Thursday, September 6, 2018


Charlie is seven and first grade. Things are coming together for him in the reading and spelling department, and it makes me equal parts relieved and proud. That said, he's still settling into the structure of first grade. This school thing is real, y'all.

Me, after school: "Alright, Charlie, we just have to practice for your spelling test and then you are finished with homework." 

"No, mom. I did my spelling test last week. That's over, remember?" 

He looked a bit crestfallen when I told him there would be weekly spelling tests, so I opted not to tell him that weekly spelling tests will be a part of his life for the foreseeable future.

He must not have been too shook up, though, because on the way home from soccer practice he declared, "I know how to spell Chicago, mom. Want to hear?" He then proceeded to sound out every single syllable in the most adorable, painstaking fashion.

 "S-H-E-K-O-W-G-O ... .... .... and an 'E' at the end! Chicago! Is that right?"

Yep. Shekowgoe it is.

Monday, February 27, 2017

On gift wrapping

Charlie is the king of spotting "treasures." Sunglasses, flash lights, sports balls, Pokemon cards, toys, Playmobil figures, cards, money, etc. You name it, he can spot it lying in the grass, in a pile of leaves or amid a bunch of rocks. He was so on fire at an art festival this year that we had to ask him if he was rifling through people's bags. (He wasn't. At least not that time.)

This morning on our way to school, he spotted a green beaded Mardi Gras-style necklace under one of the playground benches. After waving it at a few of the teachers and some moms walking into school, we made our way home. As we walked, he told me his plans for the beads. In less than three blocks, he went from saving it from St. Patrick's Day to giving it to Buddy, to going to a friend's new dog, to keeping it, to giving it to a family friend who just lost their dog. There were specific wrapping and presentation plans associated with each recipient. 

As we approached the house, he said, "I am definitely going to give it to Mrs. Johnson when I see her today. Because she is sad that their dog is in heaven. I'm not even going to wrap it. I will just hide it behind my back, and I will be the wrapped gift. That will make her happy."   

Oh, Birdie. There are a lot of people that would take you as a wrapped present. Especially if they could use the bow as a muzzle. I say that with love. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Warthog Day

Charlie is in the habit of waking up bright and early each morning. He wakes up, gets out of bed and stumbles into our room. He stumbles because most times his eyes are still closed. I'm not exaggerating. 

On some mornings it is so early that I am still in bed. Which is kind of nice, because he crawls in and we cuddle. We cuddle approximately three second before he starts talking. Usually so he can ask me a question, which is typically a thinly veiled demand. Let me tell you, there is nothing I love more than fielding questions at 6 a.m. 

"What are we doing today?"

"When is it a home day?"

"How many more big sleeps until my birthday?"

"Can I take my Pokemon cards to school today?"

"What are we having for breakfast?"

"What are we having for lunch?"

"Did you know that in the movie 'Storks,' they say 'Wolfpack, assemble!' and the wolves turn into a submarine, and one guy is the little spy camera that looks at everything above the water? Isn't that so funny, mom?"

"Mom, when are you going to buy 'Storks,' for us?"

This morning he stumbled into our room around 5:55 a.m. He climbed into our bed, cuddled up to me and then a second later, shot straight up to standing. Looming above me, he waved his arms and declared, "MOM! Today is WARTHOG Day! Do you think the warthog is going to see his shadow? What's the warthog's name again?" 

I confirmed that yes, it is indeed Groundhog Day, told him the groundhog's name and answered the seven questions that followed. As I did so, I could not help but realize how incredibly ironic it is that for the mornings at least, my life is basically Groundhog Day.

Friday, November 11, 2016


And here it is, my favorite picture from our wedding day for my favorite guy on our tenth wedding anniversary.

Thank you for making the past ten years so wonderful. Not perfect—because come on, even if I don't post a lot here anymore, I'm not about to start lying now—but overall pretty darned great. There's no one I'd rather have push my buttons, straighten things I just straightened or make me laugh. And that's the truth.

I love you. I love our life. Here's to us.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Now I get it

In February we went on a vacation with three other couples. It was a five night stay, so I packed five books. My friends were not pleased. Like, not pleased in the sense that one friend in particular hid a book from me and even wrestled it away from me at one point. If it weren't for the fact that the book was from the public library, I'm pretty sure it would have ended up in the pool. Suffice it to say, I only made it through one book (and some magazines).

Mary Clare discovered chapter books about two months ago, and she is just tearing through them. We drove with my parents to dinner a week ago, and Mary Clare sat in the back next to my dad, with her nose buried in a book the entire time. When we pulled up, my dad said, "Mary Clare, it was great talking to you." She just gave him a confused look and asked, "Where are we?" To which my dad replied, "You are so your mother."

Fast forward to this morning, and I felt both my friends' and my parents' pain. I asked Mary Clare to please put down her book and get dressed. Five times. I then asked her to put down her book so I could do her hair. Five more times. And as I did her hair, she just stared longingly at her book.

"Mary Clare," I said, "I love that you love to read, but we have to figure out a better plan. I don't like asking you multiple times to do things, and you don't like it when I interrupt your reading. Maybe you need to get dressed first, and then you will have all of the time you need to read, uninterrupted."

Huge sigh.

"But Mom, I wake up in the morning, and I just can't wait to read my books. I just see them* and have to have them." She continued, "And then I don't want to put them down. Because I just have to know what happens next."

To which I could only reply, "I know what you mean."

We'll come up with a plan another day.

*We have started removing books from her room at night, both to keep her from reading at night and to encourage her to roll over and go back to sleep at 5:30 a.m., as opposed to getting up and starting to read.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Saturday night Mary Clare and Chip went to the Holy Redeemer father-daughter dance, so Charlie and I had some quality time together. We cuddled up on the couch, watched some Inspector Gadget episodes, ate "apples what are cut in slices" and then one of us wore the empty bowl on our head for awhile. (I'll never name names.)

Bedtime came and went, and around 8:30 p.m. I finally convinced Charlie that it was time to hit the hay. As we walked out of the family room, he grabbed onto my leg and nuzzled his head into my side.

"Charlie," I said, "What am I going to do when you aren't my little Charlie Bird any more?"

He stopped, lifted his arms to me and said, "Mama, I'll always be your Bird." 

Well, you better believe I carried those 40 lbs. of sweetness up the stairs. And from room to room as we changed, used the bathroom and brushed teeth. 

The boy has me right where he wants me, and I am completely okay with that. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pets: fake, lost and found

Charlie and Mary Clare have a decent amount of Beanie Boos, the modern day Beanie Babies. While I am admittedly freaked out by their oversized eyes and teeny-tiny bodies, the kids love them. Mary Clare has four that she lines up on the pillow next to her each night, making sure that I tuck the covers up to their chins, the way she prefers to be covered up as well. Charlie, well, he loves them because Mary Clare loves them. And I love that Charlie calls them "Peanie Poos," no matter how many times Mary Clare tries to correct him. And he's not even going for the bathroom humor audience on this one. For once. 

In the living pet world, the kids are obsessed with missing pet flyers. If we are driving along, they beg me to slow down or wait at the stop sign long enough for them to read the flyer. After I get the okay to go, they then proceed to look for said missing animal. And they're serious. We've found two cats so far. Not necessarily the cats that were missing, but we've found two cats. According to Charlie, that is. The other funny thing about this is that if, say, we're about half a mile past the point where we first saw the poster, Mary Clare will suddenly declare, "Okay, you can stop looking now, Charlie. There is no way the cat would have made it this far." I don't bother arguing with her. They have found two cats, after all.