Monday, March 30, 2015


That's Boshsquash right there. Or, as Juanito spells it, "Bosh-Quash." We haven't nailed down the particulars yet. Either way, she's a sweetie.

Emma would very much like to be her "friend." She stands at the cage and watches. And whines. Poor Boshsquash. Between Emma and Buttercup, i can't imagine that she's thrilled about the new home. A giant dog who wants to "play" and a bratty guinea pig who wants to make sure everyone knows that she's the boss. Hopefully it'll get better....

So last week, Houston informed me, "Well, i found my saxophone, but apparently someone dropped it down the stairs or something, because it's all broken."

So. Many. Questions.

Turns out, he couldn't find it for a few days (and never bothered to mention THAT), and then found it hiding back in some corner. It wasn't working properly, but he had no actual evidence that it had been tampered with. I told him to show his band director and have him look at it.

The next day, he said that he showed it to the director who said, "The octave key is broken. Go sit down." Houston asked what he should do, and the director answered, "(Shrug) I didn't do it." I asked Houston, "But...those weren't his actual words, right? He was...nicer about it?" And...nope. According to Houston, that's exactly what he said. I've not been a big fan of this director already, mostly because Houston went from LOVING band under his previous director to asking (several times) if he could quit band altogether because he didn't like it AT ALL. (Katrina doesn't really like him either, so it's not just Houston.)

ANYHOW. Today i brought the saxophone in to get it looked at, to see how broken it actually is. Turns out! Not the octave key at all! Not even remotely! It just needs some basic maintenance that, according to the lady at the store, needs to be done every year or so, and it's been two and a half years, so it's definitely due. "Right now, he could play the top parts, but the bottom third is completely unplayable, so...." So we're getting it fixed.

And scowling in Mr. Director's general direction.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

New pets!

In the past two days, we've added three new pets to our household. Pictured above is Houston holding Yinyang, so named because she's black and white. Ever since Katrina got her hermit crab (Luna) and then learned that hermit crabs are totally social beings who like to talk to each other and are sad if they're alone, she's been asking if we can go get another hermit crab. So today, since we had a bit of time, the kids and i went to the pet store and came home with Yinyang for Houston and Tsunami for Katrina. Both crabs are incredibly active and, according to Katrina, Tsunami is "Adventurous and a strategist," while Yinyang "is going to win every race ever because she's just really fast."

They're all set up in their new home, and i've already watched Tsunami climb to the top of the pagoda and then fall through. And while i was trying to take that picture, Yinyang completely ran off Houston's hand and crashed to the floor. So, so far, Katrina is completely right.

Also, the very day after Lulu died, one of Juanito's zumba students put on facebook that she had a guinea pig that she needed to give away, and did anyone want one, please? So... yesterday we also got a new guinea pig. Her name is Boshsquash. It used to be "The indominable P.I.G" or some such ridiculousness, but we renamed her. She's adorable - dark brown and cuddly and really big, but has so far spent her first day and a half in our house getting pushed around by Buttercup (our other guinea pig). Poor thing.

I'm a little bit nervous about having so many pets. I don't think i'm necessarily a very good pet owner, so having SIX animals depending on me is a bit nerve-wracking.

Pinewood Derby

This morning was the Boy Scout's pinewood derby. Zane was really thrilled about it. It was his first pinewood derby, and everything about it was super exciting. He loved his car. He got to see his friends. He got to eat cake.

Juanito made his own car, with a whole theory of how, if all of the weight was suspended in the middle with some rubberbands, it would be unbeatable. He was really excited to race it and test out his theory. Turns out, his theory may have been good, but the car itself was...not the fastest. It was about as fast as Zane's, which is to say...slow. Not the slowest cars, but firmly in the middle-back.

Zane didn't seem to care at all that he didn't win. He was too excited about the candy bars that we got to bring home for him to sell.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Juanito was at a zumba event tonight, and the movie theater is running its yearly "kids under 12 are free and adults are $5" thing, so Beth, Stephanie, the kids, and i went to see a movie. Yay!

We saw "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," and all of us really liked it. Afterwards, the kids, Beth, and i went to get Frostys at Wendy's, and everyone had lots of favorite parts. (Also, apparently a movie + a Frosty is just too much excitement, because the kids were completely insane by the end of the night. So! Hyper!)

I spent a lot of the day scanning my old pictures. I love pictures.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I would wear makeup on a date with Mr. Darcy.

I dropped the kids off at school and drove straight up to watch the 6-hour-long version of Pride and Prejudice with Keren. She just had surgery, so it seemed like the perfect time! We drooled over Mr. Darcy and sighed at all the right places, and then i drove back to pick up the kids from school when it was over. It was a lovely way to spend the day.

