Archive for the ‘Blessed and possessed’ Category

Supermama mode is exhausting!

July 24, 2017

The poor girls and I didn’t get much of a weekend. I mean, it was AWESOME, because we were in PACK EVERYTHING! mode. But you know what? Packing is exhausting!

We spent Friday night picking out clothes and getting that mostly situated. It also involved about 193 loads of laundry. Clothes, towels, bedsheets, blankets – I want everything clean, clean, clean when I come home!

Saturday while Bee-girl was picking up the mess of toys in the front room that I’ve let her ignore for three week…ahem…Gracie and I went to the store to get a toilet kit. The guts had stopped working and the toilet wouldn’t shut off after it filled with water. The water just constantly trickled down the overflow pipe. Unless you held the weight above the water for about five minutes to trick it, and then it would shut off. I was so sick of doing that, I had handed the job to Gracie. Gracie was beyond sick of it, and both kids were tired of ignoring their toilet and using mine (unless there were guests over)(uh, besides Gracie’s bestie Em who might as well be my third daughter), so it was beyond time to just get that toilet fixed.

We went to Home Depot, with Gracie mutter under her breath the entire time that she was busy and she didn’t want to fix a toilet and blah blah blah. She listened to the man explain to me that I probably just needed this $3 piece to replace in the top of thing inside, and assured me that I had picked out the correct mechanism if I needed to replace the entire thing. The mechanism was only $7, so I got them both and figured I’d return whatever one I didn’t need. Since Gracie did such a good job listening to the guy (this will matter when she has her own toilets and has to fix them – she thinks she’s not retaining anything, but she is!), so I bought her a brat from the Hot Dog Guy on the way out. The way to bribe Gracie to do anything is with food!

Now that we had a happy Gracie, she was very helpful in helping me drain the toilet tank and fetching dry rags to catch any drips and run off. She learned how to shut off the water to the toilet (and I told her where the water to the house was, just in case), how to unscrew the guts’ master screw under the tank and the seal inside the tank. And then she learned how to put a new one in, working backwards from all the steps we had employed. She even spotted my mistake when I accidentally connected the water tubing to spray into the overflow pipe instead of the toilet tank. “See?” I told her. “You are going to be so happy later when you have a toilet issue and you know how to fix it.” Gracie just rolled her eyes.

So it was a luxury to use the girls’ bathroom once again, and while Gracie was cleaning that mess up, I was fixing something else. I mean, hey – if we’re cleaning so we can come home from vacation to a clean house, we might as well make it a working and functional one, too, right?

That’s why there were boxes of sandwich bags and saran wrap and tin foil and waxed paper scattered all over the floor in the corner of the kitchen. The drawer that holds clips and elastics, pens and scissors, playing cards – it’s not a junk drawer, because everything in there is a thing of necessity! – and the drawer was off the track.

It’s happened before. the track attaches to a flimsy white bracket, which has broken a couple times. I nail in something in a different one of the holes, secure it to the wood, and we’re good to go again. So I had a nail, a hammer, and I had smooshed myself into the cabinet, head, shoulders, boobs, and all.

That drawer did not want to attach.

Seven nails, the bruised feelings of one 11-year-old, eleventy new curse-words, and I don’t know HOW I kept dropping the nails just before they caught and held up on their own, but I did! It’s because I have my own special brand of awesome. Eventually, after my entire upper body had disappeared into the cabinet, I somehow got the nail in. The drawer doesn’t open and close perfectly, but it’s good enough for me!

Then, because mama wasn’t done getting the house in ship-shape and Bristol fashion, we tackled smoke detector batters. ALWAYS CHANGE YOUR SMOKE ALARM BATTERIES TWICE A YEAR! New Year’s Day and 4th of July is how I remember. And I’m a little late, but don’t tell!

It was easy enough: I grabbed the ladder and a new pack of 9volt batteries (it’s important to have a new package to ensure the batteries aren’t run down at all), and I dragged that ladder all over the house, swapping out batteries and hoping we didn’t get that quick “BEEP!” right after, meaning either the battery was bad, or I had goobered something up. Mostly it went just fine. In less than an hour, I had fresh batteries in all of my smoke detectors and that means: peace of mind.

So I slayed toilet monsters, drawer dragons, battery ding-a-lings, and…the mall?

Yes, The Mall. Because Gracie owns only one pair of sweatpants and has outgrown all of her long-sleeved shirts. So we stopped by Old Navy (conveniently next to the library so we could return our books), and then walked half the mall. Bee-girl was amazingly patient and helped keep up the goofy mischief. I wouldn’t survive a mall trip without it.

We didn’t find any long-sleeve shirts, but Gracie girl did find a cute hoodie and sweatpants combo for the plane. The hoodie was really good quality, too. And PINK! Gracie-girl never wears pink! Well…unless its emblazoned with the word PINK somewhere on the front. So that felt like a triple win!  Gracie will just have to shop for her long-sleeve shirts from my closet.

