Archive for the ‘Blessed and possessed’ Category

The Easter Bunny has risen!

April 22, 2019

…and he left much chocolate.

Easter was a bit different this year. My two very grown-up childrens decided they were too old to color eggs. They were too old for Easter baskets. They were too old for staged photos (pffffft). And since I have to pick and choose my battles…and maybe because I didn’t want to crawl all through the attic looking for Easter baskets…I decided to let them have their way.

We were still doing Easter – just a more “grown up” Easter.

I decided it was time to start a new tradition: we would volunteer our time and help with service work. It is, after all, what Jesus would do. (That may or may not have been yelled at the girls when they were being whiny.)

So I found a service work through one of the missions nearby where we could help Sunday morning. I was picturing helping with a meal line of some sort, but it so happens that most of those places have a minimum age requirement. The one I finally found was willing to take our minor-aged teenagers and give us some work we could do: sorting through goods that had been donated.

So, Sunday morning we moan and groan at our waaaay too early get-up time, and keep pushing it back further and further. Finally it was so late that I had to call to warn them we’d be just a leeeetle bit late. I’m glad I did because the woman who was supposed to meet us had called in sick. Which is kind of a pain, but it turned into even more of a to-do because the woman who was called in to run the place in her stead had no idea we were coming, or what the lady was going to have us do. So our grand idea to give of ourselves ended in a big kerplunk. Not the Easter tradition I had in mind.

We tried to manage. The girls enjoyed their Easter “baskets” –

Bee-girl, my resistant reader, was the first one to find a book from the Easter Bunny this year – an American Sign Language book. She’s been pouring over it ever since! Gracie got the sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. And I got….well, quite a few. Let’s see, my favorite is Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage. I also got Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay; Karen McManus’ One of Us Is Lying (Gracie has an eye on that, too); and Jeff Zentner’s Goodbye Days. Sooooo many good books! EB must have gotten a good deal at Half Price Books or something. Heh.

That afternoon, the girls and I got all dolled up to go to a nice restaurant as a treat. I picked Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse because it has steak so good it melts in your mouth, and enough seafood to keep Bee happy.

It was fun teaching the girls how to eat at a fancy restaurant, and the waitress we had was very cool with them (she told me later, during an aside, that she has a young daughter and has been thinking a lot about the teenage years, so that was why). It was just a fun time to eat food that was the best ever – we were all ready to pop! when we left!! The restaurant itself was gorgeous! And the service was impeccable. Gracie, especially, was crazily impressed by all the elegance. That’s her speed for sure! And me being me, I told her to keep doing well in school and that could be her everyday! (But I hope she remembers the service work, too.)

After our early dinner, we drove to Barnes & Noble to get a book Gracie needed. She and a friend went to see the movie After on Thursday night, and Gracie discovered it was not only based on a book, but that it was a series! And when we went into the bookstore…well…we sort of accidentally bought nine more books. Because it’s Easter! The book holiday!! We got The Librarian of Auschwitz (I picked it up, Gracie called second dibs); Interment by the brilliant Samira Ahmed; Gracie picked up Sadie (and I called second dibs); I picked up The Language of Kindness; Gracie picked up The Lost; anAt d I finally picked up The Woman in the Window. We couldn’t help ourselves!

It was a wonderful Easter, even if the morning didn’t go as planned. So many adventures at Casa de Katie don’t! But it’s okay. We take them as they come, because we are family!!



Step forth, Worthy Opponent!

April 9, 2019

I have always loved board games. When we were little, Mum would play Mothers’ Helper, Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry-o!, Trouble (though she never liked the noisy ones), Candyland – all the basic board games that teach little kids important lessons.

When we got a bit older, the lessons we learned from board games seemed to be more along the lines of how to sharpen our negotiating skills. Like, my sister would play Hotels, Price Is Right, and three rounds of Life if I’d play one game of Othello with her. (I haaaaated that game!)

