If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me: Would we? Could we?!

You guys. Do you remember this?

First Day of School!

It was Meredith’s first day of preschool back in 2006! We had no idea that she was nearly blind in one eye and couldn’t see out of the other. She had no idea that she had no idea about so many things! (She quickly got some ideas.)

Oh! And this!

First Day of Pre-School

It was Harper’s first day of preschool back in 2008! When I took her to school that day, she had never been away from me for more than two hours at a time! (She was still nursing six months before preschool began!) Sending her to school that day was terrifying for both of us. (Everyone told me she would be fine. For the first time EVER and the last time SINCE, everyone was right. EVERYONE was RIGHT!)

Look at this.

It was nice knowing you, Sister.

This photo captures the longest hug the girls have ever shared. I believe Harper had no idea she would be returning home from preschool that day.

Once again, today was the first day of school.

First Day of Second and Fourth Grade!

Harper is in the second grade, and ALL SECOND GRADERS GET TO WORK ON LAPTOPS!!! (She’s very excited about that.) Also, her teacher has fish! And he has the fairy books that she loves! And he plays music while they clean up!!!

Meredith is in the fourth grade, and her teacher has a book that was JUST recommended to her on Goodreads! And she made a new friend today who transferred over from a different elementary school in the district! And her hippo pencil holder barely holds any pencils so now it looks like she has pencils coming out of her butt! (Clarification: I’m talking about the hippo’s butt. I’m way beyond talking about Meredith’s butt at Fluid Pudding.)

Enjoy your afternoon. I’ll be sitting over here in the corner eating graham crackers with chocolate icing and singing Barbra Streisand tunes. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

The Parties are Over, Doris Day.

Announcement: Classroom Parties! 2 down, 4 to go! AND, today’s parties were very much okay. Of course, my style is to always focus on the glitches (kids who despise caramel, kids who HATE that I didn’t bring cupcakes, kids who were injured during the popcorn relay, etc.). I’ve made mental notes for the remaining parties (ignore the haters, continue to not bring cupcakes because I have the power to bring (or not bring) cupcakes, no more games that require athleticism and kernels). I believe four other parents (plus my mom) helped out at Harp’s party, and three other parents (including Jeff and Christy) helped out at MC’s party. Day is done, gone the sun, etc.

Wait. One more thing. I took the first graders and had them stand in a circle. I then handed one of them a ball of yarn, asked him to hold onto the end, and then toss it to the other side of the circle. The person who caught it then pinched part of the yarn and tossed the ball at someone else. The end result was a pretty awesome spider web. If I had 20 kids of my own, we would play this game every single day. (That’s just like me to go and get my tubes tied two months before finding the most incredible party game ever. Harumph.)


I’m going to go ahead and give NaBloPoMo a whirl. For those of you who don’t know what that means: It means I’ll be trying to put something up at Fluid Pudding every day throughout the month of November. Last year? Failure. (I made it 20 days before having absolutely nothing to say.) The year before? A huge success, thanks to Harper taking a hole puncher to my cat’s ear.

Anyway. We’ll see what happens. (I’ll TELL you what’s going to happen: Microderm Abrasion!!! Also, a mammogram!)

I’ll see you tomorrow. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I’m just over here doing Tuesday.


It appears that October is already 1/3 of the way over, and that raises my anxiety levels a bit because: Due to circumstances beyond my control but not REALLY beyond my control, I am now the head room parent for Meredith’s class AND Harper’s class. I filled out the form and said something like, “I will NOT be the head room parent, because I like to visit both girls’ classrooms during each of the parties.”

Last week I got the call. “No one has signed up to be a room parent for Meredith’s class. You’re the only one who sent in the form saying you will be at all parties. Will you do it?” AND, because Meredith’s teacher is currently on maternity leave and I don’t want the substitute teacher to have to deal with it, I reluctantly stepped forward.

