Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Know how I know that Olivia enjoyed the movie Inside Out? She only had to pee twice during the movie. I know!! She had to go the bathroom six times during Cinderella. SIX!!!

So two times during a movie is definitely proof that she actually enjoyed the movie.

And since the movie, she’s watched more Youtube videos of kids doing their makeup like the characters in the movie than I care to count.

She’s especially enamored with Disgust. We found a plush Disgust doll at Walmart last week and O’s slept with it all week. That doll goes everywhere with Olivia. She’s decided she’s going to be Disgust for Halloween this year. It should be a fairly easy costume actually. We already have green eyeliner and mascara, my mom is a whiz with a sewing machine and I can get green hairspray.

This morning O asked told me to go to Walmart and get her the Disgust doll that talks. She said that while the doll she already has is great for sleeping, it’s not as much fun to play with as one that talks would be. Ha. Hahahaha. She’s so funny to think that she issues the orders.

Alas, I did actually get the talking doll today but only because it was the LAST one on the shelf. I’m not going to actually give it to her until some other day when a present is in order. Girlfriend needs to learn that I don’t always jump when she issues an order.

Orders kind of disgust me actually.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Backward and Upside Down

“Why do you put your belt on like that?” Alyssa asked me this morning as I was, uh, putting on my belt.

I looked at her, then down at my belt and tried to figure out how else one could put on a belt if not through the loops on one’s pants, one loop at a time.

I finished putting said belt through the loops and gave her a quizzical look.

She flapped her hands a bit and said, “You know, like that? With the thingy going toward your right instead of your left?”

Ahhh, okay. I get it. She wondered why I started my belt on my right side going around my body from right to left instead of left to right.

Tom stepped into the conversation and Alyssa asked him how he put on his belt, and OF COURSE, he told her he did it the same way she does.

Duh. They’re both right-handed, so yes, they do it the same way.

Being a leftie means I’m at odds with the world most of the time, including in my own house.

I went from a home where I was in the majority (Mother, Brother and I are all left-handed, youngest Brother was in the minority as the only righty) to a home where I’m very much the minority since my husband and BOTH of my daughters are right-handed.

Alas, I muddle through somehow and then we get to have these wonderful, insightful conversations at 6:30 in the morning.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer at the Park

Since it rained to the point of FLOOD WARNINGS on Saturday, we put off going to the park until Sunday. And because we weren’t driving eighteen miles to go to the park I’d promised we’d hit this past weekend (I’m lucky the girls are so understanding about RAIN and fifty degree weather not being ideal park weather) we instead headed four miles into town and went to a more local park.

And it was the best decision EVER. Well, at least as far as Lyss is concerned.

There were several little league baseball games going on when we arrived at the park. Lyss had already called her friend S, who lives in town and was meeting us there.

Olivia was happy to climb and slide, climb and slide and climb and slide until she realized that Lyss and S had gone walking. Olivia asked if we could follow them. I told her that we were going to give Alyssa some privacy with her friend for a bit then we’d go find them. This satisfied her enough to get her to play on some of the other structures for a while.

While Liv played and I followed her (because I’m a hovering hoverer, it’s what I do) A and S made their way around the park, where they came across another friend who was there to watch her little brother play baseball.

We climbed and the girls slide and swung and played tetherball. I made Olivia go back to the structure made for smaller kids in an effort to give Lyss some time with her friends again. The friend group had grown to five girls from school.

Olivia was happy to go to the smaller structure because no one was there. She very much prefers to play on things where there are no other kids. She’s…a loner…an introvert…weird? Take your pick but she’s not a fan of gregarious kids coming up to her and trying to take her hand as she climbs the stairs to go down the slide. She’ll tug her hand free every single time and come sit by me, glaring at the intruder who dared to try and befriend her. Sigh. We’re working on this both at home and at school.

By the time I pulled Alyssa from her friend group and we made our way home, it felt like a very productive day at the park.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just the Four of Us

My mom picked Jaxon up from my house before I got home on Tuesday. He had baseball practice and had to be in town before I was even leaving.

When I got home, Alyssa hugged me tight and said, “That boy is a lot of work.”

I laughed and asked her if he was more work than her sister.

Alyssa thought about this as she sat next to me on the porch watching her dad and that very sister ride around in circles on the bike.

