Memory Lane: The Boogeyman

As a child, I was a voracious reader. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on, including some material that probably wasn’t 100% age appropriate.

Enter Stephen King.

My father worked with a woman who raved about King, and so he brought home King’s novel Firestarter.

I was 12.

I was also a faster reader than my father.


I don’t remember if I read Christine or The Shining next. But I do know after the second novel, I decided to read his short story collection Night Shift.

To date, Night Shift contains the single scariest thing I have ever read in my entire life. It’s a slight little story called “The Boogeyman”. To date, I have not re-read this story. Just reading the Wikipedia entry was enough to give me chills and remind me how scared I was after I finished the story.

How scared was I? I’ll tell you.


“The Boogeyman” takes place in a psychiatrist’s office. In it, a man is telling the psychiatrist his story, trying to determine if he’s crazy. The man has lost his three children, who died under terrifying and mysterious conditions. In each case, closet doors are repeatedly left open — just a crack — even when the man swears he makes sure they are closed each night.

As a mother, just thinking about this story strikes fresh fear into my heart.

The whole story is scary as hell, especially if you’re 12–13, and just getting over your fear of the dark in the first place. King, even in 1978, when Night Shift was originally published, was a master of vividly capturing in words common nightmares. And “The Boogeyman” is nothing less than nightmarish. (I recently read his latest collection, Full Dark, No Stars, and I assure you, King is still very much a master.)


The night after I finished that story, I went over M’s house for a sleepover. As we were getting settled in her room, I noticed her closet was open.

Just a crack.

I went over and tried to close it all the way.

“Oh,” M said, “that’s stuck. It won’t close all the way.”

On the surface, I kept my cool. But my heart rate jumped, and the rational side of my brain began what was to be an all-night argument with the non-rational side of my brain. “It was just a story.” “What if the boogeyman’s in there?”

M had a walk in closet/storage place. Anything could be lurking back there.

In my memory, I stayed up all night, long after my friends had fallen asleep, staring at the closet door that was open. Just a crack. Terrified that something was going to reach out with a scaly, taloned hand, throw it open, and drive me insane before tearing out my throat.

Yeah, I was an imaginative kid.


Fast forward to present day. Every night before I go to bed — Every.Single.Night — I go around my house and make sure each and every closet door is closed all the way. Kids’ bedrooms, pantry, coat closet, linen closet, our bedroom. Sometimes, when Dan feels like screwing around with me, he goes around opening closet doors.

Funny guy.

No matter where we’re sleeping — my parents’ room, a hotel room, whatever — I close all the closet doors at night. I cannot stand open closet doors. Even just a crack. Rationally, I know the boogeyman doesn’t exist.

There’s something psychological to my rounds of closet closing, I know. A demonstration of the wish to have control. It’s what King’s story is about. It’s the story of a man who is trying to convince himself that he is mad, because the big bad monster — the one who seemingly killed his children — can’t exist in the rational world. That madness, the darkness in the closet of one’s mind, is far preferable to monsters behind masks.

So think about that today. And have a Happy Halloween!

What’s the scariest book or story you ever read? What do you do to feel safe at night & keep the boogeyman at bay?

What a Mom Looks Like

The other day, Dan made a crack about the outfit I was wearing. He didn’t mean to be mean, but it made me cranky.

I’m a little self conscious sometimes about what I wear. It’s a combination of a lot of things:

1. Dressing for comfort: While there is nothing wrong with dressing for comfort, it doesn’t necessarily mean dressing well. On the weekends, I can rock the jeans and a hoodie, but it’s very easy to get in a rut. I find myself Saturday after Saturday in the same damn outfit (unless I’m going out socially, not just running to Target with the passel of children I’ve produced). For the record, it’s usually a Steelers hoodie with jeans and a white tee shirt. Ballet flats if it’s dry; wellies if it’s not.

I don’t like ruts.

2. Buying clothes. I’ve talked about it before: I don’t shop often, and I often don’t shop well. I’m trying to get better. I’m trying not to just buy things that are “close enough” to fitting me. Because those clothes look the absolute worst on me once I’ve got them home. Especially pants. The crack Dan made was about a new pair of black pants I had bought. When I combine them with my black boots, they end up looking like jodhpurs. All I need is a horse. It’s awful.

