O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 + Stay At Home Reading Rush

It’s that time of year, time to take my Ordinary Wizarding Levels. This is an amazing Harry Potter-themed readathon run by G from Book Roast & AJ from @asjamestweets. Last year I vlogged so this year I’m blogging. I hope you enjoy following my monthlong reading journey! 📚

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRuZ4EBkiKA

Last year I picked a career, read the required books, & managed to also pass the remaining exams. This year I’m focusing on passing all 12 O.W.L.s rather than a specific career. Basically I’m indecisive & want to keep my options open. 😂 Here are the exams/reading prompts & my TBR:

🌀 Ancient Runes | Heart Rune: Read a book with a heart on the cover | I chose “The Night Country” by Melissa Albert which has an anatomically correct heart on the cover.

🧮 Arithmancy | Magical qualities of the number 2: Balance/Opposites – Read something outside your favorite genre. | I chose “The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller because I don’t often read comic books, although I do like them.

🔭 Astronomy | Night Classes: Read the majority of a book while it’s dark outside. | I chose “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins. I was actually supposed to read “The Hunger Games” for this prompt, but I forgot to read part of it at night so I switched it to my Care of Magical Creatures textbook.

🐉 Care of Magical Creatures | Hippogriffs: Read a book with a beaked creature on the cover. | I chose “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. My original textbook was “Catching Fire,” but as you already know I made a mistake & had to switch books.

✨ Charms | Lumos Maxima: Read a book with white on the cover | I chose “Every Crooked Path” by Steven James.

🧙🏼‍♂️ Defense Against the Dark Arts | Grindylows: Read a book set at sea or on a coast | I chose “The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude. The story is set in a fishing village on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast.

🔮 Divination | Third Eye: Assign numbers to your TBR & use a random number generator to pick your book | I assigned numbers to some of the Agatha Christie books I want to read & ended up with “At Bertram’s Hotel,” a book I previously DNFed (Did Not Finish). I’m ready to finish it!

🌱 Herbology | Mimbulus Mimbletonia: Read a book with a title that starts with the letter M | I chose “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins. By now you’ve surely figured out that I’m rereading the series in anticipation of the new prequel releasing in May. 🎉 

📜 History of Magic | Witch Hunts: Read a book featuring witches/wizards | I chose “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling because I’m in the mood for a series reread. Also, I’ve been dying to read my illustrated editions.

👱🏻‍♀️ Muggle Studies | Read a book from the perspective of a muggle (Contemporary) | I chose “Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James, the sequel to “Every Crooked Path.” Mr. James is one of my favorite crime authors!

🧪 Potions | Shrinking Solution: Read a book under 150 pages | I chose “Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond” by Adam Beechen which has 144 pages.

🐈 Transfiguration | Animagus Lecture: Read a book that involves shapeshifting | I chose “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, a classic I’m very interested in but haven’t read yet. SPOILER: Obviously the shapeshifting in this book has to do with Jekyll turning into Hyde through a concoction made in his science lab.

A P R I L   1

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 38 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 72 pages

📖 110 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2

📖 0 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   3

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 82 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 88 pages

📖 170 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   4

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 33 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 47 pages

📖 80 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   5

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 46 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 14 pages

📖 60 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   6

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 113 pages

✔️ “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 153 pages | I completed my Care of Magical Creatures exam. 🐉

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMCATh4VVz8

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 48 Pages

📖 314 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   7

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 93 pages

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

W E E K   O N E   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 1

📝 Pages: 827

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A P R I L   8

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 61 pages

✔️ “The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller – 216 pages | I completed my Arithmancy exam. 🧮

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGKqkZ28cIA

📖 277 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   9

✔️ “Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond” by Adam Beechen – 144 pages | I completed my Potions exam. 🧪

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWs5GJXH__M

✔️ “Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 124 pages | I completed my Charms exam. ✨

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Te8ndpLzz0

✔️ “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson – 57 pages | I completed my Transfiguration exam. 🐈

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciJ0QH5fvXY&t=9s

📖 325 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 0

📖 0 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 1

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 7 Pages

A P R I L   1 2

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 50 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 102 pages

📖 152 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 3

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 45 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 101 pages

📖 146 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 4

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 102 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 100 pages

📖 202 Total Pages 📖

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

W E E K   T W O   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 4

📝 Pages: 1,109

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A P R I L   1 5

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 11 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 3 pages

📖 14 Total Pages 📖

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

*Note: From April 16th to 19th, I participated in the Stay Home Reading Rush. I picked books for my TBR that fulfilled prompts for both readathons. Multitasking at its finest!

