Sunday, December 29, 2013

Little Names

One of the things I've always wanted to do for my kids is to put their names on their bedroom door(s).

There are MANY people on Etsy and eBay who will make custom door hanging signs for you (google it), and I contemplated it for a while while living at my parents house (since they have nice wooden doors that haven't been white washed and would staunchly object to me getting my craft on) to get one that said "Kristina and Adrianna's Room". 

But somehow in life (and the not overly cheap price tag associated with these custom works of art), it didn't happen. 

And then we moved into our own little condo this past summer, and I almost delayed moving in just so I could paint up their bedrooms. Some gentle encouragement from my parents and a natural impatience to get into my own place finally combined to have the move in occur pre-painting.

(Sorry kids, I know I sorta dropped the ball on making the ultimate pink (and purple) rooms happen here. You can spend your teenage years bemoaning to your therapist about it.)

I was concerned that if I didn't do it before moving in, painting their rooms would be something that just didn't ever happen. And in some ways, as we've now been here for over six months and I finally got around to pinning up the used-to-be-Kristina's-but-are-now-Adrianna's alphabet letters yesterday, I may have been right about my personal level of motivations to get these decorating sorts of things done while living here day to day and having much more pressing concerns of laundry and dishes and oh-my-god-how-do-you-have-so-many-toys-in-your-bedroom-I-almost-died-twice-while-walking-to-your-bed-to-kiss-you-good-night.

But dammit, I wanted their rooms to be personalized. 

I had even gone so far as to buy stencils and sponge brushes and paints back in the middle of the whirlwind of closing and moving, determined to at least get their names painted somewhere.

It didn't happen before move in, but it DID happen today. 

Turns out my children have too many letters in their names for the size stencils I got. Also, eyeballing a nicely arched line is harder than it looks. And reusing the same letters over and over again is kinda a pain once the stencils get covered in paint. And I don't even want to get into what happens when you wash off the sponge brush to change paint colors but don't dry it out all the way.

However the end result was still pretty cute (crooked letters and all). 

And most importantly, the girls LOVED them.


Well, Adrianna loved hers. Kristina promptly asked me to put some flowers and hearts and butterflies on her door in addition to her name, so it looks like I get to have another visit to the craft store.

Just in case you were wondering, their adorable doorway curtains can be bought over at Hearthsong, and were a "congratulations on your new house" present to us from a dear (and sympathetic to the lack of time for a legit paint job and subsequent mommy guilt) friend of mine. And they really do an amazing job of making an ordinary bedroom into something truly special.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Letter Reflections

As a child, I loved getting the annual Christmas cards from relatives. Seeing my cousins grow, reading the letters about the happenings in their lives, it was very exciting to me and something I aspired to do once I became a grown up. 

The first year of "being a grown up" (you know, the one where I graduated college and got married and had a baby and was still motivated to be like, lets do this life!!) I was all about the Christmas cards.

I ended up ordering two batches of picture perfect family holiday cards from the Sears Portrait Studio, because I couldn't decide which color scheme was better. A letter was drafted and redrafted, special paper and matching envelopes procured, and everything was ready to go into the mail as of December First.

The following year involved two cross country moves, a busy-being-soldier husband, a toddler who liked to scream for hours every night at bedtime, and a lonely worn down me. I honestly can't remember if I pulled photo cards (much less a letter) together or not for that year. And I'm sorta ok letting my brain forget some things.

The following year included another cross country move, a deployment, a shit-ton of snow, and oh my god was I super pregnant when December rolled around. I'm pretty sure there weren't any holiday cards or letters this year, since all I wanted to do after I got up the Christmas lights was lie in my bed and drool. But like I said, sometimes it's ok to just let these things go.

Then there was the year we were getting a divorce. Again, not exactly awesome Christmas letter fodder going on here (and we won't even get into my personal motivation on these matters at this point), but I did manage to pull off some online ordered cards of the children sitting by the tree. The baby may or may not have been eating Christmas lights in said picture.

A year at my parents and a less-than-easy divorce that was caught up in the gears, the first time getting family pictures with just me and the girls... I did not want to so much as think about making Christmas cards happen.

Then there was the year stuff was sorta ok. Not great, mind you, but the part where it was just me and the girls was ok. So I got some picture cards of that when we did the annual family pictures for my parents to show the world it was ok, and some of them with us for that side of the family as well. But it was still a hard year to reflect back on, many failures about stuff like "move out of my parents basement" and "get a real job".

Which brings us to year seven. This has been a good year. I bought and moved into my own perfect condo. I started dating the very wonderful boyfriend. I... didn't get fired from working at Target? Ok, so work is still a little lacking in the "accomplishments" category, but I'm much more ok with that since managing to make financial independence to a reasonable standard of living happen with the salary I get. The girls are getting older. Adrianna has made leaps and bounds with her speech therapy, and is too smart for her own good most of the time. Kristina adores ballet and has made some very good friends at school, where she is at least marginally passing academically. Sometimes they even manage to play nicely together without immanent concern of physical danger or me referring every 30 seconds.

And I still didn't manage to pull off an actual Christmas letter.

Maybe me and Christmas letters just weren't meant to be. 

However, portrait studio cards were ordered, and I even remembered to get them in the mail before Christmas despite loathing the local post office and loosing the ultimate address list, so all-in-all I'm pretty satisfied without having sent an actual letter detailing said life accomplishments.

Besides, anybody who's anybody knows to just keep tabs on the blog I sometimes remember I have. 

Christmas Morning 2013



























Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Magic of Target

Many mommy bloggers people like to talk about the magic of Target.

(Clearly these people have never worked in retail during the holidays, as they are describing events like Black Friday without excessive profanity.)

But there is something to be said for the Target Corporation vision.

At Target, they try to have reasonably competitive prices, but they also know that the only way to survive with Amazon and Walmart is to do something different.

That is where I come in. Or rather, the generic Target worker.

(I, of course, am much more awesome and amazing than the truly generic Target worker.)

(I also staunchly avoid wearing red polos on principal.) 

I, as the generic Target worker, am all about guest service. Or as we like to call it, The Vibe.

Not only am I all about showing you where the curtain section is, but I'm also all about explaining the standard size lengths, calculating how many panels you need, praising your selection as a wonderful choice, and amicably listening to a long and mostly irrelevant story about your sister-in-law 20 years ago that has been influencing your home decor style choices ever since.

I am all about making your day happy and your shopping experience at Target as pleasant as possible.

(Sorry I can't do anything about the other 3 or 4 hundred people who also simultaneously decided to experience the magic of shopping at Target a week before Christmas. Believe me, I would if I could.) 

But see, I don't think that's magic. I don't even think it's anything overly special for an employee to do.

I think it's a (possibly futile) appeal to the lost art of humanity.

So many people just want someone to talk to. Someone to brainstorm with. Someone to give some sense of recognition to their actions, however irrelevant said person giving recognition is. 