Or not. Because I’ve lost three of my favorite tshirts that way. And no amount of dragon-slayin’ tactics is going to work getting those back – once my girlie has ’em? THEY GONE.

[Shhh….Don’t tell Gracie, but…. I love when she shops my closet and steals my clothes. Not just that we’re close enough in sizes, and fashion taste, but because…well, it just makes me feel close to her. I love the idea of sharing clothes with my daughter. It’s peak!]

And that was that! Nothing tops that. A productive weekend, but one with still SO MUCH to do!

Five for Friday.

July 21, 2017

Morning, all! I have a LOT going on in my brain right now, so let’s see what I can do to shake some of it out this colander so I can maybe be productive. And because there are just SEVEN MORE SLEEPS until vacation, guess what this week’s theme is? Ready? GO!

1 Like I said – only SEVEN MORE SLEEPS until vacation! Gah! I am wicked broke, but I swear my excited goes up the more my bank account balance goes down. I am ready to just cut loose and have fun with my family and visit with everyone! I have no idea how I’m going to fit it all in, but I will. We have our family cookout on the second Saturday, but there’s no way I can wait until then to see everyone. I’ve been talking quite a bit, particularly, with one of my “baby” cousins (who is a grown-up, but I’m – what? 14 years? – older, so you get where I’m coming from) these past few months, and I CANNOT wait an entire week to see her face. So. There are possibly kidnapping plans afoot. And then I want to see my besties from high school – maybe I can twist their arms and get them to come to Connecticut for dinner a night? Because we can’t stay at my parents until after dinner – we would go insane, and they all go to bed in the living rooms, so. No place. And then I have another group of friends from high school who don’t really hang out with the first group…. And then there are all the cousins I’d like to see apart from the family cookout where I’ll be spread a bit thin…. And then there are my Connecticut friends that I “borrow” from my sister from time-to-time. Maybe we can do a game night one night? With fancy drinks and bar snacks? Yeah, I need more time and more of me! HALP! Heh.

2 While my brain is spinning around faster than a fidget spinner trying to figure out my visitation schedule with the fam and friends, the rest of me is spinning around trying to organize everything else. Gracie cried a little when she looked at the whiteboard on the fridge, filled to the fuzzy edges with everything I we needed to get done this weekend. I knew it was coming. I knew. The whining! The travesty! OH MY GAWD, MAKING THEM CLEAN! I’ve been very lax this summer once my precious tweeny teens were shuttled back to their dad’s house. When I get to see them, the last thing I want to do is clean house together. So it’s…a little primitive just now. Nothing that CPS would think twice about, but nothing I’d want to show to company, either. And there’s nothing I love more than coming home to a shiny, clean house after vacation. Bottom line: there’s gonna be some heavy cleaning this weekend, and not a single one of us is gonna like it.

3 I actually started in with the cleaning last night after the girls and I pigged out on pasta that we said we weren’t hungry for, but then tucked in like it was our last meal. But – I digress. I cleaned. I ran three loads of laundry (and that was just a dent). I still need to do towels and beach stuff and blankets, blankets, blankets. But at least knocking out all of our clothes means that we have a closet full of clean clothes from which to pick our outfits for vacation. And that’s what’s on the docket for tonight – outfit-palooza! We know how to party down on a Friday night at Casa de Katie, you guys. Don’t let anyone tell ya different!

4 Once we get our outfits picked out – which, all teasing aside, is actually kind of fun – we get to sit down and figure out our Mix Tape sich. I have one all planned out already, but I’m not as super psyched about it as I usually am. I mean, is it just me, or are there not really a bunch of good summer songs out this year? The few good ones have been out so long that I’m over them already, then there’s the group of songs made specifically for the tween set (thank you Chainsmokers), and then there’s…what’s left. On my CD.  So there’s that, and then there’s a Best of Vacationland mix I’m making. And then there’s a surprise theme that I’ve been thinking about off and on for a few trips, but never seem to have the time to pull together. That might happen. Again – all depends on how much I get done this weekend.

5 One outfit we usually pack every year is a dress for a tea party. It started back when my mom could still participate and was practically the same Mum we grew up with. [Sidenote: I can hear everyone protesting, and I know Mum is still Mum. But one of my coping mechanisms is thinking of Mum as Old Mum and Now Mum; making her two different people allows me to love and respect both while respectfully allowing each to have their own limitations and rules. It’s a functionality-type thing.] Mum loved having tea parties with us when we were little, and with Gracie and Bee when they were little. So we packed a dress. The past few years, we haven’t needed the dress. It takes up space. And at some point, you start wondering why you’re taking up space with something you’re not going to wear, especially if it comes with another pair of shoes. But this year, this year we’re vacationing at Lake Winnipesaukee in the middle of the week, and Rhi suggested packing a “gawdy” dress and jewelry like Gram would have worn, so we can go down the boardwalk and find a dance or bingo or some sort of Gram-approved activity. It’s perfect. I have to pack a dress.

