Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Greatest Girls' Night

Last night, Will went to a friend's house to watch golf, leaving the girls, me, a box of pepperoni pizza, and Hulu Plus, behind.

"Girls' Movie Night! Woo! Go pick a movie," I told Gracie as I dished up the pizza. She grabbed the Wii Sport disc and stuck it in the player. "That's a game. I said pick a movie," I had to remind her.

Annelie stuck on the Wii people-making game after that, so I had to say, again, that they were supposed to be picking a MOVIE.

"Let's watch Eerie Indiana!" Gracie exclaimed. Best 90's show ever, but...

"I said MOVIE."

"America's Funniest Home Videos!" Annelie exclaimed.

This was getting ridiculous. I was three seconds away from giving up on movie night, and wondered if the kids even knew what a movie was....

"Pass me the remote - I'll pick," I said. So I did. I picked only the BEST MOVIE EVER CREATED.

Yup, that's right. The 1968 Heidi. My most favorite movie when I was the girls' age. I can remember making paper dolls of the entire cast, which I played with non-stop - including a 3-D wheelchair for little Klara.

This movie contains all the classic elements of the perfect, perfect story: orphaned little girl with braids who doesn't even know how to read, mean, reclusive Grandfather who doesn't even want her (but does know how to read!), baby goat on the verge of starvation, in need of a mother (Heidi!), a basket of orphaned kittens in need of a mother (Heidi!), going from poor to wearing fancy dresses with LACE, a sad crippled same-aged cousin in need of tough love and a best friend, and a forbidden romance between the beautiful governess and Uncle Richard. 

Oh, and Maximilian Schell, ie, Uncle Richard?

TOTAL HOTTIE (although back in 1986, child Marisa thought Heidi's friend Peter was way cuter).

Let's just say I laughed and I cried, and the girls laughed, and then wondered why I was crying.

"It's just... it's just... the best movie EVER."

I mean, how could I not get misty-eyed from all the dramatic character and plot changes?

Especially not when there were misty eyes everywhere I looked.

And the nostalgia, oh, the nostalgia! Listening to the girls whisper, "You be Klara and I'll be Heidi when we play, okay?" was just too great.

I got especially teary when Gracie busted out the paper and crayons and asked me to make her a wheelchair for her little paper Klara, who, along with her best friend Heidi, is now on Gracie's bookshelf, proudly displayed  beside my childhood Victorian dolls and teddy bears (which Gracie dug out of a long forgotten moving box a few months ago, and claimed for herself)
When it was done, Gracie said, "Wow, that was a really great movie. You know what I also want to see? Anne of Green Gables."


I'm not sure I can go there just yet. I'll need to thoroughly hydrate myself, because those eye-mists of nostalgia, and seeing my girls discover Miss Anne with an E, will drain me completely.

Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend, folks! It's raining non-stop here, which means a movie marathon weekend is on the agenda. Can't complain about that!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Rotten Moods and Wicked Poetry

The other afternoon, Gracie was in a funky mood. Very restless, and she didn't want to do anything except roam around, picking on her sister because Annelie was having fun playing with who-knows-what and Gracie wasn't. Everything was boring. Everything.

When she turned her funky mood on me, and found that annoying me was exactly the hilarious fun she was looking for, I was ready to scream.

So I woo'd her with poetry.

At first she didn't want to be woo'd. Gracie is a stubborn thing most days, always resistant to whatever cool thing her totally uncool mom and dad suggest. She said poems were boring.

"Then please stop annoying me," I said. "I'm going to read this book of poems I got from the library." I pulled the book Wicked Poems off the shelf beside me and opened it up. "I'm going to read 'Matilda Who told Lies, and was Burned to Death,' by Hilaire Belloc."

Gracie tried to feign boredom, but wasn't even close to successful, so I busted out my dramatic reading voice and went to town on the clever and amusing poem.

"I'm going outside, so you can stop reading to me," Gracie informed me when I was a handful of lines in.

"Poetry is meant to be read aloud. I'm not reading for you, I'm reading for me," I said, and continued on.

She stayed for the whole thing, and then another, which happened to be:

I'm in a rotten mood today,
a really rotten mood today,
I'm feeling cross,
I'm feeling mean,
I'm jumpy as a jumping bean,
I have an awful attitude-

I'm in a rotten mood today,
a really rotten mood today,
I'm in a snit,
I'm in a stew,
there's nothing that I care to do
but sit all by myself and brood-

I'm in a rotten mood today,
a really rotten mood today,
you' better stay away from me,
I'm just a lump of misery,
I'm feeling absolutely rude-

~ Jack Prelutsky, "I'm in a Rotten Mood"

Of course I shouted the all-caps parts at her, because shouting poetry is undeniably awesome. Gracie's funky mood was fixed, and we've since read a whole bunch of this fun collection of poems.

