Friday, May 17, 2019

Five on Friday: I Wear Many Hats

As you may know, I am a woman who wears many hats: I've got a few jobs, a few hobbies, a few kids, a few more kids that always hang out here, a few  (whoops, got on a roll there!) one wonderful husband, a dog, a house, an extended family, a bunch of friends . . . 

But I'm also a woman who literally wears many hats, many of which I have embellished with lots of hot glue and found objects. Recently I've been wondering what to do about my growing collection of hats and decided that, naturally, I should write a blog post about them!

1. Though I do love all manner of hats, I'm not much of a baseball cap wearer. When I do occasionally wear one for exercising or gardening, you can bet it's one I embroidered a home made patch on to:

2. I made this hat to be Carmen Miranda for Halloween last year. It's been sitting in my bedroom begging me to wear it again but an opportunity just has not presented itself yet.
(Oooh but I am going to be in New Hope, PA for Pride weekend . . . DONE)

3. The hat I made (with the building skills of my brilliant and artistic daughter) for the first Red Mill Kentucky Derby party I went to:

4. For the second Red Mill Kentucky Derby party I went to, I went easy on the hat and made a Red Mill-print dress (again with substantial help from my daughter) But for the third year I went back to a hat and decided to reflect the water theme that the Mill has this year in exhibits and programming:

5. Lastly, just a few weeks ago I was thinking about how much I'd like one of these. Then lo and behold, I found a brand-new one at the thrift shop! Because I am secretly and 80-year-old lady, this fills me with joy and I will absolutely use it:

Friday, May 10, 2019

Five on Friday: It's 80s Party Season!

Aside from actually going to parties in the 80s, I haven't really been to many 80s themed events . . . until this year. In the past two months, I've gone to FOUR of them! Being that I am usually feeling pretty overwhelmed by two jobs and five kids, I totally found time to come up with four distinct costumes and helped my husband with some of his.

Here they are in all of their unique 80s glory plus a bonus picture of me at an actual party in 1988:

1. First up: The Awesome 80s Prom! An interactive High School musical directed by a friend of me with whom I used to perform in High School musicals. I went with a Madonna theme for this one.

2. Next up was my own daughter's High School's Annual Coffeehouse event, this year with an 80s theme. I was Ms. PacMan and my youngest said she'd be a ghost. I made her a costume and then she refused to wear it. My friend's daughter wore it for a little while to appease me.

3. Then there was a birthday party that had an 80s WWF Wrestler theme. I only really know Hulk Hogan and the "Snap Into a Slim Jim" guy, neither of which appealed to me. So my husband helped me find the Fabulous Moolah. I fell in love but then he told me that she didn't really count for the 80s but Wikipedia said she did and besides I had already made up my mind because just look at her! And also me:

4. Last and maybe best . . . another birthday party, another 80s theme. Sure I could have used one of my other costumes but instead I of course felt the need to turn myself into a unicorn Trapper Keeper. As one does when they're super pressed for time.

Somehow never got a chance to get into the Photo Booth with my husband. He made an adorable Mork but we have no photo evidence. Whoops.

5. And now, the moment you've all been waiting for . . . . Homecoming, October 1988. You're welcome.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Five on Friday: Perks of Having a Sister Who Doesn't Live With You

I firmly believe that families belong together and that siblings should be raised together.

I also happen to have a family made up with children who don't live with their biological parents nor all of their biological siblings. However, we fall into the extremely fortunate category of families like this who can and do have those relatives in our lives, even if not under the same roof.

The one my kids are closest to is their older sister who was adopted into a different family.  They've known her their entire lives and she's spent time with us in the summer. They stay in touch with her frequently, most adorably through FaceTime:

Last Wednesday I got a text from her Mom saying something like, "I heard K is coming to stay with you this weekend, is that okay with you?"

I laughed out loud. I hadn't heard about this at all. I could talk to the kids about remembering to ask before making plans but I couldn't be mad: they invited their sister over!

As much as I wish that all siblings could be raised together, I have to say I've noticed there are some perks to having a sister who doesn't live with you but occasionally comes to visit:

1. You don't have to hide your adoration for her. My  younger three kids have older siblings here that they live with and absolutely look up but they'd NEVER be obvious about it. Not so with a visiting sister!

2. A big sister that's only here sometimes is happy to play and hang out with you for hours on end. Likewise, she's not here long enough for you to get on her nerves.

3. Somehow all three younger kids--two of whom bicker constantly--get along better when K is in the mix.

4. Live-action observation of Nature vs. Nurture. The kids think it's kind of cool to see what they have in common with a person they share biology but not parents with; I find it fascinating.

5. The part that my kids think is best: she may be a sister but she's also a guest, so there's lots of staying up late and eating junk food while she's here.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Five on Friday: Spring Break Firsts

Today's the last day of Spring Break in which we really didn't have any plans aside from six dental cleanings and three check-ups (we really know how to party).

I've been enjoying everyone's vacation pictures online and started to feel a little bad that we didn't do anything fun with our week off. Then I told myself to snap out of it. First of all, we do plenty of fun stuff year-round. We also always take a great summer vacation and a few smaller trips every year. And, when I think about it, we actually had a lot of firsts this Spring Break!

1. First time my youngest son got through vaccinations without a major freakout. A few years ago when he should have been outgrowing his fear of shots and didn't, I realized that it was more of a phobia than just a fear. I put some numbing cream on his arms in anticipation even though I knew it was probably expired. It was, but provided enough of a placebo effect to get him through it without tears.

2. First time in YEARS I've been to the dentist for a cleaning and didn't have to go back for a filling or other dental work! I inherited great skin and teeth but my teeth are usually a wreck in spite of all the brushing and flossing.

Look, Ma, no cavities!

3. We went to visit my adopted kids' biological Great-Grandma and she said that she thought both my girls would "get heavy" as they got older . . . that was a first! Honestly, it didn't bother me at all because the girls didn't get upset and also a 90-year-old woman is pretty much allowed to say whatever she wants. But I also sort of *loved* that she said it . . . things like that, brutal Great-Grandma honesty, make me really feel like part of the family.

4. First time I brought my child to work on Bring Your Child to Work Day. Okay, fine, it was sort of by accident. I had planned a fun kids event at the Museum I work at so that families would have something to entertain kids over Spring Break. After I had the event planned, someone pointed out that it was also Bring Your Child to Work Day.  My youngest was interested in making candles and playing games so she came with me and had a great time.

5.  My kids' older sister (that doesn't live with us) is here visiting for the weekend. This is *not* the first time she's stayed with us, we've loved hosting her for a week in the summer before. However, this is the first time that the kids arranged it more or less on their own. The adults didn't know about the planning and it all worked out just fine . . . and as much as I want the kids to remember that they need to ask before doing something like this, it's hard to be mad when it's their sister. I love that they are in each other's lives.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Five on Friday: Last Day of Being 44

Years ago on the day before my oldest son's birthday, I remarked, "Hey! It's your last day of being 5! What are you going to do?"

I thought it was a fun question. He got all existential and moody and began lamenting his wasted year.

In spite of that initial backfire, I continue to ask all the kids that question on the day before their birthdays. Results vary but have always been more upbeat than that first answer.

Now it's my turn. Tomorrow is my last day of being 44 and ideally I'd like to:

1. Sleep all night

2. Not have any power struggles with Little Miss Sassypant*

3. Thoroughly enjoy being two even numbers for the last time for 365 days (I can't explain my hatred of odd numbers, don't ask)

4. Appreciate that if I'm turning an odd number, at least it's a 5. (I really can't explain why 5 is the least offensive of the odd numbers, let's just chalk it up to one of my lovable quirks)

5.  Finish the 2018 Family Movie. The latest I've ever gotten it done is February . . . maybe early March. This year has been a different sort of hectic with starting my new job and it's just slipped through the cracks. I promised myself I'd get it done by my birthday. And then I think I'll get started on the first third of the 2019 Family Movie to avoid this situation next year . . . though I'm pretty sure I said that last year, so wish me luck.

Internet Law says you must share a baby picture on your birthday. I'm just following the rules.

*To be honest, I'd really like 1 & 2 every single day of my life

Friday, April 12, 2019

Five on Friday: Note to My Younger Self

The other day someone asked on Twitter, "What would you tell your younger self if you could?" I always have trouble trying to answer that because younger me probably wouldn't listen anyway, so it couldn't be something all serious and life-lesson-y.

Instead I think I would tell me:

1. Sorry, but you don't drive a cool car anymore.

Me, younger, with cooler car

2. You do have a Vespa, though, so that's pretty great.

Me, older, with alternate cool vehicle

3. You're never going to believe who you end up marrying. Also the number of kids might be a bit of a shock. Sorry 'bout that.

4. You get to keep Babci a pretty long time and she meets of all your kids.

 5. You still have streaks in your hair but now they're all naturel. Basically, you still kick ass, so don't worry.

These highlights just grew this way! Here you are, younger you, old inside an uncool car but killing it anyway.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Five on Friday: No Más Screen Time Por Favor

My youngest son has a lot of great qualities. He loves helping people and teachers love him for that. I frequently get messages from other parents praising him for being so kind, thoughtful and caring.

Being human, he of course also has some areas he could improve upon. He's always been absolutely terrible at entertaining himself. When faced with free time, he follows me around whining about not knowing what to do and asking for screen time. He's also a terrible liar.

Which brings us to our current predicament: he's not owning up to a mistake made, despite our various attempts to get him to fess up. My husband and I know we don't have the whole truth and have tried talking him together, separately, playing good cop/bad cop, offering him the chance to write it down or tell his older sister . . . nope, nope, nope. 

So until we're satisfied that we're getting the truth, he's not allowed to have any screen time. Because he knows he just has to tell us the whole story before he gets it back, he's miraculously figuring out ways to entertain himself. While I still want the truth, he's been doing such a wonderful job of occupying himself and not bothering me that I am perfectly happy with him not having screen time ever again.

He has been:

1. Rearranging the posters on his wall

2. Playing the drums

3. Building things with his cool new light-up Lego-type blocks

4. Taking things apart to see how they work

5. Playing nicely with his younger sister. Considering the fact that they are practically allergic to each other, this one is the most miraculous of all.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Five on Friday: Museum Tracker

Do you remember when I mentioned that I use a website called Goodreads to keep track of how many books I've read? And that I am trying to beat my high score from last year of 31 books read?* And then a week later I mentioned that I want to keep up the trend of visiting museums.  Posting those things back-to-back made me realize I don't have a website to keep track of the museums I visited.

"Wouldn't that be a great app? A Museum Tracker??" I asked my family.


Fine, maybe I'm the only one that wants that to exist. My husband did find mapstr for me, which doesn't do everything my imaginary app would do but at least I can log the museums I've visited.

Three months in and I'm pretty happy with the pace but since I don't have the app I really want, I'll share here instead:

1. In January, some co-workers and I got to go on a private tour of Morven Museum  in Princeton. I was so impressed with how acknowledge slavery on their grounds and have researched and shared as many of the Slaves' names as possible.

2. In February, I took the kids to visit some friends in Philadelphia where we went to the Mutter Museum, which is chock full o'medical oddities. My youngest said, "When I'm a grown up, I am NOT taking my kids here."

3. February also had us at the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton for a special Black History Month event called America, We Served! Four Centuries of African American Soldiers
Don't tell the other reenactors, but this guy was my favorite.

4. March found me in New York City at the Brant Foundation, an amazing building I'd never been to before, for a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit.

5. And, of course, three days a week from the end of January until I retire, you can find me at the sweet little former schoolhouse museum where I am now the Curator. Sure, this one is kind of cheating to include, but I'm proud of the work I'm doing there and we just had a bit of a Grand Re-Opening Party two weeks ago. Our honored guest was our new Congressman Tom Malinowski. Sure, it was an honor to introduce him and do the ribbon cutting together, but even better was that I got to sing a song for him that my children were singing for the entire election season: substituting "Mr. Bob Dobalina" with "Mr. Tom Malinowski" in this song.

*Pretty good on the book-reading front, too--eleven books read in 2019 so far!