Friday, June 29, 2007

Fingers Crossed

Every so often I scan the job listings on craigslist. I like to keep my eyes open for the perfect opportunity as well as keeping current with the going rates for wages, etc. On the wage front I'm sorely, deeply discouraged when perusing the part-time listings. It seems that finding a professional position with flexible, part time hours that pays more than $10/hr is as rare as finding a photo of a celeb with underwear on. In other words, nearly impossible. The part-time jobs all seem to be entry-level positions that require very little experience or education. The jobs that sound intriguing all seem to be full-time with some travel required. In other words, not family-friendly. What's a mom to do?

My job at the YMCA is essentially minimum wage. I make a whopping $7.80/hr caring for the kids who come to the Child Watch center. I don't keep the job because of the wages, I keep it because it gives me my membership for free as well as discounts on all the programs for the kids. And it's a good thing, because I don't know how ANYONE survives on wages that low. I really don't. (sidenote: recently finished reading the book Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich about this very subject. Very interesting look into the world of minimum wage workers. Recommended.) But for me, I work the least amount of hours possible in order to still be considered an employee and qualify for the discount. That means I work 3-4 hours per week. 1 shift. A ridiculously low amount of hours, I know. But I don't mind because I really don't want to work more than that - not there, at least. It's hard work taking care of kids. That's no surprise. But I really put a lot into making sure the kids have FUN while they're in my care. I get down with them and play. I build towers and color pictures. I read stories. I comfort the kids who are upset. I organize activities. I shoot hoops and work puzzles. I also discipline when it's necessary and praise when it's earned. I also pay attention and find something positive to share with the parents, who always like hearing something good about their child. "Johnny did a really good job sharing the train toys today." I engage. Which, trust me, not every employee does.

But, having said that, I'm not a fan of my job. I'm keeping it for the perks, but without them I'd be outta there. But it would be nice to have some extra money for our household. Earning $35-$43 every 2 weeks isn't exactly contributing enough to make a difference. Shoot, it's not even enough to pay for a whole tank of gas! We're living lean and I'm doing everything I can to save and cut back. No cell phones. No satellite TV and no DVR. I work at the Y to eliminate the membership dues and get the discounts on swimming lessons. We don't really go out to eat. Or to the movies. We're frugal because we have to be. And frankly, it's not always fun. Having more breathing room would sure be nice. But at the same time, I'm not willing to give up being home with the kids at this point. So I keep my eyes open for something that would allow me the opportunity to earn a few extra dollars without putting a big compromise on my family.

I may have found something.

I seem to be a serious contender for a sales and marketing position that is very part-time. And from home. 10-12 hrs per week. FROM HOME - did I already mention that part? And it's not some cheesy telemarketing or customer service, answering ads or data entry job. It's for a small media production company who is ramping up for a new show on cable to compliment their existing syndicated radio show with an internet component. They need help with sponsorship materials, some PR stuff, some sales, etc. Sort of a Jack of All Trades marketing position. It's a bit more admin than I'd like, from what I can tell, but it sounds better than most other work-from-home jobs. My resume bubbled to the top amid over 50 applicants. I was 1 of 8 "finalists", I was told. I had a phone interview and seemed to make the cut. I was asked for a writing sample - a sales pitch for a fictitious product - which I did. It seems it was well received. I've had another brief telephone conversation during which I learned I am going to be e-mailed some actual marketing material and asked for my feedback. After assurances that none of my "work" would be used without my permission should I not be offered, and accept, the job, I'll have this weekend to review, edit and possibly re-write a few pieces. So far, it's looking good.

Of course, there are always catches, right? The biggest is still don't know what the pay will be. It was listed as "negotiable". I believe it would be as an independent contractor, which to me says I would need to earn more per hour than as a company employee as I would need to cover my taxes myself. I don't even know if the pay range I'm thinking of is anywhere close to what this guy is considering. I've already spent two+ hours creating and writing my fictional sales pitch (which was a good mixture of solid business writing with a touch of humor, if I do say so myself. I created a sales pitch for "Pudgie Budgie", a complete, nutritional feeding system for overweight pet birds. Funny, right? But also completely possible and serious.), and now I'm going to invest even more time reviewing and editing more pieces. All without knowing if the pay would be acceptable. The way this guy is talking, it sounds like the job is mine to lose, but you never know. I will be disappointed and frustrated if this doesn't work out. Because a part-time, work-from-home, quasi-professional job? Is rare indeed. And, I could still do my one shift per week at the Y plus this. Without really impacting my family. Perfect, right?

