Wisdom Comes Suddenly

The Human Peacock (Halloween 2014)

November 9th, 2014 · 1 Comment


Every year, I do a recap of Sara’s wild Halloween requests. Let me state right up front, this has nothing to do with favoritism. Kelly, as you well know, despises Halloween and all its accoutrements. Even more than wanting nothing to do with Halloween, she wants even LESS to do with Momma’s handmade costumes. If she MUST participate in the fringes of this hellfire holiday, she will be doing it high, store-bought style. I don’t mind even one little bit, because the years they both want handmade? I lose a full month. My entire life becomes a circus of thread, notions, and ripped up bridesmaid dresses. And you thought you’d never wear them again!


Sara was very specific that she did not want to be “just a peacock”. She wanted to be a “human peacock”. I’m sure you recall our little gal asking last year “NOT to be an particular character from the movie ‘Epic’, but rather, the way that movie made her feel“. I told under under NO circumstances would I be creating anything during a move. Halloween fell exactly one week after the move and NO WAY, NO HOW. Find it, buy it, but I’m not making it. I even ordered the mask you see above to prove my point.


So when my friend found the vintage semiformal dress in a dead woman’s basement during an estate sale, turned around and said, “Lori! Look! It’s a human peacock!” Next came threads, notions, ripped up dresses, hot glue guns…you know the drill. I took in the dress (quickly and horridly, because my sewing machine table is broken, the darned thing almost fit her, and I’m not winning any 4H ribbons at my age). I found the blue “tail” fabric as a remnant, along with the green tulle (cleverly used to disguise how horribly I tacked the skirt onto the dress). Smoke and mirrors my friends; theater costuming is all about smoke and mirrors.


She didn’t have to put a black shirt under it, but it was a little itchy, and it snowed on Halloween. Snowed. I can’t even think about it. Everyone wore layers that day. I ordered the peacock feathers in a large lot of 100 and simply hot glued them onto the skirt. I was shocked at how well that went. I was fully prepared for Dante’s 7th layer of hell to descend upon me as I heated up the gun. At any rate, the entire thing start to finish probably took about 4 hours, and cost me about $40. She walked that parade like she owned the world, and it was wonderful to see her so happy in her creation. What can I say? I’m a sucker for Sara’s creative ideas.


I’m equally a sucker for Kelly’s grand visions and hoop skirts. This girl knows how to pull off the Queen look. I had to hold her hand so tightly through the entire parade (she walked it!), so I couldn’t get any shots of her! When I tried, her friends all crowded in for hugs, so I have a lot of just her face, surrounded by blurry love. Beyond adorable. I love this picture, because walking in front of her are 2 of her dearest friends, and because “Harry” and “Vanellope” were right beside her, she braved the day.


I was lucky enough to get her to pose for pictures the day she chose the dress. She changed her title about 10x, and was everything from “The Queen of Stuffed Animals” to “The Snow Queen”, to finally, “The Queen of Everything”. Sounds about right. Overall, Kelly’s anxiety response to Halloween this year was at least 25% improved over prior years. As her belief in fantasy begins to fade, so does her fear of this dark holiday.


But luckily her belief in the magical-mystical-world is still present. She wanted me to let you know that not only did the Unicorns SURVIVE the dreaded aidrocardinoids plague, but Unicorn 2nd from Left MAGICALLY reappeared! He went missing many, many months before the move. Where did he go? It’s hard to say. I’ve let Kelly imagine how we could have shown up 3 addresses later. Maybe someday, when she’s grown, I’ll tell of her how 2nd Unicorn From the Left got tucked into a fitted sheet during laundry, and that sheet was folded and put away on a high shelf, not hitting the rotation again until long after we’d left our home. Maybe Momma threw the sheet in the wash to freshen it up, and discovered this little guy, tucked tightly into a corner. For now, let’s imagine he was off fighting Chimera or Medusa, and after many illustrious victories, has returned home to his herd.

I hope your Halloweens were grand, and much, much warmer than ours. We spent it with lovely friends, eating delicious soups, and allowing the Dads to make the freezing neighborhood rounds. So I guess, I can’t complain! Ours was warm in spirit! Until next year…oh heavens…what will they think of in 2015?!


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For Those Just Joining The Club

November 7th, 2014 · 4 Comments


It’s fall, so many of you waited for my post about apple picking, while others waited patiently for me to complain about scary, un-kid-friendly Halloween decorations. I hope I did not disappoint. I know my over-wrought autumn mantel is tradition, and this year, it’s nothing more than a Rubbermaid in the corner of the basement. We shall call it “the naked autumn”, and we shall embrace its minimalist flavor. Yuck…that sounded overtly sexual, and not in a good way. Moving on…

My mantel and apple pies are just pieces of the fall tradition. I also think about those of you facing the new school year with a “label” rising up within your family. ADHD. Learning Differences. Dyslexia. Anxiety Disorder. “On the spectrum”. Language Processing Disorder. Sensory Processing Disorder. I could go on, but there’s no need. You have the insurance forms to remind you. My calendar books up this time each year with Moms who have questions and fears (deep, deep fears…I know them well); the start of school is always “busy season” for kids with learning challenges.

I think about you, and all you are going through. I want to tell you it’s going to be OK, and you’ll get through it. Mostly, I want you to know you are NOT ALONE. I write a post similar to this one every fall, but it bears repeating:


When did you first suspect? When did you NOT suspect? You’ve always known, even before the first word was uttered. There was a quiet nudging in your gut, suggesting if there were a center space in the big game of parenting, you weren’t on it. Everybody else was passing go and collecting $200, and you were like, “Wait? Are we playing Monopoly? Because I think my kid is playing Risk. Or Battleships. Maybe Checkers? I’m not sure.”


