Monday, February 29, 2016

Spirit Week and Juanito's birthday

So last week was Spirit Week. I posted on Monday, and then kind of dropped the ball. So the rest of the week went as follows:

Tuesday was "Dress like an animal" day. I was all, "Seriously?! How are you supposed to dress like an ANIMAL?" Because we don't have animal costumes lying around, and we were certainly not going to go out and buy any or spend the time and energy to make one. I thought to myself, "Psh. Nobody is going to do this one!" We borrowed a couple of noses from Beth, and Houston wore his Minecraft pig scarf, and we called it good. And then we pulled up to the school, and one of the teachers was wearing an amazing full-on T-Rex costume, and was directing traffic in it.

After school, i asked them if people had dressed up, and they were all, "YEAH! Like, way more than yesterday!" (Although, they did allow that the day before had been Monday, and most people probably just forgot.) Apparently a lot of people have animal pajamas and animal costumes just sitting around for this kind of occasion.

Wednesday was pajama day. I didn't even take a picture, because a good portion of my pictures of my kids already have them in pajamas, because when they're at home, they generally spend every minute possible wearing their pajamas.

Thursday was supposed to be homeroom wars, but there was a snow day, so they ended up doing it today instead. Houston's class did "Scrabble." He had to wear a black shirt, and then apparently they each had a letter to wear. Zane's class did neon. According to him, a lot of the kids in his class wear neon all the time. We...don't have any neon in our house. We do have a bright green shirt with a bug on it, that's maybe a little bit close to being neon? So he wore that.

Katrina's class did the 80's. (Which...geez. That was 30 years ago!? I am old!) Katrina wore a dress that once belonged to one of my younger sisters, complete with the giant lacy collar and shoulder pads. We put her hair in a side ponytail, and i let her wear my "Be Fri" necklace (of which Karen D. has the "St Ends" half). I would have put blue eye shadow on her, but my supply of makeup is somehow missing the blue eye shadow.

Friday was sports day. I let Houston wear my 1985 Bears Superbowl sweatshirt that is awesome and is also kind of falling apart a little bit. I asked him if anyone said anything about it, and he told me, "Yes. They said, 'That's really big on you.'" And yes. It IS typically 1980's baggy. But it was totally stylish back then! Katrina dressed like a runner. She wore her long-sleeved 5K shirt under her Color Run t-shirt, with her Color Run headband, yoga pants, and all of her medals. She clanked every time she moved. She was adorable.

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Tuesday was Juanito's birthday. I made him a couple of cakes - one German chocolate and one Devil's food, and then he very, very carefully put them together in diagonal layers, with fancy pudding-filling in between layers, so that it was all very beautiful. And then he very carefully frosted it with homemade chocolate frosting. And then he decorated it in a Cake Wrecks style. And then he started to put it on the table, and i was all, "Don't put it on the table, because Emma might get at it." So he put it up on the back of the counter in the kitchen and went to teach zumba.

I did some cooking and then left the kitchen (carefully shutting the gate behind me) to quick wrap presents. And Katrina and Zane ran through the kitchen on their way to somewhere, forgetting to shut the gate behind them, and a couple of minutes later...we found Emma, happily eating the edge of the cake. The kids tried to convince me that we could fix it: "If we just cover that part with frosting?" But it was unfixable. Sad.

But Beth came over to help make dinner and to celebrate with us. And dinner was very delicious. And presents! (Nearly every present from me was food. Because Juanito is impossible to buy presents for. Impossible.) And the cake was really long as we cut off the parts that Emma had gotten near.

Monday, February 22, 2016

It's spirit week again.

It's spirit week at school this week. Today was career day - dress up like any career, not necessarily the one that you want to have. And so Zane was a scientist. One of the more mad scientist variety. (I'm pretty sure that most of his idea of what a scientist looks like comes from Flint Lockwood in the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.") Houston was a farmer of the chicken farmer variety. And Katrina was a reporter. She made herself a little camera and drew pictures of the things she saw on little papers inside of the camera. It was adorable.

Zane loves to play Othello with me. I keep trying to convince him to play literally anything else. Not because i dislike Othello, but because i'm just ... really good at it. I completely slaughter him every time. I try to be a little bit nice, but i'm just not that nice, i guess, when it comes to games.

Zane assures me that i'm not a mean meanie. Even when i eviscerate him.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday night dates

Tonight was the Daddy-daughter dance at our school. (Side question: Why isn't there a Mommy-son night?)

Katrina has been deciding for weeks what to wear, and was completely excited about tonight. She even helped me look at cute hairstyles a few days ago to pick one out for tonight. She got home from school, showered (because she'd had Jump Rope for Heart this afternoon), and got dressed immediately. We blew her hair mostly dry, and i fancied it up for her, and then she picked out all of her jewelry and shoes and made herself adorable. Meanwhile, Juanito ran to the Goodwill to see if he could find a purple shirt. Men.

They went out for Chinese food to make it even more special. And then, from all accounts, they ate a lot of chocolate and danced and danced and danced and had a fabulous time.

Meanwhile, Zane used his Christmas present "Date with Beth" coupon tonight. He got home from school and exclaimed, "Only one and a half hours until my date!!!" And then he changed from his muddy jeans into clean ones and changed his shirt and sweater to look more fancy and handsome. (Though he wouldn't say handsome. He hates being called that.) The two of them went to Noodles for dinner and then to the theater to watch "Kung Fu Panda 3." Zane got to eat macaroni and cheese, popcorn, and gobstoppers. They sat in the fancy reclining seats. And from all accounts, they had a marvelous time.

