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A New Teenager

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Last week was the Curly Girl’s 13th birthday.  Although I have already thought of her as a teenager (she will be entering 8th grade in the fall), now it is official.  As I did with my other kids, I would like to share some of my favorite things about her.  Here are 13 reasons I love my Curly Girt!

  1. Her hair.  I love those curls!  I like to take ahold of the end of one of her curls, stretch it out, and let it go and watch it snap back into place, while I say, “BOING!”  She tolerates it when I do it, but hates it if anyone else does!
  2. She is artistic.  I don’t know where she gets it from, but she loves to draw and she is good at it!  I am always in awe at her talent.
  3. She has a lovely singing voice.  She was voted top 7th grade soprano by her peers.  Although, after going to an amusement park and screaming on roller coasters all day, she sounds more like a baritone at the moment.
  4. Her big heart.  She is kind, caring, and compassionate.
  5. She has faith.  She has questions, but seeks the answers and learns and grows.  It is an ongoing process for us all.
  6. Her willingness to serve.  Sometimes it takes some prodding, but she likes to help others.
  7. She’s a smart kid.  She has finally come to realize it!  Not in a conceited way, but she no longer thinks of herself as stupid.
  8. I think she is very pretty.  Sure, you are probably thinking I’m biased because she’s my daughter, but I’m telling the truth.  I think she’s beautiful.
  9. She loves to write.  Her preferred genre is fantasy (elves, magic, etc.) but she isn’t bound by that.  I read an email she sent one of her teachers and I was in awe at the maturity and thought process that went into that brief note.
  10. She is comfortable with who she is. She is a self-proclaimed nerd and she embraces it.  Whether out on the dance floor alone at a school dance, or refusing to give into the latest fashion, she is who she is.
  11. I love her smile!  it’s actually more of a grin.  It’s warm, friendly, and authentic.
  12. Her ability to fall asleep anywhere.  O.K., this may seem odd, but I am envious of it.  If she needs some zzz’s, she will get them.  Luckily, it doesn’t happen in school…at least I don’t think so.
  13. She’s my mini-me!  We are often told we look alike, and I see a lot of similarities in our personalities.  Despite that, she is definitely her own person and has a lot to offer the world!

I love you, Curly Girl!!!  Happy belated birthday!

 

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The Great Eight

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Eight at last!  Also, the last eight.  Today is my youngest child’s eighth birthday.  The Princess!  Although her favorite princess has changed from Cinderella to Princess Leia, she’s still, and will always be, my baby girl.

In honor of her birthday, here are eight great things about the Princess:

  1. Her imagination.  Even if her daydreams have shifted from tiara’s to light sabers, she still has a great imagination.
  2. She is creative.  She loves to develop new games, stories, dances, etc.  This girl is full of ideas.
  3. My girl is smart.  She is a straight A student and loves to learn.
  4. She is compassionate.  Whenever we are driving and pass an ambulance or emergency vehicle, she says a prayer.  If anyone in the house is sick, she checks on them and brings a handmade card.
  5. This girl has energy!  If she isn’t doing cartwheels in the front yard, she is dancing in the kitchen.  Or flipping around the bars of the swingset.  Or playing with her brother.
  6. Her smile.  She is a beautiful girl inside and out and her smile always brightens my day!
  7. I love the way she loves her family.  Her siblings hold a special place in her heart.  Sometimes all the love and affection can be interpreted as just an annoying little sister, but I know she means well.  The Princess loves to cuddle and often climbs in bed with Daddy and me.  I know she loves me more than the world (she has told me) but her Daddy is her hero.
  8. She loves God.  She made her First Holy Communion last month and for months leading up to it, she was so excited and so eager!  She likes hearing stories of the Saints, and I pray that she follows His will and will one day be a saint, too.

When Mr. Dude was only five months old, we were surprised to find out we were expecting another child.  Two children, only 14 months apart…I admit, it took me some time to get used to that.  Even though she was unexpected, she is a great blessing!  I love her and my life wouldn’t be complete without her!

