A Post-Christmas Road Trip

This Christmas we enjoyed being closer to family, just as we did over Thanksgiving weekend.  I enjoyed having all of my kids together for the holiday. We had fun.

Our two college-aged daughters came to stay for Christmas here in Georgia, and then we planned to all go to visit my parents and in-laws in Alabama over New Year’s weekend.

My husband and I disagreed about the post-Christmas road trip. I wanted to leave on Friday afternoon after he’d gotten off work, so we could arrive at my mother’s house late that evening. He wanted to get up early Saturday morning and make the trip in daylight.

(I do not care for any plan that involves the words “get up early.”)

Since we had to take two cars anyways, as our daughter had driven her car from college and we’d need the minivan for ourselves. we decided to split the trip.

I left Friday afternoon with the three older girls, and he planned to leave Saturday morning with the twins.

This seemed like a win-win situation to me. I would get to take a road trip with the teens listening to fun music and having girl talk. I’d be The Late-Night Cool Mom.

He’d rather go in the morning? Fine. He’d have to do the getting up early and forcing the kids into the car thing. He’d have to listen to the twins complain and/or fight the whole trip.

But it turned out my husband had a plan to avoid all that….

On Saturday morning I was still in bed at my mother’s house when my husband arrived with the twins. I couldn’t believe he’d gotten there so quickly!

I woke up to see Little Boy’s face inches from mine. He looked quite pleased with himself.

“Oh, hi,” I said. “You must have gotten up early this morning!”

Grinning, he shook his head.

“What?” I said, confused. “You didn’t get up early this morning?”

He grinned even more widely. “Nope!”

“What?” I said again.

His grin was getting maniacal. “I didn’t get up this morning at all!” he crowed.

I groaned. It was too early for riddles. “You mean you’re still asleep?”

He howled with laughter. “Nope!” he said again.

I pulled the covers over my head, finished with the conversation. Little Boy chortled to himself and went to unpack his stuff.

When my husband came in, he was looking quite pleased with himself as well. I was out of bed by then, and I commented on what great time he had made on the road trip.

“You must have gotten up early!” I said. “Did you have any trouble on the drive?”

“Nope!” he said. “I had a plan.”

Grinning in much the same manner as his son, my husband revealed all.

DAD’S ROAD TRIP PLAN:

  1. Take the twins to the movies.
  2. Give them all the sugary snacks they want.
  3. Tell them they can stay up all night.
  4. Go to bed and let them roam free in the house.
  5. Wake up early and load them into the van.
  6. Have a peaceful drive while they sleep the whole time.

I was so shocked by this plan, I think my jaw hit the floor. I can certainly see why this  was not revealed to me in advance. I would NOT have approved it.

The twins, apparently quite refreshed by their road-trip naps, danced in and out of the room, wearing, “Dad let us stay up all night!!” expressions of glee.

I guess there’s a new cool parent in town.

In Her Sibling’s Eyes

Boo, my fifteen-year-old daughter, told me about a boy at her school who keeps awkwardly showing up near her and telling her she looks beautiful. She finds this embarrassing, apparently.

I was talking about this over the phone one day, because (a) it’s kind of funny and (b) I’m rather proud to have a daughter who is so pretty that awkward boys are compelled to comment. (No one EVER said anything of this nature to me in high school. Or at any other time, actually.)

Anyways, Little Girl, my ten-year-old, heard this conversation and said incredulously, “Wait. Someone thinks Boo is pretty?!”

I said, “Yes, of course. Don’t you think your sister is pretty?”

“NO!” she said, quite contemptuously. “She’s MEAN.”

Well. There’s a younger sister’s perspective, I suppose.

Post-Halloween Fun

In the past, our family has had an after-Halloween tradition of smashing the pumpkin. I did write about this once before when we lived in Hawaii, if you’re interested; we’ve been doing this for a while.

Here’s a picture from ten years ago, when we lived in Maryland:

2008 might have been the most fun Pumpkin Smash Day ever. We had half the neighborhood outside gleefully destroying our jack-o-lanterns. There’s nothing like wanton destruction to get kids excited. Ah, memories!

The tradition kind of had to go on hold while we lived in Alaska; for the past three years we haven’t been able to smash the pumpkin at all.

Because it was frozen solid. I’m not exaggerating.

Anyways, this year we were able to resurrect Pumpkin Smash Day, although we had the small complication of having multicolored “pumpkins” that I’d bought to look pretty on the porch.

It turns out that the white and green ones aren’t actually pumpkins, and aren’t really meant to be carved. The white one was particularly hard to cut into; those square eyes you see in the picture were only made possible with power tools.

So when the time came for smashing, that white one was tough.

I don’t know if you can see the photo progression here, but that sucker actually BOUNCED!

