Monday, June 28, 2010

The Face

When R was a toddler, he would often give us "the face." If he was frustrated or annoyed, he'd tilt his head down, frown, and peer at us from underneath his furrowed brow. And, sometimes, he'd make that face just to be cute. It was pretty darn adorable.

A couple of weeks ago when it was crazy hot outside, I made popsicles from some strawberries and raspberries that we needed to eat up. (My new favorite food and mom blogger Melissa at Another Lunch inspired me.) I pureed them with some ice, a bit of seltzer, and half a can of San Pellegrino Aranciata. I filled our very small popsicle tray, but still had a lot of puree left over. So, I grabbed an empty yogurt cup, filled it, covered it with plastic wrap, poked a wooden popsicle stick through the plastic, and set it in the freezer.

A few days later when I handed the popsicle to R (after we both giggled at the sheer size of it), he asked me to grab the camera and take his picture.

I give you: The Return of the Face!

It took three days for R to finish the thing, but it was very refreshing!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All Good Things...

Tomorrow is R's last day of kindergarten. He's very excited, mostly because he can't wait for summer camp. Every time R mentions that tomorrow is the last day, he looks at me, and asks, "Why are you sad, Mommy?"

I'm sad because I will miss R's teacher and her support and her patience with R and her appreciation of his talents and personality. We don't know yet if she'll still have a job in the fall, but I pray every day that she will.

I'm sad because several of R's close friends are moving away - to Sweden, to neighboring towns, to France. And, a few more of them are going to their home countries for almost the entire summer.

I'm sad because R and I won't have Thursdays off together this summer. (Camp is 5 days a week for 8 weeks, from 8:10 to 4:30 between the bus ride and actual camp time.) That means less time for going to the beach, the Museum of Science, the sprinkler park.

Mostly I'm sad that my little man is another year older.

We went to see Toy Story 3 on Father's Day, and there's a part in the movie where the mom goes into now grown-up Andy's room after he's packed everything up to head to college. His room is nearly empty, and he's leaving. And, it hit me that some day, R will pack up his things and go to college and probably never live with us again. (Unless the economy hasn't turned around by then...) And, I cried.

I'm proud of R and of all he has learned this year. He learned to read and to write full sentences. He became a whiz at math and strengthened his fascination with science. He developed a love for art - and gym class. He made tons of new friends of all ages, ethnicities, and cultures. He adapted to so many new experiences and was recognized for his deep empathy and for his kindness to his classmates. He had an amazing year.

Still, when R announced tonight that he had visited the first grade classrooms today, my heart broke a little. But it mended later when R told me that he never wants to go to college if it means he won't be able to live with me anymore.

Luckily, Harvard and MIT are only a short bus ride away. ;-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Glimpse of Chez Fieryboots: Jars, Jars, Jars

I love canning jars. When I first learned about eBay about 10 years ago, I got a bit obsessed and bought several old blue canning jars. I would have kept bidding on and buying more until I visited several local antiques stores and discovered that old canning jars are pretty common. So I didn't need to shell out extra money to have them shipped to me.

My favorites are the old blue ones - Mason and Ball jars - but I have a few clear, newer ones as well. And, after A and I stopped canning our own preserves, we decided to use all the little jelly jars as drinking glasses. My father-in-law always makes fun of them, but I love them. They're durable and inexpensive and casual, and they fit in well with our style.

We definitely have a canning jar theme going on in our house.

This one is filled with sand and shells from our beach excursions
(The little jar holds my sea glass collection) 

This one houses a small portion of R's extensive rock collection

I keep this one on the mantel where I can easily drop in stray rocks that R leaves everywhere

 This one is in the kitchen window, holding more beach shells and stones and sea glass
(The rectangular vase holds magnetic letters and numbers that R no longer uses - I love how colorful they are)

So, when the Nester listed these Mason jar soap dispensers by Midwest Finds as one of her favorite summer Etsy finds, I had to have one!

Here's my new soap dispenser for the bathroom sink:

I'm in love.

As soon as they're back in stock, I'll have to get another one for my dishwashing soap!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

God is an awesome DJ

Thank you for your prayers after my recent post about A and me. They definitely worked.

It's so strange to be in this very dark place and to be losing hope for so long and to start feeling like something drastic and bad is going to happen, and then the clouds clear and there is hope again. I feel almost silly - as if I shouldn't have been so upset - because things are so much better, it's like there was never a problem, so what was I worrying about?

