Friday, September 30, 2016


Okay, so I’ve been watching that new show on NBC This is Us. I really like it.

In the second episode, a mother of three asks her husband how he thinks they’re doing as parents. She gives them a six, then ups it to a seven and admits that she believes she’s actually a nine but he’s bringing their score down with his drinking and late nights. She does tell him that when he’s there, when he’s sober, he’s actually a better parent than she is.

But this isn’t about the show. It’s about my score as a parent.

These days, I’d give myself a solid seven. I think I’m doing okay; not great, but okay. My girls know they are loved. They are clothed and fed (separate dinners each night because…well, I guess it ups my score.)

They seem to be getting enough sleep and they’re doing pretty well in school. Alyssa has a lot of friends and has her interest in which I take a decent amount of interest as well, because I know that’s important to her.

Olivia has a vivid imagination and I listen (mostly) attentively when she tells me her imaginings, her stories, her dreams.

I hug them both as often as they want and they get a lot of physical affection from me, which ranges from hugs, to holding hands (while watching TV) to back scratches and gentle touches to soothe a tired nine year old to sleep.

But I could be better. I could yell less. I could scold less. I could set more limits and enforce them better.

I realized last night that one thing that would make me a better parent is if I set a bedtime and then just took the girls to bed at that time so I could have even a half hour to myself.

See, our routine right now is at 8pm, we sit on the couch together, me between A and O. I read to Olivia while Alyssa watched Pentatonix videos on her tablet. We finish reading at 8:15, at which time I take Olivia’s glasses and put them away. Then I settle back on the couch and rub/scratch Olivia’s back until she falls asleep with her head in my lap. This can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to forty-five minutes. Which is frustrating for me because, dude, JUST GO TO SLEEP.

And so because sometimes I’ve scratched/rubbed her back for up to forty-five minutes, many of those minutes with her twisting and turning and rolling and fidgeting with her blanket or her nightgown, I’ve had it when those forty-five minutes are up. And then I yell or I tell her sternly to settle down and go to sleep. Our peaceful time if over and I’ve turned into grumpy mom.

If I were to institute a bedtime for her of 8:30, we could still read and rub/scratch back for a bit but then when 8:30 rolled around we could calmly head up the stairs, I could kiss her good night, hug her and then tuck her into bed. Grumpy mom would never have to make an appearance. My score would move from a seven up into the eight range just like that.

Alyssa, on the other hand, could stay up until 9:30, doing her thing, sitting next to me watching either television with me or watching videos on her tablet but at 9:30, I could just send her to bed. There would be no hissing at her to turn her tablet down because I can’t take the noise of Tom’s TV from the family room, my TV and her tablet all being noisy at me. Again, if I knew there was an end time to her tablet time, to her sitting next to me and showing me every single comment on every single video, I could take a more sincere interest in the things she shows me and grouchy mom would stay away.

These are definitely things I need to consider implementing. It would be good for all of us. And grouchy mom could possibly pack her bags, never to return. If that happened, I could see myself hitting a score of nine in no time.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sometimes Music Hurts

Last night when I got home from work, Alyssa was at the kitchen table, doing homework. She looked tired. I kissed her head and asked her how her day was.

She said, “Five hours of playing the flute is tiring.”

Yeah. I can imagine.

She’s taking part in an invitational concert band and she’s had to meet with her band director after school to practice, work with her classmates to practice and yesterday, the participants were bussed from our school to the neighboring school where the concert will take place so all the students from all the schools could practice and perform together before Sunday, which is when the concert is scheduled to take place.

She took a break from her homework to tell me about the horribly uncomfortable chairs that were provided for the day of practice. She said, “If we wanted to play well and sound good, we had to sit on the very edge of the chairs with our backs away from the back. Five hours of that was torture.”

Poor kid, having to suffer through good posture and all that.

Wait, that sounds sarcastic. I really do feel for her. I know that it’s hard to do something unfamiliar and then to go back to the school, pick up all the homework she missed while away and have to come home to do it. And, wait, she also had to study for a test! Eighth grade is off to a roaring, awesome (seriously, no sarcasm here) start. It’s just hitting her that each year gets a little harder, a little more intense. Add in the extras, like this invitational band thing, and well, it can be a little tiring.

But, I told her, sometimes we have to suffer for our art. Music is her art. And she’s very good it at. She works hard to be good at it and I’m very proud of her. She takes it seriously and wants to be the very best she can be. I wish I’d had half her work ethic when I was her age. (Hell, I wish I had half her work ethic now…)

Though to be frank, her work ethic applies to the things she enjoys, so…maybe I do have half her work ethic if I compare it to how hard I’m willing to work doing things I enjoy. I guess maybe she’s a lot like me after all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Shadow(s)

Yes, that’s not a typo. I have two daughters and so, most days, I have two shadows.

Though to be fair to Alyssa, now that she’ edging in on fourteen, she’s become less of a shadow and more of her own person. That and she’s usually too busy watching a Pentatonix video on her phone or tablet (or maintaining her TWO Pentatonix-fan accounts on Instagram) to follow me from room to room and floor to floor she used to and like her sister still does.

Olivia, though, is still very much in shadow-mode. From the moment I get home from work, she follows me, telling me about her day, regaling me with stories about her imaginary friends, which now include the members of Pentatonix because Alyssa has inundated our house with this group and Olivia adores her sister and so had embraced them as her very own loves.

Though because Olivia doesn’t like to use actual names for the members of Pentatonix, she calls them by her own, very creative names:
Avi Kaplan is known as Weird Dot Guy. This is because of the makeup he wore in one of their videos.
Kirsten Maldonado is The Girl Pentatonix
Scott Hoying is Blue Guy because he wears blue on one of their album covers.
Mitch Grassi is Green Guy because, yes, you guessed it he wears green on one of their album covers.
Kevin Olusola is either Yellow guy (see above for reason) or Beat Boxing Guy because, yes, he’s the beat boxer. Olivia imagines herself a beatboxer. It’s adorable when she tries.

There are moments, though, when having a constant shadow can get a little, shall we say, annoying. Those moments like, oh, I don’t know, when I have to use the bathroom.

Some days I’ll actually tell her, “I’m just going to pee. You don’t have to follow me.”

She usually laughs and said, “What? Don’t you want an audience?” And then she follows me to the bathroom.

I’ve tried locking the door but this ends up being more annoying than helpful because she stands outside the door, twisting the knob, knocking on the door, asking me why I locked it. It’s just easier to let my shadow in from the start.

I know this won’t last forever.

I know I’m lucky to have such…loving children.

I know all this.

But I do wish I could pee in private once in awhile.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Teacher of the Year

Where can I nominate someone for Teacher of the Year?

Olivia’s teacher, Mrs. H, has gone above and beyond so far this year. When we last spoke, I suggested that I send a baggie of candies to school with Olivia. These treats were to be hidden in Mrs. H’s desk and at the end of the day, if she’d had more good moments than bad, Olivia would get to pick a piece of candy for the bus ride home.

During our conversation in which the candies came up, I mentioned earlier that last year Olivia was offered the option of a doodle pad on the corner of her desk and when she felt the urge to doodle or scribble on her worksheets, she should do the writing on the pad.

Olivia hated this idea because none of the other kids in her class had a doodle pad and her having one made her different. Olivia knows she’s different but she doesn’t enjoy having it made clear to the rest of the world on a constant basis.

Mrs. H listened to me. She heard me.

Last Friday Olivia came home and asked me if I thought she was the only kid in her class who gets Jolly Ranchers if she’s had a good day.

I said, “Well, since we sent in the Jolly Ranchers, yes, you’re the only kid who gets them.”

She shook her head and told me, “No! Mrs. H brought in a big jar of Jolly Ranchers of her own and EVERYONE gets one if they have a good day. She put them on the counter instead of on her desk and we all get to pick one when we have a good day.”

Oh my heart! This teacher took my idea for reinforcing good behavior in Olivia and made it about the whole class. She took a moment, saw a need and took away the possibility that Olivia would feel singled out by making Jolly Ranchers a reward for EVERYONE who has a good day.

This is Mrs. H’s first year teaching third grade. She was Olivia’s KinderKids teacher (pre-kindergarten) and I wasn’t sure at the beginning of the year how this would go because Olivia never really connected with Mrs. H back in KinderKids. But Mrs. H is going above and beyond this year and I’m so grateful to her for making the effort to not only help Olivia have better days but also to help Olivia feel like she’s no different from anyone else in her class.

What more could I ask from a teacher?

Monday, September 26, 2016


I don’t know where she discovered it, but Olivia has decided that the chevron pattern is her very favorite pattern ever.

In fact, she wishes I’d named Alyssa Chevron so that we could call Alyssa “Chevy” or “Ronni”. This is all much to Alyssa’s annoyance and mild disgust. But then, these days most of what her sister and I laugh about annoys/disgusts Alyssa, which is all the more reason for us to laugh about those very things.

We found Olivia a black and white chevron patterned dress a couple of weeks ago. She discovered she already has a pink/white/pink chevron shirt and she’s on the lookout for anything else that happens to be in any color of what she believes to be the best pattern ever invented.

Have I mentioned lately that Olivia amuses me more than ever these days? She’s funny, exasperating, sweet, infuriating, delightful and incredibly argumentative all at the same time.

We came across a shirt last weekend (it was in the men’s section at Walmart) that described Olivia so perfectly that if it had come in an xx-small, I’d have bought the darned thing and told her I found it in the girls’ department.

It said, “I’m not arguing, I’m explaining how I’m right.”

That’s Olivia right there. This kid argues about arguing. Some days it’s hysterical, some days maddening. All days, I’m lucky she’s mine and that she’s here to drive us crazy with humor one minute and irritation the next.

Friday, September 23, 2016

No-Guilt Zone

I feel guilty about a lot of things. I feel guilty that I don’t give my kids the very best of me all the time. I feel guilty that my house isn’t as clean as I feel like it should be. I feel guilty that I carry to much weight and so I’m not as healthy as I should be. I feel guilty that my house sometimes smells weird (even though we all know that’s because my husband cooks weird foods and THAT’S where the smell comes from.)

But one thing I do not feel guilty about is the fact that my husband is the food preserver of our house. He’s canned salsa, green beans (I think he canned 105 jars of green beans this year alone, yikes!) He’s also canned tomatoes and tomato juice and he’s frozen a bunch of pears.

And I feel no guilt over all the work he’s put into doing this. I feel no guilt over the fact that I have not helped…at all…with this endeavor. Okay, wait. I did help. I snapped the first batch of green beans. But then he did the rest and I don’t feel guilty over that.

See, canning and freezing food is not something I’d choose to do if my husband chose not to do it himself. I don’t see it as a need the way I see cleaning the toilets as a need. No one else is going to come and clean our toilets. But I can go to the grocery store and buy beans and pears and salsa. So, if he didn’t do it, I would buy those things.

And because he WANTS to do those things, I don’t feel guilty that he does them with no help from me.

My mom preserves a lot of food too. She, like my husband, works her butt off from late-July until mid-September, canning, freezing, pickling. And hey, good for her. I enjoy the fruits (and vegetables, ha!) of her labors. But again, I don’t feel bad for not doing it myself.

I would like to figure out how to transfer this sense of non-guilt into other aspects of my life. Eh, maybe after the nap I won’t feel guilty about taking.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Halloween Preview

Because she’s awesome, my mom finished Olivia’s Halloween costume (Draculaura) yesterday and brought it over for Liv to try on last night.

Olivia loves it. She’s so happy with it, she’s planning to wear it on Saturday as a ‘going to town’ costume.

I reminded her that we need to try and keep it clean and stain-free until Halloween and she assured me that she’d be very careful. Ha! We’ll see.

She’s very happy with the wig I bought her for her costume. I’ve let her wear it a few times but only around the house and when she’s done wearing it, I put it back in the plastic bag came in. I’ve told her we need to keep it in decent shape until Halloween, just like the costume.

The costume is ‘just’ a white skirt, a pink vest and a white turtle neck shirt. I say ‘just’ because those things were simple for my mom to sew. If I’d tried, I’d have gone through ten yards of fabric and nothing to show for it except a broken sewing machine and traumatized children after they’d heard my swearing at the machine.

It feels good to have her costume ready. She’s so excited already. She asked me last night what I thought her classmates would wear and I told her that was part of the fun, not knowing and being surprised on the day of the Halloween party.

She nodded her agreement and then twirled away, enjoying the swirliness of the skirt her awesome Gram made her.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Not Helpful At All

This weekend, I came across a question from one of my Facebook friends (I actually know this person, have met her, worked with her for two years in my mid-twenties so yeah…friend.) She’s married with two kids in elementary school.

This wife/mom/woman was asking for advice from her fellow Facebookers for how to do it all. By all she meant, work, take care of her children, spend time with her husband, take care of their home, buy groceries, and still find time to actually take care of herself.

She ended her post with, “And please, not snarky comments.”

Because I’m sure she’s heard them. Haven’t we all?

She got quite a few really nice, helpful comments. There were suggestions for cooking hacks, ways to schedule workouts, how to talk to her husband about the guilt she feels when working out because he doesn’t get it (does any man? I mean, seriously?)

But one comment, while not snarky or even mean, was NOT HELPFUL.

One woman wrote: Kids grow up fast so know that it won’t last forever.

Duh, right? She knows this. We all know this. The days are long but the years are short and blah, blah, freaking blah.

It’s right up there with telling the mother of three screaming children under the age of five to, “Enjoy it, someday you’ll miss this.”

Um, no. I will never miss the middle of the night screaming, the waking up every twenty minutes every night for YEARS.

It doesn’t help someone in the middle of the drudgery of day to day life, someone who is trying to schedule time to work out in order to keep herself healthy in order to care for those children who are ‘growing up so fast’ to tell her to ‘enjoy it’ or ‘it doesn’t really matter because it won’t last forever.’

Somedays feel like forever when you’re covered in vomit and haven’t slept more than an hour at a time in three days.

I didn’t reply to the unhelpful comment because, well, it wasn’t my wall and it wasn’t my question. But I wanted to.

I’m a little farther in this game than my Facebook friend and yet I still have days when I wonder how I’m going to make it until bedtime. How I’m going to survive making one more dinner or washing one more dish. I wonder who’s going to sweep the kitchen floor this time because it’s NOT GOING TO BE ME, DAMNIT!

What I wanted to say to the originator of the post and every mom out there on the front lines was, “We all have days when we wonder how we’re going to muddle through just one more activity, make one more meal and kiss one more booboo. We wonder when we’re going to connect with our husband again because it feels like forever since we had two minutes alone with him to remind ourselves of why we’re even a couple at all. We all wonder where we’re going to find the energy to get up ten minutes earlier tomorrow morning just so we can have those few minutes to ourselves to do whatever we need to take care of the caregiver but we do it. We get up every single day and we try. We love our kids. We love our husbands and if we’re really lucky, some days we get to love ourselves just a little too. But the fact that you’re asking this question means you’re trying. And believe me, you’re succeeding way more than you’re giving yourself credit.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

The First Phone Call

Friday afternoon I got the first phone call of the year from Olivia’s teacher.


Her teacher, just like all the ones before, is so kind, so loving. She wanted to let me know that Olivia had had a tough week. She’d been defiant, stubborn, refused to do some of the things requested of her. She refused to participate in gym class. She refused to work with the speech therapist. One a science test, there was an ‘essay’ question. She was required to write two or three sentences to answer this question. She wrote a few words and then ended it with, “…like, I don’t know.”

Mrs. H wanted to know if I had an advice for her and the rest of Olivia’s team on how to work with Olivia when she’s in that kind of mood.

I told her that sometimes, I just don’t know what motivates Olivia. Some days she’s just…Olivia. We have learned to roll with it at home but I realize that at school she often needs to be redirected and she needs motivation to behave appropriately.

So we decided I’d send a baggie of Jolly Ranchers (Olivia’s current favorite candy) to be stashed in Mrs. H’s desk and doled out one at a time, at the end of each day, after she’s done well for that day and met all expectations.

We’re going with “when…then” situations for Olivia. I told her as I packed the Jolly Ranchers, “When you do everything your teachers ask of you without attitude, then you’ll get a Jolly Rancher at the end of the day.”

I want to her to know what’s expected of her. I don’t want her to think there’s a choice in this. I hope she doesn’t decide, “Well, I don’t want a Jolly Rancher anyway, so I’m not going to do this thing for my teacher.”

I also suggested that Olivia be allowed to take her spelling tests at a keyboard. That would not only stop her from being able to doodle/scribble all over the test paper, it will also allow her to concentrate on the actual words she’s spelling rather than the task of writing out those words. Writing is still hard for Olivia. Those fine motor skills are coming along but they’re still weaker than those of her typical peers.

We’ll see…

That evening, Alyssa and the rest of the junior high band was performing with the high school marching band at halftime of the high school football game.

Olivia’s second grade teacher was at the gate taking money for tickets into the game. We talked a little bit about my phone call with O’s third grade teacher.

I told Mrs. P what behaviors Mrs. H called about and Mrs. P laughed and said, “That’s just Olivia being Olivia.”

Which…I know. But we really want to curtail it. Third grade academics are harder than second grade. O needs to be directed in ways that benefit her academically and socially.

When I got home from the football game (okay, from halftime, we all know I only went to that stupid game so I could watch my daughter play her flute for ten minutes) I pulled Olivia in for a hug. I told her I saw Mrs. P and she told me how great it is that she gets to read with Olivia each week, maintaining that teacher/student relationship.

She also reminded me that even as we try to motivate Olivia and direct her actions and behavior, sometimes, we just have to figure out how to teach to her. Rather than trying to make Olivia fit a mold we all know she’s never going to fit, maybe we should all try and change a little and meet her half way.

If we happen to have Jolly Ranchers in our pockets, well, all the better as far as Liv is concerned.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Third grade…started out so great. I mean, it was fine. We do homework each night, we read, we practice math.

Each week Olivia brings home a list of spelling words and we practice them. I say the words. She writes them out. If she gets any wrong, I write the correct spelling for her and make her write the word three times.

It’s fine. It works.

Except that yesterday she brought home her spelling test. The one we studied for last Thursday only to have Friday cancelled due to fog. The one we studied for on Tuesday night in preparation for Wednesday, the first day back at school since last Thursday.

She was ready for that test. She’d written all twenty words just fine during our practice test. She remembered that occurred has two c’s and two r’s. She remembered that greatest has an e before the a.

The problem was that her teacher couldn’t read some of the words she’d written because she’d scribbled/doodled all over her test. And I mean ALL OVER it. It was a mess.

She’s had doodling problems in the past.

We offered her a doodle pad to have on the corner of her desk for when the urge gets to be too much and she just has to doodle. She hated the doodle pad because none of the other kids have doodle pads.

Yeah, well, guess what, Sister! None of the other kids scribble all over the freaking spelling test to the point that the teacher can’t even read the words!

I’m so frustrated. I don’t know how to fix this for her. She’s so smart. She’s so capable but when these things kick in, she can’t stop herself, it’s an OCD thing, I think.

Hell, I don’t know. I really don’t.

I feel like I’m failing her. I don’t want to yell at her because I don’t know if she can help it.

Last night, Tom and I talked to her. We told her that the rule is she simply cannot doodle/scribble on her tests or homework. She isn’t allowed to do it. If she does it again, we’ll take away a privilege away from her at home until she learns to control the urge or finds a different outlet.

But what if she simply can’t stop herself?

Do I offer her a doodle pad again (with her new teacher’s permission, of course.)? Do I suggest to the teacher that all the kids have doodle pads so that O doesn’t feel singled out?

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, worrying about this issue. I am wondering about ABA therapy. Would it help? Could it hurt? 5p- syndrome symptoms often mirror the symptoms of autism, so yeah a therapy created to help those with autism might very well help Olivia.

I just don’t know.

I told her this morning, calmly and without blame, that I KNOW she can do this task we’ve set in front of her. I KNOW she can do her homework and take tests without doodling on the paper in front of her. I reminded her that her teachers can’t see how smart she is if they can’t read the work she turns in.

She nodded as if she understood me and then giggled as she bounced and farted.

I don’t want to wait much longer to help her if there is help to be had.

Third grade is only going to get harder and fourth grade will be harder still. She CAN do the work, she just has to learn ways around those urges to doodle, or bounce, or twirl.

I have to figure out how to help her. It’s my job and this is one job I simply can’t fail. If I fail her…that just, well, it isn’t an option. I can’t fail her. She needs me to figure this out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

At the County Fair

Because it was Kids’ day at our county fair yesterday, we were there with every other family in the entire county.

We got there a little after noon. We’d picked up Lyss’s friend Tessa and were just heading toward the rides when we ran into another of Lyss’s friend, Jasmine and her aunt. With them, was Jasmine’s cousin, Julian, a boy in Liv’s class.

He was happy to see Olivia, quick to say hi and stand there, waiting for her to acknowledge him.

She leaned into me and tried to disappear.

Julian asked me if she was this shy at home.

I laughed and said, “No! She talks all day long at home. I think it’s because she’s so quiet at school.”

He said, “I always try to be near her when she’s talking to the teachers because I want to hear her talk.”

His mom, Jasmine’s aunt, rolled her eyes and tried to get Julian to stop being quite so gregarious, telling him to give Liv some space.

I told him, “I keep telling her that she needs to talk to her classmates at school so she can make friends.”

He assured me, “We’re all friends with Olivia. We all like her a lot because she’s always so happy.”

Awwww. Can you hear my heart singing all the way to where you are? I’m glad the kids in her class still see her at friend material, even with her quirks and non-talking ways.

Julian and his mom ended up spending the day at the fair with me and Olivia while Lyss and her friends rode the bigger, more daring rides.

Julian asked me if Olivia was going to have a birthday party this year.

I told him she probably would.

He asked if he’d be invited.

His mom died right there.

I laughed and said, “Well, sure, we’ll invite the whole class.”

He said, “I’ll definitely come. I want to see where Olivia lives.”

This kid was really cute. Sure, he embarrassed his mom like crazy but I’ll give her credit, she tried really hard to correct his behavior when he got too close to Olivia and she showed discomfort. She also reminded him to use his manners and even made him back off a few times when his enthusiasm at spending time with Liv got to be too much for him.

But it was so nice for me to see a kid from her class really wanting to be near her. To see her interacting (after several hours, she was actually nodding at him when he asked her direct questions) was huge.

Every single day, my girl grows. She learns and she wants, so badly, to fit in. She’s just working on figuring out how to do that while still being herself. And I can’t fault her for that.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday...Fog Day...Fun Day

This morning started too early for me. My alarm (my first alarm) goes off at 5:40. I turned it off and snooze for ten minute which is when the next alarm goes off. Then, I turn that one off and snooze for twenty minutes until my third and final alarm goes off at 6:10.