A few days later, I received the news that Harper’s class doesn’t have a head room parent, either. Well, in my eyes, it’s not really fair that I’m doing it for Meredith and NOT for Harper, so I got all sloppy drunk and stepped up. (Disclaimer: There was no alcohol involved. I really have no idea what takes over and forces me to raise my hand when asked to do something that I don’t really want to do. Increased epinephrine levels? Hubris? The constant yearning for heroic background music to start playing when I so something that terrifies me?)

I won’t bother you with Hermionic (I just made that word up to compare myself to Hermione in Harry Potter. Meredith is reading the Harry Potter books right now, and she just reached the point where Ron notices that Hermione has three classes scheduled for 9:00 in the morning. I loved that part.) logistics. I’ll just say this: One of the big things I remember from my third grade Halloween party was when our teacher brought in a Crock Pot and melted caramels all morning so we could dip apple slices in the pot in the afternoon. I decided to recreate that memory for Meredith’s class. AND, then I received the note. Someone has an apple allergy. Also, there’s an egg allergy that includes anything MADE with eggs. Pork allergy. (No worries on that one.) Shellfish allergy. (Mollusks, anyone?) Peanut allergy. (That’s pretty much a given these days, isn’t it?) I have no idea what I’ll be doing, but please rest assured that I *will* figure something out. Hopefully.

Something in my house smells like urine, but I don’t believe it’s urine. What an interesting time of year it is.

Speaking of The Time of The Year, every year our church makes a huge batch of apple butter, and every year I purchase a jar and go all crazy with it. Apple butter in my hot tea. Apple butter on French vanilla ice cream. Spoonful of apple butter just because it’s 3:17 in the afternoon. This year I came up with the greatest apple butter combination that I’ve had so far: Take a tortilla (I prefer Flatout), spread about two tablespoons of apple butter on it, throw two slices of pepper jack cheese on top, roll it up, and you’re about to eat The Greatest Wrap Ever. The only thing that might make it better is to add something that crunches. Spinach, perhaps?

I took a spinning class last week, and two people in my life assumed that the class had something to do with sitting on a stationary bike. Instead, it had everything to do with drafting methods and getting the yarn to look right on the bobbin and Navajo plying and so forth. On Sunday afternoon, I spun two ounces of Lisa Souza’s Wensleydale in “Sky Drama.”

Wensleydale "Sky Drama"

It’s pretty sloppy because the staple length is longer than what I’m used to (and I’m still not so good with achieving even bobbins). BUT, it’s so shiny and colorful and I can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s plied and lovely. My short-term spinning goal involves trying out as many fiber blends as I can. Spinning has become so meditative and therapeutic. I highly recommend it.

Meredith won a raffle which will enable her to be the school principal for the day on Thursday. She will start her day thirty minutes before the other students arrive, and will spend the entire day with the principal. They will have lunch, they will meet with the superintendent, and they will monitor classrooms together. At the end of the day, Meredith will be writing up a small report that will be included in the weekly newsletter. Meredith has already planned her outfit, is a bit upset that I refused to purchase a suit with heels for her, and is already brainstorming on how to make her school a better place.

Meredith: We really need to somehow get kids to try harder to behave.

Harper: I am already trying AS HARD AS I CAN!

Meredith: I bet you can try harder. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

First Day of School!

You know me.

First Day of First Grade!

I really can’t let a first day of school go by without sharing the photos.

First Day of Third Grade!

And, look. I even made them hug.

Harper and Meredith FDoS 2011

(It took about 25 failed shots to get one hug photo in which both girls look at least partially happy. “Keep hugging! No! We’re not there yet! Hug! Happy hugs! Hu-uh-uhg!”)

((Congratulations to Peggy for winning the hat or gloves! And thank you so much to all who donated or who still might donate! We’re almost there!!!)) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Do you really want to shirt me? Do you really want to make me cry?

