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My 8-Year-Old Dressed Me For A Week

Little Miss’s birthday has begun to become more than just a special day for her. Each year we plan what fun events to do to celebrate, special treats to make, and what kinds of gifts she might like to receive. And while I’m busy planning a special day for her… she’s busy planning a special week for me. Months before she turned 8 she explained to me that she would be dressing me for a week again, and since her birthday fell on a Saturday, my fun in 8-year-old inspired fashion would begin the very next day. So here we go….

Sunday

Little Miss Cut My Head Off

Little Miss Cut My Head Off

Today we are doing one more fun thing to help Little Miss celebrate – and this just goes to show what a great dad she has – we are taking her as a family to the American Girl Doll store to have lunch. She wanted us all there – Sunday Shoeeven the boys. Buddy is excited to see what all the fuss is about (he didn’t go with us last year) and My Man is just a good sport. After lunch she’ll be able to shop a little with her birthday money at the mall where the store is located.

My outfit for the day includes a pair of dark denim boot leg jeans that I’ve owned for YEARS, paired with a striped sweater with a gathered bow thing in front. I am wearing a white tank top under the sweater (it is sheer and she did not want anyone to see my bra – so kind), striped multi-colored socks, silver flats with black patent leather toes, tiny amethyst Mickey Mouse earings (which normally I would think were too corny but since we just got back from a trip to Disney I have a bit of Mickey fever) and my big chunky Timex watch.

The top, pants and shoes I would totally put together. But the socks… that is where the 8-year-old sense of fashion (striped top, striped sock) shines through today. I am glad she picked flats for some mega mall walking!

Monday

Monday (1)

Monday

“Where’s that black dress you always wear with this sweater?” Little Miss is holding up a grey, short sleeve long sweater that I have NEVER worn with a dress. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t wear that sweater with a dress. I wear that sweater with skinny jeans because it’s long and hides the plumber butt I always have when I wear skinny jeans.” “No mom,” she answers. “You always wear this sweater with a black dress.” Little Miss has gotten things a bit wrong – but I humor her and start pulling out black dresses. I own a few too many I think.

  • Is it this sleeveless dress with zippers and a black belt?
  • No.
  • Is it this short sleeve dress with a little tie around the waist?
  • No.
  • Is it not actually black but this dark grey sweater dress?
  • No. Forget it mom. Do you have a plain black shirt?
  • I have several… how about this one… oh this is actually a little cotton dress with 3/4 length sleeves.
  • Yes – that’s the dress you always wear with that sweater!
  • Seriously girl, I do not.
Heart Necklace

Heart Necklace

So, I found the dress. She’s paired that with the sweater and I’m wearing black leggings. She wanted me to wear tights but I wouldn’t because the dress is SHORT and I was heading out on an adventure with Buddy’s Cub Scout den to the local PBS station and I didn’t want to show the local news personalities my personalities. I’m wearing simple black flats with no socks. It is February and I do not live in the south but I can handle cold ankles for the sake of Little Miss’ yearly fun. (I did get a “cute shoes” compliment from a fellow mom in the school pick up area)  I’m also wearing a heart necklace, pink drop earrings and my one and only watch.

Little Miss definitely has her favorite things. I wore the sweater I have on today last year and am even sporting the same pink earrings with the sweater. For the photo she insisted that the sweater be buttoned. Two days done and counting….

Tuesday

Today I have a job. I don’t work every day – but a few days a week I am a substitute teacher. My goal is to be like Peggy Hill and win substitute teacher of the year, 3 years in a row! Since this is my first year I

Buddy Cut My Head Off

Buddy Cut My Head Off

have a lot of work ahead of me. Because it is a work day I told Little Miss she must pick out something that is work appropriate. “Can you wear jeans?” she asked. “Yes, if they are dressy-ish. It’s not Friday so I don’t Tuesday's shoewant to be too casual,” I answer.

I am wearing dark denim trouser jeans with an oxblood (as all the stylists are calling burgundy, maroon, dark red) shirt with a front ruffle. On my ears are dangly white beaded earrings and on my feet are a very old pair of black ankle boots with a buckle on the side and white stitching. This outfit is just perfect for a day in the classroom. Although, I do think I need to stop having my children take the photos. Buddy did today’s and the top of my head is missing yet again.

Wednesday

Wed shoes

8-year-old’s love FUN socks.

Little Miss is picking out many of the same clothes I wore last year when I let my 7-year-old dress me for a week.  I swear Wed soutfitI’ve bought new clothes in the past year but I guess my old familiar stuff is what she likes. Today I am wearing a grey sweater that ties in the front with a pair of jeans. She has matched this with the same shoes I wore on Sunday.

  • LM – You’ll be wearing these shoes a lot this week.
  • Me – Why?
  • LM – They’re my favorite.
  • Me – Why?
  • LM – Because they are all silver and shiny.

I think I still must think a bit like an 8-year-old as I too like things that are silver and shiny.

Thursday

Thurs outfitToday I thought I’d be spending my day in my underwear. Little Miss forgot to pick out my outfit the night before. When I woke her up for school I was wearing my bathrobe. “Is this what you want me to wear today?” I asked. She popped out of bed and ran to my closet. She quickly pulled down a grey and black striped top and a pair of jeans. On my feet were a pair of casual grey flannel loafers. My accessories are my watch and the pink dangly earrings I wore on Monday.

  • LM – Would you wear this?
  • Me – Yes, you’re really not mixing things up very much. You must like the way I dress.
  • LM – Yep

I put the outfit on.

  • Me – Does it look OK?
  • LM – Yes!
  • Me – You don’t think my stomach flabs over the jeans too much (seriously a VERY nice case of muffin top)
  • LM – It doesn’t matter. That’s not what people look at.
  • Me – What do they look at?
  • LM – Your face.

What a wonderful reminder from a little kid that what I wear doesn’t really matter that much.

Friday

friday feet FAncy ButtAll week Little Miss has been asking where my jeans with the fancy pockets are. For most of the week they were in the laundry – but today they are Friday outfitclean and I am wearing them. Those fancy pocket jeans are paired with a plain black shirt and some knee-high grey suede boots with a great lug sole. After Little Miss went to bed last night I got a phone call to work today (substitute teaching is always last minute). It’s Friday, so the jeans are fine to wear to work, but I wasn’t sure if the jeans tucked in the boots were just a touch too casual. I tried on the outfit with the boots and Little Miss decided that we needed to make a shoe adjustment. My feet were switched to the black flats I wore on Monday, but this time were paired with a pair of polka dot socks. In my ears were silver dangly earrings that looked like leaves and around my wrist was my trusty watch.

I liked this outfit and I was perfectly comfortable wearing it to work. Good job, Little Miss!

Saturday

Little Miss decided that she was done with this project. It could be that she was bored with my clothes. It could be that it was Saturday, a day of leisure for her. It could be that she had a sleepover last night and was just too darn tired to dress anyone but herself. So today, I picked out my own clothes.

Observations of the week:

  1. Little Miss often chooses the familiar
  2. I own a lot of black and grey clothes but I swear I own other colors too. Just about every day ths week I was wearing either black or grey.
  3. Fun socks are a must regardless of the shoe choice.
  4. If it’s shiny it’s better.

This was another fun week for me and my girl. Let’s see if she jumps at the chance to do this project again next year!IMG_2564

Three Big Fears

We all have things we’re afraid of. There are big things, like a tornado, and little things, like a spider. Spider Many of our fears are totally irrational but we have them none-the-less. I’m going to confess, to you,  3 of my fears.

