Friday, April 26, 2013

Dollhouse Days, Revisited, and Fancy Rewards!

Six years ago, when Gracie was a diaper-wearing toddler, I blogged about her love for Playmobil and the pop-up dollhouse I saved from my own childhood Playmobil-playing days. {clicky click}

Well, naturally my children destroyed the dollhouse (I blame baby Annelie) and lost all the people (I blame Gracie) and now they look at the pictures and regret being the Queens of Destruction very deeply.

GRACIE [gazing wistfully at the picture of toddler-self playing with rad dollhouse]: Ugh, that looks awesome.

ME [remembering playing with said dollhouse when I was her age]: It was. It really, really was.

Gracie, upon discovering that Playmobil has a super fancy royal set of dolls, has rekindled her love for her "people" - what she called her favorite toys when she was two and a half.

It's like they were designed just for her. And as a Playmobil-loving parent, I couldn't be more jazzed.

But..... I refused to buy them for her. Yep. 

ME [2 months ago]: Guess what, kids! I've come up with a new Hopkins Family System of Doing Things, and from now on, when you beg and beg and beg for more toys, I'll say, Sure you can have toys! But first you have to earn the tickets to buy them! [waves handful of freshly printed tickets from]

GRACIE: No way. I'm just going to use the money in my piggy bank. 

ME: Nope. After I caught Annelie with TWENTY DOLLARS in her backpack, so she could buy her friend's hand-drawn comics, Daddy and I have decided you girls are going to the bank and starting accounts, and you don't get to spend your money. 

[shakes handful of tickets] But good news! You get to earn tickets to buy whatever you want!

At first my kids were a little shell-shocked, because my new Family System of Doing Things involves hard work and math skills, and a zero-tolerance-for-sibling-rivalry policy. (they get to earn behavior tickets - yay! - but have to give them up to their sister when caught being rotten little meanies - boo!)

Fast forward two months, and now they have ticket jars full of awesome behavior tickets, and charts full of neon happy face stickers, for doing daily chores, and momwork (math tutoring w/ me - yay, fun!). And their chart stickers turn into tickets that can't be taken away, or given to their sister, once their chart is full. They're pretty excited about their tickets.

And I can never quite believe how much smoother life gets with an in-house reward system. My kids eat it up! They ask for extra chores and beg to study! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

Anyway, Gracie has been saving and saving, and finally last week, after passing over 75 tickets and a printed voucher for the Playmobil Royal Dressing Room set, she bought herself her first toy - and proceeded to stalk the mail, counting down the 5 shipping days until her new playset was hers, all hers!

You guys, it was the cutest thing! I've never seen her so excited for something. 

And because I had an empty box laying around, and a room full of craft supplies, gold puffy paint, and a glue gun, *kisses glue gun* I said, "Hey, let's build your Playmobil a fancy dressing room."

So we did!

Her dolls came in the mail a couple days ago, and she hasn't stopped playing with them - and her new dressing room - since. 

And, because this is Gracie we're talking about, here... yes, I have already taken away behavior tickets for catching her out of bed, playing with them late at night on a school night - the little sneak.

She was super excited to comb though my Southern Living magazines for room decorations - especially when she found Monet's Waterlilies (her favorite).

Isn't her little dressing room cute? She used the Napoleon Apartments at the Louvre as her inspiration, and made sure it had the chandelier of her dreams.

And dogs wearing fancy necklaces.

Also, after taking some photos of her playing with her new dollhouse... I realized I never wallpapered the outside of the box.... 
 ME [to Gracie]: Don't worry, I'll paper the outside for you ASAP.

WILL: Why would you cover up the best part?

GRACIE [rolls eyes]: Da-ad!

So that's what we've been up to, lately! Also, someday I'll blog about my husband winning us a spring break trip to Jamaica, and then winning another trip to Jamaica while we were in Jamaica. Yes, he is that amazing.

Happy Friday, folks! Hope you have a great weekend! 


Friday, April 19, 2013


So remember that April Fool's prank I played on my kids a couple weeks ago? Yeah, turns out that was more of a drill for yesterdays major MomFail.

Poor kids. Wednesday night, I set my alarm clock for 7 AM, the time I get up to get them ready for school on the days when Will is home to take them to school in the morning.

But when he's out of town? Like yesterday? Yeeeeaah, it's the exact time we walk out the door to catch the school bus.


But my KIDS! They're pros. As soon as they heard me running down the hall screaming, "WAKE UP, WAKE UP, THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL'S DAY JOKE. WE ARE SO LAAAAATE." they flew out of bed, grabbed the clothes I threw at them, and started dressing. One minute later they were brushing their teeth (one handed, while I put on their zip sweatshirts and brushed their hair). One minute after that, they were slipping on their shoes. And no joke, four minutes from the time my alarm went off, my girls were grabbing their backpacks (thankfully packed with homework the night before) and running out the door. I followed behind with the breakfast and lunch money.

