Monday, September 30, 2013

Oh, How I Love Reading

I’m a book hoarder. I love to own them – kindle editions and the good ‘ole classic paper kind. I see a title and plot that peaks my interest, and I snatch it up…only for it to sit in a pile or inside my Kindle for months. OK, some of them years.

I've been an avid reader since I was a child. I love a good story. Both of my parents passed on a deep love of reading to me. I’m passionate about the English language and get the greatest satisfaction out of finding an error in a book that an editor didn't catch. It comes close to making me feel like a super hero. (And yes, I absolutely know how geeky that makes me. Word-nerd is my label of choice, if you must throw stones.)

Now I come to the reason that my stack of books is so high. Children. One word, but many reasons balled up into those sweet, sticky little high-energy bodies. Books I could have read in a week now take a year, or I forget that I was reading them before I can even finish. Hell, I've even started books that I have read before and not realized it until at least chapter five.

The past few years I have found myself LIVING for vacation. Yes, to spend time with my family and to play with my children for a week without saying, “I can’t right now, honey. Mommy has work to do.” But secretly, I get equally as excited about all the time I will have for reading! GLORIOUS reading! I know that I will get absorbed in and actually COMPLETE at least two books. Heaven.

On our most recent vacation I read “The Rescue” by Nicholas Sparks and “Summer Rental” by Mary Kay Andrews. Both were excellent. My mother introduced me to Mary Alice Monroe recently, and I just started “The Summer Girls.” I love a quirky southern tale. Hopefully I will have this one done before next summer.

I confess that I DO still get to read on a daily basis. G and I are making our way through all of the Magic Tree House books together. Though they may not be what I would choose to pour over all the time, as we read together and he asks for “just one more chapter,” I know that I am doing something important. I’m instilling that same spark that’s in me in my child. And that’s what’s important right now. Can’t wait to see where Jack and Annie will go in that tree house tonight. (Rumor has it they’ll be boarding the Titanic!)

Some of our Magic Tree House collection (with a gargoyle to protect it)

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Wonderful World of Disney

Like most working moms, I have a lot of balls up in the air at all times. I could out-juggle a veteran circus clown any day.
This has been one of those “I’m juggling 50 bowling balls at once” weeks, and I am pleased to see it end, though it was not without highlights. When you have little ones, a whole week is never without highlights.
First of all, I have three lovely children — G is my almost-7-year-old boy, E is my just-turned-4-last-weekend fella and G2 is my sweet little 3-month-old baby girl, who still has that new car smell. Actually she smells like spit up — all the time — since she spits up on herself even IN the bathtub. But more on the spit up chronicles later.
With E’s birthday falling last week, there was a heaping helping of things to get done. Was trying to just restore order to our little house enough for me? Noooo. I felt the absolute need to paint and clean carpets and check other fun things like that off of a mile-long list before we had family over. (My husband loves my lists.) And lists tend to grow when you look around your little house that was built in 1934, which has been bursting at the seams since before E was born, and realize that there’s no chance that you’re going to find hiding places for all of the clutter — there aren’t enough sofas and beds to stash things under.
One of the uber-important items on the list was “bake cupcakes for E’s preschool class.” My boys love to bake, and I cherish the time with them, so I don’t opt for the store-bought kind. This baking session was a little crazier than usual as I tried to cram it in on a weeknight, but in between dinner, baths and reading, we got it done.
I took the cupcakes in to his class last Friday, and I could have kissed his teacher when she said, “Wow. Three children and still baking the cupcakes yourself — I’m impressed.” It wasn’t that I wanted anyone to be impressed; it was the simple fact that she recognized exactly what it took for me to get those cupcakes baked, frosted and in front of those 10 preschoolers. She is also the mother of three and worked when they were small. There was a deep understanding there.
Fast forward to this week. My job is busier than ever before, the boys are perfecting ways to best irritate the pants off of each other, and I am trying my darndest to pump enough milk for a baby who is allergic to all formula with less than great results. (Again, more on that another time.) Both boys have their first homework assignments and, in addition, E has brought home this red bag with a notebook and a stuffed Mickey Mouse peeking out. Did any of your children have the stuffed animals who come home and spend the week with your family? (Please tell me I am not the only one who just sees a big ball of germs rather than a plush animal. At least we got it early in the year.) When G did this, whatever critter it was spent time with him, and G dictated a cute little, SHORT message to me about how much he enjoyed having the plush animal with him, which I wrote in the accompanying traveling notebook.
I open the Mickey Mouse notebook to find these elaborate letters from Mickey Mouse to the class. In each one, Mickey (the parent!) is documenting every godforsaken moment that he spent with the child ALL WEEK LONG and with PICTURES attached! Dear lord, it almost sent me over the edge. I no longer wanted to kiss the teacher, but wanted to scream, “I thought you understood my life!!! Why would you do such a thing to me?” I felt completely betrayed.
You know you have those days/weeks/months where the slightest little thing added to your load makes you fall apart? That straw and the camel’s back? The last block that makes the Jenga tower crash? Well Mickey was the straw and the block for me.
I don’t like to have the kids’ school projects or fundraisers hanging over my head. I place my fundraiser order right away to be done (and yes, I had to do that this week, too) and check things off my list as soon as possible. So we immediately went out into the back yard for a photo session and checked that off the list, but that notebook sat on my desk staring me in the face all week. I had to REMEMBER it and REMEMBER everything Mickey did with E. What responsibility!
Thursday night came, and I could not WAIT to write that letter and be done. I taped the pictures in, drafted the letter and crammed Mickey (who we managed not to LOSE all week. Hooray!) and the notebook back into the little red bag as quickly as I could.

Done. Checked off the list. Mickey better only visit once a year.
My collage of Mickey & E's backyard adventures