What? Me? Random?

I've just sent the girls into their room for the second attempt at room cleaning. A project they've been working on for two hours. Because they clean for two minutes and start playing. They will, no doubt, take two more hours to clean their room. But you know what? They're staying in there. And I'm cool with that.

We've got some sort of teacher inservice going on here, so Ella had a half day today, Natalie didn't have school at all, and they don't go back til Monday. Natalie and I went to Target this morning to buy her more puzzles since she can't get enough this week. Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. Puzzle mania. We came home, she made me open them, and then she asked to watch iCarly. She hasn't touched them since.

Did I ever tell you Diet Coke and I made up? We did. I gave up all carbonated beverages for about a month. And then I didn't care anymore. *sip*...ahhhh...

I survived Week 1 of swimming lessons for the girls. I didn't freak out or pass out OR jump in the pool. Success!

I have a deep love for music. Especially songs that are sort of haunting or gut wrenching. I saw Matt Morris on Ellen the other day, and I can't get enough of his song "Bloodline." Click here! The other song I can't get enough of lately is Lykke Li's "Possibility." Click here! You know, if you want. "Maybe There's a Loving God" by Sara Groves is one of the all-time songs of my heart. Click here!

And haunting? Do you know what song is haunting? Have you heard Alison Krauss's "My Ain True Love" with Sting? Oh my sweet haunting perfection. Click here so you can listen to it RIGHT NOW. Speaking of amazing songs from movie soundtracks. "Falling Slowly?" Anyone? Click it.

Alright. That's probably enough youtube action for today. I should check on the room cleaning progress.


Oh the past. How it haunts.

So when I was little I had a boy haircut. My mom worked at a retirement home, and sometimes I'd go visit with her. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "What a cute little boy you have..." I'm really not sure how many times I heard it, but in my mind it's A LOT. I know I should consider the sources, and there may well have been people who would have said the same if I'd had my hair in pigtails. But I never wanted to have short hair again. As in, even as an adult. Every shorter haircut I've gotten I've sat in fear in that chair reciting in my head, "Please don't let me look like a boy..."

I've learned enough as a grownup to know that some people just don't pay attention. I took baby Ella places in head to toe pink, only to hear, "What a cute little boy you have..." Some people just don't look very hard. I rolled with it. Not like she's going to remember it from the baby carrier.

Ella used to have a girlie bob haircut, but it never laid quite right. She has these strange underlying curls. So we went a little shorter (she was thrilled!), and now the curls are free to curl. It's a super cute haircut. I let go of my own issues so she could have it shorter like she wanted.

This week I was taking Ella to school when her tone changed. "Mama? Yesterday we had a substitute teacher, and he thought I was a boy." I asked her what happened. Apparently the teacher was putting the kids in a boy/girl pattern. He put Ella next to a girl. Ella was too shy to say anything (any readers who know Ella will be deeply surprised at the idea of Ella ever being shy, but she is a different kid at school). And then one of the girls in her class told her she should grow her hair longer. "But Mama? I like my hair how it is."

Just rip my heart right out, why don't you? I didn't know where to start. She was embarrassed. I tried to explain that a mistake like that is not hers to be embarrassed about. She's usually so incredibly confident, that I somehow didn't envision dealing with things like this with her. And I certainly don't want to saddle her with my own issues.

Girls are such a challenge to begin with. Friends change on a daily basis. It only gets worse as they get older. I knew that part would be hard. But I somehow didn't expect the reliving of my own issues. And I didn't know how your children have so much of your heart, that their hurts really become your own.

So I tell her she's beautiful. That I love her haircut, and I'm glad she likes it. And I pray. So much. That God will somehow grant me the wisdom to raise these girls to have good self-esteem. That He will help me to keep my own issues and fears out of their lives. That they will know who made them. To know He takes great delight in them. That He knows their joy and their pain.


In which I appear on the Ellen Show. Not really.

What a week.

Monday I was doing my Monday morning grocery shopping sans kids, when my sister called. "A little warning next time you're going to be on Ellen please!" I had no clue what she was talking about. But it turns out, a photo I'd sent in to Ellen's "What's wrong with these photos? photos" segment had been chosen. So my sister had randomly turned on Ellen while she did other things around the house, and then she heard my name. Ellen had a prop made & everything. I'll wait here while you go watch it.


I've had a few people ask me how my 15 minutes of fame were. I maintain I still have 13 minutes left. At the very least.

If I'd known she was really going to use it, I would have had the presence of mind to stick my children next to the tv to take that picture.

I know it's not that big of a deal. I mean, it's not like I get to have a cleaning lady now. It's not like I was actually on her show, and chatting it up with Matthew Broderick in the green room. But the idea that Ellen saw something I sent her, and thought it was funny, just makes my week.


Raising teenagers.

It's warmed up enough to snow. If you live south of, well, Iowa, that may seem really strange to you. But once it gets below certain temps, it doesn't even snow. Too cold. So today is a snowy and blustery day. Boo - it's sort of blizzardy. Yay! - it's warmer (which is in the 20s).

I have noticed lately that we seem to be raising a couple of teenagers. Only they're four & six. It's coming in two forms right now. Clothing and language.

I may have mentioned (once or a billion times) Natalie has clothing issues. They now include: no leggings, no tights, no turtlenecks, no tank tops, no dress shoes, no sweaters, no pants that aren't jeans. She is also particular about the rest of the items she agrees to wear. Currently jeans cannot have holes in them because it is too cold (even though she wears snowpants to school). Shirts can only be a certain length. Honestly I haven't mastered the rest of the requirements, because there doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason. A shirt I think will pass does not. Her Christmas pj's were rejected. "I don't want long sleeves." Nevermind the fact she was wearing long sleeved pajamas at the time she said that. That her very favorite pj's were the same style. All tight fitted pajamas are immediately vetoed, along with pajama dresses.

I try not to argue much. I remember feeling like a turtleneck was choking me. Or feeling like the wool was rubbing my skin right off. It's only a little frustrating because she's not wearing all of Ella's hand-me-downs, and sometimes she tells me she'll wear something and after I buy it she won't.

Ella has picked up some new and exciting phrases. Mostly thanks to the bus ride home, I think. She's started in on the elementary jokes. You know the ones - long, complicated, drawn out ways to get someone to say "threw up." She's learning them from Kyle. Who is in 4th or 5th grade. But we have to be nice to Kyle - he shovels our driveway.

And her latest, unrelated to Kyle's teachings is "I was like." Only, instead of using it in a story about something that happened a while ago, she repeats what she just said. For example, "I'm gonna wear my pirate hat to bed. {pause} I was like, 'I'm gonna wear my pirate hat to bed!'" Just like that. Just right in a row. Without time for anyone to respond to her original statement. And then she laughs hysterically at her own funniness.

Never a dull moment.