Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Backward and Upside Down

“Why do you put your belt on like that?” Alyssa asked me this morning as I was, uh, putting on my belt.

I looked at her, then down at my belt and tried to figure out how else one could put on a belt if not through the loops on one’s pants, one loop at a time.

I finished putting said belt through the loops and gave her a quizzical look.

She flapped her hands a bit and said, “You know, like that? With the thingy going toward your right instead of your left?”

Ahhh, okay. I get it. She wondered why I started my belt on my right side going around my body from right to left instead of left to right.

Tom stepped into the conversation and Alyssa asked him how he put on his belt, and OF COURSE, he told her he did it the same way she does.

Duh. They’re both right-handed, so yes, they do it the same way.

Being a leftie means I’m at odds with the world most of the time, including in my own house.

I went from a home where I was in the majority (Mother, Brother and I are all left-handed, youngest Brother was in the minority as the only righty) to a home where I’m very much the minority since my husband and BOTH of my daughters are right-handed.

Alas, I muddle through somehow and then we get to have these wonderful, insightful conversations at 6:30 in the morning.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer at the Park

Since it rained to the point of FLOOD WARNINGS on Saturday, we put off going to the park until Sunday. And because we weren’t driving eighteen miles to go to the park I’d promised we’d hit this past weekend (I’m lucky the girls are so understanding about RAIN and fifty degree weather not being ideal park weather) we instead headed four miles into town and went to a more local park.

And it was the best decision EVER. Well, at least as far as Lyss is concerned.

There were several little league baseball games going on when we arrived at the park. Lyss had already called her friend S, who lives in town and was meeting us there.

Olivia was happy to climb and slide, climb and slide and climb and slide until she realized that Lyss and S had gone walking. Olivia asked if we could follow them. I told her that we were going to give Alyssa some privacy with her friend for a bit then we’d go find them. This satisfied her enough to get her to play on some of the other structures for a while.

While Liv played and I followed her (because I’m a hovering hoverer, it’s what I do) A and S made their way around the park, where they came across another friend who was there to watch her little brother play baseball.

We climbed and the girls slide and swung and played tetherball. I made Olivia go back to the structure made for smaller kids in an effort to give Lyss some time with her friends again. The friend group had grown to five girls from school.

Olivia was happy to go to the smaller structure because no one was there. She very much prefers to play on things where there are no other kids. She’s…a loner…an introvert…weird? Take your pick but she’s not a fan of gregarious kids coming up to her and trying to take her hand as she climbs the stairs to go down the slide. She’ll tug her hand free every single time and come sit by me, glaring at the intruder who dared to try and befriend her. Sigh. We’re working on this both at home and at school.

By the time I pulled Alyssa from her friend group and we made our way home, it felt like a very productive day at the park.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just the Four of Us

My mom picked Jaxon up from my house before I got home on Tuesday. He had baseball practice and had to be in town before I was even leaving.

When I got home, Alyssa hugged me tight and said, “That boy is a lot of work.”

I laughed and asked her if he was more work than her sister.

Alyssa thought about this as she sat next to me on the porch watching her dad and that very sister ride around in circles on the bike.

Finally she answered, “It’s not that he’s more work, it’s just that I’m used to Livie. She’s a lot of work too but she’ll also sit next to me on the couch and just be there. That boy has to talk all day long. And he expects a response to every single thing he says. If you don’t answer him, he’ll repeat himself over and over, ending each question or statement with, ‘Right Lyssie? Did you hear me Lyssie? Right Lyssie?’“

I laughed and hugged her. “You’re a good cousin.”

“I know,” she declared before bounding off to join Tom and Olivia as they biked the driveway.

This girl…she just keeps getting better. She was such an awesome baby, a precocious toddler with an enormous vocabulary and the wit to wield that vocabulary hilariously. When Tom and I decided to try to have another baby I felt like we were being selfish. We’d been given such an amazing daughter the first time around, how could we possibly ask for more?

We asked for more because we wanted more for her, that perfect, awesome little girl who is not so little now and still amazing me every single day. Yes, I wanted another baby for me, but I also wanted that for Alyssa. I wanted her to have a sibling, someone to commiserate with later in life when I’m old and really annoying. Someone to push her buttons and teach her that sometimes, it really isn’t all about her. Someone who looks up to her and thinks that actually it is all about the big sister.

Later that evening, she leaned her head on my right shoulder. Olivia was asleep against my left leg.

Alyssa said dreamily, “I like it when it’s just the four of us. You and me and Livie and Dad. We’re just right, aren’t we?”

I hugged my girl close and told her yes, we are just right.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Deserving to Be Forgiven

As a parent, I have many moments I wish I could rewind and do over.

One recent example was the other night after I’d given Olivia a bath. We’d washed her hair and were getting her ready for bed by putting lotion on her. She managed to rub just enough onto her hands to make it globby but not to rub it in and then she proceeded to push her hair out of her face, getting lotion in to her just shampooed hair.

I know!! The tragedy, the injustice of it all. Yes, I overreacted.

I told her to stop touching her hair with her lotion-y hands and started rubbing at the lotion in her hair. I rubbed a little rougher than I’d like to admit. She didn’t actually cry but she was bothered by the entire situation. I was bothered too, almost immediately after the rubbing. I stopped being a jerk, hugged her close and kissed her, telling her I was sorry for being rough.

