A Lot Like a Teenager: Week 14


Erratic, moody, full of energy, then lethargic, excited to learn, then completely disengaged, Week 14 was a teenager with raging hormones and unpredictable moments. Sure, for this post you know I’ll focus on the best parts, but know that for every high there’s a little low that just didn’t make for interesting blog content. Here we go!

Two Mondays ago (June 15), we kicked off Summer Camp here at the Johnson house after I rallied the girls to name and create signage for (wait for it) Camp Kikiwaka. Yes, you may have heard of it from the Disney show Bunk’d, but I couldn’t talk them out of it.


On Day One, I used a clothespin to attach a schedule to the sign and placed the easel at the end of our hallway, so the girls would wake and “enter” camp. Zoe kicked off at 7 am with her 4-hour Happy Life class where they meditated, started journaling and learned how to eat healthy.

She came out of her first class gushing with “alternative foods” (note: I have been begging them to eat alternatives to Goldfish for years, but these things always sound better coming from strangers). Bart took her to the Farmer’s Market to secure provisions for such yummy items as “Ants on a Log” (celery, peanut butter & raisins), zucchini chips (my new favorite), watermelon pizza (not as cool as it sounds) and fruit salad parfait.

We had the ants and zucchini as sides for dinner, and she was SO proud of herself! “Mom, did you know that you’re not supposed to have a lot of sugar and a can of soda has 35 grams! In just one can!” Thankfully, we don’t drink soda, but also turns out if you eat too much sugar and don’t burn it off, your body turns it into fat. Go figure. Sounds like a great class, right? She chose it! She also chooses Cotton Candy ice cream after dinner.

Zoe also has started bringing Bart and I healthy snacks (and tea for me in the afternoons after I told her how much I liked a warm cup of tea but never got around to it). Here’s a “Apple spider web” treat (peanut butter and sliced apples) that was brought out to me on my work desk/table on the deck one afternoon:


Ella’s classes were hit and miss. She took a Fun Fairytale class that she loved, which included a craft and two fairytales. They discuss the setting, the problems, and the characters in that class, which I love. Then her mid-morning pre-reading class was too easy (she’s READING already). Plus, it’s a large class, and “They never called on me, Mom.” So we’ve got work to do with the little one to keep her out of trouble.

I took her with me to school on Monday to pick up Zoe’s final 4th Grade Writing book, which her teacher bound for all the kids. Good news is that Ella loves to draw, so we hope to foster more of that as we go through summer:

By mid-week, the Legos came out. We have lots of disassembled kits that I have been obsessively keeping separate, along with their instruction books, believing that at some point the kids would want to reassemble. I gave up. We dumped all those Legos out on a blanket, and freeform construction began (what took us so long?!)

Welcome to Zoe’s house, with a hidden mailbox under the front stairs, random Lego people “parts” setup along the side with hair and costume changes, and (OMG) a boyfriend, Eric. (Think “Prince Eric” from The Little Mermaid.) Before you ask, NO, she does not have a boyfriend, we asked, and YES, Eric has complete costume and hair changes, too, as any good boyfriend should.


On Thursday of last week, Bart took the girls to a drive-in movie to ‘meet up’ (at a distance, of course) with one of Zoe’s friends. Trolls World Tour, which you probably remember they watched 4 times in 48 hours in Week 4) played up on the big screen. As a side note, it has a GREAT message about inclusion and diversity, wrapped up in fabulous even-parents-can-stand-it music. Anyway, back to the drive-in: the girls watched from the front seat of the minivan while Dad surfed the net from the back and provided customer service to his “movie goers”.


The real highlight of Week 14 was of course Father’s Day, which began with breakfast in bed, the Sunday paper and a foot massage for Bart. He had also requested that on HIS special day, we do some more gardening in the backyard (we=me), which the girls helped me do while Daddy napped. We transplanted some plants from our raised garden and welcomed a few new ones, including Cecilia, a beautiful red Celosia:


I insist that they sing the chorus to the Simon & Garfunkel song Cecilia every time they say her name. We also welcomed Polly and Pinkie Pie, two colorful gardenias and relocated Frances (named after my late grandmother) from the raised garden to a spot near our outdoor table. I’m pretty sure I killed some red petunias I tried to save from being overrun by Four O’Clocks in our raised garden… We shall see.

The day before Father’s Day we went to Descanso Gardens, at Bart’s request, our first REAL outing since March 13. We even got to meet up with friends (socially distanced, with masks and NO hugs, dammit), and the garden did an amazing job of providing space, sanitizer and safety reminders for everyone.

Speaking of masks, if you’re looking for good kid ones, we got these from Vistaprint, and the girls seem to really like them (and WEAR them):


On the less bright side, those masks took forever to arrive (though I think they have their supply chain fixed now), and our adult-sized ones JUST arrived yesterday. I ordered them on Memorial Day… They have a filter pocket and adjustable ear straps. We’ll see if the adult ones are as comfy and usable. I’m hopeful!

But back to the garden experience, it was lovely. Seeing people IN PERSON cannot be overrated. Even with masks and no touching, just the physical presence of people you care about is wonderful. Oh, and the garden was nice, too. We took some lovely pictures (including the air hug at the top of this post) and wrapped up the week on a high note.

No, I am not “used to this”, and no, we haven’t hit our groove. This life still feels like Groundhog Day, and I’m equally afraid of going back to “Normal” and NOT going back to “Normal”. We annoy each other at least once a day (the girls annoy one another at least once an hour), and some days I have more patience than others. So while these posts highlight some magical moments, most of them good ones, do not be fooled.

Anyway, I’m an optimist. This teenager won’t break me. I was a MASTER teenager, just ask my poor mom (or my sister), so I know all the tricks. Hope you’re all hanging in there and finding the high points as often as possible. MUCH LOVE!


3 thoughts on “A Lot Like a Teenager: Week 14

  1. I legit LOL’d about Zoe eating cotton candy ice cream after schooling you about the sugar in soda. I mean – it’s all about moderation, right?!

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