Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Motherhood & More: Hoping kids remember more than Christmas magic misses*

I think I may have single handedly ruined the magicalness of Christmas for my kids.

I mean, there’s only so much enchantment I can create, you know? As much as I would love to present my children with a Pinterest Christmas, I gave up on that attempt the year my daughter destroyed the homemade applesauce cinnamon ornaments just because.

They have an advent calendar with a daily treat (mostly cheap chocolate because I am not an idiot) but we had to move that surprise to the afternoon because someone (my son) wasn’t sleeping past 4:30 a.m. He was too excited because of all the anticipation, and I was too tired because of all the early rising.

But sometimes I forget to have their treat out when they get home from school. They run expectedly, eyes bright hoping for their tiny snowman chocolate. I have to inform them that no, their mother wasn’t prepared. Again. But hold on a minute and I’ll get it for you. I guess that ruins the surprise, or something.

We also acquired an Elf on the Shelf a few years ago as a family gift, though we probably would have gotten him ourselves because everyone has to have an elf now, right?

Guess how happy I am about that little nuisance? Not only does he absolutely have to be in a different spot every night, but parents now are creating ridiculous scenarios where their elf is squirting toothpaste all over the bathroom because he’s just a silly, naughty thing. Excuse me, but I have enough junk to pick up after my children. Sorry, kids. I’m not cleaning up after the elf, too. You will just have to make do with our boring Mr. Christmas.

I also don’t understand how people leave their elves in places low enough for kids to reach. My kids know they’re not supposed to touch him. However my daughter will look you right in the eye as you tell her not to touch and poke the poor guy’s leg. That’s because no one is allowed to tell her what not to do, obviously.

And now my son has started writing to our elf. Usually he tells me when he’s written a letter and asks that I make sure the elf knows about it because we have a special bond, Mr. Christmas and I. But sometimes my son doesn’t tell me and is greatly disappointed when there isn’t a response. That means, of course, that now I have to search for a letter every night, just in case.

As much as I complain, I actually wish I were better at all of this than I am. I’d love to be the type of mom who has everything organized enough to fill every day of the Christmas season with magic. I’m having a difficult enough time keeping up with all I’m supposed to be doing that isn’t Christmas related, and many times I drop the ball. But I hope they don’t remember all the times the elf didn’t respond to a letter, or how we still didn’t put up the outside Christmas lights.

Maybe, instead, they’ll remember cookies we made, the tree we decorated, the Christmas music and hot chocolate, and the holiday shows we watched snuggled up together and offer a bit of forgiveness to their imperfect Mama.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on December 23, 2015.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Motherhood & More: With the holidays upon us, I am thankful for coffee*

Every year I wonder how it is that the holidays have come so quickly. I’m not nearly ready for any of it and it’s become a tradition to rush around crazily at the last minute. I don’t think this is so much because I put things off, but rather I pile too much stuff on in hopes of being everything to everyone.

So, in the spirit of giving myself a break, I’m copping out on this column. I’m going easy on myself. So this will not be literary genius of a piece, as they normally are, of course. This will be a last-minute, thrown-together list written in between work and laundry.

You are so welcome.

Without further ado, I give you my Thanksgiving List Of Things I Am Thankful For:

  • I’m thankful my daughter slept all night in her own bed without crawling into mine, snoring and stealing all the covers.
  • I’m thankful for interesting work I can do from my dining room table.
  • I’m thankful my son enjoys reading as much as I do, even if his favorites employ toilet humor instead of complex plot development. “Captain Underpants,” I’m looking at you.
  • I’m thankful we have a house that is a cross between 1920s craftsman, 1980s renovation and 2010s my-children-have-too-much-junk-and-refuse-to-clean-up-after-themselves.
  • I’m thankful for coffee.
  • I’m thankful I have a husband who sometimes makes me lunch when I’m busy writing a column that is past due.
  • I’m thankful for laughter and corny jokes and friends and family who indulge me in both.
  • I’m thankful for people who buy and appreciate the jewelry and hand knits I so love to make.
  • I’m thankful for parents who raised me to know how to do things for myself, like making a pie, sewing a dress or growing a garden.
  • I’m thankful my backyard is shady so I have an excuse not to plant a huge garden that requires a lot of work.
  • I’m thankful for warmth and good food.
  • I’m thankful both of my children are thoughtful and kind.
  • I’m thankful for health.
  • I’m thankful for coffee.
  • I’m thankful for the village in our real village — we have a good set of friends/neighbors who always are willing to help each other when needed.
  • I’m thankful for a husband who doesn’t complain too much when I leave the living room strewn with yarn and project materials.
  • I’m thankful for feather blankets on cold mornings.
  • I’m thankful for good wine and good bourbon.
  • I’m thankful for knit sweaters and socks.
  • I’m thankful for hair dye to hide all of my gray hair.
  • I’m thankful for friends who remain friends, even when we hardly ever see each other.
  • I’m thankful for Minecraft entertaining my children sometimes so I don’t have to.
  • I’m thankful my husband fills up the car’s gas tank so I don’t have to worry.
  • I’m thankful for love and acceptance.
  • I’m thankful for coffee.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on Nov. 25, 2015.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Guys. I was very deep for my age. (#tbt)

I'm fairly certain this was the correct time frame.
I am in a foul mood. Like a foul, I-hate-everyone-leave-me-alone-or-else-come-at-me-so-I-can-cut-
you foul mood.

It's awesome. I'm 78 percent sure it's from lack of sleep, but still, it's super frustrating because I have Responsibilities and Children and I can't just block everything out with a book on tape and my sewing machine.

Also I sliced open the tip of my right index finger Monday on a mandolin so typing is amazingly awesome. Also - ouch.

So, to cheer me up, I thought I'd read through some of my old journals again and share some especially awe-inspiring and melodramatic entries with you.

You are so very much welcome.  Also - if you have any that you'd like to show me that would make me smile, please do.

As always, most names changed to protect the innocent.



I feel weird. I say that alot in this journal. I can't even tell Tana how I feel. Sometimes I don't even know. Please help me. I always act happy at school. Today I started crying, not that much, noone could tell. Mrs. Gentry kept saying I was one of the people she had to wait on to sing. She has no right to say that because I always do what she says.

So and so lies to much. I wish she would stop lying to me about everything.

I'm not sure if I want to die anymore. I'm not sure of anything anymore.



Music is like Life. When the music stops, so does life.

I hope the music lasts forever.



I want everyone to get what they want as long as what the want doesn't hurt anyone.


3-27-94 (Later that night)

I just want to feel loved by a guy. Loved and wanted I don't feel loved or wanted right now.



You know what? This journal is terrible. All I ever tell you is what I want. But what about what I have? I have a great fried named Maria (Lue), I have a great family. I know that in the past, I've written in here that I have a terrible family, but that's not true. I love my family. Of course we get into fights, every family does.

Maria is the sweetest girl in the world. She's my best friend.

Well, I'm hopelessly in love with a guy named Chorizo (Present-day Jaime says I AM RUNNING OUT OF FAKE NAMES). He's really sweet, and of course he's cute. Ha Ha! The only problem is he's about a head shorter than me! I think he likes me, actually I'm pretty sure he does, I'm just waiting for him to make the first move.

Schools pretty good. I like most of my classes I've got 5th and 7th plus homeroom with Chorizo. Aint that great! But he's a sweetie, and I really like him


The rest of my journal entries can be found on this page: Jaime's embarrassing journal entries about boys she loved and also how much she wanted to get her period

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Motherhood and More: Don't lose your head over Mom-made costume*

I have a Halloween problem. Or, more specifically, I have a homemade Halloween costume problem.

You see, ever since the first time I sewed my oldest child his Halloween costume, I haven’t been able to go back to store-bought ones. I just have a problem paying upwards of $20-$40 for a costume that will be worn once, then fall apart.  That’s not to say that we’ve never rocked the premade ones, but this way makes us all happier.

Plus, as with everything I do as a parent, I have Mom Guilt. My mom made our Halloween costumes. They were always fun and awesome, especially that one year in high school where I made her sew me a sunset costume.

