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Spilling It

Recently I dined at Island Grill with my two daughters, who are twelve and fifteen.

Midway through our meal, a father came in with his two very young children. The little girl, who could have been no more than three, insisted on sitting at a table for two right next to us. The baby boy refused the high chair and sat opposite her. The father basically stood the whole time making sure the kids had what they needed.

The girl burned her tongue on the pizza. The boy attempted to eat his fries with a fork. Finally, the girl spilled her drink all over her shirt and the floor.

Their father smiled and asked me if I missed having little kids.

I paused and then said, “Oh yes. Be glad you always know where they are and who they are with, instead of texting them to find out.”

He laughed and started cleaning them up.

Later I realized I had missed an opportunity to say so much more.

I miss being able to scoop them up in my arms and cuddle them mercilessly. I miss bedtime stories. I miss unbridled enthusiasm for the simplest art project or trip to the park.

I miss an 8:30 bedtime and the quiet hour and a half of TV time with my husband that followed.

I miss afternoons with no homework, when the girls had never heard of STAAR tests, AP tests and the SAT.

Although I didn’t love Nick Jr. at the time, I must say it is so much better than Dance Moms or some Kardashian horror show. I miss Sophia the First! The Wiggles were our first concert, and now she wants to go to Free Press. Embrace Dora young mothers – you know not what awaits you!

I miss the Christmases when the wish list could be satisfied with a stuffed bear and a Barbie. (Plus a couple marshmallow Santas in the stocking). The Easter bunny could fill eggs with hair bands and Goldfish for heaven’s sake. The joy was in the opening!

I miss shopping at Gymboree, where no skirt hem is too short, and no top is too low cut. Last time I checked they didn’t sell platform heels.

Some of you will think I am truly crazy, but I miss Disney princess dress up clothes and American Girl dolls. Admittedly, it’s all over-priced and commercialized, but surely it’s a better use of time than Snapchat.

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I miss the zoo. I miss the giraffes, Ziploc baggies full of Cheerios, and sippy cups full of apple juice. I miss the sweet nap that came after, and watching the little darlings sleep.

I wish I could have said all that in front of my girls. I wish they could understand how for me it is all slipping by so quickly. The teenage years bring new worries about peer pressure and heartbreak. Part of me wishes they could know all the things I have learned in 47 years because hopefully it would spare them pain and stress; and give them self-confidence and grace.

Yet that would be too easy. They must earn their own wisdom, and I can only assist in the journey with love and support. Big sigh!

As the little girl stepped past me to leave Island Grill, I looked at her feet and said, “I miss pink glittery tennis shoes that light up too.”

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Cupid on the Shelf

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The kids are back in school, and I have a small amount of time to reflect on December 2015.  Here are my random thoughts on this holiday season, in no particular order:

  1. If I can’t read the type on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can, do I still have to bake the pie?
  2. Two best words of the season:  Amazon Prime
  3. Two worst words:  Gift exchange
  4. Apparently if given the choice of protecting us from the FedEx man or eating her dinner, our dog will choose her dinner.
  5. God bless my eleven-year-old who has decided gift wrapping is fun.
  6. The crowd of people shopping at Kendra Scott is truly absurd.
  7. Can someone tell me how to get the battery out of my daughter’s ugly light up Christmas sweater so it can be washed?
  8. I am sure all this weight I am gaining is going straight to my boobs, right?
  9. Why is the recycle bin so heavy?  Could it be the wine bottles?  Doubt it’s the Diet Coke.
  10. I really should ask my fourteen-year-old how to use this highlight/contour palette.
  11. My husband’s hamper is the best gift hiding place, as I cannot imagine a world in which my children would attempt to do his laundry.
  12. I will always cry during the candle lighting part of the Christmas Eve service.
  13. If anyone invents the Cupid on the Shelf, Leprechaun on the Shelf, etc., I will hunt them down.
  14. Same goes for Bunny on the Shelf, Uncle Sam on the Shelf . . . I think you get the idea.

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Living in Cutthroat Kitchen

Alton Brown doesn’t hang out in my kitchen tossing out cooking show sabotages as I attempt to make dinner.  Yet sometimes I feel like I am on the show and fending off a variety of challenges on my quest to get food on the table.

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The Group Text Sabotage

Just as I am getting all the pots boiling, my phone goes crazy.  It’s not one simple text, it’s the dreaded group text.  Messages fly in as I attempt to stir and respond.  Usually the group text must be attended to because it involves a crucial birthday party carpool or volleyball team sign up.  I feel like Pavlov’s dog as I have been trained to respond immediately to that little ping sound.  My hand moves to the phone before I even have time to think about what I’m doing.  I have to really focus to make sure I don’t burn myself!

The Missing Ingredient Sabotage

On step five of the eight step recipe, I can’t find one of the ingredients.  This sabotage actually takes several forms. If the missing ingredient is cheese, then most likely someone in my house ate it all.  Alternatively, I thought I had plenty of an ingredient, such as chicken stock, when really there in none in the pantry.  What kind of person has NO chicken stock?  Finally, there is the ingredient that is past its expiration date.  Eggs or milk one day out of date might be OK, but I can’t use anything growing mold.  On rare occasions, I can find a substitute, but more often than not, this sabotage sends me racing to Randalls.

The Homework Sabotage

This challenge seems to come in direct proportion to the difficulty of the dinner being prepared.  If I already have lasagna in the oven and am simply tossing the salad, I might get a question like, “Is 23 a prime number?”  So easy, “Yes!”  However, if I am flying around the kitchen doing stir fry, I’ll get a hard question like, “Can you describe the irony in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible?”  And of course, we can’t forget the homework sabotage that keeps on giving:  “Mom, I need to make a 3-D model of an atom and it’s due tomorrow.”

