Monday, October 23, 2017

Weekending

Saturday morning started with another batch of apple crisp because we're still drowning in apples. The funny thing is that the apples are mostly irrelevant when it comes to apple crisp, for me anyway. I double the recipe for the crisp, but include the apples because it wouldn't be socially acceptable to make "crisp crisp."

When the apple crisp came out of the oven, we headed to Second Home Nature Center. I was feeling a strong need to be outside in a natural setting. However, the whole time we were there it sounded like we were parked on a highway. I don't recall the road sounds being so over-whelming in the past. I wonder if it was the lack of wind and less leaves on the trees. Whatever it was, I had trouble shaking my irritation. Aside from that it was beautiful, of course.








We hit Target before dinner to get more chalk because the Little Man is OBSESSED. He actually used every last little nub that we had, but it turns out mid-October is not chalk season. I had multiple employees helping me search, but they finally found a box of huge fancy chalk that boasts being washable. Um, isn't all chalk water soluble? It has always washed off the driveway in the rain. Weird. Regardless, he's thrilled.


From there we went to Panera for dinner because I had a gift card I was eager to use. We NEVER eat out, so this was a special treat. It felt downright festive, like Christmas. Little Man sat on the bench seat with me, ate all his food, and drank water from a regular cup. We watched a baby at a nearby table and danced in our seats to whatever music they were playing (nothing I recognized).

Sunday morning we put together and decorated a pretty Halloween house ("haunted" seems unnecessary at this point). He had soooo much fun sticking the jelly beans and candies in the frosting. I think that inspired him to ask me to draw houses with the chalk when we went outside. Lots and lots of houses.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Folding Bike

I have been slightly obsessed with the idea of a folding bike for quite some time now. I imagined that with such an apparatus I could store it in my trunk and deploy it for use between the parking lot and my office building (roughly one mile). I could avoid waiting for the unpredictable shuttle buses, as well as the sardine effect when the buses are full. Plus, it would allow for a little bit of exercise, something I don't get a lot of these days.

I recently saw a listing online and after a great deal of waffling I messaged the seller. Shortly thereafter my son and I drove to a pretty little village on a lake and I took possession of the bike.

Now I am not BIKE PEOPLE. I haven't ridden a bike in years. I doubt I've ever ridden a bike on a highly trafficked urban road. To say that I was nervous the first day is a major understatement. More like nauseous and shaking. I was terrified thinking about BUSES passing me and having to navigate a left turn. But now that I've been riding for a week, it turns out those things are not actually that scary.

SCARY is when person after person ambles out in front of me as if I have complete control over the machine I am on. I do NOT! I feel like I need a "Student Biker" sign. Riding on the road with cars is much less stressful than navigating crowds of oblivious people.

I also discovered a HILL that I was previously unaware of. Each morning my non-existent leg muscles scream as I crawl towards the top of the hill. Other bikers fly past me. I try to avoid eye contact with everyone. I wonder how long I have to ride before this bit gets easier.

Also, I guess I should probably invest in a bike helmet.

My odd little bike waiting to be stashed in a closet at work.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pumpkin Picking

Yesterday I broke my own rule about not doing fall activities when it's hot out. But I wanted to go pumpkin picking and Halloween is two weeks away. Good grief, why is it still 80 degrees out? Anywho, the other complicating factor is the field we like to go to is not open on Saturdays for religious reasons and typically Saturday is our only opportunity for adventure. But because my ex and I flip-flopped days again this past weekend, we met my sister, her son, and our dad in the field moments after they opened.

My son and his grandpa hunting for the perfect pumpkins. Photo taken by my sister.

We gathered many pumpkins from the field before heading to the corn maze. By that time it was hot and sunny and I was fading fast (still sick, whine, whine). After spending several years trying to escape the corn maze Little Man and I headed for home while the others waited for a hay ride. Maybe we can finally do that next year! Although I've seen pictures of other pumpkin patches that offer wheelbarrows, so maybe we need to consider picking elsewhere. It might make it easier for us old folks.

I was so exhausted after the heat and the maze that I slept for an hour and a half while my son was napping! I am really over feeling like crap.

I love how pumpkins look on the front steps. This is probably the last year I can get away with not carving jack o'lanterns.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Five

  • My boss has been out of town for almost two weeks, during which time I've been able to close the office to take a lunch break THREE times. Hardly seems fair (or, um, legal). I've also been sick the entire time and my son has been sick as well. But obviously using my sick time is not possible either. So, not feeling the love right now.
  • I've had a gaping hole in the ceiling of my guest bathroom for months. Last night my contractor stopped by to get a spare garage door opener so he could start working on it today. As I was getting ready for bed, I thought to myself I bet his daughter goes into labor tomorrow. I should've bought a lottery ticket. So I could hire a new contractor. Kidding.
  • I signed up for Walktober through my employer, but as with most commitments, it is not having the desired affect on me. I do not feel inspired, I feel obligated and grumpy. Plus, a tiny piece broke off the face of my Fitbit, so it's sharp and I'm afraid it will scratch my son. Frankly, I want to stop wearing it altogether, but part of me feels compelled to finished the challenge.
  • Of course this didn't stop me from signing up for some other challenge next month. Something about mindfulness. Sigh. It's like I don't even know myself at all. 
  • At least I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt because I excel at CASUAL Fridays. (I also think having to dress up for work is the stupidest thing ever. Can we do away with that tradition already?)
Happy Friday!!

