The letter W.

Hi, I’m Julie. I’m married to Scott. We have two daughters, Emma and Kate.

We are the Burtons.

Unless it’s September through December.

Hi, I’m Julie. I’m married to Christine. We have three daughters – Emma, Kate, and Elle and two sons – Wyatt and Lane.

We are the Burton-Bentons.

The letter W.

Wife.

I met Christine years ago at a Eric Church/Kenny Chesney concert. We ran into each other in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. We realized we were neighbors, of all things. She told me my house was on the way to school and she could tell I had a husband who hunts. She said her husband is a hunter too.

We became good friends after that fateful meeting in the Arrowhead parking lot. My first time in Christine’s house lead me to reach for my cell phone to text Scott, – “You need to come over here and meet these people. She showed me their room of death and they have a deer feeder in their backyard. Get over here NOW.”

The next week, Christine posted a picture on Facebook. It was a picture of a bottle of No-Scent soap with the caption “Fall has arrived. My house stinks.”

That’s when I fell in love.

I now pronounce you hunting wife and hunting wife.

Our husbands are outdoorsmen. If you don’t know what that means – it means they hunt. A lot. It’s not just a hobby. Their soul belongs in the woods. If we lived during the 1800s, we would be the fattest in all the land of Kansas. I never thought I’d meet a man with more hunting stories than Scott. Yet, Christine found that man and married him. I couldn’t believe my luck in such a friend – a wife, excuse me. A wife. 

Christine and I put our heads together to show the world our lives as hunting wives. They’re in the form of memes because that’s all I do now. We don’t lead an easy life but in the end, we all live happily ever after.

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___________

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The letter V.

When you write about your life on a blog for eight years, the stories start piling up. Some are bad, some are good, and some are just there to save you from a hard letter during the A to Z Writing Challenge. I already wrote about the difficulty of the letter V.

The letter V.

Originally posted February 9, 2011. Emma would have been a 4-year-old preschooler and Kate would have been about 18 months.

Emma has show and tell on Friday. This week’s theme is “something that starts with a V.”

Could there be a harder letter? X, maybe? I sent a group text to my immediate family for help. This is what they replied with:

Vacuum

Violin

Victoria’s Secret catalog

Heidi’s Vase – Heidi is my parent’s dead dog sitting in an urn, not a vase. Nice try.

Vibrator

Vino

Vodka

Victoria, Posh Spice doll

Veal

Vaccine

Veil

Viagra

Just bring something purple and call it violet.

Voluptuous breasts in a magazine

Vagina

Vaseline 

Her Aunt Jessica – her Valentine.

Vehicle

Vicks Vapor Rub

I can’t send Emma to school with a Victoria’s Secret catalog or my parent’s dead dog’s ashes. I’m going to go with my brother’s suggestion and have her bring “something purple and call it violet.”

The letter U.

I’ve been waiting for the letter U.

I wanted to write a post on this but never found the inspiration. It’s a personal subject matter. It’s one of those subjects that creeps up at the age of 35 and it makes me wonder if I’m doing it right.

The only way I know if I’m doing it right is if I pull your pants down.

The letter U.

Underwear.

What kind of underwear do you wear?

I mean, obviously, if you’re a guy you will have a completely different answer than what I’m wearing. Scott wears boxer briefs. He always looks good in them. He has the perfect bubble butt and you should really check him out sometime. He could be an underwear model.

I’m 35 and still wearing a string up my butt.

Ladies, are we still wearing thongs?

I started wearing thongs in high school because my best friend, Patti, wore thongs. It felt weird for a few weeks but then it didn’t feel like anything anymore. The stringier, the better.

High school Julie, college Julie, just married Julie: Thongs were acceptable and encouraged.

Pregnant Julie and postpartum Julie: I was still in my early 20s. I didn’t know any better. In fact, a string up my pregnant butt made me feel like I could still fit into something. I left the hospital in a big ‘ole pair of granny panties with an ice pack stuffed down them. I thought my thong days were destroyed with the rest of my body.

