A New School (Year) of Fish…

September 19, 2013

Ahhh school is back in session! As sad as I was to usher my kids out the door on their first day of school this year, I knew it had to happen! Gone were the long lazy sleep-ins of summer, where breakfast naturally seemed to become brunch almost daily. Goodbye to the heat of the hot summer sun and the relaxing dozing stretched out by the pool, while listening to happy shrieks and splashes times eight.

Sadly we said goodbye to late night family time, routine night swims past ten o’clock and impromptu baking and picnic sessions at any time of any day. Regretfully, my grilling specialties and picnic table dinners on our patio have slowed, if not stopped for now. I miss my kids’ noise — their chatter and laughter — during the day and I think Shoka does too! He’s become glued to my side in the absence of his “non furry” siblings.

On the first day of school, I felt a bit like a “fish outta water”  so what did I do? I headed over to the pet store and picked up two new fish friends to replace our well loved Fabio and Felicia, who have long since gone to fish heaven. I carefully picked new fish bowls and stones, plants, food and nets. I even picked up an extra thrill for the kids (and maybe even the fish!), a “Sponge Bob Square Pants” pineapple house — for a fish bowl!

I brought them home nervously (I am now afraid that all fish will die untimely deaths and more excessive funerals will need to be planned and carried out so I now handle these aquatic friends even more carefully than ever before!) and prepared their new homes! Once I was done rinsing and setting up, I placed our new male beta fish, Finnley Fire (Finn, for short) in his bowl with his pineapple house.   Then I placed our new tiny red female beta fish in her bowl with her round green plant in the center. She remained nameless because Mady wanted to name a new fish and call it her own. So — I saved the little red girl for her!

I said nothing when I picked the kids up from the bus stop on that first day of school! They had SO much to tell ME, after all. So I just listened to their new school year stories as I drove home. As they moved through the house, completing their “after school routine,” word began to travel that there were NEW fish on our kitchen table! Soon both bowls were surrounded by many eager faces each with big curious eyes, checking out our new pets!

The kids instantly loved Finn and “the other fish.” Allllll night, Mady wrestled with what to name “her” fish. She’d repeatedly go over to the red fish in the bowl and say “hi F___….,” making the “f” sound long and loudly (All of our fish MUST have F names we decided long ago. It’s just the rules.).

Then later, “well, hello F___,” she’d say…
And again, near bedtime, I heard her say “hi, you cute little F__………..MOMMY! I got it! Her name is FIZZY!!!” Following that gleeful announcement, we all cheered with happiness! She’s a little red fizzy firecracker! She’s Fizzy!!!

And so, as life moved us on from sorrow to happiness, once again, our table now has new life in the center, which brings our family new creatures to love and care for, new conversation pieces and responsibility…. AND, it also brought this mom two new little creatures to talk to and care for during the many quiet, and sometimes lonely, school days I spend at home!


Meet Finnley Fire (his bowl appears cloudy in photo only, not in real life)

Meet Fizzy!

Our Spring Break Diary

March 17, 2013

Well, this is a little late but thought I’d update you on the happenings at our house over our recent spring break. As a sidenote, it’s still WINTER here and is snowing as I write this….so spring break is always a challenge weather wise unless we travel. Since we didn’t this year, I decided to piece together a bunch of fun things that we did do and the following is a “diary” of some events worth highlighting:

We began with a Braces On Pizza Sleepover for Mady and Cara. A few friends joined our fun, ate pizza followed by tons of sticky gooey candies that would soon be forbidden!








One predicted snowy night over spring break, I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner and we ate it in the middle of March, remembering to say “Happy Thanksgiving” to each other while passing the gravy! It’s nice to remember to be thankful for our blessings throughout the year, and this dinner triggered that for us! Personally, I have tons to be thankful for, but on this night, I was especially thankful that the predicted snow storm totally missed us! I hate snow:)!







After a fun and relaxing weekend, it was time for BRACES! Yes, Cara and Mady spent one afternoon of spring break getting braces put on! Not really a fun thing, but in an attempt to not miss a school day, I opted to do it over their break. I also thought ahead and figured if they were home during those first few “ouchy” days, it would help them adjust best. After all, if they were in school, how would they have had endless access to moms home made milk shakes and all the popsicles and ice cream they could ingest for days on end?






Next on the list, was an all out cookie bake! In one afternoon, together we baked, packaged and froze over 200 various kinds of cookies for school lunches! To say we were up to our eyeballs in cookie dough would be an understatement on this particular day!









It wouldn’t be a spring break or any kind of break if we didn’t have at least one movie night, SO, after searching HIGH and LOW, I finally found the movie I had been desperate to locate at our local library…. It was an old Disney movie that I had seen when I was about 12 and still remembered it after all these years! It’s message was so heart warming and valuable to me and it clearly stuck with me, so I was determined to find it so my kids could enjoy it too! It’s a movie called “The Girl Who Spelled Freedom” and our local library ordered it from somewhere in our state and had it shipped there so I could pick it up… On VHS tape! My kids were amazed as I hauled our only working TV/VCR combo to the family room where we huddled around and watched, clutching our popcorn with a surprise in the bottom, of course!









And, I have to add here that over spring break, our well loved furry family member “smiled” for the first time ever! This was a huge event in our house – so it’s worthy of adding it to our “spring break diary.” Check out our smiley boy:









And, while we are discussing pets, I thought it necessary to mention that we got a new one during our break. Her name is Felicia (all fish have to have “F” names in our house) and she lives in her own bowl on our table, next to Fabio and our frogs “Leon and Neon.” Felicia makes me nervous because she is a “baby beta” and is delicate according to the pet store. So we all crowd around and watch her eat (usually while we are at the table also eating) to make sure that she is growing and staying healthy! I have to admit, I loved Fabio and so I “allowed” myself to be “talked into” getting Felicia! She is really tiny and cute! When I am home during the day alone, I tend to say hi to them as I pass, much the same way I talk to Shoka, lol!









And, at the end of spring break, I got sick with a little flu bug and passed it onto a few of my kids!









That squashed our last fun outing we had planned: painting pottery. We had each planned to paint our own dinner plates but will reschedule that for some other time! :) Such is life! We had a great break with lots of rest and family bonding! It was gr8 to have my kids home for a week and a half! Next coming attraction is summer and WE CAN’T WAIT!