Monday, March 21, 2016

Time to dust things off

Talk about a bad blogger. I am disappointed in myself for not posting a single entry in all of 2015. That cannot be repeated.

I have long been wanting to write again, and just haven't made the time. I've always had the time, I just haven't taken it for writing, and I am ready to change that.

I vow to get back to it. I was so good about writing before, and I slipped away from it. It's a good outlet and I always felt good when I was writing more often. It's time to commit! No more excuses.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Helping hands

A can of green beans. A loaf of bread. Fresh vegetables and fruit. For many of us, these are things that we have at our disposal in our kitchen cabinets. For others, it's a challenge to pay the rent or mortgage, and a bigger challenge to put food on the table for their family. In partnership with the Itasca Walk-In Ministry, the Itasca Food Pantry provides local families with vital resources to put meals on the table when they need it most. Today, the food pantry serves 75 families in Itasca.

This morning, members of the Itasca Runners Club and their families spent a few hours helping at the food pantry, sorting food, stocking shelves, and learning about the incredible work that the Ministry and food pantry do. The Itasca Food Pantry is one of the beneficiaries of the Club's annual Itasca Oktoberfast 5K, the Club's flagship event held every October. Proceeds from the event allow the Club to support several local charities, providing both monetary and tangible item donations to those organizations who give back to the community. Recently, the Club was able to provide a Sub Zero freezer to the food pantry, giving them more space to keep meats and other frozen goods that they provide to their clients.
Volunteers tour the room of stocked shelves

A newer offering by the food pantry is the Birthday Bag program. Launched just a few months ago, the food pantry assembles bags filled with items to help make birthdays special for children aged 1-13, including a cake mix and frosting, candles, table cloths and other decorations, and age appropriate gifts. All of these items are donated to the food pantry, and parents can choose a bag for their child, already sorted by age and gender. The food pantry believes that every child should have something that makes their birthday special, even something as seemingly small as a festive table. Today, the food pantry provides bags for 70 children in their client families.

Helene presents the Birthday Bag
program to volunteers
The Runners came to work, and that's exactly what we did! Adults and children alike went to work sorting canned foods from boxed foods, stocking the shelves so clients can find what they need, filling boxes with toiletries and personal items, and cleaning the work room.
Father and son, working hard
Dan and Mark filling crates
with meats
Jim stocking shelves
Teamwork at its best
These kids worked hard!
Club members learning about
the Walk-In Ministry

The food pantry presented the Itasca Runners Club
with a certificate of appreciation for their
continued support of the food pantry's mission.

Members of the Itasca Runners Club.
Club members and
future Club members their children.

I will be the first one to admit that our family does not volunteer nearly enough. When you hear the stories of families who spend years donating to the food pantry, only to find themselves later needing the pantry's services, it is inspiring to witness the work that the women and men who run the pantry do for their community. Through generous donations from the community, as well as partnerships with the village, local food stores, and a regional food bank, they are able to provide a vital service to the community. In today's world, none of us ever knows if or when we might need a service like this one, and it's nice to know that it is there when emergency assistance is needed.

Have you volunteered lately? Do you know where your local food pantry is? Call your local village hall to learn more about the health and human services that they provide to your community.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Girls on the Run 5K, Mommy/daughter run!

I had the pleasure of running a 5K with my daughter yesterday. Ethel participated in Girls on the Run this spring, and yesterday was one of the program's regional races. Ethel asked me at the beginning of the program if I would be her running buddy, and I jumped at the chance.

Ethel is not one to jump at the chance to do anything physical. This is not to say this child is entirely sedentary, but physical activity is not her forte. I was pleasantly surprised when she agreed to do the GOTR program, but not just because I'm a runner. I want her to be involved with kids outside her tight-knit class, and I want her to see that sports can be fun and rewarding.

There were lessons throughout the program about teamwork, bullying, and nutrition. She asked me several times about whether certain foods are healthy or not, and why we eat certain foods and not others. Don't get all crazy on me here, she still eats less than a baby robin. That's another topic for another day.

I offered a couple times to jog around the block with her to give her some additional practice for her race, but she declined. She was quite firm that she was doing only this 5K, nothing more and nothing less. There will be no other races, no other running. Well, OK then.

There were a couple nights when she would share her thoughts with me about the race. One night she told me that in the race, we'd start out slower and then get faster. One day last week when I proposed an outing, she told me she was resting so she wasn't too tired for her 5K. This was the night before she ran around the field at the college track where I had a track workout. Well played.

Anyway, she's not a morning person by any stretch, so having to be at the school by 6:15AM was really a hit. I thought she might never get out of bed. She argued, yelled, and walked the 1.5 blocks to school with her arms folded, brow furrowed, and lips pursed. This all changed once we got to school and her friends began to arrive, of course.

Feel the excitement
Seeing Ethel with her friends is really a peek into a world that I know nothing of. She is so vibrant, silly, and funny around her friends. Not that she's not these things at home, but, the silly side is entirely different than the silly side at home. I love it! I watched her on the bus as she and her friends chatted and giggled and described the feeling of leaning their heads and faces on the windows as the bus drove along. It's also reassuring to see other children interested in talking to your child, and genuinely enjoying their time together.

Fast forward to race time. Ethel held my hand while we waited in our corral for our start. I was surprised by this because she is not a hand holder. I repeat, not a hand holder. I tried my best not to make anything of it, but I did whisper in her ear that I was happy to be there with her. She forced herself not to grin. It was awesome.

As in any race, that first maybe mile or so is always congested. Try navigating the crowded mile with hundreds of third thru eighth grade girls and their running buddies all running at different paces, many of which, like us, are holding hands. That first mile was actually the most energetic of them all, as one might expect. The kids figure they need to run, and kids don't really have the whole "I should pace myself" mentality, so they go balls out for a while, 'til they lose steam. Then they walk. At 0.4 miles. And the cycle continues for 3.1 miles.

I heard more than once, "If this old lady can do it, so can you!", as mothers tried to coax their daughters to pick up the pace. It was actually very cool to see so many parents, both moms and dads, who aren't runners but who were really giving it their all and supporting their daughters. Ethel and I agreed to walk through the water stops, but I told her, "You can walk through it, but you have to run to it!". And we did. It was a really warm morning, so I made sure that Ethel took plenty of water at the stops. She even dumped a cup of water on her head at one of them!

There were several teams where all the girls and their running buddies wore tutus. It was pretty cute, actually. So at one point, I told Ethel, "You're not going to let a little kid in a tutu finish ahead of you, are you?". Her response? "Really, Mom?" {insert eye roll} I actually think that with all the eye rolling (like, out of their heads style) that morning, it's a wonder nobody stepped on one along the course. Pretty funny, if you ask me, albeit annoying at the same time.

This event is not timed, but I am CompetiMom, and needed to know how we finished. I wore my Garmin. Yes, that was me, hitting the <start> and <stop> buttons at the start and finish, as if it were one of my own races. I am proud to say, though, that Ethel and I finished, HAND-IN-HAND, in 43:31!! For her first 5K, I thought it was awesome!

We were both thrilled to have done this together. Fred and Hot Dad came and watched and cheered us on, and when we saw them just before the finish, cheering for us, I caught a beaming smile flash across Ethel's face. Then disappear. It was beautiful.

Here we are, just before the finish:

Feeling the energy of the crowd
We each got a medal. I gave her a great big hug. She wriggled away and went and sat with her friends. She laughed and celebrated. Then we went to IHOP to eat. It was a beautiful morning.

A before picture
I didn't get any pics of the two of us with my own camera, but, I did take a pic of the girls and some of the running buddies:

Fine looking group!
Best of all, she said she'll do it again next year. Mommy's doing the happy dance!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Coming back to something you've spent time away from is not as easy as it might sound. Not that long ago, I was involved in the Mommy Project 52 where I posted an entry at least once a week, but usually more often. Looking back, I don't know how I ever found the time. On the other hand, I don't know how I have not found the time to write more in the last year or so. For me, it's time to change that.