Now that I think about it, these pants look terrible with almost everything I’ve paired them with. Why did I buy these again? Oh, right, needed new black pants. They weren’t expensive, and they were “close enough”. See where that gets me?

3. Dressing for comfort at work. My workplace is business casual; Fridays are jeans day. Some days I just don’t feel like putting in an effort, so I end up in comfortable clothing that fits business casual, but doesn’t really look all that good or fashionable. For example, I have a very pretty sweater in pastel colors (and, no, I’m generally not a pastel kind of girl, but it was a gift). The cut is wrong for me, though, much too boxy. I threw it on one morning with my white denim pants. It was a perfectly acceptable outfit, and I got many a compliment on the sweater.

However, I did not like the outfit. It *felt* good — i.e. it was comfortable — but I seriously did not like my image in the mirror.

I looked like a mom.

Now, before moms go nuclear on me: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH LOOKING LIKE A MOM. I *am* a mom (something Dan pointed out to me when I took him to task for his crack about going riding the other day), but that doesn’t mean I want to fit the image of a mom all the time.

Maybe I’ve watched too much What Not to Wear.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to look like a MILF (er, MSWLF where SW = “someone would”?) or shop in the junior department. (Dad, please, *please* do not google MILF). But I also don’t want to be looked at and dismissed as a mom because of my clothes. (If I am looked at and dismissed as a mom because I’m wrangling my children in public, that’s more understandable.) I want to look well-dressed and put together, not like I’m either coming straight from the runway or I’ve escaped from my house by the skin of my teeth (even if the latter sometimes feels true). I also truly believe that you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort or vice versa. But it takes work to find the balance.

This is one of my favorite new comfortable, stylish (I think) outfits. I better go find some more like it, otherwise, I’m just going to wear this all the time. I seriously love it. I look good and I feel comfortable — and I feel that I look good. That’s the best part.

How do you dress? What’s more important, style or comfort? Are they mutually exclusive, or do I just have to do more legwork? So to speak.

Project: Food Budget 2.0: Week 4

Food Budget Piggybank

I am off to a rocking start!

Of course it helps that I started with a fully stocked larder and refrigerator.

My first goal this week was to spend under $50, including meals out.
My second goal this week was to use stuff up.

We did well on both counts, though not perfect, as we went over by $12.91.

Snacks and drinks at Patrick’s Moon Township: $21.42
Grocery shopping: $29.24
Farmers market: $12.25, for apples, apple cider, a butternut squash, sweet peppers, four garlic bulbs
Total: $62.91

What I made in my kitchen: guacamole, lentil soup, applesauce and apple muffins, marinara sauce, beet and feta salad. We had a friend in from out of town, and although we talked about ordering a pizza on Saturday, when I looked in my refrigerator, I decided against it. Instead, we had veggie chili burritos, salad, and the aforementioned beet salad. Sunday we had lentil soup and grilled cheese for lunch.

This week I have to use two small eggplants, whatever is in my CSA box (pickup is Thursday evening), potatoes, a ton of carrots, butternut squash, the rest of that marinara sauce.

I had to throw out half a head of cauliflower. I tried really hard to get over the slug I discovered on it — it comes directly from a farm, after all — and I couldn’t do it.

Recipe ideas:
Carrot soup
Eggplant parmesan
Strawberry and banana muffins

Next week’s goals:
Grocery budget (not including formula): $125
Formula: $25
Costco food budget: $100

Let’s go see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* What da Health?
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Ignition Nutrition
* A Nice Heart and a White Suit
* Because Hobbies Happen
* Primary Focus Health Coaching
* Chicken Tender
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Whole Living Gal
* Chandeleah

Another Version of That Mom

Among many of the things I am generally opposed to as a parent is doing my children’s homework for them. Yes, I am present. I encourage, I instruct, I check Flora’s work. But she does it.

Except for last night when I did Flora’s homework for her.

Before we left for North Carolina, Flora came home with a paper about making a rosary. (Ah, Catholic school.) It was due the Friday that we were going to be out of town.

I forgot about it.

Yesterday, a little politely worded post-it note came home on Flora’s school folder.

“10-24-2011 Flora needs a rosary. This is the third reminder.”


Flora: “I was so embarrassed that I had to borrow a rosary from Miss B!”

Oh, dear.

