All the world is lining up to tell us that there’s nothing in the world scarier than a sixteen year old daughter. With your bright smile, warm wit, big heart, and stellar brain, we couldn’t agree more. How on earth we created you is a far easier question to answer than how on earth we could possibly contain you!
Your heart and head are full of wild imaginings of adventures far beyond our little home now. While we applaud your desire not to live in our basement for all eternity, you might need some blessings for what lies ahead.
So here’s blessings for a life well-lived. May you turn over all the rocks, climb all the mountains, and ford every stream your heart can take. But more importantly, may you find something that lights you on fire and keeps you burning. We love the funny Vines and Internet jokes too, but these are not the things that will feed your soul, my girl. Cast your net far and wide and see what looks interesting. May the interesting things also come with sizable paychecks and lovely bonus packages as well.
But it’s not all about the Benjamins. May you make new friends but keep the old. I might have taken this one from a box of Thin Mints, but you could do worse than have this one grace in your life. Friends multiply every other blessing ten-fold. Be kind and generous with yours so they’ll stick around long enough to tell you that chic haircut doesn’t really work on you. Then you’ll also see them love on your babies, nurse you through heartbreaks, and make you laugh enough that you’ll count it as a workout. They’ll smooth the edges of your life’s journey and for that we will all be grateful.
And speaking of journeys, may all your roads be free—of ice, snow, hail, wind, any weather at all, catastrophe, bad drivers, good drivers, any other drivers whatsoever, and mistakes. I’d love to throw tolls in the mix, but the government’s involved so that might be hard to arrange. In any case, here’s to safe passages for you for all ways on all paths, everywhere, forever. Amen.
But here’s wishing you some rocky roads too. Your journeys can certainly be a little crooked and not exactly what you had planned all the time. A lot of really great living happens off the beaten path, so while you shouldn’t dismiss the easy path altogether, be open to life’s detours. Sometimes, your head doesn’t always know where your heart was meant to be. Plan ahead, but let life do a little leading too.
When life is leading, may you be strong. Reach in and reach out before you reach your breaking point. The steely stuff within you and the loving hearts around you will be more than sufficient to see you through anything you might encounter. Remind yourself that when you are looking back on this moment in the rear view mirror, this will be the time you were most fully yourself and saw all your blessings before you.
And speaking of seeing things clearly, this is probably the perfect time to adjust your lens on that wanderlust of yours. A lot of life traveling, any traveling, is, well, boring. It’s not all sweeping vistas and magnificent sunsets, so learn to rock a camera angle. Most of life is just how you look at it anyway, so learn to frame the shot the way you want to.
And as you are looking for that perfect shot, may you also find a great partner for the road. Not just someone who could be a stellar shotgun, although that is a pretty great bonus, but someone who really sees you in all your beautiful and flawed perfectness. You could do worse than marry someone who is your best friend though that’s certainly not a requirement for the job. But loving your family is non-negotiable so make that one fact clear: we’re awesome and part of the package deal. You want the gorgeous redhead, you get the crazy family too, capice?
This is your moment, sweet girl. We are mesmerized, enchanted, and, quite frankly, perched on the edge of our seats waiting to see what will happen in this next chapter of your life. Write something amazing.
All my love, Mom
You can see what I wrote about my funny feisty girl last year here. Parents of lunatic toddlers, this one’s for you! There is hope!
It’s back-to-school and we’re gathering all of the necessary supplies for a great year. It’s so much work to fill those carts, and really painful to empty those wallets, but that’s not where the prep ends.
With the start of school, calendars explode with activity and what’s important to the core of our girls’ lives can get lost in zooming from Point A to Point B while not forgetting to check off Item C and drop off Project D. Some of the most important things they’ll need for success aren’t things we can buy, but things we need to make room for in our lives and in theirs.
5 Things All Teen Girls Need
1. A Soft Place to Land
Middle school and high school can be rough to navigate–inhospitable even. Girl World especially has a complicated landscape where petty jealousies and miscommunications can wreak havoc and become all consuming.
Girls need to know that home is their safe place. Continuing rituals from their childhood that provide time to talk–like a regular mealtime or bedtime routine–means that girls know they already have a time scheduled for your attention and help. You are no longer reading them bedtime stories, but it’s reassuring for them to know they have time to tell their stories to you.
2. Time to Just Be
Girls love downtime. The mind and heart are wired for connections and these are born in the spaces in between band and volleyball practice and helping to decorate the gym for the Homecoming Dance. Acknowledging their inherent need for moments to relax and recharge will go miles towards helping them be their best, most authentic selves. Every minute is precious, but not every minute needs to be scheduled.
3. Our Two Cents
We know the value of keeping our mouths shut. A lot of peace can be had in the Kingdom of Teens when we don’t comment or even raise an eyebrow at every little thing, but there are bigger issues where we need to model how to form an opinion or take a stand.
Strong women don’t hang out in the middle of the road, but steer their own course. Telling them how we feel about big events and small happenings lets them know us better and gets their minds working to help them learn about themselves.
They sometimes groan and grumble when we show up with a paddle or a walking stick ready to take them on a trail or river, but once they are out there, they are just fine. Exercise and fresh air does wonders to clear the mind and boost self-esteem. Nothing provides a sense of accomplishment like jumping off that ledge, paddling against that current, or finding your way back from that trail.
5. Opportunities to Grow
Whether they are musical or artistic or athletic or academic, girls need a chance to try on different hats. Here’s the secret: Throw out the “or.” They don’t need to pick just one persona from the list or stick with that one choice forever. They need chances to see themselves differently and imagine different futures for themselves. They need the encouragement to try new things, embrace mistakes, and reject limiting labels.
To that end, we highly recommend the organization Girl Talk and its LeaderU Summit. Dedicated to helping girls develop leadership skills, Girl Talk is a a peer-to-peer mentoring program for high school and middle school girls. Founded by Haley Kilpatrick, Girl Talk wants to help teens build self-esteem, expand their leadership skills, and foster a heart for community service.
Our daughters were fortunate to be sent to the Summit by FAAR, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. You can read what our girls wrote about their experience here. This probably goes without saying, but we’re pretty proud of their published work. All opinions expressed here and there are all our own and their own.
We’re not much for the Black Friday hoopla, but we can get down with Cyber Monday. How can you beat shopping in your pajamas or while you’re at work–on break of course <ahem>. So we’re making lists and checking them twice and hoping we can get some steals and deals for our teen girls. Even if these gifts don’t go on sale, there is a price range for everyone. All 16 gifts have been Daughters of the Sisterhood approved, so behold . . .
This is the best dryer EVER. Seriously. Erin almost stole it from Ellen while they were on vacation together. Good thing Ellen’s daughter Coco (15) does not let it out of her sight. It dries thick hair fast–like Ellen’s thick main of hair in under 20 minutes–and the smoothing attachment is a miracle. No more hand numbing contortions with a brush AND a dryer. The results are so good, it minimizes your flat iron time if it doesn’t eliminate it altogether. Best part? It’s way under $25!
This might not be a steal, but it will get you squeals of delight and isn’t that what gift giving is all about? Plus, if you need that special shadow for that one special outfit, it’ll be as close as a trip down the hall.
If your teen hasn’t discovered this series yet, get this set in your shopping cart right now! Set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue, teenagers have to decide if they want to stay in their faction or switch to another – for the rest of their lives. According to Ellen’s girls, this series is a real page turner. The movie for the first book came out in March of 2014. We are firm believers in reading the book before the movie. Firm. Believers. So hurry up and get into this series before the rest of the movies drop.
And if you like Divergent, The Maze Runner is another great option . . .
Fans of dystopian literature will love The Maze Runner. (Confession: Ellen enjoyed the series immensely, too.) Please, please, please start with the book before moving onto the DVD. While the movie is exciting and pretty great, the book is full of rich detail that could not be crammed into the film. But speaking of details, the main character played by Dylan O’Brien is pretty easy on the eyes. This poster is topping Ellen’s daughter’s wish lists since they were fans before The Maze Runner even came out because of his role on MTV’s Teen Wolf.
We’re not sure if the SodaStream is practical, but it sure is fun and that’s what gift giving is all about in our families. And Ellen’s family can attest that it’s also tasty. Ellen is not a big soda drinker, but even she is a fan of the mywater flavor essence (althooooooough, the root beer is pretty good). One great convenience is that the SodaStream doesn’t need any batteries or electricity to operate. It’s powered solely by the compressed gas carbonator that comes in the starter kit. Pretty cool.
Would You Rather? Board Game – Classic Version
We are huge fans of board games here at The Sisterhood. We play them at family gatherings, on random cold Saturday nights, and even on New Year’s Eve. This game is a favorite of all ages on those occasions, but it made the teen gift list because it is also a big hit at slumber parties. Maybe if you pull out this game at the beginning of the evening, you can avoid your own sleepover disasters. We’re rooting for you!
When we have a little more time, and some quiet, Clue is always a favorite. The intrigue gets us every time.
And if you have A LOT of time . . .
Because who doesn’t want to rule the world?
Ellen’s family has such a fun time with this gadget.You can make a huge batch in no time because the donuts bake so quickly. The cookbook is really worthwhile, too. Ellen’s daughter recommends the Red Velvet recipe on page 49 (and so do Ellen’s hips as a matter of fact). One other tip: wooden chopsticks are great for lifting the donuts out.
Soft Chevron Sheer Infinity Scarf
Infinity scarves are hot and this one is sizzling with its chevron print. It comes in a multitude of colors so you can give them to all of the teens in your life without them complaining about being “matchies.”
Remington Pearl Digital Ceramic Tapered Curling Wand
If your girl has long hair, this is THE curling iron that gives those trendy soft spiral curls. And this one won’t break the bank. Don’t be frightened off by the lack of clip: think no weird crimps at the bottoms of your curls. THAT is so 1988. But don’t fear third degree burns either because this one comes with a protective glove to protect your girl’s fingers.
Teen girls love The North Face like they are embarking on a daily trek to Mount Everest instead of just traipsing into Chemistry class. This hoodie is one of the more economical ways to gift it. When you click and your size selection you will see that most of them are Prime eligible.
Sterling Silver Rhodium Plated Anchor Bracelet
Anchors are “in,” but this bracelet is sweet enough to survive the trend. It’s not too pricey either, so cry, “Anchors away!” and add it to your cart, Matey! (Please tell us you read that last part in a pirate voice. Please.)
