Thursday, May 25, 2017

Crawling to the finish line

The kid's last day of school is tomorrow.  I feel like all of last week and all of this week has been all of us just crawling, or more accurately, dragging ourselves to the summer break finish line.  I finished work yesterday and now have a nice week and a half off before I start Extended School Year work.  It will help getting us through the last two days that I don't have to be at work at all.

So, last Monday (the 15th) Ginger was adorable.  But, what's new?

That night I made some homemade bath bombs for Spencer.  He has really wanted to try one, but we're too nervous to let him use a purchased one because his skin is just too sensitive. I looked up an eczema friendly recipe that didn't use citric acid. 

It smelled like sugar cookies. 

They worked and they fizzed, but nothing like a store bought bomb. 
Spencer was pretty disappointed.  I might just spring for a "safer" one at Lush.  They're like $6 each, but maybe I could break it into four pieces for four baths.  
Moving on to Tuesday the 16th.  

Spencer stacked up these blueberries on his fork at dinner.  He thought it was awesome and took this picture. 
I worked that day.  I posted this on facebook in one of my speech therapy groups. This is a true story.  Once I posted it it became a full time job keeping up with the notifications for the likes and comments.  Because really, it's just crazy. 
And now we come to confession time.  Tuesday the 16th marked the day that Elliott was 5 years 5 months old.  I remembered his monthly picture at 11:00 pm.  Three hours AFTER he went to bed.  It is the first time in his life that I missed his picture on the 16th.  I took these at 6:30 am on the 17th.  It was 6.5 hours late, but it still feels like a huge fail.  It also means that I forgot BOTH my kids monthly pictures in May.  First time ever for Elliott.  First time in about five years for Spencer.  Obviously I need a vacation. 

Wednesday the 17th was "dress as your favorite book or movie character" for spirit week.

Spencer went as Harry Potter.  He told me about the day at bedtime the day before.  This was the best we could do. 

Especially considering Elliott and I had to be at his school at 7:30 am for the volunteer appreciation breakfast.  It's totally karma that I complained about the 7:45 am start time for Spencer's school, so this one ended up being earlier. 

After the volunteer breakfast we came home and did a bunch of stuff that I don't remember.  Then we went to see Mr. Chad and Erin and had lunch there.  Elliott got french toast.  I had this salad and it was the best salad of my entire life.  I could just eat bowl after bowl after bowl of this. 
After I dropped Elliott off at school I went to Spencer's school and did the last art masterpiece lesson of the year. 

We did Monet inspired tree reflections with water colors. 

This is where I found Ginger when I got home. 
I worked on Thursday.  The social worker took me all around the Gila River reservation to try to find a parent for a signature.  We never found her.  I never got the signature.  
We had bratwurst for dinner that night.  Nick bought this mustard for Michael in Germany and gave it to him for Christmas. I thought it would be good to put on top of them.  Then I tasted a little and it tasted awfully sweet, so I took a picture of the jar and sent it to Brendan who is fluent in German. 

Yeah.  It's basically caramel in the form of mustard.  It's ALL sugar. 
I worked on Friday and can't recall a single detail from the entire day.  So enjoy these pictures of Ginger taken that night. 

Saturday was an extremely fun and busy day.  I had coffee in Mesa with my sisterhood group.  Maryellen and I went shopping.  We went out to dinner in Queen Creek with a group of 15 people.  We spent hours at Brendan and Travis's new house and had an entire dessert buffet.  And here's what I have to show you from all of that:


Not a single picture was taken.  What kind of horrible blogger am I?  Epic fail. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thinking about grief

As many of you know my Aunt Karen passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in February.  She had just turned 69 years old. I was talking to my Uncle Terry on the phone about a variety of different topics when the conversation turned to what you should say, and also not say, to somebody that has lost a loved one.  I told him that I never, ever say "God has a plan" or "They are in a better place" because, frankly, I think those are bullshit and rather cruel things to say to somebody that is grieving.  

December 2007
 My uncle (who has a PhD, is a retired university professor, and a published author) has written a short one page "essay" on the topic and I told him I would put it on the blog for feedback.  

Easter 2013
Please, dear readers, leave a comment, email me (, text me, call me, Facebook me, write me a letter or come over for a glass of wine and tell me what you think.  Let's start a dialogue.  Let's figure out something better to say.    

January 1, 2017
Here it is:

Thank you for your card of condolence and your donation to the "Last Name" (Redacted for privacy) Family Scholarship at Salpointe Catholic High School. Over $4000 was donated in Karen’s name.

In the last three months, some friends asked me to record my memories, thoughts and griefs. They said it might help other people. I said I did not want to do that because I am such a weird duck that nothing I thought could possibly help other people and besides that, I did not want to do it. Well I finally gave in. But it can’t be solitary: I want to include you. Sometimes in a sudden, sad, stabbing moment of sorrow, I recall the support that you have given me. I know that you are there. Here is my attempt to help people to know what to say when a friend has lost a loved one.

In the last three months, a hundred people have asked me, “How are you doing?’

It is always the exact same phrase, as if it were engraved in stone somewhere.

I’ve always answered, “I’m fine.”

Then they say, “If there is anything that I can do please ask.”

There must be a better question that can be asked. How about, “How are you doing today?” Maybe a better response would be” I’m slowly getting better, but today is a downer.” Or maybe, “Today is great; I got a call from the kids.”

So, help me gather ideas.

What do you think would be a better question, rather than “How are you doing?’
What do you think would be a better response, rather than “I’m fine.”’



So, once again: 
Email (
Text (not willing to give my number on the internet so you must know me in real life)
Call (see above)
Come over 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

I could sum up Mother's Day in one sentence and skip the entire post, but that feels like it would be a bit boring and a total let-down.   If I did though, this would be the sentence: We ate a lot. 

The day started with Michael taking Ginger for a walk and then going to get breakfast burritos.  I was supposed to be sleeping in, but I woke up at the same time as him.  

My morning was spent with unwashed/unbrushed hair and no make-up.  My apologies to everyone. 

The kids wanted to do presents right after breakfast.  Still unwashed/unbrushed hair and no make-up. 

Yikes.  I'm like some sort of horror movie star here. 
Elliott did this at school.  My eyes are NOT red and green, my hair is NOT brown and I rarely take naps.  The rest is pretty accurate. 

Spencer made this m&m question gift at school. 

There was a different question to ask each other for each color m&m.  We did it that morning. 

Spencer's answers. 
Michael and I were walking through Target a few weeks ago when I mentioned I would like to have a grinder attachment for the stand mixer. 

So, bam, grinder attachment for the stand mixer. 
After presents there was some lounging around and general tomfoolery.  Then I actually took a shower and made myself look presentable. 

All I ever want for Mother's Day is a nice picture with my kids that doesn't take tears and 4 hours to get.  This was the first year in 10 years that I got it. 

It was so successful we decided to try one with Ginger too. 

After pictures we drove to Tempe to try out Hurts Donut.  It was basically our lunch.

We ordered half a dozen.  One for each person, one for adults to share and one for kids to share. 
Michael and I were supposed to share the maple bacon, but there was all sorts of confusion and a break-down in communication and it didn't happen, because there was an extra charge for this specific donut. 

I ended up with the S'mores, Spencer got a glazed, Elliott got a cotton candy, Michael got a chocolate peanut butter cup, the kids shared a brownie donut and Michael and I shared the Jesus, which was a churro donut.  I still don't understand why it was called the Jesus. It ended up being a cake donut though and I hate cake donuts.  It almost ruined the whole day.  Also, you saw the selection of donuts and how immense it was.  My two children could not decide on anything to share because they are both jerks and they both rejected anything the other suggested strictly to be difficult.  So I picked the brownie one for them and they were both pissed about it.  

Elliott was totally set on the cotton candy donut but then he was straight up angry that it came with real cotton candy on it and refused to eat the cotton candy or anything it was touching.  So then we told him we'd never buy him another donut in his life if he didn't eat it and all of a sudden he changed his tune and ate it. 

After the sugar coma we drove out to Queen Creek to look at model homes.  We just picked a random new development right off of the freeway and had ourselves a grand old time.  We ended up going to 15 different houses for about 5 different builders. 

These are from all different houses so don't even try to figure out which rooms go together because I can't remember. 

This one had a lovely outdoor living room

We thought it was cool that this sign had Spencer's birthday on it. 

This was a bedroom, but they styled it like a den.  I liked the walls. 

We saw some interesting light fixtures. 

This was a separate room right off the entry way.  We couldn't figure out what it was.  What is this room?  It's not a game room, or a tv room.  It's not really a craft room.  It's definitely got storage.  But it's not a pantry or an office.  What the hell is it?

I'd like a living room in my bedroom. 
We saw a couple houses that had little casitas separate from the house.  I'd love to have one of these.  A little studio apartment in your yard for guests.  This was the bedroom part of the casita. 

And the living room part.  
I took a picture of this because my parents had this entire set of Childcraft books when I was a kid.  I think they still do.  I wonder where the designer found them. 
We saw a fascinating studio model home.  I have never in my life seen a studio house.  No separate bedroom, all just one room. 

I can't imagine having my bedroom basically right next to the kitchen with no wall. 

One of the houses had two pigs in it and I was tempted to steal both.  But I didn't. 

I liked this brick patio.  We'd like to do something like this in our backyard.

Ah, isn't this the dream? A fireplace wall. 

So you can enjoy a nice roaring fire in your home gym on the other side of your bathroom? 

This house was 6,000 square feet and had a movie room.  Yes please. 

I loved this superhero room. 

And this 1,000 foot tall fireplace. 

Awesome bookshelf that would never look like this in a real home. 
And finally, another casita that had a bedroom, living room and kitchen.  We all decided we wanted to stay and spend like four hours there. 

But alas, we didn't.

After all of the model homes we came home and ordered Indian food for dinner. 

And then, like an hour later, because we hadn't eaten enough, we went out for ice cream. 

I can't remember what flavors everybody else had, but I had Almond Divinity and Coffee Toffee. 

Finally, we waddled home and waddled to bed and vowed to not eat for, like, two days at least. 

It was a great Mother's Day, and I will be burning off the extra calories until at least Saturday.