Monday, August 8, 2022

July Report

July turned out to be a bit crazy. Because a) crazy work load; b) summer camps.

So summer camps are absolutely wonderful. The only problem with day camps is that you have to drive your kids to and from. When I was planning this, it seemed doable - and it was doable. Just stressful. We tried to "bunch" camps as much as possible, but at best, 2/3 kids were in 1 camp and the 3rd kid was either home or at another camp. So - lots of driving/shuttling kids means the work day is fragmented and it's hard to get work done. Normally, it wouldn't be too much of an issue, but we had an explosion of work in July and not enough people to do it. 

Kids did the following camps:

  • Tennis camp (1 week, 1 kid)
  • Soccer camp (1 week, 2 kids)
  • Theater camp (3 weeks, 1 kid)
  • Theater camp (same as above but for younger kids; 2 weeks, 1 kid)
  • Occasional 2-5pm gymnastics practice that's about 25 min drive away (1 kid; she only did it twice and then decided competitive gymnastics was not her thing).
Tennis and theater camp overlapped.

It wasn't all on me - husband did a lot of driving on the days he was working from home. My parents helped with soccer camp pick up and took kids to the pool in the afternoons. It was just a combination of a ton of work and not being able to focus on it for long stretches of time - and I got somewhat stressed out.

We had 1 week in Ocean City, NJ, with husband's family. There were 16 of us (8 adults, 8 kids) in 1 house. It worked out fine. I planned to work 2.5 days - rode my bike to the library (much more comfortable and more quiet than in the house). Kids loved playing with their cousins. Grown-ups enjoyed walks and late-night conversations (no late-nights for me, though - I was absolutely exhausted by 9:30 and ready for bed). The ocean was fantastic - the water felt great and the waves weren't too rough. We all did lots of swimming. Our kids got a bit burned one day (sunscreen and all), when we met up with some friends on the beach and all got a little carried away and didn't get out of the sun in time. Nothing too bad - C probably got the worst of it and has a little bit of skin peeling on her nose.

How was your July? 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Weekend Report

Friday:

  • Work
  • Pool with kids
  • Reading The Shadow House by Anne Downes
  • Watching "Wayne" with husband 
Saturday:
  • Laundry
  • Food shopping
  • Pool with kids
  • Reading "The Younger Wife" by Sally Hepworth
  • Picked a few blueberries in our berry patch
Sunday:
  • Went to the beach
  • Met up with another family
  • Kids played together, grownups commiserated about the math curriculum changes
  • Lots of sun
  • Went for a quick swim in the ocean (swallowed lots of water, etc, etc, the usual).
  • Our oldest child is staying with friends at the beach until Thursday. They are planning to do fishing, surfing lessons... He is super excited.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Of Weather and Pests...

  • Last few days were on the chilly side. Not that I am complaining. 
  • Squirrels ate all our peaches and nectarines. Those things weren't even ripe yet!
  • The boysenberries are ripening - but I am under no illusion that we'll get to eat them. The catbirds got them in the previous years and they are back for more now.
  • I did eat 2 red boysenberries today - definitely not ripe yet, so tart they tasted bitter.
  • We netted our blueberry bushes. Not sure it would do any good... But we have to at least try.
  • Rabbits have been visiting our garden and mowing down the lettuce - they dug under the fence. 
  • Some of our cucumbers and beans grew along the fence - and got chomped by deer.
  • Clearly, we need a pack of feral cats in our yard... to keep the bird, squirrel, and chipmunk population under control.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Weekend Report

 Kids spent the weekend with family in a nearby town. They had a blast - lots of good food, amusement park, kayaking, movies, hanging out with cousins.

Husband and I were home alone. So strange. So quiet.

We caught up on some chores. We gardened, and took care of plants, and relaxed. While he was busy cutting grass and chipping branches, I went out for lunch with a friend. It was nice - I don't get out much these days.

We went to an 80's concert in a park and met up with some friends there. I forgot about this - how when you are at a good concert - whether classical, or rock, or anything - there is this energy. I needed that. 

On Sunday, we had my parents over for breakfast (I made pancakes! and scones!), did more yardwork and then went to pick up the kids.

We had dinner all together at a diner. Kids were impressed and loved the food. C (the youngest) kept saying how this was such a fancy restaurant. The waitress was the best - a little quirky, very charismatic, and a bit like a mix of a grandma, a fairy godmother, and a monarch who just may behead you if you step out of line.

