Smiles, Everyone, Smiles!

So much to smile about over here, even if I can’t stay on top of it all with timely blog posts. First, let’s get to the question on everyone’s mind: How many boxes of Girl Scout cookies did Zoe sell? While we don’t have the final, final, final number, she sold just over 800 boxes this year (and THANK YOU to many readers of this blog for helping make that happen)! Last year she sold 589, so it was a big year for her!

Aside from raising money for her troop to travel, she gets to go to Hurricane Harbor again this year, which has really made her smile. I must admit, we almost didn’t survive Cookie Season, and if I got a box of cookies for every time I said the words, “I am not the Girl Scout. You are.” then I’m pretty sure I would have more boxes than she sold… In the spirit of writing down our shenanigans here for posterity’s sake, I will own the fact that I am wildly competitive, extremely goal-oriented, and remarkably impatient. I would also like to put in writing that Zoe is an extraordinary little girl, to whom I don’t always give the benefit of the doubt she deserves. There. It’s in writing.

So how did she sell all those cookies? Well, she did more booths this year, which was fabulous practice for interacting with others in a “sales” environment, and she recorded a cookie tasting video series for the nine days leading up to the sale day that we posted on Facebook. If you missed that series, check out the video playlist here.

Though my mother may have called my teenage behavior “manipulative” (she was right), what I prefer to call it is “persuasive”, and those skills have helped me throughout my life. It was a fun (for me) experience to coach Zoe on how to not SELL but connect with others and uncover their preferences, in order to sell them cookies they might actually want. Though it might make perfect sense to a pre-teen, it’s not best to lead with “We take cash, credit and Apple Pay” instead of mentioning the cookies… Anyway, she was a quick study, and she rocked it!

As Girl Scout Cookie Season wrapped up on March 12, we hosted our annual Oscars Party. This year Zoe and her friend again made a red carpet dress for Ella, from scratch. Last year, we had some hiccups with the sewing machine, but her pretty red dress was still impressive. A new year, a new level. They designed, selected materials for and hand-sewed the gorgeous purple dress below (Ella’s favorite color), complete with lace decorations, a pearl trim around the waist and neckline and a zipper up the back. Wow.

Soon after Oscars Sunday came St Patrick’s Day, and we Johnsons are always on the lookout for a reason to celebrate. Bring on the green, including green milk and crepes for breakfast and green pasta and water for dinner. Oh, and smiles. Or side-eyes.

I have no story for Zoe’s sassy expression towards her sister. But honestly, it probably happens more often than I would guess, and I’ve just grown accustomed to it. The cards you see in front of Ella are my lame attempt at making St Patrick’s Day fun at the last minute – some Would You Rather questions I printed for her to take to school. For the record, both girls would rather spend the day with a Leprechaun than the Grinch. Why? Because he knows where the gold is…

Another fun adventure: Cirque du Soleil Corteo. I vividly remember when, over 25 years ago, my sister took me to see Mystere in Las Vegas, and I instantly fell in love. While you can never replace your first experience at a cirque, I’ve now seen several, and the only miss was Ka (in my opinion). Too much story, not enough acrobatics. Anyway, you should see one. The costumes, the set, the music, and the strength and skill of those acrobats are awe-inspiring.

Bart got us tickets months ago, along with reservations to a sushi restaurant downtown called Katsuya. Outside that restaurant was this super cool stump chair that of course the girls had to sit in, and I’m glad they did. What you’ll likely notice is the “circus outfit” that Zoe picked out for Ella (you gotta love big top stripes). What you might not notice is the outfit choice for Zoe, which is what she considers to be “one step above daily middle school attire”. Yes, that’s what I asked for, and I guess this is it:

Oh, and yes, Ella took a stuffed fox to a show. You can take the kid out of the play area, but you can never be sure they didn’t just bring their own play area with them. Regardless, we are some lucky parents, even when we forget how lucky we are. In fact, we are on Spring Break right now, which is the only reason I’m getting caught up on the blog. Stay tuned for more!

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