Except that that also means that poor Emma was home alone all day, in her crate. By the time we got home, she was SO HAPPY to see people, and also SO ENERGETIC! So Katrina and i took her to the dog park to let her run off some of her energy. And while we were there, it totally started snowing. (I mean, only a few little flakes, but still! I'm not okay with this, Michigan!)

While tucking Katrina into bed, she asked me, " know the song, 'Try'? Does that mean that you shouldn't wear makeup?" And so i launched into a whole long speech about how it's important to do things for yourself and not to make other people happy, so you don't have to wear makeup or dress a certain way or act a certain way just because that's what other people want you to do, but if YOU want to wear makeup because it makes you feel good, or if you want to do your hair a certain way because it makes YOU happy, then that's what's important. And when i got finished with my whole speech, she asked, "So it's okay to wear makeup on a date, then?" 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

RIP Lulu

Lulu was our favorite guinea pig. She's the one who was SO cuddly and adorable (and would crawl over people to get to me because she loved me the most). (Except...also Katrina. She loved Katrina the most too.) She started getting a goopy eye a couple of months ago, and has been sick-ish, but seemed to be getting better.... Except apparently she wasn't. I'm so sad.

The kids are crushed in ways that are completely typical of themselves. Katrina is the saddest thing in the universe and would very much like to curl up somewhere and just mourn. Zane is in the depths of despair one second and completely happy the next and full of questions ("Where should we bury her? When can we get another guinea pig? Do you think that Buttercup is really sad because she misses her friend?") the next. Houston is just kind of taking it stoically.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lunch with Zane

Zane redeemed his "Go out to lunch with Mom during school lunch" coupon today, and he was SO excited. He ran to meet me without a coat or anything, because he was just too excited to bother with things like "coats" or "hats."

It always surprises me a little bit how extroverted Zane is, because the first 2 years of his life, he was So. Not. Like that. As a baby, he DID NOT want to go to anyone but me. Juanito was an acceptable backup sometimes, but he was ultra-clingy to me. At the time, i thought, "Okay. He's going to be an introvert," but in hindsight, it was less of a "I don't like other people!" thing and probably more of a "I don't like new things!" thing. (He's still not a huge fan of trying new things.)

So we walked from school with Zane chatting, chatting, chatting. And we drove to Wendy's with Zane chatting, chatting, chatting. And then Zane chose a table in the sunniest, most in-the-open spot, and then we chatted some more. He's SO social and sweet and i love him like crazy. At one point, i said, "Tell me some things about yourself that i might not know," and he immediately said, "Well, my favorite color used to be brown, but now it's neon pink. And my favorite musician is Taylor Swift. And my favorite song of hers is 'Blank Space.'...."

I love this age. I love his enthusiasm for everything. And i love that each of my kids has such a distinct and lovely personality. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Staying warm

In my experience, normal dogs like to lay near you. On TOP of the blankets. Emma thinks that that is ridiculous. If there's a blanket, she wants to be under it.

When we let her upstairs in our room (usually on Saturday mornings, when the kids are downstairs but we're sleeping in a bit), she sleeps happily between us, down by our feet...under the covers. When i'm sitting in my chair with a blanket on my lap, she'll shove her way under the blanket, usually pulling it off my lap in the process.

My favorite, though, is the one that's become a routine. If i grab my favorite blanket and a couple of pillows, she'll run over and sit down next to the wall, waiting, because she knows that i'm going to come over there and lie down by the heater. It's the only way to get really warm in this long, cold winter. I used to try to convince her to lay on top of the blanket, but i've succumbed to the inevitable, and now she lies between me and the heater, in the best spot.

I can only assume that she is like me and really, really hates being cold. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I made a new CD - Spring! - to listen to in the car, and it's all happy and makes me smile and totally sing along and want to dance. But it also makes me entirely aware of the fact that my tastes in music, like my tastes in movies and food and...pretty much everything, are entirely unsophisticated. I accidentally put four Taylor Swift songs on there, along with the cup song from Pitch Perfect and super-popular songs like "Uptown Funk" and "All About That Bass." I guess that i can never be a hipster.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


The kids and i played Quiddler this afternoon. After this hand, the kids were all beating me and the boys were making sure i knew it. And then i got a really lucky hand the next (and last) round and completely beat them all, and the boys were both completely crushed. I mean, i COULD have let them win, but.... 

Tylenol is our friend!

Katrina woke up this morning and whimpered, "I don't feel good at ALL! My stomach hurts and when i stand up i'm all wobbly."

Now, if it were Houston, i'd be a bit more suspicious that he were actually sick, but this is Katrina, who's gotten the "Perfect attendance" award nearly ever year she's been in school. So i took her temperature - 100.1. Not extremely high, but definitely a fever. So i called her in sick and gave her a Tylenol.

An hour later, she was bouncing around downstairs, babbling away like she was the most cheerful girl in the world, with not a trace of fever. She continued babbling and bouncing for about 3 hours, until suddenly she got quiet and complained of not feeling good, and once again - fever! Another Tylenol, and she was good as new again.

