Category: Mommys Stuff (page 1 of 218)

You knew this was coming.

Meet Waddles.

They say every guinea pig needs a companion. Meet Waddles.

He’s a little guy. His hands are little. His features are small. He’s a little guy. (We should have named him Garmin!)

Jack and Waddles

I know this is starting to seem a little bit like the whole fish tank affair what with the getting the new guy, a new cage and a bigger cage and even more supplies, but the thing is, these guys are furry and cuddly. FURRY AND CUDDLY. Totally worth it.

I should have just named my blog Cats and Cakes.

Yesterday was the first day back to school after a short spring break and oh, it was ROUGH waking up. I don’t remember back to school after Christmas break being this hard. I think it has something to do with the longer days and pleasant weather and having had a little taste of what summer feels like. The kids love school, but they also really love summer vacation. After enjoying either of those things a while, we start to anticipate the shift back to the other. We are at the counting down point of school. 28 school days until summer vacation!

Lucy turned nine on Easter, though we did a lot of the celebrating the day before. Here she is making her birthday wish.

Making a wish for her 9th birthday

And here she is holding her birthday present.

Lucy asked for a guinea pig for her birthday. Say hello to Spotty.

That’s the most adorable guinea pig in the world. She calls him Spotty.

Phoebe and Spotty

Oh my goodness, WE LOVE HIM.

Holding our new little guy.

It was a lot of fun to welcome a new pet, especially after losing one recently. Our cat Fluffy died last Thursday. Julia always claimed him as hers, but he found his way into all of our hearts. We spent the first day of break weeding and putting mulch down in The Jungle and it was lonely without that orange snaggletoothed beast winding his way around our feet and arms and brushing against us as we worked. He was the most talkative cat I ever met. And he had an incredible ability to hop in a lap as quickly as it appeared. His breath was as horrible as his personality was sweet. He loved us. He always wanted to be with us, which is not the usual way of a cat. His absence has left a gaping wound and, even this morning, the ache is incredible. We really miss him.

Since Lucy’s birthday happened during break, they didn’t celebrate it at school until this week. I sent in cupcakes.

Eggs in a nest cupcakes, I guess

Not just three, though. I made 30 for school and 18 more for Dave’s work and our dessert. It took all day to make them. It would have been so much faster if I’d had Wilton tip #233 to make the grass! I need to buy it! The cupcakes are meant to be eggs in a nest because Lucy is ALL ABOUT hatching eggs right now. There’s a bird’s nest full of eggs in the lid of our propane tank we’ve been watching and they’ve been incubating chicken eggs in Lucy’s classroom for weeks. They did some candling before break and yesterday during school one of the eggs hatched! The kids got to see it in real time which was THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER for Lucy. She really wanted us to be an adoptive family for some of the chicks, but we’re just not ready for that, yet. We just got a guinea pig! And maybe we’ll get one more. Some people say it’s best to have two. I only had one when I was a kid and he seemed very satisfied with our life together. But last night we were watching a video about what guinea pig noises mean and when Spotty heard those sounds, he was like, “WHERE ARE MY FRIENDS?!?!?” So maybe we’ll get another. Probably. Maybe.

Five Pounds!

Lucy and Phoebe came home from school yesterday with the biggest chocolate bar I have ever seen.

Lucy and Phoebe won the biggest chocolate bar I have ever seen

Their names had been put in a drawing for participating in the latest fundraiser and one of them was picked as the lucky winner of the 11,400 calorie prize. (We’re not sure which name was drawn. This is probably best for peace-keeping purposes.) Everyone posed for a picture with it and before you suggest that’s a weird thing to do or be excited about, consider that there is an entire amusement park dedicated to the love and celebration of this very candy bar.

Julia and the chocolate bar

Jack and the chocolate bar

Phoebe and the chocolate bar

Lucy and the chocolate bar

Once we hauled it inside, the kids unwrapped it and stared in disbelief. Breathlessly Julia asked, “Mom, mom what do we do?” Lucy suggested they each take a corner and start gnawing. We ended up cutting off some pieces with a knife. The remainder is taking up an entire shelf in the refrigerator.

