A call to play.

Playing.  What does that word stir up in you?  Delight.  Smiles.  Warm fuzzies.  Or, what does it make you think of?  Games, running around, joking.  What about pretend play?  Childish. Frivolous. Any anxiety there?

My eldest daughter’s pretend play has recently been turned up a notch.  She now likes to act out stories.  I’m so-and-so, and she’s somebody-else.  She calls out scenes and lines…  Tells us where to go and what to do.  Yesterday morning, I was feeling a little more gracious, and I thought I ought to “play” with the girls:

8:00 a.m. The morning began with a dance party, as it usually does.  I had intended to “start” the dance party, i.e. turn on the music, get them dressed up in princess outfits, and then proceed to do the necessary morning housework while they danced.  Only, this day was different.  Since the girls were both in their princess outfits and Sophia’s getting into story-telling, out of nowhere she tells me, “I’m the fairy godmother.  You are Cinderella.  You must go to the ball!  Where is your carriage?  The prince is waiting for you!  You have to find the prince.  He wants to dance with you!”

This was some invitation to play princesses with her!  It was on!

I was in a particularly well-rested and pleasant mood, so I went with it.  I abandoned my dish-washing plan and dove into pretend play with her.

Only, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I had trouble adding to the story with her.  I had trouble “diving” in and becoming Cinderella.  (If you know me, you know that I probably didn’t play “princesses” when I was a kid…)

Anyway, I did my best, and the three of us played our little princess hearts out.

Why was it so hard, though?  When did I lose the ability to lose myself in the story?  When did I lose the ability to pretend play with abandon?  

I think one thing that feels so hard is that I am always in the role of “facilitating” play–setting it up for them and/or demonstrating how to play, like you do with a infant or a toddler.  The reason that I’m doing that is usually because it’s my plan to set them up doing something so that I can then do something else.  Basically, get the teaching of “how” to play this particular thing out of the way and then moving on to my to-do list.

You know, I’ll “play” with them outside by giving them gardening tools while I rake and do yard-work.  I’ll “play” with them at the kitchen table by doing bills while they color.  Or, set them up doing play-dough while I make pizza dough… I’ll read to them, I’ll show them how to properly use scissors, or make an “o” or draw a person…

But, when was the last time that I painted with Sophia when she was painting, rather than just watch or glance back at her occasionally?  When was the last time that I actually had a tea-party with Sophia?  When was the last time I got down in the sand with them and got d.i.r.t.y.?

I first noticed my “play” deficit when I was being paid to play at various times in my life, whether babysitting or as a paraeducator in a preschool classroom.  I found that “facilitating” came natural to me; I was good at it.  The kids loved me.  It wasn’t necessary (or even proper) to lose myself in the play, though, because I was getting paid $6/hour for this…

Now, though, it’s different.  I’m a parent and it’s my job to teach my kids. But since it’s the primary way that they learn it’s also my job to “play” with them, right?  Why is it so hard?  Is it just because I can’t get the to-do list out of my mind–can’t stop thinking about what else I could (should) be doing?

Yesterday, I decided to abandon the list.  I just played.  I played and I played and I played.  By noon-time, we all went out for lunch, after 4 playful hours had passed.  At the end of the day, I had forgotten the list, dinner seemed to have gotten fixed and the kitchen seemed to have gotten clean.  No one was any worse off… It was a good day.  The girls were happy.  I think they were seen.  It was pretty dang lovely.  Why then, is it so hard?

Let me leave this post with an homage to play via a cazillion pictures of us playing.  Hope you enjoy.  And, I hope you decide to play a little extra with your kiddos this weekend.  (Imagine some awesome dancing music in the background while you look at these pics.)

A Perfect Saturday

“Family Dates.”  That’s what we call them.  Last Saturday we had the most perfect day.  We biked downtown and pulled our precious babies in a trailer.  They loved it.  Abby got a little nap in, and we enjoyed lunch on an outdoor patio, ice cream (gelato with coupons!), and a stroll through a few shops.  We biked back home and the kids took another nap.  Could we get more perfect than that day?!  Here’s a few pictures.

