It’s Been A While…

A few years ago, I started this blog to capture all that was going on in this head of mine. I wrote almost weekly for about 18 months about my family, current events that interested me, my job, and other odds and ends. I enjoyed using this form of media to express myself, and I found that lots of people read what I wrote. I was honored.

Over the past few years, a lot has changed in my world. My girls have grown a lot. Lydia is in 8th grade, and is training to be a world class pole-vaulter. She cleared 7’6″ the other day – only 8 more feet to go and she could be an Olympian. I’m hoping 4 or 5 more feet gets her a college scholarship of some sort. Ansley is in 6th grade, and has become a well-rounded tween girl – music, sports, school, and talking back are her specialties. Clarissa is in 2nd grade and is always smiling and laughing. She loves soccer and writing and singing and watching her shows. Lydia and Ansley are taller than their mother, Carrie. Clarissa is taller than Lydia and Ansley were when they were 8.

Our pet population has changed. Babe the mini-beagle is our eldest pup. We have Asuna the slightly psychotic cat. And now we have Arlo our “bagle” – beagle/basset hound mix. Arlo is an interesting pup. We rescued him from a lady who rescued him from some shady people who had him in a cardboard box in the back of a pick-up truck. She brought him home and let him live in a barn until she could find a good home for him. He’s slightly stubborn, and he still thinks he lives in a barn from time to time. We also have a beta-fish who no one really takes care of but continues to survive.

The world has changed a lot over the past few years. We have gone from the first black president in our nation’s history in Barack Obama to a president whose most recent claim to fame is starring in The Apprentice. Mr. Donald Trump has turned our country and world on its proverbial ear, and we’re still trying to get our bearings back. His speeches are normally 140 characters and can be found on Twitter. It would be awesome to be a speech writer for Trump. Not much editing involved. Just random streams of thought in 140 character bursts. The Chicago Cubs finally won a World Series after over 100 years of futility. Joe Maddon, the Cubs’ manager is the Phil Jackson of Major League Baseball. There’s a new series of Star Wars movies. The next one is called The Last Jedi. Now the world is wondering what that really means especially after Luke Skywalker’s brief appearance at the end of The Force Awakens. The New England Patriots just won their 5th Super Bowl thanks to Tom Brady and Darth Belichick.

Who would have dreamed any of this stuff could happen?

My work life is virtually the same. I still have the same job in the same place. Carrie does too. We still attend the same church. And we still have the 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L I blogged about in April 2013.

We still live in the same house on the same street. We do have some new neighbors who have lots of kids and have recently opened their home to foster kids. They are truly special people. I would like to have more kids, but Carrie says we’re too old for that.

I have 592 Facebook friends. I’m hoping to get to 600 soon, but I’ve become more selective about my friend choices thanks to the election. I can only handle so many political posts, and that’s all Facebook is these days. Political posts and advertisements for companies and products I purchased a long time ago. I miss the days of pictures of people’s kids and constant bragging about how perfect people’s lives are. Today my feed is filled with posts about why Trump is awesome and why Trump is an idiot, and why Obama is the reason Trump is having so many problems. I did enjoy the Obama/Biden meme’s for a little while. Some of them were hilarious.

That’s all for now. Gotta go pick up Lydia from her friend’s house.

She’ll be driving soon.

That’s a scary thought.


Introducing….The Worst Daddy Ever

Championship Belt


Good evening ladies and gentleman and welcome to the Vereen house!  Tonight, we have a highly anticipated match-up involving two strong-minded competitors that are eager to impose their will on one another until the other caves in.  Who will win this battle and come out on top?  Let’s introduce the competitors and let you decide for yourselves.

In this corner, we have a beautiful young lady – a Tween – who stands about 4’7″ tall and weighs in at close to 70 lbs soaking wet.  She has beautiful blonde hair and lovely hazel eyes.  But watch out, don’t let the looks fool you!  She’s out to win tonight.  This newly minted 10-year-old wants to get her way and will do anything or say anything to get it!

And in this corner, we have the Daddy!  He’s a man of principle.  He believes his kids should abide by rules and do things the right way!  He only wants the best for his girls!  He expects them to do well in school and in life!  He expects them to eat all of their peas and to smile while they do it!  This almost 38-year-old won’t let a little 10-year-old girl stop him from maintaining a calm and reasonably orderly household!

On Tuesday night, Carrie and I managed to get the girls to bed at a decent time.  It had been a pretty long day.  Early to work and school.  A very long day at work for me.  A long day of testing at school for Lydia.  Soccer practice for Ansley and me (I’m one of the coaches – that will be another blog topic).  Dinner.  Baths.  Stories.  Bed.  Suddenly Lydia remembered that she had some reading to do for school the next day.  I said that was fine, but she needed to have the lights out by 9:00.  She gave me the standard “yes, sir” and kept reading.

9:30 – I head upstairs to shower.  I actually ran around with the girls at soccer practice and got a little sweaty.  Clarissa said that I smelled bad.  That’s bad when your youngest daughter tells you that you stink.  As I went up the stairs, I saw a light on – Lydia’s light.  She’s not in bed.   I’m a little discouraged by this.  I look in the room, and Lydia has decided that it’s time for arts and crafts at 9:30 at night.

At that point, it’s all down hill from there.  I tell Lydia to get into bed.  It’s past her bedtime.  She snaps back with the proverbial phrase that all kids use – I didn’t know what time it was – as she looks at her clock and keeps working on her arts and crafts.  I tell her again to get in bed.  She mumbles something back.  I turn out the light.  She says something about needing to see so she can get in bed.  I turn on her small lamp and remind her that 9:00 was the bedtime.  She says something about needing noise to be able to sleep.  She wants to listen to a book on CD.  I tell her no because she’s normally still up at 11:00 listening to books on CD, and she has a test tomorrow.  She keeps pressing.

The tension grows.  Lydia argues that she can’t sleep without the noise.  I tell her that’s too bad, and she’ll lose soccer practice if she keeps it up.  She gets hysterical – the tears start to flow.  She’ll never get to sleep.  She has to have the noise!  I tell her that’s too bad again and leave to get in the shower.  She’s mad now.  She starts to say some things she’ll regret later.  She can be pretty dramatic.  At this point, I have now ascended or descended to the point of most hated Daddy!  I’m in the bathroom now.  The water is running.  She’s yelling through the wall at this point.  And then she says it.  The words that cut a Daddy the most….


She’s 10 years old.  I try not to take it too personally.  It might hurt more when she says it when she’s 16 because she WILL say it again.  It’s inevitable.  She won’t get her way, and it will be my fault or her mother’s fault.  Carrie has held the title of Worst Mommy Ever a couple of times over the past year or so.  As a matter of fact, she was awarded the title on Monday afternoon.  Now it’s my turn.

Carrie and I believe that our children should live by rules and have some level of responsibility that is commensurate with their age.  This means doing well in school, keeping their rooms clean, eating their fruits and vegetables, going to bed at a decent hour, and listening to their elders.  This is how Carrie and I were raised.

Did we mess up?  Sure.

I remember sitting at the table for hours because I wouldn’t eat my dinner.  But in the end, I usually ate it.  And it was cold and not very good at that point.  I remember getting spanked for talking back or doing something I wasn’t supposed to.  It didn’t make me hate my parents.  I’m sure I called them the “worst ever,” but I didn’t mean it.  I respected my parents and so did my brothers.  We knew they were in charge even if we didn’t always agree.  We were punished at times.  I remember losing my bike, my TV, and other privileges.  If you did the crime, you had to do the time.

After I got out of the shower and got ready for bed, I checked on Lydia.  She was already asleep.  I wanted to talk with her.  She’s a surprisingly a good listener when she’s calm.  I covered her with her blanket and brushed her hair out of her face.  They’re so much sweeter when they are asleep.  Even though she’s 10 going on 21, she’s still my little girl for now.

And for a night, I held the title of Worst Daddy Ever.  It’s a title that I will gladly hold if it helps makes a difference later on in her life!


TV Time: Learning Life’s Lessons from The Brady Bunch

How are hard is it for you to find shows that your family can watch together?  Can TV of today learn some lessons from shows of the past?  Read and find out.

TV Time: Learning Life’s Lessons from The Brady Bunch.