Milestones weren’t blips. They were brick walls. Moods were more intense. Tears were harder to soothe. Sleep was the most elusive gift on the planet. Yep, you knew it, but who were you to tell? Your family? Nothing like being called a Type A overanxious parent just one more time, as if your parenting self-esteem wasn’t taking a daily nosedive by the first birthday party. Your child is FINE, but YOU. YOU are DOING IT WRONG.


Nonetheless, sitting beside the quiet whispers were blessings. There is a creativity within her, unlike any you’ve ever seen. A knack for creating games out of thin air. An inquisitive nature far deeper than those of her peers. Bright children are precocious. Everyone knows this. It will iron itself out over time. Toddlers are hard. Everyone knows this. Maybe there is no mystery to be solved, other than the confused yearnings of a worn-out Momma. Of course, you always knew that wasn’t true, but the false-bottomed affirmations occasionally shut down the whispers.


By the time the preschool applications started rolling in, the whispers got much louder, if just to match the decibels of your child when she got overstimulated. Please don’t give her too much candy! She can’t handle the noise! No big crowds! She can’t handle new smells! She is happier at home…so that’s where you stayed, and “home” became more of a “self-sustaining compound”. But at least there was a little more peace there, and no judging eyes of strangers who wondered why your child just wouldn’t join in, or sit still, or stop crying…


You waffled back and forth between “everything’s fine”, and “everything’s on fire” so many times, you’ve forgotten where the doubts even started. School will be the answer. Once school begins…we’ll see what this bright little squirt can do. She’ll show them. She’ll blossom for sure.


And she did! And she didn’t. She’s bright, yes, but other things just didn’t click. Low energy? Low maturity? What is it? If she’s so bright, why can’t she keep up in class? How can one person both ace and fail the same subject within a week? Why does she have her spelling words down cold one day, and then completely forget them the next? The whispers just turned into shouts. The calls started coming. You know what I mean by “the calls”….


After her teachers confirmed your worries, the fears started splashing about, getting on everything and everyone. Top of the list are always the medications, followed closely by cost, followed by the worst pain any parent feels: the fear that this child simply won’t “be OK”. Will she go to college? Will she live in your basement at 30, working odd jobs, and living on a diet of reality TV and Mountain Dew? Will she be the kid who wrecks the car the first week she has a license? Will she be able to make wise choices? I could go on…but you don’t need my list. It matches yours. Maybe your daughter and my daughter can share a basement. Or get the Nobel Prize. It feels like it’s going to be one or the other, but at this point, it’s hard to say.


And what of her happiness and self-confidence? How on earth could anyone teach a child to love a list of challenges this long? And while we’re talking about happiness, what is happening to our family, or more directly, the dreams we had for how we thought this family would look? We’re supposed to be wearing matching khaki outfits with smart little boots in a field somewhere, taking a Christmas picture and catching hay fever! Why am I in this Child Psychologist’s office? THIS IS AWFUL! I WANT TO BE A CHRISTMAS CARD! I PLANNED TO BE A CHRISTMAS CARD!


There is mourning, at least for most. Mourning is OK. Mourning is healthy. It allows you to walk through the forest of what isn’t, and step out into the sunshine of what can be. It’s OK to admit you had plans, however misguided. I know LOTS of people who had plans. Leukemia had other plans, or pancreatic cancer did. Or there were the plans that were completely rewritten after the brain cancer diagnosis. There is nothing life hates more than a well-laid plan. Your plans weren’t any more or less sacred than the family’s next door. It just feels that way, because they get to laugh on the edge of the soccer field and go out for ice cream, and your kid is hiding under the bleachers and begging to go home. But you can’t go home, because you’re already late for Occupational Therapy Appointment #114.

Don’t go to the land of comparison, I beg you. No one gets off this earth unscathed. Take your journey as it’s presented to you. It was chosen for you for a reason, even when other journeys are cleverly disguised as perfectly layered scarves and this year’s latest boots. Get off your friends’ paths and back on your own…there is work to be done…


The hardest part is always the labeling, or the diagnosing, or the unpeeling of the rose…however you wish to think of it. The shouts are now reverberating through your entire being, as you accept that thing you knew on Day #1: something is amiss. SOMETHING will need to be addressed. This “something” comes with a its own suitcase of fears, the kind that shake you right down to your soul. But you’ll have to face them head on. There is simply no other way. Wishing it away is not a plan. Ignoring the shouts of your conscious is not a plan. Being influenced by the latest fad in treatment is not a plan. There. I’ve said it. I’m amazed by people who won’t try conventional treatments because they don’t want their child to be a “guinea pig”, and then rub oils on their kid’s head. Hey, rub the oils I say, but trying things being sold out of your girlfriend’s garage is the definition of guinea pig. I’ve done it, and I’ll do it again, but I won’t turn down sound science in the same breath.


So you gotta face the diagnosis list. Just do it. Get it over with. Schedule the appointments, fill out the scales, try the medications (or whatever it is you decide to try first…diet, therapy, glasses…whatever…it’s your story to write). Hire the tutor. Repeat the grade. Get flexible on clothing choices. Ask for the accommodations. Wade through side effects and dosage changes. You gotta do it, because it get’s so much easier from here. The sun can’t find you if you stay stuck under the clouds. When you get tired, look over at your child. See that stubborn and obstinate nature? Hate those things less, because she’ll need those attributes.


