Thursday, April 30, 2015

Loving on the kid's teacher

Guess who (oh, guess who) will be done with all of her classes one week from this very moment.  This instructor right here.  Which means, obviously, guess what this instructor will be feeling exactly one week from this very same moment? 

Oh, yes.  Bored. 

It's like a summer vacation that never ends around here - equal parts fabulous, horrid, and spending too much time raiding the pantry.  I probably walk over there five times a day "just to look," which inevitably translates to "maybe this is what I'm hungry for."  And then hindsight kicks in and "Nope, that wasn't it.  I'll just have to try again in fifteen minutes."

Boredom, thy name is raiding the pantry.

(There was a point I was going to make when I started out.  I feel a bit wayward today.)

Well.  Teacher Appreciation Day is next week, which is rapidly approaching.  And if there's something I've held fast and firm to even before I had any children attending anything remotely resembling a classroom, it is this: I will not be that parent.  The boy won't either, but that's mostly because he does things like coach and work full-time to occupy a good amount of his time, and he feels certain things like fretting mindlessly are best left to me.  Bless him.  He's something like the big old glass of cooling milk you drink after you bit into my fiery, jalapeno taco.

I promise, I'm not a crazy, obsessive mom.  But comparatively with the boy, I get pretty fired up.

But I'm also a devout believer in buying into my children's teacher's good graces.  Oh, yes...I will be giving the teachers and the aides presents at Christmas.  Indeed, they will be getting a smarmy little Valentine along with all of the kids in the class.  And you can bet your sweet buttons that I'm slipping them a little something at Teacher Appreciation Day.

Let's consider all of the benefits that a simple gift card for coffee brings.
1.  It's a simple way to show appreciation for those who are helping us in our daily lives.
2.  Teachers get a lot of guff from parents, even in the best of schools.  It's obviously part of their jobs, and they know that.  But still, it's pretty sweet when you're able to throw out some anti-guff. 
3.  Teacher Aides get paid badly for dealing with a lot of the monotony and drivel that a teacher does not always have the time to cover.  Sometimes, the Aide takes care of issues that would otherwise distract your child, which enables your kid to focus and learn better.
4.  When you give a smile and a thank you, teachers remember that, which means...
5.  ...teachers remember that your kid has approachable parents.
6.  A teacher will pass that information along to your kid's next teacher.
7.  If I need to talk to my child's teacher and I have already established an attitude of "I appreciate you and all that you do in my child's classroom," the teacher will respond accordingly when you need something from them. 

On the flip side, I'm out $20 today after buying a couple of gift cards.  Money well spent, I say.

Monday, April 27, 2015



Monday mornings are not my favorite morning of the week because they're far too loosey-goosey for me.  I do like me some structure and purpose when I have to be the tour director for the goof troop.  And I'm pretty lousy at planning activities of consequence because a) I hate the clean-up, b) I hate the ratio of time it takes me to put said activity together with the amount of time that the child(ren) actually activaty it, and c) I hate the non-ending "Isitready? Isitready? Canwedoityet? Isitready?" questions.  The activating part is often pretty fun.  But then again, I feel all "don't really care much" about a cute little octopus made out of coffee filters and crepe paper. 

I haven't heard any other parents throwing this out there.  So I will (unashamedly, mind you).

Well, this morning had no planned activities, but there was some pick-up puzzle action.  A lot bit of sitting in the sun, aimlessly.  And, it ended with some biscuit making.  Little hands are good for putting biscuits on a tray.  (Flour is apparently oh-so good to sneak a taste.  My kids are all about it.  I mean, sweeties, go for the gold and snag the biscuit dough when I'm not looking, not the plain flour.)

It was a pretty sweet Monday morning.

And now I got my grading done, I found all sorts of wanna-watch-that shows on Netflix, my afternoon coffee has kicked in, and I'm getting CPR/First Aid/AED certified tonight so that I can renew my license, and biscuits!!!  (One of these things is not like the other.)

So here's to the first of two crazy track weeks.  I need to go read while the reading is good.  'Cause regardless of my snarky tone a few days ago, reading is glorious.  I need to go get me some of that activitating. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Vacations = scary credit card bill

I've lamented before how sometimes when you have one or two full-time jobs, it feels like you have this beautiful paychecks that magically disappear so that you simultaneously feel pinched and unable to afford some Papa John's.  We ride this roller coaster with magical highs of WE HAVE MONEY...YAY! and crushing valleys of WE'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO HELP OUT CHILDREN WITH COLLEGE OR MOVE OR RETIRE...THIS BITES. 

