Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bear with me.

I have cute kids. I know this. It's one of many flaws-- that I know my kids are cute. It's okay though, because when they are this cute, it is hard to deny this fact. A few years ago, I took some pictures of Leenie when she was in ballet class with Miss Heidi in Washington DC. She adored ballet and adored Miss Heidi. I adored that she adored her slippers, tights, and leotard. I adored watching her be so happy dancing.

Recently, she has not found dancing to be something that makes her happy. She dreaded going to ballet, got easily sidetracked with anything else and told me that one of the girls in her class was mean. (I could understand it- I met the mom and she's a 'dance mom'... if you know what I mean) Hoping to reinvigorate her love for leather slippers, I enrolled her at the local ballet company's Nutcracker Dance Camp. For two and a half hours every afternoon, she danced with 14 other girls in 14 pair of pink tights and 14 black leotards. 15 girls had their hair pulled back in buns or pony tails, with those wispy baby hairs flying loose. 30 pink leather slippers sanded the floor as they learned parts of the dances from the Nutcracker.

On the last day of dance camp, the parents were able to come and see the last thirty minutes of class and what they had learned. It was a sweet moment watching my niece and daughter-- Niece being so serious, as if she were the only one on the stage-- if there was a stage and Leenie, happy to run circles as a mouse and point fingers a tea cup.

By no means do I expect that she will major in dance and be a part of the National Dance Company, touring the world... but, I want her to love something. I want her to find passion within something-- and if that thing changes over the course of her, I'm okay with that. If it is dance for a few years, then swimming after that, or soccer, or whatever-- we have to try many things before we find what we love. A dance mother, I am not. A mother- I am.

I don't know what it is about this picture, but it reminds me of Max from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon)

The Nutcracker Dance Camp renewed her love for leather slippers. Her cousin being with her did not hurt matters and the two are looking forward to being reunited as classmates in the fall- even if they are not in the same school from 8 to 3, they can be classmates for 50 minutes once a week.

So, allow this very proud mother a few pictures to show what she looks like dancing a few years later.  I can still see that little baby that danced with Miss Heidi in these pictures, but it is getting harder and harder as she becomes the little lady that she is destined to be. First grade is around the corner and adventures await her in the wings. But, for this moment- in her slippers and leotard, she is still my innocent little baby, learning.

Both of these girls make me so proud to be their mother and their aunt. I am a lucky, lucky fool. So, please bear with me as I put these pictures on the World Wide Web for you to skim through. These are more for me to remember this day, these smiles, and those little girls.

Friday, June 19, 2015


There's a FrootLoop in my wine. It made me laugh and, if I had not been worried that it would alter the taste of my wine, I would have stopped to take a picture of it with the hashtag #momproblems.

The last few days, I have been in a funk. My kids have not been bad (they haven't been good), but I just was not able to wrap my head around them. My patience: SHOT. My demeanor: Not Great. I would have received no leg lamps if the past 100 hours were the competition for MOTY awards.

Husband saw it. He came home, post call, and told me to go collect myself. He was so very tired. The kids were quiet. I told him to take a nap. He did.

I said, "It's not the kids. It's me. I can't get it together. I would have made myself cry if I were on the other end of my behavior."

Today though, I woke up. Grateful again for these children. Grateful for this life. Grateful for my husband. Very grateful for him.

I had blamed lack of exercising in the morning for my bad attitude. I didn't get to exercise this morning, because I let Leenie sleep in, and did laundry instead. Washing, drying, folding, and even ironing, I was reminded of my domestic responsibilities are mine, and mine alone. My children are reflections of me.

I did the dishes. There were a lot of dishes.

I  marinated a lamb for tomorrow night's supper. It made me miss my DC people. I was reminded that we have a girls' night tonight. It made me grateful to have found a few close friends here that I love as my own.

Fuzzy cried and was fed. Mattie did not listen and was disciplined in an even temperament. Leenie played in her room and took almost two hours to brush both her hair and her teeth.

Thank you, Husband. Thank you for working so hard for us. It does not go unnoticed nor unappreciated. I looked in my closet, slowly filling back with clothes and out our doors at our pool on the hot, hot day.

It's a good life and I am sorry that I didn't remember that.

Monday, June 15, 2015

White bathing suits

Listen-- it does not matter how much you spend on a white bathing suit.
It does not matter how much money it costs, that you paid retail, or that it is from a high end clothier.

It does not matter how many compliments you get on your white bathing suit, that it is triple lined,  how comfortable it is, or how good it makes you feel about your post-baby-body.

When that white bathing suit gets wet- it is suddenly transparent, those compliments stop and you are no longer comfortable.

Especially in front of your brother and mother.


Money well spent? Ithinknot.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The start of a really bad joke

Tinkerbell, a cowgirl, and a sand crab walk into a warehouse club. Their mother was a touch frazzled, having had a husband spend the night at the hospital. The sand crab woke up at 4:46 for breakfast. The cowgirl followed suit at 6:02. And again at 6:18. And again at 6:22. Tinkerbell  found the outside of her eyelids somewhere in the 7:07 realm.

I balked on going to the gym.

Tinkerbell has a black eye. No, she did not do anything wrong. Rather, we made the discovery that "Hey, Mom! Watch this!" is along the same lines of "Here- hold my beer." Nothing good will come of either statement. Considering that last week she had a busted lip/fat lip, I feel compelled to say that her summer is off to a banger start.

The cowgirl has learned the valuable lesson that being cute can, and will, save your life. Just when I was ready to string her up for whatever reason, she rounded the corner from the back of the house with a pink cowgirl hat on her head. I taught her how to say YEE HAW! She jumped into a starfish position and screamed, "YEEHAW!"