If you dare to face “the something”, will “the label” go away? Nope. Will it become a distant memory? Nope. Will you have regrets? Yep. Will you screw some stuff up? Yep. Will you have big highs? Yep. Will you have real lows? Yep. Will she start to find her own way? Yep. Will she always need a little extra help? Probably. Will the bone-chilling fears go away? Mostly, with time and a few wins under your belt. Each time the lows come, you’ll have a landscape to survey, and you’ll start to gain confidence in your story.


How would I know?! The above list of questions is true for every parent through history, for all children, healthy or otherwise! I don’t know the end of the story! If I knew the end of the story, I promise you friends….I WOULD TELL YOU. We’re close like that!


But I do know you can’t get anywhere by standing still. I know the road is hard, but it was always hard. I know it wasn’t what we planned. I know there is a part of you which will always wonder what caused it. I know the future will always be that THING…HANGING OUT THERE….taunting us, daring us to fail at parenting. To fail a sick child? Oh yeah, I’m poking right at my soft spot now!



Does it sound awful? It’s not. It’s completely wonderful. My Sara is blossoming right in front of me. She has her own plans, and they have absolutely nothing to do with any of her challenges. In fact, to meet her, you’d never guess they even existed. After getting comfortable with the twist in my storyline, I folded up those old dreams and packed them away, as I have no use for them any longer. I’m now living in a splendidly authentic love story. Slap that label on us while you’re at it.

If this post speaks to you, welcome to the club. The beginning is hard, I know. But there are helpers and guideposts everywhere. Plus, there is your miraculous child, gifted to you by God, who has faith you’ll get it right. No pressure. Just God, trusting you won’t screw up his gorgeous creation. Kidding! No…I’m not. But no need to worry. You’re incredible! Having doubts? Here. I’ll make you a t-shirt. Strike that. I’ll pour you some wine. Strike that…whiskey. We might need whiskey. In any case, we have each other, and that will be enough.

Godspeed, my friends. As always, Godspeed.

Similar Posts Regarding Diagnosing and Decision-Making With Exceptional Children:

The Gift Of A Year

The Gift Of A Year, Continued (where I tell myself after so much action to sit still for a change!)

The Truth

The Unfinish Line

Why Strattera?






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We Have A Movie Winner!

November 3rd, 2014 · Comments Off


Congratulations Jennie Henry! You are the winner of Wisdom Comes Suddenly Movie Giveaway! I’ll contact you via email to send you your prize. Jennie’s entry was for Sandra Bullock in either “The Blind Side” or “The Proposal”. Apparently, the Random Number Generator agreed with her.

I had a great time reading your entries. I certainly have some new movies to watch (cannot wait!). “Lars and the Real Girl”, “The Town”…sounds like good stuff. I believe Ashley M. and I are movie-watching twins. She wrote “Reality Bites”. No more needs to be said. Except, “N! NEWSTAND! He used to work at a NEWSTAND! That’s amazing.”

The good energy generated this past week fueled me through Halloween and a Family Reunion. Today, I finally unpacked our bedroom. Being told to “clean my room” felt teenage-esque and horrible, but it sure was nice to find my shoes. Next, I plan on tackling the room which will eventually become the family office/project space/sewing room. Right now it’s known as “The Bonus Room”, but there’s nothing bonus-y about it. It looks like our entire life threw up inside of a bus. It’s a daily workout trying to reach my computer desk, but as it’s the only clean horizontal surface in the house, it’s a pleasant place to sit.

So many of you have been so nice as to write or call and ask how it’s going at the new house. It’s AMAZING. So gorgeous, even better than we imagined. We’re in love with it…all of us. Even the cats. Greg has turned into some kind of engine, running home to work on projects left and right. I’m slower in my approach. I like to introduce myself as I go (thank you Diane Lane from “Under The Tuscan Sun”), and I unpack very carefully. When I finish a space, it’s done. The girls have settled in as if the 6 months of completely freaking out never happened. Good for them!

With a couple of cold and rainy days off of school this week, we have only one big plan: we’re going to curl up on the couch and watch movies. Thanks again for participating in my giveaway! I appreciate all of the comments and links!

*Per Blogger-Land-Law, I must disclose who supported or gave products to this giveaway. The answer is: no one. I’ve had enough Large Corporate Bureaucracy Bulls&*^ to last for years, so I wasn’t in the mood to hit up any big companies to trade advertising. This blog rides alone this week folks. This blog rides alone.*

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A Movie Giveaway!

October 29th, 2014 · 32 Comments

The choosing of a wedding planner in “Father of the Bride”


Let’s have some FUN! I’m ready to laugh a little. Plus, if I keep my eyes directed at the screen, I can pretend the mess behind me doesn’t exist. I’ve seen hoarders will cleaner office spaces. So let’s walk away from the boxes and enjoy ourselves!

The other day, I started thinking about my top favorite performances in film (great way to pass they time while hanging up every piece of clothing we own). I could change my list every time I reconsider it, but nonetheless, I love thinking about actors in movies. I brought this topic up with the girls over a long lunch at Steak n’ Shake, and after scribbling our thoughts on a paper place mat, I decided a giveaway would be a GREAT way to kick off the first week in the new house. The girls have a couple days off of school soon, and I’m going to introduce them to “Father of the Bride” (clip above). Martin Short’s performance as Franck Eggelhoffer is on my Top 10 List for Favorite Performances.

