Category: Mommys Stuff (page 2 of 221)

Fog and Fix-It Guys

On foggy mornings, when it’s so thick we can’t see the barn next door or even the ground, I tell the kids to look out the window. “Our house is in the clouds!” Because it’s fun to pretend it is.

I wrote a haiku about it.

our house in the clouds
a giant’s beanstalk castle
on foggy mornings

Sometime, when my windows are cleaner or we finally get rid of the window air conditioners and I can open the upstairs windows easily, and it is foggy, I will take a picture.

We’d removed the window air conditioners once this summer when our central air unit was fixed, finally (after years). Then the freon leaked out which means it needs fixed again, so the window units are back, but not for long because fall is nearly here. And technically the central air wasn’t broken in the first place. It was our electric service panel. It looked brand new on the outside! But, water was leaking in because whoever installed the electric before our house was ours went the route of cheap and/or lazy. Behind that shiny new breaker box was corrosion and decay that hindered the flow of electricity through the house. The air conditioning unit wasn’t getting enough juice to run. It is also why our lights were dim. I’d been worried it was my mood.

Me, at the doctor’s office: “Even my house seems darker, somehow.”

Well, it was! It was also why our well pump quit. We had to get a new service panel, breaker box, electric meter box, this pole thing, and other stuff that made the electric work and our bank account empty, but a little less empty than if we’d replaced the well pump and the air conditioner and whatever else. I am grateful it’s fixed. I am especially grateful for the man who fixed it all. We called him to check out the well pump and he figured it all out. That guy is great.

What a way to make a livin’

Dave is brilliant and works hard and he earned a promotion to a new position at work. Yay, Dave! After 17 years of working midnight to noon, he now has a regular day shift job. It’s so normal and that feels crazy! And I am very thankful. I am thankful that Dave worked nights when he did. It was a great setup when the kids were tiny. He was able to be around for things a lot of working parents have to miss. The only thing he was missing was sleep and that was starting to get really, really hard. So, I am thankful Dave started working days when he did. It seemed perfect timing that he was moving to days when all the kids were finally in school. The only thing I miss is having him home on random weekdays. But that’s what days off are for, right? And he gets to work from home now and then, which I love.

The best thing about Dave’s new job is that we get up together in the morning and have breakfast as a family. And we’re all back together again for dinner every evening. There’s no more asking about when he’s coming and going or here, but asleep because his schedule is so wacky. It’s set and certain and that helps when we’re all over the place with the kids and their activities. We go to bed together at night and that makes it much easier to honor a set bedtime, which has always been a struggle for me. It’s all just so ORDINARY. I love it!

Summer Lateblog #6: The Coldplay Concert

Julia and I had the whole summer to look forward to this concert. I gave her the tickets after the piano competition. I’d had them for a week before that and I could hardly contain myself. I was so excited! My mom took me to my first rock concert nearly 30 years ago. Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith. I was 12.

Nearly 30 years ago, my mom took me to my first rock concert. Guns N' Roses and Aerosmith. I was 12. Tonight, I am so excited to be taking my oldest daughter Julia to her first concert. @coldplay #ColdplayCleveland

My mom was a pastor’s wife and plenty of people from our congregation hassled her about taking me. I didn’t know that at the time, but I’m glad she didn’t let it stop her. Music was so important to me, it was where I lived, and the fact that she went there with me is one of the reasons we are so close today. It still feels so good to remember the fun we had. So, of course, I was thrilled to take Julia not only to her first concert, but to see her favorite band.

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

The trip to Cleveland was fantastic. I had butterflies! I’d read somewhere that anticipation is an important aspect of enjoyment, that it adds to your satisfaction and this was true for us. Just anticipating what was going to happen was fun.

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

We arrived in time to grab a t-shirt and see the opening acts – Izzy Bizu and Alunageorge. And then, we waited to see what the bracelets they gave us were going to do.

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

It was pretty exciting.

It was such a colorful show between our blinking bracelets, the lights, the confetti cannons and the balloons.

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

I love Coldplay, too, and though it’s hard to pick a favorite song (Up & Up. But The Scientist. Also Fix You.), this was my favorite moment that I recorded.

