Afternoons at our house are full of conversations about the bold and daring feats of the fifth grade boys.

What they did and what they said and how they wrote on the bathroom walls and talked in class and stood on a chair and took a pencil from a desk and covered a piece of pizza with peanut butter…..

…and ate it.


And double yuck. 🙂


I listen with an air of sympathy and an ear of understanding.

You see….there are two boys that live here…..and when they were in fifth grade they would come home every day…..with story after story about those fifth grade girls.

Stories about how they wrote on their notebooks and braided each other’s hair at recess instead of playing basketball and how they rolled their eyes and whispered behind their hands and put on extra lip gloss…..

…..that smelled just like jolly ranchers.


And double yuck.


But yesterday was different.

Yesterday the twins ran in through the front door full of jolly rancher lip gloss and righteous indignation.

“Moooooooom,” they sighed in unison.  “You are not even going to believe what they told us today.  Seriously….Mom….you won’t even believe it.”

I was pretty sure that I would believe it and that, in fact, I had probably heard it before….and even more.

But I know a good fifth grade story when I hear it… I sat down to listen attentively to what I would never believe…..

….with all ears.


They looked at me……exchanged glances and sighed.

“Mom….next year we have to learn to dance the Salsa,” one of the twins said dramatically.

“Salsa?  The dance?” I said.  “That sounds like fun.”

“With boys…..Mom,” she said rolling her eyes.  “We have to dance the Salsa…….

……with BOYS.”


“Oh no,” I replied sympathetically.  “Salsa with boys….that sounds terrible.”

“Exactly,” her sister said. “I can’t believe they are making us dance with boys.  Have you seen the boys in our grade?  I mean….Moooooooom….they are….well….they are……”

And she twisted her face and wrinkled her nose and stared at me.

As if she was at a loss for words.

As if this absolutely positively was the worst thing ever….in the history of ever.

As if the thought of dancing with a fifth grade boy was such a momentous event…..

…..that it completely and utterly defied description.


Her sister patted her back in the way that only one fifth grader can console another.

“Don’t worry,” she said.  “At least there’s the hand scarves.”


Hand scarves?

They were dancing the Salsa with hand scarves?

I couldn’t help it…..I had to ask.

“Why?  Hand scarves?  Why are you using hand scarves?” I said.

They looked at me with a look that said so much without ever saying a word and rolled their eyes in unison.

“We have to use the hand scarves, Mom.  It’s the only way we can make sure…..

….that we don’t get cooties.”



Of course.

I should have remembered …..I mean after all….fifth grade boys used to live here.


I just wish those cooties would hang around

…..until those twins graduated from high school. 🙂


PS  I just wanted you to know…’s official. 🙂

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  1. Image for Tina Matteson Tina Matteson

    Ok, where to I begin...? That certificate is just precious! I would frame it and hang it proudly in our entryway. I love your story and am wondering if you have a way to put a fun spin on MY kids' bringing home a note from school that they have to have a state-mandated spinal screening by the school nurse (with their shirts OFF! - they are so freaked out over this.) And lastly, I love the girls' room and especially love the fabric choices, and the flowers painted on the wall! Beautiful.

  2. Image for barb barb

    Ahhh yes, to be surrounded in the abundance of our daughters...and the sweetness of their young years. Thank you for sharing - my mind wandered to my own daughter when she was but, a 5th grader.

  3. Image for Pattie @ Olla-Podrida Pattie @ Olla-Podrida

    I share their horror. As old as I am, I still remember having to square dance with Billy McAlluster in the fifth grade. He had some sort of skin condition and I had to hold his hand. Poor kid, but it still gives me the shivers.

  4. Image for Jill Jill

    Great way to start our day! Frame that certificate! You will need it later for future reference, say 5 or 6 years. Enjoy every minute, it all goes by so fast. Thanks for sharing! Have a rocking' weekend!

  5. Image for Laureen Laureen

    KariAnne, I just couldn't hold off comenting on this post, but first I have to stop laughing!!! I also have a "tween" girl in the 5th grade that comes home with drama filled stories every day as her 17 year old brother scoffs at her daily school antics! How boring our days would be without them!!!! I read your post last each day, best for last! We could so be besties !!!

  6. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    OOH! Miz karianne......while I very much like the Gatehouse....I think I want to be roomies with the girls. How stinkin' fabulously adorable is that room!!! Do you think they could pretend I wasn't hanging out in there? sigh... Is it any wonder you received such an OFFICIALLY awesome certificate?? PS just between you and me? There aren't too many things better in life than being your daughter's hero. Trust me on that one!

  7. Image for Msshe Msshe

    Love it. Cooties. I remember when my daughter was about that age. Somehow those cooties seem to disappear a few years later! Good luck. :) Sheila

  8. Image for Sharon Sharon

    circle, circle, dot, I have my cootie shot. That was the 5th grade girls (and boys) mantra way back when I was in 5th grade. The girls' room is fabulous!

