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In Never Neverland

Another show is in the books.  

I was allowed a brief selfie when dropping AB off before the first show.
“Mom!! I have to go!! Cora is going in before me!! I neeeeeed to gooooo!!!!”

The wheel on Hook’s ship was Christopher’s when he was a little boy. It’s been hanging around in our craft room for years and finally got its moment in the literal spotlight. 

AB was a Lost Boy which was a very appropriate role for her. She seldom knows what’s going on in life.
All the Lost Boys were dressed as animals and she picked black bear. I thought she looked adorable. “Mom, I think I’m supposed to go with accuracy, not adorable. Perhaps we should get me a tail.” 
The little boy who initially had the role of the crocodile had too much stage fright and pulled out of the show early on. I offered to fill in but needless to say, Sesame Black Bear was not on board with sharing the stage with her mother. Wearing matching show shirts is about her limit these days. 😉 


When AB was born, I made the goal of taking her picture at the exact time she was born every year until she turned ten. Ideally I’ll do it for the next 50 years, but I’m trying to be realistic. I don’t achieve many of my big goals, but I achieved this one. Every year, I’ve been with her at 1:40 when she officially becomes her new age. Today was the big t-e-n.Our new ten year old loves drama, writing scripts and poetry, riding her scooter, and watching Wizards of Waverly Place. We have piles of paper around the house on which she’s cast people for endless shows. We have countless piles around the house on which she’s cast people for endless shows. She enjoys musicals and playing her guitar. You can often find her kicking the soccer ball against the side of the garage or on the trampoline. She’s a quality-over-quantity girl and prefers to have one friend over at a time. She loves learning and has learned how to research online. She loves church and sleeps with her Bible. 

We didn’t plan on only having one child, but I’m so glad she’s the one we got.

Through with Third

Another school year has come and gone with lightening speed. Personally, I hate the August-May schedule. Give me September-June any day of the week! I know it all equals out to the same amount of school days, but it feels so weird to my internal clock that school wraps up in the spring and she’ll start again at the beginning of August when the summer is still going strong. We should be living our best summer lives all through August instead of doing math and latin by August 15th.

Sesame loves the two days a week she goes to school. With the hybrid program, she gets things like World Day and the science fair she doesn’t get if she was doing only homeschool. Like her mother, she’s someone to whom everyone confides their worries and biggest life issues so she found out about things I would have shielded her from a little longer, but she got to practice empathy. She got the Most Caring award for “having such a kind heart and for always making others for cared about.” Part of me wonders if she got it because one time a boy got very frustrated and said he was going to punch someone so she offered herself as tribute. “If he punched me, he wouldn’t hurt any of my friends.” That’s when we had a talk about kindness and boundaries.
The three days of homeschool were mostly fun too. One day we watched a very inaccurate but entertaining musical about Lewis and Clark while playing with perler beads. I wouldn’t have picked everything in the curriculum that the school picked, but it’s easy to adjust and add in my own materials as we went. I added in more grammar, art, reading, extra math practice as needed (not as fun) and presidential studies. I need to circle back to presidents. Earlier this week she told us that she doesn’t like to eat sesame seeds because Sesame is her nickname and she doesn’t want to ”eat herself up.” Her friend Reese doesn’t like to eat Reese’s cups for the same reason. She wondered if President Obama doesn’t eat broccoli because that’s his first name. Broccoli Obama.

Last year, Annabelle got the A/B honor roll. She did well with grades this year except for three tests so I really didn’t think she’d get it this year. The teacher giving the awards said the names of all the A/B recipients and didn’t mention her so I thought that was that. Then she said Annabelle’s name for A honor roll. You could have knocked me over with an eyelash. I added my name to the award because I also worked hard for those grades.

school’s out

Somehow the school year is already over. We were just at the open house and on Tuesday we had the end of the year luau party. As the unofficial room mom who cannot say no, I was asked to bring a salty snack and a healthy snack. I was going to construct a palm tree out of pretzel sticks and fruit but Christopher talked me out of it. “I can spray blueberries with edible paint to look like coconuts” may have clued him into the fact that I was able to stay up all night to make something none of the kids would appreciate. I went with goldfish in Hawaiian cups and fruit kabobs instead.There were 10 children in her class at the beginning of the year but only 8 at the end and they all became good friends. It was really sweet how excited they all were to see which awards the teacher gave out. They were almost more excited for the others than for themselves. I wasn’t a fan of their teacher at the beginning of the year. She was nice enough as a person, but she didn’t have the personality to teach first and second grade. She sang no songs, played no games, and barely decorated the classroom. She was not a party bus. About two months into the year there was a switch and we scored the jackpot with the new teacher. She was Annabelle’s dance teacher a few years ago which helped Annabelle with the transition. She is everything the other teacher wasn’t. They danced to the timeline song to help with memorization. They had an animal parade day where they could bring their favorite stuffed animal. I know all those things aren’t necessary to learn but they make it so much more enjoyable. AB struggles in some areas and she was so patient with her and never made her feel less than the children who didn’t struggle. She never complained about all the texts I sent her during the week about the at home school work.

