Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The accessory gene

I was born without the gene that allows me to accessorize. There was a brief phase in the 80s (shudder) when I wore jewelry, but it didn’t last long with all the swimming and running and biking I did.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate jewelry. I do. And it’s not that I don’t have any jewelry. I do. I have some great bracelets and necklaces and earrings. I just never think to put them on. And on the few occasions that I do put on jewelry, I spend the whole time feeling like I look ridiculous because there’s no way those earrings go with that bracelet and necklace.

The other day I put on earrings, just for grins, and the kids all stared at me like I’d grown a second head. So I took them out.

On a daily basis, I wear my wedding bands, and that’s it.

My sister and mom have the accessory gene. They love jewelry and buy jewelry and actually wear the jewelry they buy. It’s just beyond me.

I had assumed that my kids wouldn’t have the accessory gene either, mostly because of the example I’ve set for them. Ella definitely takes after me, but Lily is a whole different story. She loves wearing jewelry and hats and scarves, which means she’s gone to school through the years in some interesting outfits.

When Lily turned eight, she starting asking to get her ears pierced. I said no, and she, between heartbreaking sobs, told me all her friends who were seven had their ears pierced. I easily came up with a list of about dozen eight-year-old friends who didn’t have earrings, and she pouted.

Over the past few years, she’s made a few campaigns to get her ears pierced, aided and abetted by her Aunt Keeffer, but I’ve always resisted.

Until last week.

I don’t know what got into me. Maybe it was because we bought a hedgehog or because Ella was actually arguing for Lily’s case rather than against, or maybe it was the combination of heat and sleep deprivation. Whatever it was, I finally caved.

I loaded everyone in the car and off we went. Campbell and Elizabeth were only concerned with whether they’d get to ride “epscalators.” Lily was wide-eyed and nervous. Ella was telling Lily how much it would hurt.


But she did it. She sat up very tall in the chair, with very big eyes, and she got her ears pierced. She didn’t cry even once. I can’t say the same for me. I don’t know why seeing Lily with earrings made me cry, but it did. My baby is growing up.


Lily is counting the days until she can take her starter earrings out, put new ones in, and accessorize. And now knittergran and Keeffer know what to buy her as presents.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Look, more cuteness!

Apparently people really, really like pictures of baby hedgehogs. So here you go. More cute pictures of wembley j hedgehog.


He fits in the palm of Ella’s hand.


We took him out for a little explore.


FeeBee went nose to nose with wembley, gave him a good sniffing, then walked away.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Look! Something cute!

For years, ever since the Zooman brought some to Zoo Day at preschool when the girls were little, I have wanted a hedgehog. The closest we came was hedgehog-sitting, a few years ago.

Since moving into the house and getting FeeBee the Wonder Dog, the kids have been begging for another pet. The other morning Lily tried to talk me into pet rabbits and then pet penguins. When I nixed both those ideas, she went straight to the one she knew she could win with – a hedgehog.

We badgered B to the point that he finally caved, provided he never has to touch it, feed it, walk it, clean it or acknowledge its existence.

After much research, off we went.

Turns out there is this great little pet store near our old house that I had never heard of. It’s called Zookeeper, and it’s tucked away in a shopping center that mostly houses furniture stores. The online reviews of the place were great – everyone raved about the animals and the staff and and and. They have a sloth in residence – A SLOTH!

So I loaded up the kids and off we went. Ella knew what we were up to, but I didn’t tell the little three until we got to the store. I almost changed my mind about the whole adventure when we saw the four-foot-long blue and black lizards in the front window. They gave me the creeps, but the kids were jumping up down, yelling “OhmygodlizardsIwantone!”

The store was tiny and crowded and filled with cages of snakes and lizards and spiders – all things that make my skin crawl. I nearly ran from the store, willing to abandon my children to their own fates, when I saw the huge aquarium filled with giant black scorpions.


I just can’t. Who buys these things? They’re terrifying.

My fear was that we’d get all the way up to the store and be all kinds of excited, only for them not to have any. (Yes, I know there’s such a thing as calling ahead, but I have this weird phone phobia.) Fortunately, they had 8 baby hedgehogs, all curled up asleep. Ella picked out her favorite, and the staff member brought him out to meet us.


He didn’t go all spiky, and he snuggled right down in Ella’s arms. She hugged him and squeezed him and we named him wembley j hedgehog.

The staff member hooked us up with a barely used cage that someone had returned to the store and all the hedgehog gear we needed, including a can of mealworms (shudder). Really, if you ever want to go to a nice little pet store, go to Zookeeper.

We brought wembley home to be a “surprise” for B, who did actually know what we were up to. He took one look at wembley and asked, “What kind of pet sleeps all day and goes all spiky when you try hold him.” The girls just said, “Daayyyaaad, he’s so CUTE.” B has since admitted that wembley is pretty darn cute.

Poor wembley, though, is in danger of being loved to death. The girls want to have him out of his box all day, even though he prefers sleeping.


Sleepy Sunday morning hedgehog

Last night the big girls were in heaven. Each got to sit with wembley asleep  in her lap for at least an hour. And ZOMG the cuteness was almost too much to deal with, especially when he rolled into a little ball.


He eventually woke up and thrilled the kids by ambling around, climbing on them, and eating hedgehog chow. 


We’ve already had him out of the cage this morning. I think the girls are determined to turn him into a lap pet. Which is apparently possible. The petstore guy said that the more you handle them while they are babies, the less likely they are to be all pokey and spikey when they’re big.


