Friday, November 16, 2012

Courage in the Form of Pink Sparkles

Yesterday was one of those magical mornings at make me feel like I should have a beer for breakfast. It was a big special day at Spice’s school. The PTA puts on a big Thanksgiving feast for all the kids and they are asked to dress nicely for the event. Spice came downstairs dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. I reminded her that it was a day to dress up in something fancy, which immediately caused a problem.

I think there is a file folder in her brain that she keeps a schedule of what she’s going to wear when. I don’t know how far in advance she plans these things out, but it almost seems to cause her physical pain to change her mind. Hello, OCD much? I left the decision up to her though. It took her a long time to decide whether to stick with her original plan or to change. She ended up changing into a polka dotted dress, black leggings and pink sparkly boots.

I picked her up yesterday and she was full of some long rambling story about Emma’s dad and lunch and one guy hit another one and they all laughed. After carefully questioning her, I finally got to the bottom of the story.

I had forgotten that on the day of their Thanksgiving feast, firemen from our town come in to serve the kids. Spice met two of these firemen when her sister won a trip to school in a fire truck. I blogged about it here:

Apparently, Spice walked into the cafeteria and was delighted to see the two firefighters she remembered from so long ago. As it turns out, the “cute one” is also her friend’s father. Spice waited in line for her meal and when it came time for her to pass Joey, she said, “Do you remember me?”

Nothing like being put on the spot.

From what I can tell, the other firefighters laughed a little bit and Joey said he didn't remember her. I’m sure it was with great indignation that she reminded him he drove her to school A YEAR AND A HALF AGO. At that point the other firefighter punched her Joey in the arm while the rest of them laughed. I’m sure cutie muffin Joey has females come up to him all the time asking if he remembers them… they just probably aren't six years old.

I've always known that Spice could be pretty brave when she wanted to. I’m impressed that she remembered the guys that she met once, and so long ago. Even when she retold the story about talking to him, I could see Sugar cringing like, “I would never do that!!” while Spice didn't see anything out of the ordinary about it.

When we grow up, sometimes we’ll do a shot or have a drink for some “liquid courage.” I think Spice’s courage comes in the form of pink sparkly boots… there’s nothing a girl can’t accomplish when she’s wearing the right shoes. 

Ice Princess

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Swift Kick

I found myself laughing inappropriately most of the way into work today. Laughing inappropriately is a very bad habit of mine and I do feel guilty for having gotten such a good chuckle out of a recent situation. I do pat myself on the back though for not laughing about this in front of the girls.

I arrived at Spice’s school yesterday to pick her up and was greeted by Stacey, the woman that runs the after-school program. Her face had “that look” that all mothers dread. Given that I had already seen Spice working happily on a craft, I knew she wasn't hurt. I worried about the other person… not knowing yet what had occurred.

She told me that my girl kicked a boy in the face and gave him a bloody nose. My initial reaction was one of surprise and anger. I couldn't believe that she’d just haul off and kick someone and I was angry because she’s been taught better than that. The next sentence out of Stacey’s mouth was, “I couldn't really punish her or write her up because she was defending herself.”

This story is going to be good.

Apparently, they were playing on the playground and this boy chased Spice and tried to hit her with a stick. She ran and ran and finally turned around and kicked the boy in the face. Of course it was a good solid kick and blood gushed immediately. However, my girl cried harder over the incident than the little boy did.

I had Spice apologize to Stacey, but the boy was already gone, so there wasn't much I could do about that. Spice’s rendition of the story didn't differ much from what Stacey told me, but it lacked her usual level of detail.

This morning, when her dad asked about the incident, Spice told us that she had been outside playing with her stuffed giraffe when the boy started chasing her to hit the giraffe with the stick. When she finally had enough, she turned around and attempted to kick the stick out of his hand.

Spice really needs to work on her aim.

As Spice is pretty small, I was surprised that she was able to kick someone in the nose. So I asked if he had knocked her down or something, I mean how else could she reach a nose with her foot? I said, “Was it a hi-ya karate kick?” and she said it was.

I just keep picturing the scene over and over in my head and I laugh. It’s horrible that I laugh about something that causes a little boy to get hurt. Imagining her taking aim for the stick in his hand and missing altogether  the look on her face must have been priceless.

As inappropriate as my laughter is, I did the right thing as a parent and talked to her again about using words instead of fists (or feet) and finding the adult in charge when she needs help. She said that she did try, but he kept “blocking her.” In her mind she did the only thing she could to protect her giraffe. I’m hopeful that it will not happen again.

It remains a mystery to me as to why this boy would mess with Spice. Most the rest of the world just knows that she is a force to be reckoned with… I guess he missed that memo. 

Ice Princess

Friday, November 9, 2012

Evidence of Happy Chicks!

Sometimes I worry about Sugar and Spice and I wonder, “Are they happy? Are they secure? Do they love life? Are they comfortable enough to express themselves in front of their friends, classmates and family?” Then I watch closely and I see that things are all happy, happy, happy in their world.

Sugar has started doing her own hair in different, sometimes elaborate styles every morning. I try not to criticize, figuring she’s expressing her individuality that way. She’s gone to school with it pinned all goofy to one side, a variety of ballerina buns, braids and twists. She’s also dressing a bit funkier and wearing a fedora-type hat made of sequins. I’m thrilled she’s comfortable enough in her own skin to wear what she wants and not give a shit what older or “cooler” kids might have to say about it.

God knows I, her mother, wouldn't be caught dead in a hat… or even one of those fancy scarves that seem so popular these days. I mean, a scarf settle atop my rack like it was on display. Nice look!

And Spice, well she just loves school, her teacher, most of her classmates. Every day I get a glowing report about what she had for lunch, who she sat with, who got in trouble in class and how well she did. Because my kid is damn near perfect and NEVER does anything wrong. Well, almost never or hardly ever. Don’t let the last few sentences fool you, I am perfectly aware of what that little pip is capable of!

Yesterday Spice went through her own folder and pushed most of the paperwork aside so I didn't find it until this morning. I was glad that I had a quiet kitchen to myself to look through the October journal that I stumbled across. The drawings were priceless.

The one that made me laugh the hardest was of the school bus. If you look closely at the top of the bus, you'll note that she calls it a "Party Bus." She writes that she gets to take the bus and "it is fun." 

This picture shows a drawing of a fairy house. She's extremely into fairies at the moment and believes that if she builds these houses outside, they will come there to live. So watch your step as you walk across our porch... you may crush a fairy village!

And finally, this picture. Really? I think it's pretty safe to say my girl's world is still bright and sunshiny. 

Ice Princess 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shopping for Foundation

Sometimes we are given the opportunity to fuck with people multi-generationally… I would be remiss if I didn't grasp an opportunity such as this when it presents itself.

I've long said that EN gets his “everything nice” from his dad. It’s really ridiculous how nice these two are and it’s even meaner that I took total advantage of their niceness. We have EN Senior visiting us for a few days. Given that father and son coordinated the visit without consulting me, I felt that some retribution was in order.

I got a text a few hours ago that they were headed off to Walmart. I have no idea what their intentions were, but I jumped at the opportunity when EN texted and said, “Do you need anything?” Seriously? Who would NOT have jumped at this opportunity? Every icky section of Walmart was my oyster, which pearl to choose?

I could choose a feminine product or undergarments; even corn syrup would have been amusing because EN insists that no such item exists. I am actually in need of foundation so I asked him to get me some Cover Girl. I told him that the compact was blue and told him the shade I needed. I knew that another woman would have picked this out in a jiff and been on her way in a few minutes. I giggled and wondered how long it would take these two to navigate the very scary makeup aisle.