So there you have it! Five things that have taken over my brain and won’t let up – not even with them pinned down on paper. Here’s hoping the rest of the day is kind to me because it looks like I’ll need it this weekend!

 

5 for Friday.

July 14, 2017

Good gracious – is it really Friday? I can’t believe this week sped by so fast. Things happened.

1. Postcards for the girls arrived from Auntie Kim’s stay in Prince Edward island. They were stunning; gorgeous pictures dotted the front and Kim described such happy adventures…I was seriously tempted to steal them. In fact, I was given the idea because Kim told Bee not to let me do it! I put them down on the kitchen table for the girls to find…but I maybe placed them on the corner quite close to my bedroom door. With an idea that they might accidentally fly in through the doorway later. Then the next day my own postcard arrived! And it was a postcard packet of tea! Which means it was lovely and descriptive and delicious! I immediately placed the girls’ postcards on their placemats. All was well.

2. Speaking of Auntie Kim, this arrived in the mail this week, too:

Anne Hair

All I’m gonna say is you should maybe expect to see it again this summer when Kim is here. Mwa ha ha!

3. I told a cute story on Facebook this week, and it could be its own post, but I have another story that relates to it, so I need to re-tell it.

Bee has been enjoying quite a few sleepovers with Mama this summer. We made the delightful discovery that she’s outgrown her kicking and sleeping-sideways phase, and now can go an entire night on the other side of the bed better than anyone I’ve shared a room with. (Yes, that includes 4 different college roommates, and Auntie Kim, with the exception of Audra, my roommate junior year – she was gloriously quiet and considerate and a good egg.) Anywho, George, Bee’s pet giraffe who serves as her protector, was in my room still, and so I told Bee that I had slept with him the night before while she was at her Dad’s house.

Bee: Moooooom!!!!
Me: But I had bad dreams!

And then that night after work I went looking for George so I could take a playful picture and send it to Bee, for we are a playful family.

Bee: Aw, man! You found him?!
Me: Yeah, he fell under the bed, waaaaay under, behind some boxes, and inside a bag! Silly George!

George

And then I slept with George again. Because July is long.

4. So the story that relates: Bee came home last night and rushed into the house. “You better not have hidden George!” I teased. Well – half-teased. Bee was only staying for dinner, and then I was on my own to fend against bad dreams and PTSD. Bee kinda did the deer in the headlights thing, so I told her to go find him. “But he’s mine!” she whined. I checked for packages as we were having The Great George Debate, and thank god my Prime Day packages arrived. Know what my big splurge was? A gallon of white Elmer’s Glue! Bee has been the Glorious Slime Master this summer, so much so that I’ve refused to spend any more money on it, because glue and shaving foam adds up! (We have borax for years, thanks to Uncle Kene.) Bee has been pouring all of her allowance into the necessary items, and I lucked into my glue purchase for just $8! I have never gotten such hugs. And then George turned up pretty quickly. Huzzah for Prime Deals!

5. My cousin Hillary is reading the Dark Tower series with me and I AM SO EXCITED!! She made it six chapter in during her commute yesterday, and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her last night (the first night in a long time we haven’t chatted – I love reconnecting with cousins!), so I’m curious to see if she made it through to Tull yet. I forget exactly when the movie comes out, but I think it’s when I’m back home. I know the movie conflates the first couple books and I don’t know if Hill can make it that far, but by golly, I’m going to use every trick in my bag to try to get her there. Because adding her and Em to our movie adventure would make it so much more fun! And if I can’t bully my baby sister into reading my favorite book of all time, then I’m glad I can make someone else read it! Huzzah! And Harrumph!

And that’s just a small slice (mmm…pie) of my week. Here’s hoping for a wild and fun weekend you guys!

It’s going to be a very long month.

July 11, 2017

It’s only been three days. Wait, no – scratch that. Two days. I saw the girls the day before yesterday. But two days feels like three days; it feels a long longer than even “just” three! The girls are spending their month of summer visitation with their dad, and it feels like an eternity.

When the girls were little – those late toddler years and early school years – July was a much needed respite from broken nights of sleep and exhausted late evening hours filled with whining and bickering. I could sleep in sometimes as much as 45 whole minutes on work mornings if I didn’t need to drop the girls off at daycare, or, later, twenty minutes if I didn’t need to drop them off at Stepmom’s. I could spend evenings hanging at Crisanna’s pool, or on my own patio in a lounge chair reading a book. I could cook grown-up meals with herb-crusted chicken and asparagus or mac&cheese that didn’t involve shapes. It was a delirious month-long staycation, even though there was still work and responsibility. I still got to see Bee and Gracie for dinner two nights a week, and I still got to keep my weekends, and that was just enough time to enjoy fun summer activities, but take a break from each other so we could leap into each others’ arms and finish off the summer with gusto and renewed appreciation for one another’s company. And that’s just how it worked out.

