Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ready or not...

I'm thinking next week is going to produce some interesting scenarios around this house, as the school year rolls into gear. The earlier bedtime, for example, is sure to be met with a great amount of complaints, whining, and all around defiance. The earlier rising time, is going to be complete torture. The run, er... walk to the bus stop at a time of day when we're usually all still tucked in bed... the first days, the tears, the excitement... And that's just talking about me. Them? Not so concerned. They go to bed fairly well. They wake much too early for summer vacation, so I don't foresee too much difficulty in that arena. And they're both quite ready and excited to go.

But, oh, do I get anxious this time of year. (Well, okay, to be fair- I got anxious about last school year and I'm anxious again this year, this is only the second time I've done this first-day-of-school thing as a mom. Be patient with me.) Really, I know they will be fine, but as my head hits the pillow at night, my mind starts to whirl. I think of everything I should tell them, knowing I will have let them learn most of for themselves. I think of how much they have to learn, and I wonder if I could ever do it again. I'm pretty sure I could not do it all over again- and that's why it's so good we know not what lies ahead, but only what's in this moment. I think of disappointments that are sure to happen, but at the same time, all the happy times they will have.

I think of how brave they have to be, and how brave I'll have to pretend to be.

Each morning as the links on the countdown chain disappear, I see their excitement increasing and I know they won't always be this ready to begin school. And so, in all my worried-anxious-excited-nervous-over-emotional ways, I do the only thing I can- appreciate the moment. I let my heart skip a beat here and there as I think of the ups and downs and struggles life brings, and all that they must go through. But right now all I can do is give them hugs, remind them how I love them, and then watch them go- off to make their own discoveries, their own friends, their own happiness.

But, that's not to say I'm not going to shed any tears watching. There will be plenty of those as the school bus drives away, but I'm so glad there will be two little girls to cuddle with me while the big kids are gone- we just all might need a few extra hugs those first days back.

Friday, August 19, 2011

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo...

...And we managed to keep it a secret too, too, too. From the kiddos, that is. I think after nearly seven years of parenting we have finally mastered- this one time- a vital lesson that makes life so much, much, more pleasant. In other words, we didn't tell the kids one second in advance where we are going or what we're doing tomorrow. Usually I'm so excited about an out-of-the-ordinary-outing, I can't keep it a secret so I end up blabbing it to the kids. And then I regret it for days. Sometimes weeks. Depends on how far in advance I spill the can of worms. I'm really good with secrets.

But not this time. Not one time this week did I have to hear, When are we going to the zoo, Mom? But WHEN? Can we go after supper, Mom? Can we go right now? Why can't we? Where's the zoo? How long does it take to get to the zoo? What's at the zoo? Is there monkeys at the zoo? Is there hippos at the zoo? Is there zebras at the zoo? When are we going? I WANNA GO RIGHT. NOW!

I could say it's been peaceful, but for some unknown reason the three year old has taken to asking when Christmas is coming instead. Which, in hindsight, after listening to her ask Is it Christmas tomorrow, Mom? and several other variations of that question approximately 157 times a day for the past week was actually more annoying than listening to them ask about the upcoming trip to the zoo. So if you look at it that way, my well-intended secret keeping actually backfired because instead I'm quite bothered by the fact that my kids can even think of Christmas while I'm trying to hang onto what's left of summer. This time I probably should have let her know about the zoo. It might have taken her mind off the whole Christmas topic for a few days, anyways.

There's sure to be some disappointment with the lack of giraffes- it was a bit of a letdown to the six year old last time we visited a giraffe-less zoo. Don't get me wrong, she loved the rest of the animals, but she's fascinated with giraffes and she really hoped next time we would see them. Turns out the zoo that has giraffes is actually two hours further away than the zoo we'll be visiting. A day trip, four kids, a bunch of animals... Not that difficult of a decision for us to make. But six year olds don't quite understand when you try to reason with them about gas prices and the whole sanity factor of being in a car for 9 hours in one day.

So, I might have to play dumb- Oh... There are no giraffes here? Well, look! Another MONKEY! How cool is that?! Plus, I heard they throw live rabbits in to the tigers at feeding time, so if that doesn't make her forget everything about giraffes, I'm not sure anything will. I know I plan to be scarred for life. (Hey. I used to cry when my brothers crushed milk cartons, remember? Throwing live rabbits in for the tigers just slightly surpasses that line.)

Oh well. I think I'll avoid that particular scene. So, off we go. And everyone will be happy and content and satisfied after a fun-filled day at the zoo. And they will all sleep the entire ride home because they will be so worn out. And... Okay. Enough is enough. Let's just hope we come home with the right monkeys. Should be eventful.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Waiting on the Falling Stars

Well. I am pretty certain that was the longest break in the history of this blog! I could say it's because we've just been having way too much fun enjoying summer and my absence from this space had everything to do with the fact that I've been sitting with my toes in the lake, soaking up the sun, and relaxing with all the books that are on my list to read... But then... Well, actually... let's just stick with that fantasy, shall we? It beats the real truth by a long stretch.

No really. It's not that bad. We have spent time enjoying the lake and the sunshine, I've just been a little busier than I would like with work so it's put a little twist into our weeks, but it's, uh, it's good. It's temporary. Any week now I should be back to my regular schedule... Or so I keep telling myself. Hah.

My kids are currently struggling to stay awake to see if they can spot some shooting stars tonight. H is doing the head-bob on the couch willing her eyes to stay open. Pretty sure she's going to miss out on this one. I'm also pretty sure they're expecting explosions of stars flying across the sky- L looked a little disappointed when I assured her they would have to watch very carefully to possibly spot a few. They keep questioning when the shooting stars are "starting". Hope them stars deliver.

After running to the camp the past couple of days, I didn't mind spending the day at home today doing the weekly catch-up. Laundry, floors, quick scrub through the bathrooms and wah-lah. Good to go for another week. I've never had high standards, but they're hitting an all time low this summer. Good enough for me, this season is too short!

My mom and I picked raspberries this morning. I've never picked raspberries before,so I was excited to stash them in the freezer, but now I want more. Oooh, are they good! I think I'll try to go again early next week before their season is over. And hopefully, with some luck, one of these days I'll turn them- and some strawberries- into jam. Missing my strawberry jam in a bad way.

And look at that- it's dark out. Time to go scope out those meteor showers!