Top 10 Reasons I’m Impatient for Autumn

Top 10 List of Things a Beach Virgin should know.10. Summer needs to end. I live in central Texas and summer typically starts by early April. Six months later and we’re two-and-a-half-weeks past the official “first day of autumn” and Texas has teased us with three, perfect fall days (amazingly enough, one actually ON the first day of fall, which I don’t think has happened in the ten years I’ve lived here). In between, it’s back with 90 degree weather and worse humidity than our drought-ridden summers. I’m ready for SUMMER TO END.

9. Summer is too damn expensive. Thanks to the six months of summer mentioned previously, my electric bill runs through the roof. Add that to how outrageous the cost of water is and how the grass planted in yards will die in droughts if you don’t water it (and we’ve been in a drought since about 2009), I could probably send my son to private school just in what I pay to keep my house cool and lawn alive.

8. The scent of fall is magical. Even in Texas where the leaves barely change and half the trees keep their leaves until the spring ones push out the old, there is a change to the smell in the air. It has a coolness, the taste of change, and invigorates me more than a liter of caffeine.

7. Fall makes mommyhood easier. I can run errands without back and boob sweat trickling down my body because the car and parking lot are 110 degrees. I don’t feel like I need a shower because I threw something away in the garbage can or walked into the garage for thirty seconds. The kids fight bedtime less because it’s dark outside. If your four-year-old falls asleep in her car seat, you don’t have to leave the car running for 90 minutes, but can park and open the windows. You can send kids outside without worrying about heatstroke or (if you can’t leave them alone) melting into a sweat, sticky mess which you will not get to shower off until they are in bed. The list goes on. Reason #6 I Need Fall: kids love playgrounds

6. My children love playgrounds. My kids could live at parks and playgrounds but many here do not have adequate shade to make it possible during anything but the earliest or latest hours in summer. Since I am not a morning person and they refuse to sleep in if we let them stay up late, this means park visits are few and far between during summer. Fall and “winter” mean they get to spend hours exploring and burning off energy that has been trapped (except for pools visits) for the last six months. 

5. It means the mosquitos will die. Soon. My kids are high on the mosquito “desired blood donor” list. They get eaten alive if we dare venture out in the cooler twilight air of summer without a total coating of Deet (which I hate putting on their skin). Fall means winter (the Texas version) is coming and the mosquitos will go away… until February (aka “Texas spring”) hits.

My four-year-old loves to bike and is ready to say good-bye to the buggy.

My four-year-old loves to bike and is ready to say good-bye to the buggy.

4. Family bike rides rule. Since my son learned to ride, we entered The Age of Family Bike Rides During Weather Permitting Times of Year. They are awesome. I bought a bike (I hadn’t had one since college) and a buggy (for Lil Diva) and a bike rack for my van (because kids can’t ride in bike lanes consisting of a single painted line separating it from cars speeding 50 mph) when The Tackler  turned five just so we could go riding together. We hauled all of ours bikes the 900+ miles to Iowa in June because they have awesome bike trails. Now Lil Diva has a tricked-out bike with training wheels and is also in love with bike riding, so this year means it’s the first time ALL FOUR OF US are pedaling. I can’t wait.

3. Fall sparks the muse. This is tied to #8, but some of my most creative writing periods are when I can pull a chair onto the deck, and just write. The air. The trees. The breeze. I don’t know what it is exactly, but my brain fires and my fingers fly and after the dry spell I’ve had, I need all the help I can get.

Hiking over the "cave that collapsed"

One of best days. Ever.

2. I’ve had a taste of it and I don’t want it go. The three “fall” days so far are a tease, a tiny taste of what the following months will bring stuck between heat and humidity and a summer that won’t let go. We milked them, knowing the real fall isn’t here yet. We spent hours watching our children enjoy the park we’ve avoided for months because it has zero shade. I took my kids hiking for the first time and taught my son how to skip rocks (see video with his happy dance). Sunday I spent five hours at two different parks alone with my kids and I loved every minute. You know, as opposed to the “stuck inside because it’s hot out and I want to lock myself in the bathroom and hide” parenting moments. 

Winner of most uncoordinated Halloween costumes.

We always try to go for the “least likely to look like an actual family” prize. Introducing: Rapunzel (minus the hair), the Athenian Goddess, Eye-ball Hat Dad, and The Robot Who Decided He Didn’t Want to Wear His Helmet, Arms, Legs, and Needed Last Minute Padding with Dish Towels for the Arm Holes but Who’s Costume Rocked Once it Got Dark.

1. Halloween with children. Seriously, it is the best thing. Ever. I will cry the day they grow up and are too big to trick-or-treat. For now, I’m breathing in every amazing moment that fall has to offer, including the glee over giant spiders and giggles over giant inflatable pumpkins.

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Are you looking forward to fall or do you have it already? What season do you long for? Why?

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Three Point Six Hours

Today is the first day since July that I am completely childless—for four hours.

This means I have approximately 3.6 hours of “me” time. To do whatever I want.

Much of this last year “whatever I want” has equaled “whatever I must do”. Sure I’ll sneak a quick ten minutes of facebook or reading in throughout the day, but a nice long period of time during which I can write—uninterrupted—it’s been almost impossible to come by.

Healthy frozen banana peanut butter nutella ice cream.

The quest for a healthy summer snack led me to peanut butter nutella ice cream – made without cream, just frozen bananas. And peanut butter. And a bit of nutella. HUGE hit.


Three fiction stories—two less than 500 words—are all I’ve written in the last year. Those that follow my blog know the posts here have been few and sporadic, even though my mind is bursting to put my children’s words and stories down before my brain buries them. 

I’ve been offline more, not reading blogs, not tweeting, and cursing facebook for clogging my feed every time a friend likes a page. 

I’ve been trying to be a better mom. Pinterest and Google are most of my online time now, typically recipe hunting as I try to find ones both children will eat that have some nutritional content.

My house is still a disaster. 

My baby, my Angel Kiss, my Lil Diva, turned four a week ago.

I’m still in denial.

Her inherent sweetness is now often smothered by Overly Dramatic Contrary Girl (ODCG), especially in the afternoons and evenings. I find myself missing her two and three-year-old persona and dreading the teen years.

ODCG makes everything take longer than it should. She drains my energy, my patience. Pair her with The Tackler, and I want to lock myself in my room.

The moments and hours ODCG leaves, I want to wrap her in a hug, and tell her to stay that way forever.

Rare photo of me with my daughter on her 4th birthday.

The math has to be wrong. I still feel like I’m twenty-six. I could not have been twenty years since I took chemistry class, because that means I did so in kindergarten.

I have so much to say, words itching to appear on my screen, and cannot find time when I am coherent enough to type them.

But I’m going to. Somehow.

Because one day this whole meal planning thing will get easier, right? My children won’t hate the food I enjoy. I won’t take twice the preparation time to do something simple.  I might learn how to create a dish without a base recipe to build from.


I just know I need to post here more, for me.

I need to finish writing my book.

I need at least five clones, but I figure my six-and-a-half-year-old will have the process figured out in two years, or have designed robotic alternatives.

Until then it’s one baby step at a time to reclaim my writing self.

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How do you balance your “me” time with your “must do” time? Any secrets?

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Time and the First Day of 1st Grade


It is constant, ticking away each second, forming each minute, adding into each hour, then day. On and on until weeks, months, and years pass.

Time also is a master magician, casting illusions over our lives—speeding up some moments and dragging out others.

Birthdays took forever as a child, the length between each one taking years, not just 365 days.

Waiting rooms are an alternate dimension where time gets lost on the way to the next minute.

My first pregnancy took at least three years, not the nine months and four days the calendar claims.

Yet, my son was just a baby last month. My daughter last week, though they are two-and-a-half years apart.

The Tackler & Lil Diva at one month old

So Lil Diva wasn’t the happiest about her 1 month brick measurement…

He just started kindergarten yesterday.

August 27th, 2012 - First day of kindergarten

How could this have been a year ago?

So how could today be the first day of 1st grade?

August 26th, 2013

One year. An inch in height, half a foot in hair, and two teeth lost and gained.

How could this angel…

She left the bow in her hair for a record 2.6 seconds....

She left the bow in her hair for a record 2.6 seconds….

….be drama queen turning four in less than three weeks?


Last year, I dreaded my son starting school. I was worried about him, his behavior, and the school stamping out the creative parts of him I love.

Guilt swamped me for the tiny bit of joy surrounding me. The thought of having more Me Time after years of giving it away.

Kindergarten was… interesting. There were problems. Most of what he learned was conformity and bad behavior, though his reading (which he’d just started to do prior) did improve drastically.

The math learning almost nonexistent.

He complained of being bored.

He’d arrive at home each day and run to his paper and markers, the need to draw and download everything trapped in his head during the day overwhelming.

He did not want to go back to school. Ever.

I talked with the principal about these issues over summer.

We wanted to put him into private school, one geared toward kids like him. One not forced to dance to No Child Left Behind, and letting the teachers have freedom. The problem is cost… and some lingering behavior issues.

It left public school as our only option.

But this year… I have hope.

I really like his first grade teacher.

She has the potential to engage him, to challenge him, if the school districts rules and requirements don’t handicap her.

Time will tell if she succeeds.

As a student, I know how the school is only the location. It is the teacher that truly has the power to transform school into something amazing.

And she… could be amazing.

My son had grown in the last year. In size. In hair length. In maturity—though he still has a long way to go.

Biking to school on the first day.

The Tackler takes off for his first day of 1st grade, with Daddy running beside him.

A part of me needed him gone last year, the constant battles between us, with his sister, a constant drain on my sanity.

He had a few camps this summer, but the last finished in mid-July. Since then, he has been at home with me every day, many with his sister as well.

July 2013

The Children’s Museum was a favorite excursion of ours this summer.

This summer I enjoyed spending time with him. I loved listening to my children play together, getting along for greater lengths of time than ever before.

I watched his brain spin with ideas, switch to pencils for drawing, and how Dave Pilkey (author of the Captain Underpants series) inspired him to create his own comics.

The joy (and curse) of Captain Underpants

Dave Pilkey is the master at speaking to a six-year-old boy’s sense of humor, much to my joy… and dismay.

Time is moving too fast again.

And original comic by my six-year old

Inspired by perhaps the world’s worst role models, Harold and George from Captain Underpants, my son has written about six comic books this summer. They borrow story-telling devices heavily from Captain Underpants (resulting in discussions about the fine line of plagiarism), but the characters are his own creations. He has spent hours writing them. This is part of his first book.

I want to freeze my children as they are.

Summer relaxing

I baby-sat for my dear friend last week, and found myself enjoying almost every minute. The kids are old enough they play together well, entertain each other, and the battle-breaking-up is almost nonexistent.

Two years ago? Not so much.

Don’t let the smiles fool you. Two years ago, their happy moments together typically expired within five minutes, resulting in cries and screams and time-outs.

But I love our chaos.

I love the snuggles.

I can see the drama of Lil Diva increasing with her age and I want my smiling innocent angel back, the one who loves all and can befriend a child in seconds.

Boys, girls, she is an equal opportunity befriender.

An impromptu play date emerged when Lil Diva befriended a little boy on his first day at her preschool and they were inseparable.
One month later, there is drama and she claims she doesn’t want him at her birthday because “he doesn’t want to play with me.”

I want to protect her from the mean girls. I want to make sure she doesn’t become one herself.

I want my son to have time to create, without busywork draining his time (which shouldn’t be a problem, at least this year).

I want them as they are right now. Forever.

A fun rock hunting excursion

A rare July rain lead to wading in a local creek (that had previously been dry) and I introduced the kids to rock collecting–a huge hit.

The least Time could do is channel my childhood or a doctor’s waiting room and slow the frak down.


Last year and now.

How has a year passed?

Was there ever an age you wanted to freeze for your kids? Or yourself?

Posted in Dances with Chaos, Lil Diva, The Tackler | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments