Friday finally felt like the first normal day in almost week. Sandwiched between the mid-week, sugar-kissed high of Valentine’s Day, Ally got the flu and we had the awful Florida news which makes putting your kids on the bus each morning more stressful than it has a right to be.
We know Ally is genuinely sick when she either doesn’t fight taking a nap or refuses dessert. Saturday afternoon she did both and knew we were heading for trouble. Thankfully, we had all received the flu shot and I think that went a long way toward both keeping Ally’s symptoms relatively mild (if 105 temp is mild) and keeping the rest of us healthy. Getting the flu with Addison’s takes things to a whole new level that I wasn’t keen to experience. That’s why you get flu shots. It’s not necessarily for you, the healthy person, but for the kids, elderly and immunity-impaired.
By Friday, some of my anger, fear and frustration had receded about Florida, Ally was once again angling for extra cookies, and Michelle was opening the prosecco. Just about back to normal….
Dinners you know and trust. Everyone has them. They are time-tested and family-approved. The recipes or meals that you can pencil in on the weekly plan or pickup the ingredients without thinking while strolling the aisles during the weekly shopping and you know people will eat, or at least not grumble out too much when placed on the table.
For us, quick fish dinners, tacos or burgers, rank high in our easy, repeat dinner rotation. It’s something that I know I can get on the table quickly, will be nutritious and filling, and the girls won’t complain. Mostly because we’ve given up on Ally for the moment, she gets beans and rice, but still easy!
With just a little bit of forethought, you can dress up fish tacos, or burgers, with only a little additional effort. Sort of like putting the occasional bow tie on your dog.
The new year got off to a bit of a slow start. I fell into a reading rut after the holidays. Started and stopped a number of books, never finding anything that really captured my attention. In the end, I read mostly thrillers, typical for me, but nothing that really snapped my head back.
Turned to a couple of John Milton thrillers mid-month to try to jumpstart the mojo as I knew they would be solid and propulsively plotted and would get me back in the habit of reaching for a book.
The one big outlier this month was Victoria, the book club pick this month. I put off reading this one as it fell well outside my typical fare, but I ended up really enjoying it and would recommend people give it a try.
We spent a lot of time and effort this week on multiplication facts. It’s embarrassing that Michelle doesn’t know them by now, so we decided to … okay, it was Cecilia. Now, Cecilia knows the facts pretty well, but when you introduce the clock, it turns her into a bit of a puddle. So we’ve been practicing doing the facts with the time pressure.
She’s improving and she aced the 4’s test by the end of the week in school, but the improvement has not been exactly in a straight line and it’s led to some stressful mornings. Just like the first few days of a new piano piece week, any mistake throws her into a tailspin. Its all left me trying to figure out when good is good enough.
I’m certainly not perfect, not as a parent, husband or human, so demanding perfection from our kids doesn’t seem all that fair. Kids need to learn that people, and the world, in general, is a flawed and complicated place. Sometimes I will screw up. Sometimes my kids might not succeed as much as I wish. Sometimes they will miss a few math facts. Imperfection is the human condition. Accepting that seems like a healthier way to parent.
One of my goals the last two years was to explore possible side hustles ideas to generate some (relatively) passive income. This was not to replace my existing job (which I enjoy), but rather because I like learning and exploring new things.
Last year (2017) turned out to be focused on researching, brainstorming and figuring out how best to use my existing skills and where I would need to learn new things for a successful side hustle. In the end, I decided on three initial areas of focus (turns out ideas weren’t the hard part really).
It’s the dark days of February in New England which means lots of people are bundled up and running outside to train for the marathon. God bless, them. Training locally for Boston is probably the toughest and sometimes most dangerous part.
I don’t have to worry about that this year, but I’m still trying get some running in despite the snow, ice and general unpleasantness outside.
Saturday was the first dominoes night of 2018 and we were hosting, so we spent most of the day just straightening and prepping and making sure there was no undergarments lingering in odd places and that all the dried food scraps were scraped off the couch. It took most of the day. Exciting pictures ahead!
Having people over whether for pizza or dominoes always makes me remember how under-appreciated and overlooked these relationships often are in our lives, especially for someone around my age. Children and family are vital and joyous, but they take a lot of physical and mental energy.
As parents, you are their sole caretakers and the world quickly shrinks down to the boundaries of your offspring. You spend most of your time together: in the car, in the bathroom(!), in the kitchen. It would be weird if that close-knit warmth didn’t sometimes start to border on maddening. The happy turns to harried, the harried to the routine.
That is why it’s worth the effort of folding the two week old laundry pile, sweeping the floor, and shoving all the miscellaneous junk into drawers before your friends visit. It’s a sanity check. It’s opening up your world a little bit beyond the edges of your kid’s lunch box. They will commiserate, they will sympathize, they will console, they will make sure you’re not drinking alone. In short, they will make sure you don’t go crazy. A few household chores seems a small price to pay.