Monthly Archives: July 2013

BACKPACKS!!!

(What can I say? Target just wins at ad campaigns. This year’s set is pretty good, too… but this one is my all-time favorite.)

I know, I know… it’s not even August. But I am aware that there are many school systems that start school in mid-August, mortifying as that is to me. I like having until Labor Day with my kids! And the closer to September it gets, the more I have to embrace the fact that I’m not going to be on the other side of the desk in this back-to-school build-up. Unless I get a phone call soon.
And I’m still not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I adore hanging with Buttercup, and she is quite partial to me– sometimes to the point where even the Hubs simply will not do. The thought of putting her in day care is downright nerve-wracking. But I also feel like I’m wasting all the years of effort I put into my education (and still have the school loans to prove it!) and our home isn’t going to magically get bigger for our ever-growing children. We need a house. Badly. But those are problems for another day– today, I worry about sending three boys to school: 4th grade, 2nd grade, and Kindergarten.
I’ve been sending kids to school for 5 years now, and I am quite frankly tired of the rush and panic. The potential to be overwhelmed is very real.
But something occurred to me… the school sent the supply list with the report card on the last day of school. No one said I had to wait until the end of summer to buy the stuff on the list! So I tacked a couple of items from the list onto my grocery shopping list. Now I’m pretty much done (for some reason, the “right” folders are very hard to find!) and I didn’t have to go on a full-on shopping spree to do it.
There’s still time to spread out your BTS shopping if September is your starting point. Here’s to making the new school year easier!

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Is *that* what I sound like?

Raise your hand if you’ve disliked how the recorded version of your own voice sounds.

 

Now put your hand down; I can’t actually see you. (Gosh, I hope you weren’t in public.)

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I sound to others. As a teacher, I spoke a lot to students all day. I didn’t think much of it until I had to make an announcement to a lunchroom full of students with the use of a microphone and an amp. I sounded younger than the freshmen! That was maybe 7 years ago, but it still haunts me.

So now I’m talking to my own kids more than anyone, and I’m thinking about how I sound to them. The Regulator and I end up at odds occasionally. It’s like we’re speaking different languages. He tries to describe something; I will attempt to explain something. He gets upset; I get frustrated. 

How must I sound to him? Sarcastic, loud, dismissive? If it was always like this, I’d know there’s a real problem… but it’s not always like this. But I’d like it to never be like this.

As a mommy blogger who would love to be considered a Mommy Blogger, I read other Mommy Blogs. Quite frankly, I’m offended. Griping, cursing, and, generally speaking, girls behaving badly. Women who dang near sound as though they regret having kids. Women who would shrivel up and die if they couldn’t complain or make disparaging remarks about other moms. Women who make the “mean girl” attitude cute and hip… except it’s not.

Is that what I sound like? Because if I do, I oughta hang it up right now. I will admit that my life is not what I thought it was going to be, but an online gripe session entry after entry doesn’t seem like any way to fix it. 

Speaking of how I “sound” online, I cannot tell you how many times I have been in arguments with people whom I agree. 

 

 

You read that right: I will voice an opinion, and someone else will pick apart my argument in order to prove THEY are right in the EXACT SAME WAY. I never took Latin or Sanskrit or Swahili– why is it so difficult for people to understand me? 

This could end up a serious problem, but I’m not sure how to make the necessary adjustments. Here’s to an end to the communication breakdown. 

All I ever wanted…

(Yup– the Go-Gos. I’m impressed you keep catching the references that I keep throwing!)

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Call me old-fashioned, but I avoid telling social media that I’m leaving my home for an extended period of time. It just kinda says, “hey! I left my valuables unattended!” So I’m more likely to talk about it.

My in-laws, who are probably more “Joisey” than my family, have rented a beach house for one week for the past 5 years. This makes the family vacation for the hubs and our kids extremely attainable. (NOTE: I will never use the word ‘vacay’ by personal conviction.)

This year, they went all-out, renting the same house as the 2 years previous for TWO weeks. Since the hubs gets one week of vacation, we weren’t about to supersize our time at the Shore. And it’s just as well, since the Legal Lawyer* and his wife and kids were interested in joining the family at the beach house.

Sadly, the time did not pass well for them. The beach was windy and cold, and the Legal Lawyer had gotten himself a bit ill. Then it rained.. and rained. And the overnight traffic was too loud to get a good night’s sleep. They ended up leaving the same day the two youngest brothers-in-law arrived.

The aforementioned bros have hourly jobs that wouldn’t love having them take off work for a solid week, so they went from the last half of the first week to the first half of the second week.

We joined them on the Saturday. It started with the traditional visit to the Embassy… the International House of Pancakes. And since we didn’t have to wait until standard check-in time, we were able to get to the house and unpack immediately. We even decided to hit up the church in the evening so that we wouldn’t have to wake up early on Sunday. That’s a vacation, I’m thinking!

There was a little time spent on the beach, but the cold and windy from the week before still hadn’t subsided. (Buttercup was the sleeping-est baby on the beach! She went out all of twice, but she fell asleep within minutes of settling in after the beach tent was set up.) We tried other things… mini-golf, ice-cream, and fun in the game room. I was even a good girl and went jogging a couple mornings.