But then this thing happened when my daughters morphed from little kids with all the trappings of early childhood (tantrums, stubbornness, grouchies, minds of their own, the Up And Down Bedtime Brigade, , vivid imaginations in the middle of the night, picky appetites…) into imaginative and delightful kids in the thick of middle childhood, and then Young Adults and burgeoning Actual People who I would be honored to call my friends. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m their mama, not their friend. I am not afraid to pull rank or put my foot down. I set the rules, and I expect them to be followed. Without fail. There are consequences for rule-breakage. And there are rewards when toes stay on the right side of the line. And for the most part, that’s how it goes, generally. I have good kids. Kids I enjoy spending time with. Kids I like watching – and discussing – movies with, or participating in readathons with, or going adventuring with. It’s fun! It’s not fun all the time, but enough of the times.

Enough of the time for me to feel it keenly this year. More this year than other years. Because my house is really empty this year. This year there is no boyfriend or boyfriend’s extremely willful kindergardner-who-acts-like-a-toddler. This year there is no puppy-dog to hang out with, or cuddle with, or talk to, or go on runs with. It was more than two years ago when I picked out the boyfriend, and more than three years ago when I adopted the puppy-dog, and that long ago the girls were still in the blossoming stages of middle childhood. Young enough that I still needed the break. Long enough ago that things were different.

And so July is passing by turtle slow. There are 90 minutes left before I’ll see the girls again and enjoy my mid-week sleepover. A week-and-a-half before my next weekend with them. Seventeen more sleeps before vacation. And after vacation, July will be over and I will have survived it for one more year! And, if my memory serves, almost immediately after that, there will some sort of incident that comes with an inevitable rock re-entry that will make me wish we were still back in July.

But that, like July, will pass. My girls will be home and all will be well.

All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

Or, so I’ve been told.

Five for Friday.

July 7, 2017

It’s been a weird, tough week. But not too tough for Five for Friday! I love my little mental colander that lets me sort out the things I can throw overboard before the weekend. We don’t need no clutter ’round here, mental or otherwise!

Let’s see what we’ve got…

1 Poor Bee is home with a fever. I got the girls for dinner last night, and Bee mentioned a headache, but that’s not necessarily out of the ordinary (though I hate the near-constant pattern, poor thing). As soon as we got home, Bee went to lie down instead of towards the kitchen for food, so I knew it was serious. I checked on her a little bit later, and as I brushed back her hair, I noticed she was approximately 390°. Okay, or maybe just 101.3°, once I checked with the thermometer. Stepmom graciously allowed Bee to stay the night with me so I could take care of my sweet baby. Her temp did go down a little with some Tylenol, and it’s gone this morning, but the headache lingered. Here’s hoping it’s not an ear infection from her swim lessons!

2 I was glad for the company because I was a little afraid of sleeping alone in the house last night. Know why? The night before, my house alarm went off in the middle of the night! Scared the pants off me! I called 911 and the cops took their sweet time – more than 10 minutes to get to the house. They didn’t see anything amiss, and all the doors and windows that I could see (I wasn’t going into rooms where the doors were closed until the cops got there) were secure, but I was still scared out of my mind. That happened at 2:30 a.m. and I never went back to bed. Every time I shut off the lights and tried to close my eyes, I broke out in a sweat and started to freak out. So nope. I didn’t necessarily want Bee to be scared like that if it happened again, but I like having another person around to help me make sense of everything. I hate being alone. I can do it, I’m tough – but I hate it.

3 Which is just one reason why I hate July so much. It’s the month the girlies go to their Dad and Stepmom’s, and I have to stay home by myself. The custody arrangement flip flops. I used to love it when the girls were toddlers and I needed a break. But now the girls are older and (usually) fun to be around and I enjoy my time off with them. The arrangement has stayed the same, regardless. I just have very different feelings about it. (And so does Bee – she begged me not to make her go, but I think that might have had everything to with the fact that she got in trouble and didn’t want to face up. She knows better though – Dad, Stepmom, and I have worked hard to be a united front, so she was marched straight back over to her dad’s. No mercy! Heh.)

