Oh, we enjoyed yesterday. We’d spent most of the weekend half-asleep, it seemed, and by Monday and Tuesday we finally made some headway, getting the house organized and getting ready to jump back into the routine. The girls also had an excellent time enjoying their Christmas gifts. Here’s the scene I came across as they waited for J’s Shrinky Dinks to shrink. I loved the book she got, which had a bunch of blank sheets, which made the whole experience much more free-form and creative.


We’d gone sledding on Monday, and that’s when I realized that M’s snow pants were so tight that she was walking around with them unsnapped and unzipped. I looked, and they were a size 6/7!! Umm, I know that they run large, but that’s pretty negligent of me. So she and I ran off to Target, where they’re already thinking spring, so the bib overalls we ended up buying were $10. Then she became entranced by various sneakers. She had convincingly argued, earlier this year, that since all she ever wants to wear is sneakers, she should have a second pair instead of casual shoes. Now we were coming off a holiday of many gifts and she was sighing over two other pairs. I was not going for it.

“You have plenty of money saved up, and you already have sneakers. If you really want them, you can buy them yourself, my dear,” said the evil hag.

“How about if I chip in $10 and you chip in $20?” bargained M.

“How about if I front you $30 now and you pay me back when I get home?” countered evil hag.

“Or I could chip in $15. . . ?”

“Or maybe I should charge interest. . . ?”

At this point a young woman walked into the aisle smiling over our conversation. And then she decided to join in.

“Oh, my Mom buys me shoes all the time! Still! It’s great! And I’m 24. She’s here now, somewhere. . . .”

I offered the young woman a tight little mind-your-own-business smile , and she  beamed at me as she reached for some boots. She didn’t strike me as particularly perceptive.

M, on the other hand, exchanged an amused glance with me. Sure, she’d been Wheedling As Required By The Tween Code. But her look told me that she knew full well that this young woman’s reality was not her own.

In the end, M decided to shell out the $56 for both pairs of sneakers.

Then my old, clever, tween girl (whom I fervently hope will have better things to do than shop at Target with her mother when she’s 24, although fourteen years from now I will no doubt be pining for those mother-daughter trips. But I’m getting off track again. Anyway, she) walked around the corner and saw a big display of baby shoes that I could swear she fit into a minute and a half ago:



“Oh, my gosh, Mom! Look at these things!” She squealed. “When I first saw them, I thought that these were key chains! And I am not even kidding!!”

Which, of course, only brought home the fact that we’re closer to key chains than baby shoes now.

Meanwhile, J was with Cute W, and she’d hauled out another one of her Christmas gifts: a Smithsonian Gem and Rock Dig. She’d circled something similar in a catalog, but I was scared off by the super-crappy reviews. Then I stumbled onto this kit on sale at a craft store, and I’m glad that I impulse-bought it, because its online reviews are even worse. And $27 is way too much. But whatever I spent ($15, maybe?) was well worth it. J spent hours chipping away at the block looking for gems and miracles, all while wearing adorable safety goggles. It was so cute. She loved the little stones that she found (there’s a striped one on the newspaper below, and she was brushing around and uncovering a pearly white stone when I took this picture. Now she’s considering doing gems and minerals as her learning fair topic. So: success!


Speaking of success, I have a new technique for thank you notes. In the past I’ve kept a running list and caught an individual at a free moment and nagged them to, “Just write one or two notes, please-please-please, and then you can take a break.” It becomes an endurance test. For the after-Christmas extravaganza, I let us share cards, and I got everyone together doing the cards simultaneously (that includes me and Cute W, too). Somehow this stirred everyone up (the competition? the camaraderie? how do I replicate this?) and we knocked off a whole bunch of cards in a stunningly short amount of time (maybe 20 minutes). It was one of those parenting triumphs.


I hope you’re all happy to be getting back into the routine.


  1. @Claire, well thank you. I took this picture and then I noticed that the drawer was open, so I shut it and took another picture, and I realized that closing the drawer had made the cabinet below it pop open. So it doesn’t have a lot of feng shui and it’s easier to enjoy from afar, but I do appreciate the sentiment!

  2. Thank you for making me feel better about one thank you note for the whole family. Part of me feels a little guilty about not writing long, in-depth thank yous (particularly now that M enjoys signing her name) but there are so many & for so many things at this time of year…

  3. @Erin, I don’t feel like it’s slacking too much, really, as long as they still contribute. Better to consolidate than to take weeks to get it done, I think.

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