Sometimes there's just so much going on that the thought of finding a way to write it all down in a manner which is honest, heartfelt, but lighthearted - yet also manages to avoid upsetting half the people in my life - well, it's just too exhausting. Consequently, I still seem to have a rather insidious case of writers block.
But I can't go wrong with a list, right? A summary of recent happenings and photos from the past few weeks? It's either that or I blurt out my angst about the upcoming Silly Season and how much I'm dreading it with a capital D. That could be awkward.
So here goes with some taking stock instead. The last few weeks I've been...
Making : The most of the school holidays while they last. Lazy mornings drinking coffee, late nights watching Netflix, hosting playdates (and sleepovers) (and cousins); mostly hanging out and chilling with not a scrap of scheduling.
Wanting: The lazy days to last a bit longer (but also secretly looking forward to a bit of order returning with a new school term)
Enjoying: being Dog People. We have taken to being dog owners like ducks to water. Clyde is six months old now and very much a beloved member of the family. We can't imagine life without him, and the couple of times he's gone missing have been rather traumatic. I blame a rotten fence, a tricky front gate and a penchant for exploring under the house.
Liking: That Clyde knows his way home. The other day a visitor left the front gate open and Clyde took himself for a run. We were driving the streets and praying he'd return when we got a text message, "He's back!" Joyful, joyful, much much MUCH.
Wishing: Our puppy wasn't growing quite so fast. He's huge already. Also wishing he didn't think it was such a really fun game to make us chase him down the street when someone leaves the gate open. Argh.
Waiting: For the next text message from the neighbours to tell us that Clyde has found (made?) another hole in the fence and can we please come and rescue him.
Wondering: How we lived without a dog for so long. Now that we have this wonderful furry loving creature in our lives, all I can think is, why did it take us so long to get a dog? What were we scared of? It's the BEST thing we've ever done.
Loving: How much Clyde loves us and how much we love him. There's a lot of extra love in the atmosphere these days, and it's largely thanks to licky dog kisses and hairy dog hugs.
also Loving having the cousins come and stay with us for the first week of the school holidays. It did the heart good to see the kids hanging out with actual cuzzies in their own backyard kicking goals, toasting marshmallows, playing singstar, and making memories.
Looking: Forward to having a fourteen year old in the house next month. Cos you know what that means, right? A built-in babysitter = the occasional night off. #woopwoop
Deciding: That having a teenager is not as scary as I thought it would be. My teenager is still rather lovely. Very little grunting, so far.
Celebrating: my lovely dad's 70th birthday, which is hard to believe, but true nonetheless. Where do the years go, really? I've got parents in their seventies!
Pondering: Why time has to go so bloddy fast and make us all grow up and get old so gosh darn quick. Oh Time, would ya slow down a bit, please?
(Dad's 70th was the reason the cousins made the huge trek to Auckland for the first time in twelve years. Yep. Me and my sisters haven't all been in the same room together for twelve long years. It was pretty unreal.)
Listening: To my daughter and her cousin rock the Singstar mics like vandals. There's nothing like hearing kids sing together and those two sounded like angels. I had hurt my back and was laid up, unable to join the festivities, but as I lay flat on my back in my bed and listened from my bedroom, it almost made me cry with happiness, hearing them.
Considering: What life would be like if cousins lived closer and could hang out together on a regular basis. It would be precious, wouldn't it? All of you with cousins who live local, you are lucky buggers.
Buying: Way too many $1 frozen drinks from McD's. I mean, it's school holidays, and we had a houseful of kids, and the drinks are just a buck, so ya know. Lots and lots of frozen drinks have been consumed these holidays. My car is a McDonalds drink-cup graveyard.
Noticing: That my kids are super peaceful these days. It's nice. Our house is so calm, you'd hardly even know we had three ADHD kids living here (in spite of all the cheap sugary frozen drinks they've consumed!) Must be that puppy, maybe? A soothing influence?
Watching: Endless Gilmore Girls on Netflix with my girlie. She loves those fast-talking chicks at least as much as I do; we both want to be Gilmore Girls when we grow up and live in Stars Hollow. Who doesn't need a Kirk in their lives? A Luke? A Miss Patty? #Gilmoregirls4eva
Hoping: They hurry up and put out the new episodes ASAP. And hoping the response to the movie episodes is so overwhelming that they reinstate the show. It could happen, right?
Marvelling: That I've written this much already...
Reading: The final book in Rachael Craw's most excellent #Spark series, Shield, and loving it to bits. Actually I finished it weeks ago but I just had to throw that in there. Have you read it? You should. Rachael is a most excellent Kiwi storyteller, and her books are intelligent, action-packed young adult fiction, with one of the characters based on a dear bloggy friend of mine, who actually sent me the book (bless her sweet soul, she knows how I love a good read, and this was a GREAT one).
Trawling: Through my Facebook feed late at night and wondering how on earth the world has gotten to be in such a mess. I mean, Donald Trump, America? Really?
Following: The American presidential campaign from the bottom of the world in a state of fascinated horror.
Cringing: At the idea that otherwise-intelligent people can't see that egotistical narcissistic hate-mongering orange buffoon for what he is: A very dangerous bully.
Questioning: America's collective sanity as November draws near. How has the Orange One gotten so close to being the guy with his finger on the nuclear button? It's not my country, it's not my election, it's not my President, but dammit, what America does affects the rest of us in the world, whether they realise it or not.
Needing: America to please please not inflict that hot-head on the world. Pleeeease America. Don't do it!
Knowing: That the end of the year is fast approaching with all that it entails. Class placements, subject choices, team tryouts, birthdays and that time of the year we all love to hate (or is it hate to love?) Christmas. It's gonna be a strange one this year. Can we just fast-forward please?
Thinking: I'm very very blessed to have friends like I do. A few weeks back a bunch of them turned up at my house and blitzed my overgrown garden. They trimmed hedges, pulled weeds, mowed lawns (with the help of that sweet teenager of mine). Now my garden is spring-ready - and they've even promised to come back in a few weeks and help us get the pool ready for summer.
Getting: a bit nervous about looking after the pool myself. It's a huge job. Eek. But the alternative is a bare brown patch on my lawn and hot kids all summer. Having a backyard pool is lovely. Surely it can't be THAT hard, right? Also getting nervous about the rapid approach of the end of the year.
Feeling: A bit overwhelmed sometimes, TBH. Mostly strong and certain and thankful and upheld, but every now and then emotions break out and the tears fall unexpectedly. But mostly I feel super duper grateful that so far we've gotten through this really really sucky experience and we're OK; and now I can sing with complete sincerity: "I get by with a little help from my friends."
And don't forget God. I get by knowing I'm not truly alone - God is always there with me, closer than breathing - as my precious Scrag reminded me just ten minutes ago.
I was getting a bit flustered and he asked me what was wrong and I said, "I think maybe I'm a bit scared of facing a new year alone."
He replied, "But mum you're not really alone at all. You've got God and you've got all those friends who love you..."
I mean, that kid! Such a beautiful soul. The things he comes out with!
So yeah, I am staring down the barrel at birthday season and Christmas and end-of-year madness as a single parent. I'm afraid that it will really really suck.
But maybe I just need to hunker down and pare it all back to the basics. Just do what we can manage and forget any grand plans. We'll get through it somehow, and find some little moments of joy in the simple things.
Maybe I just keep my expectations low, and any plans super simple. Pray for a miracle summer holiday opportunity, and a way to give the kids a good Christmas and a good summer no matter what.
That's all I want really. I just want it to be OK for them.
We can do this. I can do this. Right? Right.
Love you all. Thanks for reading.