An Almost Perfect Present

Number 5 and 6’s birthday was last week, and one of  Number 5’s gifts was to go to the salon with me for her first mani/pedi.

She has been begging for this for a couple years now, and she is my girliest girl, so I knew she would truly enjoy and appreciate the experience.

Not having my shit together for the past few weeks, I didn’t make an appointment or anything. We just winged it and went to my favorite nail place. I rarely have my nails done, but when I spring for a pedicure, this is the place I go to.

It was 11:30 on Saturday morning, the place was packed, and they had no openings.

I was bummed.

So we got back in the car and headed across the street to a place I’d never been to.

It was a newish place that opened up fairly recently.

They weren’t as busy as my first choice and were able to take us immediately, so we stayed.

Number 5 was so excited. The sheer number of nail polish colors from which to choose had her squealing with delight.

We sat down next to each other.

She felt right at home.

She had a dude doing her nails.  She’s a little shy, and I thought she might not be comfortable with that, but she was happy as could be.

Since she was going to have both her hands and feet done, I splurged and got myself one of the fancier pedicures. I’d have time while she was getting her manicure.

I very rarely get pedicures. This is partially due to the fact that they aren’t really in the budget.

But it’s also because I spend as much of the summer barefoot as possible, and I don’t spend very much time taking care of my feet.

So they’re kind of a disaster. Especially my heels.

If I got one of those baby foot peel treatments, I could  make a seriously satisfying skin peeling video.

So anyway,  the lady started going to town on my heels.

Five minutes in, there was a disgusting (but impressive) accumulation on the towel under my feet.

About the same time, I noticed the TV on the wall in front of us.

They weren’t playing The View or HGTV or any show a woman would stereotypically watch.


They were broadcasting a fucking UFC fight.

What the hell?

I hate that shit! And I didn’t really want my 8-year-old daughter watching it during her first ever birthday mani/pedi!

I wanted to say something. But I also didn’t want to be that mom.

So I kept my mouth shut.

It wasn’t long before Number 5 moved to get her manicure.

I had fun watching her enjoy the experience while my technician continued her Cross Fit workout on my feet.

Number 5 seemed so big to me before we walked into the salon, but so small and cute when I watched her from across the room.

We both finished up at about the same time and sat at the dryers for a couple minutes together.

She had a smile from ear to ear.

We left about five minutes later.

As we were walking to the car, I asked her if she had fun.

“YES!!!” she said.

“Except there was just one thing I didn’t like,” she told me.

Fucking UFC fights. 

I was angry that my girl would associate her first ever mani/pedi with anything negative, but especially with that.

“What didn’t you like?” I asked her, knowing full well what her answer would be.

“I didn’t want to look at…


Oh. My. God.

Not the answer I expected.

But on the bright side, regularly scheduled pedicures are now officially justified.


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5:00 On A Friday Night

Yesterday I had a significant freakout about the arrival of summer. I was panicking. And I wasn’t at all physically or emotionally prepared for the transition.

I was so exhausted that as soon as I got Number 6 and 7 into bed, I crashed on my own bed before 9 pm.

My husband was working down in the basement.

Number 4 was  at a carnival with a friend. I texted her mom and told her I was sorry, but I was too tired to stay awake until Number 4 got home, I couldn’t stay up another minute, and that she could just let Number 4 run inside when she dropped her off.

I  like to go out to the car to say thank you whenever someone drops the kids off, but last night I just couldn’t do it.

I left Number 3 and 5 out on the couch watching television, and I passed out.

Number 5 woke me up at 3 a.m. because she was thirsty, so I got her a water bottle and got back into bed.

At 3:30, I was still wide awake.

I had gotten six hours of sleep already, and my alarm usually goes off at 4:30 a.m. I knew sleep would not return anytime soon.

So I got up.

I made some coffee, did some laundry, got a little bit of work done, worked out on the elliptical for 40 minutes while I watched another episode of Scandal (holy shnikes I love that show), and then took a shower.

I took Number 3 and 4 to swim practice, coached this morning, and taught a bunch of swim lessons this afternoon. By 3:30, I was done for the day.

