Archive for the ‘The people who keep me sane’ Category

My best of times, worst of times Mother’s Day.

May 15, 2017

Mother’s Day is never an easy day for me.

I’m filled with gratitude for this amazing village that surrounds me, helping me to be the best me – as they step in to designate hit for me when needed – and helping to raise my girlies for me. I have great sisters (birth sisters and accumulated sisters), cousins, friends, and the best dang stepmom I could have dreamed of. So many people help keep us upright and I am blessed!

But even with all of that happy, there’s the reality of my own mom. Mother’s Day goes in both directions. And my mom is…not how I remember my mom. But I still need to honor Mom as she is. I called her and let her talk for as long as she could. I talked to her about what was going on with us, and she didn’t have much to add from her end. But I know it meant a lot to her to hear from us. Kim and Rhi were there, so I felt like I was, too. Talking – even when she’s obviously having a bad spell – is good for her.

But it wrecked me. Seeing Mom be Not-Mom is always a gutpunch. On Mother’s Day, even more so.

So.

But let’s rewind. The girls and I were having an epic, wonderful weekend. We had a dance party on Friday night, and then after we wore ourselves out with wii-dancing, we played board games and talked and talked and talked. Everyone got along and it was great!

Saturday was the same. The girls went on errands with me without complaining, we went summer clothes shopping for Gracie (who has outgrown all of her clothes since spring), and Bee found a thing or two. She had more that she had picked out, but when I would point out that they wanted $20 for a tank top, she decided herself that it was ridiculous. Watching her carefully weight wants and needs, and the spending of my money, it was glorious!

After shopping, Bee knocked out her project and did it with minimal fuss. Gracie ran out grocery shopping with me, like she does, and I only had minimal grumbling when I made her. She put away the groceries when I got back while I helped Bee finish her project. Bee even wielded the hot glue gun all by herself! And the project was AMAZING:

Bee made the house and lined up the cotton and grapes. It was my idea to do a beginning, middle, and end slide on a rolling paper background, wrapped around two pencils to wind and unwind the paper scenes. (I am so frickin proud of my idea to mount the pencils on push pins that I super-glued to the base. The pencils went onto the push pins with the eraser. That way the bottom was attached firmly, but the pencils could still twirl. Genius, right?!) And then Saturday night the girls kept asking to do something as a family! Something as a family! Please? So we watched movies and had make-up tutorials that we re-enacted on ourselves. Don’t ask me how late I let them stay up! Because they weren’t arguing and we were having fun all together.

And then actual Mother’s Day showed up. Bee decorated all my usual seats with scarves, to make it fancy. The girls got ready for church and gave me a million hugs and told me how much they loved me. It was lovely.

After church, they came home and we opened cards and…no gifts. The cards were nice – don’t get me wrong! But – and here’s where I feel like a horrible person who’s a little materialistic, but let me explain how it’s not – I know I shouldn’t take how my Ex sees my value as a mom by him helping the girls get me a gift for Mother’s Day, but I do. I know he appreciates me – we get along so much better now and we’re honest to god friends, like I was at one point afraid we never would be. I’m close with his new wife, the girls’ stepmom. We call ourselves sister wives! ha! But I can’t say the lack of gifts didn’t hurt a little. I felt like I wasn’t worth the effort. My sister Kim helped the girls get me something, just in case, and it was lovely. Bee picked out a season of Victoria, that she and I could bond over together. (Kim’s right – time period costuming is definitely in our future!) And Gracie got me a bouquet of roses that she arranged.

But, after Gracie arranged the flowers and I got big hugs after church….everything went downhill in a hurry. The girls bickered all afternoon. They entrenched themselves in the living room and turned into zombies, playing Minecraft. I had to do laundry. I had to load the dishwasher. No one wanted to do anything fun with me. My afternoon of watching Victoria wasn’t realized. They were busy. No one wanted anything to do with me. I had my heartbreaking conversation with my mom and the girls had their turns talking with her. And then they went back to…not me. Which, I could have handled in small portions. I don’t expect every single moment to be devoted to me. I just wanted some sort of acknowledgment that it was Mother’s Day and I mattered. That they liked spending time with me. Without me asking. Just one activity together. Like the rest of the weekend!

Dinner was more of the same. Bee asked if she had to make dinner. Why couldn’t I do it. (Sigh.) They watched me set the table. I finished first and rather sit and talk to them at the table while they ate, I just got up and left. I shut my door. You’d think they’d realize I was hurt. They definitely got it when I came out, hours later, and was crying. I had to clear up the leftovers. The girls went right back to Minecrafting in the same seats they had been in since they got home from church. I told them through tears how hurt I was and how they had ruined my day, since they only came to talk to me when they were complaining and tattling about their sister.

So, no. Mother’s Day wasn’t my favorite. So many things went wrong. And no one took any trouble to make it right.

I could have kept quiet. I could have just sighed and hoped next year would be better. But I decided to write about it because this is the truth of what happened. It might hurt some people’s feelings. I don’t mean it to. I just needed to write it out, to purge my hurt feelings.

And maybe things will be better.

Hidden superpowers.

May 1, 2017

When I decided to steal my girlies for a roadtrip, part of me wondered how much of a good idea it would be. Granted, Gracie decided to stay home instead of going with, but even with just half of my dynamic duo, was a five-hour road trip so soon after their trip to Houston (and Galveston) really a smart idea? Could they handle another mega-car ride so soon after the first?

Turns out, my Bee-girl has a hidden superpower or two that she didn’t tell me about. And turnpikin’ is one of ’em.

SATe

After a tasty, tasty pancake-and-egg breakfast, the three of us girls hit the road, armed with mix CDs, fully charged phones, half-baked directions, and all manner of stories we needed to catch up on. And even though we ran into a minor delay at a PlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed because of a CrisisThatShallNotBeHintedAt, we still made incredibly good time, racing into the city well before rush hour.

And that was including the 30-minute lunch break we took to introduce Auntie Kim to Buc-ee’s, the world’s largest rest stops. I really wish I had’ve had my camera ready for that, you guys. Her. face. Priceless! I understand; we have gas stations smaller than the restrooms alone. The place is just massive. But so clean and rather addictive, and conveniently halfway between our house and the party hotel. Even with our pit stop, we still rolled into San Antonio early enough for dinner and some shenanigans…

Mostly we walked along the Riverwalk, scoping out places to eat and get an early cocktail. We checked out some local curiosities and stopped in a gift shop or two to peruse. We may have found Auntie Rhi (avert your eyes!) a Sully puppet, but couldn’t find a matching Dr. Quinn. Alas…

I love seeing all of the hidey-holes and different shops and museums around the Riverwalk. Some people might find it kitschy, but I love never knowing exactly what you’ll find around the next corner. Because it was Fiesta, for us it mean there was usually a parade around every corner, several times a day, complicating even matters as mundane as crossing the street. Didn’t get to Bee-girl at all, though – nothing got to her! Except maybe when we told her to go pretend to kiss the bull that just happened to be standing at the side of the road…

We finally had to show her how!

Not a bad first evening, even though we called it an early night. Kim had meetings to prepare for, and Bee and I had been go-go-going all week getting ready. A slam! game of War and half of Bee’s Easter candy while we watched mindless TV was the perfect end to what should have been a draining first day – and was, unless you were a certain 10-year-old with superpowers to brush off even the most grueling of five-hour treks across state!

 

In which all the shenanigans are afoot.

April 25, 2017

It would be a good, good week if it wasn’t so unnaturally quiet. The girls are off on a mini-vacation. Their stepmom had plans to visit her sister this past weekend in Houston, and since they were going to be in the area, Stepmom and the Ex asked if they could hold the girls out of school a few days so they could spend a few days in Galveston. They rented a condo and have gone on dolphin tours, held sandcastle competitions, and scored sunburns so bad I’m not even excited anymore that they’re going to peel. (Because: ouch!)

I miss my girls terribly, but that means I’ve had time to do some planning of my own. Because the girls will be home for one day tomorrow – a teeny, tiny day in which Gracie turns thirteen (!), and I become a mom to a teenager (!!) – and then we snag Auntie Kim from the airport and she and Bee-girl and I zoom down to San Antonio for another mini-vacation! See? SHENANIGANS!

Kim is delivering a presentation at a conference, and so the plan was for me to make the five-hour drive, steal one of the extra beds, goof off with Kim, and drive back, all refreshed. Corrie was going to come with, which would be handy when dealing with all of the driving directions (I still haven’t gotten my glasses fixed), and also the tedium of a five-hour drive, but she’s out of town on two separate week-long work trips this month, and she’d rather not get kicked out of her house. So rather last minute, Kim and I arrived at – what if the girls came?

It’s terrible timing. Missing almost a week of school? Unheard of! We don’t do that! But, as my Ex put it: it’s not every day your daughter turns 13! And I’m not going to have many opportunities for a “free” vacation. Bee could bunk with me in my bed, and we could grab a cot for Gracie. It’d work out great! Also, Gracie’s an excellent navigator! So I took a deep breath and checked with their dad to see if he’d wig out if I pulled them from school and got the green light. Only one problem: Gracie didn’t wanna go.

See, she’s a regional finalist for the Big Idea competition. She proposed a health-based community center/retail shop for diabetics – one stop shopping where they could buy groceries, get recipes, get a check-up, work out with the supervision of health professionals, and find a “village” of other people with the same health issues. Because Gracie’s the oldest, and because she was only 4 years old when her dad and I separated, she’s known for a long time about what living with diabetes means. I used to drill her about what to do if she and Bee were alone with their dad and he had a hypoglycemic seizure or he wouldn’t wake up or was acting confused. She’s channeled all of that into an interesting health center – she even thought about adding “halfway housing” for people who were recently diagnosed with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes and needed help adjusting to a drastically new lifestyle. We won’t know whose idea wins the grand prize until the awards ceremony – which is early afternoon on Saturday. And even if I could convince the district to tell me if I shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get her there, Gracie said she wanted to go either way. “It’d be a great experience!” she said. I hate when my daughter is more responsible than me.

So Gracie is staying with her dad, and Bee and I will be adventuring to San Antonio. I’ll get some one-on-one time with Bee-girl, and still have a navigator for the ride home. (This will be a big test for Bee-girl. She’s a little flighty; I hope it works out with us home safe and sound and not by way of Louisiana.) Bee is wicked excited! Kim’s colleague told us about a wicked candy shop that’s near our hotel, and Kim discovered our hotel has a heated pool on the roof. And somewhere in my texting all of that to Bee, she thought the pool was on the roof of the candy store and possibly that Kim’s conferences were in Hogsmeade?

It shall be a grand adventure, even without the literal magic. And who knows – with Bee helping me find my way back home, we might end up in the magical back alleys of England. Who knows what shenanigans we’ll fall into with that one in charge!

Still nope.

April 12, 2017

Last night I came home to an empty house. No spazz-monkey waiting for me when I walked in the door. Quiet. Just quiet.

Last night as I was shutting down the house, I moved around the kitchen on autopilot, filling Fenway’s bowls with water and food for the morning. And then it hit me that I wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t have to. No one was going to be impatient for their breakfast.

One of these days the loss won’t hit me like a soccer punch to the gut. But not today.

FenJules_2015

Fenway and Julie. This pic is all sunshine and love!

Baby, it’s cold outside…

March 14, 2017

…and if I say that it’s because the low today is 40° and we’re in serious danger of some patchy frost, my sisters and family and all of my friends just might will most definitely chuck snowballs at me with enough force for them to make it.

Because it’s blizzarding back home, with about 20 inches forecast, so what – maybe three-foot drifts? I’m trying to remember. Enough that one sister (at least) joined the milk and bread (and wine) crazies, and bought a flotilla of apples – enough that her flotilla would be even when she lashed the apples together, making me worry that my other sister had hacked the first one’s account – one sister with OCD is all I can handle – and then reported back that she also got four bottles of wine (evidence again), two kinds of cheese (evidence for), and a frozen cake. DEFINITELY RHI, THEN! (Kim would have bought baking supplies.) So the Stisters are okay.

Meanwhile, I wore a sweater with a deep (and really cute) v-cut in the front and back necklines and I’m freezing. Because I forgot my scarf. The scarf that would cover that one teeny tiny patch and then I’d be nice and toasty warm. I did remember a coat, because my blood felt awfully thin when I opened the back door to let the dog out. It’s a good thing I know for a fact that my blood thickens right up again when I go home for visits, or there would be some sort of madcap immersion therapy going on right now.

You know – after I got over being cold because my neck is uncovered.

Good thing it’s going to warm up to 67° later!! (Here is where I tell you that I have three extra beds, a couch, and a lot of floor space for those who want to evacuate before the next Snowpocalypse.) Have fun storming the castle, everyone! Let me know, occasionally, that you haven’t gone all REDRUM!

This is getting to be a Sunday night ritual.

January 30, 2017

Last night was a good, good night. I made my Twice-Stolen Peruvian Roast Chicken for dinner, and the girls didn’t even complain. I warned them we’d be having more family dinners, and they said they didn’t mind – even though they preferred “easy” dinners where they could have waffles or heat up leftovers. They don’t even like chicken right now, but they didn’t complain. And don’t say anything, but I think Gracie liked the Peruvian flavor. It does make a difference when you cook your chicken skin-on.

After our sit-down dinner, Gracie sat down to watch the SAG Award show. I offered up the big TV, and asked Bee if she wanted to come craft in my bedroom with me. It’s what we did the last time there was an awards show, and we had a lot of fun. Bless that girl, she did want to hang out with her mama. So she grabbed a sew-your-own pillow kit she got for Christmas, and I grabbed some scrapbooking supplies, and off we went.

sundaynight

Here’s my partner-in-crime. You can see the friendship character on the pillow kit. Bee looks all serious because she’s trying not to knot her string because it was awfully tangly.

We watched the rest of Anne of Green Gables and the Bee-girl really got into it (and my heart rejoiced!). I answered her questions best I could as I worked on my own projects:

And then there was this one, which kinda encapsulated all the scrapbooking I had gotten done this weekend:

The journaling reads:

This is the first I’ve scrapbooked in a long time. More than a year. And there are… There are pictures I’m not using. Pages I’m not creating. It’s a choice. A conscious choice. It hurts to think about Jeff and X-man. It hurts to even write their names. Trying to recreate 2016 – with them or without them – is painful. The absences and gaping holes are painful. The pictures that include them, even if I leave them out of my running commentary – those are painful. I have no way of knowing, right now, what is more painful or less painful. It’s all painful. All of it.

So.

So my choice is to not include them in as many things as I can. My energy in faking happiness in the journalism prompts is low. I save it for hte few I feel I can’t skip.

So.

So there are gaping holes. So what. And I’ll keep pushing through. Because at least I’m scrapbooking at all. At least I’m me again.

I find it’s much easier to be Brave when I have my Bee-girl around. She and I had fun. I like hanging out with her and seeing how her mind turns. It’s an important year – she’s right on the brink of growing up and becoming a tween. And besides that – she’s Bee! She’s sneaky and devious and hilarious and she has this way of unsettling you any time you feel like you have the least bit of balance. You never know what you’re going to talk about. And she has a terrible poker face, so you can always see what’s behind all the machinations of her thinking. It’s like playing in a giant funhouse, these nights full of conversation.

The fact that it’s all happening during a night of crafting? That’s just icing on the cake. Mmmm….cake.

Three years.

January 19, 2017

I saw a dad on the side of a the road, blinkers on, helping his kid change a tire on their own car. I couldn’t help it; I started crying out of the blue. If that wasn’t the signiest sign.

Then I started laughing, like I was nuts – crying one minute, laughing the next – because I wasn’t sure that a bigger sign wouldn’t have been the dad standing there, patiently explaining what the kid needed to do next to change their own dang tire.

