Dorothy, if she went to Catholic School

Char is bouncing around the house, singing "We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of God."

Whassup, social anxiety?

***I love that I drafted this post, didn't publish it, and later that night my fave local blog friend emailed me to see if I wanted to grab a bite to eat or a drink next week. She's either a witchy psychic, or is looking in my windows at night while I draft blog posts. I am okay with it either way, and am so excited to do lunch with her next week.***

So I discovered that in addition to having near-paralyzing social anxiety in some situations with old friends (i.e. "I haven't seen them in a while, I am so remiss on returning calls/emails, I can't possibly face them now and hang out, and I miss them terribly but feel like a total jackass trying to call and explain why I go MIA for weeks (months...years...)") I also freak out at making new friends.

I blame it on the fact that I have my 3 best friends. What more does a girl need? I have friends I used to work with who I was very close to at a time, and miss very much, but haven't seen in awhile (see issue outlined above). I have our family friends (I have no excuse for not seeing them more often - kids are about the same age, why are we not just hanging out with them for lazy pizza nights?). Friends down the block - literally a BLOCK AWAY! - who I haven't hung out with in months.

It isn't as though my calendar is terribly busy. At all busy. I am in sweatpants by 7pm almost every night, and call it a day when the kids are in bed. What the hell?

I am now pretending that moving into a new house will be a fresh start (ummm....we haven't even really gotten into the home search process the very beginning) and I can then rectify this awful behavior. But heaven forbid I make it better before then. That's crazy talk, duh.

My other peeve is that I have NO idea how to make new friends. Like freak out, panic attack, when it is time to meet new people. Example: One of my favorite bloggers in the whole universe - who is hilarious, makes great creative stuff, is kind and open, and lives about 4 minutes from me. Do you think I take the step and say "Hey! Let's get a beer! Coffee! Let's ignore our kids at the park!" No. No I don't. I just stalk her blog and marvel at the random cross-connections between us, and leave it at that and still think of her as a friend, which is okay when it is a blogger who lives in like Timbuktu. But 4 minutes away? I am ridiculous. And there are actually 3 blogs I follow whose authors live in the same area. So there's like a little enclave of folks writing about stuff I like, living where I live, and what the hell is wrong with me that I am not making it a point to meet up with them??

Maybe it is because I have always been fringe - Kel and I have always laughed about the fact that we were always at the right places, but always on the fringe, never in the thick of things. And I guess I'm kind of still the same way now, and that I subscribe to the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" theory on friends, but really, now, I find that I am being absurd.

So that's all it takes

Ellie: Mom? Can Char and I sleep on the floor tonight, in our room?

Char: Yeah! Can we?

Me: Sure.

Ellie: Thanks mom (hug). I want to keep you. Because you are a nice mommy.

And sometimes that is all I need to make it a good day.

And it's time for me to fly....

Well, for us to fly, I suppose. And, let's face it, I wanted to put some REO Speedwagon in your heads, a little ear worm for you. SUCKERS.

We're looking to move. It's overdue, and a good decision, but a bit scary and sad at the same time.

In addition to leaving the house where we started our family, our life together, it is also my grandparents' house, where my grandfather and grandmother built their family, where my mother and aunt were raised, where I have so many fond childhood memories, so much history wrapped up in each little corner of this place.

But, realistically speaking, we've outgrown it. We probably outgrew it when Char started walking. Then you add another kid, a dog and a cat and it got crowded. Yet i kept thinking "We can make this work. My grandparents did it, we can do it! We don't need much!" and we don't. Really, we don't. We don't want a huge house. We don't want a McMansion (blech). We just want some elbow room. A bit more space. We're at under 900 square feet here. Two little bedrooms. We have a queen size bed and have barely enough space to walk between the bed and wall on any side. Unfinished basement. Insufficient space for a full size sofa in the tv room. Inadequate space to properly set up our Kinect for group play! Living like savages here...

 And so we're doing it. And it'll be nice to move to a neighborhood with more kids running around. And off a busy road. And not next door to a diner where inebriated folks hang out smoking and wandering into the gangway between our house and the diner. And where perhaps we don't get a quarter inch of dirty black dust on everything in the house every day in the summer when the windows are open. And where I can have a little chicken coop out back and collect eggs every day. There are so many things I'll miss about living here, and living in this tiny town is such a great schtick, such a unique little thing that has a certain cache, for sure something I will miss.

I think part of my motivation for posting it is that it makes it "official" and real, like when I post that I am going to paint the wood paneling or clean the pantry, and then I HAVE to, because I told you all that I am going to do it.

We're just starting this process, and are so excited and anxious, and can't wait to see where we'll land. It will be bittersweet, and I need to just remember that a house is just a building, and that our family history and memories are not confined to this space, this location. That we carry them with us wherever we go. But I'm the same girl whose mom still lives in the house I came home to when I was born, and man do I love that. I do realize that I have lived less than 4 of my 35 years in a "new" place  - like an apartment or dorm - and that that is a little bit sad. And I realize that change is a good, healthy, natural thing. So we're jumping in with both feet, and getting ready to pack it in here and move along...

100 Day project...So we like beer, is that so wrong?

We decided that we were pretty grateful to belong to a parish that has a lot of drinking type events because after counting out the bottle caps and realizing there are only about 10 that are not from Miller Lite bottles (and of those 10, only about 3 were from soda rather than cider), we felt bad like we can't send our first grader to school with a project made out of beer bottle caps! But then we looked around and were trying to be creative, but...Fruit Loops? eh. Skittles? We'd never count out 100 without eating most of them. Corn kernels? Lame-o.

But what to do with these caps? What kind of project? Well, a bit of brainstorming and Michael headed out to the garage for some wire and wire cutters, I started pounding holes in the bottle caps with a nail, and Char started stringing the caps onto the wire to make a snake - every 10 caps we put a small piece of cork (like from a wine bottle. Like we are total lushes.) to show that we worked on counting by 10s, and voila, we had a snake.

Char drew a tree with some vines on a piece of paper attached to cardboard, and a charming picture of an entirely green Charlotte ("Look! I look like a leprechaun!") screaming "AAAAA" under the tree. Then we attached the snake to the cardboard with some more wire. And after a quick Google/YouTube search on how to make an 3D/Origami snake head, I whipped one up and attached it to the front of it with some fangs and a tongue courtesy of Char.

Overall, I have to say I'm pretty impressed! And as long as we don't get a note about having 100 Miller Lite bottle caps on hand, I'm pretty sure it'll go over well. Though perhaps we should have rinsed the caps off...

Oh, and if you feel like making an awesome snake head like that, here's the video tutorial...

100 Day project

So Char's school does a big 100 day project for the 100th day of school each year. For first grade, they are to make something out of 100 items, in 10 groups of 10.

Suggestions were legos, toothpicks, buttons, things you have around the house.

Char wants to do bottle caps. She's thinking of the ones from the tasty Jarritos soda she loves. However, the bulk of our bottle caps are Miller Lite, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy (yeah, we don't clear out the bottle cap bin under the bottle opener that often), Bud Light...

I guess maybe we will be spray painting them before we commence the project.

Just like REO...

And it's time for me to fly

As much as I complain in the summer

As much as I complain in the summer about my electric bill, if it means that when my power is partially out and the heat isn't working at 11pm on the night that the "Siberian Express" deep freeze is rolling into Chicagoland, that someone from ComEd will be here within 20 minutes of us reporting the issue and the heat kicking back on in just about an hour or so? I guess I won't complain next summer about the sickening high electric bills*.

9:00pm: ac power dropped from laptop. I assumed the cat unplugged it and ignored it.
11:30pm: I went to bed and tried to plug in my phone to charge. No charge. No lamps. No lights. Checked girls' room. Ditto. Checked front room. Ditto ditto. Tv room, bathroom light fixtures (not outlets), and kitchen were okay.
11:31pm: Heat - not so much okay. Fuuuck.
11:50pm: It isn't our ComEd. They'll send a crew out by 2:30am. Space heater to the girls' room.
11:54am: Call from ComEd, they have a truck on the way.
12:15pm: ComEd arrives, guy goes to work on the pole outside.
12:17am: ComEd guy is swearing up a storm out there.
12:34am: We're back up and running 100%, and the temp only dropped to 54 degrees, which is still about 4 degrees warmer than Kelly's house.

So I have a total new appreciation for ComEd crews. My brother has worked there for ages, and sometimes don't think about what goes on there, but am pretty pleased with how last night worked out.

*Or I'll forget all about this by then and will resume birching** about it by July.

**Birching is how the cool kids say "bitching" like complaining. Thanks, autocorrect, for inspiring me to develop new terminology.

Hiiii Guuuuyyyyssss

So El had a faux-American Girl doll and its arm popped off.

Did we get rid of the doll? No. For I am a douchebag that tried to use it as a teaching point for my kids that all people are different and it is okay to have a missing arm, you know, I don't want them to stare at amputees if we're out and about. Also I didn't feel like going out to get a new doll at that point, and we couldn't glue it back on.

But the baby arm turns up every once in awhile, and then for a week or two straight we'll gag around with it. At Hallowe'en time, it was to caress the jawline of an unsuspecting sucker while they watch tv, murmuring "I'm only helping!" like the creepy costumed lady in the Hallowe'en Snickers commercials. Or we make noises like that creepy Big Baby in Toy Story 3 and chuck it at each other. What do you guys do with your kids? This is totally normal.

This time around, it was placed in a bag of popcorn Char brought home from the Wolves game Saturday night. Then in the candy bucket in the pantry. Last night I put it in Char's Take-Home folder from school in the hopes she or her teacher would appreciate the hilarity today. Well, she spotted it when she went to put her lunchbag in her backpack and freaked (awesome!) and took it out (LAME!).

Michael just sent me this picture, so I think he has brought the creepy limb to work with him, but I am not really sure where that is in his office? Look how creepy, just reaching out like that...

*a la the governor from Walking Dead books, but that is another post altogether, are you guys reading those? am I way behind on things? Loved the show, started the books, and need to have every volume with me so I can just zoom through them! Wow.

All grown up, or the big differences betwixt my gals...

January 20th, my nephew John's birthday, is the date that Ellie will be the exact age char was when Ellie was born- 3 years, 5 months, and 4 days. 

She still seems like my total baby, and although I know not to compare them, as a social experiment, I can't help but marvel at the many ways they ate SO different. And the pleasant surprising ways they are alike.