Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Impromptu is as impromptu does.

This week the Mr.'s administrative assistant had a birthday.
I got a call one afternoon. 
It was the Mr. 
He didn't realize it was her birthday. 
And so guess who needed to put something together, pronto??
Pastor's wife to the rescue.

I had 45 minutes to run to Walmart, pick up some celebratory ingredients & supplies, rush back home, trying my hardest to obey all traffic laws & slamming my breaks only once when I saw the po-po, prepare a dessert, pick up the girls from school, & get over to the Mr.'s office to begin the festivities. Could I pull it all together? I hoped so.

The girls & I snuck into the church all quiet-like while the Mr. helped us bring everything inside. 
Pazely held the dessert, which was a cream puff tower, lit with candles. Zoey held a handful of party confetti poppers. The Mr., relieved that his crew had come through for him, simply held a big smile on his face. Oh, & the card. He held the card. And I carried my newest toy instrument, a melodica.

While we ascended the stairs to the birthday girl's office, I began to play the "Happy Birthday" song. (Which, by the way, I also learned to play in that frantic 45 minute slot of party prep.) As I played, the girls were supposed to sing. They forgot to sing. So it was an impromptu solo, scattered with the occasional note askew. A misguided melody, but the tune still entirely familiar to listening ears. At least, I hoped so. We began to hear a roar of laughter. It echoed down the hall. We entered the birthday lady's office & there she was, doubled over in laughter, & quite surprised at such a silly band of merrymakers. It wasn't the reaction I was expecting, but I received it with gladness just the same.
I've always been keen on accepting laughter as praise.

Zoey was supposed to pull the party poppers as we all stepped foot over the threshold. But she was a bit timid at the noise they might make. She gained some confidence after a bit of coaching, & some instruction not to point them at the birthday girl's face. Though the timing was all wrong, little miniature bits of brightly colored streamers & confetti were eventually launched & we all had a good giggle. The Mr. tossed the card on the desk. The flaming cream puffs were handed over while wishes were made. We  gathered plates & napkins & dived in for some sweet birthday goodies.

The birthday girl had purposely wanted to keep her "big day" under wraps. She didn't want it to be made into a big deal. (Which I will never understand.) So she wasn't the least bit offended that the Mr. didn't even know it was her birthday. (He's also only been here 6 months, so I'd give him a break too.) Yet she was extremely delighted at us showing up so randomly. The Mr. requested that she take the rest of the day off, but she insisted on staying to work.

Despite the mini-party being thrown together last minute, I decided that a horrible rendition of the Happy Birthday song played on a plastic air piano + cream puffs stacked all high-like & on fire + laughter that just won't stop = a splendid little birthday memory. 
At least, I hope so.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Phys Ed

The girls have been talking about their substitute P.E. teacher lately. Apparently he talks really fast. Zoey & Pazely say it's hard to understand what he's saying all the time—because he talks so fast. The story was told to me, by my 8 year old, that the teacher recently told his students the reason he talks so fast: so nobody interrupts him. First, when he said this, the children couldn't understand what he had just said. And second, during his attempt at revealing the cause for his speedy speech, a little boy actually interrupted him & asked, "Can I go to the bathroom?" The teacher responded with a hasty, "No," & then continued finishing his explanation in double time. 

Stuff like this CRACKS me up! On the one hand, the guy is combating his obviously strong irritation at being interrupted by trying to accelerate his dialogue. On the other hand, the students are probably catching only 60% of what he says. So, in a sense, a need for a polite interruption seems unavoidable.
Catch 22 in full effect.

After dinner tonight Pazely showed me what she's learning in P.E. You know how you jump up & spin all the way around, & then land on your feet in the same spot? Yeah, she's learning that. How come I didn't learn that kind of stuff in P.E. when I was a kid? Maybe I did. I just can't recall that far back.

My rememberings of P.E. mostly involve running a million miles or playing dodgeball. When we ran, I was always lagging behind with the so-called "fat" girls. And, no offense to the "fat" girls. Hey, our lungs burned with the same intense blaze. We both heaved & huffed & puffed so loud that we couldn't hear ourselves talk. We had an equally strong dislike for the athletes who were born to run. We? We were not born to run. And that is a part of our shared fate.

And in dodgeball, I was always picked last. And don't tell me YOU were always picked last too. Because, seriously, everyone I meet was "always picked last". And that's just not possible. We ALL couldn't have been picked last.
One time, though, I met someone who was picked FIRST. It was an anomaly. I was rather stunned into silence upon meeting her. And she was almost ashamed to admit her "picked first" history. (Maybe because I had just gotten finished with my bitter "I was picked last" speech.) She bowed her head, maybe in respect to me, & softly declared, "I was always picked first." She mumbled so quietly I had to ask her to repeat herself.
Upon realizing what she had just confessed, I sort of felt like she had just hit the head with a giant red rubber ball. It was a weird encounter. I don't care if I never meet someone who was picked first again. Although, I'm pretty sure I married one. He won't right-out admit to me whether he was picked first or not. I think he doesn't want to hurt my feelings. But it does kind of make sense why he always wants to settle arguments by expeditiously tossing round objects. (I'm totally kidding!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Week in Review: January 21-27

Last week I...
...completed the nekkid vintage lamp project! (Sorry, I"m just a little excited at finally getting that DIY outta my head.)
...made Shepherd's Pie for the first time.
...introduced the girls to cupcakes at Gracie Mae's Bakery & Cafe.
...started a puzzle. 
...began reading Anne of Green Gables to Zoey & Pazely. (I'm in LOVE!!!)
...ate a slice, ok 3 slices, of the most amazing peanut butter chocolate cake. Funny enough, it happened to be National Chocolate Cake Day!! (I had no idea.) Way to unknowingly celebrate! Woohoo!
...crammed my digital photo frame full of pictures. I love a happy revolving slideshow!
...taught the littles how to eat an artichoke.
...3 words: Ben & Jerry's. (OK, that was 2 words + an ampersand.) The flavor? What a Cluster. I think that documentary I watched about Ben & Jerry's earlier in the week had something to do with my pint-sized purchase.
...started making friendship bracelets for the girls' classmates for Valentines.
...made sugar cookies in a desperate late-night attempt at appeasing the sweet tooth. A touch of nutmeg was perfection!
...giggled on the phone with my mommy on our weekly phone call day.
...had a sick Zoey home on Friday.
...listened to little readers at school.

Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lunch Notes: Fun Facts

Lunch notes repeatedly inscribed with 
"Have a great day! Love, Mom" 
can get pretty stale.

So, I'm at it again with some creative options for DIY lunch notes.
Although I still resort to the occasional personal note, as seen HERE & HERE, it's fun to mix things up.
First, there were the Knock-Knock Joke lunch notes.
Then there was the I-Spy Lunch Box game.
And now there are the Fun Facts About Your Lunch lunch notes.
I simply google random facts about whatever I've packed in my girls' lunches for that day.
Easy peasy.
And I'm gaining knowledge along the way.
For example...
•Did you know that John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit earth, carried applesauce in squeezable tubes on his first space flight?
•Or that in 1894 ham & cheese sandwiches were the only food sold in New York baseball parks? (Frankfurters were introduced 15 years later.)
•And the chocolate chip cookie was created in 1930 by accident by Ruth Wakefield?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sour. Like a lemon.

Last week, the front passenger door to our van quit working properly. A little plastic piece broke off the handle & now it won't open in the usual way. Which isn't so bad. Except that, within the last two years, the other three doors  have also broken. And I'm starting to panic a bit. One of these days I won't be able to get into my vehicle. Or worse, I won't be able to get out.

In my not-so-long-ago newspaper column writing days, I wrote a piece about my "ghetto van". {Dubbed "the ghetto van" by a friend.} It is a precious vehicle to our family, in that this is the 2nd car in a row that we were given. We are grateful & feel uber blessed & are currently debt-free because of this! Though our clunker of an auto lives on, it still makes me nervous every day. I am convinced that one of these days I really will be trapped in that thing. The doors will lock up once & for all, containing me inside like a caged animal at a zoo. Human people will come by to look at the Crazy-Lady-in-the-Van exhibit. They will want to take photos with me.
They will tap on the glass.

The first door to stop working was the back door. I'm not sure what happened, but one day the door ceased opening. I was no longer able to use that handy space to load bags of groceries. You should see us load luggage through the side door when we go on trips. There are half-empty bottles of things rattling around back there, objects rolling all over. But I can't get back there to retrieve them, so I just leave them be.

Next, the driver's door went berzerk. The only way you can open it is by standing outside the door & reaching your arm through, to grab hold of the inside handle. So, you better have the window rolled down so you actually CAN reach your arm through. Otherwise, you have to command the minions (also known as "the children") to open it for you from the inside. BUT, if the little people aren't around & the window is rolled up---which it is every morning---you have to climb through the van via the front passenger side door, turn the car on & lean waaay over to unroll the automatic window. It's not pretty.