TV Time: Learning Life’s Lessons from The Brady Bunch


Once upon a time, watching television as a family was much easier than it is today.  Today, we have to screen TV shows for foul language, inappropriate subject matter, and generally poor entertainment value.  Channels like Nickelodeon and Disney promote shows that portray kids in such a way that does not translate well to real life.  Parents are either portrayed as total “screwballs” or are totally non-existent in the life of the kids on the show.  Many of these shows attempt to teach valuable life lessons about the importance of treating others with respect or befriending a new kid at school, but the context in which these situations are acted out normally does not correlate well with what a kid experiences each day.  Shows like iCarly, Hannah Montana, Shake it Up, and Jessie are prime examples of these types of shows.

You have to be careful with cartoons too.  Gone are the days of Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes.  They’ve been replaced by Spongebob and many others.  Even a cartoon for young children like Max and Ruby could be deemed as somewhat questionable.  Has anyone ever seen an episode that shows their bunny rabbit parents?  Is Ruby really old enough to be the primary caregiver for her younger brother, Max?  We see their grandmother from time to time, but we never see their parents!  How can a girl barely old enough to sell Bunny Scout cookies be expected to take care of her toddler age brother?  Only in cartoon land – I guess.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Max and Ruby.  It’s hilarious.  I love watching it with my youngest daughter, Clarissa.  Max is always creating mischief, and Ruby is always trying to do something productive despite Max’s constant attempts to sabotage her efforts.  At the end of each episode Max’s mischief always seems to have a positive impact on what Ruby is trying to accomplish even though she always tries her best not to let that happen.  And as always, there is a lesson that is learned.

TV in general has become more vulgar over the years.  As the rules have changed so has the subject matter.  Drugs, sex, violence, and reality TV – that’s what sells today.  Older shows revealed subtle hints about sexual relationships between characters.  Newer shows make it the main topic in almost every episode.  Even shows on ABC Family have become racier than those shown in years past.  Teenage soap operas fill the primetime hours instead of the family-oriented shows of the past.  And don’t get me started on commercials.  How many commercials do we need to see about male enhancement and womens’ contraceptives in a day?  They even show them during Harry Potter movie marathons on ABC Family.  Good luck explaining that one to your 8 year old.  Or is 8 the new standard age to have “the talk?”

Tonight, my wife and I found reruns of The Brady Bunch on the Hallmark Channel and watched them with our 3 girls.  It was wonderful.  It was the first time my kids have watched The Brady Bunch.  We didn’t even know it was still on TV.  The nice thing about the evening was that we didn’t have to worry about crude humor or inappropriate subject matter.  It was TV innocence at its best.  Tonight’s episodes showed the Brady’s (and Alice of course) as they took their family vacation to the Grand Canyon.  Along the way, they experience adventures in a ghost town where a gold prospector locks them up in the old jail because he’s worried about them staking a claim to his newly found gold.  He steals their car and all of their camping gear.  The Brady’s eventually escape from the jail, and the man eventually returns with their car as well as a document giving them 10% of the value of his claim.  Instead of calling the police or filing a lawsuit, the Brady’s forgive the man, tell them to keep his gold, and continue on with their trip.

I remember watching these episodes after school on TBS when I was growing up.  I would come home from school and watch a couple of shows before starting my homework.  Leave it to Beaver was one of my favorites.  I remember watching Andy Griffith reruns with my Mom and Dad as well as other shows like The Munsters and The Addams Family.  All of these shows not only entertained us, but they taught us a lot of life lessons.  Shows like the Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver taught about the value of right and wrong as well as the importance of family and friendship.  Characters on these older shows got in trouble for doing bad things.  Andy was always trying to teach Opie to do the right thing.  New shows seem to glorify the goofball or the character that causes problems – Samantha Puckett anyone (iCarly reference)?  What kind of image does does that send our children?

I’m only 37, but a great deal has changed in the last 25 years or so.  Racier shows used to come on after nine ‘o clock.  Now they are on starting at 8.  And with so many channels showing reruns of current sitcoms, the opportunity to find age appropriate programming has become that much more challenging.  I’m definitely not a stick in the mud.  I enjoy lots of shows on TV today, but I don’t enjoy watching them with my children.  If they are in the room, I constantly find myself hitting the mute button or changing the channel so I don’t expose them to something I don’t think they’re ready to hear.  For example, a show like The Big Bang Theory is truly funny, and I would love to be able to watch it with my 10 year old daughter, but the crude jokes and subject matter, at times, make that almost impossible.  Reality shows are even worse.  Has anyone watched Welcome to Myrtle Manor?  The day of the “family sitcom” is dead.  It’s been replaced with the “unfamily” sitcom, and I don’t think the “family” version will ever be back.

