Dear Taylor Swift…

So here’s the thing:  I love Taylor Swift and her music.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you probably already knew that from this previous post.  The kids also just so happen to LOVE Taylor Swift.  They decided to write her letters asking her to come to our wedding.  The best thing about kids is that they come up with these larger than life ideas, and they believe ANYTHING is possible.  I promised the kids I would do my best to get the letters to T. Swift, and with that in mind, I figured what the heck?  Let’s post this.  Here are the kiddies’ sweet letters and pictures 🙂

#1’s letter (our 11-year-old daughter)

#1's letter to T.Swift
#1’s letter to T.Swift

Text:

Dear Taylor Swift,

My name is —–, age 11.  My whole entire family loves your music.  My dad and his future wife “Christina” are getting married, we are wondering if you could come and sing some songs!  My sister and I went to your concert not to long ago and you are my favorite singer of all time!  I have a sister and a brother.  We also have an adorable puppy named Frodo!  We have lots of cousins, one of them is —-, as you can see she loves your music more than anyone, and again if you could come we would love it!

Sincerely,

—-

#2’s letter (our 9-year-old son)

#2's letter to T.Swift
#2’s letter to T.Swift

Text:

Dear Taylor Swift,

My dad and Christina are getting married and if you could come and sing that would be great.  My sisters went to the concert not to long ago but I diddint go I have wanted to hear you sing for a long time so once again can you please come.

Sincerely,

The … Family

#3’s letter (our 7-year-old daughter)

#3's letter to T.Swift
#3’s letter to T.Swift

Text:

Dear, Taylor Swift

My dad and his fiancée are getting married.  And I was at your concert last year.  And can you come and sing at the wedding?

Sincerely,

….

And Taylor Swift they are in deep love.

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12 Days of Dinosaurs: Our Twist on Dinovember

Several weeks ago, an old friend of mine began posting hilarious photos of toy dinosaurs running a muck in her home.  I soon learned that she and her family were taking part in “Dinovember,” a new tradition two creative parents began on their blog (you can find their blog here) in which they spend the month of November convincing their children that their toy dinosaurs come to life.  RM and I admired several of my friend’s and the official Dinovember Facebook page’s photos of the crazy shenanigans the dinos were getting into, and we decided we needed to jump on the dino bandwagon.

Because we don’t have the kids consistently every night for a month straight, we’ve decided that we’re going to do the 12 Days of Dinosaurs and have our dinosaurs come to life every first weekend of each month.  That way, we can have dinosaur fun year-round.  Sounds like a win to me!

We’ve done it one weekend so far and here were the set-ups…

The dinos were craving some late night cereal.
The dinos were craving a late night bowl of cereal.
Curled up to watch a family favorite on the t.v.--Jurassic Park.
Curled up to watch a family favorite on the t.v.–Jurassic Park.

Although the kids are old enough to know that the dinos aren’t actually coming to life, they seem to be getting a kick out of the new tradition so far.  More pics to come!  If you have any unique ideas for our next dino set-up, feel free to leave them in the comments 🙂

Q.T. with Mom and D.

I’ve been slacking on the blog posts lately, but I have a very good reason.  My mom and stepdad, D, came to visit!  We had a great time exploring Seattle and Leavenworth together.  They even made it up to Victoria, B.C.  Thankfully, we had lots of sunny days while they were here.  Here’s a roundup in photos:

Chocolate on the pillows and itinerary--check.  (Ignore the wrinkly pillowcase; this isn't *actually* a hotel, folks)
Chocolate on the pillows and itinerary–check. (Ignore the wrinkly pillowcase; this isn’t *actually* a hotel, folks)
We spotted this gem at a yard sale!  Mom is my lucky charm for finding cheap gems :)
We spotted this gem at a yard sale! Mom is my lucky charm for finding cheap gems 🙂
Here it is with the drawers out.  Functional too!
Here it is with the drawers out. Functional too!
Obligatory trip to Pike's Place Market.  Always fun :)
Obligatory trip to Pike’s Place Market. Always fun 🙂
Yummy macaroons at Le Panier
Yummy macaroons at Le Panier. Mom & I are obsessed!
Day trip to Leavenworth.  Guten tag!
Day trip to Leavenworth. Guten tag!

