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A Break

A Break

March 19, 2012

So I took a break writing here. Not intentionally (ha, my auto correct just replaced intentionally with internally, which probably works even better in the sentence, because I write in my head constantly) but because every time I went to open my site I just had nothing to write.

A combination of things which are weighing on me, but are not my stories to write. I have a kid that isn’t doing well. Last night I couldn’t get in touch with him and realized no one had heard from him in a few hours. I almost lost my mind, what’s left of it, with worry. Turned out that he was in his room sleeping. I don’t know why that never occurred to me. Well, YES I do. That has NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE, that’s why. My mind immediately went to all sorts of horrible scenarios. Which I think says more about me and my active imagination than it does about him.

There are many things that are boring and occupying my time– like trying to force my children to do their damn homework every single day. Seriously if they put forth one quarter of the effort into doing their homework as they do into procrastinating they’d, well, they’d be done really quickly is what I’m saying.

It’s also baseball season. And track season. And drive everyone around hell’s half acre to all their various activities season.

I like to a plan and have lists and know everything in advance. Miles asked me what I was going to be when I grow up and I told him I really don’t know. I should probably figure that out. Like soon.

I have been doing things like painting my kids’ bedrooms, finally. Two down. And I repainted my powder room. The really deep blackish/purple I painted it in the Spring (Summer?) was only good in theory. And even then it was one of those weird impulse buys at Home Depot. I can’t be the only one who goes into Home Depot and suddenly comes home with stuff to do a project they never intended to do, am I?

And thanks to the show Hoarders I now know canned foods expire, so I purged my pantry of a decades worth of condensed milk, canned vegetables, and soups that were never going to be eaten anyway.

I downloaded the Draw Something app and discovered that no matter how well you think you draw, your drawings on the iPhone will look like a first grader did them. Truth is that sometimes I do let my 1st grader do then for me. Trust me, you can’t tell.

I read the Hunger Games trilogy Saturday. All my kids over 10 were reading the book so I decided to also since there were literally 4 copies of the book lying around the house over Spring Break. I still have no plans on reading Harry Potter or watching the movies.

Nor have I crossed the abyss to Mad Men and Downtown Abby.

Spring Break was last week. It was successful in breaking my wallet and my will to live.

Sunday night Miles suddenly spiked a 102 temperature. So that was nice way to end the break.


That is a little of what has been going on. What have you been up to? Because not only did I stop writing here I took a break from reading any blogs at all.

Posted by Chris @ 3:17 pm  

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  1. Yvette Torres says:

    I rarely if ever leave comments on a blog. I have missed reading about you and your family. I am a mother of 3 boys (21, 23 and 27) and your stories have always resonated with me. I only read 4-5 personal type blogs and not sure how I found yours years ago, but you make me feel better about how I mothered my boys!!! I also appreciate that you portray your life to include the good/bad/sickly/ugly. When your family moved to Texas (I’m in South Texas)…I felt compelled to continue reading. Thanks for letting us know you still out there somewhere. Goliadyaya

  2. Shannon says:

    Glad to see a post from you. Cheers.

  3. Kim says:

    I pretty much did what you did…gave up for a bit for a lot of little reasons. Since when does canned food expire? I thought the idea was to can it so we’d have something to eat once the nuclear holocaust and zombies hit. If it can last through a nuclear blast, it can last through a few decades of sitting on a shelf. ;o)

    Looking forward to hearing more from you in the future!

    Chris says: KIM! I was just thinking of you the other day :-) I thought the same thing about the canned food. But there are expiration dates on the bottom. We are all going to be shit out of luck when the zombies come.

  4. Midj says:

    Glad you’re back, Chris. I missed you.

  5. Ann from St. Peter MN says:

    Welcome back! I was starting to get worried. And how weird is that, anyway? I live in Minnesota and the weather has been so, so strange. Record heat and snow is all gone. I actually took the heater out of my pond and installed the pump that makes the waterfall work. In reference - I have NEVER been able to do that before Mother’s Day and this year I did it on St. Patrick’s Day.

  6. sonja lange says:

    I am so glad you are back…even if you don’t think you have anything to say. You are the ONLY blogger I read right now who has teenage boys - I NEED to hear your stories. I have an almost 12 year old and he makes me insane! I read a hundred blogs about toddlers and babywearing and organic lifestyle blah blah blah…what I can never find is an interesting, honest view on raising boys. My boys play baseball and it feels like it never ends - I never get tired of hearing about how you manage to get from point a to point b…thanks for keeping it real.

