Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Not quite a green thumb yet

Today I planted something. Outside. As of 4 p.m. it was still living.
I dug a hole. Placed some type of yellow bush in the hole which I covered with topsoil and mulch. In case my mother-in-law is reading--be assured I used Miracle Grow.

If you know me at all that was quite a feat.
I love plants and being outside and I really don't mind getting dirty, but I have kind of left all the outside work up to Scott who spends most of the weekends in the spring and summer working outside.

My dad was the gardener in the family. Growing up in a townhouse with a small yard, there wasn't a significant amount of yard work. But, he seemed to really like mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes and planting flowers around our crab apple tree. He tried to get me involved in the gardening process, but I was always much happier reading a book or writing poems in the air-conditioned house.

I realize now that Dad felt a sense of accomplishment at planting something and watching it grow and flower. He took pride in making his little yard beautiful.

That's just how Scott feels. There's just something about getting dirty and feeling sore after a hard day's work spent outside. Then, watching the results of your labor. He transformed our barren yard in Pennsylvania to a lush green lawn with flowering bushes and a perfectly trimmed maple tree.

He's trying to do the same here in Chicago. A couple of weekends ago, he spent countless hours cutting down overgrown trees and bushes, and cleaning up yard debris.

So, I decided to become more involved in our yard beautification project. Do you think my little yellow bush will hold up?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Munch: Firkin

Oh. My. Gosh. I was in foodie paradise today.

My new awesome friend Lindsey invited Johnny and me to go out to lunch to celebrate her birthday today. Of course I'm always up for trying a new restaurant so we headed to Firkin in Libertyville to meet up with her husband.

I am in LOVE with this place. It's on the super cute main street of Libertyville and the interior is so unique and fun. Johnny said it looked like a "haunted house"...probably because it's kind of dark and there are strings of lights hanging everywhere. I just loved the atmosphere.
The menu was eclectic. Everything from chicken schnitzel to wahoo tacos (which I ordered and loved) and grass-fed burgers were up for grabs.

My favorite?

Smoked salmon rolled around goat cheese. Yum!

Johnny's favorite?

The huge Bavarian pretzel which he decided to dip in ketchup.

I'm bummed I didn't take any pics.

But, we will be back!

More than a mother-in-law

My bridesmaids dubbed her Blanche Devereaux after the hot-to-trot Golden Girl.
That kind of describes my mother-in-law, Janice. Always dressed to the nines. Hair perfectly coiffed. Makeup impeccable. Nails manicured. Feet pedicured. Bangles and baubles and bling.

The first time I met Janice was at the airport in Sacramento, California. Scott and I had been dating for just 5 months when he brought me to his hometown.
My armpits were drenched in sweat, my hair had gone limp and my capris were wrinkled from the flight. There Janice stood waiting for us, completely decked out in a yellow spring suit.

I remember her hugging me warmly, as I fretted that she was really thinking "Who the heck is this girl from the East Coast stealing my baby boy?"

Never has she made me feel that way, but I think maybe it has crossed her mind once or twice.
As a mom I know how devastating that might be for my kids and grandkids to live so far away.

Not once has she begged us to move to California or made us feel guilty for not making it to every family function. She has accepted our fate and she has made the best of the situation. She visits as much as she can and she puts her heart into loving Julie, Johnny, Scott and me. Though it makes me sad that she doesn't live down the street, over the years we have become unbelievably close. She's my West Coast mother.

I wished we all lived in the same town, dropping by for dinner on Sundays or shopping at Macy's on Saturdays, or watching swimming lessons and t-ball games and singing along with Julie as she plays piano. I know she feels the same.

Usually after a long visit, Janice's eyes well with tears, and I see in her a sadness and a longing. I understand.

Yesterday was one of those times. Janice was here in Chicago visiting for a week and we had a great time...exploring new sites, restaurants and museums. Yesterday we said goodbye.

Janice and I in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The reminder

Ever have one of those days where your kids are driving you absolutely crazy, then suddenly you are reminded how completely wonderful they are?

This happened to me today.

Six days ago Johnny turned 4. Since then he has been trying my patience. Whining. Not listening. A couple tantrums. Just overall being pretty ornery.

Scott and I called it the birthday hangover. Who doesn't feel like crap the day after their birthday? One day you're king. You can do no wrong. You get presents and eat cake. People sing to you. You wear a "Birthday Boy" shirt and everyone smiles at you like you're the best kid in the entire world.

The next day it's back to normal and you're just you. That sucks. I know.

I'll give the kid the benefit of the doubt for two days...maybe three. By day 6 this mom is fed up.

Leave it to a preschool teacher put it all in perspective.

Today was parent/teacher conference day at Johnny's preschool. Johnny's super sweet teacher couldn't have given a more uplifting report.
There's nothing like hearing someone else lavish praise on your kid to make you feel like an A-plus mom again. If preschool gave out real report cards, Johnny's would be straight As, according to the teacher. He never misbehaves, is always respectful and he gets along with everyone. She's impressed that he writes his name, knows all his letters, numbers, shapes and colors. And, he's just a happy, fun kid at school. I especially loved this comment "He sings the loudest out of everyone in class!"

I grinned. I felt so incredibly proud of my little guy. And, in my head I gave myself and Scott a high-five for raising such a star student.

Then, I felt like a poophead mom. Ten minutes before I had been cursing my bratty son (in my head) for a bad week. When, really, he's such a great kid. All the things the teacher described are so true.

Of course life would be easier if our kids always acted like perfect little dolls, but that's not life. And, really it's not fair to expect that. I mean, how many weeks out of the year do I act like a hormonal crazy person? (The answer is at least 12 if you're wondering.)

So, I'm going to make it my mission to let my kids off the hook once and a while. Pout if they are mad or cry if they're sad. But I also have to learn not to let their bad moods affect how I relate to them or treat them. They're still the best kids in the world in my eyes....whether it's a bad week or not.
This is from last year, but isn't this the best picture ever? Makes me happy just looking at it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Wow

There is seriously nothing better than a girls night.

Since moving to Chicago-land I have felt a little lonely considering all my best buds are back east.
But, I have found the two best chicas here in my new hometown. They are moms of Johnny's preschool friends. They are so fun and we just click. Last night we went out for a couple glasses of wine. We got all decked out and had the best time.

Check out my new girls. Aren't they adorable?

Also, how do you like these red heels I wore last night? They are super comfortable and I didn't fall even though it was raining!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On two wheels

It was second grade. I was 7...almost 8. I was almost the oldest kid at the bus stop. I still didn't know how to ride a two-wheeler. Everybody knew it.
That was the worst.

It wasn't for a lack of trying. I spent pretty much every weekend in the gymnasium at my dad's school. (He was a principal at the time.)

It was the perfect place to practice. If dad was in the office and couldn't help me, I could lean up against the wall to support myself to try to take off by myself. Even better, there was no one in the gym to see me fail. We spent many Saturdays there...just daddy and me. He ran behind me, holding on to my seat, trying to instill some courage in me. I knew he wanted so badly for me to just take off pedaling. Balance never came easily to me.

One day I just got it. I was ecstatic and relieved, but the look on my dad's face was just pure joy. It was a sense of accomplishment for him too.

That's kind of how Scott and I felt on Sunday.
We have been trying for what seems like forever to get Julie to ride her two-wheeler. She's so stubborn when things don't come easily to her, so this whole process has been quite a fiasco. There are times she has just laid down and cried. Or just refused to even try at all. Or thrown her bike to the ground. Or screamed for the entire neighborhood to hear "I hate bikes!!" It has not been fun.

Sunday she got it. She really got it. She pedaled up and down the sidewalk without crashing, mounted the bike herself, started and braked without help. And at the end of it she proclaimed "Biking is so much fun."

Mission accomplished.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Munch: The Choo Choo

The only thing Johnny really wanted for his birthday was to go to a "Johnny Restaurant."
Every time we asked him about a party or what he wanted to do for a birthday Johnny would always say "I want to go to a restaurant called Johnny's."
Parent fail. That never happened.
I searched for restaurants called Johnny's but every one was a complete dive or too far away.
We settled on The Choo Choo Restaurant in Des Plaines. We've been there a few times before and it's perfect for kids. It's a 50s-style diner. The food isn't what draws people to the place. It's the adorable electric train that delivers food to your table on a track that winds around the restaurant.
Johnny loves this place, but he was actually a tad pissed when we pulled up to the restaurant and it wasn't named "Johnny's." He quickly got over it when he saw his daddy sitting at the table right by the train track.

The best part was the entire restaurant singing to Johnny as the train zoomed over to bring him a birthday cupcake.
He was shocked and looked at me almost horrified, nuzzled his little face in my neck and said "I want to go home."
Then he saw the cupcake had a train whistle on top. He licked the frosting-covered whistle clean and delighted in blowing it non-stop.

If you're looking for sophisticated fare, The Choo Choo isn't your place. It is literally a 50s diner. Egg salad, grilled cheese, burgers, hot dogs and chicken noodle soup are what you order. I did, however, find a veggie burger on the menu which was pretty darn good. The food is good--kind of what you would expect of the American diner classics.
The real reason you go to The Choo Choo is for the experience. Kids obviously love the train element of the little restaurant, but adults also love the novelty.

Our next mission is Choo Choo Johnny's in Naperville. That's a tad far so it didn't work for his birthday, but it's on the list.

Johnny and I met up with Scott at The Choo Choo


Friday, April 19, 2013

A letter to my birthday boy

Dear Johnny,
Today you are 4.
This morning you came into my room like every other morning.
A hug around the neck. A kiss on my eyeballs. And the cherished "I wove you Mommy."
I love that you say your "Ls" like "Ws." I want to hold onto that.

When you get hurt, sometimes you say in a little pouty voice "Sing to me in the chair Mommy." And a lot of times you want me to sing "Eidelweiss"--the song I used to sing with my daddy. I want to hold onto that too.

You still like to hold my hand. You hug me no less than 100 times a day and you sometimes hold my face in your little hands and say "You're so cute Mommy!" My heart melts and I want to hold on to that too.

When the garage creaks open every night, you run to the door screaming to your daddy. Then you immediately request "the spinning game." You squeal and giggle until he flings you on the couch and you scamper over and want "Again!" I want to hold onto that.

Just like your sister, you've got quite an imagination. There are some days the two of you will play Legos or super heroes or yes, even Barbies for hours. I'll peak in and both of you are contentedly playing together in an imaginary world all of your own. I want to hold onto that.

You just love to play and get so excited at the littlest things. One of your favorite things is to just run or skip around and sing. When you played soccer you ran around the court after everybody else, sometimes kicking the ball the wrong way, but forever laughing, smiling and often singing. You have such a lighthearted spirit and I hope you hold onto that.

You care about other people's feelings. Your first day of t-ball practice, you threw your hands excitedly in the air and screamed "Good job!" whenever anyone threw the ball. At your birthday party at school the teacher told you to pick anything you wanted from the toy box. What did you pick? A tiny yellow butterfly barrette for Julie.
I hope you hold onto that.

You possess empathy unlike any other little boy I know. One day I got upset with Julie and you were so mad at me. "You hurt Julie's feelings. That's not nice."
When we're playing and Daddy pretends to tackle me, you are always my protector. "Get off of her!" you scream, truly upset. When I was sick, you brought me blankets and read me stories. You care deeply about other people and you need to hold onto that.

I know one day you'll no longer be my little boy. That makes me sad just thinking about it, but I can see glimpses of the man you will become and that makes me proud.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The cut

Julie is sitting perfectly still, staring into the mirror. Then snip. Snip. Snip.

Suddenly, I'm having flashbacks. Terrible traumatizing flashbacks.
My long, blonde, pin-straight hair, lying on the floor of Hair Cuttery.
Strange glances.
Even ruder questions. "Are you a boy or a girl?"
My adorable little sister laughing and pointing "You look like a boy Re-re."

I snap out of my daze only when I hear Johnny proclaim: "Julie...You look like a boy!"

I gulp as I stare at the gobs of Julie's hair on the salon floor.
"No she doesn't," I make myself say. "She looks great."
But, Wow. Her hair is short. Almost to her ear.

Then, I see her smile.
"This is how I wanted it Mommy," Julie grins. "I don't even care if I look like a boy. I'm still me."


Here's Julie, wearing the "glasses" Santa gave her. "Now I look just like Meme."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Wow

It was a dreary Wednesday Wow here in Chicago. Pouring rain, thunder and just gloomy all day. Unfortunately it kind of fit my mood. I just can't shake those images of the Boston marathon. And, I just found out my sister's old roommate was injured in the blast. So terrible.
Needless to say I didn't really glam it up today.
But, I do want to show off my rubber rain boots from Nordstrom's. My brother-in-law, always the fashionista, gave them to me probably 9 years ago for my birthday. They are actually one size too big, but I never gave them up. I absolutely love them and they have stood the test of time--in versatility, usefulness and adorableness. Do you like??

Let's hope tomorrow is a better day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Run to remember

Breathlessly climbing the hilly last quarter mile of the marathon was probably the hardest of the entire race. As we catapulted over the finish line of the Marine Corps. Marathon in D.C., all that was on our minds was "We did it!" A sense of accomplishment overwhelmed us, and I can remember those moments so vividly, though the race was more than 2 years ago. 
The runners yesterday in Boston faced such a tragically different end to their marathon. The images of the end of their race will undoubtedly be seared in their minds forever.
Instead of hugging each other in jubilation, they hung tight to one another in grief.
Once again such a terrible, inexplicable act.
I feel so much pain thinking of the 8-year-old boy that was killed, along with the two others, as well as the hundreds who were injured horribly.
It's times like these when you wonder how you can help or what you can do to stop these monsters from doing something like this again and again and again?
Truly, the answer is we can't do much.
But, we can feel like we're doing something. I, along with thousands of other runners joined a group on Facebook "Runners United to Remember". We have vowed to run to honor the victims at Boston.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Munch: Smokin' T's

There's nothing like finding a good barbeque joint.
I'm not saying we've been searching here forever in Chicago, but we really haven't noticed too many barbeque places. Remarkably the first one we tried--Smokin' T's Barbeque in Long Grove--served up some darn good BBQ.
The pulled pork was smoked just right. We loved how the meat was served dry so you could smother with your own personal choice of homemade sauces. North Carolina Vinegar sauce mixed with the Hot n Sweet sauce was perfect for the pulled pork sandwich. The mustard-based baked beans were delicious, and nothing like your traditional beans out of a can.
Though it does everything right with the food, Smokin' T's isn't your typical Barbeque dive. It's actually really nice inside with massive wooden tables and trendy décor. It's not just beer on tap. Wine and liquor are available too.
We will return to Smokin' T's. That says a lot because the MacKaben family rarely eats at a restaurant twice.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Our boy is a boy. The end.

"Why is Jack wearing a grill shirt?"
 "Grill" is Johnny's completely adorable way of saying "girl."

 In this case, however, it wasn't quite so adorable. The shirt in question happened to be a neon shade of pink, which I kind of had to agree wasn't exactly "boy" material. It wasn't one of those preppy light pink button-downs or Polo short-sleeves. It was an obnoxiously bright pink t-shirt.

That's beside the point of course. Obviously the bigger issue was Johnny has learned quite well from his Daddy what boys should and should not wear. Scott is really adamant on Johnny being "all boy." No playing with Barbies, or sipping from princess cups or even trying on Mommy's high heels. Wearing anything remotely close to pink would put Scott in a panic.

Although I think Scott goes a tad overboard, I kind of have to agree on some points, though I know some moms will completely disagree. I don't freak out when Johnny plays with Julie's American Girl dolls, and I'm fine when he says his favorite colors are pink and purple.

But, I have to say I do want my boy to be a boy. I want him to love sports and get dirty, play with cars and roughhouse with his friends. I know there's this whole gender neutrality movement where parents think their kids should decide what and who they want to be. I recently met a mom whose 3-year-old daughter had no idea whether she was a boy or a girl. That's completely mind baffling to me.

What's so taboo about talking with your child about what they are and what makes them special? What's so wrong with wanting your kid to be the gender they were born to be?

Feel free to disagree.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The new normal

When I went away to college, I barely left home.
It was a 45 minute drive from Baltimore to University of Delaware and that seemed safe.
Far enough away where mom and dad wouldn't just drop by unannounced, yet close enough that I could drive home late on a Thursday night, crying all the way, because I was upset that I hated student teaching.

After college, my friends all moved into trendy apartments in Manhattan or downtown Baltimore or Philly. Places that were fun and made them feel all grown up.
Where did I move after college?
You guessed it.
Back to 26 Bantry Court.
Slept in my girlhood bed with pink sheets, and ate dinner every night with my parents. It was comfortable and I was saving money.

Two years later I moved out. Because I got married. We lived in a little townhouse not unlike the one I grew up in, and we were 15 minutes away from my parents. I thought we'd never leave.

Except we did. Two years later we moved to Altoona, Pennsylvania--three hours from  Baltimore. Oddly enough, my parents quickly followed and moved to Cumberland, Maryland--about an hour from Altoona.

They were there for all the holidays, birthdays, special events, and just because. We saw them probably every other weekend.

I always knew we wouldn't be in Altoona forever, but I never dreamed we would live this far away from family.
598 miles to be exact. That's a 10 hour drive.

The seven months in Chicago have been amazing--kind of like a vacation. We love our new home and neighborhood. There's so much to see and do. And, we've had visitors literally every month.

My parents just left yesterday after visiting for 2 1/2 weeks. It was great to have them here for so long and the kids just love spending time with them.

When they left yesterday, I realized we won't see them until July. That's three months away! That's the longest I've ever been away from them in my life. I know it's something I have to get used to, and that's just life now. But, it's so hard to think about the lapse between seeing them.

Julie was so upset yesterday when she headed off for school. It broke her heart knowing that Meme and Papa would be gone when she got home. "Why do they have to leave? Why can't they just live here?"

I can't help but feel the same.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happy National Sibling Day (a day late)

The worst sound in the world is my kids fighting.
Usually there's no real reason for it. It's just one of those days and it makes me want to either scream or curl up in a ball in cry.
I just want them to love each other!

Though Julie and Johnny have their fair share of bickering and bouts of too-rough wrestling, for the most part they do get along. They both have vivid imaginations, so they love playing house or school or super heroes or sometimes Barbies. (Shhh. Don't tell Scott.)

They look out for each other too. Julie won't let anyone hurt her little brother and Johnny always draws pictures for his big sister.

Sometimes they surprise me with how nice they can be to each other when we're not even looking.
The other day Julie left a granola bar outside Johnny's bedroom door so he would find it when he woke up from his nap. And Johnny insisted on bringing home a mint for Julie from a restaurant we went to while she was at school.

They love sleeping in the same bed, and on special occasions we let them sleep on the floor in a little "nest" together.

Yesterday was National Siblings Day. There seems to be a holiday for every relationship and occasion imaginable, but this is one to celebrate. Your sibling knows more about you than most people, and if you have a good relationship, they truly understand who you are. They will probably be with you longer than any other family member.

I know I'm so thankful for my sister. As kids we didn't get along perfectly, and we still have disagreements at times, but I don't know what I'd do without her. To me, a sibling is like a partner in life.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Wow

My friend's husband once told me these earrings were "80s".
What do you think of them?
I happen to like them, and I was all into orange this year, just like everybody else.
Apparently this spring "blue" is hot.
Anyway, I rarely wear these dangly numbers, but I decided to flaunt them today since I was wearing a top with bright orange flowers. Hey! Why not? Right? I also had a cute orange bracelet, but it broke! I can't even remember where I bought it.

At least I wowed this Wednesday. Makeup, Hair, nails and cute boots. Check. Check. Check. And check.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Find me a preschool!!

If you have a 3 or 4-year-old you most likely have already registered him or her for preschool.

  Not me.

 I'm driving myself crazy with this darn preschool search for Johnny. There are so many preschool options here that my terrible indecisiveness is causing me major anxiety.

 What if I don't choose the right one? What if the teachers aren't nice? What if they're too nice? What if he falls behind? What if he's bored? What if he doesn't learn?

 I didn't stress over this with Julie at all because of her birthday. Sept. 25 is the absolute best birthday when it comes to registering your children for kindergarten. It's too young in most districts to make the cutoff. In Altoona Julie actually made the cutoff of Sept. 30, but we held her back that year because she would have been the absolute youngest, but almost every parent would red-shirt a child with that birthday. Julie's late birthday meant three years of preschool. With Julie I really didn't have many worries once kindergarten rolled around.

With Johnny I'm stressing. He's a super smart, capable, social, friendly and active little guy. But, he's my BABY! His birthday is April 19. There's no red-shirting Johnny. Though I'm tempted to do so, that's pretty much ridiculous, considering his birthday.

Since we are sending him on time, he will have only one more year of preschool, and I'm stressing about that one year. It will be so crucial.

This first year of preschool has been great for Johnny. The teachers were loving and the program provided exactly what he needed to get oriented to school. Don't you think next year will be the real deal? Isn't that when he'll figure it all out before kindergarten?

 So far, I visited five preschools and have yet to make a decision. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations, but I just want my little boy to be given the opportunity to achieve his maximum potential.

One of the preschools I visited came highly recommended by a friend. But, when I questioned the director about the school's reading program, she looked at me confused and replied "We don't focus on reading. That's a kindergarten skill. If they learn to read before kindergarten, they'll be bored. That's when behavior problems start."

  Huh?? Really? So, you don't teach kids beginning reading skills because they might become behavior problems in kindergarten? Does that seem backward to just me? I'm not claiming my kid is going to be a superstar or that he'll definitely be reading before elementary school, but what harm is there in trying? I also understand the idea behind not pushing kids too hard, but I think there can be a balance. I also believe teachers have the keys to instill excitement in kids about learning.

 So...my search continues. I'll let you know when I find the right one.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Munch: Toby Keith's Bar and Grill

I love food and I especially love restaurants.
But, only good restaurants.
There's nothing worse than wasting a night on a bad or mediocre restaurant.
Living in Chicago we have a plethora of amazing restaurants. Scott and I have vowed to never visit a restaurant more than once unless we were completely wowed by the experience. And, we almost never will eat at a chain.
So, on my blog, I have decided to start a "Monday Munch" series.
I will give my own two cents about Chicago-area restaurants we have tried.

Today's review is Toby Keith's Bar and Grill in Rosemont. Yes, it's a franchise, but there are only a handful, and there's only one in the Chicago area.

The place is huge! There are tons of tables and a massive bar and dance floor. When we first walked in, we almost walked out at the sight of the scantily-clad cowgirl waitresses. It was akin to a southern-style Hooters. We were with the kids, and wondered whether it was family friendly.
It was early on a Friday night (around 5:30 p.m.), and the crowd was thin, so we decided to give it a go.

The menu was vast and fun, though Julie decided to order a chili because she didn't want any "unhealthy kid food."

I loved my southwestern chicken salad, which had a delectable southwest dressing. I did, however, have to request avocados to top the salad.

Scott thoroughly enjoyed his fried chicken dinner, but Johnny barely touched his macaroni and cheese because it was topped with "weird stuff." (Meaning the mac n cheese was actually homemade and not out of the box like at other restaurants.)

If you're looking for healthy fare, you might want to skip Toby Keith's Bar and Grill, but we had a blast. The kids ran around the massive dance floor after dinner, pretending they were famous like Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift. I just wish we sported cowboy hats.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Daddy's girl

We called it "running away."
Just Daddy and me.

We'd escape. Packed suitcases and all, and we'd go somewhere by the water. I don't even really know where, and Dad doesn't quite remember the place he'd used to take me. But, I remember it clearly. There were boats and I loved watching water lap at the dock and ducks bob in the distance.
We'd stand there a while, hand in hand, just peaceful and content.
Then, we'd end our outing with triple scoops of peanut butter cup ice cream.
Those were the best days--the days I knew Daddy pretty much loved me more than anyone else in the world. I felt the same.

There's just something about a daughter and her daddy. An unbreakable bond.

I see this in Julie and Scott.
As soon as the garage door creaks open Julie runs into her daddy's arms to welcome him home for the night. She's devastated when he has to travel for work, and she loves attention from Daddy more than anyone else.

Last night was a night to remember for Julie...and Scott too.. the daddy/daughter Hawaiian Luau with her Daisy Troop. Scott could have stayed home parked in front of the TV watching the Final Four tournament with a few beers.

Instead, he spent the night swinging Julie around, barely leaving the dance floor and making his only daughter feel like a princess.

Because that's what Daddies do.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

We are the fairies

I'm the tooth fairy.
So is Scott.
We alternate.

Neither of us are the right fit for this position, and it's definitely not a job we love.
The first time was kind of neat...our first kid losing her first tooth. How cute.
Now we kind of just cringe at the site of a lost tooth. We look at each other, and silently say with our eyes "It's your turn!!"

Yesterday it was Scott's turn and he almost chickened out. It took him a full 10 minutes to get up the nerve to switch out the tooth for the money, and Julie's note for the tooth fairy's note. He tiptoed as quietly as a 230-pound man can, slipped the money onto Julie's dresser and picked up her tiny tooth box, and dropped it clumsily on the floor.

Defeated, he came into my room with the box in hand. "I just can't do it," he whispered.
I realize my football player-sized husband isn't fairy material, but I assumed he was a little more courageous.

Sighing, I took the box from him, and ambled back into her room. To clarify, the prettily decorated tooth fairy box must stay in Julie's room after the tooth is removed. And, with every lost tooth, Julie writes a letter to the tooth fairy, so of course the tooth fairy must return the correspondence.

Overall, tooth fairy nights are a big ordeal and to be dreaded.

Mainly because this could be the night we blow our cover. This could be the night we cut her childhood short. As we creep into her room, the rustling of paper, the opening of a tiny box and the turning of the doorknob seem loud enough to wake everyone in the house.

Somehow we've never slipped up. We have accomplished all four of our fairy missions without fail.
Not sure what will happen by tooth 10, but so far we're in the clear.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Wow

I have a confession.

I didn't really WOW this Wednesday.

In fact, it was more of a Wednesday Woe.

I stayed in gym clothes all day.

Yes. I know. Not pretty and definitely goes against my New Year's resolution to beautify myself every Wednesday.

But, I do have something to add to this edition of Wednesday Wow.

A new nail color I absolutely love.
Despite the less than adorable outfit, my nails were prettily painted in Essie's brand new shade called "Bond with Whomever."

It's a fun, spring-y shade of light purple.

When all else fails, at least make sure your nails are pretty.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Being me at 24 or 34

I’ll be 35 in June.

Some days I feel every minute of 35, if not older.

I’m tired by 8 p.m.

I can’t hide the dark circles or crinkles around my eyes.

I can barely drink a couple glasses of wine without feeling like crap. I sometimes wake up with an achy back and most days I’m a mature, responsible adult.

But, every once and a while I still feel like my 19-year-old self---that crazy, carefree girl who loves to dance and sing karaoke, and make people crack up at her goofiness.
Whenever I let loose, friends and family who know me best say “That’s just Kristy being Kristy.”

Most recently my wild side emerged on a trip to New Orleans for the Super Bowl. As part of the trip, which Scott earned through work, I danced on stage with Train. Yes. The same band that sings “Meet Virginia,” and “Drops of Jupiter,” and “Soul Sister” and bunches of other amazing songs.

We knew we were going to see Train up close and personal at a super small venue, so I did my homework before the trip. Scott downloaded Train’s newest songs, and I listened to that stuff nonstop and loved every refrain.

When it came time for the concert, I was prepared. I drank six glasses of wine, threw off my heels and barged to the front of the crowd until I was directly in front of lead singer Patrick Monahan.

I sang along, swayed to the beat, cheered enthusiastically after every number and screamed “I LOVE THAT SONG!!” when Patrick announced he was going to sing “a new song called ‘Mermaids’ that most people probably haven't heard.”

A tad stunned, Patrick (for real) looked down at me and asked me to dance on stage with him.

Without hesitation, I hopped up on stage with no shame for my dirty, bare feet, and rocked it to “Mermaids,” crooning into the microphone and giving my best fishy face to imitate an actual mermaid.

After the song, he called me “the coolest girl ever,” signed my t-shirt conveniently right over my boob, and I pretended to flash the crowd. Hey—we were in New Orleans.

And that was just Kristy being Kristy.


Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fool's to me

It's 7 p.m.
I think I need to go to bed right now.
Today is April 1 and it was one humongous April Fool's joke on me.
In reality today wouldn't have been quite so bad, except for one minor event that entirely ruined the first day of April.

I hit another car with my car----meaning our 2013 Dodge Durango we bought five months ago. The beautiful metallic blue car that I absolutely love!

The thing is I didn't just ruin my day---I ruined the day of someone else--a completely innocent mom who drives a Honda Odyssey with car seats in the back and baby wipes on the front seat.

That makes me feel like crap.

I'm not even sure how it happened.
I was pulling into a regular parking space (not parallel) with plenty of room and sideswiped the Honda Odyssey. Cringing, I slowly backed up.

There was no denying the black scrape on the driver's side door of the Honda or the peeling pant and white scrapes on my Durango.

Of course I reported the incident to the police and our insurance will pay for the damage, but what an awful way to start spring 2013. Worst part about this whole thing? Scott really thought the accident was an April Fool's joke. I wish it was!

Can I please get a re-do of April 1?