Ever After
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  • August28th

    When I realized a week ago that I only had a few days left with my kids before they headed back to school, I decided to host a “no regrets” week in my honor. I set aside the lengthy to-do list and, instead, the kids and I created a new list of things that we wanted to do during our last week of summer vacation. Although the list was not perfectly executed, we did a pretty dang good job of making the week count.

    On Monday, we went to the Dallas Zoo and enjoyed temperatures in the high 80’s, low 90’s. Ariana invited a friend to help make her trip a bit more enjoyable, and we all had a really good time.

    Tuesday, we went to a cute movie: The Odd Life of Timothy Green. It was a great family-friendly film, and I think we all enjoyed it. Afterwards we had a little Wii Party.

    Wednesday, we stayed close to home and had a Leave it to Beaver marathon. Netflix is our best friend!

    Thursday, at 5:15 we went to Ariana’s school and decorated her locker, although I think it took a little longer than expected, partly having to do with my want need for perfection. šŸ™‚

    Friday, Ariana dutifully watched the littles while Bryan and I went out for lunch toĀ celebrateĀ our first lunch together. Bryan even got off work early to go to the Frisco Athletic Center with us. We spent the remainder of the day there, came back home, fixed ourselves up again and left, yet again to go to Fisher to meet Vivian’s teacher, while Ariana stayed home and made us salad for dinner. (Tad reminded me that he helped her by tasting the toppings to make sure they were good.) We got home… again and finished up dinner, watched a movie, and went to bed.

    Saturday, we went to the North Texas State Fair in Denton. Despite the heat and lack of proper hydration, we had lots of fun.The kids and Ariana (She frequently reminds me that she is not a kid anymore, but she will always be my baby girl no matter how old she gets) did a tractor pull. Ariana tried and kept going onto the grass, making them have to restart it a couple of times and then stopped short because she thought she was done. Vivian, too, stopped just short of the finish line. Tad was the youngest competitor in the group, and his little legs didn’t even fully reach the pedals. He had the best showing from our family advancing to the semi-finals.

    (Thank you to Ariana for helping to write this post. I started it but then got distracted. She finished it for me.)

  • August27th


    Posted in: Ariana, Lori, Tad, Vivi

    With a bounce in their hair from our traditional night-before-school-starts-sponge-roller treatment and a bounce in their step, Ari and Vivi headed back to school this morning.

    Vivi is a little nervous about her new teacher whose name I can’t ever seem to remember but thankfully Tad can–Ms. Delashaw. Ari is a little nervous about all of her new teachers (I can’t even attempt to remember all their names) and the THREE pre-ap classes that she’s taking this year. Despite her jitters, I know that Ariana is excited about opening her locker on the first try (thank heaven that the sixth grade learning curve is behind us) and to see the zebra-striped interior that she and I decorated late last week.

    Tad is kind of at a loss because he has no one to fight with, although a pack of Smarties and a bubble gum-flavored Dum Dum later, and he has figured out that it’s easier to sneak into the candy cupboard without his two Other Mothers watching over him. With sugar coursing through his veins, Tad is bouncing off the walls, and he wants to race through the Mommy-Buck-School workbooks in a single morning.

    And speaking of Tad, he just headed downstairs again for another sugar fix, no doubt. Maybe he can find something in the candy cupboard that will help me bounce back from my first-day doldrums.

  • August27th


    Posted in: Ariana, Vivi

    August 10, 2012–Vivi lost her first tooth . . . twice.

  • August19th

    Excepting her birth day, I doubt that any of Ari’s birthdays have been as eagerly anticipated as this one.

    In Ariana’s mind, the big One-Two is the portkey to a magical world of new opportunities, and I can’t say that I blame her for her excitement: old enough forĀ cosmetics, Young Women’s, and the potential of paid babysitting jobs without yet being plagued with the side effects of maturity–pimples, hairy armpits, monthly messes. Not a bad gig.

    Ariana felt very loved and lucky as several of her friends wished her a happy day by taking her for ice cream, secretly decorating her room while she was at tennis, andĀ bringing her thoughtful tokens of friendship.

    As a family, we celebrated Ariana with her chosen dinner menu–Thai Coconut Chicken Curry Soup over Jasmine Rice followed by Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie for dessert.

    A few days later, we hosted a “Late-Over Fit for a Tween” party to culminate Ariana’s birth week. Make-your-own pizza, facials (peel followed by a chocolate masque), flower necklace craft, cupcake decorating, spin-the-nail polish-bottle game, and the movie Ever After kept the girls giggling until the stroke of a midnight.

    I’ll elaborate on the nail polish game because it was especially fun and creative. Buy ten different shades of inexpensive polish (i.e., Ice brand from WalMart). The girls sit around the table with the bottles in the center of the table. One girl starts by selecting a polish, setting it on its side, and spinning it. Whoever it points to gets to paint one fingernail that color and answer a question associated with that color (see below). The girl to her right then chooses the next color and spins it. If the polish points to someone that already has a fingernail painting that color, it passes to the person on her left until it lands on someone who still needs that color. The objective of the game is to be the first person to get all ten nails painted with each of the colors.Ā Ultimately, everyone is a winner and gets to pick a shade of polish to take home, but the first person to complete her nails gets first pick of the polish.

    Here’s the list of nail polish colors and associated questions:

    Orange: Orange stimulates the appetite. What is your favorite food?

    Yellow: Yellow is uplifting, happy, cheerful and fun. What do you like to do for fun?

    Silver: Silver is associated with prestige and wealth. If someone gave you a million dollars tomorrow, what would you do with it?

    Turquoise: Turquoise can help us to love ourselves. What is one thing you love about yourself?

    Light Pink: Pink is unconditional love and nurturing. What is one thing you love about the person to your left?

    Neon Pink: Neon pink is playful and happy and fun loving. Ā What is one thing you love about the person to your right?

    Green: Green is the color of growth. What is one talent or ability youā€™d like to develop?

    Purple: Purple represents the future, the imagination and dreams. If you could have one wish granted, what would you wish for? You canā€™t wish for more wishes.

    Red: Red is the color of determination and accomplishment. What are you determined to do within the next year?

    Blue: The color blue reduces stress, creating a sense of calmness and relaxation. What helps you feel calm and relaxed?

    For the flower necklace craft, Ari and I raided our Goodwill donation box and pulled out old t-shirts. I won’t go into details on how to make the flowers because there are a million tutorials on-line, but I will say that my method was with needle and thread and not hot glue.

    I hope that the past week demonstrates how much you are dearly loved, Ariana.

  • August10th

    Downton Abbey is the sole reason why any laundry ever gets folded around here. Because the only time I allow myself the privilege of watching that splendid show is when I’m folding laundry, I think that, subconsciously, I allow loads and loads of clean clothes to accumulate in baskets just so I can stand for hours at a time folding and watching. I suppose that if I lived in that era, I’d be one of the servants (a laundress?), but I like to envision myself as Lady Grantham, wearing beautiful, tasteful gowns and attending to a variety of worthy causes.

    This graceful lifestyle is what I had in mind when the latest beautiful issue of Somerset Life caught my eye at Costco as I headed to the checkout stand. They really know my weakness and they purposely position the magazine rack in the impulse-buy section of the store. I bought the issue because, after all, a $10 magazine at Costco is a like aĀ brass farthingĀ compared to a costly basketful of toilet paper, pork loin and the sample-of-the-day that you don’t really need but that you get suckered into buying anyway. You know what I’m talking about . . . the humus dip that your kids insist they love in the store but turn their noses up as soon as you get the 3-pound-refrigerator-hogging container home. Anyway, I was immediately drawn in by an article about an artist named Heather Sleightholm, aka “Audrey Eclectic.” I fell in love with her work and, while sitting in the food court as Tad scarfed a hot dog, I pulled her information up on-line from my phone because I was so excited that I couldn’t even wait to get home to a real computer.Ā  When I discovered that she did affordable commission work, the wheels in my head started spinning. When I showed Bryan her work and he was equally impressed with it, we started the process to get our family portrait done. Goodbye humble laundress, hello Lady Tolbert.

    I am picky. I am opinionated. I am very detail oriented. Heather is PATIENT. Heather is TALENTED. Heather is AMAZING to work with. I really can’t say enough good about that woman. The process of information exchange went FLAWLESSLY, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result. Well, actually if Fedex hadn’t beat the packaging to HECK and broken the wood frame that the canvas is stretched to, I would have been a wee bit more pleased, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed by a competent frame shop (and hopefully paid for by Fedex).

    We all LOVE our large 30 inch x 40 inch painting and I plan on having it hang above our fireplace until the day I die. And then I hope that my kids show a little more decorum than Lady Grantham’s spoiled children and amicably decide some time-share system to rotate the heirloom from home-to-home in a fair manner.

  • August10th


    Posted in: Lori, Projects, Vivi

    When Ariana was approaching the age of toothlessness, I made several little tooth fairy pillows that she gave as gifts to special friends. The pillows are quite time-consuming to make, each taking 5-6 hours from start to finish, and I ran out of umph before I got one completed for Ariana. Sadly, so many things in my life seem to be like that. I love doing projects or other acts of service for other people because it makes me feel good and, by and large, people appreciate the help. But I tend to run out of time to do things for my own family, and quite honestly, my family is sometimes much less appreciative of my efforts. But that’s no excuse for neglecting those that I love the most, and I’m really trying to better balance my priorities. And so when Vivi discovered that she was really, really close to losing her first tooth, I seized the opportunity to right past wrongs, and working at a feverish pace, I started making her a tooth fairy pillow. Well, to be completely honest, I first went into a funk for a few weeks because she’s passing into the next stage of life, and I just want her to keep her baby teeth for a few more years, and then I feverishly started in on the pillow.

    I worked on the pillow while the kids and I watched Anna and the King last night, and out of the corner of my eye, I could see Vivi wiggling the tooth, so I stitched faster. I finally forbade her from any more wiggling because, if I had come this close, I was NOT going to have another one of my kids lose a tooth and not have their own custom-made tooth fairy pillow to put it in. No mother should have to go through that once, let alone twice. šŸ˜‰

    It’s tough embroidering the small letters, and I know that I could have done a better job on that part, but I resisted the impulse to tear it all out and start afresh.Ā “Finished is better than perfect. Finished is better than perfect. Finished is better than perfect.” I had to chant this false mantra to myself over and over to cross the finish line, but cross I did, putting the stuffing in and stitching the opening closed this morning. I would have had it done last night, but the computer crashed (unmountable boot drive error, blue screen of death), and I had to turn my attention to that so that I could sleep.


    Aaagh, sweet redemption. I only hope that Ariana can forgive me for not making her a pillow back in the day. I’ll have to figure something out to make amends.