the big 4-0

This past Saturday, I turned 40. I don’t typically make a big fuss about my birthday, but it’s one of those milestone ages that felt fairly significant. And for whatever reason, I just felt really sad about it. The rational part of my brain knew I was being silly: aging is part of life, right? This is how it goes. Either I turn 40 or I drop dead at 39, and the latter didn’t sound like a good option. But still, there was part of me that felt sad in a “damn, I feel old and this sucks” way.

A decade is a really long time, but still, I was thinking about how much my life changed during my 30s, and it sort of shocked me. When I turned 30, I had only been married a few months, I had no kids, and I was still living in Seattle. I’m pretty sure that if you told me that by the time I turned 40, I’d be divorced, have two daughters, be in a different-but-ultimately-much-happier relationship, live in North Carolina, with my parents less than 2 miles away (and that this wouldn’t make me insane, but that I’d actually be incredibly happy and grateful to have them so close), and that I’d own a dog, I’d have thought you were nuts. When Chris and I were talking about it and I was listing all of the things that are different now, I could only think of two things my life at 30 has in common with my life at 40: I still have Beaumont (but he wasn’t even my cat back then! He was Dave’s cat, and I just happened to retain custody of him after the divorce), and I still have the Subaru I bought when I was 25.

Speaking of my Subaru! I didn’t have the kids over the weekend, so for my birthday celebration, Chris and I went to test drive cars. Random, I know. But Chris’s Nissan is basically dead (it’s 16 years old and has over 300K miles; it needs repairs that cost double what the car is worth), and I’ve been wanting a bigger car with third row seating for a long time now. Since I’m in a better position to take on a car payment than he is, we decided that he’ll pay me the trade-in value for my Subaru (which is not a lot – Subarus are great and it still runs like a champ, but it’s a pretty old car), I’ll sign the title over to him, and then I’ll get a new car.

Test driving cars was a pretty fun way to spend the day, and it distracted me out of my little “black cloud” mood. Afterward, we went out for dinner at one of my favorite Italian places. Chris came up with the idea that instead of having cake, we could drive to downtown Raleigh to get fresh Krispy Kreme donuts for my birthday, which sounded awesome to me. We got extra for my parents, to thank them for dog-sitting Roxie all day while we were out. (My dad is pretty much in love with Roxie, so he doesn’t seem to mind when I ask him keep her.) On the drive back, Dave texted that the girls were upset about not seeing me on my birthday, so we did a quick FaceTime chat, which was really sweet.

On Monday, I got the girls back, so we went to my parents’ house, and did the actual cake and “happy birthday” song and all of that. And Chris gave me tulips, because he’s good at that kind of thing.

I didn't have the girls this weekend on my actual birthday, so we did cake tonight at my parents' house.

And now, a few days into this whole 40 thing, I feel ok about it. I mean, I’m not thrilled about the prospect of getting old, but I did a whole hell of a lot in my 30s. I’m kind of interested to see what the next decade has in store for me.