Tylenol! The miracle drug! Yay!

The movie theater near us does "Ladies Night" every few months when there's a movie that they deem "girly" or something. They've done it with the Hunger Games movies, "The Fault in our Stars," and maybe the Twilight movies? And lots of other ones i can't remember right now. It's $5 more than a normal ticket, and it includes pop, popcorn, and dinner. It's kind of an awesome deal. So we go when it's a movie we want to see.

Tonight was "Insurgent," the second Divergent movie. It was.... Well. It was a movie. It did not so much follow the book. But it was fun to go out with friends! Yay, friends!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Today's Spirit Week theme was "Disney Day." Dress up like your favorite Disney character. I didn't even try to get the boys to participate. I asked, they said, "Meh." I moved on. Katrina, on the other hand, said, "I'd want to be Baymax, maybe." Baymax! We can do that!

She was the cutest almost-Baymax ever.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Homeroom Wars

Today's Spirit Week day was "Homeroom wars," which means that each classroom gets to choose something that they get to do. Katrina and Zane were both completely banking on their classrooms getting to be nerds, and both of them were crushed when they weren't allowed to use that. I think that probably half of the classes (maybe more) choose nerds, and so it has been decided that only 1-2 classes are allowed to use a theme.

And so Katrina was "Wacky Wednesday." She wore all of her clothes backwards, and we gave her a mohawk of tiny twisty buns. Houston got to be a nerd. Making long hair look nerdy is quite difficult, partly because of the huge amounts of gel needed to get that greasy-haired look. By the time he came home from school, it looked almost normal again. Zane's classroom was ninjas. When he went to bed last night, he was all excited about being a ninja. This morning he came down in normal clothes because he was "too tired" to dress like a ninja.

Me: "But...all you have to do is wear black. The black clothes you set out last night."
Him: "I don't want to."
Me: "Your class is counting on you to participate, right? It's a contest?"
Him: "I don't want to."

Eventually the combination of having some food in his stomach and my cajoling changed his mind, and by the time he came home, he was really glad that he had dressed up. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today's Spirit Week day was "Heritage Day." The obvious choice for us is Dutch, since my kids are more than 50% Dutch...but i have NOTHING Dutch to put them in. If i'd had enough warning, i probably could have scrounged stuff together from random people, but...nope.

So we went with Irish. They have at least SOME Irish in them, from Juanito's dad's side. (I think.) I'm...not even actually sure what proper Irish would have been, but...we can do St. Patrick's day Irish! (I fail at this one. Sorry, kids.) Zane thought about it for a minute and decided to just straight up skip even dressing up at all today. Shrug.

Beth and i went for a long walk today and took Emma with us. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, though it was also kind of really colder than i expected. I was happy that i grabbed my hat and gloves at the last minute.

As we were walking, Emma spotted some breadsticks that someone left on the corner by the highway and she wanted those breadsticks. I didn't want her to have them, so she decided to fight for them. She pulled and twisted and popped her collar right off. (It was the collar that goes over her nose, so she was still wearing her normal collar.) (Apparently she bit it a week or two ago? She cracked the plastic, but it was still strong enough that Juanito couldn't yank it apart, so he assumed that it was still fine.) I tried to grab her, but she snatched up the breadsticks and took off across the street. We chased her to the parking lot, where she evaded us while gulping down the breadsticks as fast as she could. And then, apparently hoping that she'd missed some, she took off BACK across the street. I chased after her, and she started running down the exit ramp toward the highway. She changed her mind about 1/4 way down the ramp and ran back to the parking lot, where she found a stranger who would pet her. Beth and i both ran over yelling, "PLEASE grab her collar!!!!!"

After that, i clicked the leash onto BOTH collars, which worked, although a couple more times she tried to twist and pull out of her collars, and i had to grab her neck to stop her, because I DON'T TRUST THE COLLARS ANYMORE! She's just too strong for her own good.

Thanks for the mini-heart attack, though, Emma. Sheesh.

Monday, March 16, 2015


This week is Spirit Week at school. I really want to like spirit week. I remember having Spirit Week in high school, and it was always things like "twin day!" or "crazy hair day!" or "backwards day!" and everyone would just kind of ... wear their clothes differently. But NOW, those are passe or something, because the days are so much more work. Today was "Dress like your favorite comic book character or super hero!" Which...geez. I don't have costumes sitting around for super heroes.

We DO, however, have capes. We made those for the kids several years ago, so YAY! The kids made up super heroes and we called it good. Zane was "Boy boy." He can fly and also sees things like a fly does. (Why not "Fly boy"? I don't know.) Katrina was "Girly girl." Her super-power is giving bad makeovers. And Houston was "Gas Mask Man," and he went to school and his teacher was all, "You're Golden Age Sandman!" Houston said, " I'm Gas Mask Man." And his teacher told him to Google it...and lo, he is, undoubtedly, Sandman.

If only he'd worn a suit and tie.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


My nephew, "A," turned 3 today, so my sister invited us to her house to celebrate with them. Most of my family was there, so we got to catch up a bit and hang out. Most of the year, we get together with my family every other Sunday, and it's awesome, because i really like my family. But my parents have been in Florida for the past month and a half, and we were practically in hibernation during February, only leaving the house when we had to, because...COLD. And so i haven't seen most of my family since the end of January. Yay for getting to see family again! (Also, yay for my nephew's birthday!)

Last year, Zane chose one of his cars and gave it to A for his birthday, and A loved it, which made Zane feel like he'd given the best present ever. So this year, he carefully chose 3 of his cars that he thought A would really like and wrapped them up and gave them to A for his birthday. And then watched with glee as A unwrapped it. And then asked to have a picture taken with A and the cars. So sweet!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Random Saturday

Katrina's friend Alex came over for a lot of today, and the two of them spent the entire day going outside on their scooters and then upstairs to listen to music and then outside to wander around taking pictures and then upstairs to do ... whatever it is 11-year-old girls do together. We brought Alex home after about 4-5 hours, and as we were driving home, Katrina was all quiet and melancholy. I asked her what was wrong, and she responded, "I'm just lonely."

While Katrina was distracted by Alex, the boys delved into their inner nerd and spent a couple of hours organizing their Pokemon cards into binders. And then re-organizing them. And then showing me or each other and then RE-organizing them. Pokemon and Minecraft - two things that my kids love that i just Do. Not. Understand.

Stephanie offered to babysit tonight so that Juanito and i could go to a talk by Dan Allender at church tonight, and i like Dan Allender, so i immediately took her up on that. (She came early to eat dinner with us, and the boys fell over each other trying to show her all of their Pokemon cards.) I find that, when i'm listening to Dan Allender, i'll be following along just fine, interested in what he's saying, and then all of a sudden i'm all, "Shoot. I have no idea what he just said." It could be because sometimes he says things in a way that i have to figure out what he's meaning, and then i forget to listen to the next part, or maybe i just get distracted? Anyhow, i just asked Juanito if he has a hard time listening too, and he said, "Well, no. Not anymore than any other speaker. But whenever i'm listening to someone else talk, i'm always also thinking about something else. Like...tonight i was thinking about how to make the lid on Houston's Lego thing stay on. And about Minecraft. And speakers." So.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Sometimes, when there's a lot going on, especially when it's someone's birthday or there's a reason that we're all paying attention to someone else, Zane gets almost desperate for attention and starts throwing all of his effort into making people give him the attention that he feels he is due. And then he starts doing hilarious and ridiculous things like putting a hat over his face and pretending to be a Minecraft creeper so that he can be in the picture. Or he starts walking around asking people if they can do this with their nose too:

He had a playdate today with a friend of his from school that i really like. He's a kid that i'd be really happy if Zane stayed friends with - smart and nice and well-behaved. His friend came over after school, and the two of them disappeared into Zane's room and played Pokemon and cars and Lego for the next 2 hours until Friend's dad showed up to bring him home. 

(At one point, Houston came downstairs, scandalized, and said, "They're talking about boobs and butts up there!" Me: "" Houston: "They're holding Legos up and saying, 'Lego boobs!' or 'Lego butt!'" Me: "I'm...not going up to stop that. It's fairly normal for boys, i'm afraid.")

Zane was SO sad when his friend had to leave. "But we didn't even get to do anything that i wanted to do!" As far as i know, the only thing they couldn't do was look at Minecraft, but maybe Zane had big plans that i didn't know about. 

Tonight was Friday, which traditionally means pizza-movie night, but Houston's not allowed to look at screens, so we had to switch it up today. We had pizza-game night instead. We played "What Were You Thinking," which is a great game to play with different age groups, because it doesn't matter what's right or wrong - it only matters if people agree with you. Even Zane, who was very unsure at the beginning, agreed that it was a fun game. Yay! Beth brought cupcakes, since she'd missed Houston's birthday, so we sang and had cupcakes for dessert, and everyone was happy. 

Houston update: I did end up keeping him home from school today, because not being able to read or write or look at screens seemed like a good enough reason to not go to school. Plus, he's supposed to be resting his brain. I did drag him to school with me for an hour and a half while i covered lunch and helped the teachers, and then to the store for groceries, and then i made him help with chores for a short time. Apparently that was plenty of work, because he ended up taking a nap. However, his head doesn't seem to be hurting much at all anymore, so that's a very, very good thing.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Remember how Houston smashed his head yesterday and then threw up twice?

This morning he called from school, "I have a terrible headache and i forgot that i have a test that i'm supposed to take and i can't even think and, oh, also? I just threw up again."

The thing about Houston is that he throws up So. Easily. His body's response to EVERYTHING seems to be to throw up. And yet! Head injury! So i went and got him and called the pediatrician, who said, "You need to take him to the ER for a CT-scan."
Me: "But...he throws up all the time. And he was fine all day yesterday. And CT-scans are expensive? But obviously his health is more important!"
Him: "Okay.... I guess.... You can keep an eye on him, but if he throws up again, you really need to take him."

So then i sat at home, thinking about how i was letting money be more important than the fact that my son's BRAIN was possibly BLEEDING. I called Juanito at work, and he was all, "???? Maybe take him? But it's expensive? So maybe don't? I have to go deal with these kids now."

I talked to my grandpa, who is a doctor, and he was all, "He threw up three times? You need to take him to the ER for a CT-scan."

I talked to my mom and dad and Beth, and they were all, "Wow. I mean, it's a head injury. And your pediatrician says to go. But it's also one of those things where you know that Houston throws up easily, and it's expensive. But it's his head....?"

And then he said that his headache was getting slightly worse, and THEN he sneezed and it was bloody snot, and bleeding from the head was one of the huge warning signs, and i don't even know if bloody snot qualifies, but the amount that i was completely worried and the amount of risk involved in not going eventually pushed me over the edge, and i took him to the ER.

I also had emailed Linda, who's a nurse, in the deciding process, and i got her email while i was at the hospital, and she also fell on the side of "I think you need to take him." And she emailed HER brother-in-law, who is a pediatrician, and HE was all, "You need to take him." So i was well reassured that i was making the right choice.

The ER doctor, on the other hand, kind of had the opposite opinion. She was really nice about it, but she basically said, "So we've had lots of studies done, and what they've shown is that even one CT-scan in childhood significantly raises the risk of tumors. So we don't do those unless a very specific set of circumstances is met, and he doesn't meet those. Not even close. Also, we're more concerned when someone throws up a number of times in, say, the first 8 hours rather than spread out over 24 hours." I was all, "Okay. Good to know. So in the future, when my kids bang their heads, what DO i need to look for?" (And i'm putting this in here partly so that, in the future, i can remember what she said.) Apparently, as long as they're fairly cheerful and able to carry on regular conversation and are acting normal-ish, it's not too concerning. If they're acting like their head is really in pain and like they kind of have a migraine or if they start acting oddly, then THAT'S when we can panic. (On the other hand, she also directed me to, and their website clearly states: "People with a concussion need to be seen by a health care professional." So.)

But she confirmed that Houston had a concussion. He's not allowed to do any kind of activity that could re-injure his head for at least 5 days. (No gym class. No biking.) He's not allowed to use screens, so no video games or movies or phones. And (she threw in as almost an afterthought) no books. That's the point at which Houston gasped, "What!?!" He's allowed to listen to books or movies, but not to watch them. No drawing or writing either. (He's all, "What CAN i do?" Me: "Legos?")

So i'm thinking that he stays home from school again tomorrow. If he can't read or write, that's going to make doing any kind of schoolwork hard. 

Anyhow, this morning, as i was in the throws of, "WHAT DO I DO?!" i had a moment of, "Well, at least i know where Katrina gets her indecision."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Everything is awful, and i'm being a bit overly dramatic, probably.

Today has been kind of a terrible day, and i am sad. 

Houston called this morning. He was knocked over (accidentally) during gym class and smashed his head on the floor, so he had a headache. Could he come home? No. He called back half an hour later: he had thrown up. I went and got him, and then called the doctor's office just to make sure that i didn't need to worry. The nurse was very nice and gave me a whole list of things to watch for (bleeding from the ears, confusion, and differently dilated pupils, for example), including "If he stops throwing up and then starts throwing up again after a long time." 

So i parked him on the couch, where he moaned quietly for a while. Eventually, to get his mind off his headache, i introduced him to Sherlock. He was iffy about wanting to watch until i told him that some of it was written by one of the guys who also writes for Doctor Who, and then he was all in. He really liked it...although i think he didn't understand quite a lot. 

Anyhow. He was fine all day - laughing, playing, headache which got more mild as the day went on. Until just before bedtime, when he totally threw up again. I called the on-call pediatrician (feeling guilty as i did so), and he was all, "Right. How bad does his head hurt now?" Houston: "Really, really bad." Doctor: "Scale of 1-10?" Houston: "3." Doctor: "So...he's kind of a tough guy, then? Okay, give him Tylenol, wake him up a couple of times in the middle of the night to check his pupils, and if anything else happens, bring him to the ER at the Children's Hospital." 

So. In the middle of the night, i'll have to wake up the un-wakeable boy to look at his eyeballs and make sure that he's not confused. Yay.


In our city, there's "Zoo School," which is only for 6th graders for one year. They get to go to school at the zoo, and it sounds awesome. Katrina applied, and we finally got the letter today. Not accepted.

