Going To England

Writing this post makes me sympathetic to that guy who didn't call me after we went on a couple of fabulous dates, then was hurt I wasn't friendly when I ran into him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry I haven't called  written in way too long.

I was busy. And confused about what direction I wanted to take the blog. But I never stopped thinking about you blogging. I have a dozen unfinished posts in my drafts poster as proof. I even have a handwritten draft that I wrote for Hot Guy's 40th birthday. In April.

Thinking that with some minor tweaking I can have it ready for our anniversary next week. 

Because even though not-blogging made my life a little less hectic and made me a little less stressed out, I've been unhappy without it.

Note to people who don't know who this is: This is Lloyd Dobler from 
the movie "Say Anything". Which is a classic you should
see right away. In this scene, he is trying to get his girl back.

In all the times I imagined living out the boom box scene of "Say Anything", I never thought I would be Lloyd. And yet, here I am, trying to regain the attention of my blogging muse and my readers. Though I also sort of feel like Diane, trapped crying in my bedroom while blogging stands out in my yard and let's me know it hasn't gone anywhere.

I think not-blogging has not been good for my mental health, because I have spent the last 10 minutes trying to identify whether I feel more like Lloyd or Diane. Obviously it doesn't matter, because they both wind up (spoiler alert) going to England together in the end.

Which means I too need to go to England, if going to England means blogging again. Which it does.


Happy 9th Birthday, Lovebug!

Dear Lovebug,

      I haven't blogged in a long while, but you've inspired me. You are such a great kid; though with all the maturing you've done this year it seems more appropriate to call you a young man. You are so responsible and helpful.

Though you do still love Legos. I love how you build things according to the directions, then let them morph into new objects. You've started to teach your brother your Lego building tricks and I love listening to the two of you build and play together. You also still love to draw comics; I love how you write little stories in each birthday card you make.

Your newest passion is electronics. You've gone from building snap circuits to attempting actual circuits and I'm pretty sure you understand Ohm's Law better than I do. I can't wait to see what you do next.

This year you started karate and were chosen as the first student of the month at your karate school. Your focus and strength in class have impressed everyone around you and put you in the leadership program very quickly. I love watching you in class.

You still love basketball and I think that's where I've seen you grow most of all. Last year it was hard for you to handle disappointments during games, let alone getting bumped and bruised. This year your rec team had to face a travel team that played VERY aggressively and not only did you handle some serious bruising without a tear, you had a positive attitude the entire time.

You have such a mature sense of humor. It may be a little too mature, but you can really make me laugh. And if all that wasn't enough to make you "Captain Awesome" (your video game name these days), there's also the way you excel in school and are so good to your siblings.

I am so lucky and proud to be your mom,


Evolution 2015

I always write a New Year's post. Always being a relative term - I only checked for the last two years. So I know I wrote a New Year's post in 2012 and another in 2013

I stopped checking for older New Year's posts because I knew they wouldn't be as good as those two. 

I really like those two posts. 

(It feels weird typing that. Not sure if the weirdness is from how rarely I like what I've written or from how rarely I admit it.)

Anyway, I'm still a big fan of small, actionable steps instead of huge goals. Also, the older I get, the more I feel the need to cherish the moment and to find the joy in each day. 

For many years, "love myself more" was one of my New Year's resolutions. But it never occurred to me to have "love my friends/parents/spouse/kids" as a New Year's resolution. It's not that I've ever been a perfect friend, child, wife or mom, either. It's that I knew my imperfections with my loved ones weren't because I didn't love them enough, but because I needed better strategies to cope with stress or I needed to be more expressive or whatever. 

And I've finally realized that the same thing is true with myself. I do love myself. I just don't know how to do it in the best way. I haven't paid attention; I use the same strategies I used 15 years ago. Except they're not making me feel better anymore. 

 Evolution is my word for 2015. 

I always wind up screwing up resolutions anyway. Even last year's, which were designed to be attainable. I didn't take my writing more seriously, I didn't teach the kids how to make me the perfect gin and tonic and I didn't even cut my damn hair. 

But mainly, because my relationship with myself needs to evolve. Sure, I love myself. Sure, I try to practice self-care when I'm stressed out. My problem is that my self-care strategies are habits, not joys. 

Also, to be honest, my relationship with blogging and writing needs to evolve too. As does my relationship with exercise, because it can't just be about reading on the elliptical anymore. 

I'm not going to write all of my small, actionable steps here (aren't you relieved?) but I do promise to check back in with my progress. At least on December 31st, 2015. 

So, do you have a word for 2015? Or some resolutions? Or do you skip over this aspect of the holiday? 


While You Were Busy (volume 2)

All the news parents can use. . . . . this week.

1. This is the greatest explanation for why your kid's math homework looks different than your math homework.

2. Boys may be meaner than girls. As someone who spent 8th grade being tormented by a group of boys every day in social studies class, while simultaneously being bad mouthed and excluded by the girls she thought were her friends, I'm not sure what to think about this. Except that I dread my kids going to middle school.

3. More bad news about middle school. Kids need to move and play; even if they don't consider themselves "kids" anymore. An adult tried to survive a day of middle school and found herself falling asleep and not being able to focus; I could barely stay awake the first time.

4. Alfie Kohn, one of the first and best people I read when I went back to school for teaching, has a great blog in The Washington Post about how we're killing our kids' love of reading. It's long, but if you skip to the end you can read his suggestions for how to fix it. Basically, let your kids choose what they read and don't enforce a time limit.

5. The Huffington Post did a nice summary of 10 things we learned about kids' health this year.

6. This is older, but I just read it so I'm including it. It's basically a guide on how not to be a dick if you notice a child who has a difference of some kind.

7. Okay, this doesn't have anything to do with kids. It's each state according to Google auto-complete and it's pretty awesome. Though I'm not thrilled with the "bad" descriptor for New Jersey.

8. Your parenting style does not affect your child's IQ. Or so one study says. Of course, a high IQ doesn't guarantee success anyway.

9. Does your kid lie? Time magazine has suggestions on how you should handle it. Let it be stated, though, that while their methodology worked with our older two kids, it completely failed with Hugmonkey.

10. If you don't understand why people are protesting, or somehow believe race has nothing to do with the recent deaths of young African-American men and boys, then please read this mother's perspective.