4 There’s a nice big reward at the end of the month for those of us who make it through. I purchased our tickets to go home! It’s the same week we’ve gone since time out of mind – nothing ever changes in our family routine – so we’ll be vacationing the first week of August, like always, including the weekends on either sides, like always. I’m so excited, I have perpetual Kermit-arms over here!!! I can’t wait for our family cookout and to catch up with cousins and see family and friends and hear everyone talk with the right accent and have a break from this insipid heat and eat some real fish & chips… oh my god, the list is my happy place! Kim asked me what the girls were the most excited about, and I didn’t have an answer, although honest-to-god, it might be packing. HA! Prepping for and anticipating the vacation is at least half the fun!

5 I think besides catching up with my favorite people, what I am most looking forward to is our vacation-within-our-vacation. My sister Kim graciously sprang for a cabin in New Hampshire at Weirs Beach. It’s the same property (if not the same house) that my family has vacationed in since I was a little girl, and we’ve stayed there with the girls before. We have all the fun! It’s a 2-minute walk from the boardwalk, there’s a beach, arcades, mini golf, bumper cars, tiny little tourist shops, boat rides… I fell asleep last night daydreaming that we were there and having fun doing all of the things we’ll get to do in a little less than a month. And having our vacation-within-a-vacation smack dab in the middle of our trip home is so well-planned because I’m sure by then we’ll be ready to get away from my parents’ house for awhile. I love my parents, but seeing how sick my mom is…it’s harder than words could ever describe. And my dad is…well. He’s the same as he’s ever been. I sacrifice my children as buffers. (Sorry childrens.) So the vacation will break all of that up, and still give us enough time on the back side of the trip to get back in good graces with the parents and aunts after leaving for a few days. Oh! And my brother was able to take that entire week off from work, so the girls will have fun hanging out with their crazy uncle! I am really, really, really looking forward to going home!

And that is a very happy place to leave our 5 For Friday! Hopefully the fun and excitement carries me through today and spits me out the other side ready for some fun this weekend! What do YOU have planned? Anything fun?

Pop goes our 4th!

July 5, 2017

I have been dreading July this year. I miss my babies. It’s far too quiet in the house without any deranged preschoolers or stubborn boyfriends or well-intentioned, neurotic dogs. The quasi-neurotic teen/tweenagers made up for it all. Plus, they’re turning into pretty awesome people whom I adore hanging out with. That empty space is pretty spectacularly empty right now.

So I was rather ecstatic that I got to have them for a tiny part of the July 4th weekend. Huzzah for visitation night! Their dad was gracious enough to let me pick the girls up at noon instead of waiting til “after work” time, since no one was working, and so we were able to squeeze a lot of things in. And because we are who we are, we used most of that time to make food.

First, we made gooey squares (and yes, this week I’ll share the recipe). They’re basically a handmade graham cracker crumb/butter/sugar mixture, topped with melted marshmallow and melted chocolate chips. Like this:

Jul4f

After Bee had made our Gooey Squares, she and Gracie and I chopped up a quick macaroni salad and put that in the fridge to set. Then we sat down to watch the July 4th classic: Cloverfield. LOLZ. We actually weren’t planning to watch it, but Bee came over to where I was puttering around and asked if she could watch “you know, that movie about the pretend animal that shows up when they’re at a party, and destroys San Antonio – I think it’s San Antonio – and they have to try to get out?” Once I figured out she meant Cloverfield (and don’t ask me how I made the connection), I tried to get her to tell me why she thought it was San Antonio, to no avail. But we watched it and then had a ridiculously early dinner of hot dogs, chips, macaroni salad, and all the fresh fruit our plates (and tummies) could hold.

Jul4i

Then I remembered a sort-of patriotic surprise waiting for my twinkie. She’s fallen in love with West Wing, much to the delight of her mama and her aunties. To celebrate welcoming her into the fandom, Auntie Kim sent her this:

Jul4h

Complete with the name of Gracie’s future husband right there on the front. Because of course Gracie has fallen in love with Sam – he’s as optimistic and naive and rosey-eyed, and just generally wonderfully special as she is.

Once Gracie calmed down, we fireworked at home with streamers and pop-its and a low-mayhem tub o’ fun…

Jul4e

After which the girls dialed up the mayhem tuner. We were going to head to a remote parking lot near the fireworks more than 90 minutes early, complete with snacks, drinks, cards, and board games for us to keep busy. And the girls decided that turning the back of the car into a nest for us to hang out in was quite necessary. So they gathered every blanket in the house and half the pillows and made this comfy little getaway…

As you can see, we played games until the fireworks started, and then we popped the back and shut off the a/c and enjoyed more than 40 minutes of fireworks. Our little town sure knows how to put on a fireworks display!

And then we packed it all in, found flip flops and seat buckles, and tried not to hit any of the silly, silly people daring natural selection as they darted in and out of traffic while we tried to drive back home. (Not that the ride home took any years off my life or anything.)

It was a fun night for the girlies and I to enjoy each other before they’re banished back to their dad’s house for the month. Hurry up and get here, weekend – I’m ready for another fix!

