Yesterday was a rare day with no kid activities after school or in the evening. My husband arrived home from a trip and offered to make dinner. All of the kids had homework and after a quick snack, everyone went to their rooms to work on it. What was I going to do with myself? The laundry was done and so were the dishes. I was caught up on my email and nothing was happening on Facebook. Sadly, I gave up Pinterest for Lent so that was not an option. And then I remembered – my blog.

I know I have neglected my blog. Having a free afternoon gave me the opportunity to look over some of the things I wrote over the past few years. Wow! I didn’t realize how much I missed it. I forgot about some of those crazy moments and enjoyed reading about them again. I used to write regularly, but then I just stopped. What happened to me?

I am still writing – just not blog posts. I write every morning before my day gets started, but this time I am getting paid to write. For those of you that don’t know, I have been writing for regional parenting publications. My work has been published 46 times in over two dozen magazines in the US and Canada since October. It has been a thrilling time as I am writing, submitting, networking and learning as I go!

But even with my exciting new adventure, I still miss my blog. I can’t tell you how many times I encountered something in my life in these past few months and thought, “That would make a great blog post.”

It was my blog that pushed me to submit some of my work. I got a lot of encouragement from my readers over the past couple of years. I remember one moment in particular. I was standing in the elementary school gym, talking with a few other moms. It was a school carnival and my son dashed back and forth from the games to bring me his prizes to hold. While I was talking, one of the moms said how much she enjoyed my blog post that day. The other mom chimed in that she read it too, and they discussed it for a couple of minutes. A third mom walked by and overheard us talking. She stopped and said, “Pam’s blog? I love reading it.” I was so touched to have these women say such nice things about my writing. I read the stats on my blog, but I never realized that so many people read my posts on a regular basis. The women went on to say that I should try to get some of my work published. At the time, I shrugged them off, thinking there was no way that was going to happen. But it was too late. The seed was already planted. (Thank you, Nina and Shannon. You may not remember that moment, but it is one that I will never forget.)

Sadly, after that, my blog(s) took a backseat to my article writing. (In addition to this blog, I have a food blog at wineanddinewithus.wordpress.com.) After reading my old posts yesterday, I made a decision. In the words of Elwood Blues, “I am putting the band back together.” As I said, I have so much fodder for this blog as a suburban working mom and I love to share the recipes on my food blog. I am going to make an effort to post at least once a week in each blog, so keep an eye out for it. If you don’t already do so, you can follow my blog(s) via email, Facebook or Twitter. Feel free to leave a comment. You never know how your words can change the course of someone’s life.

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When we first got married, we had distinctly separate cars. I drove mine; he drove his. We never deviated from this unless we were in the car together. My car always seemed to be the weekend car and I was fine with him driving my car if I was in it. I didn’t really think about it then, but looking back, I realized that I could watch him when I was in the car. From the passenger seat, I could still control the radio, the heat/air conditioning or how the car was parked. (I have this thing about rolling the windows down when the car is in the garage. I want to be able to walk out to the garage and just dump the items for tomorrow’s errands into the front seat through the window. Now that we have kids, it helps to get the fast food/sports sweat smells out of my car, too.)

Okay, so I have issues. I want my car to be like I left it. It is my car!

After our children were born, whoever had the kids, drove my car. It was a lot easier than switching out the car seats or moving the double stroller. The rule still applies today since my car is the bigger vehicle. The only trouble is that I can’t watch what settings he is changing while I am not in the car. Thankfully, we never have an issue about moving the seat and the mirrors. Even though my husband is three inches taller than me, our legs are the same length. My parents are one foot apart in height, so that was always (and still is) an issue for them.

No, my issue is about him moving the dials and settings on my car to fit his tastes. I will find the radio switched to AM talk radio or blasting some crazy band that no one has heard of. He even changes the bass and treble settings. Really? Just to drive the kids to practice? The air control is always blasting no matter what the season. The view settings on the dash board always show his preferences – gas mileage vs. air temperature. He uses the trip settings and the cruise if he goes on the expressway – even if he is just going 20 miles away. I think he just likes to play with all the buttons and see what they do.

