Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three year olds are liars.

Yesterday I asked Vivienne if a certain little boy was in her new class at her new school.

"Vivienne, do you have a 'Burt Reynolds*' in your class?" (*The kid's name is not Burt Reynolds - but it would be cool if it was.)

Her response, "Yes. I do. And he wasn't nice, Mama. He dropped something and then he hit me and then I picked it up and then he dropped it and then he hit me and then..."


First of all - Vivienne is one big little run-on sentence and secondly, I can guarantee that Burt Reynolds did not hit her.

None of that happened.


So I say to my little storyteller, "Vivienne, it's ok to pretend, but you need to tell people when you're pretending."

I totally know that she's going to go to school and tell her teacher that her Mom dropped something and then hit her and then dropped it again and then hit her again. I mean, if she'll say it about Burt Reynolds, I suspect she'll say it about me.

Never trust a three-year-old.


Monday, August 18, 2014

...and school has sprung. Or begun. Or whatever.

Lila looks 15. Vivienne was pumped to wear an orange shirt.

So we got back from Ohio on Saturday, unpacked on Sunday, and the ladies started at a new school today.

Prior to the big day, Lila was pumped. She was ready. "I am so excited, Mama!"

Prior to the big day, Vivienne let us know that, "My baby is a little nervous about going to a new school." (Remember, she talks to us through her baby. See here.)

So this morning I woke 'em up my slightly groggy slightly jetlagged ladies for their first day at a new school; that they had never seen before. (Probably a parenting oops?)

Breakfast was eaten. (Not even a full piece of toast from Lila; nerves.)

Cute uniforms were put on.

New pack-packs (backpacks) with lunch bags were handed out.

Obligatory, first-day, front-of-the-door photos were taken...

My sweet girl.

Kindly note the shoelaces. These are her first big girl shoes. (Size 11)

My cute husband and his ladies.

Ignore my hair.

And then the 3-minute drive to the school (across a highway and down a dirt road; that's why we don't walk.)

And then, we arrived. The ladies held our hands and walked up to their new school bravely.

...and Lila looked at me and smiled the sweetest smile... and then she walked into the schoolyard... and lost it.

Tears. The loud cry. Not good. I tried to walk away. Craig handled it.

Thankfully, a favorite teacher from her old school is her teacher this year (!!!) and she hugged her and made it all ok.

Next was Vivienne, not crying just very serious and holding my hand very tightly and telling me to, "Just stay with me, ok?"

I had to leave eventually, though.

She cried, called out for me, did the whole extending-her-arm-to-me-"why-are-you-leaving-me-here thing!?"

Craig and I left like so many parents before us.
I told him I felt like I was going to barf.
We went home and then returned at 9:30 a.m. for a new parent meeting.
As we walked in, I was told that Vivienne cried for all of 2 minutes.
And we saw the parents of Vivi's favorite friend from her previous school at the new parent meeting. They said that as soon as Vivi saw their son they played together and all was right with the world.


So, we waited all day to pick them up. I couldn't WAIT to hear how the day went!


You guys, like, BIG smiles.

Vivi got in the car with the happiest grin and said, quite simply, "I liked it."

Lila concurred. She thinks it's awesome.

And... they can't wait to go back tomorrow.


Maybe we made the right decision.


P.S. Lila wore Baby Rose, the monkey my Mom bought her the summer of 2013, to Office Max today.

It pleased me.


Monday, August 11, 2014

We wear the masks.

When I was a "tween" and into my teens I had exactly three things that I loved:

1.) re-arranging my room
2.) the Point Place library
3.) typing and writing


On any given perfect evening, I would have been sitting on the floor in my newly-re-arranged room typing out a poem that I had just read from a borrowed book from my library. My white brother type-writer clicking at a rate that I'll be honest, I was proud of.



Re-arranging my room meant a fresh and new beginning. Perspective. When things got a little messy, a little overwhelming -- I'd re-arrange. Clean out and re-arrange. Even today, sleeping with my bed in a new place within my room, with fresh sheets and everything newly placed, fills me with contentment. Sure, it's the same old room, but when you go to bed that night, you're looking at a different corner of your ceiling. Your noticing new shadows dancing from beside your dusty rose horizontal blinds.



And then there was the library.

My library.

