she is as literal as her mother

I have big news, people.


You’re not ready for this. You might want to sit down.
I finally picked out a new shower curtain.

I KNOW. You can’t make this kind of stuff up. It only took me buying six before I settled on this one and I am overly excited about it. I stop to look at it every time I walk by. Annabelle is going through an annoying phase where she wants to stay in the bathroom with her while she showers which is very inconvenient but it helps that I have a pretty shower curtain. Sadly the florals have not stopped her from getting two gallons worth of water on the floor each time she bathes.

That about wraps it up for exciting life news around here.


In addition to the curriculum the school sends home for Monday/Wednesday/Friday, AB and I have been learning about national parks. This week we learned about park rangers and made a mixed media picture featuring a self-portrait of AB as a park ranger.

As she painted, we listened to random tunes on youtube. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” came on and to no one’s surprise, I sang along with great gusto. Sesame asked what the song was about so I launched into a lengthy teaching moment about how we can be there to support each other when life gets tough and too hard to handle alone. I will be the wind beneath her wings. I’ll be there for her when things get hard and, to borrow the phrase in question, be like a bridge that gets her from the hard things to the better side. She can count on me! “Hmm,” she said. “That sounds like you’ll get wet if you’re a bridge.”

What a tender mother-daughter moment.

I’m winging it as a mother

Last year I did all the right things during Annabelle’s public school career. I sent in supplies whenever the teacher asked. I never cut anyone off in carline. We didn’t lose paperwork. We were never tardy without good reason (being at the doctor). AB never visited the principles office (her good behavior reflects well on me). I planned the one and only field trip of the year. Given all that success, I started this year off with my head held high in pride and sure I would roll into the new school as pro mom.

I did not.

On the first day of school, I forgot to put Annabelle’s picture on her about me page. I didn’t send her in with a sweater. We got to the classroom and found out I had forgotten to pack her Latin book. When I picked her up, she said I hadn’t packed her composition book. In my defense, it wasn’t on the ”bring to school” list I was given, but every other child had it. Annabelle has reminded me several times of what I forgot.

On Thursday, the front office called to say AB had a bloody nose. I thought she was calling simply because it’s the protocol to inform parents of injuries, but after a pause, the lady said, “So, how do you want us to treat it?” Um. Pinch it? Hold tissues over it? Look on WebMD? Why are you calling me for medical advice? I’m just the mom. Then I remembered they don’t have a school nurse so evidently, they call the parents who are supposed to be the experts on their children’s health. The lady said they had allergy medicine and asked if I wanted her to give Annabelle a dose. I said sure, why not. I didn’t think allergy medicine helped with bloody noses but what do I know? I can’t remember to put a school book in a backpack. Who made me the mom around here?????

Our Annabelle’s first big project was due on Thursday. They’ve been learning about John James Audubon and bird banding so we had to make a bird out of a paper towel roll. After assembling it, she was to label as many parts as she could remember. I have a large supply of feathers, pompoms, yarn, popsicle sticks, and all manner of craft supplies for such a time as this. I was fully prepared and ready to rock. I would redeem all the mistakes I made in the first weeks of school. It would be the best paper towel roll bird in the state. Sadly my help was not wanted or needed beyond operating the hot glue gun. I showed an impressive amount of self-control and didn’t hoover while Sesame made the bird. I assumed she’d use the tube as the bird’s entire body but she insisted that she wanted the tube to be the bird’s head. This meant the wings AND THE FEET were attached to the head.

He did end up being very cute and it does look like he has an entire body, but to AB still says it’s only a head.

I’ll sue when they say potato chips are restricted

I had a very unusual situation at Walmart last week. As usual, they only had two cashiers and half the self-checkout machines were broken. I started scanning away and the broccoli wouldn’t scan. I put it aside and finished scanning the rest of the items. I went back to the broccoli and it still wouldn’t scan. I tried three methods and finally had to push the help button. By now there were several people in line behind me so I became That Person holding things up. Shanaynay shuffled over in her yellow vest, pushed a couple buttons then grabbed (and I do mean grabbed) my broccoli and said, “You can’t buy that. It’s restricted.” Pardon me? Restricted broccoli? I wasn’t buying an illicit drug. I’m trying to be healthy. Shanaynay would provide no follow up information despite my questions. She didn’t know why it was restricted and she wasn’t about to lead me to someone who could give me an answer. She took my broccoli and shuffled away. I knew I should have bought french fries instead of broccoli. I did some research and found a list of items that cannot be bought from the Walmart Marketplace but that doesn’t apply as I was not shopping at the marketplace. But I did learn that if I have the desire to, I am prohibited from buying “Alaskan Native items with anything from a bear” so that really narrows down my shopping list.

Sunday was the Super Bowl which I didn’t know until Sunday. Had I known, I would have taken advantage of sales on snacks. I truly could not care less about football if I tried. If it was removed from the rotation of sports of the world I wouldn’t cry. Grandma LOVES the Patriots so I have to seem interested for her sake. My favorite football story is from nearly 15 years ago. I say ”favorite story” like I have a plethora of football stories from which to choose. I have exactly one. Grandpa was literally on his deathbed and we were all sitting around the room chatting. The Patriots came up and Grandma made the off-hand comment that she thought their coach was handsome and she would consider marrying him if he asked. Grandpa’s very weak voice piped up from the bed, “Rita. I’m right here. I’m not dead yet.” It makes me laugh every time.

I really need to leave for the grocery store before I get AB from school, but I want to finish reading what is restricted on the Walmart marketplace first.  Products made from the hide of a donkey, tasers, and golf ball launchers are all on the no-fly list so here’s hoping Publix has them.

brief update from Moving Central

You may be surprised to learn that normal life does not stop just because you’re moving and unpacking. Who knew? The family still needs to be fed and the child still needs to be entertained. These people are so high maintenance! Society looks down on AB fending for herself for several hours while I unpack glasses and my 14 boxes of stationery, so things haven’t moved along quite as quickly as I wish, but we’re getting there. 

Besides house things, we’ve been busy with swimming lessons, grocery shopping, picking up spilled beads, cleaning the fish tank because she who will remain nameless gave Martin VanBluey half a container of fish food, several trips to Home Depot and losing our minds. The day after we closed on the house we went to the library for a moon landing anniversary party. We made paper bag space helmets to wear while we soared around the North American Nebula.
AB had her first day at homeschool group. She’s doing two and I forgot to sign her up for one so my career as homeschool mom is off to a great start! She’s doing sign language, music, and math. 
Today we were playing bank and had the following conversation:
Me: If there are 100 pennies in one dollar, how many pennies are in two dollars?
AB: Um. Do you want a nickel?
Me: 1 plus 1 equals what?
AB: 2!
Me: So 100 plus 100 equals what?
AB: Hmm. How ’bout…….2? 2! I need more quarters.  (She’s finally allowed to play with money after the Quarter Swallowing Incident of 2018. I watch like a hawk the entire time.)
Good luck to Kelley the math teacher!

The sellers left their hot tub. It’s been in three states and Cuba so it’s a very well-traveled hot tub. Annabelle will jump in the deep end of the pool without a lifejacket but she insists on wearing a lifejacket in the hot tub. She likes to pretend she’s a baby sea turtle or baby lobster and I’m the mom so it’s a real stretch of the imagination for me. 

Not to be left out of the goings-on, L&L insist on showing up every time there’s an open can of paint. 

No matter how many times I remove them from the room they always manage to sneak their way back in. If I had a quarter for every time I’ve said, “Linus George, you leave that alone! Lucille Barbara, I told you not to stick your nose there!” I could pay for a professional painter. I’ve been so worried about them tracking paint but I’m the one who made the worst paint stain. I had a quarter-sized circle on dark green paint on a paint chip while I painted grass on the mural in Sesame’s room. I put it on a shelf while I got AB a snack and when I came back, the fan had blown it onto the floor with the paint side down. Naturally, she has a light rug in her room. I’ve used 5 products but cannot get it off. All I did was make the stain MUCH worse. An area rug wasn’t in my original decor plans but it is now! 

Yesterday Annabelle said, “Mama is the most important thing to me.” She requires a lot of attention and is always needing a listening ear to discuss tsumtsums or her latest idea for pillow forts, but I think I’ll keep her around for a while longer.

first report from the red brick house

tap tap 

Is this thing on?