Responding in grace

Something happened today.  Something that got me thinking.  I was sitting in the floor of my bedroom, trying to put my socks on.  We were getting ready to head out to story time.  Sophia and Abby are playing, of course, while I’m trying to get us all ready.  Sophia put a beaded necklace around my neck, and then started pulling on it and saying that I was her pet frog.  She pulled harder and harder.  I told her not to pull on the necklace.  She pulled harder and harder.  I braced myself so that she wouldn’t pull me over.  The necklace popped. Beads flooded the floor.  She was shocked.

Before I could say anything.  She said, “I’m sorry, Mommy…” She smiled, “I’m so sorry.”

It stopped me dead in my tracks.  I was ready on my heels to bark, “See!  I said stop.  YOU broke it.  Why do you not listen to me?  I told you it would break…”

Instead, I paused.  I looked at her.  I said, “Thank you for saying you’re sorry.  That was an accident, huh?”

Did I let her off easy?  That’s the first time she has ever said, “I’m sorry” without being asked.  It was growth for her.  It was big girl.  It was growth for me, too…. because I wanted to yell at her.  I wanted to be mad that she, not only interrupted my efforts to get dressed, but also broke something in the process because she wasn’t listening. I wanted to be mad at her and show her what happens when she doesn’t listen to me.

But, she will learn that necklaces will break when you pull on them too hard… and she will learn that when they’re broken you can’t play with them anymore.   She will learn that without me yelling at her.  She will learn it for herself.  She will learn it, rather than me forcing her to learn it.  What is she really learning when I yell at her and lecture her?  Careful around Mommy.  One mistake and she’ll snap.

I hate when I get so angry around my kids.  I hate that nothing can set off my temper worse than they can.  I see that it’s my thorn.  It is my every day struggle.  Many days have gone by lately that I haven’t really gotten angry.  I’ve responded with grace to the most outright disobedience with a calm punishment of time-out.  I’ve even calmly given 2, 3 minute time-outs in 7 minutes.  Some days I’m just on.  And, some days I want to lock my kids in their rooms and yell a 5 minute lecture.  I’ve personally decided that I will not spank anymore because I am not able to spank with a clear conscience.  I am angry, and I spank out of anger.

The thing is that my girls are wonderful. They’re loving and sweet, and they want to be sweet so badly.  I have seen my eldest growing up more and more everyday.  She’s starting to take her big sister role more seriously.  She helps me keep Abby away from the oven, and grabs her around the waist when she’s trying to go out the door at a store.  She is listening better, even pointing out when Abby doesn’t listen.  She wants to hold my hand in the parking lots and stores.  She’s learning to control her impulses, too, like the one that says, “Abby has my toy and I want it now.”  I see her look with desire, start to grab, and control herself.

I also see her testing the limits with the most incredible sophistication.  Just this morning, for example: I told her that I would take away what she was playing with if she didn’t play with it the  way she was supposed to.  She backed away from me with the toy, heading downstairs, and said, “Don’t worry about me, Mommy.  Just don’t worry about me.” She’s beginning to understand that I can’t see everything. She’s experimenting with all forms of deception, even lying.  She’s not even 3, yet.  You can imagine that this could spark a short-tempered mommy to react undesirably…

Responding with grace is SO difficult.  It’s a practice.  It’s a choice that has to be practiced, again and again.  I can respond in grace, though.  I can apply consequences with a gracious heart.  I can teach obedience without demanding it. It’s more effective.  My daughter responds better.  We can move on without the guilt and shame of a yelling match.

I’m so glad that my God loves me better than I love my kids.  I’m so glad that he continually responds to me with grace.  This morning when Sophia said, “I’m sorry,” it was if God spoke to me.  It was as if he whispered, “Listen to the little child.  Respond to her as I respond to you.”

