Tuesday, November 3, 2015

An Interview with Lucy, Kindergarten Edition

I started doing annual interviews with Lucy two years ago. The interview usually takes place in August, but we got a bit sidetracked with Lucy starting kindergarten this fall. Lucy and I finally found the time to sit down and chat last week – and here is the result:

ME: What is your name?

LUCY: Lucy Catherine Butler.

ME: How do you spell that?

LUCY: L – U – C – Y  B – U – T – L – E – R

ME: What about the Catherine part?

LUCY: I don’t know how to spell that!

ME: Something to work on then.

LUCY: Maybe so.

ME: Okay, then, what is your nickname?

LUCY: Lucy Goosey!
ME: Who calls you that?
LUCY: All my friends actually.

ME: Silly me. How old are you?

LUCY: Five!

ME: What is your favorite color?

LUCY: Purple, of course!

ME: Of course. What is your favorite food?

LUCY: Chicken nuggets.

ME: No surprise there.

LUCY: Actually, my favorite food is…broccoli!

ME: No, it’s not.

LUCY: Yes, it is!

ME: Then broccoli will be on the menu tonight, kiddo. What is your favorite drink?

LUCY: Apple juice.

ME: What’s your favorite snack?

LUCY: Cheetos.

ME: What’s your favorite restaurant?

LUCY: Cracker Barrel.

ME: Because we just went there?

LUCY: Yes. And because I like pancakes.

ME: See, pancakes should have been your favorite food.

LUCY: Mommy!

ME: Sorry. So, what is your favorite toy?

LUCY: Bun Bun.

ME: Why even ask? What is your favorite TV show?

LUCY: Austin and Ally.

ME: What is your favorite outfit?

LUCY: My Elsa shirt and my colored tutu.
ME: That you are wearing now?
LUCY: Yes.

ME: Very cute. Where do you live?

LUCY: (says subdivision name)

ME: Where’s that?

LUCY: I don’t know.

ME: Looks like we have something to work on. You live in Florida. Moving on, what are your favorite animals?

LUCY: I like giraffes, monkeys, and puppies. And there’s one more thing I want to say.

ME: Okay.

LUCY: And this one is…rabbits!

ME: Got it. What is your favorite pet?

LUCY: Probably dogs.

ME: Any dog in particular?

LUCY: Oscar!

ME: What does Mommy do for work?

LUCY: Work on a computer.

ME: What does Daddy do for work?

LUCY: Print out paper.

ME: What is your favorite book?

LUCY: I think it is, “The Day The Crayons Came Home.”

ME: I like that book too. What is your favorite thing to do outside?

LUCY: Swim in the swimming pool.

ME: Who is your favorite friend?

LUCY: Emma D.

ME: Who is your favorite teacher?

LUCY: Mrs. Bazin {her kindergarten teacher}, of course!

ME: Of course. What do you want to be when you grow up?

LUCY: I want to be a doctor.

ME: Really what kind?

LUCY: One that does like check ups.

ME: Like Dr. Wilde {her pediatrician}?

LUCY: Yes. But I don’t want to give shots.

ME: Don’t the nurses usually handle that?

LUCY: That’s why I’m going to be a doctor!

ME: Good plan. What do you want to be for Halloween?

LUCY: Emily Elizabeth.

ME: And Will will be your dog, Clifford. What is your favorite holiday?

LUCY: Halloween.

ME: Are you just saying that because it's the closest holiday?

LUCY: Yes. And, because you get so much candy!

ME: If you could have any kind of party, what kind of party would you want?

LUCY: I would have a Bat Girl party!

ME: Really?

LUCY: Yes.

ME: Noted for your next birthday. What is your favorite song?

LUCY: (sings) “I don’t like it, I love it, love it, love it. Uh oh, so good it hurts. I don’t want it, I gotta, gotta have it. Uh oh, so good it hurts”

ME: The Kidz Bop version, right?

LUCY: Yes. I love it. (starts singing again)

ME: Okay, what is your favorite game?

LUCY: Diggity Dog.

ME: What do you bring to bed with you?

LUCY: Bun Bun.

ME: Just Bun Bun?

LUCY: Yeah, that’s all I bring! I’m big, remember?