But yeah, mother of the freaking year here.

I thought about that incident quite a bit that night and into the next day and I realized that the road for forgiveness for moments like that one is to make them rare. VERY rare. Like, to not do it again, ever, if possible. I can forgive myself and perhaps even deserve forgiveness from her if I strive to not be like that again, to treat her gently, to hug her more often and scold her less often.

Correction is fine when it’s needed but gentle correction is something I’d like to master.

I told myself sternly, “The way to make this forgivable is to not do it again. Make it a one-time event and fill her life with loving memories of you, moments when you kissed her and hugged her and showed her how much you love her because, hello, actions speak so much more loudly than words and telling the child you love her won’t go far if you rub her head roughly just because of a little lotion.”

I need those moments, those talks inside my head. I hope they’ll make me a better mother. My girls deserve a better mother.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When Kids Make the Plans aka How Awesome is My Husband?

The girls spent yesterday a Gram’s house because Jaxon was going to be there. When he’s there, they’re there because, as my mom says, it’s actually easier to take care of three than it is one because when there are three, they entertain each other but when there’s just one, that one expects the adult to entertain them because…boredom.

The moment I stepped into my mom’s house, Jaxon was beside me. “Tommie! Hey, Tommie, guess what? I’m going to ask my dad if I can come to your house tonight after my baseball game and spend the night with the girls.”

I laughed because I thought he was joking.

Alyssa said, “It would only be one more mouth to feed.”

I tried to follow this train of thought but it was not computing. My mom finally clued me in.

“They’re planning for Jaxon to come to your house tonight after his game, spend the night with you guys and then spend the day at your house with the girls.”

Jaxon reiterated, “Yeah, I could just come over after my game and spend the night with the girls then I would be with them tomorrow when we all wake up.”

“Hold on, Buddy,” I told him. “I can’t make that decision. I have to ask Tom since he’s the one who would be taking care of all you guys tomorrow.”

“Okay,” he said, very agreeable and all, “you should call Tom and see if it’s okay. Do you think it’ll be okay because I’m going to ask my dad when I get to my game and then Gram can bring me to your house and I can spend the night. Why does Tom have to stay with me and the girls? Does he have to go to work? Can I come over after my game?”

I walked away from the chatterbox and called my husband.

His first reaction was the same as mine. He laughed because like me, he thought it was a joke.

See, Jaxon’s mom and dad aren’t married. He lives mostly with his dad (my brother) but during the school year the custody agreement is pretty equal. The problem is summer. His mom is a stay-at-home mom to her two younger daughters. Her husband works second shift and they only have one car. So…if he’s at her house during the week, my brother had to go get Jaxon for his baseball games, take him back to her after the games, blah, blah, blah. It’s easier for my brother for Jaxon to either stay at my mom’s because my mom will take him to the games/practice or for Jax to go to my brother’s sister-in-law’s house, which is where Jaxon’s younger brother goes every day.

The problem is that Jaxon says that the sister-in-law’s kids (four of them) are mean to him. My mom and I are pretty protective of this kid. He’s been through a lot in his seven years of life. I know, kids will be kids. But kids will also be little shits and I think this is the case. And I also think that the sister-in-law sort of lets the kids run wild and isn’t really aware of how obnoxious her kids are.

So yeah, sorry, major tangent.

Tom and I talked a little more and then he said, “What do you think? I mean, it’s just one more kid.”

I told him what Lyss had said about it just being one more mouth to feed. Then I said, “This will not be a weekly thing, I promise.”

He laughed at that because, yeah, duh.

Then he said, “Sure, he can come over.”

So I hung up the phone and announced, “Okay, Jax, you can come over after your game.”

There was much whooping and screeching. Everyone was quite excited.

Once at home, I was asked no fewer than a dozen times what time I thought Jaxon would get there. And let me say right now that Liv wasn’t the only one asking.

His practice started at 6pm. His game started at 7. The games run either five innings or an hour and a half, whichever happens first.

When he wasn’t there at 9:20, Tom asked, “You don’t think they’d show up this late do you?”

I explained the timing and then said, “Do you really think my brother would say no to this?”

Tom laughed and agreed that it was highly unlikely that Big J had said no to little J.

My mom and Jax arrived at 9:35. He was very excited and very wound up.

Olivia was already sound asleep because, well, she’s an early to bed/early to rise kind of girl.

I finally wrangled both Jax and Lyss into bed at 10:10.

When I left for work at 7:25 this morning, Tom had all three kids outside on the porch to say good bye.

And all this is to say that I think my husband might just be one of the best dads/uncles around. It’s all kinds of awesome that he said, “Well, it’s just one more kid, right?”

Monday, June 22, 2015

Inside Out Tore Me Up

It was a very movie weekend. The girls and I went to see Pixar’s Inside Out on Saturday and then my mom, Alyssa and I went to see Jurassic World on Sunday. Yes, we left Olivia with Tom on Father’s day. He didn’t want to see the movie (he’ll see it when I buy the dvd) and Olivia would have been overwhelmed by the volume and some of the scariness.

Olivia only had to pee twice during Inside Out, which is a good sign that she actually enjoyed the movie.

It was a clever movie with lots of funny parts.

There was one point, though, that had me fighting sobs. I am one to well up with tears and maybe have one escape to trickle down my cheek but this movie had the tears flowing and me laughing in an attempt to disguise the sobs.

If you don’t want to be spoiled, read no further. Seriously. Stop now if you want to watch this movie and not know what’s coming…






It has been documented here that Olivia has several imaginary friends, so it probably comes as no surprise that I was happy to see the main character’s imaginary friend make an appearance in this movie. He was adorable and very obviously loves this girl very much. At eleven, she hadn’t thought of him much in the years since she was two or three but the scenes of her playing with him were adorable.

In an effort to get Joy back to Riley’s control center, the imaginary friend sacrifices himself to pits where old memories go to die. It was one of the saddest moments I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. His last words were, “Take her to the moon for me.”

I loved the idea of her imaginary friend not actually being imaginary, at least not to her inside her own head. Olivia still talks about her imaginary friends. They’re inside her head, living out lives and stories that she writes for them.

The idea that one would be willing to become dust in order for her to continue to feel joy is beautiful. Her imaginary friends love her, they exist because of her and they’d do anything for her.

Alyssa found my tears amusing and sweetly comforted me as I fought the sobs and Olivia was, well, she was Olivia, sitting next to me eating her Reece’s Pieces and probably wondering why Mom was sniffling like crazy next to her.

Yes, we’ll be buying the DVD version of this movie too. There are times when I need a good cry.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Starring Gwyneth Paltrow

(Because doesn’t everyone love to hear about other people’s dreams?) (I know…no one actually enjoys hearing other people’s dreams but…my blog, my rules and hence, my dream.)
Setting: A weirdly picturesque community with a lot of large vaguely Victorian houses. It’s a post-apocalyptic world in which most of the zombies have been destroyed but there are some lingering.

A group of adults are wandering the street, I’m among them. We’re heading for a specific house because we suspect a zombie has gotten in and we need to get it out, destroy it.

Because it’s a dream and dreams are weird, Gwyneth Paltrow jumps from the third story balcony of a vaguely Victorian house that has been painted a very odd shade of green (sort of Kelly green but quite bright.) Once she lands on the grass much like a superhero would land, Gwyneth launches into a lecture about how we should leave the zombie alone. We all need to learn to live and let live. In fact, we should free the zombie from his (it’s a dude zombie) closet inside the house next door to the bright green house from which Gwyneth jumped, we should just let him roam the streets of our apparently safe neighborhood. After all, Gwyneth told us, zombies are people too!

We made our way into the house to find the zombie stuck in the closet. Someone (not Gwyneth) let him out and he rolled around on the floor for a bit. I realized with horror that the zombie was between me and Olivia, who was laying on the floor maybe three feet from the zombie. She was playing on her tablet, oblivious to the danger that was rolling toward her.

Tom was the closest to Olivia and the zombie but just stood there, watching the scene unfold. The zombie rolled to within a foot of Olivia and I heard it mutter, “Must not bite. Resist temptation.”

I guess this was just an ‘almost’ zombie, ala R from Warm Bodies or Liv Moore from iZombie; except this dude was in full-on Walking Dead zombie mode. Whatever it was, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to eat my child and so I leaped over it, grabbed my daughter and then jumped back to safety. Then I turned and glared at my husband for just standing there.

At that point, I think it was decided that the zombie would be left alone to eat or not eat as the rest of us made our way out of the house.

One thing I now know for sure is that I dream in color since I distinctly remember the awful green house and the red of Olivia’s tablet as it tumbled from her hands when I snatched her from the jaws of certain zombie-ism.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Graduation Season and Summer Busyness

I do believe that graduation season is finally over. I hope so anyway.

Of course, now that it’s over, we get to celebrate Father’s Day, then my brother’s birthday, then my step-son, D’s birthday, then the Fourth of July and then Tom’s birthday and then the annual Ordinary family reunion and THEN…the girls and I will be kidnapping my mother and going to Cedar Point for a few days just to escape everything.

Last weekend we went to two graduation parties in two days. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much to over achievers like, say, Julie and her family, who have been known to hit up like twenty seven dance marathons in as many hours but for us, it was a big deal.

But Sunday evening we were all tired and partied out. As we drove home from the party that celebrated three high school graduates (a first cousin, a second cousin once removed (that would make her A’s and O’s second cousin, and a niece) I promised the girls that we’d hit up a park the next weekend, a weekend when we had no plans.

Except wait, see that list up there? This weekend is father’s day. But I’m betting Tom would be more than happy to see us all off to the park for a couple of hours. I’m not sure what he does when we’re gone but he never seems to mind when we leave. Ha. Quite honestly, I’m jealous of him and all his time at home alone. I never, EVER get time at home alone. It just doesn’t happen that way in the Ordinary household.

Not only are they both longing to get outside and play at one of the many local parks, there are so many movies that Alyssa and I (and sure, okay, Olivia too) want to see. We could probably spend an entire day at a Cineplex and be perfectly happy. Sure, Olivia probably wouldn’t be as happy as Alyssa and I would but, well, two out of three isn’t bad, right? If I agreed to take her to the restroom every ten minutes she’d be thrilled to spend a day at the movies. Alas, that defeats the purpose of even going to the movies which, you know, is to actually WATCH the movies but we’ll figure it out. Maybe Alyssa and I will go see Jurassic World and leave Liv with her dad and then take her with us to see Inside Out another day.