Nope. I bounced back to my old ways.

Pregnant Julie again: The string up my pregnant butt was stretched even more. To threads.

And now, age 35 Julie: All I have are thongs. I have thongs from high school. I don’t even know how they survived 18 years. Holy shit. 18 years? I’m too old for thongs. Am I too old for thongs?

I tried “normal” bikini cut underwear. I can’t do it. It’s too much fabric. I feel like I’m wearing two pairs of pants and who needs pants anyway. At what age do women stop wearing thongs? I’m sure I’ll hang on to my drawer ‘o thongs from 1999 and roll those right into the nursing home in 40 years.

But really – what kind of underwear do you wear? I’m curious. I can’t exactly pull your pants down. But I sorta pulled my own down and that’s why I never wrote about this until the letter U showed up.

Oh but before I leave, it’s not called panties. It’s called underwear.

___________

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The letter T.

There is only one class during my academic career where I had to pull myself out of an F.

It was a high school English class, of all classes. When I was in high school, each student had to bring a grade sheet to each teacher at midterm. Each teacher would write in the grade and make a few notes on the sheet. The students would take the sheet home to their parents. The parents had to initial each class and sign the grade sheet.

I was a B average student, meaning my grades would range from mostly As and Bs and maybe an occasional C. And one F. 

An F in English? It’s unlike me. It’s something I would expect in math but English? This particular English teacher wrote 58% in the grade box. And in the comment box, he wrote: F – FAILING.

Thank you, Mr. Dick. Thank you for explaining to my parents that a 58% is FAILING. My first response was to consult with my fellow classmates. A handful received Fs, most received Ds or Cs. One or two received Bs. Of course, the B students were upset they were not As. No one got an A.

I don’t remember if I got grounded or if my parents thought I was doing drugs after my first midterm F. But I do remember crying in front of my mom, trying to explain myself. They were upset. Their daughter F – FAILED.

I got a C by the end of the year.

The letter T.

Thank you.

Thank you to my teacher? No, that’s sarcasm.

Thank YOU.

You – you reading right now. Thank you for reading my words. I know your time can’t be wasted. And if I did waste your time, well, you’re not reading this. Thank you for listening to what’s on my mind, however meaningless it may be. 

I am a different person when I write. I am shy and introverted. I would proabably never tell you about my English midterm F in person. This is the real me and I don’t have to worry about if I have anything in my teeth.

If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t keep working at the craft of writing. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be an author in an anthology coming out this summer. Me – a real author, writing English, in a book that people will pay to read.

Thank you for supporting me. I mean that. You’ve changed my life. Thank you for reading a B average student’s work. And one F.

Thank for proving that English teacher wrong.

___________

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The letter S.

I have to hand it to the man.

I’ve been writing on this blog for eight years. The majority of those blog posts are starring Scott, my husband.

Scott doesn’t care what I write about on my blog. Or doesn’t know. Scott doesn’t read my blog because “I live the blog.” He’s right. He hears “blog posts” from me every day. But that doesn’t stop me from putting him in the center of some classic posts – The Jockstrap, Men Get Epidurals Too, and The Rack.

I think he’s the funnier one of the two of us. He’s the easier one to talk to and he has a quicker wit when put on the spot. You know how sappy newlyweds say, “he makes me a better person.” Well, I say Scott makes me a funnier person.

The letter S. 

Scott Duane Burton. Yes, that’s his middle name.

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Oh, wait. He won’t like that picture.

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That’s better.

I decided to interview Scott for this post. Much like our daughter, Kate, he needed a little bit of coaxing to open up.

Me: I’m going to interview you for my blog.

Scott: How long is this going to take?

Me: It’s mostly questions about hunting. Your hunting lifestyle and hobby.

Scott: Oh, ok then.

Told you.

Me: Let’s start with your name. Do you like the name Scott?

Scott: Sure.

Me: What about your middle name? Do you like Duane?

Scott: As a little kid, no, I didn’t. As I’ve gotten older, it is what it is.

