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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Witch City

I stumbled on a YouTube video I just had to share in honor of my boys who love the idea of zombies, monsters, and scaring others...and my girls who are heavily into romantic encounters with werewolves and vampires but don't love being scared.

Just remember, boys…it’s Halloween. It’s Witch Ciity. Teenage boys smell quite tasty to zombie girls.

And girls…bring me home a heart. 

Mommy will be waiting for you all...mwahahaha

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snow in October?

I'm so not ready for this...

but like it or not, we have snow. It's enough to cover the ground, bring out the ice scrapers, and send the kids in search of their winter gear. At least we don't live in Central Massachusetts where some places got 2 ft.!

It started last night, covering our cars and coating the flowers still in our window boxes...

Before long, pretty much everything was white. My crazy oldest son ran outside in his bare feet to gather up the first snow of the season...he brought it to me as a gift...crazy but kinda sweet if you ask me.

Time to go shopping for snow boots...sigh.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Screenless Sunday...What to do when Mean Mom bans the electronics and the kids are sooo booored!

When some of the trees look like this in New England,

we hit the local farm and climb a different kind of tree in search of...

tasty treats that look like this.

We spent 2.5 hours of our Sunday afternoon at Brooksby Farm under sunny skies in the crisp autumn air. For all that time, no one whined or complained about being bored. Instead, the kids ran through the orchard, scampered up tree trunks, hung from branches like monkeys, and did back flips off the limbs with their apples. Dad and Mom stayed mostly on the ground and dutifully filled the bags to bursting with Jonagolds and Cortlands, Granny Smiths and Golden Russets. (We also overlooked the extra few apples consumed by our little daredevils when they thought we weren't looking!)

A couple of my kids told stories of apple picking in Kazakhstan orphanage-kid-style...finding an apple tree and shaking it until a hail of fruit came down on them, then being chased by the owner of said tree when they were caught stealing his fruit. Aniyar remembered the hay ride we took at the apple orchard last year and the cider donuts we shared there. Then Tanya reminded me of the first time we took her apple picking.  She was only 6 years old and tired easily; she remembers that we carried her on our backs a lot that day...and she lost a tooth biting into an apple.
Can you believe these girls are now 14 and 16?

The cost for this family bonding activity:  

$7.00 per bag for 2 bags of apples picked = $14.00

It's true that I could have bought these same apples from the same farm at my local grocery for:

$4.99 per bag for 2 bags bought within 3 blocks of my house = $9.98

An afternoon together with 5 teens laughing, having fun, sharing and making memories = priceless.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Life with teens...a force of nature to be reckoned with

For the past few months, we've had nothing but stormy weather around here. Oh, yes, the sun came out and we had meteorological summer...but emotionally, it's been pretty much non-stop hurricane season for some of us. The some of us in question are primarily one of my kids and me, though the rest of the family has been buffeted by the gale force winds pouring off said child and myself.

Can't speak for the kid, so I'll just summarize my perspective on recent times. I've been struggling. I've found it difficult to sleep. I've been cranky even on my good days. There's been little  peace in my heart or contentment in my soul. I've been witchy, snarky, and intolerant. With my kids and all their issues, the stormy me just doesn't serve them as effective parenting. I have to admit, I haven't felt like a very good mom in the past few months, not to the hurricane child or to my others who were caught in the storm surge on more than one occasion.

My child and I didn't get into this mess over night. It's been brewing for a few months. It started like a small squall, just a few fibs or breaking a few house rules here and there. It grew into a nasty tropical storm of lies, deception, surliness, and disrespect that was fed by miscommunication and fear on both sides. A painful breach of trust occurred that left us both shaken to the core and reeling under Category 3 winds. As a result, an emotional distance has developed between my child and me, placing us on opposite sides of the raging storm.. Attempts to find our way into the peaceful eye of the now Cat 4 hurricane have been made by both of us; all have failed one way or another, bringing me back to feeling lost and miserable. (I suspect I'm not the only one who has felt this way...but the child in question would rather die than admit it, I'm quite sure.)

For my child's privacy, I won't mention what set this storm abrewin'...it's enough to say that it could have been a deal breaker for either of us. It could have been the thing that undermined all the trust we've built. It could have been the thing that broke the bond we've forged. For me, it has certainly been at least a heart breaker that's been hard to let go of. I've been simultaneously obsessed and distracted by the struggle to right our off kilter world. I've been hoping for a change in the weather but couldn't figure out how to effect that change.

Well, this past weekend, our family went to the White Mountains of NH. While there, under peaceful skies and surrounded by Autumn's colors, I tired of living in a storm. I decided it was time to try to change the weather. I put on my big girl panties and my rain galoshes and swallowed my pride, my fear, and my anger.

I took my child out for a ride, just the two of us. I spoke my heart. I listened to what my child's heart had to say in return.
  • No one shouted. 
  • No one rolled their eyes. 
  • No one was deceitful or disrespectful. 
  • No one sat in judgement. 
  • I asked my child to forgive me my mistakes and I offered my forgiveness as well.
  • I asked for a return to the relationship that was based on honesty and kindness and mutual respect. 
  • I told my child this:
    • I will always love you, even in the middle of an angry storm
    • I will always be your mom, like it or not
    • For me, there are no deal breakers to either my love or my role as mom.
    • I miss your hugs.
  • My child told me a few things, too...but that's not my story to tell.
    • Hugs resumed...
And just like that, the rain stopped.