Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Caroline and I are going on a trip.

Would you care to guess where we're going?
Here's a hint: we're NOT going on an exotic beach vacation, nor are we embarking on a European adventure. Boo!

We are however, going where many kids go each summer: to Grandma's (and Grandpa's!) house. In fact, we're flying to the land of Grandmas and Grandpas; where the humid air makes your blue, permed hair even more curly and the entire parking lot of Publix is packed with Lincoln Town Cars and other boat sized cars. We're going where doctor's offices and funeral homes out number restaurants and schools.

Sensible shoes, polyester pant suits, early bird specials....

Yep, we're going to Florida.
EVERYONE has at least one grandparent, who lives in Florida, right?

We're not leaving until the weekend, but I've already started packing. I was watching the news the other morning and an "expert organizer" said that you should start packing one week before you're due to leave. That seems excessive, even to someone as tightly wound as me.
Perhaps if I had a whole family to pack for, I'd start a week in advance, but since I'm only responsible for the two of us, I've started four days in advance. I actually could have waited, but the weather is significantly cooler today (low 80s NO humidity) so we're not going to the pool (too cold!!). I figured it would be prudent to use this free time to pack, when I have absolutely nothing else to do. Well, nothing else to do besides lay on my bedroom floor, read blogs and eat graham crackers with peanut butter and honey. It's all about priorities.

Packing and traveling (ugh, and flying) totally stresses me out. Are you surprised?
In my endless quest for order and simplicity, everything and I mean EVERYTHING I pack must have a purpose and an absolute need. It must also be CONTAINED.
We're bringing two suitcases and everything MUST fit in a neat and organized fashion, or I'm not bringing it. No suitcases so full that I have to sit on them to zip them shut. Also, I hate having odds and ends stuffed in bags, in a haphazard, loosey goosey manner.

Like I said: CONTAINED.

Containment makes my heart (and brain) happy.

Even if the suitcase is closed and I cannot see it's contents, just knowing that things might be unorganized makes me very uncomfortable.

You know, if there were any doubt that opposites attract, you should see how differently Craig and I pack. It's too bad he's not here; otherwise I'd take pictures of our individual packing styles and show you how different we really are. Let me tell you, we're like the Odd Couple; just call me Felix. I'm methodical; he's haphazard. Honestly, Oscar'sCraig's packing style stresses me out. Just thinking about it causes me to tick nervously.

Wow, I could really use a vacation.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is Summer Over Yet?

We went to the pool today. Obviously.

I'm beginning to feel as if I'm in that Groundhog Day movie.

Caroline had a blast, as usual. So did the 57 other children I brought with us.

No really, it was fun.

In fact, once we got home and I sat down to eat some dinner, I was feeling quite okay with this whole summer thing.

And then....

And then my kid came in the house and asked if they could wash her friend's Chihuahua inside our big picnic cooler

Um, yeah.

I'd start to count down the days until school starts, but I'm afraid the big number would make me cry.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Foiled by weather.

As soon as those lifeguards hear even the faintest clap of thunder, they blow their whistles and evacuate the pool. It's for safety, which I wholly understand. But it sure does create a kink in my "let the kids play at the pool all day plans."

The sky grew dark, the thunder rolled, but we didn't get much rain.

Sorry excuse for a storm, if you ask me. Wimpy.

We spent a whole 35 minutes at the pool; the girls were playing, I was settled in and talking to another mom; I was even holding one of her 11 month old twins. We had a bounty of snacks and a I had a book waiting for me. And then the thunder was heard.

Unfortunately, one of the girls we brought is TERRIFIED of thunderstorms. Also, most unfortunately, her mom is out with her older sister, shopping. Thankfully the "storm" was short lived and I didn't have to tend to any hysterical fits. After having a tough kid like Caroline, I'm not sure how I'd deal with a hysterical, afraid-of-a-storm fit.

I have a sneaking suspicion that my sympathy level would be lacking.

So, we came home. And ate brownies. Not a bad trade off, right?

There are three four five other kids over now and I'm hiding upstairs. That seems to be a running theme around here, doesn't it? I'm sort of afraid to leave the shelter of my bedroom, to be honest. Not that it matters, because one of our guests found me and just asked if she could stay here while her brother has karate.

