30 September 2011

it's happening...

when i tell my girlies to stop doing something they may not necessarily want to stop doing, they usually have distinctly different responses.

lillie's is a scowl, raised eyebrows, and a no. i wish you could hear the way she says it. i would very much like to see if the sound of her no makes your insides all boiled.

grae has a different tactic. she plays the martyr. why?! i do everything around here. everything! be sure to pronounce everything with a six-syllable wail.

esmé's a little different. say that i tell her to stop painting her nails on the persian. she turns and looks at me with wide blues and a little o of a mouth and answers it's happening. like she's on a coaster and can't possibly stop.

no more brown sugar in your oats.

mom? it's happening.

do not crack that egg!

mommy! it's happening!

she turned six yesterday. she was convinced it would be the most magical day of her short little life, and we tried our best to make it so.

the pile of six presents were perfect. she stopped for a second before she opened them and told us she was so happy that we were her family. that she had the best parents in the world and the best sisters in the world and she was just...happy. really really really really happy. just...

ok, sally field. you may open your presents now.

my mom says that mémé really knows how to work the system. i find that funny. true, but funny. i mean, it's not like she's in prison, charming the warden for more mashed potatoes.

a few days earlier, uncle sugar measured her. he marked the wall about two inches short of her actual height. we measured her again on her birthday after cake, and she felt like a giant.

exactly how a freshly-six should feel.

the night before, i'd begged her not to fall asleep. i was dead serious, and i can't believe i was. the way my heart was skipping beats surprised even me.

i guess i couldn't bear the thought of her going to bed five. waking up six. even now, it still makes my stomach clench. like i'm on a coaster and can't possibly stop.

don't go to sleep yet, mémé, i begged. one more five-year old kiss.

mom, she murmured. it's happening.

i know it is.

images here. and i can't BELIEVE how sweet you were with your comments about our photos. like, i feel pink and at a loss for words and super awkward. you're nice. i hope someone gives you really good compliments this weekend. i'll start. your legs look skinny in those jeans. there. xoxo.

28 September 2011

one afternoon...

it was time for her to take pictures of the girlies three again. this time, she convinced me to smile for a few, too.

all she had to say was "the girlies will want pictures of you when they grow up..."

gulp. you know what that means.

anyway. here are a few.

grae's one year younger than lillie-kate, but a whole lot taller. do not mention this to lillie, please.

you know how i always talk about lillie's chandelier smile? here it is.

we kind of lost it there at the end, yes?

if you've never had professional photos taken of your family, i'd hella recommend it. you know me. i hate hate hate having my picture taken. hate. plus an extra hate. but beyond the obvious - that there should be some sort of record of you sharing some moments with your babes - hiring someone to meet you at a park or a museum or a nursery in full bloom {as we did} is a really fun experience.

bonus points if you can get amie to be your photographer. after every few shots, she'd review the photos and gasp. like, gleefully. like, she'd gotten us. i think she totally did. even though i hate photos of myself. did i mention that already? xo

27 September 2011


smack in the middle of buying a million for our last birthday girlie of the month. phrew.

in two days, she'll be six. or, as she likes to say it, half of my gracie.

i showed this to the girlies last night, and they're considering it for next year. i'm considering it for a random day in october.

nothing else is new, i guess. except that i stayed up with lillie kate until eleven last night, working on her application for america's got talent. she's not exactly sure of what her act will be. she just knows she has talent.

the introvert in me is dying a little. a lot a little.

but someday, in some interview, someone's going to ask her if her parents were supportive of her art. her craft. her talent.

and i want her to be able to say yes.

someone someday is also going to ask esmé about one of the worst mornings of her life. and she may remember this one. the day she dumped electric blue nail polish in the guest bath toilet. i smell like equal parts polish remover and irate. this is not my usual scent. sweet tuesday to you, you little sweethearts. xoxo.

22 September 2011


here is why i love my lillie kate.

she made a rocket ship for her science class. it may or may not work. but. she spray-painted it a glittery gold that ombrés into hot pink at its cute base. currently, i am trying my best to remove the swarovski crystals she hot-glued all over the thing.

because grae told her that swarovski crystals tend to affect a rocket ship's speed as well as the distance it can travel. both of which affect lillie's grade.

currently, esmé wears her nerd glasses everywhere. even to her kindergarten class pictures. she told me she pretends she can read way better in them. when i suggested she focus her energy on reading better and dropping the pretending, she stared at me blankly.

but at least she looked smart while doing so.

a big weekend's coming up for us, and i fear we're over-scheduled for the next few weeks and well into november. currently, my heart is racing with calendar-based issues. there are two hummingbirds that come into view on our back deck every day while i'm writing, though, and they remind me that as much and as fast as i'm trying to get things done? those hummingbirds put it all into perspective. i don't know how, exactly, but they just do. xoxo, you sweet things. catch you next week. yes, i'm pretending today's friday. you weren't supposed to notice that.