Still we did eventually break it up, and Little Boy particularly enjoyed himself.

Ah, memories!

 

This is Halloween

This year for Halloween, we were happy to be able to trick or treat outdoors again, after moving to Georgia this summer.

(For the past three years we’ve lived in North Pole, Alaska, in case you didn’t know. Our first year there we attempted outdoor trick-or-treating, braving the snowdrifts and making it around one block before the kids were too cold to care about candy anymore. Which is pretty darn cold! After that we went to indoor Halloween events.)

Also this year I was particularly happy that to be getting by with minimal financial investment in costumes for the twins, who are now ten.

Little Girl wanted to make her own costume, and Little Boy wanted to wear last year’s costume again. I thought they looked quite nice, and posted their picture on facebook.

Of course, my brother had to make a snarky comment about the reusing of the Poop Emoji costume.

I suppose some heckling is to be expected from a younger brother.

He’s just jealous….

Helping With Homework

Every day after school I have to force the twins to do their homework.

It’s like a punishment. FOR ME.

You’d think that we’d have this down by now, as the twins are in fifth grade, but we’ve been having quite a bit of trouble with the homework routine this year.

For one thing, the homework is naturally harder in fifth grade, of course. For another thing, the school in Alaska had a no-homework policy for the last couple of years.

I know, right? What?!?!

They sent home a note that said studies had proven homework wasn’t necessary for academic success, and therefore the teachers had decided on instituting a no-homework policy for my kids’ grade.

What were these studies? Is this actually true? Would my kids be totally fine academically without doing homework? I DIDN’T CARE. The school had granted me a reprieve, and I wasn’t going to knock it!

Can I get an Amen here?

But this year, I am paying the price. Homework is back. WITH A VENGEANCE.

Now I am required to spend over an hour every afternoon SEPARATELY with EACH twin supervising homework time.

Because trying to have them do it at the same time was like refereeing a cage fighting match… with pencils. So, separately it is!

But that does double the amount of (already too much) time spent here.

And I’m not saying that their teachers are assigning an excessive amount or anything. It’s not the teachers’ fault. If my kids would stop dragging everything out then the daily torture would end much more quickly.

Here’s the illustrated version:

There. Now do you see?

Homework may or may not be beneficial to kids’ academic success. I haven’t researched the studies on that.

But it is definitely NOT beneficial for Mommy.

The Mommy Medal– Birthday Edition

I have mentioned before that I think I deserve a mommy medal for some of the things I have done.

But the twins’ birthday party has really turned Mommy Medaling into an Olympic event.

Having a boy/girl twins who want to be able to have a sleepover party makes a huge logistical problem. This means TWO SEPARATE sleepovers.

I’ll just let that sink in.

Not ONE crowd of kids all hopped up on sugar in your house all night, but TWO!!

Last year I did it in one marathon weekend, but it almost killed me. This year we are spreading it out over two weekends. I’m not sure if this is better or just a way of prolonging the torture.

Anyways, we just had sleepover number one this past weekend.

In addition, remember the fact that we are trying to show our home to potential buyers right now. This makes the stress of birthday season double. Trying to keep the house clean while living in it with children is hard enough, but add a group of children at a sleepover party and the trouble really starts.

When I looked over at the living room during my little girl’s party and saw a puddle of slime putty on my carpet, I believe I showed admirable restraint.

I think I deserve an Olympic mommy medal for not freaking out. Out loud, I mean.

Of course, the fact that the child who had put the slime putty there was not mine is probably the reason she is still alive.

The good news is, it came out of the carpet. Not that I knew that was going to happen when I first saw that puddle.

But of course I am not a saint either. I have had my share of freak outs over messes. When I discovered spilled pasta with tomato sauce on my carpeted stairs just before a home showing, for example, my head may actually have exploded.

In any case, we have one more sleepover to get through this weekend. Let’s see if I can keep that mommy medal just a little longer. 

Rude Awakenings

Here’s a news flash: I’m tired.

No, seriously. I am really, REALLY tired.

Maybe there is something wrong with me, or maybe all mothers feel like this, but, most days, all I really want is a nap.

That’s actually my entire goal for the day. A NAP.

My kids are not on board with this. They want me to be awake and doing mom stuff. You know, like serving them.

Still, whenever I can, I go to my room and try to take a nap. I do not need the house to be quiet for this. I can sleep through the noise. I don’t even have to close the bedroom door.

But unfortunately, the kids still want stuff.

Some of the things they want I can do without much trouble. You’d be surprised what I can accomplish while lying down with my eyes closed.

Sometimes they don’t really want me to do anything at all; they just want to pretend to have informed me of things they’re not too keen to talk about.

 

But sometimes, they simply WILL NOT be ignored.

 

 

Sigh. I guess I’ll get up and do some mom stuff.