Who knew I knew how to make 1920s cloche hats?
Who knew I knew how to make 1920s cloche hats?

Lately, our lives have centered around FASHION. We have had to consider 5th grade graduation party dresses and shoes for the theme of “Hollywood Glam;” 5th grade graduation ceremony dresses and shoes; 8th grade social dresses and shoes; National Junior Honor Society dresses and shoes; Orange County’s Top Talent finale gown and shoes; and on top of all of those, I got to hand-make a dozen cloche hats for the middle
school musical that’s set in the 1920s.

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This one turned out a little more Ferrell than I had hoped…but a girl can’t be an expert in a day, can she?

Now you might think that the shopping is not really a big deal—you go out, you see what’s out there, you buy something, you go home. But if you think that, you are either a man or you’re wrong, or both.

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Cloche hat #11 or 12, but who’s counting?

No. Shopping, in terms of 5th and 8th graders, entails multiple malls, multiple discount clothing stores, a dozen shoe venues, re-visits to the same mall stores but at three different malls (because not all of the Macy’s have the same merchandise, you know—there might be something different at THIS one). Add to this list the particularities that make shopping just a bit more challenging for the Barnickel women—the curse of the humongous feet and the curvy body. Size 11s almost all the way around for these girls makes Barnickel shoe shopping oh-so-much-more fun than REGULAR shoe shopping. And our booties ain’t missin’ any cushion stuffing either, if you know what I mean. When everyone else gets to choose from 100 dainty and trendy styles, we share the joy of getting about THREE wide, ugly, brown, black, or blue options. And when your 13-year-old just wants to feel pretty in a cute-colored snappy little six-inch heeled pump, you really just want to be able to say YES sometimes. Let her have her day. Let her light so shine before…gack! What have I done?

The Social Shoes
The Social Shoes: Shocking!

So I guess you know how this story ends: We got the dresses. One is too bare; one is way too short; one is so clingy that you’d question whether Sofia Vergara herself couldn’t pull it off, let alone a 13-year-old (but then again, Sofia Vergara doesn’t sing opera like an angel came down from heaven, either, and my girl absolutely does); the shoes are too high; and the gown cost way too much.

But all I can say at this point is (to use the middle school lingo I’ve been getting’ o-so-hip to lately)—YOLO! (Yes, that eye roll that you just did is EXACTLY the appropriate reaction to what I just wrote there—good job). All of these gowns, dresses, shoes, and moments are beautiful in their own ways because my daughters will be wearing and experiencing them with joy. They will receive their honors in them; they will perform their beautiful songs in them; and they will dance the night away in them. And I give thanks that they will have those priceless memories of great times with good friends as they both move on to their new adventures in middle and high school.

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Some of the shopping spoils…

Don’t misunderstand me: I may be completely mortified if my girl bends over too far and forgets that she chose that short flared skirt, but all the while, I’ll be looking forward to the next dance, the next recital, the next musical, and the next risky fashion choice. I wouldn’t miss a minute of it for the world.



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