Finally she answered, “It’s not that he’s more work, it’s just that I’m used to Livie. She’s a lot of work too but she’ll also sit next to me on the couch and just be there. That boy has to talk all day long. And he expects a response to every single thing he says. If you don’t answer him, he’ll repeat himself over and over, ending each question or statement with, ‘Right Lyssie? Did you hear me Lyssie? Right Lyssie?’“

I laughed and hugged her. “You’re a good cousin.”

“I know,” she declared before bounding off to join Tom and Olivia as they biked the driveway.

This girl…she just keeps getting better. She was such an awesome baby, a precocious toddler with an enormous vocabulary and the wit to wield that vocabulary hilariously. When Tom and I decided to try to have another baby I felt like we were being selfish. We’d been given such an amazing daughter the first time around, how could we possibly ask for more?

We asked for more because we wanted more for her, that perfect, awesome little girl who is not so little now and still amazing me every single day. Yes, I wanted another baby for me, but I also wanted that for Alyssa. I wanted her to have a sibling, someone to commiserate with later in life when I’m old and really annoying. Someone to push her buttons and teach her that sometimes, it really isn’t all about her. Someone who looks up to her and thinks that actually it is all about the big sister.

Later that evening, she leaned her head on my right shoulder. Olivia was asleep against my left leg.

Alyssa said dreamily, “I like it when it’s just the four of us. You and me and Livie and Dad. We’re just right, aren’t we?”

I hugged my girl close and told her yes, we are just right.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Deserving to Be Forgiven

As a parent, I have many moments I wish I could rewind and do over.

One recent example was the other night after I’d given Olivia a bath. We’d washed her hair and were getting her ready for bed by putting lotion on her. She managed to rub just enough onto her hands to make it globby but not to rub it in and then she proceeded to push her hair out of her face, getting lotion in to her just shampooed hair.

I know!! The tragedy, the injustice of it all. Yes, I overreacted.

I told her to stop touching her hair with her lotion-y hands and started rubbing at the lotion in her hair. I rubbed a little rougher than I’d like to admit. She didn’t actually cry but she was bothered by the entire situation. I was bothered too, almost immediately after the rubbing. I stopped being a jerk, hugged her close and kissed her, telling her I was sorry for being rough.

But yeah, mother of the freaking year here.

I thought about that incident quite a bit that night and into the next day and I realized that the road for forgiveness for moments like that one is to make them rare. VERY rare. Like, to not do it again, ever, if possible. I can forgive myself and perhaps even deserve forgiveness from her if I strive to not be like that again, to treat her gently, to hug her more often and scold her less often.

Correction is fine when it’s needed but gentle correction is something I’d like to master.

I told myself sternly, “The way to make this forgivable is to not do it again. Make it a one-time event and fill her life with loving memories of you, moments when you kissed her and hugged her and showed her how much you love her because, hello, actions speak so much more loudly than words and telling the child you love her won’t go far if you rub her head roughly just because of a little lotion.”

I need those moments, those talks inside my head. I hope they’ll make me a better mother. My girls deserve a better mother.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When Kids Make the Plans aka How Awesome is My Husband?

The girls spent yesterday a Gram’s house because Jaxon was going to be there. When he’s there, they’re there because, as my mom says, it’s actually easier to take care of three than it is one because when there are three, they entertain each other but when there’s just one, that one expects the adult to entertain them because…boredom.

The moment I stepped into my mom’s house, Jaxon was beside me. “Tommie! Hey, Tommie, guess what? I’m going to ask my dad if I can come to your house tonight after my baseball game and spend the night with the girls.”

I laughed because I thought he was joking.

Alyssa said, “It would only be one more mouth to feed.”

I tried to follow this train of thought but it was not computing. My mom finally clued me in.

“They’re planning for Jaxon to come to your house tonight after his game, spend the night with you guys and then spend the day at your house with the girls.”

Jaxon reiterated, “Yeah, I could just come over after my game and spend the night with the girls then I would be with them tomorrow when we all wake up.”

“Hold on, Buddy,” I told him. “I can’t make that decision. I have to ask Tom since he’s the one who would be taking care of all you guys tomorrow.”

“Okay,” he said, very agreeable and all, “you should call Tom and see if it’s okay. Do you think it’ll be okay because I’m going to ask my dad when I get to my game and then Gram can bring me to your house and I can spend the night. Why does Tom have to stay with me and the girls? Does he have to go to work? Can I come over after my game?”

I walked away from the chatterbox and called my husband.

