Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

Tag: family time

Where Did Our Free Time Go?

We have NO free weekends until we take forced family fun time in July. None. Nadda one. We may have a Sunday possibly but more likely we have half a day EITHER Saturday or Sunday from here until …. forever. Because as soon as the crazy of summer ends, school begins, then snowboard season, then spring is back again. There is a two week period towards the middle of March where we have some semblance of calm.

I own the fact that we have a large family. I wanted my children so desperately, each and every one of them. I knew we’d be busy.

I had no idea.

I own the fact we allow our kids to participate in multiple activities throughout the year. (Except in the winter. We own the winter. It’s snowboard season. End of discussion. And even that’s total crap. Winter is snowboarding, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, dance, and religion. But no school sports.) Softball, dance, gymnastics, volleyball, orchestra – those are the voluntary ones. Religion, not state mandated, is required by me.

These are choices we make.

In my imaginary world, the one I created as a child, my family would be active and participate in the world. We would greet each other with a smile in the morning, go our separate ways until after whatever sports or music practice was over, and would gather ’round the dinner table and ask, “How was your day?” And we do get to eat together…once in a while. More often than not in the spring, summer, and fall months dinner may consists of grabbing whatever is handy, eating around the kitchen island in shifts. Whoever is home will eat together, then the next crew, followed by second and third dinners (I am raising hobbits) after practice or rehearsals.

Growing up Wednesday nights were off limits for all school or extra-curricular activities. It was a given. Here that is true for middle school (grades 6-8) activities for the most part. But it doesn’t apply to club sports. Or board meetings for adults. Because the family with busy, active kids comes from a set of busy, active parents. My husband and I are both on boards, volunteer throughout the year, and coach.

When we commit to a team we commit to the schedule. To bow out is to let down the team. But when did youth activities become so consuming? When did the first slip of the slippery slope begin? And how do we not get caught up in the tidal wave of activities and schedules? How do we say “No” to practice that falls on a holiday weekend or not play in a tournament that falls on Father’s Day? Do we take the punishment of reduced playing time or sitting the bench in order to maintain freedom? Or do we suck it up, go, and deal with the consequences of being constantly busy? When did the shift happen? So slowly that we didn’t notice our weekends being consumed one by one, over and over until we’re left with little down time?

I recently read an article by Gunmetal Geisha – you can read it here (and you should!). She dialed in on how marketing has us always thinking ahead – missing the moment we should be enjoying RIGHT now. Why in the world is it possible to walking into a store on February 13th  purchase Easter eggs but not Valentines? Why do we always have to be 17 steps ahead of where we need to be tomorrow? It made me realize I tend to measure days by our busy. It’s become a marker of time and season for me.

In the summer I tend to shut down. We watch more television than we should, lay around, play in the pool, and play with friends. I don’t have my kids in camps and classes. Often feel a little like I’m letting them down. But this is one time of the year where we can just be…and not worry about where we need to be during the day.

I’ve been pondering how to take back time for my family. How to incorporate the activities they love and the time we need to connect as a family? And the only conclusion I’ve come to is….we travel as a pack. We snowboard together. Why not attend ball games together? Concerts? Forced Family Fun is only a little tongue in cheek…we do often force everyone to come to an event even if they are not participating. More often than not we end up having a good time and the ones watching support the ones participating as only siblings can do….by making fun of them. But it’s INTERACTION in the HERE AND NOW.

I’ve decided to embrace the crazy, love every minute I can, suffer through the minutes I can’t, and smile every single chance I get. And try to not sign up for any more than we can handle. Because at the end of the day…we’re in charge of our busy and how we handle it. As long as I stay in the here and now….I can keep us focused on what matters…our family.

Round the Dinner Table…..Round and Round We Go

Milk is a commodity in my household.  A serious commodity.   On Saturday we had run out of the cow version and the spawn were going through withdrawal by Sunday morning.  Dr. Evil took pity and went to buy milk, eggs and butter.  Because we are so not vegan in my lair.

Sunday night we gathered around the dinner table to enjoy a pleasant meal.  That meal time soon turned hilarious and involved Eldest Spawn blushing to a shade not before seen in nature.

Eldest Female Spawn (EFS) lifts up the milk carton and says, “Wow.  Look at this.  In less than 1 hour we’ve consumed almost a whole gallon of milk.”  I quickly piped in, “Not dad or me!!  It’s all on you guys!  We don’t drink milk.”

To which Dr. Evil says, “I wonder if there’s any correlation to breast feeding and liking milk.”  Again, I quickly spoke up.  “Humans are the only animals that drink milk past infancy and we don’t even drink our own milk.”  BOOM!  I dropped some KNOWLEDGE down on that there table.  Eldest Spawn (ES) said, “Really Mom?  Really?”

And I dug myself in deeper when replying to Dr. Evil’s next comment about boys and breasts and obsessions.  “Ummmm….girls are breast feed and we aren’t obsessed with our breasts or those of our friends.”

If you can’t tell, we speak pretty openly here at the lair.

ES was really starting to laugh.  Then all the Female Spawn started to giggle.  ES stated, “You don’t even know what you’re laughing at.”  To which Second Eldest Female Spawn (SEFS) bust a gut and pointed at her non-existent breasts and said, “You mean these things!?”

I spit my water out across the table.

I said, “You were all breast fed.”  And then to the only boy at the table breast fed by me, “And you….you were the one I had to cut off.  The girls were all done about the same time around a year.  You….15 months.”

And then that shade of embarrassment never before seen in public … was very present.  And he quickly got over being embarrassed.

And all of this was in good natured humor.  No one was singled out.  Or rather no one was left out.  We all giggled and laughed and had fun.

So there.  BOOM!  I gave you some knowledge today.

And here’s a reference I went to find to support the random facts I carry around in my brain.  Since I’m the Cliff Clavin of bloggers.


Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 8.14.07 AM EJ out – to prepare for the coming snowstorm by waxing my board so we can hit Afton Alps one last time!!!!


Help a knowledgeable mama move up the ranks at Top Mommy Blogs.  Click on the juggling lady there on the upper right…or if you’re on a mobile device, scroll down and you’ll see her at the bottom!


While the Boys Are Away….

The Female Spawn and I will play!

Dr. Evil and Eldest Spawn are away on one of their Boy Scout weekends.

So I decided us girls just “wanna have fun!”  We started the night by playing taxi cab – picked up from school – sleep over friend included.  Eldest Female Spawn went to a gymnastics lock in – Second Eldest had a playdate – and Littlest – she just got to control the tv for an hour – that doesn’t EVER happen.

Sleep over.  Bedtime Stories.  Cuddles in the morning.


Now..I’m off to pack lunch for our favorite winter haunt.  We’re heading to Afton.  I will…WILL – I say – conquer taking Littlest Spawn up the bunny hill chair lift.

I. Am. Terrified.

Last time – only time – we tried together – she fell off.  At the bottom.  About 3 feet from the ground.  But she didn’t let go … just hung by one arm.  I jumped off the chair and grabbed her after picking my clumsy arse off the ground.  We got right back on the chair and rode to the top.  A very kind employee told us we could ask them to stop the chair at the top to glide off.  I asked.  He stopped it – a little short.  She wouldn’t get off so I basically shoved her off and right onto her little bum.  She was very…..irritated with me.  I fell getting off because I was desperately trying to not go down the hill as we were a little ways from the platform.  Then we worked on turns all the way down the hill and she did wonderfully.  I made Dr. Evil take her up again a few times, but I’d lost my nerve.

Today.  Nerve.  You’re mine.  We will do this.  WE. WILL. RIDE.THE.LIFT.

I have spoken…thus it shall be.

IMG_3732 IMG_3733

And I get to wear this awesome hat Awesome Amy made for my ginormous head!  (Really – I have a big head and hats are hard to find.)


EJ out – to pack a healthy lunch!!!

Click on the banner if you’d like to cast a vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs.  I changed out the juggling lady.  Her arms were tired…needed a break.  Thanks.




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