Last year Mel and I began a new tradition. Cookie weekend.  The kids are with ex and I am in DC.

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We each choose 3 types of cookies and this year we are making fudge! We actually have 5 batches done!

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 What goes great with baking cookies?  Hint, hint – you can see one on in the background.

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That’s right.  Chic flics.  So far we have watched The Wedding Date and Prime.  Up next Wimbledon and 27 Dresses.  Oh and flavored alcoholic beverages.

Baking.  Chic flics.  Chic beer.  What more could a girl ask for?

In the past week I have made five home cooked meals.   I had gotten out of control with frozen chicken strips and french fries, frozen pizza and drive thru.  So this week I committed myself to homemade meals.  The kids loved it.  It is way healthier.  And way cheaper.

And you know what?  It didn’t take nearly as much time as I remembered.  Because for a single mom, that’s what it’s really all about.  There just aren’t enough hours in my day.  I would like to say I’m getting better at the time management thing, I’m not. 

So I decided I needed to quit trying to make plans and just dive in.  So week one of making homemade meals is behind me.  Week two is keeping up with the laundry.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Over the holiday weekend I headed for the lake.  I flew into Burlington, took a taxi to the ferry, took the ferry across the lake.  And my cousin Speedo Steve and his wife met me at the ferry dock.

Steve is actually my father’s cousin.  He is three years older than my dad.  He and his wife have been married for 28 years and never had children.  They were teachers for years and he coached football until they retired several years ago.  They spend their summer on our families summer property and Steve is the caretaker of the North Shore.

Most days during the summer you can find him in his boat out on the lake fishing.  Or sitting on the rocks.  My children have given him the nickname Speedo Steve for the bathing suit he is so partial to.  He is 6’4″ (at least) and a definate football guy and this guy in a speedo is funny.

But this last weekend when I was up without the kids I really got to spend some time with him.   I spent hours sitting at his table, eating, drinking, talking with him, his wife, his father and his sister.  It was so much fun.  His father told stories of years gone by at the lake.  He told me stories about his parents and my grandfather.  But mainly I loved hearing the stories from his childhood.  I learned so much this weekend about the family I never got the chance to meet. 

My family used to be wealthy.  They had homes on Beacon Hill in Boston, they summered on the lake.  They had cooks in the kitchen and nannies for the children.  They sent their children to boarding school and traveled in all the best circles.  A century later the money is gone.  All that we have left is the summer property.  But given the choice of money or the property, I would take the lake every time.  Because this place, it gives me the opportunity to spend time with my family.

Without the North Shore I wouldn’t know Speedo Steve or his wife or many of my cousins.  And knowing them makes me rich. 

Steve and his wife, they are my cousins, they are my family and I love them.

On my way home from work today I began mentaling running throught tonight’s schedule in my mind.  This is my typical routine on my drive home, I go over all the things we will need to get done, homework, chores, any thing that is going to take us out of the house, what I’m going to make for dinner, etc.  And tonight I began running down my schedule and realised there was nothing there.  I pulled out my phone, looked at my calendar and it was blank.

A free night.  Nothing planned.  Just the kids and I. 

Now soon after I got home Grace got a phone call asking if she could go spend the night at a friends house.  So off she went. 

But the other kids and I headed for the local mexican restaurant.  Where the food is fast, cheap and really good.  I even splurged on fried ice cream.  Then we rented a movie.  Speed Racer – it was awful but the kids loved it.

Mexican food $17
Movie Rental $2.50
Time with the kids priceless

I enjoy the Friday nights I get to go out with friends and dance into the wee hours of the morning.  But these Friday nights, sitting on the couch with Chandler and Lee snuggled beside me, they bring me real joy.

On back to school night, there I was sitting in Lee’s classroom with the other parents.  When inevitably the teacher asks, “Is someone willing to be room mother?”  My friend E raises her hand and looks at me, “we can do it together.”  And all of the sudden I am co- room mother for Lee’s class. 

I enjoy doing the things that being a room mother entails.  I enjoy organizing parties, baking cupcakes and doing crafts with the kids.  Oh yeah, I love holidays.  LOVE them.  I just don’t have the time. 

I always wanted to be my childs room mother.  I wanted to be the mother every child in the classroom loved.  I wanted to be there for all the kids class parties.  Go on all their field trips.  The reality is, I don’t have time.  With three kids in school, I just can’t do everything.

You have dreams of the mother you are going to be.  None of my childhood dreams involved being a single mother.  So I don’t have time to be the room mother but I’m going to pretend I can be the mother I always wanted to be and try.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

This morning while we were waiting for the bus Grace asked me to grab the camera.

Aren’t they just beautiful?

This is Lee, getting personal with the camera.

Here is Grace.  This smirk is one of her patented expressions.

Finally we can hear the bus and they grab their backpacks.  Don’t you just love moments like these?

One of the hardest parts of being a single mother is when I have to “fill in the Daddy spot.”  Recently I discovered my son has billed about $80 to our cellphone pulling pictures off the web onto his phone.  He is only 11!

Now I could get completely off topic and say the first time he tried this was when he was with his friend A.  Last time these two got together A’s dad basically accused my son of being a bad influence.  Well how come my never knew how to download this stuff until he spends time with A?  This is no excuse, he still engaged in the behavior but this kid is a catalyst. 

Chandler quit this behavior all on his own 2 days later but the $80 had already been spent.  And was discovered by me on Saturday when the bill arrived.  It is a really good thing he was with his dad this weekend because it gave me a chance to calm down and plan out what I would say.

So last night after the kids got home and the girls were in bed I sat down with Chandler.  We talked about why he did it.  We talked about what the consequences would be.  We discussed the money it will cost.  And do you know what?  There was no crying.  There was no “that’s no fair.”  There was no “I hate my life, I want to go live with Daddy.”  None of the awful yelling I was expecting.  Chandler was truly remorseful of his behavior.

And when I got back downstairs I breathed a sigh of relief.  I had been dreading the conversation.  In my opinion this is the kind of conversation a boy should have with his father.  Unfortunately the last time I tried talking to his dad about it I basically got blown off and accused of blowing things out of proportion.  So I decided it was up to me to have the conversation myself.  I’m glad I did, it went better than I could have hoped.

Maybe I’m getting the hang of this mommy and daddy thing.

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