Thursday, April 27, 2017

thursday tidbits

Many many years ago I held a week old little boy and fell in deep love with him. We attended the same church and were joint at the hip every Sunday and any visits in between. Every person who knows us both knows we were, to use Noah's words, "best buds." At one point he said he wanted to marry me but couldn't do the wedding on Saturday as he had to be at karate. We planned a Friday wedding instead. Taking my own offspring out of the picture, I never loved a child more. 

He wrote me a collection of "love letters" which I saved and have no intention of ever throwing away.

"I think I'll follow you for the rest of my life."

Dear sarah I hop you hav a grat time wiel wer gon yer one of my best pals and happy birthday. Love Noah

Dear sarah I love you so much. I hope you had a grat thanksgiving i love you. from: Noah

to: sarah I love you

All that to say- I saw him on Sunday and he is a giant. 


Uncle Ronnie has an extremely busy social schedule but he managed to squeeze in a Dunkin Donuts date with us. It really confused people when I first started calling Aaron by the name Ronnie. It seemed an obvious nickname to me.
We've mostly visited family so far, but one afternoon we went to a nursing home to see a sweet friend from back in the day. She's known me from the day I was born and it's special that Annabelle got to see her too.
Annabelle asked Memere if she knew how to play the battery operated piano. Memere didn't understand what she was supposed to do so she shook the piano like a rattle. Then she asked if AB knows the very old song "I'm a Lonely Little Petunia in the Onion Patch." Annabelle did not. I think they're dealing with some generational gaps. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

travel season has begun

In what is becoming a yearly tradition, Annabelle and I started our annual travel circuit this weekend. Much like birds traveling south for the winter, we travel to Massachusetts in the spring. 

I'm pleased to report we did not have to turn around once. I saw a Massachusetts licence plate and stupidly thought "I should follow that person since we're both going to the same place." Because that makes sense. There are 50,000 places they could be going and I guarantee you not one is where I wanted to end up. It's remarkable I'm allowed on the road. 

While AB listened to Frog and Toad, I rotated through my arsenal of audio books and podcasts. I was looking for a particular podcast when I found a random one hosted by Patience and Mel. They had strong accents and I spent considerable time figuring it 1) where they were from and 2) who they were. I correctly guessed they were Australian for which I patted myself on the back. Christopher is always saying I'm bad at accents so it was a personal victory. They were talking about their trip to an event called Splenda where they both used "bum bags." It eventually became clear that Splenda was not a celebration of fake sugar, but an Australian music festival called Splendour on the Grass. I found the term "bum bags" disturbing. Who boasts about something like using a bum bag? Turns out it was a fanny pack, which I guess is also an odd name when you think about it.

The ride was going quite smoothly with Patience and Mel when I had to veer off the road to avoid running over a dead BEAR CUB on the road. The only time I've seen a bear is at a zoo and all the sudden there was a dead one in front of me. Things are weird out on the road.

I do a lot of veering on these lengthy trips. One of these days I'll be pulled over for suspected drunk driving and I'll have to convince the policeman that I'd not drunk and/or high, just trying to give my daughter her Frozen graham crackers or turn off the darn musical turtle. It was juuust out of reach and for two hours I heard it singing on repeat.
"My friends are traveling on my back,
I'm taking them for a ride.
They like to spin 'round and 'round
as we go along." 

Maybe Splendour on the Grass is looking for an addition to their 2018 lineup. I know a musical turtle who is going to be kicked out of my car soon. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

easter with the peeps, 2017

My Easter preparations this year were very lowkey. We didn't even dye eggs. I bought a pack of plastic eggs on sale and picked up a box of stickers to put on them. We went with a really subtle and refined style.
When I was growing up I always helped my Grandma make chocolate and peanut butter candies at Easter. Annabelle helped me make them for the first time this year. I love passing along traditions to her.
AB has been more difficult lately but sometimes she can be oh so sweet. We'll be sending this picture to Prince George. It will seal the deal on their future marriage arrangments.
In reality, she was less the enthusiastic about the photoshoot-
The Easter Bunny was behind and didn't fill the basket or hide the eggs until late in the day. The bunny doubled as the chef in charge of a three course meal so I don't blame her for being a little late.
The one thing Sesame said she wanted the Easter Bunny to bring was a stuffed animal. She has 72 stuffed animals already but is always looking for more. The EB saw a frog at the dollar store (hashtag bargain shopper) and she couldn't resist. Thanks to frequently picking up said stuffed animals, the Bunny is quite familiar with the stuffed animal rotation around here and knew she didn't have a frog.
As if Flower the Frog wasn't exciting enough, hunting for Easter eggs was the cherry on top. A perk of being the only child was she got to find each egg. 
"Another walk down memory lane? Are you going to do this every holiday?" Yes, I am.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

