I’m not going to tell you that Lucy is potty trained. That’s a bold statement. I’m not willing to go there. (I don’t want to jinx anything.) But I will tell you this: there are no longer Pull-Ups in our house and there’s a pink froggy potty that’s seen a whole lot of action lately. Additionally, underpants emblazoned with the likes of Rainbow Dash and Dora have been pulled from their packaging and bribes have been paid. (The going rate for going #1? Three M&M’s and a celebration dance. Going #2? A veritable shower of M&M’s, a celebration dance and parade, a pack of gum and $5. (I wish I was kidding.))

I know there is someone out there making judgements about all of this, about how I didn’t do something right. To that someone I say, NO KIDDING. The amount of brain power I’ve committed to this issue is so great, I am certain my IQ will increase by at least ten points once it’s behind us. Not that I’m saying it’s behind us. I’m not saying that. I’m too busy knocking on wood to say anything like that. What I am saying is this: Lucy went to piano class today without any variety of disposable undergarment on her person and the bench stayed dry, my friends. My relief is surpassed only by her pride. We feel equal amounts of joy. And I’m pretty sure we can live happily ever after now.

Yeah, we went there yesterday. Outside.

Running!

It felt pretty good. We’ve been inside too much, lately.

Slide

Oh, slide!

You can't see me!  (Yes, we can.)

How we missed you!

Oh, look! It’s Rico. Suave. (I call her that. Just like that.)

Rico Suave

Fun fact: Rico is the evil cat we couldn’t catch from the How I Ended Up With Seventeen Kittens video! You’ll be glad to know that she has since been caught and fixed. She’s not evil anymore. We loved that right out of her.

Rico and Bee

Now she loves us. Especially Bee.

Bee's got wheels

That jacket Bee is wearing? It’s been around as long as this blog has. Julia wore it in the first picture I ever posted to Flickr nearly six years ago. I can’t see Bee in that jacket without seeing Lucy and Julia in it, too. I love that jacket. That jacket is sisterhood. It’s the Sisterhood of the Traveling Jacket (except it doesn’t travel). (Actually, I’ve never seen the traveling pants movie, so maybe this jacket isn’t that at all, but it’s fun to spoof movie titles.)

Peek!

Peek-a-boo! Lucy!

My beautiful Lucy

Okay, question: What color is Lucy’s hair? It’s not a trick question. I’m really asking. What color is it? Okay, maybe it is a trick question because no one knows. We can’t get a consensus on it. Blonde? Red? Brown? Chameleon hair? Lucy feels that it’s orange, so we just say, “Sure!”

Sadly, I cannot give you a definitive answer on the color of Julia’s eyes either. They used to be blue. Very, blue. Very, very blue! But now?

Juila

Um. Green? I don’t know. What color is that?

Bee!

Bee’s are brown. Definitely. For now.

Digging in the dirt

Lucy’s are blue. You can’t see them in that picture. I just really wanted to show you that picture.

I was driving down a dark and winding road last night when suddenly, there he was! A skunk. Then, swerve! Thump-tumble-bump, he wasn’t. And because I’m not a fan of killing furry things or any things really, I cried. And then I kept crying because the odor hit.

Now, I’ve smelled skunk odor and you probably have, too. We all know it is Very Bad. But I’d never been at ground zero of the blast before. It’s…it’s…it’s just…there simply are not words for what it is. I’ll tell you this: when my mother approached my van, she vomited. (Not really. But there was a lot of dramatic gagging!) I’m not sure what comprises skunk musk, but it’s the worst smell you’ll ever taste. So, I decided I better try to make it go away as soon as possible. Of course, you can’t. But I had to try.

I headed for the nearest car wash as I imagined all the vegetation within fifty feet of my vehicle wilting, turning black and dying like I was the fourth horsemen of the apocalypse, bringing death and hell with me. You should have seen all the people fall to the ground when I pulled in to Speedway to grab some cash from the ATM! Okay, maybe they didn’t fall to the ground so much as turn, grimace and cup their hands over their mouths and noses. Still, it was the hot topic of conversation among those protected behind the glass inside the convenience store. All I could do was shrug with sorry eyes and say, “Skunks. What can you do?” But mostly everyone looked angry at me.

I was feeling pretty low and mumbling, “Why me?” into my shirt mask when I arrived at the car wash. I pulled up to the automatic wash bay, inserted my money and looked down to see this.

Raccoon at the car wash.

“Aaaahhhhhh!” I screamed, as you do when you meet a dead raccoon with his eyes open. And it may not have anything to do with anything else, but I felt like it did and it just made me feel so much worse.

I went through the car wash, twice, taking special care to sit the offending back tire over the undercarriage sprayer thing for as long as possible. Still, it stunk. So, I dragged myself to the truck stop and grabbed their entire stock of wild cherry scented little tree air fresheners. The cashier gave me a question mark face when I dumped my armload on the counter and I told her the story. The janitor caught wind of it and told me about the time he hit a skunk with his motorcycle. It didn’t seem appropriate to hug a stranger, so I shook my head knowingly with teary eyes and whispered, “I’m so sorry.” Then I went and hung up my trees which didn’t really mask the odor, but enhanced it by contrast.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to eat anything cherry flavored again.

Bearing It

by Leslie

This is Julia’s very special friend Beary.

Beary in his Valentine's Day tuxedo

He is wearing a “tuxedo” she fashioned for him especially for Valentine’s Day. She told me he is her Valentine and she intended to take him to school today for the Valentine Party. I immediately disagreed with this idea. I’m not a proponent of taking your toys to class. They can get lost or damaged and they’re a real distraction from what you’re there to do. (I know. I’ve been a part of more than one office desk toy kidnapping and that was when I was “grown up” and in the workplace. Because it’s hard to share. And someone always takes it too far or too seriously and bad things happen. You get called in the office because that ransom note was “inappropriate” and Sheila* had a panic attack because the purple Beanie Baby Bunny was a gift from her dead uncle and she hasn’t the strength to make cold calls without it. Also, the purple “blood” stained her desk.) And so, when she left Beary behind and marched into school, I didn’t think anything of it. I assumed she had chosen to heed my advice and obey her mother.

Seven minutes later, my phone rang. The call was coming from Julia’s school. I panicked, as you do, because a call from your kid’s school while they’re in school usually means someone is sick (probably the kid) or in trouble (probably you).

“Hello, is this Mrs. Grimmett? Julia’s mom?”

“Yes?”

“Julia is here in the office because there was something she wanted to bring today and – I’ll just let her talk to you.”

Now I was really panicking. What was she supposed to bring to school? What was she supposed to bring to school?!?! I wasn’t on the party parent list. Was I? Oh no, was I?

“Mom?” she sniffled into the phone.

“Yes?”

“I forgot Beary! Can you bring him back?”

And immediately, I was angry. Because I’m kind of a jerk. “Julia! Julia, NO! I told you, you don’t need to take Beary to school….”

But she was crying. And her teacher had given her permission to bring him for the Christmas party and today was also a party day. And Dave has been gone so much lately (and when he finally did have more than one day at home, he ended up with cellulitis again (yes, again)) which means she hasn’t spent much time with him at all and though she’s said very little about it, she has been especially attached to Beary. And she just sounded so…little. Most of the time she seems so grown up. But she’s not. Really, she’s still little.

So, I changed my tune and cooked up a compromise. “…I’ll tell you what. I’ll give him to grandma and have her bring him to the grandparent’s lunch today. Would that be okay?”

She brightened. “Alright.”

“That’ll work?”

“Yep!”

“Are you okay?”

“Uh huh. Thanks, Mom. I love you.”

I’m so thankful she does. “I love you, too.”

*not her real name (for obvious reasons)

I simply do not have the skills to navigate second grade society these days. A homemade Halloween costume is an embarrassment, but a homemade valentine? That’s a must. Bonus points if it’s recycled! And so we spent our day making these crayon hearts for Julia to give to her classmates for Valentine’s Day.

Recycled Crayon Heart Valentines

It’s not a new idea, but when we saw WhipperBerry’s version, we were inspired. Especially when we realized we already had everything we needed to make them!

Recycled Crayon Heart Valentine

We found and printed the tag from Our Best Bites.

Recycled Crayon Heart Valentines

And there you have it: the essential homemade recycled valentine.


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