This is our 3rd year living on campus, and today was our 3rd year of attending our family’s favorite event on campus: Spring Fling! I cannot get over what an AMAZING, inspiring, invigorating event the Community Service Office pulls off with this each year. Huge shout out to Carolina Hernandez and the *450* Lehigh student volunteers who make this happen for the local community. Today over 1,500 folks from the neighborhoods around Lehigh’s campus showed up for a spectacular Spring Fling! Because of some not-so-spring-like-cold-weather, it was indoors this year. Grace Hall was packed with a rambunctious crowd and a “dude ranch” theme.
It was awesome! As we were leaving, Meera said, “My belly hurts from all the fun!” I said, “Maybe it’s from the pizza and cotton candy and snow cone and Italian ice and candy?!” She said, “Nope! It’s from all the fun! It’s the funnest day of my life! I wish Spring Fling was every day!”
I asked Owen what his favorite part was: “Meeting up with my friends.” This is a special part of Spring Fling for us– the chance to see our friends from South Side Little League– and to be with them on campus. It is hard to explain the hugeness of this to folks who don’t understand the complexities of navigating the ‘town-gown’ divide. Let me just say: it is special, and it is such a gift to us to have opportunities to truly enjoy shared time with folks from the community. Watching our kids run around Grace Hall together today is something I won’t forget for a long, long time. Thank you to the unsung heroes of Lehigh who make this event possible. Thanks, especially, to Carolina Hernandez. It is only through her unwavering loyal commitment to the students of Lehigh University and the people of South Bethlehem that we — and so many others — benefit from this event. THANK YOU thank you THANK YOU to the LU CSO! Photos don’t do it justice!
Most often it’s the little moments that we forget are so special. All we were doing was walking to the car to go to school.
Family. A good family.
In the past few months I have not blogged frequently enough to keep up with even a tiny fraction of a small slice of our life. To say that I have barely even scratched the surface doesn’t even scratch the surface. But certain things I don’t want to forget. So, over the next few months I’ll be trying to catch up whenever I can on some of the memorable moments that I want to try to remember. This is one of them.
Winter of 2015 involved many snow days. But one, in particular, really stood out to me.
The bambinos’ school was closed for a snow day, but — as is typical — Lehigh was not closed. So, life was — as is typical — chaotic at best on that day. I was about to head to my afternoon class (one of my favorite classes I teach: Race & Ethnicity), and was geared up to bring the bambinos along with me (I was to give the mid-term exam that day), when the notification went out to the entire campus community: Lehigh closing! Kyle, Owen, and Meera ran ahead to my classroom, where many students were already gathered. There was an excited moment when everyone was realizing at once that class was officially cancelled. And then an even more excited moment when I announced: “Does anyone want to come to our house for hot chocolate?!”
I don’t know who was more excited, my students or my bambinos.
But the real winner in all of this is me. A whole crowd of my Race & Ethnicity students, and my own three kids, all headed with me down the campus path to our apartment. The snow was falling clear and white and there was such a feeling of lightness all around. Everyone took off their boots and parkas and piled them in the hall, then crammed into our cozy apartment.
I had hot chocolate and marshmallows on hand (all winter I had been secretly waiting for the perfect spontaneous moment to impromptu do this), and everyone was amazed at how many mugs we own (when you live the kind of life we live, you gotta have enough to go around; one of the many strange details of our unusual lifestyle).
We sipped hot chocolate and cozied up to ride out the afternoon in the snowstorm.
It turned out to be the last really big snow of 2015 — the last time the bambinos had a snow day — and the only day that Lehigh closed this winter.
It was memorable.
I don’t know how much my students will remember from my lectures this semester. But I’m pretty sure they’ll never forget that snow day.
And the first championship winners!
More to come on how we decided to let them play elite club basketball and travel all around for the tournaments, but for now we are just reveling in the win!
I’m not going to sugar-coat it: we are knee-deep in a March mess. It is what it is. Meera has been home from school this whole week, unnervingly sick. After 2 trips to the doctor, attempts with 3 different antibiotics, and a string of sleepless nights, we finally seem to have it under control. But the whole ordeal has wreaked havoc on our fragile semi-semblance-of-order life. Chaos reigns now.
Much school make-up work will somehow need to get done. And Braydon and I look squarely at the question that is staring us in the face: how to recover from the boatloads of meetings, appointments, and classes missed and the projects and deadlines that fell through the cracks as we dropped many balls this week to take care of Meera. Always back to the same old story: the back-breaking-bind of the dual-career-couple with no extended family to rely upon. It is a topic I deeply hope that some brilliant PhD student somewhere is working on right now– the dissertation should be titled: Dual Career Couples: Extended Family Support and Lack Thereof. If you are working on this, please be in touch– I want to help you in any and every way possible. If nobody out there is working on this– God help us all.We are so over Winter 2015. It’s been a rough one and spring can’t come quick enough. As if to tease us with a cold cruel joke, it is snowing like crazy today, on the First Day of Spring. Lehigh’s campus should be bursting with blossoms very soon. But today we’re getting covered in a blanket of snow. We’ve had barely a week this whole winter that hasn’t involved at least one school cancellation. And just because today’s the First Day of Spring 2015, it seems only right that this hellacious week is no different. School closed early because of snow. Of course, that impacted only one of our bambinos, since 2 out of 3 were home from school sick today. Yup, Kyle’s down for the count– joining Meera on the couch in the Sick House.Poor baby. Poor babies. So instead of anything that I’d typically cook on the First Day of Spring (I’m dreaming of steamed artichokes and fresh linguine with grated parmesan and a perfectly chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the picnic table outside), today I found myself making chicken noodle soup for the sick ones (which, incidentally, unfortunately, as of last night, includes me). Ugh.Between the time I started making the soup, and when it was done, the campus went from looking like the slightly snowy photo above, to looking like the ridiculously snowy photo below (taken just now from our apartment’s back window).Outside it is snowing hard. Inside we are trying hard to distract ourselves with this new game I bought to help us usher in Easter– Don’t Topple The Bunnies. You build this very fragile tower with these odd looking rabbits, then you carefully try to keep it all standing while certain key pieces holding the tower in place are removed from position. See?! It’s a metaphor for our life!!! Happy First Day of Spring!P.S. I just finished watching a movie with the kids on this snowy sick afternoon– Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was awesome and perfect for the moment we’re in — I highly recommend it if you’re in the market for a feel-good-laugh-cry family movie!!!