I am SO disappointed. I'm so much more disappointed than i expected to be. The thing is, she's been talking about Zoo School for years - though as it's gotten closer, she's experienced more of the nervous, "But what about...." syndrome that we kind of expect from Katrina. She doesn't like change or decisions.

The thing is, they make the decision of who gets to go based entirely on the standardized test scores. The tests that Katrina always does poorly on. She's so much better in school than the stupid test shows. She consistently gets really good grades and she's in advanced math. One of the girls in her class DID get in to Zoo School, and i know that Katrina gets better grades than she does AND the other girl is in the lower math class. I just want to yell, "NOT FAIR!" 

So. We can appeal. We're planning to appeal. But just in case, i sent her teacher an email this afternoon: 

My question is this: My husband and I think that she's smarter than she looks on the test, and that she'd do awesome at zoo school because she works REALLY HARD in school. But we're a little bit biased too, so before i call them and appeal and am all, "My special snowflake deserves a chance!" I thought I'd ask you your opinion. Do YOU think that Katrina's test score accurately reflects where she is and she'd honestly be in over her head there? I don't want to set her up for failure.

Anyhow. I am really sad. I told Katrina she didn't get in, and her response was, "Oh. Well, that's okay, i guess." (Also, she doesn't know yet that three of her best friends DID get in, and that might make her a lot more disappointed. Or not.)

And, just in case appealing doesn't change anything and she doesn't get to go: These are the things that would be good about staying where she is: Sports start in middle school, and she's mentioned wanting to try track and maybe other sports. She could continue being in band. Transportation would be easier....


Zane has a very loose tooth. He wants attention for that. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Random bits of the day

Katrina showed me a chart that she'd made for fun of how many times the boys in her class talked without permission versus how many times the girls did. The total came to 184 vs. 75. She was all, "I'm not really surprised."

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Me: "I never knew any of my great-grandpas, but i knew 3 of my great-grandmas."
Katrina: "Why didn't you know your great-grandpas?"
Me: "Because they all died before i was born."
Katrina: "Oh. Your poor great-grandmas!"


*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Zane cannot stop talking.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

We've made Houston's bedtime an hour later, in honor of his being a teenager. He's thrilled, but also seems to be at a bit of a loss for what to do after the kids go to sleep.
Me: "I'm reading."
Him: "Right! (Pause.) So! Talk, talk, talk."
Me: "Um...reading?"
Him: "Right!"

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's maybe getting a little closer to spring....

Juanito just asked me, "Do you want your heated blanket?" and weirdly enough, i think i'm warm enough without it. I mean, i'm still wearing a sweatshirt and warm socks and sitting under a blanket, so it's not like it's WARM here, but i'm not shivering and trying to get the feeling back into my fingers either. It makes a nice change.

I have been told (and i 100% believe) that this was the coldest February - and the second coldest month - in history in Michigan. I do know that there were several times that it was colder here than it was at the north pole, was cold last month. Yes, it was.

I, for one, am very, extremely ready for spring.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday, bloody Sunday

Last night, i told Houston that he could stay up a little bit later because it was his birthday. He wanted to be by me while i was reading, and i was going to lay by the heater, so he curled up under the blanket on one side and Emma curled up under the blanket on the other side...and we all fell completely asleep almost immediately. Meanwhile, Juanito fell asleep on Zane's bed while tucking him in, so our entire family was sleeping (mostly in random places) by 9:15. We all eventually woke up and went to our own beds by about midnight, but we've obviously been somewhat sleep-deprived hereabouts!

I was tickling Katrina today, and she accidentally kneed me in the nose really hard. Half an hour later, i totally got a nosebleed, which i can hardly believe is related, except that i haven't had a nosebleed since i was pregnant 9 years ago, so...maybe? And now i have a giant headache that i'm almost certain is a result of said nose-smashing. I think that the moral of the story is that i have to keep my head farther away from her knees when i tickle her from now on.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Happy Birthday, Houstonion!

Dear Houston,

You are now a teenager. I'm not sure how that happened. For years i've been threatening to tie a heavy stack of books onto your head to keep you from growing, and yet somehow you are still getting taller and older and turning into a person rather than a kid. I would like to press the pause button now. Any moment, i fear, you are going to discover that you have a whole world out there, and you're going to spread your wings and be gone. Not gone completely, but not as completely here anymore either. And that's a good thing. You should grow up and leave us eventually. I'm just really not ready for that yet. Not even a little bit.

But truly, you are the coolest 13-year-old i know. You're still happy to be hugged and cuddled - even in public! - and you even admit willingly that Dad and i are smart. You want to spend time with me - playing games or just going to the store or reading next to each other. I am going to hang on to those bits of your childhood for as long as i can.

Granted, you've only been a teenager for a day, but i have hopes that you'll get through these teen years without TOO much drama. You seem to know who you are, and - even more unusually - you really like who you are. (You should like who you are! I really like who you are too. Who you are is awesome.)

