Lucy Gets Thirsty

Dear Millie,

Lucy gets thirsty.  Often.  Because she can work the water dispenser on the fridge, she usually takes care of her thirst independently.  The problem is that she’s also quite mischievous.  She often sneaks the boys’ water bottles (and even her own sippy cups) upstairs and plays human water fountain with the liquid contents…all over the carpet.  There really isn’t a place that is out of reach for her because she’s also a skilled problem-solver and can/will scale anything to get to where she wants to be in order to retrieve the object of her current fixation.  We ended up apologizing to the boys and ditching water bottles entirely.  This encouraged Lucy to ask for help with drinks more often, which has been nice.  Unfortunately, it has not been enough for her.  Two recent examples:

The boys were doing dishes.  One does cups, another bowls, another silverware.  This particular day, one had finished his part and had run off to summon the next washer of dishes.  Lucy found it the opportune time to play in the dishwater.  We thought.  She’d perched herself on top of a 5-gallon bucket she had pushed over to the sink and plunged her hands in the murky water.  I was standing with my back to her, talking with Gordon who had just come home.  I heard happy splashing and turned around to pull her away before the kitchen was soaked.  What I found was that she was smacking the nasty scrub brush in the water and sucking the dirty dishwater off.

Another time, we had all finished dinner and the children had scampered off to play for a bit before bedtime.  Lucy stuck around and was playing in the corner with the play kitchen.  Again, my back was to her, and I could hear her banging on her pots and pans as she put them in her little oven and sink.  Eventually, I also heard water.  I turned around to see that the noise wasn’t from her play kitchen as much as it was from the dog’s metal water bowl, and that she was happily using her ladle to help herself to a drink.

So hey!  I made Creamy Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken last night.  It was wonderful!  Here’s a picture from her site (with permission) (you wouldn’t want to eat it based on my photography skills):

I completely forgot the parsley.  Oops!  Gordon would’ve given it all the stars if I’d served it over mashed potatoes instead of pasta, but it was still a winner.  I used ginormous chicken breasts from Sam’s Club, so I do have leftovers, which I’m going to go eat right now.  Mmmmm.

Love you,

Grace

 

In Which I Find I’m Magnetizing

Dearest Millie,

I wasn’t planning to share any more from my Overeaters Anonymous experiences because there isn’t much riveting news from such meetings.  And not that the following is actually riveting, but I just had to share.  Last time, I promise!  Probably!

I was a day or two removed from the first OA meeting when I got a text from the taco lover asking if I’d share a recipe I have for chocolate chip cookies.  It was an emergency of sorts.  Since it’s one of the few things I make well, it’s not a recipe I tend to give out (my friends wouldn’t need me anymore if they had the recipe to make them for themselves!) (I think I have a problem).  Anyway, I told her I’d consider it (it’s the thought that counts, after all!).  She texted me that she was going to just have to use this recipe.  Well, I had to see how they measured up to mine!

We have our own new group: Enablers Anonymous.

But hey, the recipe she sent me was great (she was glad to hear it, because she hadn’t tried it when I texted her about it a couple of days later.  !!!  I don’t know what happened with her emergency).  Gordon prefers them to my small-batch cookies because they doesn’t taste so much like brown sugar, he says.  Anyway, if you need cookies for two (I know my recipe hasn’t worked out for you in the past), here ya go!

Last night was my second OA meeting.  It went well, as far as sitting in a group of strangers and admitting that you (I) have issues.  I was glad that I had gone and even felt comfortable enough to give everyone a hug, as is tradition after such meetings.  Unfortunately, my attempt to be friendly and encouraging resulted in a faux pas.  As I was going to hug one of the members, I turned my face to tell her something, but she was holding on more tightly and longer than I’d expected, and so I found myself kiss-talking on her cheek.  I couldn’t pull my head back far enough to not still be rubbing my nose on her (blast my big nose!), she still didn’t let go, and I couldn’t stop talking.  I thought she’d back up (NOPE) and I was mortified that I probably had her makeup on my teeth.  I quickly buried my face in her shoulder and gave her a few brisk back pats until she let go.  I couldn’t even look at the rest of the group as I hurried out to my car with my compadres.

