Tag Archives: Kate

Summer Jobs and Boot Camp


Photo credit: Kate Phillips

How’s your summer going? Mine has been SLOW so far and I love it.

I’m enjoying a much-needed respite from caregiving (s/o to my mom).

Hannah and Luke are both working. I thought that would be challenging with the car situation but it’s worked out for the most part and I can always borrow my mom’s car if I need to.

Mark and I almost bought a granny car (Toyota with 50,000 miles in pristine condition for $4,000-but didn’t scoop it up in time). I always wanted a granny car.

Kate signed up for a week-long acting boot camp. Five days, downtown from 9-4. She’s taking the bus every day so it’s like a job. She and I took a ride on the bus the day before her class started so I could show her where to catch it to get home.

As much as I would love Hannah to take a bus to the restaurant once in a while just to get familiar with it, so far she hasn’t had to. It’s a valuable skill but Kate will likely be the only one of my kids who regularly takes public transportation before she flies the coop. She has no interest in driving yet so she’ll need public transportation.

Sometimes I daydream about how autonomous cars would have been great for activities a few years ago. Shuttling for the better part of an afternoon has been my least favorite thing about parenting. Now that Hannah and Luke can drive themselves, I’ve been relieved of it a little but then you have the worry. I’m not an excessive worrier but am always grateful when everyone is home safe. That was a random aside, but this is my blog and nobody reads it, so whatever.

Back to Kate and the boot camp. I knew she would like it and learn a lot but I also knew that it would be tiring. She’s pretty wiped out at the end of the day. It’s just a little longer than school but I think being in summer mode has a little to do with it. It makes me wonder how she and Hannah survived the long days at the charter school. The commute was 3 hours round trip. They left the house before 7 and didn’t get home until after 5.

I know some kids love going to activity summer camps but they never appealed to me for my kids. I guess the break would have been nice but I couldn’t imagine the kids being anywhere all day long in the summer-even for a week. I just pictured them being sweaty and tired all day and exhausted when they got home so I never even asked whether they wanted to do it.

It’s different for Kate. She’s old enough to handle it and I completely left it up to her whether she wanted to do it. I think she’s glad she did and next week she can get back to being bored. She’s trying to get a job but so far no luck. I’m surprised that so many mall stores won’t hire kids younger than 18. When did that happen?


The Best Excuse for Breaking a Promise to Yourself


Kate on her birthday

Since committing to the 500 word challenge, I have been setting the alarm earlier and only hitting snooze twice (I can’t conquer all the bad habits at once) in order to write before the rest of the house wakes up.

If I’ve had a restless night’s sleep, I’ll skip writing in the morning if I expect a chunk of time later in the day. (I’m a shrew when I’m tired).

Friday was one of those days where I knew I would have at least 3 hours of down time after dinner in order to write my 500 words. Three of the kids had plans and Mark always works late on Fridays. Kate, my 13 year old, likes to watch the “Modern Family” marathon on Friday nights so I knew I would have uninterrupted time to write. (I know I’m going to hell for all the TV this family watches since we upgraded the cable from basic only).

I was all set to take the laptop into our new finished basement room for some quiet when Kate asked if I wanted to watch “Modern Family” too. I really didn’t but I knew it was important to spend that time with her. I could have brought the lap top with me when I plopped myself on the couch next to her, but then I might as well have been alone in the basement typing away.

You might be thinking, “That lady’s just rationalizing, who wouldn’t rather watch ‘Modern Family’ than stick to a commitment?” Well, you may be right on point A, but not point B. I may be rationalizing but I don’t enjoy watching TV that much-even “Modern Family”. Oh, it’s hilarious, but there are a hundred things I’d rather do than sit and watch TV.

Here’s the thing, though, my first priority is always my family, especially while the kids are still here. First on my list of responsibilities is nurturing relationships. As you can imagine, life with almost 4 teenagers (11-16) can sometimes be…..volatile. A 13 year old girl is often in the eye of whatever storm happens to pop up. Kate’s been feeling picked on and misunderstood lately and she needs all the relaxed interaction she can get. Although TV is a passive pursuit, when a person wants company, it becomes an opportunity to connect and relate.

I’ll never regret being intentionally present with any person in my family. To be honest, I probably don’t make time for it often enough. Which is ironic because the kids are home all day for school. If writing suffers for it, I’m totally fine with that.

Kate and I laughed together, talked about other things and when she asked if I snored like Gloria while I was pregnant, I admitted a symptom much more embarrassing that horrified and amused her at the same time. She may use it against me one of these days in the heat of a teen microburst but it’s worth it if it strengthens our connection.

As I wrote before, I made the 500 word challenge a priority. Obviously, I’m hoping to improve my writing skills but I honestly think making time for it will make me a better everything….wife, mother, friend, sister-you get the idea. The practice of writing must light up a part of my brain that helps me be more organized, calm and focused. I credit the act of writing an ebook this summer with helping me to truly enjoy an unusually chaotic 3 months. I typically don’t deal with chaos and extended time away from home very well.

Although writing is a priority, the burden is on me to carve out time for it that doesn’t interfere with my primary vocation as a wife and mom.

So, I’m forgiving myself this time because I was reminded that life, especially with kids, is unpredictable. Clearly, I need to be more disciplined to wake up early if I want to write.

If you want to establish the habit of writing, check out Goinswriter.com. In addition to the chance to join in the challenge, there’s lots of inspiration and practical advice to help you write better.