Inside of 30 minutes, I received four pictures and a gazillion texts on my phone…

Picture #1. I received the picture and told EN this was definitely not correct, it says POWDER in big letters. He pointed out that it said foundation in little bitty letters. Anybody knows, you go by what the big letters say. So I asked if it looked powdery or creamy and he said it was covered with plastic. Rather than attempting to describe the difference in the “look,” I told him to just try to find something that said cream foundation.

Picture #2. Definitely not what I usually buy. So I said that wasn't correct.

Picture #3. That is definitely a compact of pressed powder. Any girl in the world, even one that uses fancy shit from Sephora, recognizes that compact. Next.

Picture #4 arrived after I looked online to find out what the EXACT name of the foundation was so I could text the precise name.

EN texted back as a “friendly FYI” that the stuff I wanted didn't have the WORD foundation on it anywhere.

Truly yes, I am grateful that my husband and his father were kind and brave enough to traverse the makeup aisles in Walmart, but seriously folks… If they had sent me out to get a Philips screwdriver, would I have stood in the hardware aisle panicked looking for the word PHILIPS to appear on a screwdriver?

I think not. 

What's even funnier (to me anyway) is that their hands look so alike, I'm not even sure which one is "posing" for the picture. 

Ice Princess

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Physical Science Still Sucks

Last year was pretty blissful as far as homework issues went. Fifth grade seemed to be a breeze for Sugar, which was a surprise because she always has to work so hard. I thought maybe the year with the tough 4th grade teacher toughened her up. If that was the case, then that all flew out of her pretty little head the moment she stepped into her 6th grade classroom.

While I would love it to happen, I don’t expect my kid to have all A’s. I expect her do to the work assigned to her, pay attention in class and make an honest effort. I expect that if she has a test, she should study for it. I realize that people learn differently, and some subjects are easier for some to grasp. For example at my house EN can fix damn near anything, Sugar can tell me what direction we are traveling in without cheating with a compass and both girls can do the LMFAO shuffle. I can do none of the above.

I come unglued when I feel that an honest effort isn’t being put forth. I track Sugar’s grades pretty closely. I like to make sure she gets her work in on time and monitor how she’s doing on tests. Since I stalk fairly regularly, it’s been easy to watch Sugar’s science grade slip further and further down. I didn’t like the grades she was getting on her quizzes, but most of her labs and classwork seemed pretty good.

She swore she studied for both tests and had no idea why her grades were so bad. There was only one thing I could do: email her teacher. She informed me that Sugar admitted to her that she hadn’t studied for any of the quizzes. I could understand a slow start to the year, but to lie right to your mother?

Instead of letting her “do her homework” in her bedroom with her iPod in hand, the rules changed this week. If she’s going to lie to her mom, she can do her homework at the kitchen counter next to her sister. She can play with her iPod after her work is done. If she’s too busy fucking around all night and fighting with her sister and doesn’t get her iPod back until bedtime… too bad for her!

I knew on Tuesday that there was a test scheduled for today. On Tuesday night she said she’d study on her own, and I could “quiz” her on Wednesday. I left her with her cards and notes and thought she was diligently studying away. When I quizzed her last night, it was quickly obvious that she didn’t know the material at all.

We started off nicely enough… I’d give a term and she’d pretend like she knew what I was asking and would “ummmm” through a response and then she claimed to have forgotten what the correct answer was. Then I came across a note card that gave one answer as being “the number of protons.” Then there was something about the answer being “the total number of protons and neutrons.” I attempted to point out this discrepancy to Sugar and we were on an extremely quick downward spiral. I tried to use NICE VOICE and explain that there was no way both of these things could be the answer and she started snarling. Then she screamed that of course the information is right, her teacher told her.

Then I took my life into my own hands and said, “PERHAPS YOU MADE A MISTAKE WRITING IT DOWN.” Like any good human of Polish/German descent, she is never wrong and was quite infuriated that I would even question her ability to take notes.

So I did the only logical thing I could think of, I went to Google. I quickly discovered that one of her definitions was for atomic number and one was for atomic mass. I told her that, she gave me a look that said I was full of shit and she bolted.

Ten minutes later she’s back downstairs with a big smile on her face. She ate her dinner and was quite cheerful.

Me: What did you do while you were upstairs?
Sugar: I took a quiz on our science website.
Me: How did you do?
Sugar: I got most of them right. By the way, that one definition is wrong. It’s the definition for atomic mass.
Me: Isn’t that what I said?
Sugar: I don’t remember.

How can a kid have zero comprehension on almost everything? She read the cards Tuesday, went over the stuff in class, and still acted like she’d never heard a single word before last night. Life would also be so much easier if there was a textbook to bring home. Apparently, the district does not have enough money to buy a book for every student. I thought I had remembered something about the book being online, and confirmed that when I emailed the teacher today. We will start using that for bedtime stories. 

And through the struggle I remembered that I hated this kind of science when I learned it in school. 25 years didn’t make a bit of difference. That shit still sucks. 

Stalking the gradebook this afternoon, I have found that her latest quiz score is a huge improvement over the last one. Amen.

Ice Princess

Monday, October 22, 2012

Making Strides 2012

It had been a long time since I did any significant fundraising for anything. I do try to donate time and money when I can, though lately I feel like I haven’t done anything. I haven’t even been shipping to soldiers regularly…

In October 2005 I was pregnant with Spice and took part in a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Boston. It was an amazing experience walking with so many. Everywhere I looked there were women wearing “Survivor” sashes and women wearing shirts that said, “In memory of…” It was heart wrenching and humbling and something that I vowed to do again.

It is shameful then, that I haven’t participated in this fundraiser since that time. I loved the walk, I loved telling people what I was going to do and have them donate to my cause. I felt empowered all those years ago, handing over $1000 to the American Cancer Society. When you do something like that, you feel like you have your very own ray of sunshine for a moment.

This year I have two friends currently in treatment, so it was obvious to me that I should raise funds and walk again. Now that Sugar and Spice are 11 and 6, there’s no reason they couldn’t both walk with me. They know what breast cancer is, they know their friends mom has it. They’ve seen her go through surgery and lose her hair as a side effect to the chemotherapy.

What they don’t know is that nearly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. They don’t know that with early detection survival rates are over 90%. They don’t know that every woman on their dad’s paternal side of the family has had breast cancer… So the odds of two of their aunts getting breast cancer is pretty high. Therefore, my girls’ odds are slightly higher than my own. It’s a no brainer that this is something we should ALL care about.

With two weeks to go until the event, I signed up and joined the walk on my neighbor’s team. As I raised $1000 last time, I set that goal for this year as well. I doubted that I would make it, given that I signed up so close to the event. Ten days, two emails and one Facebook post later, we were at the fundraising goal that I set for our mini-team within a team.

The girls asked every day how much we had raised, and who had donated to the cause. They were very excited to get the updates regularly. It’s funny, I don’t know when I realized it, but it came to my attention that Spice, who HATES to walk, didn’t know that by accepting these donations, we made a commitment to walk 3.5 miles.

Of course she said she wouldn’t walk. So I did what every good mother does. I bribed her. I knew full well that there would be women walking that would be dressed from head to toe in pink… so I offered up a pink feather boa like her friend Fancy Nancy has. She immediately snapped up the deal.

Sunday was a gorgeous day and the girls were happy to jump out of bed and throw on every pink item they owned. I told them that they could wear whatever they wanted, but had to wear good walking sneakers. Of course Sugar changed 37 times and Spice came up with a shorts and tutu combo that delighted her.

This walk was much, much smaller than the one I participated in years ago. But still there were so many walkers out to show support for a great cause. The girls LOVED being part of something so big. Spice kept looking around saying, “There must be a million people here.”