Friday, June 17, 2022

School is Out

 Wednesday was the last day of school.

We are in the transition phase - re-setting expectations, evaluating what's working and what's not. Because even though the kids are on their summer break, the parents have to work. We have some activities planned for them this summer - but not every single day of every single week. 

If I got a chocolate every time H told me she wanted me to be a "house-mom" (ie, not  to have a job) or a teacher (ie, have summers free), I would have a nice stash to last me for months!

Actually, E and C do splendidly while I work. They read, listen to audio books, peruse youtube (E); they have art project and construction projects; they like going to the garden and picking whatever is ready. They are both self-sufficient. Also, they get along really well, so sometimes they'll do a lego project together, or will talk, or will play soccer outside.

It's H who tends to interrupt the most... she can't handle being on her own... She does like to read, but only at night in bed. She used to like to cook, but she hasn't been in the mood for it recently (although she said she wanted to make kugel today for lunch - that would be awesome). She craves constant attention.

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We celebrated end of school year by going out for ice cream with friends on Wednesday evening. I got a small scoop of chocolate ice cream - it was delicious! Much better than I remembered! H and her best friend went for a walk in town - first time on their own - while the rest of us hung out by the court house. They got lost coming back but figured it out by asking for directions.

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Summer expectations for kids when they are home all day:

  • Get out of bed and get dressed. Hopefully make the bed!
  • Wash breakfast + lunch dishes
  • Help out with or make lunch (sometimes)
  • Practice piano or violin (depending on the kid)
  • Do a bit of school work (like maybe 30 min spent on math or language arts-type work?)
  • Clean up cat litter box (they take turns)
  • One chore (like folding/putting away laundry, mopping the mud room, vacuuming family room, or cleaning their room)
  • Play outside
  • Limit screen time 
Fun things for kids to do this summer when they are home all day:
  • Maybe watch a movie or play minecraft
  • Read!
  • Catch frogs, turtles, and toads! And sometimes snakes!
  • Going to the pool
  • Going to the park 
  • Playing with neighbors
  • Legos, puzzles, art, crafts...
  • Board games

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Angry About Lilies

 I've been so looking forward to our tiger lilies blooming...

We have quite a few, growing in our back yard. Last year, the deer ate all the flower stalks before they ever had the chance to open.

This morning, C yelled from the bathroom - "Deer in the yard!"

Someone forgot to close the gates...  a mama and a fawn were grazing and wondering about the place. The lilies - blooms still tightly closed - all gone. 

So angry. So, so upset.

I was trying to figure out why I felt such powerful fury at something that's so... well, let's face it, trivial. Flowers. Yes, pretty, but it's not like we are going to starve... or loose our home... or be ill...  In the grand scheme of things, this is a trifle of a thing.

And yet, I felt extreme fury.

Was it because I felt so powerless?

Was it because I should have checked the gates last night?

Was it because someone else messed up and did not close the gates properly (even though they claimed the did...)?

I feel like I am ready to move on. Maybe I'll buy some other flowering plants. Maybe I'll add some more hanging baskets.

But I mourn the beauty that could have been and now will not happen until next year (if we ever manage to keep the idiotic deer out of the yard).

A little dramatic? Yes, perhaps. 

I am still upset. But I am ready to move on.


Monday, June 13, 2022

Weekend Report

 Friday night:

  • H planned and took care of a party for neighborhood kids earlier in the day - it involved cupcakes, cupcake decorating, treasure hunt (she had clues hidden all over) - she was not 100% happy with it...
  • Our 3 kids watched part of the LOTR The Two Towers
  • Husband took the kids to the pool - and I had some blissful alone time (kids didn't have school that day)

Saturday:
  • Friend's Bat Mitzvah 
  • E and my mom practiced to get ready for the recital
  • Piles of laundry
  • Kids watched the rest of the Two Towers
  • Husband and I went for a walk in the neighborhood
  • Baked beet bread
  • Husband took care of food shopping.
  • Youngest played with neighbors. A lot.
  • H & C had a very public and dramatic sister fight (I think C was hungry and over-tired from staying up too late and reading)

Sunday:
  • Neighbors came over for breakfast. Kids played. Grown-ups talked. 
  • E's recital - he did great. It is such a gift to watch E and my mom play together.
  • We went into town, got some snacks, and hung out at the playground for a bit.
  • H and C had a piano guild party hosted by their teacher.
  • E watched one of recent James Bond movies.
  • Husband and I did some yard work.