One Direction 2015 Calendar One Direction Duct Tape
One Direction is still going strong and since you can’t invite the lads over for dinner at least they can be with you all year long with this calendar. And in case you didn’t know, duct tape is B-I-G, so One Direction duct tape? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Okay and one more for good measure . . .
Crochet Lace Trim & Buttons Knit Boot Socks Black
Cold weather is all about the boots and adorable socks peeking up above them is the trendy way to go. Their feet will be extra warm in these. Now if we could only convince them wearing coats was a “thing.”
And just one more . . .
Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband
Got an athlete who also likes tech? This helpful little tool tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes. It also monitors quantity and quality of sleep and might just convince your teen it is time to get off of Netflix and get some more shut-eye.
Well, that last one was a little pricey and this one is super cool, so one more . . .
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera
Shake it like a Polaroid picture! We know, this camera is by Fuji, but it gets better reviews than the instant photo camera by Polaroid, and that is what is important, all super fun retro hip hop songs aside. Your girl will love the novelty of seeing a photo print out instantly and you will love the nostalgia. The credit card sized prints are vintage-y and kitschy enough to appeal to anyone’s inner hipster.
Watches Made From Wood
Need some gift suggestions for the teen boys in your life? We have those right here!
Hope these lists give you some help, but we aren’t done. If you’re not an Amazon kind of person, Ellen has one more suggestion. How about adopting a kitten? One size fits all. (How fast are you scrolling back to the top now?)
There is more to teens than shopping. Read our other parenting articles about teens here.
-Ellen and Erin
This post contains affiliate links. Except for the kitten. That is Pebbles and Ellen is keeping her. We’re sure you can find your own kitten.
Part of our schtick is sharing parenting advice. We have 7 kids between us ranging from 6 to 16 with both genders well represented. We’re like a freaking parenting test lab fueled by Cheez-its and hormones.
Erin:But we want to take this moment to clarify. We are not relaxing in some lofty ivory tower pontificating or galloping on our trusty high horses across the lands dispensing our morsels of wisdom to you needy peasants.
Ellen: It’s more like “We Step In The Doo So You Don’t Have To.”
Erin:Case in point: Homecoming 2013. Our daughters are in the same county but go to different high schools. My daughter Biddie is a freshman and Ellen’s “Coco” is a sophomore. I’m thanking my lucky stars that Coco’s Homecoming was two weeks before Biddie’s because. . .
Ellen: I was still scraping the doo from my shoe as Erin blissfully skirted her steaming pile.
Erin:I have nearly broken my arm patting myself on the back for learning from Ellen’s folly.
Ellen: Here is the You-Are-Just-Going-To-Have-To-Believe-Me-When-I-Say-This-Is-The-Short-Version:
Coco was asked to the dance by a senior she barely knew two weeks before the date. He was a friend of a friend’s boyfriend and it seemed great until the Wednesday before the dance when Coco laid this on me in the car:
“I really don’t want to go to the dance with Senior Boy because he is too clingy and he’s creeping me out. And I hate the way he breathes.”
Ellen: Exactly! What ensued was an awkward balancing act stressing safety over politeness while conveying that politeness wins over “I hate how he breathes.”
Erin:We want our daughters to know that if true alarm bells are going off, never go through with a date because of feelings of duty or manners. Never tamp down your instincts.
Ellen: HOWEVER, after sussing out that there was no real threat and just the hardcore annoyance that only a teen can cultivate, I stressed to Coco that it was really not the kind thing to do to dump someone three days before the dance on the grounds of respiratory incompatibility. Coco, being the considerate trooper she is, decided to tough it out and not break the date.
Erin: Well, let’s face it, once they pass through those school doors, the girls and boys separate like the waters of the Red Sea anyway.
Ellen: True. A very brief fast forward to Dance Saturday and Coco gets a text from Senior Boy hours before the dance stating that he does NOT want to go with HER because she ignored him at her volleyball game.
Ellen: Yeah, I had other choice words, but Coco was riding the other track of the emotional roller coaster: elation. She ran downstairs with her arms victoriously raised, slid onto her knees in her best Mia Hamm impression yelling, “I don’t have to go with him!”
And then I started apologizing for not letting her break her date with him, but my girl was all about the silver linings. “No worries, Mom. I don’t have to go with him AND I look like the better person. I am free and I am going to have a great time with my friends.”
Erin:All’s well that ends well. And by well, I mean I heeded the lesson so I looked like a parenting rock star right out of the gate.
My Biddie wanted a high school boyfriend and she got a high school boyfriend.
Ellen: But then she learned that boyfriends can be a lot of work . . .
Erin:And put you smack dab on the stage of everyone’s speculation. So, days before the dance, Biddie broke up with her boyfriend in the kindest way possible because she just wanted to relax and go with her friends. And you know what I said?
Ellen: “Have fun!”
Erin: Yes. Yes I did. So what is the moral of this story? Trust your kid? Trust your instincts? Ban boys from your daughters’ lives?
Ellen: All of that, but I think the real moral is to not treat any of these relationships like they are the end all be all. Treat them seriously, but acknowledge them for the learning and growing experiences that they are.
We have said it before and we have to say it again: We love to party! And not just for birthdays, anniversaries, and such. Heck, if it’s a day that ends in “Y”, somebody bring the beach balls and the booze and let’s crank up the jams. Anyway, here are. . .
10 Parties That Make Us Proud
1. Irish Girls Do It in Bright Green
I just love that this Irish girl married into a Polish family with a fun-loving real-life Irish Grandmom. We love our GiGi, and all of the fabulous parties that happen on her favorite day each year!
2. Inside This Box is a Fabulous . . .
Road Trip. With five kids and birthdays that come in bunches, we don’t always go the traditional party route. Often times, we hit the road to celebrate. In fact, Biddie and I are still basking in the glow of our great Northeastern Adventure to celebrate her 13th birthday this past summer.
This picture is one of my favorites though. When Biddie was 10, she was obsessed with the First Ladies. Sorry, 1D! Martha Washington was her first real pin-up! Her birthday was the weekend of the Obama inauguration that year. All she wanted was to get to Washington, DC. Here she is scanning the White House windows looking for a glimpse of one of the Obama girls. Still one of my favorite birthdays ever!
But other times we play it straight and we get. . .
3. The Party That Proved Just How Smart I Am!!
Eddie LOVED all things Star Wars the summer he turned four. We had a pool party and these lightsaber pool noodles were the party favor. Cheap, easy to make, and 10,000 times better than a bag of Dollar Store junk. Every mom and kid loved them! And some still have them!
But there is always a fly in the punch. Check out Eddie’s face behind his cool cupcakes. Darn kid’s ruining my boast! I swear no exorcism was required.
4. True Fans Party on Opening Day
Who parties on the opening day of the Liverpool soccer season? Maybe the family that left their North Caroline beach vacation early to see them play on American soil last summer. This might be taking the term Soccer Mom to a whole new level, but I don’t care. I’m hoping these crazy family traditions are gonna be the things that get these kids home for a visit every once in a while after the big, wide world scatters them to the winds.
5. 40 IS Fabulous!
Especially when you do it Sisterhood Style. We always treat our buddies well on their special day, but this party for our friend Lauri was the best! We went kayaking on the river near her house. Her family even had it planned for us to paddle up to a dock for some beverages and snacks along the way. Kind of like a Kayak Crawl.
Erin’s proud party moments turned out just like her: all over the place and fabulous. I’m going to stick to the traditional birthday party genre. We take the mantra “Go big or go home” to heart around here when it comes to celebrating those special days.
I love to have my house stuffed with happy girls. I also love our family tradition where the birthday girl gets her very own personalized cake to dive into with abandon. The theme for Jellybean’s 12th birthday was pandas, so with 13 girls sleeping over, it was pandamonium. Get it??
2. Monkey Business
In fact, this is the party where the personal birthday cake tradition was born by chance. So take that Pinterest. I was able to develop fun family rituals long before you rolled up on the scene.
3. Letting the Cat Out of The Bag
Jellybean got our cat Sparkle for her 6th birthday. Imagine my delight when she came downstairs ready for her indoor bounce house party dressed in her kitty cat Halloween costume. Melt.
4. Ginormous Water Slide For The Win
I LOVE throwing little kid birthday parties. Coed teenager parties make my palms clammy. For our first one, I got this huge water slide as a distraction. I should have thought about the bathing suit factor.
5. Back to the Good Ol’ Days
Alright, let’s forget the teen years, I’m starting to break out in hives. Let’s go back to when all I had to do was transform our basement into the American Idol sound stage. And upon review, I apparently also transformed our backyard into a superstar themed obstacle course for about a bazillion little girls. Did I mention “Go big or go home”?
In case all of this party pride is making you a little nauseous, don’t forget the New Year’s Eve when Ellen made everyone actually gag with this little gem of a Pintershit drink.
Also, don’t forget to check out the other bloggers over at Monday Listicles who responded to Stasha’s prompt 10 THINGS YOU ARE PROUD OF. Feel free to join in on the fun.
Alright,we are just gonna lay this out for you: we have a great friendship. We laugh, we hang, and we respect each other. Truly. You have heard us wax poetic about each other here, here, and here. We started this blog together because our parenting styles are so in sync. Hello? Sensible Moms.
But every once in a loooooong while, we just take the slightest, teensiest, most microscopic joy in watching the other one squirm. Most of the time, we are both just one missing shoe away from losing our minds, so watching the other teeter on the precipice provides validation that no one is perfect and we’re all just doing the best that we can to keep the crazy train on the tracks.
Butttttt, it also provides pure, indulgent entertainment. If that makes us slightly evil, we are 100% A-OK with that because we look darn good in black and have been diligently practicing our maniacal laughs.
10 Evil Joys of The Sensible Moms
1. Scanner Bite in the Butt
Erin has been telling Ellen for no less than one year that she is about to hook up her scanner. So far, it has only bitten Ellen and the blog in the arse until last Thursday . . .
Erin:Oh my goodness! This morning, like at 6:45 AM, I found out that Biddie (14) needs a 2 x 3 baby picture of herself for her school’s yearbook and the deadline to email it is TODAY! She was born pre-digital! Ahhhhh! I’m headed over to a friend’s house right now to scan one before the bell rings.