So much to do and the summer already feels like it’s drifting away like so much dandelion fluff on a warm breeze.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bedtime Routines

My kids are big advocates for routine. They thrive when they know what’s coming and what to expect.

One of the reasons Olivia hate animals and babies so much is that they’re unpredictable. She can’t guess what they’re going to do next, whether it’s jump on her, throw up or poop uncontrollable. It stresses her out. She avoids animals and babies like they’re all going to attack her with no notice.


So yes, they like routine and predictability. They like the fact that I get home every day at 5:00. They like knowing that dinner will be on the table no later than 6:15 but sometimes as early as 5:50. They can handle a little spontaneity if it’s just a twenty-five minute dinner window. Olivia likes knowing that she’s going to take a bath every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Alyssa likes knowing that we go to Gram’s house every Monday afternoon.

Our bedtime routine has changed abruptly and Alyssa is disgusted by this change.

Olivia? She loves it, but let’s face it, that’s because she’s the catalyst for the change.

See, before this past Sunday, Olivia would fall asleep on the recliner anytime between 8:00 and 8:20 after I’d read to her, smooched her into near-nothinginess (she loves it), scratched her back, her arms, her neck, her knees and yes, sometimes even her pinky or her thumb-web. She’s an itchy girl.

Then, once O was asleep, I’d leave my station at the foot of her chair and make my way to the couch, where Alyssa would snuggle up against me for an hour or so while we watched crappy television and snarked about it.

Sunday night this all changed because Olivia. Would. Not. Go. To. Sleep. Seriously. She just wouldn’t.

I was tired (big surprise, I’m ALWAYS tired.) and so at 9 I said that we were going to bed. I wasn’t going to carry Olivia to bed because, duh, girlfriend was wide awake, she could walk her little self up those stairs without me having to strain my back. She was actually delighted by this turn of events. Alyssa groused a bit but realized I was serious and trudged up the stairs behind us.

I tucked both girls into the beds, gave the requisite kisses and then settled into my bed. And we all….went to sleep. It was glorious!! I’ve heard of other people tucking their kids into their own beds and then everyone just going to sleep but I thought it was a myth. I’m so happy to have moved into this fairytale land.

When I told my mom about this the next day, Olivia grinned with joy over having walked to her own bed, been tucked in and going to sleep all by herself.

That little shit. She’s been wanting to do this for years (maybe, probably not) and just now started getting her way. My back was willing to do it this way long ago, or, you know, once Olivia hit fifty pounds.

Alyssa hates this routine because she feels like Olivia hogs all my attention until bedtime and then she, Alyssa gets none. This is not quite true. Sure, they have to share me a little more if Olivia doesn’t go to sleep in time to give Alyssa alone time with me but we all sit on the couch together with me in the middle. They both lean against me, they both get kisses and hugs and all kinds of positive physical affection as well as loving words and plenty of snark directed toward whatever bad television show we’re watching. But alas, Alyssa longs for those days gone by (you know, the ones we had last week) when Olivia was fast asleep across the room and she only had to share my attention with the TV.

I keep telling her to be open to these awesome chances to embrace change. She’s not buying it. Maybe I’ll have to come up with some another change in one of our other routines in hopes of distracting Alyssa from this bedtime change.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Twice Baked

Olivia has always been a good eater. Even when she was suffering from horrible reflux as an infant and screaming between feedings, she ate well. Once she was on Zantac for the reflux, she ate even better.

Considering the fact that there are quite a few babies/kids/individuals with 5p- syndrome who are tube fed, I realize how lucky we are that Olivia eats as well as she does.

Heck, considering how picky Alyssa is I consider us lucky that Olivia eats the variety that she does.

One of O’s very favorite foods is potatoes. She loves potatoes cooked in almost any way imaginable. Baked potatoes smothered in butter and sour cream? She’ll be salivating before you place it on the table in front of her. She loves her potatoes mashed and swimming in gravy. She likes them cut into wedges and baked with herbs and spices. She enjoys them cut into spirals and fried ala Arby’s.

Recently Tom suggested I make twice-baked potatoes. He knew he liked them and was pretty sure Olivia would too.

Holy cow does she love those things. She looked at the first one I served her and her eyes lit up. It was like she was being served her very own single serving of mashed potatoes in their own potato skin bowl. Best thing she could even imagine. The last few nights she’s eaten the equivalent of two potatoes each night.

Of course I also serve her other foods along with her twice-baked potatoes but she would eat only the potatoes if I let her.

She loves to hear how things are made. The first night I served her the potatoes she asked me how I’d made them. I went through the entire process as she spooned bite after bite into her mouth. She listened, fascinated, as I described washing the potatoes, rubbing them with oil, baking them for an hour at 400 degrees then mixing the sour cream and butter and cutting the potatoes in half and scraping the insides out of them to mix with the sour cream and butter. She loved the fact that the potatoes were in fact truly baked twice, you know, since that’s what they were named.

