And… one more to try and push the scale from rain to snow. I’d really prefer to not get ice. I’m also hoping like crazy the mess doesn’t transition over before everyone is home safe this afternoon. MC has yet to drive in anything more than rain. I have a feeling this may just be one of those “be careful what you wish for” kind of events.
Last night was my first time getting to see the costume and song reveal for both the opening tap routine and the assistants performance for BG’s dance recital this year. I cannot get over how excited I am that BG is now in the older girls group and gets to do all these things this year. There is something very different about being in that older group and getting to see this part of that tradition.
It also drove home how insanely privileged she is to be dancing at the studio she is because of who is on the staff and the unique experience of getting to learn from them. I always knew that one of the teachers was a former Rockette, but getting to hear a bit more about her time as a professional dancer was just… wow.
A lot of the teachers at the studio have some really impressive backgrounds, but getting to learn from a former Rockette and being a part of a massive tap routine that has Rockette choreography and elements in it isn’t something many dancers can say they got to experience. What makes that even more impressive is the fact that this studio isn’t some high pressure, high profile, competitive studio. They are so laid back and focus on the kids having fun.
Even though BG has no desire to make dance a career, her being a part of all of this will always be a huge part of her life and will leave a massive impact on who she is going to be as she grows up. She gets to be a part of something really unique and amazing. I will forever be grateful for getting to go and watch my friend way back when I was in grade school when she danced in recitals with this studio because getting to see that and be a part of that, even from the outside, is what made me decide to go with this studio for BG when she decided she wanted to dance.
I have a feeling this is going to be a really emotional recital this year. I already cried at the ballet Christmas program, both because one of the songs they chose and the routine was so emotional and because it is just an emotional program for the Seniors since it is their last. It is also going to be a ton of fun and watching those girls see their costumes last night was awesome.
Today is the first day that everyone is back to a normal routine after the holidays. Hubby is back to work. The kids are back in school. And it is so quiet in the house.
Well, at least it is in between the moments when I’m desperately trying to cough up a lung (thank you so much my old friend bronchitis, I thought you’d decided to leave me alone this winter), something I’ve been trying hard to do on an off since around Thanksgiving. It is hard to try and get back into any kind of normal routine when you feel like crap.
The longer than normal break has allowed MC’s birthday to sneak up on me. He will be turning 18 and that is such a mixed bag of emotions. We keep joking that we are kicking him out now that he is an adult. He just keeps laughing at us.
Because of his birthday, Death by Chocolate is in my future. The fun of having birthdays so close to the holidays (both MC’s and mine) is that it feels like the holidays don’t just stop, but trickle away slowly. That goes for all the food and goodies.
I have a day to try and get up the energy to do everything I need to for that and I’m going to spend it with my nose buried in a book, eating cough drops like candy and trying not to nap with the hope that I’ll actually be tired enough to sleep through the coughing for a change.
I’m not really big on setting major goals or resolutions. I’d rather focus on just noting the things that are important to me to maybe focus on or to try and the things to look forward to. It is part of my need to focus on the positive things rather than the negative.
This is going to be one of those really big, notable years for me. So much of that focus will be around MC because he will graduate from high school in the spring and then will start college in the fall. BG will add her smaller but still important events by getting her driver’s license and by being in a much larger part of her dance recital by being in the oldest group of girls for the first time and as an assistant. Hubby will turn 50 this year. All major changes, but all things I’m mostly excited about.
I really want to continue to try and focus on the good and the things that bring me joy. While many of the major events this year will be amazing, they will come with that bitter sweetness that most major changes bring, so that positive focus will sometimes be easier said than done. My plan is to add some things to that list of events that help tip the balance.
While there will always be lots of books to read, I really want to spend more time this year doing more creative things. I’ve started playing with one aspect to see if it is going to work for me. I have a few other ideas, but I still need to see if they will fall into the “I’m doing this for fun” side of things or “This is more work than fun” side. Since the goal is to focus on the positive and the joy, it needs to stay on that fun side.
I really want to spend more time out taking photos. Partly for the photos and partly because I really need to be more active than I am. I didn’t spend nearly enough time walking and reading this year as I have in years past, so I need to make some changes to that.
Really, other than the things that are happening this year, this isn’t a whole lot different than what I’d looked to focus on this last year, finding the joy and the things that make me happy.