You embrace the things that you are geeky about: Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, chickens.... You love the things that you love, and you don't care who knows it. In fact, if they are not already fans, you're likely to turn them into fans, because you know that those things are just that awesome.

You devour books of all types. In fact, this year for your birthday, you got one book about the history of the chicken, one about Greek mythology, and one called "What if" that's all random scientific questions and their answers. And you're so excited about all of them that you can't choose which one to read first. I don't know many other people who would be excited to learn about all of those things. You have a thirst for knowledge and a desire to share that knowledge with others, and i love that about you.

This year, you've expanded your interests to music. You took a song, wrote all new lyrics for it, sang most of the parts yourself, recorded it, did all of the editing for it, AND made a music video for it. And it was AWESOME. I proudly showed everyone i was nearby, and they all thought it was amazing as well. You are talented, and you're willing to try new things - AND you're persistent enough to see things through rather than getting distracted and giving up. That's such a great combination!

You are so loving and kind. The obvious example is that you grab hold and give giant hugs when you've missed someone (which is often after a short time, like a day at school), but it's also the way that you curl up on the couch next to me to watch a movie, or include Katrina or Zane even if you'd rather not. You're genuinely interested in other people, and you want them to be around you. You make people feel special. You're friends with people who aren't necessarily the "coolest" kids, but they're kids who you've taken the time to get to know when others didn't, and they're such great friends. I'm so proud of the way you treat others.

You are such a joy. I'm so lucky to have you as a son! I love you. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Three days.

I missed two days of blogging, first because my laptop kept crashing and Juanito wasn't around to fix it, and then because by the time i got home at midnight, i could hardly keep my eyes open. So i have three days of blogging to do here. So.

March 4:

Beth's aunt's boyfriend Larry works at Universal, and because he is an incredibly generous soul, he gave each of us 2 free days at Universal, which is INSANE and made us all completely freak out with joy when we were told. We got emails with our confirmation numbers, and when we got to the park yesterday, we entered our numbers and the machine spit out two tickets. We tucked one safely away and used the other one. Perfect!

Except that then when we went back on Wednesday, we handed our tickets to the guy at the gate, and he was all, "Nope. These can only be used on the day they're issued. Go talk to Guest Services, and they'll sort it out easily!" We went to Guest Services, and the guy was all, "Nope. Nothing i can do. You can ask him to re-send them, but it can take 24 hours. Sorry," in a totally bratty, non-sympathetic way. Beth's ticket had been issued differently and worked fine, plus her niece Emily was with us, so they were already in the park. They came back out and we re-grouped and went back to talk to a different Guest Services person. She was much more sympathetic, but basically told us the same thing...except that it usually gets re-issued in about 10 minutes, not 24 hours. Much more hopeful!

So at this point, our options were:
1 - Hope and pray that we could get ahold of Larry and that he could fix it.
2 - Just pay and go. (Bearing in mind that it's $150 for a one-day pass)
3 - Go home.

Obviously, option 1 was the best, so Beth called and left messages and texts, and eventually got ahold of her aunt, who drove over to Larry's house to drag him and his computer back to her house (for the internet) to sort it out. And after 2 very stressful hours, we were in! YAY!!!! It was not the best start to the day.

BUT! Once we were in the park, we went straight to the biggest, most terrifying roller coaster, where we screamed our heads off. And it was all good from then on.

Emily hadn't been to the Diagon Alley side of Harry Potter world at all, so we "had to" go back through everything so that she could see it. That meant re-riding the Escape from Gringotts, which ... awesome. We ate at the Leaky Cauldron. (Beth and i are supremely un-adventurous and got the fish and chips to split again. And they were delicious again.) We basically soaked it all in and looked for all the little bits that we might possibly have missed the last time.

But then we also went to all of the other parts of the parks as well. We did the rides in Springfield (my favorite part was when Maggie used us as a pacifier) and Despicable Me, and we walked through the other areas and took pictures and had fun.

By the end of the day, we were all exhausted. I'd have felt REALLY OLD, except that Emily was with us, and she's only 18, and her feet hurt as bad as the rest of us. Whew!

March 5:

Last day in Florida!

We went to breakfast with Beth's family in "Celebration," a town created by Disney to look like "everytown." Cute. But weird.

And then we relaxed. Beth and i went to the big pool for a bit. She stayed to get burned, i went back to the house to sit in the shade by the house pool. We sat in the hot tub and swam in the pool and went back a forth a few times. I read for the first time all week. We took a short walk, ate ice cream, talked and talked and talked.

And then i had to leave. Sniff.

On the plane, the guy sitting next to me sat quietly for about an hour and then asked, "So what are you reading?"
Me: "It's called, 'Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking."
Him: "That sounds really boring!"
Me: "Actually, it's really interesting!"
Him: "Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk....." For the next 2 hours. Sigh.

