Happy, Happy

Shake

When your husband is traveling for most of the month (only one week left to go!) and your boys are in several activities, sometimes it’s best to admit you’re overwhelmed.

The boys have swim practice M-F for two hours in the early morning. I’m thankful because we avoid the heat–though I still had to take Nico to the urgent care on Tuesday for dehydration–but it does take sleeping in over summer vacation out of the equation. To top it off, the boys both had choir, piano, and clarinet in the evenings. Last week I cancelled all music activities until September. Yesterday, we skipped swim.

Nothing terrible happened when I admitted I was struggling.

No one was upset with me for cancelling activities. I don’t mean the boys. I mean the instructors.

Sometimes it really is the little things, like cancelling an activity or finding a breakfast both boys love. I don’t know how I came up with this chocolate shake/smoothie, but it’s the one thing the boys will both eat. This is key when you have early morning swim practice. I mix two cups of dark chocolate almond milk (Silk brand), two frozen bananas, 1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and two-three tablespoons of natural unsweetened peanut butter. They’ve been having it daily for a while now, which is such a blessing. Usually I can get them to eat something, oatmeal, for example, for a couple of days before they’d rather starve than eat breakfast.

Little things. Important. Off to swim practice.

Have a great weekend!

Happy, Happy

Seagull

Riptide

beach chairs

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY, AMERICANS!
Everyone else: HAPPY FRIDAY!

The Mister surprised us with a day off from work and a day at the beach. The boys had so much fun! I was under the umbrella and wore an enormous sun hat since my rosacea medications + sun don’t mix, but it was fun watching them boogie board. Nico was fearless and tore it up. He got in trouble once for trying to go in by himself without telling us. Not cool, especially since directly in front of us was a riptide. Mikey was cautious and at first didn’t want to go in (because sharks). Once he heard about the riptide, he was even more resistant. He had this image of a riptide pushing him out to sea, smack in the middle of a frenzy of sharks. When I explained to him that his dad wasn’t in the riptide section and that he would always be with him, he relented. He had a great time.

Walking on the sand made one thing clear to me: I’m losing all the conditioning I gained walking every day last year. The video in that post still makes me tear up. Why, oh why, am I having such a problem getting back into the routine of daily walks? It’s like once I achieved my 365-day goal, I lost all motivation. This is exactly what I was afraid was going to happen. Ugh! In part, I think it’s because I no longer had to post pictures to instagram, as crazy as that sounds! I asked on my 300 social media channels if there was a fitness app or website that people found motivating. I used endomondo all last year, but it’s become buggy and boring. I would love to try yoga, but like I mentioned on instagram (I’m @themrskendall or @ourbuttercup, but that one is only pictures of Buttercup), I don’t know how realistic it is with the library, the boys’ activities, and the Mister traveling so much. I’m checking out everything recommended and will post my results soon. Below is what people recommended as of 12:17 am. Anything to add?

Yoga Download
Yogaglo
Fitbit
Nike Training Club App
Walkmeter
Runkeeper
Mapmyrun
THE WALK It’s 40% off right now!

Happy, Happy

Kick Ball

I wish I could say that I do everything right when it comes to motherhood. I wish I could find that elusive handbook and read it cover to cover. Until then, I need to trust my gut, and my gut is telling me that video games and TV is the devil. The boys don’t watch much TV or play any video games during the week. On the weekends, they got up early and played that stupid Minecraft and watched those annoying Stampy Longhead videos.

This week was the first week of summer vacation and I, thinking I would do something indulgent before they started swim team next week, let them play video games and watch TV all week. I’ve noticed over the years that too much results in bad behavior, but this week was something else. Mikey got in fights with his best friend over an iphone game. The argued over handball. In the pool the squabbled about something else, and then Mikey and Nico got in a fight over a pool toy. Nico started crying. He interrupted me in the middle of conversations with adults. Their room, normally messy, was a veritable fire hazard.

By Wednesday afternoon, the 3rd day of summer vacation, I had enough. On Thursday I woke up and found them playing video games even though I told them the day before they were not to play without my permission. Needless to say, many words flew out of my mouth. Mikey and Nico found themselves deeply regretting their decision to put off making their beds.