I know that sort of thing makes some people crazy. I get that. I know there are snoozers and non-snoozers in this world and the non-snoozers just don’t get why wouldn’t just set one alarm for 6:10 and get up when that alarm goes off if I know that’s when I’m going to get up anyway.

I can’t explain it but that first alarm is like a little nudge, letting me know that it’s almost time to get up. It lets me know that I have a half hour to sleep more. I NEED to know that. I need to have that slow slide into waking up, not the sudden wake up that I have to face when the alarm goes off at 6:10 and it really is truly time to get up now.

Anyway, three minutes after the first alarm when off this morning Olivia murmured, “Mom?”

I ignored her because, well, I’m a terrible mother. Two seconds later she half-shouted, “Mom!”

I muttered, “What?”

She requested, “I need more blankets. Please fix my blankets and get me another one.”

So I trudged to her bed, fixed her blankets, pulled another one on top of her and told her to sleep fast because it would be time to get up soon but not yet, so yeah…GO BACK TO SLEEP.

Then, two minutes before the next alarm was set to go off, Tom arrived at the bedroom door (he’s an obnoxiously early riser, that man) with my phone. He declared in his regular, non-whispering voice, “You left this downstairs. It rang. There’s a two-hour delay.”

Olivia popped up on her bed and asked, “What?!”

I ignored her again, whispered to Tom, “Thanks for bringing my phone. It wasn’t left down there on accident. It was charging.”

For some reason, it was important that I tell him I had left my phone downstairs on purpose. Whatever, let’s remember it was before 6am.

Olivia wasn’t about to be ignored, so she catapulted out of bed, came to my bed and patted my face. “What did Dad say?” she whispered. She gets her morning manners from me.

I asked her, “What do you think he said.”

She sniffed and put her face next to mine, waiting…she knew I’d finally get up and tell her.

“Do you think he said that there’s a two-hour delay?” I finally whispered, knowing that damned second alarm was going to go off any second now.

She gave a happy little snort and asked me to tuck her back into bed.

I walked her back to her bed…again. I tucked her into bed, again and I made my way back to my bed…again. That is when the second alarm went off.

“What’s that?” Olivia wanted to know.

“Just the second alarm,” I muttered. “It’s not time to get up. You can sleep for another hour if you wants since there’s a delay.”

“A delay?” Alyssa asked from her perch in the top bunk.

I rolled my tired eyes. “Yep, a delay. Go to sleep, you weirdos!”

They both laughed at me as I tried to grab those last nineteen minutes of sleep before that third and final alarm went off.

When it did go off both girls bounded out of bed. They get their early-morning cheer from their dad.

I lumbered down to the bathroom where I was promptly joined by Olivia; nothing better than starting your day with an audience while you do your morning business.

Even though the kids had a two-hour delay, I was still expected to be at work by 8. Tell me again why I changed my major from second education in October of my fifth year at IU? Oh yeah, I don’t like other people’s kids. Except your kids, of course I like your kids…

The fog really was pretty horrible. By the time I got to work (at 7:58 for anyone keeping track) I figured we’d be getting the call/text soon letting us know that school was closed.

And what do you know, I was right. I love it when I’m right, even when there’s no one around to whom I can crow about being right, I love being right.

And I just know Tom and the girls are having a fabulous, fun, fog day on this lovely, gray Friday.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Obsessions - Old and New

Alyssa is still very much into her obsession with Pentatonix. She calls herself a Pentaholic, which is what all rabid fans of Pentatonix call themselves. She’s very proud to be a Pentaholic. She stalks their Instagram accounts, their Twitter feeds, their Youtube channels, waiting desperately for a new post, tweet, upload.

She asked me last night what I was obsessed with when I was her age.

