Whenever tensions mounted, we could always just say, "Hey! What's Frankie doing over there?", and Frankie never minded being a walking diversionary tactic.
As usual, Annika's favorite game at their house was dress-up, as the girls have an impressive collection of dresses, jewelry, gloves, and wigs. We got to see what Annika would look like with black hair, and I have to say that it is a good look for her. Riley dubbed her "Princess Maria Catia" (pronounced "Kuh-TEE-uh") and they spent quite a bit of time preparing their various appearances at the ball and their weddings and all that royal stuff, but in the end they just ended up dancing with each other to the Grease soundtrack. It's like watching my high school years all over again.
It seems that everyone I know who has just moved into a new house has already done more decorating than we have. Jennifer and Scott are no exception, with their rooms all painted cool colors and wonderful photo collages framed and hung. And I have already decided that they have to accompany us when we finally replace our furniture. They have this chair that is just wonderful beyond words. It's one of those chairs that feels great in any sitting position that you might care to assume. It's one of those chairs that you can sit in with 3 kids piled on top of you, and somehow you're all 3 comfortable. It's one of those chairs that can keep you sitting and chatting long after you should have gone to bed, until you finally have to say, "I'm so tired that I'm nauseous." I can tell you (and so can Jennifer and Scott) that that is a real conversation stopper. I've got the mad social skills.
Jennifer, if she doesn't mind me going on and on here, has created a household environment that ought to be featured on one of those bad-ass boot camp reorganize your home reality shows. Or else maybe a commercial for lidded plastic bins. One of the two, though, for sure. Seriously, every single thing in that house had a bin, a labelled bin, where it belonged. It was a stunning model of organization and efficiency. On Sunday Riley decided that she wanted to put on some lip balm, and she brought me right to the closet and pointed to the exact bin among the 20 or so bins on the shelves where her lip balm was to be found. I was trying to imagine this same scenario playing out in my house with Annika.
Anni: Mom, I want to have some lipstick.
Me: No, we're going out in public in a bit and you know that you always get a bit carried away...
Anni: No, I mean MY lipstick.
Me: Oh, that lip balm? Sure...
Anni: Where is it, Mom?
Me: I don't know. Where did you put it?
Anni (trying hard to look like she is thinking, although we both know that she has absolutely no more clue than I do): I think I put it in a very special place.
Me: A very special place? Where is that very special place?
Anni: It's the most special place...
Me: Can you get any more specific?
Anni: There is a very special place upstairs. In my play room.
Me (picturing the pile of toys on the floor up there, all of which could be concealing the very special place): I have a great idea! Let's get some new lip stuff! (opening tin of Crisco) It's very punk rock.
OK, I haven't really smeared Crisco on my daughter's face. Not yet, at least. But I can safely say we need more plastic bins in our lives. With labels.