At the end of the last Brady Bunch episode of the evening, the Brady’s help a young Indian boy who wanted to run away from home make the decision to return to his village.  Earlier in the episode, Bobby and Cindy meet the young boy while exploring the Grand Canyon.  They try to follow the boy but eventually get lost.  The boy helps them get back to their camp.  In exchange, Cindy and Bobby agree to bring the Indian boy some food.  When Bobby and Cindy sneak out to take the boy food, they are eventually caught by Peter and Greg who try to help them get back to camp before their parents find out.  In the end, they all get caught, but Mr. Brady doesn’t yell or scream at them.  Instead, he sees they are trying to help someone, and he takes it a step further.  He shows them the importance of helping others make the right decision.  He helps reunite the boy with his family.  To me, this is doing the right thing, and it sends the right message to the viewer – especially younger viewers.

What do you think?

Daddy and The Three Girls! – Part Deux


As I noted in my last post, my wife, Carrie, was out of town Thursday and Friday at a conference, which meant I was in charge of making sure my three girls got to school on time, got picked up from school on time and were well fed.  I was also responsible for setting the social calendar as well as keeping the general peace.  This is a tall order for a Dad with three girls.

After spending my day Thursday playing Mr. Mom, I decided to take Friday off to make my day a little easier. Thursday was a disaster as far as how my day normally transpires. I am one who doesn’t like to feel rushed, and when I feel rushed, I don’t get much accomplished. And Thursday, I felt rushed!  So Friday was a day to focus on the needs of the family and myself.

The morning went pretty well.  We had packed lunches the night before and laid out the clothes for the next day.  All of the girls’ papers were signed and the bookbags were packed.  Planning ahead seemed to work well.  The girls ate a nutritious breakfast – Cocoa Puffs!  I know it doesn’t sound nutritious, but it really is.  There are more vitamins and minerals in Cocoa Puffs than can be found in a plate of vegetables.  The same can be said for Pop Tarts and Lucky Charms.  And they’ve done a pretty good job of cutting back on the amount of sugar in these products too.  If General Mills or Kelloggs needs a spokesman, I’m their guy.  I generally don’t condone breakfasts of sugary cereals and toaster pastries, but when Mommy’s away, I have to do what I can to make the girls happy.

I’ve digressed – again.  I dropped the older girls off at school without a hitch – no replay of Thursday where I pulled in the wrong lane.  Then I took Clarissa to the preschool.  We dropped off her bookbag, and then we walked down to the early dropoff room and….she just walked off.  She didn’t even say good-bye, didn’t wave, didn’t even acknowledge I was leaving her there.  To be honest with you, I was heartbroken.  No hugs or kisses.  She just walked in like a teenager would when they get dropped off at school.  She’s 4 years old going on 13.  It’s difficult to take, and I’m not ready to get used to it.  She’s the baby.

After I dropped Clarissa off, I went and got a quick bite to eat and went home.  I paid the bills, read the paper, checked the e-mail, and cleaned up a little bit.  I also had a couple of errands to run – buy a new shower curtain, pick-up the dry cleaning, and mail the bills.  I was getting some stuff accomplished.

12:00 – Time to get Clarissa.  Apparently, I showed up too early as Clarissa was not ready to go.  The little boys in the class were happier to see me than she was so I helped them clean-up the blocks.  I talked with Ms. Elizabeth and said hi to Ms. Pruitt, and finally Clarissa was ready to go.

12:15 – Time to prepare lunch for the princess.  She has requested cheesy pasta – not my forte, but I’ll give it a shot.  Apparently, Carrie allows her to assist with this process.  I’m not exactly inclined to let her help near a stove with boiling milk and water, but she says she helps all the time (I found out later that this was not the case).  I give it a shot.  Making cheesy pasta is a process that requires patience.  After 10 minutes, Clarissa wants her pasta, but it’s not ready yet I tell her.  I get “the look.”

12:30 – Pasta is done.  Applesauce and croutons on the table.  Croutons are not normally served with pasta and applesauce, but that’s what she asked for so I oblige.  We eat lunch and watch some shows – Dora the Explorer.  I’m so excited….

2:00 – Time to go get the big sisters.  Clarissa objects.  Her shows are still on.  I give her “the look.”  She gets her shoes on and we head to the car.