January 21, 2016Permalink 1 Comment

New Year’s meme for 2015

Because at this point it’s a tradition: time for another annual recap.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
* We got a dog!
* I hosted both girls’ birthday parties at our house, and realized it’s not as daunting a task as I thought it would be.
* I took the girls on a plane trip by myself.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do have a goal this year: to not have a complete meltdown about turning 40 later this month.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Lots of my Twitter friends had babies. No one in my family or immediate circle of friends, though.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
We never left the U.S., but we took trips all over North Carolina (Charlotte, the beach, etc.), we went to Atlanta for my cousin’s wedding, and we flew to Austin to visit my sister and brother-in-law.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
My answer last year still applies: Less clutter in my life. The physical clutter is an ongoing process – I’ve been cleaning things out gradually for a while: had a yard sale, gave a lot to Goodwill, etc. I would also like less mental clutter that bogs me down with useless, unproductive thoughts.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
* March 28th: my cousin Cici’s wedding in Atlanta. It also happened to be my dad’s birthday. After the reception, when everyone was milling around on the porch of this gorgeous antebellum mansion and getting ready to leave, a bunch of us sang happy birthday to my dad. It occurred to me that I didn’t know the last time my dad had all three of his kids with him on his birthday. It was probably sometime in the late 1980s.
* December 28th: we adopted Roxie.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I ran a half-marathon! And I didn’t die!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I haven’t talked about it much, but I had a pretty intense meltdown during the summer, and I was just… not good for a while. Like, I wouldn’t have blamed Chris if he’d broken up with me then, because I was just that difficult to live with. There are friends I’ve had since I was a kid who I’m pretty sure I’ve permanently alienated. I was a bad girlfriend, bad mom, bad friend, bad daughter, etc. I know I don’t have control over my brain chemistry, so that part isn’t really a failure, but it took me way too long to admit I needed help and seek it. I’ve been better the last few months, so you know. Upward and onward and all that.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A lot of basic colds and things, but thankfully we all managed to avoid ER visits in 2015, so we’ll call that a win.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Roxie.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Catie, who has overcome so many of her fears and hang-ups this year, and made tremendous progress on a whole wide range of things. (I mean, Lucy is awesome and I’m not discounting her at all, but there are a lot more struggles at nearly-9 than there are at 4.)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The entire Republican presidential field.

14. Where did most of your money go?
It just occurred to me this is the last year that “daycare” will qualify as one of my answers here, since Lucy starts kindergarten in July. WOOT!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” I think I was more excited about Star Wars than I was about Christmas.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
The entire Taylor Swift “1989” album.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Overall sadder, but working my way out of that.
b) thinner or fatter? Same. (I’m not complaining.)
c) richer or poorer? Richer, since I got a raise in October.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I feel like I did a lot this year. I guess organizing my house and keeping paperwork from piling up is something I should have done more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Same answer as last year: worrying about things that I have no control over.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I spent Christmas morning with my kids, Chris, and my parents, then shipped the girls off to their dad’s, and Chris and I went back to sleep for a couple of hours. My sister and brother-in-law flew in that afternoon, we picked the girls up from Dave, and went to do family Christmas gifts at my parents’ house. Overall, a very good Christmas.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
No, just still in love with the same guy.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
We binge-watched “Justified,” and I thought it was excellent. This was the year Chris finally got me to watch “Game of Thrones,” and I admit that I really love it, although I have to keep my phone handy so I can play Candy Crush during the really violent parts. Also love “The Leftovers,” “Homeland,” and “Agents of SHIELD.”

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nah, try not to waste my energy on hate.

24. What was the best book you read?
Can I just admit that I probably haven’t read an entire book since “The Help”? I’ve given up. I used to love reading, but I don’t have the attention span or free time anymore. Maybe I’ll pick it up again someday.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Whatever is on pop radio.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
A dog!

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
Lucy regressed to climbing in bed with me & Chris every night, which is one thing I would very much like to have cease in the immediate future.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars.

(Ok, fine: I loved “Inside Out” more than my kids did, “Big Hero 6″ was excellent, and Chris and I enjoyed both “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.” But, yeah, Star Wars.)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 39. I had the kids that night, so we did dinner at my parents’ house, and we had cake. It was nice.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If Bernie Sanders could’ve already been elected president.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I’ve finally embraced the “leggings with long sweaters” look. It feels like wearing pajamas in public. It’s pretty much the best, I don’t know what took me so long.

32. What kept you sane?
It’s weird that I always hated exercise until a few years ago, and now it’s my favorite part of every day. I feel so much better after I work out, whether it’s running or Barre3 or some Betty Rocker workout or whatever. Endorphins are a real thing.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Last year I said Justin Theroux because of “The Leftovers,” and I stand by that answer.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The apparent resurgence of white supremacy in America. 2015 felt an awful lot like the 1960s.

35. Who did you miss?
There are a few friends who live far away who I really wish I could’ve seen this year.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
This feels unfair to try to single someone out. There are too many people I like.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
That I need to suck up my pride and ask for help sometimes.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I feel like I may have used this one before, but who cares:

“Both feet on the floor,
two hands on the wheel,
may the wind take your troubles away.”

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Happy new year, everyone!

January 1, 2016Permalink

new family member for a new year

My dad is going to be 80 years old in a few months. He had a dog when he was a little boy – maybe 9 or 10 years old – but there’s a whole mystery over whether the dog ran away or whether my grandmother gave the dog away. She was not what you might call an animal person. Either way, his little dog Fido was gone, he was heartbroken, and he’s wanted a dog ever since.

My parents have always had cats. My mom told him he could get a dog when he was willing to clean up its poop, and my dad is… not a guy with a high poop tolerance. Like, he’s changed one diaper in his life. Three kids, two grandkids, one diaper. Ever. So the dog poop condition has kept him from getting a dog for years.

Last month, my mom’s cat had to be put to sleep. And I say my mom’s cat, because that’s what she was. That cat hated everybody on earth except my mom. She’s the only cat I’ve ever known who hated me, and she’d hiss when I walked in the room. Blanche, the cat, was 18 years old, so she had a long, happy, very spoiled life. Still, my mom was sad, and I know their house has felt a little bit emptier without her.

Since they had no other pets, I started searching on PetFinder for dogs that my mom might agree to. I figured that if I found them an older dog that was already house-broken and well-trained, she might go for it. But when I mentioned it to her, she said absolutely not. No dogs.

Then I started thinking: my kids have been asking for a dog forever, so maybe we should get a dog. They’d love it, and I wouldn’t mind having the companionship during the day while I’m working. And as a bonus, we go to my parents’ house at least a couple of days a week, so if we had a dog, he/she could come with us and let my dad feel like he had a dog, without dealing with poop clean-up. (After two kids, a cat, and a bearded dragon, I’m pretty immune to poop.)

When I mentioned this to Chris, he just kind of shook his head and laughed. I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy, but he said he’d support whatever I wanted to do.

So for the last few weeks, I’ve been searching online for dogs. Several times now, the kids, Chris, and I have gone to meet dogs at different shelters and adopt-a-thon events. Then, on Monday afternoon, we met Roxie.

Hey everybody, this is Roxie*. She's coming to live with us.   (*Name possibly subject to change. Haven't decided if we're keeping it or not.)

I’ve always had a soft spot for Yorkshire terriers, because our neighbor had one and she was the sweetest dog. So when we met Roxie, it took me less than a minute to decide that this was our dog. We took her home that day.

And oh, she’s a sweet dog. She’s about a year old, mostly house-broken (she was completely house-broken at her former home, but adjusting to a new house means accidents, and I knew to expect that), she’s great with the girls, and she’s mostly ok with Beaumont. Roxie really wants to play with Beaumont, and Beaumont wants nothing to do with her, so they’re sorting out their boundaries. It’s an adjustment phase for everyone.

I think Roxie might be a little traumatized from being given away by her previous owners. She follows me from room to room, and seems to want to keep an eye on me all the time. Last night, Chris and I dropped her with my parents while we went to buy a crate for her. (I didn’t want to leave her loose in the house and risk her fighting with Beaumont while we were gone.) My mom said she sat at the door and cried for us after we left. I felt so bad for her, hopefully the separation anxiety will ease up over time.

Initially, I wasn’t sure if we’d keep the name Roxie or not, and I thought we might change it to something else. But I realized that she knows her name and responds to it, so that would be confusing for her. Plus Lucy calls her “Woxie,” which I love. And I have an excuse to sing “Roxanne” all the time now, and that’s pretty fun.

Lucy does the best photobombs of all time.

And I’ll admit, I’ve been having a little bit of that “holy crap, what have we done?” feeling like you get when you have a baby. Like: oh god, life will never be the same and nobody will ever sleep again. But I’m pretty sure that’ll pass as we all settle in and adjust. I’m pretty fond of her myself.

First selfie with my very own dog. This is weird and also great.

So, yeah, a new family member for a new year. Big changes, but pretty great changes.