Yes, yes I did. And yes, yes she did.

So I feel it’s my duty to carry on the tradition because I have the capabilities. And it’s just fun. I like saying that I made it, and to me, Halloween should be all about creativity. You can be anything you want and should take full advantage of that.

So I’ve made ninja costumes, wizards, Batman, Harry Potter, an Elsa cape, and, though it wasn’t for Halloween, I’ve made a Luke Skywalker costume.

This year my son has been adamant that he will be the Headless Horseman. It took me awhile to figure that one out. We had a cape from last year’s Harry Potter costume, so that part was simple. But the pumpkin head has given me trouble. I’ve looked at Styrofoam pumpkins, plastic pumpkins and any other pumpkin I could find before dismissing them all as too small, too large, too difficult or too plastic-y. I finally realized that a Paper Mache pumpkin would be perfect. I could make it the size I wanted, easily cut a hole for his head, and it still would be light enough to sit on his shoulders without causing harm.

He wants it painted black with dripping blood, and he also wants to be able to throw it at people because of course he does.

He’s worrying a bit because it’s not quite finished yet.  Don’t worry, kid. I may be last minute but I always get it done.

I started the pumpkin head late because I’ve been fighting with my daughter’s fairy costume. This one was ridiculous. I’ve never sewn satin or organza, and never will again after this. Maybe if I’d done a bit of research before jumping in I wouldn’t have had such trouble, but if I had then I wouldn’t be me.

The costume has a dress and flowing skirt, plus a vest. And it was supposed to have handmade wings but I had to throw in the towel on that and use store-bought ones. There’s only so much torture I am willing to take in the name of homemade Halloween costumes and I had met my limit with all of the hand sewing required.

So I’m excited for Halloween because my kids are pumped about their costumes, which makes me feel good. And I hope that this is something they let me do for years and years to come.

I’ll even sew a sunset costume if that’s what they want.

Halloween 2012 can be found here and here. Sebastian's Luke costume can be found here. And Halloween 2013 is here. I don't have a post for Halloween 2014 because I got lazy, but I do have instagram photos! 

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on October 28, 2015.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Let's talk about exercise! (Hush, it's super awesome.)

I should really be working but I want to go back to bed.

That sentence probably runs through my head at any given time on any given day because zzzzzzzzzzzz and also DEADLINE.

But that's not what I'm here to discuss. I want to talk about fitness.

I know, I know. I'm vaguely dorky in a whole new way. But I can't help it. I am really, really enjoying what I'm doing.

I am the type of person who needs a program, I've discovered. I can run regularly and do a bit of weight training, but nothing has worked and I haven't really stuck with anything because BORING and also I WOULD LIKE TO SEE RESULTS.

I recently discovered the 21 Day Fix. I'd heard about it before, either from a blog post or pinterest recipe or the like. But I didn't delve any further for whatever reason, until last month. I spoke with a friend who was really involved in the Team Beachbody programs, and she seemed just as excited as I am now. So I joined. And I get it.

(Excuse me while I gush a bit.)

I like that I have a 30 minute exercise program first thing in the morning. I like that they are different each day of the week. I like that I can double up on the exercises after awhile. I like that there are modifications built into the exercises so I don't feel quite as bad if I can't do something as well as these people who workout for a living.

I also really, really love the shakeology because it is delicious.

I like that I did a full minute forearm plank for the first time in my life this morning. I like that I can feel and see new muscle definition.

I feel like I'm getting somewhere, and when that happens I am even more motivated to keep going. So many times I've started focusing on fitness super hard and dedicated, with little results. And I get sad and mad and say FINE! SCREW THIS it's not worth it if I'm not going to be where I want to be.

But this one is working, guys.

This is my second time on the program. I finished the first one the end of September, then took a week off for my kids' fall break and camping and beer drinking.

I started back this past Monday and it huuuurrrrrtt. I was so sore, but I loved it because I WAS DOING SOMETHING.

I'm really hoping to move on to something a bit tougher after this. Body Beast? Maybe? I haven't decided because it depends on where I am once I'm done with this program.