Keep your fingers crossed that this works out and I'm not wasting my time or being taken advantage of. I don't think so, but you just never know. I might be returning, in small baby steps, to the working world. Actually, forget baby steps. That's a huge leap for me. It's been 6 years and I'm getting gun shy.

Funny I should mention guns - this is for a rodeo, ranching, cowboy type of company. Giddyup!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Has anyone seen the movie "Akeelah and the Bee"? It's been out for several years now, but Mr. Chick and I only recently rented it and watched it at home. Very cute, inspirational movie about a young girl, living in the ghetto, who has a gift for words and spelling and makes it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Anyway, one small part of the movie has the game Scrabble in it. Apparently the girls' now-deceased father was a fan of the game, and the kids played it competitively as part of their spelling bee training. I have always loved that game.

I have a fairly decent vocabulary. I attribute that to the fact that I'm always reading. Always. I consume books and there is nary a day when I don't spend some time reading - usually before bed. Mr. Chick also has a good vocabulary, but mine is better. Despite the fact that he holds a J.D. degree and I only have a lowly bachelors, my command of the English language pretty much kicks his ass.

Except he always kicks mine in Scrabble. And this has been a long-standing annoyance to me. I never beat him! Why? Because I can't help myself and try to lay down impressive words that use the most tiles I can, and he plays for points. Points trump cool words every time.

We go on Scrabble kicks where it seems we play often, and then we'll put the game away and not bring it out again for a long time. Right now, we're back to playing. This past week we've played twice. And twice I've beat him! The first beat was only by a single point. One.measly.point. A squeaker, that game. I get all tense and competitive and focused in my efforts to win. After that game, I was exhausted. I'm finally catching on and playing for points, not just to make an obscure word.

But this last game? Last night? Was a resounding victory! I didn't just beat him, I smoked him. He was annihilated! I had him by 19 points and we'd used up every single tile. But what makes my win even sweeter was the fact that in addition to playing strategically and to maximize point values, I managed to eke out a few cool words. Even a legal term, which impressed the hell out of Mr. Chick: usury. On a triple word score, no less. I also managed a triple word play for the first time ever. Sure, I've done a few doubles, but a triple?! That was cause to rub it in a little. I played "cowl" vertically, which built off the "w" in whim (also one of mine). Then I placed a "n" 2 tiles over horizontally from the "L" and under the "i" in whim, which made the word "line" (the "e" was already on the board from another word). And, since the "n" was under the "i", I got the 3rd word, "in". Somewhere in there was a Double Word Score to boot. That play was pure magic and secured my championship status.

Mr. Chick and I rarely challenge each other on words. We don't want to take the risk unless we're sure. Last night I played "nigh" and he almost challenged me, but didn't. Good thing, because "nigh"? Totally in the dictionary. Then he made a cheap play and put a "R" on the end of the existing word "PRICE". "Pricer?" I ask. "Yes! Duh! You know, like a job. Could you play "cook"? yes. Or "checker"? So, "pricer". 12 points. Your turn." I wavered. It sounded fishy to me. Pricer? But at this point I felt sort of bad for him because I was kicking his ass pretty hard and let it slide. Stupid stupid stupid! Pricer? NOT in the dictionary. "Nigh" totally is, btw. I stewed on it all night and pulled out the dictionary this morning to investigate after the fact.

And I promptly had to announce my findings to Mr. Chick as he was in the shower this morning and alert him to his good fortune that I didn't challenge his crappy word and that he was lucky he didn't challenge "nigh" like he almost did, because that word was good as gold.

I'm a good winner like that.

I feel a re-match coming. Soon. I'm not going to get completely obsessive and start studying the dictionary like Akeelah or anything, but now that I've wised up and play to win, it's Game On. Any other Scrabble players out there?