  7. Caryn says:

    I have been checking your blog every day since January 24th! What a happy surprise when I checked it just now! Welcome back!?!

  8. Cair says:

    So good to have you back. I was getting ready to send out a search party.

    Sorry that one of your boys is having trouble. Those darn teen aged years do it to the best of them. I hope it ends up being a smallish bump in his otherwise delightful life. Really sending you strength to help him through whatever it is (I’ve seen a lot of teens go through a lot of problems, I don’t need to know what’s going on to know you need some loving, too).

    Good to see you blogging again.

  9. Arnebya @whatnowandwhy says:

    Oh, the homework. If there were a way to guarantee their success in school without it, I would be first on board to get rid of it. OK, just math, if I’m honest. Because I’m failing third and fifth grade math. As for Draw Something — right there w/you. I keep thinking maybe if I had a stylus I would be better but I’m not going through all that. I’d rather just play regular old Pictionary on an easel with what we call markers. While drunk. Drunk Draw Something will likely result in my dropping the phone in the toilet. Where’s the fun in that? Glad your boy was in his room and hope the other is on the mend. It’s nice to take a break sometimes.

  10. Jo says:

    So glad your back. I’ve been checking and checking and have missed your writing. I think because I see so much of myself in how you describe your thoughts. It makes me feel like ‘whew! okay. I’m not the only one’ Hahaha. Anyway–glad your back and hope you stay:)

  11. Nancy Schatz Alton says:

    Missed you! Welcome back.

  12. Lauren says:

    Yay! So glad you are back!

  13. Kym says:

    Glad to see you back!

  14. a says:

    glad you are back

  15. Norah says:

    Just wanted to say how much I have missed you! Glad to see you are back - I do the same thing with my youngest son, meanwhile knowing that he is perfectly fine, but I figure it is my right to worry :o) I have, on occasion, called someone to tell me it is all ok and I am just being crazy - hahaha.

  16. Darcie says:

    Welcome Back! You were missed.

    As my husband always says when I get crazy.. “when you are old and all the kids are gone you will long for these hectic tear-your-hair-out days”. Feel free to roll your eyes, that’s what I do to my husband when he says that. ;)

  17. cathy says:

    Hi Chris,

    Lovely to have you back. I’ve been missing my daily catch ups with you from all the way over in the land of OZ :-)

  18. Deb says:

    Well, I’ve gotta say, you were MISSED! I’d almost given up hope of finding something when suddenly, here was today’s post.

    I know what you mean, sometimes it is just hard to put one word in front of another. I just came off a major writing crash and it is hard to pull myself back up. One step at a time.

    Welcome back!

  19. Navhelowife says:

    Hey - I have one of those “not doing well” kinda kids. Email me if you want. I know the feeling of not being sure of him every hour of the day. It’s better now, but it always is there, lurking.
    Hope the little one feels better soon.
    Glad you’re back!

  20. kolimom says:

    I was so pleased to see you were back today!!! I have in common with you the worrying about your son because even though I don’t know you, I was worried something had happened to you! You have just shared your life so long with us.
    Now, I know you have been busy and I feel so much better!!
    Hope Miles is feeling better too..

  21. hennifer says:

    It is nice to hear from you. I miss it when you don’t write but understand all the reasons you might not.

    I spent the end of Jan and most of February having a nervous breakdown and finding myself medicated. Too many things at once I guess. A good friend asked why I didn’t just focus on one thing at a time so I’m giving that a try mostly successfully.

    Tonight that one thing ends, turning in my final, and then my kids and I will take a much needed spring break. Mama gets a weekend to herself in Seatle with her brother and cna’t wait!

  22. Pam says:

    Im so glad your writing online again. And more glad that your absence was simply needing a break from it. Love that you so gracefully share all of your stories, as they are every moms stories.

  23. Adrienne says:

    Hang in there. You are doing so much and it’s really hard, demoralizing, soul-stripping stuff parenting one teenager, much less several of them at once.

    My life sounds a lot like yours except for the missing sleeping kid. Too bad we don’t live closer to each other. I’ve been tempted to open a bottle of whine/wine some nights, but I am afraid to let myself drink alone…LOL!

