It's Amazing...

... What you can find, smeared and dried into a nice bugger-like consistency, across your favorite living room lamp after cleaning up the day after pizza. First pizza we've had since we've lived in this apartment, and I find pizza sauce, in nice, small, finger-shaped smudges crusted on my lamp. *Sigh*

... What the Ladybug packs in her "bag" before we leave the house. Doesn't matter what the "bag" is, exactly. It's usually a purse-type thing, but anything will do. Sometimes it's even an old sock. Seriously. And there is ALWAYS one single, lonely wooden block in amongst the victims of her packing spree. And there is ALWAYS Hippo (one of her most favorite stuffed animals... A hippo. Creatively named, Hippo. The Ladybug takes her naming quite literally most of the time. She has a bear named, appropriately enough, "Bear," and a baby named, well, "Baby," and you get the gist...). Because God-forbid we leave the house without Hippo. It would be an incident of beyond epic proportions.

... That KayKay can so perfectly understand concepts that are way advanced for her age (that a flat field we passed today on the way home was considered a plane), but at the same time have a hard time understanding silly simple stuff (why we shouldn't pull up a weed - or any other plant - just to plant it in another part of the yard, for instance).

... How cute both the girls look with their new-and-not-so-new bobs.

... I finally figured out KayKay's love language! I think... She's constantly "doing" for us, so I have a sneaking suspicion that her love language is Acts of Service. She made lunch the other day for everyone - she'd woken up from her nap earlier than everyone else, and laid out little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and crackers and baby carrots all on plates, one for each of us. It was very sweet, and very telling... She's been a doer for some time now, but this is the first time it actually clicked in my brain... "Oh yeah, Acts of Service!" But I'll need to read the Five Love Languages of Children just to make certain. I've had it in my bookcase for ages just waiting until one of them was old enough that I could read it and figure that mystery out!

... That I was in Whole Foods a few days ago picking up a couple of things, and while looking at the peaches, grabbed one that had a sweet little REAL ladybug on it. And it was just me and my Ladybug when it happened! We got to let her go together outside. It was a moment. Oddly, ladybug-type things and ladybugs themselves seem to congregate around my Little Ladybug, without any influence from me. For instance, my grandmother, whom I know for a fact doesn't read this blog or know of my nickname for the Ladybug, recently bought a hand-blown glass necklace for each of the girls. And what did she give? A ladybug, on a red and black ribbon.

... How funny I still find the old Looney Tunes cartoons to be. No matter how many times I watch them. I laugh every, single time Daffy Duck says, "Hasty la-vise-ta," or Bugs calls someone a "maroon." And don't even get me started on Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Or Foghorn Leghorn. Or Marvin Martian. Or even Gossamer.

... That the Daddy and I can carry on a conversation for a considerable (e.g. a half hour) period of time about that couple sitting across from us at the restaurant where we ate dinner. It's sad, I know. But it's also highly entertaining. And fun to imagine what their lives are like.

... That I'm not in bed yet. G'night!

A Bouquet of New Crayons... Or Some Such Thing

Before I start this post, let me just say that the stirring in our dining or kitchen (we couldn't figure out which) last night was not discovered until mid-day today during naptime... I was sitting here at my laptop, minding my own business, when I heard IT, again... Scruffle, scruffle, fluffle... Great. And the Daddy was napping with the girls, so I was all alone to deal with whatever-IT-is. Even better. So I steathily set my laptop down and quietly head into the dining room where it seemed that the noise was coming from. Only to have the most delightful of revelations as I discovered the source of the scruffling...

It was a butterfly! Apparently when we'd had the sliding glass door open yesterday to let some of this surprisingly delightful weather in, we'd also unwittingly let in a lovely little butterfly that got caught between the curtains and the door when we closed it. So after the girls woke up, I showed it to them and we let it free.

It was certainly a relief to know that butterflies can make the same scruffling noises as a mouse. And that we wouldn't have to be placing nasty glue traps around and explaining to the girls that mice really are pests and not cute little furry pets with families and homes and stuff.

