The Pet Sitter

March 22, 2012

Olivia is always one to sweat the hypothetical. She asks for something like a cell phone and cries when I tell her I was twenty-five when I got my first phone. “Do you know who old I was?” My dad piped in. She ignored him as the tears started to brew over her eyes. “Can I have an iPad?” She asked.

Me: Do you have any money?
Olivia: Can’t you just put it on your credit card?
Me: No. I don’t need an iPad. You can buy one with your money
Olivia: How much does one cost?
Me: like five hundred dollars.
Olivia: Where am I going to get five-hundred dollars?
Me: Get a job
Olivia: I can’t get a job. Can’t you just make five hundred dollars from paper?
Me: If I could do that don’t you think we would have a house with more than one bathroom?
Olivia: I mean one of those bills. Like you make for my lunch money. Can’t you make a bill for five hundred dollars?
Me: You mean a check?
Olivia: yes. Can you write a check for five hundred dollars so I can get an ipad?
Me: No. I would have to have five hundred extra dollars in my checking account. You don’t just write checks.
Olivia: How am I supposed to get an ipad?
Layla: you could have a lemonade stand.
Me: there you go. You would need to have a couple lemonade stands
Layla: like five?
Me: if you make twenty dollars per lemonade stand, then you would need two hundred and fifty lemonade stands to get an iPad
Olivia: But I want an iPad now.
Me: Why do you need an iPad?
Olivia: For the apps. I like apps
Me: What is wrong with just using a computer?
Olivia: It doesn’t use apps. It is useless.
Me: I see.
Layla: how about a pet sitting business? You could walk and feed dogs.
Olivia. Yeah!! I could do that. Can I start walking dogs for money?
Me: If you want. That is a lot of dogs to walk.
Olivia: I need posters. Can I make posters and put them in the yard so people know I walk dogs?
Me: sure.
Layla: you need to get it laminated. So they don’t get wet. Just like at school. The janitor laminates things for us.
Me: Really?
Layla: Yep. Olivia needs to have the janitor laminate her posters.
Olivia: Can’t I just laminate them at home?
Me: You need a laminator.
Olivia: Can you buy me one?
Me: No. that is silly.
Olivia: Can I buy one? I have ten dollars.
Me: they cost more than ten dollars.
Olivia: How am I going to get my signs laminated?
Me: take them to Kinkos or something.
Olivia: Can I send it to uncle Jeremy? He makes signs
Me: Sure
Olivia: I can’t wait to get home and make a sign.
I remember starting a “business” as a kid. I read tons of The Babysitters’ Club or always imagined having the perfect Lemonade stand. There was so much I wanted to buy and I couldn’t understand why my parents just wouldn’t give me what I wanted. Huffy bike..Barbie dream house (with elevator), Hypercolor T-shirt, Umbros Shorts, a Walkman and New Kids on the Block Tapes, a Nintendo complete with Duck Hunt…there was so much temptation for a kid. And this was before the world of cell phones and laptop computers and iPads. It is funny to watch the kids gradually grasp the concept of why they don’t have everything and how much stuff actually costs. I am sure Olivia won’t walk a single dog…but at least I don’t have to be the mean Mom who won’t buy their kid an iPad (today).
Parenting tip: If you want to keep your children busy for hours…tell them they can’t have an iPad so they spend hours making signs for their new “business.”

Writing prompt: Do you remember starting a business as a child. Was it a lemonade stand or your version of the Babysitters’ Club? What did you want to buy with the money? Were you successful or did you loose interest before you even started?

The Swing

March 19, 2012

What is it about a swing that makes kids so happy? I love the way they squeal with joy when their feet touch the sky. Nothing makes you feel more youthful and free than being on a become that kid again who thinks they are a bird. You start to sway really slow then gain a bit of momentum by pumping your legs. Legs out, legs tuck, lets out, legs tuck. Sometimes you hold on tight to the cold chain and lean back slowly to let the air puncture your cheeks. Then you arch your body forward so the back of your head gets a turn in the breeze. There is something completely magical about a swing. Who came up with this concept of a piece of rubber fastened to a chain so perfectly that it molds to every bottom? Our ten-day forecast in Ohio: amazing. With all stress and tension building up in my life, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to go than to the playground. Josh and me played “best aunt and uncle ever” by taking the girls and my three year old niece on a walk to the playground yesterday. The sun was hot and the air had that perfect spring breeze as we pulled the little one in a wagon and the girls rode their bikes. Immediately the kids ran to the swings. “Push me! Push me!” they would yell. I remember when the girls were little; they didn’t know how to make themselves go on the swing. I think that is one of those moments of motherhood that goes vaguely noticed but appreciated…the moment the kids can pump there legs and you don’t have to push. I remember standing there pushing and pushing while they laughed..”Higher! Faster!” Push, push. “Are you good?” I would ask…my arms starting to get stiff from the constant motion. I start to think of things I could be doing while they were playing. I could be thumbing thought a magazine or getting their snack ready. I could be lying on a bench staring straight up at the clouds watching the day slowly float by. But there I was, pushing and pushing…making a funny face as they would soar closer to me. Then one day, they don’t need me. They run over to a swing and start pumping their legs while I sit on a nearby bench and update my facebook status. As I stared at the clouds slowly floating by, I thought about how fast my kids have grown. They went from needing me to do everything to barely needing me at all. They can make their own food, ride their own bikes and push their own swings. I sometimes forget the little things. Some days, I get a memory or a glimpse of them when they were small…or even my own youth. I try to hold on to the good things….like tiny fingers clutching the chain on a swing crying out for more. If you are having trouble my recommendation is to head to your nearest playground..grab a swing and let your feet soar in the air.