Following through

…sucks.

I had this great afternoon planned.  After Sophia took a nap (She didn’t have one, yesterday), I planned for us to do painting projects together.  I had some wooden letters to paint for Abby’s room and a canvas to get started on, and I had a wooden birdhouse for Sophia.  She was so excited. She had her “princess pink” picked out and everything.  I told her, “After you wake up from your nap, we can paint your birdhouse.” She’d been talking about it all day.

Five minutes into her nap, “I can’t sleep.  I don’t need to paint my birdhouse.”

We’ve gone through this before: television as a reward for naptime.  She figured out that if she tells me that she doesn’t want to watch T.V., then she can get up.  Miss Princess has figured out how to exert control and get what she wants… sort of… I always follow through, no big deal, just no T.V.

Well, today I had plans.  Fun, exciting, painting plans.  I didn’t mean for the birdhouse to become a reward for her to nap, it just sort of happened that way, and now we’re both punished.  It didn’t keep me from painting, but it kept me from getting to share the experience with her.  I wanted us to be able to do this activity together. While I painted, I facilitated her potty trips and taking her back to bed… and back to bed.  I was essentially watching her make a choice that would hurt both her and me, and it was so painful.

I just wanna take it all back and say, “Screw naptime.  Let’s paint!”

But, I know that I must follow through.  An hour later with a second poop trip, she’s in the bathtub, and my head hurts.  I’ve got to step back and think again.  The rewards aren’t working.  We removed all the books from her room a few days ago because we thought that the stimulation of the books was keeping her up… apparently not. The removal of toys and stimulation isn’t working.  I can’t lock her in her room because she always has to poop at naptime if she’s not asleep–sometimes multiple times.  I’ve thought about instilling “quiet time.”  So far, that’s really what it has been most every day with an occasional nap when she’s freaking exhausted.  She does a good job of being quiet, she knows that waking up Abby would send Mommy into a HOLY TERROR! She sleeps fine at night…

Oh, the battles of the will have begun.

This overtiredness is, no doubt, contributing to a new phase that we’ve entered: Tantrums on a whole new level–a more sophisticated and verbal level.  A verbal tantrum at an embarrassingly loud volume.  I can see the manipulation in her eyes.  They’re no tears in her cries.  She screams “No, I don’t want to!” and the like.  We’ve started having time-outs in the corner with no Cowboy.  I give her opportunities to leave time-out.  I tell her, “When you are done crying, we will talk.”  Yesterday, this lasted nearly a half-hour.  I kept asking her, “Are you ready to talk? When you stop crying, I’d love to talk to you.”  She’d scream at me, “NO! I’M NOT READY!”  This whole time-out in the corner sends Abby into HOLY CONFUSION!  OH, it’s not pretty.  Finally yesterday, during said time-out event, after 30 minutes of an exhausting tantrum in the corner she stops crying, falls into my arms, hugs me so tight and says, “I can’t believe myself.”  That’s either some strange self-awareness… or she heard that somewhere.

I’m so freaking exhausted at the end of the day.  It’s no wonder.

So, all of this is to say: Let’s hold our glasses up to the moms who follow through.  Cause it SUCKS.

The most trouble I’ve ever been in

Here’s my first attempt to begin the challenge of posting once a week for 2011.  This is the first prompt: What’s the most trouble I’ve ever been in?

It was 5th grade.  I was a saucy little brat, and my mom had me signed up for piano lessons with a fellow teacher-friend of hers.  I remember this day like I remember my wedding day.  It was fall, sunny, beautiful and breezy.  My piano teacher Stephanie was nice enough.  I’d been to a lesson or two of hers.  It had gone o-kay. I definitely had no “raw talent.” And, frankly, I had started piano lessons a little late in my childhood.  Let’s just say that my left hand was not on speaking terms with my right.  I didn’t like failing, though.  I DID NOT like NOT being a natural at something.  Well, 5th grade year, what I was a natural at was socializing and chasing boys.  So, that Thursday afternoon after school during said piano lesson, I socialized.  I played hooky, and I chased boys.