There was also the obligatory visit to Sleaze-side Seaside and the Water Park. It was so sad to see the post-Sandy boardwalk. Usually we don’t play those carnival games, but rides weren’t an option. Besides, we couldn’t afford much, but it seemed appropriate to try and put some money back into the boardwalk’s economy. Hope springs eternal, and we’ll keep going back to see what the Jersey Shore has to offer in years to come.

There is a sunset cruise available every evening up near the lighthouse in a location called Viking Village, and my father-in-law is known for taking amazing pictures. So one night we all went in order to get some nice sunset shots and maybe even some of a pod of dolphins. It was very cool– until it wasn’t… Apparently I get seasick (the things that manifest after multiple pregnancies!). And in case you didn’t know, windy beach= choppy ocean. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Regulator is apparently also prone to seasickness. We sat in the cabin and tried to enjoy the ride. And we made it!…. Buttercup, however, lost her dinner in my lap.

And then that turned out to be the last sunny day of the week. So we spent way too much time watching TV. By Friday, we had to get back out, even if there was drizzling involved. But we were in luck! We usually take some time at the NJ Maritime Museum just to look around the pictures and artifacts. But they were offering a morning full of kid-friendly activities! Demonstrations, puppet shows, and a scavenger hunt. The kids ended up winning free ice cream at a shop around the corner. But the hubs and I didn’t totally lose our minds just because it was vacation– we went back to the house to have lunch. Then we found the family billiard hall and tried to play pool…. badly. On the bright side, I felt that we really earned our ice cream (Pint-Size Genius doesn’t do ice cream, so the hubs used the coupon and we bought him a bag of Doritos).

Was it the best beach vacation? Definitely in the top 5 (see what I did there?). But we’re optimistic for next year. And it might be a little tough to pay for that vacation while I am, incidentally, a SAHM, it always seems to be worth it. The boys might not have spent a ton of time on the beach, but you’ll never hear them complain. And that makes me proud; being happy with the opportunities they receive makes me feel that I’ve done something right.

(Right now, you might be saying, “But you were away over two weeks!” And I would say, “Slow your roll, stalker!” I needed to get everything back in order when we got home, and that took longer than expected– especially that hot weather that would have made the beach so awesome was here at home and crippling my air conditioners! But I think I’ll get back into the swing of things.)

*Legal Lawyer: My best friend in college– he went to Hah-vahd Law after graduation. When I asked him what he was going to do with the JD, he replied “lawyering.” And when I said “what kind?” he answered, “the legal kind.” He’s nothing if not specific.

Try not to hurt yourself.

On this day, 7 years ago, I was at a pool party, celebrating my brother-in-law’s graduation from high school. It was a pool party, but I wasn’t going in the pool because I was pregnant and didn’t see a need to spring for one of those maternity bathing suits. I was due July 12, but was confident that I’d go a month early like I had the first time.

I spent the entire day walking– sitting– standing– leaning– sitting– walking. Couldn’t get comfortable to save my life. But no contractions, so it couldn’t possible have been labor.

My 2-year-old made the hubs stay in the pool the whole day, and when it was time to go home, he volunteered to give the little regulator a bath. I thought I would lie down for a little bit. That’s when the uncomfortable feeling became a crampy feeling… and moved around to the front.

Ever heard of ‘back labor’? ‘Cause I hadn’t.

So we called my mother-in-law, with whom we had made a deal to call when we knew it was time to go to the hospital…. only to find out that she had gone to the movies. The hubs called her cell, hoping she hadn’t turned it off like they tell you to when you go to the movies.

Thank goodness the movie they wanted to see had sold out, so they were on line looking for another movie. Thank goodness again that the movie theater they went to was right next to our house. Lil’ Regulator was in bed when MIL got there and we headed off to the hospital.

We get there, and the contractions were pretty rough. Turns out a ton of babies were born that day and because they were coming up on a holiday the staff was a little slow on the cleanup. I was sent to a Recovery room, usually for moms who had just undergone C-sections. I was not having fun at all. They cleaned up a nice big room, which didn’t matter to me because the hubs and the medical staff were the only folks I wanted in the room.

It was the room with special lighting and plenty of extra space; it was, clearly, the room that would be used if TLC was taping an episode of “A Baby Story.”

The doctor came in, I asked for the epidural, and the doctor looked “under the hood” and said, “Too late– start pushing.” Six pushes later…

My little Toughie was born at 9:59 pm, all 7lbs., 14 oz. of him.

(I later learned that an associate of my father-in-law’s has a granddaughter with the same birthday…. except she didn’t wait until Mom got to the hospital: she was born in the front seat of the car on the side of the highway.)

He is my little sweetheart, who always thinks of others and gives and shares. He has the Irish twinkle in his eye, so sometimes he gets up to no good, but never with malice aforethought. He’s very physical, and sometimes that results in cuts and bruises that never slow him down. He loves to play with friends and cousins alike. He doesn’t follow his older brother, but they get along quite well. And I love him to bits. He is my heart, now and always. So happy birthday, Toughie.578_1337442730-297x300