Back in 2006, my friend Tempe shared her idea of embroidered shirts to commemorate her kids’ first day of school. Because I loved the idea, we jumped on the wagon. Meredith’s first day of preschool was on August 16, 2006. She didn’t yet wear glasses, she could barely write her name, and she had no idea how to read.
Class of 2021

On August 15, 2007, she attended her first day of pre-K. She could then write her name, she could see (!!!), and she was starting to turn down the tantrums and make friends.
Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.

On August 18, 2008, Harper went to preschool for the first time. She had been waiting for this day for YEARS. (I have never seen cuter cheeks, by the way.)
First Day of Pre-School

That same day, Meredith started kindergarten—minus some teeth, plus an awesome pair of glasses.
First Day of Kindergarten!

AND, here is my big mistake. Meredith started the first grade on August 13, 2009. I hadn’t yet picked up the shirts, so she decided to dress as “a rock and roll girl” for her first day. (Her shirt that year was navy blue with yellow embroidery. I’m kicking myself for not having a photo. Get past it. Get past it. Get past it. Repeat and fade.)
Rock and Roll Elementary School

On August 17, 2009, Harper showed her freshly cut layers at pre-K. (She’s still mad about that haircut. She STILL says bad things about Salon Vicki.)
Turning Up the Sass for Pre-K

Harper’s first day of kindergarten and Meredith’s first day of second grade was on August 16, 2010. This was the day that I dropped them off at school, and suddenly found myself faced with nearly seven hours of free time. Seven hours that I spent mourning my marketability and counting down the hours until I could nab a spot in the pick up line.
First Day of School!

Yesterday morning we went and ordered the shirts for this year. It’s Meredith’s sixth shirt and Harper’s fourth. I have a dream of someday making a quilt out of all of these t-shirts, but deep down I know that will never happen. Because I have no idea how to quilt. Also, I tend to lack tenacity. But it sounds good, right?

Not long ago, someone asked what I do for a living. My response to this is nearly always “I’m a stay at home mom.” (It’s really difficult to explain freelance editing and monkey publishing side jobs.) Can you call yourself a stay at home mom if the kids are at school while you are at home? I suppose I need to start redefining myself yet again.

(Weird side story: Every time we go to the embroidery store, we order The Same Exact Thing. We’ve been going to the same place for SIX years, yet every single time the lady acts like she has to do the math and asks something like, “So this year we’re at Class of 2022 and 2023?” Every year I laugh at the thought of her inadvertently implying that my kids weren’t bumped up to the next grade. And then she doesn’t understand why I’m laughing and I don’t understand why we have to go through this every single year. And then she gives the girls red suckers, and all is well.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

She was an American Girl, Tom Petty.

Early last week we drove to Kansas City, where we did a little bit of this.

The Kansas City American Girl Store!

(The girls did eventually enter the store.)

You know, while I was pregnant, I swore that my daughters would not become girly girls. I also swore that they wouldn’t watch a bunch of television and that they would be good eaters. Anyway. Meredith took an American Girl class at her school’s summer enrichment program, and the girls have been reading the American Girl books and choosing their favorite characters (and saving their money, believe it or not) for the past several weeks.

Nicole and Meredith

Meredith knew exactly who she was looking for when we entered the store—Just Like Me Doll #53. She and Jeff headed to that end of the store while Harper asked a sales associate to talk her through the historical dolls so she could make the right decision. (I think she knew exactly who she wanted, but enjoyed “interviewing” the store employee to get more facts.)

Harper and Molly

It’s Molly! Her time period in the books is set during World War II, and I knew that Harper was paying attention to this when she told Meredith that “Molly likes to sleep a lot, because sleeping helps her forget about the war.” Admittedly, I haven’t read the books, but I have to wonder what led to Harper’s immediate need to get a wheelchair for Molly. (“She won’t be able to walk again for at least two years. Or more.”) So, while Nicole (JLM#53) is jumping around and trying on earrings (Yes. Both dolls got their ears pierced at the Doll Hair Salon.), Molly is sitting in a wheelchair wishing that this whole war thing had never happened.