Me: Adding to your boyhood – how did you imagine yourself as a man? What did your wife look like in your mind? How many kids did you think you’d have?

Scott: I never imagined myself as a man. And as far as a wife and kids, I never thought anyone would marry me.

Me: So you never had cute names for your future kids picked out?

Scott: Uh, no. I was a boy.

Me: Do you find it weird that I’m interviewing you right now?

Scott: (laughs) Yes.

Me: Are you aware I’m doing an A to Z Writing Challenge on my blog and every day I write about a new letter?

Scott: Not until the letter R.

Me: That was yesterday.

Scott: Yeah, you asked me to read it before you posted it. Then I figured out you must be writing a Sesame Street challenge or something.

Me: Who is your best friend?

Scott: Hunter.

Me:

Scott: Brett is my second best friend. Why are you staring at me?

Me:

Scott: Best friends aren’t wives! You’re my wife. Hunter and Brett aren’t my lovers.

Me:

Scott: I don’t like it when your pen starts scribbling. Hey wait, will you write Brett is my other best friend? Take out second best friend. Write other best friend. He’ll whine at me for that.

Me: I think everyone that knows you, knows you are an avid outdoorsman and hunter. I mean, look at your Instagram. We want to know – what is your dream hunt? It doesn’t matter how much it costs or vacation time or me bitching about you leaving. If you could go on a lifetime hunting trip – where and what would it be?

Scott: A limited entry tag during the rut for a bull elk. Doesn’t matter what state. Somewhere where there are only a limited amount of tags given out. I would also say I live one of my dream hunts right here in Kansas. A Kansas whitetail deer with a bow – you can’t get better than that.

Me: What do you wish more people knew about the sport of hunting?

Scott: There’s a sigma out there that hunters just go out to kill animals and maybe that’s true with some. In reality, that’s not why I hunt. I’m in it for the challenge. That’s why I only use my bow. The deer provides meat for the family. Ground beef just doesn’t taste as good as venison. Hunting is also a great way to get away and be in nature. You have a respect for the animals in nature. It brings you down to a primal level. I wish more kids would hunt. The sport needs an influx of people coming in. Look at the National Parks and public land – the government is selling this land off. The only people voicing for the rights of public land and National Parks are the hunters. The families that visit or hike on public grounds won’t advocate for their rights, maybe because they don’t know or it’s not their passion.

Me: What would you say to an adult wanting to take up hunting? Do you have any advice? You are obviously very good at your hobby.

Scott: Practice your weapon of choice. You need your shot to be lethal. The last thing you want is someone making a terrible shot and then there’s a 3-legged deer hobbling around a year later. People need to learn how to safely use their weapon and practice it. Also finding good land can be a challenge if you’re starting out. In Kansas, there’s not a lot of public ground. You’ll have to do what I did – literally go knocking door-to-door and asking permission to hunt on the landowner’s land.

Me: Is there an animal you refuse to hunt?

Scott: Africa big game hunts. I mean I would go if a free opportunity dropped in my lap but I don’t have an interest in Africa. You can’t bring the meat back. It might be cool to be able to help feed a village but in general, no, I don’t have an interest in African big game.

Me: Would you rather go sailfish fishing with me in Costa Rica or elk hunting with Hunter in Colorado?

Scott: Probably elk hunting.

Me: WHAT?

Scott: I mean, elk hunting is a dream of mine.

Me: A vacation with me or Hunter and you choose HUNTER?

Scott: NO! No, wait! That wasn’t the question! You asked which animal I’d rather hunt! Sailfish vs. elk and it’s elk. Always elk, number one.

Me:

Scott: So is this interview for the letter S?

Me: Yes. S is for Scott. My best friend that goes fishing with me.

Scott: I’m sleeping on the couch, aren’t I?

Me: No, it’s fine.

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___________

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The letter R.

Robbed!

I was robbed. I was ripped off.

The letter R.

Revenge.

I had a garage sale today. It was my first garage sale.