20 September 2011

in case you're wondering...

billionaire is much easier to get out of a persian carpet than, say, chancer. in my experience.

but, as the dental hygienist mentioned to esmé yesterday, chancer is pretty easy to pick from her teeth. when asked if she bites her nails, my girl smiled, shook her head, and brightly chirped "my sister, gracie, bites her nails and she is my role model and i do everything she does. except i do not like justin beaver."

speaking of my grae-girl, she turns a dozen tomorrow. did you just hear me sigh?

funny thing about my gracie. she is the queen of goodbyes. she must kiss me ten times before bed. yell out that she loves me as many times as soon as she's under her covers. she kisses me goodbye in the drop-off lane at school. when i'm headed out for a run. when i'm going to the grocery. before and after lacrosse. she kisses me goodbye in front of no one and in front of everyone and in front of anyone.

in case you're wondering, grae-rose's shy pink lip stain is very hard to remove from my cheeks. but, then, i've never really tried.

here and here.

19 September 2011


i wrote so much last week that i used up all of my words. i didn't even have any of my nonsense ones left, so you know it was bad. by friday, i was blurry and foggy and really only interesting after a glass or two of a lovely riesling. and by interesting, i mean only to myself.

i'd gone on a long run. it was the first day of chill and the day after i'd met all my deadlines really really well, and i was smiling. until the cold air hit me. remember where i broke my nose? right there went the air like an ice pick. i don't know what an ice pick is, but it sounds like something that could stab you deeply between your eyes and ice up the left side of your head until you bend over dizzily on the side of the road.

passers-by probably thought i was exhausted from running. i was just trying not to spill my stomach. you say tomato, i say tomato.

{have i ever told you about my favorite talent show entry of my entire life? a guy auditioning for a broadway show, asked to sing this song. he'd never heard it before, so imagine how hilarious the first reading would be! am i alone on this one? say no. say you're giggling, too.}

i've got to get myself fixed. the left of me is killing me.

anyway. back to interesting conversations. i enjoyed many this weekend, and it was nice. {ummm. have i ever told you i'm a writer? sorry about that.}

mémé is beginning to be interested in being interesting; she is now conscious of adding substance to a conversation, even if it is a lie. among this weekend's gems are "if you're about to sneeze and yawn at the same time, the yawn will always win." maybe. "my teacher said i shouldn't come back to school. ever. i've met my potential." doubtful. "her mom's pregnant. she is." awkward. "i don't think you can come to my birthday party. my mom thinks your mom is weird." ugh.

speaking of interesting - or lack thereof - i'm thinking...thinking...of branching out beyond all-black clothing all the time. my closet was so dark this morning that i actually stomped my foot and declared "i can't see any of my clothes in this dark!"

mémé and pat looked at me like i was crazy. and then she said "you can't see black in black."


what color should i choose first? i'm thinking charcoal. is that not a bold enough leap? what colors are you wearing...will you tell me? xoxo. also thinking of going gold. i! know! who am i?!

14 September 2011


uncle sugar was wondering why i had this photo on my inspiration board.

i told him that little bits of each of them reminded me of him. he gave me that look he usually gives me after i speak, and i just knew what he was going to say.

kar? he said, walking away. "i'm not a rapper."

about an hour later, he and lill were busting out all the lyrics to the message. someone's in denial, yes?

does your love look like someone famous? also, i think it's a compliment when i tell pat he looks like a blend of mos def, common, and picasso, don't you? found here.

12 September 2011


my mom always tsks me and tells me i am a surface-cleaner. that is a step up from what i've long believed myself to be. which is a non-cleaner.

those of you who've read me for even one second know of my love for full-time housemaids; they make cleaning super fun and almost bearable. and ever since we've moved back to the states, friends and lovely strangers alike have encouraged me to enlist the services of a weekly or a monthly maid service.

but that is not what i need. i need a daily maid service. which is apparently quite the expense here in virginia. is it like that where you live, as well?

to me, the greatest luxury is coming home at any minute of any day to a home that smells like home. and, to me, home smells like clorox bleach.

sure, we've had our moments. clorox bleach does not like to be friends with other cleaners. why should she be? she is more than enough on her own. this was a difficult lesson to learn, but at least my home smelled like home when i regained consciousness. forgiven.

as long as i can remember, from young to now, clorox has been my choice. i trust it. it was my mom's choice, my mother-in-law's choice, and the choice of every clean person i've met in between.

it is now my middle girlie's choice, too. because when i opened my gift from the clorox company yesterday, grae-rose squealed. and that is the last i saw of my gift from the clorox company.

