”  I don’t even think his sister, Queen Smart-mouth, says that.  We went out for lunch on Saturday afternoon, and I had to speak to him more firmly than usual to keep him from putting trash on the floor and pulling tape off  the tears in the fake leather seats (worn furniture aside, the food was great and I like supporting locally owned businesses at home).

Next trip, I want try this place. If they cook like my momma, it's gotta be good.

Yep, Jay’s been salty.  When I ask him what happened to my little boy, he laughs and says, “It’s me!”  I don’t even remember him having the terrible twos.  He’s been so easy, especially compared to Mae.  I think it would be a real uncool trick on me and Hubby to get thrown back into the twos when Jay is a mere five days from four and Mae is a whopping seven years.  And, she, by the way, did a great job of tolerating Jay’s taunting.  Nonny said that Mae wouldn’t hit him back and she didn’t cry when he scratched her. 

Vacation is a perfect time for less structure and more freedom.  I’m grateful that my mother was able and willing to provide that break for Jay and Mae.  I’m hoping that once we get back into a regular routine at home, including more rest and a diet with less sugar and artificial things, Jay will come around.

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