And now if you’ll excuse me, I want to go snuggle wembley.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I have no one to blame but myself

One of my resolutions this year was to get out of the house and actually DO the things I talk about doing. That’s how I ended up at the UT astronomy building with five kids and thousands of strangers. It’s how I got talked into taking everyone to the waterpark from hell and to fireworks on the 4th. I’m tired of saying, “I can’t do that because I’d have to take all four kids.” If I wait for a time when I don’t have to take all four kids, I’ll never go anywhere. Besides, they need to learn how to behave in public.

In that spirit, I decided to take every one to IKEA yesterday. I figured it would make a good field trip. While I rallied the troops, B put together a shopping list of bookcases and more bookcases and more bookcases (seriously, we got 5), an entertainment center, a coffee table and other storage stuff. I added a few random items of my own.

On the drive to IKEA, I vowed to just get into the zen of the experience and take things slowly and not freak out when the kids ran off in four different directions or jumped on the furniture. And it all went beautifully. Each kid got to pick out a $.50 stuffed animal, I got some office supplies and a new garbage can. Campbell got a rug for his room that has roads and towns all over it. We stopped at the café and had a nice lunch.

IKEA lunch

Campbell absolutely, positively did NOT want his picture taken.

The closer we got to the end of the store, the crazier things got, though. Ella and Lily both begged and pleaded to get shoots of bamboo and vases. I finally gave in, which I still regret. Ella’s sole focus for the rest of the trip was making sure nothing happened to that damn piece of bamboo. I threatened to throw it in the trash at one point because she refused to push the shopping cart – “But I don’t have any safe place to put my bamboo!”

I got so many boxes of bookshelves and coffee tables that it took two flat bed carts to load everything. We were quite the sight going through the warehouse, a little train of catastrophe waiting to happen. As I was checking product ID numbers and wrestling boxes on to carts, the kids discovered that they could run underneath and behind all the shelving and I couldn’t get to them. They also realized they could climb on all the boxes. I kept hissing vague threats about what I would do if they didn’tstopitrightnowandgetbackoverhere.

IKEA waiting

That’s all our stuff.

Ella eventually kept the little kids entertained by building them a fort out of the boxes on one of the carts. Campbell and Elizabeth spent the rest of the expedition hiding in the fort and giggling wildly.

IKEA fort

The store’s safety officer was probably having a fit.

We finally lugged everything to checkout to discover long, long lines. People around us cringed when they saw how much stuff I had. One woman managed to sneak in line in front of me. I was about to protest, but she was buying two picture frames, and I would have let her go before me anyway.

The poor cashier looked to be about 18, and when he saw my carts, he muttered, “Oh dear God” under his breath. We were the family that everyone else in the store HATES. First, the cashier discovered that instead of boxes 1, 2, and 3 for the TV stand, I had grabbed boxes 2, 3, and 3. So he had to call a staff member to come get the extra box number 3 and swap it out for box number 1. Then he pulled out the new garbage can I had picked up, and we discovered that somewhere in the store, I had lost the lid. It was probably when Lily crashed into a shelf and everything fell out of the cart and wiped out an entire display.

The people behind us started sharpening pitchforks.

We finally got everything sorted and paid for, or so I thought. That’s when Ella realized that Elizabeth was clutching her $.50 stuffed snake and I hadn’t paid for it. I think the cashier was on the verge of tears. He just wanted us to go away already. Since there was no way we were going to be able to leave the store without that damn snake, I pulled $.53 out of my wallet and handed it to the cashier.

After a nice staff member named Joe returned with our missing box number 1, I headed for the exit, unsure of just how, exactly, I was going to manage to get everything in the car. Fortunately, another nice young staff member saw the look of desperation in my eyes and took over. If he hadn’t, I might have ended up on the sidewalk surrounded by kids and boxes, crying.

IKEA final

Waiting for Joe and our last box.

To fit everything, I had to fold down the third row of the Suburban along with one seat of the second row. We managed to get all the boxes loaded and then wedged our other purchases in where ever we could find a spot. Campbell, Elizabeth and Lily ended up crammed together into two seats in the second row, which meant the whole trip home was a chorus of “He’s touching me!” “She’s leaning on me!” “Tell her to get her head off me!” To make things even better, we hit MoPac at 5:00 rush hour in the rain.

I spent the trip clutching the steering wheel, praying we wouldn’t get stopped by a cop, and yelling, “Stop touching your sister!” at whoever was whining the most in the back seat.

But we made it home safely, Ella’s bamboo shoot included, and we’ll be spending the rest of the week building bookcases. B put the first one together last night. Elizabeth was his “helper,” and  after he gave her a list of tools he would need for the project, she thought for a second and added, “And you need to call someone else.” I nearly fell over laughing. He wasn’t as amused.

The kicker is that I need to return two items and exchange another, which means I have to go back to IKEA, probably with all four kids in tow.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


The same weekend we got FeeBee, my mother-in-law adopted a Chihuahua puppy named Mia. Mia is tiny, and Lily absolutely adores her.

Yesterday Mia came for a visit. The dogs had a great time playing together even though FeeBee outweighs Mia by about 70 pounds. The kids thought it was the funniest thing ever.

Later in the day, B and I had this conversation.

B: I think FeeBee would love to have a little buddy to play with.
Me: Ummmm
B: And Lily would love to have a little dog.
Me: No
B: She'd have outfits and hats for the dog, and fancy leashes.
Me: No
B: Come on, it would be fun to have another dog.
Me: No
B: If I'm willing to consider another dog, you should be, too.
Me: No

We're not getting another dog.

Monday, July 02, 2012