And that left Houston and me alone. Yay! Alone time with Houston! He spent the first hour talking on the phone to his friend, which actually worked out well, because by that time it was safe for us to go to Noodles. (Zane had very specifically told us that he didn't want us to be around for his date.) We ate delicious food and had fun talking to each other, and then we headed back home to watch a "silly, dumb movie" - Houston's request. I looked at our movies and gleefully chose "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," one of the silliest, dumbest, and most hilariously awesome movies ever. Houston and i giggled a lot, and he has decided that from now on he's going to use the phrase, "Kill him a lot!" all the time.

So there was no pizza-movie night tonight, but everyone had tons of fun. Yay!

Monday, February 15, 2016


The boys have gotten hex bugs and hex bug tracks for various birthday and Christmas presents, but Katrina was busy getting more "girly" things like American Girl Doll clothes or roller skates, and so she wasn't really in the hex bug circle of coolness.

And so she asked for a pink hex bug for Christmas. She could then race her brothers...but she still didn't have any tracks of her own. So this birthday, she wanted a hex bug track. And lo, there was much rejoicing when she got one.

She and Zane have been putting their tracks together to make different obstacles and paths and battle zones. There is lots of giggling and cheering and coaxing their favorites to win. They are having loads of fun.

It's interesting to watch my kids go through stages with each other. For a while, Katrina and Zane will be doing everything together; playing outside in the "forest," making up complex stories to act out, dressing up silly. Meanwhile, Houston is all, "I'm a teenager now, and i don't want to play your silly games." And then suddenly, Houston and Zane will be totally wrestling each other and building Legos. And then Katrina and Houston will spend days playing games and drawing comics together.

Sometimes a fairy will waver her magic wand over the house, and the kids will spend a magical few hours all playing a game together happily or all building things with Legos together, but not as often as i'd expect, especially since they all really get along well most of the time. Once they're all playing something together, something invariably happens to make two of them get upset with each other - usually Houston and Zane (Houston is overly sensitive sometimes and Zane is not always the most sensitive person) - and then there are tears and shouts, and it all falls apart.

I love that they all really do like each other, though. Even with the bickering and pestering, they all genuinely enjoy each other. And hopefully, by the time they're in their ... twenties?... the bickering will stop.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Katrina is twelve!

Dear Katrina,

I remember when you were a tiny little baby, being sad that you were going to grow up and change, because you were so perfect the way you were. You were just sweet and beautiful, with your little stork-bite birthmarks and your long neck and your complete floppiness and completely laidback personality. You were just adorable. I wanted you to stay that size forever. And then, when you were one, i thought that you were exactly perfect the way you were then, with your chunky little legs and your penchant for climbing onto the coffee table and then crying because you couldn't get down, and your laugh and your joyfulness. I wanted you to stay one forever, because there was no way you could get better. And every year, i think that same thing. You're just perfect at that age, and i just want you to stay exactly the way you are right now, because you can't get better.

And i still feel that way. You're so amazing. You're sweet and kind and thoughtful. You are friends with everybody. You have best friends, but you are ready and willing to befriend anybody who needs a friend. I can't remember ever hearing you say mean things about a single girl at school. You see the best in people.

You are sensitive and full of feelings, and sometimes you get melancholy without really knowing why. Sometimes you will give me or other people little notes to tell us that you love us or that we're important or whatever. I don't know if you really realize how touching it is to get those notes from you, but they're just incredibly kind.

This is your first year of middle school, which is just a hard time of life. To make it even harder, a lot of your friends left your school this year, which meant that you had to start middle school with almost no friends in your class. I was kind of worried for you, honestly. I shouldn't have been. You've handled middle school with grace. You've continued to be the kind, friendly person you've always been, and made friends with a whole new group of girls. You've had remarkably few problems this year.

You just continue to be amazing. I absolutely adore you. Part of me wants you to stay exactly as you are right now. But i have to believe that you're going to continue being the amazing girl that you are, year after year.

I love you, Katrina. Don't change too much.

Monday, February 1, 2016

This morning.

We had a bird fly into our house this morning.

Katrina was going to let Emma in, except Emma wasn't right by the door when she opened it. So Katrina left the door open and walked outside to call Emma. A sparrow, seeing the open door leading to light, apparently thought that this would be a good place to be (???) and flew in. I was in the kitchen and saw a weird shadow out of the corner of my eye, but didn't process it as anything, until Houston, in the front room, yelled, "There's a bird in the house!"

Zane let out a terrified noise and ran to the bathroom, where he locked the door. So that the bird couldn't open it, i guess. Katrina crawled under the table and cowered there. I opened the front door, grabbed Emma, and pulled her into the reading room with me. Houston ran to open the back door.

After only half a minute or so, Houston yelled, "It flew out!"

Everyone finished getting ready for school and we left.

After dropping the kids off, i came home and sat down at my computer to check my email. Something bumped against the wall next to Juanito's computer, hard enough to make one of his papers move, and i thought, "Geez. What just hit the outside of our house?" Because i am dumb.

Two seconds later, the bird flew past my head. I screamed. Emma looked at me with utter confusion. The bird flew into the other room. I typed a panicked "THE BIRD IS STILL IN THE HOUSE" message on facebook, just in case the bird attacked me and people needed to know what had happened to me, and then i ran to open the back door. Meanwhile the bird flew back to the front room.

I came to find it, and it flew past me again. I screamed. Emma stood by me looking completely bewildered. I chased the bird to the kitchen (possibly screaming). It flew out the door at the same time that Emma stepped outside. I slammed the door.

I then calmed myself down by emptying the dishwasher and doing a few other chores. After a while, i realized that Emma hadn't barked to come in yet, even though she's not usually wanting to be outside for that long. I opened the door to check on her...and found her cowering in the exact place she had been when i shut the door. Apparently my screaming and slamming the door behind her made her really sad and confused and miserable.

And that's how i traumatized my dog today.