Monday, May 23, 2016

The Beach, The Mountains, Paris, and My Bed

"When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things, 
and then I don't feel so bad."

A familiar verse that Julie Andrews (as Maria) sang in the "Sound of Music."

Sometimes, the things that make me feel better, though, are not things at all. They are places - some of my favorite places. Whether I can go there in person or just by closing my eyes and letting my mind wander, they are places that bring me comfort and peace.

The Beach
The sound of the waves, the breeze blowing, and the sand between my toes. I find the beach to be supremely peaceful and relaxing. All my worries and stress just melt away as I close my eyes and listen to the waves.

The Mountains
I grew up near the mountains of North Carolina, so now, going to the mountains feels like going home. It IS going home and home is comfort. It's family, unconditional love, a slower pace, and my mom's cooking. 

Paris
Maybe it's because it was my first time outside the US. Maybe it's because it was a trip my husband and I took without the kids. Maybe it's because it was near Christmas. Maybe it's just because it's PARIS! I loved going there and would go back in a heartbeat. While there, I was overwhelmed and enamored by it's history. It was all-consuming in a wonderful way.

My Bed
Yes, I'm totally stealing this one from Dana, but it's true. Like most moms, I'm usually the first one up in the morning and the last one to go to bed at night. And, let's be honest - the days are long, parenting is hard, and, by 9:00pm, I'm exhausted. Nothings feels as good and putting on comfy pajamas, snuggling under the covers, finally relaxing a little with TV or a book, and falling asleep with hopes that I'll dream of Paris, the beach, or the mountains while I slumber. 

Another reason I like my bed? I always try to remember that, no matter how wonderful or horrible the day may have been, if all go to bed knowing that we are safe and loved, then, it's been a good day. My bed is where every day begins anew and ends victorious. 

What are your favorite places?

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This post was written s part of the "Who Am I" Project hosted by Dana of Kiss My List and Bev of Linkouture. This month's prompt was Favorite Places.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

8 Ways I Can Tell it's the End of the School Year

My two youngest daughters have 7 days of school left. My oldest has 14. 

This has been a good school year, but it has had its stresses and frustrations just like any school year does and honestly, I'm so done with this school year! Here are some of the telltale signs that I have completely run out of energy and patience. 
  1. My calendar is also a total mess. Field trips, end of year celebrations, testing, requests for help with test proctoring and said parties/field trips/etc. Not to mention soccer games & team celebrations. Oy! It's like December all over again!
  2. I've stopped asking about homework - I used to ask them every day on the way home, "Do you have homework?" and help them strategize how long it would take and when they should do it. I checked it over and and made sure they put it neatly back int heir folders. Now? Who cares??? Why do they even have homework right now? I mean, if they haven't learned it already, there's pretty much no point, right?
  3. Lunchables - They are what's for lunch. At the beginning of the year, I tried to plan out a weekly lunch menu full of variety and healthy options for my kiddos. Now? I throw a lunchable in their lunch boxes and don't even care.
  4. Speaking of lunch boxes. . .  my kids' lunch boxes and book bags are a mess. They been used and abused for the past 10 months and they look awful (and, probably smell even worse if I got close enough to check.) you know what, though? I don't care. They can hold on for a couple more weeks! 
  5. Their clothes are stained and too small. They fit back in October, but now they are a little snug way too small and stained, but we are making them last until the end! 
  6. Weeknight Dinners have disintegrated much like the lunches I pack each day. At this point, we eat out or do take out at least four times a week. The other nights are either basic spaghetti, tacos from a  kit, or "everyone fend for yourselves" kind of nights. 
  7. Bedtime has become rather lax. This fall I was a stickler about my kids' bedtime. These days, I let them stay up a few minutes later each night because I just don't want to deal with it - and neither do they!  
  8. I've given up on mornings, too. I let them sleep as long as possible. They say they don't want breakfast? Oh well - not worth the argument. Also, we are NEVER seen slightly early to school. Most mornings, we scurry out the door at the last second and pull into carpool line just in time. 
These are just some of the symptoms of "end-of-school-year-itis." I'm sure my level of exhaustion and disinterest is quite evident in my overall "I don't give a flip" attitude and "ho-hum" demeanor as well. 

I am SO DONE with this school year! Here are 8 ways you can tell. @TheGoldenSpoons

We'll survive, though. We'll finish out these last couple of weeks and be sleeping in on lazy summer mornings before we know it. Until then, thank goodness for lunchables! 

How do you survive the last few weeks of the school year?


Friday, May 20, 2016

A Little Taste of NOLA!

Last night, while I was sleeping, I dreamt of a vacation. I dreamt of sleeping until 9:00am in a plush, hotel bed. I envisioned myself sitting at a cafe all alone but surrounded by people while nibbling delicious pastries and  sipping coffee. In the dream, I was mingling with other adults who actually wanted to talk about things other than kids, and homework, and calendars. They called me by my name instead of yelling out "Mom!". I imagined spending time with my husband and without my kids. 

Wait.

It wasn't a dream. It actually happened and I have pictures to prove it!!

Every other year, my husband attends a business conference in which spouses are invited to tag along. Two years ago it was in Las Vegas and this year it was in New Orleans. My in-laws attend with our daughters so I could travel with David. We left on Saturday afternoon and came back on Wednesday. 

I knew I needed a break. I was tired, stressed, and, honestly, hanging on by a thread. I had been counting down the days until the trip and, as we drove to the airport, I felt the tension melting away. 

We arrived on Saturday night and hung out with some of David's colleagues for a while. After a good night's sleep, we got up Sunday morning and joined our group for an Airboat Swamp adventure! It was a beautiful day and lots of fun.


That afternoon, we walked around the French Quarter before heading back to get ready for the opening conference reception.
Monday and Tuesday I was on my own as David was in meetings during the day. On Monday, I slept in until 9:00am!!! It was heavenly!!!!! After a leisurely morning, I headed out int he afternoon. I walked along the riverfront and did some shopping. I also went to Cafe DuMonde for a second time. I sat at a table by myself, but surrounded by people, and enjoyed the beignets and a delightful cup of coffee before heading back to the hotel for the evening conference activities.


Tuesday, I took a three hour bus tour of the city. It was a very tourist-y thing to do, but I got a great overview of the whole city. The weather was rainy, too, so taking in the sites on a nice, dry bus was a perfect thing to do. The tour guide was very entertaining as well. When the tour was over, I stopped in at a little cafe in the French Quarter and enjoyed some jambalaya and bread pudding while watching the people go by. 


That night was a "fancy" dinner at the conference and packing up to head home. 

Wednesday was back to reality, but I was just beginning to miss my girls and was almost ready to come home anyway. 

We all need an opportunity to get away from time to time (more on that in a future blog post) and I think that maybe, just maybe, that little bit of respite and relaxation was enough to get me through the next three weeks as my girls finish out the school year. 

When is the last time you had a vacation? Where did you go?
If you go go anywhere on vacation tomorrow, what place would you choose?
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This post if part of the Finish the Sentence Friday Linkup hosted by Kristi of Finding Ninee. This week the sentence was, "While I was sleeping, I dreamt . . . . "

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