Sunday, May 29, 2011

The First Week of Summer Vacation: A Survival Guide

We made it through the first week of summer vacation without any meltdowns, bodily injury, name-calling, sibling rivalry, sibling jealousy,mindless tv watchinggrocery store drama, fast food stomach aches, scary weather, visits from monthly friends, or trips to the ER.

See, that went well.

As evidenced by our wonderful start to summer, I feel oddly compelled and astutely qualified to compose a Survival Guide of sorts. Please, pass this around at your own discretion. I'm sure it'll be useful for years to come.

1. Arrange for Mother Nature to rear her ugly, monthly head the third day of the week. This will ensure absolute fatigue and no desire to do anything worthwhile, especially the list of wonderfully crafty things you've accumulated to keep little hands and minds busy. It will also cause you to snap over spilled milk and yell about not jumping on the bed. You will feel like crap and it will show. Badly.

2. Take your entire family to the grocery store. Even though the trip to your favorite Mexican restaurant got the evening off to a fabulous start, do not let this fool you. Once you hit the store, your children will act as though it's been months since they've been in a grocery store. Probably because it has been months since they've been in a grocery store. They'll be appropriately bored and whiny and you'll argue with your husband over nonsense (see #1). You'll also forget half the stuff on your list and have to go back for it.

3. Proclaim that "If you hit your sister one more time young man, you are grounded for the rest of the summer!" at least 40 times a day. Do not follow through on the obviously outlandish grounding threat. Grow frustrated and annoyed at yourself (again, see #1) and all but give up.

4. Decide that a trip to a fast food joint will be a nice field trip and make every one feel better. Eat cold french fries and hamburgers made out of something that does not remotely resemble hamburger meat. Leave most of the food on the plastic tray, taking only your sweet tea with you. Lament later over the flat-out wastefulness of the money you spent, telling your husband that you just as well had flushed it down the toilet. Dole out Tums when you get home because everyone has a stomach ache.

5. Learn the words to every High School Musical movie ever made. I don't know which Disney executive thought it would be a good idea to play all 3 of them in succession, with on-screen lyrics accompanying every single song on the first week of summer so that kids were home to DVR them and proceed to watch them multiple times every single day, but I've got a bone to pick with you sir. Or madam.

6. Take your youngest child (almost) to the ER when she accumulates nearly 100 ant bites on her little chubby feet one afternoon. Decide that once you arrive at the hospital and notice the swelling is all but gone and she seems to be otherwise fine, there's no need to spend 4 hours in the ER only to be told to give her Benadryl. Drive to Walmart instead and buy Benadryl, along with a coke, a magazine and a Twix.

7. Drive through your small town after a rough patch of summer storm, cringing at the sight of trees down, limbs and other small debris scattered about. Think about what it must've been like in Joplin and thank God for the blessings in your life, no matter how meltdown filled and high-school-musical'ed they are.

Monday, May 16, 2011

School's {Almost Out for Summer}

The big kids have 3.5 days left of school before summer vacation.

(insert deep, relaxing, relief-filled sigh)

Although, I have to admit, I'm a bit panicked by that thought. Honestly, I cannot wait for them to be home all day. And not just because for almost three months, I won't have to get up at ungodly hours and search frantically for uniform-conforming belts and shoes and fix sloshy bowls of Special K whilst urging one to eat a bit faster honey, we're running behind again and make sure that home-school connections are signed and homework is in the proper folder and teeth are combed and hair is brushed.

{Yes, I know a great deal of that should could be done the night before, but that just would take all the fun out of it, right?}

Besides getting to skip all the stuff that comes along with sending my two oldest off to elementary school every morning, I will just be glad to have them home. I miss them when they're away at school all day. There's the tiniest hint of sadness when they come home with a great story about whatever cool thing happened to them at school today and I lament that I missed it. They're growing up and doing their own thing at school, 7 hours a day, 5 days a week and I miss it all. So much molding and shaping and learning and exploring and experiencing goes on at school and I'm not there to be a part of it. It's a bit sad if you think about it.

{Not sad enough, however, to make me decide to homeschool. I have a BS in Early Childhood Ed. and a state teaching license, so it wouldn't be an issue if we chose to go that route. I just want to be their Mama. I don't want to have to split myself into a teacher-role if there's the slightest chance it would interfere with my Mama-role. Plus, I trust their school, their teachers are my former colleagues, it's small enough that they're known by name, the kids are overall pretty decent and it has the highest level of Christian undertone it possibly can without getting in trouble.}

Who knew there was a I'm a Christian and chose to send my kids to public school mini-rant in there?

Anyway, it will be nice to not have to adhere to such a strict schedule of bedtimes and rising times and bath times and such. And have the flexibility to go into town without worrying about getting home in time for pick-up. And a host of other fun and (hopefully) stress-free things that come along with summer vacation.

One of which, however, is not my grocery situation.

I'm becoming increasingly perplexed and often panicked about the entire situation of groceries. I'm an inherent list-maker and planner and want-to-know-about-things-in-advance-please&thankyou kind of person. The mere thought of not knowing exactly how and when I'm going to execute my elaborate grocery shopping plan is downright terrifying. Okay, I exaggerate. But, seriously, it is kinda bugging me.

G and I usually go to the grocery store on Wednesdays. It works out well for a lot of reasons. Wednesday is the day our local stores start their weekly sale and it's J's payday. One of the stores we frequent also has Wednesday-only specials so it works out well that we go then. G and I usually go eat lunch with J and then go shopping afterward. The big kids ride home from school with their aunt K, so we don't have to worry about getting back in time for pick up. This usually works fairly well. G and I can leisurely shop (cause there's no such thing as non-leisurely shopping with an almost 2 year old whose cart activities range from wanting to eat every snack-able thing I pick up, to buckling and unbuckling herself 500 times, to wanting to climb out, to bugging me to walk, to surreptitiously letting the milk drain drop by drop from her bottle as I'm checking and comparing labels on every blasted thing in the store) and then return home shortly after the bigs do.

Once summer vacations starts, however, my grocery shopping options are going to be limited to one of three things:

1. Continue my usual Wednesday afternoon shopping trips and take all 3 kids with me. SN: hahaha ahahahahaha hahahhahaha ha.

2. Go shopping on Wednesday evening once J comes home from work. This option includes eating out to ensure that we're not out too late, finding empty shelves at the store and missing out on the daily meat deals, dealing with 3 tired, cranky, hungry (because they won't eat fast food anymore--yay!) kids, and trying to keep H and G from falling asleep on the way home.

3. Going shopping alone on Saturday afternoon once J comes home from work. On paper, this seems like the best choice, but once you figure in the Saturday afternoon crowds and the mess the house will be in when I get home, it's not going to turn out so well.

So, I'm back to square one: I'm a rambling hot mess when it comes to blogging and ridiculously perplexed about the concept of simple grocery shopping. It would really help if I could remember how I wrangled this all out last year. Hopefully, I'll have it all somewhat figured out by Wednesday. Wish me luck?