I’m a believer in signs before impending doom. My sign was at 7:30 this morning. I opened my garage door and looked at my blank slate – an open driveway. It was ready to be filled with tables full of house decor, books, American Girl doll accessories, and kids clothes. There were several paintings, dining room chairs, and a twin bed.

I walked down the driveway to post my “Garage Sale” sign and there it was – the omen – a pile of dog shit in the middle of my driveway. I kicked the small logs with my shoe. It smeared because it rained the night before. I ran inside the house and grabbed paper towels.

There I was, at 7:42 a.m., scrubbing shit off concrete like Cinderella.

The day went well. I didn’t even need to haggle because I lowballed every item. A woman asked me if the American Girl earring holders were American Girl’s brand. I said yes and showed her. She bought one for her daughter.

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I looked at the other one after she left and thought, “oh, she must only have one daughter.”

At 12:07 p.m. traffic slowed down and I decided to bring in what I had left.

Gone. The other American Girl earring holder was gone. I looked in the yard to make sure it didn’t blow away. I looked through the baskets I set on the table. Nothing. Someone stole my $3 American Girl earring holder.

For that three dollar American Girl earring holder payment, I will go to bed knowing I am sending three dollar karma their way.

Three dollar karma: karma that isn’t detrimental. It won’t make someone suffer. But it might just be enough to ruin a person’s day. Oh, I don’t know – kinda like someone STEALING FROM THEIR GARAGE SALE.

  • I hope you wake up with a pimple on your butt. When in the sitting position, your body weight will painfully press on the pimple and you have to adjust the way you are seated.
  • I hope you have to listen to your dog slurp its crotch at 4 a.m. The disruption will keep you awake until you have to actually get up out of bed a few hours later.
  • I hope your cookies are cleared from your computer. I hope you can’t remember every lower case, upper case, numeral, and special character correctly to re-login. You will be forced to click “Forget password?” every time you login somewhere.
  • I hope you forget your headphones at the gym.
  • I hope your cat brings you a tick tonight while in bed. A tick you can’t reach in the middle of your back.
  • I hope the next time you sit on a plane, someone farts next to you. Why someone else and not you? So you can smell the inner bowels of someone else’s anus and then worry that the rest of the plane thinks it’s your stinky ass.
  • I hope every time you go out with friends your own age, your friends get carded and you don’t because you look old.
  • I hope the next time you drink a few beers, you suffer through a 3-day hangover so bad that water makes you gag and Taco Bell doesn’t even sound good.
  • I hope your sunscreen is expired and you get sunburn blisters all over your body and brand new baby wrinkles are born.
  • I hope your favorite Netflix show you’re into only has one season then cancelled.
  • I hope someone steals from your own garage sale.

Thank you for your business.

___________

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The letter Q.

You thought you’d catch me on a “hard letter.” NOPE.

The letter Q.

Questions.

Facebook questions. I saw these questions circling around Facebook. I love them. I will stop and read answers every time. It shows a side of people that I don’t normally see.

40 odd things about me. ** Copy and paste your answers to the comments here or on my social media so I can read them!