I said yes.
What exactly is wrong with me?

Caroline had another sleepover last night. This time it was with a girl that has never slept over before. Aside from the fact that she picked her nose, wiped it on my throw pillows and then had a bloody nose, everything went well. Oh, and as she was laying down to sleep, she said "sometimes my stomach hurts at night because I'm hungry." Subtle.

So, at 10 pm, I served up yogurt, which she proceeded to only eat half of.

And this morning, when they asked for breakfast, I said "we have Cinnamon Toast Crunch, do you like that? " Caroline replied with a cheerful "yes" but the other one replied with a "yes, but what else do you have?"
They ended up eating mini bagels with cream cheese, a fiber one chocolate pop tart and strawberries. Could be worse, right? At least I included fruit.

After she went home and Caroline and I ventured out to the gym, I turned to my kid and said "no sleepovers tonight." Caroline actually needs to have a decent night of sleep, which is the main reason for my ruling. It's too bad, though. Just a while ago another girl in the neighborhood called to invite Caroline to have a sleep over. I told her Caroline couldn't tonight, but hopefully soon.

If only I had the social life my 8 year old has.

In other unrelated news, Craig called this morning. Since his boots touched the ground of his exotic deployment location back in February, he has called one other time. Most people are horrified by this fact, but honestly, it's fine. No, really, it's FINE. We really see nothing wrong with going four months without speaking on the phone. Besides, we have email and Facebook and the blog. We're sufficiently updated.

Quite out of the blue, Craig called this morning to say thanks for a care package we sent. Only, he had to call three times before we actually picked up the phone! Ooopsie. We didn't recognize the name on caller id. He even left a message, but I was busy uploading photos to Snapfish (of all days) to notice the message...OR the email he sent informing me of his call. I missed the second call, didn't even hear the phone ring, but by the third call, a light bulb went on and I said "Oh, Caroline pick up, it might be daddy."

So, I'm a little slow.

And why I HAD to upload photos to Snapfish at 7 am on a Monday morning is beyond me. You know, somedays you just wake up with an agenda. Today, the top priority on my agenda was to upload photos. Go figure.

Anyway, Craig is fine. As fine as you can be when you're where he is currently deployed. He was more excited about a box of trail mix, gum and granola bars than I had anticipated, but it's nice that he's so easily amused.

It's good though. You have to be laid back, easy going and easily amused to put up with me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Your Daily Dose

of ME!

That's what you've been waiting for, right?

I wish I had something interesting to report; I wish I had a fun filled day to recap. Oh, how I wish I did! Some people spend their weekends at the Farmer's Market or having lunch with friends. Perhaps a trip to the mall is in store, or a winding drive through the country side. Or maybe a backyard bbq or visit to an amusement park.

And me?

Well, you know better than to expect such excitement from me.

My day started with the phone ringing at 7:32 am, awakening me from a hard fought slumber. I didn't sleep well last night because my bed mate, a knobby kneed, personal space-be-damned 8 year old, invaded my territory no more than four times last night. I had to literally push her away four times.

Anyway, the phone woke me up at 7:32, but by the time I realized the sound I was hearing was the phone, I didn't get there in time to answer. No biggie, though. It was Bailey, Caroline's friend. Not exactly an emergency. Caroline was still asleep, but I decided to get up for the day. Since I was wide awake and all. The phone rang again at 8, but I *thought* Caroline was still sleeping so I told Bailey, that Caroline would call her later. Evidently Caroline woke up at 7:45; that's what she told me when I discovered her on my side of the bed, with the tv on, playing her Nintendo DS.

Personal space? What's that?

Bailey called again at 9 and the two girls were finally able to play. As it turns out, Bailey was calling repeatedly to let Caroline know that she now owns 150 Silly Bandz.

I'm so glad she felt compelled to call at 7:32 am to inform us.

The rest of the day was spent at the pool. Caroline and Bailey wanted to eat lunch at the pool, so I packed a lunch and we ventured to the pool a little after noon. But, we didn't get settled until 12:30 because Bailey forgot her goggles at my house, so we had to turn around and go get them.

Lunch, swim, read, sweat. That's how our afternoon went.

We didn't leave until 4:45! But, then again, what else are we supposed to do?

I just hope the kids don't get tired of the pool too early; I'm banking on it to be our primary source of summer time entertainment. If they get tired of the pool, I'm done. DONE. Like send me to the crazy house, done.

After our epic pool trip, we arrived home and naturally Caroline was ready to play outside. Not 30 minutes later, she came home with a prospective sleep over friend. I've discovered that Caroline runs on two speeds: fast and faster. The very thought of not using every single free moment of her time playing or being with other people is painful to her. Down time, quiet time, alone time are all foreign concepts.

In this respect, she and I are complete opposites.

With the exception of our similar love of structure, detail and rule following, Caroline and I are pretty much opposites. Sometimes I look at her and wonder how she is mine. She's an extroverted, social butterfly; long and lean with green eyes, light hair and rounded features. I'm an introverted homebody; short and not lean, with dark hair and pointy features. She's definitely Craig's kid, even down to their hands and feet.

I once was asked if I was Caroline's nanny. Except for the fact that I CLEARLY remember giving birth to her, I can see how others might think that.

Anyway, we have a sleepover guest this evening. Another honorary daughter joining the ranks of the chosen few.

So far, since school has let out three days ago, I've fed at least one extra kid at lunch time each day, taken five different girls to the pool and held two sleepovers.


That's all I can say.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I love limes.

the color

the scent

the flavor

Key lime pie, cherry limeade, lime popsicles....

tortilla chips with a hint of lime

Vibrant and fresh.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't disclose that my most favorite way to enjoy limes is in my Diet Coke.

I like the actual Diet Coke with lime product that Coca-Cola produces, but I really prefer to add fresh lime to my regular Diet Coke. Because I'm all about being natural.

Speaking of natural, I bought some organic Oreo type cookies.

Meh. They weren't very good. Regular Oreos are much better.
I think Oreos are one of the foods in the world that actually benefits from a suspect ingredient list.
Sometimes you shouldn't mess with processed food perfection.

I realize this is a lame post, but I'm hiding upstairs and don't have much else to do. Caroline and two friends (plus one uncooperative little brother) are opening up various "shops" in my living room. Rachel is opening a "Picturama" shop where she will sell her drawings; Elizabeth is creating a beauty shop, with a name that currently escapes me and Caroline, a girl after my own heart, is opening "Sweet Caroline's" bake shop.

So far, they have nothing to sell, but my living room is in shambles and they've gone through half a roll of scotch tape.

So, as you can see, it really is better for me to hide upstairs.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Honorary Daughters

It's not exactly a secret that I often find myself conflicted over my only-child-by-choice decision. I enjoy having an only child but I often feel guilty for not giving Caroline any siblings. I appreciate the relative ease of caring for one kid; I also appreciate the lack of sibling rivalry and petty fighting that happens in the back seat of the car (sorry mom!) and also not having to divide myself into two (or three) parts. But on the other hand, I'm saddened to think about how small our future holiday tables will be at family gatherings. Lots of kids = lots of grand kids. One kid = who knows? I guess there really isn't a right answer or a perfect number. From what I've discovered, family size is a complicated and personal topic. I'm pretty much in the "I don't care how many kids you have" camp. I just don't care.

It's not my business.

I had an interesting conversation at the pool this afternoon with a mom of four. We talked about family size and the pros and cons of a rearing a brood of children. She's crazy busy right now, but knew that she wanted a largish family. This season of her life is insane, but fulfilling, all the same. I'm NOT crazy busy, but knew that, for ME, a large family is good in theory, but not necessarily in practice. It's all about recognizing and honoring your limits.

I have a low chaos tolerance and have chosen to act accordingly. I'm prone to anxiety attacks. I freak out when I lose control. One kid works for me.

Besides, who needs more children of their own when you can entertain your child's friends all day?

If I really wanted to fulfill a desire to have a large brood, days like today make me realize that I don't need to conceive and birth children of my own, to make that wish come true. Instead, I can simply care for Caroline's friends.