And…I don’t remember. Is that sad or normal? I mean, I’ve lived 32 years of life since I was thirteen. I’ve been through high school, college, my twenties, parenting two newborns (the sleep deprivation…I feel like I’m still swimming toward the surface from the YEARS of sleep deprivation) and thirteen years of marriage. I just don’t remember that thirteen year old me obsessed over, thought about, dreamed of.

I finally told her that was probably something on TV that had all my attention. I didn’t really get into music until well into adulthood. I did tell her that I wanted to be bionic when I grew up. She laughed at my whimsy.

I love that she’s so passionate about PTX and all that goes along with being a ‘fan girl’ as she puts it. But I wonder what she’ll be passionate about in five years, ten years, twenty years. I hope I’m around to see those things, to watch her grow and see her interests evolve. If she’s still a fan girl of Pentatonix in five years, awesome. If not, I’ll sit around and listen to whatever she wants to talk about, if she even wants to talk to me about her passions then.

I can only hope.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Olivia asked me this morning if Halloween going to be here soon.

I replied that it would be here in less than two months.

She gave me a pointed look and said, “So you should probably start planning my Draculaura costume.”

Ha! Yeah, okay kid you got me. I need to get on that.

See, she wants a Draculaura wig and some fangs to try but if she doesn’t like the fangs we get, we can just draw some on her lips, okay?

Okay then! She’s got it all planned out.

So I guess I need to make my way to Amazon and get ordering.

Nothing better than being bossed around by your nine year old.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Hairy Confession

Yes, Olivia’s hair was fancy yesterday. But in an effort to be transparent, I have to confess that the conversation with Alyssa regarding her hair on picture day (the day before O’s picture day) was much like Julie said in the comment on the previous post about her conversation with her daughter.

Alyssa and I discussed the pros and cons of her natural wave (pro: no work, just wash and go…con: BIG HAIR) or straightening her hair for the pictures. Con to straightening: a lot of work. Pro to straightening: smooth, sleek hair.

She ended up going with naturally BIG HAIR in fear that if she went to all the work of straightening her hair, it would probably rain and that would ruin the effect of the straightener. And there was the very real possibility that pictures would be taken after gym class and that, too, would ruin the effect of the straightener.

That Lyss is very much like her mom when it comes to beauty, low maintenance. The less work it takes to get ready each day, the better is our motto.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

School Picture Hair

Olivia is all about fancy. She loves to wear dresses to school, to the grocery store, the library, heck, she loves to wear dresses to bed. Which is why she has enough nightgowns to wear a different one each night of the week.

So as picture day loomed, she wondered often how we were going to do her hair. She also wondered what she’d wear but that was quickly solved with a trip to Kohl’s where we found five dresses with short sleeves (rather than sundress type dresses which aren’t allowed at school without a t-shirt under them) and she was enamored with a light greenish blue dress with pockets. Pockets!!!

I knew the solid color would be perfect for pictures (she chose the pink background offered by the photo place because, well, duh, pink) and the outfit was set.

But the hair…oh, the hair.

It had to be fancy, she said. It needed to NOT be down, she declared, because when her hair is down, it gets tangled and that’s just a tragedy because then Mom has to brush it and brushing tangled hair feels like I’m killing her. Her words…killing her.

So yes, there was much debate on what would happen with her hair. I’ve gotten pretty good at doing hair but most of the awesomeness of O’s ‘dos take place on the back of her head and so I had to get creative (and do some googling) to find something that would meet her criteria as well as show up and look nice in pictures.

I google ‘school picture hair’ and well, there were some good ideas but mostly again, the awesomeness of the hair was at the back.

We finally settled on a four-strand braid with a ribbon acting as the fourth strand (in the third position, for best results) and here’s how she looked when she left for school this morning.

I confess that I’m pretty proud of the results. Of course, I think she’s adorable even when she’s got a messy braid first thing in the morning. But yeah, that ribbon pretty much exactly matches her dress. Go me and my (from memory) color matching skills.