Now on to the post that I started writing a couple of days ago and never got around to finishing...

"Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination."
Robert Fulghum

I love this quote... Among many others... I'm a bite of a quoteaholic, I admit it. When I sat down to write this post, I went looking for a quote about crayons, and came up with this! Yay!

So the school year is upon us! As I mentioned in my previous post, KayKay is now in Second Grade. I think I may have also mentioned how incredulous I am at the fact that she's in SECOND GRADE.

Second Grade. Whoa.

Talk about newness. This is the season of freshly sharpened pencils, and getting back into routines. The season of learning new stuff and making friends. Of uniforms (Ugh. I hate uniforms... But that's another story for another time). Of new backpacks packed with new notebooks. Of adjusting to a new teacher. It truly is a season of newness, both for KayKay and for me.

One such new thing this year is that KayKay has a male teacher for the first time. I requested him at the suggestion of KayKay's First Grade teacher, Ms. H. I have been able to get to know him a little, and he seems like a wonderful man who truly loves children and teaching. He reads them poetry every day! And sings songs to them every day! Wow. I must say, I'm impressed already. I am thrilled for her and enthusiastic to see what Mr. H is going to do with my girl.

I'll be honest, for me, it was the shopping for new school supplies was always my favorite part of the school year, at least until I hit college... And especially in high school. The fact that the supply shopping was over before school started should tell you something about my feelings toward school. What can I say, I'm just not into cliques and fashion wars. And teachers who are not kind.


There is nothing quite like a brand new box of (at least) 64 Crayola crayons, all arranged into a giant rainbow and laid out like little jewels just waiting to be discovered. And having an excuse to buy them again is heavenly. It brings on a nostalgia that I can't even begin to explain. As well as probably being more fun for me than it is for KayKay. *Grin* But if it is, it's just BARELY more fun, because she absolutely LOVES buying school supplies.

I was a prolific artist as a child, and though they became (and still are) my preference when creating (drawn) art, I still have a strong attachment to the feel and look and smell of a freshly opened box of crayons. It fairly shouts possibilities in rainbow form, of newness incarnate, of hope in color.

Speaking of color, oddly enough, just after beginning this post a few days ago, I took a break to read Meghan Arias' blog, Pearl, The Prickly Pear, and she happened to link to this post dedicated to color by This Is Yellow. All I can say is, AH-MA-ZING. Oh, my goodness. This is my life, in color. And as Meghan said, how I want to write when I grow up. Read these few words and tell me its not poetry on the page:

"What I've noticed lately about all the bits and bobbles I collect and bring home to arrange and rearrange, is that each item is bursting with color, and each color does more than just compliment the one next to it; one color converses with another. And if these colors are more than just the pigments my eyes and mind recognize, if they are tiny histories packaged in the tomato red spine of a classic book or the grainy brown wood of family built furniture, the pieces I choose to surround myself with are telling a constantly evolving story of which I am a part."

Wow. And it's so true, at least for me. My home is an ocean awash with color. Literally, as I am channeling ocean colors in the last couple of years and believe I have found them to be my soul's color palette. My living room is a soft aqua that runs into the palest celery green of our dining room, bursting with sand colored couches and accents of lilac and slightly deeper green. It fairly sings to me of refreshing and the calm quiet of a vibrant soul at peace. And these colors, they tell the story of my life, my children, my home, who I am at heart. Some days I'm gray, but you'll never find it, because most days I'm aflutter with varying shades of sunshine and sea and everything in between.

Color is truly a defining force in my life. I feel fortunate to have realized that, because I think some people go through their whole lives without ever realizing the effect that color has on them. That box of 64 crayons is the axis on which so much of my life tilts. Even my closet is a rainbow. The Daddy teases me endlessly because of the fact that I actually do organize my closet in rainbow fashion. Yes, I admit it. And silly though it may be, there is a deep satisfaction in seeing that black bleeding into white which melts into peach and bursts out with orange that sings hot pink and then deepens to red which blends into purple and brightens to lavender that sighs into the blue of the sky and then flows into navy and sends its small fleet into an ocean of aqua that washes up onto lime and grass and the gray-green of creeping moss...

