They sleep and eat under one roof. They cannot get away from each other.

Jeff and the girls drove to the library last night and picked up Cake Pops. This afternoon after school, the girls decided to go through the book and flag each of the recipes they would like to try sometime soon.

Cake Pops

When they were finished with the flags, they decided that flagging wasn’t good enough. What if the flags failed? What if I secretly removed one of the flags without telling them? (They really do believe that I spend time plotting against them.) As a back-up to their system, they decided to sit on the floor and make a list of every flagged recipe.

Pop List

Meredith: Now Harper, what should we do with this list?

Harper: What do you mean?

Meredith: I think we need to put it in a secret place so Mommy doesn’t throw it in the trash.

Harper: Let’s have a secret meeting in our room to figure out where to put the list so Mommy doesn’t destroy it.

So, here I sit. I have no idea where the list is. But I know one thing: I’ve removed all of the flags from the book, and if I find that list I’m going to RIP IT TO SHREDS!

Yep. Kidding.

I just received word that one of my book clubs has chosen Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” for our next meeting. I couldn’t be more excited about this, because I firmly believe that these glasses make me look like someone who sits on the couch with hot tea and a mystery, and I’m ready to make it happen. The only thing needed to complete the scene is snow. Bring it.
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Tossing Hats into Rings and Whispering “NaBloPoMo.”

Scary Selena Gomez and Rose Princess

So, yeah. We did the Halloween thing. Meredith was Scary Selena Gomez, and Harper was Rose Princess.

Pumpkin Mosaic

I don’t really get into Halloween, although I try my best to put on a good show, what with the “Ooh! You look so spooooky!” and the “What a beyooootiful princess!!!” schlock that I tend to puke up every time someone knocks on my door. (I really do get into the pumpkin carving thing. With that said, I believe I pulled a muscle in my back carving the Hello Kitty pumpkin for Meredith. I’m 147 years old.)

Spooky Pumpkin Guy!

There was a spooky pumpkin guy at the school’s Trunk or Treat on Friday, and his mouth looks like Jeff’s mouth. So, although Jeff swears he was working late and could not be at the Trunk or Treat, I like to pretend that he really was there—all goofified in a pumpkin head and staying silent to up his spooky cred. (Sometimes I type poetry by accident. I’m sure Allen Ginsberg knows what I’m talking about.) (Note: Goofified? You won’t find it in the dictionary. And that’s a shame.)

Ghost Socks!

I finished my ghost socks just in time for Halloween, and then I forgot to wear them. I believe Teddy Roosevelt once said that Election Day is a good day for ghost socks. (Oh! Before you think I got all crazy talented with the ghost socks, please know that the dyer actually dyed the yarn so that if you knit at seven stitches per inch, the ghosts appear. That’s all you have to do. Genius.)

To keep up with tradition, I’m thinking of posting every day this month. I already know that I’m going to have five days of trickiness around Thanksgiving, so I’m not going to officially sign on for NaBloPoMo. Let’s see what happens.
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Title, Title, Title. I made you out of clay.

Well, good morning!

I currently have three things written on my calendar for today. First off? It’s my sister-in-law’s birthday. She lives in Seattle. If you live in Seattle, please raise your drink to Susan at some point during the day. Also, today is Breast Cancer Awareness Day. I checked that item off fairly quickly. Next up? Labour Day in New Zealand. If you’re living in New Zealand I wish you the absolute happiest of Labour Days. Done.

This weekend we went to a pumpkin patch where the girls did a mini zipline sort of thing. Some people hyphenate zipline. Some people say it’s two words. The people in Maui go with Zipline, and I’m going to follow their lead. Mahalo nui loa.



In about twenty minutes, I’m going to go out there and be the best Angela Pudding I can be. I encourage you to do the same, but using your own fake last name.
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Artwork for Another Mother

Last night I went to a taco slash cupcake gathering and it was just as amazing and fun as it sounds, and when I returned home I found this picture (created on the computer by Harper) sitting on top of my knitting.


As if I wasn’t feeling warm and fuzzy enough, this put me right over the top.

This morning I thanked Harper for the gift.

Me: Harper?

Harp: Yep?

Me: I really love the Mom picture you made for me last night.

Harp: What Mom picture?

Me (holding up the Mom picture): This Mom picture. AND, I love that you wrote “i Love You MommY” across the bottom.

Harp: Oh. Well. Mommy?

Me: Yes?

Harp: I didn’t make that for you. It’s not yours.

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What happened to the Danny Zuko I met at the beach?


My youngest partner in crime is now spending her days in kindergarten.

Second Grade!

Her older sister is right down the hall in the second grade.

First Day of School!

Although they have no idea who Rizzo is, I’m sure they would appreciate that whole “We’re gonna rule the school!” thing.

Harper: If it’s okay, I want to take an apple to school for the teacher.
Me: It’s fine with me if you really want to.
Harper: I do. And for her birthday, if we have enough money, I’d like to buy her a very nice rug.

I was fine throughout the morning. I was completely under control as we pulled up to the drop off and the coach opened the door to let the girls out of the car. And then I turned the iPod onto Shuffle, and I Will Remember You started to play. I thought about my friend who dropped her son off at his new dormitory this weekend. I thought about another friend whose daughter just flew to Haiti to teach for a year. I rolled down my window, quickly tossed the iPod onto the street, and continued on to the store where I purchased the makings for our traditional First Day of School After School Snack—refrigerated graham crackers with chocolate icing.

Five more hours until I get to pick them up.

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A Life in Fifths

It appears that Harper Rose will be embarking on a kindergarten adventure one week from today. I’m not going to be one of those lachrymose moms who puts her hand on her bosom and sings minor-keyed songs about saving time in a bottle and is this the little girl I carried and something about the moon and how I hope you dance. I’m not. However, I *have* been thinking about time and what this whole Starting Kindergarten thing means to me. (Never mind what it means to Harper, right? This is MY personal blog! Introspection!)

For the past eight years, I have devoted my entire life to pregnancy, nursing, (knitting), diapering, and general baby/little people maintenance. Eight years. That’s one fifth of my life.

When it occurred to me that one fifth of my existence has been devoted to the girls, I starting thinking about my other fifths. (I once shared a fifth of Southern Comfort with a friend of mine. That was not a good night, for it also included my very first (and final) fraternity party. No. I do NOT want to dance with you. However, Southern Comfort!)

The first fifth of my life (Years 1-8) was devoted to little things like walking, talking, losing most of my teeth, learning multiplication tables, and figuring out that it’s quite alright to become friends with people who don’t necessarily share your love for Jan and Dean.

The second fifth (Years 9-16) was spent studying the mathematics behind Bach inventions, figuring out where to purchase the “correct” rainbow sweatshirts, learning how to stroll with my head down without running into a wall, and creating a list of excuses involving me, the gymnasium, and why I wouldn’t be able to exercise on that particular day. It was a very socially awkward and physically clumsy existence. Also, for whatever reason, I often wore fake reading glasses, which really did nothing to boost my status.

The third fifth (Years 17-24) included my time spent at the university. It was there where I discovered that I love hanging out with musicians and crappy poets and that it’s alright to spend several months searching for The Perfect Club Sandwich. I read books with Sad Artist margin notes written by a few of my Sad Artist friends. I drank coffee on the roof of my house and in the basement of a local church. (Does The Chez still exist?) I eventually graduated and spent nearly twelve months giving baths to the comatose and putting dead people in bags. It was during the final year of my third fifth that I scored my first (terrible) full-time job which involved me moving back home and sitting in a gray cube where I spent my day fighting for companies so their ex-employees would not receive unemployment benefits. I wore awkward business suits that were too big for me, and I started buying books that asked questions like “What Color is Your Parachute?”

The fourth fifth (Years 25-32) saw me being rescued from my terrible job and delivered to my first publishing gig. (It also included the years spent at my second and third publishing gigs! Desultory?! Yes!) I met Jeff during my fourth fifth, I bought a bunch of skirts, moved to Nashville, spent a few years seeing shows and eating sweet potato pancakes, I wore entirely too much dark lipstick, I got married, moved back to St. Louis, decided I couldn’t handle another office job, went to London, started a family (aka Got Pregnant), moved into a house, and met Meredith.

Fifth fifth? Hanging out with Meredith, pregnancy with Harper, meeting Harper, nursing, hanging out, carting the girls back and forth to doctor appointments and doughnut joints, getting Meredith ready for pre-school, patching, more pre-school, celebrating milestones, getting Harper geared for pre-school as Meredith started kindergarten, running back and forth to school for drop-offs and pick-ups, kicking off first grade for Meredith as Harper started pre-K, drop off, drop off, pick up, and Summer.

And here we are. As of next Monday, both girls will spend more awake time at school than they spend at home. And that will never be reversed, which is a crazy thought. And I know they’re totally ready for second grade and kindergarten, but I must ask myself “What’s Next for Me?” (Me!)

So now I’m faced with my sixth fifth. (I know. You don’t have to call me on it.) And I can’t really think in terms of years at the moment, so I’m focusing more on the next eight months. While Harper is in kindergarten and Meredith is in the second grade, I’m going to be doing the freelance editing thing. (I’ve already scheduled a few projects through the end of September, and that’s nothing but good.) I’m going to try to volunteer at the school. I’m going to get our house in shape so we can try to sell it in 2012.

Most importantly, I’m going to learn how to make cake pops.
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The Pursuit of Sparkling Happiness



Enjoy your weekend, whether it contains a holiday or not. I’ll be sitting over here in the kitchen assembling one of those cold vegetable pizza things with spinach dip and tiny biscuits. Also, please know that The Puddings are in possession of punks, glow worms, and smoke bombs. (J to the Ollification, Mr. Hancock.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Never forget the thumb.

A few days back, Harper decided that along with being a Doctor of Bunnies, she would also like to work in a nail salon when she grows up.

She knows how important experience is when applying for a position in a nail salon, so she asked Jeff if he would like to be her first customer.


He sat down on the (sort of filthy) kitchen floor and gathered his nerves as Harper prepared her polishes.

It isn’t often that the girls notice Jeff’s missing toe. (Long story short for those who aren’t aware: Jeff accidentally cut off his thumb while working in a blacksmith shop several years ago. A plastic surgeon decided to amputate his toe and place it where the missing thumb used to be. All is well, and Jeff still plays basketball.) Anyway, Harper felt a bit cheated when she realized that she had five polishes, and only nine toes.

Harper: Give me the thumb.

Don't Forget the Thumb

When the polish dried, Harper encouraged Jeff to show off his complete set of freshly painted toes.

Full Set

The next day, when Jeff went to work, his boss immediately noticed the sparkly toe thumb.

Later that evening, Jeff and the girls went to the pool, where I’m sure the other dads admired his rainbow toes.

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Ending the Year on a High Note

Today was the last day of this particular school year. As I’ve mentioned in the past, every morning I drive Meredith to school, and every morning the coach gets her out of the car with a smile and a “Good morning, Meredith!” (This is the coach involved in the Great Hat Drama of January 2010. But let’s not talk about that.) This morning we happened to arrive at school before the coach came out to retrieve kids from their cars. As we sat and listened to Justin Bieber (Yep. Let’s not talk about that, either.), Coach exited the building (always so cheerful!) and started opening car doors for kids. When we got a bit closer, I noticed that he was carrying a note in his hand.

Me (simply killing time as we waited our turn in the circle): Hey! Coach has a note in his hand! I wonder what it says.

Meredith: It probably says, “Christmas is coming, and I need to buy a present for Meredith.”

Me: Excellent. I hope he gets a present for me, too!

Harper: I know exactly what that note says.

Me: What does it say?

Harper: It says, “Don’t forget to take off your underpants right now.”

Me: That’s not what it says. Do you realize how inappropriate that is?

Harper: I do. Let me try again. I bet it says, “Take off your PANTS right now.”

Me: Interesting. Who do you think the note is for?!

Coach (opening the door and hopefully not noticing my perky eyebrows): Good morning, Meredith!!!

(Apparently, it wasn’t for me.)
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