Lucy is 5

Lucy’s 5th birthday was yesterday. Which is weird, because I could swear I just gave birth to her like a week ago. But no, apparently it’s been five years.

I swear, I blinked and this happened. Happy 5th birthday, Lucy!

The girls were with me this past weekend, so we had Lucy’s birthday party a few days early. Last year, I found a company that hires out princesses for birthday parties, and we had Elsa and Anna come to her party. She asked if she could have a princess at her party again this year.

And ok, hiring a princess for a kid’s birthday party definitely qualifies as a frivolous expense, and she would’ve been fine if I had said no and that we were only having her friends over to our house. But you know, there are only a few short years where you can make special occasions magical for your children, so why not? Bring on Rapunzel.

Kayla, Sophia, Lucy & Rapunzel

(The funniest part of this whole thing is that I legitimately had no clue until the party was over – when my mom pointed it out – that Rapunzel was the exact same girl who played Elsa at Lucy’s party last year. I guess I figured that they had one girl who always plays Elsa, one who always plays Rapunzel, etc.? But no, apparently they’re multi-talented. I feel like an idiot because I was talking to this girl for over an hour with no clue that she’d been in my house and met my kid a year ago. But Lucy didn’t notice either, so we’ll call it a win.)

Lucy and Rapunzel

The kids all had a blast, and Catie got to hang out with her cousins, so even the non-Princess-loving crowd was happy. Overall, A+ birthday party.


Funny timing: Lucy officially turned 5 yesterday, and tonight we have kindergarten orientation at the school where she’ll start going in two months. (TWO MONTHS! She starts the first week of August!) I know she’s nervous about going to “big school” because she won’t know anyone there, and she’s extremely shy with people she doesn’t know well. Hell, I’m nervous for her. But I’m trying to make it as exciting a transition as I can. (“You’re such a big girl now! You get to go to big school with Catie!”)

Her daycare is having their pre-K graduation program at the end of June. And I know the whole notion of pre-K graduation is silly. It’s not like she’s finishing college. But this marks the end of us going to the daycare where one or both of my kids has been for the last 6 1/2 years. Catie started there right before she turned 3, and Lucy’s been there since she was 2 months old. This place has been part of our daily lives for so long, it feels like the end of an era.

Lucy's pre-k graduation photo

And yeah ok, I’m super-excited that I won’t have to pay for daycare anymore. (Mama’s getting a raise!) But not gonna lie, I’ll probably cry during that graduation program.


Happy birthday, Lucy Goose. I always think that it’s no coincidence that your name, Lucille, means “light” – you are an absolute ray of joy and sunshine in our lives. We love you so much, and I cannot wait to see what this year brings for you, my sweet girl.

birthday party post-mortem

Catie’s birthday party was on Saturday at a bounce house place called Monkey Joe’s. She’d been to birthday parties there before, and was so excited to have her own party there.

Catie meeting Monkey Joe

[Note that unlike when she turned two and freaked the hell out at the Chick-Fil-A cow, she is no longer scared of adults in giant mascot costumes.]

This year, Catie asked for a cake “with dinosaurs on it.” I learned from last year’s birthday party that most grocery stores don’t do custom artwork, so rather than stressing about it, I grabbed a bag of little plastic dinosaurs to use as cake toppers, and POOF! Dinosaur birthday cake!

Catie's birthday cake

She absolutely loved it.

Lucy had a pretty good time at the party too. She got to ride around on both me and her Pop-Pop…

Lucy hanging out on Pop-Pop

… and she got to roll around on a floor that was covered in oh my god I don’t even want to know so don’t make me think about it.

Lucy at the birthday party

(See that spot on my jeans? That’s where Lucy had been chewing on my leg moments earlier. Nice, kid.)

The kids ran around and bounced their little hearts out for a couple of hours, then had pizza and birthday cake. Then there were presents, and that was about it. Pretty basic, but so nice to not have to deal with clean-up and all of that other stuff that usually goes with birthday parties.

