Category : The Sandwich Shop
You know you have officially started back to school when the teacher asks you to write, or in the case of younger children draw, what you did during your summer vacation. We’ve been back in school three weeks now, as I sit by my open window enjoying the rare treat that is a cool breeze, its the first day that has really felt like fall to me. And so, I find myself reflecting on my Summer 2011.
Dan and I took our first trip alone together since the babies were born three years ago. We toured San Francisco and the Sonoma Valley wine country. I shot this boat on the side of the road on our way out to Sonoma. In Texas you might see an old truck or a broken down trailer, but seeing this boat was proof positive we truly were a world away.
Back home we grew a few strawberries,
and seemingly endless piles of tomatoes.
I drove kids to golf,
applied layers of sun block as they jumped in the pool,
and made homemade ice cream sandwiches.
We visited Colorado’s Garden of the Gods at sunset. . . Twice.
Because my daughter enjoyed it so much the first time.
I shot this photo, that I love for its composition and directness,
and this one that I love because it just oozes friendship and summer fun.
I waged countless battles with one stubborn Boogie,
trying to make the most of his terrible twos. (All I wanted to do was take his picture!)
And I prayed that God would remind me that two turns into eight
in the blink of an eye.
So, while summer 2011 may go down in the record books as Dallas’ hottest (ie most miserable) in history, it was, in my book anyway, a blessed time of growth and joy for which I am truly thankful. Now back to our regularly schedule program (ie supervising homework).
We’re goin’ on a road trip. . . we’re goin’ on a road trip. . . what a beautiful day. . . I’m not scared. (Well, OK. Just a little.)
My children are 2, 3 and 7. In a few short weeks, they will be 3, 3 and 8. And so we will live, praying that no one asks me how old my kids are, for two months until Sister finally turns 4.
When your kids are that little, and as close in age as my babies, routine is your only lifeline. (Well, that, and half-doors on their bedrooms with padlocks.) Until recently, the prospect of upsetting that apple cart to travel with them has been unthinkable. We didn’t even venture out to our own lake house but once last summer. And it is only 1 hour and 25 minutes away, not to mention stocked with all of our required toiletries and toys. It was just too hard.
With the a couple of years of maturity and the help of a little vyvanse, however, things with the kids have gotten a little easier lately. So, always an avid traveler myself, I decided to ignore my trepidations and give road tripping with my kids a try.
Thirteen hours and one day later, we are in West Creek, Colorado on the shores of Pine Lake, enjoying dramatically cooler temperatures and the generous hospitality of my cousin – the One and Only Tammy Abramovitz.
And you know what? With a little planning (OK, enough planning to satisfy my inner OCD for a long, long time), it wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as I thought it might be. Look out cousin Kyra of South Padre Island, TX. We are coming to you next.
Despite her fear of heights and resultant intermittent discomfort in the mountains, my mother came with us on this adventure. Last night after she and the kids were finally asleep, I looked at my calendar and realized that today is the two year anniversary of the Kung Pow Chicken Incident, aka the single lowest point in my journey as a simultaneous caretaker of small children and older, sometimes infirm, adults.
What can I say? We really have come a long way, baby.
Turns out, I LOVE a sick day. As long as its the big boy that’s sick, that is (meaning the babies still go to school and I’m not the one feeling poorly.) And as long as he’s not too sick. He is my first born child, after all. I don’t really want him to suffer.
But what happens when the stars align to produce that slight fever that hovers around 101 and a headache that can be ameliorated with a dose of Tylenol? Just enough to keep a first grader home from school but not enough to make him miserable? Can I hear you say “Amen” people?
There were no such things as sick days for me growing up. I mean, I come from a family so steeped in the importance of education that, in the old days, we – and by we I really mean my mother and her sister – were known to forego shoes in the summer in order to save money for college. Seriously.
What’s more, my Dad was my first elementary school principal, my mother taught in my school, too, and her best friend (and my fill in mother whenever Momma wasn’t around), Virginia, was my elementary school secretary. My aunts both taught at the high school, and my Granny Cordella, though retired from teaching the year I was born, spent many an hour telling me tales of her career as an all in one teacher, administrator, nurse, janitor, basketball coach and lunch lady in a one room school house in rural Oklahoma. Mine were not the kind of people likely to endorse a “mental health day” if it meant missing classroom instruction.
Translation – I would have had to be bleeding from my eyes, or the equivalent, to miss a day of school as a kid. So naturally, my school transcripts are littered with a slew of perfect attendance certificates from Kindergarten to High School. Every year save and except for the third grade, that is, when I had the flu so bad that my parents could not legitimately expose my classmates to my germiness. Sadly, I must have been too sick on that occasion to enjoy the time off, because my only memory of the experience is lying miserably on the living room couch while Virginia force fed me Sprite through a straw.
