Get BOO-zed

We have the best neighbors. Really.

The other night, the doorbell rang and this was anonymously waiting on the doorstep:

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Once you are anonymously gifted you pay the “Boo-ing” forward to two other families.

While this game has been going on in the neighborhood for a while, this year there was a twist: alcohol was added. Hence getting “BOO-zed.”

Now this is a tradition I can get behind.

Trixie helped me distribute our bounty last night. This pumpkin included Rumchata, a funny kitchen towel that said “Pick your poison,” M&Ms, Hershey kisses and some rainbow gumballs.

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Have a great weekend!

 

 

The Chore List

Trixie’s (7) been angling for a while to get a toy she saw on TV, a Shopkins Happy Home.

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At $29.99, it wasn’t outrageously expensive (although overpriced for what it is), but it also wasn’t cheap enough to make it something I’d randomly let her get during our weekly Target run.

She saved her allowance ($5/week) and Tooth Fairy money until she reached $22. 

Close but no cigar.

We agreed that she could get the toy this week and earn the rest by doing chores around the house.

She made a list:

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Translation:

  • Make every bed in house
  • Do laundry (maybe)
  • Clean living room and keep clean

I’ll remain optimistic about the list, but I’m also not holding my breath for ironed linens and hospital corners on my bed.

Humbling

Life is so humbling for me.

Spouse and I spent part of the weekend out of town (kids stayed behind at Fancy Pants Ranch with a 20-year-old babysitter), and it included two important meals. 

The first was dinner with another couple we do not know well, and I have to admit I was nervous going into it.

As a person who enjoys public speaking, live TV events and performing surgery, feeling nervous is an unusual state for me.

They are extremely elegant, worldly and sophisticated. Often, I am not.

While I joke that I am best described as someone with toilet paper stuck to her shoe, I discovered during champagne at their beautiful home that I literally had a wet leaf stuck to my foot. I discreetly removed it and put it in my Prada handbag. This may be the first and last time someone ever did that.

Ostensibly, the dinner was phenomenal. The food was great, the conversation flowed well and I left energized and excited for the future.

The next day we had breakfast with our friends P. and T., but there was also an agenda to discuss a huge undertaking we’ve got in the works.

That, too, went well, but the underlying stress of the weekend eventually caught up with me.

When Spouse and I returned home on Sunday afternoon, we were greeted with disarray.

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Not quite this, but you get the idea

MGM (9) and Trixie (7) had taken every last pillow in our home (and I have an insane quantity of regular and decorative pillows) and created a fort in the living room. 

Our 15-year-old toy poodle had peed in our bedroom.

And pooped in the dining room.

A (nice) bottle of wine was empty, although I really can’t blame the babysitter. I might have done the same.

MGM was crying over a scene in a movie they watched that was deemed “too scary,” even though it had been turned off after the opening credits.

Toys were scattered everywhere.

Dishes were piled in the sink.

And then, Trixie was jumping on our ottoman into the pillow fort and landed just right so that she smashed and broke one of the doors on our TV cabinet.

I lost it. 

I yelled at her to look at what she did and she immediately ran off and started crying.

Spouse kept his head together and started in on the sink. The babysitter exited. MGM was still crying about the movie.

I was seeing red but pulled it together enough to make a first stab at apologizing to Spouse and Trixie.

And then realized I needed to go to the gym.

One thing I learned recently: when I’m in stressful situations, I should try to step outside myself and check in, asking myself how I’m feeling and why. This doesn’t come naturally to me. Maybe it’s obvious and intuitive to you.

What I understood in that moment: I’ve got a big, exciting new thing coming to me. And while all signs point to it being awesome, it’s still scary and there are parts that are going to be messy and not in my control. 

So I went to the gym with MGM and Trixie. A therapeutic treadmill hour later, we were headed home. I had (almost) forgotten it all.

At a stoplight, I heard a tentative voice from the backseat.

Trixie: Mom, are you still mad at me?

Gut punch.

My anger had diffused nearly two hours prior, but she was still wondering. I felt awful, as I should.

Me: No, Sweetie. I love you and am sorry for losing my cool. I’m not mad. I do want you to be more careful in the future, but I always, always love you.

She accepted the apology. 

Ever the comedian, MGM stepped in:

Just think, Mom, there could be seven of us! Then you’d really come home to chaos.

Again, life is so humbling.

 

 

 

 

 

Here We Go Again

School starts today…

Which meant that yesterday involved a frantic scramble to organize the massive pile of school supplies that the kids and I threw into an overflowing cart at Target last weekend.

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What $330 looks like

Our kids’ school pools supplies, so all of the crayons, markers, etc. go into a communal stash. This takes some of the pressure off of deciding which cartoon character notebook gets purchased, but still. Last weekend in the school supply section of Target, the struggle was real. At least three moms made a dive for the lone yellow plastic folder at the end of the aisle. It wasn’t pretty.

At the end of last year, I also basically gave up on preparing the kids’ lunches.

Forget this:

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I could barely muster up this:

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This year I’m determined to do better and I’m referencing this list of school lunch ideas from Food.com.

At least for the first week of classes…

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First day from three years ago. They were so tiny! Sniff.

 

 

 

 

If It Makes You Happy

I’m doing the solo parenting thing this weekend.