Sometimes games were the main event that we gathered around: I remember massive rounds of Scat, Uno, or Spoons played with our entire extended family. One year there was very nearly a formal Ex-Communication that went down because Uncle Teddy snuck back into the camper to get another spoon, thwarting the “point” of the game. But who didn’t notice it was yellow instead of white?! Really.

Then games became something to do while we were watching tv and talking; something to keep our minds busy because who can just sit and watch TV by itself? My mind races and the rest of me gets fidgety. So when my sister Kim would visit, we’d play cards or Rummikub, or a massive marathon of Sorry (for which we may or may not have hash marks scored into the lid of the box). And sometimes we’d play Boggle.

Boggle was one of our favorites. So much so that we made up our own set of rules. Astonishingly (not really), our rules pretty much centered around one golden rule: If you can argue your case successfully, you get points for the word. Like “ho”, “ho-ho”, and “Ho Ho Ho!” are accepted, but “Hohohoho” is not. Thems the brakes, kiddo. Another rule: there are no timers. Timers are for silly out-of-the-box rules followers. Our way was once you stopped finding words and you gave up, the other player had a grace period, and then everyone compared lists.

I was trying to explain all of this to Gracie last night. She’s been asking to play games, more, as we sit and watch TV, and last night I sprang Boggle at her. She knew I played it with Kim (and therefore she felt grown-up) so she was game. [See what I did there?] Out came the box, the pens, and the pieces of paper, and off we went.

Gracie did really well! She found a lot of the smaller words I missed in my excitement at finding longer words and – of course – the dirty words. I thought she might win by serving me a death of a thousand paper cuts! But I pulled through. Gracie was sad – poor pitiful penguin! – but I’m hoping the addiction grabbed hold and she’ll feel the need to avenge her honor.

Your move, Gracie-guts! Your move.

Because Easter is chirping around the corner…

April 8, 2019

Ladies, gents, chicka-dees, chica-doodles, and every beautiful creature in between: WE HAVE EASTER DRESSES! I’m beaming ear-to-ear in that exhausted-but-delighted motherly way that we have. I haven’t made an announcement like that since my chickadees were little! At least, that’s how it feels.

And so, with much warmth, I present: our 2019 Easter Look!

Easter Dress

I can feeeel the girls cringing from school. They are not particularly keen on me fussing at them. Teenagers, right? But them’s the brakes as my mum would say. We have Easter plans this year for the first time in ages, and I am pretty excited about it!

I’m not quite sure what I’m wearing, but something in that color scheme. Once I figure that out, it’s on to the patio! We just need new cushions for the lounge chairs, as ours blew away in some storm this year. And the grill needs a good scouring. But then, we’ll be ready for grilled pineapple and peaches and everything delicious!

Dear Weather Gods, puleaaaaassseee go along with our plans! I can fit all of the Redheads in the house with the girlies, and Corrie and I can catch-up anywhere. But egg-hunting in 25 square feet? Yeah, no thank you! The girls will be actually climbing the curtains.

And those dresses will look SOOOO much cuter poppin’ against the green grass outside!

April Fools! Everyone step back now.

April 3, 2019

This past Monday was April Fool’s Day – I’m sure you’re all aware – and I have never been so happy to have to watch every word I said and heard, and every step I took. Unexpected pranks from the girls? YES PLEASE! Getting to prank them back? …Well, just wait.

First, I should confess that I didn’t have anything really prepared. I used to think of elaborate statements to trick people with. But I noticed over the years that whatever I said tended to bite me in my backside – most famously when I joked with my mom years ago that I was pregnant and she was going to be a grandmother! …And then two months later we were unexpectedly blessed with two pink lines on a pregnancy test. So. Yeah. I was afraid to bring any more curses down on my head just now. No job, a melted phone, lost contacts, and all other sorts of messes are quite enough, thank you.

Late Sunday night, the night before April Fools, I snuck out to the kitchen late to get a drink. As I stepped toward the sink, I heard loud crunching. I had made pasta for dinner and thought an uncooked macaroni or two (they were loud crunches!) had fallen under the mat somehow. It was only as I stepped off the mat that it hit me that they were pops more than crunches. Someone had found an entire mat’s length of bubble wrap and fitted it under there. Goofy kids!

The next morning I made sure to walk over the mat again so they could enjoy their joke, and then piled Gracie into the car for school (Bee was sick and stayed home).

I thought that was it. It seemed to be it! Nothing much happened, Bee didn’t say anything all day, just kinda laid on the couch. It wasn’t until late afternoon when I decided to forage some lunch that I found this:


Those little foam stickers with the peel-able backs that my kids loved as toddlers? They  were e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. In drawers, in containers, on the door. I found one on an egg! It was insane!!

But you know what? Dear Readers, I was delighted! My heart grew three sizes as I laughed and Bee jumped up and shouted “I didn’t think you were EVER going to look in there!” It was funny and lovely and the April Fools-iest!…and it meant that things really were back to us. The real us. The us we used to have. My girls not only cared enough to include me, but they went all in! Gracie later told me that she, the girl who has a whole hour’s worth of snoozes because she can’t get out of bed, got up at 5 a.m.! An entire hour earlier than usual! Just to sticker up the fridge to make sure they tricked me good.

The fun didn’t stop there! I had to get back at my Not-So-Littles!

Sooooo, I took the massive set of cards that we had combined to play a MASSIVE game of War – I’m talking about 9 or 10 decks of cards here – and absolutely filled the bottom of Gracie’s bed, so when she climbed into bed later, she would sink her feet into a horde of cards. Hee hee hee! Bee’s bed got four bananas that were past ripe (but not leaking – I checked). I stuck those in her bed, too.

Only that didn’t go as planned, because after I had set my traps, I opened the door when it was time to get Gracie, and found this:


That stinker had stealth bombed me while I was working on my laptop! I can’t believe I didn’t hear a thing!

After I finished laughing and wiped away the tears that hysteria brought on, I told Bee to pick up the bananas. Well, and the pens. She asked if she could put the bananas is Gracie’s bed. What the heck, I figured. It’s a day of pranks. And pretty harmless.

Lord, child, GUESS who was an absolute crabby-gus when she got home after the UIL concert that was right after school? She sort of had a point – it was 9pm and she had just finished eating and it had been a 16-hour day. So I kind of got throwing 09384530984 cards out into the living room. But maybe not the scathing words and histrionics as she flung the bananas into her sister’s room. (Maybe saying she chucked them at her sister’s head would be more accurate.) I reminded Gracie what day it was and that no one else had reacted that way. And just because she was tired, she didn’t get to act the way she did, especially since she had pranked us too.

It wasn’t a fun end to the day, but Gracie ended up making fun of herself the next morning on the way to school and re-enacted how she had reacted. At least my girl knows how to apologize, and there was laughter at the very end of everything.

Teenagery stuff aside, it really was an awesome day. I love being a tribe again with my girls. We’ll always be the best Casa de Katie family there ever was!


The kind of walls that don’t make me break out in hives.

February 26, 2019

Gracie has been busy trying to decide how to redecorate her bedroom walls. It’s something we discuss pretty frequently – and usually the word “wall” has me reacting rather violently these days, but not Gracie’s.

Gracie’s is pretty freaking awesome, is it not?


Those are tiny, tiny Polaroid look-alikes. She printed about eight to a page, cut them all out by hand (now that’s dedication!), and stuck them in with wooden push pins that she got for Christmas.

Now that’s a wall I could get behind!

Here a flu, there a flu, everywhere a flu flu.

February 12, 2019

To no one’s surprise: now Bee-girl has the flu.

