>We are on day two of summer vacation with my 13 and almost 11 year old. Last night (at the end of day one), I found myself asking… is it September yet? It is not that I don’t love spending time with my two older kids. In fact, the opposite is true. I love spending time with them. However, no matter what I have planned for the day – they have their own agendas in mind.

Here’s my yesterday… it started at 9:30 in the morning when my 13 year old asked, “Mom, would it be okay if I go to M’s house to go swimming?” Yes. You read that right. For some unexplainable reason, my 13 year old was up, showered, and ready to get his day started at 9:30 in the morning on his first non-school day. This is the same kid who normally would sleep until noon on his day off if I let him.

My response: “Well, I have a quick dentist appointment this morning, and then I thought we could go to the mall and get some stuff for camp.”

His response: The look. You know that look. It’s the one that says: “What?! You are going to make me spend the first day of summer vacation with you in the mall, when all my friends are going swimming? Besides, you won’t even let me get anything from Abercrombie, so what’s the point?”

My response: “Um – I guess we can go tomorrow.”

His response: “Cool – C’s mom is picking me up at 11:30.”

Well gee – glad you already worked out your transportation before getting permission. At least, my taxi got a break on that one.

My 10 year old has a much different system. She gets up, pulls out her phone directory, and proceeds to call one by one down her list to see who can come over. She finally strikes gold. M can come over. They retreat up to her bedroom, only to be seen over the next few hours, when they come out for snacks.

Last night, I warned told my kids we would be going shopping today for camp. An hour later, my 13 year old asked if I bought pool passes for this summer. When I told him I did, he then asked, “Can I take one tomorrow and go with S to the pool?”

Well at least my four year old still wants to hang out with me… for now anyway.

Blogging Hints Catch a Wave Wednesday

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>Hi everyone – hope it has been a great week. For me – busy as usual. Here’s what’s been on my mind:

1. MAC! After much anticipation, my MacBook Pro arrived!! I’m in love! I can’t believe how easy it was to set up (thank you hubby!) I had my software loaded and was already using it within minutes. The thing I love most is how quickly it starts up and loads programs. The old computer took forever. In the morning, I would have to turn it on – go make coffee – then come back click the icon to login – fix breakfast – then come back & click the firefox icon – go pour my coffee – and maybe then it would be ready. I also love the back lit keyboard & the fact that I didn’t have to wait for it to search for drivers when I plugged my printer into it for the first time. I just started printing (imagine that!) I did have to get used to the smaller screen (I went from a 15” to a 13”) but it is so easy to zoom with just a finger swipe, that I don’t even miss it anymore. I do have some keyboard complaints though – if anyone knows a solution, I will be forever grateful:
-First – how do you delete forward? On my PC, there were two options – the ‘backspace’ key deleted backwards & the ‘delete’ key deleted forwards. The Mac only has a ‘delete’ key & it deletes backwards only. Totally keeps messing me up!
-Second – how do you select a block of files? On my PC you clicked on the first file, then clicked+shift on the last file & all the files in between were selected. Cannot figure this out on the Mac.
I will say, that my two complaints are not deal breakers – definitely much happier with my Mac. Now if it lasts more than 2 years, I will be thrilled!

2. Waiting I feel like I wasted a lot of time this week waiting aound. Waiting at the dentist (again), waiting at the pediatrician’s office, waiting at my doctor’s office, waiting at the pharmacy… do you see a trend here? Well, just so you don’t think I have it out for the health profession, I also spent time waiting for the roofer to come, but I refuse to speak poorly about him since he promised to make it stop raining in my house.

3. Cats I have two & they are both old (17 & 18). The 18 year old (my little black kitty), is not doing well. She has thyroid issues and when I took her to the vet, her heart and kidneys were not healthy. She was emaciated at only 4lbs. We decided to try some medication. After just two weeks, I am so happy to announce that she has gained .6 of a lb, and her heart rate and kidney levels are back to normal. I realize that she is at the end of her lifespan, but it is just so hard letting go. I have had her since she was 4 weeks old. She was abandoned and I had to bottle feed her until she was big enough to eat food. We have been through a lot together. She goes back in two weeks for another checkup.

4. Book Update Another exciting week. My cover designer presented me with some rough comps based on the drawings that I had done myself (old cover). All I can say is WOW – she really nailed it. While my picture was cute, it definitely looked amateurish. We had a great conference call and things are moving along as scheduled for a July release date. Thank you Deana at BookStarter for bringing my vision to life (& no you cannot see the drafts….)

