Monday, June 29, 2015

School's Out For the Summer!

It's official. My two oldest boys arrived home an hour ago from their last day of school this year. Of course they are already in party mode, begging for screen time "because it's the last day of school". I'm kind of a mean mom, so I have said no to anything of the sort until all the rooms in this house are cleaned. Don't worry, I know a lot of the cleaning is my job. I'm talking about the toys, papers, clothes and random dishes that have been left all over the house. Seriously, I went downstairs to get meat out of the freezer for supper and I was tripping over water bottles and tupperware cups. Yikes.

Mike has one more day of work on his countdown, which means I do too, because it means I have a whole day with all four kids at home and no Mike. Again. Hopefully they will be as excited as I am to get this place whipped into shape so we can enjoy our summer holidays. And two seconds ago, Cody said, "I'm bored, I don't know what to do." Guess it's going to be a long summer!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Final Countdown

Today is the last day of classes for all three of my boys. Jamie and Cody will be going on a field trip on Monday, and Micah is completely done after today. There has been a countdown going here for quiet a while. For the boys, and for Mike, it has mainly been about how many days of school are left. My countdown is slightly different, and I suspect many moms may relate to this one.

For me, the countdown has been about how many school lunches I had left to pack. I don't know why, but packing school lunches is one of my worst tasks that I have to do almost daily. Mike has been laughing at me a bit as I have proclaimed daily how many lunches were left to pack this year. This morning, I packed my last three lunches. Yes, my two older boys have school on Monday, but being a field trip, they are going out for pizza and as far as I know, I don't even have to pack snacks. In fact, I might even get really rebellious and not even send water bottles, as I do every day.

Getting kids ready for school each morning is a short, but frenzied affair. For me, it starts at 6:50 a.m., when I not only have to be out of bed myself, but I also have to wake up two or three boys, depending on the day. Winters are the worst, because on top of making sure everybody is awake, fed, has used the bathroom, and making sure all backpacks are packed and ready to go, I also have to get them dressed in their winter gear, which takes extra time. But this would all be much easier if I wasn't busy packing three different lunches and three bottles of ice water at the same time. The process doesn't sound that difficult, except inevitably, at least one water bottle is missing, and at least one lunch kit is missing, and sometimes even a backpack is missing.

And speaking of packing lunches every day, I found out yesterday that my lunches are something of a running joke at school, at least in Cody's class. Apparently EVERYBODY knows that I pack the exact same boring lunch for him every single day. Even his teacher knows. Yesterday I threw in a surprise cookie and a surprise bag of chips; both items that rarely (or never, in the case of the chips) make it into their lunch bags. Cody gasped in surprise when he opened his lunch, and jaws were dropping all over the room. His teacher asked him what the deal was. He said to her, "You know how my mom packs the same boring lunch every single day?" And her response was, "Yes." Yes. She does know. Everybody knows. Should I cringe in embarrassment? No. I am a mom. Am I boring? Maybe. But if boring gets the job done, then I'm doing my job. Every mom knows, when you find food your kid is willing to eat, you stock up on that food and send it to school every day because that way you know your kid is actually eating, and not just giving their lunch away or throwing it in the garbage. Boring? Sure. Do I care? No. I have made it through another school year, this time packing an average of twelve to thirteen lunches a week, and none of my kids starved.

And now I'm done! For the next ten glorious weeks, I will not pack a single school lunch. My celebration is irrational, of course, because having all four of them home all day every day for ten and a half weeks will be far more difficult, but I'm not going to let that put a damper on my festive mood. Farewell school lunches. Farewell forty minutes of stress and craziness every weekday morning. Bring on the summer holidays!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Radar

Yes, I'm still here, and still doing desperate house-mom things. I know I have been gone a long time, and I wanted to post in here sooner, but in April, our beloved dog died, and I took an extensive break from writing anything at all. I knew I couldn't post in here without reporting our loss, and I just didn't want to cry anymore.

Radar was only nine years old, and he was the best dog ever. His death was sudden, and though we knew it was coming, we thought we had at least another year or two. We just weren't ready to say good-bye.

I have many things to report in here. Obviously after a few months off, I have accumulated a few stories. But today, I just wanted to explain about Radar. I'm not going to give details about his death. I just wanted to post a few pictures and say an official good bye on here.

Radar was a Humane Society dog. We went there looking for specific puppies, but when we met him, we kind of fell in love. He was very strange looking, because his ears were gigantic. He was four months old when we brought him home, the same age as Cody was. Here he is below, looking hilarious with his crazy ears.



As it turned out, Radar grew into his ears, though some might debate that. To me, he grew into the most beautiful dog, and was the closest thing to a purebred German Shepherd I could have asked for. Obviously he wasn't purebred, but we never saw anything else in him. I wanted a German Shepherd my whole life, and he was my birthday present from Mike. I remember walking him down our road feeling overwhelmed at how beautiful he was, and how blessed I was to have my dream dog. 


He was smart, and so gentle. He was amazing with our kids. He never did anything bad...or at least, hardly ever. His only real flaw was that he barked a lot. He barked at everything outside. It was annoying at times, but he also kept the yard clear of wildlife. And he was smart about it too. When coyotes howled, he would trot in a large circle around the house, with his hair standing on end, but he never went after them. Often he would carry a stick or some other item in his mouth, as if saying to them, "Look. I have a stick. Don't mess with me." We found it hilarious. Mike always did Radar's voice and talked for him. We laughed a lot.


His tail was huge too, and everywhere he went, we would hear the rhythmic sound of it slapping against things. It made us smile every time. 


I could go on and on. I loved him so much, and even now I'm tearing up yet again, even though it has been almost ten weeks since he died. I will never forget him, and I will always miss him. We all will. Except for possibly Lauren. She doesn't really get it. She just asks, "Where's Radar? Is he at Jesus?" and I try not to cry. And I fail. Radar was my first dog. He changed us. Somebody told me pets leave paw prints on our hearts. Radar did just that. Good bye, sweet puppy. I will love you forever.