We made it to the ninth month of the school year before Sesame forgot her lunch. I congratulated myself too early because I thought we would make it the whole year but pride cometh before bringing a lunchbox to school at 10:30. We were never tardy. I obsessively checked my alarms for Tuesday and Thursday mornings to ensure they’d go off in 15 minutes increments and I wouldn’t accidentally sleep in. We rolled in at 7:59 once or twice but the gate was still open and she never had to get a late slip from Katie in the office. I was quite proud of myself of our time management skills. It all went out the window on the very last day. She never had to be at school on Wednesdays, but this week we did for the awards ceremony and classical showcase. My entire rhythm was off so I hadn’t checked my alarm enough times the night before and didn’t wake up until 7:11 which was when AB should have been finishing breakfast and brushing her teeth. Somehow we threw ourselves together enough to be presentable and made it on time because I WOULD NOT let our perfect record be tarnished.

Sesame’s mosaic tree was on display. It didn’t have her name on it which is shameful given the number of hours I spent volunteering in art asking students, “Did you write your name on the back? Did you write your name? Your name, not Jason’s name. Why would you write his name on your art?”

On the morning of the awards ceremony Annabelle brought up how some students would get the perfect attendance award and some would get A/B or A grade awards. I didn’t think she’d get either grade award given her struggles with spelling, but I knew for sure she wouldn’t get the perfect attendance award. She missed one day when I had the ‘rona and I suspected she had it too. Imagine our surprise when her name was the first called for the perfect attendance award. Her teacher was presenting the awards and I was 110% sure she’d get up there and tell her she shouldn’t have the award, but she accepted it without arguing. Either the office didn’t get the memo that she was out or they didn’t count it since it was coronavirus related and she turned in all her work. We were both in attendance for all the homeschool days so I will accept the perfect attendance award for both of us. She also got the A Honor Roll award. 

I didn’t get an award for orchestrating Third Thursday Lunch, keeping London from cutting the tassels off her shoes or gluing four boxes of noodles to a cardboard pyramid but there’s always next year. I’m sure the office will keep better track of parent participation in the 22-23 school year.


When we were young, Katie and I had a particular way of eating Skittles. She ate the red and purple, I ate the yellow and orange and we split green lime. It was a perfect system and to this day I do not eat a Skittle without thinking of her and wishing she’d take the red and purple off my hands. Back in 2013, I was newly pregnant and at the hospital waiting to be given IVs. We sat in the waiting room for what felt like fourteen eternities. I alternated between staring at the two bathrooms so I would know which was available and rushing into said bathroom so I could throw up. Christopher bought a bag of Skittles because the only thing that sounded like it might have even the slightest possibility of being vaguely appealing was sour candy. It was then I learned that the powers that be at Skittles Headquarters USA changed the flavor of the green candy from lime to apple. Talk about hitting me when I was already down. All I wanted was a tiny lime candy! It was a bad day on many levels.

All that Skittles talk to say, it felt like a full-circle moment the day before Annabelle’s 8th birthday when I read an article saying that Skittles has brought back their lime flavor. The Lord has not abandoned us yet. Evidently, this is old news and the green skittle returned to the lime-light several months ago, but I am just now finding out. The article was dated September 28th, 2021 which was almost exactly 8 years to the day that the green skittle became dead to me. One minute I’m on the verge of throwing up and my favorite candy is gone, the next minute the candy is back but I’m on the verge of tears over my baby’s age. You win some, you lose some.

Annabelle didn’t want a big this year. She said she wanted a few friends over to “do fun things around town” instead. Our town is the size of a postage stamp so it was a real stretch to find a few good activities. I made a pick your own adventure sheet and she had the option between two playgrounds, then between a roller rink or fun park, which activities she wanted to do at the fun park (bowling, bumper cars, mini golf, etc), which snacks she wanted and so on.

