Tag Archives: kids

I Got Rhythm, I Got Music…Who Could Ask For Anything More?

baby-singingSo, last night, for some reason, I was feeling a bit wistful. I’m not sure what brought it on, but I started thinking about when my kids were little and the songs I would sing to them. Now that I think about it, the whole episode was probably brought on when I heard an old song on the radio. It was Smile, by Nat King Cole. Lost in the song, I mentioned to my husband that, when our kids were little,  I would sing those lyrics when they were feeling down. It’s a beautiful song and, of course, I know I didn’t come close to doing it justice. But, as I listened to the words, my eyes welled up a little. It was just a moment that came and went and was all but forgotten until a few hours later, when, out of the blue, I, again, began to think back to those days. Memories tend to cloud reality. Raising four kids had its moments of exasperation, to be sure. But, thankfully, God erases the frustration, impatience and noise level of those days leaving the warm and fuzzy memories to cuddle up with.

I LOVE to sing, to which my brood will attest. I subjected my children to many, many songs over the years – everything from sweet lullabies to Irish rebel songs to Gershwin, whether folding laundry, cooking dinner or driving in the car. Probably most irritating to my kids, was my knack for coming up with just the right song to appropriately respond to about any question they had.  That’s not an easy thing to do, and I have to say, I was pretty good at it. When they were young, I can remember calling them Veruca, from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, if they ever whined about wanting something immediately. She was the awful girl who sang, “Don’t care how, I want it NOW!” They really hated that one.

But, I would say, that most of the time, the songs were fun and they loved to join in. One memory that formed a lump in my throat last night, was the song from Winnie The Pooh. We’d be driving along in the car and I’d sing, “Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, where Christopher Robin plays, you’ll find the enchanted neighborhood of Christopher’s childhood days…..A donkey named Eeyore is his friend. And Kanga” at which point I would peer into the rear view mirror at Brian in his car seat, because he knew that was his cue: “and Litto Woo”

Me: “There’s Rabbit and Piglet…”

Brian: “And there’s Owl.”

Me: “But most of all, Winnie the…”

Brian: “POOH!”

He loved that moment.

In another, slightly more sophisticated example, my sister had once been watching Mike and Brian, and when I returned to pick them up, she told me that she had been singing to herself (must run in the family) while immersed in some housework. The song was It Had To Be You and she had just finished the line, “For nobody else gave me a thrill…” when, in the next room, she heard four-year old Mike finish: “…With all your faults, I love ya still. It had to be you. Wonderful you. It had to be you.” She couldn’t believe it and I said, “Yeah, Mike likes Gershwin.” So funny.

I’m not so sure his admiration for the genius of the Gershwin brothers still ignites him with such passion (well, actually, I AM pretty sure that it DOESN’T), but those days were fun. I do believe, though, that my annoying habit managed to instill an appreciation for good music in all my children. And while I certainly can’t take credit for Peter and Mary Kate’s love for and dedication to music, as they continue in their pursuit of advancing college music degrees, I like to think I played some small role in their recognition and appreciation for the great standards.

I still love to sing and find myself humming a lot at work. I don’t even realize I’m doing it until a patient will ask me, “What are you humming?” and I think, Was I humming?  Most of my patients like it. Most of them… But to the ones who don’t, I say, “Hey, dentistry has made a lot of progress over the years, but we refuse to make it a completely pleasant experience. That’s why we never warm up the water…and why I sing.” Now, just sit back and relax. This won’t hurt a bit…

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Cellll-A-Brate Good Times…

champagne uncorked picThis week marks the first time, in over twenty-six years, that I’ve experienced no kids in the house. And, let me tell you, it has been  FANTASTIC. I love my kids and all, but, OMG, it’s been SO nice to not have them around. I mean I’ve fantasized about this for many, many years. Yes, many, many. People would tell me, “Oh that’s what you think now, but just wait. You’ll miss your kids. You’ll miss the noise. It will be too quiet.” To which I respond, “Are you on drugs or something?”

It is impossible to be too quiet. In fact, my husband, who is slavishly working at his computer until the wee hours, desperately trying to finish tax returns before the dreaded upcoming deadline, is kind of making too much noise for me. It’s becoming more and more difficult to concentrate on my reality shows when I find myself continually needing to increase the volume of the television to drown out his sighing and moaning.

This small window into Life Without Kids is only temporary, though. My daughter will be returning home in two days from a spring-break trip to Florida. And in a few short weeks, her brother will be moving back home from school for the summer. With all his stuff. Unless, that is, he manages to get a job in Iowa City. I’m working on that now. Those are my babies. I’m working on the assumption that the older ones are gone for good – confident the married one has seen the last of his bedroom in the basement and my number two son might return home after finishing graduate school, but that won’t be for another year or so, according to my calculations. (I can just see him now dry-heaving at the thought)

But, I do see a light at the end of this tunnel when, come next fall, if all goes as planned, everyone will be safely tucked away in some sort of living quarters that is not here with me. The key word in that sentence is “away.”  Apartment… dorm…hostel…public housing…wherever, it won’t be at home. And, then, let the good times roll… But for now, I’ve just received a text requesting that I pay our U-Bill so my boy can continue his college studies without suffering the stigma of restricted privileges. Back to real life…fantasizing about the day my dog no longer lives with me. Another thing I’ve been thinking about for many, many years.

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So Much To Do…So Many Episodes Of Snapped To Watch…

Procrastination-3[1]So, I really should not be sitting at my computer right now.  I have a million other, important things I should be doing.  Those of you familiar with box wine musings might remember a post from last January about my failed attempts to prepare our house for the 2011 Christmas holidays.  That led me to make a rather bold, public New Years Resolution to clean my house from top to bottom so that I would be able to enjoy the 2012 holiday season, free of stress.  I think my exact words were, “No closet, cabinet, or drawer will be overlooked. Dust bunnies will be but a distant memory.”  Or something like that. 