Outside of photography and the books I read this last year, I thought I’d note a few of the bigger moments and highlights of my year, things that I did or experienced that I was really proud of or stuck with me as important moments.
There will always be tons of those when it comes to my kids. Yes, I’m hugely biased and think I have the best kids ever, even when they are being little shits. There are a couple that really stick out, though.
BG stepping WAY out of her mostly introverted comfort zone to be a dance assistant. Just the few months that she has been doing this, she has really gained a lot of self-confidence that I haven’t seen in her before. It has been amazing to watch. I’ve also seen her really grow and mature this last year with how she has handled friendships and dating and high school.
This has been MC’s year to really drop the proud mama moments on me. I’m over the moon proud of his accomplishments and getting not only accepted into his school of choice, but winning a top scholarship because of all the hard work he put into is school work. The biggest mush moment from him though is one I never posted about. I never could quite find the words to describe how he made me feel, but… for a project in one of his classes, he had to name the smartest and the wisest people he knew (separate people). His obvious choice, to me anyway, would be my Hubby because he looks up to him so much. He did name his dad as being the smartest, but he said that I was the wisest. When all the other students were naming famous people and other people of note, he picked me. When he told me all the reasons (which I have now forgotten because I’m still blown away by the fact he even considered me) I just almost bawled. I am not, and never have been, the person he really looks up to. I’m just mom. The fact that he feels that way about me, enough to include it in a school project and then tell me about it… talk about feeling like you’ve done something right as a parent! My 17 year old son thinks I’m wise. Just… wow.
There were a few creative projects that I’m still really proud of. While it wasn’t my best cake, by far, but BG’s birthday cake this year was still insanely challenging and turned out pretty well.
That costume really hit me in the creative nerve because just doing it in cake wasn’t enough, apparently. I had to paint it as well. Again, far from being perfect, it was something new for me and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.
I was also really pleased with the first piece of jewelry I’ve attempted in a few years. It reminded me how much I love working with stones and silver.
Of course I think one of my proudest creative endeavors this year was publishing my book, An Unexpected Turn. Considering I never planned, expected or even dreamed of writing a book, I’m still a little astonished that I actually did it. It has been this insanely difficult, emotional roller coaster of an experience. I’m even more proud of the fact that it really seems to be received well by most readers. It is selling and getting mostly positive reviews. I still sometimes struggle to believe it has all actually happened.
Even though I definitely had some rather low moments throughout the year, 2019 was a pretty good year, especially on the creative and mom front. With MC graduating in the spring, BG starting to drive, and my creative muse chafing to get my hands busy, I know 2020 will probably bring a lot of the same.
Normally starting my day cleaning up cat puke would set the tone and the rest of the day would be full of not fun, but I ended up having one hell of a day yesterday.
I finished my gift baking. Got all my presents wrapped and under the tree except the couple that hadn’t arrived yet. Got the kids to wrap their gifts to each other. Heard from the people that I shipped gifts to that they got their packages early. So, in all, it felt like I’d accomplished a lot, which was really good.
I was stressing the hell out trying to finish getting my pizzas assembled knowing I didn’t have a ton of time left as the kids were due home and I still had to work with the kids on their gifts, start baking the pizzas, take a shower and fix BG’s hair all before we had to leave for her Christmas program.
MC gets home as I’m rushing around and tossed out that he has to call his college choice back as they’d tried to call him while he was in school and left a message for him to call them back. I honestly didn’t think about it when he told me as I was too focused on finishing everything in time, but he comes down only a few minutes later with a kind of stunned look on his face.
He was officially offered the scholarship with full tuition and is the runner up for the tuition with room and board scholarship (he will get it if either of the top candidates choose another school). That means he was third out of all of the applicants for the competitive scholarships. He frickin’ did it! All his hard work over the years, all his dedication to getting those amazing grades and doing so well absolutely paid off in spectacular form. I’m so damn proud of my kid. He is still a little bit in shock over it all and I think it may take a little bit for that to sink in.
After all the crazy and the excitement, I then got to go watch BG do her Christmas program for tap and jazz. This is something like the 9th one I’ve sat through, but it was a little different because of the class she is now in. Being the older girls (sophomore, junior and seniors) the program is a bit more intense, with harder choreography and steps, plus it is treated with a little bit more import as the girls aren’t those cute little girls anymore. It is still full of fun, but it is just that little bit more mature. The difference is subtle, but still noticeable.