I put a moratorium on video games until I say so. I limited TV to Doctor Who with dad when he gets home. I told them to enjoy the summer the way I used to enjoy it as a kid: no video games, no cable, no long drives to amusement parks and special events where a hamburger costs $11. In short, God gave you an imagination. Use it.

We played Monopoly for almost 3 hours. Nico, with three railroads and Boardwalk, was the dominator of board games. They made their lunch. Mikey had a cheese sandwich and Nico a veggie burger. We sat outside. The boys played a game of kick ball with the neighborhood kids while I read a book. Later, they had a Nerf gun war in the backyard. They played a game of chess until the Mister came home. We ate dinner and watched Doctor Who. When it was time to go to bed, Nico fell asleep quickly and Mikey finished the third book in the Wereworld series.

It’s possible they were on their best behavior because I lost my temper that morning, but I still think video games and TV are devils. I know that yesterday, after a week of annoyances and outbursts, there wasn’t a single fight between brothers. There were no tears of misunderstanding. There was no sass or defiance. It was nice. Really, really nice.

Have a happy, happy weekend, everyone!

Happy, Happy

B&B Collage.jpg

If you follow me on Instagram (I’m @themrskendall), then you have seen one or two dozen pictures of Buttercup. Some might think I’m obsessed with that dang bird. Probably! But she’s so sweet, so gentle, and so, so sensitive. We’ve learned a lot about her personality the last couple of weeks, and her stay with us hasn’t been without adjustments. I could write an entire post about her and why we only have one cockatiel, but I’m already perilously close to crazy bird-lady status on Instagram. No need to bring the crazy over here!

I can never love her enough for pulling Buddy out of his funk. He wags his tail, he sleeps better, and he eats food. He wasn’t do any of this well just three weeks ago. He could do without Buttercup flapping her wings–it’s a little scary to him–but she could do without his sudden coughs. Her eyes go big as saucers and her crest looks like the Empire State Building. It shouldn’t be funny, but it kind of is.

Here’s a really bad video for your squee enjoyment. I was in the kitchen making dinner when Mikey called out that Buddy and Buttercup went outside together. Say what?! I grabbed my phone and ran, hoping I would catch what I thought would last no more than a couple of seconds. I was wrong! Mikey, Nico, and I watched Buddy walk Buttercup around the yard and sniff a few bushes. Then, after a couple of minutes, Buddy decided to go back inside with Buttercup still hanging on, looking for all the world like Cleopatra on a litter. You’ll have to look past the horrible quality. I was going for proof, not production.

Have a happy, happy weekend everyone!

Happy, Happy

books

Today is my last day in the library for the school year. I’ll still be at school organizing the library for next year, helping the teachers with end-of-year projects, and reading to a couple of classes. This year has been an inspiring, life-changing year. I am hugely satisfied by any opportunity to learn and self reflect, and volunteering in the library allowed me to do that in spades. Here are some of the things I’ve learned this year.

  • I learned that teachers work really hard.
  • I learned that it is wonderful and rewarding to work with kids.
  • I learned that it is easy to care about children who aren’t yours and to want what is best for them.
  • I learned that finding books appropriate for a school library that satisfy the students, the parents, the administration, and the Diocese is difficult!
  • I learned that most kids just want you to listen to them. A simple “Mmmmm” or “Oh?” is like a balm on chapped skin.
  • I learned that older kids love read alouds.
  • I learned that watching a child fall in love with reading is an adrenalin rush.
  • I learned that I really love organizing books and putting up silly seasonal decor.
  • I learned that I’m a bit insane about which pens I use for various tasks.
  • I learned that Newbery Medal books from 10-20 years ago are often better than the Newbery Medal books from today.
  • I learned that book cover design is very, very important to kids.
  • I learned that boys like violence and girls like romance far earlier than they did at my age.
  • I learned that there are some children you will not inspire, will not reach.
  • I learned that I really like grande-soy mocha frappuccinos with a shot of toffeenut–no whip–way too much.
  • I learned that this is what I was meant to do.

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.