Monday, October 09, 2017

Weekending

This weekend felt a little unsettled for several reasons. My son's father asked to switch the days he gets our son (on Sundays I drop the little man off at his dad's house and then go grocery shopping). This week we did that on Saturday AND I went to a different store, so everything felt mixed up. On top of that the little man has a cold so isn't operating at 100%.

On Saturday morning after his dad dropped him back home we made apple crisp. We clearly picked WAY too many apples last weekend. The apple crisp hardly made a dent. Note to self: next year buy the kiddie bag.

All for me!
Sunday morning we went on an adventure, driving to a picturesque village on a small lake. I would've liked to have explored a little more, but most things weren't open yet and the toddler wasn't in the best mood. Even at the park, he was unimpressed. Rocks! Where are the rocks? What is this stupid sand stuff?

No rocks. Sorry buddy.

It was VERY windy. We saw several canoes and kayaks on the water, despite the wind and the sky. Crazy people!

I have a thing for shadows.
Both afternoons were spent at our neighborhood park, playing on the playground. Little man is obsessed with "big kids." He follows them around, imitating what they say and do. It's adorable. Surprisingly to me, other kids keep assuming he's a girl. I don't think he has particularly feminine features, and he's usually dressed in shades of blue (although I guess the red shirt he's wearing in the photo above could be interpreted as pink). It's interesting to me that the mistake is most common with the elderly and with the young crowd (under 10). I don't care really and depending on the situation I may or may not even correct the person. I love his beautiful hair and he doesn't even know the difference between boy and girl. One of the big kids asked him,"Are you a boy or girl?" He was so delighted by the older boy's presence and said "Yes!" with great enthusiasm. Works for me.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Apple Picking

On Saturday morning it was finally cool enough to go apple picking. I refuse to do fall activities when it's in the 80s. The farm opened at 10am, so we pulled into a parking spot at 9:55am. I chose a farm that is mere minutes from our house and one that my son is very familiar with. During the summer we go for farm animals and ice cream, so he was understandably a bit bewildered when I dragged him into the apple orchard. Next year I will know to do animals first, then apples, then MORE ANIMALS. But all told, it was a success. He even wanted to "go for walk" on one of the farm roads, so bonus. (I did have to carry him back because he is one directional. Forward, march!)








Monday, October 02, 2017

2017 To-Do List: September

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like 
    1. clothes
    2. furniture DONE 
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books - 25/24 
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion DONE 
  5. Hang wall art 
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room DONE - 3/19/2017
  7. Blog at least once a week - 39/52 
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear DONE - 2/5/2017
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work DONE - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo DONE - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son DONE - 3/8/2017
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month - 9/12 
This wasn't a super productive month, but I surpassed my reading goal for the year and visited Second Home Nature Center twice. I've also continued to blog at least once per week, even if I can't count correctly. Lalala

Cousins climbing.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Things I am no Longer Doing

Things I am no Longer Doing (an Abridged Version)

Picking up toys.
Showering every day.
Dusting. Or removing cobwebs.
(The spiders can stay too.)
Caring if the dishes pile up in the sink.
Putting on a happy face for anyone
other than my son.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Currently

Eating: Hot, greasy pizza that I nabbed from an office event. It's divine. I'd love a second piece, but that would be unseemly, so I'm just hoping there's some leftovers when the event is done in a couple hours.

Watching: I'm not so patiently waiting for the new season of all my shows. Next week!

Reading: Yesterday I revisited A Man Called Ove, which I found uninspiring on a previous attempt. This time it caught, I think. 

Listening to: NPR. I took a break from all-NPR-all-the-time after the devastating election last fall. I couldn't deal with all the Trump-related bullshit. I've finally recovered enough to enjoy it again. Although I'm still filled with despair at everything that man says or does.

Playing: With Thomas Minis. Blowing bubbles. Throwing balls, black walnuts, acorns.

Saying: "If it comes apart you can't put it back together." My son is at the stage where he's very concerned when things break, usually food. So with food this is usually followed by "but it's still tasty!"

Feeling: Disappointed. Something I was really looking forward to isn't going to happen and that's all I'm saying on the matter.

Looking forward to: This wretched heat breaking. It's obscenely hot and I am OVER it.