My TBR:

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling | Set at a Hogwarts, a place I would love to visit & part of a magical series that will always put a smile on my face. I read the entire book in my bedroom, specifically in my bed.

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert | Has a castle on the cover

A P R I L   1 6

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 37 pages

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 48 pages

📖 85 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 7

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 69 pages

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 39 pages

📖 108 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 8

✔️ “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 140 pages | I completed my History of Magic exam & 3 prompts for the Stay Home Reading Rush. 📜

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAHciSqi1-8

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 153 pages

📖 293 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 9

✔️ “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 128 Pages | I completed my Astronomy exam. 🔭

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QGwmoIJKB8

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 3 pages

✔️ “The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 86 pages | I completed my Ancient Runes exam & the last prompt for the Stay Home Reading Rush. 🌀

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-Zfa9Pmyx4&t=2151s

📖 217 Total Pages 📖

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A P R I L   2 0

✔️ “Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 256 pages | I completed my Muggle Studies exam. 👱🏻‍♀️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5IyKqaplUc

A P R I L   2 1

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 33 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 23 pages

📖 56 Total Pages 📖

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

W E E K   T H R E E   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 4

📝 Pages: 1,029 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A P R I L   2 2

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 90 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 55 pages

📖 145 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 3

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 21 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 69 pages

📖 90 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 4

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 5 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 13 pages

📖 18 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 5

✔️ “At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 102 pages | I completed my Defense Against the Dark Arts exam. 🧙🏼‍♂️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPoaNHkY36U

✔️ “The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 126 pages | I completed my Divination exam. 🔮

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUKqsr05Az8&t=23s

📖 228 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 6

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 15 pages

A P R I L   2 7

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 43 pages

A P R I L   2 8

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 159 pages

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

W E E K   F O U R   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 2

📝 Pages: 698

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A P R I L   2 9

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 97 pages

A P R I L   3 0

✔️ “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 76 pages | I completed my Herbology exam. 🌱

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElG_yRX_ZqI

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

O . W . L . S   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 12

📝 Pages: 3,836

1 Magical Readathon

30 Days, April 2020

1 Ravenclaw Student

2 Comic Books

1 E-Book

11 Physical Books, 5 Hardcover & 6 Paperback

3,836 Pages

12 Ordinary Wizarding Levels

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Quarter Life Crisis

As of November 5th, I am 26 years old. Year 25 was NOT a walk in the park for me. I have really struggled with energy & motivation & purpose this past year. I am so passionate about what I do online, but being defeated time after time after time is so deflating. My Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube follower counts barely go up from month to month. I stay up late editing videos & writing blog posts, but it feels like no one cares when I make my work public. I worked for weeks & hours on my Tarzan video for the Disney+ Dream Job contest. I was so incredibly proud of what I produced, & yet I didn’t get one of the five spots to watch 30 Disney movies in 30 days for $1,000. Instead of breaking down barriers, I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall that isn’t going to budge. Is year 26 going to be better, or do I have to accept that I’m not meant to do this any longer?!?

How do I turn this into a positive? One step at a time. I may not have won a check for a Disney+ marathon, but I’m going to do it anyway. Starting November 12, I will be watching a Disney show & movie every day for 30 days. Don’t worry! You can follow along on here, Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube. Just use my links listed below to make sure you’re following me with notifications turned ON. 🍋 This is called turning lemons into lemonade. 🍹 I’m also trying to step outside my comfort zone & interact with people I follow on social media. Scary! 😱

🌻 Go enjoy your Saturday readers! 💛 Hopefully it’s cold & feels like the holiday season wherever you are because California is still HOT. 🥵 🙄 😂

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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I’m a Terrible Blogger

Six months without a word. Boy do I have a real gift for consistent blogging! 😂 I have a couple of good reasons so bear with me while I make excuses. Number one, I had a two-month work project. Adulting at its finest! Number two, I’ve been going through a creative slump. I can only maintain two blogs & a YouTube channel for so long before I need a break from one or more outlets.