His first reaction was the same as mine. He laughed because like me, he thought it was a joke.

See, Jaxon’s mom and dad aren’t married. He lives mostly with his dad (my brother) but during the school year the custody agreement is pretty equal. The problem is summer. His mom is a stay-at-home mom to her two younger daughters. Her husband works second shift and they only have one car. So…if he’s at her house during the week, my brother had to go get Jaxon for his baseball games, take him back to her after the games, blah, blah, blah. It’s easier for my brother for Jaxon to either stay at my mom’s because my mom will take him to the games/practice or for Jax to go to my brother’s sister-in-law’s house, which is where Jaxon’s younger brother goes every day.

The problem is that Jaxon says that the sister-in-law’s kids (four of them) are mean to him. My mom and I are pretty protective of this kid. He’s been through a lot in his seven years of life. I know, kids will be kids. But kids will also be little shits and I think this is the case. And I also think that the sister-in-law sort of lets the kids run wild and isn’t really aware of how obnoxious her kids are.

So yeah, sorry, major tangent.

Tom and I talked a little more and then he said, “What do you think? I mean, it’s just one more kid.”

I told him what Lyss had said about it just being one more mouth to feed. Then I said, “This will not be a weekly thing, I promise.”

He laughed at that because, yeah, duh.

Then he said, “Sure, he can come over.”

So I hung up the phone and announced, “Okay, Jax, you can come over after your game.”

There was much whooping and screeching. Everyone was quite excited.

Once at home, I was asked no fewer than a dozen times what time I thought Jaxon would get there. And let me say right now that Liv wasn’t the only one asking.

His practice started at 6pm. His game started at 7. The games run either five innings or an hour and a half, whichever happens first.

When he wasn’t there at 9:20, Tom asked, “You don’t think they’d show up this late do you?”

I explained the timing and then said, “Do you really think my brother would say no to this?”

Tom laughed and agreed that it was highly unlikely that Big J had said no to little J.

My mom and Jax arrived at 9:35. He was very excited and very wound up.

Olivia was already sound asleep because, well, she’s an early to bed/early to rise kind of girl.

I finally wrangled both Jax and Lyss into bed at 10:10.

When I left for work at 7:25 this morning, Tom had all three kids outside on the porch to say good bye.

And all this is to say that I think my husband might just be one of the best dads/uncles around. It’s all kinds of awesome that he said, “Well, it’s just one more kid, right?”

Monday, June 22, 2015

Inside Out Tore Me Up

It was a very movie weekend. The girls and I went to see Pixar’s Inside Out on Saturday and then my mom, Alyssa and I went to see Jurassic World on Sunday. Yes, we left Olivia with Tom on Father’s day. He didn’t want to see the movie (he’ll see it when I buy the dvd) and Olivia would have been overwhelmed by the volume and some of the scariness.

Olivia only had to pee twice during Inside Out, which is a good sign that she actually enjoyed the movie.

It was a clever movie with lots of funny parts.

There was one point, though, that had me fighting sobs. I am one to well up with tears and maybe have one escape to trickle down my cheek but this movie had the tears flowing and me laughing in an attempt to disguise the sobs.

If you don’t want to be spoiled, read no further. Seriously. Stop now if you want to watch this movie and not know what’s coming…






It has been documented here that Olivia has several imaginary friends, so it probably comes as no surprise that I was happy to see the main character’s imaginary friend make an appearance in this movie. He was adorable and very obviously loves this girl very much. At eleven, she hadn’t thought of him much in the years since she was two or three but the scenes of her playing with him were adorable.

In an effort to get Joy back to Riley’s control center, the imaginary friend sacrifices himself to pits where old memories go to die. It was one of the saddest moments I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. His last words were, “Take her to the moon for me.”

I loved the idea of her imaginary friend not actually being imaginary, at least not to her inside her own head. Olivia still talks about her imaginary friends. They’re inside her head, living out lives and stories that she writes for them.

The idea that one would be willing to become dust in order for her to continue to feel joy is beautiful. Her imaginary friends love her, they exist because of her and they’d do anything for her.

Alyssa found my tears amusing and sweetly comforted me as I fought the sobs and Olivia was, well, she was Olivia, sitting next to me eating her Reece’s Pieces and probably wondering why Mom was sniffling like crazy next to her.

Yes, we’ll be buying the DVD version of this movie too. There are times when I need a good cry.