1. Do you like blue cheese? Love it.
2. Coke or Pepsi? Coke.
3. Do you own a gun? I don’t personally own one but there are guns in my home, in a safe. We do not own handguns. I don’t believe there’s a need for them. Totally cool if you do – don’t start that argument. Go outside and do that.
4. What flavor Kool-Aid? My favorite flavor – cherry red. *Name that song!
5. What do you think of hot dogs? I’d rather have a brat. I’ll eat hot dogs after a few beers.
6. What is your favorite TV show? I don’t watch a lot of TV. If I do, it’s always sports. For now, the Kansas City Royals.
7. What is your favorite movie? Forrest Gump.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Hot coffee. Sugar and half & half.
9. Can you do a push-up? Yes.
10. What’s your favorite jewelry? My wedding rings. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry.
11. What is your favorite hobby? Writing. Reading. And fishing.
12. Do you have ADD? No.
13. Do you wear glasses? I do at night and when I take my kids to school in the mornings. I wear contacts most of the time. I’m wearing glasses now.
14. What was your favorite cartoon? Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Inspector Gadget.
15. Name three things you did today. Finished up The Letter P. Tagged my garage sale things. Stopped by my sister’s house to drop off a dress (and played with my nephew, William.)
17. Current worries? I’m worried Scott might be landing in heavy thunderstorms in about an hour or so.
18. Current hates? Mornings.
19. Favorite place to be? Fishing in the ocean.
20. How did you bring in the New Year? A neighborhood dance party to 90s rap. Whiskey.
21. Where would you like to go? England. I’ve never been there. I would love to take the girls there and watch them come back with accents.
22. What is your favorite board/card game? Cards Against Humanity.
23. Do you wear slippers? Yes.
24. What is your favorite color? Purple.
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Hell no.
26. Can you whistle? Yes but not PE coach whistle.
27. Where are you now? In my bed.
28. Would you be a pirate? Only if there’s rum.
29. Favorite food? Mexican.
32. What’s in your pockets? No pockets, just pj pants.
33. Last thing that made you laugh? Scott sent me a text before he took off – he told me he ate healthy while out of town. Then he sent me a gif of a smokin’ hot male model posing in a Speedo.
34. What’s your favorite animal? Cats.
35. What’s your most recent injury? Stella, our labrador retriever, jumped up on me and scratched my leg when I asked her if she wanted to go to the doggie park. There’s a huge gash on my quad and now it’s bruised.
36. How many TVs are in your house? 3.
37. Worst pain? Labor pain.
38. Do you like to dance? Only when I’m alone.
39. Are your parents still together? Yes.
40. Do you enjoy camping? Love it. S’more?

___________

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The letter P.

You guys, I fell asleep writing this last night.

I kinda want to leave it how it is because it slowly doesn’t make any sense which is exactly how life goes. I won’t do that to you. I’m re-writing P. And now I have Q to write today too and this is the point where I regret starting this A to Z writing challenge.

I struggled with P yesterday.

P is inappropriate – penis, poop, period, puberty, pimples.

P is boring. Pregnant. Oh, hell no. Pinterest. Meh. Purple. I don’t know. Pancakes! I suck at turning pancakes. There. That’s all I have on pancakes.

I decided to go with the mother of all Ps.

The letter P.

Parenting.

Parenting is a broad subject. I mean, what are we talking about here? Helicopter parenting? Newborn parenting? Teenager parenting? Biological vs. adopted parenting? Mothers vs. fathers? Step parenting? 

I’m not an expert. I’m not an expert at anything really. Even writing – am I an expert? “NO!” shouts every English teacher. I’m definitely not an expert on kids. I have two. I only know my own experience.

Unsolicited parenting advice on the school-age years? Maybe it’s more of a heads-up.

That’s the letter P for you.