We planned two activities outside the house then home for cake and presents and more playing. It was very very low-key. She was so overwhelmed with all the kids at her party last year that we only invited three little friends this year and it was perfect. I told the moms we’d provide supper if AB wasn’t too overwhelmed. Not only was she not too overwhelmed, but the party was never-ending. The kids got to our house at 1:30 and didn’t leave until 7:30. They ran all over the playground, zipped around on go-karts, and didn’t stop moving for six hours.

My great birthday sorrow (besides the fact that the 5lb 11oz baby I brought home is now 64lbs) was Sesame didn’t want to have a specific birthday theme. What’s a party without a theme?! Does she not know that themes are my love language? We settled a generic ”birthday theme” party and while no one would pin it on Pinterest, it was cute and she liked it.

The cake absolutely was not Pinterest worthy. AB requested mud pie (oreo crust, chocolate cake layer, chocolate pudding layer and whipped cream) and I couldn’t make it into any kind of fun shape. I always pride myself on making her a creative cake and I really dropped the ball this year. She requested a theme-less cake so I had no direction. I forgot to buy special things to put on the top so I used one of the silly wrapping bows that matched the bows on her presents. It tasted delicious but it was not my finest work.

At 1:40PM on her actual birthday, the very moment she turned eight, Annabelle was doing very Annabelle things. She was barefoot outside, listening to a podcast.

She loves podcasts, audio books, coloring and drawing, playing games on the iPad, spending time with her cousins, Sunday school, being read to, digging in the dirt, playing outside and swimming. Her favorite meal is spaghetti bolognese and her current favorite color is purple. She still gets cereal on the floor when she pours herself a bowl. She never turns down a sweet treat. Her favorite animal this week is a penguin. She has a sensitive little soul and and a great sense of humor. She is a terrible speller. She’s already bummed out that school will be ending and counting down the days until she starts 3rd grade. She never has a bad hair day.
She’s my best girl and I love her more than lime skittles.

Suess Days and World Days

We’ve had a busy few weeks at school. We had Dr. Suess week, Read Across America and World Day within days of each other. I’d like to schedule a meeting with the principle and/or all parties responsible for scheduling them all at the same time. There may have been a small planning hiccup on our end because we forgot to read 17 of the 50 books until after 9pm on the night before the Read Across America paper was due but we got it done.

I made the class snack on silly hat day.Red fish, blue fish we wanted to have,
But the blue fish are missing, they’re still out at sea.
The red fish are here, they’re as great as can be!

I was proud of that little rhyme and considered filling out the paperwork to change my name to Sarah Suess. As it turns out, first and second-grade boys do not care to read witty poems about why there were no blue fish in the red fish, blue fish Hop on Popcorn. “Why are they missing? Did your mom lose them?” Walmart didn’t have any blue candy, ok? Don’t ask so many questions. Appreciate the beauty of language and the fact that I woke up early to make you popcorn.

There’s a very true statement about 10% of the people in an organization doing 90% of the work. I am in that 10% group. That’s how I found myself gluing pasta to a cardboard pyramid on a Thursday afternoon. Annabelle’s class studied Egypt for world day and no one else volunteered to help with the class project. I genuinely do like helping, but sometimes I feel a little like it’s assumed I’ll be the one to sign up for everything because I only have one child while all the other moms have multiple children.
Genuine Egyptian pyramid covered with authentic gold paint flecks harvested from aisle 8 at Joann Fabric.
Back in December when we did the science fair Annabelle wasn’t very interested in my suggestions about how to design her bird board. She glued on a couple of construction paper eggs, 10 index cards with facts and called it a day. We came a long way with her board on the holidays and tourism of Egypt. We could have added more pizzazz and pictures but it was such an improvement on the bird board I have no complaints. The background looks like the Egyptain flag with US/Egyptian holiday comparisons on the left and tourism facts on the right. In the middle she choose four tourist destinations she’d recommend to someone visiting Egypt. I did all the typing and provided stylistic ideas but it was all (mostly) her work. I REALLY TRIED to keep my input to an appropriate level.

Some parents did their children’s entire project for them and it showed. AB and her friend Sammy got in the car at pick up the day all the projects were turned in and AB said, “That building is really cool but I think their parents built it for them.” Sammy said, “That’s what they said but I don’t think they were supposed to tell us that.” It’s ok, Sammy. It’s obvious three 7 year olds didn’t make a mosque with lights and bells by themselves.Remember when she learned to roll over just last week? Next week she’ll be in college. TIME IS CRUEL.