I want to hear about your “favorite performances”, not necessarily your “favorite movies”. They often go hand-in-hand, but not always. Ensemble performances don’t count; it has to be a singular, stand-out performance, in which the actor really stretched his/her talents. It would be easy to make up a list of amazing performances (i.e. Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca”), but I made a list of performances I could watch OVER and OVER and OVER again. Performances that spoke to me (all art is in the eye of the beholder…no judgements!), so while you CAN love Citizen Kane and be my friend, it is not REQUIRED. There are no lines in the sands of coolness on this blog (to quote Ben Stiller from “Reality Bites”).

John Cusack discovering his childhood home has turned into a convenience store.

My List Is As Follows (and changes every time I think about it):

(1) Jared Leto as Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club” (Dark movie, unbelievably nuanced performance.)

(2) George Clooney as Matt King in “The Descendants” (If you would have told me 3 years ago I would like George Clooney in anything outside of “Ocean’s Eleven”, I would have laughed all over your morning coffee.)

(3) Jon Cryer as Ducky Dale in “Pretty in Pink”. (Because the 80’s matter deeply to me…along with Ducky.)

(4) John Goodman as Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski”

(5) Martin Short as Franck Eggelhoffer in “Father of the Bride”

(6) John Cusack as Martin Blank in “Grosse Pointe Blank” (Also quite possibly my all-time favorite movie, and most certainly, my favorite soundtrack.)

(7) Eddie Murphy as Donkey in “Shrek”

(8) Olympia Dukakis in both “Steel Magnolias” and “Moonstruck”

(9) Rosie O’Donnell as Gina Barrisano in “Beautiful Girls”

(10) Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson in “The Help”

One of my favorite movie monologues: Rosie O’Donnell in “Beautiful Girls”


 The Girls List:

(1) Eddie Murphy as Mushu in “Mulan”

(2) Jerry Seinfeld as Barry B. Benson in “The Bee Movie”

(3) Joshua Gad as Olaf in “Frozen” (Kelly knew his real name, which I found interesting.)

(4) Lindsey Lohan as both Hallie Parker and Annie James in “The Parent Trap” (So sad…she had such promise.)

(5) Mara Wilson as Matilda in “Matilda”

(6) Jennifer Lopez as Mary Fiore in “The Wedding Planner”

(7) Robin Williams as The Genie in “Aladdin”

(8) Kristen Wiig as Lucy in “Despicable Me 2″ (They were blown away when I told them she also voiced Miss Hattie in Part I.)

(9) Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook in “Hook”

(10) Tom McGrath as Skipper in the “Madagascar” series (the head penguin)

Eddie Murphy as Mushu, the world’s funniest dragon.

 Greg’s List (very boy indeed):

(1) Patrick Swayze as Dalton in “Road House”

(2) Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in “Tombstone” (One of the best scripts ever written…I agree with Greg on this one.)

(3) Raul Julia as Gomez Addams in ‘The Addams Family”

(4) Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills in “Taken” (Fairly certain your testicles are “taken” if you’re a dude and don’t love this movie.)

(5) Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in “The American President”

(6) Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln in “Lincoln”

(7) Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in “Fight Club” (Again, manhood can be removed for guys not worshiping this film.)

(8) Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski in “Gran Turino”

(9) Bill Murray as Steve Zissou in Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”

(10) Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in “Zoolander”

Oh Ben Stiller…we just love you.

So here are the oh-so-complicated rules: leave a comment ON THE BLOG (FB comments are fun, but won’t enter you into the contest) and tell me your favorite performances in film. Every comment is an entry, so leave as many as you like (if you want to make a list, enter them as separate comments and increase your chance of winning). It’s still an entry if your list of faves match any of ours printed above. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator at 8 pm on Sunday, November 2nd, EST. The winner will be able to choose between a gift card to their favorite theater, a fandango gift card, or an Amazon Gift Card to buy a movie online, value $20.

I can’t wait to see your lists!! I just love movies. Way more than boxes. Way, way, WAY more than boxes….

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Everything is AWESOME!

October 27th, 2014 · 1 Comment


See? Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? Only 6 months of repainting and cleaning, followed by selling the house, followed by a quick move while finishing a PTA Presidency and treating a little pesky cancer, followed by 6 months in 2 haunted apartments, followed by a 3 day move into our dream house. EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY!

It was SO SIMPLE that the picture above illustrates the ONE thing I’ve managed to unpack in 7 days. This ball of rubber bands has found a permanent home, if only because after putting it away, I will probably never locate it again.


The move, while a ton of work, was actually a lot of fun. The girls moved in first: all stuffed animals and loveys went in before a single box was lifted. Kelly has one in her mouth in the picture above. There was much dancing and bally-hoo on closing day. They had a “moment”, but I told them a story about buying my first house, and Aunt Jenny walked me around the block a couple of times before gently saying, “Lori. You bought your first house a couple of hours ago. You know you’ll eventually have to go inside, right?” It’s OK to be scared of new things, even if they are flat-out wonderful. Everything is AWESOME!


I’ve created and changed this vignette about 50x. I’ve found creating vignettes is more fun than unpacking.

The next 3 days were a parade of painters (I missed my buddies!) After all we’ve been through, seeing familiar and friendly faces made all the difference. I lost track of how many contractors paraded through on any given day, but it was…crazy. Greg and I stood in the middle of it all, directing traffic and laughing like we’d won the lottery. Movers, delivery men, the closet guy (I’m thinking Hector might be a superhero)…and in those first harried hours, you think, “Wow! We have so much space! We’ll never fill it.” Everything is AWESOME!

