First Week of Summer Thoughts



1. I’ve done more laundry this week than I do during the school year. STOP with the 10 towels a day kids. For the love of Downy Unstoppables just freakin' STOP.  See the TOWEL hook? Use. It. 

2. We’ve done  outdoor play and non screen time this week and I think it was wonderful.  Now, please take the iPad and go binge watch something until next Wednesday.

3. My grocery bill is going to triple over the next 8 weeks. Last night at 10 p.m.someone asked me what was for “second” dinner. I guess we are spending summer in Spain’s time zone. 

4. One of the kids hasn’t taken shower since last Saturday. This and #1 do not make sense. And don’t think I want to know where the towels are really coming from.

5. I have already read one book. Not one I had planned to read, not a bestseller, a book club choice,  a must read, or a deep and moving piece of quality literature. Thank you Carl Hiaasen for once again writing characters that make this  “one sandwich short of picnic kind of momma” feel normal.  And laughing really, really hard. Summer satirical fiction at its best. 

6. Waking up at 9 a.m. every day is lovely and a blessing but I FEEL LIKE A SLOTH. Do I set my alarm next week or continue my post traumatic school year disorder sleep recovery therapy?

7. By the way, Jiffy Pop works as a second dinner. So do burnt marshmallows. And bomb pops. 

8.  Someone at Milton Bradley really needs to update the board game “The Game of Life.”  A Victorian house with a library, parlor, servants’ quarters, marble fireplace, and wraparound porch for $200,000? For me and my three cars and five sets of boy/girl twins? Show me the way.

9. Ice cream cones make everyone stop talking.


10. Grateful for living without a schedule, a to do list, a deadline, a homework assignment, and a sports practice. Amen summer. Bring on the next two months! 

Thoughts on the Last Week of School

I am done. I know I have been saying this since May 1, but really, this time I mean it. Done. WELL. DONE. Think hamburger patty left on the grill for three days DONE. I am seriously considering just telling the kids tomorrow morning they don't have to go anymore, and Friday is now today. Mazel Tov!

To all the lovely moms I see at PTA meetings, games, carpool lines and school events, listen, you are all great and all, but I don't want to see and of you until mid-August. Nothing personal. It's not you, it's me. I'm just not that into you anymore. As a matter of fact, I am not into ANYTHING anymore. I have no more cheery small talk in me, and I'm truly afraid if I open my mouth all that will come out is F words. Big ones. Loud ones. At the beginning, middle and end of every sentence. So ,here is my hand waving at you from the safety of my car. See ya in a few....

Teachers, a.k.a. saints in my book, thank you. Thank you for taking care of my kids for nine months. I know you don't want to see me anymore either, and I won't try and talk to you on the last day because I know you are one noun away from dropping several "F bombs" yourself. Hang in there. I bought you beer. It will be in a big gift bag with an apple on it. 

Yesterday, my kid's school sent home next year's school supply list. Uhhh... I'm gonna need another copy of that. When I saw it I had a... well, let's just call it 'an episode,' and it may or may not have ended up accidentally on top of a burning stress relief aromatherapy candle. Glue stick shopping in June? HELL. NO. 

I'm fully aware that six weeks from now, I will be begging for a routine and just a few hours alone, but right now, I just want to enjoy several days with my kids with no "to-do list What. So. Ever. 

Moms, we did it. We made all those spelling word lists, math fact sheets, reading logs, science projects, geography bees, holiday plays and class parties our BITCH. Cheers to us. Now pass the suntan lotion...

The Original Top 10 Ways to Give Your Kids a 1970s Summer






           

It is officially the end of May. The Pinterest pages, Facebook feeds, and family magazine features are loaded up with all the activities you should do with your kids summer. AS. IF.   As if we need more activities. MORE I say!  As if I am sitting here, ok, really lying here in my end of school year coma,  thinking, "OMG! I CANNOT wait to tackle that homemade moon sand recipe  we will dye ourselves with the skin of organic vegetables, then shape our homemade sand into a perfect replica of the Millenium Falcon! ” Or, “Why yes, I am going to schlep 4 kids to that new science museum two hours away, where we will eagerly wander through the exhibits,  each completing the 10 page scavenger hunt I created last night. Then we will come home and ‘discuss’ at great length the scientific theories we learned, because, brace yourself,  what if we don’t keep our minds active ALL summer? GASP!  Wait, hold it! We must, just MUST go to the dollar store and buy 125 pool noodles to construct a backyard water park! We will invite the neighborhood kids over, serve vegan popsicles,  watermelon chunks cut out like dolphins, and a vegetable crudité platter shaped like a palm tree.  And what summer pool party would be complete without nitrate, skin, meat, additive, and taste free hot dogs on gluten free buns covered in artisanal ketchup?