In case you’re wondering how few brain cells I have left, I told Christopher we needed to put up the “hag flanger.” I was trying to say we needed to put the flag up and make our house more patriotic. 

This move has been A LOT. I expected it to go smoothly given the number of times we’ve moved, the fact that we were doing an in-town move, and the two-week overlap between getting in the new house but still having the old house. Oh, how the overly confident movers fall. The house wasn’t 100% set in stone until the week before the move so we hadn’t packed everything. The landlord decided moving week was the time to send workers over to do work we requested done in October. Linus got out when the roofers came by to give an estimate immediately after I said they were welcome to come in, but the cats couldn’t get out. Linus bolted for freedom the minute the door opened and the guys stood there watching me chase him down and never offered to help. AB was well behaved for the most part, but it’s not realistic to expect her to take endless drives back and forth between the houses day after day when most of her entertainment was packed up. Most of my mom friends work so I had very few options for childcare. It was so hard to do all the packing, keep two houses semi-organized and be a mom. We had to repaint rooms since the landlords suddenly decided they cared about how the house looked. We have so much more stuff than I expected. I thought I had gotten rid of a good amount, but there’s nothing like seeing all your belongings strewn about and piled in boxes to make you consider becoming a minimalist. 

On the day of the closing, we did a final walkthrough of the house. The sellers were here which was both nice and very awkward. It was so weird to be in their current home/our future home at the same time. They were so nice and the lady kept talking about how much she loved the house. She kept tearing up and I all but apologized for taking it away from her. She had tears when she gave me the keys and I offered to let her keep one as a keepsake. I told her I understood how she felt because I ADORED our New York home and was offended anyone else was living there. I kept saying we’ll take good care of her house. By the time we got to the office to sign the papers, she was full out crying. It was sweet knowing we were moving into a home that had so many wonderful memories for another family.

I am in love with the living room windows.

We hired a moving company to move the refrigerator and large furniture. The move got off to a slow start because boss Jazzy’s car died. All five men gathered around the hood of the car to diagnose the problem. I moved my car so they could jump it and said I’d leave the keys in the ignition so they could turn the car on or off as needed. One of the guys looked at me like a professor sharing great knowledge and said, “We need your car on to jump his car.” You don’t say. I didn’t go to automotive school but I do know that much. The last thing they put in the moving truck was AB’s playhouse. They were all gathered in one corner so I asked what the problem was, thinking maybe a nail was sticking out. Nope. It was an unidentifiable bug and they didn’t want to go near it. I marched myself over there and swatted the bug off. Once again, a woman saved the day. No little black bug should be holding up production. When we got to the new house after lunch, it was over 100 degrees. I cannot tell you the number of times I apologized to the movers for having to move our stuff in the heat. Did they want a drink? Did they want me to set up a fan? I’m so sorry the sun is so hot. If I could, I’d take the humidity away for all our sakes. I should have stopped apologizing and started remembering that we were paying them good money.

Come to find out, the heat wasn’t all the fault of the sun. The air conditioner had stopped working. It’s a high tech Nest thermostat situation and it kept flashing E73. My brief research said to check the drip pan (didn’t know where that was), restart the HVAC fuse (didn’t know where that was) and check the breaker box (didn’t know where that was). The website said several times that “the thermostats tend to overheat and fail in the summer.” WHY WOULD AN AC DEVICE TEND TO OVERHEAT? They have literally one job and they can’t do it without overheating? I was not happy. Jazzy’s guys helped me find the various breakers and we got it working for a few hours. It stopped again later than night and we called the HVAC man who charged out the wazoo because it was after hours. We couldn’t get it repaired for two more days. Welcome to homeownership!

I’m so glad Annabelle offered to help me unpack instead of lounging on the new couch and watching a show.

After nearly two weeks juggling both houses, we did the final walkthrough at the old house. I told Christopher he needed to do it alone so I didn’t say something snarky or unkind to the landlord. She’s a nice person, but a terrible landlord. This town is small enough I knew I might run into her at any point and I don’t want negative words on my conscience. Turns out she goes to the same church as us so now I’m very glad I didn’t go. I saw her daughters on Sunday. The walkthrough was on a Wednesday and painters were going in the next day to paint over the mold on several ceilings so she could show it on Friday. I could have said A LOT about that. I wanted to leave a hidden letter for future owners telling them to run for their lives. 

