Monday, July 31, 2006

Conquering Fears & MORE Reunions

PC and I returned last night from another weekend in Michigan (thanks K & J, enjoy your blueberry cookies!). It truly was miraculous that we were able to go AGAIN, for the second weekend in a row. PC will be taking Girl & S up there soon for a long promised trip without the boys, and, hopefully, he and I can get SmallBoy up there once this summer, too.

Strange things happen when we're in our cozy little Michigan Paradise. We were fortunate enough to have PC's cousin, Cous, and his girlfriend, Burrito, join us, and Princess had come up to spend the week with Meem & Phil (FIL). It was blazing hot this weekend, so, of COURSE, we headed to the beach. I DO NOT swim where there are fish, and for pools, well, they have to be bathwater warm before I'll get in. I was planning to wear my bikini top and my short shorts down to the beach, as I had NO intention of leaving the perfect basking spot. Well, Princess is a hard face to say "no" to, so when she said, "MG, why don't you put on your bottoms anyway...just in case you change your mind, " I, of course, said, "Gee, you're so smart. Perhaps I'll do that."

As fate would have it, the water was unbelievably comfortable, and I was incredibly relaxed, and melting-ly hot (is that word?). I put my feet in the water and ended up being out to my ankles! The waves on Lake Michigan were quite large and managed to get me wet up to my navel.....yeah, that was interesting. Suddenly, the next thing I knew, I had bribed Princess to go underwater with me (she's about as fond of the going under part as I am of swimming with fish). I told her, hey, getting IN the water was a big deal for me, so let's do this together. So, on the count of three, we both went under - ok, I went under and she did the face dunk, but that was HUGE for her.

Soon after, PC, Cous, Burrito, and I were all out at the sandbar! How the hell did that happen????? They had brought the frisbee down and we were passing that back and forth. Ok, makes sense, especially since I can't catch or throw. We also invented a new game - wet T-shirt ball. Burrito had worn her t-shirt over her bikini out in to the water. Once it got waterlogged, she took it off, Cous tied it in knots and we started pegging each other with it. Yes, we were not our usual mature selves, but dorks having a blast! I found myself swimming...swimming swimming, not just dog paddling to stay afloat. I discovered that I actually enjoyed it, was craving it and the workout from it the longer I stayed out there. Finally, after about an hour - hour and a half on the water, we all tuckered out...either that or we needed a beer! Would you believe I went back out AGAIN yesterday? Sadly, we didn't have much time, since we had to leave to return home, but it was wonderful. How much I've missed by giving in to my irrational fears...ok, not irrational, I got swiped by a manta ray when I was calf deep in cloudy water in the Marco Islands. NOT cool - not to mention that my fascination with shark movies hasn't helped either. Regardless, I was loving being in the water and I regret that I've missed SO much fun!

Our wonderful reunion with Marti, MechanicalMan, & Child last week began a week of fun reunions. After PC & I got up to Michigan on Friday, we unpacked and headed down to the beachfire. We ran into TONS of PC's friends that he had made while spending many many summers there as a kid. I'd heard the names and the stories for the last three years. This time, almost all of them were there - some married with kids, some not, some hanging out for a while, others for just the weekend. Whatever they were doing, we all had one thing in common - the beachfire! And we did something we grown ups never seem to do anymore - partied until dawn. We've stayed up until 5am at a beach fire before, but this time was more like 6:30...and we weren't the last ones to leave! When we got back cottage, we stayed up a little longer and grilled some hot dogs for breakfast! It was really nice to kick back with some old friends, and be totally, ridiculously irresponsible.

As adults, we seem to shift into parent-mode so much sometimes, that we forget to relax. We look at other adults who are having fun and are either terribly jealous or judgmental. We get upset that they're having fun and either poke fun or say they must be terrible people to be acting that irresponsibly. It's really kind of a shame that we do that. We all have our families, and reality dictates that we must be adults, lead by example, be responsible, do the right thing. For the most part we are all very successful at doing that. Unfortunately, we forget from time to time to just let our hair down and enjoy the few moments a freedom that we are granted from our everyday lives. Much as we love and adore our children, our lives, and, perhaps even our jobs, it's nice every once in a while to escape from them!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Leaving Neverland

...or at least getting one foot out the door. Before I go any further, I will let those of you who are casually dropping by to see if I've fallen off the face of the planet know that I'M BACK and I've got LOTS to write about. Scroll down after you read this one...I've got two below this one!

Last night, SmallBoy was going to bed and I had him wiggle his teeth some more, he's got two fangs that just don't want to come out. He was in good spirits, so I thought, hell, why not see how far I can push the Tooth Fairy envelope. He asked if the Tooth Fairy would bring him extra money if both teeth came out at the same time...ho door, MG, keep walking! I told him I suppose it would depend on how clean the teeth are (since brushing teeth adequately is an issue for us). So then I took the mound and starting winding up for the pitch, used one of his favorite themes, Pokemon, and said, "SmallBoy, now that you're a big kid, what would you think if the Tooth Fairy evolved into someone else? Who would you want the the Tooth Fairy to evolve into?" He named off a number of Pokemon, giggling the whole time. I said, "Well, what if the Tooth Fairy evolved into one of your most favoritest people in the whole world?" (Light Bulb! Followed by momentary terror brought on by the literal nature of an Aspie), "But Mom, I don't want you to turn into the Tooth Fairy, I want you to be Mom."

