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Every summer my kids create a “Summer Bucket List” of the things they’d like to do before going back to school.  Every summer I forget about the list until the last week of July and spend all of August trying to get it checked off! 

This year, all 3 of my kids will be going to school for the whole day.  I’d love to say that I’m like the mom in the Staples commercial (It’s the most wonderful time of the year…), but I’m just not.  It makes me so sad to be getting them ready to go back to school. 

To make myself feel better and take my mind off of it, I’ve decided to create my own bucket list – the “While the Kids are in School Bucket List.”  I’ve got 180 days to complete it.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. Deep clean the house.  I know this one doesn’t sound like fun at all, but once accomplished, it will make all the other bucket list items that much funner!

2. Go to the beach.  Alone.  With a book.  And an adult beverage.  And possibly in a bikini.

3.  Shop!  Ikea, Garden City, the Outlets!  6 hours of shopping without ANYONE whining?  Heaven. 

4. Catch a matinee.  Of a grown-up movie.  Maybe with my husband.

5. Take a ski lesson(s).  Playing “Lodge Mom” sucks and I’m not doing that again this winter.

6. Paint the kitchen.  Then nag the crap out of my husband until he a.) puts in a new kitchen floor, or b.) pays someone to put in a new kitchen floor.

7. Learn how to use a crock pot.  Well.

And…that’s all I’ve come up with so far.    Any ideas?  And, please, don’t say “get a job!”

For the first year of her life, my daughter wouldn’t take a bottle and didn’t sleep through the night.  When solids were introduced, she was fussy.  She’d spit out what she didn’t like and clamp her little mouth closed to the next spoonful.  As she got older, she became more stubborn.  I tried to sneak as much nutrition into her food as I could.  But still, if she didn’t like it, she’d spit it out.  Eventually, she began gagging on some foods and occasionally she would even vomit.  And, on top of it all, it was hard to nail down just what she would and would not eat.  So, I kept giving her everything, hoping each time that maybe this would be the time she’d eat without all of the drama.  Sometimes, I’d place her little lunch plate in front of her, ever so carefully, and dash out of the room to avoid the drama that would ensue.  She even gagged and vomited up ice cream.  What kid doesn’t like ice cream? 

When she was 2, I was shopping at one of those bulk stores, stocking up on diapers and such and they offered us a little sample of trail mix.  Both kids were getting cranky, so I was relieved to have a snack to keep them occupied while I finished the shopping.   My daughter happily took the snack and began to eat.  Finally, I thought.  Within minutes she began coughing and gagging.  I picked her up to calm her down and to avoid as much drama as I could.  Then she vomited — all over me, and herself!

I ran to the restroom and took her clothes off, and mine as well.  Luckily my mother was with me and she rinsed my clothes in the sink.  I placed the wet, vomit smelling clothes back on and took my naked baby out to the car.  My mother finished up the shopping.

Soon afterward, she was covered in red spots.  Hives.  I recognized them immediately.  I called the pediatrician and she advised me to drive to the nearest pharmacy and get some Benadryl into her.  I did, and the hives subsided.  My mother went back to the store for the ingredient list.  The only thing on the list of nuts and dried fruits that I hadn’t previously given her was papaya.  That had to be it then.  So, we avoided papaya.  But the gagging and vomiting continued.  My pediatrician recommended that we see a pediatric allergist.  He pricked my little 2 year old all over her back and found that she was allergic to eggs and tree nuts.  Things I had been feeding her regularly.  The gagging and vomiting was her body’s defense – an attempt to expel the allergen.    I watched a video about anaphylaxis and was sent home with Epi Pens and lists of ingredients to avoid. 

I photocopied the ingredient lists and my sister-in-law laminated them for distribution to the entire family.  I kept extra Epi Pens at my mother’s, in the car, everywhere I could think of.  I brought multiple when we went on vacation.  I worried constantly. 

We’ve only landed in the ER 3 times, once for a reaction to ice cream with eggs, and the other 2 were false alarms.  And, luckily, we’ve never had to use an Epi Pen. 

My daughter is 11 now.  She’s out grown the egg allergy but not the tree nut allergy.  She’s started checking ingredient lists herself.  Sometimes, she even double checks me.  She’s vigilant.  She’ll forgo cake at birthday parties, dessert at restaurants we’re not familiar with and never, ever, complains.

Things are good, for now.  But I still worry.  Just the other day we were at the movies and she had a box of Whoppers.  She loves Whoppers and has had them many times.  Sitting there in the dark, she popped one in her mouth then leaned over to me and said, “Mom, that wasn’t a Whopper!” It was soft and chewy.  She just giggled and got right back to the movie.  Not me.  I watched her like a hawk.  What if it was a candy with nuts?  It was dark in the theater.  Would they stop the movie and turn the lights on if we had an emergency?  Could her friend call 911 while I administered the Epi Pen?  How fast could the medics get there?  Would it be fast enough?

She was fine.  She told me later she could feel me watching her.  I’m always watching her, always at the ready with Benadryl and Epi Pens.   Walking that fine line of silently freaking out while not freaking her out.  Someday she’ll go to the movies without me.  Someday she’ll go to college and live away from me.  What then?  She’s vigilant now, but will she always be? 

I know that I’ll always worry about my children, even when they’re grown.  But with her, there’s just a little extra to worry about.

The kids and me on a hike in NH. That's an Epi Pen in my back pocket - just in case.

