Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sometimes I Don't Know Where She Came From

Scene: cookie baking

Bug (pointing out a specific cookie to me): After lunch, can I have one with those kind of sprinkles? Because those are the ones I really treasure.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Holiday Dessert Season is Officially OPEN...

The girls and I spent the day before Thanksgiving baking sugar cookies to take for a kid-friendly dessert the next day. (Side note: if, the week before Thanksgiving, you decide to make sugar cookies for dessert on the big day and think it would be cute if those cookies could be shaped like, oh, turkeys, or pumpkins or leaves, and you head out to purchase a Thanksgivingy cookie cutter, YOU WILL BE SORELY DISAPPOINTED. Much like one cannot buy snow boots in February (bikinis and flip-flops, yes, but not anything vaguely winter-related) your choices will be limited to only Christmas cookie cutters in the week preceding Thanksgiving. So, plain ol' circles in sorta fall-ish colors it was.)

My helpers were very industrious. They made the dough, cut out the cookies, and decorated them! Hooray for child labor! AND, they happily accept cookies as payment!
Certain preteens are getting camera-shy and prefer to be photographed unwittingly from behind. Otherwise, I get goofy faces or the paparazzi hand-in-front-of-face shot.
This, according to Bug, is the appropriate amount of sprinkles to put on a cookie:
(I only let her do that to one cookie).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


2008 has not been the best year. In fact, it's been overtly crappy in parts (hello, peanut allergy & damn dental bills), but this is a day to deliberately shift the focus to our blessings. I had to dig a little deeper this year to find the good, but still:

I am thankful for my girls, who illuminate my life with both their sweetness and their shenanigans. I am grateful that they are healthy, smart, and possess the ability to see the funny in life. If they can keep all three, they will be able to get through whatever life throws at them.

I am thankful for my husband, who works hard both at the office and at home to ensure that our lives are comfortable and our faucets drip-free.

I am thankful for our parents, who provided us not only with the foundation for our lives, but who continue to be supportive of us and stellar grandparents to Bear and Bug.

I am thankful for having a brother and sister-in-law, who I love and look forward to spending time with.

I am thankful that we have a home, unlike so many families who have faced foreclosure and joblessness this year.

I am thankful that our country has managed to come full-circle from its slave-owning past to elect an African American president.

I am thankful for Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show", who kept me sane during the presidential election.

I am thankful that my gum surgery and root canals are in the past.

I am thankful that Mittens has not yet figured out how to open doors, so we can stow her mischievous little self in the family room overnight.

Happy Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This Morning

Time: 6:00 am.
Scene: Dark.


Me (first counting to ten): Bear! Turn off your alarm.


Me: Bear! BEAR!


Daddy Shortbread: BEAR!!

Bear (sleepily): I know.


Me & Daddy Shortbread (staring at each other incredulously): BEAR!!!

Bear (now sleepy AND cranky, but clearly not moving): I. KNOW.


Bug (still in bed, does not need to get up for another half an hour): Bear! FOR GOD'S SAKE would you turn off your stupid alarm?! YOU ARE WAKING ME UP!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bear's New BFF

Meet Kelly, my old cell phone. I did not name her. I do have a life.
Bear is her new owner. She immediately named her "Kelly."

To Bear she is heaven, Disneyworld, and her new best friend all wrapped up in a metallic pink bow garnished with jazzy ringtones. She is completely and obnoxiously enarmored with the damn phone. For all the gushing she does over the sheer amazingness of her phone, the kid should be getting a weekly advertising check from Motorola.

Bear has been petitioning steadily for a cell phone since THIRD GRADE, when the first of her friends received one. "Mom, Christa can call her mom from the school bus to ask if she can go on a playdate!" she told me earnestly. Like I would somehow find this convincing. I was not swayed.

But now, in sixth grade, I had to admit that some situations were cropping up where it would have been useful for her to have a phone, like school activities that ended after dark. I even had to lend her mine on a couple of occasions, which was not so convenient. When Nana and Papa offered to get one for her as an early birthday present, I caved.

It's only to be used to call for rides and to call family at this point. No calling friends. I'm not ready to totally jump into the deep end. She's only eleven, after all. For now, she is content. She's happily texting and calling us, her grandparents, and her aunt and uncle. She changes her ringtones every two and a half minutes. She takes pictures of the cats, her sister, and tinfoil ("it makes a cool texture for a background!").

This is about the maximum distance Bear ever allows between herself and the cell phone:
This photo kinda says it all, yes?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just Tell Me When I Can Nap

Tonight is our fourthVisitor's Day at the dance studio in a week. While we love seeing the girls dance and getting a first peek at their recital costumes, there is also to be considered that we sit on supremely uncomfortable little plastic chairs for an hour and a half at a time in a studio made stuffy and sweltering from all the parents and kids crammed in there. Also? The 20 pairs of tap shoes in a confined space? I find myself consciously trying not to wince at the sound within twelve minutes. I don't know how their dance teacher does this on a daily basis. You know, without drinking heavily.

Still - I was so proud of my girls: Bear, whose grace and carriage really shines through in ballet; and Bug, whose energy and sense of rhythm is best showcased in jazz.

I must say, though, that after the crazy week we've had, when I treated the girls to McDonald's last night and Bear bit into a McNugget only to find it COMPLETELY RAW INSIDE, it felt like fate was deliberately messing with us. Enough so, that even though I was already in my comfy pants and slippers, I threw my coat back on and drove back to Mickey D's to return the Chicken McSalmonella Nuggets.

In summary: TGIF.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pride of Salesmanship

(Overheard yesterday when Bug had a friend over to play):

Bug (proudly, to her friend): And did you notice this new spoon rest of my mom's? She got it from the school fundraiser. It seems to be working out pretty well for her.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Poor Children

My kids were righteously indignant when they discovered that this is a full week of school. The past three weeks of school have been riddled with teacher in-service days, early release days, and national holidays.

"What? Not even a half day this week?" Bear asked.

"Nope. You go all five days this week. But next week is Thanksgiving, and you only have two days of school," I told them.

Bug sighed and layed her head on the kitchen table, "Man, this sucks. I need a break."

Because it's so stressful being eight years old?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Bug's Letter to Santa

Yesterday, I casually mentioned to Bug that I had seen on The Today Show that Santa had begun deciding which toys to give to which children. (Hey, we all know that if Matt Lauer says it, it must be true, right?) I wondered aloud if she had finished writing her letter to Santa.

I do this every year, and it never fails to amuse me. I also announce when I've "seen on the news" that Santa is polishing the sleigh, that elves have begun wrapping presents, that x number of gifts have been reassigned because of last-minute naughtiness. Keeps 'em on their toes.

"No, but I'll get right on that," she said, standing up and unceremoniously dumping the snoozing cat off her lap. She fetched a notebook and pencil from her room and plunked herself in the middle of the living room floor to write. Bear, curled up in a recliner with a book, exchanged an knowing & amused look with me over the top of Bug's head.

Here is what Bug wrote:

Dear Santa,
Here is what I want for Christmas.

Wii games like My Sims Creator and My Sims Kingdom!

A Nintendo DS with DS game Tetris or Mario Carts.

The Webkinz eagel, bottle nose dolphine, or Manatee!

Bath and body works gift card.

Vidio camera to film puppet shows with!

Or you can surprise me!

I have been good all year my mom signed this to prove it.

Jennifer Z. Bestmomever

ps. I will be at my nanas and papas for christmas.


Monday, November 10, 2008

You Know You're Sick...

...when your normally snuggly-soft flannel sheets feel like sleeping on a loofah. I seriously spent an hour awake last night trying to figure out how to make a blanket out of the soft misty rain outside my window. For real. It seemed reasonable at the time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Awesome & Fabulous

Uncle Awesome and Aunt Fabulous just came to Maine for a six day visit. We had a great time hanging out with them, eating, playing Wii, eating, shopping, (did I mention eating?), and watching the election returns. Oh, also we ate a lot. I have GOT to get back to the gym on Monday. Bug, in particular, is completely awestruck by Aunt Fabulous. She takes careful note of Aunt Fab's stylish clothes, accessories, and shoes. I notice that she takes a little extra time with choosing her own accessories when Aunt Fab is around, and frequently adds a little dab of glitter roll-on to take her ensemble to that next level.

They took the girls on a shopping spree last weekend, helping them select trendy new clothes for school. Bear begged me to wash them up as quickly as possible, so she could wear a new shirt Monday to school.
Bear loves that Uncle Awesome and Aunt Fab are as into video games as she is. Finally, grown-ups who will tirelessly play Wii without begging off after ten minutes to do laundry or some other boring adult activity. Let's face it, aunts and uncles are way more fun than parents.
"Gee, thanks for spoiling my kids," I joked to Uncle Awesome as they left.

"That's our job," he replied, quite serious.
And they do it so well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Thee To The Polls!

Scene: this morning

Bear: It's Election Day!

Me (mock confusion): Oh yeah ... who am I voting for again?

Bear (sternly): Mom, do I need to write it on your hand?


Everyone at Chez Jenn is voting in this election. The junior high is holding its own election, where students are voting on not only the presidential candidates, but also the senatorial ones and the local ballot propositions. The third grade is holding a Presidential election. Bug is taking it quite seriously.

And does everyone know that Starbucks is giving out FREE COFFEE to everyone who votes today? I'm going to need it to stay awake and watch the election returns.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Here they are: The Dead Medieval Maiden and Cleopatra. Bug was highly irked that many people were not able to guess who she was. Among the guesses: Cinderella (with black hair and a cobra headpiece?!), a "princess", Clea (?), and Isis (we awarded points for at least getting that she was Egyptian). Only a few people correctly labelled her as Cleopatra.Bear was supposed to be a Medieval Lady. We were planning to curl her hair into ringlets and weave a gold ribbon through it. She would wear pearls and dangly earrings. Once she discovered that all her friends were planning to be Goths, or vampires, and various other scary types, she decided that Medieval Lady was lame. She came to me worried and anxious four days before Halloween.
In a stellar parenting moment (that I plan to get much mileage out of), I suggested that since she ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY WAS GOING TO WEAR THE COSTUME THAT GRANDMA LOVINGLY SEWED HER, that perhaps she would like to be a Dead Medieval Lady.
She paused.
She considered.
Her eyes lit up.
She thought I was the coolest mom ever. (That's the part I plan to remind her of frequently).
This is what we came up with:
That's her actual hair with the addition of an entire can of hairspray, followed by a liberal application of baby powder and leaves from the yard. She had to stand in the shower for about ten minutes to rinse it all out before she could even shampoo. We really COMMIT to our Halloween costumes around these parts.
Here's our entire Halloween crew. Bug and Bear have trick-or-treated with their friends C.(gangsta) and M. (Goth) for the past five years. In between houses, they plan what their costumes will be next year. Then they change their minds about thirty-seven times before the next Halloween.
We went back to their house for pizza and tiramisu (What? they're both Italian) . After supper, the kids all dumped their candy in the living room and swapped candy back and forth like little commodities traders ("I gotta Three Musketeers! Who wants it? Whaddya got? Nope, I'm not taking candy corn. Ya gotta Snickers?")
But the highlight of Halloween this year was the arrival of Uncle Awesome and Aunt Fabulous that afternoon. Of course, we dragged them both to Bug's class Halloween party and out trick-or-treating with us. They were very good sports, especially when bribed with tiramisu and peanut butter cups.