Chalk is Erasable: The Summer Schedule

June 28, 2015

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Let me begin by admitting that this is totally not what I’m about, as a parent, and I’ll probably ditch it in like two weeks.

I stumbled upon the challkboard summer schedule thing on Pinterest (meggyrd). You know that over-achieving nutjob mom in your head who convinces you that theme parties and carefully coordinated Christmas picture outfits are a great idea? Yeah, she gets ahold of me from time to time.

Pinterest’s Summer Schedule:

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Ours:

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Aw doesn’t that look nice? Now, allow me to translate for you:

7AM – Screen Time – They may play (quasi) educational games on the tablet. Or watch Super Mario Bros. Super Show on Netflix for the 200th time, whatever.

8AM – Breakfast, Clean Us, Rooms – Hubby and I will hopefully be awake by this point. Otherwise, they will forage, like wild animals, for Poptarts. Hubby and I will try to sit at the table with them, because we actually do value the whole morning-family-gathering thing. My stomach and I are not into breakfast, but I will be sure to drink coffee, so no one dies later. Showers and clothing will be applied to the children, probably by Hubby. I will briskly walk the puppy a few miles at this point, at least in the fantasy in my head. And then bluebirds and squirrels will help me get dressed, while the children pick up their rooms. Ha. 

9AM – Play School – Hubby leaves the house at this luxuriously late hour. The “Play School” thing is where, I imagined, we’d do little science experiments, word games, or I’d go all Maria Von Trapp on them.  This time will undoubtedly amount to them doing one page of whatever page they want out of some grocery store workbook and then ditching, while I check facebook on my laptop and drink more coffee. I predict this will be the first thing to get erased from the chalkboard.

10AM – Outside: Pool/Bikes – Shoot, why did I write “pool” on there?  That has to involve me. At least we’re using it. I am designating “outside'” play here because later on, “GO PLAY” can mean inside too. As long as they Don’t Bother Mommy. 

11AM – Read/Draw/Write – They do this anyway. What this should really say is “Don’t Bother Mommy.”

12PM – Lunch, Chores – I manage to prepare whatever single food has been deemed acceptable by the little one this week. They have a list of stuff they have to do for chores, while I clean up lunch, lay out art stuff, and figure out what the heck to do for the next slice of the schedule… 

1PM – Fun w/ Mom – Crap.  This involves me again. Over-achiever Mommy is going to lift ideas right off of Pinterest, or take them to a park if I don’t feel like using my brain. 

2PM – GO PLAY – Please note: This activity is subject to start early and go long, without notice. And be happy the entire chalkboard doesn’t say this, because this is what summer should look like all-day, every day, to you kids. People my age remember being outside, unsupervised, for like 6+ hours a day. Now GO PLAY.

3PM – Art Time – This is just because we have a dresser full of arts and crafts stuff. Come on over, I could run a camp.  “Yaaaay, let’s make some more stuff we have no place for but guilt and/or children won’t let me throw away later!”

4PM – Snack Time/GO PLAY – You may NOW ask me for mid-afternoon food. Not before. Then, GO PLAY.

5PM – Read/Draw/Write – See above. Unless you’re still playing somewhere. Then, as you were. 

6PM – Screen Time – AKA “Mommy Gives Up.”

Then it’s make-dinner time. (Sometimes, some Mexican loveliness, I hope.) We don’t have dinner till Daddy gets home around 7:00. Then, it could be more pool, going somewhere for ice cream (what is the summer for, if not general slothiness and comparing various ice cream places?), or God Only Knows. That is the beauty of summer.

Now, this next part is me telling myself that this will all be fine and I will not be bored and desperate for adult interaction by the 2nd week. Can you tell I’m a little nervous about this? Just ignore the pep talk:

This is wonderful, beautiful, freeing SUMMER, the only difference is that Hubby will not be around 10 hours a day.  I have had one Hell of a year, and I need a break. We will hopefully have family and friends over a lot. We will visit family out of state. There will be playdates. We will meet Daddy in the city for dinner. We will go to the beach and museums and do our Playground Tour. We will sit on the couch and do nothing, like I’ve done all weekend. It’s been beautiful. 

By modern suburban standards, I guess I should have signed them up for camp, Vacation Bible School, soccer, or something. I didn’t. Oops. I think they’ll live.

But hey, at least we have a schedule. Subject to change without notice, because hey, it’s only written in chalk.