Anyway, the point is, I started out on a mission.  And, I succeeded in scouring every room on the first floor of my house from floor to ceiling.  I was pretty amazing, really.  Then, about two weeks later, I spotted an evil cobweb hanging about a hundred miles up from the two-story ceiling in our family room.   (Sidenote:  two-story ceilings:  a stupid feature in a house – refer to my post:  And Another Thing…Random Thoughts, 09/13/12, for other dumb ideas in home construction that seem really cool when you’re walking through the house….) Anyway, upon seeing the return of the enemy so soon after my heroic (a ladder was involved) removal, I threw in the towel.  I surrendered.  I figured, “Who was it hurting?”  And you know what?  It’s actually pretty easy to live with the dangling threads of dust if you just each mind your own business.   

But, now, as Christmas approaches, the trials of last year seem like kid’s stuff.  This year, I am faced with a real challenge.  My house looks like the “before” house on any given episode of Hoarders.  That’s because it has suddenly become a storehouse for:  unsold items from a recent family estate sale (some of which are travelling downtown on Saturday – ooohhh that’s tomorrow – when son, Brian moves into his bachelor pad), wedding gifts from other son, Mike and Laura’s wedding (that’s okay, guys – we don’t mind), and, of course, Christmas lights, strewn about in an orderly mess through several rooms.  Then, just for fun, throw in Thanksgiving when third son, Peter, spent the entire week home from school doing his laundry, leaving large duffel bags, hampers and any other vessel filled with his dirty clothing everywhere, and I became sort of paralyzed, falling rather easily into that familiar fantasy about having my own secret apartment (a thought I’ve actually done some research on, but that’s a story for another blog). 

 I’m not sure where to start, but I do know that priority one is getting Brian’s stuff ready to be packed into the rental truck we’re picking up in a few hours.  So, I really should be focusing on that.  I keep telling myself that once his things are together, and especially packed into the truck this evening, my house will start to resemble a normal dwelling place.  Then, I just have to move the wedding gifts into Mikes bedroom.  But before I do that, I HAVE to figure out how to take apart the marimba in his room (if you don’t know what a marimba is, look it up – it’s big) that we borrowed from school and were supposed to return by late October.  Sorry about that, Mr. Thurlow. 

So, I’m sure you can understand why I’m sitting at my computer instead of doing something constructive.  But, I really do need to go.  There are so many things to do:  check my Facebook, see if there are any Snapped episodes I haven’t watched yet (doubtful), oh, maybe buy Hoover some dog food, ummm….and some other really important things.

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Your Kid’s Majoring In What???

I just finished reading a great post from one of my favorite bloggers which I will reblog as soon as I’m done writing this great piece.  I can only do one great thing at a time, sheesh.  Anyway, in it, he poses an interesting question about the collective sanity of our culture in which we work decades at a job we usually just tolerate (if we’re lucky), in order to pay for all the things we consider important.  Things like, shelter, furniture for shelter,  indoor and outdoor improvements for said shelter, clothing, cars etc.  These are, admittedly, all important things.  But, at some point, we become the hamster on the wheel, frantically working to pay the mortgage, real estate taxes, cars, and credit cards, just to name a few off the top of my head, as we continue to require bigger houses leading to more stuff to put in them, cooler cars etc.  Add into the mix kids and, forget it, it’s all over.  Then it really gets crazy – more clothes, food, cars, insurance, food (those pesky creatures insist on eating every day), tuition and definitely a whole lot more alcohol (for Mom and Dad, that is).  We think of ourselves as a civilized people and, yet, our lifestyles turn us into crazed wheel-spinning rodents.  What’s that all about?

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Forget The Whirlpool, Give Me Closet Space

Not sure how this one got by me, but in my last post, I touched on a few of the worst ideas in home construction that seem cool when you’re walking through a model.  In my opinion, anyway.  And, this morning I realized I’d forgotten a biggie:  the whirlpool tub.  Seriously, how many of you soak in a bath tub these days?  I know the idea sounds relaxing, but I’m pretty sure the only time it happens is on reality TV or television commercials (“Calgon, take me away”).  It really hit me recently when I was in a house-cleaning frenzy and decided to give my bathroom a real scrubbing, instead of the usual quick toilet, sink, floor going-over.  No, this time I was going to tackle that porcelain monster – the whirlpool tub.  The tub, which, by the way, hasn’t been used for bathing in years.  The tub, which now serves as a very large valet for my husbands clothes – his gym clothes taking up one corner,  yard-work clothes in another and shirts to go to the cleaners in a bag inside the tub.  So, it does serve a function, I suppose.  But, bathing?  Not since our kids were little and we’d fill it with bubbles and turn on the jets.  That’s a sure-fire way to get kids in the tub.  These days, though, when I take the time and energy to make it look like a tub and not something you’d see on Hoarders (in case a guest might need to use our bathroom, which I don’t think has ever happened), I actually find myself dusting the tub instead of trying to remove soap scum from the sides.  It’s just a really dumb attempt at a luxury feature.   You know what would be real luxury for me?  Lots and lots of closets.  And a huge laundry room large enough to comfortably spread out to do the laundry and accommodate shoes and jackets, etc.  THAT’S luxury.  And, I’m sure that losing the ginormous soaking tub and incorporating my ideas instead, would be HUGE selling points in a house.  Am I right or am I right?  Yeah…that’s what I thought.

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