I am done. Sort of like I how I was done with the school year, but I am already done with summer. And by done, I mean I am done with all the forced smile inducing, uber planned and supervised, over the top  summer life experiences  I am supposed to provide for my kids. You know what I want my kids to experience this summer? The same type of summer I would have experienced in the late 1970’s.  The exact same one.  I survived it, and they will too. As a matter of fact, it must have been pretty memorable because 30 years later I can tell you exactly what it entailed. It entailed FUN. Fun we made all on our own. What. A. Concept.

My top 10 ways to give your 2014 kids a 1970’s summer.

1 .       Let them watch TV. Plenty of it. But only the TV Land channel. I want my kids to watch The Love Boat, The Carol Burnett Show, The Jefferson’s, Charlie’s Angels, My Three Sons, The Six Million Dollar Man,  Gilligan's Island, $100,000 Pyramid, and my personal favorite, Hart to Hart.  Seriously,  what little girl in the late 70’s  didn't want to be an amateur detective married to the CEO of Hart Industries, driving around in a yellow Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster, while sporting a matching lilac pant suit and  perfectly coiffed butterfly winged wavy brown hair?  Because I sure as hell did.

2.       Eat whatever you  want, and/or whatever can find.  There will be no more pantries full of organic vegetable chips, and non-GMO graham crackers. No more refrigerators full of anti-pesticide fruit, free range eggs, and cold pressed juice.  This will be the summer of Frito-Lay and Red Dye #5. I want to see my kid’s reaction when I tear open a tiny envelope of cherry Kool-Aid, sprinkle it into a BPA laden plastic pitcher, dump 4 cups of regular, granulated, white, and maybe even generic sugar (not raw, stevia, or agave,) then add water from the tap, and  viola! You are hydrated! I will be over here drinking a Tab. Lunch will be fried bologna and a blue can of Planter’s Cheese Balls, and for dinner we will pile in the car and go pick up a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a styrofoam quart of mashed potatoes,  and O. M. Geee, dessert will be pineapple upside cake! Made from canned pineapples in…….wait for it……syrup!

3.       Make them play outside. Like all day. All. Damn. Day. Hot? Drink from the hose. Run through the sprinklers. Swim in the pool until your hair feels like straw, turns green, and the bottom of your feet are calloused from the bottom of the pool. Search for ladybugs, play hide ‘n seek between the houses, run down the street gutters after a rain storm. Read under a tree. I hear this lady named Judy Blume writes good stuff.

4.       Send them to the movies for the entire day. I will drop you off at around 11 and pick you up for dinner. Its’ real simple. You sneak from one theater to the next. Nobody cares.

5.       Spend three nights in a row at your best friend’s house. No, you don’t have to call to check in every hour. And yes,  it’s totally ok their parents will be at work and nobody will be home all day. It will give you plenty of time for #1, 2, and 3.

6.       Make stuff, like from stuff you find. No trips to Hobby Lobby for pre-cut, pre-stuck, pre-fabricated crafts.   Find crap in the garage and assemble it into something you can play with. No, you can’t Google how to do it. Ropes are fun.

7.       Have them put on a talent show. A  real, genuine, sing and dance and entertain the hell out of me talent show.  I promise I won’t upload it to Youtube or share it on Facebook. I pinky swear. No, there is no theme, no requirements, no directions, no anything. No, there is no right way to do it. You have an imagination. Please use it.

8.       Play this until you want to throw it against the wall, or smash into 1,000 pieces.  It’s the original train your brain app.



9.       Build a fort in the backyard. No, I am not gonna help. Yes, you can use the $125 Pottery Barn Kids duvet cover from your bed. I don’t care anymore. Making a memory trumps 400 thread count cotton.

10.   Finally, learn to find the amazing in the ordinary. Trust me. You will need this skill in your 40’s. I pinky swear.

