Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fourth reflections

We celebrated our Fourth with sunshine and smiles.

We even trekked it down to the parade in town.

We don't always make it down for the parade this year but this year was a bit special.

It was Lola first time in the parade.

She joined her fellow gymnasts to celebrate the Fourth with cartwheels and walkovers.
video



I think my favorite line from the weekend came from Millie though.

We were getting ready for bathtime when she began arguing (nicely, in her Millie way) about which toys she should be allowed to play with in the tub. I have a fairly strict "No Barbies in bath" rule, which pretty much means that we don't get 10-inch-tall dolls wet; for whatever reason once their hair gets wet it gets all crunchy and the girls won't play with them again. So we tend to (try) to keep them dry.

Millie hates this rule. And letting Ariel be the exception to the rule hasn't helped much because if she can get wet, why can't the others? Ha.

Anyhow, it was early in the weekend when Millie began negotiating with me.

"But Mommy," she finally said. "Can Moana play in the water? Moana likes the water! She always goes back to the water, she likes it so much!"

Then she began singing the Moana song, just for effect...
See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me.

She got a big laugh, for originality.

But, no, Moana still didn't make it in the bath.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Millie's birthday!

Wow. I just turned the calendar to July. JULY!

(And, yes, I realize that it's not quite July yet but in my world of freelancing and writing, meeting deadlines, etc., I'm always a week ahead of what the real date is. It's probably why I never know what the heck the date really is, on those very rare times when I'm actually filling out a check or signing some kind of document.)

So, let's catch up on June!

First and foremost, my littlest girl turned 6 years old last week!

Millie brings us so much joy. She loves to make people laugh and smile. She loves to be the center of attention and I truly believe that she will in some way find her way to some kind of stage as she gets a bit older.

She has outgrown nearly all her struggles and while we can still occasionally get hung up on a certain word or phrase that we don't immediately recognize, that is becoming more rare. It is definitely the exception these days.

She loves Jesus and fancy dresses. She loves Shimmer and Shine and Moana. She loves swimming and playing with any kind of gooey substance (slime, putty, play sand, etc.).

She's my picky eater who would survive on yogurt and fruit snacks, if I would let her.

She's afraid of being left alone. She hates going to bed alone and wakes herself early in the morning (usually) just so she can come out and be with others.

She loves puppies, kitties, and babies.

She hates physical activity and will fight me on every walk. We've even made up a song just to keep her going: Going for a walk with Millie, Because she's so silly, walk walk walk, Laugh laugh laugh, Going for a walk with Millie...

Her arrival into my world changed everything: priorities, goals, personal viewpoints, beliefs. Everything. She's got me wrapped around her little finger and knows it. She's plays me like a fiddle, knowing the exact moments to offer a hug or goofy grin.

"You're my best in my whole world!" she says now, whenever I agree (or am debating whether to agree) with whatever transactions she's offering.

She lives in her own little world. Whatever catches her eye is the most important thing in the world and nothing will distract her from that.

Take this photo, for example, from when we walked into Athleta:

She walked in the door, immediately sat on down in the middle of the store, and began yoga-ing with the mannequin. I mean, who does that?! But it made me smile.

She always makes me smile. Happy birthday, Kiddo. I hope it was grand.

***

But, there has been more to life than Millie's birthday these days (just don't tell her that!).

We've been baking!



We've been to the zoo, and spent time getting to know some butterflies.



We've gone on rides...





The girls played in foam!



We've visited Itasca!


The girls have gotten a few new dresses (and a new haircut for Lola).


Lola has broadened her horizons and tried a high-ropes course, which she loved.



This is summer -- and summer is awesome.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Summer!

There is, seriously, nothing better.

 Mommy, I'm making snow angels!
Which, were, really, dandelion-fluff angels!



Our first calla of the season.
Ray planted these for me when we first got the house.
Callas, our wedding flowers. *aww!*




The weather has been perfect thus far! We are soaking up the sunshine and the smiles. Sure, I'm still adjusting to this whole kids-home-24/7-and-Ray-is-gone-working thing but I think we're doing great so far! Lots of outside play, gardening, biking, tennis-ing, walking, and sprinkler-ing.

Great times.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Life with Lola

When I was a kid, I remember one day when I was frustrated with having to do chores. (I was a lazy kid, I'll be honest. I hated any kind of work.)

I was crabbin' and whining at my mom at my mother that day: "I can't wait til I'M a mom and I can make my own kid do all this stuff s I don't have to."

"Ha, you have to raise them first," she responded.

WELL, I'm happy to say -- thrilled, really -- to finally be at the stage where I can pass off all the crappier jobs to my 8-year-old.

Or, really, mainly, the stupid hose.

I hate the hose. It's on the "wrong" side of the house, so it's the furthest away from the garden and the flowers, etc. It's long and it's dirty and I hate unwinding it from the stupid holder thing, pulling it out, getting out the kinks, just to use it for 30-40 minutes and then have to coil it back up, a few feet at a time.

