“You And What Army?”

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It’s been a long weekend here in our house.  And by long, I mean early wake-up calls.

Paige had her first dance competition yesterday in Bellingham, MA where her small little team of dancers took home a gold for their efforts.

Of course, having five people out of the house, completely dressed and fed, and one in full stage make-up required a wake-up call of 5:00 am.

By the time the awards ceremony was over at 12:30 pm, our little dancing girls were exhausted.  Thank goodness they didn’t have to go back today!  Or stay for the second half of the awards yesterday.

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Today, my little one is singing at church.  For some reason, the people that are in charge of little ones, assume all littles are up before the crack of dawn.  Not my littles, and certainly not today after a long day yesterday.

I wake Paige up at 6:00 am.  She crabby.  She’s not opening her eyes.  She’s patiently waiting for me to leave the room so she can go back to sleep.

I get Allie up.  She is my better riser. She’s up without a fuss, almost as soon as I turn on her bedroom lights.  She gets dressed without a hassle, and actually beats me back upstairs.  It is about the time I’m getting her breakfast about a half hour later that I realize Paige is still missing in action.

“Is your sister in there watching cartoons with you?” I ask Allie.

“No!  Her still sleeping!”

I march back upstairs.  I plow through her door and announce, “Uh, excuse me ma’am!  It has now been a half hour since I got woke you up!  If you don’t start moving, I’m gonna have to beat the snot out of ya!”

She doesn’t move.  She doesn’t open her eyes.  She simply replies, “You and what army?”

I am almost out of her door, when her words hit me.  I turn slowly around and say, “Excuuuse me?!”  But she’s laughing too hard to reply.

“Did you just say what I think you said?” I respond, still dumbfounded.

Her eyes are still not open and she says, “Going back to sleep in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..” and then she begins to snore.

I stare at her for a moment, mouth agape, wondering when she got this witty attitude.  When she stopped being little and got this hilarious ability to interact so quickly in this manner.

Whenever it was, I need new kids.

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“Me and Glass”

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I need better responses.  There are conversations that are so random, I have no reply.  I feel like I’m missing out on really interesting interaction.  I need to come up with some replies that are just as random as her remarks.

“Paigey, why are you on the counter?” I call, as the glasses in the cabinet shake and clatter together, while she’s perched on the counter, defiant enough to insist on getting her own GLASS because she’s far too grown up for the plastic kid cups I mandate for anyone under 27.

“Getting a drink,” she yells back.  Really, Ma, I’m in the cabinet that holds the glasses, what in HEAVEN’S name do you THINK I’m doing up here?

“Can you please be careful?  Don’t break anything.”  I have learned I need to pick my battles.  Today, I will not force the cup issue.  We’re already dealing with dirty room issues, and respect issues.  Tomorrow, well, all bets may be off.

“Oh, I won’t break anything!  Trust me.  I know glass.  When glass is angry, glass shatters.  When I’m angry, well, I scream and yell.  When I’m really frustrated, I cry.”  She gives a shrug of her shoulders here, as if it’s just a fact of life.  I cry.  It happens.  The world continues spinning.  “Yeah, me and glass, we’re REAL familiar.”

Dear Glass,
Now that you’re apparently familiar with my kid, please don’t fall out of my cabinet and break.
Signed,
Exhausted Mother Who Doesn’t Want To Pick Up Glass Shards Today

Five Years Old

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She loves sugar.

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Not so much spice.

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She’s not all together nice.

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But she is my Baby Bear.  And she is my heart.  She is my world.  She is my life.  She does crazy things just to make me smile.  She gives the best hugs.  She likes ruffles and frills, but also mud and chaos.  If I had to do it all over again, we’d maybe skip the ear-piercing screams, the three months of crying, and the utter defiance.  But maybe that just makes her her.  Maybe that’s why she holds my heart.  She wiggles her way in with beauty and love and leaves chaos in her wake.

Happy birthday my beautiful girl.  May you never stop dancing.