The third door to act like a brat was the side sliding door. In order to close it, this is what you do: with your right hand, squeeze open the door handle, while at the same time reaching around with your left hand to all the mechanical greasy parts inside the door, to find a little lever that needs pulled down. THEN, slowly slide the door to the almost closed position. And this is the "fun" part: In its almost shut position, you give it a little booty bump until you hear it click closed. 
Also, not pretty.

And now, this fourth & final door is causing problems. I had to have training from the Mr. in how to open it. I have to grab the handle with both hands & then turn the top portion of my body in a perpendicular position & ,using force in one fluid motion, swing that sucker open. The worst part? Sometimes that doesn't work. So then I have to slide the side door open, climb through to the driver's side, scrunching down with my big badonka-donk & everything, hitting my head on the ceiling lights as I pass by, start the car, then roll down the window, climb out of the van, booty bump the side door shut, walk around to the driver's side, reach in & pull the handle open so I can climb up into the driver's seat, roll the window back up, & get to where I need to go.
At this point, after doing these odd door rituals for so long, I'm past it being embarrassing. I always wonder what my neighbors think though.

Beyond the doors, this van has so many problems. We took it for an oil change & a flat tire fix this week, & the mechanics STRONGLY suggested that we never leave town in that thing. They used the words "unsafe" & "dangerous". So not only am I driving an unpredictably hazardous lemon, I'm trapped in this town.

Pretty soon this automobile will simply be a giant metal tchotchke on wheels taking up space in the driveway.

If you happen to see a van on the side of the road, with a lady inside waving a bright poster-board sign that says "Help me!", please, help her.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Puzzles & Pie

Tonight's Family Night is going to be full of firsts. Firstly, it's the first time I've ever made Shepherd's Pie. 
The last time I ever ate Shepherd's Pie was in Quebec, Canada, almost 20 years ago. It's about time I reintroduce my taste buds to meat pie encrusted with potatoes. I can't wait! Hopefully I don't screw it up. Because, you know, I have a tendency to do that. When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, what if life hands you burnt mashed taters? What then? 
HERE is the recipe I am using. It's in the crockpot now. Drooling will commence soon.

Also tonight: It'll be the first time our family has ever attempted to construct a puzzle containing over 100 pieces. Up to this point, we've maneuvered child-friendly interlocking pieces illustrating the likes of Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse.
I LOVE doing puzzles! But you would never be able to tell that I do. The Mr. & I were on a rare date back in '06-ish & we happened upon a game store in a mall. (Because we, silly us, apparently like to go to crowded places with screaming children being tugged along by frazzled parents, when we don't have our own littles with us.) By "game store", I don't mean video games stocked on shelves for every game console on the planet. I mean BOARD games. It was an amazing little shop filled from floor to ceiling with pretty much any game you could think of. We purchased a puzzle. It is 1500 pieces & is entirely covered in buttons. All colors, shapes & sizes of buttons. 
And it's still in the plastic wrap. 
Maybe I was a wee bit nervous to give it a go: Little ones + crazy giant puzzle=missing puzzle pieces. But now that my tiny humans have grown up a bit more, it's time for some puzzle action.
The puzzle we'll be attempting tonight is from 1965. It's "The Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci. Goodbye Mickey Mouse! Hello Italian Renaissance! Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci began working on that famous painting in 1495, & finished it in 1498? As I researched I found out that Leonardo was a known procrastinator with a marked tendency to leave projects unfinished. 
WHAT?! Procrastination just took on a...Whole. 'Nother. Meaning. 
Who knew that me & Leo had so much in common?
My mind is blown. Seriously. Blown.

Aside from all that, I just hope it doesn't take us 3 years to finish this puzzle. Because that would be the most extensive Family Night activity ever. In the history of puzzles.

This afternoon, I decided to open up the puzzle for the first time. To scope things out. (And maybe spy some corner pieces for future reference.) The thing about this puzzle is that it is used & I purchased it from a thrift store a couple years ago. So, who knows if all the pieces are there. Who buys puzzles at thrift stores??!! I guess I do. I don't make a habit of it though.
So, I open the box, & I see a gallon-sized Ziploc bag with 2 pieces of paper inside, along with a handful of puzzle pieces. Then I see another sandwich-sized plastic bag holding some more pieces. The bottom of the box is filled with plenty more puzzle pieces. I am afraid to disturb the bags---I better leave the pieces inside. What if there is some sort of reason the previous owners did that? Maybe it will help us, who knows. Then, I look at the papers. 
There are numbers, like math problems, scribbled & crossed out all over. Hopefully they're not trying to calculate how many pieces are missing. 
I see a phone number or two also. Good! Maybe we can call if we get stuck. 
Finally, there are two messages written on the back side of one of the pages: 

I picture this woman, scooping oxygen out of her car as one might, with a bucket, if they discovered a hole in their sinking row boat. There is oxygen all around us, lady. You're gonna be there a while.

GET A MAMMIOGRAM SOON! <––( puffy exclamation mark)
(The misspelling was theirs. But I think from now on I will always  pronounce the word "mammogram" that way.)

These are the bits of randomness that I live for! 
And the beginning of a memorable Family Night.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nekkid Lampshades

I pulled out a dusty To-Do list from several years ago & finally checked something off it.
Not really. But, seriously, I have had this project in my head for a VERY long time & I finally decided to make it happen. I've collected a few vintage lampshades at thrift stores over the years, & happened to have some leftover light kits from a previous Crafty Night project. So, I got out a few tools & created this hanging nekkid vintage lampshade installation in my living room.
(I'm kicking myself at not doing it sooner–it was so stinkin' easy!!)

These next groups of photos show you the step-by-step to putting it all together...

•Remove fabric from lampshade. Be sure the shade is the style that will hang properly from a pendant light kit. (The style with the spider/harp fittings work best.)
•Here is the light kit. I purchased mine through a seller on But I also lived in a small town so I didn't have access to shops that may carry light kits. Hobby Lobby? Pier 1 Imports?
•Unscrew the base of the light kit.
•Inside are two screws holding down the wires. Unscrew those to release the wires.

•The wires are knotted.
•Unknot the wires & slide the base off.
•Slip the wires through the top hole in your lampshade.
•Slide the base back on.

•Knot the wires back together.
•Slide the end of the wires back through the metal holes & tighten the screws to hold the wires in place.
•Put it all back together by screwing the base cap back on the light fixture.
•And, you're done!

•To hang the lampshades from the ceiling, you'll need screw anchors (sometimes called "wall plugs"). First, determine where you'd like to hang the lampshade. Then, drill a hole in the ceiling a tiny bit smaller than your screw anchor. (The screw anchor is used to help support the weight of an object in materials that might be weak or brittle, like drywall. Once the screw is tightened into the anchor, the anchor expands, wedging it firmly into place. And, thank you Wikipedia.)
•Tap the screw anchor gently into the drilled hole with a hammer.
•Screw your hook into the anchor.
•Now you have a tight, snug hook, ready to hang your lampshade!

•Now that your lampshades are hung, you'll need to get the cords out of the way. Swoop them all together into the nearest corner of the room. I hammered a little nail into the corner of the ceiling to keep them all together. But you could also screw another hook in the corner & drape the excess cords through it.
•View of the lampshades looking up.
•Lampshades without a fabric covering require a softer bulb, so it doesn't feel like you're looking into the sun. I currently have 40watt, because that's all I had on hand. But I plan on heading out tomorrow to grab some softer wattage.
•Pazely takes advantage of the new reading corner. The girls cannot get enough of hanging out there!

Although I do think I would like a couple more shades hanging in that corner, I am so excited that it's done! I haven't done anything home decor-ish in SUCH a long time. It was fun to play dress-up with my house. 

Bonus: The Mr. thinks the lampshades are cool.

Week in Review: January 14-20

Last week I...
...stayed still while my 8 year old sketched my face.
...received happy mail in the form of a late Christmas prezzie! (A knitted hat from my Susan friend.)
...cooked dinner for 3 every night while the Mr. was away at his MMA training.
...played with some TTV photography & an iphone.
...knitted at a coffee shop while on a morning date with the Mr. a Play-Doh manicure from the 8 year old.
...ate SO MANY sweets! (Chocolate lava cake, donuts, ice cream cupcakes...)
...enjoyed dinner & games with friends---which included the MOST AMAZING homemade hot fudge over ice cream for dessert. (I'm getting the hot fudge recipe & will be sharing in a later blog post!)
...made yummy white chicken enchiladas for dinner one evening. (It's not a "true" enchilada, but creamy & cheesy & yummy anyway!)
...also made grilled chicken & pineapple quesadillas. (I totally hogged the pineapple! SO YUMMY! And I froze outside over the grill. haha!) Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" with Pazely. She is on book 2 & hooked!!
...finished reading "Through the Looking Glass (& what Alice found there)" to the girls. I think I might start reading aloud the Anne of Green Gables series next.

Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

evening lullaby

The girls are in their bedrooms, gently drifting to sleep. And I'm out in the kitchen washing dishes, noisily putting them in the dishwasher. The bowls clank. The forks & spoons ting.

I remember being a little kid, lying in bed at night, & hearing my mom scrubbing dishes, opening cupboards, stacking plates, maneuvering pots & pans, running water in the sink, tossing utensils in their drawers. For whatever reason, those were happy noises to me. A glad kitchen symphony. Really, they were comforting sounds. A casserole dish kerplunking in sudsy water & plastic cups slapping the top rack in the dishwasher might sound like an odd soothing melody, but for me, it meant "mom is near". Safety, protection, & security were all wrapped up in the simple sound of a freshly washed dish sliding across the counter + a spoon falling into a caddy + the shutting of a cabinet.
All while I dozed off into dreamland just down the hallway.

Can I get an 'Amen'?

Monday, January 14, 2013


Last night I poured myself a glass of milk. And then I spied a container of Hershey's chocolate syrup on the top shelf of the refrigerator. I remembered when I was a kid, my mom would never let me (or my other siblings) put very much syrup into our milk. And my little brother & I would even argue & fight over whose milk was a darker color. The world was not at peace until our glasses held the same shade of drink.
But I am a grown woman now. And I can put as much chocolate into my milk as I want!
So I popped open the sticky brown cap & proceeded to squeeze some genuine cocoa flavored liquid into my milk.
I squeezed & squeezed & squeezed

One of the fantastic perks, when I moved away from home, out on my own, was that there was nobody around to ration how much chocolate sauce I put in my milk. This lone fact made me feel empowered.
I was the boss of me.

My little brother was equally as rebellious: after 18+ years of mom always making us eat wheat bread, he moved out on his own & bought WHITE bread.

And my older sister? She cannot even be included in this little game. She was caught sneaking out of the house & using drugs which, I didn't realize until much later, was the reason the 10 year old me suddenly got her sweet giant room in the back of the house with the sliding door entryway to the patio. She, in turn, got my small bedroom next to our little brother, conveniently located across the hall from mom & dad. Eventually she landed in rehab, which then forced the family to endure months & months of counseling, where my poor little brother & I tolerated round table discussions with other kids who were in similar messy situations like us. Except that one kid who kept sharing his nightmares about green jello. What a weirdo.

And then my kid bro & I found ourselves in the care of a babysitter on a weekly basis while mom & dad went to meetings. Meetings upon meetings. Every Thursday the babysitter would come. She was a cousin to our neighbor. She had frizzy curly hair, & she was funny, & she had a guitar. I remember one part of a song she wrote: ♫"I once had a dog named Fred. And one day I found him dead. Buried him in a hole before he got too old..."♫  I thought she was amazing. She was this fantastic grown up person. Who was making up songs. In the living room. On our futon.
My mom always left us those cheap little pot pies to heat up in the oven for dinner. There were two choices: beef or chicken. Perfectly cubed meat mixed with veggies. We always made a game of eating the pot pies. Whoever had the most peas, lost. There were never more than 3 peas in those pies. And for dessert we'd eat Fudgesicles. Every single Thursday it was the same thing: pot pies + Fudgesicles...pot pies + Fudgesicles.

Somewhere in the mix of that horribly dysfunctional season of my kid life, I started doing things like: cleaning out the kitchen cupboards when my mom was gone during those meetings, or straightening the house on a regular basis. All to make her happy & verify that she still loved me. Of course she loved me! But, apparently, I felt like tidying shelves of Tupperware would do the trick.

If only my sister had chosen to follow the insubordinate path of  the refined white flour revolt. Or rallied in her later years against chocolate sauce portions.

Don't do drugs.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Week in Review: January 7-13

Last week I...
...went on a morning date with the Mr, where we found a new favorite coffee hangout {with couches}!
...went to the library.
...finished reading "Alice in Wonderland" to the girls.
...began reading "Through the Looking Glass {and what Alice found there}"
...listened to little readers during my weekly school visit.
...ate cupcakes.
...tried making "bird's nests" in the oven. (Eggs & hashbrowns). They bubbled up & turned into a plastic texture. Really weird.
...froze my buns off in -8 degree weather.
...realized how quiet it really is when the littles are not here. (Back to school.)
...loved order being restored to the universe now that the littles ARE back at school.
...stayed up until 2 am one morning, making bookmarks for Zoey's 4th grade class.
...watched Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events, & Hotel Transylvania.
...shipped orders.
...crafted. word that the late Christmas prezzies I shipped to my Susan friend & family were received with good cheer!
...talked to my mommy on the phone (who lives 1258 miles away) while sipping tea. 
...received many lovely & encouraging comments & emails after writing the recent "lonely" blog post. {Thank you!}

Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Week in Review: Dec. 31 - Jan 6

Last week I...
...went out to lunch with the littlest little.
...completed my 2012 Year in Review.
...made potato skins.
...played Apples to Apples.
...had a most horribly memorable New Year's Eve.
...began reading Alice in Wonderland to the girls.
...packaged up late Christmas gifts & shipped them on their way.
...drank egg nog.
...listened to the resident Furby chatter non-stop.
...cooked up some mac-n-cheese with the littlest little.
...watched the munchkins play in the snow.
...played Draw Something. A lot.
...updated my Ravelry account with all my current knitted projects.
...watched ParaNorman & ate Oreo cookies with milk.
...mourned the final days of sleeping in. (Girls go back to school today!)

Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

If I could be anywhere right now, it would not be here.

This blog entry is going to be one that reveals a true peek into my world. (At this moment in time anyway.)
So, prepare yourself for something that might sound whiny. (Whining hurts my ears, so I try not to make it a habit.) 
Get ready to survey a possible protest of the pathetic sort. (If ever I am miserable & full of woe, it is usually only for a wee bit.)
You might notice someone who looks like she needs some empathy. (I don't write this for any sort of "I feel sorry for you" pat on the head.) 

Since moving 5 months ago, I have made zero friends. I don't know anybody around here. I haven't made connections with people who would pass my "Will you be my friend?" test. I don't have any girlfriends to go to the movies with. There's no one I can call to go hang out with. No buddies to link arms with. No giggle fests with gal pals in my near future. No silly adventures with other chums.
Girls Night Out? What in the heck in the world is that?!?!

I sit in my house most days. Or run errands, solo, unless the littles accompany me.
And I am lonely.
I am ever-so-alone.
I honestly try not to think about it too much, or I fear I may find a comfortable spot of gloom.

I do know how to putter around a house rather happily. I am definitely a bona fide homebody. And, don't get me wrong, I am plenty busy every week. But when there's not even the option of calling on a friend for a visit, it's kind of, well, troubling.

I was recently talking to my mom on the phone & revealing to her my lonely state. She is one of my bestest friends ever, but lives 1258 miles away. Which, don't get me started, makes me sadder than saddest. At the end of my "all by myself" speech, she said, "Awwww....I'll draw with you."
Which made me laugh. Because, you see, I recently downloaded the "Draw Something" app on my iphone & have been playing it non-stop.
And it got me thinking. I am pretty sure that I may appear like a big fat loser without a life who should be doing something better with her time than doodling on a smartphone.
But that opponent on the other end of your doodle game? You might be their only friendly interaction all week.

So thank you to all my doodling partners—you know who you are. (And this includes my mom.) You might not even realize the true role you are playing. 

There's a group of people I'm acquainted with at church that I have been trying to get together with. My plan is to have us all go to an open mic night at a bookstore here in town. It happens twice a month. But getting together hasn't worked out due to their schedule conflicts with work & such. Today I finally said to them all, "Come on you guys! You're my only "friends"! I don't have any friends!" *Laughter all around.* They thought that was funny. I don't think they knew it wasn't a joke. But good thing I didn't sound too desperate.
I might have a companionless night alone at that bookstore. And sing a sad song into that microphone.

I think I need to end now with one big fat *SIGH*.

Friday, January 4, 2013

That's how we roll.

I remember when my 10 year old daughter, Zoey, was a wee one, & I tried to help her learn to somersault. She just couldn't get it. She curled in a ball as best she could & got in formation, but when her head hit the ground, it was as if there was a tremendous weight on the end of her neck, too heavy to do much of anything with. There were a few times she did roll over. But it wasn't a smooth operation at all. It was more of a KER....PLUNK! It began like this: She rolled over to the top of that heavy head &, then, just like a tree that's been chopped down, she would fall {timber!} to the ground below with a crash. She should have been rolling along the cushioned carpet into a rather fun little dizzying 2 second adventure. Only, she wasn't.

Today the girls & I were visiting in the living room. Zoey brought up the fact that she STILL does not know how to do a somersault. I think I should be embarrassed right about now. I have not taught my child this one basic, simple motor skill. And I am so ashamed. I think this puts me on the blacklist for Mother of the Year nominations.
Zoey decided to plop some pillows on the floor & set up a little somersault obstacle course. Little 8 year old sister, Pazely, was trying to show Zoey how to tuck & roll. "Watch me, Zoey! Look how I do it! See?" She tumbled with ease. I tried using every descriptive word possible to help Zoey understand the fundaments of the somersault. I don't know if her long neck couldn't figure out which way to bend, or her long legs were just a little too long, or her knees invaded the space her chin was meant to be, but she just wasns't accomplishing the task she set out to do. I had to giggle a little at her efforts. She was trying to roll into a little ball, lean w-a-a-a-y back & then launch herself forward with such a force, hoping to propel over. It never worked. She got to that head part again & it was stalemate from there. But she kept trying. It was kind of like watching a weeble-wobble.

I suddenly had a great idea. Why don't I show her how it's done. I hadn't technically done a somersault in years. But, it's gotta be like riding a bicycle, right? I announced my plans: "Girls, watch! I'm going to do a somersault!" They stopped frozen, mouths gaping, ready to watch the show. And then I quickly had a change of plans. Slightly disappointed, Zoey & Pazely went about what they had been doing– rearranging the pillows on the floor. And then, in a split second, something came over me & I was on the floor, tucking my chin, rolling in a ball & flinging myself over. Midway through the tumble, I emitted this crazy noise. And then I realized that I hadn't planned out my path so, as I was spinning, I was figuring out in my head where all the furniture was & if I was going to crash into anything. At the end of my extraorinairy feat, I spun around & looked at the girls. They were squealing & giggling & laughing at their mommy. And this is what they said, "Mommy! You did it! You said you weren't going to do it but you DID!"
"You're right," I said. "I did it!"
And it hurt. Oh my gosh, it hurt.
It didn't hurt like when I did that cartwheel last year, but there was a tremendous aching in my bones.
I stumbled to the couch, playing all cool-like. And then I had another great idea: "I wonder if daddy can do a somersault," I stated aloud. The competition was on. A few moments later the Mr. came down the stairs. We filled him in on all the somersault details & then we disclosed the somersault challenge. He accepted. And down the Mr. went, like a giant awkward boulder.
If I looked anything like he did, spinning head over heals...*gasp*
But he did it. What a champ! I followed him into the kitchen, listening as the girls squealed & giggled & laughed at their dad.
"Did it hurt?" I asked the Mr.
"A little," he said.

I will continue to work with Zoey as she learns to somersault. And after that, we'll work on whistling. She doesn't know how to whistle yet either, & it tortures her to no end.
A 10 year old shouldn't have to deal with such predicaments.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome the newest member of our family...

My 10 year old has been desperately wanting a Furby. After saving & saving & saving & saving & saving her moolah, she finally got one! It came home yesterday & she was so excited! We inserted the 4 AA batteries & then sat & watched. It is actually really cute. It was giggling & even farted in my hand. We downloaded the free iphone Furby app & it is so much fun. You can virtually feed it different foods & there is even a feature that translates the furbish-gibberish language. Mostly it says it's hungry or you're funny or it's hungry again or it loves you or it's happy or "please feed me".
The Mr. sat down for a few minutes of play with the newest member of our family. Boys just don't play the same as girls. He pretty much tortured the little guy. Yanking its tail, poking it in the side. And, for the first time the Furby said, "Me no like." Zoey quickly retrieved her pet from The Pesterer.

The Furby eventually started talking about how tired it was, which goes something like this: "Mee-Mee-Way-Loh". After it snored itself to sleep, we all continued on in whispered conversations. And then I realized I was whispering so a battery operated toy could peacefully sleep. So I stopped whispering & intentionally talked really loudly, so the Furby would know who's boss of this nest.

The Furby has a few different personalities & it's a mystery as to which personality your Furby will have. Apparently the personality it gets is based on how you play with it. (There are 6 programmed personalities.) But in just 24 hours, Zoey's Furby has changed into 5 personalities, several times. First, it was very silly & cute. It laughed a lot & had the sweetest little voice. Then, while sitting on the couch with the Furby next to me, it got all weird & started freaking out & said, "Me change!!" Its eyes closed & I could see crazy flickering lights behind its eyelids. Then it opened its eyes & was a completely different Furby: one that loved to sing. Zoey also experienced a Furby with a very snobby princess-type personality while playing in her room later in the afternoon. It also changed into a gruff/rude/big dude kind of Furby. 
And then we were visited by the valley girl/OMG/sarcastic/talkative Furby. It is so disrespectful. (Plus, it is very difficult to feed it because it won't. stop. talking.) And I admit: I've never wanted to punch a Furby in the face until now.
Annoying to the max.

Honestly, it all sort of reminds me of that Sally Field movie, Sybil. But worse: it's all bundled into a furry toy that resembles a Gremlin. (Gremlins: a movie that established my ongoing fear of the dark.) I swear, if I hear that thing talking in the middle of the night I will scream. I will scream & run out of the house.

Through all its changes & transformations, the talkative Furby is the one who lives with us most. Why won't she just go away? Leave us alone! I'd much rather have the rude Furby who burps loudly & enjoys eating underwear sandwiches. Or the sing-song Furby who won't stop asking for hugs & constantly hums random melodies.
{Translation: help!!!!!}

The First

Hope you had a great New Year's Eve!
Mine was horrible. Seriously, & I quote: "...the worst ever in the history of my existence."

The Mr. & I always let the girls stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve if they want. I'm pretty sure Zoey has never made it. In fact, there are only a couple times I can remember the Mr. actually staying up until midnight. Usually it's Pazely & I blowing horns & banging pots all by ourselves. That girl is a night owl, just like her mother. And she also knows how to make a properly festive ruckus. Which reminds me: I need new wooden spoons.

This New Year's Eve, for whatever reason, both of the girls AND the Mr. made it all the way to 2013 without wimping out. Earlier in the evening we made snacks & had a happy time in the kitchen. We played games & lounged around in the house all warm & lazy-like. It was actually a lovely, mellow affair.
At first.
And then my 2 girls turned into little crazy people.
Something happened between 9:45 PM & 12 AM, thus ending the celebration. It was an epic fail of bringing in the new year. I'm sure it's all my fault. It could be the fact that little people weren't created to stay up during that many consecutive hours of darkness. I was playing with fire, & I knew it. Or, it could be that I tossed every single bit of junk food on the table & didn't set any boundaries.
Sugar + darkness = evil is coming. 
And it did come.
There were emotions & tempers flying like fireworks. Sweet human children turned into cranky little beasts.

I just wanted the night to end. While we hung out at home, the girls couldn't agree on what movie to watch together, or what toys to play with together, & there was bickering the whole while. So they were sent to their rooms to play alone. How unawesome is that? It was supposed to be a carefree night of fun & breaking innocent rules. It's the only night of the year their mother will ever say, "Yes, you may stay up 3 1/2 hours past your bedtime." Or: "What? You want to eat caramel popcorn, chips, cookies AND soda...all in one sitting? Sure!"

There were tears & more tears. The thing is, as their mother I knew life would be more pleasant for them if they just went to bed. Yet, I did tell them they could stay up. The Mr. & I even tried, earlier in the night, to convince them that we should all pretend that 10:30 was really midnight & we could do all our celebrating early & then go to bed. But they wouldn't have any of that smoke & mirrors.

Life became horrible when I made them brush their teeth— & after they did, they reminded me how I said they could drink that fancy bubbly apple cider drink at midnight to celebrate, in those fancy plastic cups I purchased earlier in the afternoon at the dollar store. And I said, "Well, how about we just drink it tomorrow." You would have thought someone stole all of their toys & ripped apart their American Girl dolls limb from limb the way they howled & moaned. Yikes. So, finally, at midnight {thank you Jesus!}, we drank the fancy bubbly apple cider drink & blew our horns, also purchased at the dollar store earlier in the afternoon. Except my 8 year old's horn didn't work & so her whole world came crumbling down once again & she went to bed in even MORE tears. (Which was weird, because I'm pretty sure she met her tear quota earlier in the night.) And the Mr. had disappeared so he wasn't even a part of the whole "Happy New Year!" hooplah, which wasn't a hooplah anymore anyway, which made me so frustrated & disappointed.

I realize this was just a lesson. The lesson? Never. Again.

A few minutes later, as the girls & I were sadly ascending the stairs to go to bed, we heard a toilet flush & daddy appeared out of the bathroom. I tried to make a joke that, instead of bringing in the new year with us, daddy was pooping in the new year all alone.
Nobody laughed but me.


But, alas, I woke up to a new day. Well, actually, it was the same day. Everyone in the fam got to sleep in. Peace was restored to the universe. And we ate breakfast in the shape of happy faces.