Mark Twain said, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

Today is National Siblings Day. I don’t have any sisters by blood, but I’m grateful to have two by heart.

BobbieJo <3

Kim <3

You know that A-Ha song that goes “do-do do do do do do do do-do do-do”

The weather was glorious this weekend, so we spent most of it outside.

They spent the whole day playing outside.

I did some mowing and they did stuff like make a tent and have a picnic.

They made a tent and had a picnic

Look at those faces

And they did some dancing.

You know that A-Ha song that goes "do-do do do do do do do do-do do-do"

It’s Tuesday.

Jackson cannot be trusted with scissors. Do you see why?

And there's Jackson...cutting his hair again.

He cut his hair. This is not the first or second or third or even fourth time. He does this a lot. And it isn’t as if his bangs were long and he cut them to get them out of his face. This is just random snipping. For what purpose, son? He has no answer.

Haylee’s cat Spooky is finally warming up to us.

Haylee's cat Spooky is finally warming up to us.

He’s moved from Julia’s room to mine, though he is venturing out of it now and then. He likes to sit next to me while I sew. He enjoys being near me and rubbing up against me. He does not enjoy being picked up or held or petted too much. He likes me best when I’m standoffish. He’s teaching me to be cool.

There was a nice article in the paper about the piano competition. Julia is still flying high from it all. (Me, too.)

Vivace

We put spiral curls in her hair for the piano competition yesterday. It isn’t often that she lets me mess with her hair, so it felt special to me. She looked lovely and she played beautifully.

Julia on Competition Day

The venue was completely full. I sat on the stairs in the aisle to watch her with Lucy, Phoebe, and my mom while my dad, Dave, and a sleepy Jack listened from the lobby. The performances were very impressive. All of the participants were so talented and it was incredible to think about the hours of practice represented on that stage. The competition consisted of a junior division for grades 7-9 and a senior division for grades 9-12. Julia won the junior division and she was so surprised! She was certain the girl who played after her would win.

I wish I’d taken pictures at the event, but it was so crowded and by the time it was over, it was very late – especially for Phoebe and Jack. They fell asleep on the way home in the car. It was a little harder for the rest of us to settle down and go to bed. It was a thrilling night!

Croup

Guess where we were last night?

Jack at the ER

Jack woke up coughing and just couldn’t seem to get enough air. He couldn’t talk or swallow and within minutes, he was struggling to breathe at all. I scooped him up and headed to the emergency room. I took Julia along to sit with Jack to make sure he was staying upright and conscious during the ride there. Thankfully, my dad was up and able to stay with Lucy and Phoebe. Dave was on his way to work when I called. He turned around and met us at the hospital. By the time we got there, Jack seemed a little better. The doctor said it was the cool, moist air outside that helped it start to clear up as he obviously has croup. My fourth child is four years and old and this is the first time I’ve experienced croup! I think we’ve been pretty lucky, because this stuff is terrible.

There had been no warning signs. He hadn’t been coughing before this. He’d had strep throat in early February and a stomach virus last week, but never a stuffy or runny nose. And he’d been fever-free and feeling fine the past few days. Since no one else in our family had ever had croup, it wasn’t on my radar at all. I was worried he had something caught in his throat or maybe was having some kind of asthma attack. It was terrifying.

At the ER, they did a chest x-ray, gave him some steroids and ibuprofen and sent us home. By the time we left, he was laughing and talking about video games and I realized I was out in public in my pajamas, Jack wasn’t even wearing shoes, and I was so very tired. He slept the rest of the night between Dave and me in our bed. I’ve never been more thankful to be kicked all night.

Like The Runaway Bunny, but online.

Julia is on Instagram, so now I’m on Instagram. You have to be where your kids are and that’s where the kids are. They’re also on Snapchat, but Julia isn’t allowed to be there. We went to a workshop called Your Kids and Social Media where we learned that Snapchat is the gateway to debauchery. If you go on Snapchat, you will get chlamydia. And die. So, she’s on Instagram. She’s the only one there without a puppy face picture from Snapchat because she’s not on Snapchat. She better not be on Snapchat. Dammit, do I have to get on Snapchat?