Those hours pass, though. Carpet tacks needed a bit of repair. The tub (now known as the tub of irony) has pinhole leaks in the jet piping. Small, small things. But what was that noise coming from under the deck? I found 3 men, taking the underside of my deck apart, and while most of this conversation occurred through mime, I believe they were telling me one board caused the entire deck to flunk inspection. New homes have to be turned on. I knew that going in. This would take a little time, and more time than my CIA Cleaners from the apartment would spend on repairs. When that tub sprung a leak and gooshed through the ceiling, the entire repair took about 2 minutes. Did it look good? No. Was there only a 50-50 chance it would hold? Sure. I’m back to being an actual homeowner now. My repair plans have to be AWESOME!

The movers finished, and we were left with the stunning impression we have way, way, WAAAAYYY too much junk. Our space is overflowing with God-knows-what. I really don’t know what, because every time I empty a box, 3 more pop up in its place. It’s like a playing this weird Whack-A-Mole game, and I’m definitely losing. I think I’ve been unpacking the kitchen for 5 straight days. Still, I cooked. I laid out coffee bars, and adorable displays of homemade muffins. The ovens? They are AWESOME! The range? It is AWESOME!

Everything is AWESOME! The weekend came. 5 sweaty hours of hard labor and we are officially moved out of the (now spotless) haunted apartment. I hated to pull up those thriving marigolds, but it was time to say goodbye. We quietly rolled through our OH-SO-GORGEOUSLY-QUIET weekend. Lots to do, with only the nearby church bells to ring to break the solitude. We thought we’d finally uncovered the reason for this summer’s journey. It was about gratitude. The garbage disposal doesn’t pull the sink off the wall. We can flush toilets AT THE SAME TIME someone is in the shower. The dryer DRIES THINGS. I think Greg and I stopped to hug each other 20x. Until Sunday evening, when I heard my husband utter a curse word I’ve never, EVER, in 12 years, heard him say.

BUT, if you slice through the palm of your hand with a box cutter, you might be tempted to say it. Just once. He only said it once, but I knew that was enough to grab the keys and head to the ER. 4 stitches later, Greg was insisting…EVERYTHING IS STILL AWESOME! I wasn’t entirely convinced, as I wrangled the tired girls into their own rooms for the first time since Kelly was an infant, but I wanted to keep the faith. And the Advil close, because I knew the numbing agent would eventually wear off.


The start of probable Project #1. Hard to say…there are just so many refinishing projects to choose from!

Today? A little less awesome. The tetanus shot hurts like hell, but Greg still managed to assemble 5 large shelving units, single-handedly (literally, because he’s down to one hand). Greg is a champ, but I hit some sort of wall this morning. The plumber showed up for the 4th day in a row with parts for the Tub of Irony. I have so-named this tub, because I did not order it. I did not choose a jetted tub, but a jetted tub was installed, nonetheless. Why didn’t I order a jetted tub? Because they are more trouble than they are worth. I feel the same way about water dispensers on the fronts of refrigerators, and granite counter tops. I do have granite, as my builder laid out my choices, and I was able to choose between granite and granite. If I didn’t like those 2 choices, he also had granite. HOWEVER, I ordered MY OWN FRIDGE. No ice spewing onto my floors, thank you very much!

I never even noticed the tub had jets until my inspector noticed they didn’t work. Because they weren’t plugged in. Because no outlet had been installed, as I had not ordered jets. Lucky me! An outlet was put in immediately! Yeah! FREE JETS! THAT…..LEAK! The plumber gave up today and installed all new piping. At Day #4 of repairs on a tub I neither ordered nor paid for, this man has moved into my bathroom. I forget he’s up there most of the time, but I’ve lost my patience all the same. When the Security Guy (after a 3 hour appointment), tried to tell me the cats wouldn’t set off the motion detectors unless they gave each other piggy-back rides at midnight? What can I say? I gave Greg a very odd look, and just walked away. Lori was officially over the moving honeymoon. Now she just wants her quiet house, a cup of coffee, and some privacy. PLEASE. I’ve lived next door to 7 boys for the last few months…just one moment of peace.


Most of the house looks like this. All other rooms are perfectly empty, much like my “new home” decorating fund.

Yep, today was the yucky day I cleaned off the (new-to-me) antique dining room set, and realized I’ll have to refinish it after all. Scrubbing grooves with Q-tips on your knees with a plumber stopping by to say, “So that didn’t work”, was enough to send me over the edge. I went to make a little something, when I smelled? GAS. Under my gas range. Super. Plumber #2 has been scheduled, and for now, my gas has been shut off. We’re back to Costco dinners I can throw in the oven, which I am SO OVER…there are just no words. I spent every free moment this weekend cutting out recipes I cannot wait to make, all of which require a thing I like to call, “a stove”.

Between the empty rooms, and overflowing rooms, and half-put together rooms, all requiring months of work, I called Greg nearly in tears this afternoon. He told me everything was so awesome, and I told him to stick it up his box cutter. But then I picked up the girls, who were all flavors of sunshine today. Our commute is 20 minutes shorter per day, which means we’re in the car for no time at all. They were even content to do homework. At bedtime, we cuddled and read picture books we’ve sorely missed while they lived in boxes. They didn’t squabble even once. They aren’t in love with separate rooms just yet, but I’ve been placing a speaker in between their 2 doorways, and playing their favorite classical music at night. Not a sound as they fall asleep…and there you have it.

I had a moment of peace. I was able to crawl over a mountain of boxes to find my computer and say hello to you lovely people. I still have an unreal amount of work to do, just to find my shoes…but what does it matter? I’m not going anywhere. I hope you won’t either. It’s been a long summer, and your loyalty had not gone unnoticed. I think it’s time we return to our regular programming.

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME. Godspeed, dear readers. Godspeed.

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Dear Daughters, Moving Sucks

October 20th, 2014 · 5 Comments


Dear Duck and Bunny (who used to go by Chick, but is now going by Bunny),

Moving sucks. Everyone knows this, and now you know this too. Everything I’ve done, or said, or cheerleaded has only made it worse. I know it’s the apartment-disease talking, but as I walked into our chaos tonight after spending 3 hours at Immediate Care for Kelly’s Earache-Du-Jour, and picked up a random-who-knows-what-bug off the floor…I hit yet a new wall of emotional exhaustion. I wanted to write this now, because someday, you’ll be 42, and moving with a family, and you’ll call. You’ll tell me it’s utter hell, and I’ll have forgotten. I’ll be full of Chablis on the beach, admiring my new sunhat, and I’ll say something totally stupid, like…you’ll be fine. Everything will be just fine. Oh yes…I’ll say it. Ignore me, and read this instead:

Uprooting children out of the only home they’ve ever known has FAR reaching consequences. It’s not “life-change-light”…I promise. This pain goes deep. Your kids are going to FREAK THE FLIPPETY FREAK OUT. You will be of no use. You will be freaking out as well. Why? Because moving is very expensive and stressful and even the best of marriages have to plow through some tough days to get the job done. It’s like one, huge, pan-family-freak-out. In response to the insane energy flowing through your families’ pipes, your kids will do wicked-crazy things like…cut their own hair, and misbehave in school, and throw dirt at their friends at recess. They’ll do things so out of character, you’ll spend many days picking your jaw up off the ground. You might think aliens have stolen their minds, but that’s where you’re missing the boat. Because in reality? They are so, so very sad. They are grieving “home”, and that’s an authentic pain akin to grieving a death.

You’ll do it wrong. You’ll tell them to look forward to new bedrooms and new parks and really dumb things like new memories. THEY DO NOT WANT NEW MEMORIES! They want their old rooms, and their old, horrible commutes, and everything that was wrong with the old house? Yep, they want that too. Kids wants “same”, even if “same” wasn’t working. You’ll waste months trying to focus them on a future they can’t imagine. It will only make it worse.

So PLEASE, do what I did and go to the School Psychologist’s office. ASK FOR HELP. It will come. Someone wiser than you can redirect you…backwards…as this case may be. Your kids need to make scrapbooks of their old home, and spend hours reminiscing about the life you shared with them there. The tears will fall, but in and around the laughter, as you talk about the time Max fell into the trash can while chasing a chicken bone. There will still be hard moments, and then, I want you to call each other. When one of you can’t remember the story of the night Santa brought the playroom, the other will. I won’t remember, because…well? Chablis. Perhaps you’ll get the sage advice I received from my own sister this afternoon (during Kelly’s 19th nervous breakdown): “For God’s sakes Lori, just hand her a Ding Dong.”

And you know what? It worked. I had to buy a Ding Dong first, but then it totally worked. The important thing is for them to learn to put their pain where their pain belongs. Not in a dirt clod they hurl at a girlfriend. (WHO DOES THIS? Seriously girls. Who taught you to do this? Was it a Disney show? I know you sneak those shows when I’m not looking.) It’s OK for some things to suck, even when we try our best to turn them into exciting adventures. We’ve had an adventure alright, just a different kind. The kind Stephen King may turn into a book someday, but we can talk about that later. Speaking of this summer’s nightmarish flavor, who has the Chablis? Did I just digress?

Tomorrow, this adventure ends. We pack up your scrapbooks, memories, and our cats, we finally get to go home. Sara, you have named the house, “The New Chapter”, and as much as I love this title, I promise you both to never forget we started someplace else. I know we won’t forget, because I wrote it all down, right here…in my own little scrapbook. I hope you don’t mind, but I shared it with a “few” friends. They’ve been my cheerleaders when I lost my way.

Let’s do the neighborly thing, and invite them to come with us tomorrow. Won’t you join us? A new chapter will begin, and it just wouldn’t be the same without you. Godspeed, my dear readers. Godspeed to you for hanging with me this past year. We couldn’t have made it without you. GIRLS! Your manners! Say thank you! Now here’s a box. Put something in it. No…not the cat.

In closing, moving sucks. Wisdom Comes Suddenly. Moving on…(literally)…


The Momma


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Just Take A Little Off The Top

October 14th, 2014 · Comments Off


How many barrettes does it take to keep their bangs back? ALL THE BARRETTES.

At School Pick Up Last Week:

Me: Sara. Huh. So I see you gave yourself bangs at school today.

Sara: (Looking sheepish): Yeah.

Me: I thought you didn’t want bangs. You haven’t had them in years.

Sara: I don’t! I just got…upset. And so I cut off a piece of my hair!

Me: That’s a pretty big feeling to cut off your hair. What happened?

Sara: I had to miss part of recess.

Me: Did you get a lot of checks this week?

Sara: (Looking sheepish): Yeah. Talking in class. Not putting my name on my papers…it was not good. Lots of kids missed part of recess today.

Me: Did they cut their hair too? Was this a…”thing”?

Sara: NO! Can’t you just cut it to the bottom by my scalp and make it go away?