In either case: you are missed.

Teenagerhood is coming. It is coming.

January 18, 2017

<….sound of goblin drums…>

<Oooh, wait…maybe of Twister violins….>

Because it’s already here!

Yes, go ahead and ask me how my day was yesterday. Oh, I’m so glad you asked! My ex-husband called last night. On the home phone, no less. We never use the home phone any more. The only peeps who use that are my parents and telemarketers, neither of whom usually call that late. (It wasn’t that late, maybe 8ish?) I don’t know what made me look at the home phone, because I never do that any more either. But I did. And it was my Ex. So I answered.

Gracie was insisting she had to bring her lunch to school the next day (today). Did I know anything about that? Uh, no. But yesterday was her first day back to school since the weekend. So maybe something popped up? Oh, but she was refusing to tell him why.

Oh, yes – you read that right. Refusing to tell him why. REFUSING.

You can see why steam was pouring out of my ears.

Anger wasn’t even my first response though. I was so happy my Ex had called! I love this whole Pull Together, Win Together thing. It bodes well for the next few years. You know, the Tough Teenagery Years that were suddenly dumped right in our laps.

After I cheered a little in my head, I moved right on to confusion. Because Gracie hasn’t once ever pulled anything like that. She’s a goody two-shoes. She might whine when she’s in A Mood. And yeah, there was the whole “lying about texting her friends” thing. But one bump in all the tween years we’ve braved so far? Not bad. So what was with the sudden obstinence? And how the heck were we going to deal with it?!

I told my Ex that I would call her (he was out with Bee), and see if she would talk to me, and get back to him. So I called Gracie-girl, who sounded as confused at a late-night call (I never call either – we’re a texting family) as I was. I explained what was going on, using my best concerned voice, and she still sounded confused. And maybe a little whiny. She had told Dad, she said. She hadn’t refused, she said. She told him she wanted to take her lunch to school, just because. Not that she needed to take it.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if she just kept saying she needed stuff from the store to take for her lunch, and when pressed for a reason she said just because, and the manner in which it was delivered came across as less than straight. Or if her version of what happened was completely different from what actually happened. I have no idea. And that’s between my Ex and Gracie.

However: I explained to Gracie that she can’t ever not answer, if that’s what happened. I patiently explained to her that her dad must have been so worried and concerned if he called me. She seemed to understand. I told her that if it’s a want, not a need (language we use frequently at home), that she can’t expect her dad to drop everything to go to the store if he doesn’t want to. That it’s selfish to even get whiny about it. She could negotiate it, ask nicely, trade chores, whatever, but it’s not something he has to do. And that she probably owed him an apology when he got home. That they needed to talk it out.

I called my Ex back and told him what I had found out. He said he would talk to that Gracie-girl of ours.

And I spent much of the night texting my bestie whose (amazing) daughter is a senior in high school. They have had a very similar relationship as Gracie and I. I knew she would have ninja mom answers for my new teenagery kiddo issues. She not only had all the answers I needed, but she immediately asked the obvious question that I had completely overlooked: was Gracie feeling left out, or was she being teased for buying her lunch? Which, dude, would explain so many things. Kathy gave me the best advice, talked me off the ledge (with a later assist from my sister Rhi), and made sure I was able to sleep instead of mulling over the problem all night long. AND Kathy did it all in the late hours of Eastern Standard Time, and I know she’s not a night-time person. Because I needed my friend. And my sister finished up our talk with the magic good-night tradition – a magical incantation she would say to everyone every night before bed when she was a teeny tiny toddler. Those magic words actually were just what I needed to hear before bed, and I didn’t even know until I heard them. My village is awesome, you guys!

So, I guess Gracie and I will be having a conversation tonight. I don’t care if she takes her lunch every day or some days or whatever – as long as I’m not making it! All that matters to me is that she eats, and not just junk food. If she’s being teased for buying her lunch because she’s the only one, then she can take it. That’s never been an issue. I just want her to be honest with us. And for sure she needs to answer when we ask questions. Or some poor pitiful penguin with be without a phone for a certain length of time. Not answering is a no-go.