Gracie went back to school last Friday, and while she was still congested this weekend, it was nothing like last week, and we all had a really fun weekend, actually. We behaved ourselves, didn’t outdo it, went to bed at respectable times. Gracie had a minor set-back, a bit of a tummy issue on Sunday morning – either from going at it hard on Saturday, cleaning and then knick-knack shopping (as one does) with her mom all morning and afternoon, but we were good.

Then, on Monday morning, Bee woke up with a migraine and super-congested. Huh. She thought she might be able to go to school after she slept a little bit more (she starts school at 9:10 a.m. or something crazy like that, and she gets dropped off at her dad’s at 6:45 a.m.). But Stepmom texted me later to say Bee was still migraine-y, yes they had DayQuil (I’d asked), and she’d make sure Bee took it (the DayQuil).

When I picked up Bee after work, she looked terrible. I felt her forehead and it didn’t feel that bad. But she said she was laying right under the air-conditioning. When she said that, I felt her forehead two red-lights later and yep – she was burning up.

I checked Bee in to the after-care clinic because the least shocking cliffhanger in our lives at that moment was whether or not Bee had the flu. But because the doctor was going to ask, I checked to see when Bee had last had DayQuil. Bee was in and out of it and she’s not the most reliable witness even when she’s awake. Stepmom said the DayQuil had been on the counter, she wasn’t sure when/if Bee had any. Right.

Three hours later, we had a positive flu diagnosis, a mom crying because she was never going to make it to work in the next century. Therapy buddies who wouldn’t stop texting. A sick child who kept throwing up her flu meds. And no Gatorade because…because life is just HARD sometimes for people who have roofs over their heads and food in their bellies and money to buy gas and stuff. Geez, Katie.

Flu2So this morning I would have brought my eldest daughter to school, but she left her school things at her dad’s because, as she points out, when she brings everything home, I ask why she lugs everything back and forth, and when she doesn’t have it, I ask why she leaves everything at her dad’s. Fair point, eldest child. At least everyone kept a level head because we all know we’re exhausted and tired of everyone having the flu.

Flu1I’ll traipse back out to the store for more red Gatorade, lotion-y tissues, and Chapstick later. Meanwhile, Bee and I both slept in (I went back to bed after I came home). I was up for half the night checking on her fever. Oh! Bee got up at one point, completely delirious, looking for ice to make a cold compress…only she was looking for ice in the tupperware cabinet. And her words didn’t all go together, but I figured out what she wanted. It was a tough night.

Flu3bIt all reminds me of when Bee had the flu the last time, when she was – what, six? – and she had the same reaction to the flu meds, but I made the mistake of letting her mix it with ketchup. Rookie mistake. This time I went straight to a Hershey syrup concoction, mixing it in a shot glass. It’s been a morning for me, between the shot glasses of Tamiflu and chocolate syrup, and making jello in my day-drinking mug. Maybe I’ll lace up and go for a run. Heh. That’ll complete the flashback.

But I can’t do that until Bee-girl gets things under control. Her fever is still hovering near 103° and she was so dizzy and sleepy during her last meds time that she couldn’t stand up. If she’s like that at 3p, I’m taking her to the ER. Mama loves getting voluntary hugs and cuddles, but when your 12-year-old is clinging to you and hugging you listlessly, like the heaviest toddler there ever was, something is wrong.


One thing’s for sure though: I am going to have the flu next week. But who’s going to come take care of me?

The reading hour idea that wasn’t even mine.

February 6, 2019

Maybe you do or maybe you don’t know, but the past couple of years, Reading Hour at my house has been met with some boos.

What is Reading Hour, you may ask?

Reading Hour was the idea I started when the girls were really little – 3 and 5 maybe? because I think think that’s how old they were when I started Harry Potter – during which I would (you’ll never guess) read to the girls for thirty minutes. Aaaah, see? tricked you there! The girls would sit on the floor, chair, me, whatever’s available, and I read to them for 30 minutes. There were not phones to distract them (or me) and no laptops, etc. They had to listen.