"mom! pack my lunch in one of these tomorrow!" she opened up the wipes, smelled them like she was in heaven - and, in fact, exclaimed "heaven!" - then promptly packed them in the side pocket of her backpack. the brita bottle earned a sing-song "brita!" as she danced to the faucet to fill it. and then packed that away, as well.

"who sent those to you?" she asked later.

"the clorox company," i answered.

"mmm. i like their stuff. it all smells like grammy's house."

told you.

you should see the salads i sent with lillie and grae today. also, to grae's sixth grade classmates, you're welcome for sending my girl to school armed with wipes that kill cold and flu viruses. my apologies, though, for how many times grae is going to clean you and your stuff. also, many thanks to dailybuzz moms tastemaker program for connecting me to clorox. i chose the pics for this post - all found here - because they all read clean to me. but why picasso? i don't know, exactly, but i love him and i bet he loved clorox, too.

11 September 2011


i mean, her winning comment was a petite bit threatening. she's planning on making a piece of jewelry that will make me jealous. she even swore that i'd rue the day i said i hated gold. i think she even raised one clenched fist when she was writing her comment.

but i'm not scared of a genius piece of gold. neither is sheyna. hope you enjoy your gift, lauren! can't wait to see what you make. besides me giggle.

be back in a bit with more...i'm in the middle of some deadlines and need to throw all of my best words elsewhere. not that i've been throwing good ones down here lately, yes?

not like these. that was a funny story, wasn't it?

gimme bar. love it.

09 September 2011


esmé unearthed a box of pictures from lillie and grae's first few years, and is currently devastated.

you had a fun life without me! she wailed, as she usually does on thursday nights when i'm not watching the bedtime deadline as closely as i do on, say, monday and tuesday. you told me your life was empty without me, but that's not true! you had fun without me!

there followed a mess of reassurances, but none as lovely as the one that came from lillie.

we had rainbows, but we couldn't ever see all the colors. as soon as you came, we got indigo and violet.

currently, lillie and grae are being quite competitive with each other in middle school. but it's not how you would think. not at all. they're trying to win the embarrass your sister contest.

a few days ago, lillie walked into grae's study hall and announced she was gracie's sister. and that gracie rocks! apparently, her voice was very deep. so yesterday, grae walked into the seventh grade locker bank and announced in what could only be described as her southern male PE coach voice that i'm lillie mackin's sister! yeah! i believe she even raised the roof and gave her signature swim team woop-woop!

i think grae is winning this one. but it's friday. and lillie loses her mind a little on fridays.

while grae recounted this insanity to me after school...oh...you should've seen lill's chandelier smile.

currently, i am bright pink. i just got home from the middle school because lillie remembered to bring her guitar but totally forgot her math, science, and language arts binders. a dad who had obviously just rolled out of bed and who was driving a hummer {i don't know why that is an important detail. it's probably not.} held open the door for us.

we were really far away, though, esmé and i, so we kind of had to hurry to get to him. which i think is wrong. i hate hurrying just to be polite. and also? this is a high-security school. they have methods in place so randoms don't just walk in.

how did he know i wasn't a random?

i wish i had asked that. i really do. because what came out of my mouth instead was how do you know i'm not a child killer?

i. know.

and he replied why would you say something like that? you're horrible. that is the wrong thing to say.


i. know. that. mister. but you made me hurry and i didn't think and...

so currently, i am pinked. make that red. bright.

esmé suggested something maybe i need to remember more often. mom? sometimes it's important to just be polite and say thank you instead of something weird.

i. know.

have a nice weekend. i wish you'd do something awfully embarrassing to make me feel better. that's what a real friend would do, you know. and hey! picking the winner tomorrow morning, so you still have all day to leave a comment here for a sweet and cool gift from sheyna! xoxo. look at my gimme bar, will you? i've collected all these pictures...

08 September 2011

two reminders...

one for me and one for you.

this one's for you. i want you to win because that site is so much flipping fun. promise.

and this one's for me.

because my lillie kate is me. all me, one hundred percent, except for her chocolate colors and techie ways.

some days, it's frustrating how me she is. because i want her to be better.

i could kiss banksy right about now.

