I am a lucky person for a lot of reasons but one of the things that makes me the most thankful is the family I grew up in. Marvelous Mom is the oldest of four girls and my Aunts, Uncles and cousins on her side of the family are not just 'relatives' that I see occasionally, they are part of the bedrock of who I am. We don't see each other as often as I would like but we love each other unconditionally. If there were some kind of emergency, I could call any one of them right now and they would be in their car or on a plane to come help with no questions asked.
Dad (I really need a snappy name for him!) is the youngest - by only eleven months - of two boys and while he got the first (me) and the last (Scientist Genius Brother) words, his big brother outdid him in the interim by fathering my four cousins. (His wife, my Aunt K, really did the lions share of the work but we'll just let him think he's the big cheese so he'll keep on fixing my computers when they freak out. ;-)
Growing up, we lived in the same cities as Uncle Computer, Aunt K and my cousins and by the time I was in third grade we lived only one block away from each other. We kids played together, fought like cats and dogs, plotted against our parents and celebrated every holiday together with our parents and Grandmother. When things were bad, they were always there for us and the six of us kids are more like siblings than cousins. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without them and I would do anything at all for any one of them.
The oldest four of us are girls and then, a postscript of testosterone, Aunt K had cousin Johnboy and Marvelous Mom had Scientist Genius Brother within 4 months of each other. Once again Grandmother had a pair of boys to fuss over and we four girls had two baby boys to torture. Er, I mean, love and cherish. Now cousin Johnboy has his own baby and our family has grown and expanded by one baby and infinite amounts of love.
fell in love with this hipmama...
and they made this adorable baby boy! I could just eat him up, look at those CHEEKS!
And this Grandmother's heart has exploded with love for her fourth great-grandchild!
This baby is Aunt K and Uncle Computer's first grandson and the cutest baby boy in the ENTIRE universe! Hipmama and cousin Johnboy are amazing parents and I cannot tell you what it feels like to watch your baby cousin (even though he's twice my size now) fall in love with his own baby.
I am so incredibly lucky to have my family, and luckier still that we are growing by leaps and bounds and love.
I really REALLY don't have time to post but my brain was starting to leak out my ears from working on homework for 7 hours straight so I decided to take a little break to let the gray matter re-solidify.
The good news about pouring down rain for days on end is that it makes it a lot easier to stay inside where it is warm and dry and do loads of homework. This pic doesn't really do it justice but I didn't want to take the time to get the big camera and take a GOOD picture.
Back to the books. Anyone want to write an empirical research proposal for me? Or read "Shane" chapters 1-8 by Monday? Or...
This is the reason I can't get anything done around here! I doctored these photos on Picnik, a photo editing site that costs about $25 a year and is worth EVERY penny. (Husband might not agree on that point so we just won't mention anything about it to him, it'll be our little secret.)
Here is the version that daughter created and will be putting in a frame in her bedroom. Isn't it pretty?
Here is the version that Thing 2 and I created using all the fun Halloween editing tools. Can you find the ghost hiding in the picture? Aren't the wounds funny? Thing 2 wanted me to put the pumpkin over his sister's head so it would look like Cam was taking the headless horsewoman to homecoming but I drew the line there. I do like the spider on Cam's shoulder though!
She's so beautiful and poised and grown up that it breaks my heart and makes me unbelievably proud of her. Her date is a good friend from Portland who she spends hours on the phone with talking about philosophy, school, poetry and art. He took the train up to go to the dance with her and husband is dealing with it fairly well considering he doesn't approve of her dating until she's 30. Or maybe 40.
It was fairly unnerving to watch my car being driven away by a teenage boy with one of my most precious possessions in it but I have to admit that not having to go pick them up at 12:30 in the morning when the dance was over was worth it. AND he got her home 40 minutes earlier than the curfew we set. I do like this kid!
Daughter loves her great-grandmother so very much...
And here she is goofing around with her brothers. I was hoping for a good Christmas card picture but I couldn't convince the Things to change into nicer clothes.