I admit, I wear aqua and pink most regularly, but I have the rainbow, because I never know when I might need to wear a responsible navy or flamboyant mandarin. I don't have much red, though. It's only in the last year that I've finally found a shade of red that doesn't make me look as though I belong in the mortuary. I don't decorate with it, either. Or black, really, although there are a few pieces.

My life is color. It's sherbet, and just as cool and darn near as tasty. How many childhood memories do I have tied to that certain shade of golden afternoon that smell of fresh-cut grass and lemonade? How many painted in wides swatches of sparkling midnight blue and smokey cloves from those youthful days when sunset marked beginnings instead of endings? How many now dripping in the quiet violet of naps with my girls in our big bed and the sweet, ageless comfort of their soft pink bodies snuggled up close to me?

The Ladybug just said to me, "Mommy, I'n yellow. Even with a purple tummy." As she stands in her lavender shirt behind the yellow screen here at the McDonald's Poo Place and begs me to "find" her. And I find her small and happy and bright, like a baby chick in a field of forget-me-nots.

So tell me, what color is your life? Just one, or like mine, as many as there are hues? (Although I do admit to having many variations on a theme...)

Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.
Pablo Picasso

There's Rustling In The Kitchen...

And I'm about to officially FREAK OUT. The Daddy is (*very* reluctantly, I might add), being pushed toward the kitchen as we speak to go investigate the cause of said rustling. I'm sure and update on this (mis)adventure will follow soon, barring anyone losing an eye or a limb or catching rabies...

Movie Madness!

The back-to-school post will have to wait, I've found a meme on Fiddledeedee that needs my attention. A movie-related meme. Whoo-hooooo! I also added a couple of categories that I thought got overlooked. *Smile*

I will say as a disclaimer that many of the movies on my list are also comedies. What can I say? I like to laugh.

The Movie Meme

(List three per genre)

Favorite Comedy Film

1. There's Something About Mary
2. Waking Ned Divine
3. Something's Gotta Give AND Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo are tied... And there are SO many more!

Favorite Romance Film

1. Love Actually
2. You've Got Mail
3. A Walk in the Clouds

Favorite Sci-Fi Movie

1. Pitch Black
2. Galaxy Quest
3. Shaun of the Dead OR Fido (They're both HILARIOUS)

Favorite Animated Movie

The Emperor's New Groove
2. Shrek / Shrek 2
3. Beauty and the Beast

Favorite Disaster Movie
(Okay, so I haven't really watched enough "Disaster" movies that I liked enough to really recommend, so I'm going to put in other stuff that I think could qualify for various reasons... Mostly because there's lots of destruction in them. :O)

1. Children of Men
2. Underworld
3. Any of the Die Hard or Lethal Weapon movies

Favorite Christmas Movie

1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
2. Love Actually
3. The Grinch (the one with Jim Carrey)

Favorite Horror Movie ...

Okay, I don't do horror at ALL... Fido is about as close as I get. So instead I offer:

Favorite ACTION Movie

1. Mr. and Mrs. Smith
2. The Transporter
3. Snatch

Movies With Music

1. The Sound of Music
2. Fiddler on the Roof
3. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Favorite Book To Movie

1. Bridget Jones' Diary
2. Emma
3. Little Women (with Winona Ryder)

Favorite Classic

1. Bringing Up Baby
2. Yours, Mine and Ours
3. Rear Window

Favorite Chick Flick

1. Amelie
2. Ever After
3. Don Juan DeMarco OR Benny and Joon

Movie You Could Watch Ad Nauseam

1. The Princess Bride (I have it memorized... Seriously)
2. The Sound of Music (also have this one memorized... Sad, I know)
3. Robin Hood

Best Suspense / Drama Movie

1. The Usual Suspects OR
Fargo (as disturbing as Fargo is, I still think it's a fantastic movie!)
2. Crash (three years later and I STILL think about this movie and how it challenged me on so many levels... Maybe I'm just that shallow, but dear Lord, I hope not! I'd like to think it's just because the movie is just that good!)
3. Dances With Wolves

Favorite Family Movie

1. The Goonies
2. Kit Kittredge (what a sweet story!)
3. Enchanted

Worst Movie Ever Made

1. Titus (with Anthony Hopkins, Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus... I HATE Shakespeare's tragedies... LOVE his comedies, though... And I have to say, I'm with DeeDee on the whole English Patient, thing... Hated that movie, too.)