And all that is ok. That is what is keeping stores like Target in business, and as I greatly enjoying having my job at the moment, please continue to shop and to enjoy the extra awesome service brought to you courtesy of The Vibe.

(Hey, it's not as cheesy as our most recent "Get Appy" push to promote the new coupon app called Cartwheel, which all cheesy Target promotions aside, is actually a pretty cool way to save a little money. Check it out.)

But there is a darker side to this.

You see, there are these people who come through Target just because they like being in Target (no judgement here, that's why I applied to work there when I failed to get a real grown up job), but who haven't yet mastered self-control about not buying stuff just to buy stuff.

These are the people who keep saying "Oh my god I always spend too much money here" or "I can't believe I keep buying more stuff I don't need" when they go through the checkout lane.

And I always wonder if they know that that purchase they didn't need to make totaled more than the cashier made working an 8 hour shift. I've seen people drop more than my entire two week paycheck on stupid crap they are telling me they don't need.

And some days that is hard to smile through. 

But when it comes down to it, their purchasing power is fueling my and many others' employment (and filling landfills, but we don't need to think too much about that right now), so by all means, spend on consumers, spend on. 

But, maybe, try to keep a little perspective about the humanity of the people who work there too?


Monday, December 16, 2013

50 Questions My 6 Year Old Asked at Bedtime

Full disclaimer: All of these things are true without embellishment and recorded exactly how she said it to the best of my memory. Luckily, most of these have come through the question filter at least a couple of times, so I'm pretty good at remembering them by now.

Fuller disclaimer: Bedtime basically always involves me gently telling her to shut up stop talking now so she can go to sleep. Every single night. So you know, there are worlds of gems left unsaid because of my cruel parenting tactics of trying to get her to actually sleep eventually.

  1. Why are boogers green?
  2. Where does snow come from?
  3. Are you going to go to jail?
  4. Do I have to wear a coat forever?
  5. Can we go to the store so I can buy something with my money?
  6. What does the fox say?
  7. Why did you and daddy get divorced?
  8. What does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth she takes?
  9. Can I get a puppy for Christmas?
  10. Am I staying at grandma's house on the weekend? 
  11. Is God a man or a woman?  
  12. Do rattlesnakes really kill people? 
  13. Can you paint my toenails pink again?
  14. What is the atomic bomb?
  15. But HOW are babies made?
  16. Why is my back lumpy?
  17. Can I get a puppy for my birthday?
  18. What do aliens look like?
  19. Why do I always have to wear shoes?
  20. Is TV bad for kids? 
  21. What does [holds up middle finger] mean? 
  22. Will you get me a car when I'm 16?
  23. Can we get a pony for Christmas? 
  24. Why do I have to have a little sister forever?
  25. Are you [and boyfriend] in love?
  26. Why do firetruck sirens go WEEOOWEEEOOWEEOOWEEOOWEEOO?
  27. When will I be a teenager? 
  28. What is gangnam style?
  29. Would you sell me for a thousand dollars? 
  30. Why do people eat sushi? 
  31. Why are dinosaurs extinct? 
  32. How do Santa's Elves make all the toys? 
  33. Can I use your toothpaste tomorrow? 
  34. Why is my head itchy? 
  35. How do spaceships fly? 
  36. Do soldiers really shoot people? 
  37. Can we never cut my hair ever again? 
  38. Do I have to go to college? 
  39. Why is our apartment on the top? 
  40. How do you make a whistle that sounds like a bird? 
  41. Can you get me bubble gum from Target tomorrow? 
  42. When will we go see my cousins again?
  43. Why do people puke when they're sick? 
  44. Can we read the rest of the chapter book tomorrow?
  45. Why do you drink so much soda? 
  46. Why are there stars?
  47. Can we get a new car with a TV in it? 
  48. How long until you die? 
  49. Where is my DS? 
  50. What happens if you poke a slug with a stick? 

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Songs I Sing Myself

Some songs are meant to be sung to someone else. And then some songs I just sing to myself. 

Keep your head up, my love. 



Settle down, it'll all be clear. Don't pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear. The trouble, it might drag you down. If you get lost you can always be found. Just know you're not alone, cause I'm gonna make this place your home.


 
All night awake, in the moonlight I'm with you. In the moonlight I'm with you, brighter than gold.

 

We ain't got much now, just starting out. I know somehow, paradise is coming. Someday baby, you and I are gonna be the ones that good luck's gonna shine. Someday baby, you and I are gonna be the ones. So hold on, we're headed to a better life. 



I don't know where, where my path will lead, but I'll follow my feet and hopefully they'll keep me on the ground and I'll keep walking to the sound; Follow, follow, follow my feet. 



Only know you love her when you let her go.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lead Poisoning

I have an acquittance from college and a friend from facebook who has been having all sorts of difficulty with her children testing positive for lead poisoning and the subsequent financial implications as they've tried to renovate their house to remove said lead and then further bureaucratic issues trying to get state funding to help expedite the process.

I've spent my share of time dealing with bureaucratic paperwork and headaches, and fully understand the challenges of tight budgets with small children.

But this particular story [read about it HERE with pictures and more back story and how to donate to help them and everything] hits even a little bit closer to home than all that.

You see, that pretty and afford older house they bought to renovate is very common in the area of Iowa where I was living when Kristina was born. I cruised countless MLS listings of extremely similar places during that time, and had Peter's military service not taken him into the Army (and out of Iowa) when it did, we probably would have ended up buying a house almost identical to theirs eventually.

And the place we DID buy out in New York wasn't exactly much better on the "old house probably filled to the teeth with toxic lead paint" scale.

But we happened to get lucky. 

The owners before us had done some kitchen and bathroom renovations, put in new windows, and painted lots of rooms lots of bold colors.

Did you catch that? 

They renovated, including the clean up of all the probably lead filled dust. They put in new windows, so even if they weren't of the highest quality, they also weren't the lead filled stained glass sort I thought were so pretty when we house hunted. They painted, covering up layers that were almost certainly originally full of peeling lead paint. 

They did things that unintentionally kept my children from being accidentally exposed to a substance this other family is desperately trying to fight in their home.

And I cringe especially hard at the thought of the house I really wanted to get in New York that we didn't, this beautiful old Victorian dollhouse that I had been pining away for since I was a very small child.


I cringe because ultimately it wasn't concerns about something as mundane as lead poisoning that made it a poor option, it was the part where the furnace was wood fed that just made it too... impractical. Not the vast 3500 square feet size, not the gorgeous and extremely heat inefficient stained glass front doors, not the ancient still working knob and tube wiring, not the small outdated kitchen, not the creek running behind the house half and acre away on the edge of the property, not the vintage wallpaper, and not even the probability of lead saturating so much of it... but the wood burning furnace that had to be fed every few hours to keep the heat running.

So through an odd combination of dumb luck and questionable happenstance, my children are lead free while hers are poisoned. Sometimes it's a shitty world out there, full of dangers you don't even know exist until it's too late.

Seasonal Stitches

This year has been very exciting for me with the purchase of my condo..... which immediately harkens into unilateral control over Christmas Decorating by (yay!) me.

And even though there were some naysayers along the way condemning the putting up of Christmas lights before Thanksgiving, I was enthusiastically enjoying my power and my new electrical cord approved staple gun.

But I wanted something bigger than strings of lights.

A search was begun, including all the usual suspects of Amazon and Target, and then I saw it at Home Depot of all places.

A 4 foot tall blue dinosaur, appropriately festive in a jaunty Santa hat.

Now there were some pretty awesome light up pink flamingos as well, and I did briefly deliberate over which to get (the obvious answer was both of them, but after I was so super good on sticking to my present budget for the kids it seemed like a shame to blow my holiday decorating budget on an impulsive indulgence outdoor light up decorations), but the dinosaur was the clear winner with it's classic broad-spectrum appeal.

(Some people just really hate pink flamingos...) 

Needless to say I immediately set about putting it together, cackling gleefully and envisioning my deck looking like something out Christmas Vacation in no time.

When I met the girls at the bus stop that afternoon, I was excited to show them the most awesome Christmas light up dinosaur decoration, and of course immediately told them I had a surprise inside.

Kristina's eyes lit up as she asked, is it a puppy??

Uh, no...

Is it Santa??

Uh, no....

Is it candy???

Lets just go inside now and I'll show you, mkay?


Turns out Kristina probably would have been more excited for a sufficiently large candy bar, but I'm going to hold on to the hope that Adrianna thought "a pet dinosaur" was the most awesome thing ever (at least until she tells me otherwise).

But then there were unforeseen complications. I had been hoping I could just staple gun it to the deck rail for all the world to see and admire, until I attempted this and realized my super awesome dinosaur had a stance wider than the deck rail. After some creative pondering, I went with procuring my parents' old card table with the hopes of attaching the dinosaur to it and then attaching the table to the deck itself.

However, a few weeks had passed during this pondering time and Thanksgiving travels, and I was getting impatient with myself for missing out on all this glorious Christmas light up dinosaur appreciation time that was passing by alarmingly quick.

And this is when the story takes a dark and sordid twist, for it was in my own impatience to rig up the dino that I picked a time when I was already tired and stressed (and therefore not as focused and much more clumsy), and then made the mistake of cutting zip ties without carefully considering the location of all of my limbs.

A trip to urgent care and a few fore-arm stitches later, my dinosaur is still not rigged up and my enthusiasm for Christmas decorations has been seriously subdued.

Ah well, there's always next year. And maybe one of those light/sound systems....

[Note to self: re-read HOA bylaws to see if they specifically prohibit music light shows on decks]

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Family Pictures, 2013

We had the annual family pictures taken a few weekends back, and as always, getting pictures was a blog worthy experience. 

There were a couple years in there where getting family pictures was hard. It means a lot to my parents to have the pictures with them and the girls, but the stuff like going through a divorce (and the subsequent very noticeable change in the family composition on top of conflicting emotional shit like "memories") made it hard for me to particularly enjoy the experience at the time. 

(Sorry, sometimes a little bit of just being human sneaks through all this awesomeness.)

This year was better though. A lot better. In fact, this year was actually sorta *gasp* fun!! 

(As I have now immortalized that sentiment on the Internet, I'm sure it will be another ten years at least before it happens again.)

Family portraits came with the usual challenges, of course. 

Details like how my plan to just have Adrianna wear the big sister hand me down Hanna Andersson little red dress while getting Kristina this years version in her this year size to easily and somewhat economically make them matchy went horribly array when Hanna Andersson suddenly and inexplicably stopped making their little red dress which had been a yearly catalogue stable for all time remembered.

Or the epic moment when I asked the children to get closer together for a mama-photo-op just before we left for our picture appointment and Adrianna burst into tears at the horror of me making her stand next to her big sister. 


(Do you see the torture I'm putting that poor child through??)

But once we were there, all was good. 

Sure Adrianna's dress shoes were too big and kept falling off, and Kristina's puffy slip skirt was far too long for the dress she was wearing it under so I was constantly hitching it up, but those are truly negligible footnotes to the day. 

The kids were happy and accommodating, and as I had remembered to grab some Halloween candy, the few moments where cooperation wasn't immediate by the children were instantly smoothed over by the promise of fun size m&ms as soon as pictures were done. 

The photographer was one of the old veterans of the business and totally on top of it for positioning and speed and getting laughs out of the kids. She even knew about reminding grandpa to smile!

Kristina was incredibly well behaved, and Adrianna didn't even try to pull the stunt of refusing to sit with her grandparents like she did last year. 

Ok, Adrianna did get to hold a little Cinderella doll during half of it, but it was an endearing moment of the age of 3 and a half, much like Kristina's gap toothed smiles that are so quintessentially capturing of what it means to be 6. 

We even made it through brunch at Ihop afterwards with everyone still mostly happy. 

(There was a brief incident in the pancake house bathroom where I was trying to do the things one does in a bathroom and had some door opening children, but that's just how motherhood goes most of the time.) 

It was a good day, and made for some good pictures. But the memories that go with them are even better. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Halloween



I hope your halloween has been sufficiently super and rockin' and your face well stuffed with candy. 

Baby Ballerina Dragon

Adrianna's ballet class let them wear their Halloween costumes to dance class this week. 

And let me just say, little baby ballerina dragon was ridiculously cute. 


She then decided she needed to make a dragon cave for herself while we were waiting for Kristina's class to finish. 


Did I mention she was soooo cute??

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Television and Me

Kristina has the (at times highly annoying) habit of talking excessively while watching television. 

"Who is that? What is he doing? Where are they? Why are they there? Are those trees? Why are there trees? What are they doing now? Who's that?"

I always attributed this trait of hers to just be part of her extroverted personality and the subsequent need to constantly talk to other people. Her father has an awesome aunt who is also a bit renowned for the exact same characteristic (they are super cute and super chatty together), so I always assumed it might have had a genetic influence from that side of the family.  

As in, not from me. 

And then, I was watching a Sherlock Holmes movie with Wes (the awesome boyfriend), and apparently I was slightly inquisitive about the going ons and thus voiced said inquisitions to said boyfriend. 

And he turned his head and responded "why don't you just watch the movie and find out, Kristina". 

Ahem. 

When I was regaling my coworker with this story today, she suggested that some of it might be because I wasn't used to watching thought provoking television. 

I was all for this idea, yes of course that must be it!!! The firing brain neurons were surprising to me! I had share my excitement!  

.....except that then I admitted to her that some of the mind numbing television I watch is actually by myself (and not solely kids animation for my children) with stuff like Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition. 

