Sunday, June 27


Since sitting down to write tends to be an outlet and a time I come to soothe my weary soul, I figured changing the blog background to something more rejuvenating and serene was in order.  The green of nature always seems to do it for me and I hope you feel the summer breeze wafting across your brow as it furrows the further on you read, thinking "what is her deal?  why can't she get it together?  should I intercept and take them all to the funny farm?  where's the advil?..."  

So... Where were we?  Honestly - the more days that pass by without logging our pandemonium, the bigger the blur becomes.  But I'll try to recall some of the truly stand-out moments from the last couple of weeks.

#1 would have to be Abby's Pre-K graduation.  Oh yes.  It's official.  I now have a soon-to-be-kindergartner!  Abby and her class put on a darling production, singing songs about numbers and letters and dinosaurs.  Of course Abby got put on the far end of the 25 children seated across the 'stage', which made for ease in daydreaming and generally being 4-5 counts/words behind the rest of her class during the songs.  

You know that feeling that comes with completing a particularly challenging task - more than relief, that sense of "wow! I did it! I actually made it to the end and seeing it all behind me now feels great!"?  That's pretty much the emotion her sweet teacher Mrs. Sue communicated as I hugged and thanked her afterward for her work with Abby.  "You should be proud," she said.  "Abby's come a long way." (ie - that was one long year I spent trying to help Abby realize I am the teacher...)  She did follow that up with "This girl's gonna go places."  We just hope those places take her on a path more toward competing in the 2024 Olympics than becoming, say, a defending Women's Ultimate Fighting Champion.  We'll just have to wait and see. 

(Abby and her best friend Lisa, whose skin Abby covets since 'it has no holes where hairs come out')

Beyond that major event, we've just enjoyed the usual goings-on around here.  Abby successfully turned a long hair ribbon into hand-cuffs, rendering me bound and at her complete mercy.  It was wound and knotted so well, I had to guide her through cutting it -and not my hands - off.  Then there was the day Abby ran in, excitedly shouting "Mommy!  Come see! I made the United State of America for Family Night!" (aka my just-purchased loaf of bread broken into a thousand pieces which later morphed into "the United States of America crowned with water grenades"). Ellie, for a few nights, took to cuddling with those same water grenades (filled with air) instead of her stuffed animals.


Then there was the day I deep-cleaned the bathroom, only to find, upon finishing, that Abby and Ellie had created a new abode in their trampoline (yes, we are so classy that we keep a trampoline in our living room) complete with every clothing item brought down from their closets and drawers.  

My cheeses - crumbled goat, pecorino, shredded mozzarella - keep disappearing from the fridge.  Of course I rarely notice until I go to use the cheese for a particular recipe.  The first time, I found my precious goat cheese in a toy bin, days after we ate the salad it was to go in.  When I needed the missing pecorino, I asked Ellie (who has been known to indulge herself in hiding) if she knew of its whereabouts.  "In the toy room."  Sure enough - same toy box. 

A few days ago Abby found Uncle Michael's wallet that quite inconveniently went missing at the end of his visit, an hour before he had to get on the airplane to return home (the loss of which caused him to miss his flight, necessitate 4 runs to/from the airport and a visit from the local police, as a police report declaring the wallet stolen was the only way they would let him onto a plane).  Apparently Abby had put it inside her make-up box to give to Uncle Michael for a present to take home.  She forgot.

I, myself, had a few winner moments/days.  Like the one where the best dinner I could come up with was frozen tortellini in Campbell's tomato soup.  Abby's dramatic response left me wondering why I try any other day: "Mom, this is delicious.  It is soooo awesome.  I love it."  Then there was the night my friend Shannon asked me to make some lemon-meringue souffles baked inside of lemons for a baby shower she hosted.  Everything in the 2-hour process went fine until I filled the lemons, made the call for her to pre-heat the oven and put the pan of lemons on top of the Jeep so I could open the door (rushing, of course, since I was late).  I opened the door and DOWN they went - cascading off, spewing meringue filling across the driveway and all over the passenger seat.  The "uh, no need to preheat the oven anymore" call quickly followed.  So much for that endeavor. 

I really could go on and on.  I think, though, that I'll sum it all up by recounting an episode from our drive through Ohio Amish country yesterday (while on our way to Kirtland to meet Nana and Granddad who have so graciously offered to take the girls and give Adam and me a few days of much-needed repose).  While passing horse-drawn buggy after horse-drawn buggy, Abby asked "why do they drive those?"  I explained, while seriously considering joining the Amish community, that they want to live a simple way of life.  "What does simple mean?"  "Slow and calm..." "Why do they want to be calm?"