EN tagged along with us and the four of us finished the walk with minimal fighting and complaining. Spice said she was quitting when we had a mile or so left, so I bribed her again. By then we were all starving, so I offered up ice cream and she practically trotted through the finish line.

I am glad to have shared this event with my family this time around… and I hope to make this a family tradition for us. 

Sugar and Spice with their friend Spice Two in the middle.
Let's make sure these girls never have to worry about
breast cancer!

Ice Princess

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sleep Peeps

Last night I had my sleep study. I prepared in advance as directed by the doctor who ordered the test. I woke up early and didn’t nap during the day. I also attempted to stay busy throughout the day so I would be dead tired when it came time to sleep in front of an audience that I didn't have an established relationship with.

I was fortunate and my test was done in a section of a hotel the hospital leases. Apparently, people sleep better in a hotel than they do in a hospital. I didn't really know where the hotel was so I left really early and arrived early.

I checked in and was surprised to find a pretty nice hotel room with a kitchenette and sitting area. I was expecting to find that one wall was made of glass so those people could watch me sleep. Instead, there was a very small camera that would only be turned on once I was “hooked up.” I talked with several different people about why I was there and my sleep habits. They left and told me to relax. I kicked back and started a new book. Ah, peace and quiet… something that rarely occurs in a house filled with a husband, two daughters and three crazy dogs.

The sleep peeps came back and wired me up around 9 as I told them I go to bed around 11. I had wires hooked to my face, head, chest and legs. There were also two belts, one around my belly and one around my chest. They let me read a bit longer and told me to call them when I was ready to be hooked up to the machines so they could watch my brain waves (or lack thereof). I was so delighted by the way I looked that I snapped a picture with my phone and sent it to EN, along with a threat to his manhood if he dared post or send the picture.

I won’t lie, I was anxious to get into that bed. It was piled high with pillows and soft looking covers. I called them and they hooked me up. I turned on the TV and tuned into a fun episode of House Hunters. I refrained from yelling at the TV as I normally do during House Hunters. People and their unrealistic expectations piss me off. When the show was over, I turned off the TV and snuggled in for a good night’s sleep.

Despite the heavenly bed, it was the worst night of sleep in the history of the world. I woke up several times because shit came unplugged and the sleep peeps came in to hook me back up. Several times, I could feel myself trying to breathe but unable to. There were too many wires and too much tape under my nose. It was annoying. I also felt myself kicking a lot and had my feet dangling off the edge of the bed. I’m 5’4, there’s no reason for my midget feet to be dangling.

Before I knew it, it was 6 am and Captain Pleasant was in to wake me up. Cruel punishment, getting up at 6 am on a Sunday. Then again, it was my own fault for making them work on a Saturday night. Unhooking me from the wires was a painful experience. Somehow, the tape that “ doesn't stick to anyone,” loved me. That shit needed to be pried off. There were remnants of tape everywhere and gauze just stuck to my head. The tape removal above my lip was especially dreadful. If anyone out there ever thought I needed an upper lip wax, you can rest assured this ‘stache is hair free now.

The only thing the sleep peeps were allowed to tell me was whether or not I snored. Of course that was the first question I asked. BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER IS, “NO.” The Ice Princess does NOT snore. Anyone stating otherwise deserves to be shot.

So I asked. And Captain Pleasant said, “Yes, you snored.” I said, “Well, I’m sure it was a delicate ladylike snore… right?” He chuckled and said, “Yeah right.” Thank God the study was over because had this been a real relationship, I would have dumped his ass at this point.

He left the room and I got ready to take a shower. I turned around to look at the bed that I slept in and was stunned. It looked like a jackball ass monkey had slept there. Pillows were EVERYWHERE and the covers were askew. I should say here that I have specific rules about covers: they stay neat and the top sheet stays tucked in. I've been known to wake up in the wee hours to retuck if necessary. I could NOT have made a mess of that bed. I don’t know who slept there, but it wasn't me.

Things got even more entertaining when I got a load of myself in the mirror. Because I had 437 thingies taped to my head, I was rocking some serious 80’s hair. Had it not been 6 am on a Sunday, I would have gone somewhere with that ‘do so everyone could have appreciated that fine work. Instead I hopped in the shower, then headed out for the breakfast buffet.

I was home by 7:30 am and seriously ready for a nap. Of course Sugar and EN were at the door waiting to see how it went. I crawled into bed amidst cries begging for breakfast and attention. And that my friends, is why I can’t sleep. The people around me require too much maintenance.

My appointment with the sleep doctor should be interesting. I hope she simply suggests an animal print Snuggie to help me sleep better and get over my fear of the messy bed. And the snoring, well that’s just not true. I don’t care who says otherwise.

Ice Princess 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Grade Chatter

I really wish I had blogged when Sugar was younger. I know there were so many funny things that happened on a daily basis, and I just can’t remember everything. So Spice is luckier here, we’ll have an accurate record of some funny shit that she comes home talking about.

She was excited that she knew so many boys in her first grade class, but she didn't really know many girls. She was reunited with a girl that left kindergarten halfway through the year, but that relationship was short-lived this year.

For the past several weeks, she’s been talking about a new friend. She talks on and on about her, like we do when we meet someone new that we really like. They sit together, work together, have lunch together. Apparently, this little gal has another friend who is feeling left out. Spice told me that this girl keeps begging to play with the new friend, but the new friend just wants to play with Spice. I told Spice that she should try to include the other little girl. Spice claims to have tried that, but this little girl finally got so upset, she dragged the new friend away and said, “Is our relationship over?” Now I’m picturing first grade recess to look like a Dr. Phil show. Seriously, a first grader inquiring about relationship status?

Yesterday, Spice got into the car and said, “Keegan says he’s in love with me.” Judging by the expression on her face and her body language, I was fairly certain that she could give two shits about Keegan. So I asked how she responded. She said, “I didn't say anything. I looked straight ahead and listened to my teacher.”

Some poor six-year-old boy musters up the courage to tell my girl he’s in love with her and she ignores him?

She went on to describe how he always tries to sit next to her at story time, at lunch and center time. Of course if there’s no room for him, my kind, sweet girl tells him to move along. She also claims that he’s always looking at her. I asked what she meant and she imitated the face next to the word “dumbfounded” in the dictionary.

I honestly cannot get enough of the first grade gossip. These little pipsqueaks are hilarious. I asked her if he tries talking to her when she follows her around…

Spice: Oh yeah, he keeps saying he’s so in love with me and will I go out with him.
Me: Oh! What did you say when he asked you that?
Spice: I told him I had to ask my mother first.
Me: The answer is NO!

I guess I could be freaking out about the mature level of conversation going on these days. However, way back in the recesses of my dusty old brain, I remember first grade, and I remember having crushes here and there. First grade is an entirely new experience. For years these kids have been waiting to go to “big kid school” and now they have arrived! Many of them have older siblings so I’m sure that’s where they pick up some of these behaviors. Or maybe it’s that their mothers watched too much Jerry Springer when they were toddlers?

In any case, I laugh inside while outside I keep trying to come up with the right words that will keep the lines of communication open. Someday, in the not too distant future, these conversations will have a much deeper meaning. 

Ice Princess

Friday, October 5, 2012

Picture Day

I remember Picture Day at school and being excited about it every year, until I hit junior high and got really ugly. Lots of thought and effort went into planning the outfit and hairstyle. Then we’d wait with bated breath to see how those bad boys came out and whether they were good enough to exchange with our friends.

As my girls are still pretty small, I have control over the outfit and hairstyle. They wear their “first day of school” outfit and I do their hair in the morning. This year, Sugar exerted some independence and did her own hair. I tried to insist she wear it down, but let her have her own way in the end. Nowadays we have RETAKE DAY.

It’s been a rough road getting here at times. Nearly every single year,those have been the rules. However, one year EN decided he needed to fix Spice’s hair after I left for work. I wasn't aware of this happening until I got the pictures back. What you see below is the end result of EN’s hard work. Needless to say, this never happened again.

Excuse the flash mark on the "picture of the picture." 

Spice’s day for pictures just occurred yesterday. She put on her fancy dress and I did her hair before leaving for work. I left secure knowing that my kid would look decent for her pictures. I should have realized that little turkey would try to one-up her unsuspecting mother.

I got a text from my neighbor, saying she was concerned about how her kids’ pictures would come out as they were all running around the bus stop like hooligans. I said that I was worried about Spice’s hair, but I had done it before I left. She texted back, “Do you know that she’s wearing a headband Wonder Woman style?” Are. You. Shitting. Me.

I immediately texted EN to find out what happened and he said he allowed her to wear it, but told her she had to take it off for pictures. She was concerned that her hair would look “staticy.”

When I picked her up from school, the headband was propped up on the top of her forehead with her newly cut bangs (she cut them) standing on end like a porcupine. I said, “Did you take off that headband for your pictures?” And she said, “Of course I did.”

Then she said, “At least I think I did. I can’t really remember if I did.”

I’m 99.9% sure that she knows whether or not she wore it, she just doesn't feel like telling her mother. In fact, I’m pretty sure she wore it because I said, “Well, there’s always retake day.”

She looked very sad and said, “Can’t we just wait until next year for a nice picture?”

I did not pay $46 for my kid to look like an electrocuted porcupine with a mismatched headband.

Ice Princess 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stealing Firsts

That rotten little Spice girl has ruined every first for me. She arrived early and was with us for Christmas, leaving me unprepared and lacking any cutesy “Baby’s First Christmas” items. But then she had significant weight loss issues and needed to check back into the hospital. She spent her first Christmas there. 

She ruined her first birthday party by getting crazy sick and we had to cancel. She was sick on and off so much during that time that it wasn't even worth trying to reschedule her party. Finally, on Sugar’s sixth birthday, we had an extra cake for Spice to play with.

She took her first steps and said her first words at daycare, which really is my own fault. Had I been a stay at home mom, there would be no issue here.

And now, she lost her first tooth at school.

She’s had a dangler for months. In fact, we've started calling her “Shark Girl” because two adult teeth grew in behind her baby teeth and she refused to wiggle them out of there. Then Sugar went to the dentist a few weeks ago Spice showed off her double row. The dentist told Spice she better get wiggling or they’d need to be pulled at her next appointment.

She’s been working the tooth for weeks now and she claims it makes all sorts of cracking noises when she wiggles it too far. The thought is enough to give me the willies. Over the past week she’s spent hours in front of the bathroom mirror working that baby. EN was about to pull it earlier this week but Spice chickened out.  

I picked her up from school yesterday and she greeted me with great excitement, “MY TOOTH FELL OUT TODAY.” In a sense I was glad that the first baby tooth extraction was over, but in another… I was sad that I missed out on yet another first.

She babbled on and on about wiggling the tooth in class and hearing a crunching sound and BAM the tooth flew across the floor. She immediately went to the nurse and got a fantastic necklace to put the tooth in so she wouldn't lose it. She wore that necklace with pride.

When it came time to go to bed, she decided that she didn't to give up the necklace to the Tooth Fairy, nor did she want the tooth under her pillow. She set up a little “tooth shrine” on her dresser. The tooth was placed in a plastic water bottle cap with a rolled up note, fastened with duct tape. She informed me that the Tooth Fairy was to take everything, and to leave the money on the display of porcelain teddy bears sitting next to the tooth. Since she’s quite particular, I asked exactly where the money should be left. She said, “Oh the Tooth Fairy will just pick the bear she likes the best and leave the money on top of it.”

I carefully explained this via text to the boy who was due to play Tooth Fairy last night. At 6:15 this morning, the alarm woke me and I asked, “Did you remember to be Tooth Fairy?” Of course not. He did the mad dash upstairs and made it without waking her up.

I carefully undid the note which read, “Dear Tooth Fairy, Are you real? Are you really real? If you are then you are beautiful. Love, Spice”

Spice danced down the stairs with glee this morning… It was a beautiful day because the Tooth Fairy came and proved that she really is real. 

And we experience another first that reminds me again that my babies aren't babies at all any more. 

Ice Princess

Monday, October 1, 2012

Missing Ingredients

Women are never wrong.

German women are never ever wrong.

Old German women are never ever EVER wrong.

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe that an old German is wrong, think very carefully before you point out their error. In fact, be sure to have written and notarized proof of said mistake. Probably have it signed by the Pope or someone else too. Then pray for your life because the world is about to fucking end.

My mother is a German lady in her late 60’s (she’ll be in her 60’s for about ten more minutes), but I didn’t call her old. I’m not that crazy.  

As she was an Air Force wife for many years, she had the opportunity to meet people from around the world. In becoming friendly with lots of people, she exchanged many recipes. We regularly tried new types of cuisine: Italian, English, Indian… The woman is a seriously good cook. In fact, I can’t remember anything that ever came out badly. There were many things I refused to eat because they were gross, but I think everything tasted as it was supposed to.

However, the woman CANNOT bake. I’m not sure what she does when she puts stuff in the oven, but stories of her baked goods are the stuff family legends are made of. There was the time that the Cool Whip “didn’t look right” so she broke out the hand mixer and beat the shit out of the Cool Whip, which made it liquefy. She slapped it on the cake anyway and told my father to put it outside in the cold so it could “set up.” Hours later he brought in a chilly cake covered in liquid Cool Whip and we all got treated to a lecture about using real whipped cream and not “that fake shit.” And we ate that cake and we told her it was good… because we aren’t stupid.

The next cake was rock hard. I’m not sure how it happened, but it’s been my job to cut every cake we have. Even if we are celebrating a birthday, the birthday person hands me the fork and asks me to serve it up. So she bakes this cake and I start to cut into it and the knife isn’t moving. Finally I used the knife like a saw and made progress. I gave my sister the first piece and she took a bite, gasped and slapped her hand to her mouth and yelled, “Oh my God, Mom! Your cake chipped my tooth.” I’m pretty sure the old girl hasn’t baked since.

Now that she has internet access, she’s constantly surfing the web and finds all sorts of recipes. If it is something that needs to be baked, she sends it to me and I’m expected to make it for her. She might critique the hell out of my offering, but she’s generally pretty happy because her sweet tooth gets a fix.

This past weekend, Sugar had a sleepover so I promised Spice we would make something. Since fall has arrived, I thought of my mother’s recipe from an old English friend for Pumpkin Bars. I knew she was leaving to visit her sister, so I called and asked for her to please send me the recipe. She sent it almost immediately along with a note that I had better print if off and put it in a cookbook so I don’t lose it again.

On Friday night I took the list to the grocery store and bought all the ingredients that I needed. I didn’t notice until I got home that there wasn’t any type of pumpkin on the list. I called to ask her how much pumpkin I needed…

Me: How much pumpkin do I need?
Mom: What does it say on the recipe?
Me: You left it out. I don’t know.
Mom: I didn’t leave it off the recipe. You need a can.
Me: A big can or a little can?
Mom: There’s only one size of pumpkin puree. You need one can.

Then we wander down the path of different can sizes and she maintains that I am wrong. Through the entire conversation, she insists that I am not reading the recipe right, OF COURSE SHE PUT THE PUMPKIN IN RECIPE SHE EMAILED ME.