And wouldn't you know it, we were actually a bit early! Stood there in the cold, totally dazed, for a couple minutes before the bus came chugging up to us.

It took a whole forty-five minutes for my heart to calm, I tell ya. And the minute I walked back through the door, I set my alarm for today--the RIGHT wake up time, this time.

I sincerely hope I do not make that mistake again.  But hey, if I do, maybe we can try to beat our record and get out of the house in only THREE minutes! Sounds like a challenge....

Have a great weekend, folks!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Foolin'

On Sunday night, I caught Gracie out of bed TWICE, just goofing off in the bathroom. As we've already done the whole toilet-wad-thrown-up-on-the-ceiling thing, and the entire-bottle-of leave-in-conditioner-sprayed-on-the-mirror thing, and the nail-polish-pictures-all-over-the-door thing (as well as dropped in the toilet. REDDISH BROWN NAIL POLISH. It's not a pretty sight) - always after bedtime - I knew not to trust my 7-year-old.

"GET IN BED RIGHT NOW!" I yelled that second time, since my calm and rational-sounding request for her to get in bed clearly didn't work the first time.

Also, she was in her pajamas, standing in the bathtub.


And then she completely burst into tears, and climbed out of the bathtub, and sobbed all the way back to her room. No, not because I yelled at her. She doesn't even hear the yelling, I'm convinced.

"I was setting up an April Fool trick, and it was a good one, too," she said, through her tears, and then pulled the bed covers over her head.

"Wait, what was the trick going to be?" I asked.

"I was tying fake money to strings in the shower, so you'd think it was real and freak out."

Well. It didn't actually look like real money - I checked - but not bad, kid, not bad!

Last year, this was the April Fool I got:

And the two little pranksters, sticking stuffed rabbits in my fridge would be none other than:

They were quite pleased with themselves. 

Truthfully, folks, I'm not a prankster. I'm actually the most gullible person on the planet - In fact, if you open the Guinness Book of World's Records 2011, and turn to Most Gullible Person on the Planet, there's my face. 

(did anyone go check? If so, GOTCHA!) 

I had absolutely no plans to prank anyone this year, certainly not my children. But knowing that Gracie had this day marked as one to prank ME? OH, HO HO, little child! I shall teach you!

The next morning, April 1st, I got up like any other school day, and went off to Gracie's room to wake her for school. Naturally, I did not softly rub her arm, and whisper, "Wake up, Gracie. Time to get ready for school," in my Hey-I-totally-get-that-mornings-suck-so-I'll-be-gentle-in-waking-you-so-your-day-is-not-lousy voice. 

No. Instead I shook her arm vigorously, saying loudly and frantically, "GET UP, WE'RE LATE, WE'RE LATE, SCHOOL STARTS IN ONE MINUTE!"

omg. The look on her face! Is it considered cruelty to children to LAUGH AND LAUGH (inwardly, until alone in the kitchen making breakfast, in which I died of the laughter) at their panic stricken faces as they assume they are supremely late for school?

Oh man. This is the moment in which all of their Late-for-school nightmares will begin, isn't it?

Well, it was worth it. I did this for both of my darling, sneaky little girls, and they got dressed for school in TWO MINUTES. Annelie was the first to stumble into the kitchen for breakfast, rubbing her eyes. She sat at the table and looked over at me, where I was cracking eggs and mixing them with pancake-making stuff in a bowl. 

"DID YOU BRUSH YOUR HAIR??!" I shouted. 

Well, she hadn't, obvious in how she sprang up from the seat and bee-lined for the bathroom to brush her hair. I did the same with Gracie, and then with both girls as they put on their socks and shoes. Will was up at this point, too, and clapped and shouted, "HURRY HURRY!"

The girls both sat down for breakfast, still dazed, still only 5 minutes from when they woke up. At this point, pancakes were on the griddle, and I was crushing strawberries into warm maple syrup.

"Mom?" Gracie said, totally confused. "Are you making pancakes for breakfast?" 

Will and I both shouted "APRIL FOOL'S" together and the girls - Gracie, especially - could not believe it. They were definitely shell shocked for a nice long beat before they laughed.

Then they cheerfully ate strawberry banana pancakes and watched cartoons for a half hour before school (which they never have time for). (also, Annelie was showing the camera her SAD, I-was-fooled-by-MOMMY face)


Although I have probably set myself up for disaster, as I know my oldest daughter, and I KNOW she's going to seek revenge.

Still, it was worth it. How about you, folks? Was anyone pranked, or a prankster this year, too?

Poor Gracie. She was pranked by her teacher, too, who had the class take out a sheet of paper for a pop quiz on a subject they hadn't studied yet. Haha! 


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