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And Forgive Us Our Trespasses

June 26, 2015

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Hubby and I used to have an on-going joke about the Lord’s Prayer. We would snicker and/or poke each other when the debts or trespasses thing went by in the middle. Because we’re very reverent people, clearly. Actually it was because we had two different churchy-upbringings, and we disagreed about whether the line is “forgive us our debts” or “forgive us our trespasses”. It is trespasses. Sounds way cooler. God would agree. 

We don’t do this much anymore, because we don’t go to church anymore. More about that at a later date.

Because I spent the last post judging other people for the petty and annoying crap they do, #judgementalbiotch, I will now list (some of) my postable transgressions. Rest assured there are many, many more. You are not learning about them.

  • The skin on the outside (and inside) of my nose gets dry and itchy. I totally pick. Deal with it.
  • When I am in a meeting or grad class and I am supposed to be working or taking notes on a laptop, at least half the time I’m not really working or taking notes. #Facebook
  • I speed. Like, always.
  • I am still (I think?) supposed to eat a very low sodium diet, and I totally cheat when I feel like it. #heartcrap
  • I make fun of what other people name their children. Sometimes. Just the dumb names, though. Yours are beautiful.
  • I make fun of children. Although they are still better than many adults.
  • That “red wine is good for you” thing is my new favorite medical tidbit, and “special occasions”, where I am allowed to consume various other alcohols happen so often that they can’t possibly be that special.
  • Screw singing the ABC’s; often I wash my hands for only like 5 seconds and dry them on my hair. (Wetting it down discourages the frizz.)
  • I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be drinking so much coffee. But nobody wants to see how that story ends, so I conveniently forget to ask about that every time I see my doctor.
  • I swear a lot.
  • I know that I should keep cash in my wallet for the collection for this, and the collection for that, but I never manage to keep cash in my wallet.
  • I yell at my kids for their messy rooms, but mine generally has crap all over the floor.
  • The 5 second rule applies around friends and family, but around strangers, I pretend like I’d throw it away no matter what, for germs & stuff’s sake. But if nobody is around…eh.
  • For social reasons, I pretend to care about a lot of stuff that I actually don’t. But I believe that’s called “Being an Adult”, so again…eh.
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People Who Judge People

June 23, 2015

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  • People who make you wait behind them while they back into parking spaces. Explain to me how it’s easier, please?
  • People who drive slowly in the left lane. It is called the “passing lane”,  not the “I like this lane better so who cares about the driver behind me who just wants to pass” lane. 
  • People who take more than 2 minutes to order at a drive thru. You are eating fast food. Please don’t over think it.
  • People who complain about politicians, but don’t vote.  I know….but find the lesser of two evils. Or write-in Leslie Knope.
  • People who park their grocery cart in the middle of the aisle and wander far away from it.
  • People who give their child a very unusual name or name spelling, and get ticked when it’s mispronounced. It’s fine, but you asked for it. Be patient. 
  • People who blast their music through open car windows. I like bass, too. MY song’s bass.
  • People who first demand an explanation of a poor grade from the teacher, not their kid.
  • People who drop major swear bombs in public when they know children are present. I may not have the cleanest mouth either, but $&%*# you, it’s my choice when my kid hears that word. 
  • People who say, “Must be nice to have the whole summer off!” to teachers. It’s sad how someone forbade you from becoming a teacher when you were choosing a career. Oh, you wanted better pay and no kids all day long? Must be nice. 
  • People who post vague Facebook statuses so that other people will ask them what’s wrong.
  • People who have not yet figured out the whole “turn signal” thing. You see, there’s a magic stick – right there by your steering wheel! It lets other drivers know what direction your crazy butt is turning, so they don’t hit you! Try it!
  • People who judge other people. (Oops…)

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To be continued. (Preview: I am not perfect.)

(I know. You’re shocked.)

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June

June 15, 2015

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Every day they come in and act like monkies.

They smell. Haven’t we had the deodorant talk yet? 

They wear inappropriate shoes – we told them to wear sneakers from here on out, darn it! Mostly little girls in pretty sandals.

They ignore us and do what they want; talking, goofing around. Then they tattle on each other. They skip out on homework. Aren’t we done with homework yet?

They get fresh. They get hot and lazy, and participation sucks. Get up. Off the floor. Now. 