It was so much fun to watch her. I mean, it always is, but this year she has put so much more effort into it than she ever has and it really shows. Being an assistant has made her look at all of this a little differently and it has become even more important to her. For the first time ever she agreed to let me take group shots of her and her friends after the program and damn! The smiles I got! She was absolutely glowing.
I could not be more proud of my kids. They are growing up in this amazing way that shows how amazing they are going to be as adults. I think I won the lottery when it came to kids with these two.
You just might get it. Apparently Mother Nature was listening to me moan about not getting snow and decided to be generous. Sadly, of all the days (and there really were only a total of 2) that this really need to NOT happen, today is one of them as it is BG’s ballet Christmas program.
What you see here is only the beginning of what is already proving to be extremely nasty with area highways shut down and accidents all over the place. Predictions are for multiple inches today and then again tomorrow. We still have a few hours before we have to leave, but it will be snowing the entire time. I have my fingers and toes and pretty much everything that is crossable crossed that it tapers off in enough time for the roads between here and the studio to get clear, but I don’t think I’m going to get that lucky.
This would be the second ballet program we will miss since BG started pointe if we can’t get to this one. The last time was her first year in pointe and we had a nice ice rink outside our house.
Seriously Mother Nature? You couldn’t postpone this just a day? Okay, I get it. There are programs for different classes all week, so if it isn’t ours today, it will be someone’s. Maybe just hanging on to this until Christmas would have been best.
That said, the conditions are perfect for getting out and taking some amazing photos, so if I can’t get to watch my daughter do beautiful, impossible things, I’ll go watch Mother Nature do it instead.
Tonight we are going to do our annual tour of driving around and looking at all the holiday lights. We have been doing this since our kids were little and even now that they are both teenagers, this is still an activity they love and look forward to every year.
We start with grabbing dinner that we can eat while driving around. I make hot chocolate and the kids have been known to get their PJs on or grab a blanket to ensure the mood is perfectly cozy. There will be nothing but Christmas songs on the radio and more than half the time we will all be singing along or, just as often, making up our own lyrics that have us all laughing.
I’m really a little surprised that both MC and BG still really want to do this again this year. I love that we have this tradition that they both look forward to and get so excited about, especially knowing how few teenagers would be caught dead having fun hanging out with their parents. I have no clue if this will be MC’s last year to do this with us since he will be doing the whole college thing next year, so I’m going to savor this one as much as I can.
This is just one of the sights we get to see while we are out doing our rounds. Twice actually. And every single day of the season because it lives next door. It is kind of crazy and has sparked all kinds of jokes over the years, but it is also fun. We see so many cars coming to look and it’s fun to see how amazed all the little kids get at the decoration overload.
So MC is off for his scholarship interview today. I’m a ball of nerves right along side him. He was chosen to interview for the top scholarship at his first school choice, which is a full ride including room and board. There are several others that offer a little less at each level down you go; one is a full ride and no room and board, another just offers more than their base merit scholarship (he is already qualified for the merit scholarship based on GPA and test scores).
This is nearly a full day event that he is attending and includes multiple interviews with different people. He was a little stressed (understatement!) over the last several days. I couldn’t be more proud of him and how he is handling it all, though. He did tons of research on potential questions and did his best to prepare for having some answers to those questions. Even though I’m pretty certain there will still be questions he doesn’t expect, he will still be going into them feeling ready.
I did want to do a little head smacking when he mentioned that he finally read some of the “fine print” on the scholarships and realized that there are a few strings he wasn’t expecting (because of course he didn’t look that deep before applying for them). Like the requirement that you be an active ambassador for the school at several events throughout the year (like today’s competitive scholarship day). Each level had slightly different requirements, with the top even including being the ambassador in media and TV. For someone as introverted as MC, this threw him for a loop, bringing on a massive dose of doubts.
After a lot of conversations, he has realized that as much as he will probably hate having to do those things if he wins any of these scholarships, they would be really good for him overall. The fact that he didn’t panic and pull out of the interview made me even more proud of him.
I have no clue when he is supposed to be notified if he does get one of these, so even though he makes it through today and can breathe without being stressed out, he is still going to be on edge until he hears something.
Me? I’ll be sitting on the sidelines being a proud, nervous wreck.