So there you have it!

A Season of Newness...

I've been neglectful of you, my faithful few, and my lonely little blog, and I admit it. Please forgive me, and try not to hold my gross avoidance of you against me. Life is just so full right now. And no, that's not an excuse, it's just a fact.

I'm in what I'll call, a "season of newness" right now. New things are happening all around me, and I'm hurtling toward them as if all the tomorrows have already happened and the next moment is going to push me into oblivion.

At least, that's how it feels sometimes.

KayKay had her first day of Second Grade yesterday. SECOND GRADE.

She turns seven in exactly two weeks. SEVEN.

And I can't figure out where, exactly, the last six-and-a-half of them went.

It's unbelievable to me.

And it's new. A new place for me to be in in my relationship with my daughter, a new place of learning how to deal with the challenges of what it means to be seven in this day and age, a new place of being a parent to a second-grader.

And then there's the fact that my just-turned-teen step-daughter, Kitty, recently came for her first extended visit EVER. Extended as in, more than a few hours. (Her mother is a bit of a control freak.) She was here for a week, and it was wonderful. And she's in that uncertain place fraught with the potential for disaster that all teenage girls must navigate. Which basically means that she desperately needs the Daddy right now, and wants to come live with us.

And that's fantastic and terrifying at the same time... To say the least. And totally and completely new. Talk about uncharted territory.

I'm still young enough to really empathize with a lot of the issues that she's dealing with right now. And I think that's a good thing.

I think.

But that also means a lot more newness. For starters, we'd have to find a new house. We live in a two-bedroom right now, that I love, but obviously we can't shove a teen, a seven-year-old, and a three-and-a-half-year-old in one room together.

So yeah. New house. Which involves moving. Yay.

I hate moving. Let me just say I have moved at least as many times as my years in age. Which is more than twenty-five and less than fourty.

I've moved a LOT.

But at the same time, I love change and have been feeling a bit restless where we are now. And we REALLY need a yard. And then Kitty could come be with us, and we could be a family of five. And every day I could see the Daddy's face shine with that special light of contentment that only shows when Kitty is with us. Because he doesn't say much, but he's not whole without her there.

But then there's the whole, "How prepared (or not) do I feel about being a mom to a teenager?" issue. Wow. Especially because I'm not REALLY "the mom," as much as I may want to be... And understand that I never will be "the mom" in this situation, and I'll never try to push myself into that place. I have step-parents, and I know what it can look like when it's unhappy. One thing I will do, so long as I am able, is not go to that place.

So I'm trying not to even think about all of that stuff yet. Breathe in. Breathe out. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. New, new, NEW.

I actually feel like a lot of my life is new or being renewed right now.

I even *almost* had a new job. That's a whole other story. So I was all into preparing for the insanity new-job-ness for over a week.

And I'm feeling this stir-crazy creativity just begging to be let free. Like my creative juices have been blended up in some sort of emotional-spiritual-life-filled smoothie to literally create something new inside of me that is needs an outlet. As if any of that makes any sense.

Fortunately, planning for birthday number seven has given my creatively stir-crazy hands something to do over the last days. This morning was spent painting and cutting and tracing and experimenting on some incredibly cute mermaid invitations for the mermaid party we're having at the end of the month. Pictures will follow, I promise.

But I have lots of other new butterfly things in my head that have nothing to do with mermaid parties, and I must let them fly free... And soon. Ideas and realities.

A new grade, a new year, another daughter, another house, so many, many things to be created. A season of newness. And I have no clue as to how it's all going to end up.

But that's all part of the adventure.