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Date night with a side of caketastrophe

Otto and I don’t get out enough as a couple. This is a subjective assessment, of course; what is “enough,” really? Whatever it is, we aren’t there. This is because we have jobs and other commitments and needy teenagers and a fairly comfortable couch and also because my natural inclination is to be a hermit. Otto, however, as both the extrovert and better wife in this relationship, periodically insists that we leave the house together, just the two of us. (And apparently when we go grocery shopping together, that doesn’t count. Sheesh.)

Last night we went to the sort of artsy-fartsy thing college towns are known for; there was black-and-white photography! There was poetry! There were figs stuffed with fancy cheese! I very nearly felt like a grown-up, right up until people started packing into the tiny seating area and a woman planted herself next to me and set her wine glass on the floor. “I’m going to try really hard not to kick that over,” I told her. “I’m sort of clumsy.” I thought I was just making conversation, but she looked at me like I’d just confided that I both had Ebola AND sometimes I tongue-kiss the nearest stranger. So that was nice.

But I should back up, a minute, to earlier in the day. (more…)

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Did you know it was cold?

I’m sure it comes as a tremendous shock when I tell you that Hey, it’s cold outside. It’s not as though 1) it’s cold absolutely everywhere, and 2) the news is all OMG HIDE YOUR CHILDREN IT’S THE COLDPOCALYPSE!!1!!!

So yes, it’s cold out. (In other news: Water is wet. Amazing!) It’s so cold out, we didn’t have school today.

Today at Alpha Mom, I’m telling you why this is all my fault. And I’m only sort of sorry.

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Smells like cinnamon and big changes

Last night I mixed up and kneaded the dough for the Super Fussy Pain In The Rear But Most Beloved Homemade Cinnamon Rolls so that I wouldn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn this morning. I took a break to call you and your friends downstairs for a bedtime snack of milk and cookies (hey, you may be teenagers, but cookies are cookies), and then you all swarmed back upstairs without even saying goodnight. I felt a small pang, but you were having so much fun, I tried to let it go.

I should’ve known better, though—you all got ready for bed and then you snuck back down to the kitchen to give me a hug. I squeezed you tight, marveling anew at how you’re nearly my height, now, and then demanded a second hug, on account of it was to be the last 13-year-old hug I’d ever get from you. You did a little dance of glee, hugged me again, then ran off with your buddies to a room littered with sleeping bags, video games, monster manuals, and stinky socks. I finished forming the rolls, ready to throw in the oven this morning.

The cinnamon rolls are always the same. They’re a fragrant anchor in a sea of ever-accelerating change, where every year I cannot believe you’re the same kid who had a birthday just one short year before. (more…)

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If you’re into that sort of thing

Thank you so much for the swell of kindness yesterday regarding Monkey’s Next Big Adventure. It gave me all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings to know so many folks are behind my kiddo, even if most of you do live inside the shiny box on my desk.

I don’t necessarily want to belabor the process, here, because I know not everyone is interested in all the nitty gritty details, but if you ARE, today at Alpha Mom you can check out the extended dance remix version of how/why we made this happen. And it’s all fine! Good! Perfect! I will just be over here breathing into this paper bag just for fun.

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Can of worms, ripped open

Life has been a little nutty ’round here, lately.

Um, not the “ZOMG Y’ALL I AM SO BUSY” kind of nutty. For one thing, I sort of hate that assertion on general principle, because isn’t EVERYONE busy? I mean, usually? When I have a lot of stuff to do, any spare moments I have for reflective thought tend to take the shape of “Did I remember to eat today?” and “Do I have any clean clothes to wear?” or even “Why do these children keep talking at me and expecting me to feed them?” Even if I had time, it would never occur to me to be convinced that I was eversomuchmorebusier than anyone else. Life is busy for 99.99999% of the population.