What a beautiful day it was.  I remember feeling so free. and independent. and POWERFUL.  Whew.  Until I saw my mom: marching across the blacktop of the playground, hair blowing in the wind, temper blazing with the sun.  She was as mad as I’ve ever seen her. It was my most blatant act of disobedience thus far in life, and honestly, hence forth.  It may not sound like much to you, and at the time I was actually surprised at how mad she was, but I was grounded, completely grounded for 1 whole month.  And, my piano career was burned up with my social status.  My left and right hands are still not speaking.  Thanks, Mom.  Oh, and sorry about that… blatant disobedience thing…

Thinking about this was fun. I dread my girls going through those 5th grade pre-teen years. I suspect that my feisty little daughters won’t be the goody-two-shoes that I was; so, I pray this is the worst of their offenses.

To shelter or expose: A rant on children’s literature.

I’ve been thinking a lot about kids’ books lately.  What makes a good kids book?  The story? The characters? Does it need a moral?  Does it have to teach a lesson?  When I say I’m thinking about kids’ books, I really mean toddler books, or early pre-school age… books appropriate for a 3-year old.  Books appropriate for a child that has outgrown board books and picture books with few words.  She wants  a story.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because Sophia LOVES books.  Some days it’s literally ALL she does is to sit and look at books.  These are her favorite topics: Disney Princess books, Max and Ruby books, OLIVIA books, Blue’s Clues books… Can you see a few questionable ones, there? Let me tell you a story.

If you follow my blog, then you might remember this story and picture. (It’s the painting the face blue with “make-up”episode…)  Well, what I found out the next day was a copy of a library book that I hadn’t yet looked at entitled Ruby’s Beauty Shop by Rosemary Wells.  This is a pretty adorable story (if you like Max and Ruby) about Ruby playing pretend make-up and beauty shop with Max.  Max eventually breaks off on his own and paints himself with hair dye.  YES!  You heard me right.  He PAINTS himself with hair-dye!  Exactly like Sophia did with my acrylic paints!  She was acting out the story!  Now, granted, this is also a story that is on a Max and Ruby episode by Nickelodeon… and, she has probably seen it… But no doubt, we had this particular book from the library at the time of the offense…

This isn’t the first time that she has acted out scenes from books.  She loves to play babies just like Olivia in OLIVIA and the Babies. She loves to play Little Red Rubyhood from Bunny Fairy Tales. She has an insane memory for lines from the stories and loves to recite them.  This is also not the first time she’s gotten in trouble from reenacting something from a book.  I decided after the initial embarrassment of finding Ruby’s Beauty Shop, that it’s normal for her to reenact, healthy even, and this is a good way for her to learn appropriate behavior.

WAIT, though!  She never would have even thought to paint her face blue with my paint if she hadn’t seen/read this story!  So, there’s the question:  Do we shelter our children for the sake of reducing possible misbehavior, or do we expose them and thus encourage teaching opportunities?  It’s the same age-old question that parents face when they consider homeschooling… (One of the questions they consider, I realize.)  Maybe, she’s too young for these books. They specify “reading level” for these books, but that’s not the same as age-appropriate content, is it?  Here’s the thing, though:  She’s excited about looking at books.  I don’t want to discourage that.  My hope is that excitement about looking at books will turn into excitement about reading books, and isn’t that one of my goals as a mother–to encourage learning and success in school?

Hmm.  So, back to what I think about these books, these kids’ books.  Max and Ruby books are silly.  Max is always getting into trouble, and it’s never clear that what he’s doing is wrong.  He’s never punished, and his parents are nowhere to be found.  But, Sophia LOVES them.  They make her laugh, and she loves retelling the stories.  Olivia.  Well, Olivia is honest.  The story line is honest and it’s great story-telling.  She’s just a kid being a kid.  Her parents are doing the best they can, and they are not always perfect.  For example, in OLIVIA, a CALDECOTT HONOR BOOK, Olivia has this conversation with her mother:

“Only five books tonight, Mommy,” she says.

