Month: August 2011 (page 1 of 2)

A Thing of Beauty: Freshly made fingerpaint in little baby food jars, oh!

A thing of beauty: Freshly made fingerpaint in little baby food jars

wee chubby fingers
can’t resist squishy colors
delicious* as this

*I mean delicious in a “hungry eyes” kind of way. We’re not going to eat the paint. Though you can.

**I just tasted the paint. Just because you can eat it, doesn’t mean you should eat it. Of course, people tell me the same is true for fast food and oreo cookies. They taste better than the paint, though.

***I used the homemade fingerpaint recipe from Easie Peasie that I found via The Crafty Crow. But tasting the paint was my idea.

If you don’t think origami is a high-risk hobby, consider the paper cut.

I’ve had a thing for origami lately. I’m not very good at it, though. So, I figured if I started out simple and tried a new one each day, I might get better. This means Julia gets stuff like this in her lunchbox:

Origami pencil

Me: “Check it out. What do you think?”

Dave: “What is it, a house?”

Me: “Dude, it’s a pencil. You can’t see that?”

Pencil joke question

Pencil joke answer

Dave: “Oh yeah…I guess.”

Me: “Tomorrow, I’m making her an origami ninja.”

Dave: “Do you have a ninja joke?”

Me: “Ninjas are no joke, David.”

Dave: “Are you going to write something on it?”

Me: “If I did, it’d be in invisible ink.”

Dave: “You could just put nothing in there and be like, ‘Julia, did you find the ninja?’ and she’d be like, ‘No,’ and you’d be like, ‘Exactly.'”

Me: “I think you’re missing the point of my origami project.”

Dave: “I think you’re missing the point of ninjas.”

Me: “Maybe I’ll do a frog instead.”

Getting Artsy Fartsy (with a focus on the former as we have plenty of the latter)

Look what Lucy made!

Lucy and her melted crayon "stained glass" craft

(She’s totally pretending she’s not loving the fact that her picture is being taken.)

It’s a faux stained glass window fashioned from melted crayons and wax paper!

Dave's masterpiece

Dave made one, as well. And you probably did, too. In second grade.

Melted Crayon "Stained Glass"

Aren’t they pretty?

My plan is to create something with Lucy every day while Julia is in school (and sometimes when she’s not). I even made a chart!

Craft schedule

At this point in my life, if it isn’t preplanned and written on a chart or a checklist, it’s not going to happen. That includes things like breakfast, laundry and brushing my teeth. I actually have to write things like this down to get them done.

You know that feeling you get when you’re talking and you forget what you were trying to say as you’re saying it? That. That‘s how I feel all the time.

I may have brain worms. I don’t know.

(I just added “Google brain worms” to my to-do list.)

How do you stay organized? I need some tips. Also, some ideas for things to make with Lucy. So, lay it on me. Whatcha got, internet?

Will I ever NOT cry on the first day of school?

An origami heart…

Origami heart

Peek-a-boo note

…with a peek-a-boo note…

Julia's first day of second grade

…is sitting inside this second grader’s lunch bag.

And I am missing her.

I wonder if she found it yet.

Every time we watch this video, Dave says, “Whoomp, there it is!” And my mom pukes.

She told me, “Mom, my tooth is loose,” and she wiggled it with her tongue.

Julia has a loose tooth.

I cringed. “I see that.”

Thinking about yanking that loose tooth out.

“I just…want to…pull…it…out,” she grunted through a wadded up paper towel.

No, that hurts.

“But it hurts,” she whined.

“Give it some time. It’ll come out,” I told her. “Eat an apple.”

She spent most the day doing this…

See my loose tooth?

Wiggling the tooth

…and that.

Then, Dave intervened.

And the Tooth Fairy will be visiting tonight.

Lost tooth!

The Beginning of the End of Being Little

My mom gave Julia her first diary with a lock on it.

I sidled up to her and elbowed her ribs. “Mother! Why did you do that?”

“You have her journal things all the time…”

“Yes, but then I get to read it!”

Thankfully, Julia hasn’t locked me out. (Yet.) And not just because the key got “lost.” In fact, she delights in reading aloud her entries to the family (like I often read my blog posts to make sure no one will be humiliated, fired, arrested or in some other way scarred for life when I publish it’s contents). And it’s a lovely record of our lives.

Lucy cracked her head open today. I got in truble. Lots uv truble.

“It’s sort of like a blog,” Julia told me, counting off on her fingers the third of many reasons her new diary rocks.

I nodded and smiled and thought, “It’s even better.”

There’s something almost transcendent about words written by hand on a page. It’s the size and slant of the letters and the thickness of the lines that seem to take the shape of her personality. It’s the bumps and grooves pressed into the paper that prove she was here. And one day, when she’s ready to put a lock on her thoughts, I’ll pull out this diary I will have long tucked away. I’ll flip through the pages and run my fingers over her words, trying to reach out and touch my little girl who had no secrets from her mother, once upon a time.

Then I’ll go and pick the lock on her new diary. (Just kidding. (Probably not.))

Some stories have morals. Some stories have punchlines. I’m not sure which kind of story this is.

Me (On the phone with my mother and speedily approaching the on-ramp to the highway that would lead me to the nursing home where Julia was scheduled to perform in a piano recital and realizing my gas light had been on for, um, well, when did that thing come on?): “Should I get gas here or can I make it to my exit? Hmmm…well, I can’t pay at the pump here. I actually have to walk in and pay. Ugh! That’s so inconvenient. Okay. No. I can make it to the next exit.”

Three miles later, I ran out of gas.*


Me (From the backseat at the drive-in wrangling a fussy Little Bee to Dave in the front seat trying to contend with the rapidly fogging windows): “Oh for goodness sake, just turn the key and start the air conditioner! Geez!”

At the end of the night, the battery was dead.**


Me (To Julia and Lucy after picking out the phrases “use the curtain” and “swing like Tarzan” from their conversation in the bedroom): “Girls, you better not touch those curtains. And you better not be jumping on or off those beds! You’ll crack your heads open.”

Less than ten minutes later, Lucy cracked her head open.***


*Me: “Oh no. OH NO! I didn’t make it to the exit. I ran out of gas.”

My mom: “And you thought walking inside to pay was inconvenient.”

Me: “The needle was only in the middle of the E. I thought I could go until it was just under the E.”

My mom: “You realize the E stands for “Empty,” right?”

Me: “I thought it was “Eternal.”

We made it to the recital not only on time, but with enough to spare that Julia was able to disclose to her piano teacher that A) we ran out of gas and B) this is, “like the third time the cops have pulled my mom over for being such a crazy driver.” I was sure to clarify that the cops didn’t pull me over, rather I pulled myself over. The cop came to help us. I didn’t do anything wrong illegal. This time.

**You should know that this happens to people at the drive-in a lot. The drive-in people told us that while they jump-started our engine. (This did not bring Dave comfort.) Our gauges and headlights refused to be revived, though. We thought we were stranded until we discovered that the high beams would work if the high beam whammy bar was constantly held in the whammy position. (I said, “What a blessing!” Dave said, “What a @#!*” @#&!* @#$%!* @#!* Then I suggested that “Maybe you oughta stop on the way home and put some gas in – we don’t know how much is in there and you don’t want to run out,” and he started speaking in a whole other language. I think they call that speaking in tongues when you’re all filled with rage “spirit” like that.) So, we were able to get home. And we were only blinded by the customary “High beam me? No, high beam you!” headlight flash o’ aggression seven times. (Dave said it seemed like more.)

***Do you have any idea how much a head can bleed? Okay, whatever your idea is, it’s more than that, I promise. We ended up at the emergency room because nothing says “emergency” like blood spurting out of your kid’s thinking cap. And though it turned out to be a little puncture wound about the size of a pencil tip, the blood it produced was overwhelming. It was like that scene from Carrie. Oh, and for the record, Lucy didn’t actually “swing like Tarzan” or jump on or off the bed. She did one of those backwards trust falls but nothing was there to catch her except the bed post and that – as she has adamantly expressed – was not disobeying. I never told her she couldn’t do that.

The Tent

Julia has been longing to go camping for 2,601 days (i.e. her entire life). She was born with the desire to camp. Her first word was tent. (Not really.) Lucy has wanted to go camping for as long as she has understood that Julia wants to go camping. Every day, all summer, I have been asked the question: “Can we go camping? Tonight? OUTSIDE? IN A TENT?!?!” And lo, my answer has been, “No, poor children, for we have no tent.”

Then, by some cosmic twist of fate (or that really big sign we saw on the side of the road), Saturday afternoon found us at a yard sale with a tent used only once by a barefoot and shirtless, tattooed man who was selling it for five dollars and Grandma with a crisp bill in her pocketbook.

It was a perfect storm for a dream come true.

I watched from the van as Grandma laid her money down, picked the tent up and placed it under her arm with a sly wink in my direction. The children were too busy making poop jokes in the backseat to notice the miracle unfolding. She slid into the passenger’s seat with lithely speed, like a thief making off with his take and shouted, “Let’s go!”

I slammed on the gas, but we stalled because the van does that. Lucy shouted, “You forgot to buckle me in!” Julia asked, “Can we get ice cream?” I remembered that I had to stop at the IGA.

Thirty minutes later, we were home. Grandma was shaking like the coyote on earthquake pills. She could take the anticipation no longer. “Girls! Do you want to see what I have for you?” she asked fumbling with the canvas bag behind her back. They swarmed her like bees. She paused to unfurl a toothy grin, then raised her arms, thrusting the tent over her head with a, “Ta da!”

And there was much rejoicing.

Once the squealing had ceased and my hearing was restored, Julia eagerly queried, “Can we put it up now?”

“I guess so.”

Eight minutes and two cuss words later, the tent stood proud near the playset.

The tent


For the next 13 minutes, the girls carted blankets and pillows and books and toys and an assortment of other junk from the house to the tent, then zipped up the door with a, “Bye, Mom!”

“Bye,” I called.

As I turned to make my way back to the house, a raindrop fell on my cheek. By the time I got inside and peeked out at the window, the rain was falling steadily. I barely breathed, “Oh no,” before I was silenced by a loud clap of thunder.

And after 3,746,188 minutes of trying to get in that tent, it only took them about 7 seconds to get out.

I’m writing myself a prescription to take a vacation from my problems*. Of course, I’m not a doctor, so maybe we’ll just say I’m making a promise.

I spend too much time
worrying about the things
I cannot control

I spend too much time
trying to win approval
from the wrong people

there’s not enough time
to do all that, so I’ll spend
my time finding joy**

My joy

*The “vacation from my problems” is not my original idea. It’s Dr. Marvin’s from What about Bob?.

**I imagine all of us, holding hands and chanting this together, you know, like they do in rehab. Not that I’ve been to rehab, but I’ve seen some of it on T.V. That’s really not important, though. What I’m saying is, I’m holding hands with you – my virtual support group – in my own mind, because don’t we all need to do this a little bit? Yes, we do. (Your hand is sweaty.) ((I don’t mind.))

Dave was already balding when I met him, so that’s not my fault. I take credit for the gray hair, however.

Julia didn’t have her first taste of cake (or anything with sugar) until her first birthday, and then, not again until her second birthday. Lucy made it until her first birthday. Barely. Phoebe got as far as 10 months.

Phoebe eats cake!

Our next child will likely be born holding a cupcake.

Listen! Do you hear that? That’s Dave screaming, “WHAT?!?!? Next child? Aren’t we done!?!?!”

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