Happy birthday, my Princess!

 

 

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Ouch!

Today was one of those days when my husband and I were feeling a bit goofy.  Even more so than usual, and that caused trouble.

We were running some errands sans kids and enjoying ourselves.  It had been awhile since we had any time out alone and we were making the most of it.  After a stressful week, we practically bolted to the front door to escape the house and our parenting responsibilities for a short time.  Relaxation set in almost immediately as we pulled out of the driveway with our favorite 80’s station blaring on the radio.  I can’t quite recall what started it, but we soon found ourselves laughing at everything.  You know, one of those giddy moods that can make even the most routine, mundane things suddenly seem hilarious.  This was the type of laughter that made other people stare at you and wonder what you were on.

As we drove through the parking lot of our first destination, Stuff Mart, we waited patiently as an elderly man crossed our path in one of the store’s loaner electric scooters as he made his way to his car.  We parked and walked toward the doors of the store.  As we passed the car where the man with the scooter was, he was just finishing moving from the scooter to the driver’s seat.  He called out to us and asked if we would be kind enough to return the scooter to the store lobby for him, and we agreed.

Now, you need to keep in mind our immature, goofy, drunk-like mood when I describe what happened next.  I’m not even sure who’s idea it was (I say it was my husband’s, he says it was mine) but one of us said it would be fun to use these scooters.  Well, that quickly escalated into “Let’s race these scooters” and caution was thrown to the wind.  Luckily, the Stuff Mart Greeter had momentarily stepped away from his position so it was easy to get started.  After agreeing on one lap around the store, we were off.

Yes, we were sober.  But even sober people do dumb things sometime.

We started off neck and neck as we passed a long cardboard display of potato chips.  Unfortunately, I was distracted by a cart of clearance items and slowed down to browse.  My husband’s laughter brought me back to reality and I turned my attention back to the race.  Luckily, the scooter I was using had a full battery and I was able to catch up to Jayson.  Perturbed by my advancement, he took a shortcut through the girls’ clothing department, narrowly missing one of my daughter’s classmates who was shopping with her mother.  A flash of embarrassment shot through me, but I kept on going.

As we approached the craft department, two ladies from our church stepped into the aisle, right into my path.  The look of astonishment on their faces was priceless.  I said the only thing that could have been said at a moment like this.  “HONK!  HONK!”  They stepped, rather, stumbled, back as I rounded the corner, Jayson hot on my tail.

I have never know my husband to be a NASCAR fan, but he surely has been studying some races because he started to try some fancy maneuvers, complete with vroom-vroom sounds.  He bumped my scooter and let out a maniacal laugh, which sent shivers down my spine.  It was in that moment that I finally questioned the sanity of what we were doing and had second thoughts.  But letting my mind wander like that led to my downfall.

As my attention was scolding myself for acting so foolishly, my husband made his big move.  Consumed with a passion to win this electric scooter race through Stuff Mart, he cut me off.  Trying to swerve to avoid him caused me to flip my scooter.  As I fell, my head crashed into a tall, wire-framed cage full of bouncy balls.  My head hit the floor, and my knee somehow twisted and was trapped under the weight of the scooter.  Blood ran down my face from the scratches on my cheek from the wire cage.  Intense pain shot through my knee.  The whole moment felt it was in slow-motion.  Balls from the display danced around me as I tried to make sense of what had happened.

And my husband kept going.

Don’t think badly of my husband.  He did come back to check on me eventually (and announce his victory).  He followed the paramedics after they arrived.  By that time, a small crowd had gathered.  I tried not to make eye contact with anyone, fearing I would see someone I knew.  Humiliated, I was treated at the scene but refused to be transported to the hospital.  I am now home, with a bandaged face and frozen peas on my knee, which is the size of a cantaloupe, and a very bruised ego.

This was probably the most embarrassing moment of my life.  I can read the headlines tomorrow:  “Local Woman Writes Blog for April Fools Day”.