Me: That’s called a bald spot, and I promise, it will take your new bangs from bad to much, much worse. They aren’t that bad; in fact, I think they are cute. We’ll have Nicole over at the salon clean them up a bit. No biggie.

Sara: NO! I don’t want bangs!

Me: Little too late for that decision sweetie. You got ‘em. Don’t worry…hair grows quickly, especially yours. In the meantime, we can bobby pin them back, just like I do Kelly’s.



Kelly: NO. Not why did you cut your hair. Why do you cut the FRONT? When I want to cut my hair, I just lift up the back and take a chunk out from underneath! No one can even SEE IT!

[We will bleep over everything I said from this point forward. Nicole did a lovely job of shaping Sara’s new-do, and she’s received so many compliments on her bangs, she feels much better about the entire “event”. Luckily, they are just long enough to pull into a braid, and with a few tiny bobby pins, she can choose to look like the old Sara. Holding my breath for what these two do to their hair in high school.]

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When Trends Get BIG. Literally.

October 7th, 2014 · 7 Comments


Not so much a scarf, as a cancer.

I’m less of a trend-follower, and more of a trend-noticer.  As a purist consignment shopper, I have to beg out of most trends, using the claim, “I’m eclectic”, or “I like a more classic look”. That’s my way of saying I’m too cheap to shop at the Mall. However, I’ve noticed scarves have staying power this time around, filling up the second hand stores. As they have progressed into our wardrobes, I can’t help but also notice they are getting bigger. Like…MUCH BIGGER. Like…I think they may be DEVOURING OUR BODIES bigger.

Let’s take a walk through Pinterest and do some research, shall we?


This scarf has eaten her boobs. Her twin ladies were lunch. Her titty-tangs have been digested by knit.


Oh my God. Call for help! This scarf has eaten my arm, and most of my hand! Just the one! I don’t know why JUST THE ONE!


She might be entirely naked under here. You don’t know. She may not even know.


Having swallowed her hoo-hoo dillies, this scarf is now headed for her cha-cha. Not good. Not good at all.


Brain-eating scarf. Tragedy 101.


Your music teacher from 1982 called. She wants her scarf back.


We call this, “The whole world is your gynecologist” scarf. Or more delicately, the “I see London, I see France” technique.


Oh my God Becky! I’m wearing knit on my torso, my neck, and my head! My knit stole your knit’s boyfriend. SERIOUSLY.


This is NOT KNIT! It’s an actual LEOPARD! HELP ME!!!!


Remember when the chefs starting throwing different flavors together and calling it “fusion”? This is fusion-scarving. Plaid meets punk. It tastes as bad as it looks.


The opposite would be deconstructionist-scarving. I’ll admit it. I kind of want this scarf. I’m a rebel, and I like…twigs.


Camo AND monogramming? We’ve got the Belle of the South right here. The Scarlet O’Hara of scarves. This scarf may NOT be worn north of the Mason-Dixon line.


I’m breezy! And warm. Wait. Am I more breezy, or am I more warm? Well, I mean I’m freezing. Faux-leather jackets are NOT warm, per se. Screw it. I’m breezy.


Scarves, HERE! Come get your SCARVES, HEEE-RAH!


Because it morphs as you wear it, we call it the amoeba-scarf. It will eat you differently, every single day.


Yes, I always look like I JUST left the beach. But it was chilly…which is why I’m wearing a scarf. With flip flops and a tank top.


When you are fully eaten by your scarf, you become a scarf zombie, as shown above.


Your awesome zombie colors eventually fade, and you look like this, aka, the 7th layer of scarf hell.


Unless you’re eaten by a head scarf, in which case you will suffer from sudden scarf death. A scarf postmortem patient is pictured above.

Just say no to head scarves you guys. It only takes one scarf to kill you.


This scarf beat your scarf for Prom Queen.


We look ridiculous.

NO, we don’t.

We look like knit-twins! This is stupid!

Shut up and try to look natural. Like we were supposed to call each other and check outfits?

You’re right. We’re not in middle school. OK. We look awesome. We are 7 feet tall, after all.


Just promise me you’ll never do this. N-E-V-E-R. I’m not kidding…pinkie swear this very second.


Cover your heart, Indy!


I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor…


No, really, don’t take my picture. I’m in Scarves Anonymous. And Louis Vuitton Anonymous. And Kate Spade Ballet Flats Anonymous.


I’m just going to say it: No matter how complex the technique, the scarf looks the same. Like a tangled mess of crap.

Above you see the drape, wrap, wrap again, tuck, pull-under, and tie technique, or DWWATPUATT, for short.


My case in point. Finished look? Turd pile around your neck.


What was I supposed to pick up at the store? Ugh. I can’t remember! This scarf has been cutting oxygen off to my brain for months. Can’t…take…it…off…

If you’ve enjoyed our review of female-eating scarves, please leave a comment, and I shall proceed with other trends. I think we all know what needs to be tackled next:


The Dreaded Chest-Eating Necklace Trend.

DUDES. I’d need to halo brace to hold that thing up.

“I’m wearing the entire sun around my neck! SELFIE!”

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The Nightmare Before Halloween

October 5th, 2014 · Comments Off


It’s October. October is long for us. Very, very long. A) Kelly hates, and I mean HATES Halloween. Scary, grotesque, ridiculously frightening holiday for any girl who lives most of her day in fantasy. Kelly doesn’t yet separate real from fantasy, and by God, there is just no way to make this phase pass. B) The majority of her stuffed animals have been in storage for almost 6 months. They are real to her, and therefore, we hear about their peril. Every.single.day. For 6 months, Kelly’s stuffed animals are suffering.

