Month: March 2012

Sister. Superstar. Same Difference.

Julia: “I want to be an astronomer when I grow up.”

Lucy and Julia at the bridge

Lucy: “When I grow up, I want to be a super star – like Julia.”

Always trying to catch up

Julia: “Wow, Lucy. Thanks. I’m not really a super star, though.”

Lucy and Julia at the Tree of Many Trees

Julia, to her, you are.

My Mom and Picasso

My mom and Picasso

I absolutely love this picture because that look on my mother’s face? THAT is my mother. If I had to tell you who my mom is in a glimpse – that’s it, right there. The cat in her lap is no mistake, either.

Who says bigger is better?

Julia began piano lessons at age three on June 14, 2007. I know because I wrote about it. I’m so glad I did. It was one of those times I believed I’d never forget. And I haven’t. But memories pile up. They push up against each other, rub together. It gets harder to know one from the other. They blur and distort simply from the way they are stored. And nothing looks the same four years away. This is why I will never stop blogging. With just the wiggle of a finger, a click can take me back to that moment, like a time machine. I can stand right in it, see what she looked like, and experience how I felt then all over again, because it’s captured in my own words and through my own lens. I’m so thankful for that.

If you’ve been reading here for long or have the interest to click for the backstories I link to, you know piano has been as much a growing experience for me as it’s been for Julia. It’s something we’ve always done together. I’ve taken notes at every class, stood behind her during every practice and held my breath at each performance. I’m not taking credit for her hard work, but it would be remiss to ignore my contribution. Julia has given her heart to piano and I’ve given my heart to her. We’ve both been invested in this endeavor. She recently completed book one in her Suzuki curriculum and on Friday, we celebrated this accomplishment with a recital.

Recital Invitation

I wanted to do it BIG, because this felt so, so big. But the truth is, it was only big to a few people. And so, my wise husband talked me down from the chocolate fountain, the fondant cake and the performance hall. Instead, we held the recital at a local church.

Recital Program - Top

There are 18 songs in book one and Julia performed them all, as well as the duet with her grandma that she’d learned for a piano ensemble event last year.

Recital Program - Bottom

Since the songs were relatively short, we mixed things up a little. We folded an origami butterfly for each song and attached them to some floral wire, labeled them, and stuck them among a display of flowers.

Origami Butterfly

Recital flowers and origami butterflies

Throughout the recital, Julia invited members from the audience to select a butterfly to determine which song she would play. She recognized her teacher Mr. Palmer and invited him to choose the first one. I wish I had a video to share – not just of her performance, but of her opening remarks, because the kid was impressive. But things moved so fast, I didn’t even turn my camera on. Thankfully, the kind members of the church recorded everything for us! The recital will live forever on VHS, and one day, when I can get it converted, here, too. For now, you must take my word that she did alright. There were mistakes, but she handled it with grace. I was very proud of her.

Julia at her Suzuki book one piano recital

After the performance, we enjoyed punch and homemade cupcakes and the company of the good people who showed up to support her.

Cupcakes!

Small and simple, but no less important.

*The invitations came from the PaperTiger Studio shop at Etsy.

Always

I’m churning out chocolate treble clefs. Next, I will fold twenty origami butterflies. Julia – YES, JULIA! – has broken out in hives.

Tonight is her Suzuki book one piano recital.

I wanted to tell her, “Hives! Hey, at least it’s not nervous diarrhea!” (That’s what I have! TMI!) Instead I tried some reassurance. “Don’t be nervous, Jules,” I said as she headed off for school. “You’re ready.” She is. “You are ready for this.”

“Yeah,” she replied, scratching at her red bumps. “It’s just….it’s just…”

“I know. It’s big.”

“Yeah. But you’ll be there with me, right?”

“Always.”

The Power of the Peep

My children are at their hungriest one half hour before dinner. It doesn’t matter if it’s early or late, the words, “Heads up girls, dinner will be ready in half an hour,” inspires them to migrate to the kitchen to gaze into the cabinets and refrigerator for anything we have that isn’t dinner. And then it begins.

“Can I have a popsicle?”

“Not before dinner.”

“Can I have this granola bar?”

“Dinner will be ready in less than half an hour.”

“Can I have some cheese?”

“You can have dinner in about half an hour.”

“But I’m hungry!”

“That’s good. You should be hungry. It’s almost dinner time.”

“Can I just have some strawberries? Strawberries are healthy.”

“Yes, but if you fill up on strawberries now, you won’t eat your dinner, so you can wait for dinner. The strawberries will be there later.”

“But I’m so hungry!”

“If you’re still hungry after dinner, you can have some strawberries then.”

Well, last night, Julia spotted some blue Marshmallow Peep Chicken Bunnies in the snack cabinet.

“MOM,” she groaned. “Can I please, please, PAH-LEASE have some peeps? Please? I’ll eat all my dinner, I promise.”

