muffins with mom

Muffins with Mom happened at school this week. Annabelle was home sick thanks to bad allergies for a few days before, but I pumped her full of remedies and prayers and off we went. I waited all year for Muffins with Mom (the kind that wasn’t muffins I made, served and cleaned up in my own kitchen) and I was not about to miss it because of pollen. We would have gone had she been in a body cast. 

Every Mother’s Day since she was born, I take Sesame to a pottery place and do her handprint on a tile. The gift the students made for us was a decorated tile of the same size I’ve been using. I can’t wait to someday make a mosaic out of all the tiles. 

She thinks my favorite restaurant is Applebees but it’s her favorite restaurant because they bring chips and salsa to the table. If I leave no other legacy behind as a mother, I’m proud it’s a legacy of loving chips.

I don’t think stage mom will be my new career

Last week, Sesame’s extra rehearsals for dance began. The way our studio is set up, the waiting room is positioned so the dance room can’t be seen and we don’t get to see the girls practice. When I saw her on the stage at the theater dancing for the first time I half cried and half laughed. I can’t believe she’s old enough to be up there! They were so so cute. Only two girls remembered what to do and everyone else moved their arms and legs whenever they felt like it. It was more of a free dance than synchronized dance. I loved it. I don’t like driving 30 minutes for lessons and have complained about the extra rehearsals, but seeing them dance was worth it. That’s how they reel you into signing up for another year of dance. They wear you down during the year then show you the best parts when you’re at your weakest and most likely to hand over some money.  

I was a backstage volunteer for the next rehearsal. There were two groups in our dressing room- the daisies and the violets. I wasn’t sure what to do so I was relieved when the mom in charge of the violets walked up to me. I was hoping she’d share some wisdom but instead, she said, “Have you ever done this before? I have no idea what to do.” It was a classic case of the blind leading the blind. 

I was in charge of nine 3 to 5-year-olds who I had never met. They all had identical leotards, tutus, skirts, ballet slippers, tap shoes and necklaces. That’s a total of 72 items to keep organized and less than a quarter of the items had the dancers’ name written inside. Their moms went out to watch the performance having done only the most minimal of organizing. There were rouge ballet slippers and skirts scattered around our half of the room. I went straight into teacher mode and made everyone sit down in an assigned seat while I organized their things. They were very sweet but they were overexcited and in a crowded room with little entertainment so it was chaos for the first 20 minutes. Lilah, Emma and Lillian looked identical so I had to keep asking their names. I might bring name tags for next week. Nala purposely stepped on all the coloring books as her friends were using them. Emma repeatedly tackled Nala to the ground. Mica was very offended every time someone so much as brushed her with their tutu. “She keeps falling on me and TOUCHING ME! Tell her to stop looking at meeee!” London kept taking off her leotard because the sequins were making her itchy. We played Simon Says with Mica in the back loudly commenting on what everyone did wrong. I told them the longest version of Jack and the Beanstalk ever recounted in the history of storytelling. Seven of them paid attention and sat quietly for the whole thing. We practiced spelling their names. We talked about giant chickens. By the end of the rehearsal, they were all more or less under control in the dressing room. Someone went by and thought our room was empty because they were all so quiet. I won’t lie. I was proud of myself for whipping them into shape   transforming us into the most organized group. I hope they keep it up for the real recital on Saturday,

As these things tend to go, pride in one area makes things go south in another. They squawked like a flock of geese while they were waiting on stage. I could not keep them quiet. No matter how many times I said they needed to whisper, someone was always talking and it was usually Emma. “Are they (the older dancers) real princesses? Is this when we get popcorn? Are the strings (tassles) on their costumes covering their butts? Is this real life? Is this a dream? Where is my mom sitting? When can I dance? My mom said this is a dream. Is it real life or a dream? Do you want to hold this fingernail I found for you on the floor? Did you bring a snack? Do we dance after them? What’s my dance again? What am I supposed to do? Can you tell me? Can you kill that bug?” The older dancers backstage kept giving me looks that said to make them be quiet. I was doing my best! I can’t help it if they get distracted by the curtains and want to pull them down.

Three hours later, all that was left in the dressing room was a pile of hangers and one lonely tap shoe without a name. I would have tracked down the owner but I barely had a voice after all that corralling. And besides, I’m only a volunteer. I don’t get paid enough to chase people down in the parking lot in this much humidity.

come to me with all your marriage conundrums

Yesterday was our 8th anniversary.

In years past, I prepared posts and facebook statuses days in advance and scheduled them for the 29th. I made sure everything was done on time. This year I meant to write something on Sunday afternoon but I took a nap instead. “Nap” is a generous way to put it. It was more like an experiment where AB tried to beat her personal record of how many times she can ask for a snack in 30 minutes. 

Our friends watched AB so we could go out to eat on Sunday. The restaurant we wanted to visit was closed so we enjoyed a calm and quiet dinner at a second restaurant. Yesterday, our anniversary, I cashed in a facial and massage gift certificate at the spa in the morning and got a haircut in the afternoon. It was a tough day of pampering and someone had to do it so I took one for the team. The lady doing the facial was sweet but she promoted their new procedure for the removal of extra-fine facial hair a little too much. She turned the spotlight directly on my face and said, “Yeah, I think you’d really like that procedure. You’re a great candidate.” Just’s the sort of self-esteem building comment I was hoping to hear!

In honor of our 8 years together, I’d like to share some spiritual lessons marriage tips and tricks. I encourage you to file these notes away for your time of need.

1. Nag, nag, nag. As I said last week if I nag suggest Christopher start a new hobby for long enough he just might do it. I’ve tried this leaky faucet method in other areas without success, but I’ll keep at it.

2. Find a way to live in (somewhat) peace and harmony when your hobby is your spouse’s fear. Christopher has a sewing needle/pin phobia. He HATES them. This presents a problem since I use pins and needles frequently. I like to do cross stitch when we watch a show at night or in the car and he is truly horrified when I drop a needle and can’t find it. I am much more laid back it. I always usually find the needle and if I don’t, we don’t have a toddler in the house who will find and eat it. It’s not like it stands straight up by itself, waiting for an unfortunate soul to step on it and die. When Mom and Elizabeth were here, one of them was doing some mending and a stray needle was on the floor. I made sure he knew it WAS NOT MY FAULT. I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. DO NOT BLAME ME FOR THE STRAY NEEDLE.

3. Make purchases “for him” that you enjoy. If you, like me, are married to someone who hates confetti, I can point you in the direction of a company that makes a confetti bomb card. I can’t guarantee that it will explode like you hoped and dreamed but please order one for yourself and let me know how it goes. I got him the Father’s Day confetti card box bomb and stalked the mailbox until it came. I don’t think there’s ever been a card I was happier to see. It was a flop but the anticipation of an exploding box of confetti brought me so much joy I might order another for this Father’s Day. Again, let’s be clear that while the card was for him, the entire purchase of said card was for my entertainment. 

4. Find common ground in education. Christopher is obsessed deeply invested in BBC news. He’s constantly checking their app and listen to their radio station. I listen to the less globally enlightening but BY FAR more entertaining BigBoo Cast. When I want to tell him something I heard on the podcast, I add little more credibility to what I’m about to share with him by saying, “Today on the BBC I heard…” He doesn’t know which BBC I’m talking about but in case it’s his version of the BBC, he pays a little more attention. 

5. Try to fill in gaps in each other’s knowledge. Closely related to number 4, any conversation along the lines of “Did you read the article on ozone layering and how it is affecting the planetary protection of the earth?” usually end with me replying in the negative. But he never knows when Joann’s is having their special 70% off holiday clearance sale so it evens out.

6. They say “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” but that’s not always possible. Sometimes you’re angry when the sun comes up because your husband has set alarms to go off every 10-15 from 5 o’clock in the morning to 6:30. I wish I was exaggerating but I looked at his alarms last night and I am not. Use the time before you fall asleep to plan how hard you’ll whack him with pillows when he doesn’t hear the alarms, or remind him that there’s a guest bed right down the hall and a couch in the living room if he insists on so many alarms at such an ungodly hour.

I hope a few of these tips work for you. My 2,921 days of marriage make me qualified to speak on the topic. Christopher is still my favorite husband I’ve ever had so it’s worked out well for me.

I finally made a cross stitch portrait for us. Only three needles were dropped in the making of this project and all three were retrieved. 

end of the week updates

Update 1- My life of high crime is quickly escalating. When we were at Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home last weekend, I picked a few weeds and made a little bouquet. Christopher showed us how to get nectar from a honeysuckle plant. It was all very innocent until Kevin the tour guide rode over in his motorized scooter to say picking flowers on national historic sites is a federal violation. I dropped my bouquet behind my back so he wouldn’t see how much I picked and fine me per weed.

This morning I went to Fred’s Super Dollar store to return an air pump. As an aside, Fred’s Super Dollar is not an accurate name. If I see “dollar store” on a sign I expect everything in the store to be a dollar. Don’t be throwing “dollar store” around when you’re selling a pack of socks for $7.50. That’s false advertising and technically every store is a dollar store. I told the cashier the pump wasn’t inflating our new pool and gave her the receipt. I didn’t know the receipt was from a different trip to the fake dollar store and didn’t have the pump on it. She said I could return it without the receipt for store credit. She kept trying to beep the box but the register wasn’t accepting it. Low and behold I was trying to return the air pump I got at Walmart and not the one from Fred’s. She gave me a look that said she was on to me with my wrong receipt and product from a different store. I slunk out like someone tangled up in a money laundering deal gone awry.

Update 2- The mouse situation. Last week Rick the exterminator came by to spray the house for cockroaches. His boss, Don, came by on Wednesday to inspect the house. I told him about the mouse in my bed and he said, “Oh, it was probably a little ol’ field mouse. They’re smaller than regular mice and you’ll see them all around. It wasn’t a regular mouse.” I DON’T CARE WHAT TYPE OF MOUSE IT WAS. Just give me all the traps and get them out of my house. I asked if he has a spray for frogs.
 I’ve been asking that same question for 15 months now and never gotten a good answer but I’ll keep trying. He said, “Little tree frogs don’t do any damage. They’re really great ’cause they keep the bugs away.” They don’t do that great a job since we had to hire Don to get the bugs out.
I have made it a goal to create a frog repellent before we leave the state of Georgia. It will be the legacy I leave behind. If doctors can perform face transplants I don’t understand why no one can keep frogs out of my house. 

Update 3- Apparently I’ve become invested in superhero movies. I didn’t think I was a superhero person. I watched Spider Man growing up but never cared about the Hulk or Batman or anyone else. 
Since getting married I’ve seen several superhero movies. I’ve rolled my eyes through many a scene and explanation of Marvel vs. DC Comics blahblahblah. I don’t understand their different worlds or languages and the need for 20 minute long scenes of a city being destroyed. It happens in every movie and I think it’s time they simmer down with the throwing of cars.


Along the way, I’ve become a fan of Captain America. (I also enjoy Thor but he makes me feel bad about my hair.) Christopher got me a Captain America shirt and I really like it, but every time I wear it I feel like I’m two steps away from buying tickets to ComicCon. Annabelle had a matching shirt and it made me so happy.

I wore it to the doctor when AB had her one-year appointment and the male nurse looked at it and said, “That’s the best superhero right there.” I replied, “Thank you.” THANK YOU? What kind of answer was that? Did I think I was the creator of Captain America?  

I blame it on my new white hairs and sanity going out the window, but I now have lots of opinions on several superheroes. I gave a lengthy speech of Dad and Christopher about my dislike of Black Widow and how I think she doesn’t deserve to be in a superhero movie. As far as I’m concerned, the only things super about her is she’s super annoying. The new Avengers movie is coming out and I heard a rumor that one of the characters dies. I’m very concerned it might be Captain America or Thor. I’ve barely recovered from Matthew dying in Downton Abbey and I might not be able to handle another death of a fictitious character. 

If someone creates Frog Slayer, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be his biggest fan.

I hope the next ticket I get won’t be from the police

When we last spoke, I was patting myself on the back for having nary a blemish upon my criminal records. 

Pride goeth before a fall because the very next day I accidentally stole a bottle of rosehip oil from TJMaxx. 

I had looked at multiple bottles and couldn’t find the particular one I had decided on. After buying things I didn’t need, I got into the car, reached into my purse for gum and saw the bottle of oil I had been looking for. I wasn’t going to drive away with it, but I wasn’t sure how to sneak back in the store without looking suspicious. It was one of the few times I’ve wished I had Annabelle with me during a leisurely shopping trip because it would have been easier to say she carried out. Yes, I wanted to blame my child! It would have been so much easier than the current situation I found myself in which was I had put the bottle in my open purse instead of the cart. I’ve been shopping on my own for decades but suddenly I don’t know the proper place for unbought items? Who would buy that story? I slunk in like the criminal I was and pretended to be looking for my keys while I stuck the bottle back on the shelf. I’m sure it was all caught on security camera and it will follow me around for the rest of my life along with my spot on the Walmart watch list. 

Yesterday morning we went to a Native American festival/powwow. We went with our friends and she suggested we go Friday while the school kids were in school. What we failed to consider was the school kids being in school meant the school kids would be at the same park, going to the same powwow as us. We didn’t realize this until it took us 30 minutes to get through the front gate when it normally takes 4 minutes. 

I hadn’t been to an indian festival in several years and learned quite a bit. I learned that, according to one man knowledgable on the topic, the terms indian and native American can be used interchangeably without offending the people of that culture. Annabelle enjoyed seeing how the indians made something useful from each part of the animal they had hunted. Every time someone walked by dressed in traditional garb, she’d grab my hand and loudly say, “THOSE INDIANS ARE SO SCARY.” That’s not the kind of thing you want to be broadcasted when more than half the people there were indians. 