5. Having a Teen I have written a lot on this subject over the past few weeks. Somehow, with the blink of an eye, my first-born became a teen; leaving me – the mom who always felt somewhat confident about how to parent my young children, without a clue. Suddenly there were attitudes, cellphones, needs for independence & girlfriends (yikes!). Last night, in my attempt to adjust to having a teen, I let him walk (with a friend) to a carnival after dinner to meet some other friends (including above mentioned *gulp* girlfriend.) The carnival wasn’t far, but it was on a main road and it was at night. He had his phone, some money and his friends. I told him to be home by 8:30, as I did not want him walking home in the dark. It turned out all his other friends were allowed to stay out until 9:00. I was expecting an argument, but instead he just said, “OK.” He followed instructions and came home safely exactly at 8:30. Maybe this won’t be so difficult after all… yeah right!

One other thing I’ve been thinking about – the storms and tornadoes. Please keep all those affected in your thoughts and hearts. If you are able to help, The Red Cross is one of many organizations collecting donations. Thanks!

Hope everyone has a great weekend – see you next week (& hopefully sooner!)

Karen

>
I should be folding laundry, but I decided to write about it instead.

Last week, I wrote a blog post about my son’s room and how I was happy that he had removed all of his clothing off the floor, even if hedid just throw them in the hamper instead of putting them away. Well I take that back. Silly me, I thought the clothing he had thrown in the hamper were clothes he had actually worn. I didn’t realize that these clothes were in fact, last week’s clean and folded laundry that never made it onto hangers to begin with – clever teen – I’m on to you now!

My first thought was to put them all back in his room and have him put them back away – properly. Except now they have been sitting in the hamper amongst 13-year-old boy dirty socks and underwear for several days. Even I’m not that mean. So I washed everything – again. And this got me thinking about laundry.

Let’s assume for a moment, that my kids only put their dirty clothes into the hamper …

…sorry about that, I got lost in a little fantasy there. Anyway, back to reality:

Would that really change anything? There are five of us in this house. Between work, sports, the gym, sleep clothes, spills (mostly mine!) and other activities; there are at least two wardrobe changes per person, per day; and many times more. Let’s say only half of those clothes mentioned actually need to go into the hamper. That’s still is a lot of laundry!
On any given day, if you walk into my house, you can be guaranteed of at least one or more of the following things – there will be:

-clothes in piles waiting to be washed,
-clothes in the washer,
-clothes in the dryer, &/or
-clothes in need of folding

(notice I don’t list clothes needing ironing – that is because I don’t iron – let’s move on.)

So my question today: Is there such a thing as laundry closure? After doing laundry for the past 20+ years, I sadly have to say: No! Even if I were to get all of the clothes washed, dried & folded the moment they were ready; it would only be a matter of seconds before something else would get thrown into the hamper.

It is sort of ironic – you spend the first two or three years trying to get your kids into underwear, the next six years trying to convince them they need to change it everyday, and the next several years complaining about washing it.

So what ever happened to all that extra laundry I had to do as a result of my oldest’s attempt to *clean* his room? Oh I did his laundry, but he had to fold it all AND put it away under my supervision AND now that I know he is capable of folding his own laundry, guess what his new chore is? Mom wins…for now.

Let's BEE Friends

>The request to my 13 year old was simple: “clean your room.” Let me back up for a moment, as this actually happened last week (and the week before and the week before….)

My son used to keep his room relatively neat. Clothes were generally picked up. True, they did not always make it to a hanger, but half-folded in a drawer was pretty darned close. Books were either at or near where they belonged on the bookshelves; and toys, while completely unorganized, were at least tossed in bins. Miraculously, he even managed to pull the comforter over his bed on most days.

But something happened as my son passed into this great unknown I call “teendom.” He suddenly forgot where everything belonged. He seemed to believe that his closet permanently relocated to the middle of his floor. He also seemed to have forgotten the location of the clothes hamper or that his comforter even belonged on the bed. He certainly seemed to have no recollection of ever having storage bins or shelves for of all his ‘stuff.’

So after my request, my son went upstairs to get to work. I could hear him walking around from above, making sounds that one could (loosely) translate as picking things up off the floor. Thirty minutes passed before he greeted me in the kitchen with an, “I’m done.” At this point, any parent of a teen out there is no doubt shaking their head. You know what I was about to find as I entered the abyss.

Sigh. Okay, the clothes were all off the floor. Granted, he balled them up, whether dirty or clean, and threw them into the hamper (yes he remembered where it was!), but at least they were off the floor. However, the floor was still covered with books, papers, shoes, baseball caps, wires, and (gasp) food wrappers (how many times have I told you no eating in your room!!) It appeared that my teen thought that pushing everything from the center of the floor to the edges of the floor constituted cleaning.

I tried to stay calm as I firmly told my teen, “This room is not yet clean.” What I really wanted to say was, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?,” but my four-year-old sponge (I mean son) was standing next to me. The last thing I needed was for him to repeat that to his pre-school teacher the next day.

My teen’s room, as my mother used to say, “looked like a pig-sty!”

How do I know that my mother used to say this? Well, it seems that as a teen, I was not exactly the neatest person! (Sshh – don’t tell my kids.) The thing is – I never really thought I kept my room that messy, and gathering by the look that my son was giving me, he was feeling the same way. So what is it about teens? Since my son is only 13 years old, I have a feeling I will be asking myself this question many, many, MANY times. The real question is, will I have it figured out by the time my four-year-old is a teen? Doubtful.

