Friday, June 27, 2014

Girl's Desk - From A Table

The Headlines:

Pottery barn Furniture is expensive.  And meaningless!

I love furniture with meaning.

This table means a perfect desk for my daughter.  

And it means even more to me.

When I was a kid, we didn't have a play room table with crayons and paper.  We didn't have a large office with a desk in it, nor a kitchen desk like many of us have built into our houses today.  We didn't have a formal dining room.  Heck, we didn't even have a kitchen island.  Nope, there was just one place where we pretty much did everything.  Our "dining" table.

Before Table
When my Mom wanted to give it to me, I accepted.  I loved that table.  So many memories.  Dinner every night.  Drawing as a kid.  Homework as a teen.  Snacks after school.  At first it went in the play room.  It was perfect there.  But it's a small play room so when I re-worked the space, I really had no place for it.  I was close to letting it go until I came up with a new plan for this area.

Before Space
This is the one wall in my daughter's room that could handle a desk.  Plus, she needed one.  She was going into the 3rd grade and it was time she has a good spot to do homework.  Which meant it was time for me to get to work!

We took the above table,  Bp (the husband) did most of the work… and we used one of these guys (above) to sand it down.  Then, he primed and (spray) painted it.  Side note, that's become our favorite way to paint.  SO much easier.  Once the paint was totally dry, I took the above sander again and made some of my marks.

See it?  It just makes it "shabby" and beats it up a bit… a look I like… it's not so pristine. Then, we placed it.  We added the shelf below which we found for less than $10 at Ikea (it had to be painted too)...
But it was pretty sloppy.  We had to organize it.  I really like the look of a "table-desk"  but the problem with tables, there's no storage.  First, we secured this "pencil holder" to the wall.

Next, we went back to Ikea and bought more storage.  For pennies.  That place is so cheap!  I don't recommend everything but if you find the right stuff… so worth the drive!

Then, everything that was on the desk went INSIDE something!  Key.  We added a pretty blanket and pillow to the bench….  voila.

There's also a cork board and paper organizer kitty corner (catty corner whichever you prefer) from the desk.  She loves the whole thing.  Now it's all business.
I love that she loves it… because it means more to me than buying a new Restoration Hardware desk.  And the best part, you can literally see the memories... right on the top!

Circa 1980's...
and it's clear why.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crispy Black Bean Burrito

The Headlines:

Have I mentioned I'm not a chef?

I'd more say I arrange food.

This is a stellar "arrangement!"

I think I have mentioned before that I know not what I do in the kitchen.  My mom didn't do too much cooking, that I can remember, as I was growing up.  I never went to a cooking school.  I don't really enjoy the act of cooking too much.  Eating is good but I personally don't have to do it thaaaat often.  A friend and I recently joked how "cheese and wine"  is a perfectly acceptable dinner to us!  But children, on the the hand, do need to eat fairly regularly.  Unfortunately, I do not have a personal chef.  Not that I wouldn't want one… but, alas, no chef.

I also don't like buy take out a lot or frozen type dinners.  I want to KNOW what's in the food I'm feeding them!  So when it comes to dinner time I often say I "arrange" meals.  Add a little of this, push a little of that, heat some here and cut some there.  DINNER!

This creation came one weeknight when I looked in my pantry/fridge and went hmmmmmm… what in the - presto - the Crispy Black Bean Burrito was born.  Seriously, for some reason the "cripsy" part of this baby makes it more fun for the kids.  Maybe it's the half quesadilla - half burrito deal.