Monday, June 25, 2007

And Now He's 6

Nicholas is 6! Wow. The Big Birthday Weekend is behind us - whew! Overall I'd say his birthday was a big success. One minor glitch, but otherwise it all came together nicely. Mr. Chick and I weren't thinking clearly when we invited some neighbors over for cocktails on Friday night, which meant the kids stayed up later than normal. Usually this would be no big deal - I mean, it's summer! Who cares! Stay up late! Except... it was the night before Nicholas' party, which meant he was excited and woke up early the next morning because OMG! Today's my party! I'm so excited! Who can sleep when my party is today! So... yeah. He was overstimulated and tired which equated to minor meltdown during the party (see "glitch" mentioned above). Kicked off by stubbing his toe in the locker room (after swimming, thank god), which turned his mood sour and morphed him into a whiny 2-yr-old instead of a strapping 6 yr old, who ended up crying when it was time to blow out his candle. But then he rallied and it all ended nicely. And then he napped. Which made the rest of the day tolerable for the rest of us.

The next day, Sunday, was his actual birthday. And because he
was now rested with the excitement of the party behind him, the day was a really, really good one. Mr. Chick let him decide what to have for breakfast and donuts were quickly decided upon. He took the kids to the local favorite donut shop while I wrapped his presents. Then I took Lauren with me to hang with some friends while Mr. Chick and Nicholas went strawberry picking. Fun for us all. Then I took the kids to Red Robin for a special birthday lunch which Mr. Chick went to the gym. Nicholas worked very hard reading 10 books and listing them on a Red Robin-sponsored reading list which then gives the child a free Kid Meal when it's completed. Nicholas was so excited to get his free meal for reading those books! He even went online to the Red Robin website to read the Kid's Menu and decide in advance what he was going to order for his lunch (spaghetti, in case you were wondering). And because it was his birthday he got a free sundae and several waiters sang to him. And balloon. Always balloons. He was in heaven.

That evening we had some family over for a BBQ to celebrate. Mr. Chick grilled up some steaks while my kids
played with their cousins. Once everyone had arrived we let Nicholas open The Big Gift: his Gameboy. Talk about excitement - ! He was over the moon when he saw what the package contained. Squeals of delight bubbled out of him and he couldn't rip into that package fast enough. And good news! The Gameboy was already charged up and ready to play! Like, now! Nicholas sat down immediately and started playing it like a pro. After dinner he got to open the rest of his gifts. Man, what a fortunate kid. Any concern I had about cheating him of gifts by doing a gift exchange at his party? Gone. He got PLENTY of gifts - no worries. In addition to the GameBoy from us he got 5 games and a backpack carrier from his Opa. That should keep him occupied for a long, long, LONG time. From my sister he got a new bike helmet and bell. From Mr. Chick's mother he received a kid digital camera (the toy one she gave him at Christmas has already crapped out. This one is better.) From another aunt he got a cool puzzle. From his Opa's wife he got....wait for it..... a huge Easy Bake oven. Yes, Nicholas has been wanting an Easy Bake for almost as long as he's wanted a GameBoy. And didya know it makes REAL food!? That kids can make! By themselves! Like, right now! That thing came with all the tools and gear and packets of powdered mixes to make Nicholas' head spin. He immediately decided he wanted to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and my sister helped him set up. They plugged in, preheated, mixed and baked with Nicholas assuming the Head Chef spot. And those 4 teeny, tiny cookies were delicious, let me tell you. He ate one, split one for the two little girls (Lauren and cousin Elizabeth), and then gave one each to his boy-cousins. He'd put the cookies on a plate and handed them out like they were expensive crudites or caviar meant to be savored. I was cracking up at just how serious he was about the whole thing. And right now, this very minute, he and Lauren are downstairs doing their very best to cook up a batch of macaroni and cheese in the Easy Bake oven for their morning snack. They keep coming up here (or rather, should I say, Lauren keeps coming up here, sent on various errands by Nicholas the Boss, to get my help in acquiring such things as a mixing bowl or the 1/3 measuring cup or requests for cooking spray). He can't decide what to do first: play the Gameboy or cook something. He'll probably play the GameBoy AS he cooks something. And all before 10am. Aren't birthdays great?!?! Even Lauren picked up a few gifts as generous relatives didn't want to leave her out despite the fact that the day had nothing to do with her. She got an adorable Little Mermaid CD player and new CD to play in it, complete with headphones. Plus a new Dora puzzle, which she took no time to put together and master in seconds - all 24 pieces.