PS – My son did get his room ‘mom-approved’ clean on the second try.

>Too Old to Text?

September 29, 2010

>I have a love/hate relationship with texting. Conceptually, I think it is a brilliant idea. What better way is there to let your spouse know you are stuck in traffic or ask a friend a quick question? In those situations, texting is fabulous.

Shortly after my oldest son turned twelve, we got him his first phone with a texting plan. I thought it would be a great way to communicate things with him such as what time he needed to get picked up or to remind him to do his homework when he was home alone.

What I did not realize was that I was going to have to learn an entire new language – all in abbreviations. In scrolling through my son’s texts, I can only make out about one out of every six. I’m positive some teenager came up with this weird language to throw their parents off. Well, it is working.

I’ll admit it – I am one of those texters who types most words all the way out. But in an effort to be the “cool mom”, I tried to text “how r u?” to my son one day on my smart phone. Well, it turns out my smart phone is really smart, because it converted my abbreviations into the words “are you”. So much for my cool factor.

The one that truly baffles me is ‘kk’. Is it really so difficult to type ‘ok?’ I mean, the ‘o’ is only a tiny bit up from the ‘k’ on the qwerty keyboard. It’s not like you have to type “qk” – I understand that would be completely unreasonable.

The other day, I sent a text to my son to remind him to skip football practice and come home on the regular bus. Yes, I wrote that all out in a text.

His response: Lk ik

I figured out finally that the ‘ik’ meant ‘I know’. But the Lk, baffled me. I even tried googling it. My search resulted in everything from lakes to left kidney. I asked him about it the other day. He said, he meant to type “kk”, but hit the wrong key. I asked him why he didn’t fix it before sending & he said it would be too much trouble and anyone else would have known what it meant.

All I have to say to that is: ATEOFD, SFMAK it’s 2MTH. SICNR. TTFN.

>Big Dreams

August 24, 2010

>My dream started many years ago. I can remember sitting at my parent’s manual blue typewriter trying to type out short stories. My fingers would get so sore from the pressure required to push the keys down (perhaps a precursor to the arthritis I would later develop?). Thank goodness for correction tape. Lord knows, I went through more than my share. Yet, after all that hard work, I never seemed to be able to please my English teachers. My papers would come back with so many red marks through them; it was difficult to see the words I originally typed.

Math was my subject. I guess I always believed that people excelled either in math or in English, and so I decided early on that writing, whether as a career or as a hobby would not be in my future. Instead, I went into accounting, where I wrote with numbers, disappointed that my family’s DNA filled with artists, writers and musicians had passed right over me.

I married, had children and prepared taxes. (It was all so much fun, that I decided to repeat it a second time, with much better results on the marriage part.). During these early years, something happened. I heard a story on the news while I was pregnant with my oldest child that I could not get out of my head. I replayed the events repeatedly, changing the scenarios, asking myself “what if?”

Before I knew it, I had created an entire novel in my mind.The problem, however, was how to get it on paper.I tried several times to write my story, never getting past the first few paragraphs. Not being able to find my own voice was incredibly frustrating. I would put the story aside for years at a time, always with the intention that one day I would write my novel.

A funny thing happened over the past several years. I re-discovered reading. I had always enjoyed reading as a child, but once I started college, I found I had little time. After college, there was graduate school, which did in fact involve plenty of reading, just not the type that I had enjoyed. Then came babies and sleep deprivation, followed by toddlers and potty training. Before I knew it, my reading library consisted mostly of Sandra Boyton books (which I highly recommend, by the way).

Slowly, however, my time did become partially my own again and I began to make regular trips to the library. I read everything from the Harry Potter series to Ayn Rand (though admittedly I am still struggling to get through the 1000+ page fine print). At some point, I started paying equal attention to both the writing style and the story itself. I read books written in the first person, books written in the third person, books written as a series of letters, books written as diaries, and books written from several different characters’ points of view.

I felt I had a good grasp on what writing style I enjoyed and I decided to make the leap. I opened my laptop, and without hesitation started writing. The words flowed quickly, and within a month, I had my story. Not in any type of form where I was comfortable having someone read it just yet, but enough of a shell where I could go back and fill in details and depth. That was three months ago and I am still writing, revising, writing, and revising some more. I know my commas are not all in the right places and my grammar needs fine tuning, but those are all (hopefully) easy fixes. The real accomplishment for me was capturing my thoughts on paper.

A woman I ran into told me not to get my hopes up, that she, as a writing professional, had tried unsuccessfully to get her story published. She told me about all of the rejection I would inevitably face; all of the disappointment I would feel after putting so much of my self and my time into writing.

My response to her is now my mantra:
“I tell my kids all the time to dream big, so why shouldn’t I dream big as well?”