 

 

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Nerds

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First Day of Dance

 

Some people might call our family a bunch of nerds.  We seem to fit the profile.  Our interests and activities may be considered, by some standards, nerdy.   Choir, band, dance, academic teams, Boy Scouts, video games, Legos, etc., etc.  We take nature walks and visit historic sites.  We like to watch Dr. Who, Star Wars, and documentaries.  Our sport of choice is cup stacking.

Cub Scout Knife Safety

Cub Scout Knife Safety

If these things classify us as nerds…so be it!

Being a nerd in this day and age is not like it used to be.  Back when I was a kid, the term “nerd”  was definitely an insult.  But not so anymore, thanks in part to the computer revolution and technological advances.  The nerds of the past became the movers and shakers of today.  And the future needs more nerds!  I think we can all agree that technology is becoming a bigger part of our lives every day, and we need the mathaholics, scientists, and computer geeks.

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Gold for Vocal Solo

 

Entertainment has changed the perceptions of the stereotypical nerd-types, too.  Let’s face it, National Treasure is a nerd movie.  BUT IT’S SO COOL!  The contestants on Survivor could definitely use some Boy Scout skills.  And there would be no Pentatonix if it weren’t for high school choir?

So nerds of the world, hold your heads up high!  Be proud!  Celebrate!  Go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the sixth time!  Remember, the world needs you!

 

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Happy Leap Day!

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February 29.  That special day that occurs once every four years, made up of all the leftover time from other years.  Because it takes the Earth slightly more than 365 days to revolve around the sun, the spare time is put in a Styrofoam takeout box each year.  On the fourth year, there is enough leftover time to make a full day — LEAP DAY!

So, how does one celebrate Leap Day?  I honestly don’t know.  Are there any special traditions?  Fireworks?  Leap Day Tree?  A celebratory Leap Day Meal?  What would one serve at such a meal?  Frog legs?  (Not in this house, thank-you-very-much,)  I suppose one could go around leaping all day.  However, not being a rabbit, kangaroo, toad, frog, lemur, or other leaping/hopping species, this does not appeal to me.

There is one group of people who will surely be celebrating today.  Happy Birthday to all the Leap Day babies!  My daughter’s bestie is celebrating her third birthday!  Even though she is twelve years old.  I have another friend whose son was born on leap day.  Once when he was a teenager, the mother and son were arguing.  She told him to act his age.  He snapped back, “I am.  I’m THREE!”

How ever you choose to observe this day, be thankful that it exists.  If not, it would be a plain, old, regular Monday, and that would stink.

 

 

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Hmmm…

I…have…become……..a hummer.

Sigh.  There.  I said it out loud.  I admit it, to myself and the world.  I am a hummer.  (Meaning a person who hums, not the GM built, military, vehicle.)

I have become one of those people who subconsciously hums.  Have you ever been somewhere and heard random humming?  And it’s annoying?  That’s me.  I am that annoying person.  But I don’t want to be.

When I think of people who hum to themselves, I think of a little, old, senile lady, sitting in her rocking chair, stroking her cat, humming an eerily sweet tune.  (The cat, by the way, is dead and stuffed.  Her well-meaning nephew never told his elderly aunt that the cat died, but rather took it to a taxidermist and she never knew the difference.)

Do you know who else hums?  Ax murderers.  Ax murderers hum.  OK, I don’t think I have ever met an ax murderer (or have I?), but I have an image of a psychotic man hunched over a grinder, sharpening his ax, fixated on his next victim, all the while HUMMING!

And that weird philosophy professor from college!  He hummed!

See why I am ashamed to admit to myself that I hum?  I don’t want to be counted among these type of people.

I have a couple of theories.  I used to sing a lot.  Sometimes, that can annoy people.  Perhaps, I tried to quit my singing habit, but the music just couldn’t be silenced and came out as humming.  Or maybe, because of my poor memory and inability to properly remember the lyrics, I just started humming.  I can’t remember why or when it happened, but I became a hummer.