I think we might be raising a foodie. Give her another few years and she’ll be a contestant on Master Chef Kids.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Still Weird

We have family friends who are moving to Mississippi in the new few weeks so the girls, my mom and I headed to their house to visit and say goodbye. This family has girls the same age as my girls so it was a perfect fit when we met back when Alyssa and their older daughter, J were starting kindergarten. It was such a perfect fit that I picked up J and took her to school most days during that year.

One thing we love about this family is that they’re as weird as we are. Seriously, they really are. I won’t tell you the ways in which they are weird, because, duh, that’s their story to tell but suffice it to say that this mom and I bonded all those years ago over the weirdness of ourselves and our beautiful, wonderful, WEIRD kids.

The four girls started out playing with water balloons and squirt guns. They had a blast drenching each other.

Once they were all chilled to the bone we headed to the backyard where they played in the warm breeze and warmed up/dried off.

While the little girls were happy to play on the swings and kick a ball back and forth, the bigger girls soon got bored and asked if they could go inside.

After watching the littler girls play, we adults also got bored (and hot) and headed inside too, where we found Alyssa and J playing Scattergories. We (my mom, B, and I) joined them in the game. We were seated in a such a way that we could see Olivia and A playing outside. They’d moved from kicking the ball to playing in the sandbox.

At one point, Olivia came in to find us and use the bathroom. She washed her hands and called from the bathroom that her feet were really dirty.

J went to the bathroom and turned on the water in the bathtub so Olivia could wash her feet.

Uh oh.

Once that water was running into the bathtub, Olivia wouldn’t be stopped (okay, she could have been stopped but…) She told us all that her face was dirty. I told her to go use the sink and wash it. She asked how she was supposed to do that.

I cupped my hands together and mimed splashing water on my face.

She sighed and said, “But how can I wash my face in the bathtub? I need to get in it and if I do that my clothes will get dirty.”

I saw exactly what she was getting at and told her, “Livie! You are not taking a bath! We are not at home, we’re visiting friends and you’re not taking a bath.”

At this point, B (the mom) piped up with a grin, “Why not? I know I always take a bath when I visit friends.”

I shook my head and stifled my laughter.

Olivia looked quite cheerful at B’s comment, she took it as permission to bathe. She trotted off to the bathroom and commenced getting nude.

I followed her in the bathroom and continued to tell her that she wasn’t taking a bath. She informed me that B had said she could. B again called out that is really was fine and not a big deal at all if Olivia wanted to take a bath.

How many friends do you have that would barely blink an eye at your child stripping and bathing during a mid-afternoon visit? At this point, I’d say I have two. B and Julie, who both know Olivia well enough to not think a thing of her doing just this.

So sad for Olivia that Julie is in Indianapolis and B is moving her family to Mississippi. In a few weeks, the only place Liv is going to be able to bathe freely is at home. Poor dear.

B laughed about the whole thing and said, “I’m just glad that my kids have competition for being the weirdest kids in the area.”

I appreciated her humor and her ability to embrace the weird.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


It’s Thursday and I have nothing to say. That doesn’t mean I won’t say something though.

I’m taking tomorrow as a vacation day, wheee for me. I thought maybe I’d take the girls to the grocery store a day early (I know, the excitement!) but instead we’re probably going to go visit a friend and her daughters. This family is moving to Mississippi soon, which is sad for those of us they’re leaving but happy for them because, yay, adventure.

We have two graduation parties this weekend. One is for my brother’s step-daughter and the other is for a cousin. How much cash should I give each graduate? What is the going rate for distant-ish relatives? I’m not close to either of the graduates but feel like I should give them both something, you know?

The second episode of the newest season of Hannibal is on tonight. This makes me happy even though the show kind of gives me nightmares.


Last Thursday night I had a very disturbing dream about Hannibal as played by Mads Mikkelsen

(not to be confused by the equally awesome version of Hannibal as played by Anthony Hopkins)

after watching the season premiere. I know! Why would I watch something so disturbing that it invades my dreams and makes me emotionally and mentally uncomfortable? Because it’s a delicious discomfort, that’s why. And besides that, Hugh Dancy is going to be back at Will tonight and he’s just dreamy. I know he’s young, big deal, he’s still adorable.

So yeah, that’s happening.

We’re also going to do yoga this afternoon when I get home from work. This time, it will not be yoga as instructed by Jillian Michaels. Nope, I got us a ‘gentler’ yoga DVD yesterday and we’re going to try that. We’ll see how much whining and bitching I do even during ‘gentle’ yoga. I can assure you that there will be SOME kind of bitching and moaning because, well, even gentle yoga is a form of working out and we all know how that goes for me.

At least my very vocal dislike of working out amuses my children. And we send my husband out of the room so he doesn’t have to hear it. He’d probably take umbrage at my attitude and then I’d be mad at him for being judgy and let’s just all agree that it’s better that he’s not around when it’s happening.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


At our last meeting with Miss Mary Rose, Olivia’s amazing physical therapist, we all agreed that Olivia would not receive PT next year during school. Miss MR has brought Olivia as far as she could and Olivia’s gross motor skills have improved to the point that she can navigate the school halls, her lunch, the bus steps, the restroom and even gym class just fine without additional help. We’re eternally grateful to this PT for all that she’s done for Olivia over the last four years. Olivia adores Miss Mary Rose and was willing to work hard for her.

So yes, we had that meeting and it was good.