Spice and I finally got the bars baked and we started working on the cream cheese frosting. Despite adding more and more powdered sugar, there seemed to be something wrong with the frosting. I kept looking at the recipe, making sure I put everything in… Finally I gave up and slapped the frosting on the bars. As I finished up, I glanced at a Paula Deen recipe that seemed pretty similar. Oh, one needs butter in cream cheese frosting?! Of course you do! The butter from my mother’s recipe probably ran off with the freakin’ can of pumpkin.

Ice Princess 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Monkey Cupcake Shirt and Surveys

I knew the honeymoon wouldn’t last forever. The morning shitshow has started, but now there are two stars of that show versus the one that I’ve been dealing with for the last few years. It’s so wonderful to have both girls in big-kid school.

Yeah right.

It is my feeling that we are all old enough and big enough to get ourselves ready for the day. I allow the girls to choose their own outfits, I simply ask that they adhere to their schools' dress codes… meaning “cover the important stuff.” I allow them to make their own choices for several reasons. First, when they look back at pictures of how they look I can say, “That was all you, baby!” And second, I imagine that I will not be involved in any drama in the morning.

Not so.

The only rule I really have is that you can’t wear the same thing more than once in a week. I know this goes back to my own childhood… I just don’t want anyone making fun of my girls for being poor and only having one shirt. We know kids can be cruel so I try to save them from commentary any way I can.

When I got home on Monday, Spice was wearing her monkey cupcake shirt (technical term). Because I had been gone, I immediately did several loads of laundry. The monkey cupcake shirt was washed and put away. Wednesday morning, Spice wants help choosing an outfit. We picked one out and I went off to make lunches and breakfast. She appears wearing the monkey cupcake shirt. I told her, “You wore that already this week, you can’t wear it again today.” She stomped off to change but still didn’t wear the outfit she insisted I help her pick out.

Then this morning, I’m doing my hair and she’s at the bottom of the stairs, “Hey Mama, can I wear the monkey cupcake shirt?” OMG, REALLY?!?! Step away from the fucking monkey cupcake shirt, Spice! I knew I would somehow be punished for doing the laundry during the week.

Meanwhile, I was a bit late getting Sugar up. It’s been nice this year that she takes a shower every day. For the first time EVER, I don’t have to lecture her about having a dirty face at the bus stop. Every. Single. Day.

Anyway, I got her up and apologized for being late then headed off to finish putting myself together. There I was, blow drying my hair upside down (still waiting for the volume and lift that procedure promises) and I see feet. Sugar feet. Unshowered Sugar feet. I stood up and asked her what was the matter.

Sugar: Can I fill this out? [As she’s shoving her iPod in my face]
Me: What is it?
Sugar: It’s a survey. Can I fill it out? It’s really important. They picked me!
Me: No, I don’t know who it’s from. And hey, haven’t you showered?
Sugar: Well, just because I do, doesn’t mean I have to shower every day. Can I fill out the survey?
Me: No. I don’t know who it’s from. Go get ready for school.
Sugar: It’s from The Weather Channel. Can I fill it out?

I scowled and gave her the look that said, “Run fast before Mama loses her shit.”

Now I’m in the kitchen, lunches and breakfast in process when EN comes out to “help.” Mind you, lunches and breakfast were his jobs so I had help in the morning. As is typical, he wandered off. So I followed to ask if he’s heard all the morning drama. I told him about the survey and he laughed in my face. In fact, he giggled because Sugar’s ability to drive her mother nuts is nothing short of hilarious.

So I sprayed him with my perfume. If nothing else, when he’s sitting around contemplating all he has to do for the 17th day in a row, he will smell me.

Back to the kitchen and cereal is poured. Spice showed up in pants that fit her last year. I mentioned that and she said she didn’t care, she was comfortable. Then I said, “We still need to brush your hair.” She said, “No I put a headband in, it’s good.”  

At that, I had enough. I grabbed my purse, gave kisses goodbye and headed out the door.

I’m sure we’ll do this all again tomorrow. 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lessons from the South

I have returned from my weekend in Alabama, where I went to attend the wedding of EN's youngest sister. As always, I learned many new things... 

Lesson 1: 
Sissy carries several coozies in her purse with her when she goes out, so she always has one for her beer. Because she’s so young and cute, people overlook the oddness of this tendency and make comments like, “In all my years of waiting tables I've never seen anyone do this!” with a wink and a smile. 

When I shared this story with EN, he was initially impressed with his sister not wanting her beer to get warm. He was deflated when I told him that the real reason she does that is because she doesn't want her hands to get wet from the bottle.

Lesson 2: 
Gay male wedding planners do exist in the South. And his name is Bruce. I had the good fortune of meeting Bruce years ago when Stepmommy and Senior got married. Our first meeting was memorable because I was left behind at the house to wait for Bruce to come set up for the rehearsal dinner. I started to panic when no one showed up. When Bruce finally arrived he looked around for his staff and asked where they were. I shrugged and he called them to discover that they were setting up IN THE WRONG HOUSE. 

When I saw him this time, I was delighted to find that he still was as twinkly as ever. I laugh simply being around him. Watching him in action makes me howl. It seems as though he’s always late, so he’s forever rushing around. He flipped a tablecloth and knocked the pull cord off the ceiling fan. He scrambled around for it, held it up to his ear and said, “Ohhh, mah earrin’!” He yelled at his help and had to scramble back to his shop for the wedding flowers, but the man sets a mean table and makes killer chocolate covered strawberries (stuffed with bits of cheesecake).

Was never a fan of orange before, but this
looked stunning!

Even though I watched Bruce put this together, I could
never do this myself. I want to bring the picture
to a store and have them make me one!

Lesson 3: 
The craziest items can be bought in bulk. Stepmommy does not “need” glasses but she can’t see to read, so she stocks up on readers. By “stock up” I mean she buys them in bulk from QVC. She leaves them scattered throughout the house and her car, because you just never know when you might need a pair. She even keeps a basket of them on the counter in the kitchen so she can match her outfit. I thought this was hilarious, Bruce about wet himself when he got a load of that.

Lesson 4: 
Crack can be a tasty treat. Stepmommy’s sister-in-law puts together this concoction of Cap’n Crunch, mini marshmallows, peanut butter and white chocolate that is TO DIE FOR. They call it crack. I brought some home yesterday and Spice declared it “delightful.” Sugar said, “You need to tell Angie she’s awesome.” I’m sure this stuff won’t have a long shelf life here.

Lesson 5: 
A pinky wave tends to bite you in the ass within minutes. I was having a nice chat with Stepmommy’s brother and wife (the crack dealer) when I was called away for pictures. Tim had the audacity to give me a little smirk and a pinky wave when I groaned and got up from the table. When I saw that he was called out moments later I was thrilled to return the smirk, but sad that my little pinkies are unable to wave as nicely as his.

Lesson 6:
Southern folk really do say “Bless her heart.” The first person I heard do this was Bruce, right before he talked shit about a difficult customer. I couldn't help telling everyone how much that line pleased me and that I was going to use it on a regular basis. Later on, someone said, “Bless my heart” before she made fun of herself. I told her I didn't realize that one could bless their own heart and she said, “I am Samantha and can say whatever I want.” We laughed and she continued on with her funny stories.

Lesson 7: 
Southern women can cook the shit out of food. I ate more good food than I can shake a stick at. I am now anxiously awaiting emails with recipes for the aforementioned crack, chicken soup, grape salad, white gravy, and cornbread. In fact, before the weekend I had no idea one could make cornbread without a mix. I did say that out loud and am pretty sure I heard a few “bless her hearts.” 