I find the whole process ridiculously annoying. I used to pray for rain just so I didn't have to water. (OK, so I'm still lazy.)

So, yesterday, in a fit of frustration (not that I ever get frustrated!) I asked (ordered, probably not too nicely), Lola to be in charge of the hose and she did MARVELOUS.

Even better, she did it without complaining or whining.

Which basically tells me she's a better kid than I was at her age. Ha.

***

At some point this spring, we were at school for something for Lola and she was flipping and cartwheeling all around her campus. Despite our reminders to please stop doing gymnastics, it continued when she thought we weren't looking.

One of the staffers caught her and asked, "Do you gymnastics like that at home too?" in a kind of warm-but-warning kind of way. As in, Please stop doing that now.

Lola's response? "Yup."

But Ray laughed. And he tells the story about when he was a kid, and we would be caught tossing a football around school during times that he probably wasn't supposed to do that either.

"Do you throw that around in your house at home too?" he recalled a teacher asking him, when he was a kid, in that same Please stop doing that voice that adults get.

His response. "Yup."

Like father like daughter.

Some days.  :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Millie musings

Millie stared longingly at the candy and snacks surrounding us as we moved toward finding a checkout lane at the grocery store.

"Me good girl. Me treat?" she asked.

I shook my head, "Not today," and settled into place at the end of a not-too-terribly-long line in some random lane.

Millie wandered a few feet forward to "just look" at the candy varieties, wishing and hoping.

She asked several -- many -- random questions about the things that caught her eye.

She asked a few -- lots -- of questions about "what's next," what we will do when we got home.

Will we make Jello? Will we eat lunch? What is for lunch? Will she have to eat her whole sandwich? Will she be able to have fruit snacks? If she eats her whole sandwich, could she earn a pack of fruit snacks? Can she watch iPad today? Can she watch TV? If she watches TV, can she watch Shimmer and Shine? But is it a new Shimmer and Shine? How come there's no new Shimmer and Shine? How come she couldn't get a new Shimmer and Shine book today? Can she get a new book tomorrow? Hey, will we read books before bed tonight? Two books? Three books? But it's not bedtime yet, right? How long is it until bedtime? What will do in the morning? What will we eat for breakfast in the morning?

You get the gist: Lots of questions. Lots and lots and lots of random stream-of-thought questions.

Finally, as the man in front of us wrapped up his turn, at the last moment he added a two-pack of ring pops to his purchase ... and turned around to give them to Millie.

"You've been such a good girl," he said, kindly, telling us that he was impressed by how nicely she waited our turn.

He was an older man, wearing a ballcap. Millie (and I) didn't know who he was, but she gladly took the unexpected treat and, with a little prompting, she thanked him.

Then, we chatted a few minutes. He works with kids; he's been a longtime bus driver, and this week, as school wraps, he'll have a bag of apples to give the kids as an end-of-the-year bonus.

I told him I had originally gone to college to be a teacher but very quickly learned I didn't have enough patience to deal with so many kids so long each day. We laughed about that, about patience as a virtue.

Millie, of course, asked his name.

(Anyone who has spent any time with Millie these days can count on two things: She will ask you your name and, then, follow that up with a barrage of questions about whether you really, truly know each of her grandparents, her teachers, her friends, etc.)

His name was Butch.

I asked her to say his name, to work on the pronunciation of it. She refused. I moved on.

We talked a little bit more with him, with Millie promising to save the other ring pop for Lola, as an after-school surprise for her older sister. But we, eventually, parted ways as he moved on with his day.

A few minutes after he'd gone, Millie asked me what our car's name is.

Um, we've never named it?

We should name it, she said.

OK, what name do you think it should have?

I don't know, she said.

"Well, is it a girl car or a boy car?" I asked, still loading bagged groceries into the cart.

"Both."

"OK, well, what's a good name for a girl and a boy?"

She thought really hard.

I loaded more bagged groceries.

"Butch!" she finally said, stating it clearly and excitedly.

I laughed. "You sure?"

She nodded.

And then asked the checkout lady her name.

Later, as we walked to the car from the store, Millie skipped forward, "Hi Butch!" she shouted at the car.

She climbed in. I opened her ring pop.

I unloaded groceries and we began driving toward home.

With her sucking on her ring pop, I turned the music slightly up, appreciating the few moments free from backseat chitter-chatter.

But then, after a few minutes, she said, very randomly, "Beautiful."

"What is beautiful?" I started looking outside, at the overcast and cool day, wondering if she saw a new flower or noticed a cute dog.

"Butch beautiful," she said.

"The car?" It needs, badly, to be washed and vacuumed; it can't be that beautiful.

"Not car," she shrieked, laughing.

"The car isn't beautiful?"

"No, Butch. The man. Him beautiful."

"Yeah? You think so? What made him beautiful?"

"I dunno," she murmured, less speaking and more grunting.

But then, after a pause, she answered, "Nice. Him nice. Him heart beautiful."