I’d always thought I was pretty hip to technology, but LOL! No! I did not fully understand that until we went to the workshop.

Workshop Leader: Do you what ABC app is?

Terrified Parents: No! What is it?

Workshop Leader: It’s where your kid can go and do the worst thing you can imagine she could do with her phone! Heard of XYZ app?

Terrified Parents: What’s that?

Workshop Leader: It’s where your kid can go and do something so bad you couldn’t imagine it before, but now I’m telling you and you can never not know this horrible thing! And your kid may be doing it right now! You can bet her friends are doing it!

Terrified Parents: *sobbing*

In the end, I came home with a list of every evil app the workshop leader could think of, the assurance that more are being made at a speed so swift I could probably never keep up, a suggestion that spying isn’t really a bad thing and a list of apps for doing that, too. It was a sobering experience. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand that the internet could be used in horrifying ways. It was realizing how disconnected parents and kids can feel from each other, how desperate the situation can become when you aren’t communicating and you feel them slipping away.

I have no intention of spying on Julia. Instead, I am doing my best to maintain a good relationship with her built on love and trust. I care about knowing her, so if she’s posting pictures on Instagram, I want to see them. I’ll post some pictures while I’m there, too, because the truth is, it’s fun. And I think it’ll stay that way as long as we’re connected. That’s my hope. And if she ends up on Snapchat, I’ll be there, too.

“I had a moment.”

This is Julia’s phrase. The first time she used it was after she’d taken a bite of a Dairy Queen hot dog. She’d stopped still, closed her eyes, and raised her hand up to the sky.

“Julia?” I put my hand on her leg. “Are you okay?”

“I’m having a moment,” she’d whispered, without moving her hand or opening her eyes.

She told me it was the most delicious thing she’d ever tasted. She was so overwhelmed with flavor, she had to stop and savor it.

Julia won a writing contest a while back. I didn’t mention it then. Not because I wasn’t proud. I don’t think I could be more proud. I guess that’s the problem sometimes. Excessive pride. People do not like it. Sometimes it hurts your feelings to realize that, especially if you don’t feel like your pride is excessive. Then it just feels like people don’t like you or your kid. And that’s how I was feeling then. I’m trying to learn restraint in my everyday life, but not here. That’s what here is for, right?

Julia is, once again, taking part in a competition. This one is for piano. She had submitted an audition and has been selected as a finalist. On Friday, I took her to practice on the piano she’ll be playing for the competition concert.

Edward Montgomery Jr. Piano

Julia at Edward Montgomery Jr.'s Piano

It is a glorious piano. She ran her hands all over it, admiring it, and cooing “beautiful, beautiful” before she began to play it. She smiled and shimmied her shoulders as if electricity were passing from the piano into her hands and up her arms as she played some scales. “This is perfect!”

She played through her competition piece and we talked about the dynamics. She worked on a few areas, then played it through a few more times. I asked her to play the movement of the sonatina that precedes her piece and then her piece again, and I settled in a chair behind her to enjoy a private concert. She played beautifully and accurately, as she usually does. It was lovely. Then she turned and said, “Can I play something else?”

“Of course,” I nodded. “We still have time.” She turned back and began to play Yellow by Coldplay. (Here’s a version she recorded on her keyboard in her room.) This is the song that’s been in her heart lately and when she opened it up and let it out, her performance was so warm and tender. The song isn’t technically demanding or as impressive as the sonatina, but by the fifth measure, she’d coaxed the sun from behind a cloud and enticed its rays to dance in her hair and on her shoulder.

Practicing on Edward Montomgery Jr.'s Piano

I couldn’t hold my tears. She noticed this after she was finished and I told her, “I’m having a moment.”

Whatever the outcome of the competition, I’ll feel like she’s won so long as she keeps playing music from her heart. I am awed by that beauty.

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