when sisters are great

Summer vacation from school can really suck sometimes; especially when your parents work life and that thing they call being an adult get in the way. I try to placate the kids with I know how you feel, but really what would a mom as old as me really understand about any of that. Still I do try, as do many other parents distracted by work life and not enough vacation time and adulting obligations that get in the way. My friends, Kristen and Liz, really nailed it discussing this topic recently in their podcast with Jessica Lahey.

All good stuff really; but it doesn’t help ease the disappointment when your son’s plans fall through…the plans that he literally was counting down the days to and that you perhaps  misunderstood but you likely did not because you were actually trying to downplay and distract son from his calendar countdown to make alternate plans because you had a feeling…

It is then that you and your son give thanks for sisters; big sisters who drive and who have a day off when mom and dad don’t.

Sisters and their friends are awesome like that. He’ll ignore that which usually annoys him about sisters and girls right now because here is …

His happy place.

And this week, for now, he agrees that sisters are great.


this week on the iPhone

I may not take as many pictures with my Canon as I used toand I should be taking more…still I manage to take pictures because there is always my iPhone close at hand and Instagram.

She really is a pretty little thing and not nearly as bendy as the haters say that she is.

Rain finally came to to the Valley and I did ask my darling husband if he would rather take the car into work in the Bay Area rather than the bike because I could easily get up at o’dark thirty to take Jodie to work and then go home to sleep until it was time to take Daniel to school. No big deal. Jodie would have a triple latte ready for me when it was time to pick her up.

No was his answer.

He got soaked.

Oh well!

The morning after the rain is the best when everything is so fresh and clean…except the mom-car.

Oh, and sunrises as I leave work in the early morning are the best because, yes, I worked! I worked callback which is even better!!

The sunrise view in my mirror reminds me that my day is done…as soon as I drop my son off to school.

This son, my favorite son, who every day, all the time reminds me how lucky I am to say that I am his mom!

But LITERALLY the most exciting thing happening under the Big Top this week was these salt and pepper grinders.


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a weekend off

How does that old song go?

Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend…

Egads, that song IS old, like back when MTV played music videos like all day old!

Yes, most folks are doing the Monday through Friday thing just so they can rest and play through their weekend.


Me, I work pretty much every weekend. A weekend off is a rare thing and is usually in order to take Jodie to a dance competition. Juggling the needs of this circus I have no choice. I love that I can be there for Hollie to watch the babies. Jodie and Daniel live too far from their schools to walk and there is no school-provided transportation available. Well, I did give up the short bus hoping Daniel could stay at his school rather than be moved to yet another school in the district. And then there is homework…fourth grade homework is hard, especially hard for a kid like Daniel. The kids need me. They seem to need me more the older they get. Sorry to the moms of little ones who just can’t wait for the freedom of older kids. It doesn’t always work out that way. The fact that my workplace only offers 12 hour shifts makes it all the harder. This is why I gave up my full time position more than four years ago and accepted a per diem position. I love my job. I love what I do. But my family right now needs me more and needs me to have more flexibility in when I work and when I am home for them.

In the workplace, I gave up a lot. Some think I don’t take my career as seriously I should. Some assume I’m lucky to stay home and choose not to work full time and work “whenever I feel like working”.  Not true. But it is what I choose to sacrifice the career a little for the family. And so I work pretty much every single weekend, when my family is home resting and playing.

But this weekend I had off…Friday through Sunday, which is the weekend in the night shift nurse-land.

How glorious!

How desperately needed.

So I put my calls directly to voice mail…because I knew that I would be called to come in due to staffing needs and new admissions. I was. I felt a little bit guilty because I know how hard it is to find extra staff when short-staffed, especially with surprise admissions…and especially on weekends. Yes, I felt a little bit guilty. But I reminded myself how desperately I needed my own weekend off for my own physical, mental and emotional health. It was time for me to take a weekend off and to enjoy…

a date night with the husband…

spending a few hours in my daughter’s stylist chair…

some cuddle time with a 10 month old who doesn’t believe in napping on a lazy Sunday afternoon. OMG, Fallon is TEN MONTHS OLD!!!…

enjoy some silly play when chores should be done…

and take some time to just play a little with my boy…who won’t be little that much longer…

to try out yet another recipe that I pinned on Pinterest and then sit down and enjoy some Sunday afternoon football. The enchiladas, by the way, were delicious!

And now Monday is here…back to the juggling of the kids, school, after school obligations and activities, the grandkids and everything else…oh, and work this weekend. I am so glad that I took this last weekend off.

what would I do with cash to spare?

Yesterday was payday under the Big Top and that is always a good day. In spite of what the “experts” might say about dual-income families, we are not rolling in the dough. We do not have tons of material goods: no big screen tv, no tv or computer in every room of the house, no Game Boy, X-box or any other toys like that. I only wish for fancy pedicures and spa days. Our last vacation as a family where we actually went somewhere was in 1992 and it was just Holly and Zoë back then.
No, we are not blessed with a huge disposable income. Sorry to disappoint the experts out there. We live pretty much paycheck to paycheck just like most Americans. We do know that one reason is because of poor choices we made when we were younger. But we have learned the hard way about living the American way on credit. It took a long time to pay for the mistakes we made but because of them, we live differently. We carry a one mortgage and one car payment. And although we do have one credit card with a low balance everything else is in cash including
those three sets of braces we currently have. So payday for us is bill paying day (my electric bill for those two weeks of triple digit temperatures is $500 and our ac was never set below 82°!) and re-stocking the pantry day.

So last night, after paying the current bills, I went grocery shopping to stock up the empty pantry. It didn’t take long to fill up that cart. While I unloaded my groceries onto the conveyer at the checkout, I couldn’t help but overhear the transaction ahead of me. The lady with her two small kids in the cart was having problems paying for her cart load. Her total was just over $90 but her bank card was declined. She kept trying and trying over and over again. She then began to remove items. Still her card was declined each time she tried. The clerk was getting rather exasperated with her. My heart really went out to this young woman and her kids. If I could I would have stepped up and covered the purchase. But after paying the bills I knew that I didn’t have the cash to spare. I wish I did. Someone once did that to me years ago. I was so embarrassed and yet so grateful. The person did it with no expectations in return except my thanks. I never saw that woman again but I will never forget her kind act. She will never know how much it meant to me. Someday I will pay it forward.
In the meantime, all I could do was say a quick silent prayer for that woman ahead of me as she picked up her children and walked out of the store without her groceries. God bless her.