What are you up to these days?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nothing

We did nothing of note this past weekend. We played in the yard, in the sandbox, on the swing set, with the water in the kiddie pool. But we didn't go anywhere, didn't do anything special. This was semi-intentional on my part, after weeks of Saturday activities (hiking, the Fair, a harvest festival). And partly because the heat has returned and I refuse to do fall activities when it's 85 degrees outside.

We stayed plenty busy (because in my experience toddlers are not exactly sedentary creatures), but it still feels like a wasted weekend. Like because we did nothing special, it didn't even really happen. There are no picture-laden posts on Facebook, nothing to report here on the blog. I'm left with a mild sense of disappointment, as though I didn't take full advantage of the time off with my son.

I really only have one opportunity each week to do something with him. Saturday morning is our longest chunk of time to set forth on adventures. If we miss that window, the only thing we can really do is wait until next Saturday rolls around. I expect I will be more motivated this coming Saturday, although the weather forecast is calling for more 80s. I guess apple-picking will have to wait.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Weekending

On Saturday my son and I went to Second Home Nature Center for the annual harvest festival. We checked out a few crafters selling their homemade goods, ate some fresh sugary donuts, went for a "hike" with Grandpa before his volunteering shift started, and petted some animals at the petting zoo. The weather was delightfully cool and fall-like. We missed most of the crowds by getting there minutes after the festival opened and leaving before lunch.




I've been wanting to try the bread machine my husband left, but all of the recipes I'd found online said to follow the machine's instructions, which I do not have. I finally found one that didn't say that and didn't call for bread flour, so I tried it out during my son's nap on Saturday. But then, I lost count while adding the whole wheat flour and the dough was rock hard once it started mixing so I panicked and threw in some extra water. The loaf came out oddly misshapen and very, very heavy. Like heavy enough that it could be used as a deadly weapon. My son won't eat it, and I'm finding it requires A LOT of butter to make it edible. I probably won't use that recipe again, even if it was my own fault for losing track of the flour.


On Sunday during nap I threw together a family specialty, mac and cheese with only three ingredients. I didn't put enough milk in initially and then I didn't check it soon enough, so the top layer of noodles are too crispy for my preference. I spent most of dinner time last night picking them off one by one so hopefully the rest won't be so yucky. The rock hard crunchy noodles ruin it for me. Sadly, my son wasn't impressed with our family tradition and refused to eat more than a few bites. So not the most successful cooking experiences. But otherwise, weekends are wonderful, of course.


Joining Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Lunchtime Reading



If you enjoy reading books in which everyone dies, I have the perfect book for you.

This is book four in a series, so I knew what I was getting into when I started it. And yet, good grief already. This book is just one awful, bloody mess. Each horrible thing that happens is worse than the last. And thus far, nothing good or happy has happened at all.

Also, if your cable goes out, don't read this before bed if you're anything like me. You'll be jumping at shadows and lying in bed listening to every random creak and bump in the night.

And for some inexplicable reason I've already added book five to my wishlist.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Pinned it, Did it, Won't Do it Again


One of the items left behind after my husband's departure was his slow cooker. I'd been anxiously waiting for cooler weather to try using it (because those things actually put out a lot of heat when running all day). It seemed like such a good idea. Throw stuff in while my son is napping and then have dinner all ready without any fuss or muss. Or toddler wrangling.

Creamy Tortellini & Spinach Soup

1 bag frozen tortellini
1 small bag fresh spinach
2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes
1 box (4 cups) vegetable broth
1 block cream cheese

Put all ingredients in the crock pot, chunking out the cream cheese. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

The results: the tortellini was beyond soggy, to the point of disintegration. The overall flavor was bland. It needed something. Spices? Onion? Garlic? Even corn might've helped. The spinach was the best part, otherwise it was just bland mush.

If I ever did this again (and I won't), I would exclude the cream cheese. It was weird and lumpy and added nothing to the whole affair.

I split the leftovers and froze two thirds of it. Maybe when my electric bill is sky high this winter and I'm feeling desperately broke, I will be grateful for the sustenance.

Friday, September 01, 2017

2017 To-Do List: August

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like 
    1. clothes
    2. furniture DONE *
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books - 22/24 **
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion DONE 
  5. Hang wall art 
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room DONE - 3/19/2017
  7. Blog at least once a week - 33/52 
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear DONE - 2/5/2017
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work DONE - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo DONE - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son DONE - 3/8/2017
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month - 8/12 ***
* I finally got rid of the last piece of furniture on my to-go list (and it only took a year). When my husband moved out he left his giant ugly dresser which I've always hated. He said he would take it, but he never did. I finally got so sick of looking at it that I dragged it down the stairs by MYSELF on a super humid, almost 90 degree day. I made three trips with the drawers and then dragged the dresser down the stairs, out the front door, down the walk, and into the garage. Apparently it must have shamed him enough that he took it with him after only a couple weeks in the garage.