Crispy Black Bean Burrito

You need:
1 can 15.5 oz Black Beans
1 cup Verde (you know the super mild but very tasty) Salsa
1 bag boil in a bag Brown Rice
1 cup Cheese.  Whichever you please.  I used a White Cheddar.
1 Avocado
Splash of lime juice
Cilantro (optional, some kids no like)
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil Spray

All I did was shred the cheese and add it to the black beans, which are rinsed and drain from their can.
Then I "made" the "guacamole" which is the kid version so it's basically just smashed avocados with a bit of lime juice, salt and pepper.  Plus some cilantro if you or they are up for it!  I happen to love the stuff!
I prepared the rice… which was easy and according to the bag's instructions.  Then I added some verde to it and stirred.
Simply line up the bean mixture, rice mixture and guac mixture in rows and roll into a burrito that doesn't have an opening up top so that you can "fry" it (my version of frying anyways).  Spray your frying pan with Olive Oil and get it nice and hot.  Then put one of those, or two of those babies in the pan.  "Fry" them until their golden and yummy looking on both sides and serve!  Makes about 3-4. Depending how big you stuff them!
Yes, that is my child's hand - not wanting to wait for me to take a picture - just begging and pleading to  dive into the goodness!  Bottom line, kids, and adults for that matter, will like this super easy, "arranged" meal.  And it only took like 5 minutes.  So you can hurry and get back to … free shipping and returns makes it all worth while!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Best Kid/Adult Book Ever!

The Headlines:

Good Children's books are hard to find.

This is my favorite children's book, ever.

The story is fun, the message is clear.

It's appropriate for 4 year olds and 44 year olds!

You MUST get it!

As One Picky Chick, it's really hard to find a good kid book these days.  Have you tried? I sit in the book store for way too long looking for one and often come up empty handed.  So when I went to my daughter's school book sale earlier this year and found a book that blew me away… I was pleasantly surprised!  Now, don't get me wrong, there are a few good books out there: I love You Forever, The Night You Were Born, Wherever You Are, Rainbow Fish… some even bring tears to my eyes but few combine so many elements like this one.  It is

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
Written by Eric Litwin
Art & Creator James Dean

Everything about this book is spot on. It has it all, especially for 3-6 year olds:

  1. Good story line: Pete the Cat loses his buttons, one by one, off his shirt until he has no more buttons.  But in the end it's okay because he still has his belly button.  
  2. Fun, sing song read: "My buttons, my buttons, my 4 groovy buttons!"
  3. A math element.  Each button he loses, he counts it down.
  4. Perhaps the most important to me, it has a heartwarming message:  "stuff will come and stuff will go but you just keep singing!"

It's a book that's meant for children but it's a message that pertains to us all.  Frankly, it's a message not many of us receive.  And we're adults!

Not to get all religious on you but I went to church this morning (as I write this, it's a Sunday) and the Pastor's sermon was entitled "When the game is over, it all goes back in the box."  His point being when you die, you can't take it with you.  The temporary is everything.  Like Pete's buttons.  The permanent is us.  At least, our souls, if you believe in God.  If you don't then the former is even more true… temporary is everything, including us.  So, why sweat the small stuff?  Pete's button falls off and he just keeps singing his song.  Your IPhone breaks and while it's a bummer - I get it - you have to buy a new one but there are worse things.  Just keep singing.  A lesson we could all (re)learn.  

For the record, I have read numerous other "Pete the Cat" books and they pale in comparison to this one.  There's a whole series of them, a few are "sing-songy" like this one but still not that great and the rest are just plain boring.  I'm not sure why… maybe greatness only strikes once.   

Whatever the case, for now every birthday party my 3 year old goes to… that birthday boy will be getting a "Pete the Cat and His 4 Groovy Buttons" book.  For that matter, I may even give it to a few adults along the way.  Maybe a hostess gift here and there?  Like I said, it's a lesson for us all!

Last thing,  if you want to BUY the book you can do so here:

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Or, if you want to hear the book - just check out this video of myself, my son and my daughter all reading it together.  I warn you… it's not Emmy Award winning.  But it is cute!  First You Tube video I, or we've, ever done…  enjoy!  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Third Life's A Charm

The Headlines:

Friday my Dad almost died.  Again.

Today HE gave ME a gift… his life.

This Father's Day holds a whole new significance to me.  I already wrote earlier this week about how much my Dad means to me and how today has long been important to me, as it should be.  I explained that on this day nothing is greater than than the gift of words because life is too precious and unpredictable.  But at the time I didn't know what lied ahead.  I had no idea, in fact, that my own words would be tested and put into action.

