Happy birthday, Mom!

Lilies of the valley

White coral bells / upon a slender stalk

Happy birthday to the woman without whom I wouldn’t be here. I love you, and I hope your day has been fabulous!

P.S. I took part in SF Signal’s latest Mind Meld, so pop over and see why I think the movie for The Princess Bride is better than the book. Amusingly, I was not alone in this thought.

The sweetest kids

Yesterday (obviously) was Mothers Day. My daughter gave me a flower seedling, a cute little book of ten reasons she loves me, and a card. We also had “a meeting.” I think she picked up the idea at her daycare, where they had weekly staff meetings, usually outside her classroom door. She shared with me her sticker collection and what each one means, and her list of BFFs on her chalkboard, among other things.

Then we colored, with markers on those posters with black “velvet” lines. She saw a package of them at the store Saturday, and I got it because she loves doing art things. I hadn’t expected to color with her, but it was fun.

And my son? Well, he talked about his band trip and about the orientation at the high school last week and this and that — excited and cheerful and ever so talkative, all the things they say not to expect from teenagers. He’s looking forward to high school, and he’s happy with where he is, mostly. That’s a wonderful gift.

So that’s what I’m grateful for, today and always — kids who want to spend time with me and share the important things in their lives with me.

What are you grateful for this week?

Is that spring in the distance?

Not even the far distance at that! Today, the temperature hit 50 degrees (Fahrenheit), and while running errands with the kids this afternoon, all of us were in our shirtsleeves. The boy told me he’s not going to wear his heavy jacket any more this season, and I agreed that that seems reasonable.

Warmth. Escape to the outdoors (for the few brief weeks before pollen starts dropping everywhere, and the only thing worse than the pollen in the air is the humidity in the air). No more snow days for the kids.

That’s what I’m grateful for this Monday. What about you?

School on a Monday?

Today, I’m grateful that the kids actually went to school on a Monday and appear likely to have a full five days of school for the first time since mid-December. It seems such a simple thing, doesn’t it?

I was beginning to wonder if they were ever going to school on a Monday again. We still might have snow on the ground for the next month, but them going to school today made me happy.

Made them happy, too — my daughter loves gym, which she only has on Mondays, and my son had to give a presentation in class, which he said went well. Oh, and he was thrilled to carry one of the boxes of books in to his teacher today (almost as happy as she was to get them).

So what’s made you smile today?

Little things

Yesterday, there was rain and freezing rain all over. Our driveway was completely coated with black ice — husband came in and said you could just about skate on it, so kids rushed into jackets to try. Daughter got out a bit faster and came inside almost as quickly to warn her brother that it was slippery and you could fall down and hurt yourself out there!

Which brings me to what I’m grateful for: I didn’t have to drive anywhere on that! There were a lot of accidents out there, and we didn’t contribute to any of them!

Grateful for the end of break

Winter break, that is.

I love having my family home and spending time with them, and last week, I was even getting some paying work done. However, some is the operative word, and I have two deadlines to meet, indexing and proofreading.

It’s nice having silence during the day (no Curious George, Friends, Monster High, Minecraft . . . ), and I still have time with my family. Currently, I’m playing a board game with my son (he’s looking something up in the rules while I’m typing this).

Grateful for time with family, grateful for time to myself.

What are you grateful for this first Monday of 2015?

Winter static

In winter, it’s dry inside, and static electricity comes to call. I stand up, I touch something, and I get shocked. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s the stair railing, a book, or another person — ZAP!

But I’m the only one in the family that it’s happening to yet, so my son asked me this morning if I had some sort of metal core that made me more prone to conducting electricity. I joked that it’s the metal screw in my foot. (It goes up from my heel through my ankle.)

Which, of course, with us being the kind of family that we are, led to joking about Wolverine and his skeleton. Do you know why he doesn’t shock everyone he touches? It’s the costume. You only think it’s Spandex; it’s really rubber to prevent the electric discharge.

What sorts of silliness have you been up to lately?

Weekday outing

Today, for the first time in years, I chaperoned a field trip for the boy. Went up to Jacobsburg State Park. Park rangers covered three different areas — hiking, orienteering, and birding.

There was a lot more walking than I usually do, and I’m glad I used both ankle brace and cane. My legs are weak and weary, but it’s a good feeling.

Pretty much all of the birds we saw are the same ones I see in our yard and neighborhood — hardly surprising, given how close the state park is. Turkey vultures, American crows, American robin, sparrows, chickadees. The ranger did identify a flock of pine siskins, though, and titmouse and nuthatches, so that was cool.

I’m glad I went. The boy’s getting to the age where these opportunities are less frequent, even if he isn’t embarrassed to be seen with me in public, and I need to take advantage of the chances I have.

And a pink bear!

The boy really likes Minecraft, as I’ve mentioned before, and he’s rather fond of Minecraft parodies of popular songs. He recently wrote one, and his dad saw it lying on the table. I told him that it was based on Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.”

Well, neither of us had actually listened to the original, although I’d read the lyrics, so my husband pulled it up on YouTube. Then we watched the video in astonishment before sharing it with the kids. Here, to boggle your minds:

The boy was rather creeped out by the Muppet pit-fighting. The girl, on the other hand, was first horrified and then overjoyed by the pink bear. Now she wants to find one to make friends with.

Pleasant dreams, all.

Mid-September already?

Yes, the seasons cycle. I noticed cyclamen blooming among the hostas the other day, and the resident groundhog (it lives under a pile of brush in the back corner of the lot) has been eating fallen apples from the tree. (The dog has, too, though I try to discourage it; the core gets caught in his throat, and he coughs and chokes for hours afterward.) We’ve even had mornings when the girl has wanted her jacket to go to the bus stop.

This past week, I was amused to note I’d been so excited to have the kids go back to school so I could get more work done — but it hasn’t turned out that way at all. With making lunches, checking the girl’s backpack, making sure everyone has breakfast (including the dog, whom the girl is supposed to feed), and walking the girl to the bus, I still don’t settle down to work before 9. At the other end of the day, the boy is home about 3:15, and I have to meet the girl’s bus about 3:50, and then my husband can get home any time from 4 on, depending on what kind of a day he’s had. And everyone’s first action when they get home is to tell me all about how their day went — which means, basically, I have from 9 to 3 to do my paying work, write, edit, check e-mail, and do whatever else I need to get done.

More work done? Nope.

On the other hand, it’s much quiter, and I don’t have to break up any fights over whose turn it is to choose what they’re watching. I’ll take it.

What changes have you noticed recently?