Sweet Tooth

Last weekend we went down south to visit our cousins.

They have a pool!

20130729-231209.jpg

20130729-231219.jpg

20130729-231228.jpg

My cousin is a nurse by trade but a baker for hire. She has a steady list of clients who regularly order desserts and omfg if I’m not in a diabetic coma whenever I’m in her house!

20130729-231519.jpg

20130729-231545.jpg

20130729-231555.jpg

20130729-231604.jpg

20130729-231614.jpg

20130729-231625.jpg

These are homemade French macaroons, raspberry and cantaloupe flavored!

20130729-231806.jpg

Perfect way to end the kids’ first week of school.

20130729-232100.jpg

20130729-232113.jpg

The Autumn Autonomy

Even though the weather is still in triple digits, I am counting down to days to fall. All of our fall and Halloween stuff is out of the garage and waiting patiently in our living room.

Don’t get me wrong. I missed these days

20120913-231240.jpg

20120913-231243.jpg

20120913-231249.jpg

20120913-231302.jpg

20120913-231311.jpg

20120913-231327.jpg
but I do not like it when my t-shirt sticks to my back, always feeling like I am the only one sweating in the entire room, and not being able to run as long as I have in cooler weather.

Plants begin to wither, trees start to lose their leaves but fall represents more than the change in weather. When I taught, the season brought a new classroom of students and their families to get to know, starting fresh with rested minds. It means getting back to work after a few weeks of a restless summer. Fall brings a string of holidays that have been commercialized to no end but each year brings hope that more and more people are rejecting the material side of holidays.

Each year, I get excited about hitting the Christmas sales. As I get older I know it is not about spending money, not about trampling others for good deals on electronics we don’t need, and certainly not about who is going to get me what (though I would really like a new coffee mug as they tend to break over time; must be overuse from coffee and/or ice cream).

I realized years ago that if for any reason I cannot walk away from my shopping cart, then I am taking this way too seriously. And so has shaped my excursions. I enjoy people watching with friends willing to brave the crowd and talking to others in line. Oh, I’ve run into my share of rude people and ignore them as I don’t want to waste a moment of my life on people giving off such negative energy. Many are there with families and have plenty of stories to tell of past shopping trips and Thanksgiving dinners.

In many conversations with friends and family, I bring up the possibility of NOT exchanging gifts, of throwing a slumber party full of pizza and sugar that kids should enjoy once in a while. I think this idea would work with our friends and some family members. In fact, I am planning two cookie decorating and craft nights for our friends and ending each evening with bringing the fruits of our labor and the gift of song to a nearby convalescent home. I can think of no better way to celebrate the season than by sharing cookies and cards with others.

Because of the lingering summer, our welcome to fall will be delayed by a few weeks. This will give us time to remember what our traditions are and ponder what new ones we can begin. I look forward to sharing these with you and reading about yours as well.

The Cramming Curve

The kids are sleeping over at their cousin’s house. Six kids over there total. School is out for all of them. They aren’t watching TV, playing video games, or arguing. They are just hanging out in the backyard, playing modified zombie tag or dodgeball.

The possibilities were endless for me tonight. I could have caught a movie, went out to eat by myself, or even drive a half an hour to the nearest bookstore.

Nope. I drove to a nearby Starbucks to study.

Yes, study.

I planned on waiting until the fall to take the two general science tests so I could put in hundreds of hours studying but I didn’t want to wait anymore.

The most surprising thing about getting older is that I have actually retained what I have learned from high school and college. I do not attribute it to an eidetic memory as I am pretty sure I don’t have one. I give full credit to my teachers who did not rely on bribes or threats to get me to do my work. They simply believed I could do it and pushed me when I needed it.

Despite almost flunking out of college for trying semester after semester to be a struggling biology major, I still knew biology. I still remembered every scientist and scientific law my chemistry teacher mentioned twenty-two years ago.

So as I read through the study guides of other students preparing to take the same test, I am ecstatic that this is not brand new information that my old brain is trying to grasp. Granted I never took physics so physics sometimes baffles me, but I still remember who Boyle is. I know about chemical reactions and the purpose of mitochondria. I know the periodic table better than my kids’ birthdays on a good day.

My third 5K EVER is in a week and this general science test I will happily devote dozens of hours to studying in two weeks after. This newfound energy is good for me, for the kids.

The boy tries to get to as many karate classes as he can and a couple of weeks ago, I finally woke up. Why was I just sitting in the car or running errands while he was working his butt off and the girls were bored out of their minds? I put on sweats and running shoes, check the girls into the gym’s kids section, and take a class or get on the bike. They’re all happy, I’m exhausted, and all of this is fine with me.

The kids like the idea of watching Mommy learn and study. Seeing Mommy buried in a book is nothing new, especially when Mommy’s got a lot of urban fantasy books piled up next to her bed. But I make sure they see me make goals, question the way something has been explained, and search for an answer that I can understand. We’ve already watched two DVDs from the library about earth science. Yep, one of them is from Schoolhouse Rock.

I am excited about this direction that life is taking me. Either that, or this is a pretty strong frappuccino.

20120622-205112.jpg