07 September 2011

james face...

i can't stop laughing about this. i just can't, can you?

and then i was led to this...

for me, it's exspecially instead of especially. drives me mad. you'd be surprised at the mass of functioning adults who say this. and candy corn eaters. that's a new one i invented just now. because i bought a bag of it with high hopes that they would taste like...fall...but they taste like plastic sugar.

while i'm being honest with you, can i mention that i also bought spaghettios and white bread that says italian on it? because otherwise, you wouldn't know it was italian. ugh.

do you ever do this at the change of season? buy nonsense and faux comfort food that was never really comfort food in the first place?


oh, cookie crisp cereal with chocolate rice krispies as a chaser...i love you but you kind of embarrassed me at the checkout.

finish the sentence, will you? i love you but...

all found via her. and don't forget to enter to win a forty dollar gift card from sheyna!

05 September 2011


one of the coolest things happened as a direct result of my whining about wanting to be a jewelry designer. or maybe because of my weekly wrist posts {which have been lagging due to my broken canon. sob.} or maybe even because i outed myself as a never ever not in forever wearer of gold.

sheyna to the rescue.

they suggested i try their site. design my own bracelet and see if i, in fact, really do want to be a jewelry designer. and while i was at it, why didn't i try gold? just to see...

i. loved. it. all.

and so i asked if you could try, too.

and they replied with exclamation points and yesses and a forty dollar gift certificate for one of you to try out sheyna for yourself. design anything: earrings, a bracelet, a necklace...anything!

next time, i'm so making mismatched earrings.

here's what you need to do to win: leave a comment and tell me if you've followed sheyna on twitter and/or facebook - extra points if you've followed them on both! - and i'll choose a winner randomly at the end of the week.

i'm excited about this, aren't you? say yes. now go follow sheyna and win something pretty, please? xoxo. also, a really lovely book about purpose and our special place in the world, i think. and i'll be back soon with my repaired canon to show you my new bracelet on my wrist!

02 September 2011


mémé and i are in charge of the cupcakes. lillie gave us a bunch of instructions and colors and flavors, but we both lost our head in the cake mix aisle. it happens to the best of us.

i picked up a box of gorgeous gaily-striped candles, tossed them in my basket, and that is when everything stopped. my heart included.

i need two boxes of candles for my lillie now, i whispered.

and mémé looked at me and i looked back at her and we both smiled extra large to distract from the puddles and she asked if i was going to cry and i outright lied and said no. that would be silly to be crying in the cake mix aisle.

but then i changed my mind about that. because lillie is worth my tears no matter when and no matter where.

nothing silly about that at all.

my lillie katie. happy thirteenth. you are perfect seemed appropriate for you.

01 September 2011

just a story...

i'm going to cry, i already miss our summer so much. it was our best yet, without being much of anything at all. which is pretty remarkable if you think about it.

but it's also one september, which means the beginning of our girlies' birthday month. and fall is coming, which means i can guarantee there will be a jug of cider in my fridge by next week. and i'm not cold anymore. even when i am.

i've said it before, and i'll say it again...i'm very much looking forward to forward.

did i tell you about esmé's first day of school? no kiss. no hug. no goodbye. she raced right in and threw her arms around her teachers. one of them pronounced her name like ez-mee, and i saw mémé wave her hand and say "it's fine. you can just call me ess-may. it's fine."

she's been saying that a lot lately, especially after she does something horrible to someone or something. "it's fine."

it seriously works. you should try it.

this morning, she told me she wanted to hit pause on school for the day. too much learning and not enough play, apparently. she saw me hesitate just before i answered "we can't do that, babe." and jumped right in with a wave of her hand and an extra vehement "it's fine." just in case.

it would be, i bet. the thought of that little thing growing up guts me to no end.

the other night, she asked why we don't live with grammy. i explained that, when i married her dad, we bought a home together.

"but don't you miss her?" she asked. "how do you fall asleep without her?"

i thought about it for a second or two, and probably should've thought about it a little longer, but i told her that there comes a moment in every girl's life when she decides she wants to fall asleep with someone else.

and then she turned over and fell asleep. but not until after she wailed for about five minutes and reprimanded me for telling the worst. stories. ever. invented.

i'm telling you. i'm so much better on paper.

i joined gimme bar. i love gimme bar. i don't know how in the world you'd follow me or whatever, but my collections are under mackinink. if that helps.