Lesson 8:
It is possible to change your ways. This weekend I ate several items I wouldn't normally try. I enjoyed the sausage and egg breakfast casserole so much that my plate of seconds counted as thirds too. I tried marinated cheese, which I normally wouldn't be in the same room with. I can’t lie though, I’m guilty of fishing out only the chunks of cream cheese.

I’m also usually unwilling to let someone else drink out of my glass or bottle. However, when a stressed-out Stepmommy goes flying by, I absolutely let her have some of my beer. Several times. I am a sharer after all.

Lesson 9: 
It’s never a good idea to start drinking at 11 am and stay up until 3 am. I’m glad that I think I’m a rock star, but clearly am not. I contend that I only opened that first beer as a service to Stepmommy.

Lesson 10:
They grow some big fucking snakes in the South. I was on my way out with Sissy on Sunday and we had a run-in with a 15 foot boa constrictor on the sidewalk. I immediately put my ass under my elbow and took off for the house while screaming “HOLY FUCK!” Second lesson here, it is possible to swear in the South on a Sunday without lightening striking.

Lesson 11:
Southern folk take their football seriously and are not shy about asking to watch the game during a wedding reception.

Lesson 12:
A function is as much fun as you make it. I tremendously enjoyed myself with people that I really love being around… and those I don’t like so much? I steered clear. It made for a wonderful day and I stayed out of trouble.

Lesson 13:
You are always left wanting more when you spend time with people that you love. 

Ice Princess

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Flying the Coop

Every once in a while I take off without the family. Sometimes the trips are for pleasure and sometimes I’m off to help a friend (or family member) in need. This weekend I’m flying south to see EN’s youngest sister get married.

We talked a long time about this trip: should we all go, should EN and I go, should just he go? When you have a house and kids and pets, traveling isn’t as easy as it used to be. There’s endless coordination of caretakers, school schedules and kennels, plus the expense of it all.

The decision came pretty easily when we realized that EN might be able to get ONE day off, which meant we’d leave Friday and come back Sunday. Given that you can’t really get there from here, which would have meant that we arrived there around 10 pm Friday, only to fly home Sunday morning. I’m too old for that shit. Plus EN’s company has started to force people to work on weekends… So it was decided, for sanity’s sake, that I would fly to Alabama to represent our portion of the family.

Fortunately, this is a casual wedding (leather bustier and daisy dukes were approved as attire by Stepmommy just this morning! No not really!!) and a quick trip, so there isn’t a lot I need to worry about. Except…

Except that I am German and unable to leave a dirty house. I am unable to leave behind mountains of laundry. So tonight, after I feed the girls and attend an orientation meeting at Spice’s school, I will be cleaning and doing laundry. Of course I couldn’t start the laundry any earlier than today, the baskets would have refilled already.

And I will need to pay bills. This is always done on the last day before I leave as well. It’s my theory that if something dreadful should happen to me while I’m gone, EN will have approximately one month to get his shit straight and figure out who needs to be paid and when. By then, perhaps the life insurance will have kicked in as well and he’ll be on easy street.

I will also need to make lists for EN. He’ll need to know what’s going into the lunch boxes, when sneakers and musical instruments need to go to school, who has birthday parties this weekend, homework. Holy crap, until I started typing this, I didn’t realize how much information lives in my head now that we have two kids in full-day school.

I spent part of the week contemplating what to bring and have a list in my head. I had my nails done and hit the drug store for a few items today. I impressed myself by remembering to buy a wedding card.  Last time I flew to a wedding I made a last-minute panicked trip to Walmart to buy a card.

So tonight I prepare, tomorrow I pack. Tomorrow night I’ll be with EN Senior, Stepmommy and my favorite sister-in-law. The bride and groom will arrive on Friday and the wedding is Saturday. Sunday will be relaxing and Monday I fly back home. 

There have been a flurry of texts and emails this week as we talk about the upcoming nuptials and how excited we all are to see each other. I sent this to my sister in law:

She said, “I’ve never had a mugshot taken before.” I said I hadn’t either and that I thought it would be a nice “first” for us to experience together. A good time is bound to be had by all... 

Ice Princess  

Friday, September 7, 2012

We Heart School!

As Sugar has gotten older, she has stayed in love with school… despite the dramas of being sat on by an older student, then picked on by a group of girls that she had considered friends last year. However, her love for learning and school overrides the playground drama and she looked forward to the first day with breathless anticipation.

But she’s cool now. She lets her excitement show at home and will spend an hour showering, dressing, creating elaborate hairstyles (braids are hot this year, thank you Katniss! That's the first place I saw braids anyway!). As soon as she’s at the bus stop or around her friends, she’s cool as a cucumber. She doesn’t let the others see how much she loves this place called “school” and this process called “learning.”

I’ve always told myself that she is that way because she’s easygoing and loves to be around people. She loves to see old friends and make new ones. Any time she’s ever learned that there would be a new student in her class, she sets out to make the new kid feel welcome. There’s no one she won’t talk to. She even made an effort to befriend a severely handicapped girl we knew. Any time Sugar saw Michaela being wheeled down the hallway she’d run over and squeeze her hand and say hi, knowing full well that Michaela couldn’t see her, couldn’t respond, and probably had no idea what was going on. However, Michaela would smile at the physical contact of her hand being held, which Sugar processed as, “Michaela knows who I am and is happy to see me.”

She is a genuinely nice girl… she was born that way. That is not to say that she is “perfect,” I have blogged many times about the joys of her fighting with her sister, her head spinning when we do math homework, her forgetfulness. She is a spectacular human being armed with the gift of driving her mother batshit crazy on a regular basis. But that’s her job as a kid, right? To push her limits?

Spice is a different creature altogether. She’s sassy, rambunctious and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Her school career has only just begun, but she’s adored the time she spent in preschool with Pinky and she loved kindergarten last year. I am blown away by her reaction to her new school, teacher and classmates.

Spice is in love with everything first-grade related. She is mad about her teacher and is already bringing her handmade cards with pencils duct taped inside them. I'm sure the card will be followed up with treasured rocks, leaves and used stickers. She talks about new friends within her class and running into old friends on the playground. She tells me about who gets in trouble in class and is quick to point out that she does not, in fact her behavior is excellent (her words).

She is attempting to rearrange her bedroom a bit so that it looks more like her classroom. She specifically mentioned that her books are on her shelf all wrong. That took me right back to being in first grade myself and discovering the school library. Like a fat kid loves cake, y’all… being surrounded by books makes me feel like a junkie getting a fix. I felt that way at six, still feel that way today. In fact, my six-year-old self loved that library so much that she came home and made little labels for the outside of her books and lined them up in alphabetical order. There may have even been check-out cards inside the books. If that doesn’t scream dork, I don’t know what does.

I’m dying, waiting to see if Spice will make labels and check-out cards for her books, or if she’ll just line them up in alphabetical order.

I loved school as a kid. In fact, I STILL love school. If I could find someone to pay my salary and have me be a student for a living I would do it. The only thing I hated about school was gym class and you don’t have to take gym to get a Masters-WIN/WIN!

I delight in hearing the stories from my daughters’ schools. Every day is an adventure and there is no end to the number of good things that happen. I wonder if I somehow, with my love of books and learning, passed this excitement on to them?

I’m fully aware that many others I know (even within my family) don’t have the love of school or value education as I do. I also know that at any given moment either of my girls could decide that they HATE school and the days filled with dancing unicorns and sparkly rainbows will end. I am the mother to a first and sixth grader… I know these are the easy years. I am hopeful though that if I keep listening and helping and working alongside them, they’ll want to keep teaching me what they’ve learned every day.

Supporting their educations and encouraging them to do well in school can be the one thing I did right as a mother. After all, isn’t education one of the most important parts of childhood?

