A Tale of Two Snacks

Linda Kennard

I swear I have a split personality. There’s this side of me that cares way too much and another side of me that doesn’t seem to care at all. About anything. I only need to tell you one story to show you what I mean. It goes like this….

I was supposed to bring a snack to C&Ts third-to-last soccer game of the year and that day, for whatever reason, the side of me that cares too little was in charge. I’ll call her Linda1 (because I’m clever like that).

Linda1 dropped the boys off for warmup, sang along with the radio on her way to the grocery store, then sauntered up and down the aisles sipping a skinny frappuccino and half-heartedly looking for a snack. While she was checking out the fat content in Blue Bell ice cream, she glanced at her watch (thankfully) and saw that the game had already started. Linda1 was not fussed about this detail. Nonchalant, she grabbed neon Poptarts, raisins and sports drinks of unnatural colors. While unquestionably odd, the snack was not without reason: she picked Poptarts because she never buys Poptarts so figured C&T would consider them a treat. She bought raisins because she decided that they were a close substitute for the Sports Beans that Clyde requested but this store didn’t carry (despite his claims to the contrary). And she bought the sports drink because, well you know, it’s sporty.

At the game, Clyde was disappointed, doubly so because he told all of his teammates that his mom was bringing Sports Beans. Despite the coach’s heroic efforts to tout the raisins as “nature’s sports beans,” the team members groaned. Some of them ate the raisins despite the letdown but many of the boys passed. More than one mom was visibly disgusted by the Poptarts; they aren’t exactly healthy. The only snack item that was acceptable was the sports drink. Fail.

Enter Linda2. If Linda2 had been in charge at the grocery store, this never would have happened. (Read more…)

Three Little Words

Laura De Veau

Spicy Girl has started to express her feelings more freely. At first, the hubby and I thought the “I love you”s were exclusively for us and the grandparents. Then the aunts and cousins got the sentiment. But, when the third nephew, twice removed got one, we knew that we were in a situation where possibly the “selectivity” was not what we had originally believed it to be.

My initial thought was “does she understand what that means?” Then, when she told the guy at the Trader Joe’s check out that she loved him for giving her a sticker, it occurred to me that she knows that it makes people happy, but only those that love her back will respond with “I love you, too.” The check out guy, well, he just smiled and gave her an extra sticker – which may very well be why she said it to begin with.

Recently, while visiting friends at the beach, Spicy Girl and her friend, Marsh (name changed to protect the innocent and Spicy Girl’s reputation), who is five months her senior were walking playfully back to the house for lunch – following a fun morning of sun, surf and sand castles. The two of them skipped, ran, giggled and even held hands for a few minutes – until she said it “I love you.” Marsh’s response? First he dropped the hand, then he gave her an emphatic, “But, I don’t love you.”

“Well, that’s not very nice.” She said, “Right, mommy?”

“Well, Spicy Girl – we don’t go saying ‘I love you’ to every boy out there. And, frankly, he’s being honest.”

Minutes later, they were back at it, chasing one another around, playing tag and having fun. I had just experienced the shortest episode of heart-break on record.

Of course she won’t remember this first rejection, but I will. And in the future, when she is making decisions that have to do with the heart, I will remind her of this moment. It is doubtful that it will be this painless, but hopefully, this little tale will make her smile through a time of heart ache. While life and love gets more complicated over time, the bottom line is there will be times where someone loves you enough to give you a second sticker and times where they like you enough to just play tag.

The Worm Gene

Becca Sanders

Is there a gene for worm infatuation?

If so, I have it – and I passed it along to my daughter. From the time I was nine until well into my teens, I made a small fortune selling nightcrawlers to the neighborhood fishermen. Those slimey things kept me in candy, trips to the community pool, movie matinees, and crap from Woolworth’s throughout my youth.

The technique was passed down to my from my grandfather. After a good rain, I’d put on my rubber boots and my rain hat, grab a bucket and a flashlight, and sneak around the yard, snatching up my prey before they knew what hit ‘em. The trick was to grab them and pull them out of their holes gently yet firmly so they wouldn’t break. On good nights, I’d get twelve to fourteen dozen. For those of you who are afraid of worms, I’ll say it slowly just to bother you: nearly t w o h u n d r e d W O R M S.

Every so often I’d let my older sister come with me. At some point, in the later years, we figured out what certain worms were doing when they were lying so close together – almost attached to one another – and coined the term “wormy spermy.” My sister would call me over when she stumbled upon one of these late-night worm trysts. She lacked the speed and skill necessary to pull off the coup of worm-hunting: two worms at once. Sweet victory!

Once home, I’d put them in my special worm cooler in the basement fridge, (Read more…)

A Month Into Summer and I’m Still Sane

Angie McCullagh

I won’t lie. I was nervous about summer-leven long weeks of the kids at home with little to no daily structure, and work I knew I’d need to do regardless of how few free hours I could wrangle.

We’re twenty-two days in, now. And, so far? I’m enjoying it. There’s no setting my alarm for 6:30, no frantically making lunches, gathering folders and library books, no rushing.

We’ve visited my parents in Michigan, frolicked on the beach, started our local library’s summer reading program, picnicked, and basically lazed our way through the mostly sunny, warm days.

Yes, Milo and Belle have fought. They’ve whined. They’ve come close to driving me over the precipice of sanity once or twice. But the difference is, (Read more…)

Thinking About Fate

Laura De Veau

As you may know from reading my bio, Spicy Girl came to us through international adoption from China.

The most difficult aspect of the wait to be matched with a child is, well, the wait. The matching process is cloaked in secrecy and it is done in a single bureaucratic office for every eligible child in the entire country. After we submit our dossier, it is placed in a cue, and it stays in that spot in line until you are matched. It doesn’t matter if you are Jill Schmo or Angelina Jolie – your spot in line is your spot in line. When you are “up to bat” then the creation of your family (i.e. the “matching”) is in the hands of a person who you have never—and will never—meet.

This can make you feel pretty helpless. But for me, I developed a coping mechanism, creating a fantasy world, where the people matching me with my daughter could see me and the hubby through some sort of a crystal ball, allowing them to make the best match.

This past June, we attended a reunion gathering of all the families that traveled with us, in the Fall of 2007, to China to adopt our girls. The last time we were together, the families were still getting used to one another—and, for some of us, getting used to the “mechanics” of parenting (read: diapering and sleep routines). Now, the families are solidified, and it is amazing to see what is nature and what is nurture and what is just “a good match”.

It went beyond how they dressed, what toys they played with and where they lived. It was their spirit and the connection they had with their parents and their siblings. I especially loved to see the look in their eyes when they ran to their parents for comfort or with joyful triumph after experience something new.

But, like with birth children, these children were woven into their families, with a spirit that was unique to each household. Since that weekend, I have never felt more confident that Spicy Girl was a “good match” for us; all of those little unquantifiable traits that make her our kid.

So clearly, the crystal ball works.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)