When my little sister was small, I'd walk her the 8 or so blocks to the library or I'd pull her in the red Radio Flyer wagon. She'd do storytime on the lap of the librarian, Miss Nikki, while I'd DISCOVER.

The autobiographies were my favorite; true life! Better than a t.v. show. Then there was the poetry books - as old as Bibles, or so they seemed. AND then the sheet music books -- so many nights did I play Guns 'n Roses' "November Rain" on my piano from a borrowed sheet music book... And then there were the tapes and CDs. This is when I discovered Carole King and the Beetles and James Taylor and so many others... But there was also my absolute favorite: the "free magazine bin" just outside the door that would beckon me to fill my backpack to overflowing with magazines like "American Photography," "Rolling Stone" and more -- all valid fodder for locker decor.

And waiting for me at home was the typewriter I begged for. This was before computers and I would wile away my time copying songs and poems and meaningful quotes and words to memory by typing them...

Khalil Gibran's On Children resonated with me because I was just starting to discover who I was and his words backed up my theory that I was my own person; with my own thoughts.


Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

And today, I specifically remembered Paul Laurence Dunbar's, "We wear the Mask." Another poem I transcribed on a piece of typing paper with my white Brother typewriter that is probably somewhere in my storage unit, 3-hole-punched and in my special binder:

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
       We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
       We wear the mask!
This poem is just as relatable at nearly 35 as it was when I was 12... and I think it is for many people.

I'm so sorry to hear that at this moment we think comedian Robin Williams took his own life. I think of him; of the mask that he must have felt that he had to wear and it saddens me beyond belief.

While I don't think his life should be about the manner in which he died, I think his life should remind us that mental illness is not to be taken lightly. Depression is real. Sometimes the masks are virtually unbearable and trying to fit in; trying to pretend - it's just too much.

Maybe in his passing we all should remember to be a shade kinder; more understanding and more loving. Sometimes life isn't so easy that re-arranging your bedroom makes you feel better. It's deeper than that.

As I've been reminded over the past year, and again last week, life is far too short.

Much love to you all.


I've been waiting for this.

In bed still listening to thunder and lightening. It's so dark. And at almost 9:30 in the morning, Lila is still sleeping. 

A little slice of heaven.

It sounds glorious. And sometimes even the skies need to cry, too. 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

My family. Bad Taste. Shoes. Wine.

My family has questionable taste.

Or, maybe it's me? (I doubt it.)

I saw these shoes a couple of weeks ago and I liked them. I took a pic. Texted it to the husband. He was like, "Eh. We live in Cabo. Eh."

I saw them again yesterday and bought them with Lila, Vivienne and the husband in tow.

At the store, I asked my sweet Lila if she liked them. She replied with, "Um, I don't care for them..."

So polite.

Vivienne, eh not so much: "I do not like those shoes."

After we got home, Craig said to me, "They're ugly."


I like them.

And when you fold down the sides they're EVEN CUTER.

And yes, I DO wear them with shorts.

They're lucky I didn't buy these shirts...

Sigh. 'Merica.

Conversely, this made me smile at Kroger.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I'm still here.

So, as it were, I've taken a little hiatus from blogging.

I've felt unencumbered like a cucumber. (That doesn't make sense but after I typed "unencumbered" I immediately thought of "cucumber" then I thought of "hummus" and how I'd like to have some hummus and then I thought of how I've got to stop eating so much because that's ALL I DO when I'm in the States...)

And then ----> BAM! I'm back after a short digression. (Story of my life.)

So each summer I look forward to when I consciously uncouple with my iPad/Computer/Phone and live my life so that I can write about it later.

I **love** archiving my life on this blog, but it's always good (for everyone) to take a step back and just... be.

So we've been being.

We've laughed. 
We've spent time with friends. Never enough time. Never all the friends.
We've tried to be as "unscheduled" as possible, but we still have things we've HAD to do.
We've had an INCREDIBLE time at the lake.
We've laughed some more.
We've smelled rain. Rain on asphalt. (my favorite)
We've still got a list of "To Do's" and "To See's" and "To Buy's" - but we've got a few days left and it's ok if I don't get it all done. I'm only human. And you don't plan your vacations to the minute either, right?

It's been nice. It really has.
And I love my little family of four more than I could EVER express.

Man. I love them.

Moving on...