Me and Dad
Let me start at the beginning.  It won't take too long.  After all, I used to put whole life stories together with a total run time of 1 minute 33 seconds!

It was one week ago today when my family and I "Face-Timed" my Mom and Dad in California at their home.  From the outside,  everything seemed completely normal with my Dad but, unbeknownst to me, there was a sort of Volcano bubbling beneath his surface and it was fixing to erupt.   Monday we spoke again and again he seemed fine.  He mentioned nothing but at the time, when he coughed or sneezed, his head hurt.   We didn't speak on Tuesday.  Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning I wrote my blog post.  On Wednesday, when I called him, he finally fessed up.  He explained he wasn't feeling well and was headed to the doctor within the hour.  He told me of an ache that was slowly moving around his head and becoming unbearable with any pressure.  I'm no doctor but right away that seemed ominous.  I let some tears out that night and I told my 7 year old daughter about the situation.  We all prayed.  Can I say that I knew it was bad?  Fearful of the worst… I truly thought it was a brain tumor.  I wanted to be wrong.

The next morning I woke up with a queasy, uneasy feeling.  I was worried.  I posted my blog and as I did, the irony of the situation was not lost on me.  My Dad had a horrible night.  He couldn't sleep at all, had the chills and felt generally crappy.  But he was headed to an MRI late morning.  What would they find?  Apparently not much.  I spoke to him right after and he sounded bad.  He was slurring his words and forgetting things and almost "losing time"… getting confused in our conversation.  But he said they let him go and were bringing him back on SATURDAY, almost 2 days away, for a CT Scan.  I asked if he could wait that long but decided they wouldn't let him go if he couldn't.  Right?  Well he  has an allergy to the Iodine dye they needed to use for the test so he needed proper "prep" time for it.

The next day, Friday, I called as I was driving my 3 year old to an indoor play place, my Dad answered and he sounded no better.  "What are ya doing?" I said, "running errands" he replied.  For a second I was relieved - he was better?!  Hardly.  My Dad was in the ER.  Mom made them go because she didn't think he could stand it any longer.  Something was clearly very wrong and waiting was no longer an option.  That morning his doctor confirmed my initial thought, the MRI showed he had a large bone mass.  A brain tumor.

In the car, driving my son, I heard the words brain tumor and I almost ran off the road.  Isn't that like one of the worst things you could ever hear?  I imagine there are a few "worse things" but a brain tumor is certainly on the list.  When I hung up, I cried while sort of hyperventilating and as I did my son from his carseat exclaimed, "Moms don't cry!"  But this mom, at this time, did.

It's funny when you get bad news how you react.  What are you supposed to do?  There's no telling.  I called BP (my husband) who was in a meeting of course but answered my call due to the situation.  He jumped into action, "what do you want to do?  fly?  drive?  when do you or we leave?"  But my parents didn't want me to come right away, they wanted to learn more first.  So, I decided we would leave the next day.  In the meantime,  I went to the jumpy place with my son tearful and puffy eyed.

We didn't stay long and my son fell asleep on the way home and all I could think of, alone in my thoughts was life without my Dad.  Since I was born,  he has meant the world to me and I'm not ready to let him go.  I'm not sure I ever will be.  I told God I wanted him left here for me, my children and my Mom but if it was his time I would understand.  I packed, picked up my daughter from camp and told her the horrible news.  Grandpa had a rock in his brain.  That was easy enough for my children to understand.  Then we called him again.  He sounded better.  They had given him something for the pain and he was a new man.

I hung up and my Mom called me back 10 minutes later:

  The rock wasn't a rock.  It was a BALLOON.

Again, that's how I described it to my kids.  They had mis-diagnosed.  The mass wasn't a tumor, it was a slow bleeding brain aneurysm.  That, they said, was easier to fix.

My Dad was taken into surgery and they were able to "coil" the aneurysm.  Basically, contain it.  My doctor friend explained it to me like this (hopefully I get it right, it's been a long couple of days):  the arteries in your head are surrounded by a series of layers, if one layer seeps, there are others to keep it, somewhat intact, but if they all burst then you have a full aneurysm and death is imminent.

The doctors fixed my Dad's head but they are keeping him in the ICU to make sure the "fix" holds.  They are calling him the "Poster Child of the Hospital!"  Apparently, he is making a stunning recovery and they believe he skirted death, again, by hours.  If he would have waited for that CT scan… he probably wouldn't be alive to see Father's Day.

I spoke to my Dad on and off all day Saturday and again this morning - he sounds almost like himself again.  As it stands now, his brain seems unaffected.  But one doctor put my Dad's recovery like this: once you get a cut, often a scar remains.  His brain may have a little scar.  If that's all, we can live with that.  He can LIVE with that.
Dad and Daughter at American Girl Store 

As with everything in life - there are lessons.  Here, I have learned, once again, that life is so fleeting - it can be taken at any moment.  I have also been reminded that you have to be your own advocate when it comes to medical issues.  If something isn't right - speak up - before it's too late.  Then, once again, I  was reminded that words are king.  Say what you mean today.  Because tomorrow doesn't always come…
Groggy Gordon & Sleepy Son
My Dad lived a blessed but sometimes bumpy life.  Then he had a heart attack 2 weeks before my wedding.  He survived because he had more to see.  In 10 years, he walked me down the aisle,  almost completely tore down and rebuilt his house, traveled to Europe and met my children.  He then had a brain aneurysm and was almost taken 2 days before Father's Day but survived because there is still more to do.  This third life he has been given back is sure to be a charm.  What else can we call it?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Father's Day Gift That Costs Nothing.

The Headlines:

Dad's Day is coming up.

Give him the present of words.

About this time of year, every year, the topic of "Father" comes up in full force.  Commericals, stores, even blogs like this one remind you Father's Day is on the horizon.  The day we are supposed to dedicate fully and soley to the man who, hopefully, raised us.  There's pressure to buy them golf clubs, watches, ties… but really, none of that matters.  It might make them feel good in the moment, they can tell their friends, "my son got me -----"  but shouldn't there be more?  You bet!

A day like the one coming up often makes me stop and think how lucky I am.  To have a dad, you say?  Yes, simply to have one.  Some of us, less you forget, have a Dad that is no longer on this earth.  Some never had a Dad in the picture at all.  And then maybe the most devastating yet are those of us who have a Dad, in the picture, maybe even in your face, but you prefer to act like he isn't there.

Crazy?  Sure.  Because sooner than later he won't be.  I've always lived like this… even as a young, teen.  On holidays, certainly on a day as important as Father's Day… I always told my Dad how much he meant to me in a letter.  I have long loved to write and so this came easy to me.  But as I've grown I began to realize it isn't as easy for others.  In fact, for most it's down right impossible.  Simple, honest feelings are hard for people to express… even to their own dad.

Unfortunately, the flip side of that is that you never tell them how much they mean to you.  You assume they know.  But what's left unsaid, to me, is just unsaid.

My Mom had a Mother whom she felt never really cared much about her.  In her eyes, she wasn't shown real affection… certainly not through written cards.  She rarely actually even said encouraging things throughout my Mom's life and it bothered her greatly.  To this day, it still does.  My Mom never told her Mom how much it upset her and she never will.  My Grandmother died when I was pregnant with my daughter 7 years ago.  But until my Mom stops breathing, it will be with her.  If only my Grandma could have written one, heartfelt note to her daughter (my mom)…  it may have changed everything.

This week my children are writing/drawing their dad letters.  Actually, my 7 year old will write and my 3 year old will add some pictures, or scribbles, call it.  We will not buy him something expensive and flashy, instead we will make him something.  Something that comes from the heart, something that will make him smile and something he will remember.  That's what most Dads really want.

Two weeks before my wedding 10 years ago my Dad had a massive heart attack in the middle of the night.  He "died" on the table, I'm told several times.  Luckily, and maybe miraculously, he lived to tell the story.  But if he had left me on the fateful day, while I would have been devastated, I would have had no reservations.  No I-wished-I-would-have… because I already did.
Me and Dad 
My dad ended up having a stent put in, attended my wedding with a beaming smile and now I talk to him almost every other day.  He knows how important he is to me but none-the-less I sent him a card this year anyways.  Not a funny/baseball/construction/fart card… just a handwritten note telling him how much he matters.  Because if you don't tell them, they may never know.  I want my Dad to know.  I want him to know how much he means to me, how I'm so proud of him and who he helped me become.  I want him to know I appreciate him, I learned and thrived through him.  I want him to know he made and then saved my life many times over.  I wrote all of that and more in his card this year so… he knows.

BP (the husband) and I usually exchange handwritten cards on most holidays.  Sometimes, when I get mad at him (during an argument) I think ahead to the next holiday and envision "I'll show him, this Father's Day I'll just write - Happy Father's Day - on the card"  I never do.  I still write what my heart sings because I also need him to know.

Husband, BP, and kids!
My hope is that my daughter and my son will also write what their heart sings - I'd rather them yell their feelings rather than whisper them - God knows it's hard to do.  But in the end I'm positive it makes life, perhaps, so many lives… easier, happier and better all around.

So Happy Father's Day to mine and every other Dad out there.  May you get the gift that costs nothing but is worth everything.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Halibut "Summerito"

The Headlines:

Summer is busier than the school year.

Take a break with Dad this weekend...

Make this Summer-Burrito for Father's Day!

I can NOT get to this blog.  I love doing it… but for the life of me... since my children have been out of school it has been non-stop!  I really don't understand how that's possible. What happened to the long, lazy days of Summer?  Isn't there a song about that or something!?

Anyways, this weekend - like it or not - we will be forced to take a break.  Yes, Father's Day stops us all in our tracks and makes us, well at least, Dad, relax… and by default we Moms get some R & R too!  At a certain point.  First, this Mom will be figuring out a Father's Day gift, then rounding up the troops to make some cards, followed by watching the kids while dear old Dad gets a massage on Saturday morning , then watching the little one while Dad takes the big one shopping, whew…. I'm getting tired… then watching the kids again while he goes golfing Sunday.  Finally followed by, later in the day, a moment to unwind with this:

Halibut Summerito!

Yes, that my friends is a Halibut Summerito.  It is scrumptious and basically puts all the good things about Summer and wraps it up into one heck of a burrito!  So when you bite into it - you kind of feel like you're taking one gigantic bite out of the Sun Season!  Why?  It has blueberries and strawberries mixed with onion, lime juice, avocado and salt (among other things) so it's kind of a sweet salty mix that really just makes you want to howl at the… sun!

This all starts with you Mom (doesn't it always) - prepare the following… then stick Dad on the Halibut… he's got to pull his weight around here sometime this weekend and besides, the grill makes them feel more like a man.  Have you ever seen them pound their chest out there while that fire's on - I swear I have!  

Here's what you need:

Ranch Dressing (optional)

Kid Guac
Cilantro, chopped or torn apart
Salt & Pepper

I call it kid guacamole since there's nothing in it that will offend children.  My kids don't like the "fancy" guacamole we make adults, but they eat this.  It's just so simple.  Grab your avocado, slice it up, put in a bowl and mash.  Add a little cilantro, salt maybe a smidge of pepper.

Summer Salsa
20 Blueberries, sliced
10-12 Strawberries, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
1/ 2 Yellow Onion (or less), diced
1 Tomato, diced
Squeeze of Lime Juice
1/2 oz Agave Nectar
Garlic Powder
Garlic Salt

Mix all the ingredients listed above and then add some salt and pepper to that puppy too.  Place it in the fridge and go see how the magic is forming outside.

Good Halibut filets (I am spoiled here because BP (the husband) goes fishing almost every year in Alaska and brings home some awesome catches)
Olive Oil Spray
Lemon Salt

Grill the Halibut how you like to do them, if you're a pro at it.  Or follow BP's way:  douse filets with lemon juice and leave in fridge for a couple hours to marinate.  Take out about 20 minutes before grilling so you get it to room temp.  Then, sprinkle with lemon salt.  Spray lots of olive oil on the grill grate so the fish doesn't stick.  Once on the grill, "sear" them on each side for about 1 minute.  It helps to keep all those good juices inside.  Then, leave on grill about 2 minute's per every inch thick.  Done, take off.

Once that's finsihed,  Heat up your tortilla's and line up all the ingredients like this:

Then, roll into a burrito… or in this case a Summerito!
I add some Ranch dressing on the side for the kids to dip in if they want.  I'm not sure why it seems to go nicely, but it does!  See?

Mmmmm yum.  Of course, it takes hardly any time to prepare and the smiles on their faces… kids and Dads alike… will make it all worth it.  Now, time for you (Mom) to sneak in a massage!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Remodeling - with Kids!

The Headlines:

We are remodeling.


It is not easy.

Especially for kids. 

6 tips to get you (and them) through it!

The other day we were at a friend's house for the afternoon.  We got in the car and my 7 year old daughter said… "I really like their house - it's so clean!"  Huh?  I said… "ours isn't?"  Then I remembered:  we're remodeling… again.  To a 7 year old that just means chaos.  Kids like order.  Actually, most thrive in it.  My child needs it.  She pretty much was brought to tears earlier this year when we put new floors in half our house and I had to, basically, share her room for weeks!  That was a mess too.  Now it's happening again.

Yes, we will all be better off for it when we're done.  But right now it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  At least, if you're 7.

Which is why I'm writing this post.  Kids can live, happily, through remodeling in their home but you have to help them.  It is not easy since chaos is all around you but if you take deep breaths, remain calm and follows these guidelines, you all will live through it!  Here's what I've found...

6 Tips for Getting your Family through a Remodel:

Start a remodel "Season".
Begin by explaining to the kids that" this year…" or "this summer" or fill in the blank… your family is going to do a lot of "big work around the house" explain what you're planning to do and where.  Get as detailed as they want.  Give them as much as they can handle or care to hear about.  Also, try to get them excited about it!  "Your bathroom is going to look so cool after we do XYZ…" you get the drift.

Do 1 project at a time.  
We have multiple situations happening in our house right now… my husband's closet, my closet, our shower and bath, then some smaller projects like my daughter's desk and a couple more.  It may be better to limit it to one, if you can.  The shower and bath needed to be done together and is more than enough for one undertaking.  But because I want everything done - NOW - our closets are a complete mess along with our bathroom.  That combination is what's making my daughter crazy.  Along with the fact that we were painting her desk in her room which meant everything had to come off of it… so on and so forth.

Keep Life as Normal as Possible.
It is a struggle to do this because you're so overwhelmed but we have still invited people over, amidst the mess, I just explain the circumstances, "No, we don't always have a huge wall of plastic in the middle of my bedroom!"

Huge Wall of Plastic in My Bedroom

Be Organized.  Wherever Possible.
This is one I have real trouble with… it drives BP (my husband) crazy.  In general, when you come to my house it looks pretty together, maybe even organized but open a wrong closet (or the office which we have not really "taken on" yet) and BAM you are hit with major disorganization.  During remodeling, due to such unusual circumstances, it gets even worse!  So fight that head on!  Do your best to keep everything "together."  You and your kids will feel much more at ease if you do!

Take Breaks. 
So, we have done several, fairly large, projects this year.  But we have taken several weeks "break" in between each one.  Therefore,  we are able to return to normalcy in between.  That has helped the kids "refresh" themselves and then put them back into the "project mindset."