  • If you have a daughter, you will need a bonnet. No, not for cutesy pictures when she’s an infant but for school dress-up projects. I don’t know why no one ever told me this – there are times in your kid’s school life that they will need to dress up like a pilgrim, the wax museum project, or a Civil War era woman. There’s always a bonnet and long skirt involved. Start looking now. And get your son a top hat.
  • It’s totally cool that your 2nd grader doesn’t know how to tie shoe laces. I still need to teach Kate. No one from the school has said anything to me about her velcro shoes. We’re cool.
  • Opposite sex parents are heavily favored. If you lost the lottery in passing your sex gene along, the school helps make it all ok. The father-daughter dance. The mother-son Kansas City Royals game. What about the mother-daughter? I’m special too, damnit. Oh! No, I don’t want to volunteer to plan an event.
  • Summer camps are worth every penny. Sure, it’s hard to shell out $400 for a 4-day, half-day camp for two kids but it will feel like a two-week vacation. Start saving money now. These things should have been paid for in February of 2014. The kid’s summer camp is a breath of fresh air in the middle of summer. A glorious Monday through Thursday in half day solitude. Bonus! Your kids will be exhausted.
  • You’ll ugly cry on the first day of Kindergarten. You’re a newbie parent. Us older parents – we get it – it’s a sad day. I give it one year and you, too, will be toasting your kid off to first grade with a coffee in hand, a skip hop back to your car, and the biggest smile on your face that will rival your wedding day.
  • After-school activities might just kill you. Financially and emotionally. Dinners are quick. Weekends are gone. It’s fine. We’re all fine. We totally have a life. I heard some great advice from my ear doctor – what? – cherish the time in the car. It’s really the only time you have trapped in an enclosed space with your school-aged kid. Use it to talk to them and tell them, “in my day, I didn’t have iPods to play with in the car so talk to me.”
  • Don’t you worry. If you have daughters, they will talk to you. And talk. And talk. And talk. WAKE UP! She’s talking again. I don’t have sons so I don’t know if they talk as much but the rumors are they don’t. I could be wrong, maybe it’s school-aged kids in general. My kids won’t shut up. I’m rambling. I’ll stop.
  • Long division will appear in your life again. It’s complete bullshit.
  • Foreign languages start earlier. This may vary from state to state or even district to district. My kids speak Spanish. They started learning Spanish from a girl named Dora in preschool and they never stopped. They know everything I learned in middle school. Middle school teachers no hablan ingles. By high school, my kids will be fluent in yelling at me in Spanish cuss words and I’ll be giving them the blinking Dora stare.
  • By the way, it’s called middle school. If you dare drop the words “junior high” your kids will scream at you. “No one says that anymore, mom! Stop it. That’s embarrassing.”
  • Practice equality with the kids. Your kids will remember. Kids won’t have any memories from before ages 4 or 5. Only you will remember your baby’s first step or your toddler using a plunger to plunge the potty training toilet. The school-aged years are fun because not only do you remember what happened but so do your kids. If you eat lunch at school with daughter number one, daughter number two will find out by recess. She won’t confront you that day. Oh no. She’ll file that shit in her brain. She’ll confront you months later and will threaten to tell her teacher that her mom plays favorites if you don’t eat lunch with her too.
  • Practice creativity because the parent projects are heading your way. Oh, yes. You will have homework such as printing off pictures of the family at midnight or interviewing Google headquarters. The parent at-home projects are 50% of your kid’s grade. The other 50% is to show off your parent skills in the hallway. I saw that on Pinterest, nice try. 
  • Remember that lice is not a medical threat. Lice isn’t a medical threat but it will make you want to set your house on fire because an arson charge is easier to deal with. Stop scratching your head. You’re fine.
  • Get a calendar. The school calendar will become a full time job. You won’t be able to memorize anything; it’s overwhelming. You will spend at least an hour of your life per week filling in spaces. If you let go of the calendar, your crazy mom will show because your life and your kids’ lives will collapse.
  • Dress your kids in something you would wear. My point here is that you will naturally want to make your kids’ lives better than your life at that age. I will never forget the day my junior high math teacher pointed out to the class that I was wearing roman numerals all over my shirt and she was so proud. The class busted out laughing and I’m just going to die right here in that memory.
  • Get a backbone. The insults are coming. You will be called the worst mother ever by your daughter and your daughter doesn’t even know why.
  • “Hi, this is the school nurse calling…” This is how your day gets ruined. Plus a doctor’s bill.
  • You’re always exhausted. Unlike new parents, you sleep through the night undisturbed. Doesn’t matter. You will fall asleep in bed while working on your favorite hobby. Parenting – it’s like magic.

___________

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The letter O.

Oh Emma, Oh Kate.

Is there any other O than Oh?

In high school, I worked at a day care. A red-headed mom picked up her 4-year-old red-headed son. Her son said something to her that made her laugh. She looked me in the eye and said, “when you have your own kids, write down the funny things they say. You’ll forget as soon as they say them so write them down. I keep a notebook in my purse. It’s hilarious.”

My 17-year-old self never forgot that motherly advice. That little boy is 22 years old now. I always wonder if his mom kept her notebook all these years. I don’t remember their names and even if I did, I doubt she remembers me. I hope that 22-year-old red-haired boy has a book of his own quotes to read.