ME: How could I forget? What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy?

LUCY: Decorate the house.

ME: What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?

LUCY: Play upstairs {in the playroom}.

ME: What is your favorite sweet treat?

LUCY: Smarties! They are delicious, AND they make you smart!

ME: Is that so? Do you like Smarties better than chocolate?

LUCY: Today I do!

ME: Fair enough. What is your favorite movie?

LUCY: I would watch “Frozen.”

ME: You said that last year too.

LUCY: Yeah, I know.

ME: Are you reading what I’m writing?

LUCY: Yeah.

ME: You stinker! If you could go anywhere, where would you like to go?

LUCY: Disney.

ME: Where is your favorite place to go on vacation?

LUCY: Hmmm. Favorite place to go? I don’t know.

ME: Think about it.

LUCY: Oh, the beach!

ME: What makes you happy?

LUCY: When me and Mommy cuddle.

ME: Awww.

LUCY: Wait, was that last year’s?

ME: Excuse me. Stop reading.

LUCY: Excuse me, that will always be it!

ME: You’re sweet, but I’m still moving the laptop. What makes you sad?

LUCY: When Will hits me.

ME: That makes me sad too. But you know he loves you, right?

LUCY: Right. And I love him too.

ME: What scares you?

LUCY: When ghosts say “Boo!”

ME: When does that happen?

LUCY: Oh, I don’t know. Probably Halloween.

ME: You’ve got it all figured out. What makes you feel proud of yourself?

LUCY: When I do good work.

ME: That makes me proud too. What is your favorite sport?

LUCY: Soccer.

ME: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

LUCY: Chocolate.

ME: Do you want to tell me anything else?

LUCY: Yes.

ME: What?

LUCY: I love you, Mommy.

ME: I love you too.

Emily Elizabeth and her big red dog, Clifford - Halloween 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Catching Up for Lost Time

Okay, so it's very clear that I have done a TERRIBLE job blogging this year. As the summer ends and the school year begins (and Lucy starts kindergarten!!!!), I will make every effort to do better. But, first, let's catch up with a recap of our family's memorable moments, from March 2015 to today.

St. Patrick's Day was March 17, and this guy was In. To. It.

I turned 41 on March 28 (and celebrated by trying to recapture my childhood by playing beer pong). It didn't work.

Easter followed in the first week of April. Much candy. Many egg hunts.
Will's birthday was May 6. We celebrated his entry into the terrible twos at a local gym.

Daddy even got on the act by jumping into the foam pit.

Mother's Day brought many home-made gifts, lots of love, a little crying (mostly Will, some me), and a breakfast that I didn't have to cook. I'd call it a "win."

Lucy graduated from pre-school on June 3...

...and she stole the show at her second dance recital the following week.

We remembered Andy on his angel day, June 4.

I missed Father's Day because I was at a national SMA conference. Whoops. There are pictures somewhere, I promise!

July found us commemorating Independence Day with fireworks and food trucks. Will accurately called them "booms."

On July 15, Lucy turned five, and she celebrated like crazy. Including another party at the gym! #youonlyturnfiveonce

And, Daddy got stuck in the pit...again. Those are his feet.

Now, you're all caught up!

Escape to Target

The other day, I took Lucy and Will to Target for some grocery shopping...and got caught in a torrential downpour on the way out of the store. After getting everyone and everything situated in the car, I was soaked to the bone and even more frustrated. With my wet hair dripping into my eyes and the sounds of two complaining kids filling my ears, I thought that the day was off to a terrible start. Then, out of nowhere, the lyrics "If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain" came to mind. I started singing the song to the kids...and we created this parody. Which, other than the rain (and the broccoli) is not taken directly from real life (yet). Anyway, we sang, and we laughed, and I began to feel much better about our day. Hope it makes you smile too.

Escape to Target

Based on “Escape (the Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes (You can here the original song here.)

I was tired because my baby had been up all night long.
Escaping from his room again, not a real thing was wrong.
I just wanted to be sleeping, all alone in my bed.
Instead I’m laying here with a toddler, getting kicked in the head.

If you like shopping Target, but not getting caught in the rain.
If your groceries are dripping, and your kids are insane.
If you wonder why you took shower, because you’re clearly a wet mess.
Then this is a normal day as a mother, and it’s not a success.