“Not before dinner.”

“After dinner?”

“You have to eat your dinner first.”

“YESSS!”

And that’s how Julia was motivated to eat every bite of her dinner. Lucy wasn’t so inspired.

“Mom,” Julia ventured. She’d worked hard to restrain herself for one full, torturous minute after her plate was clean before posing the question I knew was coming. Struggling to keep her cool, she asked, “Can I have some Peeps now?”

“Hold on, Jules. Lucy isn’t finished, yet. You can both have Peeps once you’re both finished.”

“What if Lucy doesn’t finish?”

“Then there will be no Peeps.”

“For Lucy?”

“For anyone.”

I know. It didn’t seem fair. But I glimpsed the meltdown that was certain to come if Julia got Peeps and Lucy didn’t. And Bill Cosby said it best: “Parents are not interested in justice. They want quiet!”

Julia sighed and turned her attention to Lucy and the creamy chicken castle she’d built on her plate. “You know you have to eat that if we’re going to get Peeps, Lucy.”

Lucy just grinned and filled her moat with milk.

Julia looked panicked. “Mom?”

“Lucy, you still have to eat that. And you better hurry. You’ve got ten minutes before bath time.”

Julia’s eyes darted from side to side as she contemplated the challenge before her. “Alright,” she shouted, standing up and facing Lucy. “You can do this. We need those Peeps.”

And suddenly, it was like an episode of Fear Factor in our dining room.

Julia scooped up a handful of dinner and said, “Open your mouth. Open your mouth, Lucy! You can do this.”

Lucy’s eyes met Julia’s and grew wide.

“You want those Peeps, don’t you Lucy?”

Lucy nodded and said, “I can do this.”

“You can,” Julia nodded as milk dripped from her clenched fingers. And then she shoveled the contents of her fist right in Lucy’s mouth.

Lucy closed her eyes, chewed, and chewed and chewed, finally swallowing, shuddering, then opening her gob for more. They went on like this for at least four more rounds before Lucy held up a hand and cupped her mouth.

“C’mon Lucy. C’mon Lucy, you can do it. Do it for the Peeps!!!!”

By golly, that kid ate every milk-soaked bite on her plate. And there were Peeps. My God, there were Peeps.

So, it’s another purse post. At least I’m not writing poetry about it. (Though I could.)

It’s been warm-enough-to-wear-shorts weather for many days in a row which means I’ve had to shave my legs. That’s not really a complaint. I feel sexier when I shave my legs and the sexier I feel, the luckier Dave gets. The luckier Dave gets, the more generous Dave feels. And when Dave is feeling generous, he says things like, “Why don’t you go ahead and get that wallet you’ve been talking about to go with your new purse?”

Three of you just rolled your eyes and said, “Is she still talking about her purse?”

Yes. Yes, I am. (And also my wallet.) Because I’m not used to this extravagance! And I’m not sure I fully expressed how much I love my purse, so I will tell you this: I love my purse so much, I bought one for my mom, too.

Purse pals!

We’re purse pals!

And I hadn’t told you how very sweet Joan Burke – the maker of my purse – is. You see, when my purse arrived, it had a little gift with it.

Rose pin

And a handwritten thank you.

I immediately sent Joan a message to thank her for my perfect purse and the gorgeous rose pin she sent along. I mentioned that Julia loved the pin, too, and had already snatched it from me. And her response? “But the other little girls got nothing!” She’d seen in my profile that I had three and insisted on sending Lucy and Phoebe something, too. And so, when my mom’s purse arrived, I found another pin for me, one for my mom and a little something for each of the girls in the package.

Julia

Lucy

Phoebe

It made them feel so special. Me, too. And I think I love my purse even more.

Disclosure statement: No one is paid me to blog about these items. I just really love and appreciate them!

I enjoy being a girl?

Lucy: “Mom, you know that part of your face above your eye?”

Me: “Your forehead?”

Lucy: “No, lower.”

Me: “Your eyebrows?”

Lucy: “No…”

Me (finally turning around in my car seat to see what the heck she’s talking about): “Oh, your eyelid?”

Lucy: “This is the part where you have to put color to be a girl.”

Me: “What!?!”

Lucy: “Girls put color there. That makes them girls.”

Me: “Where did you learn this?”

Lucy: “Mom, I just know it.”

I found this confusing and disturbing considering I am the female she spends the most time with and I rarely wear make up on my eyelids. I’m on the outs with eye shadow right now and my affair with eye liner ended months ago. Right now, I’m pretty much a mascara and lipstick chick. And that’s not even true. I’m a mascara and lip pencil/lip gloss combo gal. I wear no foundation or concealer* on my face because my skin is pretty good on its own, if you ask me, and I don’t know how to choose the right color anyway. I’d rather look natural. No make up is better than misapplied make up.

The thing is, I am not a girly girl. I don’t doll my daughters up in frilly things. I don’t get squealy about hairdos. I own a modest amount of shoes. This is why I was caught off guard when a desire for a Coach purse crept up on me. What? Why? The last purse I bought was on clearance at my local pharmacy for $4.00.

Sad, old purse.  And Phoebe's lunch, apparently.

And you know about the one I bought before that, which means you also know how uncomfortable I am with spending money on myself, which means I’ll never own a Coach purse, even if the one I want is one of the least expensive as far as Coach purses go.

So, I started looking around the internet. For purses. Me! And that’s where I found my new purse.

My new purse!

Isn’t it beautiful? I found it in Joan Burke’s shop on Etsy. It came all the way from Ireland, where I like to believe it was made in a stone cottage at the base of waterfall at the end of a rainbow to the sound of a tin whistle. It just may be the prettiest accessory I own. And because I don’t change my purse with my outfit, it will be with me every day of my life until it falls apart. Or someone buys me that Coach purse. And then, I WILL change my purse with my outfit. I may even put on a little make up.

* In the spirit of full disclosure, I must tell you that I not only use, but am completely in love with the Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller. (No one is paying me to tell you this. The link to that product is an Amazon affiliate link, though.) Technically, I guess this is concealer. I prefer the term “miracle.”

** No one is paying me to tell you I love my purse. Or Joan Burke’s designs. Or that Coach purse.

Remember that episode of “Friends” when Jon Favreau tells Monica he wants to be the Ultimate Fighting Champion? This feels like that.

Listen, you guys. Come here. Sit down with me. I’d offer you some cake, but I’m trying to lose weight. I know, that’s silly. You can’t send cake through a computer. Let’s have virtual cake. (It has no calories!)

Alright. Here’s a napkin. (Pretend.)

I need to get back in shape. I know this. My brain hurts from how much I know this. There are so many good reasons to do it. I’ve got my girls. I’ve got Dave. I’ve got GO TO A NUDE BEACH to cross off my life list. I have all the motivation I need! What I don’t have? Urgency. This is why I’ve been eating all Last Supper-Style wherein my diet starts tomorrow and tomorrow never comes!

When I lost weight (more than 100 pounds!) after Lucy was born, I had a BlogHer conference and a biggest loser contest breathing down my neck to make me make it happen NOW (or THEN, I suppose). Well, I think I’ve found the thing to make it happen NOW, you know, again: A Zombie Infested 5K Obstacle Course Race.

Dave and I are registered to run in the 1:30 p.m. wave of the Run For Your Lives race in Pennsylvania on Labor Day weekend. This means I’ve got a little over five months to get fit enough to outrun some dead people.

I think I can do it. Do you?

In the wake of catastrophe, Julia laughs, Lucy cries and Phoebe is proud of her accomplishment.

One moment, they’re all splashing in the tub. The next, they’re abandoning ship like it’s sinking and on fire. Why?


Thankfully, no one actually touched the poop. Except Daddy, who cleaned it up.

(I owe you one, Dave.)

What do you say to break an uncomfortable silence?

Attempt #1:

I think Phoebe can (maybe) see dead people or something. We took her to a furniture store that was creepy and probably haunted and she FA-REAKed out. At first I thought it was the ride in their rickety old elevator that made her upset, because it did seem like the kind of place where you’re more likely to die than live, but when we got to the top (and the creepiest) floor, she hit a whole new level of GET ME OUTTA HERE. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen. But it was the perfect excuse to leave because their prices were way too high, especially if you consider that their furniture is technically used (by ghosts).

I haven’t blogged in more than a week. (By even pointing that out I’m breaking my rule: Don’t blog about blogging. This is probably why I shouldn’t write ANYTHING on the internet or anywhere else. I can’t follow rules – even my own. I’m also wearing striped socks with plaid pajama pants!) I know this because I also hadn’t played Words with Friends and my Words with Friends friend (whom I am choosing to believe is Dave Tango from Ghost Hunters) told me so.

Attempt #2:

I’ve been playing the kick-assingest string of Words with Friends games with Dave Tango from Ghost Hunters, I think. I’m not sure. I’ve been trying to play ghost hunter-y words to test my hypothesis, but most of those words are long and impossible letter-wise. I did play “orbs,” but Dave (my husband, not Tango) said that doesn’t make him think of ghosts so much as breasts and then I felt awkward.

Attempt #3:

Julia played in her (one two three) fourth ribbon festival this year.

The song she played (very musically if you ask me) is Musette – haunting, beautiful and the last song in Suzuki book one, which means she has a recital coming up to celebrate her accomplishment. Just Julia. And I get to plan it! YES!

Next year, Lucy will also play in the ribbon festival. Wrap your head around THAT.

Meanwhile, I’m going to try and quit taking myself so seriously and write more.

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