If I was Jimmy Fallon…

Who’s the WD-40 for your family’s wheels?

Jimmy Fallon’s thank you note segment on Fridays is always good for a laugh.  In that vein, I’d like to try one:

Thank you, Ann Romney, for giving me the chance to sigh loudly — repeatedly — last night.  It cracked me up every time.  My husband chuckled the first few times and then just rolled his eyes.

In case you missed it, here’s what she said: “If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men.  It’s how it is, isn’t it?  It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.”

I call it being the family WD-40 — the behind the scenes wheel-greasing that happens to ensure things run smoothly.  I also think that dads are perfectly capable of playing this role if we’re willing to let them do things their own way.  Frequently, this means not freaking out when the gift for the birthday party that starts in 10 minutes gets wrapped in newspaper comics instead of proper wrapping paper.

Regardless of who the WD-40 is in your house, I highly recommend all you ladies out there try the big loud sigh tonight.  And let dad think about the birthday party this weekend.

Forget Cherries, Life is Just a Bowl of Grapes

I’m trying to lighten up.  Really I am.  With the benefits of wisdom that comes with age (or sometimes just being too tired to care) I’ve realized the things that make me cranky really aren’t worth the energy or the angst.  Live and let live, I say.

Except when it comes to grapes.  Grapes still make me crazy.

Picture a bowl in the refrigerator filled with robust bunches of just-washed grapes.  Tempting, right?  Now, imagine how many times a refrigerator gets opened throughout the day in the house of a busy, hungry family of four.

Pour the morning coffee, open the fridge for half and half, grab a few grapes.

Butter for toast?  Take a grape or two first.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks – grape, grape, grape, grape.

Open the fridge to put away leftovers from dinner – presumably, we’re full at this point – a lone grape still gets pilfered from the bowl.

By then end of the day, we’re left with a sad, scraggly collection of denuded stems — a Charlie Brown Christmas tree of the grape world.  Yet no one ever had a bunch of grapes for a snack, it was simply something to chew on while staring into the refrigerator.  A total waste of grapes.

I think I get so riled up about this because, oddly, I see my life in that bowl of half-stripped grape remains.

My day is parsed into tiny choppy blocks of time: kids, breakfast, school drop off, writing projects, laundry, groceries, school pick up, sports practice, homework, dinner.  To make it worse, I also have one eye on my phone or laptop at all times, keeping track of details in the digital world.  Grape, grape, grape grape.  Nothing has my full attention.  I never realize I’m eating grapes.

I’m attempting to remedy this situation with the Grape Protocol.  If I’m going to eat grapes, I grab a pair of scissors, cut a big bunch and enjoy them.  Similarly, I’m carving out bigger chunks of time and filling them with specific activities that get my full consideration.  Kid stuff, house stuff, work stuff, fun stuff all have a place in my schedule and my undivided attention.  I end my day not with 10 projects started, but with five projects completed, and it feels good.  Not a scraggly stem in sight.

A Goodbye and a Promise

The routine never wavered – head to the beach and stay until the ocean swallowed the sun, always hoping to wring out 30 more minutes from the day.

We emptied five bottles of sunscreen that week, yet emerged with tans dark enough to make a dermatologist wail.  The kids’ hair bleached white by the sun, framed eyebrows so light they disappeared into golden faces.

We tried to slow the last sunset – for just one more wave, one more sand castle, one more walk along the shore.  When at last it was time to go, we paused, whispering both a goodbye and a promise: we’ll be back…

Watch This!

Although the Tebowing trend has probably run its course, we live in the ‘burbs, where cool things go to die.  Slowly.

“MOM!  Mom mom mom mom mom mom mom.  WATCH THIS!”

When I’m interrupted in this manner, it’s usually for something along the lines of hey-stop-what-you’re-doing-and-cheer-for-me-while-I-put-peanut-butter-on-my-sandwich.

But this time?  Totally worth it.

Flip Flop Tans and Lounging Pajamas

Image

Signs We’re Heading Into the Last Weeks of Summer Vacation

 I’ve watched so much TV with the kids, I may have developed a crush on one of the Wizards of Waverly Place.

 During a bout of boredom, the kids discussed the merits of playing, “Let’s lock ourselves in a room, fart and blame it on the other person.”

I have an awesome flip flop tan.

Image We’ve made s’mores with a kitchen torch.

 The kids got so bored, I walked into the kitchen to find one with peanut butter smeared all over his face and the other throwing Rice Krispies at him, trying to make them stick to form a Rice Krispie peanut butter beard.

 I’ve found my summer cocktail. Why do I need a summer cocktail?  See: Rice Krispie peanut butter beard.

 We’ve built a house of cards the size of Rhode Island, using every deck of cards we own.

 Image

We’ve hosted a double sleepover and lived to tell the tale.

 Changing out of “sleeping pajamas” and into “lounging pajamas” now counts as getting dressed around here.

Happy August!