Around then, I stopped trying to capture it all and just really enjoyed being there. It was fantastic. The best night.

After the show, about 45 minutes outside of Cleveland, we started to come down off our concert high and stopped for a bite to eat and coffee for me. We saw someone get arrested in a gas station parking lot!

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

That’s Julia at 1 a.m. exhausted from exhilaration, happy, giddy, spent, and wondering when we can go again.

Summer Lateblog #5: The Billy Joel Concert

Dave and I rented a Ford Mustang and went on a road trip after we got married. We drove from Ohio to southern West Virginia to Niagara Falls, Canada and back to Ohio again. We listened to a lot of Billy Joel on that trip. His was one of a few CDs I’d brought along that Dave actually liked. Not liked. No. LOVED. Dave loves Billy Joel. (If you haven’t seen him sing along to The Downeaster Alexa, you haven’t seen passion and joy in its truest form. It is the tune of his heart.) Since Billy Joel provided our honeymoon soundtrack, I thought it was very romantic when Dave got us tickets to his concert in Cleveland in July at Progressive Field.

Dave and me...and in about an hour, Billy Joel!!!

We didn’t have the best view of the stage or even the screens. Our seats were along the cutoff line where they stopped selling tickets due to the obstructed view, so we were right on the fringe of the crowd with no one to our right at all. We couldn’t see the action on stage so well, but we had plenty of room to move and have fun. And we did!

Billy Joel concert in Cleveland 7/14/17

This was my favorite moment. The crowd singing along to Piano Man (and a sneak peek of Dave).

We spent the night at a fancy hotel downtown, which was lovely except for the creepy clown art in the bathroom. (I should have taken a picture of it to show you. Imagine jumping out of the shower and seeing It stare at you from the across the room.) There was construction going on in front of the hotel and we had to wait half an hour the next day for the valet to bring our car. A valet! For our bird poop covered car with the broken glove box duct taped shut! I told Dave that he should look at them and shout, “What happened?!?” when they drove it up. (He did not do it.) We meandered home the next day, stopping to see The Big Sick in a theater near Akron and for dinner in Canton. We even drove by the old house we’d lived in when we got married. It was such a great trip. Man, I love that guy.

Summer Lateblog #4: What Julia and Lucy Did

Julia and Lucy attended the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Performing Arts Chorus Camp in June.

Tuscarawas Philharmonic Children's Chorus Performance with our best friends on my birthday.

Their capstone performance was on my birthday, which we got to enjoy with our very best friends.

Tuscarawas Philharmonic Children's Chorus Performance with our best friends on my birthday.

Look at all our kids together! They could grow up to be the next Arcade Fire or something.

Tuscarawas Philharmonic Children's Chorus Performance with our best friends on my birthday.

Summer means marching band for Julia and it gets intense in July. That’s when Lucy took some art classes.

Summer art classes

She learned to make amazingly useful things from t-shirts and a whole lot of art from recycled items in a Trash to Treasure class. And she took a Create Your Own Character class where she made an incredible Dipper puppet.

Lucy just finished two summer art classes: Build Your Own Character and Trash to Treasure. These are her favorite pieces from each one.

Julia and Lucy are both very creative kids. When they aren’t making music, they’re making art and I was so glad they got to explore those things a little more this summer.

Jack’s First Day of Preschool

We took the requisite picture in the usual spot.

Rainy first day of Preschool!

It was dark and rainy, but he was bright. Just before this, he’d been sitting on the stairs wearing his backpack and waiting patiently for his sisters to be ready to go. We dropped Julia off first, then Phoebe, Lucy, and finally, it was his turn. He did not hesitate. He marched right in and got straight to work. He didn’t give me a second glance and I’ve finally learned that no one gains anything from me hovering around, so I left. I thought I’d cry. I didn’t, really. He was ready to go to school. I was ready, too. There’s a part of me that believes I should feel guilty for feeling that way. That part of me is silly. My kids aren’t babies anymore. I don’t need to grieve it as though it’s a loss to prove to myself that it was special. I cherished the baby years. I’ll cherish the school years, too.

My mom had the day off and went along to take Jack to school and pick him up and she took some pictures. I AM IN THEM. I’m not in many photos with the kids because I am usually the one taking them. Also, I’ve hated my body and did not want to be photographed. Still! Here I am with Jack after his first day of school.

Preschool pick up. Perusing his first Scholastic flyer.

He’s looking at his very first Scholastic book flyer. Look at his happy face! He’s going to have a great year.

I’m going to miss him so much when he goes to school.

We went to a meet and greet at Jack’s preschool yesterday.

I am going to miss this kid when he starts school!

(He picked the shirt he wore.)

We went for lunch after.

Making me laugh at lunch

Making me laugh at lunch

Making me laugh at lunch

He loves to make me laugh. He’s good at it, too.

We were having a great time until a couple sat down near us and the man suddenly stood up and started yelling down at the woman. “I told you! I TOLD YOU! I TOLD YOU!!!” It scared me. It lasted less than a minute, but I noticed the way the woman moved her hand to shield her face and looked down as the man glowered over her. It made me so sad and uncomfortable and angry. I hate that my son saw it, that now he knows this is a way people can choose to behave.

We took our desserts to go. On the way out, Jack held the door open and said, “After you, Mommy!” It was such a contrast from what we had just seen. I felt so grateful for that sweet, gentle boy. I will do all I can to help him stay that way.

Summer Lateblog #3: Julia turns 13

Happy Birthday Julia!

Look at this beautiful girl.

Julia is 13!

She’s officially a teenager now.

Julia is 13!

I was not nearly this gorgeous at 13. I was the most awkward thing you’ve ever seen.

Julia is 13!

It’s incredible all I see when I look at this child. (Can I still call her that? A child?) I see Dave and I see me. I see her tiny baby face grow up in seconds to the kid she is right now. And she’s this amazing kid. She’s creative and funny and full of life and love and ideas. She’s caring and conscientious.

I love these kids!

She’s a great big sister.

We all love her so, so much.

One of these people is a teenager.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Dave loves sports and baseball is his absolute favorite. He watches it. He plays it. He has a secret blog where he writes an alternate version of baseball history, recreating old seasons with some kind of twist. For example, what if Thurman Munson hadn’t died in 1979? Baseball is his thing and the Cleveland Indians are his team. We’re just far enough from Cleveland that heading up there feels like a big deal. So, for Christmas I bought him two tickets to six different Indians games this summer.

Dave's Christmas present! Six pack of Indian's tickets.

I thought he might like to take each of the kids to a game, get some one-on-one time with them, make some memories, and maybe pass on his passion for baseball. This may have been the best Christmas present I ever gave him. He had so much fun!

At the Indians game

At the Indians game

At the Indians game

All the games were on Sundays, which are Kids Fun Days at Progressive Field. The kids get to run the bases at the end of the game.

Lucy runs the bases at Progressive Field

And there are cool activities if you come early.

At the Indians game

Dave and Bee at the Indian's game

At the Indians game

His seats were in the family deck.

Indians Game!

That’s also where the Kid’s Clubhouse is. It includes a play area with a two story slide and all kinds of interactive games to try.

At the Indians game

Jack runs the Tribe Tracker at Progressive Field

He took me to a game, too.

At the Indian's game

We all enjoyed it so much. I hope we can make it a tradition to do this every year.

Summer Lateblog #2: The Recitals

So, the piano recital wasn’t officially a summer thing. It was on May 20th. But school was nearly out and in my mind, I was already on summer vacation, so I’m including it here, too. Julia, Lucy, and Phoebe performed. I made a highlight video.

2017 Piano Recital Highlights

It was the first time for us that the recital wasn’t on a Sunday, which was fine, but weird. The girls were great and Jack fell asleep.

My girls after the piano recital

The dance recital happened after school was out on June 6.

Recital ready!

All four kids were in it for a total of eight performances and I made a highlight video of that, too.

2017 Dance Recital Highlights

Julia received her ten year award. That’s TEN YEARS of dance! (Remember the first one?)

After the dance recital - Julia's 10th!

She got to take a limo to the recital and at the end, she received a trophy.

That’s a whole lot to be proud of.

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