I had no idea they were using the rosary. For the record, this was the first reminder I remember getting, although when I mentioned it to Dan, he said, “Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you about that.”

Plenty of guilt to go around.

Last night was the usual craziness. Trying to sit down one-on-one with Flora to string beads was a futile mess. She did her math homework. She wrote her vocabulary words on index cards. By the time I got Michael in bed, and we found beads, string, and I figured out how to get the beads on the string (the yarn was too wide for the holes in the beads; stringing the bead involved tying thread to the end of the yarn, and pulling the yarn through the beads that way), it was 8:20. Plus, Kate was hanging over me like a shawl.

I sent the girls to bed. Flora cried. “I’m supposed to help you with the rosary!”

“I know,” I told her. “I know. You did help. We counted out all the beads and you drew the cross. I think it’s more important that you have a rosary to take to school tomorrow than I let you stay up extra late to help.”

Reasoning with a soon-to-be 7-year-old is not very effective. In case you didn’t already know that.

Between making the rosary and various and sundry other PITA activities (trying to cancel a lost debit card, finding a puddle of water under my clothes washer, cleaning the kitchen — which never did get done), it was 11:15 before I went to bed. I’m not proud about having done the rosary for Flora, but other options seemed more unpalatabale to me.

What would you’ve done? More importantly, how do I keep from having to do this type of thing again?

Meatless Monday: Apples to Applesauce

Until this weekend, I had a lot of apples sitting around my kitchen.

Having fruit just hanging around my house is highly unusual. We all like to eat fruit, and apples are a favorite of the girls. The apples I get from my CSA leave much to be desired from a cosmetic standpoint. They aren’t grocery-pretty: they are bumpy, and lumpy, and splotchy. Sweet inside, but with a facade that is hard to get past when you are used to acres and acres of shiny happy produce.

An additional problem is that apples are hard to pack in lunches. The girls eat more of an apple if it is sliced than if it is whole. A sliced apple is just going to brown in a lunch bag unless (apparently) lemon juice and rubber bands are used. Please, I barely have time to pack lunches. Plus, with Flora losing a tooth every other day, a sliced apple is just easier to eat. (I refuse to peel apples for my girls’ consumption, though.)

So: about 30 apples sitting on my counter, splotchy and going soft. Apples for eating should be crisp and juicy, and these apples were past their prime in that regard. Some apples I did have to toss due to brown, rotten spots or clear insect invasion. But many of them were fine, just unpretty.

I bet I could make applesauce from those apples, I told myself.

Now some people would have that thought, and just throw a bunch of apples in a pot or slow cooker and see what happened. Not me, I have to ask the Internet and find a recipe.

My query on Twitter for an applesauce recipe got a lot of responses, and that was where I was originally pointed toward a slow cooker. A follow up question (“Do I really have to peel all these apples?”) got a similar rate of response. (“YES!”) I also found a recipe in my vegetarian slow cooker book. (Der, should’ve looked there first.)

Adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker and every recipe that was emailed my way

3 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and cut up
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
juice from one lemon
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Throw everything in a slow cooker, and turn it on low for five to six hours. I used an immersion blender (I love that thing) to turn the soft, cooked apples into sauce. Let cool. Spoon into a jar.

It’s heavenly.

I gave Dan a taste. He wanted more. I gave him a bowl. He loved it. (Kate, also, LOVED IT.)

“What’s in this?” he demanded.
“Apples, water, brown sugar, and cinnamon,” I said.
“You’re lying. Nothing that tastes this good doesn’t have something in it that’s bad for me.”
“Okay. I’m lying.” I did forget to tell him about the lemon juice.
“I think I should take this jar to my office,” he said. “To protect everyone.” He’s a giver, that one.


Even after using three pounds of apples (about 12 medium and small apples), I still had 8 left over. So I peeled some more, chopped them up, and threw them in my trusty muffin recipe (one substitution of note: instead of vanilla extract, I used caramel-flavored extract, a whole teaspoon). The girls ate the peeled apples I didn’t use.

Kate helped me with the muffins, and she was quite critical of the result.

“These are pretty good,” she said, eating a still-warm muffin. “Pretty good. Next time, we should use bananas.”

Next Sunday’s muffins will be banana strawberry (I have a few cups of strawberries in my freezer). I am quite excited. So is Kate.