** Apparently I only read two books in August (hmmmn), but I'm still gonna hit my goal for the year without much effort, so it's all good.

*** Our August trip to Second Home Nature Center featured our favorite bog trail and yummy blueberries.



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Shaving my Legs

The hair on my legs grows very, very fast. I have to shave my legs (knees and down) every single day in the summer. As such, I go through A LOT of shaving gel. The most recently purchased container developed an issue almost immediately. If I pushed with all my might I could get a tiny little stream of gel. It took ages to get enough and it hurt my thumb. But I was reluctant to throw it away (recycle it) and waste the money. Which of course got me thinking about how many of the damn containers I'm buying and putting out in the world to be recycled (I hope). There has to be a better way to do this. One that costs less and has a lower impact on the environment.

So I posted in an AP/Natural Living group asking for ideas. Because if you need a solution to any kind of problem these folks are on it. I made it clear I was not looking for a recipe because making my own shaving cream? NOPE, never gonna happen.

The majority of the responses were in favor of just using regular bar soap. I'm not enthusiastic about it, but I will try it. The response I expected was to use conditioner. I'd heard that one before and had done it in a pinch when I failed to purchase more shaving gel in time. I tried it again, and while it got the job done I don't think I'd want to use my regular conditioner. It would not be cost effective since I would go through it so quickly. Maybe if I bought a super cheap conditioner that I would never put in my hair.

One woman suggested something I never would've thought of: aloe vera gel, the kind you put on sunburns. Interesting. And it just so happens that I have half a bottle of it left under the sink by my husband when he moved out. It's quite a few years old and nothing I would ever use for its intended purpose. After all, I do everything in my power to avoid the cursed orb, so sunburn isn't something I have to deal with. So that's what I'm using right now. I didn't even have buy anything and I'm using up something that would've gone in the trash otherwise. Win-win.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Currently

Eating: I went out to lunch today, an extremely rare occurrence. A friend from high school is in town for a few days, so we enjoyed a quick visit over quesadillas (me) and a burrito (him).

Watching: I watched the first episode the The Kettering Incident, a BBC show, without knowing much about it. It takes place in Tasmania (!) and the first episode was interesting and intense, but seems to be headed in a direction I may not want to explore. Not sure how much effort I'll put into continuing this.

Reading: Yesterday I started a new book, The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin. I missed my lunchtime reading today because of my lunch plans, but I look forward to reading more tomorrow.

Playing: Outside, whenever possible. The mosquitos are devouring my son, even with me doing nothing but watching for them. Sneaky little bastards.

Saying: "You are brave. You are kind. You are smart. You are sweet. You are funny. You are silly." One night when I was putting my son to bed I decided I needed to include some affirmations into our goodnight routine. I hadn't thought of them in advance so these are the ones that rolled off my tongue in the moment. They aren't necessarily what I would have decided on with more consideration, but they've stuck.

Feeling: Tired. I feel like I've been in survival mode for three years now. I am always tired.

Looking forward to: Cooler weather, especially cooler nights. Last night it dropped down to 50 and it was delightful.

What are you up to these days?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Five: Self-Care

I'm not a fan of the term "self-care," which is so widely used these days. For me it's more about staying sane. I know I've talked about this before, but here are some of the things that help me keep my head above the water:
  1. Chocolate. See also: ice cream, cake, cookies.
  2. Starbucks Green Tea Lattes. Yes, I spend too much money at Starbucks. But if it helps me be a better person/mom, maybe it's worth it. It's not frickin' heroin or Jack Daniels, after all.
  3. TV. Three days a week I get to watch TV for an hour or two. I unplug my brain and stare at the idiot box. Not thinking is nice sometimes.
  4. Leaving the office for 59 minutes most days during lunch. Mostly to read, with a short walk thrown in.
  5. Target. This one's a bit of a stretch, but I was really struggling to come up with a 5th item. Target (easily combined with #2) is somewhere to go when the weather is not ideal, or we need to get out of the house, or I need some chocolate (#1).
If you're wondering why I haven't included any outdoorsy type activities (hiking!) on this list, it's because while I firmly believe getting my son outside is super important, it is currently far from relaxing. It's more like wrangling and watching for mosquitoes and very little looking up or around or noticing my surroundings. It's a lot of effort.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Lunchtime Reading



I'd earned a free drink from Starbucks ages ago, but I hadn't been in a healthy enough state to enjoy it. Finally today I felt up to it (although my sinuses may disagree) and zipped down the hill on my lunch break. I'm still reveling in the joys of the mobile app on which I can place my order and pick it up at the counter without standing in line or interacting with people (the horror). Or at least that's how it was previously. Today, sadly, I was forced to speak with a barista to retrieve my drink, which I could see in a newly designated area out of my reach. People must have been stealing drinks, thus spoiling some of the appeal of mobile ordering. Crappy people, always ruining good stuff for the rest of us.