Number one: barfing. When the stomach bug is “going around” I’m in a constant state of inner turmoil. Not only do I get that heart pounding adrenaline rush of fear if I see (or hear) barfing, I’m in even more trouble if I’m the actual one doing the deed. It’s so bad that when one of my kids is sick, I’m not rubbing their back and saying loving things as they throw up, I’m usually at least 10 feet away shouting at them – be sure to get it in the toilet, bucket, bag, trash can, on the tile, not on the carpet – and cringing and feeling nauseous and having a major heebie jeebie attack. One time Jeff got the stomach bug. I quarantined him to our bedroom with full access to the master bath – neither of which I entered except to peek in from the door and shout a “do you need anything” or “are you alive?” once in a while. If he emerged from quarantine I followed him around with cleaning products wiping down surfaces and I did not reenter the sealed area until he (in his weakened state) cleaned everything thoroughly (and then I cleaned it again). I know this does not sound very loving, and if one of my family members is sick and no one else is around to help, I do what I have to – but for days after I feel queasy. I’ve been totally blessed in the fact that I’ve married a man who can stomach a clean-up job. I’ve also been blessed with a child who pukes if she coughs too hard. Just don’t count on me to be the one to hold your hair back.

Number two: peeing in my pants. I’m not talking about every day peeing in my pants but getting into a crash while driving when I have to pee…. and then peeing in my pants. The crash would be bad enough, but I’m completely scared that when I get in said crash that I would pee in my pants and then be injured (or worse, uninjured) with wet pants.   Luckily (and I’m knocking on wood riiigghht… NOW) I’ve never been in a car accident, but in the meantime, I’m going to be sure to use the bathroom before I drive anywhere.

Number three: car submersion.  I’ve had this fear since I was a very little girl… and if it happens hopefully all my mental planning will pay off. I have a fear of my car going off the road and into a deep river/lake/sea/ocean/creek/stream/puddle and being submerged. I picture seeing the water outside the car and I remember from some educational movie that I saw at one time that I won’t be able to open the doors until the pressure inside and outside the car is equal – I have to wait in the car until the water is practically up to the ceiling, take a deep breath, open the door and swim up. There’s a lot to remember! This is the first time that I’m driving a car with electric windows. This fear is so deeply ingrained that in the past, I insisted on crank windows because then you don’t have to wait to open the door. You can take your deep breath, crank down your window, and swim out. Luckily I found a hammer type thing to help me escape from my electric window jail. I can smash my window that will not open.  It also has a cutter on it which I will totally need because now I not only have to worry about getting myself out – but two small children too. OK, stay calm, get hammer tool, cut kids out of car seats, smash window, push kids and myself up to the surface…. no wonder crossing bridges makes me anxious.

You now know 3 of my weird fears. I’m sure you have some that are even weirder.

Yes Ma’am

Alabama is the furthest south I’ve lived in my years of being a moving girl. Sure, some Oklahomians had southern accents and I picked up the phrase y’all when I lived there (and ditched my Pennsyltucky yous guys) but Oklahoma had more of a western feel to it than a southern feel. One of the things I enjoy most about moving to other parts of the country is studying the culture – the little things – the way people interact, phrases that are used, how do people dress, and is it soda, pop, or coke?

Of course I notice the southern accent – it’s very drawn out and slow. Once in a while a word will pop out of my mouth with a  southern twang that catches me off guard – but then again sometimes a Boston word (wicked) pops out or I’ll say tortilla (thank you New Mexico) with a perfect mexican pronunciation. I do know that my kids are totally going to pick it up. There’s a little boy in Miles’ class named Sawyer. I pronounce it like the way Sawyer was pronounced on Lost. ButSawyer from Lost every time I spoke his name Miles told me I wasn’t saying it right. It’s Saw yer (as in saw some wood and look at yer toes). I still say it with my northern accent and Miles corrects me EVERY TIME.

Another southern thing is the yes ma’ams. No one  just says yes to me when I ask a question, it’s yes ma’am. Kids say it to their moms. Kids say it to their teachers. Store clerks say it to me. Strangers say it to me. I asked Jeff if he was called sir. He said no ma’am.

I’ve also noticed that there are lots of two-name girls. Sara Kate, Clara June, Abby Rose, etc. In my experience most kids are only two namers if they’re getting in trouble (Alice Jane – get in your room right now) but here I see it all the time. It takes up a lot of room when their names are embroidered on their backpacks.