The last six months have been busy. I did complete my first marathon, and have yet to offer a summary of that amazing experience. It deserves more than "it was a great experience", and I will give it due credit by making the time to write about it.

I've also been busy this school year in my first term as PTO President at the kids' school. It's only logical when you're a wife, mother of two, full time corporate employee, and training for your first marathon to take on a leadership role in a struggling group that needs direction, right? I thought it took forever to get things done in the corporate world, but oh how wrong I was. If you think corporate politics are tough, you haven't seen anything until you've worked with the education system. Between trying to strengthen a bare bones parent group, researching and dreading Common Core implementation, and learning how to communicate with educators, it's been quite the learning process, to say the least. I have also become interested and involved with the local School Board and Education Foundation for our District. What an eye opener it is to see the inner workings of the school system, and learn about the challenges faced by parents and educators alike, and how disconnected the two truly are (to no fault of either, really). Still, it's interesting and if I can do anything to advocate for the best for my kids, and my tax dollars, I'll do it.

Ethel turned nine in November, and we hosted our first sleepover birthday party. Nights like that make you thankful for pharmaceuticals and wine. These are the makings of treasured memories, though, and Ethel was thrilled to have her closest friends all in one room, enjoying movies, snacks, and laughter. It really was fun for everyone, even little brother, Fred. One thing to remind me of if I ever entertain the idea of a sleepover - don't let Daddy off the hook and make plans out with friends. Ya, going solo is one thing, going solo with five eight and nine year old girls is another. Repeat thanks for wine.

As far as Ethel's school year is going, we couldn't be prouder. She is an avid reader, and when I say avid, I mean that every waking moment is spent with her nose in a book. She is fascinated with Greek mythology and is counting every second until the October release of the next installment in the adventures of Percy Jackson. She has continued her excellent performance in math, loves science, and, of course, reads like a machine. This year she is participating in Girls on the Run. I couldn't be happier, and she's asked me to be her running buddy in the 5K at the end of the program. Yeah! We're looking forward to it, and hoping to make it a family affair.

The plague avoided us this holiday season, so it was much more pleasant than 2012. We kicked it off with our annual wine and cheese early in December. The 2013 party, a "Wine and PJ's, I Mean Cheese", was our biggest to date. Easily 100 people made their way through the house, most donned in some version of sleep wear, tasting wines, cheeses, and whatever food found its way into the house. The evening ended early the next morning with a dance party to rival Dance Fever in its heyday. All in all, it was our best party yet, and the bar is now set very high for 2014.

The winter of 2013-2014 took its toll on all of us. To say that it was a tough winter is barely scratching the surface of Chicago's 3rd snowiest winter on record. It wasn't just the snow, but the bitterly cold, aptly named, Polar Vortex. A seemingly endless cycle of snow and cold forced us to stay inside most of the winter, even causing school to be canceled four days in January. This also got in the way of any consistency in my running. Twice we were forced to an indoor track due to icy roads, and just about every week there was a generous snow fall that messed with everything. I really fell off the wagon, and am still struggling to get back to my running routine. The fact that my husband started running right around the time of the marathon didn't help matters much. After a while, he was running more than I, and this is not a healthy change for me. Now that the weather has broken, I am slowly getting back to the sport that I love.

Fred turned seven in March. His birthday party was much easier than his sister's. We took a couple of his friends to go see Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Hilarious movie, by the way, equally enjoyed by the kids and me and Daddy. After the movie we went back to our house for play and cupcakes, and it was a big hit. Fred has developed and grown in many ways since turning six. Not only has he physically sprouted, probably adding at least a half inch in height, he has blossomed at school. Since August, he has made many more new friends, become the featured beat-boxer in music class, and emerged as our very own little Good Will Hunting. His love for sports stems from a fascination with numbers and stats. Everything he does revolves around numbers, and after meeting with his teachers, we're trying to harness the power of this beautiful mind.