Before the warehouse club, we stopped at the bank to get a lollipop cash a check. We looked like we were trick or treating, as the cowgirl, Tinkerbell, and the sand crab were all in the backseat, screaming for candy.

"PLEASE! MAY I PLEASE HAVE A BLUE CREAM SODA?" I think my children think that the only flavor of lollipops is cream soda.



The sand crab just screamed.

I am always fascinated by what people buy at the warehouse clubs. So often, I look in their buggies and want to tap on them on the shoulder and say, "Excuse me. Sorry to bother you, but I am just curious. Which of these items are impulse buys?"

When I was getting out of the car today, there was a man unloading his cart next to me and he had at least 86 cartons of cigarettes... and a karaoke machine. My money is on the one carton of Virginia Slims 100s. That was the impulse.

I saw one of the waiters at the Mexican restaurant. He had 17 gallons of milk, lots of Styrofoam containers, and six big cans of corn.... and a deluxe car cleaning kit.

There was a woman who asked the pharmacist where the condoms were. I did not want to ask what her line of business was.

The woman in line behind me had 12 rotisserie chickens. Twelve. What did she need twelve chickens for? Then I saw that she had six children with her. Oh. Maybe that sixth kid was the impulse. I can relate.

A man had at least two dozen thirty packs of beer. Was he hosting a party? Does he have a really big habit? Was he business partners with the woman talking to the pharmacist? Where was his karaoke machine? I am more likely to sing karaoke after six beers and not six cigarettes. Unless one of those was a Virginia Slim 100. Then all bets are off.

Another woman had several crates of fruit and vegetables, cans of Ro-Tel and four teenage children walking with her, all of which were on their cell phones. She stopped in front of a $189 bouncy house. I paused. Was she going to buy it? I asked Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell said, "Mama, if she doesn't- we should. That would be awesome."

Um. No.

An old lady stood in front of a 25 pound tube of hamburger meat. In her buggy was milk, 36 eggs, and an old purse. She picked the 25 pound tube of hamburger meat and walked away. I really wanted to stop her and say, "Excuse me- do you need 25 pounds of hamburger meat? Is the price that good? I have a friend who has 5 kids under the age of 12 and she does not buy 25 pounds of hamburger meat."

Her response? "Fuzzy looks scared."

Then there was the woman with three children, two of which in costumes, and no room in her buggy for food- yet, six milk products waiting to be purchased (yogurt, milk, cheese, smoothies, chocolate milk, and cheez-its). Her impulse buy? She foolishly stopped to ask the DirectTV salesman a question............ twenty minutes later, he is still in the middle of his sales pitch with three screaming children in a perfect crescendo. What was she thinking?! There is something to be said for the sales pitch to have a certain level of brevity. That would have sold me, I mean... her.

I will say that I stopped in front of the unsliced turkey- the same turkey that grocery stores sell at the deli. It was $2.48/pound. Granted, I would have to spend $25.53 to get the whole thing- and I would need a meat slicer, but $2.48/pound is a pretty good price for turkey these days. I start to get sucked into this deli turkey. I could slice it in one pound sections and freeze it. This could work and save some money... I text a friend:

After the bank, the warehouse store, and spending $164.76 on exactly half of what was on my list- I throw in the towel. Knowing that I needed diapers for Fuzzy, I looked at the kids, the groceries, and my abilities.

I have a smart phone. I am smarter then this.

Ring... Ring....

"Thank you for calling Buy Buy Baby. How may I direct your call?"
"I need to talk to someone that can ring up something for me."
"That would be Joe. Just a moment."


Joe went to the back of the store, grabbed the diapers I needed and rang me up as I was driving to the store. I pulled up to the front, opened my car door and out walked Joe- my knight in blue polo shirt- with my bag of diapers and a receipt.

VICTORY! I shan't be defeated this day!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Gettin' There

I am going to take some more pictures and write a more detailed blog about this in the coming days, BUT-- I am so impressed the difference that can be had when something as ridiculous as doors are replaced.

Remember those 35 linear feet of glass we have in our kitchen/den? 

It was a lot of glass. 

It was a lot of non-tempered-dangerous-if-Bennie-is-your-middle-child glass.

The door hardly didn't work. I had to inch it open to my left leg through the hole and then push back with my weight as I gave it the old college try. It was tough. I was tougher.

This picture was taken when we bought the house. Do you notice the once-white carpet? And the linoleum? Those are gone. Replaced with a floor milled specifically for us in North Carolina.

But we aren't talking about the floor- we are talking about the 35 linear feet of glass. There is more glass in that space then my daughter's bedroom space in Washington DC.

And, just in case you were curious, while you might think glass is cheap... it isn't.

So, we got quotes... we saved... we hemmed... we hawed... we tabled it... we dealt with the doors. We ignored that it took two people to open it. Shouldn't all doors bring families closer together?

This is what the 35 linear feet looked like about two weeks ago...

Sometimes, you know things are unattractive- but you don't realize just how unattractive (read: ugly) they are until you update them. This was not the case.

We knew it was both lovely, because of all the light it let in, and wretched, because of what they were. They were 50+ year old aluminum sliding glass doors that passed their prime at least 15 years ago.

After Pella came through and did what they do, we now have something that looks a little like this:

I'll get better pictures this weekend and give a more detailed description of how Pella works, because-- honestly-- if you are going to be shucking out the money for something like glass, you want to know how it works. Suffice it to say- I'm pleased. Shocked at how pleased I am that these new doors make such a drastic change in the looks of our house-- for the better.