As you can tell from the photo above, I have moved on from the spookiest month of the year because CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE!!🎄 My Christmas playlist has been on since yesterday, and I just drank my first peppermint mocha frappuccino of the season. I am feeling very merry and bright, although my feelings are subject to change after work tonight. 🙄 I let you down in 2018 as a blogger, but I’m going to try and make it up to you during the holiday season. I’m still in retail (UGH) so stay tuned for a roller coaster of emotions. Can’t wait! 🤪

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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C O L L A G E :

2012. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2433396/. Accessed 2 November 2018. ( Top )

2005. https://www.theodysseyonline.com/winter-break-according-to-the-office. Accessed 2 November 2018. (Bottom)

When It Rains, It Pours

It has been a rough few days in my household. After my cheerful blog post on Tuesday, things went downhill. My mom got really sick & went to Urgent Care which turned into an emergency room visit. She used to be a nurse so sickness rarely affects her unbelievable threshold for discomfort & illness. I knew the pain was serious when she sought treatment from a doctor. Approximately fourteen hours later, all tests had come back negative, and my very tired parents were back home. I was worried sick about what the illness might be, but nothing major appears to be wrong. My mom is strong & healthy, and I have no doubt she’s going to make a speedy recovery. I swear she is a living, breathing superwoman. The day she got sick, she bought groceries & dinner despite the pain. After everything was unloaded from the car, she said the following to me: “Here’s the food. Please fill this container with dish soap. I’m going to Urgent Care. I’ll be back.” If you think that sounds nonchalant, you are correct. She might as well have said “I’m going to the nail salon. I’ll be back.” I want to be her when I grow up! 💪🏻

In the midst of being concerned for my mom, I received a distressing email early Wednesday morning from YouTube. According to their new standards, I am no longer eligible for their YouTube Partner Program. This means I lose out on making money from my videos as well as helpful features such as creating my own thumbnails & scheduling upload times. I wouldn’t still be a YouTuber if money was my main motivation, but what little I do make helps me to continue creating content. It is so motivating to watch my monthly income increase month by month thanks to increased viewership & support. Right now the news feels like a punch to the gut, but I refuse to let this stop me. I am here to stay for as long as I feel inspired to make videos. If you want to support my channel, thank you from the bottom of my heart! <3

The cherry on top of this emotionally draining week is a bit more humorous. Thanks to the amount of clothing I have jammed into my teeny tiny closet, the right pole flange (look it up) broke. I had to remove one of my hanging shelf organizers on the other side of the closet, no easy task when you’re angry & tired, and make space for some of the clothes about to fall to the floor. Just what I needed to cheer me up! 🙄

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Mad Dash

I need you to sit down & settle in for part two of my blog post from yesterday. About 15 minutes after it was published, my phone rang. Thanks to caller i.d., I knew it was one of the managers from my retail job. Forgetting that my phone was charging, I grabbed it only to have it ripped from my hands. While the ringing continued, I frantically searched my room on hands & knees. I finally found it on my bed (hold your laughter), but the ringing had already been replaced by a voicemail. I will now take you back to about one hour earlier. While eating dinner, my mom implied that I had to work that evening. I replied that she was thinking of my closing shift on Friday. I was 100% sure that I had two days off before my two weekend shifts so I didn’t even bother to check my schedule, which is something I do religiously. Fast forward to my manager’s voicemail. I was 15 minutes late for my closing shift, and she was wondering if I was ok & still coming in to work. In an outright panic, I called the store to let her know I would be there as soon as I could to replace a fellow associate who couldn’t stay much longer. Feeling like a horrible person, I got ready as fast as humanly possible, which is no easy task when you’re shaking like a leaf and clumsy. It would’ve been  much easier if I hadn’t had a ton of coconut oil in my hair. I didn’t want to look like a greasy mess at work so I had to wash my hair, two shampoos required. I put on as little makeup as I was comfortable with and braided my hair, all of which looked as effortless as it actually was. A hoodie, jeans, and boots completed the look, and I was out the door. I received the call around 5:15 and made it to work right before 6. For the first hour my body was shaking uncontrollably, but I eventually settled down. It wasn’t the restful night I had planned, but everything turned out ok in the end. On the bright side, I am free as a bird today. Go ahead & laugh now. I am.

