Tuesday, October 26, 2010

teachers are my heros

I'm volunteering once a month in both Logan's and Riley's classrooms and have to admit, it's harder than I thought. Today was my first time in Logan's room managing groups of ten as they measured perimeters of squares and rectangles made from rubber bands on geoboards. It sounds more complicated than it is, because 8 out of 10 in each group seemed to grasp it with ease. And then there were the "others."

As a mom, I can certainly imagine that teaching is beyond difficult and requires unheard of stamina and patience. In the one hour and fifteen minutes I was there today, I ran out. Fast.

There was the little girl I know from another walk of life that tried to make silly jokes throughout my "teaching". There was the boy that flat out refused to listen to me - he just kept spinning the globe at warp speed. I finally said "Hey you!" I know, totally inappropriate, but I didn't know his name! Logan said, "MOM! His name is Tony!" And I tried with Tony, I really did. But minutes after making his acquaintance, all I wanted to do was send him to the Principal's office. Then there was Wyatt, who refused to do the project, but created the most elaborate rubber band designs on record. None of which he got credit for because the child refused to make even one square on the stupid board.

I watched that clock tick down like it was 2:55 pm in 1989 and I was waiting for the bell so I could see my high school boyfriend. When my stint was done, I cleaned my desk and exhaled as Logan's awesome teacher sent them all away and back to their desks. As she came over and smiled, she said, "You survived!" And I said, "You're my hero. It's official!" And then, "Time to go!" I like her so much because she totally laughed. She gets it and then some.

Here's to all you teachers out there! I thought my job was hard....

birthday dinner

Don't you just love when something comes together perfectly?

After a long weekend of required activities resulting in not the best birthday on record, Mike and I took the kids to La Sorella di Francesca's on Sunday night for my birthday dinner. I mentioned to a few people that we were taking the kids and they thought us nuts. But it was perfect. They tried new foods, practiced manners and ordering and plowed through dessert with us like little celebrating gourmets.

When do we ever do something so nice? Not often, I'll tell you. While we sit together regularly, doing it in a swanky place, with delicious food and someone else cooking and cleaning up makes it a truly special occurence. From appetizers to wine and our ending cappucinos, I just kept thinking, "this is perfect."

If that's not a happy birthday, I don't know what is.

Friday, October 22, 2010

grateful times 39

This year I'm grateful for...

39. Coffee. Especially in the winter. I still long for the best cup I ever had on August 8th of this year at Glencoe Roast Coffee. It was a vanilla latte that can never be surpassed. Wish I lived closer.

38. Living in a little bit of country. The fog through the trees and over the cornfields at sunrise is amazing. Better with coffee.

37. Writing. The real stuff. It feeds my soul.

36. The fact that shirts got longer. I'm sure they'll cycle back again, but I love hiding the belly bulge.

35. My minivan. Who would've guessed?

34. DVR. It may just be the single best invention during my motherhood. I can finally relax at bedtime on Thursday nights.

33. Our bed. Good for so many things; there is no better feeling than falling into it at night.

32. Autumn. I really do like everything about this fleeting season. From the colors to the smells, it is everything that I love.

31. Feeling proud of my kids. The effort they put into most things is admirable and they deserve to feel great about themselves. They certainly make me feel great about them.

30. Crest Advanced Whitening White Strips. Seriously, these are the best. Nothing improves the
wrinkle-scene more than brighter whites.

29. Good quotes. I'm one of those people who they truly inspire.

28. Working in the dirt. I'm just a novice, but I love it. Need a bigger gardening budget.

27. Cooking. One of the most important things I do. Complete peace comes over me when I'm deep into it. Just need to learn not to take it personally when it doesn't turn out!

26. Lindt Chocolate with a Touch of Sea Salt. MMMMM.

25. The fact that Mike likes to clean up when we entertain. It's one thing I almost never need to worry about.

24. Good dogs. I've been lucky every single time.

23. Good doctors. They're far and few between, but it's worth the research to find them.

22. The way Finn plays with two items. Whether they're cars or birds or spoons, he retreats for a few moments to his own world.

