Monday, June 18, 2012

Because Sometimes It's Perfectly Reasonable Not To Have A Reason

My daughter is currently doing this:

And we wrote this on the cake:

Because sometimes the only reason you need is that your teenage daughter doesn't mind being seen with you. And because the cake was marked down to below half off. And because who doesn't love cake? And because why should we limit the reasons we celebrate to big reasons?

Sometimes the biggest joys are in celebrating the small things.

Today we have no big reason to celebrate. But we have a million small ones. The sun is shining. Hummingbirds are visiting our feeder. Our garden is producing delicious food. School is out. Sleeping in is fabulous. Swimming is a fun and entertaining diversion. We are healthy. We have a lovely home. Our dumb dog makes us laugh and loves us in a big way. My children have been getting on especially well. I have persevered at the gym. My daughter has done well learning to drive. Baseball is over and my son, after a big slump, finally got some hits in his last game. My other son is shaving. My youngest is great at the backstroke. I could go on and on.

Nope. We don't have a reason for buying such a cake. Except it would have been unreasonable not to.

What will you celebrate today?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Is Happening Right Now

This is happening in my yard right now. The kids have been begging to camp. This is as close as we'll get right now. It's June and the forecast is for a high of 78 degrees and a low of 53 degrees. You don't get a forecast much more perfect for back yard camping than that.

They all worked really well together. It was surprising, really. I was impressed.

But I know that even though this crew put up the tent,

this is the crew that I'll be sleeping in that tent with tonight.

Wish me luck. If you don't hear from me within 48 hours, send a search party.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When The Kids Are Away, The Parents Will Play. And Paint.

It's quiet around here. Too quiet. Okay, not really. I made that up. It's quiet because my kids are gone for the week. But in my opinion, it's hard to ever call this place too quiet. After all, the dumb dog is still here and she has been known to chase the reflection from her own dog tags. So, you know.

It is quiet, though. No kids means that I have quite a few things I want to accomplish this week. I've already done two. On Monday, I met with my trainer, who is, apparently, trying to help me lose weight by making appendages fall off. Yesterday my legs hurt so bad that every time I tried to get up out of a chair I am certain I looked like an octogenarian. I huffed and puffed and groaned. At one point, Patrick patted my knee and I winced. All of this wasn't helped I'm sure, by my very excellent decision to come straight from the gym on Monday and commence with the painting of the poo brown living room. Eight hours. That's right,  it took eight hours to paint that room. To be fair though, that included moving furniture, taping everything off, priming, having my beloved paint the ceiling while I ran out to get sustenance and more supplies, and then finally putting the finish coat on.

So yesterday, after an hour with my trainer on Monday and eight hours climbing up and down a ladder and squatting and stretching and bending, I could accomplish nothing more than strolling and groaning my way through several Goodwills. And guess what I found there?

Did you guess and overabundance of crappy laminate furniture, dingy plastic play kitchens, and used flip-flops? You did? Wow. Are we browsing at the same Goodwill? So that was a bust.

On the upside, I did some reading, captured two more chipmunks in Ye Olde Bucket O' Doom (don't ask about this unless you really want to know), and enjoyed a lovely dinner out with my beloved where there wasn't a kids' menu in sight. We had a particularly good time trying to figure out if Gerry Beckley from the band America had grown out his hair and might be moonlighting as our waiter for the night. I really didn't care though, because he brought me exceptionally delicious food and had a heavy pour with the wine bottle. And only twice was I tempted to bust out and sing "Sister Goldenhair."  Then we enjoyed a walk around the town square and I photographed the trees and bike racks that had been yarnbombed while attempting to explain the point of yarnbombing to my beloved who was, er, bewildered. Art does that to people sometimes. Then we returned home where we watched Design Stars, which I had to keep pausing as I tried to explain the point of some of the designers' choices in the White Box challenge. ("It's not about functionality, honey, it's about big and creative thinking. Now hush and go peel me a grape!")

After taking a phone call from the children and hearing all about their day and then telling them that we were going to Staples and Olive Garden every day (Maggie's two favorite places) plus we were having ice cream for breakfast, playing with their toys, and just generally having the best time in the world without them and they should probably stay the whole summer at their grandparents' house, we went to bed. And we did it without having to tell four other people that it was time to pipe down and go to sleep.

Not a bad day, actually. Not bad at all.

Unless you count the part where I groaned every time I moved my legs.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kiss My Ash

We are book burners, y'all. It's true. For about four years now, we have burned books and enjoyed every minute of it.

I guess I should clarify. We burn books. Not Books. The difference? Big B books are books--novels, literature, and the like--that we have read that have touched our lives in some way, made us feel something. Big B books are books that when you finished reading you wanted to pick up and read again right away. Or you wanted to share every last detail with someone who had read it as well, so you could relive it, or with someone who hadn't read it, so that you could convince them that they too should read the book. (My oldest son currently feels this way about S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders.) But big B books are also books that you read that maybe you didn't like so much, but you definitely have an opinion about them, perhaps because of the depth of your dislike. (Billy Budd, I am talking to you. The depth of my hatred for you has burned hotly since my freshman year of college. I would never burn you, but only because I want to use you as an example of how much I love books. "I love books so much that I can't even bring myself to burn Billy Budd!" Now that's true love, folks.) Little B books are the books that my kids come home from school with that are known as consumables--in other words, workbooks. Every year, I fork out money in the form of book fees (Free public education, my Aunt Fanny!) only to have my children bring home consumables that more often than not, have not been used much at all. And so, we let them be consumed. By fire.

This year, because of a baseball game and a crispy landscape due to a lack of rainfall, we postponed our annual Burn the Books Bonfire from last Wednesday, the kids' last day of school, to Saturday, the night before they were due to leave for my parents' house for their annual stay for VBS and general spoiling. It was all a bit rushed, but it worked out. The children particularly relished throwing in folders and papers from classes they didn't like and taunting them: "How d'ya like me now, gym folder?! Betcha you can't windsprint your way outta this one!" and "What now, math papers? Solve this problem!" and "Burn you dumb old spelling paper!" Yes, some taunts were a little more thought out than others, but they were all heartfelt.

My husband enjoys this tradition because he gets to be all Sammy Safety with the hose. The kids enjoy this tradition because it puts a definite end point on the school year. Books and papers are burned, there's no going back now. It marks the true beginning of summer for us. Books and papers are burned, we don't have to think about them anymore. Let's put our focus on cookouts and sleepovers and hours spent swimming and staying out after dark. And I love it because when the kids give me a basketful of papers that they think they neeeeeeed to keep, I can look at them and say with a wicked grin, "Oh sure, I suppose we could keep them, but wouldn't you rather watch them burn?" And then I get to watch all that potential clutter go up in smoke.

Smiley face made from ashes. :)
Everybody wins.