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Just be there, even if they sleep through it

This past weekend was Chickadee’s Fall Break from school, so she came home on Friday afternoon and is headed back today. Four entire days to love on my girl! Four entire days of quality time and family togetherness!

Sort of.

She got home around 4:30 on Friday and went to bed. She got up around 9:00 and had some dinner and watched TV with me for a little bit, then went back to bed. She slept until 2:00 pm (!!) on Saturday, then headed in to work a shift at 4:00, but then came right back home because they’d double-scheduled, and… went back to sleep. Sunday she slept until 1:00 pm, had some food, then went to take a nap. She was up to watch the debate with us on Sunday night. Monday she got up early to drop her car off for a repair, then Otto brought her back home and she went back to bed.

I dunno. I think it’s POSSIBLE she’s not getting enough sleep at school. Just a theory I’m working on. Call it a hunch, if you will.

We did get to spend some time together this morning. (Hooray for annoying little brothers; Monkey had to leave for campus at 7:30 and woke her up to say good-bye.) She helped me with today’s post for Alpha Mom, and I know this is going to come as a HUGE surprise, but I could not be more proud of the self-possessed young woman my daughter is becoming. I’d love to take the credit, but I suspect she’s just naturally awesome. Anyway, from her and from me, have a very happy National Coming Out Day today.

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Both falling apart and coming together

I just realized the last thing I wrote about was my eye infection (Hi, I’m Mir, and I’m SEXXXXXYYYYY), and then I promptly went silent for another week because my neck was all jacked up.

Longtime readers may recall that 11 years ago I crashed my car into a dump truck and the dump truck definitely won. Chickadee still has the smile-shaped scar and I still have a neck that periodically greets me in the morning with HEY REMEMBER WHEN WE HAD WHIPLASH? LET’S DO THAT WHOLE “CAN’T MOVE” THING AGAIN. So the eye thing responded well to antibiotics and then I woke up with my neck locked; if you would like to hear someone complain about how getting old sucks, I am available for parties. Our chiropractor retired, so I ended up complaining for a while and then a friend-of-a-friend was kind enough to do an emergency yamuna session with me that let my neck know it was okay to stop being a complete dick. I now own my own yamuna ball and everything. (I may or may not have named the ball. DON’T JUDGE ME.)

Anyway. For the moment, all is well. I’m sure another body part will give out in a day or two, but let’s not think about that.

Having only recently been restored to health and then having watched the debate on Monday night, I decided it was time for me to be very clear, out loud, about where I stand. Yesterday I wrote you this piece for Alpha Mom, and while I don’t imagine anyone who’s ever spoken to me is surprised to hear that I’m voting for Clinton, I felt moved to declare that I’m doing so enthusiastically and with a lot of hope. I’m not going to be silent or polite about it anymore.

#ImWithHer

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What you see is what you get

It’s been a pet peeve of mine for forever, the way people sometimes recoil from labels or admitting that there’s anything less-than-perfect about themselves or their special snowflakes. So it should come as no surprise that I have some things to say on the topic of whether or not special-needs students should disclose in their college application essays.

I know. You’re shocked. It’s shocking.

[Sidebar: Maybe less of a good idea to discuss your laundry habits, as I’m not sure a certain child of mine would’ve been accepted to her school if they knew that she just didn’t do laundry the entire first month. This weekend we had a rather spirited discussion about the number of undergarments in said laundry (hint: not as many as there should’ve been, given the number of days away) wherein she INSISTED that some of her laundry must’ve still been at the dorm, and later she went back and threw her roommate under the bus to save herself: I got a phone call informing me that AT LEAST she’d brought her sheets home to wash, whereas the roommate had gone home without hers and still hadn’t changed them. In summary, be yourself but BE YOURSELF OVER THERE WITH SOME FEBREEZE, PLEASE.]

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Because everyone LOVES politics!

By the time this next presidential election is over, I never want to talk about politics again. Ever. Or at least for a day or two.

I have mixed feelings about politics in general. It’s complicated. (Related: I called my senators during the filibuster last night, and because I’m polite I left my name and number along with my message. Neither of them has called back. I am relieved, but also annoyed.)

Nevertheless, when you’re trying to raise kids to be good global citizens, the “pretend it doesn’t exist” option is… probably not a good choice. So today I’m attempting to field a question about how to talk politics with your teen, particularly when they’re prone to parroting what they hear. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’ve got a few ideas.

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Trying to brightside

I don’t know about you, but for me, reading the news lately is pretty much making me hate everyone and everything.

My perspective on recent events is neither new nor substantially different than the many smart people who’ve already written about what’s going on, but when has that ever stopped me, before? If you have kids and you’re following the Brock Turner case, I humbly offer you some talking points for your family to try to eke a tiny bit of good (education) out of something awful (miscarriage of justice).

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Battling the verklempt

I am nothing if not illogical when it comes to my children, so after telling you last week how graduation didn’t hit me the way I thought it would—because it’s a Very Big Thing, y’know—of course this morning I’m on the verge of tears because Monkey started his summer job. As in, working. For money. In a lab. LIKE A RESPONSIBLE GROWN(ISH) PERSON. I need a minute.

I considered taking a picture of his shoes, per tradition, but it was clear that I was already irritating the snot out of him as he got ready (“Mom, I have everything. STOP ASKING.”) so in the end I opted for discretion. Feel free to praise me for my restraint.