I feel like I’m falling behind on where I should be as far as the holiday season goes. I think this is probably because it was a late Thanksgiving this year. Whatever the reason, it is starting to stress me out a bit.
Normally the kids would have given us their wish lists and we’d at least have started talking about what we want to do for them by now. The only thing that has been discussed is MC’s gift, which is actually also part graduation gift and something we all talked about and agreed on last year, a laptop that he will be able to take to college but is still powerful enough for him to play the games he likes. I haven’t a single clue what I’m going to do for any other gift. At all. Not BG. Not Hubby. Not my in-laws. Nada. Hell, I don’t even have any ideas to give to Hubby as something to get me. Not sure you can wrap up world peace and a cure for ignorance in a box and put it under the tree.
We are at the point where the gifts are very different because the kids are teens and the things they want aren’t the same as the latest cool toy (not that any of my kids were ever into that, unless it was a video game). It doesn’t help that my kids really don’t ask for much and never really have. Every once in a great while there will be something big, like the computer, but it is so rare.
BG mentioned wanting to go shopping for clothes, but that sort of changes the whole gift under the tree thing, so I’m not sure what I want to do about that either. I could be evil and take her, but tell her she can’t have any of it because it is still getting wrapped and put under the tree.
In years past, because of the madness that was holidays in this family, I practically had to beg them to add more things to their list just so I could pass along a gift idea to a family member. It got so bad I started to hate the whole gift concept even though I’ve always loved putting the time and thought into finding something meaningful and fun. I’m exceptionally grateful that I don’t really have to do this anymore.
It doesn’t help one bit that my normal level of creativity is currently flatlined. I’m going to need some inspiration soon, though.
I’d had my doubts that all my issues with my computer would be solved simply by replacing the power cord. I never knew that a laptop with a bad power cord could impact the speed of your internet connection to the point it was worse than trying to connect through dial up. Apparently that is absolutely what happens if your laptop recognizes that your power cord is bad and attempts to preserve battery through lowering performance. Now I know and I’ve given you a little tech tip for the day.
Thankfully, I’m now back up and running and I no longer feel like I’ve been banished from the world. The short time away did give me some time to think (not always a good thing) and I’ve decided that since I don’t have any review obligations (no open requests or NetGalley books due) through the end of the year, I’m going to just read to read until after the new year. If I manage to pick up something that strikes me as something I just really need to talk about, then I’ll post a review. For now, I’m going to take a reviewing break.
Part of the reason for this is all of the stuff that will be going on around the holidays. I really don’t want to go into the season already stressed with the pressure of trying to get too much done. It wouldn’t take much for me to just not want to put in the effort to do the fun stuff right now and I really don’t want that. I’ve still not been able to completely shake the crankies lately. The last thing I want is to make it worse.
We are also in full on “focus on college” mode with MC. He has been invited to interview for the top scholarship at his #1 school choice (and most likely where he is going to go even if he doesn’t get the scholarship), which I am crazy proud of, by the way. That means I have to take him to get a suit in the next week, something he has never even come close to wearing, so that is going to be so much fun. The kid that has spent his life in jeans and t-shirts with video game characters on them is going to have to wear a suit. He is probably more nervous about that than the interview itself.
I was a little frustrated with the information in the invitation as it also specifies it is a day for the parents to come, but doesn’t give any kind of timing or agenda, only the day. You have to RSVP that you are going to the interview and how many parents will be coming. Since it is a Saturday, it means that I’ve got to balance BG’s dance schedule with the interview schedule, but I don’t have a schedule for the interview day. It is also her last rehearsal before her Christmas program and she can’t miss it. There were too many unknowns for me to figure out if I could drop her off and still make it to MC’s thing (yes, the school is that close), we opted to just have Hubby go with him. I really hate it because I want to be there with him as well.
We don’t see too many conflicts with the kids activities and events often. The times we do, it stresses me the hell out and makes me feel like crap because I feel like I’m having to choose between my kids. When OC first started high school and we started paying attention to when graduation was held, I nearly had a panic attack over what would end up happening a few years down the road because, for a while there, graduation always fell the same day as recital. Thankfully, our district has pushed graduation from Saturdays to Sundays, so we will not have that as a problem this year. We will just have an extremely FULL weekend with Friday rehearsal, Saturday Recital and Sunday graduation.