Things are still in a state of upheaval here, but from the very first night, it has felt so much more like home than the old house ever did. There’s a beautiful fenced in yard for Sesame to play in. The neighbors brought us muffins (I was sure they’d see our semi-hoarder status garage and ignore us forever) and we have a fireplace and mantle to decorate. The ac is back on so I think this place will work out just fine.

Currently- the mid-June edition

Listening to: new podcasts. I’ve added the following to my regular rotation- 

Kind World. The episodes are all less than 10 minutes, but each one is someone telling the story of how another person’s kindness impacted their life. I love it. Most of the episodes are interviews with people from Boston which is the cherry on top.

Every Little Thing is one of the educational podcasts I’ve started. The episodes discuss topics such as how to get paid to clap on tv or why baseball stadiums have organs. I listen to the episodes then pass along the information to my family as if I spent hours researching. 

Ear Hustle. It’s produced by a man in prison with the help of a woman who works there. For unknown reasons, I have a deep fascination with prisons. It’s such a foreign life and while I hope my recent life of crime never lands me in jail, I’m very interested in the goings on there.

Reading: Murder by Family by Kent Whitaker. Kent’s son orchestrated the killing of his mother, brother and attempted but failed murder of Kent himself. I remember hearing about the story when it happened a few years ago and saw someone mention the book a few weeks ago. I brought it camping and while it wasn’t a breezy beach read, I devoured it. The author talks about how he forgave the killers in the hospital before he knew about his son’s involvement. He goes into detail about how forgiving his son doesn’t mean he was any less devastated by the actions, but gave him the ability to grieve without also harboring hatred which would only bring him more pain.

On to lighter things! No need to talk about murderers anymore.

Taking: step classes. I don’t recommend it to anyone. It’s so frustrating, hard to keep up with and so hard.

A mom from school invited me to a class and I thought, why not? What’s can go wrong? I’ll tell you what might go wrong. You might miss the step and slip off the side. You might get your legs twisted up and look like a Twisler. You mistakenly face right when everyone is facing left which means suddenly you’re face to face with the rest of the class. Especially don’t go to the class with the two pregnant ladies in the front row. You’ll feel really bad about yourself when they’re doing full pushups on the floor and you’re doing half pushups on the bench because it saves you from having to lower your body the additional 4″ to the floor.  I thought I’d be ok at step since I’m fairly decent at zumba but no way, Jose. If you mess up in zumba you can say you were being moved by the music. If you mess up in step you’re screwed AND ASK ME HOW I KNOW. 
All that being said, I’ve gone to five classes. My personal rule is to not do any type of exercise I don’t like, but I need to get in shape and zumba and strolls around the pond aren’t cutting it. So I continue to go but not have a good attitude. In fact, I was so frustrated this week that I told the teacher I had to leave 15 minutes early because I had an appointment. I didn’t let her know it was an appointment to sit in my car and make myself think happy thoughts.

Misunderstanding: the Bible study book. The lady leading the study said the book was about Jeremiah, but I got to chapter 7 with nary a word being said about Jeremiah. I was so confused but since I missed the first 4 meetings I thought maybe I missed how Jeremiah tied in. I am BY FAR the least holy in the group, so I didn’t want to ask for clarification and tell them I didn’t understand the entire book.  It wasn’t until last week that I looked at the cover and realized that it was written by David Jeremiah. It wasn’t about the Jeremiah in the Bible. Drop me an email if you want me to bring my knowledge of all things biblical to your church group.

Proud of: AB’s generous heart. I told her we should make thank you cards for her VBS teachers but it was such a busy week I forgot. All week at art camp she had been collecting “treasures”. They were sequins, buttons, tiny pieces of paper and ribbons she picked up off the floor. As we left VBS on the last night, she said she found a treasure in her pocket and gave it to Miss Robin as a thank you. She said she thought a good way to thank her would be by sharing her treasures. She’s such a little lovebug.

Giggling at: