May started with what May always starts with for us: the combined dance recital and prom day. ALWAYS a fun day for a parent who needs to be at two places at one time. Luckily, this year the recital times changed and there was an early 1030 recital time that worked better for us and allowed us to see to both events.
My oldest daughter's costume was a dance to "Be Italian". Her second dance was a "Bollywood" dance. The costume was more fun than the difficulty of the dance but she did great with both. My youngest daughter's costume was her tap dance to "Singing in the Rain/Umbrella" montage that they did with full sized umbrellas. Her second dance was to "Country Girls Shake it for Me", and was a lot of fun. And of course middle daughter was there to cheer on her sisters.
From there we raced back to town in order to get the boy's flowers and see him in his tux. Before it started raining. Unfortunately, we didn't quite make it before the deluge. Luckily only we got wet. He had pictures at friends' house and they sent us pictures. It DID stop raining before the Grand March at the high school so we got to see many of the Junior and Seniors in their finery. Like the boy and his stunning date:
The next week, I got a call asking if I could start work a week early. WHAT? Work? Yes, in a masochistic twist, I volunteered to help a friend whose landscape company wasn't fully staffed and needed temporary help installing annual beds at commercial sites. Not being busy and having an opportunity to earn a little money (especially with recent expenditures and a child graduating), I jumped at the opportunity. It meant we would have to alter some well established schedules (as I had to be AT work by 630am) but we figured it was short term (although full time) and we would make it work. Little did I know that nothing really prepares your body for 10-12 hours of that sort of physical activity. The saving grace (or at least I'm looking at it that way) is that there was no break in activity which meant that my body didn't get the opportunity to REALLY hurt.
I am going to take a moment to delve into work ethic. I look at my own kids and how the behave in our house and I will be honest and say I'm a little afraid that I have failed them with regard to a work ethic. They will, when asked, help with chores but will also typically do only what is asked, will do as little as they think they can get away with doing. My HOPE is that they are only this way with us (which of course makes me sad...I will of course throw out the platitude that "A job worth doing is worth doing well" regardless of whether it is in our house or outside of our house). I mention this because after a week of installing beds, we had help in the form of a college student who has worked just as hard as the more mature team members. It could be that she is following our lead. Or it could be that this is who she is. Regardless, it gives me hope for my own children, although I WILL continue to nag about the jobs they do at home.
Then we had the annual spring fling. AKA salad night. This was our 7th and I think I am really getting better and better at this. Even though I wasn't sure I would be able to muster the energy after working a 12 hour day on Friday, running to the stores to do all my shopping and attempting to get as much prep work done on Friday as possible, I was sure I would be EXHAUSTED by Saturday. I was, but it was a good exhaustion. I also miscalculated on how much time I would have. I thought I had done enough prep work on Friday night to have to only do a few things on Saturday but OH BOY was I wrong. I was getting in the shower 20 minutes before the party started.
The menu was changed only slightly. Last year's Chicken Pear and Pistachio didn't really go over that great so I removed that one and replaced it with a Chicken Spinach salad with a Warm Bacon dressing that went over REALLY well. I had someone tell me that their favorite was the bacon/bacon salad. As if I had to figure out what he meant. I also added a fruit salad to the mix, which was a recipe from my SIL but I kicked it up a notch by adding chopped crystallized ginger making it phenomenal. The drink de jour was a Black Swan which I found on Pinterest and those who indulged seemed to love. Appetizers included the marinated tomato on grilled bread, black bean salsa and the new one this year: shrimp ceviche. I was a bit nervous about this because it is basically raw shrimp that is "cooked" in lime juice (the acid cooks it, there is no heat involved), but it turned out great. A definite keeper. Dessert was dialed back to double chocolate brownies and walnut brownies. Observation: men seem to like nuts more than women. I happen to be on the side of men on this one. We had a few moments of threat of rain, but for the most part any severe weather held off. Polish horseshoes were played. The myriad of kids thoroughly enjoyed the trampoline. With a final head count of 24 I believe we can call it another spring fling success.
May 23 the youngest turned 11. With all of the end of year activities, we have put off celebrating her birthday until after the graduation party is over, but she did get a dinner out at her favorite place: Chilis. Since it meant no cooking for me, I was SO good with that. I always feel bad about her and her next sister as their birthdays are at the end and beginning of the school year when things are the craziest and they tend to get gypped when one does a side by side comparison to what I have done with the other two. I will probably be making their "deprived" younger years up to them in their late teens when the older two are gone.
And now that the month is winding down, we are gearing up towards graduation. The invitations have been sent and here is where I am going to insert a whine. We have received many invitations and all (except ours) are calling their graduation parties "Open House". And this is my issue. How in the world is one to even ATTEMPT to prepare for refreshments when you have no idea how many people will be stopping by? OH, I get that many people are there to do a quick stop by (and especially kids, who will be hitting as many grad parties as they can...and there will be THREE in our neighborhood that night) but still, we have sent out about 60 invitations. The boy posted it on facebook and of the 200+ invites, there are 88 "goings" from which we expect maybe a third. We also did not call ours an Open House but rather a Grad Party for which we requested an RSVP. We have gotten maybe 10 responses.
The plan is pulled pork, asian pasta salad, potato salad, cole slaw, various bars and a cake. We have chosen to skip doing his HS colors and are doing the party in his college colors. I think once I have pulled this one off, I will be partied out. For a while.
Of course, the food is only a part of the graduation party "season". The real impetuous behind hosting a grad party is to actually be forced to get your house in order. I painted my kitchen, living room and hallway this spring. Hosting Easter at our house helped me make that happen other wise I would be in full on panic mode. Since I knew that graduation was looming, I attempted to get ahead of the curve by starting my "order" last summer. Instead of waiting for this spring, I split my perennials last fall. Which necessitated having to remulch our perennial area. To that end, I had 10 (actually it ended up being closer to 15) yards of dark brown mulch delivered on Monday last week, praying I would have the energy after working 10-12 hour days to get it spread. Luckily our installs are winding down and I was finished with work on Friday at noon so I was able to make a little headway. The pile of mulch, she started like this:
Saturday it rained all day so there would be no weeding/mulch spreading. Sunday after church, the husband and I joined forces and made headway. Monday we finished it off. I think that was the fastest we have ever completed it. The end results...well, we are VERY pleased.
And that pile of mulch? Well, now it looks like this:
We finished around 2 yesterday afternoon and rewarded ourselves with steak on the grill with friends.
To say it was a busy month is a bit of an understatement. But I am feeling a bit more confident about being ready for the boy's party. Talk to me again in10 days and see if I'm still there.