2:30 – Big girls in the car.  Heading home.  My boss is on the phone.  We’re trying to talk work stuff, but it’s hard to carry-on an adult conversation with three giggling girls.  I tell him that I need to go.

2:40 – We’re home.  It’s snack time!  Popcorn, Doritos, Nerds, Granola Bars, and a bunch of other stuff.  My daughters are as thin as rails, but they eat like horses.  Now we’re watching movies – Hello Kitty.  Lydia heads upstairs.  She’s too old for these shows.  I need to check the work e-mail and answer a few of them.

4:30 – Girls are asking when Mommy’s coming home.  8:00 can’t get here soon enough.  I walk in the kitchen and see Little Debbie cake wrappers on the counter.  Man, these girls are sneaky.

5:00 – Time to start thinking about dinner.  Pizza night.  Papa Johns online, but I don’t know the password.  Carrie handles ordering pizza – not me.  I text Carrie, but don’t get a response.  She must be in class still.  I could just pick up the phone and call, but we get points when we order online and I don’t want to miss out on the points.  I want the free pizza.

5:30 – The phone rings.  It’s Lydia’s friend Olivia.  Lydia’s going to spend the night.  They’ll come get her after they eat dinner.  Bummer – now I’ll have to watch Lydia chokedown some pizza.  She hates pizza.  Kinda weird for a 10 year old.  She apparently dislikes the sauce.

5:40 – I call Carrie.  I need this password.  We must collect points.  She’s getting ready to leave.  Hooray!  She’ll be home soon.  I get the password and order the pizzas.

5:50 – Lydia is packing and wants to borrow Ansley’s movie – Hotel Transylvania or Hotel Pennsylvania as Clarissa calls it.  Ansley has some reservations about letting Lydia borrow her movie.  Lydia loses things or forgets them.  This is why she doesn’t have an iPod.  I tell Lydia she can take the movie.  Ansley has a meltdown.  Mommy can’t get here soon enough.

6:00 – Girls and I are in the car to go pick-up the pizzas.  Clarissa doesn’t want to go so she complains about the music and her sister.  Ansley is in mid-meltdown over the movie.  I listen to my music.

6:10 – We have the pizzas.  I’ve successfully negotiated a deal for the movie.  If Lydia forgets it, Ansley gets $10.  Lydia now professes her love for her younger sister (sarcasm).  Ansley professes her love for her older sister (more sarcasm).  Little girls can be awfully mean.  Clarissa is still mad about the music and is kicking my seat.  Where is Mommy?

6:20 – We’re home with the pizzas.  Olivia and her mom show-up.  Lydia and Olivia eat some pizza.  Lydia’s idea of eating pizza is pulling off the cheese, wiping off the sauce, and eating the crust.  She takes about 4 bites and tries to hide the rest under a napkin.  I tell her that won’t work.  She gives me “the look.”  I make small talk with Olivia’s mom.

6:40 – Lydia’s gone.  Ansley and Clarissa are eating pizza and fighting about shows.  I negotiate a deal.  Animaniacs and then Dora and then Good Luck Charlie.  Carrie should be home before I have to renegotiate the terms of the deal.  I’m not sure how the next round of negotiations will go.  I don’t want to test it.

7:00 – I finally get to sit down and enjoy my pizza and watch Animaniacs.  Pinky and the Brain are my favorite.

7:45 – Mommy’s home!  All is right with the world again!

8:30 – Time for Ansley and Clarissa to go to bed.  Mommy’s home so she takes charge.  I head upstairs.  The girls and Carrie are in our room.  Getting them to bed tonight should be easy, but Clarissa has her own plan.  It’s hard to describe what happened next, but Clarissa was like a small Tasmanian Devil.  She couldn’t be stopped.  Ansley and Carrie took the brunt of it.  It was fun to watch, and Clarissa had a blast.  She’s happy to have her Mommy home.

9:00 – Girls are in bed.  Duck Dynasty is on.  Time to relax.

The past couple of days with the girls have been fun, but I need a breather.  I’m glad we had this time together, but it’s time for Mommy to take over again.  Time to get back to the routine.  I better enjoy it while I can because I’ll have to develop a new routine in about a month when Carrie goes back to work.

Wish me luck.