After much chatting and convincing him that I wasn't going to change, that I've always been the Tooth Fairy, he was totally impressed (see, he still thinks I'm THE Tooth Fairy for everyone), he said to me, "Mom, if you're the Tooth Fairy, I want my teeth back." Since I'm a pack rat, that was an easy one. I told him absolutely. When I get home from work, I'll get his teeth for him if he finds a safe place to keep them. Finally, the door is open. Now I just have to wait for Christmas to do this again, I suppose, unless he puts 2 and 2 together. We'll see.

It's good to be back! Now keep scrolling and read the other two posts! One's about the band and one's about my fabulous family!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Family Reunion (and LargeBoy goes to OT)

Very exciting things are happening! First, I posted for the first time in a month, so if you haven't yet, scroll down and read the previous post, too, to catch up. Even more exciting, though, we met Marti, MechanicalMan, and Child yesterday on their Midwest Baseball tour. It's nice to meet family and see how TOTALLY cool they are! I'll fill you in on that in a moment.

SmallBoy had OT last night. in the summer, we go on Tuesdays. We were heading straight from there to Meem's to meet Marti & family, so PC & I brought LargeBoy with us (Girl is still on vacation). It really was a great experience, because it gave LargeBoy some insight into this mysterious thing called "OT", and what his brother does there. LargeBoy got to see his brother do things that he never thought he could, kick a punching bag, punch the punching bag and send it flying, balance blind, and so many more things. He learned things that he can do with his brother while playing that work into his OT (his "homeowork"). He learned WHY we do certain things with SmallBoy. More importantly, though, he got to play with the toys in the waiting area. In this picture, LargeBoy (remember he's almost 16) had stolen the textured ball from PC (you know, the ones that are open so you can fold them inside out to get the smooth side?), opened it up and put it on his head. I couldn't resist the picture. PC did the same and looked like a rooster. Sadly, I missed that picture. We had a good time, SmallBoy - without prompting - introduced LargeBoy to J, the OT extraordinaire, he worked hard and was ready to roll. He was SO excited to be done and to go meet his cousin, Child.

Two Aspie cousins, keep in mind there is no blood relation between them, since Child is from Meem's side of the family, and SmallBoy from mine, thus no shared "Aspie gene". Both boys were SO excited to meet. It could have been disastrous - putting two Aspies together who have never met, but SmallBoy and Child have been waiting SO long to meet each other, they've been learning about each other through Marti & me and through the things each have written, that it was instant success! The boys immediately took off together with their squirt guns. They ran, screamed in fun, squirted, chased, they played with LargeBoy & Princess, and soaked LargeBoy. They played pool, sang karaoke, watched baseball (it was Child's Minnesota Twins vs SmallBoy's Chicago White Sox), ate hamburgers (we ate pork tenderloin), played Apples to Apples, shared, vegged out, and had a FANTASTIC time! I know that SmallBoy had a really really good sleep last night. I'd be willing to bed that Child did, too.

I had a "straight" picture, but I think this best describes Marti & me. We're both juuuuust a little off kilter. I can't begin to tell you what this was like, but I'll try. We arrived at Meem's before Marti & family. The waiting was like a child waiting up to catch a glimpse of Santa or to hear the hooves of the reindeer on the rooftop. SmallBoy and I kept running to the window, alternately, to see if they had arrived yet. When we both got involved in something else, I turned around in the kitchen to peek at the kids outside, notice that my FIL had arrived home from work and that there were extra people outside. At first I saw MechanicalMan, but just legs & shoes, and I thought that LargeBoy was chatting with FIL - until I noticed the beautiful redhead standing next to him. "THEY'RE HERE!!!!!" That's what came flying from my mouth as I bolted to the door, racing to Marti who gave me the HUGEST, WARMEST hug! (I'm getting all teary eyed just thinking about it). Big hugs from/for MechanicalMan & Child, too. Oh I was - we were all SO excited!! We talked for hours, laughed, shared stories about family, watched our boys, played games, ate Meem's Phallic Pork (oh we had SO much fun with that!) while the boys ate burgers, the kids played pool, ET (aka HippieWineSteward per Marti) and Princess (aka Sarah Bernhard per Marti - I LOVE these names!) played and ate, SIL joined us later, we played them a bit of Code West......I wish the night could have gone on forever - or at least that I could take the next three days off of work just to hang out and catch up!