Yes, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself and starting to already stress over it a bit, but when I’m having to think about all the college stuff now and MC hasn’t even graduated yet, my brain is just going to go there.
Can you tell I’m going to be kind of a mess through all of this?
We have a school day routine. I sleep while Hubby and the kids get ready for the day. Hubby lets me know when he’s leaving and MC sends me a text when it gets to school so I know he made it alive. The last piece is when Hubby calls after he gets to work, also to confirm he is alive and well and the idiot drivers he has to share the road with every day didn’t manage to kill him. For the most part, I’m still asleep through all of this.
This morning was epically weird. All the goings on pulled me into a weird state of sleep and I never dropped back into anything deep, so my brain apparently decided to mess with me. When Hubby calls, I tell him about my absolutely brainless mom moment (of which there have been a stunning amount lately, I really probably need to get my head checked) when I, for some insane reason, felt the need to call MC to check on him. Before his morning text. While he is driving to school. I’m half asleep while I do this and MC gives me the “Mom. I’m driving. I’ll text when I get there” frustrated response.
The whole thing has me flabbergasted. I haven’t a clue why I felt the need to make that call. Why it was imperative in that moment that I do so and that I recognize that I wasn’t entirely coherent in the process. I’m thinking that MC had to have thought that is what I sound like if I were to drunk dial him because it is certainly what it felt like. Hubby mentions that he is surprised MC even answered his phone while driving and that maybe in the future I need to message or call BG instead (since MC drives her to school with him). My son probably thinks his mom has lost her ever loving mind at this point.
In all honesty, I even have a hard time remembering much about the whole conversation with MC. I get off the phone with Hubby and promptly fall back asleep like I’ve taken some heavy duty meds. This is because I slept for crap the night before because I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t fall asleep until probably well after 2 am and after I caved and got up to take something for the headache and sore muscles.
It wasn’t until I woke up much later and saw my normal daily “I’m here” text from MC and realized I’d slept right through it without responding that I examined the whole situation. I decided to go and look. Sure enough, there is no call to MC in my call history. I did not, in fact, sleep dial my son while he was driving to school and he did not answer and talk to his sleep calling mother. My brain did, in fact, mess with my head in an extreme way this morning. I did have the conversation with Hubby and he laughed his ass off when I called him again after I was fully awake and told him it was all a dream.
I really need to get my head checked. I apparently also really needed sleep.
Yesterday’s frustration with the school stuff blew up into a cluster and I just cannot understand how it ended up that way or why the school made the decision to take some of the actions that they did. Those actions irrationally put some students in a position of potentially not being able to do their assigned work and created a butt load of stress and worry and frustration in the process. I understand some of the underlying motivations for why, but the reality of the follow through…
I think I’ll just say that this whole mess is a great example that technology is far, far from perfect and people don’t often think of all the more obscure issues that can pop up. There will always be a loophole that someone will exploit if they can find it. There will always be glitches. There will always be problems because it is so heavily a part of our lives that it is nearly impossible to be active in the daily world and not have access to it, especially when what you do requires that access.
It truly makes my brain ache to think of how far reaching and damaging the actions of a couple of ignorant kids can be.
It is a lesson and a reminder to everyone to stop and think long and hard before you click send or publish or post or pretty much anything that doesn’t have an undo button.
Who bears actual responsibility and who should suffer the consequences of certain actions? In this situation, I’m talking about kids in general, but more specifically, teenagers. There are so many scenarios and times when a kid does something that the fingers start pointing everywhere. The parents. The schools. Video games. Music. Other kids. Pretty much anything and everything that can be pointed to other than just the kid.
No, this is not a simple, cut and dried concept. There are times when it is more than just the kid that is responsible, but so many times I see the finger pointing and the blame come out instinctually without anyone ever looking that the circumstances of the situation and putting that responsibility where it legitimately belongs. I’ve seen it first hand throughout my kids’ school years, both the blame and the praise.
Sadly, that finger pointing can lead to even bigger problems and consequences. I’ve been watching this unfold in our school over the last week. An incident involving some pretty ugly, awful words being shared around the school by a couple of kids has ended up in the news. The district has always been upfront, notifying parents about any incidents immediately, then following up later with more information if investigation was needed. This incident was no exception. They’ve investigated and issued punishments to the students involved, but the fingers have come out.