Me: "Girls, what would you like for breakfast?  Eggs or french toast?"  Ellie:  "French toes. Toes are fun to eat."

Adam took the girls to the park and Ellie steered the pirate ship.  Ellie:  "I'm going to my other mommy's house."  A: "Why are you going to your other mommy's house?"  E: "Because she lets me eat m&ms and the house is made of cookies and she lets us eat the house."

Abby finished her bbq chicken and gave a big swipe of her hands down the front of her dress.  Me: "Abigail, is that how we wipe our hands off?"  "Mom - this is a staining dress, remember?  It's just for staining!"

We had tuna melts for dinner, grilled on the panini press.  After finishing her first half, Ellie asked: "Mom, can I have another girl sandwich?"

I asked the girls what fun things they want to do this summer.  Abby: "I know! I know!  This is your very most favorite thing that you love.  Clean the house!"

The girls dumped out a basket full of My Little Ponies.  Ellie: "Are the sweeties okay?? Are the sweeties okay?"  Abby: "The children are fine."

Ellie sat up to the table for breakfast.  E: "So, Mom.  What do you want to do today?"  Me: "Well, would you like to go to BJ's and get some gummy vitamins?"  E:  "That's exactly what I want do !"

I took the (freshly cleaned) blender out from the cupboard.  Abby:  "You haven't washed that in months.

I told the girls we needed to go to the library.  Abby: "Oh, we don't want to go.  You can just go.  We can take care of ourselves, right Ellie?" E: "Yeah."  A: "Go ahead, Mom.  We'll stay here and clean up the house after we watch Diego."

30 minutes after the above quote, I walked back into the room where Abby and Ellie were playing.  Abby, puzzled: "I thought you went to the library."

Abby, playing: "She said I am impossible because I made the best cake ever."

Abby: "Mom! I washed off the marker on the new paint."  Me:  "Oh...yeah?  How?"  A: "I licked my hand with my germs and wiped it on the marker.  And it came off."

The girls were playing with My Little Ponies:  Abby: "I have to go to the forest."  Ellie:  "I'll come too, so you don't get lost."  A: "I won't get lost.  I have good eyesight and paddy feet."  E: "But I have to help you find the Pygmy Marmoset in the prickly farm!"

Sunday, June 20

Chocolate Kisses

I suppose I'll work backwards in my recounting of this week's main events, as our Father's Day dinner just now eaten proved to be the highlight.  I'm a grilling maniac these days, thanks to our $15, 3rd-generation grill that was, upon acquisition, a study in rust and corroded metals.  One can of black hi-heat spray paint, lighting directions re-written in silver Sharpie, and a new porcelain grate later - we can't get enough!

Steak, corn, and asparagus - all grilled - and my friend Amy's scrumptious rice salad was the fare.  Each girl had multiple servings of the rice salad, and Abby declared: "Mom!  I didn't know you could make the most delicious, coolest food in the whole world!"  Ellie took a bite of tender steak, and with pink juices streaming down her chin, exclaimed: "I like beef!"  So, when dinners lately have tended toward being left poked at and even downright refuted, the nods at my culinary prowess felt...great.

Especially given the rigamaroo that was the rest of Father's Day.  Oh, we had Ellie running relays throughout the Primary sing-to-the-dads time.  Back and forth she went - from front pew to the podium - through and in front of all of the short Sunbeams during the songs.  Abby's Primary substitute made the comment as I picked her up from class, "Abby sure is a wiggly thing, isn't she?" and explained how Abby had kept trying to hide under her chair.  While passing Ellie's nursery leader in the hall, she said (in jest): "Ellie, tell your mommy how many chocolate kisses you had today in nursery!  Or...not."  AND Adam went MIA for 40 minutes after church and I seriously considered going to see if he'd checked himself in to the psych ward at the hospital next had been one of those days leading up to and through church.  (He was 'talking shop' with a friend, turned out.)

Later, when Adam's dad asked over the phone what the girls were up to, I decided it wise to actually check on them.  This followed: Me: "Abby, why are you cutting your hair ribbon into little pieces?" A: "I just am." Me, as Ellie runs by with a shimmering object in hand: "Eleanore, give me that light bulb!" Later, I happened upon Abby cutting up our new 'United States of America' flags.
And this is just what I remember of today.  (I think I'll continue the rest of this last week's story later.)  So, one might imagine how sweet Abby's dinner prayer, "bless us to listen to our Daddy and do what he says...and even Mommy too, and follow their plan" was to my ears.  Of course, this means now I have to 'get a plan.' 


Abby insisted Adam lie down with her so she could fall asleep.  After a few minutes, I hear Abby:  "Daddy, can you please stop snoring??"

Ellie ran out of the room, shouting:  "I found it, Abby-gale Charlotte!  I found it!"

On our way home with a new 10-ft slide for a play set we're building for the girls, Abby complained about not getting a prize at the store.  Ellie:  "Abby, we have a new slide.  Just wait a second."

Me, in attempts to hurry along bathtime: "Come on Abby, it's time to wash your hair."  Abby:  "I am 5. Don't disobey me."

Abby brushed against my shins:  "Mom, feel this.  You're so spikey."

I called Adam and the girls for lunch.  Abby started walking backwards down the stairs.  Adam: "Abby - you are going to fall down the stairs."  Abby:  "No, Dad. This is the way (turning around to crawl headfirst) you fall down the stairs."  (She should know - she fell from the top twice in one day last week.)

Monday, June 7

It's Time

The innocent honesty of children amuses and astounds me.  I love hearing my daughters' interpretation of the world around them (except, of course, when the mommy doll puts the child doll in time out for 100 hours or says "I'm so disappointed in you" as part of casual mommy-daughter-doll conversation).  Sometimes I sit beside my girls wondering what their lives are like - what they process of everything surrounding them.  I think back to when I was 4 and would hide in my mom's closet and try on her boots and high heels and look at the sparkly "gems" on her necklaces and think about how glamourous she was.  And since I have no gems and wear less make-up than my girls, I wonder how they perceive me.

Or, I did.  You know, one of the greatest aspects of watching Abby develop is seeing how her creative expression takes flight.  And now that she has mastered the basic stick figure, we have a whole new medium through which to see her world.  Meet the Ashleys, as drawn by Abigail during Primary:

                                                                                                             Not your average stick figure family!  Oh no.  We have bellies.  Nice, rotund circles.  And eyes that happen to be just about as big.  
So, I think it's time.  Time for us to open those big eyes.  Time to accept that our four year-old's basic artistic rendering of our not-so-little-in-girth family includes circles protruding from our otherwise tall, slender frames.  Time to let the truth sting.   Time for those vegetables in the garden to get growing.  Time to turn on the treadmill to make sure the engine hasn't blown out while sitting idle for 2 years.   Ohhhhh..... it is..... beyond...... time.  


The first thing Ellie said upon waking up and through sleepy eyes:  "Mom.  You twicked us."  Me: "I tricked you?" E: "Yes.  You fogot to give us a pwize undoh ow pillows. You need to.  But you twicked us."

Abby's prayer: "...Please bless that we can have fun in our castle.  And bless our magical telescope and...our magical slide.  And, bless we can have a normal door.  But our castle is magical." Ellie: "And bless the telescope!" A: "Hush! All prayers are different!  Please bless we can get a magical slide and magical curtains.  And a normal door..."

I told Abby it was time to go to her Kindergarten registration.  Abby: "Is it my first try at kindergarten??  I'm going to sit up so so straight in my chair and not slaunch so I can be like a - like a kindergarten kid."

The girls got some 70's revival karaoke CD in a kids meal that Abby insisted we listen to while leaving VA.  When "Shake Your Groove Thing" came on, Ellie called out "Shake your body!" So, I started to shimmy and shake in the driver's seat. Ellie: "No! Not you, Mom!  Just Abby."

I told Abby we have a fun run on Saturday morning and that Bruce, her friend, will be there.  Abby: "But, Bruce has Sketchers.  He'll run faster than me."

Ellie: "Mom!  It's time to get this fiesta started!  Everyone will bring their violins and play them all around."

Ellie was pretending to be an authority figure to a stuffed animal while Abby sat nearby. Ellie: "You knock it off!"  Abby: "I am NOT a knock off!"

Abby: "You never knew a girl like me. I just can do big things and I can just do real cool things!"

Abby:  "My brain just reminds me when girls have scissors and other dangerous things.  Ellie has your scissors!  My brain reminded me."

I came into my room to find Ellie pulling books off of the bookshelf.  Ellie:  "I'm really just librarying at the library store."