I even signed up to be a Beachbody coach because I feel so strongly about all of this. So if you're interested at all let me know and I can hook you up with info and encouragement and challenge packs and whatnot.

I also incorporated running because apparently I am training for the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon.

Chris has been really pushing for this because the race is right around our 10 year wedding anniversary and, I admit, it's kind of a cool way to celebrate. Plus he knows that it is something I want to do for myself to show that I can.

I am terrified. I am not a good runner at all, but I hope that by giving myself enough time and actually following a training schedule I can do it.



Friday, October 9, 2015

I wrote this drunk because REASONS

Hey - remember when I was all "I'm going to update my blog regularly now and write fun stuff again and all that?" Well, maybe not "All That" but all that as in all of that stuff that I just said before in that last sentence.

This post is already getting away from me.

Anyway, my point is that I'm totally doing All That stuff I just said, all of that writing and updating LIKE A BOSS, if 'LIKE A BOSS' you actually mean 'LIKE A PERSON WHO LIES A BIT' and 'LIKE SOMEONE WHO ISN'T A VERY GOOD BOSS.'

I had one of those bosses one time. She was horrible and made me cry many times so I am very sorry if I made anyone cry by my lack of good boss-ness.

But if I had been updating I could have told you about my daughter's stomach-virus-turned-strep that lasted over the span of a week and a half and included a night of missed sleep on my part because someone had to be awake and ready to catch all the barf in the bowl because whenever I wasn't awake she barfed on herself and then I had to change all the sheets and her pajamas instead of just washing out the barf bowl.

Guys. Motherhood is so glamorous I don't even know what to do.

I'd like to take off my heels sometimes, is what I'm saying.

But she never quite recovered from that, and then got strep at the beginning of fall break (Monday).

Luckily we still were able to go camping (see all the photos below) and had an absolute blast, the best time I think we've had as a family so far, which is saying something because we're some awesome people who know how to have fun.

There was hiking and fishing and swimming from a girl who had a fever just the day before. (We like to build up immunities in natural ways.) And there were scary stories and s'mores with friends and more swimming in cold water and that one hilly hike with my daughter who still kind of felt like shit, but was entirely too much of a Mama's Girl and too stubborn to let her father carry her, all that much and so whined for 75 percent of the hike because I wouldn't pick her up.

But still kept hiking.

Because she is the epitome of 'LIKE A BOSS' in the actual sense of the phrase.

And I also could have told you about my son saying "What a pussy!" when we were all trying to sleep. I don't know exactly what he was referring to, but he heard it on some stupid minecraft youtube video and so NO YOUTUBE ANYMORE, SON. Thanks, minecraft. You're an asshole.

Where was I?


Oh - if I was updating, I might have been able to mention that I'm starting to stress about the kids' Halloween costumes, because I'm running out of time. Sebastian wants to be The Headless Horseman, which is actually easy - we already have the cape from last year when he was Harry Potter. We just need to cut the bottom out of a plastic pumpkin and shove it on his head.  I've been telling him that he can just let his sister sit on his shoulder because she wants to be pumpkin. But not just an orange pumpkin. A many-colored pumpkin. I think, last I heard, the colors were blue and red and maybe yellow?

I'm taking them to the fabric store tomorrow so hopefully we can figure something out.

Because we are running out of time.

I also could have mentioned the fact that I just finished the 21 Day Fix, and that I loved it so much I became a coach, so if anyone is interested in starting, hit me up because it's really an awesome program and I feel stronger and to me, that is the point of all of the working out stuff. (I'm a wordsmith, I tell you what.)

I want to be stronger. I want to be leaner. And I want people to live in fear of my biceps. (Not really.) And I think this program can do that.  And I'm not just saying that because I'm a coach now. I really believe in it. So I'm serious - if you have any questions, just ask. I'm starting a new session on Monday, and I honestly can't wait. I feel much, much better on it, and that's not just all of the s'mores talking.

So, if I was a regular blogger, and not a lying liar, I could have told you all of this stuff, over the course of days instead of in one long post that I'm not entirely sure everyone has read to the end of.

I'm honestly not sure that is even an actual sentence but at this point it doesn't even matter because most of this is just a bunch of words that don't actually make a cohesive post.

Please to be enjoying some camping photos* and I promise** to update regularly from now on.

*I mean, this is a ridiculous amount of photos, but it was SO MUCH FUN!

**Dude. We all know I'm lying, and really - is anyone actually looking forward to this nonsense anyway?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Homemade Friday: Vogue 2902, or the dress I probably shouldn't wear in public

I started sewing this dress pattern many, many years ago, like even before I had Sebastian.

She wanted to be in the photo, too.*
I'm a vintage-dress girl. Part of me really wishes I could wear them every day, and not look weird. Because if you wear dresses and there isn't a good occasion for it, people tend to wonder why.

Why? Because I like dresses, that's why.

So when I saw this pattern, I immediately loved it. Capital L Loved it.

It was entirely beyond my skill level at the time, and probably still beyond me. I didn't sew nearly as much as I do now, but was eager to learn. This dress was not the pattern to learn on, I think. It is fiddly, with zippers and linings and all the pieces.  That is why, after finishing about half of the bodice I threw up my hands, said Screw. It. and shoved all the pieces and pattern into a grocery bag.

It has been bouncing around from closet to closet ever since, until this past summer.

I'm not sure what made me what to pick it back up. Probably a desperate need for quiet and sewing therapy. When I worked on something so detailed I could block out all of the sibling insanity that was happening all around.

I fee like I am a better sewist now (that's what we're supposed to call ourselves, right?) Zippers still aren't my friend, but I can at leas sew a straight seam.

But as soon as I started sewing the dress again I knew that the finished product was not going to be pretty. It's too tight, the bodice seams are crooked and I had used a pencil to transfer pattern markings, and they do not come out.

And the skirt. Oh goodness the skirt. I do not know how to hem a circle skirt, especially not one as huge as this one. It's a good 3-4 inches longer on one side than it is on the other, and the lining is the same way.  I have no idea how that happened.

And the zipper. And the lining by the zipper.

And did I mention it's too tight?

But, even given all of that - I love it. And I want to wear it. I probably won't, at least not until the skirt is fixed. But oh, do I ever want to.

The fabric flows and the giant, misshapen skirt makes me want to twirl.

I want to try again. I want to sew another one - this time maybe without the lining. And with a youtube tutorial on how to hem a humongous circle skirt.

You couldn't see my shoes well enough in the picture to tell how cute they are!

*I had literally two minutes to throw this dress on and force my husband to take these photos so that's why you have the no-makeup-exhausted-mama-messy-topknot photos. You are most certainly welcome.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Short story long: Hi again!

I've missed it here.

I know, I know. I keep saying that, but doing absolutely nothing about it. It's just (prepare yourself, many excuses ahead) that time gets away from me, you know?

I'm working from home now for a marketing company. Have I told you that? Can't remember. But it's awesome. I'm incredibly lucky.

However, I only have around 6 hours to myself a day. Don't throw things at me, but I never feel like I have enough time to get all of my life stuff done. Like - I can either clean the house or write a press release. Or make and sell jewelry in my Etsy shop, which is doing steady business. Or write a column for the newspaper. Or sew something. Or post things to a client's website. Or knit a few rows on a sweater or some socks. Or meet with a colleague to discuss Very Important Work Things.

So things are full. My days are full. Sewing and knitting is pushed back to make room for all the other commitments that other people need me to do.

And before I know it, 2:15 is here and so is the bus carrying my daughter home. And then I deal with my daughter refusing to actually get off the bus by pretending to be asleep. And then demanding snacks and my time and also probably yelling at me for doing something stupid like getting her water instead of kombucha (hippie).

And then my son is back, also demanding snacks but usually in a better mood than his hell-raising sister. And then there's homework, which Sebastian usually does fine and that his sister melts down over. And then a bit of free time, where, since my children have gotten into origami Star Wars stuff, I'm asked to find MORE PAPER AND SCISSORS AND WHERE IS THE STAPLER AND MOM CAN YOU JUMP ON THE TRAMPOLINE WITH US?

No. The answer is always no. That's because I've birthed two children.

Then dinner and soccer practice or religion or a soccer game and then I am so very, very exhausted but the children still want to stay up and WHY WON'T YOU GO TO BED WITHOUT A FIGHT, ADELE?

But my point, after quite a few paragraphs of rambling, is that there is no time for anything, especially not for navel-gazing in the form of blog writing.  But navel-gazing is fun! I miss it! So I'm going to attempt, once again, to show up here a few times a week.

Even if none reads this, even if it's just for myself, I will attempt to put a few words down in this blank box. It's good for my mind, good for my typing fingers, and good for my sanity because I can pretend like I am talking to all sorts of friends who are nodding in agreement with whatever ridiculous thing I've just said (written).

Because you all totally get me, right?

See you tomorrow.

Here is a picture of my ridiculous attempt at a family selfie on our canoe trip a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Motherhood & More: The kids grow up and, somehow, so do the parents*

Adele took this one.
The other day, my husband turned to me and said, “He’s 7. How did that happen?”

He was, of course, referring to our son, our oldest. It’s so strange how that transpires. One minute you’re wishing and wishing for time to go faster, for you to be older and more independent, then the next, you’re the mother of an almost-tween who acts more like a 30-year-old than most 30-year-olds.

And he does. He’s always thoughtful and responsible, forever trying to improve things about himself — whether it’s increasing the amount of healthy foods he eats or decreasing his screen time. He’s so proud for doing what he considers the right thing and always is quick to call his parents out for doing things they shouldn’t — such as forgetting to recycle.

He’s goofy but shy, respectful but kind of gross in that he loves bodily function humor. He’s learning to play chess and  always is improving on the soccer field. He still will hold my hand in public and give me hugs and kisses, but I know it won’t be long before that changes.

It’s absolutely insane. I don’t feel like the mother of a 7-year-old. I feel like me, you know? I feel like who I was, the same weirdo-goofball I’ve always been. But now there are small people forever needing me.

I’ve never minded growing older. I absolutely believe age is just a number. I’m so much happier and satisfied now than I ever was in my 20s. Of course, having young children will exhaust you to the point where you don’t even remember what it was like before they were there. But there are no regrets. I never feel like I’m truly missing anything. Often, I would like more time to myself, to do exactly what I want to do. But, in my eyes, that’s not the same thing as wishing to be alone.

It’s hard, sometimes, being a parent. It’s hard to remain yourself, to keep that part of you that is only you, not Mama or Wife. And I think it’s absolutely essential to grow and evolve once you are caring for another human being 24-7. Because how could you not?

Your entire life is flipped around and most of your thoughts will switch from, “How will this affect me?” to, “How will this affect my child?” (Or, in many instances, “How can I get more sleep?”)
It’s such a fantastic thing, that development. Nothing else but parenthood can change you like that – from selfish to selfless.

And every time my youngest gets up in the middle of the night to crawl into bed with us, I remind myself of this. She won’t always do it. I need to enjoy it now because it’s part of our story, part of my evolution.

Neither of my children will be small for very much longer, and already it feels like it’s slipping away.

But for now I’m still Mama. And that’s just fine by me.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on Sept. 23, 2015.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Motherhood & More: Silence is golden, but I miss my babies*

My days are child-free. For six hours a day, every weekday, for the first time since I had children, I am at home alone, regularly.

It’s … odd. And quiet.

I’m able to work uninterrupted, forming complete thoughts without the incessant tone of whatever ridiculous television program the kids are watching. I actually can generate an entire sentence without stopping to play another game of Candyland or another game of “where did my daughter run off to, now?”

My house stays clean for longer than 15 minutes and I can keep up with dirty dishes.

I don’t find random half-eaten snacks under the couch or rotten cups of milk. I don’t spend all of my days explaining that sure, fighting is completely normal, but let’s try not to draw blood, OK?

I work. I have made some time to sew. I make jewelry to sell. I knit. I work some more. I perform household chores.  I wait for the kids to get off the bus. I drink my coffee. I clean the house. I work even more.