I’ve been writing down what my daughters say since Emma was two. It started as an email to family members then found its way to my blog. The mom was right – I forget almost as soon as it’s said. I have to write it down fast.

This is my 80th blog post titled Oh Emma, Oh Kate. I always wonder if it will be the last. I worry one day I’ll wake up and Emma and Kate will be adults. The world won’t be funny anymore.

Yet, somehow they seem to top themselves without ever trying.

The letter O.

Oh Emma, Oh Kate. 80th edition.

___________

Emma: Let’s play hide and seek in the dark outside.

Kate: Hold on, let me download this heat sensor app on my iPod.

___________

Me: Emma! Where are your soccer cleats? Help me look. Do you know where they are?

Emma: Do I look like Siri?

___________

Kate started rolling her tongue.

Me: Where did you learn that?

Kate: (rolling tongue) Beginning of a Pitbull song.

___________

Kate busted into my room on a Saturday morning.

Kate: WAKE UP!

Me: UGH.

Kate: Mommy! Look!

She walked up to the side of my bed.

Me: Kate, I don’t have my contacts in. I can’t see you that well. Get closer.

Kate rests her stuffed boobs next to my head.

Me: What the?

Kate: Grew me some big ‘ole boobies! HA!

Me: Put my bra away, NOW. Get out.

___________

The girls needed some new flip flops for summer. I took them to Old Navy for some cheap pairs.

Kate: UGH. Why did you take me here?

Me: You need some flip flops and they’re cheap here. And I don’t know your shoe size unless you come with me. Your feet keep growing.

Kate: I mean, why did you take me HERE? I want everything. I want this. This too. Oh, and this. These are cute. This was a bad decision to take me shopping with you.

___________

Inside Old Navy’s dressing room.

Me: Cute shirt, Kate! Let’s get this one. A little cold shoulder top. Love it. Clearance too!

Kate: Yeah! (Kate shimmies)

Me: Are you shimmying?

Kate: I love shimmying in this shirt.

Later that night. Kate wore her new shirt.

Me: Show daddy your shirt.

Kate shimmied.

Scott: Are you shimmying? Do you know what that is? Don’t do that.

Kate: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just showing my shoulders.

Scott walked off. Kate shimmied at him behind his back.

___________

I was writing on my laptop in bed one afternoon. I could see the girls playing hopscotch from my window.

Emma: YOU LOSE, KATE! I WIN!

Kate: (stares at Emma. Walks off to my outside master door. Drags the welcome mat over near Emma, hurls the mat at Emma’s back, then crosses her arms.)

Me: KATE! I SAW THAT!

Emma: MOOOM!

Me: I know. I saw. Kate, did you just hit Emma in the back with a welcome mat because you lost?

Kate: No. I hit her because she won.

___________

I took Kate on a sushi date. We talked while we waited on our sushi.

Kate: Let’s play truth or dare.

Me: Ok, truth.

Kate: Have you or dad ever picked your butt in front of a video camera?

Me: No.

Kate: Wrong. I saw an old video of you picking your butt.

___________

We were at Scott’s parents for dinner.

Kate: Daddy and I were playing softball in the house and daddy hit the sailfish on the wall with a softball.

Me: SCOTT!

Nana: Oh, Scott.

Scott: Kate, why would you tattle on me?

Kate: Because I can tattle to your mom too.

___________

Me: Hey! Emma! Girlfriend, bring your empty plate to the sink!

Emma: Oh, I thought someone would do it for me.

___________

Scott practices softball with Kate every night.

Scott: Ok, so what is your take away for tonight?

Kate: That I like myself.

___________

Scott sent a video of Kate hitting softballs to his friend, Hunter.

Scott: Hunter said Kate hits better than his own son.

Kate: Obviously.

___________

I poured myself a glass of wine in a darkened kitchen after the kids were in bed.

Emma: Seriously, mom?

Me: AH! You scared me, Emma!

Emma: This is what you do when we sleep?

___________

Me: Go to bed.