IMG_0411

Fancy cake from Metro Market to celebrate Mom's birthday
Fancy cake from Metro Market to celebrate Mom’s birthday

Last Christmas, I got my stepdad a gift certificate to iFly, an indoor skydiving place here in Seattle. We were able to redeem the gift card and have a very memorable experience and take our relationship to “new heights.”

Last Christmas, I got my stepdad a gift certificate to iFly, an indoor skydiving place here in Seattle. We were able to redeem the gift card and have a very memorable experience and take our relationship to "new heights."
Me ready to “fly.”
D flying.  He was a natural!
D flying. He was a natural!
Mom and D went to Victoria, B.C. and brought back RM's favorite chocolates, Sweet Georgia Browns.  Yum!
Mom and D went to Victoria, B.C. and brought back RM’s favorite chocolates, Sweet Georgia Browns. Yum!
They also brought back THIS little bugger from Victoria and strategically placed it in the drawer where I found a slug a few weeks ago.  They got me good!
They also brought back THIS little bugger from Victoria and strategically placed it in the drawer where I found a slug a few weeks ago. They got me good!
Here it is up close.  It's actually really pretty glass.  I'm glad I didn't throw it out by accident!
Here it is up close. It’s actually really pretty glass. I’m glad I didn’t throw it out by accident!
Oh, and on their last day here, we woke up to 13 mushrooms in the front yard!  Weird!
Oh, and on their last day here, we woke up to 13 mushrooms in the front yard! Weird!

Thanks for a wonderful visit, Mom and D!  Love you guys!

Lice Happens: Part Deux

Just when we thought our plight could not worsen, we arrived at the entrance of the state park only to realize that RM’s mom was no longer behind us.  She had a tire blowout on her boat trailer and was waiting for a tow truck.   We opted to head to the boat launch where we would sail to our campsite before someone else snagged it and wait for RM’s mom there.

We treated RM’s oldest when we got to the lake, just for good measure—she was the one who had it a month prior, so we figured chances were high that she either still had it or had it again.  The next 48 hours were spent swimming, boating, relaxing, and pretending we didn’t have lice, to the best of our ability.  (I think this was easier for the kids than it was for me.)  We did countless, useless shampoos with tea tree oil in the lake, at my behest, thinking it might make a difference, only to find out we were probably just washing out the lice shampoo and making it less effective.  Apparently lice prefer clean hair.  Awesome.

We awoke the following day, eager to start fresh.  RM looked at me and said, “We made it.  Yesterday is over!”  There was no way it could get worse, right?  Little did we know…

We enjoyed a day at the beach—swimming, kneeboarding, and cliff jumping.  We went to sleep that night feeling fulfilled and happy, despite those bloodsucking buggers on our heads.  We awoke at 2:00 AM to three continuous hours of 30-40 mph winds, lightning, thunder, and hail.   I consoled the crying kids in the collapsed tent while RM held onto our sailboat for dear life, praying it wouldn’t tip over and break or damage the boats next to it.  We managed to get a few hours of sleep once the storm died down, but we awoke to a war zone, spending the next few hours sweeping sand out of the tent and collecting all of our belongings (and trash) that had scattered during the high winds.

After taking a peek at what that night’s weather report promised, we decided to hit the road.  But first, the kids and I would do one more lice shampoo.  I figured the house was safe by this point, so I didn’t want us bringing any of those suckers back with us.  What came next was a pre-teen breakdown from RM’s oldest, who couldn’t bear stripping down in front of me, followed by my own breakdown of feeling completely inadequate in my quest to take care of her.  Who was I fooling?  I wasn’t her mother.  I was soon comforted by RM’s mom singing James Blunt’s “So You Had a Bad Day.”  Boy, did I!

This brings me to the bat.  I know, I know—you were wondering when I was going to get to that, right?  After the girls were successfully shampooed by moi—we figured out a way to keep towels wrapped around them so no one was embarrassed—it was my turn.  There I stood, in those terrible hiking sandals, stifling back tears.  I was without a watch and alone in the bathroom, so I took a tip from the Friends episode, “The One with Ross’ Tan,” and counted.  One Mississippi.  Two Mississippi.  Three Mississippi.  Let me tell you, 10 minutes feels a lot longer when you’re counting by the second.

After my 10 minutes were up, I began to rinse when RM cracked the ladies’ room door open to ask me how it was going.  That is when he alerted me of the bat.

I slowly bent my knees and looked up cautiously.  Sure enough, I saw a bat, hanging upside down, only inches from my face.  Its furry little head nuzzling in its wings.  I proceeded to run out of the bathroom at full speed, carrying my towel in one hand, all the while crying, screaming, and laughing into RM’s arms.   What else could I do?

I was at the end of my rope.

Check back for the next post in the “Lice Happens” series to find out what we happened when we returned home and the experience in which RM and I never thought we would find ourselves!

Lice Happens: Part Un

Warning:  This post may cause completely unwarranted, unfounded itching on the scalp, which may spread to other areas on the body.  Do not be alarmed.  You do not have lice.  Err… you probably don’t.

“Sweetie, don’t freak out about what I’m about to say…” said my boyfriend from the half-cracked open door of the ladies restroom.  I stood as still as statue, anxiously awaiting his next words in the grimy, dock showers wearing nothing but my very unflattering hiking sandals and lice shampoo on my wet head.

“… but there is a BAT directly above your head.”

*****************************************************************************

One week earlier, my boyfriend (here on out referred to as “RM,” for “Renaissance Man”) and I decided that we would spend the following weekend camping for a few nights on a lake he had been going to with his family for as long as he could remember.  We planned to take his three little ones, their cousin, and his mom.  Although I had only been camping one night before in my entire life (unless we’re counting camping out in my fenced-in backyard in a Chicago suburb… No?  Okay fine, only one night then.), the fact that this locale promised a bathroom at the campsite, a lake I could jump into anytime for a “shower,” plus actual showers at the boat docks, seemed totally do-able to me.   What could go wrong?

Oh, silly Christina.  What couldn’t go wrong?

The drama began to unfold the morning we were set to leave for the lake.  We managed to get all three kids ready to leave by 7 am, which is no small feat, let me tell you.  RM’s mom was a little late, so we had some extra time—phew!  As we were fixing the youngest’s hair into a ponytail, that’s when it happened.  We spotted it.  A live LOUSE crawling on her beautiful, light blonde head of hair.

I kicked it into high gear, found a box of lice shampoo stuffed away in my closet that I had bought a month prior, when RM’s oldest had a case of those little suckers.  At the time, I feared they would jump from her head at their grandparents’ house an hour away and find their way all the way up the interstate to my house and onto my head.  (Hey, you never know how resilient those buggers can be, right?)  We immediately treated the youngest, but a cursory look (in hindsight probably too cursory) at the others yielded no lice.  Except for me.  I had eggs.  Fan-flippin-tastic.  RM treated my head as well.  We threw the sheets into the laundry room, vacuumed quickly, and hit the road, in hopes that a few days away from the house would be plenty of time for any lice that may have found their way off of heads and onto furniture to die.

As the day went on, I tried with all of my might to forget about the lice, but something in me knew that it was only the beginning.  Two hours into the drive, we stopped for gas.  As I was standing behind RM’s son waiting for the bathroom, that’s when it happened.  I spotted it.  TWO live lice crawling on his beautiful, light blonde head of hair.  RM kicked it into high gear and treated his son’s hair with lice shampoo in the gas station bathroom, while I stood with the girls in the gas station parking lot eating jambon on a baguette listening to RM’s mom tell me how it was perfectly normal in Europe to pull over on the side of the road to eat jambon on a baguette.  Somehow, I pictured it being a bit more glamorous in her native France, than our rendition of scarfing down our baguettes in between our spraying each other with lice repellant spray (which we would later find out did absolutely nothing to help our lice situation).

Check back for the next post in the “Lice Happens” series to find out how we fared once we arrived at the lake, which turned out to be a bit more complicated than we anticipated.