8/30 and 12/30

It’s early May and I haven’t updated in a while about my goal of 30 movies and 30 books for this year. I’ve made progress, though my movie watching has totally stalled out over the last couple of months.

Movies:

  • 1/18 “Gravity” in theaters with Geoff. Intense, but pretty amazing.
  • 1/18 While Geoff took Hayley to see “Frozen” I stayed home and watched “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” And, ok, yes, dumb and all that, but whatever. I don’t have high expectations for my mindless movie watching.
  • 1/20 My turn to take Hayley to see “Frozen.” LOVE.
  • 1/25 The kids spent the night at my mom’s because it was our anniversary and so Geoff and I watched “Iron Man 3,” finally.
  • 2/1 “Katy Perry: Piece of Me” with my sister. Listen, I’m not even sorry about this.

Books:

  • 1/11 An Abundance of Katherines
  • 1/17 Looking for Alaska
  • 2/22 The Mystery of Mercy Close
  • 2/25 The Rosie Project
  • 3/8 The Interestings
  • 3/18 The Girl You Left Behind
  • 3/31 Faithful Place
  • 4/10 What Alice Forgot
  • 4/23 Where’d You Go Bernadette?
  • 4/28 Sharp Objects

I’m now reading Dark Places, and then will probably read something nice and light for a bit because back to back Gillian Flynn is maybe a bit much. Any book suggestions? Or movies that might get me back in the swing of things?

Forget-me-nots 2

I’ve been trying to keep a running list of the things the kids have been saying or doing which is hard to do when I’m also trying to be more present in the moment, and on my phone less. Here’s what I’ve been able to jot down:

  • Hayley was writing letters to her pen-pals and asked me to write down the words she wanted to use so she could reference them while writing on her paper. She was going along and then her head popped up, “Mom, why did you write a mystery mark here?” MYSTERY. MARK. I just can’t even tell you how much I love this.
  • Hayley was choosing an after dinner treat and she picked a little packet of M&Ms and asked if they were the Spring colored version. Geoff said no and when she opened them up she squealed in happiness, ever the optimist. “Yes they are! See? There is blue for the sky, red and green for the flowers, yellow for the sun and brown for….the dirt the flowers grow in! It IS spring colors!” Sure, sweetheart.
  • Geoff played through an old Sega game that was available for download on a newer console and he thought the kids would like watching him because it was a Mickey Mouse game. “Castle of Illusion” to be exact. That name caused both kids to hold their hand up to their chin, wiggle their fingers and say, “Castle of Illllluuuuuusssion” in a spooky way until they both dissolved into puddles of laughter over and over again.
  • Damien has been watching a newer cartoon called “Wallykazam” and he loves it. So much. He likes us to sing him the “My Friend The King” song so he can shout out the Bobgoblin parts. “No giants!” “No cake!”
  • Another thing he learned from the show, from Bobgoblin specifically, is to randomly say “Bobgoblin” for no reason at all. So he’ll be playing along, then look up, “Bobgoblin”, and back to playing. Or, we’ll be rocking in a dark room before bedtime and just as I think he may have drifted to sleep and he’ll whisper, “Bobgoblin.”
  • Damien has learned to say, “Hay is for horses!”
  • No matter what, Damien’s reaction to dinner right now is, “Ewwwww. Disgusting!”
  • He also like to tell us off, and thinks he always wins an argument wining blow. For example, we’ll tell him to pick up his train. “No pick up train. HUH!” That little sassy “huh!” is the 2-year-old version of efffffff you.
  • He still has his sweet moments though. Like when he wakes from nap, Geoff gets huge hugs and “Best ever, big boy Daddy!” (He far prefers Geoff after nap. We don’t force the issue.)
  • We try to work on basic please and thank you right from the start, but Damien is just now offering up a “No, thank you.” response all on his own and it is pretty great. I may let him get away with responding to a few directives, not questions, like that because come on.
  • Part of our manners effort includes being aware of how we speak to the kids, so we thank them for things they do all the time. Damien responds with a jolly, “No problems!” and even, sometimes, a little bow.

A Whole Hand

Hayley is five now. I’ve been a mother for five whole years. We’ve been a family for half a decade. Something about all that just gets to me, you know?

Five feels so big. The age she’ll begin kindergarten. The age she’ll likely start reading. The age she’ll learn to swim. The age she’ll show me she’s been paying attention these past five years, and “it’s ok, mom, I can do this myself.” Five is still plenty little, I know that. But it just feels like the start of something. Something big.

Hayley had school on her birthday so I’d planned to be the parent helper that day. The night before I made some cupcakes and hung up a happy birthday banner we have because even though her party wouldn’t be until the weekend I wanted it to still be festive for the actual day.

Since we were having an under the sea themed party her class got these totally naturally blue cupcakes with fish sprinkles.

Since we were having an under the sea themed party her class got these totally naturally blue cupcakes with fish sprinkles.

On a whim I decided to use some of her sidewalk chalk outside the front door to write her a little happy birthday note and this ended up being a BIG hit. So simple! Cost nothing!

Raise your hand if you are surprised to learn this is STILL outside our door.

Raise your hand if you are surprised to learn this is STILL outside our door.

The morning of her birthday she bounced out of bed and cheerfully got ready for school. Hayley loves school; there aren’t usually battles to get up in the morning on school days, but she seemed especially excited this day. She wore the new shirt she picked out at Disney on Ice which she’d gone to a couple days before with Geoff. She asked for Anna hair that day so I dutifully gave her two braids before we headed downstairs. She had requested blueberry coffee cake for her birthday breakfast, so I’d baked that the night before since I wouldn’t have time the morning of.

The first of many candle-blowing opportunities.