Kate: No.

Me: Uh, yes. Go to bed.

Kate: You wanna make an ice cream run?

Me:

Kate: You like that, don’t ya?

___________

Me: Go to bed!

Emma: No!

Me: Yes. It’s 8:30.

Emma: It’s really 7:30 with the time change.

___________

The girls went upstairs after school one day. It was silent for about 20 minutes.

Me: Scott, do you hear how quiet they are? They’ve been so good lately. No fights.

Emma: KNOCK IT OFF, KATE OR I WILL HOLD YOU DOWN AND FART IN YOUR FACE!

___________

Kate: Mom! Stella got into your bathroom trash and now there’s those white things you put up your butt all over!

(Tampons)

___________

Emma: Wouldn’t it be cool to paint on toilet seats?

Me: Huh?

Emma: Like quotes in pretty handwriting. Like, “Have a seat. Take your time.”

___________

Our neighbors’ were out of town. But their kids were home with their grandma. She’s a good grandma. She always plans some kind of activity for all the cul-de-sac kids to participate in. We received a note at our door.

Me: Cool! A St. Patrick’s Day breakfast! Have the kids come by anytime from 7 am to 9 am on St. Patrick’s morning for a green breakfast!

Kate: 7 AM? I’ll be sleepin’. Guess, I’m coming over at 9.

___________

Kate walked in my room, brushing her teeth with my toothbrush.

Me: Gross! Kate! That’s my toothbrush!

Kate: Emma put my toothbrush in the toilet so I’m using yours.

___________

Kate: Can we make a leprechaun trap?

Me: A what?

Kate: You make a trap and the leprechaun leaves you money.

Me: Uh, we’re not Irish.

Kate: Our neighbors do it.

Me: Are they Irish?

Kate: They’re from Colorado or something.

___________

Scott: Kate, pick up your shoes!

Kate: Knock it off. You’re mommy’s teenage son and don’t pick up either.

___________

I pushed through radio stations in the car.

Me: Ugh, Justin Bieber. I don’t like him.

Kate: Why?

Me: He’s doesn’t seem very nice.

Kate: Well, his music makes me feel nice.

___________

Kate: Hey mom! Will you check my cursive on the computer?

___________

Scott put Kate to bed.

Scott: Good night, Baby Got Back Becky.

Kate: Good night, little nipples.

___________

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The letter N.

Good evening and happy Easter to you.

I know you’re taking the time out of your day to read this. For that, I would like to say thank you. It’s a school and work night so I’m going to make this short and sweet because I’m a nice person.

The letter N.

Nice.

Do you know who else is nice on this Easter Sunday? My daughter, Kate.

Emma is ten and Kate is seven. Those two ages bring a lot of new responsibility. They’re becoming independent from Scott and me. They can make their own school lunch. They take their own showers. If I need to run a quick errand, Emma and Kate are good at watching themselves at the house.

They’re still kids. They love the outdoors. When they’re not playing soccer, softball, or gymnastics, they’re outside playing, exploring, pulling each other’s hair out, and tripping each other in the grass.

But with the outdoors brings bugs. Bug bites. Kate, in particular. The bugs love her skin.

Calamine lotion didn’t seem to help the itching on Kate’s legs last night. This morning, I suggested she could try a baking soda and water paste. I said I would make her some after I went to the bathroom.

** KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK. **

Me: What Kate?

Kate: How did you know it was me?

Me: I know your knock. What do you want?

Kate: I made my own baking soda and water paste!

I opened the door.

Me: Let me see. Oh, that’s nice of you! Good job! Now spread that on the bites on your legs. You should feel better.

What a nice kid. She let me go to the bathroom while she made her own bug bite paste. Sure, she decided to annoy me with the bathroom disturbance but overall, it was a nice gesture. A nice start to Easter Sunday.

** KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK. **

Me: Yeah, Kate?

Kate: Open the door.

I opened the door.

Me: What do you need?

Kate: Need some vag cream? I have extra.

She’s here for the next 11 years, folks. Have a nice night.

___________

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