Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Favorites, Back to School Humor

My favorite section of the newspaper is the Comics. Sure I read the rest, because I should, but I read the Comics because I want to. I don't know what that says about me.

This is one of my new favorites. It's a strip called Freshly Squeezed by Ed Stein. It's about a 30-something couple, their middle-school son, and the wife's parents, who have recently moved in due to the recession. It's a funny look at the dynamics and quirks of having multiple generations living under one roof. I smile every time I read it.

This week's series is about back-to-school and since that has been our theme this week I thought I'd share a few. If you have kids going back to school, or if you have ever been a kid going back to school, these should hit you just right. Especially the bit about the school supply list. The list gets longer every year and I keep getting emails with additions. I've been to Target four times this week and I already spent well over $100 a few weeks ago on the original list. {Hey School, I want my kids to have everything they need to be good learners but you aren't the only one with budget cuts!} There. That's my rant about that.

The last strip is for those of you with boys. I'm pretty sure my son really would rather go naked than go shopping for new clothes. After ten minutes or so he get's that glazed over man look where you can tell that he's no longer mentally in the store. During one of our back-to-school shopping trips, he became so checked out that I started picking up pink things and Hello Kitty gear asking if it would work. All I got in response was, "Sure, whatever. Can we go now?". Oh, boys.

Well, here you go. Enjoy a little Freshly Squeezed...

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The First Day of School

The first day of school has arrived. It's one of my favorite days of the year. I love the excitement of the new year. New shoes and clothes. New teachers to get to know. Freshly sharpened bright yellow pencils. You can feel it in the hallways, nervousness and excitement. I love the shout out of a familiar voice and the run and hug moment between two friends. I love the shared look between parents. It's a look of both relief that summer's over and grief that they're getting older. I love the bittersweet swirl of emotions that comes in the moment of release when I kiss them goodbye one last time before leaving them in a new place. On one hand I'm sad to leave them and on the other I'm proud of all that I know they can do. I leave them to let them step out on their own. They must be brave and smart, friendly and independent. It's a moment of shared trust between parent and child. I trust that they are ready for this moment. They trust that I'm where they can reach me, whether they rise or fall. There's a lot wrapped up in the first day of school. And the best part of all? It's the coming home. The moment when they burst through the door all shouting at once. All excited to share their day. My heart swells in that moment with pride and love. My babies aren't babies anymore. They are beautifully brave, smart, friendly, fiercely independent little people with a whole world of possibilities before them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Ugh. I'm not twenty anymore. My back hurts from carrying around a backpack with a laptop in it. My legs hurt from walking around campus. My eyes hurt because they desperately want to close. I need a long, hot bath and a nap. I'm two days in and my body is questioning this little endeavor. But if I'm honest I have to admit I'm having fun. Apparently I've been an undercover nerd for the last ten years. I'm kind of giddy about taking notes and using highlighters. I got really excited today in art history when my professor suggested making flashcards of the works we're studying. Multi-colored flashcards for each movement. Who doesn't get excited about that?! What? No one? Well, fine, you're all normal then. And I'm sure around midterms the novelty of multi-colored flashcards is going to wear off for me too as I throw them at the wall in study frustration. But for now, I'm enjoying myself. And I get the unexpected bonus of a great workout as I lug that backpack around campus. Maybe in a few weeks I'll look like a twenty-year-old. Probably not, but a girl can wish.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Brave New World

Tomorrow I jump into a brave new world. I will once again be a college student. I never thought I would write that sentence. When I quit school to become a full time homemaker eleven years ago, I thought that my life was laid out for me. In that moment, I was content in what I was doing. And I know now that it was the right decision for me at the time. I had no direction for a career or even the desire to have one. I had a child and a husband thrown in my lap and therefore a purpose, one I took on happily. So while all of my peers were doing the college thing and starting careers, I was raising a family. Now, while all of my peers are starting to raise a family, I am doing the college thing. It would seem I got it backwards. But is there really any forwards and backwards in life? Or is it all just a jumbled mess of figuring things out as you go? I lean toward the latter.

I had children very young and I knew I didn't want that to stop me from being the mom I wanted to be. Thankfully I had a partner who supported me in that decision. So I got to be at home when my kids were young. I got to be there for all of the first stages. I got to send them off to school and get them settled into that world. I've loved every minute of it. (Well, not every minute. Any mom will tell you there are minutes when you'd rather be banging your head against a wall than listen to anymore whining or clean up another mess.) Strike that; I've love almost every minute of it. But last year when they were all at school for most of the day, I found myself bored and wanting something more. I found myself ready for a new adventure. I thought through all of my options and realized I wanted to finish school so that I could find something new to love to do.

I'm focusing on Art History and hope to do museum work later. I find the whole thing at once daunting and exciting. The idea of taking tests brings about an instant gag reflex. But the idea of learning something new and interesting makes me really excited. This experience is bringing out my inner nerd.

Other than the stack of books on my bedroom floor, the kids probably won't notice much of a difference. I'll be in school while they are in school. Then we'll all come home and do homework together. I think it will be good for them to see me work for something. It's an opportunity to show them that there's never a point in life when you can't change what you're doing. We're ever changing and evolving people.

So here I am off to my brave new world, ready for a new adventure. That seems to be the theme of 2011 for our family. Just a jumbled mess. But if you allow yourself, there's some fun in the sorting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Came, Summer Went

I find it hard to believe that school starts next week. I really feel like the summer has just begun. Spending the majority of two months on the road apparently makes time go by very quickly. Since May, we have traveled over 5300 miles. No, I am not exaggerating. I just did the math to be sure. My car has a permanent fast food, melted candy, beef jerky smell. And I'm pretty sure I can drive from one end of Tennessee to the other blindfolded, not that I plan to try. It has been a tiring summer, but it has been fun. It was wonderful to spend so much time with people we love.

Now we are home and getting ready for the fall. Oh, the fall. The word alone brings a deep, contented sigh to my lips. Fall is coming, I can feel it in the breeze. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We still have one week of summer vacation left. The perfect time to remember the highlights of this very memorable summer full of family and parties, rivers and silliness, and Legoland thrown in just for the boy. Yes, this has been a good summer.