Annabelle wanted to dress up as a spy for trunk or treat this year. She assured me this was vastly different from when she was a detective last year even though her costume was virtually the same. She’s always hated her costumes being misidentified (she still talks about when our 90yo neighbor in NY asked if she was a leopard when she was actually a tiger), so we made a tag clearing showing that she was a spy. Nothing screams secretive and on the DL like letting everyone know you’re a spy. Or was it a mind game? Who’s to say.
Our trunk was decorated as a bamboo forest. Elizabeth gave Sesame a stuffed panda named Buddy for Christmas and he was the inspiration behind the forest. There are a few places near our house that have bamboo patches but I didn’t feel like going to jail for trespassing and bamboo thievery nor did I have the courage to ask the owners of said bamboo if I could have some. I bought 10 pool noodles from the dollar store that I was going to spray paint green and attempt to make stand up straight, but low and behold Christopher got real bamboo from someone at work. We had to cut all the leaves off since they would have been dead and shriveled by the night of trick or treat, so I was going to attach alternate leaves back on the morning off. I did not. You know who doesn’t care if you hot glue leaves to bamboo to make the forest more authentic? Six-year-old Iron Man who can’t see through his mask. Or the inflatable dinosaur who can’t get her arms out of her costume to reach the candy basket. The kids did love the stuffed animals. Several of the children wanted to pet them and talk about their stuffed animals.
Annabelle was not interested in me playing games with her in the church parking lot. “I can handle this on my own, Mom. You can go back to Dad.” I cannot handle you doing it on your own! Where are the songs about Halloween heartbreak? Besides, what if I want to play pumpkin ring toss or fish for rubber ducks? I found a different child to play with. Bradley was happy to be seen with me and she even wanted to join our photo. (Christopher wants it to be clear that I know Bradley and Bradley’s mom. I didn’t steal a random child to play with. He always wants that disclaimer for some reason.)
Some of Christopher’s great joys in life are researching and learning new information. Leaning into these love languages, AB and I researched facts about Father’s Day and sat him down for a mult-part presentation. Annabelle chose to present from inside a large cardboard box which I hear is where Abraham Lincoln presented all his most stirring speeches.
Sesame also rewrote the words to “Reindeers are Better than People” from Frozen.
“Dad is better than reindeer,
Mom, don’t you think that’s right?
‘Cause reindeer don’t love us and hug us and snug us,
Even though he’s chilly toes*!”
*Christopher likes the thermostat on unacceptable arctic levels so we call him Chilly Toes
It’s very clear that Christopher is the number one guy in our house.
Linus was not pleased to he didn’t make the final cut as the favorite guy in our house. He demands we recount the votes.
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.