5 for Friday.

June 16, 2017

Itttttt’s Friday!

Hunh. I thought just saying that would make streamers and balloons fly up everyone’s screens like on Facebook when you get a little reaction tornado.

Oh, well. Just being Friday is good enough. So what do we have going on today? Let’s see.

1. We had another incredibly fun week at Casa de Katie! Last weekend we went to the pool with one of Bee’s friends and Gracie and I sat and played Magic: The Gathering for a few hours, then we went swimming for an hour, and then the four of us cleaned out The Snack Shack of all the food. ALL of it. (Swimming is hungry work!) We were there probably half the day. It’s always fun being able to grab friends last minute and go do fun things!

2. Gracie and I have been Magicking up a storm. I ordered about 6,000 (not really) basic lands for only $10 so we can have actual multiple decks going. And Bee has started showing an interest, too, so we can all play. It’s funny – it went from Bee not-watching as we played and watched West Wing to Bee asking questions about what and why we were doing, and then Bee asking if she could be on my “team”, to holding my hand and helping me make decisions, to me being totally superfluous! And because she’s Bee, I let her.

3. I also ordered a box of baseball card sleeves so I could organize our Magic cards in binders, by color, and then by spell type. (Just like the old days!) While I was organizing them, I sat and watching the documentary “Tower”, directed by Keith Maitland, on Netflix. It’s based on the Pamela Colloff article “96 Minutes” about the 1966 shootings on the University of Texas campus, where a lunatic sniped at people from the clock tower. The film was mesmerizing and terrible, and I’ve never consciously felt so pulled in by direction choices as I sat and watched a movie – Maitland chose to tell the story in an animated format (think the kind of animation style they used to tell the story of the three brothers in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). He said animation allowed him to tell the story with so much more intimacy, and he was successful – I used the terms “mesmerizing” and “terrible” for a reason! In any case, it was very well done and I recommend it if you have an interest in true crime. The film is short, just 82 minutes, but it will feel much shorter.

4. On a much less morose note, I get to introduce Gracie’s friend Em to Bahama Mama Bucks today! Em got to come over and spend the night last night (and we had a wonderful conversation, the three of us, about boys and growing up and drinking and drugs and what junior high is like – I have great confidence that our girls are making good choices and growing up the way we want them to) and we watched Twister and somehow got on the topic of Bahama Mama’s. I think because we got Em from her dad’s house, which is almost all the way over by my work. And I told the girls that to get everyone back where they belong today – it’s everyone’s weekends at their dads’ – I would bring Em back to her dad’s house after work and then drop Gracie and Bee off at their dad’s house on the way back. And I was thinking about stopping at Bahama Mama’s and Em casually mentioned she hadn’t ever been. Well! Gracie and I maybe lost our shit and screeched and screamed and shouted and were generally ecstatic because we get to introduce Em to the deliciousness that is Bahama Mama’s. So! for the rest of today I will be drooling over their menu, changing the flavor of my snow cone from one kind of red to another!

5. The week hasn’t been without drama. (That would be too much to ask for, wouldn’t it?) On Wednesday night – late Wednesday night – Bee’s friend Tammy invited Bee to spend Thursday with her. Her mama had the day off and was going to take Tammy and her cousins and her aunt out and about and have a fun day, and Tammy got to pick a friend to come along. I talked to Tammy’s mom (who is a dear heart – I got a giant hug at Bee’s party when she dropped T off and she just seemed like our kind of people) and it all sounded good. They were going to the Mint, and then to the arcades, and maybe to Tammy’s aunt’s apartment to go swimming in their pool. All Bee would need was money for the gift shop at the Mint, and a bathing suit in case they went swimming. I loaded Bee up and off they went! Tammy’s mom asked what time she needed to be back, and I said 8:30. I know they were planning on stuffing a lot into the day, but that would give me time to get Bee wound back down before bed, and hey – I still had work the next morning! I couldn’t sleep in like the kids! Keep in mind I had this conversation at lunch time when she was picking the kids up. So Bee went off with her friend, Gracie went to Top Golf with her step-sister and niece, and I was monitoring everything from work. Gracie missed curfew coming home and I was annoyed about that (see: teaching lessons about time management), but that kind of got lost in the shuffle of the drama around Bee. Tammy’s mom called to ask (and Bee texted to ask too) if Bee could stay out until 9 because they were headed to go swim and they wanted to stay at least an hour. It was against my judgement because I knew they were going to be late if they hadn’t even hit the pool yet, but I said yes. I don’t do well with peer pressure when it comes to Bee and her friends. She didn’t make her group of really good friends until much later in elementary school and so I feel like the kid is playing catch up and I need to do my part. So I said yes. And sure enough, ten minutes before she was supposed to be home, she texted to say she was leaving. And then Tammy’s mom called to say she knew they were going to be late, but could they stop for a pizza on the way to put some food in the kids bellies after swimming. Uh – no!!!!! I told her again that I really had to get into bed, because I had to go into work early, and she could stop for pizza after she dropped off Bee. Bee would live with cereal or a sandwich from home. I know Tammy’s mom was taken aback by my answer, but I was taken aback by how cavalier she was with my curfew, especially since it was the first time she took my kid out. Bee walked in the door 30+ minutes late. She had a blast and kept telling me about all the fun things, but she knew that she wasn’t gonna get to do them again. Tammy is more than welcome to come with us anywhere we go – but no more weekday wanderings for Bee and Tammy’s mama. That’s an important lesson to learn too.