  24. Anna says:

    So glad you are back!!

  25. Mary Ison says:

    Missing you, for one thing! I sure hoped you were all right, and it sounds like you were, just life happening all around you. Glad you’re back and I did miss reading you. Love the truth you tell, especially about school and homework!

  26. Angella says:

    I can blame Emily for *some* of my drawings, but not the knitting/blood transfusion one.

    Chris says: That one still makes me giggle.

  27. patty says:

    ihave really missed you Chris! Your family antics are one of my driving forces! I love the way you write!

  28. kris (lower case) says:

    i check all the blogs i read everyday and i almost did not check your today.. glad i did.. hope the kid not doing well starts doing better soon. that is always a hard time.

  29. {sue} says:

    I’ve missed you! And a whole lotta the same has been happening here. Except I haven’t painted a damn thing.

  30. cynthia regan says:

    So glad you are back and happy that you stepped away to just be.

  31. meredith says:

    We had a spring break here, too, and went skiing with our girls. My almost 11 year old doesn’t love that sport, but I think she made some progress conquering her fear of speed and heights. And now the third and final trimester of school…and I’m trying to figure out how to motivate that same child with her homework. If you find a way, let us know :)
    Glad to see a post by you. I hope your son finds peace with his problems.

  32. Nicki says:

    I think we’ve all been busy surviving - as have you.

    (I did cross the abyss and found Downton Abbey quite amusing.)

  33. Fad says:

    Glad you are back, missed your posts and your stories
    Hope everything is fine and that Miles recovers quickly

  34. Jenny says:

    I am glad you are “okay.” I don’t blog, but I check your’s everyday. You make me feel normal. I don’t know how you do it, raising all those kids alone. You allow them to be “themselves.” I respect you for that. I raised two and messed up. I also teach third graders, and I can’t get them to do their homework either.
    Hang in there. Thanks for making me smile.

  35. maria says:

    welcome back - I’ve missed you. Hope you are feeling better and kids bounce back.

  36. JP says:

    Welcome back! I missed your posts, sorry Miles is sick and that your other son is having difficulties. Life takes over every once in a while and we understand (doesn’t mean we have to like it dammit! LOL!).

  37. Shannon says:

    Aw, I’ve missed reading you, Chris. Always love to read about what’s going on in your house and in Austin. :)

  38. Rebecca says:

    Glad to see you back — yours is one of the blogs I most enjoy reading, probably because much of the time it seems we live parallel lives. (I also have a herd of children, frequently feel as if I’m banging my head against the wall and do a ton of laundry.) I have also felt like I’ve had nothing to write about lately, but now you’ve gone and inspired me. Thanks!

  39. Lily Starlight says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented before but I’ve been reading for years and I just wanted to let you know how happy I am that you’re back; I was worried.

  40. Jayna says:

    Hi Chris, glad to see your new post. Was starting to get worried from you long silence. Hang on there. Tomorrow will be a better day:)

  41. Nana says:

    So happy to see you writing again. I check your blog every day and have been disappointed to see nothing new for so long. I thought about deleting you from my list of Favorites because it has been so long and I thought you had given up the blog but decided to wait until the end of the month to see what happened. So glad I didn’t!

  42. Virginia L says:

    I am so glad you are back, I missed your stories!!!! I am sorry one of the kids is hurting, I hope that gets better soon. Every time I go into Lowes or Home depot I come out with at least one extra project to do, usually more. I gotta tell you Downtown Abbey, worth it. Especially to watch with the kids so many opportunieites to tell them how it used to be.

  43. Fabs says:

    Hi Chris! So glad to see a post from you! I, too, feel like I’m going crazy having to CONSTANTLY bug my kids to do their homework! I think they are just getting burned out now that there’s only 3 months or so of school left. It sounds like you have been busy with house project and running your kids around! I feel like I never have time to start a project or read a damn book with all the running around to activities! Anyway, so good to hear from you!!

  44. Bridget in Minnesota says:

    I have missed your posts and have been praying that all is as well as it can be for you and your beautiful children.

  45. Ami says:

    I was waiting for your new blog entry ;) no seriously, last time I wondered how I even found your blog back then and when I remembered, I recognized that I’ve been following for years already. I think it all started with a picture I’ve seen on flickr…the whole gang sitting on the steps in front of your “big yellow house”. Long, long time ago…
    Best regards from germany

  46. Barb says:

    Yay! You’re back! I need to read your blog. That’s right-need. Your blog reminds me so of days gone by. People said I would miss the craziness of caring for my 2 wild boys (single Mom). I’d roll my eyes at them.
    My youngest graduates high school in June. Guess what I miss?

  47. Liesl says:

    Missed you!

  48. Erin Christine says:

    I hope Miles feels better, and I’m sorry that one of your other boys is hurting.

    I’ve missed your posts and am so happy to see that you are back.

  49. brian says:

    I remember as a kid searching all around the neighborhood for my little brother; knocking on every door I knew and some I didn’t. It turned out he was asleep in his bedroom. That he shared, with me. I could have sworn I looked there first.

    It’s great to “hear” from you, I need to check out this Hunger Games thing I suppose.

    I just saw on Twitter where Draw Something sold for $200 million, they compared it to Pictionary which sold for $30 million but took 10 years longer to sell. It’s twitter so take that with a grain of salt, but I’m pretty sure it was Abe Lincoln who posted it and I heard he’s honest.

  50. Sandra says:

    Chris, I’m so glad you’re back. I, like the others here, was worried about you, and was hoping you and your family were okay. I know that it’s hard to write when things aren’t going well. Thanks for coming back to us!! I’ve been reading your blog since that black bear sighting at your Big Yellow House in that northeastern state.

  51. Leeann says:

    Hi Chris,

    Like all the other commenters, I am glad to see you back. You’ve been sorely missed.

    I do totally get what you are saying though. My kids are 16,13 and 10 and there just comes a point when the things they say and do just aren’t as cute anymore OR they are but they would kill you if you blogged about them. Pretty much kills a lot of the blogging fodder!

    We’ll be glad to have you in whatever way we get you!

    ps- even if you don’t share what’s going on with your older kids just know that there are those of us in the trenches with you and struggling just like you!

  52. momzen says:

    Hooray! You’re back! I have missed you. Someone earlier wrote how much they appreciated your perspective on teen boys. I agree wholeheartedly. Truly I think even your “mundane” posts ought to be required reading for any parent. Thanks for deciding to come back.

  53. Anita says:

    I’m so glad to see you back and know everything’s OK. I have been reading your blog for years - maybe 6 now? My middle child is Miles’ age and I think they were ~1 when I found it. I don’t really have time for blogs anymore, but I do check yours weekly or so because it’s my favorite. I love your writing and your sense of humor.

    And I just watched the first Downton Abbey & enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

  54. goddess says:

    I was starting to worry. Glad you’re back. And DrawSomething is my new crack.

  55. Gina G says:

    So nice to read your posts again, and so glad that while life can have its ups and downs you’re bouncing along and hanging in there. Don’t ya just love the teen years? The wise wisdom of child rearing who said that the 2’s were terrible had zip idea of what the 17-19’s were. Sullen, withdrawn, loud and obstinate, picky beyond belief, could care less, a man, a child, the brain, an idiot - and all in one day. Just wondering if raising girls through this stage of their lives would have been easier, since all I have are two boys, and Lord knows I can’t remember how I was probably out of self preservation of my dignity.

  56. Toni says:

    I had the same thing happen to me with my 10 year old daughter last week. She was supposed to be at one friends house but had gone to anothers instead, and that friends 5 year old brother told my son (when he was sent to get his sister for dinner), that no, he hadn’t seen my daughter and his sister was in the house alone. Needless to say that by the time we did find her (in the house were the 5yo said she wasn’t) I was in tears. So I know what you went through, it is a scary place that I never want to go to again that is for sure!!

  57. Jandy says:

    Good for you to take a break, change is a good thing, although we missed you a lot. I’m also painting and going from boring Toasted Wheat to screaming Tuscany Red. Yes, change is good, gives us a fresh start.

  58. Janet says:

    I’m sighing with relief now that you have posted. I wonder if you have any idea how many people “out here” think of you each day. Heck, my 70 year old husband, who has never read a blog in his life, asks every day or two about you and the kids!

    Not that it is going to make you worry any less but I want to tell you that he teenage years are survivable for both of you. {My difficult son will be 45 this summer.} Hang in there.

    You might want to try Downton Abbey. It truly is very entertaining.

  59. Sheila says:

    Thank you for coming back. I have missed your posts. Even when you don’t write a longer one (which I love to read), I enjoy the photos with a short blurb.