We’ve read some amazing books over the years – the entire Harry Potter series, Bunnicula, Little House on the Prairie, Ready Player One, The Hate U Give… I’m sure tehre are so many more. There are nights they complained, but they got through it. And as for me – that mad magical thirty minutes was what I lived for!

The past year or two, the complaints have skyrocketed. We fell out of practice, and when I remembered, the girls didn’t want to be bothered. And dang they’re vocal. It wasn’t a battle I wanted to die fighting for, so I gave it up.

Until I got my clarity back.

The girls were still adamant about not wanting to have to listen to a book for thirty minutes. I was adamant that they needed to. They might not know it, but we are desperate for some family time. Game night and pizza on Friday nights is one thing. Coming together to read for just 30 minutes a night – that’s something else altogether. It was important to me. We were at an impasse I was about to use my veto on.

Until The Flu-ish One resolved the issue. We were sitting at the doc-in-the-box. She was thinking; I was busy fuming over how long they were making us wait. Two hours in the waiting room, an hour in her room before the doctor saw her… I needed to recenter myself while still rather stuck with The Flu-One.

And then Gracie spoke.

(Well…whispered. Because: throat)

“What if instead of reading one book, we all ready our own books?” she asked.

“How would I know everyone was really reading?” I asked, “instead of getting distracted by socks, fiddly pages, and dust motes.” cough:Bee Hey, I was just thinking what we were alllll thinking!

“You could ask us to read a sentence after some time had passed and see if we had really turned pages,” Gracie added.

Hmmm. She had something there. If I did sentence checks every so often, I could check in to make sure the girls were reading their books. And it wouldn’t matter how slow or fast someone read, they could all go at their own paces, so long as they were making progress and not messing around. At the end of our 30 minutes, we could all give a summary of what we read. That way, we would have the benefit of all the books! It might not be the same as making the girls read(hear) stories I absolutely needed them to read and knew they wouldn’t get to on their own, but it was a good compromise.

Sunday night, I pitched the idea for our new and improved Reading Hour. It went over REALLY, really well! Bee asked, “Do graphic novels count?” worried, I’m sure, that her books wouldn’t be “approved.” “Of course!,” I told her. “When have I ever not let you read graphic novels?” She beamed. “Even audiobooks!” I added. “…so long as you don’t fall asleep!” Everyone laughed.

So it sounds like we’re all in agreement! As soon as The Flu-ish One gets over herself, we’ll acquire our books and begin. NEW ADVENTURES! Let’s gooooooooo!

Feelin’ hot.

February 5, 2019

Hoo, boy! A coupla situations to talk about!

Situation the First: Yes, thank you baby jeebus in heaven! Another ring!! Our Superbowl party was a little dampened – Gracie-girl came home sick from her dad’s house with a 101° fever and the crud. She was sneezin’ and coughin’ and generally contaminating the fun, so we quarantine her to the couch.


But that’s okay, because she still won the 3rd and 4th quarters in the family pool for quite a bit of money. I took home the 2nd quarter pot (and then handed it right back over to two unnamed cretins for this week’s allowance), and Bee won the 1st quarter. So everyone was at least a little happy. And we were all a LOT happy pretty damn ducking excitedthrilled! with the outcome! It wasn’t what anyone expected, but even though it was a low-scoring affair, and everyone else seemed bored to tears with it, I enjoyed watching the defensive dance! Quite brilliant.

Situation the Second: Of course, immediately after the game, it comes up in conversation that Gracie had been sick since Friday – well, that part I knew – but that she had a 104° fever on Saturday night.

Yeah. Exactly. Of course, it was exactly 9:13 when we had this conversation and the doc-in-the-box clinic had closed at 9 p.m., so it was either the emergency room, or wait til Monday morning. Her fever had held stead at about 101 since she got home, and said that’s where it was all day, so we waited. I gave her a breathing treatment with my nebulizer, loaded her with cold meds since she hadn’t had anything but Tylenol all weekend, and made her promise to wake me up if she felt worse.

On Monday, we didn’t finish with doctor visits, breathing treatments, and one giant CVS stay until after 2-freakin’-p.m. But we were given a big ol’ diagnosis of THE FLU for our trouble! Oh, yes – the flu. The doctor isn’t even sure the Tamiflu is going to work because she started it so many days after her symptoms started.

So I called in Flu to work (which I was only able to do because my coworker is just back from her own bout with it), and got The Infected settled, and scoured my house with bleach. Ick.


Yeah, I might end up coming down with my own dose of the flu now, in spite of our flu shots, but if I do I rest assured that my sixth Superbowl ring will be on a very particular finger, sticking straight up in the flu’s face!

Quote of the day.

January 28, 2019

Ooh, that Bee-girl! She’s at it again, leaving me in stitches!

Setting the scene: We had Christmas late, as I might have mentioned. And during said Christmas, I received this llama mug from the girls…


Isn’t it awesome?! Okay, so there we go. Annnnd scene.

Me: Man, I really don’t want to put away this mug with our Christmas stuff. Girls, what do you think – is this a Christmas mug, or an everyday mug?

Girls: An EVERYDAY mug!!!!

Me: Are you sure? There’s a lot of snow in this picture. That makes it Christmas-y. Especially here. (Sad panda. Er…llama.)

Bee: Well, you could say those snowflakes are just paint splatters! ….Or blood.

While I’m dying of laughter (BWAH HA HA HAHAHA HA!  Blood??!! Seriously, girl?! Too much!!), Gracie finishes perfectly with…

Gracie: Dexter would approve.

She is too much! They both are. And they’re mine, all mine, so just stay away. Good gravy.

Well, me and my, um, MurderLlama are going to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Have a great Monday, everyone!

The point isn’t that I would have done it anyway.

November 12, 2018

We are morning routine rockstars. Okay, yes, we might yell across the house, snip, and second-guess each other along the way, but the lot of us is up for 30 minutes before we’re BOOM! out the door.

We self-police, for the most part.

For. the. most. part.

I’ll admit: I’ve been the squeaky wheel lately. There was one morning my alarm didn’t go off and the girls had to get me up. (I got ready in 11 minutes that day!) And more than a few days I’ve been scrambling at the end of our usual routine. Looking for my coffee cup. Going back for a chapstick. Trying to find my keys. You know – morning stuff that I used to be immune to.

But this morning, this morning was not my fault. It was cold, I mean, really frosty, for the first time this year. 22° outside. Not too shabby, right? So I was looking for my winter coat. I made sure the girls had on shoes (not flip flops, Bee); and pants, not shorts (Gracie, tennis isn’t that hot, I don’t care you have pants at Dad’s); and jackets for everyone. Because what if the car breaks down? What if you don’t have a jacket at Dad’s? And it wasn’t going to warm up during the day, finally.

Everyone had a coat. Everyone but me. Which was odd, because I had just had my winter coat not that long ago. I had brought it with me somewhere, just in case. So I knew I had it. But it wasn’t on the coat rack, or in my closet where my coats go, or in the old place in my closet where coats used to go, or on the vacuum in the laundry room where coats tend to end up when I come in from the garage. Finally, after my third sweep, I saw what time it was and I gave up. I tramped out to the car in defeat. And when I got there?


Guess what? Found my coat.

On my kid.

Her winter coat was at – you guessed it – her dad’s house. And the point isn’t that I would have let her wear my nice, good, heavy pea coat if she asked. Especially if she didn’t have a coat that fit or one with her. I like that we share some of the same sizes and that she likes my crap. The point is more that she SHOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING. Like, I don’t know, maybe, “HEY, I HAVE YOU COAT”?!

And that was the story of how yes, I made us late this morning, but really it wasn’t my fault.