She patted my hand and said, "sometimes you're such a cliché mom."

Ahem ahem. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Failure with Brewing Beer

The boyfriend decided to try brewing his own beer via fancy kit with lots of buckets he ordered from the internet.

This seemed like a wonderful hobby sort of thing to document and then use as blogging material when he asked, "Want to come over and help me make beer?"

And then I sorta fell asleep watching Star Wars in the middle of it.

Ahem.

I'll let you know how his efforts turned out in a month or so when it's done. 

Also, I'm not sure whether I'm a worse blogger or girlfriend or geek in this scenario, as I had pretty pathetic performance on all fronts. But what can I say, I needed a nap...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Favorite Recipes

Keeping in the theme of hobbies, I thought I would share a couple of my favorite recipes with you today. I'm not sure if "cooking" really counts as a hobby when it is done solely in the capacity of "to eat", and I can almost guarantee you that the only way I'm not getting sued for copyright infringement is because I'm botching the originals so bad they don't want the results accredited to them on the internet. But don't worry, I'll be putting up some truly original fudge recipes for you as well... as soon as I remember what I did when I was making it without a recipe.

Smashed Chicken

This is really just a fancy version of shake and bake, but seems grown up because it uses bread crumbs and seasoning instead of their pre-mixed packet of bread crumbs and seasoning.

Step one: Smash the chicken breasts flatter with a hammer. I believe the original recipe called for a meat tenderizer, but I have been highly successful with a regular hammer and parchment paper. Do be warned, people look at you funny when you're cooking and ask them if they have a hammer you could use real quick. This is totally my favorite part, and I'm pretty sure cackling gleefully while smashing makes the chicken feel loved. And everyone knows loved food tastes delicious.

Step two: Cover smashed chicken breasts with egg. To do this, pour a couple beaten together onto a high edge plat or flat bowl (or Tupperware dish, we don't judge here) and dip both sides of slimy raw chicken in it.

Step three: Coat with seasoned bread crumbs. Take the big jar of bread crumbs and put some on a plate, stir in whatever flavoring (spicy pepper, Italian, garlic) sounds delicious right then in your spice cupboard (ok, I wouldn't recommend pumpkin pie spice unless you're really adventuresome), then just coat both sides of the chicken in it real quick. You will want to do this before the egg part so you're not standing their holding egg soaked raw chicken in your hands while trying to also scoop bread crumbs, and woe be to ye who started cooking without reading the entire recipe first.

Step four: put chicken in baking dish or on a cookie sheet with small amount of cooking spray or oil in the bottom to reduce sticking. I'm not picky, you use whatever you have in your kitchen cupboard and that feels right to you right then. Or canola. The internet likes canola.

Step five: bake for 8 minutes at 375, flip, back for another 6-8 minutes on the other side.

Tada!


Sugerdoodles

So these are mostly snickerdoodle cookies except they don't use cream of tarter, which the internet tells me is required for a "real" snickerdoodle. Hence, they are sugardoodles.

Mix 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, and 1 cup (two sticks) butter in a bowl. Mix in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Mix in 2 and 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt

It should be fairly thick and you'll be feeling it in your bicep. Once it's all mixed together, roll into small balls and then roll those in a separate mixture of 3 parts white sugar to 1 part cinnamon (aka, 3 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon) to coat, then place on cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for 18-20 minutes.

It should be noted that the original recipe for this had all sorts of words like "whisk" and "beat" and "blend" and "combine". I just stir everything together in the one bowl with a spoon. Which is probably why I suck at having cooking as a hobby.

For the record, it makes good cookies without the pre-whisking of flour.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hobby Aspiration

Alright, so there's not a lot of time or personal motivation for me to really hobby it up right now, but that doesn't mean I don't know what I would do given sufficient resources at my disposal.

  • Horse back riding. I was the child who managed to convince her parents she liked horses enough to go to Girl Scout horse camp for two weeks in the summer for a few years, but not enough to get riding lessons the rest of the time. This may have been partially because horses as an animal aren't all that awesome (they are sorta large and smelly, and horse camp had a lot more mucking and carrying heavy stuff than actual trotting time), but RIDING them is still absolutely exhilarating. Articulating this subtle difference can be challenging. I enrolled myself in riding lessons that lasted about eight months of us living in Oklahoma four or five years ago, and keep scheming about how I could do said lessons again. Perhaps as a family bonding activity this next summer, where we all get horses? Or maybe my personal present to myself can be a horse when Adrianna leaves for college, instead of that sexy pink convertible I was also day dreaming about buying that day.
  • Archery. Because you never know when having that sort of skill just might save you from the zombies. 
  • Photography. Yeah yeah, I've never used a camera that took actual lenses that could be changed out, know absolutely nothing about film, even less about digital editing, and these days don't even bother with a real camera since getting my iPhone. But I do like taking pictures, especially of people, and would like to be able to take more time to do it. So there. 
  • Piano lessons. I took enough years of music theory to be able to pound out basic tunes, but man would it be nice to actually be able to play. Then I'd have a reason to own a piano too, beyond just because I want one. Oh, and some singing lessons would be sweet too, mostly just because I'm insanely self-conscience over singing in front of people, and therefore ONLY sing to my children. Because you know, it started when they were a little tiny fussy baby and I was just crooning at them to try and make them not crying and then I started humming Christmas carols and it was really all downhill from there, to where they make requests for specific songs every night and "mommy has a cold and her throat sorta hurts so she doesn't really feel like serenading you with Amazing Grace right now" is totally not a reasonable thing to say. 
  • Jet skiing. Because riding manatees is illegal.
  • Baking. I do bake some things, like cookies, and have lots of fun doing it mostly because I really like eating cookies and giving cookies to other people because other people love cookies too. But I'd love to take on stuff like baking bread. Oh my goodness how I love fresh bread... I could totally make it myself, right? I just need to figure out how, and then do it a few hundred times so it actually works right. 
  • Welding. Again, it just seems like a useful life skill to have. 
  • Drawing. I actually could kinda sorta do it ok back in school when I had art class and dedicated time where I was supposed to do nothing but work on trying to make something on the piece of paper. I lack 'innate talent' for anything, but feel like drawing was something I was less lacking in than some other areas. I suspect painting could be fun too, but I've never used paint that wasn't described as "water" or "poster" in my entire life, and am rather scared of Bob Ross
  • Zumba. What can I say, it looks like fun, and I always thought music would have made my martial arts studying better. Lets not get into my short lived interest with Capoeira and how it ended with my falling on my face a couple of times right now. Besides, I'm sure Zumba would be totally different. Maybe.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hobby Time

I was thinking about my tendency to overly blog about stuff like my deep internal ponderings of dolls and cute pictures of my kids, and how I didn't ever want to become "a mommy blogger" while utterly failing to not be one.

So then I was like, well I just need to blog about my hobbies more.

Sounds easy enough.

Totally doable.

Ready, GO!!

.....Uh......

*chirp chirp*

Um.......

Right.

Ok, so it turns out that to have hobbies one must have things like time, money, and energy to invest in cultivating whatever activity of personal interest, and I might not have a whole lot of any of those just begging to be occupied by a new hobby, between that whole working full time and having two kids and living on my own and occasionally even doing something as crazy as a date or sleeping for more than 5 hours.... Yeah, can't imagine where all my time and energy goes.

HOWEVER, the somewhat lack of true hobby is no match for my blogging powers, and this next week will be all about my (possibly imaginary) hobbies!

For today, it's all about the blogging. You see, blogging is probably the one thing I do these days that could even sorta be considered a real hobby, and even though it does not lend itself to particularly great topics to blog about most of the time, it's what I do.

My favorite part of it is how it can be whatever I want it to be. It doesn't even have to be words, I can just post pictures or YouTube music videos, if I'm not feeling in a talkative mood. I can tell the cute stories about what my kids did today, write inspirational prose on contemporary political topics, or just lament about how I sorta walked into the wall and almost broke my nose through rhymed verse if I feel so motivated.

Albeit unintentional, I have documented most of my children's lives, through pictures and stories, and captured my own thoughts and feelings at the time it was all happening. Props to mommy bloggers everywhere, that's pretty damn cool to look back at over the years. Also, anyone who wants to stay up on the girls' lives can easily do so simply by reading, the blog is open to anyone.

And the most awesome part: my blogger friends. I don't have a lot, nor am I well connected in super awesome blogger circles, but I sure adore the few gals I have. They are people, real people, who have their own crazy stories to share and through whatever happenstance stumbled across me and decided to stick around, to follow my story offering congratulations and condolences as needed along the way. They are the reason I blog, because I know they are here to read it. Thank you.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Few Moments of Song

Little children breaking out in heartfelt song for your listening and viewing pleasure today.

video

Kristina came home from her first day of summer camp singing that one. It's good to know summer camp is still... um, summer camp. 

video

I especially liked Adrianna's moment of harmony, and Kristina's "die, die, die" refrain. Because if there's one message you want to drive home about eating healthy, it's the possible side effect of dying if you don't.

Wait, what are they teaching them in schools these days?

video

I'm actually sorta impressed by the musical qualities of this spontaneously made up Adrianna riding song. I'm not sure if it means my child is a musical genius or if it just shows the incessant chord repetition present in nearly all children's music (and, for the record, a lot of the super popular boy band pop songs too).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Flood Pictures

Remember when I mentioned the great Boulder Flood of 2013? And how I sorta didn't know it was happening until a little after the fact??

That was because my exact location happened to just be a little wet. 

And even though that makes it hard to take crazy pictures of missing high ways and puddles up to a grown man's chest, it did make for some excellent splashing.

(You know, until I read the article saying sewage plants had been compromised and to avoid being in the water whenever possible, right after we got back inside from our puddle hopping fun.)










My favorite part of this is how the girls were wearing swimsuits underneath their rain jackets. Because really, what else should one wear to go get soaking wet?





And of course, what could possibly wear afterwards while sipping hot chocolate to warm back up besides fuzzy flannel nighties?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Perks of the One-Legged Baby

I have come to realize that Adrianna's unfortunate removal of my, ahem, her American Girl doll leg comes with a few certain advantages.



(Yes yes, I know, it's the third blog post about Adrianna and these dolls in a week. But this a blog of whatever I happen to feel like talking about right then, and I've just been thinking about dolls a lot. Or writing blog posts right after tucking Adrianna into bed in the evening, when it's all about having the right dolls to sleep with, because one simply cannot go to sleep with Ariel if they actually wanted their Barbie doll that night or the Cabbage Patch Baby in place of Raggedy Ann. It is known. Also, did you see how I managed to publish a blog post every day for the past week? Go me!! It may or may not be solely a side effect of feeling great shame at the possibility of being at less than a blog post a week for the year with how blogging was going, but regardless, look! BLOG!!) 

Anyways, back to the advantages of one-legged dolls. 

First up: you only need one shoe. I have no idea where the second doll shoe goes, but finding a matched set is always EXTREMELY challenging for us, which boggles my mind because it's just like, where would the other one even go?? It's not like these are tiny Barbie shoes to be sucked up by the vacuum or eaten by the cat, it has to be around here somewhere. 

Second: teaches diversity. Sometimes people look a little different from yourself, but that doesn't mean they lack for some serious awesomeness. Plus it makes them the best pirate costume ever, with authentic peg leg. 

Third: your child will always know witch doll is theirs. No getting them confused with someone else's or the toy story thinking you're walking out the door with unpaid merchandise here!

Fourth: Enhanced imagination. For example, I'm pretty sure if you plant the now-detached leg in the garden, a doll tree will grow from it. 

And now, dear readers, please let me know of any special perks one-legged dolls provide that I have missed here on my list. After all, someone else must have a child who is loving her dollies into pieces. 

(Anyone? Anyone at all???)


Monday, October 14, 2013

Follow My Feet

The Unlikely Candidates, "Follow My Feet"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

An Update on Ballet

Ballet classes have been happening every Monday for a couple months now.

Kristina is greatly enjoying it, even though every class begins with me telling her she's not allowed to talk to her friends during it.

(Kristina sorta has this thing for talking, just in case you didn't know, and I probably do not commend her enough for the occasions when she manages to not do it continuously.)


The very practical dress code of black leotard and tights, no tutu, is still a little hard for her. Although she's been good about it when we get to class, she has asked for a PINK leotard costume WITH ATTACHED TUTU to play dress up in at home. 

We don't need to discuss the several very poofy pink tutus already residing in our dress up collection thanks to a super awesome and super crafty aunt, or how I've attempted to explain that most tutus don't come attached anyways even for the real ballerinas and can you please just play with the ones we have already??

The part where Adrianna's class can where whatever they want doesn't exactly help this matter. 

Adrianna has been participating in classes since the first one, but I'm still not sure she's exactly enjoying it. Her teacher will often put on music and let the kids have free dance time a few minutes before class starts (mostly just so she can keep them from being terrors while she goes and changes, I think), and all the other girls find it great fun to dance about in front of the big wall of mirrors. Adrianna sits down on a chair in the corner with an expression of... something... Pity? Disgust? Boredom? Fear? It sure isn't a happy look residing on her little face, although she at least stops sulking and follows the teachers instructions once class actually starts, which might just be as good as I'm going to get from her.

Now if I could only figure out if it's dancing itself or just the other kids that she doesn't like....

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Different Schools

Last year the girls attended Nederland Elementary School, which despite some mountain living quirks and a few polar extremes of income, was mostly filled with upper middle class white kids from stable homes with older fairly well off parents.