“No, Olivia, just one.”

“How about four?”

“Two.”

“Three.”

“Oh, all right, three.  But that’s it!”

If this was intended to be a story of a mother showing exemplary parenting, then it failed miserably.  (We have a strict 2-books-at-bedtime policy here at the Spicer house.  We waiver only on VERY special occasions.) This is an example of a child manipulating. And a parent getting manipulated. Like I said, the story is honest.  I get that this happens.  I’ll admit that it happens at our house, too.  But, is it appropriate story material for my 2 1/2 year old?  There’s much more questionable behavior in there that I would loathe for Sophia to copy: Olivia replicates a painting from the museum and throws paint all over the wall. (She gets a time-out.) She doesn’t nap when she’s supposed to. (No punishment.)  She scares her little brother with a mask in order to get him to leave her alone. (No parental acknowledgement.)

Do I want my children’s books to be neutered in order that I can spoon-feed behavior-training?  Teach by example (Johnny is a good little boy.  See how he goes to take a nap when he’s supposed to.) or teach by story?  Isn’t the latter more like real-life, what it looks like to live in the world?  And, isn’t that what we’re raising our kids to do.  I want to raise children to become adults to be successful in the world.

I have very few “Christian” kids books, that is to say that they were put out by a Christian publishing company.  I’m not talking about Bible storybooks.  I’m talking about cheesy books like God Loves Your Nose.  We’ve been gifted a few like these.  And, may I say, I really don’t care for these books.  They’re boring.  They’re poorly written–lines seem to be put in just to finish a rhyme, making little to no sense, with little to no story line.  It’s fine that they furnish an opportunity to talk about God or a particular truth.  I’m cool with that.  But, don’t all books furnish an opportunity to talk about God or a particular truth?  If I’m in conversation with my daughter?

Woah.  This blog is really turning into a rant.  I haven’t even talked about princess books.  I don’t even know where to start there, but my sweet, precious daughter is absolutely in love with pink and princesses.  And, at the very least it provides an opportunity for us to talk about exemplary behavior.  And, COOKIES!  What is it about so many preschool books having cookies in them?  Cookies for morning snack?  Is this just a line to make kids happy and come back to the book.  Think, authors.  Think about my children and how reading about cookies makes them want to eat cookies… ALL THE TIME!

Okay.  I’m done.

Patience

Today is taking an extra measure of patience.  I’m not sure why.  It may be that Will and I have started getting up extra early to exercise, and we’re feeling the extra tiredness and soreness from that…  Or, maybe it’s that I actually tried to get something done this morning.  You know that box (or drawer, if you don’t move every 6 months like we do) of stuff that you don’t have any idea what to do with.  It’s stuff that you might need… or you could just throw away and never notice it’s absence… it’s junk, really… but the thought of throwing it away is just SO HARD.  But, it’s just random crap.  Well, we’ve moved so many times that we have acquired multiple junk boxes that never get filtered through, thrown away, or organized.

This morning, at an attempt to have our bedroom completely put together, I opened a box of junk.  Yes, the girls were with me.  And, if it weren’t for the constant questions, “What’s this?  What’s a _______? Why? Look it’s a ______.  What’s that?” I think I could’ve finished with a more positive attitude.

How does the constant questioning and jabbering on make me so angry so quickly?  It’s just curiosity.  But sometimes, it’s just plain stupid questions.  Like this conversation:

Sophia: What’s that?

Me: It’s an empty box.

Sophia: What’s an empty box?

I want to yell at her.  She said to me, “I’m trying to use my brain.” Oh, dear me.  You can see what kind of conversations we have here.