December 30, 2015Permalink

turning a forest into a play space

The house that we live in now is the house we moved into after Dave and I split up. In a couple of weeks, we will have lived here 4 years. One of the things I initially loved about this place was the yard. It’s full of giant, old shade trees, and the backyard is basically a forest. As long as I took care of the front yard (and let’s be real: I pay a guy to do that for me because I am a slacker about yardwork), I didn’t have to do anything with the back. Since we’re close to a couple of big parks, during the winter months, I regularly see deer wandering through our backyard. It’s nice.

But a few times now, Catie has made comments like, “When we move to our next house, maybe we can have a yard where we can play.” And look, I’m not planning on moving anytime soon. This house is about 1/2 mile from Dave’s apartment, and 2 miles or less from my parents, Lucy’s daycare, and Catie’s school. Basically everything we need is either within walking distance, or we can drive it in less than 5 minutes. We are where we need to be.

So, after getting the ok from my landlord, I asked Chris if he could help me turn the backyard from a forest into a usable space for the kids to have a play area. Half of the backyard is on a sloping hill with a lot of dips and tree stumps, and it leads down to a small ditch, so it’s not really safe for kids. But honestly, in all the time we’ve lived here, I never really noticed that nearly half of my backyard is a flat space, it was just completely overgrown to the point where you couldn’t see much of it.

This is what we were starting with:
Backyard before our cleanup project.
(The angle on this pic is odd because it was taken from an upstairs bedroom window – it was the only way to see the whole area.)

Note the green tarp off to the side – there was a huge woodpile over there, which we found was completely infested with termites. So, that had to go away.

And let me say, Chris gets a TON of the credit for this project that’s eaten most of our last few weekends. This is where it comes in handy to live with a guy who grew up on a farm, because he knows how to get stuff DONE. He chopped down trees and dug up their roots, while I raked and dug up all of the weeds that were sprouting up.

Eventually we got it all cleared out, my yard guy came to haul all of our debris to the dump for us (he’s the only person I know who has a trailer that could do it), and we put down landscape timbers to section off the part of the backyard I wanted to use for the play area.

Backyard project, midway through
Please ignore the random tools strewn about, and the Gatorade bottle on the deck railing.

Then we ordered a few cubic yards of playground matting mulch. The kids had fun with the giant mulch pile.
Catie next to the mulch pile (doesn't really show just how huge it was)
Queens of Mulch Mountain

Eventually we got the mulch spread over the entire play area (the landscape timbers are there to make sure the mulch doesn’t wash away when it rains), and finally, we put together my early Christmas present from my parents: a swing for the backyard.

New backyard swing!

They were pretty excited about it. I couldn’t even get them to get out of the swing when I tried to take a picture of the entire yard.

Backyard project "after".

I like that there’s plenty of open space where they can run around and play. There are a couple of things I still want to do, like put stepping stones from the patio to the play area, so the girls don’t go stomping on the monkey grass every time they go outside. But the big stuff is all finished, and I’m really excited about it.

Of course, we got all of this finished just in time for winter, so they probably won’t get a ton of use out of it over the next few months. But it’ll be ready for them next spring, and I’m already looking forward to it.

November 17, 2015Permalink

halfway through November by the time I blog about October

Apparently blogging is something I only do every couple of months now. I’m not sure why, it’s just hard to think of stuff I want to write.

So hey, let’s talk about October! Catie was out of school for the first three weeks of October, so I tried to take advantage of it and maximize the amount of fun stuff we did. Pardon me while I post a zillion photos now.

On a random Wednesday when the weather was nice, I took a vacation day, and we went to the zoo. (My manager was also on vacation that week, so the timing worked out well.) Chris couldn’t take the day off work, but my parents came along, and I’m so glad they did, because I think it was a lot of fun for all of us.

Girls & my mom with a sea lion swimming by.

The NC Zoo is BIG and involves a lot of walking, and I knew my mom would have trouble getting around. She has scoliosis, arthritis, and a lot of other health issues that cause her chronic pain. The zoo rents out mobility scooters, and at first she didn’t want to get one, but she finally relented. (Mom: “That would be embarrassing!” Me: “Who gives a crap what anyone at the zoo thinks about you?”) About halfway through the day, she said she was so glad she got the scooter, because otherwise there was no way she would’ve been able to keep up with us.

(My dad is 10 years older than my mom, but since he’s been a golfer all his life, walking is no issue for him. He trekked all over the zoo with us without any issue.)

We happened to make it to the zoo while the dinosaur exhibit was still out. We saw it on our last trip to the zoo (which I realize after going through the archives was THREE years ago! Lucy could barely walk & was still drinking out of a bottle! We need to get to the zoo more often), but they’ve improved the dino exhibit since the last time we were there.

And it led to this picture of Catie, which I think might be the most perfect Catie picture of all time.

Catie & the T. Rex

Catie and a T. Rex. Yep, that’s my girl.

We also went to Green Acres Farm, where we went on a hay ride, and the girls generally ran around like maniacs for a couple of hours, and made friends with animals.

Making friends with a goat.

Chris said later how strange that trip was for him, because he grew up on a farm, and he didn’t understand why people would pay money to visit one. He said, “I joined the Army to get away from that.” I tried to explain that it’s a novel concept to kids from the suburbs, he just shook his head and laughed.

Also in October, the NC state fair comes to town. I hate going to the state fair on weekends, because the crowds are insane, and the kids spend more time standing in line to go on rides than actually going on rides. So instead, I took off a few hours early one weekday (can I say again how much I love my job and how grateful I am for my flexible schedule?), and we went.

Girls on the Monster Truck ride.

Catie is still a little bit of a chicken about rides, and generally only wants to go on the little kid rides. Which is FINE, I have no need for either of my kids to be a daredevil, I’m already prone to anxiety attacks as it is. And there are some rides at the state fair that scare me just to look at them. So the fact that Catie doesn’t want to ride the big scary rides is A-OK with me. Instead, she rode the kiddie rides with Lucy, they were both happy, and I didn’t need to take any sedatives. Win-win-win.

Lucy the lion & Catie the giraffe
Random photo from the state fair that has nothing to do with anything, it just makes me laugh.

Last thing for October: Halloween! As per our usual tradition, we went to my parents’ neighborhood for trick-or-treating, because the lots in their neighborhood are a little smaller, which means the houses are closer together, so they can get a bunch of candy in a shorter amount of time. And there are tons of kids in their neighborhood, so Halloween ends up like a mini-street party, and it’s a great time.

This year, Catie was Spyro from the Skylanders game, and Lucy decided that since she was Elsa last year, this year she would be Anna. (If you thought she’d outgrow her Frozen obsession anytime soon, you’d be wrong.)

Happy Halloween from Spyro the Skylander, and Princess Anna!

One nice thing: I didn’t have to buy any costumes for Halloween this year. Catie got that Spyro costume back in March when we went to Comic-Con, and she’s grown so much in the last 6 months that it *barely* fits her now. The Velcro in the back kept popping open like she was the Incredible Hulk ripping her way out of her clothes. And Lucy got the Anna costume months ago as part of a potty-training bribe. It was nice to have a holiday where I didn’t have to drop any money.

Overall, October was an A+ month. Now Catie is back in school and we’re back to our typical daily routine, and there aren’t a ton of fun events in November. But I’m pretty good at coming up with fun stuff for them to do on my weekends, so I’m sure we’ll figure out something.

November 9, 2015Permalink

the past 2 months

I haven’t blogged in 2 months, which is weird for me. I keep thinking of things to write about and then I get distracted. So, here’s a bunch of random stuff that’s been happening lately.

We’ve been doing fun stuff on the weekends the kids are with me – now that summer is over and the neighborhood pool is closed, we’ve been going to the science museum and the playground more often.

Science museum. Have to pose with the shark jaw.

Those giant indoor trampoline places are fun on rainy days, too.