My personal favorite is "Macavity: the Mystery Cat," and Gracie's fave appears to be Macbeth 's "Witch's Chant" so far. But our book is not done yet, which she's excited about. She's found her new favorite book to be read at bedtime.

How about you, folks? Read any good books lately?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Illustration Friday - Imagination

Annelie and I worked on this week's Illustration Friday art prompt together. We decided on mixed media collages, and as we were coloring and gluing and listening to Two Door Cinema Club's new album she grinned at me and said, "I'm going to make art with you EVERYDAY."

Well, how can I argue with that?

My collage is of my imaginative five-year-old, who decided she wanted a Parisian circus theme to her bedroom. I figured a circus of the imagination is way more fun than elephants, tigers, and bears, oh my... and an imaginary juggling squirrel on a unicycle is exactly the sort of circus act I'd like to see (since the animal rights lover in me can't handle the idea of glorifying the real circus - unless it's the Cirque Du Soleil animal-free kind).

More pieces to come! A Parisian hedgie, just like our little French buddy, will definitely make an appearance.

Annelie was thrilled when I promised her I'd post her collage on the Illustration Friday website for everyone to admire. It's a princess imagining she's a mermaid.

 by Annelie
age 5

I just love the random Victorian girl floating in the wall. And the mermaid swimming through her thought bubble sea. And the multicolored princess. And Annelie's artist signature! 

Yes, there will be much more art in our future. 

Hope you're all having a fabulous week, folks! 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Illustration Friday - Identical

Oh no she di'int show up at the Wharton's ball wearing the exact same live French Toulouse fascinator!

(oh yes she did!)

Yeah, I had fun with this sketch. I don't really get the whole fascinator thing. I mean, I liked them at first, but they seemed to get SILLIER AND SILLIER. Millions upon millions of feathers sticking out every which way, until it really did look like girls everywhere (and by everywhere I mostly mean the UK) were wearing entire geese/pheasants/colorful chickens on their heads.

I've been wanting to get back into Illustration Friday for ages - I miss drawing so much! This was a fun break into art again.

Happy it's almost the weekend, folks!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vampire Miscellany (and Hilarity!)

Item #1:

There's a hardcore vampire lover in our house, and I'll grant you the gift of eternal life if you can guess correctly who it is.

I'll give you a clue: It's not my hubs.

I'll give you another clue: It's not Gracie. (at least not when it comes to the blood-sucking kind of vampire**)

I'll give you another clue:  She wakes up in the AM, grabs a magic marker, and draws vampire bite marks on the side of her neck, and has been doing this for... Oh, I don't know, about a YEAR now??

No, it's not me. I can be slightly unconventional at times, but I'm not a total vampire bite mark-drawing kook. It's this girl:


But she doesn't want to be Bella. No sirree. Sparkly vampire boys aren't her thing (thank heavens). Annelie wants to be everyone's favorite electric guitar-playing, blood-sucking hipster, Marceline the Vampire Queen.

I absolutely cannot blame her. I think I want to be Marceline the Vampire Queen, too.

Item #2:

**Vampire Weekend.

This is one of Gracie's favorite bands.  My kid has awesome taste in music, if I do say so myself.


The other day the girls were playing Wii People Creator (I don't think it's actually called this, but I don't know what the game is really called, so we'll just call it Wii People Creator) and I discovered their latest Wii person. It was a pretty average looking Wii person, by Wii people standards. A head, a body, a name...

My eyes popped out of my head when I saw the name:

F * C K    (only w/out the asterisk. I'm trying to appear rated PG, here)

Yes, that's right, my kids named their Wii person F * C K


Naturally, I blamed my husband. I mean, how else are the girls hearing swear words? Maybe the playground at school - you know how kids are - but certainly not from me!!


Will and I were watching a totally awesome BBC show called Pramface, which has THE BEST soundtrack, and they began playing the song Oxford Comma by Vampire Weekend - yes, this song is one of Gracie's FAVES.

And the F-word was all over the place.