And that’s why you’ll probably never hear anything more about OA meetings from me.

Gracefully yours,

Me

 

OA

Dear Millie,

I thought the exact same thing about the arrows on the garage sale signs!  I was curious to find out how Abe would make it work, because I wasn’t making sense of it at all!

It reminds me of the one time in 1st grade I got a “U” on my math worksheet.  I still get hives just remembering.  There were two columns with numbers in each.  The directions said, “Use the greater-than sign.”  I knew some of those numbers on the right were greater than the ones on the left, but the directions said I had to use the greater-than sign!  Do I do the math correctly, or do I follow the directions?  The choice was harrowing.  I carefully drew the greater-than sign between the sets of numbers all the way down the middle of the columns.  The next set of columns with numbers asked me to use the less-than sign.  WHAT.  Some of the numbers on the left were greater than the ones on the right!  Was this a practice in following directions or actual math??  I remember a kid named Jacob telling me that I’d gotten a “U” on my worksheet and I thought he was kidding because I’d followed the directions and I’d surely earned nothing less than an “E” on that assignment.  I still remember my cheeks burning when I saw my graded worksheet.

I think a lot of issues I experience as an adult stem from that very experience, which leads me to last night, where I found myself talking some friends into joining me at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

One of the friends loves soda.  A chain of convenience stores you’ll see in the Midwest have their fountain sodas labeled by “buddy” size or something like that.  Anyway, this friend always has a soda buddy with her, and the other friend had gotten her a shirt for her birthday teasing her about that:

Ha!

The friend who bought the shirt loves tacos.  I mean, LOVES tacos.  She would/could eat them every single meal of every single day.  She sends me taco memes often and when I saw this shirt at Target, I immediately thought of her:

SO, my friends were awesome and agreed to go with me to OA, except the soda-lover thought I was asking if she wanted to go to an Order of the Arrow meeting, so she may have felt a little weirded out when we got there.

I was feeling antsy about going and meeting new people and talking about how I *might* have an issue (I don’t really!  I’ve totally got it under control.  I just choose to stuff myself silly at all times).  As I was trying to think about how to act, what I would say, and how I could break the ice, I was thinking my friends could wear their shirts.  Then I wished I had a shirt.  What could I bring that would make me cool?  I came up with the perfect solution to any new situation.  No joke:

 

 

What?

 

Love you,

Grace

Desperation’s Garage Sale

Dear Grace,

Believe me, I understand completely with regards to feeling like you are so behind on everything that it was as though Christmas was not celebrated as you hoped it would be. This year it hardly felt like Christmas at the Dutchman House. But maybe that has something to do with the weather here in the Southwest because the high today was 75 degrees, and that’s just awfully hot for January.

I feel like I even sluggishly approached the New Year, which is thoroughly unlike me. I usually have 20 goals planned and even a yearly theme picked out, but this year I barely have an inkling of what I would like to accomplish and I am waiting for the “opportune time” to begin my resolutions. Heaven help me.

But I do know that at very least the one thing I do want to tackle this year is STUFF. Abe and I have so much stuff. We live in a house meant for five or six and shop like we’re a family of twelve. We’re both descendants of rainy day types of folks and we save all sorts of things just in case. Of course there is nothing wrong with preparedness, and we have food storage that has saved us countless times when we have found ourselves in a pinch, but things are out of hand. For example, Abe owns entire wardrobes in various sizes. Whereas I pretend like I don’t have a ton of stuff but I really just sort through things then put them in a box in the garage. Then I think to myself, “Hey, where were those one shoes?” and then I rescue them (and more) from the box in the garage. Obviously, it is a very productive process.

This weekend Abe and I found ourselves in one of those aforementioned pinches and decided it would be the perfect time for a garage sale to help us bounce back a little. It was quite the white trash affair. We only have one folding table which we piled high with unwanted kitchen items. Abe constructed “tables” out of cardboard boxes which he covered with old sheets or curtains where we piled as many knickknacks as possible. Then I ransacked our closets for every available hanger (which wasn’t close to enough). I began pulling clothes off their existing hangers and throwing them every which way so I could hang up all the clothes we were selling.

Abe had me make the signs and because we didn’t have any poster board, I wrapped extra cardboard boxes with brown paper; and because we didn’t have any sharpies I used acrylic paints to paint our signs by hand. Abe gave me specific directions to make all the arrows on the boxes going the same way. In my brain that didn’t seem to make much sense so I sought clarification as to which direction he wanted the arrows. “Doesn’t matter which way,” he said. Still confused but ever-trusting, I figured Abe knew what he was doing when it came to directions and decided to make all the arrows point left.

Sadly, this was not what Abe had meant. He did not mean that all the arrows should be drawn in all the same direction, but that each arrow on either side of the box should be facing the same direction so that the box could be turned whichever way to point garage sale goers to the proper house. Abe didn’t realize my mistake until the morning of our grand garage sale, so I quickly had change the direction of some of the arrows leading to slightly confusing looking signs. Abe learned that he needs to be more specific with one as directionally-challenged as yours truly.

We spent our Saturday camped out in our garage watching Netflix from the old TV we were wanting to sell and stealthily attempting to “outsell” one another. In the end we really did not make much money, but thankfully enough to help us in our pinch. Once the sale was over, I wanted to box everything we did not sell (quite a lot) and ship it off to Goodwill so that it could be out of our lives forever. Abe, however, believed the garage sale was great fun and that we should keep the garage in its garage sale state and keep having garage sales until we could garage sale no more. I simply want to get rid of stuff, but Abe sees it all as a giant pile of cash to be made if we can only lure in the right buyers.

I am afraid this sorting thing just isn’t sorting out.

Much love,

Millie

I Can’t, and It’s Okay (Right?)

Dear Millie,

The Family Prude does Las Vegas!  HA!  Oh, I love you.  We should definitely do Vegas together sometime, sans nudies.

Last month, I was feeling so frustrated that I was so behind on everything.  I have had a type of countdown to Christmas in my mind for years and have never yet been able to pull it together and pull it off.  Nor was I able to pull off timely Christmas cards with the photo from our session with Disaster (they arrived in the mail yesterday!  You may start expecting one in the mail in maybe a week or so.  Or later.  Valentine’s Day?).  We didn’t get outside lights up (we haven’t since we moved here!  Gordon used to enjoy the math of perfectly positioned lights.  I’m not sure if the cold here is the deterrent, or just that the house is a different shape and difficult to work with), the tree was never fully ornamented (on the spontaneous day of putting the tree up and ornamenting, I found a few boxes that had several ornaments each and we had the kids put them on.  I never got to go through the rest of the boxes, so our tree was pretty sparse as far as ornaments go), I had only two or three Christmas knick-knacks displayed (out of several boxes-worth like I used to display in our last home), and it was just so busy.

I did so enjoy the countdown I shared here, but I felt like I was constantly missing the mark, as far as picture-perfect holidays go.  As I was helping someone ready their home for a visit from CPS, I worried that if CPS were to stop by my house, they’d have to seriously question whether my home was up to snuff.  The walls are all dirty with handprints and Lucy has made a mural of nearly all of them.  The dishes were always half-done, as I could only get done what I had time to do.  The house always smelled like yesterday’s dinner.  There are piles of paper covering the high counter and more piles by my computer and boxes and boxes that still have yet to be unpacked.  I won’t talk about the laundry pile on the couch.  And I never, not during the entire month leading up to the holidays, felt like I had it all together.  My hair was never nicely done, my makeup was an afterthought, and my clothes always felt a bit frumpy and unkempt.  I was trying to gather presents and organize meaningful experiences for another family and coordinate meals for those who would be without otherwise.  My family ate a lot of frozen pizza, corn dogs, and chicken nuggets.

All these things added up to feelings of inadequacy.  One day in particular, I was picking up Kyle’s friend for an afternoon of sledding and other goof-offery, and as I pulled into his driveway, I was struck with such a sense of…I don’t know…imperfection?  Kyle’s friend is one of seven beautiful children, his dad is a doctor, his mom is a gorgeous, always put-together, unbelievably lucky-in-the-genetic-lottery type, and their home, wow, their home was amazing.  I looked it up on Zillow so I could know what I was looking for (I can’t follow directions.  Even with Siri.  And in the couple of times I’ve been there since, I’ve still driven past it!  But anyway, I’d seen pictures of the interior as well as the exterior and holy cow).  Anyway, I used to think that the mom could do it all because they had a nanny.  Of course she could do her hair and makeup and workout and clean her house and manage running children to and fro!