Last night was the High School Homecoming game and being the glutton for punishment that I am, I worked at the concession stand. Because Homecoming is such a huge game with a large crowd, we set up a small satellite stand outside of the main one where people could buy water or soda and that's where I stood from 6 to 9. The concessions are behind the bleachers so when you're back there, you cannot see the action on the football field.
At least 75% of the kids at the game hung out near the concession stand and, by the looks of it, had NO IDEA that there was a football game happening anywhere in the vicinity.
Occasionally I would ask one of the gazillion hormonal adolescents buying Mountain Dew (why the hell anyone would drink something that looks exactly like pee is beyond me but whatever...) what the score of the game was and they would look at me blankly before answering "Ummm, I dunno. Sorry."
After getting a few blank stares - I mean, why would I be asking about football scores at a football game - I got smart and started asking Dads and Grandpas as they passed my stand on the way to the loo.
I shouldn't have asked, we lost 50-9. Ugh.
Any anthropologist would have been in seventh heaven standing where I was watching the clueless kids that were engaged in the complicated and dramatic social ritual that is attending the high school homecoming game. I saw fights and horsing around, dramatic reunions and flouncing away in a huff, younger siblings get rebuffed and others get included in the older kids play with looks on their faces that resembled veneration usually reserved for the Pope. Parents gossiped and girls discussed their dresses for the dance that is being held tonight, couples made up and broke up and staff members reminded boys that the fence was not to be climbed on.
It was ten thousand times better than any soap opera could ever hope to be and I had a really good time. There is something warm and fuzzy about being in a place where you know so many of the people walking by, get to chat with friends you don't see very often and watch kids you've known since they were in kindergarten pretend that they are adults while realizing that they really are close to grownup. Lots of the kids friends ran up and gave me big bear hugs and I was more than a little shocked to find myself looking up at most of them now.
My feet hurt and I'm exhausted but last night was fun and is the reason I volunteer at the kids school events. I'm part of a wonderful community and so incredibly lucky for it.
I have always loved fall. I love the weather getting cool and crisp but still sunny during the day, I love the leaves changing colors and I love school starting. The return to routine after a structureless summer is a relief for all of us and I really love that the house stays relatively tidy for longer than thirty seconds at a time.
Until this year.
So far this fall has been a blur of homework, dance practices, open houses, PTA meetings, math tutors, concession stand work and laundry. I feel like I'm running as fast as I can and getting nowhere.
I'm not sure WTF I was thinking when I volunteered to be co-president of the high school parent group (oh yeah, sucking up to the administration) but it has been ten thousand times more work than I was told it would be when I agreed to do it. So I've spent hours working on recruiting volunteers for the concession stand as well as trying to put some mechanisms in place that will give us a steady stream of volunteers from year to year rather than starting from scratch every September.
Plus there is my own schoolwork as a senior in college this year...
A good friend of mine from school described the start of the first quarter of our senior year as "getting hit with a fire hose" which is an extremely apt description for the un-fucking-believable amount of reading I have. Not to mention the writing...
On top of all that, the holidays are coming up too. Can you hear the clock ticking down?
Thank GOD the kids are old enough that I can tell them they are on their own for Halloween. I'm not buying, making, crafting or painting anything for a costume - if they wanna dress up they have to figure it out themselves.
But then there is Thanksgiving and Christmas to get ready for too.
As well as the regular cooking, cleaning and laundry to do. Can you hear husband laughing? That's because I haven't really cooked in two weeks, the housecleaners are once again coming every other week starting on Tuesday and Mount Laundry is piling up at an incredible rate.
My mantra right now is "this too shall pass" and it is the only thing (other than red wine) keeping me sane right now. I do enjoy being busy, although perhaps not quite THIS busy, and in a few short years the kids will be off to college leaving me with only husband's messes to clean up. I will be done with school before I know it and joining the working world while husband slows down and gets to relax. I know this crazy-busy schedule is temporary and the house will be clean all the time someday over the rainbow...
But for now I'm losing my goddamned mind. Where's the wine?