Juanito and Emma picked me up from the airport. Emma was completely beside herself with glee at seeing me. She thought i was gone forever.

March 6:

Emma comes with us to drop the kids off at school every day. Most days this is not a problem. Today, i was holding her collar, and she totally backed out of it and took off out the door as the kids were piling out at the curb. I parked as fast as i could and ran to catch her. She was gleefully running from person to person, saying hello and then dashing off to see who else was around. And, of course, nobody could catch her because she wasn't wearing her collar. Grrr. I had a treat in my pocket (Yay for treats!) and caught her attention with it. She came over, and the kids converged around her to make a tight circle while i hooked her collar back on. And then a dozen kids came over to ask to pet her. (On the bright side, nobody seemed the least bit upset or worried. So THAT'S good.)

I came home and took a nap until i had to get up to go cover lunch in Zane's room. Vacationing is exhausting.

So almost the first thing Zane said to me today was, "It's funny that you went to Florida and you came home without any tan at all!" You're SUPPOSED to say, "Wow! Look how lovely and tan you look," child! Geez.

Tonight i started reading the last book of Harry Potter with Katrina. The LAST BOOK! And then i helped Houston get Facebook all set up, because he'll be 13 tomorrow. They're both getting so old! Sniff!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Last night we got home from Harry Potter world, went to our own rooms, and all immediately fell asleep while trying to do other things. I was trying to post pictures and fell asleep mid-way through. I woke up briefly, put my computer on the ground, and then i don't think i moved again until i heard Beth's uncle leaving the house this morning. 

We all woke up this morning and realized that we are old, because ... So! Achy! It's what comes from standing on a hard surface all day, i think. We went to the hot tub first thing this morning, and by afternoon i felt fine again. 

Today was a "Relax and just hang out" kind of day. We went shopping. We had a party for Beth's niece's birthday. We swam. 

Keren and i were both saying tonight that it's amazing how very little we have read while we've been here. We've been too busy doing stuff (or talking) to read during the day, and by night i'm falling asleep immediately. Tomorrow we go to Universal again. More Harry Potter world! Yay!!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Florida - Day 3! Harry Potter World!!!!

We spent the entire day at Universal, and almost the entire time in one of the two worlds of Harry Potter, and it was amazing. AMAZING.

We started out in the newer of the two parks - Diagon Alley - and i was almost immediately overwhelmed with how incredible everything was. They did SUCH a good job of making everything PERFECT. It's a testament to how good of a job they did that someone who knows the books really, really well can walk around all day and not come across anything that i thought, "Hm. Well, that's not right." There were all of the things from the movies, but then there were details that people wouldn't even know if they'd only seen the movies. It was so happy-making. And everyone who worked there seemed to be really happy.

We rode the Escape from Gringotts ride, and it was fantastic. It was the first thing we did, and i'm guessing that every other ride will pale in comparison. We walked through all of the shops and looked at every detail and i took 745 pictures in the course of the day, many of them little details. Keren got a butterbeer, which she let us try. Beth got an ice cream cone from Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor (where Harry used to sit every day to do his homework, while Florean would bring him free ice cream every hour before third year). We ate at the Three Broomsticks. (Beth and i shared fish and chips, and they were delicious!) We rode the Hogwarts Express - twice. Keren bought an interactive wand, so she walked around finding the little places to do magic and making things move and sing and do random things.

My pants completely ripped right in the butt about an hour after we got there (apparently that's another good reason not to wear old clothes?), so i spent the entire day trying to hide my butt with my purse. Keren and Beth insist that i did an admirable job and nobody could tell...except when we couldn't take our bags onto a ride with us, and then i just ... flashed my underwear at everyone, i guess. It was...not ideal. On the bright side, it was my butt, so at least it didn't show up in pictures!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Florida! Day 2!

This morning, my mom and dad and Keren and Beth and i all piled into my parents' truck and headed to Downtown Disney, a little shopping center-type-place that's all Disney themed and fun. My dad was all, "We'll only want to be there for an hour," before we left, but we ended up being there for about 3 hours and totally could have stayed longer. We just walked around and went into the shops that interested us and took lots and lots of pictures and laughed a lot and had so much fun.

And then, after we had dropped Beth off back at home so that she could attend a shower for her cousin, the rest of us headed to "Sweet Tomatoes," which is the best buffet i've ever been to maybe. It was so, so good.

And eventually we finished, and my parents had to leave to go back to their own condo a couple of hours away. Sad. I'm so truly happy that they came up to visit with us. It was so much fun having them hang out with us for the weekend!

So when they were gone, Keren and i went down to the pool. It was just cool enough that neither of us really wanted to go in the big pool, so we sat and read and enjoyed the sunshine and the warmth for a while, and then we went into the hot tub before heading back home.

So! It was a really great day. Yay!