Well.  They let the nanny go.  With their recent move here, the dad has better hours and can help the mom.  They really don’t need her services.  Huh.  They do have things together on their own then.  Rats!

One day, a few of us moms were practicing a musical number for Christmas Day’s church services.  We started talking about what we wanted for Christmas (I wanted sleep!  And a clean house!).  Anyway, this particular mom I’d been admiring (and feeling a bit deficient compared to) just the day before, turned to me and said that her husband had offered, as a Christmas present, to hire someone to help with housework.  Not the deep-clean type of help, because they’d have to cut through the regular stuff to get to that, just getting dishes and laundry and vacuuming and the occasional mopping in.  What.  She went on to say that as she was also helping at the house where we were prepping for CPS, she wondered whether if they came to her house, they’d take her children away.  I laughed politely and doubted that was the case, because I’d seen pictures of her house by golly, but then she said, “No, I’m serious.  I’m not trying to say, ‘Oh, my house is dirty,’ and it really isn’t.  It’s BAD.  Like, scary, smelly bad.  The dishes are filling the sink and are on every counter and the laundry is piled and just…that’s why my husband wanted to get help.  We’re drowning over there!”

I couldn’t believe it.

She went on to say that she’d not had time to do her hair and just pulled it into a ponytail on the way (it looked as though she’d spent a lot of time on it) and that she was late, so she had to throw on whichever slip-on shoes she found first (they were the cutest ballet flats), and that meant she hadn’t put on socks and her toes were freezing.  I thought she’d spent time coordinating all the pieces of her ensemble, but no!  It was just whatever she could grab on the way out the door since we were meeting at the church and she had to quickly get out of her pajamas.  Huh!

Gordon sent me a post Jake had linked to on Facebook about “lifestyle porn” and I while I don’t necessarily agree that Mormons have a monopoly on fake-life blogging, etc., I loved so much of it!  I can relate.  I know what we see online is often contrived and the picture we see is the best picture out of hundreds (even on food blogs!), but it’s hard to not be sucked into thinking that’s the reality–clean counters with beautiful food and kids cutting out cookies while sitting their flourless bums on the counter.  Where are the scribbles on the walls?  Where are the piles of papers from school that need signatures or the pots and pans from the beautiful meal or the children still in footy pajamas from that morning?  (Mine is right behind me.)

Of course the pictures of my gorgeous friend’s home were amazing…they were from the realtor trying to sell the house!  If you look on Zillow at the pictures of my home, you’ll be blown away by my palatial quarters.  I can tell you right now that I was disappointed when I saw the house in person.  Obviously, I still liked it enough to buy it and the land it came with can’t be beaten, but the fireplace looks horrendous, the cracks in the walls and terrible cover-up paint jobs were not in the pictures…not even in the video walk-through the realtor had done for us.  The rooms are much smaller than the pictures portrayed, and I guess it all (reality, metaphors, and all) comes down to angles and lenses.

I lead a messy life.  I’m resigned to (and now embrace) this season of my life.  I love it, fingerprinted walls and all.  I’m not saying I won’t keep cleaning and washing dishes and working on the maddening laundry (if everyone would just stop wearing clothes, we wouldn’t have this problem!  Hmmm…I think we have too many windows to pull that off), but there were/are so many good and more important things: Gordon got all A’s in his master’s program this semester, even after the lit review we thought would kill us.  We were so ready and excited for Christmas, Santa came a day early.  We spent Christmas Eve sledding with friends instead of prancing around, perfectly coiffed, taking pictures and never enjoying the snow outside.  Ten families had turkeys and hams and all the fixings delivered to them courtesy of the ward, and another family had Christmas covered for them and the three extra children they were welcoming into their home.