We just don’t have the room in this apartment, and we’ve kept as many as we can manage. Greg was regularly taking her to switch them out in storage so she could check on their welfare, but by mid-summer, it just became too much for her. The tears! We went stuffed animal cold turkey, and it seemed to help. That, and Papa Bump sending her an insane amount of birthday money which he insisted she spend entirely on stuffed animals. As he was near death, I let her. He suckered me with all that surviving and thriving he did afterwards. Those two probably cooked up his heart attack, just to add to her collection. DO NOT PUT THIS PAST THEM! I know when I’ve been schnookered by Ira and his tiny twin.

It was with sadness and great sincerity that Kelly informed me last week her stuffed animals had contracted an illness known as “aidrocardinoids” (she spelled it for me, and it’s apparently pronounced “eye-dro-card-in-oids”). She gave me the woeful turn of events thusly: Her raccoon decided he wanted the unicorns’ food, so he poisoned them. In his haste to cover up the crime (as if being a bandit-faced raccoon surrounded by dead unicorns wasn’t incriminating enough), he failed to wash his hands. As he must suffer from some version of a stuffed animal anti-social personality disorder, he then went out and shook the hands of every stuffed animal in the forest.


Casualties of War

And there you have it. Her entire collection in storage has a poison-induced disease known as “aidrocardinoids”. I had her recant the entire tale to her father over the phone while he was at work, and when they said their goodbyes, she replied, “Daddy is finally taking me seriously. I’m so relieved he understands my stuffed animals.” Unfortunately, their survival is dubious. In fact, she told my friend Stephanie last Friday, “They’re dead. They are ALL DEAD.” She recanted her story the next day when she discovered the WORLD’S GREATEST AND MOST AWESOME HALLOWEEN COSTUME!! OH MOMMY, CAN I HAVE IT?! PLEASE?! I MUST HAVE IT.

I told her she was welcome to spend her remaining birthday money on it, as she is on a stuffed-animal-purchasing hiatus. She replied,”That’s actually a much better plan. I don’t WANT to buy any stuffed animals during this aidrocardinoids crisis. They’ll only the spread the disease to the new animals. The cure is probably plant-based, because most cures are. I think we’ll find the answer in a flower, but it’s fall. The flowers are dying. I don’t see a cure arriving until spring. So, you see, I should buy this Queen costume instead. It’s just the smart thing to do, considering.” I was rather relieved to hear they weren’t “all dead”. Starting her collection over from scratch IS SIMPLY NOT HAPPENING.

So this is the story of how Kelly is finally looking forward to Halloween. She couldn’t be more excited to be a beautiful, pink Queen in a hoop skirt. Please don’t take that to mean she wants to leave the house or enter into any stores not pre-shopped by me (I have to go in first and check out the Halloween decor…if it’s scary…she isn’t going). That doesn’t mean she doesn’t cringe every time we get in the car. Scary ads for haunted houses drive her nuts. She has their locations memorized all over the city. In fact, I had to send my poison pen over to Simon Malls just this morning for a tasteless ad hanging in the center of the Castleton Mall. Shame on you Simon! Toddlers see that nasty sign every day! Scaring little kids is just gross.


While on the stuffed animal wagon, she convinced Daddy to MAKE her a lovey! Mommy’s scraps and a Sharpie. Advantage: Daddy.

This evolution of events hit me hard. Her stuffed animals are near death and she is almost-kind-of-sort-of wishing for Halloween. Does this smack of the end of her fantastical thinking? Huh. Do I wish for this to pass? I do and I don’t. Kelly has always been a little detached from reality, and I cannot imagine her any other way. I cannot imagine relating to her day-to-day without adjusting my frame of reference to include the reality of fairies, pragmatic conversations with an endless sea of loveys, and the hope that Santa will bring the imaginary toys she invents in her mind. It can be very challenging to hold a conversation with Kelly, but her fantasy has become my reality. Perhaps I like it more than I care to admit…

I have assured her the stuffed animals will be the first things to move into the new house, assuming that while I’m neck-deep in boxes, she’ll beg me to set up a triage center in the middle of the mess. If any of you have critical care stuffed animal nurses you could spare, I’d be so very grateful. Greg is on the opposite side of the fence. He thinks this evolution spells a new, and darker depth, of Kelly’s imaginary world. He sees Stephen King novels in her future. Wow. I suddenly feel a lose-lose scenario coming on. Either way, the next few weeks are sure to be a wild ride. Stay tuned…






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My Auntie Is Like A Friend To Me

October 2nd, 2014 · 2 Comments


Sara is studying James Whitcomb Riley, so we could assume a poem assignment would make an appearance. Per her usual, she built a “homework tent” for privacy, and emerged with this little gem:

My Auntie is like a friend to me.

She plays, she talks, she’s awesome.

She plays like a monkey,

She dances like a diva.

Even the pink hue of my walls reminds me of us together.

The day on the water in the yellow canoe stays with me forever.

I love my Auntie. She is cool!

Yep. Your Auntie is cool. Very soon it will be time to make the trek home to celebrate with her and Almost Uncle Aaron. So much excitement. So much preparation. So much anticipation at the idea of an engagement party which certain young ladies are old enough to attend. The formality of it all! The dresses! The shoes! They couldn’t hold more love in their hearts for these two…as they are already filled to overflowing. Get some rest Auntie. Your biggest fans are talking of nothing but…

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