Random Thoughts: Are the Kids All Right?

Homework is an issue. It’s an issue for a number of reasons:

1. Flora doesn’t have the longest attention span.
2. Flora’s attention span is further hampered by the fact that so many other things are going on while I am trying to get her to do her homework.
3. My kitchen table has too much crap on it that’s not related to homework.
4. She doesn’t really have enough time to do her homework. Or we’re not using our time effectively. Or something

The combination of all of the above is making homework difficult. I’m still figuring this out.

If I just got home an hour earlier I think the issues would go away. But I don’t know. Evenings are 3-on-1. Trying to get 1-on-1 with Flora to help her with homework (she’s not yet a self-starter, as you can imagine. She’s 6!) means turning on the TV for Kate, holding Michael or letting Michael explore the front room while I keep one eye on him (so that’s not really 1-on-1 right there is it?), or giving Kate “homework” and still holding Michael/keeping an eye on him.

Anyway. I just feel it’s not going well. Her homework should take about 15 minutes, 30 max, and instead it’s like pulling teeth until night time treat/bath/bedtime. Hers AND mine.

Thank goodness she’s smart.


Michael is making more noise. Along with the “dadada” that’s been in his verbal repertoire for a while now, he is also (finally!) saying “mamama” and “bababa”. He also says, “hhaaii” whenever I say Hi to him after not seeing him for awhile (i.e. when I pick him up from daycare). It’s super cute.

He’s also discovered yelling. He will sit in his high chair at dinner time and shout! The girls only encourage it. Dinner time is pretty noisy.

He likes drinking water from a sippy cup, but he refuses to hold it himself — same with his bottle. Loves his bottle and snuggling with mommy, and there’s no way he’s giving that up to hold the bottle himself. No thank you very much.

He will stand on his own, but he hasn’t taken an unsupported step just yet. I’m equal parts excited for him to start walking and dreading it. Any parent of more than one child understands this feeling. Heck, parents of one child probably understand it too, but maybe with a little less dread. I don’t know. I remember being SUPER EXCITED when Flora started walking, and super stressed when Kate did.

And he climbs on or up everything: stairs, the couch, any box or toy he can get under his feet; he stands in his high chair looking for the next step up.


Speaking of Kate, she has become my shadow. She follows me from room to room, and she always wants *me* to take her to school or daycare. She is definitely having middle-child syndrome and also still adjusting to life with Michael. I really need to get some one-on-one time with her soon.

She is still not sleeping in her own bed, either sleeping with Flora or me and Dan. I’ve given up on this for now. Sleep is too vital for me to be fighting with her in the middle of the night.

The other morning she said to me, “What do you do when you have a nightmare?” I said, “I cuddle with Daddy.” She nodded her little head. “If I was you and I had a nightmare, I’d snuggle with Daddy, too.”


In my ideal world I would:
1. Get home with the kids at least an hour earlier.
2. Sign Flora up for bowling on Sunday, and Dan would take her, and Kate and I would spend those two hours on Sunday baking (Michael would be napping, of course).
3. And while I’m at it, I’d have a fabulous part-time job that I loved and/or be a millionaire. Or both.

What is your fondest wish to make your life — as it is now — easier?

Project Food Budget 2.0: Getting Started

Food Budget Piggybank

I’ve signed on to a project that started with Emily Levenson at the {Custom Made} blog. A number of other bloggers are on board, too, and I’ll be linking to them at the end.

The project started Oct. 6, but since I was in the midst of planning for and traveling to my sister’s wedding, Emily gave me a pass and told me to start when I could.

That’s today.

At this point, I do not have a dollar amount that I am trying to buy to, but I plan to develop one over the next few weeks. (This is a year-long exercise.)

As well as reining in the Food Budget for the RPM household, I have some other goals I want to meet.

1. Cook more. As a mom of three who works full time, cooking meals every night of the week is simply out of my ability. However, I do want to cook more on the weekend, with the intention of serving leftovers during the week.

2. Use everything. Part of cooking more is using everything I buy. No more rotten vegetables or fruit to toss; no more moldy leftovers; no more “extra” cans of stuff (or dried goods) in my pantry.

3. Shopping better. I need to make better shopping lists, and pay more attention to what I already have to hand before I send my husband to the store. (I make meal plans and lists; he usually does the shopping. God bless that man.)

4. Bake more. I’m tired of buying “night time treats” for my children, or packing lunches full of pre-packaged goodies. I really need to find the benefits of using my oven.

5. Helping my husband lose weight. I am going to shop, cook, and bake in such a way that my husband will eat more healthfully, learn about appropriate portions, and be satisfied with homemade food and packed lunches.

I’ve been looking at many of the other blogs participating in this project. My household of five includes four ovo-lacto vegetarians, and one omnivore (my husband), with (knock on wood) no known food allergies. Along with my husband Dan (age, 42; weight, undisclosed, but on the heavy side) and myself (age, 41; weight about 130 pounds — we don’t own a scale), I prepare meals for Flora (6, about 48 pounds), Kate (4, about 40 pounds), and Michael (10 months, about 20 pounds).

Here are some things to know about my shopping and cooking habits:

1. I lean heavily on what I refer to as meat analogs, primarily from Morning Star Farms, Yves, and Quorn. I have to examine this in the weeks to come.

2. We belong to a CSA, Krestchmann Farms. We divide our standard share with my SIL. I also shop weekly at my local farmers market, primarily because it’s in the parking lot of Kate’s daycare on Mondays. My kids LOVE it.

3. There are some foods that I don’t buy: pasta sauce and lentil soup, for example. Although it takes time to cook these things, it’s much more preferable to me and to my family that I make them fresh from scratch.

4. We seldom shop weekly, more like every two weeks. We shop at Market District and Costco.

5. I use coupons as often as I can. It’s tough, because aside from the frozen “meats” I buy, we don’t buy a lot of processed food.

6. I obviously have to buy special stuff for the baby (Stage 3 foods, formula). As this project continues, that will slowly be phased out, and I expect my budget to drop accordingly. Formula is expensive, yo! I can’t wait to start weaning him to whole milk from a sippy cup rather than formula from a bottle.

7. The children and I seldom dine out. Dan, on the other hand, often grabs lunch out (I have a work cafeteria that offers free lunch, and I bring leftovers often). I will have to show him the tally of his purchases, and maybe help him rein it in. We’ve talked about it, but I don’t think we’ve seen it in black and white, so to speak.

I think that sums it up! Let’s just go to last week’s expenditures, and work from there.

Eating out total (wow, this is low this week. Dan must not have eaten out!) = $27.07
Thursday’s CSA box: cauliflower, apples, acorn squash, tomatoes, broccoli, green beans, potatoes, CSA cheeses (I am paid up on the CSA for the year. Including the annual deposit, one or two “winter” boxes, and cheese and coffee, it’s about $900 a year — which breaks down to about $32 a week for 28 weeks)
Sunday, trip to Market District: $179.51. (This was a small shopping trip — our usual amount for a big trip can be over $400.)
Sunday, trip to Costco (food total only): $217.89
Monday, farmers market: $16 (2 carving pumpkins, beets, green beans, and sweet peppers)

Other participants:

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* What da Health?
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Ignition Nutrition
* A Nice Heart and a White Suit
* Because Hobbies Happen
* Primary Focus Health Coaching
* Chicken Tender
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Whole Living Gal

Tentative weekend cooking (and tentative menu):
Marinara sauce
Lentil soup (for Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwich night)
Crockpot Applesauce
Beets (for Beet and Feta salad)

Speaking a Different Language

On vacation, Dan told me this:

“Flora asked me what romantic meant.”
“And you said…?”
“Romantic means being alone and reading a good book.”

The first time he told me that, I laughed because I thought he was joking. But the third time he repeated it (telling various family members), something occurred to me.

“Wait a minute,” I said, “Did you really tell her that?”
“Yep. She asked me what a date was, too.”
“Did you tell her it was reading books with someone else?”

I know that my husband thinks I give my children, especially the endlessly curious Flora, too many honest answers — and he may have a point. But, really, telling her a complete fabrication seems futile.

If Flora had asked me what romantic means, I would have told her that it means a special feeling between a boy and a girl (or a man and a woman — and no, not to discriminate against homosexuals, just to keep it simple for now). And that a date is special time that two people have together to enjoy each other’s company.

Maybe another father of girls can tell me where my husband is coming from here, because I strongly suspect his fear of his “little girls” becoming women motivated his definition of romantic. What do you think?

Are you honest (and age appropriate) with your kids? Do you put them off for when they are older? Or do you just make stuff up for now?


All great stories start the same way…

…Once upon a time, two young people went to prom.
They didn’t go together, per se, but
they went to the same prom at the same time.

We have a picture to prove it.

Time knows its business.
Time bides.
Time passes.

Love recognizes its home.

That’s why when good couples are asked, “How did you know?”
they shrug, they say simply, “We just knew.”

S and K are a good couple.

I can’t speak to S’s experience, but I know that K’s road has been long, and it hasn’t always been easy, and at times, it has been unbelievably dark.

Time knows its business, and it grew those two young people who didn’t go to prom together into the couple we celebrate today.

I believe today is a testament to the endurance of faith and the power of love.

Time, and God, and faith
Time and faith and love
not just inside of and between K and S,
but the faith and love of the people they have been surrounded by, the people they have surrounded themselves with.

Time and faith and love
have brought us here today
18 years after that prom
to celebrate the beginning of S and K’s new life together.

Your Hands
[by Pablo Neruda]

When your hands go out,
love, toward mine,
what do they bring me flying?
Why did they stop
at my mouth, suddenly,
why do I recognize them
as if then, before,
I had touched them,
as if before they existed
they had passed over
my forehead, my waist?

Their softness came
flying over time,
over the sea, over the smoke,
over the spring,
and when you placed
your hands on my chest,
I recognized those golden
dove wings,
I recognized that clay
and that color of wheat.

All the years of my life
I walked around looking for them.
I went up the stairs,
I crossed the roads,
trains carried me,
waters brought me,
and in the skin of the grapes
I thought I touched you.
The wood suddenly brought me your touch,
the almond announced to me
your secret softness,
until your hands
closed on my chest
and there like two wings
they ended their journey.

To K and S, to their home in love. God bless.

Random Thoughts: The Vacation Wrap-Up Edition

We all survived vacation travel. The time in Topsail Beach, NC, was all really great if a little hectic (combination of a wedding to participate in/attend, plus traveling with children).

Two things I would do differently as far as travel: We should have rented that minivan, and we should have brought a nanny/babysitter with us. Both would have stretched our resources, but I think the payoffs would have been worth it.

For one, the Cadillac, while a nice ride, really was not spacious enough in the back seat to accommodate our three kids and all their stuff (car seats, diaper bag, bag o’ snacks & drinks, backpack of entertainment, blankets, pillow pets, and stuffed animals). A minivan would have made for less jammed up travel.

For two, bringing a babysitter with us (and we did have one willing and available to travel) would have relieved a lot of evening tension for Dan and me. Having to absent ourselves to put the baby to bed when the rehearsal dinner and wedding were happening was kind of a pain. The night of the wedding, we just pretty much let the girls pass out in front of the TV, and moved them to their beds around 10 p.m. (Vacation parenting at its best!)

I do have to add right here: Dan stepped up like a champ. While I played support for Dr. Sis, he did the bulk of child care without complaint. He fed, supervised, bathed, and put to bed most of the vacation. I think I put Michael to bed the night of the rehearsal dinner, but I may be wrong. I *know* Dan put Michael to bed the night of the wedding. (All events took place at the vacation house rented by my parents.) My SIL K was also a big help, although with four boys of her own, she was busy enough! She managed to get Michael down the first night we were there, and Dan called her the Baby Whisperer the rest of the vacation.

Flora’s favorite thing: Getting a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding. (Also, Flora lost TWO teeth on vacation. The Tooth Fairy only made the trip once, though, so here’s hoping the Tooth Fairy remembers to bring a little something for tooth #2 now that we’re home.)

Kate’s favorite thing: All the swimming.

Dan’s second favorite thing: Helping out before the events, such as running for ice and helping set up the bar areas. He loves that kind of stuff.

My favorite thing: Seeing my little sister get married. The smiles on the faces of everyone involved were just the best — from the mother of the groom, to my parents, to all the family and friends. It was so joyous!

Other than that: Much fun, family, and good food. The weather was very cooperative, the kids were well behaved, the wedding ceremony on the beach was beautiful, and the reception was a lot of fun. We all got home in one piece. You can’t really ask for much more.

The only question now is, when are we going to see Dr. Sis and Uncle Dr. Sis again?