Wow, that was a lot longer than I meant for it to be! Sometimes a story just spills out, once you start writing the words on the page. I hope you all have fun stories to live out this weekend! I can’t wait to hear all about them, come Monday!

Once more with fashion – I mean, feeling!

June 13, 2017

This past weekend the girls and stopped at the mall because I wanted to look in “some geeky-type stores” for some Magic cards – specifically, some lands, so the three of us could play together. Except on our way towards ThinkGeek, we happened across a shirt that Gracie liked that had some honest-to-god colors besides black and grey in it. And since it was a Fashion Week Miracle (and because the tank was $5), I let her buy it.

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And then, because she had pulled off one miracle, when the Gracie-girl asked to stop in Papaya to look at some more shirts, and because the Bee-girl didn’t mind, I said okay. And then we found Gracie a few more church outfits, which just happened to be on her list of Things Needed.

How cute are those outfits?! I love how soft those gauzy shorts are! We got both pairs of shorts (the jean ones she already owned), the three tops, and another under-tank for less than $50. So – win!! And Gracie got to play Fashion Show, Fashion Show, Fashion Show At Lunch!, which is, like, her favorite game. So – double win!

Oh, and because I was a nitwit who didn’t think to include a picture of Bee’s earrings from yesterday (the ones that I successfully used to bribe her into getting her ears re-re-pierced)…

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That’s what made her so cuckoo for cocoa puffs! I just hope her dang ears stay pierced this time!

Do my kids know how to bend me to their will, or what?

Re-Re-Pierced!

June 12, 2017

If I had to guess which of my girlies would have problematic ears, I would not have guessed Bee-girl. She is my girly-girl; the one who enjoys jewelry and frills and dressing up in high fashion. She is not the tomboy who shuns all bling.

And yet.

The first time I had to bring Bee to get her ears re-pierced, it was because the earring had sunken into her ear, we had to perform minor surgery at home to get it out, and then we had to let her ear close because of a giant hole. That takes a lot out of a mama. But the second time went a lot smoother than the first time (perhaps because she wasn’t at the horrid daycare that allowed kids to rip out Bee’s earrings four separate times!) and I thought we were home free.

Heaven knows why I’d think something so silly. Not in my house when nothing ever goes smoothly!

Apparently my girly-girl hasn’t been wearing earrings. I know she had a pair on at Christmas, because I bought them special, and all three of us had on our matching pairs. After that…uh… who knows? Bee somehow stayed away from the bling, until about a month or two ago when I tried to get her to wear a pair with a particular outfit. Except the earrings…well, they didn’t quite fit. And by fit, I mean the posts didn’t want to go through all the way. They fell just the tiniest little bit short. I felt like I could push the posts through and everything would be A-OK, but Bee, she felt like that was not the best plan. And every time I tried doing it anyway, she shrieked just a little too loud. So I stopped trying.

Instead, I suggested getting her ears professionally pierced. Again. But Bee didn’t want to. She didn’t want to pierce her ears at all. I couldn’t see her going through life as a fashionista without pierced ears, but I didn’t want to push the issue too much. So I bided by her wishes.

And then yesterday – we were at the mall t look at one thing, and we cut through Penney’s…where some shirts caught Gracie’s eye. And then some earrings caught Bee’s eye. “So if I got my ears pierced, I could wear these in a month?” she asked. They were gold posts with round beach-ball-type dangly bits. “Of course you can!” I answered, surprised. Thank god the earrings were only $10. Before she could change her mind, I rushed Bee to Claire’s and we waited in a long and obnoxious line. This was happening!

Before you knew it, she was done. And we got a 20% off coupon, too! Which came in handy after we picked up alllll the Christmas gifts.

tl;dr – Bee has sparkly new earrings for the next 4 weeks. And then after that, she’ll have different earrings every day, hopefully forever. Third time’s the charm! (Please god!)

Pierced

5 for Friday.

