Currently, the Marching On edition

reading: Diana, Closely Guarded Secret. It’s written by Princess Diana’s bodyguard of several years which means the information is high on accuracy and low on gossip. I don’t like to bring gossipy books into the house because of the looks I’ll get from the other two. After reading it, I decided that Diana and Charles, who both morally fell short in many ways, are equally misrepresented by the media. Charlie isn’t as bad and Diana isn’t as great and saintly as she’s remembered to be. Please come to my speech next week when I discuss my many detailed thoughts on the infamous car crash.

watching: endless episodes of The Great British Bakeoff. AB loves it and it’s family-friendly so we’ve blazed through several seasons. She can tell you who won which challenge in the fourth episode of the seventh season. Does she remember which bathroom her toothbrush is in? Probably not. We discovered that there’s a GBBO musical that has become the soundtrack to our life when we’re not watching the show.

emotionally preparing for: AB’s 10th birthday. She told me when it was only 10 days away. I didn’t need that countdown calendar. I don’t like countdowns. When I was pregnant with her and knew my due date was April 2nd, I refused to look at the calendar and see what day of the week that fell on. I knew if I had that information, I’d say, “I only have ___ number of Wednesdays left until my due date, ” which would stress me out more. I already knew how many weeks I had left given that pregnancy is counted in weeks, but knowing that particular day of the week was a bridge too for my very emotionally fragile self. What a delight I was for those 39 weeks, 5 days.

photographing: all the flowers. We’re in the 22 days of glorious spring. Before we know it, it will hit 104* where it will stay until October. Until then, we’re loving the sunshine.

returning: to Zumba. I’ve been hit or miss (mostly miss) with zumba since I had surgery over two years. Between stomach pain from exercising and not belonging to the Y anymore, it wasn’t something that ever worked out. I found out that the zumba instructor from the Y opened up her own studio so I went a few weeks ago. It was so fun to go back and I didn’t have any pain. I still zumba very much like a white lady and in the heat of the music confused left and straight, but I dance for over 2 miles so I say it’s a win.

saying yes: too many school things. Between subbing, setting up for events, and the teacher lunches I’m in charge of, I’m constantly at the school. I told Christopher that after I completed my three commitments there this month, I wouldn’t say yes to any more school things. I didn’t sign up to help with the book fair or to help monitor the orchastra petting zoo, both of which I normally would have done. AB’s drama director recently took the job as the theater teacher at her school. She texted me yesterday about the decor I used when we set up a special snack week in the teacher’s lunch room. I took pages out of a book from the little free library and made them into a table runner. She was wondering if she could use the decor for Little Women. I said of course. I should have stopped there. Instead, I said, “If the table runner got dirty, I’d be happy to make you another one!” WHY. Why do I make more work for myself.

Mourning: Sesame Pie’s upcoming birthday. I know I already mentioned it, but it’s in seven days and I wrap my head around that.

life is like a box of chocolates. sometimes you’re stuck at Walmart and sometimes you’re wearing a tiara.

I saw an influencer on Instagram yesterday who spent the day filming a mob wives style video to announce a new product. She spent hours in full glam hair and makeup while wearing pearls, fur, and leather.

I spent half an hour that morning in the Walmart parking lot waiting for my grocery pickup to come out to my car. It never showed up. Come to find out, I was at the wrong Walmart. I got to the right Walmart, parked in the same spot I’ve always parked for pickup, and waited longer. Come to find out, they had moved the pickup spot. Ninety minutes later, I returned home with the groceries I had ordered because I thought it would be quicker than going into the store.

The influencer and I were living identical lives.


On Friday we did our second Night to Shine.

I did red carpet last year and loved it. I requested it again this year but was given the role of buddy. Put me one-on-one with a child (or even better, a baby) any day of the week. I’m a little more hesitant with special needs given my lack of experience. I was paired up with Lula. She was very go-with-the-flow but knew what she wanted. She enjoyed waving to pedestrians out the limo window as we drove around the parking lot. Let’s not lie- I did too. It’s not often I’m chauffered in a black limo so I had to make the most of it. Lula wasn’t interested in the therapy dogs or horses, but she wanted to eat and dance. She made a few crafts and was tickled with the picture she colored. She was a crazy woman on the dance floor. I couldn’t understand everything she said, but she clearly sang every word to every song. When I crowned her at the very end, she asked several times if her tiara was real. That’s the most important question of all, Lula. We all need to know our tiara is real.



little bits of January

Me in December: Things will calm down after Christmas!

Me in January: We need to coordinate our calendars better. We have too much going on. No free weekends! Who is agreeing to all this?

Last weekend we had a bed build with Sleep In Heavenly Peace, the organization we help with that provides beds for children in our town. Our last build was, to put it mildly, a disaster. Christopher called a team meeting, got out a dry erase board, and assigned all the board members as the boss of a specific area of the building process. He assigned me the headboard station. The organization’s model is that anyone in the community can come to a build and help make a bed. You don’t need experience with tools or saws to help out! Come one, come all! Turns out, you need experience drilling holes straight which I found out the VERY FRUSTRATING WAY. All my table had to do was drill straight through six spots on a 2×4 (4×8? 24×64?) then use another tool to make a 3/4 hole large enough for some type of socket. Or maybe it’s a screw. I don’t know. That wasn’t my assigned department. I understand the process and I’d done it before, but I could not do it that day. I had to keep asking for help and the help told me that to drill in a straight line, I needed to hold the drill straight. Thank you for that insight. I never would have considered such a novel idea. I won’t name names about who the help was, but I am legally and emotionally bound to him for life. Funnily enough, my table was called the Quality Contol table. There was nothing quality about the eight headboards I messed up and had to put in the redo pile. Eventually, I did what any good boss does and I passed the drilling job off to Takiyla who knows how to hold a drill straight.

Here we have my Quality Control table on the left. More quality work is happening because I was taking the picture instead of holding the drill.


In events I can better control the quality of, my friend asked me to help her organize a dress shop for Night to Shine. We collected donated formal/prom dresses and the girls at the school set up a shop where the ladies attending Night to Shine could come get a dress and jewelry for free. For most of them, it may be the only time they’d get to experience the “normal” experience of going to a dress shop and being waited on like that so we tried to make it special.  


We’ve had the cats for five years and visited the vet maybe four times in all those years. I called the vet three times this month alone. I’m bad enough about wondering if I’m overreacting when it comes to bringing AB to the doctor. I’m a million times worse when it comes to bringing a nonverbal animal to the vet. I know nothing about cats. I could bring them in for the human equivalent of a hangnail and be charged $200. Long and incredibly boring story short, I was told Lucy either has asthma or a hairball issue. As I said, I’m no vet but those seem quite different. I was given the option between an X-ray and steroid shot or a hairball cream from the pet store. I chose door number two for $17.50. I left with a stressed cat and a side of UTI antibiotics. Both cats are given that medication twice a day and it takes two of us to get the medicine in their mouths. We’re watching our friend’s kitten (who we’ve nicknamed Home Wrecker) this week and between the antibiotics and the forced living with Jack, Linus would choose door number one. He hates both options, but the 2lb fluff ball is the greater of two evils.


noteworthies from November

Student of the month “for demonstrating honorable character.”

The L’s celebrated a birthday. They were less than thrilled. It seems they are not party animals.

This year’s 4th grade science fair experiment was about German candle carousels and thermal energy. 

Sesame will look out the window for an entire plane ride. The last few flights she chose
to take pictures out the window instead of watching a show or doing any of her several activities.

Houston for Thanksgiving. Lots and lots of card games around that table. 

It took months too long, but Fall finally showed up.
I found all three colored leaves in the backyard then took myself leaf-peeping.

updates on various topics

+ I’ve been subbing like crazy this school year.

Generally, I cap my subbing at 2nd grade, but the 3rd and 4th grade teacher caught me in a moment of weakness and I couldn’t say no. My “moment of weakness” on this particular day was we were meeting for the first time. I wanted to make a good impression and stay on her good side for the year, so I said yes then regretted it for the next three weeks. I like the little kids who ask questions like ”Do elephants eat bugs?” and read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I don’t like to dabble in the bigger kid world where I never know what kind of questions I’ll be asked. As I suspected, I should have asked what I’d be teaching before agreeing. When she texted me the information, she casually slipped in that I’d be teaching about the Trinity. There are entire church conferences and debates among great religious leaders about the workings of the Trinity and I, OF ALL PEOPLE, get tasked with teaching it. I suspect Karen purposely made her appointment three hours away on Trinity teaching day to avoid teaching it herself. I showed Christopher the chart I needed to fill out with the kids and said, “I have literally never seen this diagram before in my entire life.” He pulled up his sleeve and said, “I have a tattoo of it.” He does indeed and it’s in Latin to boot. I asked that he sub for the sub at Bible time but he didn’t take me up on it.

I’ve also subbed for 2nd and 1st grades several times. Three years ago when I subbed for the first time I brought a list of jokes to lighten the mood. There hasn’t been a time I’ve subbed since when I haven’t brought jokes. I’m on my third year teaching some of the kids and they’ll tell the new children what to expect when Miss Sarah with her pencil earrings comes rolling in. My reputation precedes me. One mom stopped me in the hallway and said, “Sadie was so excited you were teaching because she loves to come home with jokes to tell all week long.” I don’t know that I’ve ever been more proud of my legacy. Honestly, it’s almost gotten out of hand. They want to hear jokes all day and not do any of the work. Yesterday the teacher had joke time in the schedule. I might include this picture in my Christmas card.


+ Annabelle and Christopher went to a church retreat for 3rd-6th graders last month. I was not included as she wasn’t interested in both her parents attending as chaperones. Rude. I buy all her meals, take her to every single event and what do I get? Told that she doesn’t want me to snuggle on the bunk with her in front of her church friends. It was the first time in almost 10 years that I’d been home alone for the weekend. I seesawed between certainty that the bus would have a firey crash or she’d drown in the ocean, and wishing they’d be gone longer so I could get more done. I finished painting the living room without having to worry about anyone stepping in my paint bucket. I ordered Chinese food and watched Virgin River without Christopher’s commentary. The living room was a truly peaceful oasis to relax in with my dumplings after a long day of hard work.
The guard cats kept a close eye on the place at night. No shenanigans were going down on their watch. They were ready to take names and kick butts all weekend.

+ I helped with a medieval feast in Annabelle’s class last week. Gus’ mom said all the food she was bringing would be themed and I knew had to keep up with her. I had never met her, but I had to keep up with her! I almost bought tiny castle-shaped bundt pans and made 16 castle cakes surrounded by a chocolate mousse moat. I wasn’t signed up for a cheese dish, but I was going to use my crown cookie cutter to make cheese crowns. I was spiraling fast and needed to reel it in. I settled for the chocolate mousse and no castle cakes. Our feast book said lords and ladies ate pudding. They may not have eaten pudding made with Hershey’s cocoa and half and half, but I was in the general vicinity of authenticity. I did bring gold champagne flutes that really added to the ambiance. Gus’ mom made a fire-breathing dragon out of vegetables and beef jerky, as well as a medieval boat from a loaf of bread and thin pretzel sticks for oars. That’s the kind of party dedication I admire.

Eleanor, Alice and chickens

Written April 27th but never published because evidently I don’t know how to push the right buttons.

It’s been a busy season for Annabelle Sesame Lee. Within the same week she was Eleanor of Austria for World Day at school, a five of hearts playing card and flower in the Alice In Wonderland play and we finally celebrated her birthday. I brought her to HobLob to get supplies to make Eleanor’s headpiece which she insisted she wanted to make herself, but she later asked me to do it. “I need some quiet time. My schedule is too busy right now.” Same, girl. Signed, your chauffeur, chef, maid, and hot glue gun operator. 

I’ve never been a fan of Alice In Wonderland and I wondered if seeing my favorite child perform in it might chance my mind about the story. It did not. I still dislike it just as much as ever. It’s so chaotic! But she was precious (says every parent even when their child plays a blade of grass) and I sat through all three shows. Her flower costume really tickled me. She wore a straw hat covered in flowers and a pink tutu. She hasn’t worn a tutu in 48 months much to my sorrow, but the second the director says to wear one, she’s all, “Mom! Don’t forget! We have to pack my tutu in my bag! We need all my costumes pieces!” Maybe Miss Vickie can also bring back bows as part of our daily life.

In final AB news, she had a very small birthday party this year. After much deliberation, she settled on wanting to bring two friends to the roller rink. It took a significant amount of coordination between us three moms to nail down the date and time only for the rink to permanently shut down three days before the party. Back to the drawing board we went. We picked a new location which meant a new time frame and working with a new development on the part of one of the guests. If she was having more kids I wouldn’t have tried so hard to work with everyones schedules, but she was only having two and I needed to make sure both were there. You know who ended up not being there? ME. Her mother. The amount of guilt I felt will never leave me. I was there for the birthday lunch, cake and presents but had to leave for work and couldn’t go to the river aquarium with them. I don’t care about the riverquarium, but the fact that I wasn’t there for every second of her party made me feel awful. There was no one to take my shift so I had to go. I’ll hold onto this until the day I die. She will forget by next week.


I may be late to the gift giving portion of our 12th anniversary on Saturday. I don’t have a gift for Christopher yet but it’s not for lack of looking. It’s partly for lack of looking but not entirely. I’ll tell myself I need to look into it then get distracted by the grocery list or the cats throwing up or improving my Tetris score. Someone decided that the traditional twelfth anniversary gift is linen or silk and you know what no man I know wants/needs? A linen or silk gift. Christopher doesn’t want a silk bathrobe and he certainly doesn’t lounge by our nonexistent pool sipping a watermelon daiquiri in a linen shirt. I asked AB what I should give and she giggled and said, “How ’bout some lennon underwear?” which really confused me. Three days ago she told her guitar teacher she didn’t know who John Lennon was and now she was saying I should get underwear with his face on it. Turns out she was mispronouncing linen. Elizabeth suggested I buy him a couple of Silkie chickens.

Move over, linen and silk. John Lennon underwear and chickens are the new twelfth anniversary gifts.