I am home with four kids - two girls, two boys - ages 14, 6, 5 and 3 (and when I started this blog, just a little over two years ago, I had an infant, a 2yr old, 3yr old and 12yr old - feels like a lifetime ago, but it wasn't ;-). Until about four or five years ago, I worked in marketing. I have been and done many things - dancer, magazine "multi-tasker", advertising copywriter, gymnastics coach, resort town waitress, grad student, etc. Now my areas of expertise are different and diverse. I am savvy, efficient, patient and earthy (like it or not). I am a better cook, an Ok herb gardener, an impressive artist to my kids, an active and prolific photographer, a childrens' clothing stylist (in my head), a manager of all things "household" and a news enthusiast (from politics to celebrity). I am more cynical though less of a worrier / hypochondriac than I used to be. I am increasingly proud of what I do with kids, family and home, but I do still present myself as a "freelance writer".
Today is Kennywood Day for St. Bede. I've gone in the past - with babies, toddlers, pregnant, with hubby / without hubby (and even have childhood memories of going with my cousins YEARS ago).... today, I know the 8th graders will be fine without me (Olivia had another party last night AND had gone to a Pirates game earlier in the day - what a life!), and... I know not many kindergartners will go - plus.... my boys like to ride different rides, and... with Olivia off on her own, I would have to find "kiddie land" for Milo and Lil (Milo not crazy about rides - Lil hasn't been on any except what they would let a baby ride at Disney two years ago) - and... would have to find someone to ride coasters with Enzo (I love them like he does, but... I would be on "baby duty"). One year, Enzo and I went alone (of course, we brought Olivia, but she took off right away with friends - though, have to admit, they did seek Enzo out to take on some rides with them, etc.) - we had fun, but he seemed to miss Milo. Anyway.... home today. Cool and rainy - no storms on the horizon.
Speaking of storms, I'm thinking of those in Ohio hit by tornadoes. I grew up in NE Ohio, and... summer was one tornado warning after another. I've had tornadoes go down the street near me - have had friends with homes destroyed by them, etc. In school, we did tornado drills. Not here. Hard to explain that tornadoes just came with summer - the green sky, the eerie silence, the scary funnel clouds..... So... some sad stories coming out of Ohio from over the weekend. Please read here and keep those people in your thoughts. With a tornado, it is literally fine one minute, and... everything destroyed the next.
Saw Shrek, Forever After or the Final Chapter - whatever it's called - yesterday and liked it (not sure if that was because all the kids behaved or what, but...). I would recommend it (we don't like 3D, so looked for a showing without - the glasses are a pain -the peripheral vision is weird - just don't like it). It was a really fast movie - seemed to be over quickly. I had not been to Pittsburgh Mills, which is where we saw it. It was nice - clean, some interesting stores, more than one Starbucks in a certain radius :-), so... I might go back - shop H & M, eat burgers at Johnny Rockets ;-).
Photos: My Olivia and her friends keep leaving us messages on our white board - here are some samples. And... Milo wanted me to include the photo he took of me on Mother's Day, so I did (he has been SUCH a helper lately - making lemonade and tea with me, baking cookies...).
And... quick fyi that you may NOT care about... Things have reached fever pitch around here again - kids fighting because they are getting used to co-existing again - PILES of laundry that got backed up when my schedule was so packed - kids running in and out through the back screen door (and, admittedly, I like that sound - total summer sound, that slap of the screen door - but... the dirt, the wet, the mess... bit of an adjustment). Last night, for example, we prepared fish tacos and an eggplant, avocado and red onion salad (that turned out well - citrus-y marinade on a firm white fish always good - and, though the vinaigrette that we made was a little too bitey, the salad was also good - grilled so warm and tasty on tortillas - as soon as we perfect the recipe - will post - though can say now it involves Dijon mustard, vinegar, olive oil...)... our kids were like digging in our herb pots, mixing sticky, sticky lemonade, demanding dry cereal and chocolate chip cookies for dinner, etc. Chaos. It had started earlier as we shopped Whole Foods. I could see hubby's face changing as the kids got more and more excited about "helping". I mean, I'm used to it - the way they pile all sorts of cheese and fruit that I don't need into my cart - how they like to examine all the veggies - how we can't leave without a case of that Horizon chocolate and / or vanilla milk (coupon for that, btw, here) - how they run instead of walk - how the sippy cups all need to be refilled and the movie started once back in the van.... More chaos. All in a day, right?