Education is one of the few things in this world that once you’ve received it, no one can ever take it away from you.

Cherish every opportunity to learn new things. Even if that new thing is, “Don’t sit next to Tommy during lunch because he’ll sneeze boogers all over your sandwich and then you’ll be hungry all day.”  

Ice Princess 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Best First Day Ever

After weeks of shopping for clothes, supplies, lunch boxes and backpacks, the first day of school is finally arrived today. Ok, I lied… I didn’t spend WEEKS shopping for supplies and lunch boxes… I did that last week, when we finally got the supply list from Sugar’s teachers.

Let’s take a moment to discuss school supplies. It’s impossible to shop when school supplies are well stocked, because you haven’t yet received the list from the teachers. There are a thousand variations to binders, notebooks, pencils even. I know my luck. I will buy everything I think they’ll need and promptly lose the receipt. Then the school supply list will come out, and wouldn’t you know, everything I bought was WRONG and now can’t even be returned because the receipt is long gone.

And because I’m ridiculous in my way of thinking, I couldn’t buy lunch boxes or backpacks until we school supply shop either. Everything must be done at once. Why? Because that’s what makes sense in my world. Fast forward past the thousands of lunch boxes and backpacks we saw displayed over the summer to last Friday when I was finally willing to buy such items, and you’ll witness me shopping at four stores with Sugar and Spice in tow and NO DECENT LUNCH BOXES! No decent lunch boxes because they wanted the freakin’ PackIt lunch boxes they saw infomercials for all summer and Target was sold out. I know. A nice mother would have bought them via the infomercial and paid the exorbitant shipping costs. I know, I know…

Last night I was giddy with excitement to get back into the routine of regular bathing (regular pool swimming negates the need for a bath. Chlorine kills), bed times, etc. I nearly sang and danced through bathing Spice and following our regular bedtime routine. This is the first year that they are both in school full-time and since there is a 4 ½ year age difference, I am trying different bed times for them. Spice was tucked in at 8:00 and I told Sugar lights out at 8:30. They were so excited that bedtime was without issue. I’m smart enough to know that won’t continue.

We were up early and attempted our new routine. It was made somewhat easier by the fact that I worked from home today so I didn’t have to get myself ready. Aside from nearly forgetting to feed Sugar breakfast and having Spice taste test “chewy” (her word for it) milk, I think things ran pretty smoothly. Oh, then I realized after the bus left that I didn’t kiss Sugar goodbye. What kind of mother am I?

We headed off to see Spice get off the bus at her new school. Her school used to do a big “First Grade Parade,” and it wasn’t until last night that I found out they no longer do this but still invite the parents to see their first graders new classroom. Spice jumped off the bus and we went to her classroom. It was only afterwards, when I looked at pictures of her getting off the bus that I saw the anxiety all over her face. I wish I would have noticed it immediately, because then I wouldn’t have been so surprised by her behavior in her classroom.

Girl grabbed onto Mama and did not let go. I tried to lead her to the circle where the other kids were sitting, but she was having none of that. She clung to my hand and didn’t want to do much of anything for a few minutes. Her teacher noticed and said that she was about to sit down but had a special spot right next to her. BINGO. We stayed until the principal came onto the intercom and politely told the parents it was time to get the hell out.

We left and I was surprised I didn’t cry. It’s not that I wasn’t sad that my baby was in first grade, I definitely was sad seeing her off. I guess it had more to do with holding my own shit together so she didn’t see me upset. I can’t imagine that me bawling in front of her class would have helped her let go of my hand and join her classmates.

And EN says, “Wow I got a little choked up there.” WHAT? Why? Before we left Spice at the school, it never really hit home with him that for the first time in years, he was without someone to hang out with in the mornings. Since he works 3-11, he’s always kept the girls with him as long as he could… until they started “big kid” school versus daycare. Thankfully the daycare we used was pretty lax about letting the girls come in a little later even though most of their academic stuff was done in the morning. For the foreseeable future, EN now has mornings completely to himself. I’m sure MUCH will be accomplished.

I spent the day working from home, wondering if Spice got into the swing of things… Wondering if Sugar was sad that I didn’t kiss her good-bye, and suddenly the phone was ringing. It was Spice’s school. Despite the endless forms I filled out, there was some confusion regarding how Spice was getting home. I heard the story second-hand, from the secretary of the school. All I pictured was Spice arguing with them, hooting and hollering with her hand on her hip, telling them exactly what she needed to do. I was happy to get the “first call” out of the way on the first day. I immediately emailed her teacher to reiterate our schedule and to ensure that Spice had a good day and to make sure she hadn’t gotten irate discussing her transportation home.

This is part of the response I received from her teacher:

Hi Ice Princess,

It was nice seeing you today too. Thank you so much for coming and making Spice's first day extra special!

I know you realize that Spice will need a note if anything changes other than this schedule we have on file. Just pop a note in her homework folder for me, so will know in the morning and can give the note to the office. As always, if there is a change during the day that happens after Spice is here, just call the office and they will be sure to get that information to me and Spice at the end of the day.

I was so proud of Spice today. Absolutely no problems at all all day. And, I applaud her because she was the one who spoke up at dismissal when I told her she was going to the after school program she politely said, no not today, I think my mom will be picking me up today. She is so sweet!  She did not seem confused or dramatic at all, just said what she knew was right, what you had told her! She is just adorable!

Feel free to e mail me anytime. I don't look at it as being "high maintenance" ! I would never want a question to go unanswered.

Have a wonderful first night of first grade! See you tomorrow Spice.

Mrs. B

A few points:
  1. Yes, she is this nice in person.
  2. Pretty too.
  4. My kid has her snowed. 

Both girls called this the “Best First Day Ever.” I’m hopeful we’ll have a fantastical school year. 

Ice Princess

Friday, August 31, 2012

Six Year Old + Scissors

I prematurely patted myself on the back. I thought I was going to make it through child rearing without anyone giving themselves a haircut. Spice once accidently hacked off a chunk from the back of her hair while doing an art project, but she has so much hair that it really wasn’t a big deal.

I met the girls at my mom’s on Tuesday after work. I brought pizza so we sat down to have dinner and I thought something looked funny about Spice. I asked if she had cut her hair and she first tried to deny it. So I pointed out that her bangs (which she never had before) were sticking straight up. She tried to pat them down and admitted she cut her hair.

Me: Why did you cut your hair?
Spice: Because it was hanging in my face.
Me: Why didn’t you just push it back?
Spice: Because I had scissors.

Normally I’m a fast thinker and can come back with something… but that? I had no words. I guess in her six-year-old little head, it made perfect sense to use scissors because they were readily available. I told her that in the future she should tuck her hair back or put a headband on, but cutting her own hair just isn’t ok.

So she’ll start first grade with rooster hair. Every time EN and I look at her we hold our fingers in front of our foreheads, mimicking her bangs and we yell, “COCK A DOODLE DOOO!” and she laughs. Yesterday she couldn’t stop laughing when I called her Spike.

We got back-to-school haircuts yesterday. Sugar wants hers to grow out to she just had the ends trimmed. Spice had hair down to her behind and she requested that it get cut “up to her boobs” for first grade. It pained me greatly to watch 5 ½ inches of hair pile up on the floor. I know she wanted to go even shorter, but my heart couldn’t take it.Sugar asked our friend the stylist, "Aren't you going to fix her bangs?" and our friend said, "There's no fixing that!"

Spice's "boob length" haircut. If you look really close,
you can see her spiky bangs sticking straight up in the front.

This morning she ran her fingers through her hair, marveling at how short it is now, then she ruffled her bangs… I don’t think she meant to speak out loud… “Maybe they just need to be shorter.”

Scissors are now considered contraband at the castle. 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

For the Love of Pinterest

When we got together with the good in-laws (divorce cleanly split the good and the bad nearly three decades ago) back in May, my favorite sister-in-law kept commenting about this thing called Pinterest that she thought was so fantastic. I told her that I was on there, but thought it wasn’t very good. I never really got past the first page of pretty pictures… I couldn’t really figure out how to navigate and thought it was a waste of time. I didn’t understand how many friends claimed to be addicts… and claimed to find all kinds of good craft ideas, recipes, humorous quotes, organizational ideas for the home… Again, all I saw were pretty pictures.

Bossy sister-in-law told me to try again. I told her to shut up.

Then came a day that I was bored at work. I got bored on Facebook. I didn’t feel like cleaning my desk or filing the ten years’ worth of crap laying around in the file room. So I wandered over to Pinterest. Since I figured that my favorite sissy loved it so much, I would start by looking at her stuff. Before long, I was creating my own boards and repinning her stuff.

In what seemed like minutes, hours went by. Suddenly I had boards full of recipes, ideas, crafts… There was a ton of shit that I had to go home and do immediately. I was going to sew some quilts and decorate for Halloween, fall and Christmas at once. I was going to cook 37 meals in my crock pot and I was going to freeze 50 bags full of stuff for future crock pot meals. I had 15 cakes I wanted to bake that day and a dozen brownie recipes that begged to be made first.

That, my friends, is what Pinterest will do to you. They put up beautiful pictures and make everything seem so easy. You will be excited about your newfound knowledge, trips and tricks and you will want to try them all at once. In your Pinterest euphoria, you will forget that you don’t have the ingredients or supplies to make any of that shit, and you will have to spend hundreds to get prepared. By then, your euphoria will have turned into a gigantic hangover and you will need a nap.  

I vowed not to be one of those women that sits in front of a computer planning a thousand things, but doing none… I have actually used several recipes… They were all ok in my eyes, but were very well received by others.

Crock pot beef with mushrooms and
secret ingredient... Diet Sprite! 

Popcorn with white chocolate and
crushed Oreos... too sweet for me!

I thought this recipe was bland. Sister
suggested that I might have cooked it
wrong. How dare she. 

Pinterest is not perfect though… if you pin something that you have already pinned, it doesn’t tell you. It’s also not possible to forward a pin directly to a friend for them to check it out. Some images are “dead,” meaning that you click on them and are lead nowhere or to a broken link. Of course this happens to the images that you are the most excited about. Pinterest can be a dream crusher.

And then there’s the issue of feeling inadequate. My house isn’t up to snuff, my kids lunches aren’t organic and the sandwiches aren’t cut into heart-shapes. And even if I followed every direction to the T, my crafty attempts would pale in comparison to the beautiful visions dancing before my eyes on that blasted site.

Then there's the issue that if I make these for Spice's first grade
Halloween party, Sugar will be pissed that she didn't get those.
Solution: make extra for Sugar to bring for her friends!

If you heaven’t checked Pinterest out yet, I encourage you to do so. Even if you aren’t into holiday decorating, crafts, kid snacks, there are lots of other things to look at. Start by stalking people you know that are already on there… Look at their boards and get lost from there.

I texted my favorite sister-in-law today and I told her that we should blow off her sister’s wedding in a few weeks, kidnap Stepmommy, drink, cook shit and get all crafty. She’s down with it.

Then she said, “I knew you would like it once you got into it.” I told her to shut up. 

Ice Princess

Monday, August 27, 2012

Country Yo' Boston Asses

It’s no secret that I love music. I have blogged about it multiple times and have used song titles as blog titles once or twice. Ok, maybe three times. Music ties many of my memories together and often I hear a song and think, “Remember when…”

I hear constantly about concerts coming to my area and look endlessly at available tickets and pricing, but I rarely go. Afterwards, I kick myself in the ass repeatedly for not biting the bullet and going. I’ve wanted to see Kenny Chesney for years. Boo and I talked about going together for years and last year I even looked at tickets, but again, didn’t end up going.

This year, Skinny Bitch, who is not a country fan, planned to go with her sister. If she can go, why can’t we? Especially because this year, Tim McGraw was touring with him as well. Two of my favorites? I MUST go! Two weeks ago I texted Boo and asked if she still wanted to go. We settled on a maximum ticket price and I was off on a search. Luckily there were plenty of tickets available through second sellers like Stub Hub. I made the purchase and we planned our tailgating extravaganza.

Finally, the big day arrived. We were off early, thinking we had plenty of time. We didn’t plan on coming across several accidents along the way and the trip took much longer than expected. We pulled the chairs and grill out of her trunk and sat down with our drinks while the chicken was cooking. I looked at her and said, “Wow, we are hanging out without kids!”

We took our time eating, had a few drinks and wandered over to the stadium where we waited in ridiculous lines for t-shirts. We found our seats and were quite pleased to see how good they were. I have never been to an outdoor concert in a stadium and I was blown away by the number of people in attendance. It turns out that Gillette Stadium seats 67,000 for a concert.

Tim McGraw was about to come on and the big screens showed him walking up to come out onto the stage. I watched as he walked slowly while flexing his hands, a nervous gesture perhaps? It’s easy to forget that even though these guys are big and famous, they are still human. I’m sure putting on a good show to satisfy tens of thousands of fans would cause anyone a bit of stress. Or maybe not?

He opened  the show with “Felt Good on My Lips” which was our official summer song last year. He played song after song and I kept thinking how much I loved each one, but the best moment of his performance for me was when he sang “Live Like You were Dying” and 67,000 people sang along. Dark or not, I put my sunglasses on so I could cry a little.

Faith Hill is a lucky woman!

Nice rear view

Too soon his turn was over and I decided to find the ladies room. I knew that if I didn’t, I’d be stuck leaving in the middle of Kenny Chesney’s performance and that just wasn’t ok. While I was in the bathroom line, I finally found a vendor selling the beer I had been looking for. I asked the girls behind me if they’d hold my spot and they graciously said yes. Now, if you are thinking only an idiot would buy a drink BEFORE going into the bathroom, you would be correct.

I did my business and bent to pull up my pants. My phone fell out of my bag and I reached down to grab it. My bag swung around and hit that beer bottle like it had a target on it. My $9.00 bottle of beer was puddled on the floor of the bathroom. I was seething, especially when I left the bathroom and found that there were multiple vendors right next to my section that sold my brand of beer. I sucked it up and bought another.

And now it was time for Kenny to take the stage. The man does not disappoint. He is amazing and captivates the audience. And again, he I got to hear song after favorite song. People laugh at country music and say it’s twangy and all about the dog driving off in the pick-up truck while your friend steals your best girl. However, the songs had recurring themes that have touched all of us… there were so many moments during the concert when I identified with the lyrics that I really should blog a separate post about it.

By far, the best moments of the concert were seeing Tim and Kenny interact with each other. The genuinely seemed to care about each other and had a great time sharing the stage. I know that they’re performers and acting a part is key, but I would be stunned if I heard that their interactions were “all for show.”

And the concert wound down and my head was in a confused place. I had a great time. This show was the stuff dreams were made of. Seeing them live was definitely a Bucket List item. I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of loss that would come over me at the closing… This was an event that I waited for anxiously. The anticipation of a good time to come was gone and I felt a little sad. Checking off that item took my breath away… until I realized that it doesn’t have to be a one-timer. Hitting a Bucket List item more than once is a bonus and this girl definitely feels the need to hit the jackpot.

If I could say thank you to the Brothers of the Sun for rocking my world, I definitely would. I thank my friend Boo for being a fun partner in crime for the day. It’s a day I’ll never forget. 

Ice Princess