I vow, to try to curtail my annoying humming, and let it out only when I am alone.  However, if you are in the grocery store and hear an irritating, wordless tune and find that it is coming from me, please give me a subtle nudge of the elbow so I can come to my senses and censor myself.

And please don’t worry, friends.  I own neither an ax, nor a cat.

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Our Children, Our Fashion Consultants

A few week ago, we followed a young family into church.  Mom, Dad, and two young boys.  The mom was well-dressed in an attractive blue dress, heels, etc.  I didn’t see her face, but I’m sure if I would have, her make-up and hair would have been nicely done, too.  Completing her ensemble was a green, furry backpack in the shape of Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. slung over her shoulder.  Now, I can’t be 100% sure, but I doubt that was her choice of accessory.  I’m sure it belonged to one of her son’s.

Mike-Wazowski

Oh, the things we parents do for our children!  How many of us have gotten an odd look or two while walking around carrying our child’s beloved blanky or stuffed animal (while the child is nowhere to be seen)?  How about a burp cloth, casually slung over our shoulder?  I remember walking through Stuff Mart with a big, gold glittery bow in my hair courtesy of my preschooler.  She had been playing with my hair earlier and I forgot it was there until I got to the car and glanced in the rear-view mirror.  Believe me, it looked much better on her for her dance recital than it did on me.

To those new to the parenting scene, it can be embarrassing.  However, those days soon fade away and turn into an I-don’t-care attitude.  One day I ran into a friend while running errands.  The top of her shirt was covered in stickers.  When I pointed it out she shrugged it off.  “Oh, yeah.  My daughter was sitting on my lap and putting stickers on me.”  and continued on with our conversation.  This mom obviously didn’t care that her chest was full of brightly colored cartoon characters.  She and her daughter had shared a special one-on-one moment (hours before) and this was the result.  Why should she be embarrassed by that?

That encounter with my friend helped me change my perspective on such occurrences, and I often need to reflect back on it to remind me of what is truly important.  Just today, if you were at the grocery store, you would have seen me donning a cheap strand of beads my daughter won playing a carnival game.  Did I think it was the best way to accessorize my outfit?  Was this shiny, plastic necklace the best compliment to my green t-shirt and blue jeans?  No, but the smile on my little girls face as she draped it around my neck put a smile on my face, and I’m sure that improved my look a hundred-fold.

 

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His vs. Hers

The other morning, I was supposed to meet a friend when she called to say she would be late.

“My son left his girdle at home so I need to take it to school,” she explained.  “He needs it because they have a game today.”

Inferring that it had something to do with football, I asked her to explain it to me when we finally met up.  “It’s like spandex shorts with padding on the thighs and hips.  Football players wear it under their uniform for protection.”

Hmm…interesting.  Football players wear girdles to pad the hips and thighs.  Ladies wear girdles to minimize those areas.  I guess that’s why there aren’t many women playing football.

his girdle

his girdle

her girdle

her girdle

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What’s in Your Purse?

When I was a very young girl, apparently I was very fond for purses.  I really don’t recall, but my mother tells stories of how I would beg my daddy for a new purse, and not being able to tell his baby girl no, he would buy it for me.  Mom would get a bit miffed because I would often have toy purses which cost more than hers.  As an adult, I am no longer a collector of cute handbags.  I don’t care if my handbag matches my shoes.  My preference is function over form and I use a purse until it falls apart.

What spurred this trip down memory lane? The other night, my own little girl came into my room with a purse she got for her birthday and eagerly wanted to show me everything that was in it.  I’m not sure if this impromptu show-and-tell was initiated by a true, deep desire for her to bond with me as mother and daughter, or woman to woman, or if it was merely a 7-year old’s tactic of stalling at bedtime, but I let her empty her purse on my bed.

Katherine's purse

As I sat and listened to her pull out her treasures one-by-one, I couldn’t help but reminisce that these were the same types of objects that I found of value at her age.

