Thursday, October 16, 2014

One of those days...

One of those days where you realize that the super comfy red sweatshirt you found with the letter "M" on the left side is actually a maternity sweatshirt from Motherhood...

...and your pre-teen argues for over 20 minutes about what a "good" is, and whether or not you know what you're talking about...

...and you discover you're out of cat food AND cat litter...

...and your teenager has a stiff neck, but you're out of Ibuprofen...

...and the internet is being kind of an asshole with real articles that aren't real, but you're an idiot for believing it because "DUH, it's SATIRE," sheesh...

...and you truly want nothing more than to curl up in your bed with extra socks, a heated blanket, and a bowl of soup while watching multiple episodes of Homeland, but there are appointments and activities to attend in the darkness of a fall night in Illinois.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lego Landfill

There's something really satisfying about vacuuming up a couple of errant Legos from the corners of my living room.

Related: What percentage of our current landfills consists of Lego blocks? On average, since my eldest was about 10 (the time I stopped fretting about vacuuming up a Really Important Piece), I'd say I've vacuumed about 30 of the single or double blocks a year. MINIMUM. There have definitely been a few of those swords and accessories, maybe a leg or arm as well, and OCCASIONALLY a "Big Piece" has gotten tossed because I am not sticking my hand into a canister of dust and dog hair just to rescue a toy that should have been put away. If every mother vacuums 30 pieces of Lego (a conservative guesstimate, in my opinion), and there are X number of kids playing with Legos since their original plastic debut in 1952, then how many square acres of land is full of sad little singleton Lego bricks?

Kind of makes me want to go dig through that canister now.

The key point here is that I VACUUMED TODAY and we aren't having company or ANYthing.

Thursday, October 09, 2014


I like reaching out to other people, because you never know what small detail may just be the ONE small detail that totally flips that person's day (week? Life?) around.

A simple link on Facebook flipped my day around. A link to a page about the universe and all of its massive expanses of the unknown is what it took for me to reveal a little perspective on my otherwise ordinary Thursday morning.

When something as unfathomably enormous as an entire collection of unexplored galaxies isn't visible by the human eye, my mind has to marvel at how insignificant my daily trivialities truly are. Annoyances are just that: annoying. Whether or not my floor is clean or if my children learn how to properly conjugate a verb isn't worthy of more than a moment of my worry. These are made up issues to occupy our brains from wondering and worrying about the real questions of our lives: Why are we here? What is the purpose? Am I important?

If a galaxy can house trillions of stars that may have billions of planet systems which may give life to an untold number of life forms, then the significance of my life is not of LESS value, but MORE. The value of my mind and the love within my family is just as large as that of those hidden galaxies.

Most likely, I will never know what lies outside of our own solar system. And I really don't care, because all that is truly important to me is directly in front of me, every day I have the opportunity to open my eyes and breathe on this tiny blue planet.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Revlon #43

Sometimes, all I need to feel better about life is a $3 bottle of hair dye.

Two ways of looking at this; I'm really low maintenance, or I'm deluding myself.

I'll choose low maintenance and hope that this feeling lasts through the day.

Either way, the reverse skunk look is gone for another 6 weeks.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

See Saw

Homeschooling a twelve-year-old is like riding a see-saw all day long.

Wheeeee!!! He is so responsible and able! He can do SO MUCH with limited assistance from his mom! I am flying high! There is laughter and cooperation and I am a great mom and he is a fantastic pre-teen! This ROCKS!


The metal bar of the teeter totter bruises my tailbone as my counter balance just jumped off at the ground level; I think I laughed too loudly or didn't appreciate his skills and, instead of a gentle glide to the Earth, he chose to simply abandon our ride and leave me in the dirt. My head aches, my back is twisted. I am shocked at how badly this person can rock me to my core and I can feel the tears pooling up behind my eyes. Have I completely misread our lives? Am I actually a horrible, shitty mother? Through my tears, I can see the fury in his eyes. This sucks. THIS SUCKS BALLS.

And then...

I am slowly elevated a few inches off the ground... He is there, on the other side, pulling it down with his hands, and then lofting himself onto the seat. The fury is forgotten, at least by him, and I am in the air again. He and I cooperate and the see-saw is smoothly shifting, up and down. It is...good, but I am cautious. Is it real? Can it last? When will he leap from his seat again?

Parenting a pre-teen or teenager is full of insanely beautiful highs and soul-crushing lows. This particular 24 hours has been quite the ride and I'm feeling a little sore.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Quiet Kids

 It got awfully quiet around 2 pm today. We had finished school work, made and eaten chili and we didn't have any plans for a few hours. By some strange chance of fates, the stars aligned, and I had not only the desire but also the ENERGY to clean the upstairs bathroom, so I had been incommunicado for at least an hour (it was a very messy bathroom. Like, WOAH). When I carried the bags (PLURAL) of bathroom trash downstairs, this is what I found:

Inside, I found my two youngest kids, reading quietly and just chilling out together. They have grand plans to sleep in the fort together tonight and have even prepared for times of famine by stocking said fort with bananas and saltines.
I don't really know if they would be this close if they weren't together all of the time. I tend to think that the logical answer is "No, they wouldn't." Not too many 7th and 3rd graders play and giggle and hang out the way that these two do, and I am really grateful for this moment in time. The advantage to SO much time together is that the time that is spent arguing is just a tiny fraction of their time together, rather than the ONLY time they have together. 

We miss having Justin home with us, but I know he needed time away from all of us. Too much togetherness isn't what suits his personality, and, though it stings, I understand.

If you hear me complain about my kids arguing, it's because they're kids. 

They're siblings. They argue. 
It happens.

But they also really, really like each other. They're siblings. They're friends. They're classmates. 

They love each other. It's awesome.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Rose by Any Other Name...

On Saturday, my husband posted this picture on Facebook of me holding an absolutely stunning bouquet of roses from Kalla. Beside the photo he said "Happy Anniversary, Honey! I love you!"

And the responses were insane.

Can you blame them? People on Facebook were astounded at the bouquet of over 52 enormous roses and rose buds, arranged in a lovely vase; the entire thing is bigger than my head and weighs at least 40 pounds! My husband quickly achieved "best husband of the year" status in the minds of many a Facebook Friend.

Had I been ON Facebook when he posted that picture, I might have stopped the onslaught of assumptions that this arrangement was a gift from my husband for our anniversary. While he brings me flowers with decent regularity, a bouquet of this size is not something I would have been very happy with him purchasing on that particular day, considering the fact that we were going out of town that weekend for our anniversary trip! For 2 whole days, only our teenager, cats, dog, and helpful neighbors were able to appreciate its beauty. When I returned home from our anniversary weekend rendezvous, the roses awaited us, looking just as fresh as when they arrived, if  not more so.

The truth is, these flowers were a gift from the Kalla flower company. Kalla was a sponsor for a summertime Chicagonista Live! show in June, and as a blogger thank you, they provided bouquets as gifts for everyone who attended* the live taping of ChicagonistaLive; isn't that amazing?

This bouquet is called the Athena and Artemis and retails online for $200. The delivery was in the most secure and appealing box I've ever received flowers in, and their hardiness, at 4 days past delivery, reflects the caliber of roses used.

I haven't received any payment for this post, and I wasn't even politely asked to do one. This is absolutely on my own steam and desire to spread the word about their work. I'd totally recommend for any event you need to brighten up with flowers!

*Truth #2: Even though I have lived in the Chicago suburbs my entire 38 years, I still get lost when I try to get downtown via the 290/294/yaddayadda method. And so, even though I had over 2 hours to travel a distance that should have taken 50 minutes, I ended up about an hour NORTH of Chicago, in traffic, crying and sad. I missed the ChicagonistaLive show! The only show I have been able to attend. And I missed it. AND I WAS CRYING. But MJ and Kalla took pity on me and included me in the blogger outreach, which is why I am sitting at my kitchen table in September, writing a blog post, while blissfully inhaling 50-some enormous roses.
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