on the bookshelf

Helga's Diary by Helga Weiss.
I picked this up on a whim because I enjoy books about WW2. Can't accuse me of being too cheery! It's written by a girl who survived life in multiple concentration camps during the war and eventually made it out with her mother. It was so hard for me to get through not because it was sad (although it was), but because the writing was difficult to follow. I assume if someone read my diary they'd think the same thing, but I don't want my diary published so it doesn't matter. The timeline was confusing and it filled with words like haftlingsnummer and tagesbefehl. I've gotten to the point where I don't finish books I dislike, but I felt like if she could survive what she did the least I could do was finish the book. I was very impressed with the good attitude Helga had the entire time. I don't know that I would be as cheerful.

GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barett and Nuala Calvi.
I LOVED this book. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. It tells the stories of four British girls who dated and eventually married American soldiers during, you guessed it, World War 2. The American soldiers showed up when most of the British men were gone and wooed the ladies. As someone who married a soldier and admittedly has a slight obsession with them, I would have been BESIDE MYSELF to have an abundance of men in uniform trying to get my attention. GIDDY WITH DELIGHT. The stories follow the women as they travel to America and attempt to make a life here.

Home by Julie Andrews.
I'm listening to the audio version and it's read by Julie herself. If only she would be the voice on the gps I wouldn't mind getting lost nearly as much. I didn't know Julie is British, not American. Am I the only one who didn't know that? No wonder she did such a good job playing a British nanny. It's a very well written story with lots of details which I enjoy since I'm nosy. It includes snippets of her singing and is delightful in every way. I'd like to add Julie to my list of people I'd like to text.

Linking up with Steph and Jana

Monday, April 10, 2017

she gets all this and all I get are new gray hairs

A few days after Sesame's birthday we switched her to a big girl bed. 

Christopher had been campaigning to get her out of the crib for months but I objected. She slept so well in her crib. We didn't need the crib for anyone else. I liked having her contained. She wasn't in middle school yet. Christopher won out and she was SO excited. I wasn't quite so excited when she woke up and called for me 7 times that night. At one point her feet were hanging off the edge so she thought she was falling off. 

Don't be deceived by how sweet she looks here. 
She does so well staying in bed during naptime but at night it's a totally different situation. She enjoys thinking she has free range of her room. I disagree.
In other big news in her life, she got her first car. They have these little cars at MDO and she loves them. One of the teachers must call them Flintstones cars because ever since she started there in September she has told me she wanted Flintstones car.
She named the car Cheery the Cherry. Or Cheery Cherry. Or Cherry the Flintstone.  
We'll wait until she decides on a name before ordering a vanity plate.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

the little things- March 2017

Every month little things happen that don't make it into other posts. I want to start putting all these little memories into their own post so I don't forget they happened.  

* Annabelle learned how to write an A! Most of the time it looks like an H but obviously she's a genius child and will be the next Louisa May Alcott.
She did the A on the left all by herself! I was so proud.
* We went to the zoo and I managed to get pictures with both my people. Good pictures with either of them are a rarity.

* I wanted to send Aaron a little care package so I picked up some of his favorite things- pasta, gum and candy. I wanted to get him a Dunkin Donuts car magnet but I couldn't find one I liked online. I asked Lisa at the DD drive through window if they sold any. She said they didn't, but they happened to have an extra one on their refrigerator she could give me for free. The next time I went through I gave her a little thank you card. The other day I went by for my iced coffee and Lisa was at the window. She gave me a free cup of their new cold brew flavor. I know I'm the customer and she's the worker, but I like feeling that I have a new friend. Besides, it doesn't hurt to have a friend in the right places.  

* This picture makes me smile every time. 
* "You wanna watch a show wif me, Mama?"

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

party at the ice castle

Party day has come and gone. The balloons are limp on the ground and the last of the leftover dip has been eaten.

Credit for the little rhyme at the top of the invitation goes to Laura. I sent out a group text SOS about what to write besides "we're having a party so you should come" and she pulled through for me.  
I kept things much more simple this year than previous parties. I didn't go out of my way to make food that coordinated with the theme (although I did want to), I didn't make all the decorations I pinned and in general stressed out much less than normal. It was simple, fun and Annabelle enjoyed it which is what's most important. Her one request for decor for balloons. Christopher went above and beyond what she expected. 
She enjoyed the balloons quite a bit more than the 30 snowflakes I hung up around the house. 
Elsa and Anna were everything I hoped they would be and more. They read, sang, and played a Frozen version of Don't Break the Ice.
I wasn't sure how Annabelle would react but she did really well. It made me so happy to see with her two of her favorite princesses!
 Look at the way she's looking at Elsa! 
They gave her a princess crown and she gave them a look at her birthday cake. It was so precious. 
I wasn't in love this the cake design this year but it was exactly what AB wanted. She kept telling me it "looked like Elsa's dress."
She had her little friends from MOPS over and most exciting, her cousin and grandparents came up from Texas. I'm pretty sure it was the best day she's had since she turned 3. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

party prep

I just finished taping snowflakes to the ceiling in preparation for AB's Frozen birthday party tomorrow. I'm feeling surprisingly (see also: unusually/questionably) calm. Before most parties I'm running around like a maniac because the cake isn't perfectly frosted or I start crying because I have to mix two different styles of paper plates AND NOW THE PARTY IS RUINED.

Dramatic and overly-perfectionist, party of one.

I'm not holding my breath. There's still time for this whole operation to head south fast.

I'm sure Annabelle would enjoy a small cake and celebration with just the three of us and maybe someday that's how we'll celebrate, but not this year. She has looked forward to her Frozen party for MONTHS. She sets up birthday parties for all her stuffed animals and dolls, complete with cake, candles, songs and gifts every single day. If I really aged each time she sang me Happy Birthday I'd be 112. She lives for birthday parties. When the doctor told me she was too young for asthma testing because "she'd have to follow directions and blow out candles on the screen" I wanted to tell him she's been training to blow out candles for half her life.

As her birthday gift we've invited two very special guests over. Elsa and Anna will be appearing live and in person at our door at 9:30. Annabelle loved when she meet them in Texas but a few weeks ago I took her to a free princess meet and greet at the mall put on by the company we're using. I wanted to scout out how authentic the princesses looked before we hired them. (Prince Charming was a pathetic attempt at a dashing young man.) AB was so nervous to meet them we had to get out of line after 20 minutes. She'll either love the princesses or it will be a nightmare. We're having them come before the party and only AB and her cousin will visit with them. AB gets shy around large groups of people so hopefully she'll enjoy it more in a small group.

I have something to get off my conscience- I don't make her birthday cake. I'm the only one who was truly distraught over this decision, but I'm the only one in charge of planning her perfect party. My mom always made our cakes so I want to do the same for my children. I made the cakes for her first two parties and liked how they turned out. This year she wants an ice cream cake which I've never made before. I've heard they're not hard to make but can be tricky to decorate. In the end I decided to buy two cakes, assemble them to make it two tiered cake and decorate it. I'm glad I made the decision because making the cake would have added yet another thing to my lengthy to do list.

Time to get back to my decorating and agonizing over which straws best match the tablecloth.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Today was Annabelle's big day and she could not have been more thrilled.

We brought rice krispie treats to school, got a special treat at Dunkin Donuts and had her requested pizza for supper. Our landlords father loves Annabelle and he showed up at the door with three cupcakes. I lit a candle to put on the table and she was so excited about it we all took turns singing happy birthday to each other. She was besides herself with joy.
I almost missed the 60 second opportunity to take her picture at 1:40 (the time she was born), but I got it just in the knick of time.
She's wearing the blue "trash bow" I found in a puddle at the end of our driveway before she was born. It was the first bow she ever wore. I was in excruciating pain after the csection but through the fog I focused in on one thing- someone HAD to put a bow on her so everyone would know she was not a boy.

 It's SHOCKING how quickly the time has passed since that first 1:40. 
How many years can I get away with dressing her in a tutu skirt?
I might be biased, but I think she's the cutest 3 year old around. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

my favorite child

Annabelle will be 3 tomorrow.

Let that sink in for a minute.

HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE. It seems like she got here last Wednesday but at the same time like she's been here 7 years.

The great loves of her life are snacks, reading, food, painting, swimming, popsicles, school, watching shows, extra snacks, playing outside and "earning monies". She adores her stuffed animals and calls them her "friends." She sleeps with no less than 17 (actual count) each night. The doctor who told me to put her in a completely empty crib would be horrified. She needs her Memere blanket, her Olaf blanket, two books, her cup and all her friends around her. 
She's still a hearty eater, but dislikes olives and celery. She loves pizza, pasta, ranch dressing, berries, cheese, chips and ice cream. She loves frozen peas and corn and eats them like candy. Sometimes she dips tomatoes in ketchup which seems a little redundant.
It's not all sunshine in paradise. Being my favorite child also means she's my most troublesome child. She's still been struggling with sleeping at night since Mr. Lion moved to his own bed. Just this morning she threw the dry rice she was playing in all over the kitchen and living room. We haven't made much progress in potty training. I'm currently accepting applications for anyone who wants to train her for me. She has a small bit of a defiant streak but overall she's even tempered and happy. We made it through the terrible 2's ok but I sure trouble is coming down the pike this year. Nothing like going forward with a positive attitude!

She wants socks on when she gets into bed but always takes them off immediatly.

She talks and sings all day long and into the night.
A few of her most commonly misprounced words make me laugh every time. 
nachinals- nachos
cucacalee- ukulele
kintar- guitar
mama bird- monitor

She always replaces V with B. "I lobe baby Iby bery much."

We had this conversation the other day.
"Mom, can we watch a showie show?"
"No, we don't watch a show first thing in the morning unless I'm not feeling well."
"You don't feel well."
"No, I feel fine.
"I fink your froat (throat) hurts."

Such a little negotiator! 

I made a batch of rice krispie treats for MDO tomorrow. I added sprinkles and maybe some tears too because I'm so sad she's getting older. Somebody make it stop. I'm not emotionally equipped for this to happen every year!

Friday, March 24, 2017

when dad's away the girls will play

Christopher has been out of town for a while* so we ladies have been holding down the fort. Except for the 3 hours she's at mothers day out and the occasional trip to the gym we spend literally every hour together. Sometimes it gets so monotonous and I run out of entertaining things to do, but I've been trying to be more conscious about making the most of our time together. I promised Annabelle that while Daddy was gone we'd have a special girls day.

* Don't try to rob us while he's gone. We have an alarm system and I have bats at strategic locations around the house that I'm not afraid to use.

Before and after breakfast we played with beads. Sesame asked me to make a bead crown which I did, making sure to add plenty of sparkly beads. She decided not to wear it so I did instead. I couldn't let a perfectly good crown go to waste! 

My aunt gave AB a fairy set at Christmas that she loves to play with. I wanted to buy a plant for a fairy garden and another for my windowsill so we went to the garden shop. It opened for the season on Monday so they didn't have any plants yet, mostly just an assortment of clearance items and shelves of plant food. That didn't stop AB from having fun. She played with the sand the garden decorations were stuck in and had a great time. 

We ran to the grocery store for pizza toppings and she was thrilled to ride in the car cart. We had a small moment of negotiation because she wanted the yellow car and I wanted the blue. The yellow car is in front of the cart and is so much harder to push. I constantly crash into shelves and attract unwanted attention in the yellow car. I convinced her the blue car was best since it had a place for my purse. She once again told me it has two steering wheels so she can have one and her brother or sister can have the other. I think she assumes we can pick up a sibling in the bread aisle.
She could be an ad for Morning Star veggie burgers.
I let her pick supper and she asked for pizza. I've raised her so well! 
 She chowed down on the carrots before I had a chance to cut them.
Her latest favorite movie is Toy Story. We had a pizza picnic in the living room and watched Woody's friends rescue him for the 14th time this month. 
The highlight of our girls sleepover night was that she got to sleep in the big bed with me. I was once again reminded why I don't do cosleeping. It was like laying next to an octopus. Her limbs were everywhere. They were in my back and reaching to take the book out of my hands. Eventually I realized there was no way she'd go to sleep while I was up reading, so I turned off the light and pretended to be asleep. Two minutes later I felt little fingers trying to pry my mouth open. 
The next morning on the way to music class she called to me from the backseat and said, "I wove you, Mom." I guess the feet pounding my stomach were worth it.