During said meeting, Miss Mary Rose gave us some suggestions of things for Olivia to do over the summer to maintain the strength she’s built through PT as well as increase her strength, flexibility, coordination, etc.

Some of those suggestions were to play catch with various sized balls, walk on a low balance beam, swing, ride her bike, kick a ball and finally, do yoga.

Yes, yoga. Sigh.

So I bought a yoga DVD last weekend and we (Olivia, Alyssa and I) attempted to do the yoga they were doing on that DVD. Yes, we attempted it.

It was awful. Well, it was awful for me because, well I’m chunky and I’m out of shape, I have no flexibility, I HATE to work out, I detest sweating and I hate doing things I’m not good at. I was a whiny brat during the entire half hour of this yoga.

About ten minutes in, Olivia asked why the yoga was so hard.

It was then that it occurred to me that we were doing yoga as instructed by Jillian Michaels. Yes, we were doing ‘yoga for weight loss.’ I’m such an idiot. Neither Alyssa nor Olivia needs to lose weight. They were both able to keep up with Jillian and do most of the moves but when I realized they were both struggling, I suggested that today I try and find a ‘gentle’ yoga video for us to do tonight.

Olivia was all over that. She declared, “This is NOT gentle yoga. This is hard yoga. I want to try to do gentle yoga.”

So we’re going to do just that. We’re going to try yoga for strength and stretching rather than for weight loss. I figure that no matter what I do, it’s better for me than sitting on my big butt and eating cherry pie filling out of a can so yeah, gentle yoga it is.

Maybe as we build strength we’ll try Jillian’s version of yoga again in a month or so.

Talk, Talk, Talk

“I think I slept on my feet weird, they hurt this morning.” Olivia muttered these words as she sprawled at my feet while I tried to get ready for work.

I silently wondered if she’d slept hunched over in some weird crisscross-applesauce position because if not, how in the world did she sleep on her FEET weird.

But I decided not to ask that question out loud because I was afraid she’d actually try to answer.

This is the child we were told might not ever speak. Okay, wait. No, we personally never heard that Olivia might not speak. But research I did before we got her diagnosis told us that if she had 5p- syndrome, she wouldn’t talk or walk. Her doctor, the one who diagnosed her, told us to ignore that research.

This girl, the one who was not supposed to be able to talk, she never shuts up. She talks from the moment she wakes up until she’s finally asleep at night. She talks to me as she’s falling asleep, mumbling about what she’s planning to dream about or asking me if I’m mad at her.

The mad thing is our newest routine (Olivia LOVES routines.) I tell her, gently mind you, to settle and she’ll give a small smile say, “I’m trying. Are you mad at me?”

And my answer is always, “No, of course I’m not mad at you. Nobody is mad at you. Everybody loves you. I love you, Daddy loves you, Lyssie loves you. Gram loves you, Pawp loves you, Jaxon loves you, the little monster loves you. And Orville loves you even though you run away from him.”

While this doesn’t actually make her settle so much as it makes her giggle, she needs me to say it all because like I said, routine is her friend.

Olivia’s imagination is like probably every other eight year olds out there. She’s got so much going on in her head and she needs to get it out. She needs to talk and be heard but yikes, sometimes…the talking just seems to go on forever. I love it, really I do, but when she finally does settle for the night, I admit to being quite relieved as I bask in the silence that lasts all of thirty seconds before Alyssa realizes that Olivia has stopped talking and decides it’s her turn to be heard.

Yes, I’m pretty darned lucky to live in a chatty household. I remind myself of that every single day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Radio

Tom, the girls and I went to Huntington yesterday for G’s (Tom’s granddaughter) birthday party. She is SIX!! So much fun. It was a “Fancy” Party, which means all the invitees were encouraged to wear their fanciest, dressiest dresses and there were hats to decorate and leis to wear. The cupcakes were high-heeled shoes. It was cute.

Tom drove us all in my car because, well, my car is the best car we own. It’s true.

So there we were, driving along, the radio playing kind of as background noise. But then a song that I don’t like came on (I don’t remember which, there are a lot of songs playing these days that I don’t like.) and I changed the radio station.

We listened to the new station through a few songs and then the same song from before came on (I just remember that it was Sugar by Maroon 5. While I don’t mind some of their songs, that one just grates on my nerves. Why yes, I am getting old, why do you ask?)

I changed the station again. This time Tom got a little huffy. He rolled his eyes and muttered something. I asked him what was wrong. He told me he wasn’t used to someone who just randomly changed the station every third song.

I declared that I wouldn’t touch the stupid radio again.

He suggested that if I hate every song being played that I just turn it off.

I turned off the radio.

Alyssa piped up that it didn’t bother her when I changed the station because she was used to it because I do hate a lot of songs.

She wasn’t helping the situation.

Both Tom and I pouted for several miles in the silence. Olivia finally couldn’t take the quiet created by the radio being off and starting singing her own songs to us. I think she was making up words to the tune of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood (another song I really, REALLY hate…see a pattern here?)

On the way home, Tom and I were over the little radio spat and I was dozing anyway so he turned the radio back on. At this point, I was still stubbornly refusing to touch it, you know, out of spite and because for being so old I’m really not all that mature.

