I would be remiss if I didn't post pics and document La Petite Belle's birthday. After all, that's what this blog is all about. So, allow me to document the events that went down.
First off ... La Petite Belle has lived these 14 years with non-stop comments about how much she looks like her daddy. Mothers ... don't you just LOVE it?! ... after you birthed that child ... she grew inside you ... you fed her from your body ... and you hear how much this child is "all her daddy." Yeah. Not cool. I promise you ... she is NOT all her daddy (except for that naughty, sassy part ... that's ALL him).
No matter my protests and my insistence that this child DID look like me at some point in her childhood, no one would even give it a second thought. UNTIL ... I started her birthday out with this pic.
Yeah .. me on left in my sweet seventies outfit and adorable pose and La Petite Belle there on the left.
I felt vindicated. And, now when I state that this child looked just like me when I was a child, I get a little more respect. And, I have MORE pictures to prove this fact.
Yes, the girl is mine. The doggone girl is mine.
Not only are we twinsies, but La Petite Belle and I share a birthday week.
To all couples planning babies ... DO NOT DO THIS.
Here's what happens: Your birthday will take a back seat for the next 18 years if you do. Just the facts. Space it out! Because I LOVE birthdays ... not just mine, but other people too.
People mock me a bit because I like to make a big deal out of birthdays. I think you SHOULD make a bid deal out of birthdays. It is literally the ONE and ONLY day that an individual and his/her life is celebrated. Make the most of it, people! We don't know how many chances we'll get to celebrate those days.
And yes, I'm ranting ... moving on.
Speaking of my birthday, which comes first ... I had a pretty good day as long as I didn't hear Beau continuously repeat how old I was. Enough with the numbers! A simple "Happy Birthday" is sufficient. Thank you.
I got my free birthday coffee and I was off to work for the day.
I had a birthday lunch with friends, followed by La Petite Belle's volleyball game. Then concluded the week with a night out with more friends.
(Beau and I will be celebrating this weekend. We're headed to see Anjelah Johnson, one of my absolute favorite comediennes, and he's throwing in a nice dinner to boot. And, then there's that trip to Italy next week. So, I'm pretty spoiled this birthday month!)
Now onto La Petite Belle's birthday ...
We had decided to just do the whole new phone thing until a ticket to the One Direction Concert came available. So that was pretty much it for her! Concert and a night in NOLA ... which made us the coolest parents in the world since it involved missing school because of it.
Here's the lovely lady that had the spare ticket and toted her to and fro. Megan ... you made this girl's year!
Along with the concert, La Petite Belle had friends over for a sleepover. I think 14 may be the magic age where sleepovers are finally stress-free and acceptable. I was actually able to sleep through the night. The only noise was La Petite Belle strumming on her guitar and singing downstairs ... mostly her singing. (some things never change ... she's always been a singing, performing queen!)
So, with the obligatory birthday post done, I go to prepare my packing list for Italy. Hoping to have LOTS of good stuff to post when I get back!
Ya'll are gonna think I'm a bad person. Actually, a horrible person.
At one time, we had this cute, precious little puppy.
Yeah. He WAS cute.
He was sweet too.
But, I have come to the realization that my love is conditional. Yep. It is. At least when it comes to non-humans.
There's only so much I can take.
You pee on my floor. My feelings for you will change DRASTICALLY.
Even worse ... you poop on my floor. We. Are. Done.
You eat my stairs and my baseboards. I can barely look you in the eye anymore.
And, worst of all ... you cry and whine. I start to have mean, angry feelings toward you.
This dog was once the cutest and sweetest thing in the world. But, sadly ... his cuteness has worn off and his sweetness doesn't phase me.
Beau still says he's super sweet, but I can't get past the other things. I know ... I told you ... I'm horrible.
And, if I showed you a picture of him now ... he's not as cute anyway, so don't start feeling sorry for him.
Unfortunately, my daughters will NOT let me give the dog away ... no matter how hard I try ... asking random people at church if they want a dog ... trying to pawn him off on anyone who might take him ... I cannot do it.
