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Thursday, January 31, 2019

purple plusses...instant reds...

In Little Leighton’s (aka LL aka Biscuit) kindergarten class, there is a reward/punishment system this almost-65-year-old Grammy finds interesting. Fascinating. Confusing. (And it’s the entire kindergarten that uses this. Maybe the entire school—which goes up through 3rd grade.)

Each new day, a student starts out with a green stick. All throughout the day, said student can be rewarded with another stick of 5 other colors or disciplined with another color. 

The color order for the sticks (from best down to worst behavior) is this:

Purple (and, recently Purple Plus—which I think means they may have received more than one purple stick); Blue; Green; Orange; Yellow; and Red. There is the “red” a student slowly (or not-so-slowly) regresses down to or—can digress to in a fairly fast manner. 

(You and I totally get it: The purpose is to inspire/encourage all students to strive to achieve that Purple Plus Stick Status. TLC’s Purple Plus Sticks? Shopping at Nordstrom or Anthropologie. Sigh. Mine? A red velvet cupcake. Two of them! YES!)

So Biscuit explained to Grammy that someone could have a purple stick in their jar—but if they do something “really bad”—they can go to (insert tres scary music here...):

INSTANT RED. (Psycho soundtrack/shower scene might be appropriate at this point.)

I have sooo many thoughts and opinions on this system. 

My first reaction when learning about it was this: 

HOW IN THE WORLD does a teacher get anything done in a day??? When she (or he) is messing with 22 kids’ sticks going up and down. In and out. All. Day. Long. God bless them ANYWAY! Just for choosing such a challenging profession many of us could NEVER handle. 

Then I thought about all of the kids that probably stay below green most of their days. Kids that really NEED some Purple Stick Days! Because, seriously, I’d welcome more Purple Stick Days in my old life!

One day not too long ago, Baby Belle (aka Belle) was staying with us for a few hours. She heard me complaining to My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH aka Pa-Pa) that he kept forgetting to put something up for me on a high shelf. Belle looked at me with a quiet sternness and said:

“Grammy, Pa-Pa needs an Instant Red!” (This wisdom from My Angel Princess that goes to the Timeout Chair at least once a day. Picture me getting a little tear trickling out of my eye.)

I giggled and replied:

“Baby Elle, you are exactly right!”

Since then, Pa-Pa gets an Instant Red almost every time Belle is with us. Luckily, MSH loves the concept of fair/kind discipline. He is probably the most self-disciplined person I’ve ever known. He accepts his Instant Red with humility and a smile. 

Since no one has asked this old gal what she thinks of that system, I can only assume the powers that be consider it effective. It’s certainly not up to me to judge its validity. 

However...Here comes a thought or two (You knew you couldn’t escape this.):

When I was growing up in the American public school systems, our reward/discipline system basically boiled down to this:

BEHAVE at school. There were paddles in your future if you didn’t. NOT WHAT I WOULD EVER EVER EVER agree with. Paddling. Spanking. Not then. Not now. But they were there. When you heard someone getting a paddle? Not something you forgot the rest of the day. Or week. IF you did NOT behave at school? And your parents found out? It was dealt with at home, too. 

I must say that given these two choices? And as a retired counselor that worked with many troubled kids? I vote for Biscuit’s School’s System. I do. (I still worry the teachers have literally no time to ever sleep more than 3 hours a night. Sheesh.)

Biscuit has many MANY Purple Stick Days. TLC and I learned in the first 2-3 weeks to not ask her what color her stick was at the end of the day. She (like her Mama) puts alot of pressure on herself to achieve perfection. She doesn’t need to think we don’t have faith that she did the best she could all day. (And, all TLC has to do is look in the folder that LL brings home ever day. Somehow her Amazing Teacher has filled out each student’s “Stick Status” at the end of the day. With all they have to do, how is this even possible???)

As January comes to a close, I wish All of Y’all a new month of many Purple Stick Days! If you have a few Red Stick Days? Or get some Instant Reds? Hey, we’re going to love you anyway. (After all, February is the month of LOVE, right?)

Hugs and Smooches, Friends...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

goodie girl...

Last week, we celebrated Little Leighton's Half-Birthday (#summerbirthday) at school with her class.

What did we celebrate with?

Goodie Girl's Birthday Cake Cookies!

Y'all. These are insanely delicious and delightful. (I buy three boxes at a time via Amazon Prime!) They brought LL such joy to share with her friends. She was so proud.

Having Celiac Disease as a child can be lonely. But having fabulous treats like these makes it so much easier.

Thank you, Goodie Girl!

Happy Sunday!

Monday, January 21, 2019


So this past Friday, My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH aka Pa-Pa) and I took Baby Elle (aka Belle) to a park very near our new casa. She was BEYOND excited. She LOVES being outside. She ADORES parks—slides and swings. The whole shebang.

