Oh Snap!

When you are 5 you want to be just like your sisters. When your mother is busy getting ready for a birthday party, prepping for a tropical storm and worrying about what’s happening in Kentucky, it’s pretty darn easy to wear her down. It’s made even easier when Daddy is out of town. It’s then that bad things can happen. Things like this…

Need a closer look?

That would be Kool-Aid dip dyed hair. Oh it will come out with baking soda and vinegar they said… They better freakin’ be right! School starts Monday for heaven’s sake!

No. It is not just Bria. Arleigh chose blue that turned into a lovely shade of chlorine green. Hanan picked purple… AKA my goth phase is growing out. Bria’s definitely accepted the color the easiest. Maybe it was those ends that have gotten bleached in the summer sun. It is pretty much the same shade of red as the Ariel wig Arleigh wore the entire year she was three.

I’m praying that the baking soda combined with a day the pool takes care of it. The things I get myself into!

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What My Kids Think About Marriage

We have good friends who also happen to live on an island. Unfortunately, it’s not my island and it’s frankly way too far away. I hope our kids will be friends forever. My kids are certainly trying to find a way to forever link our families. The Babcocks have the same demographics as the Stiffs, 3 girls one boy. Their one boy was born just a few months before our third girl. There are four older sisters, my two in particular that have been plotting their marriage since birth. In fact, my girls remind Bria all the time that Charles was her first kiss and here’s the evidence. They were totally set up by their sisters in a princess tent. 



Now that we live so far away, I was telling my friend yesterday that I LOVE Charles for a whole new reason. Bria is very aware of her older sisters. She knows they talk about who is cute and what girl likes what boy. Charles is the unattainable perfect boy for her. You know, as long as he stays on his island and we stay on ours. There was a little boy at school that was very sweet on Bria. Bria pretty much let him know, we’ll be great buddies but I have Charles. Don’t tell Bria, but so far, Charles hasn’t exhibited the same sort of loyalty. Apparently she has competition. 

As I was talking to Charles’ mom, she sent me a text with all his wonderful attributes for a prearranged marriage. It included his lego building skills being a good indicator that he would follow in the footsteps of the other men in his family to become and engineer. My text back said, beautiful children is all I’ve got. Bria plans on being a warrior princess and I’m not really sure which occupation has that in the job description. Suddenly, it hits me…she’ll stay home like her mother. That and the fact that she doesn’t have a dowry means… we’ve really got nothing… Except how cute they are together even when they’re island apart. 

As the girls and Grandma planned the lovely couple’s future…(Charles I hope at some point you develop a taste for bourbon because I’m pretty sure they have you in a lake house in Kentucky) other things about marriage came up. Arleigh started asking how many schools I attended with Ray. (just college) Did you know him before? (yes) Like elementary school before? (No) Apparently I have one (Hanan) who thinks it’s weird to only date one person all through school and then get married. Apparently you wouldn’t have considered all your options. (Heaven help me!) Arleigh would prefer one and done. (Thank you!!!) Clearly I have my work cut out for me. Seriously, I would be thrilled with a Bria/Charles match up. I have awesome pictures for the wedding!

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Conversations With Bria

Yesterday I found out it might be possible to break someone’s (my) ribs with an ultrasound wand while Ray was in a tiny room with Jack and a doctor. Still, I’m pretty sure he had the worse end of the deal. Dueling appointments at Tripler means Jack is due for a blog update and I’m due for some humor in my life. His update will have wait. I’m still processing our next steps and how he can keep his privacy while I try to explain how far he’s come and how far we have to go. Lucky for me Bria doesn’t disappoint in the humor department. I can’t call them Briaisms anymore though because now that’s she’s five, she just inserts herself into conversations.

Yesterday I was a little over the news. Hawaii News Now feels it’s necessary to remind us repeatedly that President Obama’s vacation here cost $7 million. Ray was watching his evening news and we were having a conversation about what sort of budget President Obama will present. I had a difficult time with the President’s vacation because of the cost in light of our deficit. If my little family’s budget forces us to make difficult decisions about where and if we will vacation. I have a hard time with decisions made by the Obama family. Ray and I were some of those choices made including when as a country we were encouraging everyone to travel to the Gulf Coast and Mrs. Obama chose to head to Spain. Just in the living room having a political conversation with my husband when I said, “I really wonder what sort of budget he will present when his trip to Hawaii costs 7 million dollars.” Out of no where Bria’s voice pops out of the stair well. “Who’s coming for 7 million? Uncle Mike?” I had no idea Uncle Mike had 7 million anything.

Bria has also taken to giving us the biggest puppy dog eyes you’ve ever seen. A few days ago Ray was leaving to take a Red Box movie back. Bria wanted to go. Her seat wasn’t in the Jeep. It was cold and raining. That would mean Ray taking the van. She started giving him the look. It was cute and pitiful. I don’t know how she didn’t crack up. She plead her case for so long with her mouth turned down to her toes and her eyes begging to go for so long Ray could have been to that darn box and back twice. In the end he took her. The next morning I have no idea what she was asking me for. I said no. She turned those big eyes back on. They are pretty powerful. I looked her straight in the eye and said, “That doesn’t work on moms. We’re meaner.” Currently she starts to give me the look and then says, “Oh. It doesn’t work on moms. Daddy!”

One of my all time favorite conversations happened Tuesday. Ray has a friend stationed here that he has known forever. Their friendship forged in Iraq and solidified over years of working together. That sometimes means you go years speaking to someone all the time but you are in two different parts of the country. I don’t know George nearly as well even though after hearing Ray stories, he should be part of the family. George has orders to head back to the mainland so Ray called and said that he and his wife would be coming to dinner. I had some errands to run that day and a house to clean so by the time I got to the school I was a bit of a scatter brain. I was telling the kids to hurry to the car so I could get everything done. Bria must have asked why I was in such a hurry. Now, George is Ray’s good friend but he also outranks him and the kids have only met him at official events like Change of Commands. I was choosing my words carefully. I didn’t want them to call George by his first name. I had a strong case of cerebral flatulence and couldn’t think of his last name. So I was saying “Daddy’s friend is coming to dinner. His name is Captain, Captain, I can’t think of his last name.” Bria says, “He’s a captain! Is he a pirate?” So much for her status as a military brat. She seriously thought Jack Sparrow would be arriving for dinner. I think she had plans to sharpen her sword.


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Happy Birthday Bria!!!

I don’t know how it happened… How did she go from this… My little glow worm

to this…

There is so much that I can say about Bria. Her first birthday rolled around and I felt like she dug me out of a hole. She is my child that goes from the moment she wakes up until about five minutes after she falls asleep. And sleep…she doesn’t that much. She takes care of Jack and plays with him and relishes her role as a little sister to the bigs. She will not be outdone and she knows exactly what she wants and goes after it. She is devastated when someone tells her she can’t do something…like attend a middle school Halloween party. She isn’t afraid of much. She loves fiercely. I’m honored to be her Mama. This girl is going to conquer something…maybe even the world.

Right now one of her favorite things to do is look at pictures of herself… I have many narcissists in this house. It’s taken forever because I couldn’t choose. I tried to grab probably too many pictures and I’m not sure they’ll all show up. Here’s a look at Boo over the years…

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Our House Guest

I understand that once we move to Hawaii we’ll get all sorts of house guests…not necessarily the human kind. We get a few critters here in Tennessee too.
I think I’m in serious trouble. No fear in this one. Good thing he was pretty quick…and Bria is still short. Straight up it is!

Scratch that. I know I’m in trouble! Know idea how she learned the karate kid move…or who it’s meant for other than most likely her mother or the camera.

Speaking of house guests, time for me to get busy. Nana and Papa are coming for a weekend visit. Hoping the rain doesn’t spoil our fun!

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Another Misadventure In Parenting

Every morning things around here are a little bit nutty. Bria is throwing around orders like General Patton. I’m trying to get Jack going and generally hand feed him breakfast. There are lunches to make. While it should be suddenly clear that I could have the girls make their lunches, if I have to constantly remind them to brush their teeth, how are they going to get everything in the lunch box? The big girls are easily distracted by everything. Moving them upstairs means I’m not in their face giving them direction every two minutes. And… we need a better system. It’s often in the middle of this that I wonder why I’m going through the rush. Wouldn’t it be easier to home school? Then I realize that would mean we would be engaged in this dance ALL DAY LONG. No thank you.

Here’s another thing… never compare your children to you as a child. Even in a whisper, Karma will hear. I promise. Karma WILL HEAR. The night before last on the way home from church, the van was getting louder and louder. Big girls find that picking on the little girl is pretty entertaining until the little one gets all of them in trouble. Their evening reading time was taken away. Arleigh was ticked, seriously ticked. She was at a plot twist in a book and was looking forward to reading it. She was in a bit of a tween tizzy. Off to bed mad at me, Ray said something. I made the horrible mistake of saying, “Arleigh isn’t going to do anything to me that I haven’t already tried on Mom.” Never use those words ever, especially if you have more than one child. See, I have three other ones. I’m pretty sure that while I could say that about Arleigh… Hanan and Bria at least are a whole other story. Jack is still to be determined…

So there’s Hanan, my little fashionista. She is always trying new things with her style. Unfortunately right now she’s toying with a grunge bohemian look. She has a fabulous lunch box. It’s a zebra print with her name on it in last year’s favorite color, Blue. It looks like a Memphis Tiger bag which used to thrill her. This week, or today, blue is out and pink is in. She went down the street and for a quarter bought a lunch box for twenty five cents. The dirty pink camouflage lunch box used by another child for years, was apparently a steal. Hanan was so proud of her purchase. I dropped the lunch box in the wash and she used it for a while. Her thermos won’t fit in the lunchbox. Drives me crazy. The kid who forgets everything…like her mother…wants to hand carry her thermos. I let her use the prized possession for a while. I started throwing in juice boxes so things would fit. And let’s face it, throwing in three Capri Suns is a lot easier than filling three thermoses with ice and water. That would take a whole three minutes off my time. See where she gets it from?

Lately I’ve gone back to the thermos. Water is better. Saving money is better. It’s also impossible to get their little soup thermos and that other thermos in Hanan’s pink lunch box. I forced her to take another one. I thought she would see how easy it was and switch back. Carrying everything is one bag would seem easier right? Ummm no. She was switching back and forth. When I wasn’t paying attention, she put the other lunch box back. Yesterday I started making mac and cheese to put in everyone’s lunch. I couldn’t find her little container. I saw the lunchbox at the back of the pantry. Would she really? She knows the rule about emptying lunch boxes as soon as we’re home. She also knows the rule about brushing her teeth. See where this is going?

I opened the lunch box. Smell, not so great. Yep, it’s in there. Oh my word. Soup must have gotten in the seal. I could not unseal it. I was on the phone with a friend. She is telling me no worries. She has her own version of Hanan and she knows just what to do so I won’t have to throw away the $15 thermos. So much for saving money on water over Capri Sun…I can’t budge the seal. Well, maybe I’ve budged it. I sat it down and walked away to finish the conversation. Then I heard a pop, clank, clank, clank. I walked around the corner to see what Bria had done because she’s my go to for things like that. The thermos had exploded. Lid off. Tomato soup on every cabinet and counter top. It looked like a crime scene and smelled worse. Bria was sanding there, eyes big as saucers.

As I cleaned up the mess I remembered another very special thermos. It was new. I wanted to use it all the time. Mom folded and told it fine but do not put any Coke in it. That would be Western KY speak for soda. I did. It sprung a leak. She was ummm, ill. See, paybacks are awful. I do realize that it could have been worse. I make garlic oil. It’s stored in a clear container in the fridge. It has a shatterproof sticker on it that I had never noticed until a few nights ago when Hanan said, “That shatter proof sticker really makes me want to throw that jar and test it.” Oh my word. I’m in trouble.

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