Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to School

It's hard to believe the summer has come to an end. After a long week of rain and mosquitoes we had an amazing last weekend. On Saturday we headed about two hours south to the Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan where there are vast sandy beaches. We played in the water, in the sand and on the sand hills all day. It felt like a mini-vacation. Isaac was in delighted to find the wind just right for flying his new Spiderman kite. On Sunday the weather was perfect and the mosquitoes weren't so vicious so we barbecued outside and played on the trampoline with the kids. It was hard to pull ourselves inside to get the kids to bed early for school starting.

Isaac has been so excited to start Kindergarten. He was nervous until he attended the Kindergarten orientation with Grandma Nancy last Spring. Something about that night just eased all his fears and he's been nothing but excited ever since. Today was a short 1/2 hour getting comfortable with the daily routine. Tomorrow he'll be on the bus with the big kids in the morning. He can't hold back his smile when he thinks about it.

Morgan started third grade. She got the teacher she was hoping for and came home with good information about her great first day back (after I forced her inside to sit down and chat with me) . She likes that her teacher is organized, has everything planned for the day, is nice, and that she chose good partners for everyone to sit by (kids who didn't know each other yet). Morgan is really excited to have a lot of her friends in her class this year. She seems to be in her element back to a routine and schoolwork. She loves to be busy and challenged!All the kids on the block out waiting for the bus in the morning. We started a tradition of having "breakfast at the bus stop" every year on the first day of school.

The girls on our block! Anna, Molly, Ima, and Morgan.
The boys on our block! Isaac, Alex, Sam and Michael.I got to ride the bus to school with Isaac on his first day.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Robbed of Our Last Week of Summer

If you've been keeping up with the news you may have read about the storms that have been frolicking through the Midwest these past few weeks. Our last week of summer has been rather soggy, but truthfully the rain normally comes at night and the days haven't been too bad. The grass is lush and green and my tomatoes are growing like Jack's beanstalk. Most people don't have sprinkler systems in our area so we tend to welcome the rain. Thankfully my kids sleep like hibernating bears so the loudest claps of thunder and brightest flashes of lightening don't seem to phase them at night. All in all the rain hasn't disrupted our life much.

Never the less, we've been robbed of our last week of summer, stuck inside the house. Not because of the weather as you'd expect, but because of the mean, nasty, bloodthirsty mosquitoes that have enjoyed breeding in these hot and damp conditions. They are awful. I can't take the garbage out without getting attacked. There are so many bugs that there can't possibly be enough food to go around, they must be starving (hopefully starving to death...then they'll die and be gone), so anytime we wander outside they swarm for a snack.

Night before last my neighbor called while getting the kids ready for bed. She was out of pull-ups, so I ran one over. As we talked outside for about 60 seconds I could feel the blood being sucked out of my body. I cut the conversation short and ran quickly inside to discover EIGHT new bites to add to the collection I'd already amassed!

The kids wake up each morning crying about one or two bites that are particularly uncomfortable. We've been keeping the Chiggerex cream out on the kitchen counter--which thankfully seems to provide some relief to the itching. The only side-effect is that it leaves them smelling like Grandpa covered in Ben Gay.

Bug spray doesn't help much at all. The mosquitoes are like hungry homeless vagrants digging for food in garbage cans. They are too hungry to be scared off by foul smelling chemicals.

Last night we decided we'd had enough of letting the mosquitoes rule our lives. So, we doused the kids in bug spray and headed out for a bike ride. We hypothesized that if we rode fast enough we could outrun the bugs. We came home with new bites but a little blood was a welcome sacrifice in exchange for some fresh air and exercise on the last Friday of summer vacation.

My legs are covered in bites and my arms are covered in bites, but my two favorites are the enormous zit-like bites right in the middle of my forehead. When you are thirty-five and have zit-like blemishes on your forehead you tend to want to conceal them with make-up. Unfortunately the heat and rain have left us with humid air, and when you combine humid air and foundation the result is clogged pores which then result in real zits. So now I'm left with a combination of mosquito bites that look like zits and real zits. I'm thirty five, I shouldn't be dealing with this crap! I'm ready to buy some they sell a variety with bug repellent?

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm Not That Kind of Mom

I just spent a few minutes editing my profile. As it asked for my interests I was forced to reflect upon all the things I enjoy in life. There were a few things I noted that I am interested in, but don't seem to find time for in this season of my life (i.e. laundry,, I mean art, writing, piano). Somehow the chaos of life keeps me from getting to these things that I think would give me much joy if I'd only schedule them into my days. (That said, I should mention that since my first post I did recommit myself to reading. Some 1400 pages later I've triumphantly finished book 6 and 7 of the Harry Potter series. Thankfully my husband spent the weekend before me reading #7, so he was supportive of my slothful week of reading on the couch while the kids annihilated the house and ate Eggo waffles for every meal).

One of the things that popped into my mind as I updated the interests section of my profile was scrapbooking. There was a time in my life when I spent countless hours each month cropping, pasting, and cataloging our family memories into lovely albums. I proudly called myself a scrapbooker. And, I'll admit I was pretty good at it. Sometimes I'd even leave a newly finished page open on the coffee table just waiting for someone to admire my work and gush on my talent. I even went away on scrapbooking trips with girlfriends...and I really enjoyed myself. My first child has a beautiful baby book. Kids number two and three have empty books sitting in the cabinet (but thankfully #2 & 3 are boys and won't really care if I finish their books or not). I haven't completely given up on scrapbooking. I'm still a sucker for pretty papers, and I have a collection to prove it. Which is why I no longer call myself a scrapbooker, but a collector of scrapbooking supplies. What's the problem in that? Some people collect antiques, I collect scrapbooking supplies. Collections don't have to be used--so calling myself a collector eliminates the guilt felt for spending money on items that remain in bags and boxes never used. But here's the real problem. I have a huge collection of scrapbooking materials, and truth be told I'd love to set up the banquet table and hide away in the basement cropping to my hearts content. But, somehow I think it sounds lame--not cool enough. I mock the loads of Christmas letters we get each year in which it states, "In her spare time Julie (or other mom's name) enjoys scrapbooking". It sounds so generic, as if every good mom who loves her children should enjoy cataloging their family memories...and knitting, and smiling, and never loosing her patience. And so I rebel. I won't ever list scrapbooking as a hobby of mine (even if I someday begin to use my collection for something more than filling my already limited cabinet space). Because while I think I am a pretty patient person (on most days) I'm not "that kind of mom".