It was chilly. Chillier than I expected. But sunny. We did it all and had a happy time! Her favourite thing to do? What Pa-Pa and I called “The Boat.” She could have sat on that swing forever.

TLC was running errands while we played. Her Hubby was home trying to find a plumber to come fix a broken kitchen sink faucet. ASAP. We were all a bit worried. Seems like many MANY service people don’t work on Fridays any more. Or—at the very least—don’t want to! Her Hubby found a nice man after 12 calls to 12 other companies. Sheesh. 

At the point where it was about to be time to pick Little Leighton (aka LL) up from school, it was looking like The Sweet Princesses might need to spend the night with us. (Water had been cut off to the entire house.) 

TLC dropped LL off to us and the four us—plus Buddy Boo Bear—went for a walk to our “Community” Gazebo. We then spent some time in our backyard. (We’re having a great company/landscape architect redo 75% of our backyard—that’ll happen at the end of February.)

TLC was able to come pick LL and Belle up after we had a pizza dinner. Faucet was fixed! Their casa was back to normal—water was on. It didn’t cost as much as TLC feared it could/would. 

We had a bitter COLD weekend—but a delightful one. We wish each of you a wonderful week! Visit a park! Go for a walk! Sit with someone you love outside for a while. Fresh air goes perfectly with family and friends making special memories...

HUGS, Y’all!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


So our new casa is slowly coming together! At this point, we have 80% of all rooms—EXCEPT the office/library (It, sadly, is still a “storage” area full of boxes and “stuff.” What’s so bad about that? It’s at the front of our home. When you walk in the front door, it’s to your immediate left. To the right is our “formal-but-not-at-all-formal-for-us” dining room.)—finished. 

The Little Princesses’ Room (aka the room any family member/friend/guest might prefer if they don’t mind a twin bed and want a TV!):

(I’m waiting on a canvas of My Sweet Hubby—aka MSH—and TLC when she was about eighteen months old. They’re walking on the beach in Galveston. It is the SWEETEST picture. Ever. When TLC was working on the “gallery” wall for me, I thought of it as the perfect addition.)

Guest Room #Deux:

I’m about to change it around a bit. Taking a desk out. Putting a black table that was previously in our country casa’s master bedroom in its place. (Both my Sissies are ready to come spend the night! And the baby lives 10 minutes from us. That cracks me up. She knows we’ll take GOOD care of her.)

This is our Master!

We love it! It’s very similar to our Master in the country casa. But we are diggin’ our cozy cubby where we read and watch TV. We’ve had to buy a TV, console, storage bench—from Target on-line!—and that small leather chair for MSH. I’m also still trying to decide what pictures to hang where. I have a few left that are in our storage unit in Weatherford. (Said unit’s contents are being transferred to a new unit we’ve rented close to this home on Thursday. I can’t even remember what framed pictures I have in that unit. I’m gettin’ kinda excited to see what they are! And a bit worried about my memory...)

Baby Elle gets to come see Grammy and Pa-Pa (while Little Leighton is in school) a couple of times a week. (Sshhhh...don’t tell Little Leighton...) Grammy treasures this time! Baby Elle NEEDS snacks. Alot of them. Like something every hour. (She’s also potty-trained! YIPPEE and WOO HOO! But she still thinks her Reward M&Ms are necessary. I don’t blame her. I need one or two every hour-ish, too. Winky. Wink.) A go-to snack for both Baby Elle and Little Leighton is pretzels. Gluten-free, of course. Snyder’s? Delish. Trader Joe’s? Delish. Aldi’s? DELISH. Glutino’s? Yep—also delish. I adore how Baby Elle shyly asks for these delightful little treats:

“Pa-wetzels, Grammy? You have pa-wetzels?”

Yes, Baby Elle. Grammy will always have your pa-wetzels.

Here’s hoping it’s about time for Y’all to have your hourly snack...


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

tiaras, cow checks and new years...

One month ago yesterday, My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH) and I left our past life behind and moved into our new home.

This home pretty much remains in chaos. This home still has at least 10 BIG boxes to unpack. Not to mention MSH and I are currently the renters of TWO storage units. A 10X10 unit 25 miles from here. And a 10X20 unit 2.5 minutes from here. (These units STRESS MSH immensely. IMMENSELY.) AND not to mention three closets in this casa that MUST be dealt with/organized asap. (Wait—I need to make that 2 1/2. MSH’s side of our master closet is PERFECTION. Mine? Nope. Not. At. All.) This home I’m getting very used to. This home I already love.

