Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our New Old Routine

is wearing me out! I hadn't realized how truly relaxed our summer schedule had been until the kids went back to school. I know I hadn't been getting as much work done of any sort, so I was kind of looking forward to the return to routine. I could finally have more time free to "get stuff done".

Here we are: week two of school. I'm up at the crack of dawn to have a quiet time and workout and... Well, I get up and have that quiet time and then get everyone fed and off to school. Then it's back home to finish up move the load of laundry to the dryer and get started on cleaning up from breakfast. Then I fold the laundry, move the laundry upstairs and work on some writing make lunch. After lunch it's time to read to the Uber-Princess before her rest time and then in to my office to make some phone calls put away the laundry and pick up toys. By the time all that is done my watch tells me I need to be walking over to school to pick the girls up. So I do that and after a half hour of watching them play on the playground gabbing with other moms, I head the gang home for the after school routine. While LMH and Timid Daughter work on homework I'm busy working on favors for an upcoming baby shower emptying the dishwasher and fixing dinner.

All too soon the day is over. But that's okay, because I can look around my immaculate much lived-in home while I drink a soothing cup of tea plain glass of non-fat water. By then I'm feeling ready to work on a couple dozen masterpiece scrapbook pages fall into bed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In Stitches

Timid Daughter is the clown in our family. Most days you can find her hamming it up - either singing some made up tune, bustin' a move or just simply being goofy and laughing at herself. She is one funny girl and she keeps us in stitches often.

This past weekend though, she was the one who ended up in stitches - literally. In the course of nine years of parenting I have never been to the emergency room with any of my children. We've had a couple of x-rays and the normal number of scrapes, boo-boos and illnesses. But no broken bones or other bad injuries. Until Saturday evening.

Timid Daughter scampered across our neighbor's lawn to find us and tripped on their stone steps, gouging out a chunk of her leg. So we went to the emergency room, she and I. And we waited and waited and watched some Olympics and waited. Finally the doctor came to repair her leg. She got three stitches. The worst of it was getting the shot to numb the area. And the second worst of it was having to sit with her leg elevated for a whole day. She was so glad for the next morning to arrive so that she could go back to moving around.

Her comment when I asked the doctor if the white I was seeing deep in the wound was bone?

"Oh Mom, that's just the skin on the inside. It just doesn't get tan like the rest."

Yup, she's still keeping everyone in stitches - except for herself. She's hoping to be done with stitches next week so she can get back to gym and soccer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Taking Inventory

School resumes here next week. So that means some shopping is in order this week. We've got most of the supplies: pencils by the dozens, reams of paper, stacks of folders. It's the clothes we have left to deal with.

Let me remind you, I don't. like. to. shop. I grew up attending parochial school with its attendant uniforms. Oh the bliss! No early morning clothing crisis there. No long shopping trips. No, new clothes for school to me always meant simply a new pair of shoes.

We'll shop for shoes this week. And of course, that is something this shoe-loving mom can handle. It's all the rest that makes my stomach cramp.

In an effort to, shall we say, streamline the process, I took an inventory of my children's wardrobes today. LMH has seventeen short-sleeved shirts, five of which are brown (and three of which are brown and pink, to be precise). This might sound like an obscene number of shirts. That's because it is! Of course Timid Daughter has her own twenty short-sleeved shirts. They must mate like rabbits in the drawers because I don't remember buying that many.

Other items in LMH's wardrobe?
2 skorts
7 shorts
8 skirts
7 dresses
2 pants
3 warmup pants
1 capris
4 tank tops
5 long-sleeved shirts

And this child comes to me nearly every week to complain that she has nothing to wear!

I share all of this because I am perplexed. My children have plenty of clothes, but nothing to "wear". Their closets are full, but they can't find anything "to match". Do I shop and just add to it? Or do I challenge them to make it work? Am I alone in this wardrobe challenge?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Sitting Next to Bejing

She bowed slightly, then held out her hand.

"I'm Mary", she said. "I'm from Bejing."

She took the seat next to me and we began to talk. I learned that she'd only been here ("in America", as she said) for twenty days, having come with her husband on a job transfer. She came to Toastmasters because it was a familiar place. She showed me a photo of her Bejing Toastmasters group. So similar, yet so different.

Later in the evening she got up and shared briefly about herself and her country. Her words rolled and bumped in a lovely accent. She gestured gracefully as she described some of the traditions in her country. I was mesmerized.

That was last night. Today marks the beginning of the 2008 Olympics in Bejing, China. For the next few weeks, our eyes, our attention will be on Bejing. We'll be watching not only the athletes and their competitions, but also the people and culture of the host country. I imagine we'll all be mesmerized. For a while it will seem as though Bejing is not over six thousand miles away, but rather, in the seat beside us.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Enjoying the Fruits

My kitchen is echoing with the sound of smacking lips. That and a loud "pop", followed by cheers signal one of my favorite times of year:New Year's Blueberry Harvest. Yeah, no champagne here. It's something even better - homemade blueberry jam.

I was thinking as I munched on a piece of toast lathered in fresh hot jam, while cheering for the popping lids: what an increasingly unique experience. Yet my kids hardly know it. They are growing up thinking that homemade jam, salsa and applesauce are "normal".

Here's the thing: canning and making jams, is a dying art. In years past it was a necessity for winter survival. But with commercial canning, it's now become a delicacy. Moms aren't passing the skills on to their kids. In fact, many of my contemporaries don't know how to can and preserve. We're already on to the second generation of losing this homemaker's skill.

I'm doing my part to pass along the skills to my children. Hopefully they will continue it. They certainly have a culinary appreciation for homemade jam and applesauce. And they're developing the know-how.

Enough rambling. If you're a canning neophyte and want to learn how - give me a ring. I'll be more than happy to teach you. And just so you know - it took us all of an hour to put up 5 jars of jam. It was a matter of crushing blueberries and boiling them with pectin, adding some sugar and then spooning into clean, hot jars. Then we put on the two-piece lids, inverted them for five minutes and enjoyed the scrapings from the pan while we waited. Now I'm listening to lids pop and anticipating a few months of yummy blueberry jam.

Anyone else out there do some sort of home preserving and care to share? I'm thinking I'm not as alone in this as I feel.