Declare an Official End.
When it's done, or getting close, tell them that.  Explain once this is finished in a couple days… we are STOPPING.  Tell them your situation, whatever it is: no more remodeling until next Summer!  They will appreciate being informed and will know they can finally let their hair down.  For us personally, we have promised our daughter we'll stop major stuff for the rest of the year.  Except for an outside project MUST.  And that should be easy for her to handle.  Right?

Now, in case you're wondering - you probably aren't but I'm going to show you anyways… we're totally re-doing our shower/bath… 2 separate areas.  It used to look like this:

Before Shower/Bath Area
Before Shower Inside

Before Shower Outside

Now, it's looking like this:

During Shower

During Bath
Sooner than later we're hoping it actually looks like a finished Shower and Bath.  This is week 3.  We're clearly going into week 4 on Monday since the wrong tile was ordered.  Maybe I need to write some new tips - for PARENTS!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Help! My Child has the Summer Bummers!

The Headlines:

Summer break just started.

When does it end?

Ahhhhhh… Summer.  The sunshine.  The fun cocktails, light salads, cool treats.  The splish splash of water clashing with your belly… the screaming cry of a very unhappy and ticked off child in your ear… wait, huh?!

Cue the sound of nails on a chalkboard/or screeching car!!! 

Yep, that's how the real Summer is for some of us Moms.  And we forget so easily, right?  We start off thinking - awesome - we don't have to jump out of bed and race to school, we can stretch the bedtime a little more if we're having a good time and "Oh Camp Mama is going to RULE!"


Then reality hits!  Especially is you have a child in the 2-4ish range.  Because this is a critical time for routine.  Summer bucks all of the routine that you've worked on for 9 months.  And kids, many of them,  go completely nutso.  Their world, and everything they've worked so hard to identify with and make sense of, is turned upside down.  Some are not phased by this… others do not like it one bit.  My son, 3 years old, falls into that category.  This is him.  That is our dog, whom he decided to "hide" with some pool towels.

Crazy Son Covers Patient Pet!
Doesn't he just look feisty?

Yes, for us, Summer started after Memorial Day last week.  I was stoked, for all the reasons above and the day seemed to be go well.  We had breakfast, went to the library, went to the splash pad, got frozen yogurt, they even allowed me to cruise around H&M for a quick purchase(s).  Life was really good.  But after yogurt, we got back in the car and all hell broke loose.

It started when my son wanted his spoon, which he had dropped down the side of his car seat.  I said I couldn't get it for him because I was driving and we would crash.  He got mad.  Very very mad.  He kicked my seat, hit my hand when I turned around, he yelled, cried… I mean it was full on tantrum mode.  When we got home it was time out time.  Which didn't work.  It was brutal.  He was brutal, never seen him lie this before.  So I spanked him.  First time ever.  Last time ever too.  Because he laughed.  Yes, it seemed as if my 3 year old was, I don't know, taunting me!?

So I yelled, "You get no dinner!"  My son laughed, my 7 year old daughter cried.  She wanted to give her dinner - to him.  First of all, I was amazed by the empathy my little girl was showing for her brother (whom she doesn't particularly care for all the time)… second, I was reminded, by a friend with 4 children, that the start of Summer Break makes kids crazy!

Life didn't get much easier the next 3 days.  My little boy continued to melt down.  It was like, he was trying to make sense of his new reality and it was hard.  That I can understand.  He's three and all of the sudden nothing is like it used to be… a relaxing morning to him was taking his sister to school, coming home with Mommy, futzing around the house, going on a walk, maybe some errands later and picking his sister up from school.   Now everything is topsy turvy and that isn't relaxing to him, it's stressful.

The good news is, we are not alone.  Many of us with kids in the 2-4 age range are suffering through the same "Summer Bummers" right now.  So together we can come back from that ledge... this too shall pass.

This week, it's already better.  Perhaps all he needed was a week to adjust to his new schedule - which is no schedule.  Also, it helps that this morning my son and daughter started a new chapter in their Summer break.  Vacation Bible School.  God provides in many ways.  Amen.

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