Then there is the kid fashion. Girls in hand-smocked dresses with big hair bows. Boys in sensible looking sandals with one-piece rompers on. Lots of seersucker, peter pan collars and matchy matchy pants and tops.  And we’re not talking 1-year-olds. This stuff is crazy  expensive,  and to me just really is old-fashioned looking.

There’s plenty more that I’ve noticed but I’ll save that for another time – for now I’ll just be saving up my money to buy Alice Jane a hand-smocked dress while drinking a coke. Bye y’all.

The Make-Up Fiasco

This year for Halloween Little Miss decided she was going to be a Princess. Not a specific Disney

Princess – just your run of the mill generic version. She planned on digging through her dress-up bin until she found just the right thing and then would call it good. I thought this was GREAT. Super easy costume planning all around. I was so pleased that I pulled out the cool  mom and told her she could wear makeup this year with her costume. Now, I’m not opposed to makeup. I wear it on a daily basis (even when camping) but somehow I’ve kept my little girl out of my makeup drawer – she’s never even played with it. So picture a 5-year-old face glowing with super glee when I told her this. Last Saturday the kids got to get into costume early to attend a Fall Fest at my Man’s school. Anyone who would listen got an ear full from Little Miss about how she was going to be a princess and how she was getting to wear (dramatic pause) MAKEUP. So the big night arrived, and Little Miss princessed herself up, and then presented herself to me all ready for her makeup. Just one swipe of some shimmery eyeshadow caused Little Miss’s eyes to tear and she began frantic smacking and wiping motions with her hands while wailing – I HATE HOW THIS FEELS… so went the blush… so went the lipstick… even lip gloss… screaming and smacking her own face and wiping it off. Finally she was banished to her room to calm down from the mega fit. We had to head to the fest (I was working at it) and she was still freaking out. She got buckled in all tears and smeared make-up and we started driving and I just said to her, “it’s no big deal that you’re not wearing makeup. Maybe some other time.” And she was quiet but then said, “mom, don’t tell anyone.”

Bad mom here that I’m not supposed to tell anyone yet here I am telling all – but it’s such a super Little Miss moment. She’s just a sensitive little girl in the way she feels things – physically and emotionally. If her clothes have one scratchy part they can not be worn, for a long time shoes and socks were just a battle – and after 5 years of interesting (read weird) fits about how something feels I realize it’s because this little girl feels deeply. Her school class went to see the play The House at Pooh Corner. That day when she came home from school her face shone as she told me how wonderful it was – and how she cried at the end when Christopher Robin had to leave. She told me about playing with a little girl at recess. This particular girl wanted to play superheroes and so they played… but it didn’t work out. While the other little girl wanted to pretend help people in danger, Little Miss was on the look-out for real kids who needed help – and was bummed that there weren’t any. And the other girl, in Little Miss’s words, “just didn’t understand how to really be a super hero.”

 I’ve learned to handle the crazy fits she pitches about how certain things feel (most of the time) –  and I think I can because I know the fits are coming from a girl who feels things very deeply. Her heart is amazing and I wouldn’t have it any other way – my little generic makup free princess.

I Heart Meatloaf

Everyone has their comfort food. The one meal that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and domestic inside. For me, it is meatloaf. I remember my mom making it. She’d serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans from a can. Her meatloaf was good – nothing fancy – but it just tasted good and it was  always served with a ketchup dipper on the side.

I spent most of my 20’s in a meat free state. When I started eating meat again it took me a while to get down to actually cooking it myself – and meatloaf (which is best mixed with your hands) was way down my list of things to try to cook. As time moved on I became bolder with my meat recipes and meatloaf was in my repertoire. But I didn’t have a recipe (and for some reason I didn’t just call my mom and ask her for hers) and so I had some hits and some misses with my creations. I’d  just get some ground beef , add some breadcrumbs, throw in whatever mixture of spices I felt like, pour in the ketchup – and sometimes I’d come up with a winner and sometimes not so much.