And now for the visuals:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

And So It Begins

Summer, that is. It's here and we're still adjusting. First at bat: swimming lessons. I've signed the kids up for swimming lessons the first two weeks of summer. They go everyday for 2 weeks. Sort of an intense, immersion style as opposed to what we did before, which was twice a week for a month or so. This will be Day 4, and so far it's going well. Nicholas is *almost* over his disappointment that he has to repeat his level, Starfish, strictly due to his age. You see, Starfish is the top level for kids 3-5 yrs. He passed Starfish after the last session, but because he wasn't 6 when this round of lessons started (his birthday is exactly halfway through the session - this Sunday - but that wasn't close enough for the schedule nazi at our Y. That would be my boss, by the way....) they wouldn't let me enroll him in the next higher level. Lauren, on the other hand, also passed her level last time and has progressed from Pike to Eel. The fact that SHE got enrolled in the higher level when he did not pissed him off to no end. I've had to endure numerous rounds of "no fair!" and "why does SHE get to move up and I don't??" leading up to the start of swimming lessons.

But then they started, and all was OK in the pool. New teachers, you see, who do things differently. And therefore, teach different stuff. For as much as I like my YMCA, I notice rather large differences in what is taught in various classes depending on the teacher. And what's more, there seems to be no standardization or training of the instructors, really. So, what is deemed "starfish" level by one teacher is not even close to what another teacher might decide is appropriate Starfish swimming. The teacher Nicholas has this time is really working with him on technique, and that's a good thing. She's been focusing on back stroke and using the floating "noodles" to really get the kids to work on their arms and/or kicks. I'm noticing big improvements already, despite the fact that Nicholas technically passed this level last time. And Lauren, who is just happy to be in the water, is working hard, too. I wasn't sure she was really ready for Eel, but Pike was all full through July, so Eel it is! She's keeping up, mostly, and having fun. Thankfully, she has no fear of the water and will willingly put her face (and whole head) in the water and come back up smiling. It's her cheerful temperament that sees her through life. If you were to ask Lauren if she can swim she'll immediately answer, "yes, I can! Except in the deep water. You need to hold my hand in the deep water." Her goal is to be able to slide down the slide into the deep water and swim to the side of the pool, just like Nicholas.

And speaking of swimming, Nicholas is having a swimming party for his 6th birthday. The festivities are on Saturday. He's beside himself with excitement. He counts down the number of days until his party, and the number of days until we can make his cake. He's like a little yappy dog that can't sit still and bounces all around your legs. Because we're having a "big" party for him (i.e. he got to invite more friends that the number of years old he's turning) I made an executive decision that he's not happy about. There will be 8 friends coming to his party, plus his sister. I feel that that's just too many presents when you factor in all the family gifts he'll be getting as well. Gluttonous. A ridiculous amounts of gifts. And so, on his invitation, I said that instead of bringing a gift just for Nicholas, please bring something small and unisex (under $10) for a gift exchange game with all the kids. That way, every kid will get a semi-decent gift, we'll have a fun activity, and Nicholas will still get one "friend" present. And, I won't have to do gift bags for all the kids, which I personally hate. I really hate gift bags and all the cheap crap they contain. I don't like that junk in the house and feel it's a huge waste of money.

But Nicholas isn't as sold on the gift exchange idea as I am (and most of the other parents). We recently attended a party for some twins in his class. They went to a very popular party place and there were 24 kids in attendance. 24. For twins. Which meant twice as many gifts. It was so over-the-top! There were nearly 50 gifts that had to be opened. Nicholas' eyes about bulged out of his head at the sight of it all. Seeing all that made him whine and moan even harder about only getting one friend gift when these two friends got so many - each! I just don't think my child needs that kind of quantity - each item then loses it's specialness and value. I'd rather he remember each gift he receives and focus on enjoying his friends' company at the party instead of all the gifts. And what Nicholas doesn't know is that Mr. Chick and I have caved completely and gotten him a GameBoy for his birthday. His grandfather is getting credit for getting him 5 games (he sent me a check and I went shopping on his behalf). Everything is reconditioned, but in beautiful shape that you'd never know it wasn't brand new. He's been wanting a handheld game for literally years. He's sort of outgrowing the child watch center at the YMCA, and he could bring his game along with him when we go there. Also, in the car on trips. And, my only rationale, is that by giving him the GameBoy I also reserve the right to take away the GameBoy if he misbehaves. THAT'S one helluva bargaining chip. So Nicholas will be having a smashing birthday, even if his mother is being stingy and only letting him receive one measly friend gift instead of 8.

