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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Getting Ready for Spring Break

Picked up tickets to the circus, yesterday. Bought tickets to the aquarium today. Got movie times for Diary of a Wimpy Kid and for the local discount theater. Made a list of a dozen other things the kids would like to do. Checked the weather for next week. Searching for families who aren't traveling and might want to get together.

I told my husband what I'd been doing and his comment was, "Those kids should be happy with just one of those things. When I had spring break as a kid, I didn't do anything. The only thing I did was not to go to school." And he's right. That's all I did, too. I played with all my friends on my street who were home, too. But that's where the comparison falls apart.

Families aren't home like they were when we were kids. Families travel for holidays more often; or with dual-income families, kids are gone to camp. The "play outside 'til the street lights come on" mentality is gone and replaced with scheduled playdates, outings, day trips, vacations, etc.

And so - I join the club with an assortment of activities to keep us all engaged (on a budget). We'll go downtown to the National Zoo - it's FREE! Or maybe take in the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. Seeing money being made, cut, and stacked is super-cool. Suggestions from FaceBook friends include: Duct Tape (ha!); pajama day complete with Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and movies/boardgames all day; bake and decorate a cake; miniature golf; bike trails; and bowling.

We'll have a great time doing some things we don't usually have time to do. We'll take pictures, we'll laugh, we won't be rushed. We'll even see some family along the way. I'm thankful we have the money to splurge a bit. Maybe I'll go for the BIG roll of duct tape!

Monday, March 15, 2010

It All Works Out

"I feel guilty I'm not doing the driving," my neighbor said when I called her, yet again, to say my husband would take her son to/from basketball practice.
"Don't worry about it. There will come a time, when I absolutely can't do anything and you'll be able to pitch in."
"Awwwl-right," she said. Not sounding too convincing.

This is how the first half of the basketball season went. Our carpool changed into me calling her Tuesday afternoon saying that my husband was home earlier enough to take the kids to practice. He was assistant coaching, so he was going and staying ... every week. It was a no-brainer to take both boys (neighbors) with him. Still, she felt heavy about it.

Then .... my surgery came. And not only couldn't I drive, but my husband needed to stay home with me to take care of me. And as I healed and could get around, I couldn't watch the kids play outside - so she did. Suddenly, she was doing all the doing; and I was doing all the laying around. Rightly so, but still.

The other day we were sitting outside together watching the kids enjoy the springlike weather. I asked her, "So, do you still feel guilty about my hubby driving the first part of the season?"
She laughed out loud, "No! We were just talking about it last night and how it seemed to all work out."

And isn't it funny how that happens? We live in community. In relationship to one another. I buy coffee, you get dessert. I take the kids to the movies. You take the kids rock-climbing. I drive one week. You drive the next three. I babysit. You have a sleep-over. I pray for you. You pray for me. It all works out.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Called for Skipping

Basketball season was a thrilling ride! Fourth grade ball had playoffs and a championship this year - a first for our family. It was great to watch these boys master some of the finer points of the game. Watching them successfully execute a pick and roll, cross-court pass, and awesome interceptions kept me on the edge of my seat all season. Their coach was mild-mannered and kept it light. The boys voted on a team name. "Pretty Little Pink Ponies" was flatly rejected - however, the team rallied around, "Cheese." Let me tell you, it's hard to not have fun cheering from the sidelines, "Go Cheese!" And then hearing the team huddle during a time out and end with hands in, chanting, "Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!" This team ended their season in a three way tie for first place. Each player gave the coach a different kind of cheese at their season-ending bash, to which he replied, "Next year, I wanna be team Lexus."

Second grade ball is the year the kids simply grow in their comfort on the court. A good coach helps the boys excel and prepares them to be competitive. Our son's team was great and enjoyed a winning season. His layups and foul shots became more reliable. They celebrated over ice cream today, earned bobblehead trophies, and came home happy, sweaty and tired.
First grade girls has got to be the most interesting, though. The refs are told not to blow their whistle too loud, so they don't scare the girls and make them cry. How funny is that?!