My levitating children at the Launching Pad.

I try to keep us busy on the weekends, it keeps the kids from fighting if we get out of the house and do active stuff.

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Catie update:

Catie finished her first term of 3rd grade and she’s now on her 3-week track-out break. (Let me take a moment and say again how much I love year-round school. Just around the time they start to get burned out on school, they get a nice long break. And then, just when they start to whine about being bored: time to go back to school!) She’s been spending this track-out break with her cousins; my aunt Susie is in town taking care of my cousin Cat’s kids, so I’ve been dropping her off every morning at their house and she’s been having a blast.

Third grade has been interesting because the two teachers split the day – one does math and social studies, the other does reading, writing, and science. So the kids spend half their day with each of them. Catie seems to like both teachers this year, which is pretty lucky.

Oh, and Catie got new glasses. She picked them out herself, and they look fantastic on her.

Catie got new glasses

Catie’s eye doctor is concerned about one of her eyes being significantly weaker than the other, so she’s now wearing an eye patch. She was upset about the idea of wearing it to school, because third grade girls can be mean about teasing, so I relented – she wears it from the time she gets up in the morning until she leaves for school, and then from the time she gets home until bedtime. She has it on for several hours each day, and hopefully that’s enough. We have a follow-up appointment in December to see how much progress she’s made.

And because she was constantly complaining about how her hair was making her hot, we decided to cut off several inches and give her a bob.

Catie's haircut before & after

She looks adorable, I absolutely love it. Between the haircut and getting her bangs off her face (both girls are growing their bangs out), she suddenly looks so grown up. Although maybe that’s partly due to her recent growth spurt. Girlfriend is now 4’5″ – she’s grown over 2 inches in the last 6 months.

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Lucy update:

Lucy has started taking a weekly dance class at her daycare, and I wish I could spy on it because I’ll bet it’s adorable. They email a newsletter to talk about the stuff they’re doing in class, so I’ll ask her to show me something (like pliè and relevé), and it’s a riot.

She also takes a weekly soccer class at daycare, which she really likes. I’m glad our daycare has these types of extracurricular activities, because I’m not sure how we’d make it work on our own time.

Lucy had a fever yesterday, so she's staying home with me because she needs to be fever-free for 24 hours before she can go back to daycare. She's obviously feeling better, so we're playing with hairstyles.

She’s gotten to a phase where she’s suddenly shy around new people, and her daycare teacher even says that she’s one of her quiet kids, but when she’s home, she’s still my hilarious little goofball.

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Me update:

I had a rough few months over the summer – there wasn’t any reason for it, just out of the blue I was suddenly anxious and jittery more often than not. It’s gotten a lot better in the last few weeks, for which I am thankful.

I’ve also been enjoying my weekends when the kids are with their dad. I get to sleep late, Chris and I can go see a movie or go out for dinner whenever we want, without worrying about anyone’s schedule. Yesterday, the weather was so gorgeous that I ran for nearly 5 miles, which is the first time I’ve gone that far since the half-marathon back in March. The combination of an injured foot plus the summer heat made me scale back on running, but I’m getting back into the longer distances and really enjoying it. I’m also doing the Barre3 28-day challenge with some friends, which is kind of fun just as a way to mix things up.

Work is good; I had my annual performance review a couple of weeks ago, and I got a raise. I asked Chris if it made him feel emasculated that I now make more money than he does. He laughed and said, “Sweetie, you go ahead and make aaaaall the money you want, the more the merrier.”

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Today it’s been 3 years since my divorce. I don’t think I would have remembered it, except the Timehop app on my phone reminded me. It made me think of this conversation I had with Lucy a few weeks ago:

Catie was with my parents, and I went to pick up Lucy from daycare. We were leaving when we saw a man waiting in a car in the parking lot. I recognized him as one of the teacher’s husbands – they only have one car, so he drops her off and picks her up.