Shirt/Pants: The Gap
Shoes: Teva

Writing Prompt: Think of something you loved to do as a child. Was it a playground or a swing or your bike. Think of how you learned this activity and why it meant so much to you. Tell a story of you as a kid enjoying this activity and imagine yourself as an adult trying to do the same.

Fool In the Rain

“I’ll run in the rain till I’m breathless
When I’m breathless I’ll run till I drop, hey
The thoughts of a fool’s kind of careless.
I’m just a fool waiting on the wrong block” Led Zeppelin

Remember fat Tuesday? The day you splurged on the thing you were giving up for forty days. Us good little Catholics…now craving cheese or cookies or sweets or beer…or in my case…shopping. I have not purchased as much as a pair of earrings since fat Tuesday. (truthiness font..) If you were wondering what a shop-a-holic like me buys the last day of shopping…here it is- My beautiful pale peach MM Couture tunic from Piperlime. I had this shirt in my Piperlime cart for over six months. It was a little pricey for my usual thrifty budget. But for forty days, I deserved something good. So I used my Tuesday Gap cardholder special of 10% off and my ten-dollar rewards coupon and had a little Mardi-Gras-shopping good time. I haven’t worn it yet for an outfit pic. I imagine wearing this top with my favorite pair of cutoff jean shorts and these amazing Seychelles I can’t wait until after Easter to buy. I braided my hair to the side today and opted for some dainty earrings instead of my huge statement necklace. I have been doing pretty well not buying myself anything (well there was this moment of desperation and an Urban Outfitters coupon…but no one is perfect…).






Shirt: MM Couture (via Piperlime)
Pants/Ring: The Limited
Shoes/Earrings: Charlotte Russe
Umbrella: Totes (via Target)

At four years old, I wondered if Olivia was too young to have her ears pierced. As a mother to two daughters, it is not hard to get caught up in the glamour that is tiny holes in your baby’s ear. Do you get them done when they are infants? For some it seems like torture to a baby…but it is also better since they will barely remember it. You could wait until they are in middle school or even older and assume they will be mature enough to handle the turning and cleaning associated with getting your ears pierced. It is hard to pin down the “perfect” time to have a child’s ears pierced. Of course “experts” will tell you that it depends on the child. If your child has a higher tolerance to pain and is particular about doing activities each day like brushing their teeth or taking a bath (who are these strange children?), then they will be better with the ear piercing. I guess the best time is to wait until they are actually asking for earrings…why put holes in kid’s ears that really don’t care. (the not so girly girls). 
Layla was around six when she wanted her ears done. Liv was four and wanted anything Layla had so we decided to get them both done at the same time. Probably not my wisest of parenting decisions as earrings became the thorn in our sides for the next two years..(yes..two years). It started with the cleaning….”Don’t touch my ears!!!!” They would both wail. Then there was the changing of earrings…”Don’t touch my ears!!!” And of course the dreaded soccer umpire who would make them take the earrings out before each game. “Don’t touch my ears!!!” Their voices would reach a special high octave that I never knew possible. There was the fear of taking the earrings out, the fear of bumping the ears while brushing their hair the resistance to winter hats and ear muffs and of course the fear of putting any sort of medicine on the ears. “Don’t touch my ear!!” Liv’s ears would grow this nasty gel-like stuff that looked like rubber cement…it would crust behind her ear to the point where the ear became glued to her head. Another great use for A&D lotion…ungluing a child’s infected ear lobe from the side of their head. We were at the beach one day. Layla had gained enough courage to let us change the earring four times and Liv would not let us near the earring. Once I chased her around the house to clean the glue between her ear and head…when I finally caught her she peed herself while screaming..(you guessed it)..”Don’t touch my ears!!!” Liv had been swimming all morning and playing in the sand. As she was digging a hole in the ground and running back and forth to fill the hole with water, I looked at her ear. One of the earrings was missing. “Liv, your ear!” I said. She cupped her hand over one ear…and her face twisted into a scream as she realized there was no more earring. I was going to convince her to let me use a filler earring until I realized the only earrings I had with me were the large dangly kind that I like so much. I had no choice but to wait until we got back four days later and try to jam another earring in. There was no way Olivia would let me do that. Our argument of whether we would put in another earring or take the other one out and let the holes close up all together came to a six month stalemate of Olivia wearing one tiny blue heart earring. I tried to get the earring out but she wouldn’t let me come close. “Don’t take it out!!!” She would yell as I neared her, cotton ball in hand. Finally, I did what any desperate mother whose kid had one infected ear would do, I waited until she was in a deep REM cycle sleep and took the earring out. It was few days before she even noticed…but she was not at all happy with my deceit.
Since then, she has been asking for a redo on the earrings. Layla had finally realized that Moms do know everything, and took my advice on cleaning and caring for her earrings. She now changes and cleans them with no assistance. I had promised Liv she could get her ears repierced when she turned six…then seven. I said they would be a birthday gift, then a Christmas gift, then a Valentines Day gift. I put off the inevitable ear repeircing for over a year…until Friday. Olivia is always in fierce competition with her three-year-old cousin. Perhaps it was four plus years of being the “baby” in the family until her cousin came along….or the idea that you have to bend a little and let someone else have her way…but Olivia’s rules are based on what her cousin Sammie is doing. Friday Sammie got her ears pierced. She had the little purple hearts in her tiny lobes that reminded me of the first time Liv got her ears pierced. Olivia went from wanting her ears repierced to demanding she get the ears done, like yesterday. So today, we went to the mall. “Where do you want to get them done?” I asked. “Where did Sammie get hers done?” She replied. “At the Piercing Pagoda.” I said. “That’s where I want to get mine done.” Three clenches of the fist, two holes and one pair of flower studs later, Liv has her ears repierced. Believe me, I know what the definition of insanity is. (doing the same thing over again and expecting different results….). But there is something so irresistibly adorable about earrings in little ears that make me forget all the pain. I guess that is what life is about…seeing the tiny diamond flowers in the sea of infection. Am I a fool? We will see.


Writing Prompt: Is there something you swore you would never do..But were somehow coaxed into doing? What was the thing that made you decide to go against your convictions? Do you regret the decision or are you glad you took the chance?

UPDATE: Liv was in the shower. I went in because I had a bad feeling about her thick hair and the earring. I was right. On had fallen out and there was blood running down her neck. I saved the earring from a life living among the clumps of hair hang out in our drain. I called our piercer who promised after a day or so it would be healed and we can go for round three on piercing. third time is a charm I guess…

1000 Words

February 25, 2012
I love doing an outfit of the day blog because it gives me room in my wardrobe creativity. The whole thing isn’t as relevant if there are not pictures to go along with it. After all, isn’t a picture worth a thousand words? I can only describe in so much detail how much I love these vintage burgundy wine boots…my first ever purchase from Etsy. (pre Lent of course).  As a former owner of such boots, I thought I would be an ace at styling them. After a couple skirt outfits and some cords that were all wrong in color, I decided they best fit over my black skinny jeans. With the bottom half done, I went for my Forever21 bird blouse and a chunky teal blue sweater. I felt a little rock star is in this outfit, like at any time I could grab a microphone and actually be able to sing. (I did get a little too close to a karaoke machine for comfort…). I can only say so much about this outfit..but here are the next thousand words:






Shirt/Sweater: Forever21
Jeans: Gap
Necklace: Homemade 

I recently read this blog post on  writing. I have been following this blog for quite some time and love the practical advice on writing and publishing, and overall creating your own path in life. One of the basic things writers need to do is to actually write. I always say I will be working on my book..but when I sit down to start writing I am distracted by, well, life. I start on this nonlinear path of writing, basically I just write out a couple stories or thoughts that are not at all connected with other thoughts I have previously written. I get distracted or caught up in home or the kids or something other than my craft. Then I wonder how I am going to get the words from my computer to a real tangible book? Layla and I were sitting on the couch this morning just typing away on our laptops. She was writing yet another epic tale involving cats and I was jogging my memory hoping to squeeze out a thousand words. I told her that it was important for writers to write a thousand words a day. “Yeah, I know.” She says. “That’s what I am doing.” I looked at her word count..319. This morning I have been inspired by my nine year old. She just writes stuff because she loves it. She isn’t worried about who will read it or if it gets published or if it is even great. She just writes and writes and writes…at least a thousand words a day. Like any other craft, writing needs practiced and fine tuned. So far, the words have come easy for me and I am trusting the rest will just fall into place. Could you write a thousand words? Here is a prompt to get you started: (to give you a reference, this post was about 500 words)
What is the biggest challenge you face, is it a personal challenge? a professional challenge? Write what it is and some ways you think it could be solved…not matter how unrealistic it is..if there were not boundaries or limitations, how would you solve the problem?