Katherine's stuff

If you look closely, you will find:

  • little keys
  • a crown charm
  • a heart-shaped pencil sharpener
  • a toy seal
  • lip gloss
  • a smiley-face eraser
  • hand lotion
  • a shoe string
  • a bouncy ball
  • a marble
  • notecards with envelopes
  • a yellow eraser
  • a hair tie
  • a hair clip
  • an owl pin
  • two plastic flower leis
  • a die

Oh, how times have changed!  Instead of being happy about Abe Lincoln’s image on a coin, I prefer it on a bill.  I don’t have a marble in my purse.  I lost all my marbles long ago.  The precious little do-dads of childhood have now been replaced by the needs of a (somewhat) mature, responsible 45-year old woman.

Mom's stuff

I thought it would be interesting to compare the contents of the Princess’s purse and my purse.  My purse contains:

  • hand lotion from a hotel
  • feminine hygiene products
  • a wallet
  • hair ties and bobby pins
  • lipstick
  • a nail file
  • a tag ripped from some article of clothing
  • a souvenir magnet from our summer vacation
  • breath mints
  • back-to-school lists (school started about 6 weeks ago)
  • miscellaneous crumpled receipts
  • an empty prescription bottle
  • spare change
  • a container of cuticle cream (I’ve been looking for that!)
  • a rosary
  • ink pens
  • bandages
  • keys
  • appointment cards
  • a used, waded up tissue (I’m not even sure who used it)

Her stuff is fun.  Mine is practical (mostly).  I suppose that’s the way its supposed to be.  If a kid comes to me with a boo-boo, it’s better to be able to offer a bandage than an eraser.  I can’t pay for groceries with plastic leis (although I have never tried).  The keys in her purse won’t work in my van.

Thank you, Princess, for the trip down memory lane.  Enjoy this season of your life while your purse contents are whimsical and carefree.  Boring wallets and appointment cards will be here before you know it.

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My Phone Doesn’t Swim

As I was making dinner the other evening, the Princess came in carrying my cell phone.

“Mom, you need a new phone.  I was using it to watch Underdog in the bathroom and I dropped it in the toilet.  What should I do with it?”

Ugh.  My head started spinning with thoughts of a dead cell phone, all the while, adding ingredients to this-and-that and stirring whatever was on the stove.  “Um…just put it on the table.” I said distractedly.  And she did.

It wasn’t until a moment later that the thought hit me…was the water in the toilet clean or did the phone fall in pre-flush.  After consulting with my daughter, my worst fears were confirmed.  The phone fell into contaminated toilet water and now sat on my kitchen table.

“Oh…”  was all I could say.

After taking care of the cooking meal to insure the house didn’t catch on fire, I did what any normal woman would do.  I posted about it on Facebook.

I have often heard that when a cell phone gets submerged in water you should put it in a bag of rice to dry it out, so I did.  But that still didn’t ease my mind about the fact that my phone had been in unclean water.  I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to touch it again with my hands, let alone have my face against it.  My Facebook friends (when they were done laughing) were generous with suggestions on how to get the phone dry, but none offered suggestions of how to decontaminate the phone.

After the rice immersion, a wiping down with a Clorox cloth and a couple of days of charging, I have determined the phone to be dead.  Although, I wonder if there is something more than moisture being the demise of my cellular connective device.  As I was reinstalling the battery, I noticed rice stuck in the innards of my phone.  I was able to use a toothpick and pry out the rice I could see, but I wondered if I got it all.  Could a rogue grain of rice and/or rice dust have infiltrated the inner workings of my phone and been the real cause of death?  I recently heard that if Abraham Lincoln had been shot today, modern medicine could have easily saved him.  His death, most likely, occurred because the doctor who treated him stuck his finger in the head wound and fished around for the bullet, but that was the best way he knew to treat the situation.  Could this rice remedy be the doctor’s finger to my phone?  This was the only way I knew to treat the situation, but it ended up being the dead.

Or maybe it was the water.  Or maybe it hit the porcelain potty too hard.  I guess I’ll never know.  What I do know is that I won’t be putting that icky thing against my face.

The Princess was right.  Mom needs a new phone!  And it won’t be used in the bathroom by a seven year-old.

 

 

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