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Filming Frustrations | Blogmas 2017

If the joy of Christmas is what you seek, bah humbug. I swear I’m not trying to ruin your Christmas. As a blogger, it is my duty to be honest about my life. The past twenty-four hours have been awful. Last night I found out that two of the gifts I ordered online were damaged. I woke up late because I stayed up to watch a Christmas movie that I didn’t end up liking (I’m looking at you Noel). I forgot to charge my camera batteries overnight AND while I was getting ready. Despite racing to beat the sun, it took several hours to film only two videos. I wanted to get a third filmed, but I couldn’t find my dreidel which was supposed to be the starring prop. I still haven’t found that darn top! I am now tired and cranky and probably the top name on Santa’s naughty list. Bring on the coal! Despite all the stress, I am thankful for a home that is still standing because there is a fire burning a few miles away. My thoughts & prayers are with everyone being affected. Stay safe California!  <3

❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄

T e n   D a y s   U n t i l   A r t m a s . . .   

E i g h t e e n   D a y s    U n t i l   C h r i s t m a s . . .

❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Cozy Night at Home | Blogmas 2017

My sincerest apologies for the delay of Blogmas 2017. By the time I got an ounce of motivation, the busiest season of retail had started and unfortunately required most of my time. I finally have some time off, and after a day of catching up on Vlogmas editing, I’m snuggled up on the couch watching The Nanny with my mom. Hopefully my elf ears will make an appearance and my holiday spirit reignite because life without Christmas decorations and cheesy Hallmark movies isn’t worth living. I hope your holiday season is off to a great start. I promise I will try my very best to stay positive and blog often this month. 😉

❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄

T w e l v e   D a y s   U n t i l   A r t m a s . . .   

T w e n t y   D a y s    U n t i l   C h r i s t m a s . . .

❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Come Together

Today is November 5th a.k.a. the date of my birth. In honor of this special day, I want to tell you a story. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about doing more to combat prejudice. During my family’s recent vacation, I witnessed a moment that touched my heart in an unexpected way. My dad, brother, and I wasted no time in checking out the pool once we arrived at our hotel. Right before we left, a trio of teenage girls walked by, each appearing to be of a different ethnic background. There was also an older couple, possibly in their fifties, sitting near the gate. I mention age and race for a reason so stay with me. The girls saw the couple and immediately lit up, saying hello and sitting down to talk; they even took some selfies together. I watched long enough to deduce that these five people were acquaintances because of the hotel. Age didn’t matter. Race didn’t matter. They were able to find things in common and establish a relationship. It is easy to get caught up in the news and feel weighed down by the negative all the time. I want this story to be a reminder of the good in this world as well as a beacon of hope. Please hold on to the positive, no matter how small, because it does exist. ❤️

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Misadventures in Babysitting

I recently reread the first three books of The Baby-Sitters Club series, and the nostalgia was overwhelming. I remember being inspired back in the day to make my own “kid kit” and be the best babysitter EVER. I’ve been blessed to care for children of all ages, and I like to think that I made some kind of positive impact on their lives. This is starting to sound heartwarming so let me put on the brakes because this is not about the good times. Be honest; you’re here to laugh at my expense. 😂 This is a more accurate description of what you’re about to read:

Just to be clear, I am a responsible babysitter, and nothing dangerous has ever happened in my care. The tales I’m about to reveal weren’t directly my fault, just a handful of humorous and unfortunate events.

– Board Game Gone Wrong –

The brother & sister I was babysitting suggested we play chutes and ladders, and I eagerly agreed because I thought it would be fun to relive my childhood. I have to be honest and tell you that I got beat fair and square. I didn’t come in first place nor did I come in second; I was dead last. This particular board game is meant for kids, and even though I had no intention of beating my young companions, I didn’t think I would be so terrible. We hadn’t been playing long before the sister turned to me and said with a straight face: “You’re really bad at this game.” There is nothing quite as humiliating as an insult from someone who is less than half your age. I haven’t played that game since.