The School Year - Make. It. Stop. NOW!



It’s that time  again moms. The end of the school year.  How quickly another year has whizzed by only to find us here, whimpering for a life boat, or at least an original lunchbox idea. (Preferably one that does not require the culinary gumption of the Barefoot Contessa, and miniature die cutters so at 5 a.m., I can gleefully cut out organic cheese into the shape of the space shuttle.) Yep, it’s time to again reflect on how little, and I mean a SCANT amount of gas, we moms have left in the school year tank. Fumes, people, FUMES!  It is now early May, and  I can only hope and pray that I have enough fumes to hang on until June 6. It’s gonna be close. Real. Effing. Close. 

The next few weeks hold an insurmountable bevy of school related activities. We have the end of the year classroom parties, graduations, field trips, teacher appreciation weeks, sports banquets, school dances, and most likely a few classmate birthday parties thrown in the mix. (Dear Lord - NO more birthday party invites. Just NO. We have all simultaneously hit the laser tagging, bounce housing, roller skating, sleepover-ing, bowling party WALL.)  All of these activities require us weary moms to work together in unity. Happily! Gratefully! In Unity! That’s right. Leave it to a pack of wild moms, drooling and begging for June, to be forced into civil and cooperative party planning when all we really want to do is hit the summer highway, and leave the parent school association in our dust. At this point, the only thing we can manage to do in unity is swear, and send each other texts like “When the %^* was that project due again?” and “R U #$^%*ing kidding? We have 2 make what 4 what? By tomorrow?” We are, however, staunchly united in one simple statement of solidarity- Make. It. Stop. 
Make it ALL. JUST. STOP. 


Make the breakfast cooking STOP. 

I curse myself for having morphed into that mom who cooks a hot breakfast every day.  What was I thinking?  I never worked at Denny’s. Hell, before I got married I could barely scramble an egg. Now several mornings a week I have scrambled half the damn carton by 6:30 a.m., because once you drive down that wonderful hot breakfast highway, there is no getting off the cold cereal exit.    Damn you September mom, who was mixing up whole grain pancakes then pouring them into autumnal themed pancake molds.  Or, baking from scratch fruit filled muffins, egg burritos, and Belgian friggin’ waffles. This week’s breakfast menu includes toast. Probably only one piece. Want two? Knock your brother over. Just go ahead and take him out, I don’t care.  If we have butter consider yourself lucky.  Out of bread? It’s saltine city sweetheart. Protein has left the building. Sure you can have orange juice, but please drink it out of the jug. I have also quit washing the sink full of morning pans, plates, and cups, so if you use a glass you better run. Fast and out the front door.  Whatever dirty breakfast dishes I find I’m throwing out. Hey, simple living is in. I’ve walked through the Swiss Family Robinson house at Disney World. They survived. 

Make the lunch packing STOP. 

All 4 of them. Every day.  And this is coming from a mom who owns cookbooks based solely on school lunch recipes, has a Pinterest board dedicated to lunchbox ideas, and often prints out cute notes to tuck inside. “You’re A- mazing! I’m bananas for U! Orange you glad it’s lunchtime!”  I know.  It’s September mom at her best. This all has led me to announce this week that  I am no longer packing school lunches for the current school year.  Done. Over. El fin de almuerzo. The lunch lady split people. I. Just. Cannot. Pack.  Another effing lunch.  No more sandwiches cut out like dinosaurs, no more ka-bobbed  fresh fruit, and googly-eyed muffins, and  no more homemade baked goods. Boys, it’s time to meet a sweet little girl I know. Her name is Little Debbie. Meet her BFF, Nutty Bar. Oh, and if you are looking for fiber, there is a four month old apple at the bottom of the produce drawer, three grapes,  and some cranberries I bought last Thanksgiving. And I think one petrified mozzarella stick. Hey, kids, aged cheese is, like, gourmet!   “Orange you glad you had toast for breakfast!”

Make the laundry STOP. 