But, really, things between A and me were very bad for a long time, and I felt like I was drowning. I had reached the point where I wasn't even sure what to pray for anymore. I felt numb and completely alone. And, I've found in my life, that that's where God steps in. Not that he's not stepping in the whole time, but I guess for me it's more noticeable when I'm a sack of despair and pity and anger and other assorted yuck, and then I wake up one morning and I feel as if I've been placed on a beautiful beach with sunshine, warm sand, the smell of the ocean, and sparkling water. Life just seems different.

So that's where I've been this week. I realized A and I weren't operating like a couple. We were two people living together, but doing our own thing - as if we were roommates, not partners. My tendency when someone is frustrating me or disappointing me is to think, "Well - I'm just going to have to do X myself!" And, that's what I was doing. About EVERYTHING. And, I was throwing myself into raising R as if I was a single parent. Everything else sucked, but it didn't matter because R was wonderful and he was the center of my life.

And, then R's issues at school were identified, and we started seeing some behavioral problems with him getting along with his friends when he was frustrated. The "perfect" part of my life was disintegrating, and I felt completely overwhelmed by it. Because I was trying to deal with it all on my own, and I couldn't.

Then, last week, I read an article and blog post about how putting your marriage first (instead of your kids) is actually good for your kids. It talked about how when people aren't doing so great in their marriage, they focus all their attention on their kids, and that attention is too much - you end up helicopter parenting. And, the kids pick up on the seemingly hidden tension in the home, and problems crop up.

That article was a big, painful slap in the face. But I needed it. Because I was thinking that I was hiding how unhappy I was from R, but of course he noticed. And, when I thought about it, he had been trying to compensate. He had been extra snuggly and cuddly with both A and me recently, telling us both separately how much he loves us, stroking my arm very tenderly, things like that. He was making up for the love that was missing between A and me. And, the absolute last thing on Earth I want is for my problems to affect my child.

After reading that post and benefiting from your prayers - something just clicked. I reached out to A in a way I hadn't in a long time, and I feel like we're a team again. Of course, our team's a little weak and out of practice right now, but I'm hopeful that will change. We still have a lot to talk about and figure out - but I finally feel like we can do that together in a positive, constructive way.


On Thursday, I was listening to the radio in the car when U2's "One" came on. I love that song, but it's one of those songs for me where I know all the words, but haven't a clue what they mean. This time I heard these parts in particular - and not in the right order:

Too late
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other

You gave me nothing
Now it's all I got
We're one
But we're not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again

One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for it

And, I knew God was in the DJ's booth that morning.

The "we're one, but we're not the same" part really struck me. Because that's what marriage is. Two people who aren't the same, who have different personalities and needs and ways of coping, trying to be one. And, that's really freaking hard. It goes against our individual natures (or, at least it goes against mine!). It takes work trying to make one good thing out of two messes. And, if you don't tend to that one thing, it falls apart.

A and I have a lot of tending to do. And, I need to stop deciding that when things get tough, I can do it all by myself. Because I can't. Neither can A. And, I'm guessing that's why God made sure A and I found each other in the first place.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Four days left!

I cannot believe that my little man is only 4 school days away from the end of kindergarten! How did this happen?!?

Last week, his school had Field Day. There's a great picture on the bulletin board at school of R and one of his good friends during the tug-o-war. Tonight was the family BBQ, which was SO much fun. Not only was there tons of food, but there was also a bouncy house, cotton candy, slush, a DJ, carnival-type games, balloon sculptures, and - best of all - a dunk tank.

R actually wore his bathing suit and swim goggles to the BBQ because he wanted to go in the dunk tank so badly. But since it was drizzly and cool and we didn't think to bring a towel with us, we made him wait for the dunk tank until right before we were heading home.

He waited in line patiently with one of his classmates. She chickened out when it was her turn, so R was up.

He didn't have a very long turn, and the water was FREEZING, but R absolutely loved it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Surprises Three

The Spandex Surprise 
Yesterday, we made plans with friends to go on a casual family bike ride on our local bike path. Well, A and I thought it was going to be casual. We figured that with four adults, two 6-year-olds, and a 1-year-old that it would be a leisurely ride. So, we strapped the bikes on the car, packed some snacks and water, and put on jeans and sweatshirts (it was cool and drizzly).

