On Valentine’s morning, I sent Christopher the following text, “I have diagnosed the dishwasher as potentially having a motor issue. I cleaned the filter and various other things youtube recommended. If that doesn’t work we might need to call Jason to fix it.”
Don’t tell me romance is dead!
Last year I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t help in AB’s class. No one but teachers and students was allowed to set foot beyond the office. I would have been a great addition but alas, I was not wanted. Her hybrid school this year welcomes any and all parental involvement which is how I came to be the parent in charge of the Valentines party. The party lasted barely an hour but I spent nearly five times that cutting paper and preparing activities. I carefully crafted layered paper nametags that were clipped to bags with coordinating colored clothespins. Some children had the audacity to drop their gorgeous tags on the floor or stuff them inside the bag. Kids these days don’t appreciate quality craftsmanship!
For the game, they used tweezers to stack as many candy hearts as they could in 60 seconds.
For our valentines bag craft we made lovebug bags.
Later that night Annabelle asked me, “Why did we only make one lovebug when in real life two lovebugs are always attached together?” I was only signed up to provide a fun party, not teach a reproductive biology class!
I haven’t talked to you since last year! I used to get such mileage out of saying that as a kid.
When I left off I was
overwhelmed and in tears on the floor preparing for our family Christmas, delivering all manner of teacher/friend gifts, sending cards, prepping for AB’s science fair and school party, gathering supplies for Aaron’s wedding, packing for our trip to Massachusetts, making sure we were ready for Christmas in Massachusetts, lining up cat care for while we were gone and popping pain pills. Not much at all! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
We got our real Christmas tree from the Hallmark perfect tree farm of Home Depot. I pretended Sesame was wearing snow boots and mittens instead of a short sleeve shirt. She asked for the fifth year in a row why I tap the tree trunk against the ground before spinning and sniffing it and I told her for the fifth year in a row to TRUST THE PROCESS. You can’t waltz in there and grab the first tree you see.
Our theme tree this year was small kitchen items. HobLob really pulled through with small kitchen items being 70% off when we needed them. If anyone needs tiny hohoho or noel rolling pins let me know. Using the colander at the top instead of a star was Christopher’s idea.
I order all the babies memorial ornaments from a shop on etsy and it sent me into a fit of tears when I saw that the owner had closed her shop. I was so upset that one of the babies would have a different ornament than the other three. I spent hours on etsy looking for an ornament that looked similar enough but couldn’t find one. Christopher suggested sending her a message but she said she closed her shop for “a mental health break” and I didn’t want to bother her. Eventually, I sent her a message and two weeks later I had a matching ornament. I could have kissed her feet. It meant so much to me that she took the time to make one for me.
We made stovetop potpourri jars for our teachers and friends and I gave AB the job of writing the names of the lids. Instead of writing her tutor’s real name, she wrote her job. Tootr. Hence why she has a tutor.
No one tell my child that the elf is supposed to be involved in shenanigans. Our elf hides in the microwave, writes notes on the dry erase board and waits with Ian Major Clark on the backpack. Jingle in a very low-key elf.
The day we left for MA, Annabelle had her first science fair. She learned 10 facts about bluebirds which she presented to the class then set up in the gym for the entire school to see. She was so very proud of her board. Her board looked NOTHING like I suggested. NOTHING AT ALL. I suggested she make a tree and put facts on the leaves. Let’s put the eggs in a nest made of dry grass we gather in the backyard. At the very least let’s put some construction paper behind the index cards. “No thanks, Mom. I’ll do it with my own ideas.”
Actual footage of me watching and trying to be supportive but still wanting her to do it my way. Some children clearly had too much parental input (aka takeover). I didn’t want to run the whole show (or did I?). All I wanted to do was add a small amount of pizzazz.
Immediately before our flight out we went to the class Christmas party. As much as my input was not wanted on the science board, it was
welcome given on the gingerbread house. That’s how we ended up with a candy cane heart on the roof.
The last time I blogged Annabelle was 7. Now she’s 17 with her own license. I told her not to get used to having such a great license photo. She’ll never have one so cute again.
We visited with some of Christopher’s family in Atlanta last week, and one of them remembered about a kids driving course. Annabelle was thrilled to have her own license and drive her own little car. She kept it 10 and 2 and her eyes on the road the whole time. She gets her driving skilz from her mother. That apple stayed very close to the tree.
We celebrated Father’s Day on Saturday. We planned a “pick your own adventure mission” with activities around town. Did I make Christopher pick so I wouldn’t have to decide because I have decision fatigue? Possibly. But it was a fun time. Each card had different options such as “Would you rather explore the art museum, bookstore or library?” “Would you rather get a tasty beverage at Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks or a local coffee shop?” “Would you rather walk around the park or the lake?” There isn’t much to do around here but we hit a few of the
hot warm spots.
Annabelle added a very confusing component to the mission. She picked one random clue from each place, put them together, and we had to figure out what “they” stole. She wasn’t clear who they were or even how we’d pick the clue, but it made sense in her crazy little head. We were then supposed to go to Walmart or Target and buy the item that matched the clues. The clues were blue, skinny, shapes, and sweet which happened to match Annabelle and what she was wearing at the time. Walmart and Target were fresh out of Annabelles so we stuck with the one we already had.
“You rock! I love you! Nobute cud evr hav a beter papa.” Sesame comes by both her bad spelling and love of her father honestly. Once again, I am the tree and she is my apple.
We failed to take a picture with the man of the hour, but he wouldn’t be the man of the hour without us girls.
We went to a church Easter egg hunt yesterday morning. It was at a church member’s house and we assumed the eggs would be tossed in the backyard and trees. It was not. It is no exaggeration to say the house and yard were straight out of an antebellum novel. It was gorgeous. It had fields and gardens and a wrap-around second story porch. The yard was plenty large enough for each age group to have their own egg hunting area. When we arrived, two party companies were setting up for a wedding that was going to happen there that afternoon. There were string lights, fancy linens and even an old fashioned black car on the side of the house for the bride and groom. I don’t care about cars in general, but I LOVE old cars. I was thrilled to have happened upon a wedding. My history of watching the weddings of strangers is long and well documented. If you have a wedding in a public place, you can’t be surprised/upset when someone (me) stops to watch and comment on dresses and colors. Christopher had no desire to stick around a stranger’s house for endless hours to watch a wedding of people we didn’t know. I can’t imagine why. It seemed like a great way to spend a Saturday to me.
Speaking of dresses, my days of buying themed holiday dresses and outfits seem to be over. Back in the day, I’d have multiple outfits for every holiday. This year I didn’t even have one shirt with a bunny for AB to wear. She did wear a bow so we had that going for us. It was chilly (according to the southerners) so she wore a penguin sweatshirt and too short pink pants. None of it screamed Easter. If anything, it screamed Mom is too cheap to buy fitting pants because it’s almost summer.
Too short pants on display in one of the several gardens.
The photo props cracked me up. “Liked by Esther, Abraham, Ruth and 777 others.” There was a New Testament version liked by Peter, James and John.
This morning AB woke up with a sore throat and headache. I am 99.9% convinced it’s allergies, but I had her stay home from Sunday school. A few weeks ago I brought her to Sunday school when her stomach was bothering her and we ended up leaving in the middle of the lesson because she threw up. I was so embarressed. She gets a very lowgrade fever when she has a headache and I’ve come to expect it, but I didn’t want to put it on the man taking the kids temperatures to decide whether or not she was “safe” to attend Sunday school. I was teaching Sunday school so I had to go but AB and Christopher met me there for the service. Ever since church started back in person, every other pew has been roped off. Today was the first time every pew was open and it seemed like a normal church service. There hadn’t been that many people in months. I think it’s a combination of the numbers being low, the vaccine and the fact that people are over this whole thing. Those who don’t feel comfortable church absolutely should not until they feel ready. Couch Cushion Baptist on Living Room Rd is the place to be! But those of us who are fine with in-person church and don’t mind sitting directly in front of someone instead of three pews away should do so in the joy of the Lord. Amen and amen.
This photo brought to you by a girl pumped full of clariton and a dad who brought her to church with her dress on backwards.
Button ear memory lane. LOOK AT HER LITTLE BALD HEAD.