I didn't have just one daughter today; I had four.

Upon returning from the gym this morning, Caroline invited over two friends to trade Silly Bandz. Not long after, my perpetually hungry child requested sustenance for herself and for her equally hungry posse. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to the rescue! All hail the blue box.

After lunch, another girl joined the fun and not long after, I schlepped all four of them to the pool. For three and a half hours, I watched four girls at the pool. I supplied them with watermelon, blueberry muffins, goldfish crackers and fruit roll ups and even gave up my own towel when one of theirs got sopping wet.

After our time in the sun, I took the four girls home and then gave them (and two of their little brothers) popsicles. I eventually did get rid of most the girls by the end of the day, but one of them is still here, spending the night with Caroline. That's okay, she's the sweetest and most agreeable of the bunch.

It was a busy day, for sure; just me and my four girls. But you know what? The best part of having four children like mine is that they all eventually go home to their own mothers. I don't have to fix their hair or wash their clothes. I can tune out their whining and don't have to remind them to brush their teeth. Well, except for that one monster of mine. She stays. For better or worse. I may have to do her laundry, but at least she brushes her teeth without prompting.

Today wasn't the first day that I've done this and it certainly won't be the last; I've been feeding and entertaining Caroline and her friends for quite some time. On most days, this is a good gig to have. Some days (like yesterday) I may lose it a bit, but for the most part, Caroline gets the benefit of plenty of playmates and I don't feel so guilty for not providing her with a baby brother or sister.

Let's face it, the guilt will never be completely obliterated; I majored in guilt trips and self loathing, after all. It's not in my nature to ever be completely at peace with any decision I've made, but for now, I'm going to try my best to bury the guilt and happily enjoy my honorary daughters.

Meltdown Mania

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday afternoon. An epic, two part meltdown.

6 year old neighbor + a red Baby Bottle Pop candy + roughhousing of some sort = pink carpet.

Not two hours after school dismissed for the summer we had a houseful of children. Seven to be exact. Seven kids. Only one of them mine. One girl was kind enough to bring her recorder with her to offer musical accompaniment to whatever havoc they chose to wreak inside my house.

It was loud and I was unhappy. Enter Meltdown #1. I unloaded. I unloaded, rather dramatically, on Craig, via email. As I unloaded, I heard from the stairwell, "mom, Jonathan spilled his Baby Bottle Pop on the carpet." "Okay," I responded. "I'll be there in a minute to clean it up." I finished my email and before I could leave my seat, Caroline came down and said "Can I vacuum up the candy now? I want to help you."

That should have been my first clue that something was wrong. Very wrong. Since when does an 8 year old WANT to help you...when money ISN'T involved?

And something was wrong. Very wrong, indeed.

Caroline learned an important lesson this afternoon: water + dry Baby Bottle Pop powder (like powdered Jello, I guess) = a pink stripe on the carpet. Evidently, she got a wet washcloth to wipe it up, not knowing that water would activate the color and create and even messier situation.

I, of course, panicked and lost my temper. Enter Meltdown #2. Have I mentioned I'm a bit of a hot head? I basically said "I don't freaking believe it; school has been out for 2 hours and I already have a disaster on my hands." And then I went on to say "we rent this house, it's not ours, we don't have the freedom to destroy it."

I probably said other stuff, but I can't remember. Whatever I said caused the kids to scram, which was okay in my book.

I scrubbed and scrubbed some more and we still have a pinkish hued stripe on the carpet. It's visible. Not horrible. But no one wants a light pink stripe in their carpet.

So long security deposit.

I later apologized for losing it and then took four girls to the pool. They're like my little ducklings, following behind me in a row. Instead of waddling adorably and quacking in unison, they demand food and to know the whereabouts of their goggles and diving toys.

In other news, school is out. Did I forget to mention that? Report cards were handed out, as well. Every time Caroline brings home her report card, I open it up and before looking at the grades, I jokingly ask if I'm going to need to beat her for doing poorly.

Good news....she's been spared.

And yes, I realize I shouldn't joke about such things, but I can't help it. I'm naturally politically incorrect.

Ooh look, she made it to 3rd grade!

She's an outstanding citizen, as well.