After securing my green tea frapp I walked back up the hill in search of an unoccupied bench in the shade. I passed a good handful positioned on the hill at an angle. No thanks. I've done enough camping in my lifetime with the tent set up on a slight hill to know that a similarly situated bench would irk me to no end. I can't be sliding off one end of the bench for my whole reading session.

This book is bewildering. It is interesting, occasionally humorous and also a bit dull at times. I'm just shy of halfway through it and frankly, can see no real point to it's meandering existence. Hopefully this becomes more clear SOON.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

2017 To-Do List: July

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like 
    1. clothes
    2. furniture *
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books - 20/24 **
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion DONE 
  5. Hang wall art 
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room DONE - 3/19/2017
  7. Blog at least once a week - 29/52 
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear DONE - 2/5/2017
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work DONE - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo DONE - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son DONE - 3/8/2017
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month - 7/12 ***
* I finally got rid of the coffee table and end tables that have been hogging up space in the garage. This past weekend we were expecting no rain so my boss suggested I put them at the curb. I decided it was worth a shot as the worst that could happen was me wasting 5 minutes hauling them down and back if it didn't work. I carried them down Saturday morning while playing outside with my son, but I hadn't thought to make a FREE sign in advance. When we went in for lunch I made the sign, planning to dash out as soon as he was down for his nap. But alas, they were gone by then. Success! But I can't mark this as done because there are other pieces of furniture that still need to be evicted.

** Dang! I finished 4 books in July. Go me.

*** Our monthly trip to the nature center didn't go as planned. My son wanted to go inside (ugh), but I eventually got him headed down a trail (not the one I'd hoped for but any trail is better than going inside). But after about 50 yards he turned around and insisted on going back. I decided it wasn't worth the fight, so back we went. We putzed around the flower gardens, sat in the Adirondack chairs, and climbed on rocks. It wasn't what I had in mind, but we were still outside and that's the important part (I guess).


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Saying Goodbye

My son has started coming to the window of his classroom to wave goodbye to me as I drive past. There is a set of small wooden stairs that a teacher will put under the window and then they open it for him. I pull to the side of the entrance road and open the passenger window so I can wave and call out to him. It's super sweet, but it's almost twice as hard to leave him now because I have to tear myself away from him twice: once in the classroom and again as I drive away from the window. This morning the teachers were busy so there were no stairs to climb and no open window for me to call "I love you!" through. There was only his little head bouncing up over the window sill as he jumped up and down trying to see me and his little hand waving goodbye.

I hate leaving him. I hate that I have to leave him to go to a job I don't care about. I work because I have to in order to keep a roof over our heads and food on our plates. Maybe it would be easier to leave him if I was going to do something worthwhile or interesting, but my position is almost entirely unnecessary. I spend all day waiting to see him, then our evening goes by in a flash, and suddenly it's bedtime. I never want it to be bedtime because it means our time together is over for another day. I can't wait for him to wake up in the morning so I can hug him and kiss him and hear him laugh for a few minutes before we rush off to school and work. There is never enough time together.

One night when I was tucking him in and he wasn't feeling well I told him "I am always, always right here if you need me." It has become one of the things we repeat to each other before saying goodnight most nights. This morning he said it over and over in the car on the way to school. Always, little buddy. Always.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Currently

Eating: I meal-prepped four lunches for this week: white rice, frozen veggies (two days of broccoli, then two days of brussel sprouts), and two hard boiled eggs for the first three days. Tomorrow I'll eat a frozen pot pie.

Watching: Salvation, a new summer drama on CBS. I was hooked after only a few minutes of the pilot. Hopefully the second episode is equally captivating.

Reading: Nothing! Well, only because I finished the book I was reading (French by Heart by Rebecca Ramsey) on lunch. I will start a new (as yet undetermined) book tomorrow.

Listening: I listened to my first ever podcast, Literaticast. (About: Literary Agent Jennifer Laughran and her friends dish about the world of Children's Publishing.) Podcasts have never appealed to me, but I was sorting through old papers at work, and figured I'd give it a whirl.

Playing: In the pool. And by pool I mean one of the bright blue plastic kiddie pools. Only my son doesn't get in it. He uses it to scoop water out of using vessels of all different sizes and materials.

Saying: "Don't touch. Just look at it." At which point my son waves at whatever item we are referring to and says hi.

Laughing at: My son singing "Slippery Fish" 87 times in a row.

Loving: Spending my lunch hours outside every day. Seeing my son's language skills develop. Eating ice cream.

Looking forward to: October

What are you up to these days?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lunchtime Reading

The bench I usually sit on during lunch is in dappled sunlight, which is still too much sun for me when it is hot out. Today I varied my walking route and happened upon a charming spot in FULL SHADE. The only downside being the noise from a nearby building (air system? fans? I dunno, but SO LOUD). The other minor issue was that the bench itself is falling apart. Twice while I was sitting on it, one end of the seat dropped several inches. Oh well, charm and shade are more important than stability, right?



Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Five

  1. We've been purging at the office. Now that I've been in my current position for a full year I finally feel comfortable deciding what I need to keep and what I DO NOT. The ladies that staffed the office previously were of the print-every-email variety. The oldest one I disposed of yesterday was from 3/15/99. They also printed off our website for crying out loud. Now if only I could translate some of this energy to my house...
  2. I haven't been meal prepping my lunches because I can't possibly use the oven when it's already 77 degrees inside the house (or hotter!). But I need to come up with cheaper alternatives to buying five frozen meals a week. And it can't involve peanut butter because that's what my son and I eat for lunch every Saturday and Sunday.
  3. I have many times mentioned my love of Le Tour de France on this blog, but this may well be the least I've watched it in countless years. I'm averaging 5-10 minutes a day, which is far from satisfying, but the only way I could watch more is to stay up later and NOPE, not gonna happen. I need my sleep.
  4. Cute/funny things my son has said/done recently: 
    1. The other day, as we approached the playground he said, "Hi playground. What are you doing, playground?"
    2. "Look at the tiny, little bird!" He said, while pointing at a butterfly.
    3. He routinely tries to grab things out of books. He gets upset as his little fingers scrabble across the page, "Grab it! Grab it!"
  5. He is all of a sudden on a Thomas kick. I don't know who to blame for this (his school? his father?), but I am not pleased with this development. Yes, it's certainly the lesser of evils when it comes to cartoons (gak!), but it's tedious. I actually enjoy Daniel Tiger, and I cannot say the same for Thomas.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Friday Five

Five random things:
  1. I finally cleared off the coffee table and matching end tables that I want to get rid of. I moved them to the garage and posted their availability online. But no takers, so now I have to figure out some other way to get rid of them as I can't fit them in my car to take to the donation center. It's sad when you can't even give away perfectly good furniture. 
  2. I used a lot of vacation time in June to avoid losing it before the end of our fiscal year. Because of that I had more naptime than usual to watch TV, so I got all caught up on my recorded shows and even watched a few movies. Movie watching is tricky because each movie has to be spread over at least two days, and not always two consecutive days. For example, on Tuesday I started watching Snowden, but I likely won't be able to finish it until nap tomorrow (Saturday). Other movies I've watched recently include: The Scorch Trials, The Giver, and The Martian. I enjoyed all of them and look forward to watching two more I have recorded on the DVR at some point. It has been years since movie watching was a regular part of my life.
  3. The other night I was sitting on the couch watching a few minutes of Le Tour de France while waiting for my son to settle down so I could take my nightly shower. I heard something and peaked out the curtains. The noise was just my across the street neighbors, but as I determined that I saw a little flash of light and then another. Fireflies! I know this sounds crazy, but I had kinda forgotten all about fireflies. I have not been outside my house after 7:30pm in more than 27 months. It's strange to think of everything going on out there in the rest of the world. Like fireflies!
  4. The town I live in picks up yard waste every other week. All yard waste must be in a container or tied in bundles (no piles of stuff). I put out 3 full trash cans on Wednesday and refilled two already just yesterday. I need pick up every other DAY or a brush hog or a chain saw or I don't even know. It's out of control.
  5. After SO MUCH RAIN we've had a stretch of dry (but humid, can't win 'em all) days and it's been glorious.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

2017 To-Do List: June

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like 
    1. clothes
    2. furniture
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books - 16/24 *
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion DONE **
  5. Hang wall art 
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room DONE - 3/19/2017
  7. Blog at least once a week - 25/52 
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear DONE - 2/5/2017
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work DONE - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo DONE - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son DONE - 3/8/2017
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month - 6/12 ***
* I only read two books in June, but I'm still in no danger of missing my mark with this goal.

** I think I am ready to say that I have successfully implemented a system for paying my bills in a timely fashion (something I've always struggled with). In my planner I make a note to pay each bill on the Sunday that falls before it is due (with enough time for payment to clear when applicable). I use florescent pink ink because it stands out and is not a color I would gravitate to for any other usage. I pay the bills that are due during nap on Sunday and check off each item in my planner. Simple, but it seems to be working.


*** We went to the nature center twice in June.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

High Water






Because the rain. It. Never. Ends.

We did manage to squeeze in a nice walk under threatening skies. But still, ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE FRICKIN RAIN.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lunchtime Reading


This book is broken into sections for various family members. After reaching the end of the first (and longest?) section from the youngest daughter's perspective, I was feeling disenchanted with the book and set it aside to read the third book in a YA series. When that was done I somewhat reluctantly picked this book back up and launched into the next section about George, the next oldest sibling of four. So far I am enjoying George ever so much more than Amy. I am not feeling overly optimistic about the other two siblings though.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Father's Day

People talk about how hard Father's Day is for those whose fathers have passed away or for those that grew up without a dad in their lives, but you don't see a lot from the single mom's perspective. I fully expected to have a lifetime of holidays and vacations, trips to the grocery store and movie nights, with my husband and child. We talked about having kids for a long time, then we spent 10 months trying to get pregnant, and 9 months being pregnant. That's a long time to anticipate what life will be like after the baby is born.