K Belle has promised to run away if I get rid of him (despite the fact that she texted a pic to me last week of another cute pup and said we could get rid of Oliver if we replaced him with the new one ... ummmmmm ... yeah, she's so attached ... and we're not getting ANY more dogs!).
So ... I guess we'll be keeping him. However, I've told K Belle that we would immediately get rid of him when she moves out. Then, we argue more about how she'll never forgive me ... blah, blah, blah.
On the other hand, Roxy Belle ... just about the MOST perfect dog ever! She's put on some pounds lately and can't get her portly self up on the chair anymore without a boost, but she's just the sweetest! I confess that I let her get on the couch (which they're normally forbidden from) and hold her when Oliver's not around and then whisper to her not to tell him. Yeah ... just now and then; don't get all indignant about this.
I love how low maintenance she has become.
Makes me think I'd be better off with a cat if I didn't dislike them so much.
So, we'll keep the dog. Don't worry ... he'll receive lots of love from the others in the house and I will tolerate him until he gets his urges under control.
I'd like to think we are and not just a big set of weirdos.
One thing we do is sing.
And, by sing, I mean SING every day.
Right now, La Petite Belle's singing at the top of her lungs in the shower. Actually, she's not just singing, she's SANGIN'! Runs and all, y'all.
We sing in the shower.
We sing in the car.
We sing in the house to annoy one another.
We sing with the radio.
We sing with the television.
We sing while one of the others plays the piano.
We sing silly songs we make up.
We sing songs and jack up the lyrics just for fun.
Simply put, we're always singing.
Beau and I are music people. We've always been.
When K Belle was born, we sang to her non-stop. Every night one of us rocked that baby to sleep and sang her lullabies. I taught her loads of songs every day.
Actually, she made up her own songs as a baby. I would drive and she would sit in her car seat, facing the other direction, singing loudly the whole drive ... just tunes she made up, nothing in particular.
K Belle used to say, "Can I have some turning up, please?" when she wanted us to turn up the radio.
She actually recorded her first songs at two years old ... "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" and "Old MacDonald". I still have the recording. Priceless!
La Petite Belle was privy to the same musical experiences. Actually, she became the queen of made-up lyrics in the house. She also would put on mini-concerts for us and anyone else who would watch. Those were also priceless ... especially her rendition of "God Bless America" with the lyrics "from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans LIKE BEFOOOOOOOOOORE ..."
Beau and I enjoy singing loudly just to irritate the children. You see ... as your children get older, there's just something that's quite enjoyable about embarrassing or irritating them. We are definitely guilty of that sometimes.
Singing is something that's part of our family. And, I love that about us.
Now just for fun, for your viewing pleasure, La Petite Belle was always singing in the car, but it's what she says that makes me laugh. Glad I was recording.
I waited for this day ... a day where we would spend some good family time together.
I'm not kidding. I miss family time.
Between ridiculous school and work schedules and the 54 extracurricular school activities and church stuff, I treasure EVERY moment where we can just be together ... with no real agenda and no real place where someone has to be at a certain time.
We debated over a week about what we would do as a family. And, in typical family-style, none of us could agree. So, I decided we'd each pick something we wanted to do ... four different things and we'd each sacrifice for each other. Deal.
K Belle's choice ... hair cuts.
Yep. She took the drastic approach to hers. La Petite Belle got just a tiny trim and vowed NEVER to cut her hair that short EVER.
But, look how cute!
La Petite Belle's choice was lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. We all agreed on that one pretty easily.
Beau's choice ... the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie. This went against La Petite Belle's choice of "If I Stay." Thank the Lord, we got to see the former and not the latter. Teenage romance ... no thanks.
As for my choice ... well that was disregarded. I had a couple of options: 1. match all the socks together in the sock baskets (because I am a HORRIBLE sock matcher), 2. time to dust and vacuum my bedroom, or 3. finish up the laundry.
I didn't think these were horrible choices. In the end, I matched socks and did a few loads of laundry on my own. I guess that was the compromise.
Honestly, all I wanted was time together. I would've been happy doing absolutely nothing.
Yeah guys, that's the first break of the school year ... It's Monday, September 1st ... 20 days away if you're counting.
I don't feel ready for this. But, ready or not, my kids are back at school today.
Between camps and new jobs and sleepovers and 542 other summer activities, I didn't get nearly as much time with my kids as I wanted to have this summer. And, by new jobs, I'm meaning K Belle's ... she has a part-time job now ... retail. Yeah. Gross. Glad those days are over for me. She seems to like it so far. But, we all know the newness will wear off soon and she will loathe folding those shirts with a clipboard and straightening hangers. My only hope is that she might take some of her folding and hanging skills back home with her and put them into practice in her room. But, I'm a little pessimistic about that thought.
I want to take in every moment of this year with my girls. This is an important year for both of them ... K Belle's senior year ... and La Petite Belle's last year in junior high.
I remember both of the girls' very first days of school.
K Belle was two when we put her in a pre-school program as I got my final semester of college done by doing my student teaching. It was a hard thing. I cried when I had to say goodbye to her that first day. That was the moment I felt like the worst mom in the whole world. Any working mom out there knows exactly what I'm talking about. Eventually, I was able to teach at the very school she was at in K-3.
Look how cute she was going to K-4 ...
With La Petite Belle, it was way easier to say good-bye to at almost three years old, not because she literally cried to be away from me for about 2 years and a break was maybe a good thing (whew, that was a rough time), but only because she was with me at school while I taught too. And, so was K Belle.
And, La Petite Belle in her K-4 pic ... cutie patootie!
I've been blessed in that area as a mom for sure. The majority of the girls' childhood years I have been with them or easily available to them. I thank God for that as I sit and reflect on all those years.
Today ... as K Belle drives herself to school and parks in her own parking spot, I think I may actually have a harder time. Today is the first and the last ... first day, last year. That makes me sad and happy.
I also see that La Petite Belle is growing and maturing so quickly. She no longer needs to or wants to cling to me like she used to, always wanting to be on my hip. She's becoming independent and I see her making lots of grown-up decisions. That makes me happy and sad too.
I have to remind myself that these children are only on loan to me. That's hard to stomach. They're not mine to begin with. I've been entrusted with their lives ... to nurture them, teach them, and lead them in the way they should go. No pressure.
I pray I've taught them some life-long lessons and that the good stuff sticks. And, the bad stuff (yeah, there's some of that in every household) is forgotten. I mean ... there can't be that much bad stuff, right? Let's hope not.
Now, I just have to think of EVERYTHING I want to teach and pour into my oldest before she leaves the nest. She's gonna love those talks. She always does. Especially when I ask her about what questions she has about sex and does she really know the right stuff and does she want me to tell her the truth with details and what God thinks about these things. I ask her these things quite often. She's thrilled.
Ok, gotta start making some notes on topics to make sure I've covered this year!
La Petite Belle has always been one of those kids who's been outspoken about her faith, even as a very young child. You know ... the one asking kids on her soccer team if they're Christians and where do they go to church, inviting kids to church, asking kids if they know about Jesus ... that sort of thing.
When she was about five years old, she told me that all she wanted to do with her life was tell people about Jesus. She was going to be a preacher. All she needed was a sword and toilet paper. The sword for protection obviously and toilet paper for ... well ... you know. That has always been part of her plan. Well that, along with being a soccer player, hair dresser, and singer. This girl has goals.
She attended a tween camp this summer (which she wasn't totally thrilled about due to the fact of her being one of the older kids there, but she went anyway) and came home with a renewed vision. Driving in the car a day or so after her return, she said to me, "Mama, I know what God's called me to do." I responded with a "What's that?" Then, she said, "God has called me to reach my school. This is the last year I'm there and He wants me to make a difference before I leave." To which I replied, "That's awesome!" And, we began talking about how she was going to do that.
