Thursday, July 24, 2014

It Doesn't Have to Be a Snowman

I need to admit something: My kids saw Frozen for the very first time last week. I know, call the authorities, am I right? Cruel and unusual punishment, to say the least.

When it was a huge hit in theatres, I knew I didn't want to have to deal with fighting to find merchandise for Christmas, and dudes, am I ever glad we had a Christmas spent blissfully unaware of the lack of Frozen items available in stores, let me tell you. Plus, I knew that this would probably be a movie that would take over our lives, so I decided to wait until they asked to watch it, and it just happened last week. I know, I got lucky.

So, yes, I have been walking around humming all the songs, and Josie loves to act out scenes with me. Genevieve, who still pretty much refuses to speak, loves it so much that she won't tell me what she wants for lunch, but she can manage to point at the TV and squeak out an "ELSA!" In fact, the other day when Josie asked to watch it after dinner and I said she could watch ten minutes and she begged for the whole thing, Genevieve chimed in by saying the word "whole" for the first time. Seriously.

Listen, I know my kids didn't invent being obsessed with Frozen, and I know we are way behind the time, but the way Josie calmly informed me "My chosen name is Elsa," and she simply slides into the role of Elsa without any fanfare simply slays me. I just had to share my favorite Elsa-isms to date with you all.

(I realize this won't make sense to those of you who haven't seen Frozen, and it might not even be funny to those of you who have, but ... well, she's my kid, and I think she's hilarious. So there you go.)

We were eating lunch, when out of nowhere, she asked me, "Remember how after the accident I starting shutting my little sister out of my life?" then just looked away and took another bite of her sandwich.

She clasped both of Genevieve's hands in her own, sat her down, looked deep into her eyes, and calmly informed her, "You can't marry a man you just met." Genevieve nodded solemnly.

We were about to leave for playgroup, and Josie had a large outburst. We had a discussion about appropriate behavior, and that if she wanted to go to playgroup that day, she would have to work hard to listen, behave, share, and be kind, or we would have to leave early. She agreed to all these terms, then walked over to the back door, and quietly sang to herself "Be the good girl you always have to be." After a minute of staring out the door and likely steeling her nerves, she belted out "Tell the guards to open up ... THE GATES!" while flinging the sliding door open. She proceeded to stride out the door with her head held high.

In other news, I am NOT more obsessed with Frozen than my kids are, like Jeremy claims. *Ahem*

Saturday, July 19, 2014

5 Things I've Learned Recently

1. If you're going to go through all the work of a spring-cleaning type cleaning spree one day on the spur of the moment (washing walls, scrubbing appliances, washing windows, etc., etc., until every inch of the house is clean as a whistle), it turns out you really won't be all that floored when you see the after product if your home isn't a pit to begin with. Our house is pretty clean, but I still thought after scrubbing every surface of the kitchen for three hours, I would be able to walk out, walk back in, and I would gasp in amazement. Not so. Also, not fair. 

2. Josephine might be a real, live dinosaur.

3. TICKS ARE OFFICIALLY THE WORST LIVING THING EVER. I've felt rage at other living things in the past, but ticks? If I could wipe every single one off the planet today, I would do it. If I had a hate scale from one to ten, my hatred of spiders is a 2, mosquitoes 4, and ticks 10,000. On a scale of 1 to 10. 

4. Genevieve has a passion for accessories. A deep, abiding love.

5. Maybe I don't actually want Genevieve to learn how to talk. The girls discovered that screeching is fun and all, but if you screech at the same time, at the same pitch, and then slowly increase the volume higher and higher and higher until you've reached a dual-screech that could shatter glass, well, that's WAY more fun. My hearing has already been compromised, and we have a lot of years left to go. Heaven help us all.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: Endangered by Jean Love Cush

Hey! I still have a blog! But lucky you: I read a book and I'm going to tell you about it. I'm trying this new thing, too. I recently heard someone say "I hate book reviews that include a synopsis. If I don't want to read the book, then I don't want to read a synopsis, and if I want to read the book, then I don't want you to spoil it for me." I thought that made a lot of sense, so I am going to try this one without any summary and see how it goes. (Comment here if you have strong feeling either way about that comment, would you? I'm interested to see what people think.)

ANYWAY, I was offered a copy of Endangered by Jean Love Cush to review, and it was a hard read, to say the least.

Don't get me wrong -- the book is well-written, the characters are well-developed, and the plot is engaging. The reason it is a hard read is that it highlights a horrible aspect of our society -- the treatment of African American men in the legal system -- and focuses on a parent's worst nightmare -- a child wrongly accused of a crime. Seriously, I read the synopsis and felt the waterworks building.

I think it's easy for white middle-class Americans to turn a blind eye to the injustices many people face in this country, and I feel horrible for all the mothers and fathers out there who have to explain to their children that people in positions of power are likely to treat them differently simply due to the color of their skin or where they live. Spending a few hours reading about it made my heart ache.

The only thing I didn't love about this book was what seemed like a gratuitous love story that seemed to simplify the mother character into a woman who needed a man to save her. Then again, the romance storyline might seem perfectly well-placed to you, what do I know. Maybe Cush included it so you had something to think about besides the injustices of the legal system and the horror of an innocent child being arrested? Now that I'm writing it out ... that's probably it. But I happen to be the type of person who rolls her eyes while reading romance novels, so you can take my opinion for what it's worth.

I was pleased to read this book, and recommend it wholeheartedly. An interesting and important read, for sure.

This book was provided to me free by TLC Book Tours, but I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The More You Know

Genevieve has always been a bit stingy with her affection. Ever since she was old enough to communicate, if I ask her for a hug or a kiss, roughly 9 times out of 10, she purses her lips, lowers her eyebrows, and shakes her head "no." Sometimes she even pushes my face away from her if she thinks I'm getting too close and might try to sneak in a hug or something.

I know I shouldn't take it personally; it's just who she is. But I'm not going to lie, it stings a bit, especially after having Josephine, who is just the snuggliest snuggler ever, and hugs and kisses me all day long. Even though she hurts my feelings a little by not wanting to give me any affection, I make sure not to let on. I don't want to create a situation where I'm forcing her to give affection to an adult when she clearly doesn't want to, because obviously I don't want to teach her that kind of lesson.

Genevieve is also the kind of kid who says "no" to just about everything you ask her to do. Or maybe it's just because she's almost two, who knows. The other day, I was trying to hold Genevieve down and clip her talons while she flailed and shouted "NO!" and I gave up and asked Josie if she was ready to get her nails trimmed. She sat sweetly and silently and let me clip them, and lo and behold, as soon as I was done, Genevieve inserted herself on my lap and shoved her hand into mine, frantically pointing at the fingernail clippers.

FLASHBULB MOMENT: All I have to do is ask Josephine to do something and Genevieve will want to do it immediately. I have been trying not to abuse this power. I'm saving it for moments when I really need it. 

Tonight, I was getting up from the dinner table and asked Genevieve for a kiss. She said no, and I just walked away laughing, but I heard Josie say "I'll give mama a kiss!" so I ran back in to get one from her, and wouldn't you know, Genevieve planted one on me, too.

So there you go. I now know how to trick my youngest child into giving me a hug or kiss, should the occasion arise. 

Parenting, am I right?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Odds and Ends

I wrote about Genevieve being a picky eater the other day, and I specifically mentioned that she doesn't like strawberries (Oh, I just love them so much! Aren't they pretty universally liked?) and a few hours later I was standing in the kitchen cutting up some for Josephine. G came over and started trying to tell me something. A lot of shouting, pointing, and wild gesticulating later, I offered her a quarter of a strawberry, which she threw to the floor. She just kept trying to tell me something she didn't have the words for. I asked her if she wanted a WHOLE strawberry, and she sighed with relief, smiled, and nodded enthusiastically. She then proceeded to eat five strawberries. 

So, I stand corrected. Genevieve likes WHOLE strawberries. Heavens to friggin' Betsy, am I right?


We have been beaching it already (I'm sure some of my fellow Michiganders think we're downright nutty, but the weather has been gorgeous!). It's been nice because it's warm enough to enjoy the beach (as long as you don't spend too much time in the water), but it's early enough in the season that the beaches have been blessedly empty. 

Josie is in heaven when she is at the beach. She loves to play in both the sand and the water. Genevieve, on the other hand, mostly keeps busy by carefully choosing a rock from the beach, walking down to the water's edge, throwing the rock into the water, laughing and clapping, then clomping back up the beach to choose another. Over and over, for HOURS. I swear, this kid just needs a job, and she is usually happy. Oh, she also takes lots of breaks to eat and sand and put rocks in her mouth, but those activities are far less adorable.

Oh, and Josie calls whatever body of water we happen to be near "the ocean." I love it. I always let her know that it's a lake or a river, but I smile and giggle inwardly every time she calls it the ocean. 


Did I ever tell you that during the month of May, Jeremy had to take TWO business trips and was gone for almost two weeks? He was in Atlanta, and then the very next week he drove to Denver and back. It was a bear of a month. At least this time he didn't bring home a train whistle for the girls like when he was in Massachusetts in October. He just ... gave them a train whistle and then left me alone with them all day. He went back to the office! And they blew a train whistle all day! 


We got Josephine her first two-wheeler (with training wheels), and ... it feels like a big deal. She looks like such a big girl up on that bike. She loves riding bikes and her scooter, which she calls her skateboard (tee hee!).

Genevieve loves her little tricycle, but get this -- even though she is much taller than Josie was at this age, her feet don't reach the pedals, even though Josie's did. So apparently her legs are shorter than Josie's were? She is a little frustrated that she can't reach the pedals, but she is content enough to scoot around like Fred Flintstone.


Oh, and while I'm still thinking of beaches, the other night when we made a quick trip to the beach before bed so Josie could make a sand castle, she walked over to a spot on the beach and told me "This is where to dig for buried treasure." She started digging, and wouldn't you know it, two minutes later, she was holding an octopus sand mold. 

I'm thinking of taking this kid to the casino.
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