pile it on

This post was intended for Friday, but then we had computer problems. 
They’re still not all-the-way sorted out, but at least I can post!
* * *

I’ve been feeling scattered.
Slightly overwhelmed.

I have reasons! Mostly: summer.

Summer is our Living Expansively time (as opposed to the school year where I chain the kids to the kitchen table and forbid all forms of socialization). It’s when I relax my hold on imposed structure and say yes to all sorts of fun stuff. Just pile it on, is my mantra. Eventually, I kind of fall apart.

The most recent reasons for my current state of distraction are as follows:

* * *

We loved having our little Fresh Air boy again this year. (We had hoped to have the girl back, too, but her family missed the paperwork deadline.) He’s sweet as a peach, easy-going and eager to try new things.

We did fun stuff, hence more go-go-go activity which contributed to my I’m-on-a-merry-go-round feeling. There was the Frontier Culture Museum, the pool, the river, church, shopping, playing at other people’s houses, etc. But the activity he desired most? Legos.

In anticipation of his arrival, we moved the whole Lego bin downstairs and set up a Lego Station. ‘Twas a smart move. The kid was in there every chance he got.

* * *

Last week I had three extra kids under my roof for a couple days and then, one night, the numbers ballooned to a total of ten, topping out at eleven the following morning at breakfast when the neighbor kid joined the masses for breakfast.

The neighbor kid was super excited about the pancakes. “I’ve never had homemade pancakes before!” he chortled.

“Mom, he doesn’t know how to cut them,” my younger daughter whispered to me. “He keeps stabbing them with a fork.”

“Then cut them for him,” I said.

Kids like him, I’d happily feed all day long. (You’d think my kids would’ve learned that by now—act excited and Mom will up her Yummy Food Game—but no. Sometimes they’re downright dumb.)

As Neighbor Boy ate, sluggish kids kept emerging from all corners of the property: the tent, the downstairs room, the bedrooms, the clubhouse. Neighbor Boy’s eyes about popped. It was like a circus clown car.

The night before, the kids had entertained themselves with a potato gun, homemade ice cream, a dance party, and fireballs. Also, there was an (unapproved and immediately-squelched) activity involving an aerosol can of hairspray and matches. It’s a fact: put teen boys in a group and they shed IQ points at an alarming rate.

At the peak of crazy, I called my mom.

“All the kids have friends. Why don’t you and Dad come keep John and me company?”

We sat around the table and observed the chaos while eating our homemade ice cream with flopped chocolate zucchini cake, chocolate sauce, and strawberries.

 * * *

After having his license for just two weeks, my son has now been taken out of the driving mix, thanks to that eye surgery.

It’s only for a week or two, but oh my, is it ever an inconvenience. How quickly I acclimated to having a third driver in the house! Now we’re once again playing Schedule Contortionist, juggling drop-offs and pick-ups, work schedules, and mealtimes. It’s like we’re back in the Dark Ages.

Will you hate me if I show you his eye? No? Awesome.

day after
about four days after 
(don’t worry—he says it doesn’t hurt)

Because I think it is so cool.

* * *

Our fall schedule is taking (intimidating) shape.

Thus far, I have three kids in choir, a son in a theater production, two sons (and me) who want to take tap, and a daughter who is requesting not one but two—two!—ballet classes. I’m reluctant to fund all these enrichment classes, so the kids need jobs. In other words, their jobs will be just one more thing for me to work into our schedule.

I’m not sure how much activity I can handle before I (and the rest of the family) get hurt.

Once I figure out the details—line things up all tidy—my stress levels will go down. But until then, I feel like I’m gearing up for a high-speed race that is destined to end in a wipe out.

Unless I say no to everything. No is always an option…

This same time, years previous: cheesy herb pizza, corn crepecakes, the quotidian (8.6.12), why I am recuperating, dishes at midnight, and quiche.


  • AyrieJoyce

    I'm in the exact same place now – thought we had the fall all figured out and just got an e-mail from the dance studio that needs to change class day/time. Sometimes I want to say no to it all too. I love summer, but I always enjoy September's return to routine… as soon as I can figure out what this year's routine will be I'll be good. Good luck and enjoy the tomatoes while they last.

  • Julie

    Wow. I'm exhausted just reading this! One small caveat: make sure your pup doesn't eat or chew the corncobs. I only mention this because I live next to some vet techs who regale me every summer about dogs they've known who died after ingesting them

  • Mama Pea

    Well, you've exhausted me already. And your fall schedule hasn't even started. (You're gonna miss all this when all the kids are gone. No, really. You are. But I just know you will fill your time with untold new and super-interesting endeavors.)

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