Christmas at my house looked less like the magazines and blogs and more like what my kids will actually remember: a big mess of wrapping paper, squeals of glee and laughter, and a vague smell of onions and garlic.  While I do hope I ever get to do the advent I have in my mind (and maybe serve dinner all dolled up because who doesn’t like to feel fancy now and then?), I’ll be happy if all our Christmases look like this one did.  I hope yours do, too.

Happily “can’ting”,

Grace

PS  I had bought all the stuff to make this Sparkling Cranberry Cider and other things for our fancy Christmas dinner.  I don’t remember what we ended up having for dinner on Christmas (frozen pizza??), but we just had the chicken cordon bleu, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and veggies last night.  Ha ha!  I made the cider New Years Eve and we loved it!  The kids were sad that I’d halved the recipe.  Since I haven’t been able to find any Hawaiian Punch concentrate for Gordon’s family’s traditional Christmas Punch, I think this will be our go-to!

PPS I do remember what I’d made for Christmas breakfast before church!  I don’t think Gordon tried it, but the kids and I loved it!  It was this Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread.  We all love Monkey Bread to begin with, so that was a big draw.  The fact that it used premade cinnamon rolls meant it came together in just a few minutes (score!  We usually just have cereal out for the kids on Sundays since there isn’t much time for cooking).  I usually steer clear of Pillsbury dough because it has a bit of a chemical taste or something, but this tasted nothing like that.

I wondered, though, how I could make it without canned cinnamon rolls, since I’d never bought those before now and I doubt I’ll have them in my fridge when I have a hankering for that recipe.  A couple of days later, Mel from melskitchencafe.com posted these Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls.  They worked out great (well, except that I didn’t notice the cream I used had passed its expiration date.  That definitely affected the flavor of the icing.  Oh, and I ended up making two batches of icing [second batch with milk instead of soured cream] because there definitely wasn’t enough to drizzle around.  The pictures show a good amount on them, but the recipe only produced enough to have half a spip per roll.  Unacceptable!  Ha ha)!  Anyway, I’m thinking the biscuit cinnamon roll recipe would work great since you’re not working with yeast and risings, etc.  Either way, now you have some recipes I’d recommend you try!

The Family Prude does Las Vegas

Dear Grace,

Our Christmas and New Year’s have ultimately been spent battling a plague of germs. Abe’s sister and her five darlings showed up on Christmas Eve each with a fever and a hacking cough. I flinched each time coughs barked out of their chests as I imagined bacteria-infested amoebae flying through the air landing on every surface possible. The moment they left on Christmas Day, Abe, his mother, and myself went about the house disinfecting every surface and tossing everything we possibly could into the washing machine. Unfortunately, our obsessive cleaning did nothing to protect Abe (the most tenacious Lysol-wielder) from succumbing to The Yuck.

However, Yuck or no Yuck, Abe and I were set on traveling to Las Vegas to be with his uncle and aunt. Uncle Don and Aunt Shawna had invited the two of us to join them and their posse in Vegas to watch a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows. I was thrilled as I had never been to Vegas and had only heard the greatest of reviews regarding Cirque du Soleil shows.

Our first night in Vegas, we watched Cirque’s “Beatles Love” show and it was simply amazing. I can’t even explain how lovely it all was. Let’s just go and see it together, okay? Abe had to physically drag me from the gift shop before I bought everything in sight.

Our second night, Abe and I were the chaperones for the two girls under 18 and we went to see “Mystere” while the rest of the family (including Abe’s grandmother) went to “Zumanity” (which I don’t recommend Googling). We heard all about Zumanity the next day over breakfast, and I don’t remember ever being so shocked. 

When Abe showed me the “trailer” for the show, I thought it was a show that was meant to be sexual but not explicit. Apparently I didn’t know Vegas. I elected to go to the other show if only to avoid having Abe’s family watch my reactions the entire show. I have a reputation in the family for being prudish above and beyond the rest. Honestly, I think the family’s descriptions of the show were merely to get a reaction out of me.

How can I help but be a prude with how we were raised by Mumsie and Pops? But really and truly I am much happier being a prude if it saves me from having to sit through an hour of nude acrobatics.

Hoping your New Year is much less full of unwarranted adult nudity,

Millie

Tidbits From the Tundra (Not Really the Actual Tundra, Just the Snowy Parts of the U.S., but What Sort of Title Is That??)

Dear Millie,

Happy New Year!  I hope your travels have been marvelous and that you have plenty of stories to share!  I’ve missed you!

I don’t have a real theme for this letter, just some short fun things.  You know, like children.  In this case, they’re my children.

Aspirations: We were talking about goals, and I mentioned to Kyle that one of his new friends used to swim competitively and that maybe they could do that together.  Kyle responded that he doesn’t want to because he doesn’t want to shave his pits.  He wants to grow out his armpit hair and braid it.

If Kyle has braidable armpit hair at age 10, I don’t think I’ll stand in his way.

Fat pants: I took the kids to run some errands after sledding New Years Eve and one of those was to pick up a movie at the movie store (is ours the only one left in the country?).  I’d called ahead to make sure they had Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events now that we’ve finished the third book.  Since they were holding it for me, I asked if one of the boys would run in and get pick it up.  Kyle said he didn’t want to go in because he was wearing his snow pants.  I noted that lots of people around town were wearing snow pants.  Certainly not a big deal.  He responded, “But they make my legs look fat!”

Holidays: Vanessa was talking about “a holiday you celebrate and you get candles and you light them aaaaand you get to make your own presents.  And play games.  That’s all about Halmonica.”

Later, she told me, “That’s what Halmonica is about: presents, food, and chopsticks.”

During a festive dinner, Vanessa pulled out another slice of turkey, held it up and said, “THIS is my destiny!”

Of course I had a few grandma moments as well.  I was driving a couple of the kids’ friends home and they were in the very back seat since the middle row is full of carseats.  Two of us were having a great chat (although we had to holler back and forth, given the distance between us), and the other boy, attempting to join in, yelled, “Hey Mom!  Uhhh, I mean, Grandma!  I mean, not my grandma, but anyway…”.

The Y has hired someone to oversee events for the aging population–I had seen it in the newspaper and later that week, I got my very own personal invitation to join the senior group!  They’ve got SilverSneakers, day trips, socials, and workshops covering topics like technology and aging well!  I wonder if they provide daycare?

What’s new in your neck of the woods?  By the way, I told the kids we have to clean out the extra bedroom (it’s become the room we stash everything in a hurry!) (Having that particular room as a stash room is a terrible idea.  It’s door opens wide to the front door’s view, and Lucy and Vanessa are always venturing in there to see what treasures they can find.  If I don’t remember to lock it, they always run in there to find something to present to our visitors!).  They asked why, and I said that I’d like to have it ready for company.  They excitedly asked who was coming, and I said, “I don’t know, maybe Jake and Cara, your grandparents, or hey, maybe Aunt Millie and Uncle Abe!”  They vetoed your coming, I’m afraid.  It’s too snowy to jump on the trampoline with Uncle Abe, and a visit without that is simply unacceptable.  Here’s to spring!

Love,

Grace

 

 

Grace

Dear Millie,

Sometimes life is messy and complicated.  It’s hard and painful.  Recently, I was helping a lady who was about to have a baby.  I was there as she was in labor, and I was there soon after she delivered a tiny, wide-eyed baby girl.  I was there when she cried over having had to do it alone…she’d left an abusive relationship with her older teenage daughter and son.  She mourned the relationship she thought she’d had, and the future she faced as a single mom.  Again.  She was frustrated to find herself here, having failed a third relationship that included yet another child.

I didn’t know what to say.  What could I say?

She agonized over whether she should place her baby for adoption.  Fears of the father re-entering their lives were a major concern.  He’d had another of his baby mamas declared an unfit mother and her children were taken from her.  Would keeping her new, sweet baby jeopardize her older children?  The father had moved on and was already with (possibly married to?) another woman.  Was keeping the baby a gamble worth risking?

At the same time, she is her baby.  Her precious daughter.  How could she possibly give her up?

She was tormented by the decision she was forced to make.  How would she possibly care for her children, let alone her newborn daughter?  Yet how could she possibly let her go?  Her son was terrified the abusive man would return if they kept the baby.  Her daughter didn’t look up from Facebook as her mom begged validation, “You want me to keep her, don’t you?”

“Sure.”

It was gut-wrenching to watch from the sidelines.  The father was notified of his daughter’s birth by Social Services and responded that he was not interested in pursuing custody. The mother choked back a sob as she told me, “He doesn’t even want to meet her.”

She brought her home.  Donations were made and the little dark-haired darling has a bed and clothes and diapers and food.  We talked about plans for the future and making things work.  We talked about love, repentance, and forgiveness.  We laughed and cried and hugged and prayed.  The overwhelming feeling was hopeful for the future–that somehow, things would be made right.  This baby is here for a reason.

 

 

She named her baby Grace.

 

Christmas Eve

Dear Millie,

Happy Christmas Eve!  We just got back from sledding with neighbor friends and old friends and new friends.  It was a lot of fun watching the kids go screaming down the hill.  I usually go a few times (and I definitely scream the whole way down), but I got caught up in some fun conversations.  One of those was about holiday traditions.  I’m looking forward to New Years Eve…one of my friends has a tradition where they make gourmet waffles all night and have games going and friends come and go (or stay) all evening.  Her husband is an amazing cook, too!  If I’m going to wrap up this year of stuffing myself silly, I think Waffle Night is a good way to go.

I’d better get back to Christmasing.  I hope your Christmas prepping is going well!  I’d love to know what you ended up doing in the way of goodie plates!  Have a wonderful evening and Merry Christmas tomorrow!

Lots of love,

Grace

Nose Pegs

Dear Millie,

I love when you write!  I wish you could write to me for a living.  Thank you for your sweet words yesterday!  And also for the cookie recipe…I like my peanut butter cookies just so, and yours are killer!

We let the kids sleep by the Christmas tree last night.  Kind of.  We have the Christmas tree on the wood floor, so we set out all the cushions from the couches and sheeted them together and put a mattress pad on top for good measure.  Everyone was comfy and cozy (except for Lucy, whose nightly migrations take a couple of hours before settling).  Around 1am, Paul woke Gordon up (good boy!) to tell him he’d thrown up.  I’ll spare you details, but everyone spent the rest of the night in their respective beds (except Lucy, who ended up on the mat in our bedroom, and Paul, who informed me this morning that he’d slept on the landing midway down the stairs).  It would be naive of me to think that this was a fluke and that Paul will be the only sickie, but I hope we experience a Christmas miracle and that Paul’s episode will be the extent of it.

I was making breakfast and Paul was sitting on a stool behind me in the kitchen.  I noticed that he had some skin flaking off his nose, and Truman walked in as I was brushing it off.  Truman asked, “Was that a peg on his nose?”  I was completely confused.  I was informed that nose pegs are common (I was conjuring up images of Pinnochio), though they can be anywhere, really, and that if you don’t take care of your skin, they can be black dots, or red bumps.  Teenagers get them a lot.  Pegs!  I love it.

For the last couple of days, I had a sign on the basement door letting the kids know that the basement was off limits until further notice.  I was wrapping presents down there yesterday and there is a large one that I hadn’t gotten to yet.  Lucy was with me so that I could keep a better eye on her, and Vanessa was supposed to be upstairs playing with play dough.  I got a phone call and was trying to keep Lucy occupied while I talked.  When I hung up, I noticed Vanessa was right next to us, riding the swivel car thingie (similar to this, not that it matters, but if/when there’s a Little Adams, you should get one!  Only, find it for half off or something because that’s kinda pricey)!  WHAT.  I hollered at her Beast-style to get out of the basement (“GET OUUUUUUUUT!”) (okay, it probably wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t sweet, that’s for sure).  She ran upstairs and I felt terrible (sounds like Stephanie Nielsen had a similar experience)!  I apologized to her and gave her a hug.  I still felt bad about it, but last night, Vanessa walked up to me and said, “Mom, I forgive you for getting mad at me when I was in the basement.”

Because Vanessa is awesome, I’ll leave you with this gem from about two seconds ago: “Mom, guess what happens when you come to a girl slumber party?”

“Umm, I don’t know, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to one.”

“You have to spend the rest of your life eating cake in the bathroom!  Bye, Mom!”

Maybe we should have a slumber party?

Love,

Grace