And then, I found it. A fantastic meatloaf recipe that I could follow and it would create the best meatloaf every time. Of course I found it in Real Simple, one of my favorite magazines to go to for new food ideas. I made this meatloaf tonight for supper. It takes over an hour to bake so it doesn’t get made very often – and never in the summer when the oven just heats up this southern house way too much. The house was filled with the wonderful aroma (did I tell you that this particular recipe is topped with bacon? Just imagine the deliciousness) and when it finally came out of the oven it was perfection. We sat down as a family and chowed (well, not Miles, but all I can say is he missed out). This meatloaf was so darn good that I definitely wanted seconds. I wanted to eat until I had to put on stretchy pants – but I didn’t. I ate my one slice with a ketchup dipper, a side of spaghetti squash and canned peaches in a little bowl. As you know, if you’ve been reading this blog, our move this summer has not helped me fit into my pants. I’m working on loosing a bit of moving pudge and for me the best way is to not only exercise more, but to keep a food diary and calorie count. I’m not all gung-ho diet girl – and my calorie count isn’t all Biggest Loser low – I’m just making sure that I’m not overeating and two pieces of bacon topped meatloaf would tip me over my daily allotment.

But… then… I knew what I could do.  And I shared my idea with Jeff and after I told him he gave me that look that I knew meant, “it’s crazy, but it just might work” (or maybe the look  just meant “you’re crazy”). I can wake up at midnight to eat another slice of meatloaf! Technically it’s the next day so I’d be good on my calorie count –  I would most likely use up all my daily alloted calories by 10 AM – but I’m thinking the midnight meatloaf feast may just be worth it. Right?

Meat Loaf

Anyways, this recipe is just too good not to share  – Meat Loaf with Bacon. I’ve been rocking this recipe since 2003…enjoy it with a ketchup dipper on the side!

(and here’s how I’ve changed it – I don’t use an entire onion – maybe 1/3 cup. I’ve never put the jalapeno pepper in but I’m thinking it’d be really yum. Definitely ketchup over the tomato sauce. And I’ve never used the meatloaf mix that this recipe calls for – I have tried half ground beef and half ground turkey and it’s OK – all ground beef seems to be way better – although tonight I used half ground beef and half bison and it was second helping worthy.)

Sci-Fi, Nuts, and Thai

With a recent move often comes recent purchases. One of the newest things that has entered our home is an XBox 360. I pictured Jeff sitting in front of the TV playing on it for hours. I pictured the kids doing the same. What I did not picture was me. But, it’s not games that has my attention. It’s Netflix. With our new XBox I am able to instantly watch a gazillion movies and TV shows. Now for a girl who does not have cable, but loves TV, this is wonderful. I discovered a show called Firefly that made it one season back in 2002. It was created by Joss Whedon of Buffy fame, and it so funny, and interesting, and exciting (in a campy kind of way) I just couldn’t stop watching it. It is a sci-fi show and I am so not a sci-fi girl (well, maybe just a touch – I have seen all the Star Wars movies and most of the Star Trek ones and think space is pretty cool) but the story line kept opening up more and more and the characters were so fun to watch. I was totally bummed when I watched the last episode, and knew it was the last, and there was so much left unresolved. That was until I discovered that there was a movie called Serenity that continued the story with all the same characters! I totally enjoyed the movie, and so many unanswered questions were answered. The whole thing is just super fun and I wanted to share my find.

Have you even had a snack in your home that you just couldn’t leave alone? I just found the perfect combination of sweet, salty, fruity yuminess. It’s a trail mix made by Back to Nature called Pacific Heights Blend. There are just three ingredients – almonds covered in sea salt, dark chocolate covered almonds, and dried cherries. I’m pretty good about making a snack last. I can stretch a box of cookies into over a week, chips, the same, but this trail mix was gone in 2 days and then I bought a second bag the next time I went to the store and did the same. I purposefully have not even walked by where it is in the grocery store the last two times I went so I couldn’t buy it. All the ingredients are really good for you – dark chocolate full antioxidants and all – but when the suggested serving size is 2 tablespoons (not two cups?) – those calories can add up quick. After a few weeks off I’m thinking I can handle it again…. I’m drooling a little bit… OK… it’s going on my grocery list.