The Pet Sabotage

One of the most serious sabotages is the pet sabotage, specifically my adorable dog Lucy.  I can have three burners fired up and be feeling good about my progress when I hear, “Lucy is eating something!”  I must drop everything and investigate.  In the past six months, sweet Lucy has ingested a whole bar of soap, shards of glass from a bottle of olive oil I dropped, and nine pieces of Extra sugar free gum – mixed berry flavor.  Those are extreme sabotages, whereas her standard ones are things like socks or hair bands.

The reward for successful completion of the meal is not a bundle of cash like on the show, but it’s something even better.  I get to sit down with my family, eat a warm meal, and catch up on all the events of the day.  I’ll take that prize any day of the week!

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No iPhone 6 for Me

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It occurred to me the other day that my kids don’t know the origins of the saying “dial a phone number.”  They have never dialed.  We recently bought an old fashioned phone at Target for Halloween.  It says spooky things when you lift up the receiver.  It’s a rotary phone, and my kids were completely baffled as to how that would work.  They truly could not understand, and even after I showed them how to stick your finger in the numbered hole and spin, they said, “but how does it know the number?”

All they have ever known is pushing a button, and now that happens almost exclusively on a screen.  We still have a land line with push button phones (at least they are wireless), but hardly ever use them.  We rarely receive calls on that line, except for all of the endless CVS Pharmacy automated reminders and notifications.  We all use our iPhones.  My ten-year-old doesn’t have a cell phone, but she is very comfortable using mine.

So why aren’t I clamoring for the new iPhone 6?  Isn’t the newest technology the best?  Well, I am pretty sure my iPhone 5 does all the texting and calling I need.  Of course I use Safari, but other than that, I am woefully under-educated on all its other features.

For example, my older daughter was using my phone the other day.  I am not sure if she had forgotten hers somewhere or was on an enforced break from its possession.  In any case, she informed me that I needed to refresh my apps.  “What?” I said, “I don’t know what that means.”  Insert thirteen-year-old eye roll and “OMG” here.   She explained that having all these apps open really drains my battery.  She shut them all down and showed me how to do it, but I honestly can’t remember to do that on a daily basis (or yearly for that matter).

She proceeded to tell me I had too many apps I didn’t use (like all the games she liked last year, but now considers lame.)  So she started deleting apps.  She got to the Flashlight app, and I said, “Wait, I like that app.”  Imagine the middle school condescension as she informed me that you don’t need an app for that.  There is a flashlight available on the phone by simply swiping up from the bottom of the screen.  Really??  And the cool thing is that it stays on as long as you want.

She also commented that my most recently used emoji was a glass of wine.  “How do you know that?” I questioned.  “It’s on your most recently used list,” she replied.  There’s a button for that?

Clearly I am not in need of new technology as I have barely scratched the surface of the technology I have.  I will admit that my reading vision makes the super-sized iPhone 6 somewhat intriguing, but it won’t fit in the pocket of my running shorts, so it is of no use to me.  I will stick with the 5.  When I am old and gray, my grandkids will have some amazing new communication technology.  I am saving this rotary phone and the iPhone 5 so that I can astound them with how things used to be.

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What Would You Do?

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I would definitely tell a friend if she had spinach in her teeth.  I am pretty sure I would tell a stranger she was dragging toilet paper from her shoe.  But other situations are not so clear to me, and I know I am more likely to chicken out than say something that might embarrass someone, or even worse, make them mad.

For example, a friend of mine noticed a woman at a swim meet who had on yoga pants that were somewhat transparent in the bright sunlight.  Others could see that she had on leopard print underwear, especially if she bent over.  So would you say something?  My friend sent out a quick text asking her friends just that question.  The majority of responders felt she should tell the woman, so she did.  Hopefully the woman was grateful and will invest in some solid nude panties or some thicker pants.

While on vacation recently, I was enjoying some appetizers and a glass of wine in the hotel lobby when a middle aged man propped his bare feet up on a nearby table.  I thought about going over and asking him to put his shoes back on, but that would be way too confrontational for me.  I also considered complaining to the bartender, but didn’t end up saying anything.  I will admit that my husband and I had a lot of fun taking a sneaky photo of the feet and posting it to Facebook.

In typical Elliott fashion, we were late to the airport for our return flight.  Since we were flying Southwest, we didn’t have assigned seats and were all four separated.  My kids are 10 and 13, so this was not too much of a problem.  I am a firm believer in not asking people to switch with you.  I generally feel that you should get your ass to the airport in plenty of time or suffer the consequences, even when it applies to me.  However, the woman sitting next to my younger daughter offered to move, so I accepted.

So here are my questions:

Would you ask someone to switch seats just to be next to your spouse?

Would you tell someone her pants were see through?

Would you ask a stranger to put shoes on?

Would you ask someone to stop talking on a cell phone if they were right next to you at dinner?

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Pier 1 Holiday Sneak Peak

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I am not ready to think about school starting in a few weeks, much less the holidays.  But I couldn’t help sharing this little sneak peak at Pier 1’s holiday treasures.  If you are on my gift list, you might be finding yourself with one of these fun items.

Available in August:

Holiday Treats Muffin Pan $19.95

Available in September:

Holiday Trees Pillow $29.95

Available in October

Winter Ice King Nutcracker $44.95

Embroidered Snowman Pillow $29.95

Dangle Legs Advent Santa $19.95

Silver Reindeer Wine Stopper $9.95

Bobblehead Snowman Tealight Holder 17.95

Christmas Treats Plates (set of 4) $24.95

 

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And don’t forget this adorable Shoe Lover Shopper Nutcracker for $44.95 (available in September)

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