Coaching little girls vs older boys is quite the contrast. You can yell in at a ten year old boy, "stay on 23 and shut him down!" Where the same shout to a first-grade girl will elicit tears. So, hearing my husband give guidance from the sideline to our daughter is a riot, "You're doing great, sweetie!" He'll also send big brother over with "words of encouragement," to which she responds by pushing him away saying, "I know, I know, I know." The best part of the game today was when the ref blew his whistle and explained to one little girl that "skipping" down the court with the ball was not allowed. Several of the parents around me all broke out laughing.

If only we played our hearts out like that everyday - using that same passion and energy in everything we did. I think then I wouldn't mind if I got called for skipping.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Laundry, HGTV, and Blessings

Washer fills, drier spins, and I sit folding clothes on my bed watching Lisa LaPorta renovate and redecorate. With the never-ending job of laundry, a healthy dose of HGTV makes the chore more bearable. Don't get me wrong, there is great reward in folding and putting away laundry - a place for everything and everything in its place. But then, on days like today when I put things away instead of having the kids do it - I wind up cleaning out drawers and closets and the task looms larger than usual.

These are the times I see big differences between how men and women tackle projects. Men are so focused (which has pros and cons); and women interrelate emotions, feelings, situations (which also has pros and cons). If I had asked my husband to put the laundry away (and yes, he would do it for me), it would get put away. Check. When I do it, I wind up with a pile of clothes to donate, reorganized drawers and closets, etc. Not to mention, a day with pretty much, nothing else done. I get the same results with my kids. My boys put their clothes away, my daughter arranges her clothes into outfits. Funny, huh?

I will often lament the amount of laundry I have to do. I'm confident I'm not alone. I try to think about the fact that all that laundry represents the blessings in our lives. We have enough money, space, etc. to have too many clothes. I try to give thanks for the healthy children that wear all those clothes - and wear OUT all those clothes. I pray over my husband as I fold undershirts and dress socks and thank God for the prosperity He's gifted us with.

Life is good. Laundry and all ... especially with a little HGTV.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Letting Go

Off the bus, up the pipestem, and through the front door, "Hi Mom! Can I go play down at the big tree?"
"Who else is down there?"
"Everyone, Mom. Can I?"
Deep heavy sigh. You see I cannot see the big tree from my front door. I can see the area close to it, but I cannot see the big tree or the creek with the secret fort. The other kids' homes are right next to the big tree and their parents can see them from their kitchen window or back deck. Watching your kids play equals comfort.
"Yes. You can. Can you wear your watch and check in with me?"
"Sure, Mom. Are there brownies?"
He heads for the brownies, grabs two and heads out the door.
"Thanks, Mom."
Deep, heavy sigh.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recovering from Surgery

Last Monday, I had gallbladder surgery. Laproscopic, outpatient. The best it could be when you're having surgery. And it was ... yet, that doesn't mean it was easy. Having your gallbladder removed may be considered minor surgery, but recovery seems painstakingly slow.
The first two days, you need someone waiting on you and taking care of you. Sleeping wasn't even a viable escape for the discomfort/pain. Yet, day by day, I did get better. By day three, I was putzing around the house. Day four, brought a set back with a popped stitch. Day five I went out to my son's basketball playoffs. However, sitting up, unassisted, proved nauseating for most of the game. Driving was entirely different adventure.
In between bouts of tempered activity came long stretches in bed (or the recliner) resting, resting, resting. The day I was finally able to venture down to the mailbox, my neighbor's dog bit me. Now, there's never a good time to get bit by a dog - yet, it seemed to add insult to injury to have to nurse an open wound while I still had surgical bandages around my midsection.
The following day brought my post-op appointment with a clean bill of health, a trip to my primary care doc for antibiotics (to guard against infection) and a tetanus shot. Today brought a trip to the radiologist for an x-ray.
Recovering from surgery seemed to move along swimingly, until I ventured outside on a springlike day, because I was finally feeling better. Want to have a speedy recovery? Stay inside the first week! No matter WHAT!!!