no bennie, hi summer, b to the abble.

Despite my best efforts, Benicio won’t be coming home with me. Apparently he likes to eat children but nowhere was that noted on his adoption papers.

Sorry dude, I tried.

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Summer vacation is officially here, which means a constant stream of grass clippings through my front door,  wet footprints through my backdoor and a fine layer of sidewalk chalk on everything.

It means we all smell of sunscreen, sometimes like wet dogs, and I will be looking for someone’s other flip flop until September.

It means a a lot of “I’m bored” followed by “GO SCRUB THE BASEBOARDS THEN.”

It means the one eyed cat needs to be shaved, I need to buy Popsicles, and nightly baths resulting in a ring of dirt around the tub.

It means Vivi will never be dressed, I will have to fight with Addie to keep her dressed, all while wishing I didn’t have to wear clothes at all.

It means sunshine every day, fireflies at night and splash parks in the afternoon.

All great artists started with their feet, clearly. #LookForTheLovely
Hi summer, missed you.

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Over on B to the Abble:

Vivi had a Star Wars May the Fourth birthday party. And by ‘party’ I mean ‘small gathering involving cupcakes.’

Vivi had a fairly amazing April on Instagram. (May has been equally spectacular, stay tuned.)

Cody said Vivi would only eat cottage cheese with a silver spoon, then I told Vivi she’ll eat her cheese on whatever spoon I give her.

Several of you requested a video of Addie and Vivi reuniting at the bus stop, I did one better and included an interview as well.

I wrote a letter to Candy Crush, it’s not a happy letter. The good news? I’ll be speaking with one of the creators of Candy Crush soon. THERE WILL BE WORDS.

(sponsored) Talking about fostering, adopting and how many different ways there are to care for little kids.

shane garcia can do anything.

If you missed Shane Garcia’s audition for season 10 of SYTYCD please allow the following 6 minutes to change your life:

“Because of this [stutter], I am a master at what I do and I can do anything.”

He made it through choreography to Vegas.

Needless to say, he is my favorite.

three birds, three cats and cody.

Would anyone like to guess how many birds were living in my walls?

Three.

The correct answer is three.

The good news is that I am able to say ‘were living in my walls’ rather than ‘are living in my walls’ or ‘died in my walls.’

The little creeps found their way over to the original vent and after I removed the cover from the outside the birds were able to escape (but not until after they flew at my face.)

Officially NOT a bird person.

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Cody wrote about 15 things he does to hold onto his youth, yet he failed to mention #16 ‘Say it’s my 27th birthday for the sixth year in a row.’

He talks about the worst advice given to newlyweds (specifically us.) If we ever hand out crap advice like this out to you, smack us.

Cody the all-star football player introvert discusses prom.

I like these ones, the ones where he gets all angry and ranty about sports figures and why they shouldn’t be idolized the way they are.

I wasn’t a very good cook when Cody and I got married. Nay, I was an utterly and completely terrible cook when Cody and I got married (here’s how I turned it around.)

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HE WILL BE MINE AND I WILL NAME HIM BENICIO. #FutureCatsOfInstagram
This is Tige. Y’all need to convince Cody to let him come live with us. HE NEEDS TO BE MINE.
I would name him Benicio, snuggle his brains out and take lots of pictures of him.
Face it Cody, the Internet NEEDS me to have another cat. IT’S JUST GOOD BUSINESS.

vent birds, door snakes, car rats and a warning

The most unholy stink began permeating our half bath about two weeks ago.

I thought maybe it was garbage gone wrong or worse, a toilet gone wrong.

Cody figured out it was bird nests in the vent which, ew.

It was a sort of rotten farm smell, only today it got worse.

Way worse.

Cody is really good at a lot of things, but getting things done around the house isn’t really one of them. (I’ve always said it’s a good thing he’s an attorney so we can pay someone else to do the things he can’t/won’t. He’ll argue with me on this sometimes, but after today? There will be no arguing.) I climbed a ladder to see if I could get the nest out of the vent myself. When a bird came flying out at my face that plan quickly changed.

I called several local pest control agencies only to be hung up on as soon as I said ‘birds.’ Apparently birds and their diseases are not something any old pest agency will tackle, add in the fact that certain birds (sparrows included, which, what?) are protected by Indiana state law and a pest control agency could lose their license if they kill or injure one.

Two guys came with flashlights and nerves of steel to chase out the birds and get rid of the nests.

Y’all? It was nasty. (And apparently if birds fall under the subcategory of  ‘nuisance’ they can be handled in any way deemed necessary. Had you smelled my downstairs you would have been all “Nuisance? Try NASTY.”)

The good news? The nests are gone and my house no longer smells of a rotten barnyard. (There were two dead birds along with three nests in the vent. THERE WERE FLEAS IN THERE TOO.)

Bad news? Apparently there was still one bird alive in the vent and it found some Houdini way of getting out of the vent and INTO MY WALL. Every once in awhile it (they?) will flap and skitter about in the wall causing the cats to lose their minds. Sometimes it (they?) even let out primal bird screams which is terribly disconcerting and the stuff nightmares are made of. No one realized the bird was even in there until the vent was sealed up and everything seemed back to normal.

So now our options are this:

A) Let the bird(s) live out its life in a wall and hope it ends quickly and painlessly. Upside? Free. Downside? Guilt and possible odor.

B) Cut out a section of wall where we *think* the bird is, which means it (they) would fly into our house and 1. Fleas 2. Bird diseases 3. Hole in the wall.

Our attic was full of dead birds when we moved in, I think cleaned out at least eight last winter.

We also had carpenter ants when we moved in.

In the midst of everything today I heard a knock at my back window. A man, totally unrelated to birdpocalypse said, “Ma’am? I’m going to need you to close your screen door and stay inside. This long grass back here is a snake hazard and I’m going to be mowing it down, I’d hate for one of them to get into your home as they escape.”

o_O

Which leads me to option C.

C) Cut out a little hole in the wall, release dislocated snakes into the wall and see what happens.

In the words of Mary, “I’ll take hidden joys of home ownership for 400, Alex.” and at least it wasn’t car rats.

Homeowners, heed my advice: BIRD AND RODENT VENT COVERS.

Best money you’ll spend this year.

 

on favorite flowers, fits and karma.

From the moment I learned what a peony was it became my favorite flower.

i <3 peonies.
I have tried to grow them for four years now, I’ve tried different dirt, different locations and different bulbs.

Nothing.

Driving home today I saw dozens of peony bushes drooping and bending under the weight of their huge showy blooms after the rain.

I’ve decided that peonies aren’t really my favorite flower anymore, they’re difficult and they give up too  easily.

Sure they’re pretty, but should looks really outweigh simplicity and ease? I don’t think so.

I’m now considering the petunia as my favorite, they’re the one flower I can keep alive on a consistent basis. Hardy little blooms, petunias are.

****
Vivi lost her damn mind in the produce section today. I was in too deep and too close to being done to abandon everything and walk out.

Grocery store. OMG. Solidarity please.
I think I had high blood pressure for the first time in my life this afternoon.

Vivi insisted on being held as we walked out, but here’s the thing, one cannot hold at sobbing toddler in one arm and navigate a very full shopping cart with the other arm.

I tried, it’s not possible.

Which led me to pushing the cart with both hands while Vivi sobbed in the seat.

I really wish someone would have offered to help, I probably could have asked for it, I probably should have asked for it. But I didn’t.

Remember when baggers used to push your cart out to your car for you? I really could have used that today.

*****

When Addie and I were in New York I was torn on taking her to a show on Broadway. Times Square is so busy and shows are so expensive. It was super rainy on Sunday so I decided a matinee would be an awfully good idea.

Discount tickets to Newsies were available at TKTS, but the line was long and we were already soaked and exhausted from waiting in line for two hours at Carlo’s Bakery.

I decided to try the theater for full price tickets, we had already come so far and Addie had been such a trooper.

Full price tickets were sold out so we waited in line again in hopes of getting some through a cancellation, we were told our chances were slim. The good news was at least this line was indoors and we had lots of pastries from Carlo’s to keep us company.

Just before we were ready to admit defeat, a woman stopped with her daughter and asked if we were buying tickets.

“Well, I hope we can.”

“I have two extras, the people who were coming with us couldn’t make it and I would hate for them to go to waste.”

Just like that she handed over two seventh row center seats to a sold out showing of Newsies on Broadway. She refused to let me pay her and I started to weep.

We were hoping for stand-by tickets to Newsies when a woman just gave us hers. I dare you to say karma isn't real. #AddieInNYC
Her oldest son was just deployed with the Marines a few days earlier. Since he is with intel she won’t hear from him for seven long months.

I thanked her a thousand times for the tickets and a thousand times more for sharing her son with our country.

I dare you to tell me karma isn’t real.

Put good out there, get good back.

I drove past a church sign today that said “If God brought you to it, He will help you through it.”

I sometimes wish my church had a witty sign out front.

xx

and then addie asked for a blog.

It was over cheeseburgers and fries at the Shake Shack in Battery City on Friday night.

“Mom? What is a blog?”

In the words of Rafiki: It is time.
Earlier in the day we visited Babble HQ and it finally clicked that I really do have a job, not just a computer addiction. All the people I talk to and work with each day through my computer were standing in front of her saying hello to her and offering her cookies. I dare say she even though my job is cool.

“It’s like a journal, I talk about what I like, what I don’t like, what I’m scared of and sometimes I post pictures I take. I tell stories about you, Vivi, dad and myself.”

“Can I have a blog?”

“Of course you can have a blog, do you want to share mine?”

“Yes! When can I start? Now?”

On the flight from JFK to IND Addie wrote her first post, she called it a theme. I don’t know how often she’ll want to write, or what she’ll write about — but here’s how it went down. I didn’t tell her what to write, how to write, nor did I help her with spelling or grammar unless she specifically asked for help. How it’s published is how she wrote it. She did ask what she should write about and since I’m selfish I said I would like to read about what goes on in her head when she meets someone new. While Addie has always been brave and bold on her own and with those she is close to, she shuts down fast and hard when it comes to meeting new people.

I will never be able to thank my friend Lindsay for suggesting I read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It changed the ENTIRE way I parent Addie. If you see any of Addie in your own kid I cannot stress reading this book enough.

Addie wrote her first blog post on the plane. Direct result of #AddieInNYC
So here it is, history in the making. The next generation of the Internet, Addie’s first blog post:

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Hi I’m Addie I just started Blogging today. So my things will be on my moms Blog page and I want to know about everything to know about Blogging. So my mom is helping me start because she is a great mom. So this post is about how scared I get when I meet new people and I get really scared because I am a kid and kids do get scared when they are little like me but when I met my moms friend Dara I looked her in the eye and said hi then I got to know her and we became friends and I love her now. And there is someone else who I met her name is Andrea but I like to call her big sissy sometimes and we met on a Disney Cruise and Andrea is my moms boss. How I get comfortable is I stay quiet and listen to them.

A special thanks to our gracious hostess and favorite friend, @dpettinelliIt's nice knowing exactly what my kid will be like in 18 years. @azim1200

****
Oh, this child.

Any suggestions for what Addie could write about next?

even if it’s just for a moment.

There are times I don’t know if I’m doing a good job at this parenting thing. Sometimes I just have to hold my breath, push through, believe that I am and enjoy the little moments that let me know I’m not totally screwing things up.

Prepare ye'self for some late #AddieInNYC overgramming.
My mom would probably tell you she did a pretty fantastic job of raising me, which she absolutely did — but even now at 31 I could pick apart what she did that bugged me, bothered me and probably cost me a few thousand in therapy.

I sometimes wonder what I do now that will cause Addie to roll her eyes at me later. “Oh, my mother.” I can hear it already, I know it so well because I’ve said it myself.

Perhaps it’s because I had such a tumultuous relationship with my own mom that I’ve always believed my relationship with Addie is somehow doomed. For the past eight and half years I’ve just accepted that there will come a time when she hates me, wants nothing to do with me and can’t stand me. I mean, isn’t that the way all mother daughter relationships are?

Part of me holds out hope that one day she will be sitting around with her friends talking about the time her mom took her to her first Broadway show, made her try chicken feet and forced her to figure out the subway system on her own. That she will be able say I did something right that helped her discover what she is meant to do in this world. I hope she always remembers time spent as just the two of us. I hope she understands I’ve tried my best and felt terrible when I let her down or had to say no. I so desperately want to give her everything but know in the end I’m giving her more by denying her a lot.

Seriously. I have fallen even more in love with her in the last few days.  #AddieInNYC
She has grown in ways I could have never imagined over the past four days. My heart has grown three sizes and wrapped around her twice this weekend. She is so confident and sure of herself — but every once in awhile she’ll reach out and grab for me, even if it’s just for a moment.

I don’t  know how this whole raising her thing will turn out in the end. I have no idea if what I’m doing now will mess things up later, but I do know I will always be someone she can grab for to steady herself, even if it’s just for a moment.

even if just for a moment

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addie in NYC days one and two

Remember how I said you wouldn’t like the subway?

I was wrong.

As long as no part of you is touching any part of a stranger you LOVE the subway.

I told her if we ended up in a subway by ourselves she could do this. I didn't think it would actually happen. #AddieInNYC

You already know the difference between uptown and downtown you know that streets are shorter than avenues.

We easily walked more than 6 miles today and you never complained.

When you were tired you asked to take a break.

When you wanted to take a picture you asked if I would stop so you could.

So damn proud. #AddieInNYC

You move out of foot traffic to tie your shoe.

You bob and weave on busy sidewalks like a lifelong pro.

People talking to themselves, trees, their fingers or the sky don’t phase you one bit.

You are easily the most fun person in the world to travel with.

You stop to listen to every street performer, I’m out of dollar bills because you’ve insisted we give one to anyone dancing, singing, or playing an instrument.

Even after walking ALL DAY, you still insist on stopping at the playground to play before we head in for bed.

Remember when I said you’d probably want to live out some part of your life here?

I was right, and I believe with every part of me you will. You fit in here, you belong here.

Today you said you wanted to take the subway home from work everyday, stop at Dylan’s Candy Bar on the way to your apartment and “get a pack of Nerds, because that’s what grownups do, they can get candy whenever they want.”

"It's like a magical chocolate covered rainbow wonderland." -Addie, age 8. #AddieInNYC

I’m tempted to give you candy whenever you want, you’re so wonderful.

Here’s to all that tomorrow has in store for us.

xo, mama

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You can follow Addie’s adventures in NYC on Instagram and twitter with #AddieInNYC.