I didn’t think about my baby, when I cooked broccoli that night.
It doesn’t matter if he likes veggies, he’s got to eat just one bite.
But me and my baby, doesn’t see dinner the same way.
He had a full blown tantrum, and the floor met her tray.

Yes, I love shopping at Target, in the sun or the rain.
First stop is the Starbucks, and I can not complain.
Until the kids start screaming, and the shopping finished under duress.
Just another day as a mother, and I’m feeling the stress. 

So I waited with high hopes to start potty training that day.
I knew he pooed in an instant, when the smell wafted my way.
But where did the odor come from, ‘cause his diaper was clean.
No laughing as I found it, on the couch and in between.

So I’ll go shopping at Target, and I won’t mind the rain.
I’ll order a venti latte, but from pastries I’ll refrain.
Until I get the kids some cookies. A little bribe, I confess.
Just another day as a mother. Don’t you know that I’m blessed?

Lucy tries out her umbrella, before a trip to Target

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Year of the...Virus?

Christmas 2014 brought our family an abundance of joy and togetherness. Which is awesome.
Family fun on New Year's Eve
Until all of that togetherness allowed one of our family members to spread disease and pestilence to the rest of us.

(I’m looking at you, Will.)

On New Year’s Day 2015, Will had a fever. That fever eventually turned into Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. It’s a viral illness characterized by blisters that cover your hands, feet, and face. The doctors said not to worry too much about it - his case wasn’t very severe. It is very contagious, so I took great pains to sanitize the house, including all toys, and tried to keep Lucy’s contact with her brother to a minimum.
Sick baby boy
However, I was right in the line of viral fire. Three days after Will’s spots appeared, I became symptomatic too. And, my case of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease was terrible.

How I managed to catch a children’s disease at almost 41 years old is beyond me. But, rest assured, that it sucked. My hands were covered with painful blisters for weeks. Almost two months later, my feet are still peeling.

And, of course, in the midst of the Hand, Foot, and Mouth debacle, Lucy started to get sick too. Luckily, she avoided our plague, but she did manage to come down with a nasty stomach bug. Which was followed up the next week with a UTI. Seriously.
Sick girl (with her "throw up bowl"). YUCK!
Of course, as soon as she was on the mend, we all caught another cold. And, Will came down with a double ear infection.

So far, 2015 has been a royal pain…in the hand, foot, mouth, and ass.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lessons Learned

Every year on Lucy’s birthday, I write her a letter and put it on the Internet. I wrote the following in the weeks leading up to her fourth birthday on July 15, 2014, but couldn’t bring myself to post it. This year – the summer especially – was difficult for my family. We didn’t share our troubles publicly at the time, but they are clearly reflected in what I wrote in Lucy’s letter. I have spent the past six months deciding whether or not to post it – trying to decide how much of our real lives that I share with the world. Then I thought about how I was trying to teach Lucy to be brave and that I should lead by example. So, here it is, in time for her ½ birthday.

Dear Lucy,

On July 15, 2014, you turned four. For you, it was a long-awaited and much celebrated occasion. For me, it was another clear reminder that you are growing up too fast. I look at your face, as you sit next to me at the kitchen table; your cheeks have started to lose the softness of toddlerhood. You are changing and maturing right before my eyes.
Four going on 40, indeed.

You are so confident and independent. You start “real” pre-school in less than two weeks. You no longer need my help to get dressed or to brush your teeth. Sometimes you even prefer to play alone. You constantly remind me that you can do it yourself – no matter what that “it” is.
In the mornings, though, you still climb into my bed and snuggle against me, warm from sleep. It’s our special cuddling time before the day begins. And, it’s often the highlight of my day – because I know a time is fast approaching when you won’t let me hold you like that anymore.

And so I whisper in your sleep-tousled hair that I love you more than anything in the world. That you are my sunshine. That you are smart, special, beautiful, and kind. That I’m so proud of you. I say these things to you time and again, hoping to etch them into the recesses of your mind. You always reply, “I KNOW that, Mommy,” and I ask you not to roll your eyes.
I hope, as you grow, that you will still remember how amazing you are. How you can rely on your strengths and how your failures can make you even stronger. Because I know that someday, in the not-too-distant future, you might doubt yourself. You might not think you are deserving of something or someone. I want to know, as certainly as you know EVERYTHING today, that you are perfect JUST as you are. Life holds no limits for you.