I’m incredibly, wonderfully lucky to have the opportunities I have. I can work and contribute and learn and grow and use my mad word skills.

But it’s quiet. I can form complete sentences without interruption. I’m not playing Candyland or refereeing or pitching the baseball endlessly to the two batters who never let me hit. I’m not riding bikes in the driveway or looking at fossils with a magnifying glass.

And I miss all of it.

I’m not working to the endless background noises of annoying kid shows. I’m not cleaning up food or one more drink spill in the living room, even though drinks aren’t actually allowed there.
It’s so, so quiet. Peaceful, yes. But also a bit too peaceful. I’m a bit too alone and goodness I do love to be alone.

I know I will need to become used to this, just like everything else. It’s a new situation, one I haven’t experienced before. I am a homebody, most definitely. And yet I also need to make sure I interact with people, adults, at least sporadically.

In a way I feel like being here, being alone, is somehow not natural. I am not supposed to have this much time to myself, because, for the past seven years I haven’t. Since I became Mama, almost every thought, every day, every hour has been spent on my kids.

OK, maybe that’s not entirely accurate and a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s still partly true. This is the first time in a long time I’ve been able to be at home alone for this amount of time. I need to learn how to be me, without them.

It’s pretty cool, yes. But, oh, do I miss my babies. My smart, wild, annoying, funny, time-consuming, not-really-babies-anymore babies.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on August 26, 2015.

(This is my 500th post. I probably should have something a bit more special than this column, but this is what I got. Hopefully I'll be more motivated to come back to this space soon. I miss it, and I have so much stuff to show you - lots of sewing and knitting and whatnot - heavy on the whatnot.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Motherhood and More: Youngest child starting school brings conflicting thoughts*

My youngest child, my daughter, is starting kindergarten in a few weeks.

I … don’t know how I feel about that.

I am relieved in so many ways. Being at home has been a daily struggle between responsibilities that have to be done and the fun that everyone wants to have. It feels like I have failed on all fronts.

So I am not sad that school is starting, that the kids will be intellectually and socially stimulated for many hours with no effort needed from me.

Except I am. I am sad. She’s not quite 5 yet, as she’s just squeaking by the age cutoff to start school this year. This is probably our last real summer together and I don’t think I’ve taken full advantage of it. But I feel that way every August when I see all the other children who have attended camps and vacations and whatnot.

We hung out at home. The kids watched too much television. We went swimming as many days as possible, we learned that coloring and Legos can occupy them for hours, we ate Popsicles and ice cream sandwiches and played video games.

But we didn’t seem to do anything especially memorable. And for that I feel guilty. It is my daughter’s last summer before starting the decade-plus journey of school. This is when she’ll start growing into her own person, figuring out what it means to be Adele.

She’s already one of the coolest people I know, strong in her convictions and opinions. She’s tough with a forceful personality and would just as soon punch you in the leg as give you the best hug of your life. She’s able to disarm just about everyone she meets while at the same time convincing them she is right, always, no matter what.

I don’t want her to lose that. As difficult as it’s been to parent such a wild child, that wildness is what makes her amazing.

School is hard on people, but especially girls. Maybe that’s because I am one, but I think we have so much more pressure to be a certain way or act a certain way. I don’t want my daughter to be influenced and pushed to be someone she isn’t, just because she feels like she has to in order to fit into a specific mold.

She isn’t a big Barbie person, but loves animals and bugs. She’s fearless in the water, swimming better than any 4-year-old has a right to, diving off diving boards and doing underwater flips. She loves dresses, but doesn’t know or care anything about makeup.

She keeps asking me to cut her long, thick, gorgeous hair as short as her brother’s, mainly, I think, because I force her to let me brush it at least every other day.

So I want her to be a leader. I want her to be who she is, to accept everyone else for who they are, to not be influenced by petty, mean-girl antics.

But that’s part of it, isn’t it? Almost all girls have experienced that part of navigating through friendships and relationships.

I can only hope that when she comes out the other side, when she becomes a full-fledged woman, that she retains that fearless, full-throttle attitude we all love in her.

Because she’s going to do incredible things.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on July 22, 2015.