No, it’s been nutty more in the MANY FEELINGS and CHANGE IS HAAAARD and HOW DO I MAKE THE THINGS THAT NEED TO HAPPEN ACTUALLY HAPPEN kinds of ways. And while that last item falls, I guess, into the general “busy-ness” category, the other two are much more matters of “May I please be excused? My brain is full.” Only no one ever explained to me as a kid that adults are never excused no matter the fullness of their brains. So unfair. (more…)

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I can barely hear myself think…

… but that’s okay, because having a houseful of kids means I’m content, if slightly headache-y.

This is a busy work week for me, and the kids are off school. The deal is basically that as long as everyone stays out of my office, everyone is welcome to have friends over. This meant I was able to work most of today with only the dogs bugging me. By the time I was ready to get off the computer, it was time to figure out dinner (anyone else feel like they shouldn’t be obligated to feed anyone this week except on Thursday? … just me?) and dish up some semblance of a balanced meal to a table full of bottomless teens. (God bless Costco and the trillion-pound bag of frozen tortellini.)

The secret to surviving the noise is not such a secret—I love it when we’re the hang-out house. This week, especially. Come on over to Alpha Mom to find out why.

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The ongoing conversation…

I’ve been writing here for coming up on ten (!!) years, and I can still count my very favorite posts on a single hand. That means either that those posts are beyond stupendous and/or meaningful, or that a lot of what I write here is utter drivel. Let’s not think about it too hard.

One of incidents that will always hold a special place of combined hilarity and horror in my mind was detailed in this post from seven years ago wherein my darling daughter discovered that the human body is terrifying and disgusting.

A lot of time has passed, and I still ever-awkward in my sharing of Information I Think You Need when it comes to my kids. Probably they will never forgive me. Nevertheless, over at Alpha Mom I’m tackling the age-old topic of teenage dating, and yes, my children still wish I would just shut up, already.

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I love abandoning my children

Last night, Otto and I had a date night. AS PEOPLE DO. “People” being “people other than us,” usually, because we are not always so super-fantastic about that whole “nurture your couple relationship” thing. It’s not that we don’t love each other (we do!) or enjoy each other’s company (he’s my favorite!), it is just that we’re old and tired and outnumbered by the other three sentient creatures in our household.

We don’t go on a lot of dates, is my point. But we’re working on it, because I hear this rumor that someday my children might grow up and move out of the house. I’m skeptical, but it’s what I hear, so who knows. Should they ever leave, the idea is that Otto and I need to make sure we still like each other.

So, last night: Date night! On a THURSDAY! Like the wild and crazy folks we are. A date on a school night; it must be that we really, really, REALLY needed this time to reconnect and get romantic. Or that we had the chance to see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood perform. Either way. (more…)

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The more you know!

As promised earlier, here’s a handy-dandy FAQ I made for you to help in getting through this season of fundraising with good cheer.

Hint: Be nice to the kids who come knocking on your door, even if you’re not buying anything.

Also: Can I interest you in some grapefruit…?

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A snippet to tide you over

A bit later today I’m going to have a super-useful piece up over at Alpha Mom—pinky swear—but in the meantime it occurs to me that I haven’t posted since last week, and sometimes that makes my father think that I am dead in a ditch somewhere.

(Hi, Dad! Not dead!)

Tuesday mornings are my favorite, because it’s the only morning when both kids have to get up and out around the same time. (It’s co-op day for Monkey. On regular homeschool days I just don’t bother getting him up until Chickadee leaves.) I love to eavesdrop on the two of them negotiating for counter space and such in the bathroom, because it seems to be the ONE time they consistently enjoy each other’s company. (I know. It’s weird.)

Overheard this morning:
Monkey: So you know how you used to have two kidneys?
Chickadee: I… STILL HAVE two kidneys…?
Monkey: Oh, yeah, well, I’ve been meaning to tell you something….

Later I reminded Chickie that people will come and go from her life, but her brother is forever. She kind of rolled her eyes, so I added, “There are worse people to be stuck with, you know.”

“I know,” she said. “… like you,” she added, with a smirk.

We were on our way to school, so I just slowed down a little and pushed her out of the car. I think that was fair.

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