Right now, we're in the magical sweet spot and spending money like we've never spent it before.  That's right friends: we're going on vacations this summer.  Plural.  One sans children and one cum children. 

Here's the second best part: I have now booked 5 different lodging arrangements because of late, when we think "Let's go on vacation!" it really means "Let's see how many different places we can stay in a short amount of time!"  We have restless hotel syndrome.  There's nothing like some commitment to a vacation until you actually hit that button that says "confirm."  I always hesitate; I sure...yes, I'm sure...well...okay...let's do it! 

And wait, it get's better?  Yesyesyesyes!  For vacation numero uno (sans children), we have booked flights there and back, 3 separate lodging accomodations, a rental car, and gift cards for 2+ meals on the trip for $0. 


This is a 10-year commitment come to fruition.  Sometime during our 4-night stay on St. Thomas for our honeymoon, we looked at each other and basically said "We like this.  Let's do this again for our 10th anniversary."  It was a beautiful moment when the heavens opened up and the angels rejoiced at our newlywed bliss and naivete.  Back in reality, we soon thought "Hey, we should probably have a credit card," which turned into "Hey, which credit card gives us the best incentives?" which turned into "Hey, if we use our credit card for absolutely everything, then we could rack up some serious points that we could use toward our 10th anniversary trip."  And that's what we did, folks. 

I don't advocate this plan for everyone, but if you're someone who tracks their spending and always pays off their credit card bill, which we do and have without fail, then this is a sweet, sweeeet, idea.  Because now, 10 years later...almost free vacation. 

This means that we can still afford to take the girls somewhere this summer as well.  Last year was our first venture on anything resembling a normal vacation with the girls and it went bea-u-tifully, so we're fools for momentum and are planning on doing this whole thing again. 

I've been on a booking spree lately, which has translated into a couple of extra booking charges showing up on ye olde credit card of late, which = scary credit card bill.  But, ya know what, oh well.  Prior to having kids, the only thing I regret is that the boy and I didn't travel more.  We were stuck in this feeling of "We probably can't afford it" when in hindsight, we most certainly could.  There was something about being in our early 20s and our bank account wasn't quiet where we wanted it to languish yet that made us dance with caution rather than booking a few extra ventures. 

And now, I'm making considerably less, but that 20-something caution has paid dividends in some decided padding in the bank accounts that have given us some 30-something room to breath.  And right now, room to breath = room to travel a bit. 

By the way, check back with me in another decade.  I'll be planning our European anniversary vacation if all goes as we hope it to.  In the meantime, the credit card will continue to flex its muscles on our behalf.  Oh, yes it will.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do as I say, not as I pretend to do

Is there a gray area between a literal truth and an understandable truth to the ears of the littles?  I believe so.

There's a variety of meaning when I almost daily relate to the Younger that "This is the last time I'm coming back here [for a kiss] because I have to do my work."  It usually gets her to stop buggering around.  Yesterday: truth.  Today:  tell the truth but tell it slant. 

My teaching schedule fluctuates quite a bit, including the demands on my time.  My afternoon "office hours" are when I almost exclusively complete my at-home work.  I almost always have at least a few minutes worth of emails and such to check in on.  Sometimes, I have a solid hour or two.  Sometimes, I have a solid nothing to do. 

But Mama's got to get her work done.

Namely, eat biscotti and save recipes.  (One of my favorite cookbooks has got to be something I like to call "MS Word," which is the biggest melange of miscellany to grace any kitchen space.)  And of course, I have some baseball on because multi-tasking during my office hours.  But I rarely read in the afternoon because lazy during my office hours. 

Diddle around on the computer = productive.
Diddle around with a book = whoa, those blog posts won't write themselves.

Imagine trying to explain all of that to the Younger:  This is the last time I'm coming back here [to kiss you] because I have five minutes worth of work to do and then I'm going to diddle around for the rest of your nap time while you lament your wretched fate and flop around until there's a 2 on the left [on your clock].

She might protest to that.  And then I'd have to come back and give her some more kisses.  Actually, that sounds pretty great.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Squirrely and certifiable

There's a squirrel hanging out in our raised bed right now.  We call him "Jimmy."  But then again, we call 3 out of 4 squirrels "Jimmy."  We also have "Stumpy."  (Bet you can't figure why I named him that.)

Yesterday, we got back from picking up the Elder at school, and there was a pair of mallard ducks hanging out on top of our house.  Right up there on the peackity-peak-peak.  Mr. Mallard was so comfortable with our house that he was downright asleep.  Mrs. Mallard was doing her part and keeping watch for both of them. 

We live in a neighborhood not known for roosting ducks.  There's probably some neighborhoods out there that are, but ours is not one of them.  I dig it when animals get all comfy cozy with us.

I'm basically distracted.  Squirrely, if you will.

I'm really trying to figure out the best CPR/First Aid/AED training option that I can take so that I can renew my teaching license, which would enable me to look for job that I will likely never look for again.  Naturally, this makes sense.  Let's think about how this looks right now.

*I already got the degree out of the way.  Hot dog.  That didn't cost anything.  (I jest.)
*I had to ask an ex-principal to pleasetaketimeoutofyourbusyscheduletowriteasappylittlelettersayingthatIusedtoworkforyou.  Well, the boy did it for me.  (I'm not jesting.)
*I've made three calls to the Department of Education.  'Cause they're nice on the phone but junk when emailing.
*I have to become certified in CPR/First Aid/AED.  Here's a quick clue about my thoughts on this requirement:  I have to pay for it, and I don't know what "AED" specifically stands for.  It takes hours of my I'm-not-doing-anything-else time.  And, I have to pay for it.

And this is all for having a 10-year back-up.  All of this isn't to say that I would never teach again, but it's not at the top of my next-step-in-life list.  Upside: I'm finally working through my next-steps-in-life.  Downside:  This uncertainty bites.
Realistically, I get it.  I make the boy and my parents nervous when I want to let the license expire.  Selfishly, I want to let it expire to do something reckless and in-the-moment rather than forward thinking and prepared. 

Some day...I will be FOOLISH and RECKLESS and JAY WALK WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE BETTERMENT OF SOCIETY.  Until then, someone just pass me a CPR dummy and let this dummy get her certification on.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Say again?

Proving that where there's a will, there's a way, I just successfully navigated the Younger's first movie theater experience, during naptime, by myself.  And I had the girls squirreled away in their respective corners of the house within 10 minutes of the credits rolling. 

Credits...out the door...pull into the driveway...wash hands (Oh, the dirty, dirty floors!!!)...Mama needs her afternoon break.  Bless the little hearts and hands that feel there is no surface that cannot be touched and no M & M that cannot be eaten after having fallen on a movie theater floor.  Sure, Monkey Kingdom is playing in front of us on a screen that is larger than an innocent, 2-year old's mind can possibly fathom, but FOR THE SAKE OF CHOCOLATE, SAVE THE M & M!!! 

You're all something of a captive audience (feel free to close me if you feel that I'm about to get overbearingly smug, which I am), so indulge me as I pat my own back some more: I picked the perfect time to take two children to a movie theater--when NO ONE else was there.  We could say that I called ahead and bought every ticket for that showing.  But we would be liars, liars pants-a-fires now, wouldn't we?  I'm blaming it on a gorgeous afternoon and choosing a movie that takes some panache and verve.  Probably the former.  Oh, DisneyNature, you never fail to charm me and seduce my love of all things animal. 

Whatever that camera crew was paid for filming monkeys in the middle of swarms of flying termites, I maintain they were not paid enough. 

But I'm not here today to dwell on the likes of Mia, Kip, Kumar, and their macaque monkey escapades (though, seriously...) but rather to note the we're-definitely-in-the-middle-of-the-mimicry-stage of the Younger's development.  Hello, did I specifically order the Elder 2.0?  I don't believe that I did.  You know what they say: If you look exactly like older sister, then act just like her as well.  It's most noticeable in conversation, hard to miss, actually.

the Elder:  It's hot today.
the Younger:  It's hot today.
the Elder:  You're copying me.
the Younger:  You're copying me.
the Elder:  No, I'm not.
the Younger:  No, I'm not.

