Working hard to keep us all entertained

Caroline loves to spend the night with her Mimi and Bops . It’s something she’s done since they moved here a little over two years ago.

It’s what I like to call a golden situation, because she loves staying with them and I love getting to go out with P, then sleep late the next morning.

Not to mention, not being awakened in the middle of the night to serve as a bathroom escort.

She is a high-energy kid. She literally runs, and jumps, and runs some more, until she drops. She rarely admits to being tired.

In fact, one time this summer we finally had to drag her out of the pool and tell her she’d had enough. She argued with us until she finally just collapsed on her little swimmed-out legs.

Fortunately, for her, Bops is a gamer. He runs, he plays chase, he plays hide and seek. Then she says, “ONE MORE TIME, BOPS!”

And I’m pretty sure he collapses on the couch for a nap as soon as we leave.

We came home last Saturday and Caroline walked in her room as I was unpacking her bag. She said, “Mama, I am so TI-RED!”

“Well, you played hard over at Mimi and Bop’s house.”

“I know. Bops just makes me run and chase him the whole time. He just wears me out!”

I’m fairly certain that’s not the real story.

Here she is after spending a day having to play hide and seek with Bops.

Bless her heart. It’s not easy keeping up with a 62 year old man.

Happy Birthday, Bops.

Hello Kitty! Goodbye Saturday morning.

A girl I knew once told me, before I had kids, that the worst part of motherhood is having to go to amusement parks. At the time I thought that was an odd thing to say because what isn’t fun about amusement parks?

Well, other than the bigger than life characters that walk around and pose for pictures. They creep me out.

I’m talking about you, big stuffed Shamu. Just walk away with your unnaturally proportioned head.

Truly, I don’t mind the amusement park experience. You start off the day fresh and full of high expectations of all the great fun to be had and that feeling lasts until you’re dragging everyone back to the car at the end of the day, sweaty, hot, cotton candy stuck to the side of your face, and $250 poorer than when you walked in.

Good times.

Plus, you always have a chance of winning a Nicole Richie doll.

The parenting experience that I could just leave behind is the birthday party. All the birthday parties. Who knew there could be so many birthday parties?

The 4-year-old social circuit is unbelievable. Seriously, it makes my own social life look a little pitiful by comparison. Caroline has 3 parties on any given weekend and I have…umm, well I like to be at church on Sunday morning.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so thankful that Caroline has friends and we get invited to the birthday parties. I am. I really am. She’s a huge fan of the birthday party. Telling her we have a birthday party to attend on a Saturday morning is like someone telling me I get to sleep until 10:00, then go get a pedicure and a new outfit.

It creates new levels of hysteria and excitement. Levels that really aren’t seen outside of anything involving High School Musical.

So, Saturday morning, we had a double header. 10:00 a.m. birthday party at Kiddie Park, followed by an 11:30 a.m. party at one of her classmate’s homes. That is ALOT of hot pink icing.

By the time I got up Saturday morning, Caroline was already dressed in her hot pink, bedazzled outfit. She was speaking in ALL CAPS and WAS SO EXCITED and all LET’S LEAVE RIGHT NOW! WE HAVE TO GO RIGHT NOW! LET’S GO! LET’S GO!!!

Which would have been fine, but it was only 8:30 a.m. And trust me, the workers at Kiddie Park aren’t the type to show up one minute earlier than their scheduled work time. Heaven forbid they get there early and change out the water in the boat ride.

Anyway, after a long morning of IS IT TIME TO GO YET?!! it was finally actually time to leave. We headed out to Kiddie Park, rode some rides of questionable safety and unmentionable hygiene issues, ate a Hello Kitty! cupcake, and drank from some unknown child’s juicebox. Because, really, she likes to do all she can to ensure that she picks up some kind of illness for the upcoming week.

Just as she was coming down from her Hello Kitty! sugar high, it was time to leave for the next party. This one had a bouncy castle. With Disney Princesses. And face painting. And even more Hello Kitty! cake.

Who knew that Hello Kitty! had made such a comeback? I had no idea. She’s very hot right now. Like the next Paris Hilton or something, because she doesn’t really do anything, she just stands around with that blank stare.

By the time we got home, the party hangover had begun. All the whining and complaining about being hot, tired, and having a headache from all the screaming. And Caroline wasn’t doing much better.

It took me the rest of the day to recover.

I’m just glad there wasn’t a big, life-size Hello Kitty! walking around.

It would have pushed me over the edge.

Open letter to an HEB shopper

To the man ahead of me in line at HEB yesterday.

Dear Sir:

You have no idea how much I didn’t want to have to go to the grocery store yesterday. Sundays are by far the worst day of the week to grocery shop. All that cart traffic and the fighting in the produce department amongst the celery and the onions makes me very nervous. Not to mention having to fight the temptation to buy a pack of Nestles’ Ultimates and eat the whole thing without putting even one cookie in the oven.

However, I had to go to the store because we are in charge of school snack today. Caroline requested Rice Krispy treats, so I did what Martha Stewart would do and went to HEB to purchase the pre-made ones.

Because who has time to melt those marshmallows, mix in the cereal and press it all down with a buttered spatula? Not me. I am already woefully behind on my T.V. viewing from last week and if I’m ever going to get caught up, I certainly can’t spend 4 minutes slaving over a hot stove.

That’s why I was at HEB. I quickly filled my cart with the aforementioned Rice Krispy treats, some Ritz crackers shaped like dinosaurs for any child who’s feeling a little more health-conscious, and the always tasty Juicy-Juice because it’s 100% REAL JUICE. I also threw in some Jergens’ Self-Tanner because girlfriend is in need of a little color now that it’s October.

As you can tell from my shopping list, we are a very all-natural, organic, preservative-free household.

I believe if God had intended for us to be all natural, He wouldn’t have given us the ability to create hydrogenated soy oil or artificial butter flavoring. Or tan without the sun.

Anyway, I gathered the items on my list as quickly as possible and then headed straight to the EXPRESS checkout line, where I encountered you. It seemed like a safe bet to get in line behind you because you had followed the rules and had only 12 items. Kudos to you.

But imagine my surprise when you had a coupon for EVERY SINGLE ONE of those 12 items. Coupons, by the way, that you conveniently forgot you had until after the EXPRESS transaction was completed. And then you pulled them out of your pocket and handed them, one by one, to the cashier as SLOWLY as possible.

I was especially astonished at how long it took you to find your wallet AGAIN to complete your EXPRESS transaction for the second time. But I understand. I mean, after all, who would have thought to look in your back pocket?

My favorite part was the way you stood right at the end of the checkout counter after your transaction was completely finished, and it was finally, mercifully, my turn, and you opened up your Clorox wipes and proceeded to wipe down your hands with them. You were very thorough. Trust me when I say there isn’t an amoeba alive that stood a chance against your tenacity.

I watched you gather up your bagged purchases over your wrists and carry them like some kind of torture device to ensure that the germ-ridden handles wouldn’t touch your well-bleached hands.

And as I followed you out of the store and watched you get into your brand new Cadillac Escalade (parked in handicapped parking, by the way) I was so relieved that you were able to save yourself almost $1.50 on your purchases. It made the 15 minutes I spent waiting in line behind you, totally worth it.

Well done, Sir. Well done.

Regretfully no longer a believer in EXPRESS lanes,

Big Mama