Before heading to school on a Tuesday.
Basketball is an increasingly important part of their lives.
Notice the hands; that’s the most important part.
Last month I wrote about feeding Owen on snow days (Snow Days and Food Production).
Well, today is a sick day for Owen. He’s home from school with a bad head cold. Owen HATES missing school, so he fights hard when we tell him he has to stay home. He rarely gets sick, but when he does, it hits him hard. So, today he lost the battle, and home he is. Sitting on the couch all energy-less and miserable. And I’m home with him.
Despite being sick (just the looks and sounds of him today are enough to make me lose my own appetite, so the fact that he even wants to eat is pretty unbelievable to me), here is what he ate this morning for “breakfast”:
- 2 scrambled eggs with cheese
- 2 english muffins with butter and cinnamon-sugar (2 whole english muffins; as in 4 halves)
- 2 Nutri-Grain cereal bars
- the fruit pictured above
- large smoothie, which contained 1 banana, 1 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup greek yogurt, orange juice
- 1 glass of whole milk
- 2 glasses of OJ
He’s now having a late-morning snack… Pirate’s Booty. I’m sure he’ll eat the entire large bag. In fact, in the time it has taken me to write this post, he probably already has. Oh, and a 3rd glass of OJ.
Just now, when I was responding to his “I’M SOOOOOO HUNGRY!” by giving him the OJ and the bag of Pirate’s Booty, he said to me, “Mom, I feel bad that you had to cancel all your meetings for today because of me.” I said, “Oh, don’t worry about that sweetie.” He responded with, “I know you’re missing your work work, but just think of this as home work.” Oh, don’t worry buddy, I do, I definitely do.
Pics from today — as we were leaving the movie theater after seeing Cinderella. “Courageous and kind” (cite: Cinderella). That’s my girl.
For me, this picture is a great symbolic representation of why our “First Fridays” (<–click for backstory) are so awesome and important. In the bathroom of the restaurant last night, Meera discovered her “most favorite sink in the whole entire wide world.” It was, for sure, a very cool sink. We’d never seen anything like it. She could have played in that sink for hours. In normal circumstances (out with our whole family, out with friends or extended family, out with anyone), we’d have been rushed to get back to the table and join the group. But on a ‘First Friday’ the point is to be fully present in the moment of indulging in time with just one kids. To be able to go with what that one –and only that one– is interested in, to be able to talk about what that one –and only that one– wants to talk about, to be able to do what that one –and only that one– would want to do. Braydon and I plan the agenda for the First Fridays, but we plan them with what the one –and only the one– in mind. And last night, I stood in that bathroom for a solid ten minutes letting her admire that sink and play in that water.
We started First Fridays in the spring of 2011 and did them religiously for 3 years. But in the past year we had taken a break of about 12 months from our First Fridays. We had sort of come to not appreciate them as much as we had been, and the kids had come to expect them (almost feel entitled to them; getting in the way of truly appreciating them and losing the main point of them). But lately we’ve been all missing them a lot, thinking about them a lot, and talking about them a lot. We decided to pick back up. And we started last night with a Mommy-and-Meera ‘First Friday.’
We went to one of Meera’s favorite restaurants — a Thai restaurant that she loves. She loves the lettuce wraps there, the sticky rice, and the chicken satay. We had it all and she “ooohed” and “aaahhed” over every bite. Then we went to a paint-your-own-pottery place. Meeera had been there before a few times, but I had never been. She was so thrilled to introduce me to it, and to have me there painting our chosen pieces together. Classic Meera, she chose a sweet heart box (“to hold my most special necklaces in!”), and painted it with her quintessential colors of pink and purple. She thought I was crazy, choosing an Easter item– a spring chick, but she approved of my choice of colors for it– various shades of yellow with some pink and purple detail. We painted for over two hours– something that amazed and delighted Meera (the ability to just sit for that long, painting, with no rush, and with nobody critiquing the extensive amount of detail we were both putting into our masterpieces). As for me, I was happily surprised to discover how relaxing the whole paint-your-own-pottery-place thing was for me. I had thought I’d think that place was a rip-off and hokey… but my daughter proved me wrong… yet again (this girl is always proving me wrong; one of the things I love and appreciate most about my girl).
I never lose sight of how grateful I am for Meera, how much I adore her essence, and how much I can — and do — learn from her. I think about those things everyday. But there’s something special about what happens when I get her all to myself. Last night was probably my favorite First Friday ever, and a reminder of how important it is for us to continue these, even as our days get more and more crazed, and the years go faster and faster, and our bambinos get older and older. One-on-one time is absolutely key… especially in light of those realities.
Another Aspect of Work Trips for Mommy
These are Called “Work Trip Gifts” — The Morning After Mommy’s Return From a Work Trip to Boston