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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)


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