I’ve wanted my kids to get out of school for weeks.  You all know that.  And I love them like crazy, really, I do.  But since they got out of school I’ve had this headache. Not a migraine, not even a sinus headache.  Just an always there, just under the surface headache.  And my eye is twitching.  Plus, I’m exhausted.  Coincidence, I think not. 

We’ve been to the beach 2 days and 2 nights, we’ve been to the movies, we’ve had friends over, we’ve gone on a hike, we’ve had 3 music lessons and a soccer practice.  We’ve eaten more pizza, ice cream and Del’s than I care to recall.  And it’s only been 5 days.  I can’t keep up this pace!

I’ve been waiting the whole school year for this summer to come.  I want to relax!  We live by the beach and I live for the beach.  That’s the only place I want to be this summer – at the beach with my kids!

Tonight and tomorrow are booked solid with 4th of July festivities.  After that it’s nothing but beach, baby!  I saw a sign at a local gift shop yesterday that read “Beach your children well.”  That’s just what I intend to do.  Just let me get a little rest first. 

What happened to the “lazy days of summer”?  Just curious because I haven’t seen hide nor hare of them since 1992!  Does anyone else feel like they are in hyperdrive?

We have kicked off summer with swim team practice 3 mornings a week, which we have been late twice out the three practices already, and on the opposite 2 days we are supposed to show up for meets at 8 o’clock….AM.  Someone forgot to tell those swim coaches that it is summer.  You know, the days without schedules.  You must remember days at the beach until sunset, right??   Also, did I mention the drill sergeants of gymnastics who insist that the kids go all summer for fear they may forget how to do a cartwheel!  We must show up there 2 nights a week.  Further, my little guy has the gall to think he actually wants to get in the summer mix of craziness so we will be at tennis lessons every Thursday at 9:30 while at the same time I am supposed to be at the swim meet.  I guess I will be cloning myself by next week.

So basically if I want to enjoy the “lazy days of summer” I can do it between the hours of 11-3.  That is not even enough time to drive to a beach and back, let alone sit down and read a book or talk to a friend for a while, or maybe catch a wave or two.  No, this is madness I tell you!  MADNESS!

What if I just said NO!  We are doing none of it!  What would happen?  Would the kids  be sitting around playing Wii or their DS games?  Would they become hermits and never see the light of day because they are addicted to technology?  OR….

Would we just swim as we liked, play tennis when we want to, go to the beach and come home late at night sunkissed and tired, read books outside, stay in our pj’s until noon, play outside, ride bikes, go for hikes, see friends at our leisure, go to museums………and whatever else we decided we wanted to do?

Sounds kind of great doesn’t it?  What am I afraid of?  Am I a bad parent if I don’t have my kids in every activity under the sun or am I a bad parent if I do?

I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, and when they are open they’re burning.  It’s 5:30 in the morning and I’m up because I stupidly decided to invited the little guy’s entire class over after school today for a pizza party.  The only reason it’s stupid is because I have not been home all weekend!  I ran to the market last night for a few things, but am up early to clean this house like it’s 1997 (pre-kids), prepare beautiful food for the adults and magically my make my yard look like I take care of it.  All in 6 hours, with 3 school drop offs and one school pick-up mixed in there.  Did I mention that somehow all of the little guy’s toys, and I mean ALL of them have ended up in the dining room?  So unless I can fit a run to Home Depot for a door on the kitchen so no one can see the massive toy pile, I’ve gotta tackle that.   And, maybe, just maybe, fit in a shower. 

Not sure I’ll pull it all off.  Actually, now that I’ve decided to blog instead of clean, the odds are stacking against me.  And, seriously, because who would want to make this crap up –  the dog just puked!  I think I’ll go and get a coffee while everyone’s still asleep and try again in a little while…

I love 80’s music.  Don’t you?  I mean, it makes me feel 17 again, and well, who wouldn’t want to feel 17 again?  Seriously, this body back in 1987 was way better than the 2011 version!   Plus, the music my friends and I listened to was dance music, so it always makes me want to move.    Now, I’m still drawn to dance and R&B music and am often switching the radio station in the minivan looking for a good groove, 80’s, 90’s or whenever.

Lately though, when I’m scanning through the stations looking for a good groove I often land on a Spanish station.  Not intentionally.  I’ll be scanning through the stations, hear a beat I like and leave it on.  A few minutes will go by and the kids shout out “Mom!  It’s the Spanish channel again!”

I don’t know why this is happening.  The only thing I can imagine is that I’m never in the moment.  I’m always thinking 3 steps ahead of where I am at the time. Who has to be where next, what chores are left undone, what errands still have to be run. 

My brain is going so fast it can’t even process Spanish music on it’s own!  Oh well, I figure if it keeps happening, maybe someone in the car will pick up a second language.    If I’m listening to the Spanish equivalent of Naughty by Nature they may be picking up some words they won’t be learning in high school Spanish though! 

Travieso por Naturaleza

Hi Everyone!

Gia and Stacey are busy with field trips, field days, school concerts, band concerts, orchestra concerts, recitals, gymnastics shows, soccer playoffs, baseball games, moving up ceremonies, graduation parties, birthday parties, end of the year parties, meetings, planning teacher gifts, six kids, two dogs, two husbands and a partridge in a pear tree.  We will return to blogging shortly.  Thank you!