Today, however, is the good kind of sick day. Its almost 2:00, and Caleb and I are both still lounging around in mismatched pajamas. Dan even drove the babies to school for me. Now that is truly a luxury.
Rest assured, we have not been totally useless, my big boy and I. I may not have picked up the drycleaning, or bought this week’s groceries, or managed to visit my Dad at the Sterling House, but I did figure out how to help Caleb study his spelling words with a cool new iPad app (called, simply enough, “Spelling Test”). And, yes Momma, he has finished almost all of his school reader. Only two stories to go.
But, he has also watched copious amounts of sometimes questionable TV on Disney XM. We ate an entire lunch prepared from nothing but the food from the freezer (cocktail hot dogs, french fries and egg rolls) that could be baked at 400 degrees on a single cookie sheet. And I have no idea what’s for dinner.
All in all, though, I must admit, I have really enjoyed the freedom that comes with knowing that, for today anyway, my job as a mom requires that I stay home for a change and shower a little extra attention on my oldest child. The one who’s needs sometimes tend get knocked off my radar by his younger, but much louder, siblings.
And if I manage to squeeze in a little extra R&R (or maybe even some blogging) for myself, on a day when I really can’t be out and about doing the nine million other things screaming for my attention, anyway? That wouldn’t really be so bad, would it?
UPDATE: Dan called at 5:40, saying there was no way he could get his dry cleaning before 6pm. Apparently, he HAS to have it by tomorrow.I guess they discourage testifying at state legislative sessions in your undies. So I crammed that in on my way to pick up the babies and now they are fighting over who has the right to sing some annoying tune that they made up. Ahhh sick day. I miss you already!
OK. Can I just start by saying that there is not, nor will there ever be, anything routine about a visit to you friendly neighborhood gynecological oncologist? To try pretend otherwise is simply to put the “moron” in oxymoron. One year after chemotherapy, however, that is what they call my mother’s quarterly check ups with Dr. Munoz. . . Routine.
The reality is quite the opposite. You see, ovarian cancer is one of those “C” words which, while treatable (at least in my Mom’s case), has an extremely high rate of recurrence – about 70%. So, although I can honestly say that, a year into Mom’s remission, sometimes an entire day will go by without my ever thinking about cancer, the threat that her disease (and everything that goes along with it) will oneday return is omnipresent. Nothing brings that threat to the forefront like a return to the scene of the crime. . . in this case, the gyn onc’s office. (more…)
Today is my mother’s 68th birthday. To be honest with you, I almost forgot it. Between coordinating Caleb’s school Valentines’ Day party and prepping for Mom’s quarterly check up with the oncologist, I have been so laser focused on Monday, February 14th, that I almost let Friday the 11th slip right by.
You know who didn’t forget? My Daddy. MS may have wreaked havoc with his balance and stuck him in the Sterling House, but it hasn’t touched his natural inclination for putting the rest of us first. He called to remind me a couple of days ago and made me promise to take Momma out shopping today since he could not.
I think I did one even better than that. I took Mom to the Nail Boutik (with a K, of course).
Today is an auspicious occasion in my world. Its not a major holiday, or even a birthday or a wedding anniversary, but for me, today is nothing short of a major milestone. Because, you see, today marks the one-year anniversary of the day that my Momma drove her car, through the exterior wall, and smack dab into the dining room of her local chinese restaurant. What a day that was. Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?
My Original Facebook Post – 07/15/09
Many of you have been following my crazy life via facebook for a while now, and so I though you might enjoy this little update. Today was a big day in our world. (more…)
I can’t remember the first time I first heard someone describe those of us simultaneously charged with caring for young children and ailing/aging parents as being members of the “Sandwich Generation,” but I knew right away that the label was a perfect fit. To be honest, some days I feel like peanut butter – smashed between the equally pressing concerns of my two critically ill parents and my three precious, albeit demanding, little ones. That said, our situation is what it is, and I wouldn’t trade my role in their care – the kids or my parents – for anything. Instead, I try to remember to be grateful that God has given me the opportunity and the resources to serve them both, even though some days I manage better than others. Today was just an ordinary day, not my best but certainly not my worst. . . (more…)
Its been two years since I flew anywhere – three since I have traveled without children – until today. Today I am on my own on my way to Atlanta. On my way to a new adventure.
Rewind almost three years and you could find me disembarking in Orlando, headed to Disney World with nothing but my husband, a point and shoot camera and a plan to ride every crazy coaster at all four Disney themeparks. I love Disney World. I think because I discovered it as an adult, in the wake of a series of emotionally draining miscarriages, I find myself compelled by Disney’s unparalleled ability to offer up a complete break with reality. Unparalleled outside of a mental institution, perhaps, but unparalleled nonetheless. (more…)