I read an opinion article in a local paper that points those fingers at administration and saying they didn’t do enough and that they should issue an apology and included some misrepresented facts and details about the situation which painted the entire school, including the student body, in a nasty light.
My kids are now concerned for their friends that play sports. Those kids are talking about being worried about the upcoming football game and how the other team is going to treat them. They are worried that the other team will view them as tainted by this situation and target them even though they had nothing to do with it and those words do not reflect who they are. All because the district is being called out for those students’ words and actions.
As volatile as things seem to be in this country, I don’t blame them for their concern. Those innocent kids are paying the price in stress and worry, and potentially their own safety. Not just for the actions of a couple of truly ignorant kids, but because people are dumping the responsibility for those kids’ horrific behavior on the district as a whole and the administration.
Is it fair to place blame on the administration and the district? I honestly don’t know. I only know bits of this from what I’ve gotten from the notices and the things the kids have told me. It seems they reacted immediately to shut the incident down and are taking some pretty extreme measures and actions with this. They have fully communicated the entire situation with parents and students along the way. This is apparently not enough for some. Is it their responsibility to apologize for the actions of a couple of kids intent on spreading some vile things? I really don’t know if that falls on their shoulders.
I do wonder how pointing the finger at the district instead of the kids that are at the heart of this does anything to make this situation better in any way. I can see that the finger pointing and blame is filtering down in a way it never should.
I so adore starting my Monday cleaning a massive hairball off the wood floor. *sigh* And this is just the start of the insanity because dance starts this week for BG. This means that her assisting days also start this week. I only discovered last night that I’ve got to scramble this afternoon because MC has his gaming club right after school. That means I have to leave as soon as BG gets off the bus so I can run and pick MC up, race home back home, grab BG and take her to her first class she assists. Then I get to sit in my car for a hour while she does it.
This bit of crazy really won’t last but maybe a couple of weeks because we just almost have the car situation worked out and he will start driving himself to and from school. It doesn’t relieve the stress of Wednesdays when BG has to be at the studio at 4 but wouldn’t get off the bus until nearly 3:30 which is about the time we need to leave to get her there on time. I’m probably going to have to be picking her up from school on Wednesdays. Until MC gets comfortable doing this drive (which includes a stint on the highway) BG won’t be riding with him. We all have decided that we all need to be in agreement that he is ready before she will do that, that includes BG being comfortable with it. I have no time frame for that piece.
Have I mentioned that with BG assisting this year, I’m going to have to be at the studio, in my car, 3 different times a week? The 4th time she is there long enough for me to drop her off and come home or get stuff done. The other 3 times is only an hour so it makes no sense to drive the 20 minutes home to only be there for about 10 minutes before doing the 20 minute drive back.
There are reasons I’m pushing her to learn to drive ASAP. I’m hoping she will be able to get her license as soon as she turns 16 after the first of the year.
I will be taking BG out this afternoon to take her permit test so she can start to learn how to drive. It doesn’t seem possible, especially so soon after MC has gotten his license. On one hand, I’m thrilled about this because it means she is that much closer to being able to drive herself to the multiple days she has to be at the dance studio instead of me having to take her. At the same time, I’m so not ready for her to be old enough to be behind the wheel of a car. She isn’t quite old enough yet to get her actual license, only her permit, but still… my Baby Girl is way too far away from being an actual baby.
MC is officially a licensed driver! I’d say, watch out on the roads, but… he is probably a better driver than I am. This event was a bit delayed for him for a variety of reasons out of his control, so I’m really excited for him.
Next up is going to be BG. She is old enough to get her permit and start learning to drive. Seeing how insane her schedule is with dance and being an assistant this year, I’m really going to push for her to start learning as soon as she can so she can take her test as soon as she turns 16. As it is right now, I’ll be taking her to the studio at least 4 days a week, so having her be able to drive is going to be critical.
Now to attempt to work out the whole car situation. Joys of parenting in a suburb.
Last night MC came down when I was playing with getting my new tablet set up. I’m all focused on that when he asks me a question, so… absolutely distracted and not really listening.
MC: I have a question about my calculus homework.
Me: Hmm? What? *still not entirely paying attention*
MC: I have a question about calculus.
Me *finally looking up*: Um … *vacant stare*
MC: *blank, expectant face*
Me: … Whhyyy… *sees the smirk forming* Why are you asking ME?! That’s math!