Lucy: “That’s Miss Nikki’s husband.”
Me: “Yep.”
Lucy: “Just like you have a husband.”
Me: “No, I don’t have a husband anymore.”
Lucy: “You used to have a husband but he died?”
Me: (thinking: WTF, that’s morbid) “No, baby, I used to be married to Daddy, but we got divorced.”
Lucy: (genuinely shocked) “You used to be married to DADDY??!!”

Dave and I split up when she was only 2 months old, so of course she has no memory of us ever being together. And I guess in one way, it’s sad that she had no idea that was where she came from. But at the same time, I’m relieved that her only conscious memory of her parents is the two of us as friendly co-parents. We could’ve done a lot worse.

This doesn't happen often, but I love it when it does.

Because these two kids? They’ve turned out pretty spectacular so far.

October 12, 2015Permalink

and we didn’t even see a single shark

I had been thinking about taking the girls to the beach back in July, when Catie was on her summer break, but there were all kinds of stories in the news about people getting bitten by sharks, and it kind of freaked me out. I fully realize that it’s statistically far more likely that we’d get hurt in a car accident or a million other ways before anything involving a shark. But I already have a weird phobia about open bodies of water – I’m fine in swimming pools, but I hate boats, and at the beach I don’t go in the water past my knees. So just the idea of sharks was enough to keep me away.

Then last week, I realized it was August, it’s been weeks since there have been any shark incidents on the news, and I really hated the idea of skipping out on something that’s become an annual tradition for our family. So, on Saturday, we loaded up the car and went to Wrightsville Beach for the day.

It’s about a 2-hour drive to the coast, which isn’t that bad, although it’s long enough for the girls to really get on each other’s nerves and start fighting. At some point I felt like the cliche of every parent on earth when I yelled, “I will turn this car around and we will go back home if you do not leave each other alone FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” (My mom would probably find that hilarious, since it’s pretty much verbatim what she said to us on countless road trips when I was a kid.)

Once we got to the beach, the girls had a blast, and you’d never know from the pictures I got that they were at each other’s throats in the car just mere moments prior.

Beach!
See? Total angels. Ha. Haaaaaa.

Catie has been taking swim lessons this summer, so she’s gotten a lot braver in the water, but she’s still very careful in the ocean. She found some other kids around her age and hung out with them, building sand castles and jumping waves.

Catie in the ocean

Lucy is a little more unsure about the ocean, but she had fun lying on the sand and waiting for the waves to roll up over her. She also had me carry her out to jump waves, which was fine, since we stayed in the very shallow water.

Lucy kept lying on the sand, waiting for the waves to roll up over her

After about 4 hours, when they’d completely worn themselves out, we loaded everything back into the car, grabbed some dinner, and headed home. Both girls slept most of the way, and I hated to wake them up when we got home, but they both needed showers after playing in the sand for so long. They got to bed way later than normal, but since it was a Saturday night, no big deal.

That night, around 2:30 a.m., Lucy came into my room and said, “Mama, I throwed up in my bed.” Chris stripped the sheets off her bed while I cleaned her up. She spent the rest of the night and most of Sunday feverish, puking, and miserable. Poor little goose.

Fortunately, it was just a 24-hour bug, because by Monday morning, she was completely fine. I kept her home on Monday anyway, because daycare wants them to be fever-free for 24 hours before they go back to school, and I wanted to keep an eye on her. Kids bounce back so quickly, though, she really was completely fine all day. And she was excited that she got to come with me up the street to meet Catie at the bus stop, since she’s normally at daycare and doesn’t get to do that.

A series of "waiting for Catie's school bus" selfies.
A series of “waiting for Catie’s school bus” selfies.

Unrelated to anything: I’ve decided I’m tired of the girls having bangs, because their hair grows so fast and their bangs constantly need to be trimmed. So we’ve started growing them out. (Hence why Lucy’s hair is pinned back in those above pics.) It’s an annoying process, always trying to find hair clips in the morning, and convincing Lucy not to pull hers out halfway through the day, but I think it’ll be worth it in the long run. I know I’m biased and all, but I happen to really like seeing their entire faces.

August 12, 2015Permalink