2017 total: $12105.73


Put Your Magic Goggles On

Rumor has it that our regular school bus driver was back on the route this morning. If I had known she was going to be out there, I might have put on something a little nicer than my pink elephant flannel pajamas so that I could run out and give her a big, wet kiss. Have I mentioned that having a substitute bus driver suuuuucked? Because it sucked. A lot.

Half of the reason it sucked was because of the interruption to our routine. Call me crazy, but I kind of like it when my kid gets picked up and dropped off on time. Having my kid arrive at home over an hour after she was supposed to seemed like a special form of torture. I knew there was a sub and that the whole late thing could happen, but that didn't stop me from wondering if something else had happened. Imagination is a crazy thing. I started at car accident and ended up somewhere around Alexis shoving the substitute bus driver out of the seat, picking up a bunch of her friends, and driving the stolen bus to Florida. KINDERGARTENERS GONE WILD! WOOO!

The other half of the reason it sucked was that our regular bus driver is nothing short of fantastic. She's energetic and sweet and Alexis positively adores her. Anyone who can put up with Alexis' non-stop talking and singing and talking and singing for nearly two hours each and every day deserves a medal. Anyone who can do it and still be smiling at the end of the day is forever someone I will adore. And we adore her.

Especially because The Incident that happened yesterday would NEVER happen with our regular bus driver on duty.

I was in the house when Alexis returned home after school. She came bursting into the house with a worried look on her face. As she threw her coat on the floor and her backpack on the stairs, she yelled for me. "Momma! Momma!" she yelled.

"Yes, Alexis," I said as I glared at the debris she had scattered all about. If anyone ever finds a cure for Throw-Everything-On-The-Floor-itis, I will pay $1000000000000 for a single drop.

"Momma, the bus driver said that fairies go away when you get older!" she reported with a frown. She was so very serious, so very worried, so very Six. She wants to believe in magical things. Forever.

I was not amused. At all. We don't lie to Alexis about the magical aspects of childhood, but we certainly don't do anything to smother her enthusiasm. People who smother her enthusiasm make me all sorts of Furious George.

I asked Alexis what she thought about the theory that fairies go away when you get older as I quickly grabbed my coat. We needed to run to the store and I wanted to leave immediately. Alexis never really managed to answer my question thanks to the chaos of dogs and cats and trying to leave. Instead, she ran outside so that she could get in the car as I had instructed her.

Of course, Alexis can't just get into the car. She has to follow a twisty path of curiousity and wonder as she winds her way through the dining room, down the stairs, across the basement, past the patio, and to the driveway. She was distracted by shiny things all along the way.

I stood in our kitchen and waited. I knew she would eventually meander to one particular corner of the patio. I wanted to be looking out the window when she did.

It didn't take long.

The kid cannot walk through our back yard without stopping to visit the fairy garden.

She saw it immediately. I know she saw it immediately because she started jumping up and down and pointing.

An itty bitty snowman had appeared in the fairy garden.

Alexis ran back into the house yelling for me to hurry up so she could show me something. She was still bouncing with excitement as I walked out the door.

I can say with the utmost certainty that fairies do not go away as you grow up. You just have to learn to see their magic with a different set of eyes.


The Fairies Have Moved In

There have been fairies lurking in the dark corners of my garden for as long as I can remember. I don't know exactly why I started buying little winged creature garden statues over a decade ago, but I did. Several found their way to the fairy afterlife when they broke during our move three years ago, but a few still remain. In fact, two are seated by our pond at this very moment.

(Photo of the back of one of the fairies from May of last year because WOOOO! ALL THAT GREEN STUFF IS GETTING READY TO COME UP! And this year I'm finally going to be able to hide all that plumbing for the pond!)

If you've been here for a while, you may remember that the fairy statues were joined by a fairy garden last year.

In theory, that project was all for Alexis. In reality, it was all for me. I had seen several fairy houses when we were at Walt Disney World and I WANTED THEM ALL FOR ME ME ME ME.

I mean, can you believe how amazing these are?

I could spend days sitting on a bench staring at each and every one of them.

And so could Alexis.

I knew I would love to have a little fairy garden to glance at from time-to-time, but I didn't anticipate how popular that little garden would be with Alexis and her friends. All last summer I would look out to our back yard and find three or five or seven little kids gathered around the fairy garden pointing and smiling as they made up fanciful tales of adventure and delight.

It took me all of ten minutes to decide that this year there would be at least two new fairy gardens for me (And the kids. Ahem.) to enjoy. I'm making good on that idea. Right now there are a few packets of seeds on the counter purchased especially for the fairy gardens. Oh, and there are three fairy houses on the kitchen table, each at a different point in the make-it-pretty process. (Photos soon because they are FANTASTIC.) By this time next month, I fully intend to have some serious fairy action going on around our back patio.

I thought those purchases would be the end of my fairy obsession, to be honest. But then I stood at our kitchen window last week and once again gazed down on Alexis and two of her friends gathered around the fairy garden. It was looking a little ratty from months of neglect and the abuse that comes from winter. The annuals had died off, the watering can had rusted, the stone path had washed out, and a few repairs were needed on the house itself. And, yet, even in its state of -meh-, those three little girls stood around that fairy garden and marveled at its secrets. I found myself wondering, as I always do, what exactly they expect to find when they stand there.

And then it dawned on me--I have been thinking of the fairy garden as a static thing. It's a little garden in the middle of a garden, so its life and changes are dependent on the world around it. I've been letting the world do what it wanted, but I hadn't really been helping things along, if you know what I mean.

That all changed last Friday. I decided it was time to sprinkle a little fairy dust on the garden, make a few repairs, and let Alexis believe whatever she wanted to believe.

A little glitter here, a wind chime there, a whirligig up front, some spray paint in the back, and a few new miniature pots all found their way to the fairy garden. I pruned and straightened and generally did everything a little fairy should to ready her garden for spring.

I even installed an itty bitty doorknob on the door. (Hobby Lobby wins my heart for having dollhouse supplies.)

As I was doing all of this, Alexis was safely shielded from the shenanigans because she was at school. Technically she was supposed to be home at the time, but we've been "enjoying" the chaos and frustration that comes with having a substitute bus driver for a week. Apparently, Friday's sub couldn't find Alexis' school, so she didn't get on the bus until well after the time she is supposed to be home. I was simultaneously HUGELY annoyed at the whole thing and a little bit overjoyed because it bought me the time I needed to help out the fairies.

Or at least I thought it did.

Somehow the substitute bus driver managed to turn what should be a 45-minute drive into a 30-minute drive. I'm trying really hard not to think about how that happens and instead focusing on what happened after.

I sat kneeling in front of the fairy garden pulling the last of the dead alyssum when suddenly I heard foot steps. "Impossible!" I thought. I knew exactly what time it was, so I assumed it was one of the neighbor kids looking for Alexis.

And then she yelled out, "Whatcha doing, momma?"


"Just pulling the dead plants out of the fairy garden," I replied.

Alexis walked closer. I expected her to say something about the other changes I had made.

Instead, Alexis gasped then squealed, "Momma! Look! The fairies moved into their house!"

She gave all the credit to the fairies. As she should.

I love that six-year olds want to believe in magic.


Heretoforth To Be Known as WHEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE