Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Troubles

Every year since Jack was 18 months old we have gone to the same pumpkin patch.  The first few years we were blessed with beautiful weather, very few people, and awesome pictures. The ones that you post on Facebook for everyone to see and then pat yourself on the back for having such a photogenic family. Oh, am I the only one who does that?  Anyway, today we were all set for our annual pumpkin patch trip. Because the last few years have become increasingly crowded and waiting in line for an hour to buy a pumpkin seems a bit silly, we decided to try a new place.  Everything was all set until this morning when we got up to pouring rain. We've done pumpkin patches in the rain before, but this was a cold, driving rain, that made all of us want to just stay in bed.  Unfortunately we had a 9:00 soccer game to contend with first.  When the game finished and we were all soaking wet and cold, I looked at Brandon and said, "want to go Safeway?".  Oh yes, he did. Probably the only time in his adult life he willingly went to Safeway.

Which is why our pumpkin patch photos are not on Facebook this year.  Because we got our pumpkins from a cardboard box at Safeway. Walking in Jack said to me, "Mom, tell dad how you used to get pumpkins when you were little.  At a grocery store!". As if this was something strange to do.  I don't know this might become our new tradition. The pumpkins were cheaper, there were no lines, and the most challenging part was trying to find the caramel to make caramel apples.  Otherwise, we were home by noon, I had a nap, made caramel apples, carved pumpkins, drank hot cider and made dinner.  Much better then spending the day fighting with everyone else in the city who decide to escape the crowds by going to an overpopulated pumpkin patch.  Much, much better.

Don't we look the happy bunch?

The obligatory 'pumpkin patch' shot. Complete with price of the pumpkins, in case you were curious.

Finn found his pumpkin!

Still searching, hoping they don't fall into the box.

Micah's pumpkin, Woo-Hoo!

And finally, Jack's.

They even have nice carts to use to carry your pumpkins around. No stalking/stealing some unsuspecting fool's cart at the pumpkin patch.

How 'bout them apples?

Finn thinking, "You want me to stick my hand where?"

And, yes, we give our boys knives. What, you don't think that is wise?

Almost done!

 Three happy boys, two not completely exhausted parents, one awesome trip to the 'pumpkin patch'.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Miss Viola Swamp

Today was my 2nd day doing a job I swore I would never do: substitute teaching. When I was teaching, I would always look at the substitutes in the lunch room and shudder.  The thought of walking into an unknown class and try to keep order for 6 hours filled me with horror.  That and everyday would be a "First Day of Work" and I do not do first days well. But with the boys in private school and my completely taken for granted one-day-a-week job long over, I needed to find a way to make a little cash.

At first I was going to apply to be a sub in two local school districts. But the job applications were too long.  Instead, I took the easy way out and just became a sub at the boys' school. Pro is that I get to take the boys with me to work. Con is that I get to take the boys with me to work.

The first day I subbed was pretty much a disaster.  I won't go into the details, but I did not come out the winner in that battle. Even with a triple tall mocha, the boys still got a movie when we got home so I could sit on the couch and try to regroup.

Last night, I was called to come in today and teach in a first grade class. I said, okay, worked out childcare, picked out a work outfit, and tried to go to bed early.  Then I had THE dream. The reason why I never wanted to sub. I never sleep well the night before the first day of school, the first day back after vacation, or even just after a long weekend.  So, to have a new first day each day I go to work, means a crazy dream leading up to each work day.

I went to bed thinking of teaching first grade, those cute little kids, the stories I would tell, the finger plays and rhymes I could use, etc. But when I woke up I was remembering the classroom I just left. In my dream, when I showed up for work I was no longer teaching first grade. On this particular day, the teacher I was subbing for would always teach a different grade. This time, it was adult learners.  Think your typical community college class. Okay, not so bad. Except, that like most horrible dreams, I wasn't fully dressed. Not naked (thank god) but wearing a skirt and instead of a shirt, a towel. A slightly wet towel, wrapped around my torso and tucked in.  And, as with most towel-sarongs, this one did not stay up. So, I have arrived at work, to a class full of adult learners at a very conservative school, wearing just a towel that I have to continually refasten.  The worst part was that I did not forget to put on my shirt, I had decided to try a new fashion statement.  The towel was my idea of what was fashionable to wear, because I am always so on top of the latest fashion statement!  Once I realized that I was just wearing a towel and that truly is not acceptable work attire, I tried to just straighten my shoulders and pretend I was actually wearing a shirt.  Except I wasn't, and the towel didn't really stay where it should.

Luckily, my alarm went off and it was time to get up.  I am pleased to report that I managed to wear a complete outfit to work, shirt and all, and I had a pretty decent day. There were moments today when I remembered how much I love teaching.  The best part, by far, was hearing a knock on the classroom door and opening it to find my first grade son, delivering a 'special' message to me. And getting an extra squeeze from my other son as he ran to recess.

And that is why I am subbing. Crazy dreams, out of control classes, boundary pushing students, and all.  I get to see my boys while I work, and get a glimpse into their school lives. And I make a little bit of money, enough to pay for my haircuts and, obviously, shirts.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

21 Minutes

21 minutes is all I have left in my weekend of solitude. In 21 minutes, I should have all my belongings out the door and stored in my car. In 21 minutes I will be on my way to the grocery store and back to life as I know it.  As I sit here, in my lovely red velvet chair, I am not mourning the end of this weekend quite as much as I did last year. This time, I am ready to re-enter my life, to see my boys, kiss my husband, and see what life is like at home with 2 dogs. And yes, I said TWO dogs.  Knowing that a weekend of solitude can be a yearly ritual has left me with a sense of peace. Instead of holding on to each minute and wishing time would slow down, I relished the time I had, knowing it was a brief respite. And, knowing that it can happen again. 

Before I left on Friday I mentioned to a friend that I wasn't feeling that overwhelming need to leave that I did last year. That maybe I shouldn't even be going.  To which my friend replied, "but isn't that good that you are not in that same place. Why wait until you are desperate for space before you go?".  That sums up what this weekend was for me. Not quite the OHMYGODIHAVETOGO that it was last year, but more of a gift that I could look forward to and simply enjoy.

Enjoy it I did.  One full day with no schedule, no one to talk to, no one needing anything from me, a guilt-free nap, and all the reading or watching TV I wanted.  It was absolutely perfect.  I am already planning my stay for next year.

 A ridiculously hot shower at 11:00 in the morning.  Complete perfection. 

 Using my birthday gift card and store credit to get $140 dollars worth of clothes for $5. 

Attempting to replace my too small cowboy boots. Loved the store, but sad to say, no boots in my size. 

 The hill that left me panting and sweaty. Also could be trying to text, drink a hot mocha, and carry a bag of clothes while walking up this hill.

 Until next year, my red velvet friend. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seeking Solitude

And I am back. Once again I am at a local B&B enjoying a weekend to myself. I prepared a little better this time and brought 3 books, 2 DVDs, a bottle of wine and something sweet to eat.

 Oh, and some lovelies so I won't get lonely. As I was walking out the door Finn said to me, "but you won't have anyone to snuggle with." That is kind of the point my dear boy. I love our morning snuggles, but this morning found myself in bed with 2 boys, one who was soaking wet, climbing on top of me, taking my covers, and asking when we can watch TV. I am excited to wake up by myself tomorrow. Go on a walk by myself. Drink coffee by myself. 

And yes, I was mortified carrying these animals inside with me. I wanted to explain they were not mine, but thought that would make me seem even more crazy.

Aahh, bliss.