Daddy and The Three Girls

lydia ice cream

I am a man with a routine during the work week.  Up at about 6:15.  Shower, dress, feed the dogs, and out the door between 6:45-7:00.  Might stop for a biscuit on my way to work and then at work by around 7:30.  Thursdays, I eat breakfast at The Skillet.  It’s what I do.  It’s how I get my “me time.”

So when my wife left this morning to attend a conference in Columbia, SC, my routine was turned upside down.  Today and tomorrow I get to do what my wife does everyday – take care of my 3 princesses.  Actually, only one still considers herself to be a princess, but that’s a story for another day.  So for these two days, I have the privilege of taking the girls to school, picking them up from school, making sure their homework gets done, feeding them, and putting them to bed.  I help Carrie with a lot of these activities, but she normally makes all of this happen.  I have stayed home in the morning a couple of times to witness how all of this transpires.  I try to step-in and help, but I quickly realize that I only add to the drama of three girls getting ready for school, so I had some reservations about how these next two mornings will go.

I am happy to say this morning went pretty well.  I’m pretty sure Carrie threatened the girls in some form or fashion, but they won’t confess.  We got ready with a minimal amount of drama.  My oldest daughter, Lydia, tried to test some boundaries.  She came downstairs wearing a t-shirt that she normally sleeps in and her soccer flops – not my idea of nice school attire.  So I sent her upstairs to change.  She came back down in a nicer shirt and her second try with shoes was worse than the first – a pair of old moccasins that are about two sizes too small.  I gave her the “mean Dad” look, and she quickly changed her shoes.  Lydia’s new motto is “Dare to be Different.”  I admire the fact she wants to be different, but there is a right way and wrong way to do it.  Dressing like she just rolled out bed is not the right way.  If she wants to do that when she’s in college, that’s fine.  But she’s only 10 and still has to listen to her Daddy.  The other two girls weren’t a problem.  Ansley was on her best behavior.  I think her mom must have paid her off.  Clarissa was her usual self.  She always makes getting dressed an adventure.  They ate their breakfast (Cocoa Puffs), and we got out the door around 7:30.  Not too bad.

The drop-offs were a little adventurous, and I was running short on time.  I needed to get to the plant by 8:00, but deep down, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  I pulled in the wrong drop off lane when I dropped the big girls off at school and had to wait for traffic to pass, and then when I took the “mouse”, aka Clarissa, we had to put-up the book bag, and she had to show me a couple of things before I left her in the loving care of Ms. Sharon and Ms. Lynn.  I got back on the road at about 7:45.  It’s amazing how much more traffic is on the road at 7:45 vs 7:00.  My normal 15 minute ride took almost 30 minutes.  Can you say road rage in a minivan?  I finally made it to work by 8:10.  Mission accomplished, but I knew the afternoon duties would be here before I knew it, and I needed to put gas in the van.  Carrie was nice enough to leave me a pick-up schedule before she left so how could I mess up?

1:40 – I should have left work about 10 minutes earlier to pick-up Clarissa by 2:00, but somehow I made it on time.  I hope the traffic cams didn’t see me running all of those yellow lights.  2:55 – Time to pick-up Lydia from her after school activity.  She helps collect all of the recycling from the classrooms.  When I was in school, this was considered a form of punishment.  Now, it’s an after school activity that kids volunteer to do.  Go figure.  Ansley has play practice and won’t be home until 6:30 – at least that is the plan.  More on that later.  3:30 – Time for Lydia to start her homework.  Math and a short essay about Rosa Parks for Black History Month.  4:00 – Time to proofread the essay.  Not a good effort.  I give Lydia “the look” again, and then help her fix mistakes before she re-writes it for the 4th time.  She’s mad, but Daddy doesn’t care.  I’m a little too demanding.  During this time, Clarissa is watching her shows.  She has to watch her shows.  Today, it’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Peppa Pig.  I can only hope that Days of Our Lives is still on when she gets older because she is a girl that loves her shows.

4:30 – 4th draft of paper done.  Find 3 misspelled words.  Lydia gets “the look” again.  Daddy gets “the look” from Lydia.  She fixes the words.  I talk to her about attention to detail, but she’s done with her homework so she’s tuning me out.  By 5:30, the girls are hungry for yet another snack.  So far, they’ve eaten popcorn, Doritos, fruit snacks, M&Ms, and whatever else they could find when I wasn’t looking.  I offer Clarissa yogurt which is apparently not what she had in mind.  Not junky enough, I guess.  We go back and forth for a few minutes.  I give her “the look” which doesn’t seem to phase her at first, but she eventually relents and takes the yogurt.  She’s a tough negotiator.  I almost caved and gave her the Cheezits that she was asking for.