And so it goes.  It's all that was annoying of my life in the 1990's all over again.  But it could be worse, of course; she could be mimicking everything that I say seeing as how she's right by my side about 10 hours a day.  That could be an enjoyable game that we could play all day long.  Every day.  All by ourselves.  (Or not.)

Instead, I just enjoy the varying levels of torture that she's inflicting on the Elder (who, naturally, deserves some of what she dishes out) and appreciate this obvious developmental process playing out right in front of our eyes.  It's quite a bit of fun when you can measure the thought processes and understand how exactly the littles are learning at this very moment. 

The Younger may get almost everything as a hand-me-down, but let me tell 'ya, a hand-me-down language is a mighty powerful tool for a 2-year old. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Unburden" isn't 7 letters

My computer has been having a case of the Thursdays: "I don't want to go in to work today; can't it just be the weekend, already?"  Ha...fooled you, computer!  If I turn you on and off enough, one of us is going to wear down AND IT WON'T BE ME!!!  I also took a break from lashing out since I'm in public right now and I don't like to show my ugly technology/I'm really an old woman side around those whom I am not comfortably wearing my pajamas.  So I did my Thursday crossword, took several sips of Kahula Creme coffee (please, it's Thursday morning...non-alcoholic), and gave the old laptop the evil eye.  That seemed to work.

By the way, a couple of months ago on the way up for a weekend visit with the family, the boy whipped out a crossword to work in the car while we were cruising down the interstate.  (Don't get slanty eyed here; I was driving.)  Ever since, we've been fighting over who gets to do the crosswords insofar as I usually do as much as I want and leave him the dregs cause they're my newspapers and we have rules here that Thou Shalt NOT touch my newspaper before I do.  He knows this and continues to be married to me.  True love when you can get snappy about unfolding a fresh newspaper and still laugh with each other and kiss each other goodnight.

Why is it that suddenly the crossword is something to look forward to?  Is this what our 30s are going to be?

We're going on a child-free jaunt up the California coastline this summer, and I'm lying here when I say that I've already thought multiple times that we can work on crosswords together over breakfast, sipping coffee leisurely while basking in ocean views and unadulterated sunshine.

Now I'm down to 14 minutes left of my child-free Thursday morning time.  What else can I jam in here of little to no consequence?

(This is what happens when I just want to write and have little to say.)

Well, my wandering eyes have been basking in the possibilities of jobs, jobs everywhere...please Lord, guide us if we are ready for the next season of our lives.

Here's something that is unendingly frustrating: Ten years of classroom experience working with students does not directly translate to 1-3 years of experience advising students.  

I've been thinking hard and looking hard for a new start.  A week ago, I was making small talk over shrimp cocktails and iced tea at a faculty banquet, and multiple times, I was asked "But what do you do in the daytime?"  Tricky question, that.  I don't identify myself as a stay-at-home mother, though society sees me as such.  So I answered truthfully, and every time, my conversation partner changed my words to indicate my JOY and EXTREME SATISFACTION and LUCK at being a stay-at-home mother.  Hello, there.  We're not bosom buddies, but please listen to my words and do not assume that I am you and that you are me.  On behalf of purposeful and open communication between well-intentioned people, can we please just listen to each other and not assume that they ascribe to the same desires and beliefs as you do?  Please and thank you. 

That being said...I have to go pick up my favorite two-year old from pre-school and act the part of personal chef and assistant.  I am more than willing to do so.  But, that is not my ALL but rather a part of my all. 

By the way...does anyone know what ___ oneself; express worries to a confidant is (UNB----)?  'Cause "unburden" just doesn't fit, though that's obviously what I just did here.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

This was a day

Driving home on the interstate in full, late afternoon, Spring sunshine (read: warm), it struck me that THIS DAY, THIS VERY DAY was likely what I had in mind all of ten years ago when I was fumbling my way out of college without thinking too dang hard about anything pertaining to the future other than "I need a job, but that won't be too hard."  Oh, the arrogance of youth.  Oh, the blissful state of naivete and ignorance.

In actuality, I know that all I had first and foremost on my mind that day in May pertaining to the f-word was a) get married and b) get through the summer because you don't really have to have a job in place until August.  Such is the life of two teachers.  There are two calendars running simultaneously in your mind: the ongoing calendar year and the rise and fall of the school year. 

During the ensuing decade, not much has gone as scripted.  I've written about it before frequently, but here's my twist.  Today was the type of day that I would have envisioned for myself at 32. 

