Category Archives: Mom life

The most wonderful (TV) time of the year?

Old faithful, spending retirement in the corner of my home office.

So  here we are sliding down the back side of Fall, with the season of holidays picking up steam.

Or as I always thought of it when I was little “the season of the holiday TV cartoon special.”

I freaking LOVE ME some holiday cartoons.   If you animate it, Keri is HERE. FOR. IT.

And don’t get me wrong – Jr is totes here for it too…

But it’s just… well…  Different.

This year when I fired up It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,  (onDemand, natch,) he was at least one foot in the “meh” zone about the whole thing.

I taped TONS of Halloween/fall episodes of some of his absolute fave cartoons, and I was more excited than he was for the most part.

That last sentence?   Therein lies the rub if you really look at it – I said “taped”….  People don’t “tape” shit anymore Keri, ffs.  You record it.  Because it’s NOT on tape.  But really, you don’t even do that.

You pull it up on Netflix, or Amazon or onDemand (like my Charlie Brown example,) or WHATEVER platform you dig, and you do it any damn time you want.

It’s not special.  It’s just normal.  And it’s bummin’ me out a little bit.

When Dr. Sissy and I were tiny twins, holiday cartoon specials were a big deal.  Like CAPITAL “B” CAPITAL “D” Big Deal, yo.

If The Great Pumpkin was coming, or The Grinch was going to steal Christmas on TV that night, preparations were made in advance at our house.  Sometimes it meant we got to pick something special to eat for dinner  – like my high holy culinary grail of kiddo- Keri-coveted treat dinners: The Swanson’s  Fried Chicken TV Dinner (dear God Keri, stop talking and delete this embarrassment…  but NO, I push on.)

Even if it was just hot dogs and blue box mac and cheese, it ALWAYS meant we got to eat in front of the TV that evening, which was rare.  We had two TVs in the house, in a VERY technical sense of that count. One normal “modern” television, and one that was O.L.D.

Holiday special nights usually meant that we fired up the O.L.D. set at least a half hour before said special started, so THE TUBE HAD TIME TO WARM UP (I shit you not, kids, this was a thing back then.)

Did I mention it was a black and white set?

See, now this is making Keri sound older than she actually is –  we were well out of the B/W TV set era by the time all of this was going down, but the set was in the room right off of our kitchen, and chances are daddy was down stairs watching football on the TV in the family room (or anything other than cartoons, because he was not the adult fan that his daughter is today,) so we fired up old faithful,  carefully set our metal chicken dinner containers onto our TV trays,  and waited for the picture to fade in.

Sure, as we got a bit older and a VCR that we could set to record (which was a bitch, BTW,) came into our lives, we could’ve taped the shows (and I mean actually taped here, folks,) but we didn’t.

We checked the TV Guide (that was an insert in the newspaper each week that listed what was on – before we had 9 billion channels and an interactive guide,) we adjusted the foil on the bunny ear antenna, and we got excited.

And if we missed it, then it was just too bad.  Life lesson learned.

If we missed the Great Pumpkin, we were that much more careful to make sure that we were in front of that TV when Snoopy started popping popcorn and flinging pretzels around that ping pong table at Thanksgiving.

It. Was. Special.  If you missed it, it was gone for a year.

Now?

Now it’s meh.  Because chances are mom can find it on her phone if you are getting rambunctious in the car or something.

Now your biggest fear isn’t that the old black and white console set will finally blow a tube and not warm up – it is the horror of the Grandparents’ inferior WiFi that might force you onto your mom’s work hotspot.

Sigh.

But I am NOT sinking into modern-day holiday special ennui without a fight, people.  Oh no no NO.

I am going to throw the picnic blanket on the floor, lay out a spread of kid friendly food that would make any tiny tummy growl in anticipation,  and fire up all the specials in the coming months.

ALL. THE. SPECIALS.

And this season, when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes,  I am going to do my level best to make sure that Jr’s does too.

I may even get myself a TV Dinner.

(yes I know they don’t call them that anymore, shut up you are ruining it.)

Happy viewing, everyone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing

Careful what you wish for.

yes we are, SnapKeri… we really really are

Be careful what you wish for.

That’s what “they” say, right?

Whatever.  I always scoffed at that statement.  Like HELLO, we get it, life happens… but I am a grown-ass woman, and I know what I want, damnit.  Right?

Right.

Someone recently pointed out that my Instagram account has been (relatively)  quiet of late….
TBH all of Keri’s social media has been uber slow compared to my usual constant stream of overshare.

Here’s the thing –  how many pics of “my Bae Caesar” (salad) can one person possibly Insta?  At what point do even the most loyal of the Snap fam heavy sigh at yet ANOTHER salute to a Friday night charcuterie board with some (I think) clever caption about how fast I will be asleep on the floor in front of Twin Peaks after eating it? When does watching Dr Sissy and me exchange Mary Kate and Ashley GIFs on Twitter AGAIN drive a kind-hearted but still over it follower to mute because JUST ENOUGH ALREADY @todds_wife!?

What. A. Rut.

Long story short (too late) it was straight up Groundhog Day in Keri-land, yo.  And one more Snap featuring Jr’s rainforest animals soother glowing on the ceiling while his favorite obscure Paul Simon song plays in the soothing  half-light just suddenly felt like I was highlighting the horrifically mundane.

Can a girl get some variety in life, or what, universe!?

Here comes that “careful what you wish for” shit.

Labor Day weekend rolled around….  It was typical – there was pool time and BBQing and showing our fave brewery some consumer love and all of that….

And then Jr started to cough.  By Monday evening when I put him into bed (and he coughed himself to sleep to “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War,” natch,) I was ready for a shower and some sleep….

But when I emerged, wet haired and jammie-clad, down the stairs, I found The Mr folded up at a weird angle on the sofa, grimacing.

He’d stepped wrong off the bottom step in the garage and the top of his foot hurt.  I grabbed a heating pad, chalked it up to our aging ligaments, and figured it would be fine by the morning,

12 hours later I had a son with a nasty viral lung funk and a husband with a foot that was broken in two places.  I also had a slew of in-person meetings at the office with a visiting- from-out-of-town coworker,  and no grandparents in town to help out with poor sicky Jr for at least the first day or two…

Groundhog day was over, y’all.

Careful. What. You. Wish. For.

The next week was a surreal blur of doctor’s appointments,  barf buckets, conference calls, air-casts, dog walking, temperature-taking, co-worker bonding, frustrated-husband comforting, rushing back-and-forth CRAZIENESS.

And as the days passed, and I marched on through the chaos, it dawned on me – you asked for different, Keri.  You poked the universal bear.

Jr returned to school and all of his activities after a week of down time; twice a day I run Potter around the path by the reservoir so he can do his doggie business;  I haul ass to the office every morning later than I’d like, hoping to NOT get the shittiest parking spot in the lot….

Things certainly did get a shake up , I guess.

You’re welcome, Snap Fam, for the eleventy billion additions to my story of me walking the dog and comparing The Mr’s air cast to an 80s ski boot.

Turns out variety doesn’t = exciting content after all.  BUT, no more over-curating from Keri.  After all, what breaks up the day better than a good social media over-share?

Leave a comment

Filed under Just Sayin', Mom life, musing

The hugeness of ordinary. 

Tomorrow Jr “graduates” kindergarten…

Yesterday he started intensive swimming lessons in a building that I remember being a department store.

This week my social media “memories” keep reminding me that 5 years ago I was saying my final goodbyes and leaving our treetop brushing condo for the last time, and pointing my packed Keri-mobile toward the town we had selected.

The town where I was raised.

I’m going to tie this all together, I promise… stay with me here.

Time passes.

Amirite?

Time. Freaking. PASSES.

And the version of me sitting, this afternoon, in the present-day, in my newest (and still unnamed) MUV, waiting outside of the school to get Jr after his last full day of kindergarten?  Well, she was scrolling through Timehop cooing over pictures of younger days in her kiddo’s life when this came up:

Today… 5 years ago today, after a particularly (shameless) emotional last night spent in wine-soaked bitterness deep reflection, I walked out the door of a home that had meant so much to me and to our little family, for the last time.

It was SHIT timing to see that particular gem, people.

The bell was going to ring, and I was about to walk, FOR THE LAST TIME EVER, and pick up the kiddo who in this family is THE kiddo, from kindergarten for the last time.

EVER.

Just like that time I shut the door to my beloved (though outgrown) Tree House for the last time.

EVER.

So I hiked down the grassy slope toward the kindy playground in a blurry haze of ridiculously-ill-timed but totally appropriate tears, and waited for my ginormous son to emerge from the door where I had dropped him off a pretty-much-pre-schooler just a few months ago.

He is fairly used to my being misty eyed, so he just handed me a paper light-saber he made with his friend and told me he didn’t forget his jacket as he burned stride-rite rubber  up the path away from the school.

He ate his snack and added to the Lego world he is building in our family room while I stared at him more than my spreadsheets for the next hour or so, then it was time for us to leave for his swimming lessons.

When I was growing up here (yep… right here, in this town, where you’ve been back for 5 years so get over it, Keri,) I took TONS of swimming lessons.  I was a TERRIBLE pupil.  I was scared of everything.  EVERYTHING.

Until my mom abandoned the lessons we had been plugging away with, summer after summer, and tried a totally different place.  With teachers who were supportive but still firm, and a bit of a different approach.

BOOM,  I was a fish. You couldn’t get me out of the pool. (You still can’t get me out of the pool in the summer.   Pool good.)

After several rounds of typical rec center lessons for Jr, I am after the same water epiphany moment for Jr, so I signed him up for THE swimming lessons that get results in our area.

It isn’t your typical pool – it is a fancy-pants situation built just for swim lessons, and it is in a shopping center that has been around as long as I can remember.

Actually, it occurred to me today (of course) that it is in the spot in this particular shopping center where a location of a small Colorado department store called Eakers used to be.  Where my mom used to take us to get school clothes and birthday presents for family and coats and all of that… Where my sister and I probably picked out bathing suits for swim lessons when we were Jr’s age.

If you are thinking that this thought made me tear up AGAIN while in the observation area of my kid’s swim class as I also saw him finally stop fighting his back float in his teacher’s arms – you are clearly catching on to my uncontrollable blubbering unique sensitivity.

Because Time, effing passes, people.

Department stores turn into swimming pools, hometowns get left, and sometimes returned to, babies become 1st graders, and a million other insignificant-yet-everything little changes connect our pasts and our futures and on and on into forever.

 So I guess it’s just another “no big deal except everything” kind of week in Keri-land.

Pass the kleenex and the wine. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing

Six.

 

six

sigh.  SIX

So last month Jr turned 6.

Six.

S.I.X.

I still can’t wrap my head around the concept.

Don’t get me wrong, he is every bit the 6 year old, all full of energy and sass and silliness, and sucking up knowledge like a brain vacuum clad in an ever-rotating sheath of superhero wear.

But still…  He’s just a baby, right? I mean – he was JUST a baby. In his itty-bitty baby-wear, cozied down with me in his nursery all dozy and smushy and sweet….  He was JUST a toddler.  Clinching his tiny little potato-fists as he teeteringly ran around the back yard collecting rocks and referring to himself in the not –quite-correctly pronounced 3rd person. (“Coo-Cur fill bucket with rocks, mama.”  OK buddy. Andplusalso please never stop saying that.)  He really was JUST my tiny little guy.  And now he is an almost-1st-grader, leaving me in the dust on his two-wheeler with no training wheels needed (Hey – he beat me,) and just generally being a super big boy.

So this year when we talked about what kind of birthday party he might want, he wanted “just friends mom!”

Oh.

(We compromised and had grandparents too – a decision which saves my mommy butt a bit later in this fateful tale.)

So, after closing my eyes and saying a little prayer, I sent out invites to 6 of his little buddies with the words “parents welcome to drop off, or join in the fun” included.  On Purpose.

Um yeah – they ran like the freaking WIND from our lego-birthday-décor-laden house that day, people.

Straight up – I felt the breeze off their backs.

I don’t blame them a damn bit.

And anyway – it would be FINE, right?  I mean come on- one kid couldn’t even come, so it was 6 boys including Jr.  I had lego-themed activities to do, there was cake to be eaten, and presents to be opened…  It was only 2 hours – it would fly by, and I was totally prepared.  No Problem.

Um.

Problem.

So each of them had 2 little lego guys and accompanying cars to assemble, and we all got together around the table so they could get started.  The first set was tough for them, and I thought I was sitting pretty – PLENTY time consuming and yet entertaining for them, it seemed.

BUT WAIT.

They. Got. Faster.

The second set went super fast for each of them, and suddenly we were moving into “guess how many legos are in the jar,” a good 20 minutes or so before I had hoped to.    Plus, there was yelling.  EVERY COMMUNICATION from 6 year old boys in a flock is apparently done at MAX volume.

The Grandmothers must have smelled my fear – both have backgrounds in education, and they swooped in, offering the cheddar bunnies and veggie tray to the kiddos and creating an on-the-fly coloring contest while I regrouped.

Cake was eaten and gifts opened in what MUST have been record time, and then we ushered everyone outside to play (and yell some more) in the back yard.  It immediately started to gently rain.  We did NOT immediately go in.

At the two hour mark, parents (looking relaxed and refreshed,) returned to collect their offspring, now happily attempting to build the tallest structure they could from Jr’s collection of duplo blocks.

Jr looked happy, the Grandmas looked tired, and the house looked like a nursery riot had broken out.

So I guess that = success.

But hear me now people.  Believe me.

Next year? Next year we are going to the damn skating rink.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing

How I spent my random vacation.

We have 6 bedrooms.

Six.

We have 3 people (4 if you count Binky the Wonder Dog, and we probably should because he would be the first to tell you he is effing “people” and don’t forget it,) in our family.

It is too damn many bedrooms, but whatever.

So The Mr has one bedroom upstairs as his office, and I had previously taken one of the bedrooms in the finished basement as my office.

This left us with 2 fully-outfitted spare bedrooms. 2 bedrooms just sitting around waiting for someone to come along and sleep in them or whatnot.

The spare room in the basement is TRICKED OUT – you get your own LEVEL of the house, FFS. Walk-in closet, the best TV in the house, surround sound, my favorite sofa, and a private bathroom.

The one upstairs is smaller, you share a bathroom with our 5 year old (“Captain-NO-Aim”) and his army of bath toys, and you are right up in the day-to-day of our family’s crap. It was the 2nd tier spare room, for sure.

It was also time to transfer Jr to a true bed, since he was bustin’ out of his Toy Story toddler bed to an extreme degree.

So I developed “The Plan.”

The Plan entailed us moving the queen bed from guest room B into Jr’s room next door, then moving my office into said unneeded guest room, and then finally the changing of my old office into Jr’s exclusive playroom.

Genius.

We moved the bed into his room and got him rocking and rolling as a “big boy” (although he does still have to take a semi-hilarious running jump to get into the thing for the moment.)

Then came the last 2 steps.

And a confession. I have a LOT of stuff.   I had been cramming the clothes Jr had outgrown into that unused bedroom closet for going on 4 years, and when we moved in I had just shoved boxes marked “Keri Office” into my office closet and shut that dang door.  Then filled two bookshelves with a fraction of my favorite books in that room (hello, English degree nerd girl,) slapped some pictures on the wall and called it good.

A reckoning was coming, people.

I took a whole week off of work to make it happen, people. (And also because I had hella comical amounts of vacay accrued, yo.)

Things started off well:

Mimosa buneh ready 4 ALL THE PROJECTS.

But things, um… deteriorated kinda quickly from there…. (this is the kind of crap you miss when you don’t follow Keri on snapchat – @reluctntnburbs.)

I quickly discovered I hadn’t really purged ANYTHING from the time we had Jr…. I threw it in bags and moved it out of The Treehouse when we left the city.

There was this:

Uh oh.

And this:

Oh noes! It’s one of 80 hats I apparently liberated from the hospital!

Which escalated to this:

That escalated quickly.

And a LOT of this:

Chee-burger….

And this:

Ruh roh, queso. (With a SPOON, mind you.)

And of course this:

That salad is to keep my wine company, people.

Big ol’ shocker – Keri wasn’t handling change well. Because we have NEVER seen that before (ahem – hereand hereoh and lookie here…  I DIGRESS!)

Anyway – after I  succumbed to my weeping and eating honored my emotions regarding the treasures that avalanched out of my closets I discovered in my purge, so much more than just a clean office started to come into view. I was able to pack a few boxes for dear friends who have little guys that can get more use out of the tiny cutie clothes and I have taken two car loads of various gear to donate at A Precious Child.

Plus, in both Jr’s packed away gear, and the books and writings coming up from my former office, I have revisited so many special moments in the history of Keri.  I re-read papers I wrote in college (dang, college Keri could REALLY pick apart a Virginia Woolf novel.)  I sat in the Big Blue Marshmallow Chair, now newly rehomed in my office, and laughed and cried my way through the journal I kept for Jr during my pregnancy and our first few months together after his birth.  I brought up the table I use as a desk, remembering that it was a cast off from the University where my paternal grandparents worked, as a groundsman and a cook, and thought back to my memories of them as I sat, palms flattened against the top.  I repositioned, again and again, the mid-century modern typing table that my in-laws bought me after I fell head-over-heals for it during one of their first visits after we moved here, grateful that they love the history of things as much as I do.

Andplusalso, that cool old TV in the corner was my mom’s family’s when she was a teenager.

Did I get it all done in a week? No – I ended up taking the long way around, for sure. But it’s coming along nicely… both rooms are, actually.

And spending that week sorting and laundering and dusting and moving and living with those things that have gathered through the years allowed me stop and think and truly know what needed to stay, and what needed to be released back out to find another round of use and love.

Hokey? Of course. But it helps my heart, so I’ll take it.

Otherwise I am just the woman who spent her vacation drinking mimosas, eating chicken wings, and crying into a pile of 10-24 month sized punk band shirts.

(Let’s never speak of this again, shall we?)

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing