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Humble Pie

Dear Anna,

Today, after the parenting debacle that you endured this morning, I’ve spent some time thinking back over my clothing choices through the years and I feel I must confess:

I have no room to advise you on what to wear.

Just ask Grandma about the entirely fluorescent orange outfit I wore in seventh grade that included (but was not limited to) tights, jelly shoes and a sweater vest. Ask your dad to tell you about the jeans I bleached with spots on one leg and a spiral on the other…or the camo pants I got from the army surplus store and wore with a white men’s t-shirt when I was 16. My high school friends could tell you about the ridiculous basketball jersey I wore with athletic shorts in ninth grade and my college friends might tell you a scary story of how I wore those same athletic shorts every day for two weeks during my freshman year at K-State. You don’t even want to know about the hideous black western jeans (with no pockets on the rear) that I wore twice in high school with my cowboy boots and a black and white checked shirt with shoulder pads. (Egad!) That might seem bad, but it paled in comparison to the Easter dress I made in sewing class my senior year–the one with the prairie collar and ruffles. And, finally, if you look in our garage you’ll see some classic photos of me while I was pregnant with you–wearing royal blue corduroy overalls with a white turtleneck underneath. I’m sure you can imagine how attractive that was with my big ol’ pregnant belly.

What I’m trying to tell you is that I must have lost my ever-lovin’ mind to think I should give you fashion advice. Trust your gut, my beautiful, sassy, stylish thirteen year old. You’ve got something special and I don’t ever want you to lose it or hide it. And if you happen to make a fashion mistake along the way, don’t sweat it. We all do that once in awhile–and in my case, quite frequently.

With love,

Mom

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Referee

I often feel that my kids should stop calling me “Mom” and instead call me “Ref.”  It is certainly a more accurate moniker. Unfortunately, I usually find myself stumped as to the  right call and wishing I had access to instant replay.

Hmmm….I wonder how I could make that happen.

Moments ago, Faith and Leah came to me with a serious, life-altering issue to be resolved. Faith owns a baby doll that she hasn’t played with in over a year. Leah wanted to play with it. Faith had an inspired moment of generosity and told her she could HAVE it. (!) Fifteen minutes passed and Faith suddenly had a change of heart and desperately wanted to have her baby doll back.

Enter Mom, kicking and screaming.

Here’s my constant dilemma: What lesson am I supposed to teach them?

Do I teach Faith that she can’t take back a gift cause that’s just wrong? Do I tell her she needs to consider more carefully before she gives something away? Or do I encourage nine-year-old Leah who doesn’t really play with dolls anymore to have compassion on her six-year-old sister who didn’t fully understand what she was doing when she gave up her doll? Or do I just do the easy thing and take the doll for myself since I don’t really know what the right answer is? I like dolls. I could take good care of that doll. That doll doesn’t talk. Or fight.

So, what does any good referee do when she doesn’t know what to do?

She calls for reinforcements, baby.

Enter Dad with the wisdom of Solomon.

Brooke’s answer was to tell the girls he was going to rip the baby doll in two and give them each a piece, to which Leah responded with a gut-wrenching, “NOOOOOOOOO!”

Faith response? “Can I have the head?”

It’s nice when they make it easy like that. Leah’s keeping the baby. Faith got a lecture about being a woman of her word and they both got a lecture about sharing the toys no matter who they “belong” to. All courtesy of Dad because Mom was in the kitchen, doubled over with laughter trying not to wet her pants.

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Downsizing

I was reading over Leah’s shoulder last night as she was chatting with her grandma on Yahoo. (Sorry Joslin, it’s entertaining!) Her grandma made some funny remark about how we could learn to grow vegetables and live off the land (probably because she knows I have a seriously brown thumb) and Leah responded like this:

We’re not poor.

We’re just downsizing.

For the love. Where does this child come up with this stuff?  

She’s right, though. We aren’t poor, but we are downsizing our finances. Significantly. And due to the downsizing, we are having to work hard to come up with fun, free activities to do for our weekly family night. Here’s what we’ve come up with so far:

Olympic Games – We’re thinking gymnastics in the living room or maybe relays outside.

Have a picnic in the park

Tea party

Hold a debate – This was Leah’s idea. (!) We’d pick a topic such as: “What is the best type of ice cream?” And each of us would have to defend our opinion.

Cooking night – Make dinner together.

Put on a play – Written, directed, and acted by our family.

Movie theatre – Turn the family room into a movie theatre, eat popcorn and snuggle.

Sardines – The best game ever! It’s just the opposite of hide-n-seek. One person hides and everyone searches for them. When someone finds them, they hide with them. Eventually everyone will be hiding together and the last person to find them is IT next.

Formal Dance – Dress up fancy and hold a prom in the living room.

Acts of Kindness Night – Each person pulls the name of another family member out of a hat in the morning and has all day to think of a special way to show them kindness during family night. We’ve done this before and the girls love it. Usually they get robes for each other and give back rubs and draw baths and get snacks. It’s very refreshing after days of squabbling.

I know you have some great ideas to add, so please share! Our downsized selves need all the help we can get.

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