How did I not notice? I've blasted this song from our PA system aprox. 1.5 million times. (itunes claims it's 51 times)

I'm sure this proves that when it comes to music, I'm lyrics-challenged. Also, I'm sure this proves that I won't be winning any Parent of the Year awards. Also, if your kids are coming home from the playground saying the F-word, you probably have me and my children to blame. Sorry.

Item #3:

This video.

This is all over the internet today, and absolutely hilarious. Watch with caution. And by that, I mean, don't take a sip of coffee until you are done watching, or else you might end up with coffee out your nose. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.

Item #4:

These cookies.

Halloween is a-coming, which I know because the girls can't stop talking about what they're going to be for Halloween this year. To get in the holiday spirit, I'm totally going to make these Vampire Bite cookies. Don't they look disgusting? And by that, I mean fantastic?

You can find the recipe (with pictures!) here at The Mama Dramalogues.

Item #5:

My fellow at-home-mama-writer and friend Melissa Luznicky Garrett has a new book out. 

Since getting attacked by a vampire, I didn’t believe in beginnings. Only endings. Every person born to this world comes with an expiration date, but I had never considered mine. At least not until I met John.

Now the end was all I ever thought about. I woke up every morning wondering if that day would be my last. Venom pulsed in my veins and seeped into my bones, infecting all my vital organs and changing me from the inside out. Slowly killing me.

But I’d welcome death in the end, if only because the alternative was even more frightening. 


Melissa's books are self-pubbed, which means she gets to price them affordably, always. (win!) I just bought this one, and am only about 20% in, says my Kindle. But so far, it's my fave of all of Melissa's books.

You can find it on Goodreads HERE.

and for only $3.99 on Amazon HERE.

And that's all the vampire fun for today! Have a bloody fantastic Wednesday, folks!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stress Breakdowns, Short Stories, and My Fabulous Fashionista

 I Will Not Stress Out Art by Kathy Jeffords

I'm not sure if having stress breakdowns can be considered a skill, but it's something I am REALLY good at. Outwardly, I appear normal, I'm sure (although Will might argue that point), but inside.... man. You know those gag toys which look like a can of mixed nuts, but when you open it, a snake made of springs pops out? Yeah, that's how I imagine my brain looked last week. The result: I'm sporting a zombie eye, as stress isn't kind to my eyeball's blood vessels.

Annelie took one look at my eye the other day, scrunched up her face, and informed me that "Ewwwwww, it's gross and red."  (thanks for the love, kid)

But on the bright side - I think I'm coping with my kids growing up waaaay too fast just fine this week!

....although last night, I took the preschool library story time schedule off the fridge, and...   *sobs*

Baby steps. Funny that I've been counting down the days till they are both away at college for YEARS. After last week, I'm pretty sure I'll be that super embarrassing crying mom, who needs to be escorted from the dorms.

In other news, I wrote a short story and entered it into a contest on Saturday, which is definitely where part of my stress comes from. Back at the tail end of December '11, when I was getting all motivated by New Year's resolutions, I went a little overboard and made one of my resolutions: Write 3 short stories, and post them publicly. I'd meant for this to be a way to get over my anxieties when it comes to people reading my creative stuffs, but if my zombie eye proves anything, it might be that this plan is CRAZY.

However, I really really really wanted to enter the Defy the Dark short story contest, and as the rules state that everyone's entry needs to be posted on, ie, PUBLICLY, I decided to suck it up and be a big girl. Which means, if you're curious about what a short story by Marisa Hopkins might look like (besides the Princess and the Pea retelling on my sidebar) you can find my story HERE.

(after I posted my story, I found a few typos, which means GAAAAH!!! But as I can't fix them because of the rules of the contest, I shall pretend they don't exist.)

And, saving the best for last, my fabulous fashionista:

 Gracie made this shirt for her first day of school last week, and has since been on a shirt-making rampage.

I found an old size 4T long sleeved turtle neck the other day, and gave it to her to work her fashion design magic. She's really into scalloped edges, flowers, and the Eiffel Tower, so I helped her cut out the neck, scallop the bottom of the shirt, and shorten the sleeves (the shirt is really stretchy, so by cutting off the neck and sleeves, the 4T size fit her size 7 self  perfectly).

Then she helped me adhere iron-on adhesive to the backs of the fabric she cut, so I could sew it on the shirt.

Gracie has been talking about being a fashion designer since she was four. I keep expecting her interests to change... I mean, aren't kids supposed to change their When I Grow Up I Wanna Be plan at least 30 times before age five?

Not this 7-year-old. 

She's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. I think I'll have her design a few shirts for me!

Hope you have a fantastic week, folks! 


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