6:30 – No Ansley yet.  Starting to wonder if I was supposed to pick her up.  Carrie had made arrangements for Ansley to get a ride home, but I was beginning to question if we really had that conversation.  6:45 – Still no Ansley.  Now I’m hungry.  Check the window a few more times.  Still questioning whether or not I was supposed to pick her up.

7:00 – Doorbell rings.  It’s Ansley and our friendAshley.  They had a parents meeting after play practice.  Ashley said she would fill Carrie in later about what was covered in the meeting.  She said that I had enough to worry about without trying to remember all of the details from the parents meeting.  Should I be offended by that comment?  Nope.  She’s right.  Plus, I’m really hungry now.  No time to talk.  Off to Chic-fil-a for dinner.  Are you surprised?  Did you really think I would cook?  When Dad is taking care of the kids, we have to eat out.  It’s a time honored tradition.

7:10 – Arrive at Chic-fil-a.  See a few friends.  They see I’m alone with the girls.  The men give me the “I feel bad for you” look.  The women think it’s sweet that the girls are out with their Daddy.  At least that’s what they say, but the looks on their face say “Now he knows how we feel.”

7:15 – Kids Meals purchased.  Finally sitting down to dinner.  Evil Ansley is eating with us tonight.  She gets really grumpy when she’s hungry.  Lydia decides to pick on her.  I quickly end this because it could get ugly.  The nuggets and fries are too hot to eat per Clarissa.  So much for a quick meal.  My kids like their food ice cold.

7:30 – Time to trade the Kids Meal toy in for ice cream cones with cherries on top.  This is Lydia’s creation, and how can the people at the counter tell her no when she looks at them with her big “doe” eyes.  Two make it back to the table with the ice cream intact.  Ansley does not.  One of the cherries falls off, and then she drops the ice cream.  Can you say meltdown?  Time to step into action.  Quick clean-up.  Calm Ansley down.  Try not to make a scene.  Can I do it?

7:32 – Daddy at the counter getting another ice cream cone for Ansley, but the girl only puts one cherry on it.  Will Ansley have another meltdown because it doesn’t have two cherries?  Should I ask for another cherry?  I’m not sure, but I’ll risk it.  I need to get back to the table.  It looks like Lydia is giving Ansley advice.  This could get ugly.

7:33 – Ansley is happy again.  Ice cream in hand.  All of the girls are happy now.

7:45 – Clarissa is still eating her ice cream.  Ansley is too.  Lydia finished her’s 5 minutes ago.  I offer to help them eat their ice cream.  I’m ready to get home.  I get “the look.”

8:00 – Heading home.  Ansley is mad that play practice lasted so long.  She’s mad because the other kids messed up so they had to redo the scenes that she is in 2 times.  She doesn’t have much patience at times.  She is also a kid who needs some downtime, which she did not get today.

8:15 – PJs on.  Teeth brushed.  Hair brushed.  Faces and hands washed.  No baths tonight.  They passed the smell test.  Now, I’m reading The Three Little Pigs to Clarissa.  The phone rings.  It’s Mommy!!  All is right with the world now.  The girls talk with Mommy.  Clarissa gives her the rundown from preschool.  Carrie normally teaches Clarissa’s class.  Clarissa gets her caught up on all of the gossip.  It’s funny to listen to.  The other girls talk too.  They’re happy again.  There is definitely a special bond between a mother and her children.

8:30 – Reading to the older girls now.  Bible stories.  Jonah and the whale.  Jesus and garden at Gethsemane.  Ansley is ready for bed.  Lydia is too.  Ansley farts in Lydia’s room before she leaves.  Lydia is mad and gives Ansley “the look.”  I laugh out loud.  Lydia gives me “the look.”

We’ve had quite a day.  Three little girls can wear a guy out.  I’m so out of sorts that I’m taking tomorrow (Friday) off.  I guess I had better get used to it though.  This is my practice run for when Carrie heads back to work in late March/early April.

I do hope that the girls had a good day.  I know I did.

Ansleyclarissa icecream