The last thing Catie got to do was the prize grab. She had seen her friends do this before, and she was absolutely terrified of it, but I explained that if she didn’t do it, she wouldn’t get a prize.

with the goggles, on her way to do the prize grab

She was so serious and obviously scared, but so ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED that she was going to get her damn prize, no matter what. So into the giant scary ticket grab booth she went.

Ticket grab booth

She ended up getting enough in tickets for two new dinosaur toys, so you know, WORTH IT. At least in her mind.

Overall, she had a fantastic party.

That is one happy birthday girl

(The whole set of pics is here.)

Then, there was the rest of the weekend.

Warning: things go quickly downhill from here.

Saturday night, we were all tired from the party. My brother Chris & my sister Tracy were both staying at my house for the weekend (they drove over from Charlotte for the party). Catie’s birthday present from Tracy had been a couple of new sets of princess pajamas, and Catie wanted to wear her new Little Mermaid PJs. It didn’t even occur to me that I needed to wash them first.

At bedtime, Tracy noticed that Catie was really itchy and scratching herself all over. She called me to check her out. My first thought was dry skin – Catie gets eczema in the winter sometimes. So I took her into the bathroom and slathered her with almond oil, which is mild and odorless and normally makes her skin feel better.

(Here’s a tip in case you hadn’t guessed: that was my major mistake. I basically took whatever was in the pajamas that had irritated her skin, and I sealed it to her. Which made things go way worse.)

The next thing I knew, Catie was screaming her head off that her skin was burning. She started to hyperventilate and have a panic attack. We went into my bathroom because she was freaking out so much I was afraid she was going to make herself vomit. I couldn’t calm her down, and my brain just kept thinking that she was having some kind of major allergic reaction to something, and I was worried about her asthma and breathing, so I yelled for my brother to call 911.

The EMTs got there within minutes, and were absolutely amazing. They checked her oxygen SATs (normal) and her lungs (all clear), and guessed that it was probably contact dermatitis from the pajamas. Since they gave her the all-clear on her breathing, we opted to not take Catie to the hospital, and instead I gave her a bath and tried to wash everything off of her skin, then gave her all new clean clothes to wear. Once I got her back in bed, she was asleep in minutes. The poor kid was exhausted (it was almost 11 p.m. by the time this was all finished).

On the plus side: Lucy slept through all of this. Even Catie’s screaming. So that was nice. But still? Yeah, that sucked.


Sunday, I sent both girls to hang out with Dave for the day. That seemed pretty uneventful. They had fun, and came home in the evening around dinnertime. We did the bedtime routine, yadda yadda. Normal as usual.

Around 1 a.m., I heard Catie scream, “MOMMY!!!” It was not a normal “I had a bad dream and want to get in your bed” yell, it was… THAT scream. The kind that all parents (or at least all moms) know. The “something really bad is happening” scream. I was out of bed and across the hall before I even opened my eyes all the way.

I ran into Catie’s room just in time to see her vomit all over her bed. Faaaaabulous.

She spent the rest of the night in my bed (she managed to puke into a bowl every other time except once, which required me to change the sheets on my bed at 4 a.m. Let me tell you, I am not a fan of that).

She doesn’t have a fever, so my guess is that it’s some stomach virus she picked up from the germ-factories that are those bounce houses. (She didn’t eat anything unusual, so it’s my best guess. A 24-48 hour incubation period is normal for these things.)


Both girls are with my parents today. My mom called a little while ago to tell me that Catie is keeping down tiny sips of Sprite, and that Lucy is officially crawling as of this morning. So, there you go. I’m sad I missed that milestone of Lucy’s, but glad that my parents and Catie got to see it.

To sum up: Hooray for birthday parties and baby milestones. However, illnesses and 911 calls and all that nonsense? Can suck it.