The ballet recital season is really ramping up. We have extra rehearsals and are constantly being asked to spend money on photos, ads, etc. Today was the first day to buy tickets. Ticket sales started at 9:45 and when we showed up for the 10:05 rehearsal, parents had already been in line for more than 30 minutes. A lady walked around, assigning numbers for purchasing tickets. Everyone was comparing numbers to see would get their tickets soonest. Some people waited over an hour for tickets to a kids recital. You would have thought it was Black Friday. The seasoned moms studied the seating chart like it was a textbook. All us new moms looked at each other and said it was ridiculous. At this point, we’re more invested in keeping our girls from getting runs in their tights than getting seats A1-12. It’s not a big theater and no matter where you sit you can see the stage. I want a good seat but not at the expense of being trampled by over-dedicated dance moms. 

I’m pleased to report that I paid good American cash money for the tickets. None were accidentally stolen. 

needless to say, I would not do well in prison

I just returned from a trip downtown where I almost died. 

That’s a little dramatic but welcome to my life!
I got lost getting there because I took what I thought would be a shortcut. It was not. Instead, it was a lengthy trip through the shadiest parts of town. A homeless and overly enthusiastic man came up to the car as soon as I parked and kept knocking on my window. I don’t mind giving to the homeless, but I don’t appreciate when they’re knocking on my window asking for money and I have to pretend that I can’t roll down the window because it’s broken. I mimed that the window was broken and I didn’t have extra cash for several long minutes until he went to bother someone else on the other side of my car. I watched like a hawk until he moved then grabbed my child and my purse and dashed into the building. I made sure my favorite lipgloss was in my purse so I’d still have it in case my car was stolen while we were in the office. I need my lips to look good when answering police questions!

I was downtown filing paperwork because I am now a working woman. I say working in the loosest definition of the word. I got a VERY parttime job working at a make-your-own wooden sign studio. It fills the creative void in my life and usually I work when Annabelle is at school so I don’t miss out on much time with her. It’s only a few hours a month, about 15, but I feel extremely professional. I haven’t made money in so long I feel like a millionaire. 

Actual footage of me leaving the studio.

The studio sells wine and beer during the night classes so I had to get an alcohol distribution license. Practically overnight I’ve become a working woman and a bartender which is not something I could have predicted at the beginning of the year.

The city had to do a background check and the results came back within three weeks. The foster care people also needed to do a background check and even though we submitted it in January, we’ve heard nothing but crickets. They’re doing a very thorough check. I have a squeaky clean record so I’m pretty sure they won’t find anything, but who knows what might pop up. Maybe they found out about the ONE time I accidentally walked in the out door at the grocery store. I’m such a rule follower I had to go back out the door and walk in the correct door. Maybe they found out that I’m almost on the Walmart watch list. I was told by a sale associate at Walmart that I can only return one more item without a receipt before I’m put on their watch list. I asked what that was and she said they’ll watch me closely and not let me return anything. She could have been kidding but she was VERY serious and frankly, I don’t want to find out the hard way that she was being serious. I felt like a criminal and I didn’t even do anything wrong! If I go to prison I’ll find a way to keep blogging about life on the inside.

The other big news around here is that for 48 hours we had a very small pet turtle. I found him while walking around the pond while Annabelle was at school. I walked by it at first because I thought it was a plastic toy turtle, but when I picked it up it wiggled its feet in protest. Back in the day, I would have thrown the turtle back into the pond, but I knew AB would like it so I brought it home. Motherhood makes you do weird things. Had there been a sign saying not to bring turtles home I would have left it but since I wasn’t breaking any rules, off I drove with the turtle in a plastic container. I used some of my precious alone time making a suitable habitat for the turtle. I don’t know much about turtles beyond what I picked up from the turtles in Finding Nemo, which means I know little to nothing. But I gave him some water, rocks and twigs and in short, created nothing less than a turtle heaven. 

I was so excited to Annabelle to see him when she got home. I didn’t have time to give a “treat him with gentleness” speech before she picked him up and waved him around. I don’t doubt that he got seasick. As they sing in The Band Perry song, he was the centerpiece of her obsession for the next couple of days. She changed the water numerous times, let him wander a few inches from his home and tried to feed him fish food. We tried a few names but nothing stuck until the name Gluten Free. She said, “It’s shell looks kind of like pizza, the way it goes up on the edges. But not a regular pizza crust. Like, a gluten free crust.” 
I didn’t want to keep Gluten Free as the cats and Martin VanBuren the fish keep me plenty busy (not to mention the various diseases he might be carrying), but he was fun for a few days. We were going to bring him back to his pond but he wandered off into the yard, never to be seen again.
I hope “lost poor, innocent baby turtle” doesn’t end up on my permanent record. That and the Walmart watch list would really push me over the edge into criminal activity.