Ellen: Oh, is it inconvenient for you not to have a scanner? I can’t imagine what that feels like. Oh wait, I can.
Erin:Not quite the support I was looking for.
Ellen: How about this? Plug in the blasted USB cord.
2. Throwing Gasoline on Girls’ Night Out
Ellen: Erin gets plenty of flexibility training patting herself on the back for her peacemaking abilities . . . and she really should because she has mad skills. She is the one we turn to all of the time to cool down heated discussions and and to salve hurt feelings. But every once in a while, she loses her ever-loving mind over the most unlikely subjects.
Erin: I’m sorry, but Andy Griffith really is not that great.
Ellen: That’s right, folks. She ground not one, but two soirees to a halt because she could keep silent no more about her loathing for Mr. Griffith.
Erin:Seriously? Do we need to rehash this? We already covered it here and, I might add, we decided that I deserved a sliver of vindication.
Ellen: Take your sliver if it makes you feel better. I’m just over here enjoying the chuckles it still gives me.
3. Keening Over Keens
Ellen: So while we are on the subject of Erin losing her mind over the most unlikely topics . . .
Erin: I’m ready to start spreading the evil joy around to someone else . . .
Ellen: There was this one time, while on our Big Love camping trip, that she wanted to stage a photo with all of the Keen sandals.
Erin: C’mon, it was pretty cool that all 5 moms and all 13 kids had Keens. It was like an advertisement!
Ellen: I am totally with you that it was a great picture . . .
A photo like this just doesn’t happen.
Ellen: But here is what YOU always like to refer to as “the rest of the story.” Seriously, if you want to see behind the curtain of The Sisterhood, you MUST watch this.
Erin: The shoes were not matching up because Biddie(14) wasn’t paying attention when she grabbed her Keens out of the garage and picked up TWO DIFFERENT SIZES. And I had to ask a bajillion times for her to even do that.
Ellen: I still maintain that while she made a blister-inducing bed, she snuggled down in it and NEVER complained once that her shoes weren’t fitting. What more could you want?
Erin:How about owning up to it when I was LOSING MY MIND because it looked like we were missing two shoes because of the mismatched pair?
Ellen: Fine. But what is your excuse for the Christmas tree debacle?
4. Christmas Farm or Funny Farm?
Erin:Oh, Ellen, might have been slightly jealous of my Christmas tree-getting tradition in the past. With its rosy glow of familial harmony, it was practically a Hallmark commercial. But that was all in the past. This year, things got ugly on my end and it was Ellen’s turn to smirk. Apparently, there’s only so much Norman Rockwell to go around.
Ellen: I took my evil joy with a side of fabulous family memories topped with some Beyonce-level awesomeness.
Erin:So it was with the wee-est, teensiest, most minuscule bit of joy that I watched the video have its way with you.
Ellen: Dude! Part of the problem was that YOU couldn’t get the video off of your camera and I had to construct your part on Paint (I know! Right?) with a photo MARY emailed to me because YOU never sent me one.
Erin:What’s done is done because the end product was so worth every hour spent, tear shed, and drop of alcohol consumed. You can read the original post here. Or just get your boogie on with the video . . .
If this inspired you to get your groove on, there is still time to dance your way into Kerry’s Valentine’s Day link-up.
6. Crock O’ Something
Erin: Whilst Big Lov-ing with some of our Sisterhood friends this summer, I thought I made an interesting discovery while making our awesome Chicken Bar-B-Q. I felt like Erin The Science Gal.
Ellen: Here it comes.
Erin:But to feed the army that was five families camping, we brought two crockpots—Ellen’s with the dark crock and Erin’s with the white crock. Same ingredients. Same time. Same everything. Different results. Hmmmm. Well, the theories started a-flying. I believed the color of the insert made a difference.
Ellen: I think that is a crock of you-know-what (Pun!). The entire Sisterhood, not just me, delighted in the way this knocked Erin off her rocker.
Erin:I may or may not be planning a legit science experiment to prove my point. Stay tuned.
Aww, does this look like a group who would throw down over crockpots?? Why, Yes. Yes, it does!
7. Mother’s Day Madness
Ellen: Nothing can send a woman over the edge faster than her family proclaiming that they will devote an entire day to her and her needs when she knows them better than anyone and knows that ain’t gonna happen—no way, no how.
Erin:Mother’s Day 2012 took Ellen down and hard. I, not yet knowing that Andy Griffith, the Keens, the crockpot, and the tree farm would do me in, delighted in Ellen’s monumental Momma meltdown.
Ellen: Oh, Karma is one sneaky devil, she is.
Ellen, Post-Tasmanian-Devil-Style Flip-Out Over Mother’s Day, her calendar, etc.
8. Travel Team Tantrums
Erin:Having kids on travel teams for soccer for the last few years, I almost choked when Ellen told me Coco (14) was joining a travel volleyball league. And then I laughed. But I swear, it was really more in commiseration. I was laughing with her, not at her.
Ellen: Yeah. To be fair, I did my research and the team had NEVER gone to ANY all weekend tournaments. . . until this year, that is.
Erin:I thought I had told you that Travel Team is code for Gas-Guzzling, Time-Sucking, Money-Grubbing Sports Enterprise.
Ellen: I think you undersold it.
Erin:Well, I think in this case the joke’s on both of us.
9. Will Smith Gets Us But No One Else Does
Ellen: Remember wayyyyy back in the day when the Fresh Prince sang, “Parents just don’t understand”. He felt us. Honestly.
Erin:Our families and friends get that we blog. But let’s just say the majority don’t get why or how and, frankly, really don’t understand it. At all. Which is totally OK. But we do get a little evil joy when one of them says, “Well, maybe I’ll go write a blog too”.
Ellen: To which we say, “Peace out. Rock on.” And then cackle into our magic mirrors.
10. The last evil joy
Erin:I’ll admit that there was this one time I got a little smug about my triumph on the blog. We were skewering a children’s book for Ninja Mom’s Character Assassination Carousel, and we thought it would be better to read it aloud, like a read-along story. After HOURS of working (Read: crying, stomping my feet like a two year old, and throwing back some whiskey sour slushies like they were water), I finally got the audio player on to the post. My first thought? I showed Ellen.
Ellen: And MY first thought was, “Ha! I’m glad that you had a hard time with it, because the tech side of blogging has been sucking my time like a leech.”
This week’s Monday Listicle is 10 Things In Your Closets. We don’t know about you, but we might be a little bit behind in our closet cleaning . . . cleaning out the skeletons that is.
What kind of secrets were you expecting, sicko? Isn’t Ellen’s 80s hair scandalous enough?
Now wait! We see you getting all excited, grabbing the popcorn, and pulling up a chair. We’re not going to reveal that Ellen was a Bolivian black market KitchenAid mixer dealer or that Erin leads a double life as a Kool-Aid pusher (unless that Kool-Aid is Downton Abbey).
We’re talking more along the lines of closets harboring the skeletons of hobbies and projects past, the ghosts of times gone by, and the detritus from portions of our personalities that we try to keep under wraps. While it may not be in the same league as Lance Armstrong airing his dope-dripping laundry on Oprah, we’re throwing open the doors anyway.
10 Skeletons In Our Closets
1. Imelda Marcos, much?
Don’t be fooled by my yoga pants. I have A LOT of shoes and some of them are even pretty hot. They should all be contained in that cubby of shelves, but since I gave my husband the one shelf for his, mine have had to invade other regions of the closet. Yes, I am blaming him. End of story.
The sign reads “There is always room for one more pair!” But that sign is a liar. A hoarding, dirty liar.
2. Sentimental streak.
You see my foyer coat closet? It is sized for a family of one and only if that one person lived in Florida and really had no need for anything beyond a rain jacket. It is packed to bursting with coats spilling over to a hall tree, yet I can’t get rid of this puffy pink snowsuit. Both of my girls wore that adorable thing and they are 12 and 14. I have even gone so far as to put it in a donation box not once, but twice. Each time I have rescued it at the last second. It is a bow that plucks at my heartstrings. Don’t roll your eyes. I chucked the high chair, binkies, and Candyland without blinking. Just ignore that box marked “Toddler Halloween Costumes.” I’m going to use them to dry my tears when they leave for college.
Ovary aching sweetness or Hoarders cry for help?
3. Jewelry making is a virtue. Or does it bring out my flaws?
I used to make jewelry all of the time. I went to beads shows, I subscribed to jewelry-making magazines, and I would hate to tally up the cost of the findings, beads, and tools that I have amassed. But I haven’t made a piece of jewelry in over three years. I could blame motherhood, but I took up the hobby when my girls were toddlers. I could blame blogging, but that has only been going on for a year. What’s really to blame? It’s that little flaw/virtue of my personality known as perfectionism. I loved my creations, but the creating made me want to throat punch a troll, or I guess more aptly, a troll bead.
So what do you do with a hobby that feels like work, but has too much worth to chuck? Shove it into your closet.
It’s cheaper to just buy jewelry when you factor in the cost of a nervous breakdown.
4. Ellen is SEW crafty.
Boy, do I have the supplies! But I really don’t want to over-sell myself, I’m really just Master of the Straight Seam. There was a Toto costume back in the Spring of ’05, but my therapist says it’s best just to tamp that memory down and never speak of it again. But what is really highlighted here is my reign as Queen of Unfinished Projects. See those brackets above those lovely cafe curtains in my bathroom that I finished a mere three years ago? They should hold a swag. Heh, heh, Swag. I’m just going to holler, “YOLO!” and move on.
Why yes, that is a dead plant in the foreground
5. The harbinger of a new era! An era of finished projects!
This is where it all changes: the laundry closet project! It was ever so wisely embarked upon the week before Christmas when it’s progress was halted by my flu-slide-into-the-most-killer-sinus-infection-ever sickness. But as Tide is my witness, I WILL see this through to the end. Watch for the next installment of Pintershit to read all about it. (But you shouldn’t hold your breath. Just sayin’.)
6. Treasure Trove of Trucks
Hess Trucks are super-fun toys. For me, they are also part of a family Christmas Tradition lasting almost 40 years. I love that my dad is continuing this tradition with my kids. We treat these presents about 1000% better than every other toy that comes through the door, especially any that light up. I am a true fan, but should they really be taking up so much valuable real estate? This collection doesn’t just span 15 plus years, it spans the entire width and breadth of the boys’ closet.
Note to Readers: Lack of wide angle lens makes collection appear smaller than actual size.
7. Do Your Best
Neckerchiefs, Hats, and a Bag of Badges on Master Bedroom top shelf
. . . to refrain from mocking or finger-pointing after this confession. . .
I am a full-on, sleeves-rolled-up, hiking, biking, camping, smores-making Cub Scout leader. In my Behind-the-Music (Don’t mock! We can all dream. I still have 40 years to check this one off my bucket list!), there would be a fair amount of time (10 years and counting!) dedicated to my time in Scouting. With 3 of my boys (the littlest has yet to join the pack), I have led Tigers, Wolves, and Bears (oh, my!) and served every position there is in a Cub Scout pack. I don my brown shirt with pride (although I bought it post-baby sized for a nursing décolletage I no longer possess). My garage is also full of two storage shelves full of scout stuff and I used to have two push-carts in our shed out back, but those are posts for another day. I am all in!!
Check out all the cool things I have done with the boys! Oh, and my uber-hawtness! Nothing better than a girl in uniform. Just sayin.
Me loves some, me precious!! The way Ellen joneses for shoes, imagine me and photography stuff. The ONLY good thing that came from losing my camera bag was that my dear photographer friends introduced me to the two great photography websites, Adorama and B &H . It will make securing that wide angle lens my heart is now set on so much easier to obtain.
My little stash. Room for SOOOOOO Much More.
9. It’s Not What’s Inside That Counts
My kids have the grace of a herd of stampeding elephants. When they were little, closet doors succumbed to their indelicate touch on a daily basis. So I did what any self-respecting Momma would do: I ripped those suckers off their hinges. It has worked out great, and I never thought about it again until Biddie’s 14th birthday this year. When asked what she would like to celebrate this special milestone, did she ask for a laptop, an iPhone, or a Visa card? Hellz, no. “Well, some closet doors might be nice.” Parenting fail.
All A Girl Wants Is Some Closet Doors!
10. Oh, No She Didn’t!
. . .Want a Wedding, that is. Absolutely not. Well, I wanted a wedding—I was a girl in love after all—but I was none too sure about all the rest of it. If Pinterest had been around back then, it probably would have sent me into cardiac arrest or straight to a psychiatrist’s couch. After Steve talked me into letting him buy me an engagement ring, he then talked me into a wedding, and you know what? I loved it all! I thought my wedding was beautiful and meaningful. I thought my reception was a blast. But, in the end, the things I was head over heels for (besides Steve, of course!) were my dress and my veil. Perhaps that is why my veil box is taking up a full corner of the smallest master closet known to man. Who knows? But check out these pictures!! That is one happy girl then! And now!
Silly Wabbit, veils are for girls!!
Thanks again to Stasha for giving us the time and space for some much-needed catharsis! Make sure you take a moment to check out all the great bloggers linked up to Monday Listicles this week. They are always good fun! Erin and Ellen
Erin: Last week in The Sisterhood we had a very Freaky Friday, er, Saturday, kind of thing going on. The kind of thing that made me want to do something like this . . .
Ellen put a kibosh on this one. Especially since she ended up with the better end of the deal.
Ellen: Excuse me if I thought running full speed at each other into full-on belly slams was excessive, but maybe you would have gotten a concussion so you could‘ve forgotten about your Saturday. And forgotten about whining.
Erin:It was all over holiday decorating. In particular, the tree. My family has tree-getting down to an art. If it’s not quite Norman Rockwell, it is definitely good enough for Facebook bragging.
Ellen: This would normally be the point where I would scoff and ridicule, because Frank and I are traditionally The Home Depot sort of tree buyers. We don’t even take the kids with us. Don’t judge or the Elf on the Shelf will get you. He hates self-righteousness as much as he seems to enjoy seeing all of his pranks archived on Pinterest. But not this year! We went full-on Christmas tree farm!
Erin:Didn’t you love it? I have fond memories from Decembers past of packing up the crew in their festive holiday garb — sometimes there are even hats — and heading to a local tree farm. We make a total day of it. Picking out the tree. Playing on the hay bales, singing carols, drinking hot chocolate, taking the classic poses by cardboard Santa measuring how much we have grown . . .
Ellen: And there it is.
Ellen: My reason to pull your antlers. Singing carols in holiday hats? Did this really go down or are you remembering a Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas special?
Erin:Oh, I have the pictures to prove it.
You know if you had hats as cool as these you’d wear them too! Unless you’re Ellen.
Ellen: Sometimes you make my snarky bone hurt, but I see your goofy hat and raise you a nuclear reactor, helicopter rides, playgrounds, pony rides . . . and a teepee.
Erin:Are you sure you didn’t just cut a tree down on the set of Red Dawn?
The whole parade was delightful, but check out that eagle!
Ellen: No. On this gift of a perfect weather day, we went to Coleman’s Christmas Tree Farm — after attending our first local Christmas parade, which was delightful. Coco’s (14) high school marching band did such a great job. We had the absolute best day. It WAS Norman Rockwell — on steroids.
Erin:So how does a self-proclaimed Home Depot devotee happen upon such a place?
Ellen: We ended up there last year out of desperation. We got jammed and weren’t able to get our tree until the 15th. Every depot, mini-mart, and scout stand was all sold out. Unless this was your dream tree.
Visions of Charlie Brown trees swirled through her head.
Ellen – Per tradition, Frank and I were by ourselves when magic Google found Coleman’s for us. We did have the parental decency to feel a wee bit shameful on the awesome wagon ride out to the field. Frank muttered, “This would probably be fun for the girls.”
So bam! We did it this year and it was epically fun. We are converts! Just look at my man harvesting our tree.
No chainsaw for us! It’s like we ARE a Norman Rockwell painting.
Erin:I’m woman enough to admit that I’m feeling a twee bit of evil towards you. Sort of like the evil vortex that hung over my whole tree day and sucked the Norman Rockwell right out of it. I suspected there might be trouble when they ALL woke up cranky. That’s a rarity. There’s usually at least one chipper bird in my nest of five. Instead, they all looked like this. . .
I wish I was kidding. They were just short of snorting fire and breathing venom.
Ellen: You need to learn when to tamp down your Mom-on-a-Mission tendencies.
Erin:Oh no. This was THE day, and no mounting evidence to the contrary was gonna change my mind. So we packed the camera and the cranky kids and headed to our favorite farm. Holiday spirit be damned: we were getting our tree today.
Ellen: I can’t imagine why things went downhill.
Erin:Well, once we got there, that ball of crap we were rolling really started to pick up steam. The minivan doors open and Charlie (11) sneak attacks Deacon (9) and boots him into a puddle of mud. This breach of familial etiquette causes Deacon to let off a scream completely incongruous to the event that had just transpired. (Just for the record, my vocabulary expands exponentially the pissier I get. When I start spewing 4 syllable words—Run!) Nothing says fa-la-la-la like halting the fun with a public time out in the middle of a parking lot full of witnesses.
Ellen: The towel should have been thrown in before you even left the house, Ms. Intractable. See, I know big words too.
Erin:Just wait. Five minutes later, everyone is roughhousing on the hay bales and the kids are clamoring to get their pictures taken in front of cardboard Santa. As I whip out the camera and back-pedal quickly because all I have is my zoom lens since I lost my camera bag, my jingle bells jangle even more because I have forgotten the SD card. Are you kidding me!?! My head pounds like the little drummer boy on Mountain Dew as I frantically check my purse and the car for the missing card. At this point, my husband lobs a live grenade with his not-so-subtle jab at my forgetfulness, “Are you pregnant?”
Ellen: Seems legit . . . given the circumstances.
Erin:As Steve ducks to avoid the holiday left hook aimed for his head, the 14 year old girl child remembers that she has her iPod touch with her. Unfortunately, she drained it listening to One Direction on a continuous loop, so it’s zero help. Three pictures later, and this mess was recorded for posterity.
Ellen: Barely. Did you think to use your phone? Oh, that’s right. I had to give you instructions yesterday on how to take pictures with my phone . . . that is exactly like your phone.
Erin:Perhaps. Or it could be that I was distracted by the 5 year old nosediving off the hay bale. Amid the screams and recriminations, we put this stinker of a day down. Once and for all. There was a little lot of pre-cut trees right beside the barn. We wandered over with our spirits broken, pointed at one that looked about the right size, and we. were. done.
Ellen: Just to be clear, I’m not trading days with you. Besides our end products were equally yuletide-y and this will all fade from everyone’s memory . . .
Erin:If we hadn’t written a post about it.
Ellen: That’s okay. The true secret of Christmas is you need a little Bah Humbug to make the joy all that more joyful.
Erin:And now you’ve made MY snarky bone hurt.
Which tree is Ellen’s and which tree is Erin’s? Hint: Erin’s is missing its topper. Ellen thinks it eloped with Erin’s missing camera bag.
Thanksgiving has us thinking of circles — circles of love, circles of family, circles of friendship, circles of life . . . and now you’ve got The Lion King song blaring through your head. You’re welcome.
What Thanksgiving didn’t leave us with was a lot of spare time for blogging. Erin and her brood spent the better part of the week with her family only to drive back for two and a half hours to drop her girl child off at Ellen’s house for Jellybean’s (12) rockin’ sleepover. This sleepover went much smoother than some in the past and for that Ellen is grateful. With 14 girls there was the potential for much to go wrong.
So we’re thankful that Monday Listicles only required us to share 10 photos from our cell phones. THAT we can handle.
1. Circling Above
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
2. Dupont Circle Studs
Renaissance Hotel Lobby Dupont Circle Washington DC
Erin’s Aunt makes each kid their own pie for Thanksgiving dinner Yummy AND sweet!
9. Psychedelic Circles
Cloud Gate aka “The Bean” Chicago, IL
10. Grammatically Questionable Circle
Found on the Christmas Bazaar Baked Goods Table
So in the end, we are thankful for being able to find the funny in every day. We are also grateful to Jessica Betke at Jesse’s Spot for making blogging fun and easy this week. We love ecards too and her funny Thanksgiving post made us giggle. Finally, this week and every week, we are also appreciative of Stasha for providing such a fun place to land every Monday.