Last Friday Jeff and I had a date night. It was totally last minute – the Y in our town has a parents night out and on a whim I called to see if they still had spots open. They did! We decided to head out for a grown up dinner. I put on cool jeans with big wedge sandals that had me towering over Jeff and after dropping off the kiddos we headed to downtown Montgomery. Downtown Montgomery is one of those downtowns that is trying but not quite there yet. There are a few big hotels, some good restaurants, a river walk, but the entire area still seems kind of dark and empty at night. We went to a place called Lek’s Railroad Thai. It’s in an old railroad station and we sat outside on a back patio and were able to watch trains go slowly by as we ate. There was a free outdoor concert that night , and while the music was way more twangy than my taste,  listening to live music while eating food with my man was  pretty much the best date I’ve been on since we moved to Alabama (OK, it’s the only date we’ve been on – but it was pretty darn good). What I want to share about this night was a dish I ate at Lek’s. It was called Musmun Chicken which is described at chicken in coconut milk with potatoes,onions, and cashews. The dish was set before me in a deep white bowl. The bowl was filled with pieces of chicken and potato all covered in a brown creamy looking sauce. I took one bite and was making more yummy noises than was appropriate for public dining. The sauce not only was creamy, but it had a spicy curry flavor that was incredible. The chicken was so tender it fell apart and the combination of the flavors was so wonderful I think I could eat that dish every day for a week and be quite happy.

So there you have it… sci-fi, nuts, and Thai. These are the things I’m liking.

Jeggings Anyone?

There’s something about the words “back to school” that give me that little happy feeling inside. I was never one of those kids who dreaded going to school. I liked it. Sure, learning things was important, but really it was the social aspect of the whole thing that really got me fired up. I like seeing my friends, meeting new ones, and having crushes on the cute boy of the moment.

To prepare for back to school I’d go shopping with my mom. She’d buy me my lunch box, pencils, erasers, notebooks, shoes and clothes. The clothes and shoes were what got me really excited. Before school started I would head on down to Angelo’s and get to pick out a new pair of sneakers and a new pair of school shoes. My Zips would make me run fast and my new school shoes usually had some sort of big gummy sole. We’d head to Keefer’s Jean Junction to get some Jordache or Sergio Valente and I’d be set.

When I hit junior high I discovered Seventeen Magazine. When that big, fat, September issue came out I’d study the pages and emulate as much as I could in northeastern PA. I’d head to the Laurel Mall (we’re talking over the mountain to Hazleton – a town 20 miles away) whose anchor stores were Boscov’s and Zayre. I’d head straight to Foxmoor to find those perfect plaid pants and that little magenta camp shirt that matched perfectly. I can still remember my wardrobe that year I discovered “fashion”.

Now, as an adult, I still get a jab of glee when I see those fat fall magazines. They are as big as a phone book and chock full of ads, and photo shoots, and style advice. So I look at these magazines, and I see what’s going on, and I do my best to throw in some coolness to my mostly soccer mom wardrobe – and sometimes I forget that I’m in my very late 30’s with the body of a woman who had two children back-to-back in her mid 30’s. And in this forgetful state… I tried on a pair of jeggings.

I don’t know what I was thinking… I kept seeing the word jegging describing the cute outfit of celebrity one, or model two and my brain must have totally forgotten what my body really looks like. I found my jeggings and a cute little plaid tunic to wear over them and headed to the dressing room. I slipped the stretchy denim- looking fabric on, put on the cute tunic, and then looked at myself in the mirror. Luckily, the mirror did not forget what my body looks like. Yeah, jeggings cling to parts of the body that I really do not want to emphasize – and the cute little plaid tunic did nothing but widen those parts. I twirled around to check out the back side was confronted with a wide swath of too much horizontally stretched fabric. 25 I am not.

The jegging experiment was a total failure, but the satchel bag was found and the big boots, and really, I live in small town Alabama…. maybe soccer mom with big boots is all I need? Or a new pair of Zips!