Family Friday (vol. 131): When Parenting Gets Tough

I had a thought this week — a question that many people have posed to me over the years: how do you have time to make dinner? Until the past few months, my response was that I had enough time. My response now: I have no freaking idea how I did it. The evenings go SO fast. And while I am working a bit more than usual, it has calmed down some. Perhaps it has been the busy weekends or the ever shrinking food likes of my littles. I have NO idea. But dinnertime has turned into a bit of a mess — time, energy, ideas, acceptability, all of it! Our new dinner time is 6:45/7ish and I think that’s OK. It’s not ideal, but it allows time for more family/TV-free time. But I think 6:30pm is better. Friends, throw me all your kid-friendly weeknight ideas. I think I’m visiting the archives and digging up some old favorites that deserve to be resurfaced here on the ‘ol blog. So, here’s to hoping your memory is as bad as mine! My tennis coach calls that a “lazy brain” – I’ve got me one of those!

Biggest mistake of the week: agreeing to co-chair the variety show at the kids’ school. I said yes because the 2 other chairs are super, duper organized and they understand my, ahem…limitations…when it comes to all things with a timeline. 

This week was parent-teacher conferences for both girls. I got a good report on Piper that was more academic in nature – fine, but she’s 5. Like, is she having fun? The teacher did say that if she has to correct Piper’s behavior she only has to ask once, so that’s good. I do get the sense that her teacher is a bit crotchety, but Piper seems to be enjoying class and that’s all that matters!

Shea on the other hand is excelling academically, scoring in the 90th percentile for reading and 71st for math, but is struggling in her “kindness” towards friends. In fact, a trio of friends that Shea is a part of will be having the school counselor involved. The good news: I’m so close to the other moms. The bad news: I’m so close to the other moms. Shea has to have THREE CONSECUTIVE weeks of thumbs up behavior from her teacher AND the bus driver before playdates are back up for discussion. It has been a lot of talk about kindness and how we treat others in ALL situations and I’ll be hitting home concepts with new books, YouTube videos, and perhaps a new afterschool activity…

Biggest win of the week: taekwondo. We’re not fully there yet, but the girls and I are visiting a studio on Monday afternoon to watch a class. This was a suggestion from a follower and friend on Instagram (THANK YOU!) — martial arts being rooted in discipline and respect. I’m thinking this may be what Shea needs in her life. We happen to know the Grandmaster that owns and operates the studio and I’m so, so hopeful that the girls’ interest will be sparked and we can start to right the ship. I have no doubt Shea will recover and course correct, but navigating this with her has weighed heavily on my heart. With the grade school gig vs childcare, I feel a little more disconnected from her everyday life and events than I’d like to be and so it has been an uptick in communication and follow-through with both the school and with Shea. Let’s hope Monday goes well and we can continue to dig deep in meaningful ways on the home front. As I told Shea, I am SO proud of her academic success. However, it is most important to me that she is KIND to others.

The podcast seems to have finally rebounded from the pandemic plummet in listeners. We’ve had some really fun episodes and more upcoming that I’m very excited about! Gina and I are both so busy that coordinating time to podcast much less prepare show content can be a stretch, but I’m so glad that we’ve pushed through and our show is nearly 3 (!) years old. We’ve had some super sweet 5-star reviews lately and honestly, it makes it all so worth it! Thank you for listening!

Our family photos from a few weeks ago turned out SO cute – lots of them here! I had a bit of a last minute change in plans when it came to Shea’s and my outfits but I think it turned out OK. I’m obsessed with the dress I wore. And much to Mark’s dismay, I just booked our holiday mini that will be here in 3 short weeks. Admittedly, I love family photos. Not the event of, but the keepsake. Especially at these ages, the girls change so quickly, I have no regrets over the many, many family photos I have to cherish. And yes, I totally print most of them. Even with the biggest Dropbox account they make, I am fearful of losing everything digital.

Family is coming in today (Saturday now, oops) and we’re also hoping to sneak in a friend Oktoberfest and a date night. It’s a good thing I’ve been getting ample sleep — that’s a lot to cram into a day! But Sunday looks a bit less chaotic. We’re even having a new babysitter this weekend and hopefully that will go well and we can add her to our available options. Most of our babysitters are seniors and we’ll need a new crew here real soon 😉

Mark and I are finishing out Big Brother from the summer – I know, we’re so behind AND also the only people left on earth watching Big Brother. I don’t LOVE it as much as I used to, but it’s a good show to multi-task with. We’re also watching Manifest on Netflix (it’s OK but getting a little far-fetched for me) and Below Deck — reality TV at its finest. 

Feel free to follow along on Good Reads for what I’m up to reading-wise. I can’t say I’ve been reading anything “good” as in literature-good, but enjoyable reads. We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz was solid and Beautiful Bastard was straight up smut at its finest if that’s your thing!

We’re enjoying our new Peloton Tread — it’s stationed in our refurbished storage room alongside our bike. Mark and I were both in there working out one evening — the one fan was pointed at him on the treadmill and I sweat my tush off on the bike. That tiny space with 2 cardio machines, 2 sweaty people, and a TV on can create some heat and stagnant air, woof. I was drenched. I do believe we’ll need to invest in a second fan and I’ll try not to be as annoyed next time if he’s using my heart rate monitor. I am still obsessed with our Scosche

I’m going to Grand Rapids next weekend for a quick overnight with a few girlfriends and shopping and sushi are on the agenda. My question going into this shopping day is: what’s the deal with flares/bell-bottoms…for moms? Is this a thing? You see, I don’t live in a very fashion-forward corner of the world and I’m probably the last to know about any fashion trends. But if my single cuffed skinny jeans are out, I need to know what’s up. Or else, my fall/winter/spring uniform of black leggings for every occasion will continue…and I’m okay with that, too. But for real, what’s the deal with flares for this season? Clue a mama in.

Alrighty friends. My Family Friday post was started on Friday but being posted on Saturday (oops) and I am off to make something pumpkin-y before our guests arrive. Have a super weekend and I hope you’re doing something fun to celebrate fall – orchard, pumpkins, baking, chili, something! The Illini have a bye this week so we can’t lose – wahoo!

For real now, ciao!

Be well,

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