As your mother, it’s my responsibility to ready you for this often unfair world. Beyond teaching you letters, numbers, and manners, I must show you how to become the incredible woman that I know you will be – despite the obstacles that you may face as you grow up.  I try to stay mindful of this weighty task.
But, it often seems that you are the one schooling me. You are too smart for your own good and too sassy for mine. You know everything about everything, and you are happy to educate me. You teach me words in Spanish and Irish. You share daily knock-knock jokes. You explain the ins and outs of the social politics of the pre-school playground (“Ava is my best friend. Janie is Justin’s best friend...”). Nothing escapes you.

Which means that you often parrot me when I’ve said something I shouldn’t. Or, you mimic me doing something that is less than flattering. Through you, I see a truer vision of myself than any mirror can provide. As much as I want you to realize your fullest potential, you inspire me to find mine.
I’m not sure you understand now, but this past year has been a hard one for your father and me. We have faced a lot of stress for many reasons, and we haven’t been as nice to each other as we should have been. And, we didn’t do a very good job of shielding you from that ugliness. You have seen too many fights. Too many tears. Too much tension. We have shown you a very flawed example of what friendship, partnership, and love look like.

You shouldn’t have to remind us to play nicely or to not fight with our friends. You shouldn’t be the one saving us. But, you have, time and again. You saved us first with your birth – you were the light in the darkness after your brother’s death. And you continue to remind us how precious this family – and this life – that we’ve created together truly is.
That you know kindness is our success, but that you have to teach it to us is our failing. Lucy, we want to be better because of you. We want to be the kind of parents you deserve and have a relationship that you want to emulate. We are so proud of you, and we want you to be proud of us too.

You see this world in very distinct black and white, but you have a deep and perhaps innate understanding of it. You are wise beyond your years. The other day, you told us that being nice was something that you have to practice, just like singing. You said that the more you practice, the better it sounds.  Once again, you are right. You really do know everything.
And, I love everything about you. Happy birthday, baby girl.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Where We’ve Been

Will is napping (finally), Lucy’s gallivanting around the town with her grandparents (typically), and I have found myself with a moment of quiet (surprisingly). As I was pursuing the blogisphere for holiday recipes, I realized that I haven’t updated my very own blog since the end of October. Whoops.

So, here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been doing...because you know as soon as I really start typing, Will will wake up:


For Halloween, the kids joined forces to fight crime…or me. (Especially when I tried to force my “rules” on them. Like a reasonable bedtime on Halloween night, or no candy for breakfast.) Lucy was Batgirl, and Will was her Baby Bat Brother. Daddy refused to dress up like Batman, and I was coerced into wearing a villain’s mask. Of course.


My little turkeys were dressed accordingly for this holiday. And, as you can see, that really ruffled the feathers of one of them. Thanksgiving was filled with epic fits, such as “I won’t eat anything but marshmallow and rolls” by Lucy and “I won’t nap, and then I will run around and terrorize everyone” by Will. Ahhh, the memories.


Okay, Christmas hasn’t technically happened yet, but the holiday season is well upon us. As of this post, we’re 16 days into the annual visits from our Christmas elves, who hop from shelf to shelf with wild abandon. (They don’t do anything more creative, though, because 1. It's literally called “The Elf on the SHELF,” and 2. This mama is not going to clean up after elves too, for goodness sake!)  

But, I’m happy to report that, for the first time ever, Lucy and Will sat on Santa’s lap with no crying or beard-pulling. My kids actually behaved - it's a bona fide Christmas miracle!
For comparison, here are the last several years of Santa pictures. As you can see, St. Nick truly earned that sainthood.

It's still up-in-the-air if the man in red is bringing presents or coal this year. Only time will tell. (Or me...if I remember to blog about it.)



Sunday, October 26, 2014

It's a Floor Tom

So here’s a quick drumming lesson from Lucy. My take-away? This kid needs a drum set, and I need some new Tupperware containers!