Work is work. I just had my 18 year anniversary with my company, which just blows my mind. I was barely older than that number when I started there! Last year I had a major change in my work schedule. After 8 years of being able to work three days in the office and two from home, I had to return to the office five days a week. This may not seem like a big deal, but I am still adjusting, 13 months later. Our child care expense more than doubled, and I lost a lot of time at home. No longer can I toss in a load of laundry, sit with the kids to do their homework a couple days a week, or have dinner on the table by 5 twice a week. First world problems, yes, but adjusting to this new schedule has been hard for all of us. We've created a new normal with this change, and so far we're managing to stay afloat. Still, I am thankful to have a stable career which helps me provide for my family. I'd like to say I wish I could stay home, but I know the grass always looks greener on the other side, so I'll remain thankful for the arrangement we have.

I couldn't tell you what we are busy with except just getting through each day. We run, play, work, go to school, not necessarily in that order. So often I tell myself I'll make time that night, or tomorrow, or over the weekend to spit out the blog post I just drafted in my head. Not running much lately has messed with my mind big time, and not blogging hasn't really helped matters because I need a place to dump my thoughts. How about if I try to post at least once a week? I'm sure I can do that. It's long overdue.

I'll leave you with a recent shot of the kids.
We love Easter morning!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Back in 8th grade, I was told that I should not study a foreign language in high school. Having dealt with nearly paralyzing shyness, a learning disability, and struggling through elementary school and junior high, I was advised that a language would be too difficult for me and that I should focus on the basics, rather than add to my work load in high school.

Game on. Sign me up.

From the many languages at my disposal, I chose the language of my lineage, German. Difficult, at best, and quite a surprise to the administrators and teachers who were trying to steer me away from what they thought would be certain failure. One might argue that they had my best interests in mind, but I argued that they were challenging me, and I accepted.

Between a heavy workload of music classes and the usual math, history, English, and science, I was determined to show them that they were wrong. I *could* handle it. The first couple years were tough, but, high school isn't exactly a cake walk no matter what you're studying. By junior year, more than half my day was filled with vocal and instrumental instruction, and a bulk of my time outside of school was spent in private lessons and independent practice. I was that kid who worked their butt off to anchor the flute section and stay buried among the sopranos, but I loved every single second of it.

With the support and help of two very dedicated German instructors, I did not quit like I wanted to those last two years. I didn't want to let "them" win. For as much work as I had to put in to just passing, though, even *I* didn't want to fail. Luckily, my teachers and my parents didn't let me. They helped me, they supported me, and most of all, they believed in me, even when I didn't.

As a final act of defiance, I chose German as my major field of study in college. I admit, this was really just because taking introductory German classes as a Freshman seemed like a good way to get some easy A's. Let's be real. With two amazing instructors who helped, encouraged, and supported me through some very difficult times, I earned my B.A. in German. There were even (very brief) times when I thought about continuing my education and pursuing a career as a translator. No, I didn't follow through with that, but to even have those thoughts was a pretty monumental thing for me.

Fast forward to 2010, when a friend of mine asked me to run a 5K race with him over the July 4th holiday. HA! I had run some in college with a friend, but, to say that I'd ever really 'run' was laughable. In college, we would run in the absence of a car to visit each other. We would run up and down the steps of the football stadium and all the upper level steps in the basketball arena. For fun. Twisted, not really fun, fun, of course. Trust me, aside from my friend's company, it wasn't really all that fun. Most of the time.

They never called me Sporty Spice
So to do a 5K when I hadn't laced up my shoes in (a few) years was more of a joke to me than an invitation. With two kids and a desk job, my most rigorous exercise was bathing my children and shaving my legs. Finally I agreed, mostly to get him to stop asking, but also because I figured I was up for the challenge.

My time in that race was more than a number on a clock. It was now my newest challenge. I could do better than that, and I would. Slowly, I replaced time with my therapist with time in my running shoes. I also regained a little of my pre-mom self and found a competitive spark that had been dormant for many years.

Since nobody is ever happy with our station in life, when you begin running, you're like that single girl at the office that everyone thinks should be dating, then married, then having kids. You do a 5K, now when are you doing a 10K, or a half marathon, then when are you doing a full marathon? It never ends. So, in following with my spirit of facing the challenge, I decided to sign up for the Chicago Marathon 2012.

My body had other ideas for me in 2012, and I injured my hip in the pursuit of that marathon. Scratch the year off the record. It would have been easy to give up and just stop running altogether, of course. When you can barely walk, who wants to think of running? Me.

Last year was filled with physical therapy, failed attempts to show I was healed, more physical therapy, and finally - no more running. More coffee. More wine. Where'd I put the number for my therapist?

....with wine...
There was no way I was going to let my hip keep me from this marathon. Did I believe I could do it? Hardly. Did I want to prove to myself and others that I could? Totally. Especially after being sidelined by something that only I had control over.

Since little comes easy for me, it was only fitting that even registering for the marathon wouldn't be easy. At least this time, it wasn't just me that the Gods were trying to test. Luckily, I got in without having to endure weeks of waiting to be chosen by Lottery.

In hindsight, I can honestly say that I've worked my butt off to get to this point. I still don't know that I am certain I can do this, but, I have allowed myself to have the confidence to make others believe that I think I can. I've even got others thinking that I can!

I have had some awesome support throughout my return to running and my marathon training. It means more to me than I can even try to explain. Who would have thunk that anyone would get their butts out of bed to meet *me* at O-dark:30 on Saturday mornings during the summer so I could run seemingly endless miles with great company? How many people are fortunate enough to be part of a team of runners whose common goal is to have fun while doing something that we love? And holy hell, who would have thunk that I'd ever get back into those size 8's that I secretly kept in my closet?
Let's keep this our secret, OK?
I haven't logged my training this summer, in part due to the fear of the jinx. Like washing your car invited birds to crap on it, I didn't want to write about my training and end up jinxing my success. It doesn't hurt that a full time job, house, husband, and two kids take up a good chunk of my time when I'm not running. So, since you haven't had to endure weeks and weeks of me talking about running, being sore, being busy, and more running, I hereby thank you if you subjected yourself to reading this entry, which might take you as long as it will take me to run 26.2 on Sunday. Perhaps I will have some brain power in the days following the marathon to chronicle the race itself. Perhaps not.

In these few days before the marathon, I'm trying not to obsess or question or pay attention to the new pings and aches that are trying to take over my mind and body. Instead, I'm focusing on teaching the kids how to get Mommy her morning coffee, make my lunch, and deliver my evening glass of wine (without spilling!) so that I might enjoy some time off my feet after accomplishing my very.first.marathon. Chicago 2013, here I come!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hello, Summer? I think we got disconnected...

Someone told me the other day that it is now August. Actually, that was in reference to the fact that it's almost September. September is just the month before October. October is when the Chicago Marathon happens. I'm running in that marathon. I've been training for it all summer. At least, what I think was summer.

A few days ago (OK, in June) I left for Ragnar, and when I returned I said, "I can't wait to write up my summary of this weekend!". I still can't wait to do so. This race reset my running brain, and proved that my body can accomplish so much more than I convinced myself I was capable of earlier this year.

Then I took the kids to their first day of summer camp. Each night after that, we scrambled to have clean, dry bathing suits and towels, lunches that would withstand field trips and bus rides, and oh ya, dinner. And getting to bed.

Then Fred started Rookie Ball two nights a week. Of course, Rookie Ball was the same two nights I run. Then Hot Dad's softball started on one of the same nights as Rookie Ball and my running. Let's not forget the softball league Hot Dad plays on with me on another night. At one point this summer, I wondered why we pay a mortgage and not rent a suite in a hotel for as little time as we seemed to spend at home.

Weekends have been additionally fun. I get my long runs in on Saturday mornings, usually before the rooster sends out the morning call. Still, as my running distance grew, my Saturday mornings were more and more consumed with my absence. Being home was then consumed with removing the grime of the miles from my body and resetting my mind back into Mommy-mode.

Hold on, 'just the other day' wasn't June. It was the 4th of July. Yes, that's it. The sun was up early, the birds were waking me for work and early long runs, and we could play softball casually without fear of darkness before the 5th inning. That was just last week, right?