When we pulled into our friends' driveway, the dad/husband appeared from the garage with his bike. And, he was completely decked out in one of those one-piece professional-looking Lycra biking suits(? I don't even know what they're called) that leave little to the imagination, plus biking shoes and gloves. A and I had to keep ourselves from laughing. Our friends are from Italy, and they keep inviting us on excursions like this, and the dad tells us that he hasn't been skiing/to the beach/biking/etc. in 15 years, so he's out of practice, blah blah blah. And, then we get to the mountain/beach/trail, and he whips around at top speed and looks like he practices every weekend. He almost got me killed when we went skiing and he convinced me to go on what he called a "family trail" that turned out to be what I now refer to as Scary Death/I'm Never Going Skiing Again Trail.

A turned to me on Sunday morning and jokingly said, "Hey, he's Italian! What do you expect?" And, we had fun riding 7 miles all together - at which point, my little family was about to drop. (R actually asked to go home, where he promptly fell asleep on my lap for an hour!) The other dad rode for 2 more hours after the rest of us stopped. Darn show-off! :-)

Lost My Appetite Surprise
Recently, I started reading a cooking blog written by a couple that lives in my town. I didn't know who they were, but I heard about the blog from our town's email discussion list, checked it out, and liked it enough to read it occasionally. Their tastes aren't quite like mine, but I liked reading their posts and admiring their nice food photos.

This morning, I found they had posted a few pictures of themselves. I couldn't help yelling out, "NOOOOOOO!!!!" Because I recognized this couple. They often ride the same bus as A and me in the morning. And, every time I see them get on, I groan. (And, I'm not the sole groaner.) Because they are very, shall I say, amorous on the bus. Which doesn't necessarily annoy me, but they always sit right in the front of the bus (in the seats that you're supposed to save for older folks, people with babies, people with disabilities, etc.) and put on their "show" for everyone to see. If they were teenagers, I think I would just shrug it off. But they are probably in their late 30s! And, yes, it's wonderful that they are so affectionate and in love with each other at this point in their lives, but it feels really weird and icky to see them kissing and nuzzling and stroking each other during the entire bus ride. Plus, if someone who is elderly or has a baby or crutches does get on, neither of them get up to give up their seat, which makes me really mad.

So, I'm all done with that blog. Anyone have some Pepto?

Friendly Skies Surprise
I have two weeks off at the end of the summer, and my mom hasn't been up to visit in about two years, so I wanted to buy her tickets to come spend time with me and R. I checked flight prices several times, and I hemmed and hawed because the prices were fluctuating, and I couldn't always find good times or non-stop flights. After conferring with my mom several times, I decided one night to just buy the darn things and get it over with - especially since my mom needed to know which days to take off from her job.

Now, normally, I am VERY good with details. Of course, I make mistakes in my life, but not usually about dates, times, things that need to be brought to school, etc. Well, apparently, that's changing. Or else I shouldn't ever do anything online after 9 pm. Because I bought the tickets last week, called my mom and gave her all the info, and didn't think anything more about it ... until I went to put the info on our wall calendar at home yesterday. And, I realized that I bought the tickets for the week before my vacation -- when I would be working and R would still be in camp. Doh!

I changed the dates this morning. On the bright side, now my mom doesn't have to change planes, and the times still worked out pretty well. But it cost me a heck of a lot of money to make the change. Argh. Mostly, I'm just SO mad at myself for making such a dumb mistake. But I guess I need to get used to it. Last week, we were all set to go to a big music festival that our friend's son was organizing. When we called our friend to get the last-minute details about the next day, she said, "What the heck are you talking about?" The festival is THIS weekend.

Maybe I just need more sleep.

And fewer surprises, thank you. :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A quick request

Hey, there. I just wanted to post a little prayer (or happy thoughts, if you're not the praying kind) request. A and I are having a difficult time right now. I've been pretty sad and angry with him for awhile, and the last week or so has been the worst, unfortunately exacerbated by a lot of sadness and change going on around us -- R's teacher being laid off, his two best friends moving away, people leaving my company in droves for better jobs, etc.

R continues to be the light of our lives, which is wonderful. But if you could remember A and me to God today, I'd be so grateful.

Happier post to come soon, I promise!