They act like they’ve forgotten all the rules we’ve carefully enforced all year.

They act like they’re already on Summer Vacation.

*****

Every day we come in and act like zombies. Who wants to go on a Dunkin Donuts/Wawa run? 

We wear flip flops. Isn’t that against teacher dress code? Oh well.

We text each other how many days we have left. We text each other lunch orders and inside jokes. We text in class and in the hall.

We can’t believe it when there’s not an assembly or end-of-year festivity to take up class time, today. Aren’t we done with class time yet?

SGOs, APRs, PDPs; we turn nothing in by the due-date. We don’t even start them by the due date. That was due when? 

We get hot and crabby and bitch about stuff. We act like it’s an imposition that we’re still here.

We act like we’re already on Summer Vacation.

*****

Personally, in the last two weeks since hubby isn’t home and the pool is open, I generally have the girls in suits and wine or beer on the pool bar by 5PM. Today I also ate a hotdog, leftover from a weekend pool party. With mustard. Yes, in the pool. What? Just cause know how to live…

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How is it not already Summer Vacation?

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Mexican Everyday: Chipotle

June 11, 2015

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My Mexican Everyday cookbook (by Rick Bayless) came from Amazon today. I haven’t even cracked it yet. It’s a weeknight, we spent 2 after-school hours in the pool, and have I mentioned I suck at cooking? I did mention that, right? Go back and read.

To preface my dinner choice explanation, I would eat Chipotle for one meal a day, every day. Forever. And ever. Amen. So, I decided to celebrate my fancy Mexican cookbook arriving and kick off my adventure in Mexican cooking with… a little fast food. Since public opinion says that taking the lid off a take-out container doesn’t count as cooking, I made an attempt a cook a Chipotle Burrito Bowl. What, like it’s hard?

Hubby schooled me the night before on how NOT to overcook chicken:

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Did you know they make thermometers for meat?! What will they think of next? Chicken is supposed to hit 160. Then you take it off the pan, or you eat white rubber.

I accidentally started the chicken way before the boy (who was doing some wife-approved, after-work, guy-bonding  in Philly) was on his way home.  No worries! Turns out you can keep chicken warm in the oven on a covered plate in a 170 degree oven. Then you can take the plate of chicken out later, good as new, and burn the ever-lovin’ CRAP out of your hand on a hot plate. Good times.

The rest of my Chipotle assembly line ingredients were as follows:

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Weeknight = ready-made guac and salsa. The boy makes his own killer versions of these, when time permits. I do not. Black beans must be rinsed or they have a buttload of sodium, and make my congestive heart failure get uppity. And yes, that is Great Value brand you see. And YES, there is a Whole Foods, Rastelli’s, and Trader Joe’s 10 minutes from my workplace. We shop at Walmart for basic groceries. I know. We’re heathens.

Important Factoids:

  • I only ate the guacamole verde with a fork 4 times during the meal prep. #selfcontrol
  • Herdez is our favorite salsa, and we’ve noticed that it’s seems to be the favorite of the people in the Hispanic Foods aisle who actually appear to be Hispanic.
  • Speaking of hearts, cut open a plum tomato long-ways sometime, and tell me if it doesn’t remind you creepily of a human heart. Freaky.
  • Shredding cheese is dangerous for your fingertips, fyi.
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There are no bits of shredded fingertip in there. Probably.

I cooked the Minute Rice as per the package directions, but I don’t usually remember to note the time that foods are on the stove top, so….it may have boiled over twice. This dish also required math and reading a chart on the side of the box, so I would like extra credit now.

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All good. Not ruined! Just messy.

I mixed in chopped fresh cilantro, pepper, and butter. (I was careful to put aside some of the unseasoned rice for the girls, because God forbid they should eat something with flavor.) I discovered after some research that Chipotle calls it “cilantro lime” rice, so I should have probably bought limes. And made margaritas, clearly.

When hubby got home, I took his order. I did not greet him at the door wearing the Chipotle crew member apron and hat, sorry. He did not get to choose between “for here” and “to go”, either. (The cherubs were in need of some Daddy time, and I was in need of them not needing me for like 15 minutes, so he was not going anywhere.) He asked for everything except salsa. He is a reformed tomato hater; he didn’t want to over-do it.

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The final product. “For here”, Burrito Bowls, pretty darn close to Chipotle quality, too. *patting self on back*

What we have learned today:

  • So maybe the hubby’s insistence in the value of digital thermometers is real. The chicken was so much better than Chipotle’s.
  • The rice, not as much. Apparently you should actually follow those directions on the side of the box.
  • You pretty much can’t screw up the rest of these ingredients, in various combinations. This is why “Mexican” food is the best food.

Next time: Meg stops imitating take-out and opens the actual cookbook.

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Times They Are A-Changin’

June 9, 2015

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So my hubby was a band director and didn’t remember desiring any other career since the beginning of things.

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The boy’s last concert.

 

Except that this career kinda sucked for hubby. He spent 11 years hopping around to five different school districts – doing a good job and trying hard to be happy. But his hobby was always “computer stuff”.

Flashback: He built me my first (second, third) computer out of parts, in college. He was “Doctor Finale”, having mastered that music notation software back then, too. He could have charged classmates for all the help he game them, using that program.

About a year ago he started teaching himself different coding languages and working on web development projects. He began working for an app development company. He started going to JavaScript meet-ups. (No, I don’t know what those are either, but he met some very cool people who helped him out immensely, so whatever.) He started volunteering for Code for Philly, a non-profit organization that seeks to “make Philadelphia a better place to live, work, and play, through technology”. He was trying to learn all he could to start a new career- and then he got one!

Hubby resigned from his teaching job – after the spring concert – in May. June 1st he started a completely different job. He interviewed for a won an paid internship 50onRed, a tech advertising company. He’s been there 7 days and he’s never been happier, work-wise – and not just because of the endless stream of free food and relaxed      atmosphere. He really enjoys the work.

He also just gave up teacher tenure. And summer. And the promise of steady employment. And being home by 4:30 every day. And me being able to schedule any appointment kid-free before 7 PM. And…

We are adjusting pretty well to the later schedule. He doesn’t have to be in at work (in Philadelphia) until 10:00 AM. Still doing the Daddy thing quite nicely, he gets the girls breakfasted and ready, drops them off at school, and heads to the train station. He is home around 7:00-7:30 (3 hours later than before). The girls are getting to stay up late by the old standards; they think this is a party.

However, it was the boy always made dinner in our house. What? He enjoyed making dinner. And he enjoyed that I perched on our bar stool, drank wine, and talked to him while he enjoyed making dinner. It was enjoyable. Now, have to enjoy  making dinner. Oh dear.

Another, “however”:  I am going to be home and single-parenting it, without hubby. all. day. all. summer. long.

I am not a good stay-at-home mom. I don’t stay at home well, period. And I am one of those weird wives who actually loves and craves her husband’s company. Or, any adult’s company. I am going to miss him! I will be the only adult in the house with these two little kooks and the deranged puppy. Help! Send reinforcements. Tell them to bring their bathing suits, and wine. 

In an effort to not succumb to Netflix & takeout poisoning, I’ve decreed that the following will happen, this summer:

A) We will maintain some kind of a schedule. Mainly so I can point to it and say “It’s not ‘bother Mommy’ time right now, it’s ‘Art Time’, or what have you.

How to Make a Summer Schedule for Kids Plus activities for summer
Like this Pinteresting thing, but less regimented. “11-12, Quiet Time in Room” hahahahahahaaaaaa *wipes tears away* That’s rich.

I am also going to make an attempt to do stuff with these kids, and report it here (dare I say daily? Ha). We live in a fabulous area of the country to raise children. There’s a ton to do here, between the city and the shore. I do have some grad work to do (classes until July), but after that, we’re gonna pound the Capri Suns and live it up – grade-schooler style. Woooooo! Call me if you wanna go somewhere or float around a pool.

B) I suck at cooking. I ruin grilled cheese. I have minor anxiety attacks about timing eggs and toast. And we have a healthy, loving relationship with Mexican food. Therefore I very randomly purchased Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless (on my phone, in the car, after hearing him on the radio, because…impulsive). I decided I needed to grow some cojones and cook my way through his book. And his second book. And then I want an order of enchiladas on the side, just because.

So I’ll be able to mix my classic Mommy Blog ‘here’s what we did today’ ramblings with the close-up foodie pics of a cooking blog, and really strive for internet blandness. (Sorry. Stay tuned.)

You know you want more pictures like this in your life anyway. Look at this. Whatever this is, I’m making it. Challenge accepted.
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