The teenagery years. I thought I had more time. But at least I know I’ll have a lot of help as I muck my way through them!

In which I resolve, I geek out, and I confess.

January 1, 2017

2017. Finally. Because: Wow, was 2016 not my favorite year to date.

And so…I resolve to focus a little more on the good going on all around me. That might mean gratitude lists, or it might mean making good things happen. It’s going to mean different things at different times. For sure it means more adventuring! The only resolution I’ve stuck to so far is the one I’ve made about reading more, reading “better”, and reading more diversely. I’m going to see if I can make this my second resolution that does the distance.

 

I geek out about how Santa was very good to me. In addition to several very lovely gifts, I got an entire stack – stacks, evenof the best gift of all: books! It comes to no one’s surprise that my favorite part (other than reading the books) is organizing and listing them. Drip with jealousy, dear readers. Drip.

It shall also come with no surprise that I finished one already. The surprise, really, should be that I finished only one. To be fair, I also finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Pride and Prejudice, which I was re-reading simultaneously, depending on which I felt would tickle my fancy that evening. Well, that and my sister is visiting, and I never get to read as much when I’m entertaining. It’s a good change of pace for me.

But before I get carried away with a social life and not reading, let’s see what I get to choose from when I do get to dip my toes into the pool of titillating stories and torrid affairs!

Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay (2016, Grove Press, 260 pages, hardcover). Short stories usually aren’t my jam. If you tell me they’re linked – like these – you’ll get a much better chance of getting me to jump into the pool. Ms. Gay’s writing, as always, was impeccable. Voice might not be the most critical of the holy triangle [voice, characters, plot][which, uh, is there a MOST critical?], but if it was, you’d find me hard-pressed to find someone who could wield her instrument with as much precision and beauty as Gay. The stories center around women of difficult natures, nasty women if you will, and how they have earned their badges of honor. These women are survivors, all. Many of them have stories that will make you cry – one of them quite literally, and you figure out how to do that quietly at two in the morning. 2. a.m. So you should pick the book up, with a pack of tissues – and highlighters and pens and your most critical eye. Because stories like these are even more important right now. 5 of 5 stars.

Setting aside the rest of my reviews (aren’t you glad I’ve only read the one!), what else did I get?

  • The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy (which was referred to me by @writerrhiannon, and I am very excited to read!)
  • The Nix, by Nathan Hill
  • Various coloring books (which: books. Still count. Especially: Jane Austen, Anne of Green Gables, and others…)
  • Agent Bride, by Beverly Long (delightfully delicious romance that I can’t wait to Mystery Science Theater my way through!)
  • A historical publication of town hall meeting notes from my hometown
  • Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton (I very much enjoyed Sisters)
  • Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn (because it’s been recommended by several book peeps, including one who says it’s one of her all-time faves)
  • The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, by The Countess of Carnarvon
  • We Are Unprepared, by Meg Little Reilly (which Kim says is wickedly awful in a hispter-y survivalist sort of way)
  • Full of Grace, by Gina Ferris (oh my – I remember reading this romance series unironically, back in the day)
  • Highland Whispers, by Sharon Gillenwater
  • Shatter, by Michael Robotham (blurbed by Stephen King. Need I say more?)
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman (I’ve read, but didn’t own)
  • The Fighting Ghettos: First hand accounts of Jewish resistance to the Germans, by Merer Barkai
  • 50 Greatest Players in New England Patriots Football History, by Robert Cohen
  • Flatscreen, by Adam Wilson
  • Everybody Sees the Ants, by A.S. King (I LOVE King
  • The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
  • Seriously, I’m Kidding, by Ellen Degeneres
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe
  • The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (I devoured it this summer and will need a pick-me-up re-read in about 20 days, I’m strongly predicting)

 

And this is where I confess that I met one of my dearest friends over Christmas break – the fantastically sassy and wonderfully witty Andi – and she was even more !!!! than I dreamed. Meeting your friends – for me, at least – is always awkward. I the Queen of Awkward – don’t all be jealous, now. But Andi was gracious and hilarious and forgave me when I had to cut our day short because of a work crisis. Crisis aside, I got to explore the flagship store of my favorite “little” used bookstore . And, yes, a few more books fell into my cart. Whoops. (And everyone who believes that “whoops” – I laugh at you, sirs. LAUGH.)