So that brings me to this week. Over spring break this year, we bought a new car for me. Actually, it is an SUV – a Suburban. With three kids in sports (for which my husband coaches several) and music (one that plays the cello) and two large dogs, it was the perfect vehicle for me and our family. This is our first SUV, coming off mini vans for 11 long years. The other night it snowed about three or four inches from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm. The plows were busy salting instead of plowing because of the promise of rain freezing to ice the next day. Even the main roads were pretty bad. My husband had a meeting on the other side of town so I preferred that he took the Suburban instead of his Camry. He left here with a big smile – alone with my car while it was snowing.

He came home telling me how much he loved my truck and that it sliced through the snow while the little cars (like his) were moving slow. I was glad that he and my truck made it home safely. The next morning, when I drove to school, I felt it dragging like there was snow stuck around the tires. I kicked some off in the driveway when I got home and then swept up the other chunks that fell off in the garage. The car sat in the garage all day until I had to pick up the kids again. This time, I could still feel the dragging. I drove around debating whether I should go back home and switch cars. I even stopped and walked around the tires to check it out. I didn’t see anything, but decided to go back home. My husband was standing in the kitchen and I made him come out and feel the dragging in the car.

I hate telling him there is something wrong with the car – especially after he has drove it. His standard lines are either “It wasn’t like this when I drove it” or “I don’t feel/hear/see anything”. So I get in the truck with him. Sure enough, it starts before we get out of the driveway. I said, “Did you feel that?” (Thankfully, my daughter was in the car the whole time, so I had a witness). He claimed he didn’t feel it. When we got to the corner, the dragging stopped. He drove around a few blocks telling me he didn’t feel anything. I had to admit, I didn’t feel it anymore either.

I must have looked a little perplexed when we got out of the truck, because he then admitted to me that he changed something last night and changed it back when we pulled out of the driveway. My truck has 4-wheel drive. I usually keep it in Auto, but because the Mad-Button-Pusher drove it last night, he had to change it to Low 4-wheel drive. That setting, I later read, was used for deep sand, deep mud or deep snow (3 inches?) The dragging I felt was the extra torque it was delivering. It says right in the owner’s manual – “You may never need this setting”. I guess that GM never met my husband.

Yesterday my kids were off from school. (Thank you to our Veterans!) In the morning, my husband took the kids to the church gym for some extra basketball practice. When it was done, my oldest daughter went to a friend’s house and the younger two came home. Unfortunately for them, we were going to run to Lowes and Costco and they were stuck going with us.

Being the mean parents that we are, we did not remind them to take their electronic devices on the long, five mile trip. That’s when the arguing started. They started with “your stuff is on my side”. I remember that from my own childhood. My sister and I had no man’s land in the center of the back seat. Nothing could be in that area, leaving us less opportunity to touch each other with our stuff. Now, if we were in my husband’s car, I could understand how annoying the other person could be because they are sitting close. However, we had my truck – a Suburban. Each kid could have their own row of seats!

The first store was Lowes. My middle daughter needed to pick out paint for her room. That was interesting for about 5 minutes. We matched the paint to a pillow and as they mixed it, my husband and I wandered the store. We are remodeling our kitchen (posts for another day) and wanted to look at exciting things like sinks, faucets and other “boring stuff”.

Remember what you are supposed to do when you are bored in a hardware store? You are supposed to ride the outside of the carts, narrowly missing displays. You can push each other. You can slap the other person and run ahead while looking at the pained look on your sibling’s face and as a result, run into your parents. It is loads of fun for everyone.

After hearing, “Knock it off” and “Stay away from each other”, my kids decided to get creative and came up with a new game. It is a spin off of Rock, Paper, Scissors. It is called Bunny, Gun, Carrot. Okay, it might not be the most PG game ever, but I thought it was creative.

Gun beats Bunny (obviously)

Bunny beats Carrot

Carrot beats Gun (plugs the hole)

Watch for this exciting game on playgrounds and soccer fields near you. It keeps kids occupied for 5 minutes – long enough for parents to make a decision on which sink will work in their new kitchen for the next 10 to 15 years.