The kids were pretty good today. There were one or two episodes where a couple of them tried to beat the crap out of each other, but for the most part, they were great.

And today is the first Friday in a very long time where I don’t have swim practice at night.

That hasn’t happened in a long, long time. Like since last September.

It’s the first Friday night, in nine months, where I am home, all the kids are home, and we just have a regular, non-scheduled, semi-relaxed night.

I was so overwhelmed and freaked out yesterday I didn’t even realize that while my daytime schedule might become a little more challenging, my nighttime schedule has become much more manageable. Especially tonight! And not just tonight.

Every Friday night for the rest of the summer!


So once I was done with my lessons, I told the kids I was going to take a shower.

I was interrupted twice. Once because someone broke a bowl and once because someone clogged a toilet, but other than that, I was able to shower in relative peace.

By 4:30 I was clean and dressed in my pajamas, and able to get dinner started without having to throw all the kids in the car and rush off anywhere.

It was foreign. It was weird.

And it was awesome.

Two of the kids were outside playing badminton. Three of the kids were swimming in the pool. One kid was up in bed reading.

It was, as far as I’m concerned, the perfect summer night.

Everyone was having fun doing what they wanted to do.

And so, at 5:00 on a Friday night, in my pajamas and after having enough time to just pause and exhale, I noticed how gross the floor was.

I took out the vacuum, feeling oddly grateful to have this opportunity to leisurely clean my floor. And as I was vacuuming in my pajamas during happy hour time on a Friday night, I thought about what I might have been doing fifteen years ago at this time on a Friday night.

I certainly wouldn’t have been doing housework. In my pajamas.

I definitely would have been celebrating happy hour in the traditional manner with my (childless) coworkers.

And immediately after that thought, as if the Universe felt the need to slap me in the face, I very vividly recalled a conversation I had with one of my fellow teachers about sixteen years ago.

I remember  exactly where I was, sitting at one of the student’s desks in her empty classroom after all the kids had gone home, telling her how I looked forward to the day that I had kids and a family. And how I hoped I’d be able to stop teaching so I could stay home with them.

And for a couple hours this afternoon and tonight, my life was exactly how I envisioned it back then.

I couldn’t see that this past week. Because it was a shit show.

In fact the past couple of weeks have been kind of a disaster. I fucked up multiple times. Among other things, I completely missed a class party, a dentist appointment, a baseball practice, and a swim practice.

I almost forgot Number 3’s birthday. And if it weren’t for my parents, he wouldn’t have had any birthday presents or a cake.

I’ve been feeling like a failure. Like I’ve let my kids down.

And then, tonight happened.

We did nothing spectacular, but my kids had a great day.

I kind of did, too.

I’m not doing things perfectly.

But I’m not doing them all that badly, either.

So I’m not nearly as freaked out as I was yesterday. And I’m easing into summer.

It’s funny how when you calm down, relax and stop putting unreasonable expectations and demands on  yourself that things just kind of fall into place, isn’t it?

Nothing ever really goes exactly the way we hope it will and the Shitshow episodes air more often than we’d all like sometimes.

But there are also lots of  awesome moments (some spectacular and some more mundane) sprinkled in between.

Tonight as I vacuumed my dirty floor in my pajamas at 5:00 on a Friday night, I was given a gift. A reminder. A gentle slap in the face.

Not all parts of my life are as I pictured them years ago.

But a lot of them are.

And life really isn’t all that bad.

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For Those Of You Struggling With The Transition Into Summer

This first day of summer has snuck up on me.

I’m not prepared. I’m not organized.

It’s kind of like when Christmas seems so far away, and you know you have plenty of time. And then all of a sudden, BAM. It’s Christmas Eve Day and you haven’t wrapped a single present. You haven’t even finished your shopping.

And you freak out.

I am freaking out a little bit.

Swim practice times have changed. My coaching hours are completely different. Summer swim team is starting. I started teaching swim lessons here at home yesterday. I am also close to launching a new and improved website and I have kind of a massive amount of work to do for that. From home.

And all the kids are here now. Every day. All. Day. Long.