The boys got along famously, we learned more about this wonderful family of which we are all the BEST branches, and are now looking at the calendar to see when we can get to Minnesota, don'tcha know! Oh you guys....LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU

Monday, July 24, 2006

Lots 'O Stuff

Thanks to all of you for sending your thoughts, prayers and vibes in this direction the last few days. My Gramp was a great man. I wish you could have known him.

I feel like I'm always trying to catch you guys up because I've been SO lax in keeping up. I AM, indeed, still alive. Thanks also for all of you who have been checking in on me. I've actually been quite busy. The blog would be entirely too long if I load up all of the pictures I want to show you of what I've been doing since I last wrote, but I'll see what I can do.

Let me bring you up to date on the SmallBoy. He's wonderful His father's still an ass, but you know, SmallBoy's all the better for it. Ex went so far that when I called him about my grandfather and told him I needed him to keep SmallBoy, too, in addition to Girl & Boy, for an overnight, he told me "ok," but, I found out later, he shipped SmallBoy off to his mother's house. I didn't find out until a week later! His OT is working miracles, as is the listening therapy that J has him doing. When he's home with us on weekends that Girl and Boy are gone, we've been making it a point to do special things just with him. One of the things we did was to bake. It is good for his muscle tone to be mixing, kneading, rolling, and good for his vision convergence to be learning to measure in a clear measuring cup. One evening, we made homemade biscuits (ok, with the help of Bisquick) and strawberry shortcakes. SmallBoy mixed and kneaded and rolled. He cut out the biscuits, he shaped the shortcake cakes. It was a delightful time. Then SmallBoy, PC, and I pigged out. we were happy happy happy.

Girl's softball is finally over, so she's off on vacation with her bestest friend and her "other" family, of course, we consider S our "other daughter," so I suppose that's all square. My dear friend K got a great new job. I miss seeing her face everyday, but she only lives two minutes from me so I can see her whenever I want, right G-girl? I'm really happy for her though. She got out of the hole!

LargeBoy is thoroughly enjoying summer vacation. I must say I've been very lenient on curfews, etc, but we have this understanding. I give him a curfew, he never complains, and he knows I will be up in front of the TV when he gets home. He's always on time. If something happens and he's not going to make it...get this..he CALLS, tells me where he is, who he's with, and exactly when he'll be home (for example, if another is driving them home and he's last on the drop off list). Every once in a while, I'll extend his curfew. He knows if he crosses me he's toast. It works out nicely.

The band....we just went "on the road". We had a concert in Michigan for the people who stay in the great little community where my husband has spent his last 30 summers. We played them the song that we wrote about Michigan and the road that leads us home to it. It truly is our home. I wish we could get there more often. Everyone who attended LOVED the song and it was so incredibly well received. The picture of the band playing was actually during that song. PC sings, and I do the harmony, so I had some time to go be silly and take a picture of the band ... sans moi, of course. The night, as exhausting as it was - most of us had worked half a day - was a huge success. We're hoping that, perhaps, this will increase our fan base, since 3/4 of the people who spend their summers in our Michigan community are from this area. We're also hoping that perhaps, we'll be able to play up there next year, in the park, for the big dinner they hold every year.

The band couldn't pass up the opportunity to stop for a band shot under the street sign for Blue Star Highway, the road for which our song is named, the road that is the welcome mat to our place, our home, our escape, our hideaway.

PC and I, after a small amount of bribery, begging, and pleading with Mom and Chica to feed the OCFs and the dog, stayed an extra day in Michigan and relaxed a little while before we came back home to reality. Saturday afternoon, after M & H, had left, we decided to take some pictures of the girls (PC's guitars) in some of the more scenic places in the park before heading out to dinner at our favorite pizza place, DiMaggio's. We hung out on the beach at the fire Saturday night and into the very very wee hours of the morning (I only stay up until the sunrises when I'm in Michigan - usually, I fall asleep much earlier than I'd like). Sunday morning, well, I suppose it was more like afternoon, we helped close up the cottage for the week, went to the beach, ordered a couple of pizzas for home from DiMaggio's, and hit the road. Even once we were home, and back into the land of chaos, we felt rested, relaxed, and felt the absence of the weight that was on our shoulders before we left on our adventure.

As fate would have it, my former MIL offered to take all three of the kids next weekend (even though it's my weekend) just because she wants to hang with them. So guess what PC and I are doing? Yep...back to Michigan. I'm more than willing to sit in a Friday Chicago rush hour to spend one more weekend up there. Lord knows if we'll be able to get there again this summer. PC and I have some songs to finish writing, and some sand to sink into, and we plan to do just that.

Tomorrow, Marti and her crew are going to be in town and we'll finally all get a chance to meet...a family reunion, seriously. Child and SmallBoy have been DYING to meet each other! I'm sure I'll have pictures! Perhaps we can teach them H-O-S-E Limbo time! Well, SmallBoy's waiting to be tucked in and PC & LargeBoy are waiting to start a movie..."Meow!" (can anyone guess?). I PROMISE I'll post again soon! Really, I promise!