Month: September 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Many bad words have been said this week. Oh, so many.

If Phoebe and I were ever to make a music video, it would be to the tune of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face, but it would be Ch-ch-ch-chocolate face ch-ch-chocolate face!

Can’t clean my, can’t clean my, no you can’t clean my chocolate face!

Phoebe would run through the scene with a chocolate face (obviously) while I trail behind with a damp cloth in hand.

(This idea is inspired by true events.)

All the while outside my brain, the vehicle saga continues. The following developments have occurred since I wrote to you last: 1) The back up car was fixed, 2) the engine for the van was ordered (and the van will be fixed once it arrives), 3) we learned that Dave’s car is so broken it may not be worth fixing and we’ve been ruminating about that, and 4) the brakes went out on the back up car, so it’s back on the Waiting To Be Fixed list.

In related news, Lucy said “God Dammit” at preschool on Thursday and I know exactly where she heard it. Her teachers did, too. And this is why I feel so very thankful for the school we’ve chosen for Lucy. No one there made me feel like a bad parent for it. In a world where so many fingers are just itching to point out BAD! BAD! BAD! BAD! MOTHER, and for so much less (for example, a chocolate face), they were gracious. I appreciated their mercy. I could use a little more of it in my life.

I think someone may have put a curse on us.

Dave works about 65 miles from home. My mom’s daily commute is 70 miles, one way. And Lucy’s school is 20 miles from here. For this reason, we have a few cars – one for Dave, one for my mom, a van for me and a back up for just in case. You may be thinking a back up seems excessive, but with all the mileage we put on our vehicles, it just happens that now and then one needs to be in the shop for maintenance and THANK JESUS FOR THE BACK UP CAR. Except our back up car needs a new radiator. And when money is tight, it doesn’t feel like much of a priority to fix the back up. So we haven’t.

But then, the van died. It just stopped on the way to pick Lucy up from school on Monday. The engine locked up and it needs a new one, which will cost, officially, a shit ton of money (which is only a little less than another used van, but enough less to make it worth fixing). Thankfully, my mom had taken the day off from work for Bee’s birthday and after, at least, twenty very nice cars (most containing people I know!) blew by our hood up, flashers blinking hey-we’re-broken-down! asses, some nice man in a old beater stopped by and offered a ride home to get her car which I was able to use to pick the kids up and do the stuff we needed to do while AAA whisked the van away to the land of lost money.

Since the van will take approximately FOREVER to fix (and it’ll take just as long for me to come up with the money to pay for it), we decided to fix the back up car to use in the meantime. (It didn’t quite make it to the garage, however, because RADIATOR. And once again, I thanked God for AAA and allowed my dad to say, “I told you AAA is a good idea,” a few more times.) Luckily, it was then that Dave was scheduled to be home with his car for about 36 hours, which we had hoped would be enough time for the back up to get fixed. It looked like everything was going to be okay.

Ha! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

This morning I got a text message from Dave: “The good news is, I got the girls to school safely and on time. The bad news is, the car died. It kept stalling and now it won’t even start.”

(My response is too vulgar to share.)

So, here I sit, useless and waiting while AAA tows Dave’s car to the garage with the rest of our vehicles and my mom speeds from work to pick Dave and Lucy up at her school. And it’s raining. Let’s just hope her car makes it there.

Anything that you might need I got inside for you.

Phoebe turned two yesterday and since she loves Boots (and by Boots, I mean Dora (Phoebe calls her Boots.)), I made her a Backpack cake because Backpack looked significantly less complicated than Boots/Dora. Rose (who bakes) made one and said it was “super easy” and “stinkin’ cute,” which was exactly what I was looking for. And so:

Bee's Backpack Cake

And a slightly less complimentary view:

Bee's Backpack Cake from a less impressive view

My edges are bad. Map ended up looking more like Cheese, but let’s not nitpick. The kid liked it.

Blurry Bee loves her cake

You could tell she was smiling if she hadn’t been jumping up and down and kissing the cake so much. Or if I had a better camera.

Lighting the candles

Lights out

Bee blows out her candles

The black spot on her nose is from kissing Backpack's eyeball

Sampling

Tasting

Devouring

And so it goes with cake.

Yum!

A happy birthday indeed.

The First of the Last

Dave and I know that baby #4 is our last baby. We know this because I don’t get all frowny-faced and weepy when we say that or when I tell you we had our last first ultrasound on Thursday.

Folks, meet the Grimmett caboose.

New Baby

This was the first ultrasound Dave and I went to alone, if you can believe it. (My parents said, “We got the kids,” and handed us an Applebee’s gift card for lunch where, strangely, every table around us had at least one child. We were the lone couple in the restaurant. It was like bizzaro world.) It was also the first ultrasound where the technician didn’t have to search to capture the heartbeat. It was strong and loud, flashing rather than flickering on the screen at 175 bpm. Dave and I both sighed as if we’d been holding our breath for weeks, because we had. We always do.

We’re just so very thankful for that wiggly little upside down baby. We realize that we are beyond lucky to have had the chance to plan our family (to the extent that you can actually plan that kind of thing (considering Julia was a big surprise to start with)). It may not have been what either of us had in mind starting out (initially, we thought we’d have Julia and, at some point, maybe a very demanding dog or, perhaps, a bizarre hobby), but somehow it’s turned out just right. Our family is complete.

The Battle of the Buns

Yesterday, Lucy and I had a fight over piano practice. It was awful. I had asked her to play Hot Cross Buns. (She hates to play Hot Cross Buns.) She said, “I can’t.” (Translation: I don’t want to. (Because she can.))

I said, “I do not accept that answer. Please play Hot Cross Buns.”

“I caa-aaa-aaa-aaaaaaaan’t!!!”

“You can. Put finger three on E and play Hot Cross Buns, please.”

(Situations like this do not go well and ordinarily I avoid them, because Lucy is a ram and I am moonchild. (And Harvey Sid Fisher is a genius!))

We played out variations of that theme for at least fifteen minutes. And then I lost my temper. Soon she was in her room, ripping it apart while I stood in my closet crying and convincing myself that everything I was doing was wrong, until I realized the banging had stopped.

I held my breath and heard her calling from her cracked open door, “Mommy? Mommy, I need to tell you something.”

She told me she was sorry. “I got too mad.”

“Me, too.”

And then we went downstairs and she played Hot Cross Buns. I nudged her with my elbow, “And you said you couldn’t do it.”

She smiled, “I changed my mind.”

She played the song three more times before bedtime. And today, I’m making her some hot cross buns. Now, the question is: Do I ask her to play it at practice this afternoon?

Meanwhile, here is Julia’s latest piano song.

Lucy will be playing that before we know it and oh, we’ll laugh about all this Hot Cross Buns business then! (I hope.)

Hello. I love you. Won’t you eat meatloaf with me?

I made The Pioneer Woman’s meatloaf recipe last night for dinner. The kids not only cleaned their plates, but also gave me stickers and performed dances in my honor. Dave asked me to marry him again. And I dreamed about eating that meatloaf all night. It’s the best meatloaf I’ve ever made. I wish there were leftovers.

If you ever come over for dinner, I’ll be making you this meatloaf.

Of course, dinner invitations to my house…well, we’re talking inner circle stuff. You can tell by this illustration.

Leslie's Circles of Friendship

And knowing that, it’s pretty easy to figure out how I woo friends.

Leslie's Friendship Cultivation Process

(Backstory is good. And I can tell that you’re getting that clicky-ready feeling, so here are some old posts on cupcakes, buckeyes and sock monkeys. Remember when we used to Buck the Monkey? Ah, good times.)

What privileges do you reserve for your closest friends?

Friday, never hesitate

I wake up before the kids each morning. I have to. I’m not a nice person straight out of bed. I need time to wake up and find my kindness. I don’t get up a whole lot earlier than they do, just enough to get bathed and dressed and into a good mood. But this morning, they foiled my plan. My alarm went off and as I tiptoed to the bathroom, I realized I was being followed.

My first thought was to slam the door on them and say, “No. No! NO! NO! This is my time. MY TIME. Can’t I just get half an hour?!!? Is that so much to ask?!!? A person has the right to pee alone!” (I told you. NOT NICE.) But I didn’t, of course. Instead I feigned cheer, “Well, good morning! You’re up early! Did you sleep well, girls?”

One after the other they piled into the room, rubbing their eyes and Good Morning, Mommy-ing, what’s for breakfast. And it was then that instead of being a very bad morning, it was good, mainly because:

1. We went through our whole morning routine using fake accents.

2. Julia played the piano while I made breakfast.

3. The kitten pooped on Lucy’s giant stuffed rabbit (that’s actually a bad thing, but); the girls derailed my meltdown by referring to it as the crappit.

Oh, and 4. It’s Friday.

Little Monkey

I love this kid. From her Carol Brady hairdo to her wiggly little piggies, I love her.

Phoebe and the sock monkey

She wanted so badly to pose with the new sock monkeys I was photographing for our Etsy shop this morning and, well, of course she can. She made “ooh oooh aaah aaah” monkey sounds between giggles as she sat there and when I could no longer resist it and had to kiss her dimple cheeks, she smelled like oatmeal.

The title of this post is us (you and me, all of us) singing “I Wonder If I’m Growing” by Raffi. You know that song, right?

This morning, Lucy woke up and the first words out of her mouth were: “I get to go to school today! YEAH!”

She’s absolutely loving preschool and I’m amazed at the difference I’m seeing in her already. Not that she wasn’t The Most Incredible Kid before, it’s just that she’s done so much growing up in this small space of time. It’s sort of amazing. And though it’s my nature to worry about what I wasn’t providing at home and why I failed to inspire such a burst of development here, I’m choosing to celebrate the idea that she started the right school at the right time and that sounds a whole lot like success to me!

Meanwhile, Phoebe is stuck with her old mom, all by herself, for three hours, five days a week while Julia and Lucy are gone. I thought she’d be delighted. Actually? I’m not so sure. She misses her sisters. And I think she’d prefer to come home rather than hang out near Lucy’s school. But, Lucy’s school is half an hour away from home and time and my gas budget won’t allow a trip back. So we’ve been hanging at the park, playing and walking.

This is where we stopped for a snack this morning.

Snack Spot

It was beautiful next to the “waaaweee!” We ate crackers and peaches and read books and it was so quiet and peaceful. I guess that might seem unsettling if you’re used to being surrounded the chaos of BIG! SISTERS!

And speaking of big sisters, Julia lost a tooth yesterday. I was at a loss because 1) Our printer is on the fritz and that’s how I do the tooth fairy notes and 2) Dave wasn’t here to assist in the money-for-tooth exchange and I’m terrible at it. I won’t tell you how long it took me to hand write that tiny little note, but there was evening and there was morning and the next day. Also, I didn’t realize how winded I get running up the stairs until I was in the room with a hand under the pillow wondering who the heck was breathing so hard. (Me!) I tried holding my breath, which was a terrible idea, because then I really had to gasp and that made her roll over. Then I tried to hide in the ninja hidey-hole under the top bunk, but it was dark and I ran into the bed post instead and shook the whole thing. She didn’t wake up, thank goodness. And this morning, she was thrilled with her note and money. She contemplated how to spend her coins over breakfast when Lucy suggested, “You should give them to Mommy. Her gas budget is tight.”

Growing up. Am I right?

The first rule about preschool: You don’t talk about preschool.

Yesterday was Lucy’s first day of preschool. As much as I’d worried about it, she ended up being pretty excited to go.

Lucy's First Day of Preschool

Julia was proud of her.

Lucy with Julia on her First Day of Preschool

Ah, sisterly love.

Hugs!

Yeah, the kind of love that bruises your face.

Notice the bruise?

Do you see it?

There it is!

There it is!

Julia celebrated Labor Day by going all Naomi Campbell and throwing a phone that ended up wrecking her sister’s face, just in time for preschool!

Funny faces

Julia was very sorry (and very punished) and Lucy was very forgiving.

Lucy’s first day went, well, alright? I guess?

She told Dave she had a delicious snack of graham crackers and apples; she told me they didn’t feed her at all.

She told Dave no one would play with her; she told me all about her new friends. So, huh?

Preschoolers are such liars.

When I’d gone to pick her up, she burst into tears as soon as she saw me, but she wouldn’t tell me why she was upset. She was adamant that, “I don’t want to talk about it!” All I could get from her was that she’d made a mistake, so I headed back in to check with her teacher about what was wrong. Apparently, right at the end of the day, Lucy got to play with trains, but she simply didn’t have enough time to truly explore the trains, and so she got mad when it was time to put them away. The teacher said she’d had a fantastic day. The I-don’t-want-to-put-away-the-trains-foot-stomping-alright-I’ll-put-away-the-trains incident was the only wrinkle. I guess it just happened so close to the end of the day, she hadn’t had time to get over it. And she decided that one bad thing tainted the entire day and she couldn’t call it a good day because it wasn’t a perfect day. (She is so my child, by the way.)

I still tried to get from her, in her words, what had happened on the way home, but she wasn’t talking.

“Maybe you’ll tell me about it later,” I said.

And she replied, “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it today. Or later today. Or another day. I will NEVER talk about it, Mom. Never ever.”

On the way to school today, she assured me it would be better. Considering the way she came bounding out of the building, a smile beaming from her face like sunshine, I’m pretty sure it was. I can’t tell you much more because when I asked her to tell me about school she said, “It was so good, I don’t want to talk about it!”

I think I’m going to have to hire a spy.

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