What do you think? Is my gift exchange idea mean and cruel, or do you agree that it's one way of reigning in the gluttony. Am I being a buzz-kill, or teaching an appropriate values lesson?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Last Day!

Today was the last day of school for Nicholas. They had a little graduation ceremony in his classroom, which was adorable. The kids sang some songs and each stood up and told everyone their favorite Kindergarten memory. Nicholas said his was the Valentine's day party. What can I say? He's a lover, not a fighter. They showed a slide show of various pictures that were taken of the kids throughout the year - it was very nicely done. Lauren was in more than a few of the pictures - honorary kindergartener that she (thinks) she is (she was able to come with me each time I voluteered in the classroom). Each of the kids were presented with "diplomas" and told they were ready for First Grade. Nicholas is pretty excited to be a First Grader because that is a Big Deal. I'm pretty excited, too, because now he'll attend school ALL DAY. We're both ready for that.

At the little party Nicholas asked me to take several pictures of him with some of his friends. I hope he remembers each of them as the years go by. It was a very good year for him and he made many nice friends. We have no idea yet who will be in his first grade class with him, but I hope that at least a few of his closer friends will be in his class. There are a few friendships I'd like to see continue into next year and beyond. Good kids.

The school sent home the various testing they'd done with the kids throughout the year. I'd seen most of it at one time or another. I was happy to see good progress with reading and writing this year. Spelling is not a strong suit of Nicholas' but I hope it will come in time. He seems to do well with math, but I don't think it was very emphasized in kindergarten. Very, very simple math was touched on. I worked with him on math at home and he's learned more from my rudimentary lessons than anything he got from school. But I think reading is where he really excelled, which makes me so happy. He's always been a strong reader, and it was something his teacher continued to work with him on and gave him increasingly difficult reading and writing assignments throughout the year. I noticed on one of the more recent reading assessments that he's reading at a 3rd-4th grade level already. Chapter books are what he prefers now, and he's reading silently to himself before bed each night. I love it! HE pushed ME to get him signed up for the Summer Reading Program through our local library and set a lofty goal for himself: 12 chapter books. I'm very proud of him.

Now, we just have to make it through the summer in one piece.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

NOT My Idea of Resort Living

This past weekend was the first of two family graduations. This one was a high school graduation, and next weekend will be a college graduation. Very exciting and worthy celebrations for two of Mr. Chick's cousins.

For this first one, we had to travel, by car, nearly 5 hours to our destination. And while there is a certain part of me that loathes the idea of plying children with even MORE mind-numbing pursuits (aka portable DVD machine with car adapter!), the bigger part of me who appreciates a smooth car ride with young children wants to adopt that technology and make it mine, or perhaps make mad, passionate love to it. We rolled into town around 4pm, all just a little restless and stir-crazy from the drive.

My father-in-law lives in this town. It's a small-ish town (city? is it officially a city?) that is home to a large number of Mr. Chick's extended family. He has many aunts, uncles and cousins living there. Thankfully, he's not from there himself and therefore has no desire to ever call it home. One bright spot in this hell-hole is a nice resort. They are attempting to make it a "destination resort" in that it has a pretty nice Arnold Palmer-designed golf course. There are lots you can buy and build your dream home as well as a nice hotel and spa. My father-in-law booked us a room in this hotel.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner, went swimming, and made s'mores (courtesy of the hotel - all-you-can-eat s'mores for $1 per person!), and then figured it was time to get the kids down to bed. Let the fun and games commence!

We had a room with 2 queen beds. The kids staked out the "kids bed" right away and claimed their respective sides with their blankies. Jammies were unpacked and teeth were brushed. It was about 8:30pm. The kids got into bed and immediately started fussing about each other. "he's touching me!" and "gimme back my blankie!" and the like. Mr. Chick and I wordlessly and mutually decided on the Ignore Them strategy, thinking it best not to feed the flames. Plus, too, we were both enthralled with the various home renovation shows they have on cable and didn't want to risk missing the big reveal or any of the various dramas that inevitably happen when one is trying to flip that house in under 4 weeks time. But the TV was proving to be a distraction for our now very over-tired children, so we switched to Divide and Conquer. I brought Lauren into bed with me and Mr. Chick moved over to the other bed with Nicholas. Girls and boys, separated. This worked for Nicholas, who fell asleep soon afterwards. Lauren, however, my stubborn girl-child, was unwilling to allow herself to sleep and was instead trying to engage me in peek-a-boo and other fun games. Eventually, though, she crashed and Mr. Chick moved her back to the kids bed. By now I was almost asleep myself and all seemed well with the world.