    Hope things get better soon and you keep coming back eventually.

  60. Mylene says:

    So happy that you are back - reading your blog is a nice distraction from my own craziness ;)

  61. Katherine @ Grass Stains says:

    Glad you found a way to retrieve the blog! I was worried it was lost forever, and it made me sad to think that all of these stories were gone with the wind. Thinking of you! Hope Miles is feeling better.

  62. Katie says:

    Missed you! I haven’t blogged lately because I’m going through some stuff too. Just when I think I have it all figured out, life shakes me up, turns me over, and spits me back out all dizzy and lost. Oy…

  63. suzie says:

    You were missed.

    I took a break, too. Who knows why. Changes happened in my life, and it seems like when that happens, I can’t blog.

    Dunno why.

  64. Jane says:

    I was also very happy to see your post, I have been a fan of your writing for years and I think you have a real talent. I imagine your daily life is incredibly busy with looking after your family, so thank you for taking the time to write it down with your usual style and humour. It helps me a lot to know that other women deal with the same things as me, I hope it helps you to know that others appreciate your work. Best wishes to you all.

  65. Ann says:

    So, so glad you’re back. Understand the need for a break, but next time please let us all know that it’s just a break and nothing serious wrong.

  66. faye says:

    Hi Chris,
    Sorry that one child has been worrying you more than normal and another is sick. I have followed your blog for a couple of years now. My son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and I realize how he somewhat resembles one of your sons (in temperment, etc.) I have found your stories so very useful in terms of how to help my son adjust.
    thanks again

  67. emm says:

    i have a 19 y/o daughter, 17 y/o son and 7 y/o son. just me and them. every single day is a challenge. i don’t know how you do it.

    please keep communicating. u make me feel normal.

  68. Kathleen says:

    Bigger kids, bigger troubles… I’m learning that with my own. Hard for me to have the sense of humor like I did when they were little… we’re all there with ya, missed you.

  69. Sara says:

    I, too, miss you when you’re gone. My sister-in-law told me about your blog many, many moons ago (back at The Big Yellow House). 2006 maybe? I’ve watched Miles grow up and have cried with you. When my relationship with this sister-in-law was difficult a few years ago, your blog was one of the very few things we had in common and could talk about. She passed away last year from breast cancer (thankfully our relationship had mended!), but I still think of her when I read your blog. I truly pray you’re doing well.

  70. Joan says:

    HOw wonderful to see you back! Even when you don’t have much of anything to say, I love to read it. I have missed your posts so much!

  71. Erika says:

    I am so very glad you are back. I love reading your stories. I have 3 boys, and although they are younger than yours I really enjoy and appreciate your views on raising teenagers. There really aren’t any other bloggers with your particular viewpoint and style. I love your writing and am so, so happy I get to read it again! Thanks for taking the time to share.

  72. Amanda says:

    I’m really glad you are writing again!

  73. Deb says:

    Welcome back - i have so little time for blog reading these days, but you are one of the few blogs I have read for so many years that I check eagerly like a kid waiting at the mailbox (if they still did that). I am sick today and was so glad to see your posts waiting in my “essential reading” folder in my reader!

  74. Christina says:

    So glad to see you posted. I’ve been following you for years, and like someone else stated, it’s nice to read about someone else with teen boys. We have seven kids as well, and homeschool three, while the three older attend a charter school, and the oldest has graduated but still living at home writing several books and teaching ballet (great kid!). We did sports for the first time last fall, and I felt your pain for the time sucker they are! How do they expect kids to get homework done and keep that schedule?! It was a positive experience, but I appreciated knowing it was normal from your blog. We have a teen boy that we worry about a lot. I’ve fallen out of blogging from sheer overwhelmedness, but sure appreciate others who do. Hope you keep blogging! :)

  75. tiff says:

    The sharing of the common life is what it’s all about. You tell it in a way that elevates the experience for all of us. Glad you’re still in it with us.

  76. Pam Day says:

    I’m so glad you’re back. I love your writing, and your stories, and your honesty. and Lord knows, your sense of humor! So — thank you. (and I hope Miles feels better soon and your other child does, too….)

  77. Cy says:

    While reading this I got the urge to yell at my teen to do his homework.

    Then I remembered he’s on break. Thanks for making me flinch.

    Glad you’re here.