Saturday: wake up at 7:20 a.m.  Meet two friends for breakfast and chatter.  Mutz about the house for two hours doing all that is lunch and dibbling bits of email correspondence.  Watch baseball while doing so.  Take off after lunch to drive to niece's birthday party for the afternoon (1+ hours each way) just because you can.  Stop for coffee at a new place you've been meaning to try because warm afternoon and comfortable belly = sleepy, and delight the daughter with a mango smoothie.  Go roller skating (or roller hobbling-around-the-carpeted-area-which-isn't-as-slippery-as-the-shined-wood-floor).  Laugh with 5-year old daughter, who was really digging her first roller skating experience.  Visit with the family.  Hit up another coffee place for freshly ground blueberry cinnamon crisp (decaf) and more coffee (also decaf).  Drive home with little traffic to worry about, a happy kid lulled with an audiobook, and not a single complaint along the way.  Thrown together supper eaten with the kid on the porch in the last bits of the warm sunlight.

This was a day that I would have been perfectly content to know was in my future 10 years ago. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's 2:08 a.m....I just want a kiss

I just used my brand new sensitive toothbrush and passed the sample sized sensitive toothpaste along to the boy, who actually uses the stuff.  I think my dental hygienist knows something that I don't.  Irregardless, it's a pillowy soft toothbrush.

This isn't my normal blogging time, but the boy is in a (deserved) snit about everything that has gone awry, and one can only sit there and lend a sympathetic ear over a pint of butter pecan so long.  At least, I can't.  That boy...he's a keeper.  Lest you weren't sure about my intent with that last sentence, I assure you, that was serious.  He's wading in the deep end of the customer service experience for my technology issue. 

Well, it's been two days of travel with the Squiddgles (HAIL the LOO YAH that we figured out the magic that is audio books), and I'm here to testify that Cincinnati and I are not bosom buddies.  Street signs seem to be hit-or-miss, I have less than your average bear's worth of directional acuity in that city that has me every which way mixed up, and there's about three cities' worth of cars jammed in on those highways (which we always seem to need to be on when we navigate those muddy waters).  But, in Cincinnati we were for a few hours shy of 24 in order to meet...

...a new nephew!  Any day is a good day when you can say those words.  I've been through this 1-ring circus twice before, and still, those bandy little legs, the amazing and ephemeral facial expressions, and the enormous yawns still catch me by surprise every time.  There was a lot of head petting during the visit.  And let's take a moment to appreciate that I put that there baby to sleep before handing him off to the boy.  Fine, the chap is only 3 weeks old, so putting him to sleep isn't hard at all.  But still.

I just wanted to throw in this picture to show what the boy looks like in pretty much every picture ever.  Squinty.

And while we drove in 3 solid hours of pouring rain (torrential for the first 30 minutes) on cantankerous interstates to meet the nephy, the bulk of the day was fantastically humid and spring-like.  And so we did this. 

And for the coup d'etat, I found a new-to-us bed and breakfast option that was a) affordable, b) a reasonable distance away from the new nephew (and his parents), and c) a suite option with t-w-o bedrooms.  Finding this trifecta made me want to dance.  Discotheque style.  'Cause while the squiddgles are a terrific duo, you don't put them in the same room to sleep. 

I think that last sentence doesn't full capture the essence of what I'm trying to say.  Let's try that again.

Think Katy Perry's "Fireworks" in a volcanic, dripping acid kind of way. 

But two bedrooms I found and two bedrooms we had.  And there was a separate living room for us parentals to stay up to the late, late hour of 10:00 p.m.  The boy bunked with the Elder in a king sized bed (my ideal, so this isn't a sacrifice that I made without thinking long and hard) while I joined the Younger in a full sized bed, of which we only used my 1/3.  It turns out that I could have joined the boy and the Elder as she was lost without him and squirmed her way over to kick him awake at 4:52 a.m.  (Funny, when we score a king sized bed, I squirm my way as far away as possible and he shalt not come within arm's reach.  Give me some space, I say.)  I still would have had more room in that arrangement than I did with the 28 lb. dynamo who was anywhere and all where but her side of the bed. 

I even tried to preemptively nip this possibility by insisting that she sleep on her own pillow rather than keeping Mommy's pillow warm until she came to bed.  You know what they say: There's nothing better than a feisty 2-year old on your side of the bed making your pillow hot. 