Spouse is re-living his glory days with his college buddies, and from the picture he sent of his feet in front of a campfire (with a caption that Friday evening was fueled by 25 year-old Scotch and Nicaraguan cigars), it sounds like he’s having a blast.

Back at Fancy Pants Ranch, I invited my dear friends J. and B. over last night. We had a lot to catch up on and a few things to celebrate, so this happened:

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My Recycling Bin, which is going to be *quite* heavy to take outside

The three of us also had a blast, but I was feeling a bit rough this A.M.

Fortunately, both kids were also interested in sleeping late and spending the rainy morning as couch potatoes…

Which led me to spend two hours pursuing on of my more embarrassing hobbies: watching corny made-for-TV movies.

Since this was “Hallmark Channel” and not “Lifetime,” it was about two seemingly mismatched strangers falling in love despite obstacles (versus Lifetime’s Woman In Danger trope).

Here’s a screenshot of “Stranded in Paradise,” starring Vanessa Marcil and James Denton.

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Actual screenshot, as this is my TV

There was one part of the film that leapt out at me. Laid-back James (LBJ) is having a conversation with Uptight Vanessa’s (UV) character about Life With a Capital “L”, and it went something like this:

LBJ: The last I checked, you only get one Go Round here. I figured it’s a shame to just go through the motions or live somebody else’s dream. You gotta find your own.

UV: You know, just so you know, it’s not that easy to drop everything and change your whole entire life.

LBJ: I think you’re making it a little harder than it is. You just ask yourself: Am I happy?

And if not, is there something that might make me happy? It’s not selfish or narcissistic. It’s just honest. 

But you have to find it yourself.

Laid-back James, you had me at hello!

Lately I’ve had so many moments to contemplate this exact question, and it’s something I’m determined to figure out.

A few weeks ago at Rock Retreat Run (read about it here), I made this list of things I value:

  • Authenticity
  • Family
  • Friendships
  • Independence/autonomy
  • Laughter
  • Happiness

Fortunately, I think the script for my Hallmark Movie is still being written (and let’s just hope that the plot doesn’t go all Lifetime on me).

 

P.S. Spoiler alert: In the end, Uptight Vanessa and Laid-back James fell in love.

P.P.S. It is almost 1 PM and I still have not brushed my teeth. I know.

Happy Halloween!

Ok, I am officially declaring this A Thing. 

And a brilliant one, at that.

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We’re all set for trick-or-treaters, with lots of candy for the kids and shots of Fireball for the grown-ups.

Spouse gets all the credit for this one, but really, why didn’t I think of it before?

Who wouldn’t want a little warm up while you’re out with the kids, slogging from door to door on a night that is going to prove to be cold and windy?

Happy Halloween, Folks! Please stop by.

This Disney Character…

A couple of weeks ago, Trixie started asking us to play a game called “This Disney Character.”

The game is simple: one person gives clues to the identity of a Disney character and the others guess. The person who gets it right does the clues for the next round.

Sample: This Disney Character is a snowman who loves summer.

Please don’t make me answer that one for you.

However, last week the game took a dark turn.

As I’ve mentioned before, Trixie is not the up-and-at-’em type in the morning.

She’s more like a mid-90s Courtney Love forced to meet a parole officer in the A.M.

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Undoctored photo

Last week the two of us were alone in the kitchen and the usual morning scramble to get out the door was in full swing.

I can’t even recall the precipitating incident, but all of sudden she snarled, “This Disney character is chubby, sweaty, stinky and is standing next to the sink!”

Ok, I *was* next to the sink, but really, the rest of that is not true.

(Is it? Sniff. My self esteem is destroyed by a six year old).

Once I recovered I was able to come back with one for her:

This Disney character is about to lose iPad privileges for the rest of her life.

It only took one guess.

P.S. Here’s another Disney game that is a lot of fun.

Same As It Ever Was

While winters in our city – located slightly south of Canada – are just not even worth discussing, summers can be quite perfect.

Spouse and I have been enjoying a fine beverage and conversation on our patio lately, conditions permitting.

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Music is also key to the ambiance.

I just added this song to our summer playlist and there’s something about it I really like:

Enjoy!

 

 

Front Entrace 2015, a.k.a. My Urban Farming Experiment

Last summer I got a late start in sprucing up the front entrance of Fancy Pants Ranch.

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I think this photo was from July.

This summer I decided to be ahead of the curve.

With some valuable assistance from my Mom and $175 at the gardening center, we hit Memorial Day weekend running.

Fancying ourselves as urban farmers, we added some crops this year in the form of a green bean plant, a tomato plant, two strawberry plants, a salad container, and lots of herbs.

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Total yield thus far:

  • One salad (picked and consumed the day the planter was purchased, subsequently all lettuces eaten by chipmunks)
  • Three green beans
  • Two strawberries
  • Zero tomatoes (although that plant has taken off like crazy and I am still keeping my fingers crossed)

But the best purchases of all were two solar powered butterfly lights.

Here they are in the day:

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Here’s a professional shot at night:

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Photo from HomeLava

They change colors every few seconds, which the kids love to watch.

I never really thought about decorating for night until now, but these colorful lights add so much.

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Hope you’re having a great weekend!