June 9, 2017

The first week of Summer Vacation is in the books! The girls are enjoying themselves immensely. They’ve completed their chore cards every day but one – and then when they lost their phones for the evening, they were pretty quick to complete their chore cards the next day! Don’t worry too much – there’s plenty of time for fun and hijinx after chores. Let’s see what we’ve been up to! (Uh, otherwise known as “What’s. Your. Evidence? Heh.)

1. Bee’s been making her own fun, just like a curious, fun-loving, independent 11-year-old outta! Every night when I walk in, I ask how their day was, and I get stories stories stories like the girls are going to pop if they don’t tell me everything as fast as they can. So I was surprised when I looked over at the bookshelf the other night and saw this:

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Isn’t that the prettiest sand art? I love the shape of the middle one best, and the colors in the one on the right would look perfect in my office. [Fun fact: 3/4 of my office is decorated with art designed by Bee-girl.] The sand art kit is something Bee got for Christmas – Santa knows how much we love crafts and crafting at my house – and I had forgotten all about it. But apparently Bee went excavating in her closet or among the shelves in the front room and found it…and then made pretty, pretty sand art without asking for help or, you know, telling anyone. I adore how independent my girls are becoming! They will make excellent grown-up!

2. That is, if I don’t kill them first. I am slimed out, you guys. No mas! NO MAS! The slime fascination started a year ago. I thought it would, by now, have abated, but no. Not my kids. My kids hang the hell on when they sink their teeth into something. Consequently, my kitchen counter looks like this:

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Seven containers of slime. SEVEN. And it’s only “neatly” gathered because I snapped at them to do it. There was slime here, there, and everywhere, and I was seriously about to pitch it all. I love that my nerdlings know how to science slime out of borax, glue, lotion, markers, shampoo, and thin air (okay, maybe not that last one), but I’m about done with it. D-O-N-E, done.

3. I think I unleashed some sort of unstoppable force from a corked bottle, you guys, and the undo button doesn’t seem to be working. Trust me, I’ve been Ctrl-Z-ing that sucker all week and, yep, not working. See, I found a shoebox of Magic: The Gathering cards, and I thought, Oh, hey! Wouldn’t it be cool if I taught Gracie and Bee? Bee wanted nothing to do with it, but Gracie…hoo boy. First, she loves organization. She was an ace at helping me to sort color, and then sort by category – creatures, enchantments, sorcerys, interrupts, instants. Then I made a few decks (nothing fancy because I didn’t have many cards) and taught her all the moves. Which wasn’t easy because Magic has a lot of details and moving parts. But Gracie’s whip-smart and picked it up and OHMYGODYOUGUYS. I wasn’t in the door five seconds before she was all, “Do you want to play some Magic?” I’ve created a monster. A very cute monster, but still…Summer4

4. My other bit of mad genius this week involves the television – which may be why Gracie is enthralled. I’ve been trying to get the girls to watch West Wing for AGES. Seriously. I just don’t know why Gracie won’t give it a shot! I got her into Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Lie to Me, Christy, Dr. Quinn (okay, guys, they were much younger and needed a family show!), and my sisters got them into Once Upon a Time, Vampire Diaries, and who knows what else! The point is that she should trust me and give it a shot. But no luck. Until…I maybe thought to bribe her with extra sleep time. I told her she could push back her wake-up time by an hour if she watched an episode of West Wing. That worked so quickly I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before! After that episode, I told her she could shorten her reading time from one hour to thirty minutes if she watched another one. Success! And then…she was hooked. We’ve been watching as we play Magic every night for an hour or two. It helps that she’s in love with Sam Seaborn, but I’ll take whatever I can get!

5. Of course Gracie and I were playing Magic and watching West Wing last night just after dinner. She wanted to get in a game and an episode before I dropped her and Bee off at Stepmom’s last night. We were in a time crunch, trying to finish all the things, and I needed to change my clothes. So I asked Bee to go get me a t-shirt. (I was in a work shirt that was not going to be going-out-to-Target appropriate.) Bee was gone a long time, and then came out with jewelry. “These are going to be you accessories…” and I saw what she had and my brow crinkled. Huh? Turns out Bee thought I was asking her to create an outfit for me for work! I saw what she had picked out: jeans and a t-shirt and a necklace and earrings. I wouldn’t have thought to put any of it together, but then again, I don’t have a single fashion gene in my body! I told Bee I was going to wear her outfit today and I did:

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The t-shirt was too casual for work, but with black peep-toe heels and flashy jewelry, it work! The cardigan…I wasn’t too sure about that. I’m still not too sure! But I did it anyway.

So what do you guys thing? Does my outfit work today? Is the cardigan knot ridiculous? Isn’t our week of summer fun the absolute best?! I’m pretty proud of it. And of all the fun my girls had. It was a good mix of responsibilities and free time. (Though I’m sure the girls would disagree.) How do you guys regulate summer time for your kids?

Tell me in the comments. And make sure you have a fabulous Friday and wonderful weekend!