That's about when Hot Dad got the running bug. He did the local 4th of July 5K for the third time and got a huge PR! Amidst all the ball games and my running, we squeezed in some time for him to get out and put in some miles.

The kids have watched a LOT of Animal Planet. I have run a lot of miles. Hot Dad has put up with a LOT of whining from all of us, and has made sure the kids are where they need to be each night. I have enjoyed plenty of wine. I drink a LOT of coffee.

I'm wrong, it was just June. We just got the field trip schedule from camp. We just put away the school back packs and got the new camp ones. Right?

I'll be honest, I feel cheated of a summer. I'm not sure how to justify that because I was outside so much pounding out the miles on the road or playing ball. Still, I feel like we were so crazed this summer that we, OK I, didn't get to enjoy it. There was no deep breath, no sitting by the pool, no time in the God forsaken tundra of weeds yard.

In my desperate attempt to keep some sort of social life, I tried to schedule times to see friends. This has been much harder than it sounds. Grocery shop? Do laundry? Clean the sticky spot on the floor? What's that thing in the corner with the hose that plugs into the wall? Vacuum? What language is that? Where's my wine?

I grew more and more tired as the weeks drew on. All of this, and we have only ONE kid doing any kind of activity!

Let's not forget the joy of weekday mornings with tired kids. Camp is enough to wipe you out, but when you have to get up at 6AM every day to go, there's a whole new layer of fun. I never could keep up with blogging our lovely mornings before camp with the daily pictures I take of the kids. There's been no time! Is there more coffee around here?

I am super thrilled (nobody says 'super' any more, why?) to be doing the marathon this year. My training is going well, I have been pain free except for the normal spongy legs and brain that go along with running through three towns, two counties, and then grocery shopping with two kids and then making dinners and trying to keep some semblance of order in the house.

Imagine my surprise when someone asked me if the kids were excited to start school "this month"! "This month"? You must be mistaken, summer hasn't yet begun.

In a mad attempt to find summer, we took our annual trip up north to a home away from home that I have come to treasure for its sunsets, indoor/outdoor pools, and its distance from home. I hadn't accounted for early morning wakings, though, to get in a run before the rest of the family was geared up for the pool. Still looking for that one relaxing morning on vacation.

I find myself, now, in the midst of school backpacks, homework, and making sure books go back to school. And lunches. But it's still only June, right?

Last day of camp

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The glamourous life

I just love mornings. Being a full time working mom is wonderful. Waking your children up to leave the house for 10 hours every week day is just a blessing. Come on, you know you agree.

Some parents are weary of exposing the real truths of life at home with small children. I am not really one of them. There are things in life that you experience, and afterward you think, "Man, I wish someone had told me about that earlier". You know, like barfing and farting during pregnancy, truly sleepless nights with a newborn, colic, evil three year olds, and temper tantrums that don't stop after the phantom "terrible twos".

On one hand, we don't share these things because we feel pressure to live up to the Leave it to Beaver standard of family life. Still, there is a reality behind those cute little babies and perfect family pictures that we post on social media and hang on the walls of our homes.

Those of us in the trenches realize that if we really share these deep, dark secrets, then others won't be as likely to join us in the journey of parenthood and then we'd be left on the island all alone. Fighting the battle every day against single-digit aged enemies. We simply cannot have that. So we stay silent.

On the other side of this coin, we have to realize that when we don't share, we can't laugh at the huge mistakes we are each making when raising our kids. You know, stuff like forgetting to put candy in their lunch box, throwing out the four millionth an art project, and not doing their laundry when they wanted to wear that outfit to school. You know, THAT outfit! Ugh, MOM!

Thus, I offer you 60 minutes in the life of us, beginning at 6AM. Mind, you Mommy has been up for 60 minutes prior, because she has it easy. 

After the initial battle to get Ethel out of bed (20 minutes), I mentioned that I'd like to put sunscreen on both kids before they get their clothes on.

Begin battle royale.

Protest, anger, yelling.

