Autumn Wonderland

Obsessive thoughts crowd my head, as I fight to stay in the present.

I will myself to fill my head with what is right in front of me instead.

I step outside into the crisp autumn air for a cool and refreshing walk.

Yellow and red leaves trickle down from wet branches like fall colored snowflakes in an autumn wonderland of magic.

Halloween was yesterday, and it’s as if nature knew to set the perfect stage with a blanket of leaves laid out like a path for the excited trick or treaters to scurry over.

The silence is broken only briefly by a small plane that flies overhead, somehow adding to the peaceful ambiance of my morning walk.

And at least for a little while, my mind stays in the moment.

It’s life. I wish I could write it all down.

I read a couple people’s slices today that talked about how they love this challenge because it makes you write down memories that might otherwise be forgotten. It lets you look back on the years and see your littles grow up through your writing. Through your capturing of the little moments.

And it made me think. It’s life. I wish I could write it all down. I want to remember so much that will not be remembered. I tend to video a lot but I also want to be present, so then I put the camera down and just be in the moment with them. But then time goes by and I can’t remember how their faces looked a year ago. Or how they danced. Or what their voices sounded like. Or the way they hugged me. And I wish I had it all. I wish our memories worked like a computer where I could just pull up whatever memory I wanted and get to see it over and over.

There’s a Robin Williams movie called Bicentennial Man and there’s a scene when the main character gets married and afterwards, the dad asks the robot (Robin Williams) if he “got it all” and he says, he got every minute, and they sit and watch the father/daughter dance. And I have always thought, I wish it worked that way. I wish I had a way storing and recalling it all.

I also get this same feeling when watching The Notebook. When at the end (SPOILER ALERT!), you see the inside of the notebook and it says “The Story of Our Lives.” I love the idea that you could go back and read all of the memories made. All of the moments lived. And have always felt sad that I don’t have that.

But that’s what my writing can be. It can be the story of our lives, in pieces. In snippets. In slices. And it already has been. For 7 years, I have been recording different parts of my life. Some serious. Some silly. Some important. Some not so important. Some about me. A lot about the kids. But it’s all me and my life. And if I wanted to, I could go back and write about the past. So that after a while, the memories are here.

So in addition to just loving writing, I think this is what will keep me writing.

Thanks for another great year. Thank you for all of those who took their precious time to read my slices and comment. It always means the world to me to know someone read my writing. So thank you!! See you next year! (And maybe Tuesdays. I always say I’m going to try and then life gets in the way. But maybe!)

TOO Reflective!

She’s getting so big but still so little.

It brought happy tears to my eyes last night when she read to me a book we have been reading to her since she was a baby. Pigeon Needs a Bath, by Mo Willems (by the way, I absolutely ADORE Mo Willems. His 3 weeks of Lunch doodles at the beginning of the pandemic were fantastic!) I remember making the silly tone of voice for all of the funny things the pigeon says. I remember her giggling about how he says it’s a perfectly normal smell…for a pigeon. I remember laughing myself when he keeps giving excuses as to why the bath won’t work, “Too hot, too cold, too hot again, not enough toys, too many toys,” and my favorite, “TOO reflective!” heehee.

We read that book to her many, many times. And now here she is, reading it to me. Adding her own personality to its pages. Bringing the pigeon to life in her own way. With her own unique pigeon voice. Her own reading expression. It all comes together in fantastic storytelling magic that pulls at my mama heartstrings. I’m so proud of her but also just feel the time passing too quickly.

But just when I think she is getting too big, she snuggles up with me after I sing her her bedtime song, and wraps her little fingers around my finger and buries her face into my chest and sighs sleepily. And I know I have her for at least a little while longer.

Bonding with my neice

I spent the day with my 16 year old niece/goddaughter. It was really nice. We had lunch with my parents and brother (her dad) and then went off to Color Me Mine to paint pottery. Her birthday was back in December and I said this would be her present and this is just when it worked out to do it.

I was a little afraid it wasn’t going to work out because even though I scoped this other paint Pottery place near her house out, that was a while ago and I never thought to look again and check the hours. Well, I’m on my way, when I realize that they aren’t even open today 🤦🏼‍♀️There’s one other place nearby but we have no idea if it’s any good. I really can’t believe there isn’t a Color Me Mine in Rockford.

But thankfully, everyone was flexible and we drove out to a Color Me Mine about 40 minutes away and my brother agreed to pick her up half way.

Lunch was yummy. Visiting with my family was nice (it can sometimes be a problem). I was a little worried the 40 minute drive would be silent and awkward, since I don’t spend a whole lot of alone time with her (but am always at family things and I go to most of her shows that she is in) but it wasn’t too bad. We chatted and then we were quiet. Then chatted some more. Then quiet. Not too bad.

We got Starbucks together and then walked into the studio to pick our pieces. She went with a little cat planter. I went with a flower spoon rest. Most of painting time was pretty quiet. But that’s okay. We were still spending time doing an activity together.

She finished earlier than me which I felt bad for so I told her she could do another one if she wanted. Instead she really wanted to take one home and paint it with acrylic. I said yeah you should do that but she thought I meant she should pay for it. When I said I would buy it for her, her whole face lit up. It was nice.

I’m finally home again after driving here there and everywhere today (the day started with driving out one direction for an errand then heading a completely opposite direction for an orthodontist appointment that took way longer than expected) and feeling like I’ve been sitting in a car seat or some kind of chair all.day.long.

Time to rest!

Magically delicious

The Lucky Charms are supposedly for my son. He loves them. So it’s easy to get away with continuing to buy them and claim they aren’t for me. Because if my precious son did not NEED them, then I would be good, like I have with lots of other snacks that I devour if I buy a whole box/bag of them and just not buy it anymore. But my poor, sweet boy needs these Lucky Charms, and I am his mother and must provide him with his needs.

So there are Lucky Charms in the house.

And that’s why you can often find me digging through the box, snarfing down all of the delicious, one of a kind marshmallows. The pink heart. The red balloon. The blue moon. The shamrock hat. The purple horseshoe, the newer unicorn, the miscolored rainbow, and the yellow and orange shooting star. Their texture and taste is beyond compare.

I toss back the occasional handful of actual cereal to attempt to even out the marshmallow to cereal ratio. But in the end my efforts are fruitless, as I watch my son pour out the second to last bowl from the box to see one lone blue marshmallow moon sitting pitifully on top of the pile of frosted oat cereal. And then the last bowl, even more disgraced than the last, with not one colored morsel in the giant mound filling up his bowl.

Oops. Time to open a new box!

FREE COVID

Despite some covid hesitation and anxiety, we roll into the parking lot of Urban Air, a trampoline and other fun things indoor park. As we turn the corner, we see a sign right up against the building:

FREE COVID…(much smaller print) testing here. (the testing site was actually a separate entity, a van at the back of the of the lot)

Yeah, I’m pretty sure they are probably giving some away for free in there 😬😬😬

But we’re giving it a try anyway.

Did it puff up yet, mommy?

It’s the first day of spring break and so my daughter decided we needed to have a special meal to kick it off right. So she suggested a now family favorite (well, except my son doesn’t love it as much as he used to, but 3/4 aint bad, right?), German pancakes.

This sweet and rich recipe is so cool and delicious. Watching it bake is almost as fun as eating it!

It almost seems like magic as the seemingly innocuous ingredients combine in an enchanted dance of science and “Pfannkuchen,” and begin to bubble and puff, slowly at first but quickly tower over the sides of the pan in ways that seem to defy gravity.

The soaring and imposing outer shell looms over the decadent, crusted, golden brown center, shimmering like the sun as the melted butter brims up from the bottom and pools on the surface of the breakfast pastry.

And that’s when the pitter pattering of 8 year old feet come clamoring for the kitchen, “Did it puff up yet, mommy??” Her voice full of excitement and a little apprehension that she missed the big moment. Because, you see, once removed from its heated home, the mighty walls of the magnificent delicacy quickly deflate. And she wanted to see it all.

And together we watched it puff to its fullest and shrink down to be ready to eat. A family tradition on this start of our week together.

It’s beginning to bubble up!
It’s walls now stretched to their highest point
And now it is deflated and ready to eat! Yum!!

Besides her sore throat, it’s been pretty great.

I hate that my little one (what I still call my 8 year old daughter) was sick today and didn’t feel well. But I kind of love the day we had. We shared the couch and watched a few episodes of “Is It Cake?” on Netflix (such a fun show!) and then crazy binged one of her favorite shows that she usually only gets to watch at Grandma’s house, Home Town. But I found it to stream and that’s what we’ve been doing most of the day. She loves home renovation shows but says she especially likes this one because it shows so much of the building of the house and the things inside it.

So neither of us has moved much today except to get up to get a snack or a drink. Besides her sore throat, it’s been pretty great.

Edited to add: she suddenly spiked a fever right before bedtime and is miserable. Like really miserable. It’s not so great anymore 😦

I got a job!

I hadn’t planned for it. Sure, I was starting to feel a little lonely. A little left out, as stay at home friend after stay at home friend got a part time job, leaving less time to get together with me. But I still hadn’t planned on taking an actual job. Maybe upping my volunteer hours at the shelter. Maybe getting another volunteer job? But…then a position opened up at my daughter’s school for a part time enrollment TA in a 5th grade classroom. And I started to think, heh, maybe that would work for me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a commitment like that, but it was on my radar.

So last Friday, I asked the principal a couple questions about the position. She answered and said to fill out the online application. I had finished most of the application by Monday, but still had a few things to upload by Monday morning. So nothing was turned in yet, when I get an email from the principal asking if I can come in for an interview on Thursday. I said, sure! Even though she knew very little about me other than what I might have mentioned over the last 6 years while my kids have been there. But this seemed like a good sign.

I went in for the interview today and almost right away, she told me that I was her candidate of choice. She said she knew already that I was trustworthy, invested in the success of the school, and had teaching experience (although she didn’t know what kind at the moment). When I told her that it was elementary (music) school that I actually taught, that sealed the deal.

Sooooooo….I got the job!!! Pending board approval, I will start on 4/12 and work half days until 5/31. My first new job in 19 years!! And will be my first time working in 4.5 years!

It’s an enrollment TA, so the teacher is getting one because he went over a certain number in his classroom. I’ll basically be a second adult in there helping with the lesson. Taking small groups. Helping around the classroom when they are working on their own. Some clerical work. Helping with classroom management. I feel like I’ll be able to use lots of my teacher skills for sure, which is exciting. I often miss teaching, but just never enough to go back to it because of the stress of it all and the long hours. This will hopefully be a lot less stress and obviously shorter hours (9:45-12:30).

So, I got a job! I got a job! I got a job! This feels so weird! I just hope my body can handle it. But I think with the limited hours, I should be okay. And if not, I can at least tough it out for 7 weeks.

I got a job!