La Petite Belle has already gotten set up with a teacher who will be a sponsor for this Christian club/group at the school and she created 1,000 flyers to hand out at school to invite kids to come. The club will serve as a support/prayer/devotional group and be a place for these kids to invite their friends to so that they can hear about other kids' relationships with Jesus. And, of course ... there's food of some sort. This girl is on the ball with all her preparations. I spied her journal sitting next to her Bible on the living room side table and took a tiny peek. She had a whole devotion already written for the first meeting.
I am extremely proud of this girl. She has heard the calling of God upon her life and is actually stepping out into scary territory (we're talking public-school scary) and doing something about it. I can't wait to see what becomes of this group she's starting and how God's going to lead her in this area.
Ew. Y'all remember that book/movie? I vaguely do ... Something about some kids getting locked in the attic, abused, and a mean old lady.
I think that played a part in my strong dislike toward attics. Gimme a good basement any day
Then, there was that scary rhyme that my relatives would say about an older house, belonging to a great aunt, that we used to live in. If I could write in French, I would tell it to you. But, basically it was something about an old lady, Madame Grand Bois, who lived in our attic, who's looking for you and will come and get you. Yeah. Great memories in that old house.
Needless to say, I didn't go into the attic. And, still don't like going into the attic.
I don't ever need to go into the attic, so there's no problem.
this one time where the AC stopped working in 90-something-degree weather and Beau was out of town.
Of course, Beau was sleeping at his hotel when I did try to get in touch with him. The nerve of him to put his phone on "Do Not Disturb" when his wife and children in a whole other state. Emergencies could happen here!
Even tried getting him through Facebook ... no dice ... he was sleeping like a baby.
We slept one night with the temperature at 84 degrees. And, the next morning, I was determined to get that sucker fixed, even if it was Saturday.
Just as I was calling the AC guy, Beau called. He gave me instructions on what I needed to do before calling anyone. It involved ... you guessed it ... going up in the attic. (insert dramatic crying sounds)
So, I bit the bullet and marched up the stairs, pulled down the attic stairs, and slowly climbed up until my eyes were level with the attic floor. I used my flashlight to scan the whole area before I stepped up any further. There were no rodents or old ladies so I was clear to go up.
I pulled the string to turn on the light and saw that the AC pan (no idea what it's called, but it's like a big drip pan) was full of water. Beau's instructions were to empty out the water. So, I began my long journey of scooping out water with a large cup and filling up a bucket, then taking the bucket full of water up and down the stairs ... emptying the bucket and starting over. Ugh. Not fun.
Despite all the noise I was making, no one in the house woke up to come and help me. No. One. And, I was NOT quiet. So ... I continued ... alone and sweating profusely.
When I finally emptied out that large pan, Beau said I would have to find where the pipe was loose, take it apart, and then blow on the pipe to rid it of any clogs. GU. ROSE. I was going to skip this step until he said if I didn't do it, I would have to start all over again the next day with the emptying of the water. Ugh again.
I found the loose pipe, unattached it, and stared at the inside of the pipe. Ew. Yuck. I was disgusted that I was going to have to put my mouth on that nasty thing. I encouraged myself ... cheered myself on ... and then I did it. I touched that pipe with my mouth. I did my best to get any clogs out.
I'm pretty sure I'm contaminated now. Ah well.
Guess what? The AC kicked on and we have had AC ever since.
I've come to realize that I don't want to do things like this. Nope. When I was younger, I would've been more than happy to prove that I could do whatever a man could do with no problem. I would go above and beyond to prove myself. But, as I get older ... nah ... I don't wanna. That's what husbands are for! And, I don't need to prove anything to anyone. So, basically I don't care if I am able or not able to do those type of manly things and honestly, I just don't want to.
But, I fixed the AC.
And, then unclogged the garbage disposal.
And, then ridded the house of some nasty, nasty bugs.
And, I don't want to have to do any of those things again. Come home, Beau. (insert dramatic, loud crying noises again)