Month: June 2012 (page 1 of 2)


Yesterday, the girls were playing house. Julia was the mom, Emily; Lucy was the dad, Brandon; and Phoebe was the baby, Marigold. As Dave and I listened to them go on, I grew a little concerned. The mom was really mean and intense. And the dad was completely dense and ineffectual.

Me: “Do you hear them? That’s not supposed to be us, is it?”

Dave: “Nah. No. We’d never name our kid Marigold.”

Julia (as Emily, from the next room): “Marigold, sweetheart? MARIGOLD! MARI-GOLD! Ugh, she just won’t listen. Get off the coffee table, Marigold! Okay Brandon, I need to go teach my class. Keep an eye on Marigold. I’ll be back. Oh, and I think she needs a new diaper.”

Dave: “On second thought…the dirty diaper drop off is one of your maneuvers.”

Julia (breezing by, as Emily): “Mom, I’m heading out. Brandon has Marigold, but will you keep an eye on him? I’m not sure he has the responsibility to take care of her on his own.”

Lucy (as Brandon, from the other room): “But where are the diapers?”

Me: “Okay, maybe it is us.”

The Space Cake

Julia turned eight yesterday. All she wanted for her birthday was a telescope and a fondant cake in the shape of the solar system. (She even sketched it out for me.)

It had been a while since I’d made a fondant cake and I needed some materials to get started, so I took myself to the store and this odd conversation happened as I checked out.

Cashier: “Are you a cake maker?”

Me: “Not really. I’m just making a cake for my daughter’s eighth birthday. I’m actually making her a space cake!”

Cashier (stopped scanning and looked at me to pointedly ask): “A space cake?”

Me: “Uh huh. She’s really into it.”

Cashier: “Isn’t she a little young?”

Me: “Uhh…no. I don’t know. I mean, she’s a pretty precocious kid, but…what kid wouldn’t love a space cake?”

I’m not sure anyone has ever looked at me with as much disbelief and disgust as that cashier did and I just didn’t get it. What’s the big deal? My kid likes space and fondant. What of it, lady?

Later, as I worked to hone Julia’s design, I Googled “space cake” for images and inspiration. Top result is from…The Stoner’s Cookbook. Huh. What is on top of that cake? Poison ivy or…marijuana.

And then I got it. And I wondered how many other people out there listened to me go on about how excited I was to make this space cake and wondered about me. “I’ve never made one before! It’s really going to be special.” Good Lord.

Anyway, our space cake – and when I say “space,” I am referring to the area beyond the earth’s atmosphere – didn’t turn out too bad.

Space cake (another view)

Julia helped with the planets.

Space cake

If you ask me, it’s out of this world! Ha! And, I assure you, completely drug-free.

Butterflies. And a birthday. (But not a butterfly birthday.)

Today, I turned 36 and we released our butterflies, but not before we observed them for a while.

Butterflies eating

“Heyyyy-oh, so what if I’m on the table again


…are those butterflies?”

I want to pet you.

“Yummmm-oh, I mean, oh! Butterflies! C’mere butterflies, I want to pet you…with my razor sharp cat claws.”

I want to kiss you.

“Nom nom nommmmwah, butterflies!”

Picasso guards the butterflies

“Wha-bite them? I’d never bite them. No, no, that wasn’t ‘nom‘ you heard. It was ‘Mwah!‘ Didn’t you hear that mwah! I was kissing them. For real, Leslie. Just carry on. I got it. I’ll watch the butterflies for you.”

We didn’t trust the cat. And a butterfly that can’t fly free is sort of a sad idea, so we left them go.

It was beautiful.

Butterflies. And getting it right.

We woke up this morning and found an empty chrysalis in our butterfly habitat.

Empty chrysalis

And this.


Overnight, a butterfly had been born.

Julia: “A butterfly was born, Mom?”

Me: “Uh huh.”

Julia: “Like it didn’t exist before?”

Me: “It wasn’t a butterfly before.”

Julia: “It was a caterpillar.”

Me: “You got it.”