Yesterday, when I went to Wal Mart to buy a storage tub (which I forgot to actually purchase, by the way) I came across these Melty Beads.

Caroline has been asking for them for a while and yesterday I obliged. I bought them for a "hooray you made it through 2nd grade" gift. I still haven't given them to her. They are actually in the laundry room right now, which explains the fabric softener and Clorox in the picture. I'll get around to giving them to her soon enough.

I'm not really sure what I was thinking, buying her a bucket of 8,500 craft beads.

Clearly something is not right in my head.

I have a sneaking suspicion that all 8,500 beads will be dumped on the living room floor, painstakingly separated into color specific piles and left for "later." I should have bought her a Webkinz, instead.

However.....plastic beads + water don't equal permanently stained carpet.

After yesterday's events, any item that will not damage, stain or defile our carpet is a-ok in my book.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

School's Out For......Waaaaah!

No more pencils.

And because we're talking about 2nd graders, no more crayons, either.

Not even the metallic crayons we got at the Crayola Factory.

Speaking of crayons, this is my favorite color to use: dandelion, or as I like to call it "Big Bird Yellow."

No more books.

Well, not exactly. Books are entirely appropriate all year round. Especially this workbook I picked up the other day. I'm bound and determined to make sure Caroline completes this thing. There are 60 activities. One a day. We WILL do this. We don't want Caroline to get all stupid, after all!

No more.......waaaaaahhhh!
Sorry, I couldn't complete my thought. I'm too busy wallowing. And wiping tears off of my keyboard.

On the bright side, it's time to retire this lunch bag.

After a year of loud lunchtime antics, sticky spilled yogurt and leaky containers of fruit, I'm pretty sure the monkey is happy for the reprieve. Now he can eat his banana in peace.

Another good thing is that I won't have to see this after school each day.

This is actually a pretty tame backpack explosion. Sometimes the contents of Caroline's backpack span from one side of the living room to the other. Her habit of spewing her take home papers across the room kind of reminds me of our days in Hawaii where, upon returning from work, Craig would lay his uniform on our sparse living room floor. He'd spread the uniform all out, placing his boots at one end and arranging his watch, hat, badge and spare change all around it.

Not too surprisingly, I didn't find this amusing at all.

So, the backpack will be put away, but Caroline will most likely leave other presents on the floor for me to stumble over.

And, the chances are also pretty good that something like this will happen again.

She does look pretty happy, though.

Happy for Caroline. Bummed for me.

Now, if you'll please excuse me, I'm off to drown my sorrows in iced coffee and grocery shop, without a disgruntled side kick, for the last time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Can I tell you a secret?

I love Cheetos. Love them.

Shameless love.

Crunchy. Never puffy.

I love green smoothies. I prefer chick peas to chicken. I CRAVE vegetables.

And yet, I LOVE Cheetos.

Day-glo orange, nutrient devoid Cheetos.

I even like the Cheeto dust that remains on my fingers after I've eaten them.

The big ones are the best. I pick those out first.

The puny ones receive a fair amount of love, but nothing compares to the big guys.

I love Cheetos despite the fact that they're described as "cheese flavored snacks." At least they're not "cheez" flavored snacks.

I draw the line at "cheez."

I don't even mind that they contain disodium phosphate (whatever that is) and Yellow #5 and 6.

The fact is, there is nothing natural about Cheetos; I'm pretty sure their unnatural color and overly processed nature is what makes them so appealing.

The bag says it all:

Seize the snack.

And yes, I'd also like you to know that I am unashamed for taking pictures of my afternoon snack. That's what blogging will do to you. Snacks = blog fodder.

In other news, completely unrelated to snacking, I had the pleasure opportunity to attend Caroline's school's talent show last night. It was, um, interesting to say the least. You haven't lived until you've heard three 6th grade girls singing Lady GaGa's "Telephone" song. And, even better, they sang whilst wearing gold and silver sparkly stretch pants.


I can't say that I'm very eager for Caroline to be in the 6th grade. How is it that kids these days mature so quickly? Scary.

I have a feeling I'm going to need a lot of Cheetos to help me through the tumultuous tween years.