– Late Night TV –

This particular situation was mostly my fault, but have no fear because it had nothing to do with my young charges. For an extended period of time, I had a steady babysitting job with a family who lived in my neighborhood. One night while sitting at their house, I decided to watch some television after the kids were sound asleep; of course I had the parents’ permission. It was late at night, and there was a thunderstorm brewing. Of all the things I could have watched, I settled on a crime show. That was my first mistake. I eventually decided TV was a bad idea, and picked up the book I brought with me which just so happened to be a mystery. That was my second mistake. My third and final mistake was leaving only one lamp on. I’m not sure why, but I never turned on the room light to make myself feel safer. It was a tense few hours. I didn’t know nighttime could be so noisy! I can’t even tell you how many times I checked the doors and windows to make sure they were locked ( once I built up the courage to do so ). When the parents arrived through the garage, I naturally thought they were murderers until they stepped into the house and greeted me by name. That was the last time I ever watched a crime show or read a mystery while babysitting.

– I Cry Fowl –

I will ease you into the fourth and final story with the typical babysitting story of a bird in the garage. It happened while I was outside with the “chutes and ladders siblings” for some fresh air and playing time. While taking a brief break from the sun, a curious bird joined us. He was harmless, but I couldn’t help panicking. The brother’s personality was unpredictable, and I pictured him opening the door and accidentally letting our new winged friend inside the house. Of course I had to cage (get it?!) my fear so the kids wouldn’t panic and do what I just described. I spoke softly and encouraged them to stay still so the bird wouldn’t feel threatened. He explored a little more and flew away, never to bother us again. Crisis avoided! I swear the animal kingdom is out to get me.

– Dino and the Popsicles –

I realize that the title sounds like a cool band name, but the following events are anything but cool. Literally! I was once again babysitting my neighbors, but this time it was during the day. The parents provided popsicles and told me the kids could play outside. Simple enough, right? WRONG!! When the time came, the siblings grabbed their cold, refreshing popsicles, and we ventured outdoors into the unbearable heat & humidity. After some quality playing time with their dog Dino, the sister informed me that she had to use the restroom. I thought nothing of it until she went to turn the doorknob, and nothing happened. I thought the door was stuck because that is normal in Texas, and I gave it a try. Nothing happened, and my heart started to sink into my stomach. I took some deep breaths and reminded myself that I had to stay calm because I was in charge of two kids and one dog. I made my way to the front of the house to try the garage door; I brought along the sister because she was old enough to stay calm and help me with the code to open the door from the outside. I managed to get the garage door open, but the door to the house was locked, and we had no luck finding the spare key. Trust me, I searched high and low. I had told the brother stay in the backyard with the dog; thankfully the garage wasn’t far from the gate so the sister and I pulled double duty keeping a close eye on them. Unfortunately that didn’t work. The little boy gave in to his curiosity and opened the gate before we could reach him. That wasn’t my main concern. Remember who he was with!! I spent the next 10-15 minutes running up and down the street yelling “DINO!!” No, this is not an unaired episode of The Flintstones. I desperately tried to shepherd him into the gate held open by the sister while simultaneously keeping my eye on the brother because, as you already know, he was very unpredictable (typical at his age). He tried to help by joining in with his small but mighty voice, but really it was just more noise and extra stress. Finally I got that darn dog into the backyard and locked all of us in. I had a mischievous dog and two sweaty, sticky kids in my care, and I felt helpless. I hated to pull them away from something important, but I had to inform the parents of our predicament since I had tried every other way to get back inside. Thankfully I had my phone on me so I called and left a calm, collected message. I spent the next hour or so keeping the kids distracted on the trampoline until their parents came to our rescue. I profusely apologized and fully expected to never work for them again. The parents shocked me by apologizing about their faulty lock, which they forgot to tell me about before leaving, and applauded my ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. I did indeed work for them again, and thankfully the preceding story was the worst experience I ever had, both with them and with babysitting period. It was a tough experience to go through, but I learned a lot.

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– Lauren Michele <3

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