On New Year’s Day morning, after Little Leighton (aka LL) and Baby Elle (aka Belle) spent their first night at Grammy and Pa-Pa’s new-to-them-and-us home, I giggled at LL finding her “tiara” from the night before, putting it on and wearing it proudly until her parents picked her up. After we had breakfast, I was sitting on the floor in “their” room, talking about the things we could do until TLC and Her Hubby came to pick them up—sometime mid-afternoon—when Pa-Pa walked in. 

Background: As alot of Y’all may remember, from the time LL could begin to understand what a cow was (14-ish months), and almost every single visit she ever made to our country casa from that time until about 7 weeks ago, Pa-Pa would take her, typically around 9:30 a.m., on his Ranger to “check the cows.” If she was there one night only, it would happen once. If she was there two nights, it’d happen at least twice. Etc. Etc. Etc. (She went BEAUCOUPS of times.) Often this would be the time when Grammy would get dressed for the day. 

Belle never had as many opportunities to visit our country casa (because of LL’s pre-school and kindergarten schedule) as LL had. She did get to see five Mama cows and their calves in the past year of her little life. 

So there we were, LL, Belle and me, sitting on their bedroom floor about 9:30 New Year’s Day morn, when Pa-Pa walked in and said: Grammy, you can go get dressed now!

Belle looked at him for a few seconds and then asked me: Grammy, are we going to see the cows?

God love her. I don’t know how long it’ll take this precious almost-3-year-old to understand there will be no more cow-checking on the Ranger we, of course, no longer own. I attempted to gently explain to her we don’t live in the country with the Mama cows any more. She just looked at me and said okay. 

Belle watching her favourite show (Daniel Tiger) in her favourite socks!

Less than 20 minutes later, LL came looking for me, finding me in our bathroom. I was throwing my jammies into our built-in clothes’ hamper. (We had one at our country casa, too. I grew up with them and was always surprised when I was in a bathroom that didn’t have one.) TLC has not had one in her last two homes. LL said: Grammy do all of your houses have those clothes’ things?

I smiled and told her my last three houses, including this new one, did have them. As a matter of fact. She sighed and said she wished she had a clothes’ thing. 

Although chaos describes the state of our home, it’s not my entire life at this point. Seeing My Three Girls every day or two? Makes my heart so completely HAPPY. Three minutes to our grocery store and four to Target? Makes for a little touch of HEAVEN to my new routine.

Today I wish each of you days filled with smiles, peace, and special memories. 


Friday, January 4, 2019

new moi...

And, we're off. On January 2nd, I began potty training Baby Elle. In the first 24 hours, I texted ELC a minimum of ten times: I HATE POTTY TRAINING. (I do. I really do.) It's hard, y'all. It's hard reasoning with a two-year-old. It's hard breaking habits. It's hard being stuck at home and tied to our first floor because we have newish carpet upstairs and ain't nobody got time for cleaning up an accident. It's hard. Period. Yesterday was better. I could see a glimmer of light at the end of a seemingly dark tunnel. Today? She positively rocked it. She even told me and ELC on several occasions she needed to potty, without being prompted. YIPPEE. (I hope I haven't jinxed it now.) Tomorrow, we attempt leaving the house for 30 minutes. Maybe an hour. I'm a little bit scared.

I'm still coming to terms with the fact that Christmas is over, 2019 has begun and Little Leighton heads back to school next week. We've had a fun break! We went to see the new Mary Poppins movie. (Review: LOVED IT.) We played games at Main Event. Little Leighton took an art class one afternoon and had the most delightful time. So much so, she starts weekly art lessons next week, too! We're so happy ELC and My Sweet Dad are close now. The girls spent NYE with them and had a fabulous time! They were excited to sleep in their new room. We've assembled new toys, built Legos, baked and baked some more. The girls have actually slept LATE almost every morning. It's been a really sweet time and getting back into a routine next week will be a bit tough.

I've been thinking about resolutions I'm going to make for this year. I typically don't do a lot because, frankly, they become completely unrealistic. However, this year, I want to learn how to bake genuinely yummy, homemade, gluten-free bread. I also want to start taking yoga classes. In preparation, I've purchased a new yoga mat (with a Christmas gift card!) and two super cute yoga outfits (because: priorities). My goal is two classes per week. I've also heard about classes you can watch online, and I'd like to try that on Saturdays with Little Leighton. She wants to learn, too! I'm also going to walk with My Sweet Dad and Buddy. OH. And I want to read more. I feel like these are mostly attainable. I can do it! I've also decided my mantra shall be: Present Over Perfect. This is something I struggle with hourly, but something I'm committing to giving more focus to this year.

I thought I would share a few pictures with y'all from December. Actually, the first two were taken in November during our last visit to ELC's and My Sweet Dad's Country Casa. Bittersweet. I cherish these memories.

Cheers to a fun, fearless and faithful 2019, Friends!