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Before I lived in one, I always thought that neighborhoods with Homeowner’s Associations were better than those without. I imagined manicured lawns and pride of ownership and major curb appeal—all great things when it comes to resale value. I’m here to tell you that I was wrong. Now that I own a home and am subject to CC&R’s, I get to see the good, the bad and the oh so very ugly.
By now, most school-age children have returned to the classroom. I know that there exists an entire population of parents who rejoice when the back to school bell sounds for the first time. I, however, am not among them. For our family, the school year signifies a return to busy weeknights filled with sports practice or clubs or extracurricular activities. It means that dinner is rushed so as to squeeze in time for homework. The return to school also means that we have to get up early and zip through the morning routine of teeth brushing and dressing and eating breakfast. My biggest complaint about the school year, though? Making lunches. The daily drone of packing the lunchbox exhausts my creativity. Still, I persevere because I’ve witnessed what they serve in the cafeteria lunch line and I’m here to tell you that tater totz and chk’n nuggets do not a healthy meal make. No sir. If you, too, have already fallen into a lunch packing rut, here are some suggestions on healthy (and relatively easy) items to pack in your child’s lunch.
I caught a snippet of The Today Show this morning. I gave up watching that show years ago but it did pop up on my screen this morning briefly as I was starting my workout DVD. The hosts (who I didn’t recognize) were discussing something they referred to as “skinny shaming”. From what I gathered, it was in reference to a GAP ad in which a very gaunt model is depicted in a plaid dress. Apparently the Twitterverse responded adversely to the photo, making disparaging comments about the model’s physique. She is too skinny, apparently.
We started reading to my son when he was six weeks old. It sounds a little strange, I know, but I’d read about the benefits of reading to a baby and so I insisted that we do it. We started with simple board books that contained mostly colorful pictures of oversized objects—shoes, balls, animals—and slowly progressed to books with simple story lines. Our reading time quickly became a treasured part of my son’s daily schedule. After we successfully got his sisters off to school each morning, the two of us would cozy into a spot on the rocking chair in his room. He’d choose a pile of books from our home library and stack them as neatly as his chubby little toddler hands would allow, by the chair. Eventually his attention span grew and we were able to complete lengthy series. I think that he was under five years old when we completed all seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.
At the risk of sounding like my grandfather, I have to say that I have genuine concerns about the next generation. I’m worried about the impact of constant connectivity on impressionable young minds.
A month ago, a tattered box arrived at my door. Tattered because it had traveled a great distance—all the way from Italy. It was a package I’ve been waiting a very long time for. That box contained seven copies of my first published novel. The only trouble, of course, being that the book is printed in Italian and—well—I can’t read it. Still, the arrival of those seven books caused quite a stir in my house. There were many squeals and photos and toasts raised as one would expect. What I didn’t know to expect, though, was the response I’d receive from Italian readers.
Summer has officially begun. The calendar might not say so, but I know it’s true because not two days after school let out my seven-year-old son came to me and uttered those three dreaded words: “Mom, I’m bored.” My threat of additional chores to resolve the boredom was only a temporary fix; I also devised a summer bucket list. Our summer bucket list suggests 50 things to do before school resumes. I thought I’d share it here for those of you who are looking for ways to avoid hearing those same three words uttered by your own child(ren). Good luck!
Have you seen the TV show, American Dream Builders? It’s an NBC program in which several designers are assigned to a team and they compete against one another to design a house that wins the votes of a neighborhood council. I’m not sure what the big prize at the end is and I didn’t bother to look it up because the prize is not my point. I only mention the show because I want to tell you about something the host, Nate Berkus, said on an episode I watched the other night. Two things, actually. The first phrase came to pass when he walked into a newly-designed bedroom painted a drab gray color. He looked around and then said on camera to his colleagues, “This room literally bores me to tears.” Only he was wrong because, as I mentioned, he was being filmed and I can assuredly say that not a single tear rolled down his face as he spoke those words. By definition, the word ‘literally’ means to convey an actual, exact occurrence or sentiment.
This afternoon I’m getting on a plane with my daughter, Torri. We’re flying to Florida, the Sunshine State, so you’d think the trip would be a happy one. It is, in many ways. But the fact that Torri’s ticket is one-way, and mine is round-trip, well, that complicates things.