But then everything changes. Your husband walks out on you, moves in with another woman. Now your son will spend Father's Day with the family of three you envisioned, only you aren't a part of it. And everyone is happy, except you. Not because you want anything to do with the man who left you, but because you're missing out on yet another celebration you expected to be part of. And worst of all, you're missing out on time with your son.

So screw you, Father's Day. Screw you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Turtle Hike

This past Saturday my sister and our boys went for a hike along one of our regular routes, which we call the "turtle hike" because several years ago we encountered a slew of hatchling painted turtles. It was an exciting hike. This time there were no baby turtles, but we did see four adult turtles (one painted and three snapping) and a bald eagle. The boys did a great deal of rock throwing and we all enjoyed the hike and the time together.




Friday, June 09, 2017

Currently (The Boring Edition)

Drinking: Water or tea. Nothing new here. Maybe if it ever warms up I can treat myself to a Green Tea Frappuccino.

Watching: Now that the regular season has ended for all of my TV shows, I'm catching up on several series that accumulated on my DVR, like Call the Midwife and The Blacklist.

Reading: The Summer We Fell Apart by Robin Antalek. It started out well, but after today's lunchtime reading session I have soured on it and may end up abandoning it altogether. It's such a disappointment when that happens, but what's the sense in torturing myself by finishing it?

Listening: Nothing new here. I still don't listen to much music.

Playing: At the playground. Or watching my son throw rocks in the storm drains.

Saying: "We climb up the stairs and slide down the slide." "Splash!"

Laughing at: My son. He is such a source of joy. I did a little Elaine dance for him the other evening and I've never seen him laugh so hard. I love making him laugh.

Loving: The warm weather and sunshine. I am so ready for summer!

Hating: Not being able to spend more time with my son. This. Always.

What are you up to these days?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

A Break in the Rain

I feel like it has been raining every day for weeks and months. Apparently this is the second rainiest spring (the rainiest being 1976) we've ever had. My son has grown weary of his rain suit. I'm having trouble keeping good cheer. It's depressing.

But! This past Saturday we had sunshine and milder temps. We went to the big playground and threw rocks in the lake. I even got to sit down for 30 seconds. It was rather nice.



Friday, June 02, 2017

2017 To-Do List: May

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like *
    1. clothes
    2. furniture
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books - 14/24 **
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion 
  5. Hang wall art 
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room COMPLETED - 3/19/2017
  7. Blog at least once a week - 21/52 
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear COMPLETED - 2/5/2017
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work COMPLETED - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo COMPLETED - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son COMPLETED - 3/8/2017
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month - 5/12 ***
* I got rid of a GIANT coffee table that was hogging up space in the garage, as well as one no-longer-in-use baby item by sticking them at the curb with a FREE sign during our community garage sale. I wish I had planned ahead to have more items ready to go. Get out! Get out! I also donated an infant car seat and a few clothes and shoes to an immigrant family. Still a long way to go. Why do I have so much stuff??

** I finished 4 books in May, so I'm definitely on track to make my yearly goal.

*** We went to the nature center twice in May.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Playground Bullies

On one of our many trips to the playground this past weekend, my son had his first exposure to bullying. It unfortunately involved the same non-English speaking family that had previously shared a cookie with him, which left me confused about how best to handle the situation. My guess is that the kids actually speak English, even if their grandma does not.

Our playground is quite small, having only one straight slide and one twisty slide with a tunnel between them. My son has only recently started going down the twisty slide and he's obsessed. He's played with other kids of all ages without any problems, one climbs the stairs, one slides, and repeat. But this time the two kids (age 3ish and 5ish) would not share the slide with him AT ALL. Both of them stood in the little "house" at the top, then one would slide down and immediately climb back up the slide, thus never clearing the house nor slide and never allowing my son the chance to play. They were being very clear and very intentional about their behavior. 

When we first got there I tried to reassure him that all the kids could share and take turns, but it soon became clear they had no intention of doing so and that their grandma had no intention of making them. So my son was left crying on the platform below, saying "His turn" (by which he means his turn and IT WAS) and "need to share" over and over in his sad little two year old voice.

My heart broke in a million pieces. I wanted to throttle those kids. And their grandma. And throw the Oreo they gave my son last time right back in their little bully faces.

What was I supposed to do? Scold them myself? I genuinely don't know. I'm still quite new to the whole playground dynamic, and so I bowed out. Maybe that was the wrong approach because what happens the next time we go and they're there again? Now they know they can get away with their bad behavior. Maybe I will work up the nerve to stand up to them next time. Someone has to.