To increase my lack of patience, Sophia’s not my only needy little creature.  Abby’s constantly falling all over me, trying to learn to walk and falling all over everything else–crying and getting her feelings hurt all the while.  She’s such a sensitive little baby.  Precious, lovely and adorable.  But so sensitive.  I think she may be getting a tooth AND she’s in that weird place of too-tired-for-just-one nap but won’t take two.  I’m also trying to implement a more intentional schedule.  Sophia’s obsession with T.V. is getting “managed” as I’ve created the rule that we watch only 1 show a day as a reward for taking a nap.  It’s working gloriously, but I could sure use a babysitter…. 😉

Yah, so today, we’re going to stay home and organize… and play… and try to get through the day.  I need an extra measure of patience to enjoy these lovely, curious little people.

Should we laugh or cry?

Today, I had one of those days.  Everything was moving slowly.  I needed to get out of the house again; so, we planned a trip to the library.  Abby’s in that in-between stage where she doesn’t think that a morning nap is necessary–but needs one or else she’s cranky all day…  So, Abby decided to poop her pants instead of nap (very common, I’d say 9/10 times she poops instead of naps).  Lately, her poop has given her such a bad rash that I must bathe her immediately and after every BM.  Is this interesting, yet?

Let me get back to the story… We were having a crappy day… My nerves were on edge, the kids were on edge, and I had a terrible idea.  Let’s forego Sophia’s nap and replace it with craft time. What was I thinking?  I wanted to get some Christmas cards out today, and I thought it’d be a nice time to get Sophia to make something for her grandparents.  Which was the worse idea?  Foregoing the nap or expecting Sophia to make something just because I want her to?

This was a disaster.  While Abby cried and then napped for all of 30 minutes, Sophia refused to do any crafting.  Instead, she just lolly-gagged around watching me address envelopes, singing and dancing to herself, and drawing ON the table… This in and of itself is not so bad, but I just couldn’t get her to draw something for me.  And, like I said, I was ON EDGE!

Well, Abby wakes up screaming–sleep deprived…  And, I’m angrier than ever.  Deep breaths.  Count to 10. I try to let her go back to sleep, only Sophia’s playing gets incrementally louder, and it’s obvious that Abby is NOT going back to sleep.  I go into her to see if I can calm her back to sleep.  Nope.  She won’t be soothed by anything but Sophia’s presence.  Argh.  So, I leave the hyper-active children to play it off with each other.

I notice about 10 or 15 minutes later that Abby has opened my box of acrylics and is pulling out the tubes.  (I had all the craft stuff out in the living room…)  I look at her and tell Sophia, “Make sure that she doesn’t open any of them.”  Mistake 2: Not immediately gathering up the paints.  You’re wondering what could possibly go wrong in this situation. Mistake 4: Treating Sophia like she’s 7 years old.  I get back to my envelope addressing.  I glance back over to see that they’ve moved on.

About 10 minutes later, “Mom! Abby’s making a big mess!  MOM!  Abby’s making a big mess!”  I jump up and find Abby’s holding a spoon surrounded by a pound of dried fruit.  She found a box, dumped it all out, and is now trying to feed herself ALL of it!  I bust into laughter.  It’s just fruit.  Gather it up, keep her from choking.  It’s just fruit.

I think that this was pretty funny considering my day, so I decide to tweet it: “Laugh instead of cry. Soph: “Abby’s making a mess!” An entire box of dried fruit out on the floor in front of Abby. All I can do is laugh.”

I’m proud of myself for not blowing up.  Back to addressing envelopes.

… I notice that things are really quiet.  As has always been the case with Sophia, when things are particularly quiet, either she’s pooping or getting into trouble…

Here’s where the story turns:

“Sophia?… Whatcha doing?”

“I’m just putting on make-up.”

“Make-up?”