Blood pressure - Mach 3

Meanwhile, Fred came out of his room, stark naked, and said, "I'm ready for sunscreen". Bless his naked little self.
This week at camp is a 'team challenge week', where the kids divide up on teams led by a counselor, choose a team color, make banners, and have little games. Yesterday, they were to wear their team colors to camp, and they did. Ethel decided to wear hers (dark blue) all week. I picked Fred's clothes this morning, upon his request, not knowing that today they should/could wear their colors (his is yellow). He came down the stairs, met with Ethel's instructions (whiny as hell) that he needs to wear his team colors. He tried to defend his (just fine) attire, to no avail. I told her it's OK, I didn't read it on the list of the week's activities, etc, her brother can wear whatever he likes. So, she got the flyer out and started to tell me that I was wrong when I told her {brace for sudden subject change} that they aren't going to Pool X today, they ARE going to Pool X, and why did I say they aren't?

I apologize (because I'm obviously an idiot, right?) and try to clarify what I was saying, at which point she interrupts me and says, "Stop talking!".

Blood pressure - Mach 7.

She continues this pissing and moaning through breakfast. No sunscreen, I told her to get a sun burn.

Suddenly, it was discovered that when I put their swim gear in their backpacks, I mistakenly put his towel in her backpack, and hers in his. Holy crap, how could I have done such a thing? Why did I do that? Are you joking? Apparently someone needs their Mom Card revoked. Thank goodness for kids who are right there to point out these kinds of flaws.

Finally, we got into the car. As I got into the driver's seat, Ethel screamed, "My diary!! I wanted to bring my diary!!". I explained that we're leaving and she should have thought about the diary earlier, and she hurled to me, "I FORGOT", very emphatically.

I was pretty much ready to drive the car through the family room wall at this point.

She tried to climb out the window. Literally. OMG.

I waited 'til she sat. I started the car and pulled out of the garage. Ethel screamed at me because she was not buckled. Obviously, I had not given her ample time to do so. Mommy's on a roll this morning!

{insert snotty, know-it-all intonation at full volume} "You'll get a ticket and it will be your fault because you didn't follow the rules!". I told her "I'm OK with that". She is now enraged even more, and buckles her seat belt. Loudly. With a grunt.

The drive to camp was not quiet. I got an ear full about how I hurt her feelings, I'm the one who makes the mornings difficult, etc. I asked her why life isn't so burdensome for Fred, when I ask him to do the very same things? {my first foray into comparing the lives of my children to make a point - fail} Of course I don't ask the same of him, she explained to me. I only asked him to put on sunscreen. Of course, how could I be so stupid as to not know what I ask of my children in the morning.

We got to camp and she didn't get out of the car. So I closed and locked the car door and began walking. Poor Fred just stood there. I felt so badly that he was stuck in the middle of this. Then I watched as Ethel climbed into the front seat (totally forbidden act in my car, btw, you do NOT climb in a car) because she knows I have the child locks on the back doors. Too bad, kid, I locked the car, you can't get out. She pounded on the door, crying and yelling.

I finally let her out (the back door) and she yelled at me for locking her in. Now it's my fault. As we walked to the entrance, and I told her it was not my problem, she PLUGGED BOTH EARS!!!!!!

Yes, I am the mom who grabbed her 8 year old in a headlock and pulled her backward several feet telling her, "Don't you dare". And she is the 8 year old who told me, "I had something in my ears!". Yes, we got some great looks from the other patrons entering the building. It was awesome.

Mind you, this entire time she is bawling. Yes. Good mom bringing her sobbing child to camp. At 7:00AM. It's already been a long day.

And you know what? I don't care. When you're having this much fun, it's only right to share with those around you and let them have some fun, too.

She cried all the way into the lap of her favourite counselor, whose lap she sits in every morning when we get there. And Fred, proudly, gave me multiple hugs and kisses, as he does every day, and made his way to a friend in the room to play.

Bless the counselor who tried to make me feel better and said, "Oh, I bet she won't be the only one. For some reason Wednesdays are harder than Mondays".

I wonder if that counselor babysits.