Oh yeah. And it’s Number 3’s birthday today.

I feel so overwhelmed that I’m kind of paralyzed. I’m having trouble knowing or deciding where to start.

This paralysis leads to avoidance, where, inevitably, I end up on Facebook.

And Facebook is flooded with last day of school pictures/celebrations/whatever.


I managed to take a first day of school picture for some of the kids back in August..

But there was no last day of school pic.

Apparently the thing to do these days is have your kids wear the same outfit on the first and last day of school. And then document both days.

At least if you really have your shit together.

I don’t have my shit together.

I didn’t decorate the driveway with chalk or buy sparklers or make a cake with a custom message or go out for celebratory ice cream yesterday.

And today I didn’t start Number 3’s birthday off with a special birthday breakfast. In fact, I’ve planned nothing for him.

For me, right now, the goal is no blood, no fire, and no death.


And the no blood goal is pretty lofty.

I am functioning on the basics. Keep everyone alive.

That’s it.

Today I am just going to tread water. It is only about keeping my head above water.

I’m not worrying about forward progress. There will be no pressure to check anything off a to-do list. The kids may eat Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

They will survive. If I keep it simple for today, we all will.

Tomorrow, I’ll make a small list, and start to pick away at it.

I love summer. I really do. It is BY FAR my favorite season.

But this year the transition into it has not been smooth. At all.

When Number 6 first started preschool, he had a very hard time transitioning from one activity to another. Any time he had to stop one thing and start another, he would be inconsolable.

At the time I was frustrated by this. I couldn’t relate.

But today, I can.


If I were four years old, I’d be hysterical right now.

So if you, like me, feel like you are one of the only people on the planet who is overwhelmed by this change in routine, who is struggling with it a little bit (or a lot), and who is not even close to 100% excited that the school year has ended, you are absolutely not the only one.

And it’s okay to give yourself some time. Take the day. Take a week (or a month) if you need to!

Let the kids watch too much TV. Let them eat crap for a day.

Just keep everyone alive. And survive.

You can start to sort things out tomorrow. Or next week.

You’ll get your shit mostly or sort of or maybe just marginally together eventually.

Until then, just breathe. Take comfort in knowing that at least one other person out there gets it. And you are definitely not alone.



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Last Day, First Day

Last day of school, summer is here.

Last day of my baby’s kindergarten year.

Last day packing lunches and taking the bus.

Last day for alarm clocks and making a fuss.

Last day for ripping the brush through the hair,

and frantically searching for something to wear.

Last day of forgetting to send in the notes,

and practicing placement of commas and quotes.

Last day of reading logs and Common Core hell.

Last day the kids impatiently wait for the bell.

Last day solving math problems five different ways,

and Pajama and New Word and Wacky Hair Days.

Last day the bus honks because I am late.

Last day missing class parties ’cause I fucked up the date.

Last day of conferences and concerts and plays,

first day of the pool and the sun and its rays.

Last day forgetting lunch boxes inside backpacks,

First day of 24/7 requests for More snacks!

Last day that the power school portal is checked,

First day of the house being constantly wrecked.

Last day drinking my morning coffee in peace,

First day teaching chores requiring some elbow grease.

Last day dealing with the jerky school kid who’s mean.

First day of the quest for non stinging sunscreen.

Last day of looking for two (sort of) matching socks.

First day of playing with dirt, sticks and rocks.

Last day of forging a signature that’s fake.

First day of spending the day at the lake.

First day of running around barefoot in the grass,

(Also, first day of kids being a pain in my ass).

Last day of I need poster board by 7 a.m. tomorrow!

First day going to the library for good books to borrow.

Last day of phone calls cause the kids forgot their stuff.

First day of hot dogs and peanut butter and fluff.

Last day catching colds and getting sicker and sicker,

First day of fights and kids who constantly bicker.

Last day of saying Wake up, Sleepyhead!

First day arguing over when It’s time to go to bed!

Last day of my freedom and my liberty.

First day of an audience when I poop and I pee.


Last day is bittersweet and sometimes a bummer,

but at least it’s not winter…

Bring on the summer!

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