… I rack my brain, make-up?  Surely not, I don’t have any in the living room… Oh, she’s probably got my chapstick… Finish this address…

“You’re putting on make-up?  Really?  What kind of make-up?”

I suddenly jump up, thinking that maybe I’m too trusting of Sophia, and she’s probably got chapstick all over her and everything around her…

Instead, this is what I find:

Mind you, this picture is taken after I thought to get the camera, i.e. after I cooled down and removed her ruined sweater… It wiped off much of the blue on the way, as I quickly swiped her face with it.  You do NOT want to see the sweater, MY FAVORITE big girl SWEATER!  (Any tips on removing paint from a cotton sweater?)

She was putting on make-up.  Blue, acrylic paint make-up with an eye-brow brush that she found God-knows-where.  Make-up.  Shall we laugh?  Shall we cry?

Snow mis-adventure or just another morning.

Okay, this is our second major snow here in Fort Collins.  It makes sense that there would be some adventure involved.  It all began with an early morning itching to get out of the house–out of toilet paper… So, let’s make a morning trip before Abby’s nap to the Super Target. One problem, it’s -6 degrees F outside, which means that our snow covered van thought it was an igloo.  After spending 30 minutes warming up the car and scraping off the snow and ice, we tried to get our snowbunnies in the car–only to find out that both of the automatic doors are frozen shut.  I decide to put the girls in through the front doors while Will goes in for hot water to pour on the doors.  (You would think that 30 minutes of warming up the car would be enough, right?  Does anyone with experience in extreme cold climates have any advice for this Arkansas family?)

We finally get the doors working, and the girls and I head off to Target.  Well, I got distracted on the way–snowy roads, Sophia hollering about the choice of music, and Abby being altogether uncomfortable in her snowsuit.  So, I found myself on the north end of town, very far from where I meant to be.  I’m getting fond of my new sense of direction (foothills always to the West); so, I figured I would just find my way taking a few turns.  On a normal day, i.e. not snowy and icy, this may have been a good idea.  I turned into a dead-in and saw a truck up ahead.  I touched the brakes as he was stopped at a stop sign.  Only he wasn’t moving, and I was.  It seemed that the harder I pressed the brakes, the faster we slid along the road.  Think fast! I decided to turn to the left of him, as not to rear-end him, elbow on the horn so he wouldn’t turn left straight into me.  Shew. We just miss him.  And, we finally come to a stop in the middle of the up-coming road.  Thankfully, no cars are coming. The nice man in the truck in front of me smiled and waved in appreciation and understanding.  Shew.  After a moment of “well, who goes now?” we righted ourselves and got back on the road.  Only one problem, “Where the heck am I?”

So, nearly had a wreck because of the snow, lost on the north end of town, miserably cold, and the girls are crying.  Sophia’s yelling about some smoke she sees, Abby’s just yelling, and I’m yelling expletives that would be better if I kept to myself…  After a phone call to Will, we finally get back on the right side of town.

Ah, Super Target in site.  I check my rear view mirror as we pull into a parking spot.  Abby’s passed out asleep.  Of course she is, it’s now 9:45.  We’ve been preparing to leave since 8:00!  This is how my days go.  What to do, what to do? This is one of those mornings that really makes you want to throw up your hands in frustration and fall into the steering wheel with tears, “Why me?!” You know what, though, it’s just another morning here at the Spicer house…  We’re all safe.  Adventure had.  I can smile about it now.

Growing up too fast.

Last night I was pushing the girls in the stroller for a walk around the neighborhood.  We passed a bike with two small boys riding on it, boys about 7 or 8 years old.  Sophia says–imagine a thick southern accent, “Ooh Mommy, those boys are SO CUTE!”

This morning while I was in the bathroom fixing my hair a bit, Sophia came in frown-faced with her hands on top of her head, “Mom, my hair looks so funny.”
I said, “Well, do you want me to use the blow-dryer on it?”
She hollered, “No! I need a pretty hair bow!”

Ah. Life is fun right now.