21. How doing the right thing gets easier with age. Are we just too tired of the hangover? (Whatever kind of hangover it is?)

20. Logan's unstoppable excitement. I wish I had her happy energy. It does seem to be somewhat fueled by chocolate though.

19. Our vacation to Napa Valley. Still one of my most treasured experiences. I go back in my mind often.

18. The resiliency of adults. People say kids have it, but I think they just carry everything - it's all they know. Adults have no choice but to let go.

17. Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin. The Indigo Girls - I love they they make me think, for a moment, that my voice knows what it's doing.

16. Riley's athletic prowess. What a thrill she gives us each time we watch her compete.

15. Being blessed with both daughters and a son. I love learning about their differences, good and bad, each and every day.

14. Good friends: those lifetimers that have been along for the ride for a while, and those met only recently. Life would not be complete without any of them.

13. Family, the whole Logan - Anderson lot. The great, the good, the bad and the ugly. They're
mine, they're perfect and they're treasured.

12. Extra dirty Grey Goose Martini's with blue cheese olives.

11. Good food. Of any variety. For me, eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life!

10. Unexpected great times. We recently had a Sunday dinner with friends that turned into
what felt like an eight hour scene from The Big Chill. Great music and all.

9. Hosting Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday, hands down. Full of eating, cooking and all that's fall, it has none of the holiday hustle and bustle stress. And it's ALL about the gratitude.

8. Finn's uber cuddly-ness. He literally melts into your body and will stay for hours. I get a little anxious thinking about how I'll feel when it ends. I guess it would be weird if it didn't, huh?

7. Mike's strength. Physical and emotional, he has it all. When I wear out, he holds it together. Where would I be without him?

6. Dinner for five. Most nights, we accomplish this and don't take it for granted. As I hear rumbles about the TV going off or call them to the table for the tenth time, I do get frustrated. But once we're all seated and stories of the day are unfolding, I feel I have succeeded at something very important. I will hold on to this with both hands.

5. Logan's songs. They are a direct line to her soul and although they sometimes scare her Daddy with their adult-like topics and candor, her dedication to writing several per day is resulting in quite the little songwriter.

4. Riley's adult-understanding of most situations. It's like she knows a lot about everything.

3. The health of my kids, my husband and myself. It's true, "When you have your health..."

2. Logan, Riley, Finn and Mike. They all must sit here on one line, because without one, family, as we know it, would not exist. They are my reason, my purpose, for everything.

1. Making it this far. For all these blessings, quirks, loves and wonders bestowed on me and the many more that didn't make the page, I am grateful to the core. I am blessed, lucky, in the right energy field, whatever you want to call it. And I've made it this far!

Here's to another 39 - at least!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Yesterday I worked like a dog. I worked like a dog; writing four articles and doing and hour of website work, all inside the three and half hours Finn was away at school, so that I could "play hookie" today. You see, my birthday is tomorrow and Finn doesn't have school on Fridays. My productivity soared under the goal of a few unencumbered moments alone this morning.

It's funny how our ideas of "me time" pare themselves down from year to year, until finally, they land at what I did today. I spent almost two blissful hours alone, un-showered, at the grocery store. I had the biggest bill I've had in months, even after saying "no" to my devilish side's urging to buy Ben and Jerry's Key Lime Pie ice cream (it's a limited edition, you know) and sharp cheddar cheese with Carr's whole wheat wafers (it's a combo you must try.) I did accomplish the first Christmas present purchase, a big ticket item on sale, a bonus.

By the time I arrived home and unpacked, I had an hour and twenty minutes left before pick up. I managed a 45 minute workout DVD (currently on day 5 of Turbo Fire by Beachbody) and a really fast shower. My face was still beet red when I pulled up in Finn's carpool line. And although my morning alone and not working was not so exciting, I must admit, it was fully satisfying.

I guess the lesson is to remember that the most simple things can recharge and refresh us, so we should find ways to take advantage of them more often. I'm sure that I've been a better Molly all day today.

My last day at 38. I'll miss you '38'!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Scream

Sometimes the best laid plans... well, you know. This actually happened about a month ago, but it's too darn good to pass up.

During our trip to North Carolina this summer, my mother-in-law Mary gave me a clip from the local paper with a great at-home make-your-own ice cream recipe for kids. I immediately thought of doing this with Riley's Daisy troop, of which I'm the leader (and that's a whole other story.) Anyway, during a summer planning session with our sister Brownie troop, the one Logan belongs to, the idea was accepted and we chose this for our craft at the first meeting in September.

Allow me to set the scene: 24 girls arrive at our gorgeous neighborhood clubhouse - they have not seen each other in three months and are VERY excited. While they cartwheel and scream and laugh, I sit behind one of the kitchen counters with two other moms measuring amounts of sugar and cream, salt and ice in various sizes of ziplock bags. I realize now that I should have found some way to do this ahead of time.

I don't greet even one of the new Daisy members or their parents and as our precious hour ticks away, I have yet to complete the prep for our craft/snack combo. The girls are literally WILD. I am sweating. The room we are in has a migrane-inducing echo. Moms are throwing each other eye darts like nothing I've seen and finally.... we finish. We hand out the bags.

What ensures is nothing short of a horror movie, with the most unruly girls (who are always the same and shall remain unnamed) banging their ice-filled plastic bags over the high-end furniture, into the ping pong table, rolling it onto the couch. The idea of "kneading" seems to not have a home in their 8 and 6 year old brains. And then the bags start popping.

Salt water is EVERYWHERE - 24 bags full of it. As soon as we get one cleaned up, another pops, flooding the ping pong table, shimmering on the floor like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Some girls are laughing, others are on the verge of tears. Forty five minutes in, I'm hoarse, breathing like I've just finished an Insanity workout and I literally want to die. But even with the holes, at least half the girls are sitting and enjoying their DQ-style masterpiece, and liking it! We have a two minute break to clean before all hell breaks loose again.

While the older girls go completely bonkers on the indoor swing set (why are they on it? No one knows, but they are outside my jurisdiction), I try to wrangle my Daisies into a circle so I can at least introduce myself and my awesome co-leader, Jennie, to the girls. These sugared up 6 year olds do an amazing job of getting focused and we have a few "normal" moments together. As we walk through the 8 year old circus in the adjoining room to hand the Daisies over to their parents, I almost die of embarrassment and I'm certain they will never leave their children with me again. (As much as I hate my failure, the thought of this thrills me to the core!)

After an hour of rubbing salt water off every surface in the rooms we inhabited that afternoon, I drop my kids off with Mike and run to Jennie's house for respite and a recovery libation.

This job is driving me to drink.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This blur called life

Where is the time going? It seems just yesterday I was blogging regularly and then mid-summer hit. Now it's already the middle of October, my calendar feels as booked as Obama's and I just realized I better get busy on Christmas lists. Ugh. Where is the fun in all this running around?

A good mother would likely go back in time and write posts for every remarkable, funny or important thing that has happened in the last several months. I guess I'm not that good of a mother. All I can do is try to recommit myself to what I consider an imperative part of my life and a story that must be told, if only for those participating in it. Someday, Logan, Riley and Finn will only have these words and their childhood memories.

In the meantime, I'll continue at warp speed, pausing only to wish my jeans were looser and my hair more often brushed. I'll deliver everyone to where they need to be, donate my time when needed, plan for the future, make sure teeth are brushed well, help them study the world's oceans, lead the Daisy troop, cheer on the athletes, work on things that might be lagging behind, write my butt off, drum up business, urge my kids to "eat a rainbow", catch my husband at some time during his 31/2 daily hours of commute, study tax requirements, cook, clean, hope and dream.

As I write this, I realize I have not posted for one reason only: the tag line of this blog. In truth, "finding good in every day" has not been something that has come easily lately. I'm sure it's pretty obvious from this Debbie Downer of a post. There's only one gal who can change this ship's course: me.

I've felt especially cheated because I hate feeling downtrodden in of all months, October. Autumn is hands-down my favorite season and I can't think of many others where I've felt so blue. But the fact is that it is just another season and soon to be over at that. Change is a comin'.

Debbie Downer signing off...for good.