You may think the American Girl thing is crazy. Here’s what I think is crazy:

Crazy Fudge Man

Crazy Fudge Guy. He slapped the fudge and threw the fudge and made bad fudge jokes and although I felt the same level of discomfort around him that I tend to feel around circus clowns and college mascots, he threw me over the edge when he passed his fudge spatula around the room and encouraged everyone to fill their finger with fresh fudge. (If you know me, you know that I cannot touch food like that. Standing around watching people fudge themselves and then lick their fingers threw me into crazy panic mode.)

So, we left and found a miniature waterfall.

Don't go chasing waterfalls.

Later that evening, I was able to evaluate my decision to stick with vegetarianism as Jeff ate one of the only things I miss—big deep fried crazy meat sandwiches sprinkled in powdered sugar with raspberry preserves on the side. Ah, Monte Cristo. (I remained strong. After 12 months of vegetables and beans, I will NOT let a deep fried meat and cheese sandwich bring me down!) ((I dipped my fries in the raspberry preserves.))

Monte Cristo!

Remind me sometime to tell you about when we tried to make a Monte Cristo during the university days. It weighed about ten pounds and was filled with oil and was probably not very safe to eat, but we still managed to eat it, because it had taken so much effort to make—what with our lack of a proper Fry Daddy and all. We also ate a turkey on the roof of our house on New Year’s Eve and danced in the snowy street on Groundhog Day. Those were the days. Speaking of which, after we left Kansas City on Thursday, we went to Columbia, Missouri—the town where I danced in the street and ate a turkey on the roof and attempted to make a decent Monte Cristo.

Shakespeare’s doesn’t carry orange soda anymore, and I think that’s insane because nothing goes with broccoli pizza like orange soda.

Oh, broccoli pizza! How I love you!

(They now carry Coke products. And maybe they’ve ALWAYS carried Coke products. I don’t know, because I ALWAYS HAD ORANGE SODA. Dr. Pepper is NOT an acceptable replacement. Life can be so hard sometimes.)

MC loves Shakespeare's!

The girls didn’t mind the lack of orange soda. They love Shakespeare’s. They love watching the pizza being made, and they love that the guy who was making it flipped some dough over the window for them to play with. Best of all, my love for Mizzou is rubbing off on them. The one thing they wanted to do before we left town was have their photo taken by the columns with their American Girl dolls.

The Girls and The Girls at The Columns

(The quad was blocked off, so we had to stay on the sidewalk. Not a big deal. We’ll be back.)

On the way home, I put about three inches worth of sock on my needles.

Knitting Socks on the Road

I haven’t felt very enthusiastic about socks lately, but last week something happened that suddenly made me feel enthusiastic about socks. More on that later. When they’re done.

(We boarded Scout for four days and three nights while we were gone. When we picked her up, she had been bathed and bandanafied, and we have photo evidence that she enjoyed playing in the pool with the big dogs. Meanwhile, the cats were home entertaining ideas of us eventually returning WITHOUT Scout. Sometimes, it’s nice to dream.)

Back from Puppy Camp! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Pudding’s Got the Juice, Newton.

I was going to start off by showing you this photo:

First Day of School!

Then I was going to say, “This is the girls on their FIRST day of second grade and kindergarten.”

Then I was going to show you THIS photo:

Last Day of School!

And I was going to say, “This is the girls on their LAST day of second grade and kindergarten.” Then I was going to type something thoughtful like, “Meredith couldn’t speak Mandarin Chinese or write haikus on the first day of school, but now she can!” and “Harper couldn’t read or count by fives on the first day of school, but now she can!”

Ah! But then a big brown truck pulled up in front of my house this afternoon and all of my sentimental madness came to a screeching halt—replaced with what can only be described as Juice Potential. And Juice Potential is an insanely powerful thing.


Yes. My juicer arrived today, and as soon as I opened the box and washed the parts, I took nine carrots and a firmly packed cup of spinach and I made an eight ounce glass of Carrot/Spinach juice. (Despite the fact that the dog treats are right there with the carrots and spinach, I can assure you that they were NOT included in the juice.) ((They’re flavored with salmon, and Scout is crazy about them.))

Carrot Spinach Juice!

Despite how it LOOKS, it actually tasted very good. BUT, I drank it entirely too quickly and I ended up feeling a bit ill for about an hour. I’m telling myself that my “ill” was actually the healing power of the juice going to work on my innards! Feel the cleanse! I CAN SEE IN THE DARK AND LIFT A HYUNDAI TUCSON!!!

Tomorrow I’ll be making Apple/Peach/Grapefruit juice! (1 apple, 2 peaches, and 2 grapefruits will make approximately 2.5 cups of juice!)

Side Note: Every meal I ate today was raw and vegan. Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day. Summer break in action! JUICE!!! DOUGHNUTS!!! (Yes. I still refuse to spell it as “donut”. I also still refuse to put that period inside the quotation marks.) We lack consistency! (Hence: Fluid Pudding.)
You still have a chance to win! Come on over and comment. You could win a $100 Visa gift card! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I will mangle your microwave and cripple your coffeepot.

I volunteer at the girls’ school at least three days each week, and I totally love being there. I love the teachers, I love the office staff, I love the kids, I love using the word Love, and so on! (I *did* try to employ my reliable thesaurus in order to tune down the Love a bit, and it was recommended that I say something like “I get a bang out of the teachers” or “I lust for the office staff.” I believe I will stick with Love. Thus it is, and so it goes.)

Yesterday afternoon my mom and I volunteered to help 73 first and second graders make paper. About an hour before the kids were to arrive, the teacher showed us how to make pulp in the blender and asked us to fill nine tubs with different colored pulps. Sixty minutes to fill nine tubs with pulp. Duck soup.

After about four or five tubs, we broke the blender. And when I say “we broke the blender” I simply mean that the blender stopped working. I don’t believe we did anything incorrectly—it just overheated or something and died. (It took the microwave down with it, so I can only assume this was an electrical issue. However, when we tried to plug the blender in at a working outlet? It once again did not work. This story is growing entirely too long. May I bring you a blanket?)

The teacher, who is admirably unflappable and kind, handed some cash over and asked if I could go to the store and grab another blender. Yes I can! Mom and I rushed out, grabbed another blender, returned to the school, and made another three tubs of pulp before the second blender broke. At that point, we felt a bit Lucy and Ethel-esque.

My mom (making small talk to distract me from freaking out): Do you still have that weird spot on your hip?

Me: Yep. I think I’m going to have it cut off after knitting camp.

My mom: You know, I’m pretty good at making paper. Maybe I could cut that thing off of your hip!

Both of us: Ha Ha HA HA HA!!!!!

We were able to make due with the pulp we created before Operation Blender Annihilation, and 73 students made some pretty awesome paper before Mom and I headed home for the day. Excellent. (This morning I helped 21 kids plant grass seeds in cups, and at one point I actually said, “I don’t think you want to see me lose my patience.” As my kids know, this is the final thing I tend to say before completely losing my cool. Luckily, I was able to finish the planting and exit the building without showing everyone my ugly Jekyll/Hyde spin kick transformation. (No disrespect intended toward those with actual split personality disorders. (Bases? Covered!)))

I’m getting ready for next week’s knitting camp, and I plan on taking you with me if the WiFi connection is as great as they say. (Dear Coffee Lady, I know. This is NOT real camping, is it?!) I’m taking my current lace weight project (a Pi Shawl made from Noro “Sekku”), a DK weight project (a Seraphim made of Silky Wool), a worsted weight project (a short-sleeved Liesl made of ruby Sierra), and my latest obsession: a Taygete made from Scout’s Swag and Sanguine Gryphon sock yarns. (It’s for my migraine doctor. Because she always admires my knitting and she hasn’t yet given up on the bugs in my head.)

I am drinking Tropicana Pure Premium and giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card! Leave a comment for your chance to win!

I went shopping at Walgreens, and now I’m giving away a $100 Walgreens gift card! Come on over! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

No one’s gloomy or complaining while the flatware’s entertaining!

Breakfast with Belle

We’re back. The trip was amazing and fast and as you can see, we met a beautiful princess.

Actually, we met a bunch of princesses. We had breakfast with them!

Oh, Ariel.

Me: Ask Ariel if she misses her dad.

Harper: Why?

Me: Because she decided that she would rather have legs and a boy than a family who loved her. Also, poor Flounder.

My mom: Shut up.

I’ll be editing and placing photos into this set during the next few days. Keep checking back if you want. (And, yes. I went a leetle cuhrazy when it came to shooting photos of Cinderella’s castle. I really have no idea what I was doing. It changes colors! So sparkly! ClickClickClickClickClick!!!)

One more thing: Although I’m not one of them, I totally understand the fully grown women who go to Disney World wearing red and white polka dotted shirts and Minnie Mouse ears. If you’re going to be a character you may as well go balls out, and When in Rome, right? But here’s the thing. Although I will not laugh at you if you’re 40 years old, not employed by Walt Disney World, and you’re all dressed up to look like a mouse, I probably won’t be able to control my Eyebrows of Judgment if you’re also screaming at your child who’s acting a bit nuts after eating the Dumbo-sized funnel cake that you just purchased for him. Lady. You’re dressed up like a mouse. You just fed your kid a gigantic cake covered in sugar. He’s now out of control, and all of a sudden you’re Joan Crawford with a weird fake tail. (I really wanted to take that little boy home with me, feed him some vegetables, and give him a night full of sanity. Isn’t it sad that option isn’t available?)

Main Street bedecked for the holidays!

This is the scene that I want to create in my own backyard. (Minus the millions of people, Plus! More! Castle!)
Come watch me grow larger and leave a comment for a chance to win a $150 Visa gift card! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

It’s a marshmallow world with jelly bears and wheeee!!! Let’s change the subject!

Harper came out to the car yesterday with a worried look on her face. When I asked her what was up, she hesitated for a bit—which isn’t her normal style.

Harper: Well, on the way out to the car, a first grader told me that Santa Claus isn’t real.

Me: What?!

Harper: Yeah. First she told me to pet her bear because it was filled with jelly and then she started talking fast about God and Jesus and how God hates Santa Claus.

Me: She was clearly high.

Harper: What?

Me: Harper, do you remember when you thought that marshmallows grew on trees, and we looked it up and discovered that what you had was bad information?

Harper: Yeah. Marshmallows can’t grow on trees.

Me (wishing I could stop time and formulate a coherent thought): Yep. I wish they did, but they don’t. I think sometimes people share what they think they know, even if it’s bad information. That whole bear with the jelly thing sounds sort of crazy.

Harper: What about God and Jesus?

Me: I’m good with God and Jesus.

Harper: Does God hate Santa Claus?

Me: I think God has better things to do than hate Santa Claus.

Harper: She really did have a bear, but it wasn’t filled with jelly.

Me: See what I mean? It was like she was playing Truth and Lies with you!

Harper: I don’t know what you’re saying.

Me: Me neither.

Last week Meredith asked if it’s physically possible for a reindeer to fly. When I stuttered around and said something about magic, she told me that she doesn’t really believe in magic. Argh. I’m not quite ready for my kids to not believe in Santa Claus. With that said, I’m not sure how much longer I can do my marshmallow tree dance.

Any tips/words of wisdom? (AND, although I know I just asked for tips and words of wisdom, I also know that at least three of you firmly believe that FANTASY KILLS and it’s Terrible Parenting 101 to allow your children to believe in things like fairies and old men who deliver gifts from the North Pole. If you’re one of those three, please feel free to sit this one out. (I still think you’re pretty.)) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>