The first of many candle-blowing opportunities.

After breakfast she opened a couple of gifts and we headed to school. I’d noticed by then that she didn’t seem to be her usual self- and Damien had been sick all week. Since neither had a fever at any point I crossed my fingers and kept an eye on her at school. She loved all the attention that goes along with a school-day birthday and enjoyed sharing the cupcakes with her classmates. During recess she ran up to me holding out a little yellow flower she’d picked for me. Something about her little hands holding out this cheerful flower to give me, on her birthday, made me tear up.

Sometimes I'm convinced she's made of pure sweetness.

Sometimes I’m convinced she’s made of pure sweetness.

After school we were all supposed to go out to lunch but Geoff and I decided neither kid seemed up to it. Instead, we stopped at Toys R Us for our traditional birthday trip, which was very brief and hurried this time around but Hayley picked out a cute My Little Pony Spike doll and we headed out. She asked if we could pick up Subway to take home for lunch, and who am I to say no to the birthday girl? Though I maybe wish I had because THE CHATTIEST lady was behind me in line.

Anyway, after lunch we made the decision to postpone Hayley’s party to the following weekend. We just really didn’t want to get anyone sick, and we wanted her to be well enough to really enjoy the day. She took the news well, thankfully. We gave her another gift, a Razor scooter, which is just what you need when you’re sick.

At least it was a beautiful day.

At least it was a beautiful day.

She requested breakfast for dinner, so after nap I made up some pancakes, eggs, and bacon and let her have some chocolate milk to go with it. Instead of a cake, Hayley wanted fondue for her birthday dessert. Well, you don’t have to ask me twice!

Good call, birthday girl.

Good call, birthday girl.

Then it was time for her final gift. She hated it, obviously.

She has quite the poker face.

She has quite the poker face.

Geoff hunted down a Princess Peach game she could play on her own, which is just what she did for pretty much the remainder of the night.

Geoff maybe enjoyed it as much as she.

Geoff maybe enjoyed it as much as she.

Though the party was postponed, some of my family didn’t want to wait to see the birthday girl and give her some gifts so they came over the next day. One of the things my mom gave her is this little table cover that fits over a card table to make a play house. The kids spent all weekend in there. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

No, really. Cutest.

No, really. Cutest.

So, that following week we’d scheduled well checks for both kids and while they both seem super healthy, Hayley spectacularly failed the eye exam. I tried to explain that while I don’t doubt one or both of our kid(s) will need glasses at some point, I wasn’t convinced that Hayley was having trouble seeing the chart. You see, Hayley hates doing the wrong thing. That means she doesn’t like breaking rules, and she doesn’t like being incorrect. She’d rather just do nothing or not try. Which is what I suspected was going on during the exam. We’ll take her in for another appointment to see what’s going on, but in the meantime Hayley made up her own eye chart to practice.

Because that's just the kind of kid she is.

Because she’s just that kind of kid.

Finally it was the weekend of the party and time for me to start putting all my plans into motion. On Saturday I made some fishbowls

Maybe my favorite.

Maybe my favorite.

and baking sand dollar cookies

Ok, no, these were.

Ok, no, these were.

and then once the kids went to sleep Geoff and I finished up the decorating.

I need to remember to only use my nice words when it is midnight and I'm asking for help...

I need to remember to only use my nice words when it is midnight and I’m asking for help…

At bedtime the night before the party Hayley was stalling and I finally just said, ” I need you to go to bed. I have a lot to do to get ready for your party.” She asked why and I told her that I love her and want her to have a special day to celebrate how special I think she is. So she agreed and went to bed. The next morning she came downstairs and looked at everything, then said to Geoff, “This is all for me? Mommy did this for me??” And I couldn’t jump over the stupid baby gate in the kitchen fast enough to swoop her up in my arms and say, “YES. It’s all for you, baby girl.”

However, back in the kitchen I was prepping some components for the cupcakes and I started to really re-evaluate some of my life choices.

I mean, really. Can you BE anymore of a pain in the ass?

I mean, really. Can you BE anymore of a pain in the ass?

But I pushed on and made some really cute under the sea cupcakes.

Sea turtles!

Sea turtles!

Octopi!

Octopi!

Teddy Grahams rafting! And sun-bathing!

Teddy Grahams tubing! And sun-bathing!

The rest of the menu was pretty normal kid party food, but with silly themed names. Seaweed (spinach) Dip, Octopus’s garden veggies and dip, sea cucumber sandwiches, peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches, and baked cheesy shells.

And sea life cheese crackers, of course. And Swedish fish. Stuff like that.

And sea life shaped cheese crackers, of course. And Swedish fish. Stuff like that.

Hayley wanted to do a pinata this year, which was exciting because I know I really loved them as a kid and it felt like such a Grown Up thing to do, filling the pinata the night before. However. She wouldn’t budge on what she wanted for the shape of the pinata. I offered a dozen alternatives. She refused them all. Which is how we came to the dolphin beat down portion of the party.

Poor little guy. I tried, I swear.

Poor little guy. I tried, I swear.

Then we all sang her happy birthday one more time and she got to make her final wish on that “5” candle. It was a great party, we all had such a good time. Hayley loves getting all her people together so she was thrilled so many were able to make it.

Sigh. Five.

Sigh. Five.

***

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m excited to see what all is still in store for our family. Like I said, 5 really feels like the start of something. The next something.

The last something brought me my girl.

My girl who writes me love notes.

I love you, too, sweetheart.

I love you, too, sweetheart.

My girl who takes care of me when I don’t feel well.

You can't see the stuffed animals she brought for me to snuggle.

You can’t see the stuffed animals she brought for me to snuggle.

My girl, who is now five.

My girl