But, she was a mercifully quiet sleeper once I eased into my morsel of space.  Until 2:08 a.m. when she started flopping around, throwing blankets around willy nilly.  What, oh what, did she possibly need? 

A kiss and her duck. 

And then she went back to sleep.  She kicked me well and good for another 10 minutes, inching closer and more on top of me as she did so.  But that enabled me to luxuriate in my second 3-hour stretch of sleep of the night.  I was actually expecting less.

And then 5:30 found me up and at 'em with not a drop of coffee (sadly, when one stays in a bed and breakfast, one is often left relying on the whims and caprices of the innkeepers, who compromised with a 7 a.m. breakfast) but a baseball game on the iPad and a favorite magazine in hand.

Oh, what a couple of days it was.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Soul food

If you're not one given to fits of the green eyed monster, I invite you to read on.  I'm about to share my yesterday with you, and it was a content one.  Pleasant, comfortable, indulgent, and evenly paced.  It involved unexpected calories (usually my favorite ones) and that wormy, springtime smell. 

Signs for an impending good day began early (5:30 a.m. early) when the Younger opened her bedroom door and immediately started yelling "Why is no one answering me?!  Why is no one answering me?!"  Well, child, because in order for us to answer you, a question must first be asked.  Surely my children are not alone in going from content to whyaren'tyouansweringme?!? in 2 seconds.  This is one of those pivotal moments when you look back and say either ahh...that's why my day was rotten or else ahh...that's why my day was lovely because SHE WANTED HER FATHER AND I WENT BACK TO SLEEP FOR ANOTHER 2 HOURS.  Lovely child!  There's a vast difference between waking up to meet the bleary eyed bathroom and breakfast demands of a child versus waking up to the sounds of a throaty purr and a furry face.

The boy had a pseudo day off yesterday whilst the girls were both still going to school, which means that the boy was thrilled to be cheauffer and I'm thrilled to agree to that arrangement.  Which means that I had a couple of uncontested hours to do (and here's where it get's really good) whatever I wanted.  This means I blow dried my hair and went to meet the boy at my coffee shop while the Younger was at her pre-school class, essentially what I would have done anyway, except without children.  Do whatever you want...okay, I'll do what I always do!  Naturally.  But the boy met me there after deposting the girls in their respective classrooms, and there's something kind of saucy/kind of scandalous feeling about placing your regular order and then adding Oh, and my husband is coming to meet me, so I'll go ahead and buy his coffee, too. 

At some point in that hour and a half of chatting/working/maybe-this-is-what-an-affair-feels-like coffee shop time, I both got the boy to agree to bring the Younger back to the coffee shop for lunch for "special time with just us" as well as volunteered to ride along to go pick her up from pre-school.  Somehow, it felt different and (dare I say) fun to go lurk awkwardly in the hallway of a church beside a drinking fountain for ten minutes before a line-up of 2-year olds comes out in all of their I'm-so-proud-of-myself-because-I'm-TWO! glory. 

Then lunch was decidedly lovely, and I was able to pass the Younger off on the boy so he could take her home for her rest time while I went (get this, anyone who is not yet jealous) to go grocery shopping b-y m-y-s-e-l-f in the middle of the day.  Not at 6 a.m.  Even jockying with old codgers around the breakfast cereal aisle was not enough to deter my heartfelt appreciation for that gift of time best spent with myself. 

I didn't have to pack up a could-be-grumpy-could-be-happy toddler to pick up the Elder 'cause, again, the boy was more than happy to do so.  I wallowed in some ice cream.  And supper was delicious.  Can a day get better?!?  Why, yes...

My entry was chosen for a blind date with a book program at our library...i.e. free sushi.  We wedged a wee bit of travel planning on for our upcoming anniversary extravaganza.  And, an hour and a half of kids-free girl time over french fries with a couple of sweet friends capped my night. 

Perhaps yesterday was just the day to kick off our Spring Break craziness.  It was a solid pick-me-up for my soul, which was undoubtedly why I woke up at 6:30 this morning with a determination to paint the ceiling in the Younger's room.  I'm nothing if not as speckled as an Easter egg, but it wouldn't be Spring Break without a quick paint job in some room of the house.  And checking something like that off the list is pretty necessary for the soul, too.