Santa Claus and the Bearded Dragon: I Believe

My daughter wants a bird for Christmas this year. I told her no, but remembering what happened last year maybe I should start shopping for a cage. Here’s the story.

bearded dragon

(Originally posted March 26, 2012)

This was the conversation between me and my 8-year-old daughter right before Halloween:

Her: I want a lizard for Christmas.
Me: Um, no.
Her: Please mommy.
Me: No. No way. No way in H-E-L-L.
Her: Why?
Me: Because they’re yucky and icky. And because I said so.
Her: Fine, I’ll ask Santa for one.
Me: Santa doesn’t bring gifts mom and dad haven’t approved.
Her: You don’t know about Santa or lizards mom. I’m asking him for one!

Now repeat this conversation each and every day for the next month or so, which puts us somewhere in late November. I’m at a neighbor’s house (a neighbor who knows nothing of the convo between daughter & me) for a fund-raiser/party when she pulls me aside to show me this “crazy new thing” she has. I follow her into the next room and find myself face to face with a large, scaly, beady-eyed bearded dragon lizard.

Neighbor: It’s not mine. A friend found it abandoned in one of his rental properties and couldn’t leave it there to die so he brought it here. I don’t know what to do with it. If you know anyone who wants or needs a lizard, let me know.
Me: (Insert stunned silence here.)

Folks, I’m not a religious person but I think my little girl must have been praying every single night for Santa to bring her a lizard. Praying hard. And since I’m too smart to spit in the face of divine reptilian intervention, Santa brought a bearded dragon to our house on Christmas morning. Her name is Elizabeth, Lizzy for short, and it took about a day for her to melt my heart. I’m not ashamed to admit I was wrong – she’s not icky or yucky. I love her. When I pet her I’m reminded that Christmas is a magical season, that you’re never too old to believe in Santa, and that my youngest daughter is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

bearded dragon


Last minute Thanksgiving decoarations

I don’t know if you’re aware but Thanksgiving is only EIGHT DAYS AWAY. This time next week people will be arriving at your house. Putting their feet on your furniture. Their heads on your pillows. Their bums on your toilets. It’s crunch time and while I’m no meal-planning or entertaining expert, I can offer some simple, last minute decorating ideas.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

1. Dry erase markers on dishes: I can’t take credit for this idea but I also can’t remember where I saw it. It was an easy update to my Halloween plate wall but if you don’t want to hang plates on your wall you could have all your guests sign or write what they’re thankful for on a large serving platter. Snap a picture of the finished platter at the end of the night for a lasting holiday memory. (NOTE: I tested my dry erase marker on the back of the plate first just to be sure it would erase.)

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

2. Seasonal fabric stretched in a large quilters hoop: I bought this hoop and fabric at JoAnn’s. There are no rules. Just find something you like, stretch it in the hoop, and pop it on the wall for a splash of seasonal color and pattern.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

3. Photographs: Scroll through your family photos and pick four or five faves that scream “FALL”. I’ve used several shots of my kids in the leaf pile, and this one of my baby girl holding an acorn sits on the mantle. Even photos that have an orange or yellow color theme would work. If you have digital images upload them to a one-hour processing center (I use and all you have to do is go pick them up.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

4. Candles: Candles are one of the quickest ways to set a mood. Mine are actually the fake, battery operated kind. I added a strip of golden scrapbooking paper along with some alphabet stickers to make them Thanksgivingy. You could use the same idea with different sized candles and place them down the center of the dining table. Just remember if you’re planning to light them, wrap the paper around a clear glass holder instead of directly around the candle so you don’t burn the house down – not a fun holiday idea.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving “quicky”?

Easy fall decorations

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the smells, the cool air, and of course, the decorations. I like to keep it simple and incorporate little bits of family. This bookshelf features a photo of my girls in this year’s leaf pile and one of the leaves, too.

easy fall decorations

Continue reading

Little Miss Multiple Personalities

multiple personalities

I originally wrote this as a guest post for This child is now 13 and I still don’t know who I’m gonna get when she comes downstairs in the morning.

I have a tween. A girl – the most savage of all tweenkind. My goal is to survive. Not win, just survive. She is my first-born so I have no previous experience to help me, only a stash of vodka coupons and a therapist foolish enough to give me his home phone number. (Duct tape is an amazing motivator.)

When she turned 11 I thought, “I will be able to handle this. She’s only ONE little girl.” Now that she’s on the brink of 12, I realize she is not only one little girl. She is actually 7 different people ranging in age from 3 to 40. Let me introduce them.

Age: 35-40
This woman goes with me to get manicures, chats over lattes at Starbuck’s (always my treat), and goes out of her way to listen to my problems and help in any way possible. The BFF doesn’t come around very often but when she does you can hear the angels singing from above.

The Sweetheart
Age: 6
This is the sweetest, dearest little girl you will ever meet. She loves to snuggle and give kisses. She will climb up on the couch next to you on any given night just to tell you how much she loves you. She comes around even less than the BFF.

The Devil’s Twin
Age: Unknown
This evil twin usually lurks around my house during late afternoon hours. She looks exactly like the BFF or the Sweetheart but when you speak to her burning acid shoots out of her mouth and does not stop until you flee the room, screaming profanities. Occasionally she rears her ugly head early in the morning so beware.

The Einstein/Miss Independent
Age: 11-20
This girl knows everything and can do everything herself. Everything. The easiest way to identify her is by her language. She only speaks two words, “I know.”

The Mature One
Age: 18-22
This is a young woman who knows how to handle herself. She tackles every chore with maturity. She does things without being asked. She engages in conversation with adults in a way that makes you consider admitting you are her parent. Unfortunately, sightings are rare.

The Baby
Age: 3-5
Often confused with the Drama Queen, this child believes every single, itty, bitty, teeny, weeny injury is a near-death experience. She once asked to go to the emergency room because she bent her hair.

The Drama Queen
Age: 10-20
This girl is very similar to the Baby. However, she does not need to be injured to believe the world is ending. She only needs to be breathing. No clean jeans to wear? End of world. Can’t find her hairbrush? End of world. It’s Tuesday and she wants it to be Wednesday? End of world. Please note, the Drama Queen can instantly transform into the Devil’s Twin without any warning or notice.

That is everybody living in my daughter’s body. At least for today. I will be sure to let you know if anyone new moves in when she reaches the ripe old age of 12. Lord help me.

The tooth fairy’s epic fail.

tooth fairy fail

The tooth fairy got busted at my house last week. Our youngest daughter called him out, tooth in hand.

“Dad, why are you taking my tooth?”

“I’m not honey, I was just checking on you.”

“Dad, I SAW you take my tooth.”

“Um, yea, I took your tooth. Go back to sleep.”

Go back to sleep? Does everyone know what that means? It means he’s leaving for the train station and when she wakes up I will have to clean up his mess. It also means the tooth fairy is getting his ass kicked. Continue reading

Tweens & Cell Phones: A Lesson In Leashes

photo by BadSwanSomething startling happened last weekend. I discovered my daughter talking on her phone. With her mouth. Not texting with her thumbs but actually using her voice to communicate with another human being.

A few minutes later I discovered what was important enough to justify this archaic verbalization . . .  a boy. My 11-year-old daughter was chatting up her first boy!

Wait, was it her first? And how could I not know the answer to this question? Continue reading