Thursday, August 23, 2007

Little Boy in a Green Cast

My son, Nathan, has fractured the growth plate in his ankle. He was playing tag at a birthday party on Saturday and stepped in a hole in the lawn and twisted (so we thought) the ankle. When the swelling didn't go down after three days, we thought something might be up and it was. Considering how active he is I am surprised (and grateful) that he hasn't fractured his entire body at some point in his give-everything-100%-attitude lifestyle.

This is a big bummer. He is an incredible soccer player and he just got his jersey for the start of the season. One coach said he "wanted to cry" when he heard that Nathan wouldn't be able to play for a lot of the season. The other coach said he had the best kicking leg on the team and . . . well, there was nothing left for him to say after that.

So we are trying to help him deal with the extreme disappointment he feels. He says he will still go to soccer games to cheer on his team. He chose the green cast not because it was his favorite color, but because it was his team's colors. I hope going to the games helps more than it hurts.

In other silly news, my daughter, Samantha, has a bus driver named Fran. I said, "Oh, it's a woman busdriver." She said, "No . . . . " and then added "At least I don't think it's a woman." So we don't know whether Fran the busdriver is male or female. The other thing is that Fran will wait for no one. If you're late and running down the street to catch the bus, that's just your tough luck. Fran ain't gonna stop for you. Forget going to your locker after school to get your books. Fran's going to leave you at the junior high so you have to call your Mom to come get you.

Over at the high school, junior Adrienne is ecastic to have honors English with seven of her friends. She is not excited to start the dry land portion of swim team in which she will have to run and do other hedonistic exercises. Adrienne and running are like oil and water. The first class of her day is called Primping 101 and it takes an entire class period, I'm telling you. In this class, she works very hard to get everything just right. If it is not just right, we will all hear about it.

My cute little first grader is very tired going to school all day. I love her to be tired because she goes to bed at 9:00 pm instead of 11:00 pm, which she did all summer long. If she can just stop the laying on the floor and whining like a sick dog, we'll all survive it.

That's the first week of school at our house.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to School

Today is a milestone of a day for me. All my children are in school all day. At several points during the past 16 years I thought I'd never reach this lovely day. Now it has come all to quickly and my life is going to require some readjusting. Afrer I do some serious celebrating today, of course.

I don't know about other Moms, but I am offended with the back to school comsumer onslaught on the 5th of July. I am horrified that I am being accosted with back to school junk right after the 4th. That's because we've only been out of school about five weeks and we're all still having fun. We all still like each other. How dare these stores ruin my summer by making me think about clothes, backpacks and pencils?

Then comes the first week in August when I start thinking that maybe it would be OK for the kids to go back to school. I'm not desperate or even anxious at that point. By the second week in August I start asking Darren, "Have our kids always been so incredibly annoying?" I still don't want to buy anything, but I've managed to reluctantly pick up some socks, underwear and maybe some Zip-loc bags for lunches. Oh yeah, I did buy some shoes for the kids, too, but only because I stumbled upon a great deal, not because I wanted to.

By now it is the third week in August and I don't know why I ever had kids. Their irritable but tolerable squirks have now turned into major personality flaws that make me wonder how they will ever evolve into functional , well-adjusted adults. OK, this is a bit harsh and exaggerated!

Now it's the day before school. We go to back to school night to meet the teachers and get school supply lists. Then we head to Staples with the rest of the valley to buy school supplies we've been putting off. While cruising up and down the aisles there, trying to dodge other procrastinators, I can't stop thinking of a neighbor's comment at back to school night.

She said, "Wow that was the fastest summer ever!" I agreed with her. Then she said, "I'm just not ready for this back to school stuff. I wish all my kids could be home with me all the time all year long!" (She has seven children.)

I didn't know how to react to this. I think I just smiled because I was just astounded that such a mother existed. She must be some sort of rare species. As for me, I'm going to love every minute of my six hours of peace.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Vacationed and Birthdayed Out

The third birthday of our three-girl's-birthdays-in-summer circus is today. That means that things can settle down a bit. Maybe. We're still redecrating Samantha's (birthday girl) room (tart apple and canteloupe slice paint on the walls) and that takes forever. I bought her Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse today and she's happy as a clam. Plus the ENTIRE family was over for a barbecue on Sunday night in her celebration. All brought presents and we played games and ate cake. Our neighbors hate us because we are so loud. But I really don't care.

So I've eaten a ton of cake and gained back the five pounds it took me months to take off. Months to take off, two weeks to put on. Life's not fair, as my grandmother used to tell me all the time. Amen to that. Amen again. But I still feel like crying when I think about it.

Wow. What an amazing family vacation we returned from last Wednesday. Darren and I kept looking at each other wondering why everything was going so well. No one woke up during the night during the 11-day trip, no one had any sort of temper tantrums, no one threw up in the car or had any bathroom issues. We had a little whining on the last two days of driving, but most of that was from me. The kids were fine. There was a bit of bickering about whose turn it was to read Harry Potter but that was about as bad as it got.

"This is the best family vacation we've ever had," Darren told me. I couldn't have agreed more. Once the youngest is about six, things are a lot more fun. Hang on all you people out there with kids younger than six, your time is coming. Your ship will come in. We got to read in the car instead of entertaining kids every second. We got to have conversations. We got to really have fun together instead of just trying to keep kids happy and avoid meltdowns.

It feels wonderful to have reached this point in our family. And this trip was an amazing time for our family. The Pacific northwest is gorgeous, and I am going to live there someday. I love the pulsing city of Seattle, I love the deep forests and fresh air and plants and flowers that just grow everywhere. I love the clean smell and the green around me.

Here's what we did:

Bonneville Dam, Columbia River Gorge, OR
Multnomah Falls, OR
Sea Kyacking at Point Defiance, WA (we saw seals!)
Farmer's Market, Tacoma, WA
Trader Joe's, University Place, WA
Mount St. Helens, WA
Forks WA, The Olympic Peninsula, Washington coast
Hoh Rainforest
Bainbridge Ferry to Seattle
Pike's Place Market, Seattle
Mariner's game, Seattle
Boat ride on Lake Washington at dusk--beautiful.
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle
Vancouver Acquarium, Vancouver, B.C.
Dinner at Gastown, Vancouver
Lyn Canyon Suspension Bridge and Cliff Jumping, Vancouver
Drive, drive, drive drive

Thanks Cathy and Chad for letting us stay with you in Dupont. We loved your hiking trails! Mark and Ginger, thanks for the awesome weekend. Riding on the Swetenia at night was an experience everyone loved. Thanks for the drum lessons, I guess.