2:30am and I'm jolted awake by the sound of the door opening. This freaked me out as I immediately wondered who in the hell could be coming into my room??!! It took me a second to realize that Mr. Chick was not next to me in bed and it was him, in fact, who was coming back into the room. But the adrenaline shot to my system now had me wide awake. And I was not happy about it. It seems his allergies were bad and Mr. Chick woke up from them and needed to go get some meds from our car. The leaving didn't wake me, but the coming back in sure did. And then, wouldn't you know, *my* allergies seemed annoyingly present so I took a pill as well. I was just getting re-settled into my bed, preparing to go right back to sleep as it wasn't yet 3am, when Mr. Chick, no shit, turned the television on. What the - ??! "sorry babe, I can't sleep." Well, um, now *I* can't sleep, either, with the flicking light of that screen illuminating the dark. And you'd better hope it doesn't wake up the kids or you will be very sorry, mister. As luck would have it, it was yet another home re-do show (are those things on 24/7??) so we laid in bed, in the middle of the godforsaken night, watching TV. NOW I know why we don't have a TV in our room at home. It took me at least an hour to drift off to sleep again.

Fast forward less than 3 measly hours to 6:30am and Nicholas, who has no sense of his own volume, announcing he's awake which means we need to call Opa RIGHT.NOW. and tell him we're ready for breakfast. Um, HELL NO, kid - go back to sleep! Sadly, this strategy doesn't work on him anymore so we allowed cartoons on low, low, LOW volume. But just like the night before, the two of them started getting into it over who would sit where, who was blocking the view, and who was touching whom. God. My eyes, they were scratchy from fatigue. We all went swimming before breakfast, hoping the water would revive us all. It helped - some.

The day of graduation was nice and it was good to see the various relatives we don't get to see very often. That family, being so large, spans the entire socio-economic scale. There are those who didn't do much with their lives and flirted with disaster and criminal activity, to high school drop-outs, to successful, country-club types living large and getting their boobs done. It's an interesting experience to get all of them in one room.

And we'll do it again next weekend at the 2nd graduation. The only saving grace in that scenario is that we can drive down and back in one day and don't have to endure another night in a hotel with the kids. I don't think I'd survive it. I sure as hell know they wouldn't - I'd end up killing them first.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Our Inner White Trash

Lauren, my stubborn, charming 3.5 yr old daughter, had me in giggles the other day. You see, we've been having a week of very warm temperatures (80's and 90's) and earlier this week we went to the big fountain in our community to cool off. Afterwards, back at home, the kids weren't ready to call it quits with water-play so I set up the sprinkler in the backyard for them. Lauren, already dry from the fountain, decided she needed to change her clothes and take off her swimsuit. In the middle of this clothing change she heard her brother squealing with delight in the sprinkler and abandoned her clothing change efforts in order to immediately participate in the sprinkler. So this is how she ended up: ratty striped t-shirt, a current fave of hers that I can't stand anymore, thick training panties pulled from the back of her drawer, and rain boots.

Say it with me: white trash! Could she look more ghetto? But adorable white trash, if I do say so myself. When I caught sight of her I started laughing and j
ust had to grab my camera to capture this look. I figure I can blackmail her with these photos in the coming years. Won't her future boyfriends get a kick out of them?

On a separate note, but still Lauren-related, I took her to get her hair trimmed for the summer. Just a trim. I asked for an inch or so be taken off and bring her length back to chin level. Well, the lady must have gotten a bit carried away because she ended up taking closer to 2 inches off, bringing her length to just past mid-cheek (a very short bob - barely any length past her hairline in back), and she hacked her bangs so short! OMG! I usually like her bangs to be just above her eyebrows, not mid-forehead! This new 'do makes her face look even rounder and chubbier than it is. I'm not wild about it. But, it's just hair and the shortness will be fine for summer. But it's taking some getting used to, that's for sure. I don't think Lauren notices or even cares - when I asked her about getting her hair cut she said, "sure, like a boys!" She'd like nothing more than to have her hair look like Nicholas'. I like her hair on the shorter side, but that's a bit too short, even for me. I know she's a tomboy, but I want to retain just a little bit of girlie in her. Can't help it.

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