MC: *cracks up like the total shit he is* Yeah. I know. I’m just waiting for Dad.
Yeah, my kids know which parent to ask about which subjects. THAT is not the one to ask me about unless you goal is to fail the class.
So BG has already had a fun event at school and it is only day 2. Last year, I think I posted about this kid at lunch that made her really uncomfortable during lunch at the beginning of the year. She quickly found a friend to sit with and that ended the situation without much fanfare or drama and never had an issue after that.
They didn’t have a normal lunch yesterday because of first day back activities, but BG has already learned that none of her friends are in her lunch period. She found a table that didn’t have anyone at it and sat there alone. When most everyone had made it in and was sitting, this kid from last year manages to find her table, which is still entirely empty, and sits in the seat right next to her. There are also other completely open tables in the lunch room and in the area of her table. But he chose to sit in the seat. RIGHT. NEXT. TO. HER. This kid then proceeds to be crude, chewing with his mouth open and attempting to talk to BG at the same time. She did her best to just sit quietly and ignore the kid, but he still persisted and made her exceptionally uncomfortable. He got up once to go get something and BG slid to another seat at the table, just to get some space because this kid doesn’t understand or care about some of those basic, unwritten social rules people tend to live by in an effort to avoid those awkward, uncomfortable situations.
She does not know this kid. She has never had a class with him before. She had never seen this kid before he sat next to her at lunch last year, and that lasted less than a week before she found some friends to sit with. Why this kid thinks it is okay is beyond me.
It is so incredibly frustrating because it is kind of this ugly, sticky situation. She is completely uncomfortable in all ways, but she doesn’t ever like to speak up, so she won’t say a word to this kid. She also won’t say anything to a teacher or a lunch monitor in an effort to get them to intervene because the kid hasn’t exactly done anything that would violate rules. She doesn’t like to rock the boat or do anything that could offend someone and is this whole other thing tied to the ugly fears in our schools nowadays. That whole “what if they are THAT kid?” If he has some sort of disorder that would make it hard or impossible for him to pick up on social cues (I have no clue if this is a fact, BG really can’t say one way or the other), it would make this a different kind of sticky, but it is still sticky.
Her solution to this problem is to talk to a teacher she had last year that is near her lunch room to see if she can come and eat in the teacher’s classroom instead (and may not get permission for any number of reasons). I get it. The school can’t fix a problem they don’t know about, but… She shouldn’t be forced to be uncomfortable. She shouldn’t have to fear speaking up when someone makes her feel that way. She shouldn’t have to find these exceptionally twisty, creative ways to avoid a situation that makes her that uncomfortable. It really is one of those “No real, good solution” kind of things and I honestly don’t know what the best advice is to give her. I just hope that the teacher she is going to approach will agree to let her eat in her room.
It begins. I just saw MC off for his first day of being a Senior. My brain still hasn’t quite wrapped itself around that concept yet. Maybe I’ll have gotten a handle on it before he walks with his cap and gown. Maybe.
For now, I’m going to have a cup of coffee and one of our traditional first day of school treats: donuts. Then I have to wrestle our oldest cat off to the vet. Hopefully that will keep my mind from tying itself in knots over the Senior thing and the quiet in the house. At least for a while.
This is that crazy week that seems to be full of getting the kids ready to go back to school. Yesterday was registration for both MC and BG, but it was the last for MC. That is one of those gut knotting moments when you get an in your face reminder that one of your babies isn’t so much a baby any more. This will be his last year in high school. He will actually be graduating this year. With honors. I know this is only one moment in a long string of moments that will happen this year to hit me like this. I also know that all of them will be over and gone in a blink of an eye.
BG is taking yet another step into finding out more of who she is as she has been invited to be a dance assistant at her studio this year. It is sort of a big step for the awkward, slightly introverted girl she is. That means she will be adding another two hours to her time at the studio every week. It also adds at least one more performance to her end of the year recital, which was already getting an additional performance because she is now in the oldest group of dancers, reaching her own not a baby anymore milestone.
My babies aren’t babies anymore and haven’t been in a long time, but it still hits when you see these moments and recognize them for what they are. My kids are growing and becoming little adults and I’m so not ready for it. Are you ever?