Rather than wallowing in this strange state of Many Feels, I decided the proper antidote was to write you a Very Useful Post you can refer to any time you consider whether or not you’d like to either install a pool or purchase a house which already has one. This is timely, right? It’s hot out there, and I get it—a pool sounds awesome. A pool IS awesome, but you should go into it with your eyes open, because owning a pool is a big deal. Here you go: Is a pool right for your family? I’m here to help. (And not to cry about MAH BAYBEE going to work. Much.)

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Here we are adulting

Hey! How was your weekend? Didja do anything fun? Things were pretty uneventful ’round here.

I mean, um, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anything good on TV, though my firstborn did graduate from high school. That was pretty much the most exciting thing ever for a million reasons, chief among them that I will do almost anything to see her looking as happy and proud of herself as she did on Saturday. It got even better on Sunday, when everything was over and we bid the relatives adieu and commenced spending the entire day lounging around in our pajamas. Not that the rest of it wasn’t great, you understand, but that day of communal couch-potato-ing was sort of like the collective exhale. It was glorious.

My parents were here, and Otto’s godmother, and after graduation we threw a small not-a-party because Chickadee did not WANT a party, so we compromised with “we are just inviting some of OUR friends to come drink some sangria and eat fancy cheese and hang out, you can show up or not.” Originally she said she would probably be elsewhere, but oddly enough, she ended up spending most of the evening with us, leaving to attend another party for about an hour (they had cake, so: priorities), but mostly sitting outside with the rest of us, feet tucked up underneath her, phone constantly in hand, looking every inch the incredible young woman ready to take on the world who she’s somehow become.

Lest you think everything has changed, however, rest easy. Be ye not alarmed! The Chickadee we know and love is still herself in this new “adult” form. (more…)

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Recent discoveries, in no particular order

Graduation is on Saturday, and so I will just be over here Cleaning All The Things and Cooking All The Things and Crying About All The Things, if you need me. However, I’ll leave you with a few items I’ve noticed of late, because I am nothing if not helpful.

1) Wishing you could lose a little weight, but feeling stupid for being shallow and wishing you could lose a little weight? Solution: Have one of those fancy keep-track-of-everyone’s-profile bathroom scales, and then one day while trying to flick some lint off the scale with your toe before weighing yourself, somehow accidentally tell it you’re profile 4 (your husband’s) instead of profile 3 (you). You will be whatever weight you are, BUT then it will cheerfully inform you you’ve lost 75 pounds since you last weighed yourself! You’re welcome.

2) Go make this as pasta salad immediately for every summer barbecue and event henceforth if you like avocados. Use a more pasta-salad-y (totally a word) pasta; I did gluten-free penne. Add grape tomatoes, too. But it’s basically avocado pesto and it tastes like summer and you can customize however you like. (Do it cold. COLD. I tasted it warm and it was weird. Do cold. And add LOTS of lemon juice so it doesn’t brown.)

3) My 18-year-old graduates in just a few days and it turns out she still doesn’t know how time works. Should I be worried? We had an argument (full disclosure: arguing is kind of what we do) because she asked to go out with a friend “this morning” because “they’ll be busy this afternoon” and I said okay and then she said she’d be home for dinner and I had to explain that she was asking to go out ALL DAY and she insisted that “this afternoon” means “dinnertime” and then my head exploded. THAT IS NOT HOW TIME WORKS. But okay.

4) You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but it turns out you can teach a young Monkey how to drive. Add it to the long list of ways in which he just keeps on being awesome.

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That about sums it up

As we continue barreling down the road to graduation (AAAAIIIIIEEEEEEE), life refuses to stop, regardless of the MANY MANY FEELS that seem to be popping up everywhere. Sheesh.

To top it off, today is Otto’s and my 9th anniversary. I’m not entirely sure why he’s still here, but I do bake a lot of cookies and stuff, so who knows. He continues to be my anchor in the very best sense of the metaphor: my strength, my favorite, my dependable partner in everything, really, but most notably in late-night-television-watching-and-tormenting-the-dogs-with-popcorn. Everyone should have an Otto. But not MY Otto, because I’m using him and you can’t have him. (Uh, I’m going to stop talking about this now. He might catch on that although I love him madly, he can surely do better.)

I do have a post over at Alpha Mom for you today, all about the current whirlwind, but first I’m going to share a photo because 1) my daughter is gorgeous, no? and 2) in the history of senior quotes, in my unbiased opinion this is the most true and perfect one that ever there was. That kid is gonna be okay.

chickie-yb-quote

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Testing, testing

School is almost over (!!!) for the year, and my kids are deep in exams. The great state of Georgia (and most of the country, it seems) is eager to make sure that No Child Is Left Untested, so between SLOs and EOCTs (Student Learning Objectives and End of Course Tests) and APs (Advanced Placement), I’m pretty sure classes are over and the only thing the kids are currently learning is how many kids can actually walk right off campus with a single test pass. On the rare occasions when they find themselves in class WITHOUT a test, they seem to be engaging in the time-honored learning traditions of 1) watching movies and 2) eating snacks.

With all of this test mania going on, you’d think they’d be studying their little butts off, but you’d be… incorrect. And I am relieved to know that I am not the only person who is struggling with teens who don’t feel the need to study. More on this SUPER-FUN phenomenon over at Alpha Mom.

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