Someone on Instagram got a chandelier for Valentine’s day. Our day was more lowkey and middle class.
We did our paper heart attack on the bedroom doors. Some people were less romantic than others but the love was still there.
This was the first year Sesame signed her friends’ valentines herself. It was much easier for me but I kind of missed her first Valentines when we gave her baby friends squeezie pouches of apple sauce with a tag that said, “You’re my main squeeze.”
I made our traditional valentines breakfast of heart-shaped pancakes and bacon. We added whipped strawberry milk to the menu and it was a hit. Annabelle helped me make the meal which was about as big a show of love on my part that I could possibly give. I love that she has memories of us listening to music while cooking, but cooking with her is like if a hurricane, tornado and snowstorm had a baby.
She made me and Christopher homemade cards that needed a little translation help. His said, “Yr sumun specshl” with a picture of a bear. Mine said “one of a cind (kind).” She told me, “I drew an elephant because they’re your favorite and I put big earrings and eyelashes because that’s what you like.” It tickles me that she goes to eyelashes and earrings when she thinks of me.
Speaking of translation, we had a bit of a funny snafu with Christopher’s card. He’s learning Spanish and likes homework so I bought him a Spanish card. The only word I recognized was amor.
He didn’t get past the front of the card before he translated enough to announce that I bought him a card from a husband to a wife. That also explained why it was such a flowery card. It made us laugh so hard. Afterwards I saw the translation on the back of the card:
For my wife, with all my love.
Everything I want is exactly what you are…
A woman with kindness,
Who works hard and loves harder…
A woman who is beautiful in a million wats.
You are the faithful companions I depend on
And the gorgeous woman I love.
And to call you my wife
Makes me feel as proud and lucky as a man can be.
He can regift me the card next year.
I took very few pictures this Christmas but few pictures has never meant few words so buckle up.
We went to an outdoor Christmas service a few weeks ago but our church had candlelight services again on Christmas eve. They had four services to accommodate for the spacing of attendees. I wanted to ask the pastor if he was so tired of saying the same things four services in a row that he wanted to switch up the sermon a little. “What Mary really wanted was a soft pillow to lay her head on, but Joseph didn’t remember to put it in his satchel. They might have been newlyweds but they sounded like an old married couple when they argued about who was responsible for not packing the pillow all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Mary gave Joseph the silent treatment for several hours and did not offer to split the last fig with him.”
We got home from church just in time to have a video chat with my family back home. We were supposed to go home for Christmas but couldn’t because of current circumstances. Instead, several of us had a group facetime to visit and sing carols. There were all the freezing screens, mismatched audio, and garbled speech we’ve come to expect on these calls. We made lemonade out of lemons and had some good laughs.
We had our traditional North Pole breakfast on Christmas Eve. Annabelle “helped decorate.” It wasn’t necessarily how I wanted to practice patience but she enjoyed being part of the process.
AB was THRILLED to have Grammy and Aunt Elizabeth (aka Squizen, aka Betty Bopp, aka Squidelz, need I go on) here for Christmas. She was stuck like glue to her the whole time.
During Thanksgiving, AB asked me what I can’t get enough of. I said, “The learning of gregorian chants and the new Hebrew textbooks and ancient scrolls I just purchased.” Kidding. I said earrings. She gave me a lovely pair of earrings and told me I should have more since I can’t have enough.
Normally it is a huge struggle to find Christopher gifts. His birthday is in November so I have very little rest time between gift-giving opportunities. I like to think that gift-giving is one of my spiritual gifts so not knowing what to give him is very frustrating. This year I hit it out of the park. He has boxes of old t-shirts that he’s been saying he needs to have made into a quilt. I packed them up, sent them away, and presented him with a t-shirt quilt. It was really a gift for us both as I was tired of seeing the boxes of shirts. Our tenth anniversary is in April and I’ve been saving all my work money for our anniversary trip. I used some of my money and booked us a little airbnb in Atlanta. It was the cutest little place near several fun restaurants. We played rummy, walked in the few shops that were open, went to the art museum, and generally had a grand old time. Again, it was a gift as much for me as for him but I couldn’t send him off by himself!