But my heart was so shattered all I could do was distract my son with the suggestion of throwing rocks in a storm drain up the street. And he still wanted to say bye-bye to the wretches as we climbed up the hill towards the road. We camped out at the storm drain way longer than normal until I saw the bullies leave. And back we went to the twisty slide, so my son could have HIS TURN.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend



And that pretty much sums up the whole weekend.

Also, those boots I'm wearing? Best $20 ever spent.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Oreo

We're at the playground, and as usual, we're the only two people there. Sometimes I prefer it this way, so I don't have to participate in awkward interactions with other parents or resent the teenagers who aren't modeling good playground behavior. But sometimes it's nice for my son to have other kids around, especially if they're close to his age. I don't worry about this too much as he attends daycare and spends most of his time with a roomful of other toddlers.

We've been here long enough that he's already done a lot of sliding and swinging and we're now playing with an abandoned basketball when two slightly older kids arrive with their grandma (I think, but I'm horrible at guessing ages, even as an older mom myself). He can't resist the draw of other kids, so he eventually wants to head back up to the playground where he can watch them fly down the big curly slide and run up and down the stairs. He carefully enters their orbit and repeats an occasional word or two. They don't speak English and are amused at his attempts to mimic them, but not in a cruel way.

After a while the younger boy climbs up on the bench and tries to open and insert a straw into a milk box, with limited success. While he's intent on this operation, my son climbs up onto the bench next to him, so I give him his water. The grandma comes over to help with the milk box, followed by the older sister, at which point the kids dig into a ziplock bag of Oreos. There is a brief exchange between the girl and her grandma before the girl offers my son a cookie. He is thrilled and happily sets aside his container of Cheerios. He holds the cookie up and says, "Cookie! Yummy" over and over. He watches the other kids eat and drink while clutching his cookie. I am simultaneously horrified that he's eating food from random strangers in the park and that it's a double-stuff Oreo, of all things. At least it's a blonde one and not the original chocolate version.

He doesn't seem to know what to do with the cookie though, so I eventually break off one of the cookie sides and give that to him in smaller pieces. He scarfs those down, but doesn't seem overly motivated to eat the other half and I'm not about to encourage him to eat the cream center (the best part!). He continues to clutch the second cookie with the cream center still attached until we're home and his lunch is on the table in front of him. He even manages to keep a hold of it throughout hand-washing. I finally convince him he can set the cookie down on his place mat so he can eat his yogurt. Fortunately, he never bothers to pick it back up and I can toss it in the sink with the other uneaten detritus from his lunch.

***

I know this story will be of little interest to anyone but me, but I like the idea of capturing these little moments so they don't get lost in the shuffle of growing up. Seeing him climbing up to sit with the other little boy, completely unconcerned about the differences in language and culture. Just three little kids hanging out at the playground, eating Oreos. Pure, simple joy.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Annoyances



Is this confusing? Hard to understand? Is the print too small? (OK, so yes, I would have made the font larger if I'd printed the sign, but it is still perfectly legible.)

I've picked THREE used K-Cups from the trash so far today. I just don't get it.

I also don't understand why the weekly rate at daycare is going up in a few weeks. Apparently there's an annual increase. How charming. But seriously, for the amount we pay, why can't they provide a more filling (and interesting) afternoon snack than Cheerios (or what are most certainly generic Os).

Happy Friday, here's your rate increase! Happy Friday, have fun picking through the trash because your self-absorbed co-workers can't be bothered to follow directions!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Afternoon on the Bog

After nap yesterday I dragged my son to Second Home Nature Center for a walk around the bog. He wanted to go to the playground, but I was determined to get in some time in a more natural setting. We can go to the playground in our neighborhood any day. He does love the boardwalk, but there were a few trying moments between the car and the boardwalk. Of course, he was equally reluctant to get back in the car when it was time to leave. Toddlers, good grief.








Fringed polygala

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Lunchtime Reads

I am almost done with this book and am loving every word. This is one of those books I hate putting down at the end of my lunch. I think about it when I'm not reading it. I don't even remember how I stumbled upon it before adding it to my wishlist, but I am so glad I did.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Meal Prep Again

I sacrificed a good portion of naptime on Sunday to once again meal prep my lunches for the week. I cooked another batch of white rice, along with chicken and veggies. I like the combination. This week I chose a different flavor of pre-marinated chicken breasts, which I've managed to forget. Maybe Italian seasoning or something similar. I definitely prefer the honey mustard from last week. I baked it this week, a much superior method to broiling. I also baked the zucchini and yellow squash with olive oil and garlic salt (not enough). I baked it so long that it practically melts in your mouth, just the way I like it. I portioned the food into 4 lunches, which will leave me eating crap only one day this week. Yay!