This is a slightly expanded version of my glass food storage post the other day, focusing specifically on an alternative to prepackaged frozen dinners/microwave meals. Like so many other products out there, there just aren’t a whole lot of alternatives to the quick and easy frozen dinner that you just shove in the microwave for a few minutes. Especially if you have kids. Don’t get me wrong, I do a ton of cooking, but every once in a while I just don’t want to do that. I especially can’t stand having to cook 3 times a day over summer break, hence the frozen meals.
Most all of the frozen meals we’ve gotten over the years have come in a crappy plastic container with a thin layer of plastic over the top to seal it all in place. I’ve run across one that has switched their containers to a paper/cardboard version, but it still has the plastic film. Where I live, most of the containers are not recyclable, even if you wash them. The worst are the ones that my kids love for quick lunches over the summer a couple of times a week, so I really wanted to see if I could find SOMETHING that would work to replace them.
I found these awesome glass containers that are sectioned off, kind of like you see on little kids’ dishes. It is like the other containers I’ve bought where it has the silicone seal to give it a liquid tight fit. The cool part about that is that it has an additional line of that across one of the dividers to keep the sections from slipping into each other. The two sections that run parallel to each other, are not sealed from each other, so you’d have to pick and choose what to fill these sections with carefully.
For my first trial, we went with their top picks. A crappy fish stick and macaroni and cheese meal. The other one was pretty much identical, except it had chicken nuggets. We did some research and found a fish stick that came in a box and no plastic. We used the basic Kraft macaroni, though I knocked about 30 seconds off the cook time to try to keep the noodles from becoming mushy when reheated. We also found some chicken nuggets, but none that came in anything other than a plastic bag.
The fish sticks had to be cooked first, which was a little extra work, but I did all this on a day I planned to cook lunch so it didn’t require too much extra time. I just made more than what they were going to eat that day. Same with the macaroni. The nuggets were already cooked, so I didn’t do anything to them and left them frozen until I was ready to put these together.
Once the fish sticks and macaroni were done and cooled off, I divided everything into the different sections. The kids decided on a blend of their two favorites and these ended up being both fish sticks and chicken nuggets. Those went in the parallel sections and the macaroni went in the sealed off section. I did also add just a tad bit more milk in the hopes that this would stay on the creamy side.
Once these were all put together, I just popped them in the freezer. MC had one for the first time and they seem to have come out really well. Granted, these have only been in the freezer for about a week, but the plan seems to work. We still have a few bugs to work out on the cooking timing, but we got it really close with a defrost for about 45 seconds and then cooking it on high for another minute or two.
In this entire prep, I was able to recycle all the boxes and only threw away the macaroni cheese packets and the plastic chicken nugget bag. Out of that, I got 4 frozen meals and a different ratio of items for lunch for both kids that day, so a total of 6 meals. It eliminated tossing 6 plastic containers and 6 plastic films if I’d gone with the prepackaged meals instead.
Alternative to prepackaged frozen dinner/microwave meals.
Eliminates most if not all plastic in the prepackaged meals
Microwave, Oven, Freezer, Dishwasher Safe (minus lids on all except freezer and storage)
Liquid tight seal on outside and between large sections
Potential long lifespan
These are glass, therefore breakable, but not easily (most have good warranties against breakage)
You are limited on using and cleaning the lids because of both the plastic and the silicone.
Recommended hand washing the lid because of the silicone seal (even needing to remove the seal to dry)
Physical space needed to store when not in use
Potentially shorter freezer life for meals
Time invested in prepping the meals
This was only a test run, but my kids were suitably impressed with this. There are downsides. If you aren’t someone that does a lot of cooking, this may be too much. You CAN potentially work these up with leftovers, whether you make the food yourself or you buy from a restaurant. You just don’t have control over things like I did with the macaroni to ensure it isn’t overcooked and mushy when it is reheated unless you make it yourself. Not all foods freeze and reheat well, so it is going to be a lot of trial and error, but I really like this whole concept. There are so many different options to this and your only real limits are size (MC thought this was almost too much for a lunch) and what does well frozen and heated this way.
The only other major downside to these (and a couple of other styles of glass containers) are the way these lids are made. They are a solid unit, including the snapping flaps. The plastic is just thinner, like a score line, where it bends rather than having separate pieces connected with a hinge (my set from the other day is hinged and I like that better). I don’t think that with these it is a question of whether or not that is going to break so much as when it is going to break. You can bet I’ll still try to find a way to make those suckers work if that does happen.