Clean p.e. uniforms, clean dress uniforms, clean gymnastics tops, golf polos, soccer socks, tennis shorts. Day in. Day out. I know  I’m supposed to be full of laundry joy,  like that old laundry saying says, “Be grateful for all those little blessings of clothes.”  By now, buttons are popping off, sleeves are constricting growing arms, navy dress shorts are faded, white shirts are dingy gray. My once bright and crisp looking boys are borderline trailer park fashion models by mid-May. Nobody has worn matching socks since February. Toes are coming out the front of shoes. Belts are peeling.  “Mom, I need new school shoes!” Yea, no way I am buying new school shoes in May. And NO, I am not climbing to the back of the closet  to dig out the next size up shorts for a few weeks of wear.  No, I don’t care if you go to school looking like you slept in a ditch last night. It’s Catholic school, tell them you are embracing your inner John the Baptist. Wear flip flops. Hey,  even the new Pope ditched his flashy duds. No bath? No teeth brushing? No hand washing?  Fine by me. Water loves you back kid. It’s called saving the planet. 

Make the school sports STOP. 

Please. No match tie breaks, or extra holes, or overtimes. No playoffs, shoot outs, no championships. Please just lose already! Throw in the towel. Throw down your racket. Throw the soccer ball in traffic. Throw the golf ball in the drink. Just. Stop. Playing. Sorry, but I just don’t see you on  ESPN’s top plays of 2030.  Guess what? I’m totally fine with that. You know where I really need to be after school? My couch. Not a field, a fairway, a court, a pitch, or a set of bleachers.  Me, the team bus driver, is filing a complaint with the NTSB claiming lack of mandated rest, and compromised health.  Nobody should be driving children to sporting events when they possess the blood sugar levels of a gnat and got the same amount of sleep last night of your average bat. I’m personally lobbying next year for extracurricular activities that take place inside an air conditioned building, like a book club at Barnes & Noble, that includes free caffeine for everyone over age 40, plus transportation to and fro, with healthy snacks on board.

Make the bedtime routines STOP. 

The showers, the story reading, the school bag packing, the clothes laying out, the homework signing. Check. Check.  CHECK! Think early October. Our bedtime routine was executed with military precision and perfection. Everybody peacefully tucked in and the next morning’s necessities lined up waiting by the door. I have since gone AWOL. Out of sheer and total burned out-ness, I have become the mom who doesn’t give a crap anymore if anyone is actually ready for bed or the morning at all. Do it all yourself. Just sign my name on your work, read for five minutes, (anything- the TVGuide channel will do) unpack or don’t unpack your backpack, sleep in your clothes, I just don’t have the energy anymore.  You’re on your own little people, time to become independent, because I currently have the keen supervisory skills of a drone who is nose diving with dead batteries. Please charge me and plug me back in one day in late August. 

Luckily, it will all stop soon enough, and then something just plain awesome will happen. The first week of August, long after summer camps have filled their days, after vacations have been enjoyed, pajama parties endured, matinees watched, lightning bugs collected, red, white, and blue popsicles licked, and after we have all had our fill of  long lazy naps taken during  afternoon thunderstorms, moms all around the country will start getting back in school mom control. With a twinkle in their eye (and the promise of not having to hear “I’m bored” for at least another 4 months) they will be dancing down the aisles buying new school uniforms, crayons, spiral notebooks, and tennis shoes. They will cavort with other moms about how they are so  flippin’  glad school is starting again,  and how they just need to get into a real “routine” again. 

Lord, right now I am just trying to make it through the “routine” another few weeks. Hurry and make it stop!


Husband, Just Live My Life for Mother's Day

Love of my life, father of my four glorious children…….

I want you to wipe down the wall behind the toilet. It’s a lovely shade of maize and smells faintly of Bourbon Street on a Sunday morning. Start about 6 inches from floor, work your way up. Higher. Yea, I didn’t think that was possible either. Wear gloves. Hazmat suit totally optional.

I want you to fill out all the forms for the next 6 months. That’s right. ALL THE FORMS. The 20 pages I will get next month for school registration renewal, the field trip forms, the insurance forms, the athletic forms, the camp forms, the club forms, the order forms, the return forms, the rebate forms, the warranty forms. Man oh man I am so gonna miss doing that.

I want you to memorize four social security numbers, four shoe sizes, four pant sizes, four shirt sizes, and four underwear sizes. Sizes are subject to change spontaneously and without any type of notice What. So. Ever. There is no systemic, equal, or gradual increase in any or all of these sizes. One day you are buying a size 3 shoe, next week a 7. Go with it.