Out of both the morning and afternoon kindergarten classes, there was one kid besides mine who had a single parent. Add in the preschool families and anyone else I knew of existing in that town with children, you got a total of three single parents and one step dad. The only families that weren't screamingly Caucasian had adopted. A few families were poor, and all the single parents were getting state assistance for child care.

I worried a little bit. It might be hard for the girls if (when?) they become socially aware of how their family is different from everybody else. It was certainly hard for me, everything from being 20 years younger than all the other parents to living with my own parents to working a blue collar job to being divorced.

Ironically, moving to Boulder (a city somewhat renowned for crunchy upper middle class white people presiding in excess) put the girls into a home school that is very different.

The school is bilingual (Kristina has Spanish class every morning along with reading and math) and 80% of the kids who go there are Hispanic, for starters. I haven't pulled up the income statistics online, but just from the amount of food Kristina gets fed, they are trying to take care of these children in a very fundamental way the Nederland school never did.

For example, they give all the kids breakfast regardless of whether they're on the free-lunch meal plan as the routine for starting the day. They let Kristina have milk at lunch time if she asks for it, even though she's still not on the free-lunch meal plan and I pack her a lunch every day, just because I sent a juice box and she wanted milk instead. Last year Adrianna pulled a stunt of asking for breakfast a couple times, and since the Nederland school policy was to never let a child be hungry (even though she had been fed breakfast before school and wasn't on the free-lunch-and-breakfast meal plan), they fed her breakfast and billed me for it.

Kristina is in soccer again this fall, and it is a completely different experience.

At Nederland, every single parent showed up at the elementary school to get their kids into soccer gear, as it was required by the school until they were in third grade or so, and then intently watched their children practice on small teams of 6-8 kids with volunteer parent coaches.

Here in Boulder, they will waive the fees if the child is on the free-meal plan, bus the kids home after practice if you want, the kids play in jeans and sneakers, and there about thirty of them with the one coach who is also the gym teacher. I have seen exactly four parents watching practice over the past month, and Kristina is one of two girls out there.

So now I got them that diversity. Low income, non-traditional, multiracial and multicultural families surround them every day.

And I'm not quite so sure I like it as much as I abstractly thought I would....

This would be the middle class white kid part of my own childhood talking who is slightly concerned over stuff like "jacket theft" actually being a thing among six year olds. Stuff like Kristina holding up her middle finger and asking me what it means, and her using questionable vocabulary she did not know before starting school there, it just makes me twinge a little.

You cannot bubble wrap kids from life (well, you can a little, but it would require homeschooling and I am just not cut out for that). There is absolutely no reason to think Kristina wouldn't have picked up on the middle finger right about her 6th birthday regardless of schools or regional location, and kids will learn the bad words whether or not you personally say them.

Perks of the change in school means I can send fruit snacks in lunches occasionally without guilt or fear of scorn from the okra-filled lunchboxes of her peers. Kristina will not be the kid in her class with the most worn out sneakers, or the only one who's entire wardrobe was procured as hand-me-downs. My sometimes-sorta-sucky-because-I-am-not-small-person-teacher-material help on her homework is perfectly sufficient when other parents don't (or can't) help their kids at all.

And because they have lots of kids who haven't had the stringent academic focus during the preschool years (c'mon, I know I'm not the only one who spent stupid amounts of time trying to get a child under the age of four to be able to write their name), the school has all sorts of individualized services set up to help get them up to grade level quickly.

Kristina is in one of their specialized reading groups because I am terrible at teaching her to read because she is still struggling with it. Every day, she sits down with two classmates and one specialized early-lit teacher to work on her reading. She then gets specific reading books sent home for me to read with her again that evening. And it's totally the norm, because at least half her class is in the program, and they have the programs set up to take kids who are behind and catch them up because they deal with those children en mass every year.

Kristina did not have specialized reading groups last year. Even though she struggled with it. Even though she was just barely squeaking through assessments. Even though her teacher told me at each conference that she needed more work on it.

They are different schools, and they come with different experiences. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Doll for Christmas

Remember how the other day I posted about Adrianna's destroying of my American Girl Doll and how it had left our whole family very sad??

I had actually written the blog post a few weeks back but had forgotten to tidy it up and post it that evening (see also: how I have almost 400 draft blog posts linked to this blog), since I had written it on my phone and it's hard to put in links to old posts via the blogger app and at the time was thinking I'd just do that real quick on the computer later and then publish it.

But something happened on Wednesday that made me remember about the blog post and which made it SUPER IMPORTANT to post it asap, because without having posted it I couldn't post this one!

Wednesday... I was on my usual morning break in the Target Employee Break Room. I had forgotten my book that day (a travesty, I know), thus I was cruising facebook as it seemed more interesting than watching the originally-in-Mandarin-now-dubbed-into-Spanish infomercials that were on the TV right then (do you see what we do with cable??? le sigh).

There was a post from American Girl there in the middle of my news feed, saying there was a special promotion for select items up to 60% off with this special deal through the Today Show. I clicked the link, not expecting it to be much worthy of excitement, but it's not like there was anything else more interesting for me to stare at for the next ten minutes, and you never know, it might be something good.

The past couple of evenings I'd been looking at various knock-off American Girl dolls, trying to price out what would be the cheapest most economical to get Adrianna for Christmas, since she had broken the leg off of my old one and was still a little tearful about it (not to mention the part where I might have a slight soft spot in my heart for dolls in particular and my children wanting them). There's a lot of brands making the 18" knock offs these days, some cuter than others, but the Target Our Generation ones are definitely cute enough and the cheapest around (even before my employee discount, although I suppose in full disclosure the Walmart My Life dolls really aren't all that much pricier if you're not using said employee discount and are possibly even half a hair cuter), so I was planning on getting her one of those and a new outfit and maybe a little accessory set (the doll sized tea set is just the sort of thing she'd like), for about $40 of her Christmas budget this year. 

It was my plan. It was a very reasonable way to go given both Adrianna's current age and my current budget, and would still make for a special morning for her while maybe in a few years we could do a big American Girl Christmas.

And then there was this link on facebook, to a special promotions code for the Cecile and Marie-Grace American Girl dolls packaged up with their special occasions dresses, $60 per doll/accessories/special dresses bundle.

You know, the dolls that usually cost $129 for just the doll and accessories, another $44 for the special occasions dress.... one with light brown hair almost the exact shade of Adrianna's, just like she had asked for.............

And SOLD.

(Turns out I can be motivated to literally run to my credit card, it just takes the right item in the right circumstances for the right price. I'm not sure this is good thing, and it might make me lecturing my children about not being driven by consumerist materialism a little harder to do with a straight face.)

So now, in 8-10 business days, Adrianna's ultimate Christmas present will arrive on my door step.

And eventually I will stop gazing at the pretty doll in the pretty pictures on the pretty website, all while thinking she's mine Adrianna's.