While we've been here Vivienne has started talking to us as a representative of her baby doll, "Baby Shirley."


We're in Target, walking through the toy aisle.

Vivienne: "My Baby really wants that [oversized and ridiculous] bike [for dolls]."

Me: Really? That's what your "baby" wants?"

Vivienne: "Yes. That's what she wants."

Me: "Well, maybe she'll need to wait until her birthday. When is her birthday?"

Vivienne: [...doesn't even hesitate] "Today. Her birthday is today."


(No. She didn't get the bike. Baby Shirley was mad.)

And then in Kroger, the grocery store, it's Lila and Vivi and I today.

She does it again.

Vivienne: "My baby is going to be SO frust-er-rated if she doesn't get a toy."

Me: "I'm sorry to hear that. No toy."

Vivienne: "No, but she's going to be SO, SO frust-er-rated. Like willy mad."

Me: [ignoring her]

Lila: [can't take it anymore] "Vivi, we KNOW that it's YOU who wants a toy. It's not your baby. It's you. YOU WANT THE TOY. Stop saying it's your baby! YOU ALWAYS SAY YOUR BABY WANTS STUFF, but it's YOU. Stop it."

Me: [laughing... Lila just said what we've all bee thinking]

Vivienne: "NO, Lila. You are wrong. MY BABY CAN TALK... and she wants a toy."

...and scene.

And the last one happened tonight. 

I was driving home from Findlay. We had just visited with a handful of my college girlfriends and their families, and the girls were watching DVDs in the backseat as I drove. The movie ended before we got home, like 12 minutes into the trip and this is what I hear from the backseat:

Vivienne: "Mommy, the movie is done. Can you please start it over?"

Me: "No, I'm driving. And I have no idea how to start it over." [The absolute truth.]

Vivienne: "My baby just said that if you don't start the movie over again she will throw up."


What? Lila and I started rolling. 

That kid.

And that baby is so passive aggressive.


So as you may or may not know, I'm "vacationing" in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio -- home to algae-overgrowth in our water supply. We woke up Saturday morning to a news bulletin indicating that we shouldn't even TOUCH the water. TOUCH IT you guys. It was national news. (Yay, Toledo.)

I nearly got on a plane back to Mexico at that moment. YOU CANNOT EVEN TOUCH THE WATER? Stop it.

And don't think for a moment that the irony was lost on me.

I live in Mexico. "Don't drink the water in Mexico, heh-heh..." 

I'm beginning to think that I may be an ex-pat forever...


That's all for now. I'm going to read a bit before hitting the hay. (I'm reading the "Call the Midwives" books. I'm on Book 3 - love this series. Have you heard of it.) Ah, vacation = reading.

Thanks for hanging on with me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Heart = full.

I am so happy.

I am so happy. It feels good.

A little change of scenery is sometimes all that you need.


The husband, ladies and I loaded into the car on Saturday - forgetting so many things that we needed - but with a trunk full of food and stuff - and headed up to a house we rented about 30 minutes from Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Ann Arbor happens to be beautiful. Oh, the trees.) It's about an hour and a half from where we grew up in Northwest Ohio.

We're happily nestled on a lake.
It's been just the four of us since Sunday and I have zero complaints because my whole being feels... good.

The dusk summer breeze that reminds me that I'm a midwesterner at heart.
The repetitious lapping of the lake.
The subtle clanking of the pontoon boats against the docks.
The trees. They're so GREEN.
The days are filled with no schedule.
Nap here.
Read there.
Eat more.
Another nap.
More reading.
The hydrangea, the daisies, the lavender.
My girls are experiencing so many firsts: swimming in a lake, corn hole, smores,

On the first day we were here we saw a Mama deer and her babies, chipmunks, a dragon fly, a crane, fish kissing the girls feet, swans, a squirrel (Oh, how I've missed squirrels)... and a swimming muskrat they named, "Buckley."

I'll never be one with nature.
But I'm one with calm... and tranquility... and I know where I belong.

I adore the beaches of Cabo, the palm trees, the eternal sunshine...

But take me ANY day to the lakes of Michigan. The lightening bugs of Ohio. The soft grass. The cool nights.  The cool mornings. The sun-filled days.

Oh man, I'm home.
And it feels good.


Follow my instagram feed. I'm enjoying #puremichigan.

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