the hyphens that define my life

Emotional Rollercoaster September 3, 2013

Filed under: Family — multihyphenatedme @ 9:15 pm
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This summer, in its entirety, has been an emotional rollercoaster.  Moving, of course, brought a flood of emotions.  The kids had to learn to allow themselves to have fun and not feel guilty for loving their new home as their emotions conflicted with missing their friends.  Their sister, our daughter, visiting and leaving brought waves of emotion.  The anticipation of their friend arriving and the sadness when he departed, left us all a mess. Why then am I surprised that back to school should bring anything else but a loop-de-loop, full range of emotion?

Back to school morning started great.  Everyone woke up right on time, charged with excitement, and devoured puff pancakes for breakfast. They went through their list of morning responsibilities and rituals until they found themselves waiting in the entryway a full 20 minutes early.  Yet when I suggested we take pictures out front to utilize our spare time, the boys monkeyed around and tortured me with their silliness while I begged for one straight-faced photo.  My husband joined in on their antics and they all mucked around.  If you can’t beat them, trick them.  I was able to capture the photos I did by telling them I took the photo, then snapping while they were laughing at their hijinks.


Though we had fun this morning, our youngest was visibly nervous.  Very clingy and needy, he verbally said he was scared.  He said “I don’t even know where the trash can is.”  I guess the bathrooms weren’t as important as the trash can.

I walked the boys to the elementary school and my husband dropped our son off at middle school. The boys and I were the one of the first to arrive on campus and went straight to their classrooms.  Arriving early gave me time in each class to talk with both teachers who were great and funny and kind, everything I want them to be.  I couldn’t help but feel choked up when I walked out of the school.

The Parent Teacher Group (PTG) had a coffee meet and greet at the school entrance once school started but I didn’t stay.  While waiting for the meet and greet to start, I tried to engage with some of the parents, asking questions, letting them know I am new to the school, without connecting with anyone longer than a few moments.  I missed my friends, I missed being known on campus and being part of the school community.  I took my pity party home.  The good thing about taking a vacation, work needed me.  My friends and family checking in throughout the day helped me too.  Thank you.

I missed the kids but I truly enjoyed the silence of my house today.  Until 3 PM when the boys returned.  Our seven-year old said it best about his classroom “There is a percent rule about no talking.”  Good thing we’re back at school, hopefully we’ll work on percentages.  No talking at school means plenty of jibber jabber all afternoon whether anyone was listening or not. Lots of news to report from all three.  Middle school apparently is cool and has the best lunch.  “Good,” I said “be motivated to go to school for lunch.”  No friends made yet, but he likes his classes.  Our youngest found the trash can and did enough good deeds to earn an extra recess.  Our fourth grader made 5 solid friends and is on his way.

Day one done.


My Favorite Night September 2, 2013

The kids were thrilled to learn that their new school day is from 8:55 AM until 3:00 PM, a full hour later start in the morning and forty-five minute later release in the afternoon. The kids translated this late start to a later bedtime. Ha ha, silly kids, no chance.
Back-to-school night is my favorite night.

Yes! Early to bed, early to rise makes a man (or child of mine) healthy, wealthy and wise.
Our school night bedtime is 9 PM and the boys are grumbling and missing summer night free-for-alls already. They will sleep until 7 AM, giving them ten solid glorious hours of sleep. Well rested, they are set up for success at school or so I hope.

Nerves, anxiety and apprehension are running high tonight. First day of school is one thing. A new school, new kids, new teachers are a whole other can of worms. As an involved mom (no, I did not say helicopter mom), I too am apprehensive. Will I find my place in the new elementary and middle schools? We’ll start with the coffee meet and greet tomorrow morning and meet the principal at the elementary school and see where the new path takes me.

Having rested and rejuvenated with 6 days off work, I have back to work anxiety too. I haven’t opened my email or listened to a voicemail or answered my phone in 6 days. I can’t remember the last time I took time off completely without checking in. Of course I’ll pay for it this entire week playing catch up, but as restful and relaxed as I feel in this moment is completely worth it.  My six day vacation doesn’t equate with a full summer off from school but I too feel the pressure of going back.

A college sophomore, a seventh grader, a fourth grader and a third grader confirms my babies are growing up.

Our seventh grader texted his older sister today and asked her how to make friends at a new school. Direct hit to my heart. Honestly though son, have you ever had an issue making friends? No. I gave the advice to be a friend to get a friend. Do what’s right, lend a helping hand and support the underdog.

Our youngest said today at lunch that he would be the loneliest kid in class and won’t have any friends at all. The kid that can’t stop talking and has no fear to speak to anyone about anything and is capable of befriending kids much older and much younger than him as well as his own age, will certainly have difficulty making a friend. Yeah, right.

Our nine-year-old fourth grader is completely opposite with his sites set high. He proclaimed at lunch today that he will be the most popular kid in the fourth grade. That’s the spirit!

My husband is in charge of our nightly bedtime ritual of bath, teeth, reading and bed. I hear that showers are finished, teeth are brushed and the boys are in bed reading. I will end now to head upstairs and kiss them goodnight. Then I will run downstairs and click my heals and maybe add a fist pump to celebrate my favorite – BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT!! WOO!


Staycation Part 3 August 27, 2013

Some weeks are just hell to get through, and some are not.

Today is my Friday as I’m vacation for the next 6 days.  This is Staycation Part 3 of Summer 2013.  This Staycation is sure to top the rest with the incredible fun we have planned.

Tomorrow, first thing bright and early, I get to go to Washington’s Department of Motor Vehicles and become an official Washington licensed driver.  Yes, you are supposed to get your new state license after living here for 30 days but I’ve been busy and going to the DMV isn’t my favorite thing to do so it has taken me 60 days.  I’m slightly anxious because there is no appointment scheduling for new licenses.  Moving from California, I am programmed to schedule an appointment as without an appointment you will wait hours to take care of your DMV business.  Hours, as in four plus hours.  No joke.

When we lived in Flagstaff AZ, appointments weren’t available there either.  After only waiting 20 minutes at most, you are issued a 33 year driving license.  Never having to return to the AZ Department of Transportation for 33 years was the absolute best part of living in Arizona.  Ok, maybe there were some other perks, but just thinking about the awesomeness of a 33 year drivers license brings me joy.

I have high hopes for the Spokane Washington Department of Motor Vehicles.  I have noticed retail stores that offer vehicle licensing.  Separating drivers licensing and related issues and vehicle licensing is a stroke of genius.  I’m excited to spend the morning of my first day of my Staycation at the DMV.

Tomorrow afternoon, we will tour the boys’ schools, get their schedules and figure out the lay of the land.  I am giddy with excitement to get on campus, meet the teachers and take the first step toward the new school year.  The boys are nervous and anxious, not wanting summer to end and definitely not wanting to be the new kid. When I asked my oldest what he needed to go back to school, he replied “a friend.”  Since I was referring to school supplies and clothes, my heart flopped to the floor and broke to pieces.  My poor babies!  A friend could be made tomorrow, my fingers are crossed and hopes are high.  School supplies and clothes are purchased so the rest of the day will be spent getting everyone,mainly their dressers and back packs, organized.

That’s just Day 1.  The remaining 5 days of our Staycation is to just enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.  We’re schedule to go boating at least once, hopefully twice.  When at home, the plan is to just get everything done (like laundry) and more organized (namely everything) in preparation for Back-to-School Tuesday.

This is the best weekend of the year.  It is practice weekend.  My county fair baked goods are due next week and I have to practice and perfect my wares.  My recipes are solid, it is just this confounded, awesome yet particular, O’Keefe & Merritt stove that I love but don’t quite yet trust. Temperatures and time need to be tested before I bake my final entries.

Do I really need to take vacation time to do this stuff?  Ab-so-freaking-lutely. My stress levels just dropped an octave and I need time to breathe.  Plus, when the kids go back to school, distractions, fights, cries of starvation will be gone and I will have uninterrupted work time. Novel!   Vacation now is really me just throwing in the towel to bide my time until the kids are in school.  I mean to say that vacation time is time to spend with the kids, cherishing every brawl, hallmarking every backtalk, photographing their lion-like laziness sprawled around the house and mostly to worship them while they play their coveted video games.  If you believe this, you obviously need a vacation more than I.


Staycation August 12, 2013

Not that I’m counting but school starts in 3 weeks. Yes, twenty-one  days left to make the most of summer before doing back flips when the the kids go back to school.  I love having my kids home, don’t get me wrong.  We have tons of fun during summer.  I am not looking forward to the homework, the drama, the tears, the fights, the germs and freak out that come with school in session.  What I’m looking forward to is six solid hours of peace while the kids are in school, where I do not have to be the cruise director on this house’s ship of summer fun. I’ll wash their clothes, pack their lunches, remind them to take all of there stuff with them to school so someone else can plan their days.  Summer, as fun as it is, takes a lot out of me.  I need a vacation.

I mentioned this to my husband the other night who too quickly reminded me that our move to Spokane was our vacation and to enjoy the new house.  Buzz kill.  The Spokesman Review, the local Spokane newspaper we have delivered daily, mentioned a Staycation promotion by local business for families, such as ours, that can’t afford to get away.  Local businesses give residents discounts to enjoy a Spokane Staycation.  This is the perfect option for us as we are new to the area, we look at the city and surrounding areas first with tourist eyes then with, hey wow we live here reactions.

My son, Trace, has his 12-year-old buddy from Southern California coming to visit on Wednesday for a week.    Trace can hardly wait.  His friend may be excited but I hope he realizes he’s going from having one brother in California to having three brothers in Washington.  Talk about culture shock, not to mention having me as his mother, the boy just might not get on the plane.  We are luring Trace’s friend with a week chock full of Spokane’s finest activities that includes everything from Riverside Park and 9-Mile-Falls; a Peach Festival up at Green Bluff, WA to Silverwood/Boulder Beach in Idaho to tubing/wakeboard/waterskiiing/boating/paddleboarding on the Spokane River and Lake Coeur D’Alene; Riverfront Park and downtown activities; and bicycle rides to and through Manito Park.  Good times ahead!  Honestly, why do we need to go anywhere? 

Of course, leaving on a jet plane is always good.  Someone serving me food and drinks would be nice.  A kids club would be fantastic too.   Do you hear Club Med calling my name?  Listen.  I hear it, I really do.  That’s what I need, an all-inclusive vacation where I don’t have to think, just unplug and relax.  Ooh.  Ultimate buzz kill.  I just checked Club Med’s website.  For my family of six to go on an all inclusive, air-included, week long vacation to Cancun before school starts is…well let’s just say, cost prohibitive to the tune of nine grand-plus.  You may have nine grand lying around to spend on one week of vacation splurge, I don’t.  A great deal but not for us this summer.

A Spokane Staycation is perfect for us.  Good thing we think so.