I want you to cut out coupons for the next 6 months. Alphabetize and file by expiration date, store, and food group.  I want you to know, just plain KNOW what coupons to NOT cut out, and you can’t ask me. Hint: I don’t buy pop-tarts,  everything in the house always needs disinfecting, and we don’t have a cat. And you see that stretchy bra like thingie they sell by mail order on the last page of the coupons? It  looks mighty comfy. I like pink.

I want you to make all the well child doctor appointments for the next year.  Go ahead and make appointment for 7:00 am so they don’t miss school. It’s always easy to get people clean and dressed and in the car by 6:30 a.m. A total ball! Don’t worry, there is drive thru coffee on the way. Drink it fast because it will get cold while you sit in the pediatrician’s waiting room for 2 hours watching a new mom try to console a screaming colicky infant. Bring that hazmat suit you used earlier, to defend against the 2 year old with green snot dripping out of his nose hacking up a lung on your lap. The peds office is blast I tell ya! Remember, you’re the one who didn’t buy the  “I have a headache” excuse. See where it got you?

I want you to gain and lose exactly 28 pounds, four times, and over the course of 40 weeks. Oh wait, really only 20 weeks because over the first 20 you will vomit up your small intestine, as well as what is left of any actual fluid left floating in your  wilting veins. Don’t worry, eventually it’s totally awesome packing on 15 pounds in just one month because you realistically haven’t eaten a morsel in five. Sure, the skin on your stomach won’t know what hit it but come on, stretch marks are IN baby! It’s not like bathing suit season is soon or anything.

I want your penis to triple in size.  Stop it. Don’t get too excited. This will not be for yours or my enjoyment. I would like it to triple in size and at the same time I want the feeling of someone touching it to be painful, annoying, and downright horrible.  Oh, and it has to now nourish a person, as in keep them alive, for like, over a year. And I want you to have to wear the ugliest underwear on the planet for your new awesomely large beverage dispensing penis.  Then suddenly, I want it to shrink to 5 sizes smaller than it was before. There. I feel better now.

I want someone to pull a watermelon out of your lower abdomen after a quick slice and dice with their scalpel. No biggie. Then I want them to  hand you the watermelon, a maxi pad the size of a pool raft, a trial size bottle of baby shampoo and say “Now while you recover, don’t lift anything heavy, like say,  a watermelon. Godspeed!”

I want you to meet me on my running route every day and at several different places, with water, holding a poster that says, “You are hauling ASS hunny! I am soooo  making dinner tonight!”
I want you to pick out both the movie and the restaurant. I swear to God I don’t care. I just cannot make one more damn decision or be in control on ONE. MORE. THING. Just pick it. (No place with TV’s hung high playing ESPN.)

I want you to not bring me breakfast in bed. Do not let my kids make and/or bring me breakfast in bed. Do not let anyone make/bring me breakfast in bed unless their name is Ina Garten, and I have awoken to discover I slept at a Four Seasons last night, on Martha’s Vineyard, next to an open window with a cool breeze wafting in smelling of lavender.  Then, by all means…..

I do not want you to draw me a bath. I want you to erase the drawings in the bathtub. Even the one I ‘accidentally’ made last week when I dropped an entire bottle of red nail polish in there. Sorry about that. I had my foot propped up on the side of the tub, and roughly 3 seconds to try to make 4 toenail-less toes look, well, not so horrific. On that note, don’t buy me cute sandals.

I want you to drink English tea and eat scones with me while I watch Downton Abbey. Don’t talk. Don’t frown. Don’t ask questions. Just sit there and sip, nod, and smile gingerly when Violet cracks a good one. Then clean up and ask me, “Will there be anything else this evening my lady?”

I want you to know that being a mom to your 4 boys (reminder again- YOUR swimmers had the AWOL females)  is the most outrageous, most fatiguing, most mentally taxing, mind numbing, non-stop disaster inducing, tear generating, nerve ending,  aggravatingly thrilling, unbelievably herculean thing I have ever or will ever do. EVER. It is the laughing until it hurts and you cry kind of fun that I never want to stop having. EVER. And I really don’t need flowers, cards, candles, or dinner out. I just need you guys. All of you. All the time. Simple.  But if the spirit moves you to, oh, I dunno, empty the dishwasher, or bring me a cup of coffee……please don’t hesitate. I’ll take it.