(You know, in about 8-10 business days when she arrives and I can hide away in my closest to gaze at her in person.)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dating, With Children

So, I have a boyfriend.

His name is Wes, and he is an engineer by degree and does computer data compiling stuff with big numbers by trade. He went to school with the husband of a good friend of mine, and came very highly recommended and with excellent references.

He also has two cats.

As we've been dating over six months now, there has been lots of charting new and previously uncharted territory. I suppose every relationship has a fair amount of that when it's first starting, but as he is the first "boyfriend" relationship I've had since getting a divorce, it sure seemed like there has been a lot of stuff to figure out.

Like meeting the kids.

At what point when dating someone do your introduce your children? Clearly first dates and wedding day are both not ideal extremes, but there is a LOT of middle ground in there for the vast majority of relationships, and I have a serious lack of friends-with-children-who-are-dating to get advice from or even just watch stumble through their own relationship chaos.

I had decided when the first flutter of a thought of dating had entered my head that I didn't want my children's childhood to be nothing but a memory of Mommy's different boyfriends rotating through their lives in a continues cycle of disappointment (lots of books and some movies have references to bad childhood memories linked to "mom's latest looser boyfriend"), therefor there was no need to worry about this until I was dating someone who had made it past two dates.

And although that methodology did an excellent job keeping my children well away from short lived flings and jerks, it certainly didn't bring any help once Wes managed to establish himself as something that was going to be around longer than a short lived fling and who wasn't a jerk (or pedophile, because let me tell you, there's nothing like reading Where the Heart Is to make you eternally paranoid of pedophiles as a dating mom).

Ultimately, Wes asked a couple months into it if he was going to get to meet the kids.

(You know, while I was still twisted into mental thralls trying to even come up with some sort of system for this or set of guidelines or... something.) 

It's scary. You don't know just how long term this is going to be. There's the very real part where your kids might bond to somebody who you ultimately break up with, and how it could be another loss in their little lives. Nobody wants that.

But there's also the part where it might give them more realistic expectations of love and dating and relationships. It would be sad if it didn't work out, but they would also see that life goes on after a break up (and you know, maybe give something real to reference when someone is 15 and sobbing on her bed about how she'll never love anyone ever again since the beau of two weeks just broke her heart and you're trying to console her).

And the part where you know somebody for more than 48 hours and have these life experiences with them and a growing evolving relationship before ever even deciding on such things like marriage. That's a good thing for little girls to see.

So while I was still internalizing the mental debate with myself over what sort of time line one should have before introduce a significant other to small offspring, he came and hung out with us at the park one day.

But don't worry, it took a whole second afternoon of hanging out with Wes before Kristina far too loudly started asking if I was going to marry him.

[See: the part where I was talking about trying to instill realistic relationship time line expectations in my children]

And now, several months later, it's still a little scary, but it's also going really well.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Adrianna, Destroyer of Dolls

Adrianna loves dolls. Big dolls, small dolls, cloth, plastic, wood, baby, barbie. If it has a semblance of a person (or mermaid or fairy...) she likes it. A lot.

In fact, you could even make the case that she is so enamored with her doll toys that she loves them to death. 

This is nothing new in her childhood, we have quite the history of falling apart dolls after they became Adrianna's favorite.

There was the toddler princess doll I finally took away from her when it was down to a torso, one arm and a head with bride-of-Frankenstein hair, mostly just because I was embarrassed for her to be seen carrying around the deformed remains of a doll in public, but I'm sure the case could be made for its questionable safety after loosing three limbs during play time. 

Countless Barbie and Barbie-sized princess dolls have been beheaded, and a few de-legged as well. 

And if it is a doll who has hair, Adrianna has most certainly twisted the hair into dreadlocks by now. 

However, last week she managed to do her most notable de-limbing to date. 

Some of you may recall Kristina's grand adventure to the American Girl Store a few years back and her being given the pretty blonde doll she now calls Annabel and whom has a special place of authority (and safety, as it is higher than Adrianna can reach) on her bookcase where she lives most of the time.

Adrianna, who loves all dolls and whom was already accustomed to just "inheriting" (aka bringing into her bed when no-one was looking) all of her sister's dolls as her own, was not happy when Kristina (and Mama) said this one was off limits to her playtime. In an effort to console the heartbroken child (ok, she might be a little bit spoiled), I had brought out one of my beloved American Girl dolls from my own childhood and somewhat tearfully let the very small child who had already demonstrated her propensity to ruin doll hair and behead the poor things have one of my childhood treasures. 

(Adrianna do you see how much I love you??) 

And in addition to making the doll's hair into twisted dreadlocks, she even tore half the wig out during her nightly hair twisting as she falls asleep routine. 

Sniffle

But it was ok, because it was one of her favorite dolls and being a high quality toy (although admittedly, designed for a much older age set), it seemed to actually be holding up quite well (hair excluded) to Adrianna's loving. 

........Until she broke the leg of one night last week. 



These things happen. I'm even pretty sure she was even almost as distraught as me over it happen, when she ran out of her bedroom sobbing about her doll being broken and begging me to fix it. 

I looked up the cost to re-attach the limb and get the doll a new head on the American Girl Website, and it was nearly as much as a new doll would be.

Sorry Adrianna, your doll is just going to be legless for the time being. 

......Or maybe some duct tape might help............. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

McDonald's Parenting

I am a better parent because of McDonald's, and I will tell you why.

At home, dinner almost always comes at a frantic pace where children are demanding food and I'm staring at a fridge that's three days over-due for grocery shopping that I would have done that very afternoon after going through a similar ritual that morning of being genuinely surprised by our lack of orange juice and bread (where did that stuff go?? I swear we just had it...) except that it was ballet night so I had to rush from work to collecting kids to getting them into leotards and classrooms and now it's 5:15pm and they are explaining how at any second they really might waste away into nothingness because they are just starving (I cannot put the sort of emphasis a 6 year old manages to convey in that single word through text alone, but trust me, it makes it sound like she hasn't eaten in months and is about to waste away into nothingness at any second) and why don't we have anything good to eat and no they cannot possibly wait ten minutes for macaroni and cheese to cook since they don't really like anyways.

But that's not even the part I wanted to blog about. 

When something resembling food is scrapped together as quickly as humanly possible (peanut butter on crackers totally counts as an entree, right?), it is thrust into outstretched hands and instantly followed with demands for tv, for one cannot possibly be expected to eat without proper animated entertainment. Putting on an episode of My Little Pony is the easiest option right then, as it makes them temporarily satisfied and gives me 22 minutes to put away the clean dishes and reload the dirty ones or to pick up a layer of the constant mess that permeates everywhere despite my best efforts to keep on top of it or to sort through piles of school papers looking for that field trip permission slip to paperclip $4 to before I forget. Or maybe, maybe, to even just sit down for a moment or two.

You see, that time in which they are occupied with food and television is both the time I use to get stuff done and the time I use for myself. However, did you notice what was missing in that list of what I do? Eating. I learned a loooong time ago that it is a frustrating and mostly futile process to try and eat yourself, because by the time you have prepared something for yourself and answered demands of milk refills and napkins and insisted they actually eat some of their food, you won't have sat down for more than 90 seconds at a time. Anything that was hot is now passingly warm. Anything that was cold is fast approaching room temperature. And you still haven't eaten more than half of it before they are done with their meal and need to be pushed through homework or nudged into the bath, your own food completely forgotten about in all the craziness. 

So I cook and eat my own dinner after they go to bed most nights, and continue to let them watch tv instead of sitting at the table.

Except on the nights when I decide the lack of food to offer coupled with hungry whiny tired children and an exhausted mommy somehow becomes deserving of McDonald's on the way home.

Then we sit at the slightly sticky fast food table together, each of us spinning slightly on our own spinny chairs, and talk about what they did at school today. I listen to their stories, even the imaginary ones featuring the happy meal toys, as I eat my chicken sandwich, and smile at them having the same (probably not for the best, but some things just can't be helped) simple adoration for french fries as me. And we have a lovely and peaceful family dinner together.

(I usually don't even have to get up more than twice to meet the demands for forgotten honey dipping sauce or an extra cup of water.)

And so, fast food makes me a better parent on those evenings when I'm hungry and tired myself and the guilt over what nutrition is actually being consumed is outweighed by how desperately I just need food to appear right then.

And yet, I treasure the time that desperation gives me and the relaxing peacefulness we cannot seem to find at home.

Is it worth it?

Some days it really, really is.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How to Buy Children's Shoes

  1. Discover one (or more) your offspring desperately needs new shoes
    1. You cannot physically cram the shoe onto the foot any more, despite being 98% positive they wore that exact pair yesterday without issue
    1.  The shoes are literally falling to pieces as we speak, and duct tape just isn't going to cut it this time
  2. Ignore your personal guilt for not noticing that your little precious snukums sneakers were on the verge of demise 
  3. Declare it to be shoe shopping day
  4. Ignore the chorus of whines about how they really really REALLY don't want to go shoe shopping
  5. Attempt to cajole into cooperation
  6. Go with Plan B. of yelling BECAUSE I SAID SO and muttering about how you'll make them walk to school barefoot tomorrow if they don't get their little rears in gear and get into the car now after they refused to go along with your previous nice mommy asking
  7. Briefly ponder whether you could stop by the liquor store en route to the shoe store 
  8. Decide that although being intoxicated just might make shoe shopping more enjoyable for everyone involved, it would still probably fall under bad parenting
  9. Feel guilty about yelling at the kids
  10. Promise to do fun things afterwards as an awesome bribe reward and to compensate for your personal guilt
  11. Have no less than three highly embarrassing and/or disgusting and/or terrifying parenting moments between parking the car and actually entering the shoe store
  12. Tell your children to sit on a nice quiet bench out of the way while you go track down a sales person with a measuring board
  13. Pretend you didn't see the little one fall (or was it pushed?) off the bench before you had even turned around
  14. Wince at your child's feet measuring weirdly, even though you knew they have measured that way every other time you have bought her shoes in her entire life which is why you are paying lots of money to the fancy shoe store instead of just getting her a pair of sneakers at Target
  15. Argue with your child over why they can't have ones that light up, have heels, make noise, have wheels, or come in a color that can be described as "daybright" (aka neon, aka my eyes are blind)
  16. Wonder, not for the first time that day, what possessed you to have more than one offspring as the one who isn't getting new shoes decides the perfect time for throwing a loud tantrum over her lack of new shoes is the middle of your argument with the other one 
  17. Attempt to short cut the tantrum with an old and probably of questionable hygiene peppermint dug out of the depths of your I-swear-it's-purse-and-not-a-diaper-bag-because-non-of-my-kids-are-in-diapers-anymore bag
  18. Ignore the part of your brain that is debating whether sacrificing good parenting standards is worth it for shoe shopping 
  19. Finally come to a grudging compromise with your child for several not-covered-in-flashing-lights-or-suitable-for-a-small-hooker pairs of shoes to try on
  20. Attempt to wrestle a foot into a shoe, while judging that your child has probably never put on shoes before in her life as she clearly has no idea what would be helpful to you in this process
  21. Chase your child's prancing feet around the shoe store on your knees as you attempt to feel whether there is enough growing room to keep you from coming back in less than 6 months 
    1. Ideally one pair would last for about the next ten years, but you know that's probably not actually feasible
  22. Finally catch the little monkey and hold her foot down with one hand as you poke at her feet with the other, demanding to know if she can feel your thumb or if they're pinching anywhere
  23. Cringe as she nearly bowls over other shoe store patrons in testing how the shoes feel when running 
    1. "These ones are good, they make me run faster!"
  24. Realize your not-getting-shoes offspring has been on a mission of destruction while you had been on your mission to see what sort of growing room a size 2 was offering 
  25. Attempt to neutralize some of your shame at what has happened to the store by hastily shoving shoes back onto shelves and hoping the sales staff didn't notice too much
  26. Repeat steps 18 through 23 at least half a dozen times
  27. Finally track down a pair of shoes that fit 
    1. And aren't an invention of Satan 
  28. Feel a (brief) moment of parenting success
  29. .....Which is promptly shattered when your other child knocks over a big display
  30. Extract the destruction queen from her latest conquest just in time to see the other one run out the store door
  31. Apologize to the sales associate attempting to ring you up as you bolt after the escapee
  32. Attempt to get your credit card out of your no-really-it's-not-a-diaper-bag-I'm-pretty-sure-I-just-like-big-purses-because-they're-so-trendy-these-days bag while keeping a firm hold on hands of your shoe store destroying legal custodys (aka children)
    • It's an acquired skill
  33. Pay far too much money for a pair of shoes your child will wear for 180 days of her life (if you're lucky)
  34. Smile at your child's joy at new shoes as she jumps up and down telling you that her new shoes even make her jump higher 
  35. Start laughing when your kids ask where their bribe reward for good behavior is as you load them into the car
  36. Decide maybe everyone needs ice cream anyways, bribe reward fulfillment or no
  37. Have the most angelically behaved little sweethearts anyone ever saw the whole time you are eating ice cream
  38. Sigh as the angelicness promptly turns back into bickering the second everyone is back into the car
  39. Conclude that you just need to live at the ice cream parlor
    1. Spend the rest of the drive home contemplating what sort of financial investment that would be, and whether it really just might be worth it
  40. Shoo everyone into their rooms (but mostly just yourself) for some rest time once you get home
  41. Realize you still need to get them snow boots some time soon
  42. Decide that this really might be why the internet exists with free return shipping
    1. Which can be taken care of tomorrow