  9. Image for Yvonne Yvonne

    Love this post! I saw dancing with girls through the eyes of a fifth grade boy. Not much different on the cootie scale. That changes quickly, of course. But the memories of those discussions always beings a smile. Thanks for posting this delightful story!

  10. Image for amy watson amy watson

    I remember when my daughter was in 5th grade, oh my it was so long ago, but now l have 2 grand girls thast are getting to that age, and to hear them talking about all the "drama" from school, and l sit there listening, with all the attention and. "really" and " oh no" it takes me back....BTW I love the twins room so much!!! Did you free hand the flowers on the wall? And where did you get the awesome fabrics, the rug, the beanbag....????? Inquiring minds want to know lol......I love reading your blog it always makes my day.....Thanks for sharing your life with us..

  11. Image for Angie W Angie W

    What a cute story. But I have to tell you that I was admiring the pictures of the girls room the whole time. Did you freehand the flowers on the wall? I love them.

  12. Image for Kimm at REINVENTED Kimm at REINVENTED

    So sweet! I've had both fifth grade girls and fifth grade boys too, aren't they such a delightful bunch? Now mine are 19, 17, 14 and 12 and they bring a whole new brand of drama. :) LOVE that room!

  13. Image for Regina Regina

    Congratulations on your award . . . :) LOVE this story! LOLOL! I remember those cooties, and the boys that had them. Oh. My. I had a cousin (ahem) that always seemed to have those cootie-infested boys interested in her, but me? Apparently they thought I had cooties, too! LOL! The painting on the walls of your girls' room is amazing. I'm mesmerized every time I see it! Happy sunshiny Friday!!!!! :) :) :)

  14. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Love it....perfect...cooties and all! Did you hand paint those flowers on the wall? Gorgeous! Yeah, fifth grade boys used to live here too...good news...we survived! Love your new achievement award...well deserved! Enjoy your day! ;)

  15. Image for Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life... Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life...

    There are days when I read your blog post and laugh... days when I tear up... times when I admire your big reveals and moments when I ask myself where you find the energy... but one thing is consistent... one thing always drifts across my mind... " She is doing it... She has found a way to be creative, fully engaged in life, a fun positive spirit and most of all... a wonderful mother." Bravo my friend!

  16. Image for Ellen Ellen

    EVERYTHING about this is just so utterly beautiful. The story...and the room. Going through withdrawals myself.... my twins start middle school next year. MIDDLE SCHOOL! O_O

  17. Image for Patti Patti

    Awww as a recent empty nester this one pulls at my heartstrings. I really miss my little girls. :'( Love the girls decor by the way, esp. the wall painting.

  18. Image for Mary B Mary B

    Marianne, I want to be a fifth grade girl again just so I can have that room! It is divine! Love the colors fabric everything....especially the flowers on the wall! Did you paint those? I am so stealing the idea for a room in my house, maybe even the master bedroom!

  19. Image for Kris Kris

    Add me to the list of people who want to know if you freehanded the flowers on the wall. And, having a 5th grade boy, I smiled at the story--my son would be sooooooooo angry about dancing the salsa, and then to discover he would have to do it with a g-g-girl??? Ewwwwwwww!

  20. Image for Bliss Bliss

    Consider yourself lucky. In 5th grade we had the Mexican Hat Dance to do and I couldn't wait till it was time to swing arm in arm with Joe S. I wanted to catch every cootie he had.

  21. Image for Gee Gee

    How precious! Cooties and dancing with boys... hahahahhaa.. Sigh.. the things I miss. Now my after school ( and work) consists of proofreading papers and listening to pros and cons on a BA level. I moss 5th grade!! ... and giggling, and Cooties! Enjoy... Enjoy some for me as Marianne.

  22. Image for Cathy Cathy

    Hope I'm not late to the dance; you could prepare a Cootie Punch to be sipped before the festivities ( hour of doom) begin. A tasty libation made exotic with dry ice or other fizziness, sure to inoculate against the most virulent form of Cooties. (And chant Sharon's little ditty for good measure)!

  23. Image for Debbie @Dewdrop Gables Debbie @Dewdrop Gables

    Awww how sweet!! My girls are in the mid-late 30's so those memories are so long ago for me. Reading your blog brings a lot back. (And I'm glad it's official!! You do sound like a fabulous mom!) The room looks so beautiful, the twins must love it!! Debbie :) (PS- Sorry for un-subscribing, but I have a new email and subscribed with that one)

  24. Image for Julie R Julie R

    You've brought me to sentimenal tears again. And, KariAnne, can you just stop being so amazing! I mean, seriously :) Love the story (13 years ago, I also had a 5th-grade girl...) and that room, so darned cute I can hardly stand it!

  25. Image for Jennifer Ferrell Jennifer Ferrell

    What a sweet and precious story!!!! Cooties....that's hilarious!!! I remember when our daughter Isabella had to do the Virginia Reel and it was basically the same conversation! Haha! And thanks for giving us a glimpse of the girls room! I always wondered what they looked like and it was just as I imagined...classy and beautiful! Love you more with each blog KariAnne!

  26. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    What a sweet story. Being a mother of 3 boys, now adults, I miss the days, when they were in grade school. But I must say, the stories of your little girls, are so cute and funny...I will have a smile on my face all day, when I think of you listening to their story of the "worst" thing ever in their life..Thank goodness, right, for those hand scarves. (grin)

  27. Image for Pinky at Designs by Pinky Pinky at Designs by Pinky

    Oh what memories this brings back!!!!!!!!!! The cooties will disappera FAST, let me warn you! The certificate should have a place of honor in your house for sure!!! but we all knew that already! I have always ADORED that room. 2 LUCKY girls....they have that room and YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Image for Jennifer W Jennifer W

    Aww, what an absolutely precious post! The girls, the story, the room, and most of all the certificate!!! Congratulations!

  29. Image for Jody Jody

    Super cute colors and decor!!! FUN FUN FUN! Great writing technique the way you share a story, but also pics of a new decorating project complete!!! Genius, just genius!!! Keep writing KariAnne, keep writing!! :) :) :) :) :)

  30. Image for Sandy Sandy

    First, the girls' bedroom ROCKS. Wait till I show my granddaughter. This post brought back(wayyy back) earning a merit badge in Girl Scouts. We had to go to the junior high and learn several dances. I had never been at another school outside of my K-8 building. And I only knew the boys who were in my class all those years. I can't remember my dance partner's name, and he was as shy as I was dancing together. We did have fun, laughed a lot, and I earned my badge.

  31. Image for Teri Teri

    Loved the story and the room. Also, as mother of 5th grade boy/girl twins - trust me when I say, I listen to their very different perspectives....individually. Needless to say it takes twice the time as I'm getting twice the info. I often sit and smile at the differences between the girls and the boys, while I enjoy hearing both sides. Should also add that the girl's side is ALWAYS more dramatic and the boy's side is said with much fewer words!

  32. Image for ColleenwithJustPaintIt ColleenwithJustPaintIt

    Ohhh . . . does this ever take me back. Back to a time when I was over the cootie bit . . . maybe 6th or 7th grade? (Yep, enjoy those cooties while you got 'em.) Back to a time when I had the cutest boyfriend in 'the history of ever'. Price Walker. Blonde hair. Piercing blue eyes. He worked all summer long, picking fruit, just so he could buy me a Creedence Clearwater Revival album. Am I dating myself yet? Price was a doll and he was MINE! So how exciting was it to have actual school dances (sans cooties). However, I was one of the tallest girls in my class and Price . . . wasn't. But we didn't care and when the first slow dance came on, he gently took my hand, led me on to the dance floor, and we started shuffling our feet to and fro. So romantic. Poor thing. He had a neckache for days. The hit song at the time was Hey Jude. Full version. p.s. Some time after h.s. graduation I was at a classmate's wedding when I felt a tap from behind and heard, "Hi Colleen." I whirled around and looked up, up, up! to see Price's gorgeous blue eyes. He'd grown to be about 6'4" after graduating high school. Hey Jude, don't make it bad . . .

  33. Image for anne bradley anne bradley

    i have to just say this..i have only been reading blogs for about 6 months now. i've only commented once..i have seen so many beautiful homes mostly done in gray and white and some blues..i love them..except..i couldn't really tell whos house was whos..i have to say i love to see your blog. i love how beautiful it is and i love that you have color..i know right away when a room belongs to you...i am slowly starting to "do" my home..i bought a beautiful neutral couch..i spent months looking for gray chairs..even though i wanted navy blue..when i saw your home i realized i can have navy blue..i can use color and it can be mine...thanks for the inspiration....

  34. Image for Charlotte @ Charlotte's Chair Charlotte @ Charlotte's Chair

    I bet there is NEVER a dull moment at your house! I love how you have decorated their room, so beautiful!! The cooties will leave and the boys will come, but with you as their mom, it's all going to be ok!

  35. Image for jackie jackie

    Precious words from a mom who has been around the block and back.......and the sign is one of those you keep forever! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story with the world!

  36. Image for Maggie Maggie

    Love you post !! and now we know "is official"..... You are the greatest mother!! . Love that the colors in that room

  37. Image for Abby Abby

    Oh my, this post made me giggle. I just love the stuff kids come up with! I'm still at the kissing owies and checking the closet for monsters stage with mine. I know I'll have the funnest time when the little girls are big enough to have real pressing problems like this.

  38. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    I agree with the girls....... you are the greatest Mother in the history of ever! I have a sneaking suspicion that it will not be much longer till you will be redoing their room because they think they are all grown up.... ooops, can you hide this after you read it? Oh by the way..... when they think they are too grown up for it...... it will be time for them to do it their selves. Or that is what my mom told me about sewing for me....... yep, rude awakening too. lol

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