For my Little Free Library (making its way to me, as soon as the backorder unclogs itself), needs some books. And so for it, I picked up:

  • Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann
  • The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

I am SO FLIPPIN’ EXCITED about my Little Free Library! But as much as I wanted to spend alllll my monies on that, I also splurged and got a few books for myself:

  • The Rotters’ Club, by Jonathan Coe (which looks a little like Trainspotting)
  • The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (which Andi and I impulsively decided to read together. It’s true love, I’m tellin’ ya…)
  • Caleb’s Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks (because I adore the fair Geraldine)
  • In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, by Daniyal Mueenuddin
  • Freddie & Me, by Mike Dawson (A coming-of-age [Bohemian] Rhapsody graphic novel loosely [or not] based on Freddie Mercury)(Guess which book I’m most excited to read?!)

I also got a few little things to put aside for Gracie, either for her birthday or next Christmas. I a $2 book of home plans, Gracie’s newest love; a mud mask; magnets that say “I ❤ Geeks”, the deathly hallows, Snape’s face and ‘Always’, and the Hogwarts Express 9 3/4 motto; oh, and Harry Potter pins for her backpack.

If only I could take Andi home with me, it would have been the most successful trip ever!

Not a bad start to 2017. So here’s a raised glass to you, New year – let’s keep things moving in this very promising direction, shall we?

The Christmas Eve that was both relaxing and productive, and also sort of surreal.

December 25, 2016

Yesterday (on what Kim is calling Calendar Christmas Eve), Kim and I had the house to ourselves while the littles hung out with their dad for Christmas. We got a lot done, and yet aside for one minor incident involving ThePlaceThatShallNotBeNamed, we were able to really relax, too!

We slept in, and then hit the stores first thing because I thought they would be INSANE. Traffic was a little busy, but no one was a jerkface, and the parking lots were surprisingly thinner – at least not as packed as I anticipated. We stopped for tea and coffee (honestly, Starbs was busier than any of the other stores), Ulta (for a last minute gift for Gracie – her tweenaged hair needs adult shampoo right now, and her fairy godmother had Ulta bucks to spend!), and then the store we really needed to stop at – Petsmart (for puppy presents).

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We had to get Fenway a stuffie Flamingo, and the pen, dangit, it just happened to write “From Auntie Rhi”, because FLAMINGO!!!

After we finished our shopping excursion, we fled back home for some tasty lunch and Kim started sorting Legos (for an upcoming surprise; I’d stay tuned!), while I tackled the hot mess that is the kids’ playroom.

How cute does Fenway look, all snuggled up?! This was before her tail swiped Lego piles into chaos; she spent a lot of time in time-out later in the evening. And my clean room makes my heart so HAPPY! I can’t even. The girls cleaned it a lot from where it had been about a week ago. But there were buckets upon buckets overflowing and without covers that I needed to fix, and I ended up sorting through the bookshelves instead of just “neatening” like I told myself when I went in there. I always do more than I intend to. But this way, Santa will be able to leave the girls’ big gift in the playroom, and not worry about the mess being in the pictures! WIN!

After all that excitement, Kim and I capped off the evening with her beating the pants off me in Sorry. Three times in a row! And a few rounds of Rummy that went back and forth. It was definitely her night. And a good way to end the evening – Storm Chasers and board games, just like it used to be.

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So it might not have felt like Christmas Eve yesterday, and today might not feel like Christmas – and, I suspect it won’t until the girls come home late this afternoon – but we made the most of it. Laughter fills in the gaps, every time.

Merry Christmas to all of you, dear readers! And Merry Christmas Eve to me.