Julia: “Well, if you’re saying it was just born last night, what would you call it when it hatched from an egg into a caterpillar? Actually, I think it was born then.”

Me: “Oh, for goodness sake Julia, YES! It was born THEN!!! The thing is, we now have a butterfly, okay?”

Julia: “Well, we’re supposed to be learning from this. I’m just asking questions…to get it right.”

Me: “Julia, you are absolutely 100% right.”

Julia: “I know.”

Overnight, a butterfly had emerged. Two actually. To celebrate, I made some finger paint and encouraged the kids to make hand print butterflies, which Julia did. Of course.

Handprint butterfly

Lucy was not inspired to paint a butterfly.

Finger painting!

And Bee…

Painting the paper.

…preferred to paint…

Painting her hair.

…with her head.

Sure, your head can be a painbrush.

Good times.

Finger paint

Meanwhile, we’ve kicked our Butterfly Watch up a notch. We’re hoping to witness the birth emergence of a butterfly from one of our remaining chrysalids in the next day or so.

Ice Cream Coma

Ice Cream Coma

He says this is what happens when you practically live in your car. I just hope I never have to live there with him.

cleaning out Dave’s car
for a Father’s Day present
was a bad idea

“Is that a finger?!?!?!”
“No, ughhh, gross. It’s a hot dog!”
“Are you sure?” “Sniff it.”

After an hour,
it still didn’t look that clean
but it smells better

The Pupal Stage

We had a crazy weekend filled with softball and dance while our caterpillars were busy at home hardening into chrysalids. On Sunday morning, we gently transferred them from their cup into the pop up mesh habitat thing when something started to happen.

That chrysalis shook it like a Polaroid picture for the longest time while we sat watching and waiting. We thought we might see a live butterfly birth! Turns out, the little gal was shaking to ward off predators. We were scaring her and enjoying it. Oops.


Dave coaches Julia’s softball team. I teach at the dance studio where she takes classes.

Today is the dress rehearsal for tomorrow’s big recital. Tonight is the third round of the softball tournament her team has been winning. (You guys, they are on such a roll!)

If her team wins the game, they will play again Saturday at 4 p.m. The dance recital, where she’ll be awarded her five-year participation award, is Saturday at 5 p.m. (26.3 miles away from the field.)

(If they lose the softball game, they’ll still play on Saturday, but earlier in the day, which means Julia can make it to both, but another one of her teammates will face the dilemma with her dance recital and game times.)

Julia’s been playing ball and taking dance since she was three. (Seriously. Click that link. There are pictures.)

I realize this is a trivial problem in the grand scheme of things. People out there are facing foreclosures, unemployment, even death…and I’m worrying about which extracurricular activity we should choose. Still. Damn.

Outside the box

Phoebe loves to play in the sand box.

Phoebe in the sand box

Oh, the sand box. It’s really just a suggestion for the whereabouts of sand rather than a definite container. It’s so hard to keep sand in there. And once it’s out, it’s even harder to put back. I know because Lucy dumped some outside the box at a play date once and I was asked to clean it up. It’s easier to build a skyscraper out of tissues than it is to scoop sand out of grass.

Playing in the sand

I’m actually pretty free-wheeling when it comes to the sand box. The kids cart containers of it all over the yard serving it as meals from their “restaurant.” They’ve dumped buckets of it down the slide. They’ve showered themselves in it. They’ve enjoyed it in almost every imaginable way, which is why no matter how much we wash, it’s always in their hair and all over my house.

Pretending to sleep

I’m okay with that.

Watch ’em Grow then Let ’em Go*

Long, long ago, in pre-Phoebe days, I picked up this butterfly kit.

Butterfly Kit

Two years later, I finally got around to ordering our caterpillars, and today, they arrived.

Live caterpillars

They came in a jar filled with all the food they’ll need to grow into adults.

The caterpillar jar

There are five of them.


That’s one for each family member.

Crawling caterpillars

Even Phoebe, who thinks they’re gross.


We’ll let you know how it goes.

*That’s the butterfly kit catch phrase. I didn’t come up with that on my own.

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