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    St. Louis, MO

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  1. I told DH that between the two of us, we could take 16 kids! Now THAT would be a trip
  2. In high school we had a costume day for something, and I dressed up like a Christmas elf -- red/white striped socks, green shoes with pointy toes and jingle bells on the end, jeans, vaguely Christmas-ish shirt, some sparkly eye makeup, Santa hat. And the best part were the ears. I got some pointy ears from a legit costume shop (I think they were marketed as Spock ears), attached them with liquid latex, and covered them and blended them into my skin with stage makeup foundation. It was fun. Walking through the halls that day, I had one girl (surely a freshman), stop me and say, "OH. MY. GOSH. You have elf ears!" (beat) (beat) (ANOTHER beat) (the light dawns) "Ohhhhh, they're fake." 😳
  3. This is probably too late to be useful today, but for the future ... We're doing a very casual dinner with friends, and I'm making blueberry pie bites I use Trader Joe's frozen pie crust, and while the bites take a little time to cut and shape, they're not difficult.
  4. - self-service holds and check-out - a children's area separated with proper doors and walls, and a good bathroom for children in said children's area - study rooms available to reserve - a room with seating and tables that is specifically marked as a quiet room - a hold system that allows me visit the library once a week and not risk having any books put back (another library near me has a 3-day hold period and wildly different timeframes on getting books, so even if I wait until my first book ready is about to be put back, another book arrives the next day and I feel like I'm constantly needing to go to the library to pick up books) - no fines on children's items (it's very rare for us to be late in returning a book, but I appreciate the realization that even what seems like small fines to most of us can become overly burdensome and a hurdle to using the library for some, especially for those who could particularly benefit from free access to lots of books and other items)
  5. I'll be making this drive on a Monday in July with my 3 kids. Any hot tips? I'm pretty sure I'll take I-90 through New York and Massachusetts, then skirt around Boston up to I-95. I've heard great stuff about the Kancamagus Highway in NH, but this will be the final leg of a multi-day road trip, and I don't relish the idea of adding even an extra hour. I'm consoling myself by saying it's the totally wrong time of year, so I won't be missing anything. I'm looking for any great places to eat or stop on the way. We're usually use-the-bathroom-at-a-nice-gas-station-while we-fill-up-and-get-a-snack kind of people, rather than rest-stop kind of people, but I'm open to suggestions.
  6. I like Pottery Barn's Caterer's sets. They only come in white, and I think the classic shape is nice. The dishes are reasonably priced, and PB's been producing them for ages, so they should be easy to replace, if needed.
  7. Thanks for all the replies everyone, and the reminder that this is a long-term battle. I just get so tired of hearing myself saying the same things again and again, and I'm sure my kids are tired of hearing it too. Some general responses: - I feel like I'm constantly fighting battles on several fronts with DS4, this being one of them. He's not allowed in his sisters' room, and I have no problem with the girls playing in there, without him. He is often sad when they don't want to play with him, and I explain that may be a consequence of how he treats them. Given all of that, there are times when they all play nicely together. - DD8 is very much an oldest child and would be happy to run everyone's life for them, whether they want it or not. And I have explained to her that DS4 often tries to bother her more than DD6 because DD8 tries to be in charge. - I definitely let DD8 know it's okay to be angry, and if someone did whatever DS4 did to me, I'd be angry too. The problem comes when she says that she had no choice but to hit him because he made her angry. - I'm trying to find the balance of letting the kids navigate relationships and conflict on their own and me having to mediate every. single. time. - I also need to remember DD8 is only 8 - it's easier for me to have unrealistic expectations for the oldest. Funny (sad?) story about this whole thing: we've had to put a moratorium on saying the golden rule because DD8 had an absolutely twisted understanding and application of it. "He hit me, so that's *obviously* what he wants, and I'm just giving him what he wants, because you should treat other people how you want to be treated." No amount of explaining or discussing was getting any traction on this, so we've moved on to, "Outdo one another in showing honor - try to be the *most* kind".
  8. I've used this - It doesn't spray on nice and smooth like aerosol cans, but I just spray a bunch in my hands and then rub it in. I think it smells nice for bug spray and does a decent job of keeping the mosquitos away. For the 1-year old, there's also a Kids' version. As with most things and a 1-year old, I'd be concerned about anything on their hands that would end up in their mouth.
  9. I'm looking for a different way to frame this ongoing challenge I have with DD8. She and DS4 get into spats multiple times a day. Part of the problem is that DS4 likes to push buttons, and I think he does so more with DD8 than with DD6 because DD8 tries to be in charge of him. I'm working with DS4 on his issues. What I'm looking for help with is how to talk to help DD8 in these situations. Up to now, I've been acknowledging that DS4 has acted rudely (being careful to talk about his behavior being rude, not he himself being rude), and then reminding DD8 that the only person she can make choices for is herself. We've gone over that if your brother is acting rudely, you can say, "Please stop ___." If he doesn't, you can say, "That's unkind." If you're getting angry, you should walk away before you make a bad choice. Choosing to hit him or yell at him or rip something out of his hands - those are all bad choices. So this is the discussion I've had with her 50+ times. As we proceed through this discussion, I give her time to air her grievances and acknowledge that she's upset and so on. I just feel like I'm not getting anywhere. Any ideas?
  10. For an entire weekend, you can't beat the 6-hour BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Bonus points if you get some British tea and snacks.
  11. Lately I've been rewatching Chuck (Prime) and Great British Baking Show (Netflix) - both light-hearted fun, not a lot of thinking required.


    A couple more Amazon options (a little more pricy)
  13. THIS drives me up a wall. I had SO much more knowledge about general construction stuff and specifically about our project, but I had to go above and beyond to more or less prove that to our contractors before they'd even get close to talking to me about the project the same way they talked to DH about it. OP - contractor stuff is so frustrating. I've half-jokingly played with the idea of getting trained and licensed to be a GC, and then just do good business (like regular communication). What is it about construction or people who are drawn to construction that it so often involves such terrible communication? Is there any other industry that seems to have such an endemic communication problem?
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