We were probably still a half hour from home when Tom asked Alyssa if she liked the current song playing. She answered, “I don’t know. Do we like this song Mom?”


Even in my semi-dozing state, I laughed.

Tom laughed too and said, “Now you see what I meant earlier?”

I nodded and then told Alyssa, “You know you’re allowed to have your own opinion, right?”

She said, “Yes, but sometimes I don’t know if I like something until you tell me whether or not you like it.”

Ha. Okay. But I then pointed out to her that she likes Bad Blood even though I don’t and sometimes I even let it play on the radio.

Tom raised an eyebrow at that and wisely decided not to comment.

I guess maybe I really should learn to keep my hands off the radio. Except…there really are some crappy songs playing these days so I’m not sure how well I’ll manage to do that even if I were to resolve to do so. We’ll see.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Bathroom Drama

I remember overhearing my mom tell one of her friends that, thanks to my brother, she knew where every restroom was in every single store in our town.

My brother had the bladder of a squirrel.

Olivia…oh sweet Olivia, sometimes has to get out of the tub three times during a half hour bath to pee.

So I now know what my mom was talking about.

We can go to the bathroom the minute we arrive at the library and then have to stop after picking out eighteen book (that takes all of ten minutes.)

It was no surprise that as soon as we arrived at my nephew’s (from this point forward called the Little Monster, thanks to him spending a day with Olivia and Gram) birthday party last weekend that Olivia needed to pee.

I was helping my mom with something and so asked Alyssa to help Olivia use the bathroom.

After the minimum required eyeroll, Alyssa did as I asked and escorted Olivia to the bathroom that was attached to the pavilion. They returned three and a half second later with Alyssa huffing and sighing and saying that Olivia refused to use the toilet.

“It looks weird!” Olivia declared.

I said, “Okay, but if you won’t use that bathroom, you’ll have to go across the street and use the Port-a-Potty that’s by the park.”

Olivia gave me a look that said her bladder would burst and hell would freeze over before that happened.

I decided to try something different, even though I knew the outcome. I took her hand and pulled her to the other side of the pavilion from where the women’s bathroom was located. I started to enter the door on that side when she realized what we were doing. She almost fainted.

I’d tried to take her into the men’s bathroom.

Now, in my defense, I knew no one was in there. I also knew we wouldn’t get past the threshold because yeah, there was no way on God’s green earth that Olivia would step foot in a men’s restroom.

*Sidebar: When we were trying to potty train Olivia my mom would threaten O with boy undies if she wet the girlie ones we’d put on her that morning. That punishment alone went a long way toward helping O become potty trained. Mean? Perhaps, but it also led to way fewer puddles of pee over the years we were dealing with potty training. End sidebar.*

My detour to the door of the men’s room was my attempt to show Olivia that were worse things than a ‘weird’ toilet in the ladies room.

After she got over shock at my divergent behavior, I took her back to the women’s restroom and we looked at the weird toilet.

Know what was weird about it? It was metal instead of porcelain (are toilets actually porcelain? Whatever.) It also didn’t have an obvious-to-an-eight-year-old way of flushing. There was a button on the wall behind the toilet. I knew it was for flushing but Olivia didn’t.

I tried to show her how it was a perfectly fine toilet. Wanna know how far I went? Of course you do. I peed first. That’s how I showed her it was functional and not weird at all. After I went, she happily yanked up her dress, pulled down her underwear and relieved herself with a sigh. I flushed the toilet, we washed our hands and exited that restroom triumphant.

The rest of the party was drama-free as far as the bathrooms go. After that initial visit, Olivia was comfortable enough to use that bathroom as often as necessary, with either me or Alyssa as an escort.

Sometimes you’ve just got to embrace the weird. That’s all I’m saying.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Why do people think it’s okay to walk past a person’s desk, stop long enough to walk INTO that person’s office and toss garbage into their trashcan? If there weren’t a break room all of ten steps away with a garbage can right inside, I probably wouldn’t be so bothered (I would) but there is and why must those people stop, come inside my office and toss their stupid coffee cups into my trash?


Why will my child, who has very bad vision when not wearing her glass, not wear her glasses now that summer has arrived?

She seems to have decided to declare this the Summer of No Glasses. I am not okay with this. Not only is she straining her eyes just to play on her tablet, she’s also standing six inches from the television because she can’t see. Why will she just not put on her glasses? Why?

Why do people think that if a person is eating their lunch in their office, minding their own damned business, that it is okay to stop and ask for some of that person’s lunch?

This has happened to me more times than I can count when I’m eating sliced cucumbers. I eat one cucumber every single day. I love my cucumber. Cucumbers are quite inexpensive all places like, oh, Walmart and Meijer and Kroger and any other damned grocery story you can think of. Go buy your own flipping cukes! Why is okay for them to try and take some of MY lunch? Why!?!

Whew, I feel better now.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Nighttime Insanity

We were watching Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader last night. Don’t judge there was nothing else on; damned summer programming.

Anyway, the answer to one of the questions was chlorophyll and the adult playing the game gave chloroform as his answer. Yeah, poor sap. (Confession: When I first heard the question, my first response was also chloroform but I quickly corrected myself, saying that, duh, if you wanted to kidnap someone, then yes, chloroform was the way to go, but the stuff in plants is definitely chlorophyll.)

I was shouting at the television that the dude who was NOT smarter than a fifth grader was never, ever going to forget chlorophyll after being on that show. I wondered, aloud, if he had a cousin Phil, which might have helped him remember chlorophyll. Full disclosure: I do, in fact have a cousin Phil.

“Chlorophyll!” I shouted. “Chlorophyll…store a Phil. Store a Phil in your closet. Store a fork in Phil’s forehead.” Yes, I was suffering from momentary insanity. In my defense, I had a headache and was VERY tired. (I do not store my cousin Phil in a closet, nor do I store a fork in his forehead.)

The girls find me so very funny sometimes, especially when I’m tired and cranky. I guess it’s better that they find my crankiness hilarious than annoying or mean. At one point Olivia was laughing so hard she fell off her chair. It’s great fun to be silly and ridiculous with my kids.

Maybe it’s moments like the one last night that makes Alyssa want to come home after a day with a friend rather than spend the night. She was recently invited to go to a state park and then spend the night with her friend and her friend’s grandparents.

I think it was the grandparents part that put her off. She’s stayed with this friend several times and enjoyed herself but that was at her friend’s house with her friend’s parents. This would have been with grandparents who’d never been met and yeah, my girl is a bit of homebody.

She fretted about how not spending the night might hurt her friend’s feelings and I told her that I was sure her friend would be fine, I reminded her that the friend, N, really just wanted to spend time with her and time during the day was better than no time at all.

I was right, of course. N and her family completely understood and were happy to have Alyssa for the day.

I wonder what kind of antics we’ll get up to tonight while we watch Master Chef. Last week during the season premiere, there was a woman that I wondered aloud if the producers had asked to dress especially dumpy. She was wearing what looked like orthopedic shoes with bobby socks. Seriously.

Summer programming really does leave so much to be desired; though I am beyond excited about the season 3 premiere of Hannibal tomorrow night. Yeah, that’s one I draw the line on. Neither of my kids are allowed to watch it, even if they could stay up till eleven to see the entire episode. It’s just too dark, too gory, too psychologically creepy for them. But for me? It’s a thrill a minute.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Party at the Park

My nephew turned a year old last week. His parents threw a party for him at the park on Saturday.

The day was humid and mid-80s, so the first part of the party, the part where the kids played at the park, was kind of miserable.

The birthday boy, though, thought the balloons were pretty awesome. Can I pause here to say that chubby one-year-olds have the cutest walk? Seriously, the waddle this kid was doing was all sorts of awesome.

Right around the time we called the kids in from the sweltering park so they could eat and watch C open his presents (with much help from his big brother) it started to sprinkle.

The sprinkles were a welcome relief to the humidity (though, yeah, sprinkles just sort of take 90% humidity and push it right up to 100%, right?)

As food was eaten and presents were opened, the sprinkles became heavier and were soon a downpour. The kids were delighted. My older nephew, the birthday boy’s big brother, was quick to take off for a run in the rain.

Both Alyssa and Olivia looked to me, silently asking if they could follow suit.

I figured, why not? It was a warm rain and everyone had already eaten. Heck, my mom had been planning to bring out some water balloons so all the kids were going to get wet anyway.

They had so much fun. They ran around the pavilion more times than I could count. They stood under the steady stream that was created by the downspouts. They shook their hair at me in an attempt to get me wet too.

The rain pretty much continued through to the end of the party and the kids were all drenched. All the parents kind of looked at each other and realized none of us had brought changes of clothes. Duh, why would we?

So we were all trying to figure out how to get our soaking wet children home without causing the seats in our cars to be soaking wet.

Monday, June 1, 2015


So…it’s summer. Sort of. The calendar still says spring and the weather actually feels more like fall but the school declared that it is summer as of last Friday, when the girls had their first day of summer break.

What time did Olivia wake up on her first day of summer break? Why, at 5:50am of course. She is not one to sleep in. Though this morning she didn’t wake up until 6:15, which really is sort of sleeping in for her. She came into the bathroom where I was getting ready for work and asked me where her dad was.

I told her he was probably downstairs and she asked me if her voice sounded tired.

I hugged her and declared that her voice DID sound tired. I suggested she go back to bed for a while and she told me to go to hell. Wait, no, she didn’t. She laughed at my audacity and said she was going to go find her dad.

Alyssa woke up while I was in the shower. She wanted to know when I’d be done because she needed to wash the green dye out of her hair that we’d put in the night before. I know, I know. Yes, I’m that mom.

Olivia came back from her hunt for her dad to hang out in the bathroom with me while I finished getting ready. She’d slept with a microphone the night before (she shuns stuffed animals in favor of pointy, plastic items of various shapes for snuggling at night.) She serenaded me as I dressed.

She paused between songs at one point to ask me if I had to work tomorrow.

I told her I did.

She sighed and said she wished I got summers off too.

Oh, you and me both, Kid. Alas, I did not student teach way back when I was at IU and so I never got my degree in secondary education. So…I don’t get summers off. But I do have vacation days and I have some scheduled for this summer. We’re going to Cedar Point in mid-July and to Indianapolis at the end of July. There are other times I plan to just take a day or two here and there and just be with those sweet girls of mine.

We’ll muddle through, we always do and in the end, it all works out just right.