60 months

Dear Catie,

Today, you are five years old.

Climbing back up the slide

Actually, you informed me this morning that today is not your birthday, because you said that it’s stupid that your party is not on the same day as your actual birthday. I can’t really argue with that logic, but today is your real birthday. Get used to the fact that your birthday will not always fall on a weekend. Just because you were born on a Saturday afternoon doesn’t mean that’s when your birthday will always be.

Sitting on the deck with my girl while she tells me about her day.

This was probably the hardest year of your life so far, and my hope is that it’s the hardest one you’ll ever have to face in your life. You became a big sister, your dad and I separated, and we moved to a new house – all in the span of six months. The experience almost broke me, so I cannot imagine how hard it was for you. I am so sorry for that. I don’t even know how I’ll begin to explain it all to you when you’re older and start to ask questions.

Overall, though, I have to say that you’ve handled everything phenomenally well.

Sisters cozied up at bedtime

Sometimes I worry that I put too much on you. Since it’s just the three of us now, I ask you to help out with a lot of things. Sometimes I’ll catch myself starting to ask you to do something, and I’ll hold back. I don’t want you to grow up feeling like you didn’t get to have a childhood because you had to be Mommy’s Helper all the time. I want you to be a kid.

When you get upset with me, you sometimes yell that you don’t want to be a big sister anymore. My response to that is always the same: “You don’t have to be a big sister. You just have to be Catie.” Because, baby girl? Let me tell you, Catie is freaking awesome.

The babysitter brought her son. Who Catie loves. Guilt about leaving = GONE.

I have to say that watching your relationship develop with Lucy has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I was worried before she was born, because you were never interested in babies before we had one of our own. But you are so sweet and nurturing with her, it’s amazing to witness.

Look, you even make the same facial expressions. Freaky, right?

Two girls. One facial expression.

And oh, babe, the way your sister loves you. She lights up every time you walk in the room. You are hands-down her favorite person ever.

Bath buddies.

(I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to get away with calling her “Boopy” forever, though. It’s cute now when she’s a baby, but I’m warning you now, she’s going to get mad about that nickname someday.)

Big sister Catie with baby sister Lucy

You are an absolute joy, and I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am that I get to be your mama.

Me & my Catie-bug

Happy birthday, my sweet Catie-bug. I love you to the moon and back.


back and forth

We’re mostly all better here now, thankfully. I still have a little bit of a cough and Lucy still has a chronic case of Drippy Nose, but I think that’s more just because she’s a baby who goes to daycare. Sort of goes with the territory, right?

I don’t know, what do you think? She looks pretty healthy to me.

This one is apparently oblivious to the fact that her mama has to get up early tomorrow.

This week is chaotic in both good and bad ways. The good is that Catie’s birthday is tomorrow, and my big girl is turning FIVE. YEARS. OLD. A fact which she gleefully tells anyone who’ll listen. So we’re having a party at one of those bounce house places, because I really don’t need her entire daycare class plus all of their parents in my house. She is ecstatic.

[Aside: Can I rant about parents who don’t RSVP to birthday parties? I have 5 confirmed guests and about 11 others that have been given invitations, but I have no idea if they’re coming or not. And the party is Saturday. Rudeness!]

The not-so-good chaos is that Dave is coming for a visit, which means working out details about visitation and dealing with lawyers (because that’s the only way we communicate these days), and all kinds of things that I’d rather not have to worry about.

So, yeah. That stuff. Boo on that.

I also started this new diet thing this week because I decided that my jeans were getting too tight and I’ve had quite enough of that, thankyouverymuch. I don’t really want to talk about it too much because it seems like every time I do, I jinx myself. But that’s another added layer of chaos to my life, just because it’s something new and different, and changes are difficult, yadda yadda.

Lots of ups and downs, clearly. But overall, things are good, I think. Even though I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’m about to be the mother of a five year-old child. How the hell did that happen?