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“I’m Doing All This Work For You!”

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The little one….ohh, the little one.  She’ll be the death of me.

“We need to pick your sister up at school today.  She has a dentist appointment and you need to come with me.  So where’s your game?  We better get your game charging or you’re going to be one bored girl,” I tell her.

“My game is in my room.”

“Then go get it so we have time to get it charged.”

She marches downstairs to her room, and is banging at the door between the downstairs portion of the house, and the upstairs.  “Mom!  Help!” she’s yelling.  “My hands are too full!”

I open the door and she has game, charger and an assorted array of cartridges.  We get her game charging and I say, “Alright, you need to get dressed.”

She huffs.  “I better not do all this work and then you find someone to babysit me! I’m doing all this work FOR YOU!”

I asked you to get dressed, not build the Great Pyramids of Giza.

After she gets dressed, I say, “So what are we having for lunch?”

“Um, peanut butter jelly?”  Her go to.  She has asked for peanut butter and jelly for lunch every day for the last eighteen months.  I wish I was exaggerating.

“Well, I’d tell you that you were having left over pot roast, BUT we had an unfortunate incident in which the dogs ATE it off the counter last night, so there’s no pot roast left.”

“Yessss!” she cheers.  “I didn’t want that anyway!” She calls into the living room, where the dogs are napping, “THANK YOU DOGS!”

I can’t help but laugh.  We get through our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches together and I say, “Alright, get your socks and shoes on.”

She wanders around the house.  Aimlessly.  She finds a toy cell phone somewhere and starts an imaginary phone call with a pizza place.  She requests a double slice pizza (?) with extra cheese.

“WHY are your shoes and socks still not on your feet?” I’m exasperated.  Getting her to do anything requires a considerable amount of effort.

“Uh, I’m looking for them, duh!”

“I’m sorry.  Did you just ‘duh’ me?”

“Yup.  I duh-ed you.”

I knew once she got a good grip on the English language, we wouldn’t like what she had to say.  At least when she was talking gibberish, we didn’t know what kind of idiots she took us for.

A New Blog

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I have decided, probably against good judgment, to start a 365 day photography project.  I have started  a separate blog for it.  I’m still working on the site, but my first post is up.  If you’d like to view and follow my project (and please haunt me, because I need people to hold me accountable!) you can find me over at:

https://nicholebphotography.wordpress.com

Adventures In Skating

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We went roller skating with some friends yesterday, after our morning dance team class. We about needed ice skates just to get in to roller skate. Paige almost went down and the poor thing, her arms started flailing, she started grabbing at me in a desperate attempt to keep herself upright. Thankfully, I managed to save her, but what a nightmare. Of course, once we got in to roller skate, both of my girls first time ever, it only got worse. Paige….I love her to death, but she thinks she’s going to go out on skates and be the roller world’s version of Tara Lipinski, immediately. She stood up on her skates, realized it was NOT equivalent to walking, almost went down, and sat her butt back down and said, “I am NOT roller skating.”

“Okay, well then I guess we sit here for 2 hours and watch your friend’s have fun.”

She must’ve mentally psyched herself up for it, because she did end up getting up and participating. Only after I rented a “skate buddy” which looks like a corner of a fence post/battering ram. Turns out you don’t actually need to avoid people and veer with those. You can literally just take people out. Which really, no one there knew how to skate. It was a massive mess of road blocks, 20 car pile ups and aggressive driving.

Even with the skate buddy, Paige went down twice. Once so hard, I really thought she had seriously injured herself. But it turns out Paige is nothing if not dramatic. “What? What did you hurt? Are you okay?”

“I fe-e-e-elllll!”

“Well, I saw that you fell! What did you hurt?”

Through the tears, she cannot contain her laughter. “Just my tushy!”

“Well, that’s because when God made you, he forgot to give you a butt. If you had some cushioning back there….”

She’s now in a full blown hysterical fit of laughter as I clutch her arm, her battering ram and steer her back to the safety of the bench.

She composes herself, calms down and says, “Alright, I’m ready to get back out there.”

I thought we were going to single handedly take out half the competition team four weeks before the first competition. But they all walked out of there with nothing hurt but their pride.

Allie, meanwhile, looked as if she had been born in skates. She took her battering ram, plowed through the crowds, skating in the wrong direction, skated across the rink, went Mach 1 into walls. Nothing phased her. Nothing slowed her down. I watched people veer around her at the last minute as she fearlessly, carelessly plowed through a throng of oncoming traffic. She even ditched her skate buddy/battering ram in the last half hour and took off. She spent more time on the floor than on her feet, but she didn’t shed a single tear, and she basically rolled around on the floor until she could right herself, or until some other parent took pity on her soul. It wasn’t a busy place, and I helped several people’s children while there, and they helped mine. We became a small community of righting toppled children.

They had fun and Allie was already asking to go back today. So I guess the falling left no permanent emotional scarring.

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Paige on the right (obviously), Taylor on the left and Alissa in the middle.

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Allie and Maddy with their skate buddies/battering rams.  Maddy is very similar in personality to Allie.  And together, they’re unstoppable.  I felt like this duo should have bright yellow clothing on and some combination of blinking lights, sirens and back up signaling.  It turns out I couldn’t even watch these two skate because I was afraid I’d be carted out of the rink with a coronary embolism.

Everyone made it out in one piece.  In our group anyway.  I saw no ambulances or emergency first aid by the time we left, so I’ll consider skating a success.  And when my heart rate slows to a normal pace, we may consider going back.

“Who Are You Talking To?”

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Getting Allie to bed these days is a test of patience.  And it usually requires you putting her in bed, or telling her to go to bed no less than four times an evening.  She sneaks into the back room, where the girls play and watch TV, hides behind the couch, and sees how long she can go before Paige rats her out.  The novelty of staying up as late as her big sister is too big a lure to pass up.

So when I heard Paige talking in the bathroom one evening, I assumed Allie had snuck out of her room again.  I snuck over to the bathroom, convinced I could catch Allie in the act.

It’s only Paige in there, and she’s just taken a big swig of mouthwash.  “Who in God’s name are you talking to?”  This was not quiet mumbling.  This was loud and almost argumentative.

She holds up a finger while she swishes around her mouthwash.  She spits, wipes her mouth clean with a sleeve and says, “Well, it’s true!  Zero percent of people never grow up, and two percent of people never clean up their act!  So if Allie doesn’t clean up her act…well, she’s going to be in a pickle.”

What did I ask?

“It’s My Coronation Dress!”

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We’re coming up on Paige’s First Communion.  It’s one of many events that are being thrown at us in a very short time span, including three dance competitions, a guitar recital, a dance recital and a Disney trip.  When I say life is crazy, I kid you not.

I had myself a small breakdown a few weeks ago realizing that my calendar was booking fast for April, I had a Disney trip in April, and I had to have her Communion pictures done before we left town April 13 in order to have them ready in time.  But I still didn’t have a dress for her.

If it’s First Communion time for your family as well, or if you have one in the near future, I have to recommend going to Burlington Coat Factory.  They had beautiful, amazing dresses for $30-$40!

I fell in love with one by American Princess.  There was only one left in stock, and by remarkable miracle, it was in her size.

The dress has made it’s way up the east coast through deep freezes and snow storms.

I checked my shipping information yesterday to see, “Package is out for delivery.”

“Paige, have I even shown you your First Communion dress yet?” I asked.

“No.”  So, I pulled it up for her.  “Oh my God, it’s GORGEOUS!”

A few hours later, the door bell rang.  Paige comes hurtling down the stairs screaming, ‘OH MY GOD, MY CORONATION DRESS IS HERE!”

I didn’t even correct her.  “Let’s try it on.”  I pull it out of the box and she’s squealing like a Belieber at a VIP concert experience.  She makes a grab for it, but her mouth is ringed with blue marker, and her last known snack was Cheez Curls.  “DON’T touch the white dress with your filthy mitts!”

“I’ll go wash my hands!”

We go in the bathroom together, and after her hands are washed, and her sweats are stripped off, I gently lower the dress over her.  She can’t stop looking at herself in the mirror.  She’s enchanted.  “Oh my goodness, I need to go upstairs and get a FULL view of the dress in the full length mirror.  Not just the top!”

She scampers up the stairs while her sister sucks in her breath in awe of the vision in white that just came out of the bathroom.

“Let me take a quick picture to show the ladies at dance,” I tell her.  She dutifully poses.

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“Now, let me get this off before I ruin it,” she states.  “Annnd, YOU better keep this in YOUR room.  I can’t be trusted.”  At least she knows she’s a slob.  “Do you think I could wear this to my birthday?”

“I think it’s a little fancy for a birthday.”

I’m sure she will not be satisfied with wearing this once and letting it hang in the closet…

Friends

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I saw a great photo contest this morning over at www.rocktheshot.com.

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The contest is “Friendship” and there are some great prizes involved.  I thought, with the weather being brutal, it’d be a nice opportunity to pan back to the summer time, when there wasn’t six feet of snow on the ground.

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We had my daughter’s friends over last June after school had ended.  These girls have known each other since they were four or five, and the bond is strong.

“Paige, before your friend’s leave, let’s get a picture of you guys together!”

I gathered the girls by the side of the house, and just as I got everyone looking at the camera, someone said, “Uh, did someone just fart?”  The girls dissolved into a fit of hysterical laughter just as I snapped my picture.  It was my favorite capture of the summer.  I can’t look at it and not hear their giggles.

It gives me hope this long winter will melt away to an eventual summer again.

*Like this picture?  Visit my facebook page Nichole B Photography or my website www.nicholebphotography.com

“I’ve Got Better Things To Do!”

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I have been neglecting this blog for far too long.  Life gets busy.  I have spent the past few months working on my burgeoning photography business.  It’s been all consuming.  And then we had Christmas, which is also all consuming.  I got the brilliant idea three weeks out from Christmas (with a vacation to Disney at 2 weeks before Christmas) that I was going to craft gifts for every free man, woman and child on God’s green earth.  I don’t suggest that.  If you’re going to CRAFT that many gifts, have the good sense to start more than three weeks out, with one week scrapped for vacation.

Of course, we also happen to live in the northeastern part of the country.  The part of the country that God has suddenly deemed needs to be covered with as much snow as possible as quickly as possible.  I’m typing this from a small air pocket in my house, the last possible thing that hasn’t been covered in snow.  My neighbor’s seven year old waved hi to me from over the seven or eight foot fence yesterday.  And I can tell you he was wearing red boots because his whole being was above my fence line.

I have some pictures to show the 95+” that have been dumped on our region in three weeks.

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The doggies sit by the back door, nuzzle each other, and watch the flakes fly.

As you can see, my fence is almost gone in some places.

As you can see, my fence is almost gone in some places.

It's best to hide the pool.  We don't need any reminders of summer

It’s best to hide the pool. We don’t need any reminders of summer.

Even our swing set has almost disappeared.

Even our swing set has almost disappeared.

This is where I last left the kids playhouses so....

This is where I last left the kids playhouses so….

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And, Paige. Bless her soul. “I’m going out to shovel us outta here, Mom!” Her and her shovel versus Mother Nature. Don’t tell her Mother Nature is winning. She shoveled this one path, fell into a bank on the side of the drive, where we almost lost her till spring, and she found out what the rest of us know. Shoveling sucks. She abandoned her shovel, took 15 minutes to wrestle the gate shut so the dogs could go out, and quickly retreated back inside.

“Paige, I thought you were going to shovel the driveway!” Papa said.

“I have so many other better things to be doing,” she says. Amen, Paige. Amen.