Update of updateyness

Rob and I (okay, mostly Rob) have been doing a TON of yard work the last couple days.  The biggest thing was trimming the 14-foot burning bushes in the back yard.  They are now down to a respectable 8-ish feet tall, but Rob had to rent a gas-powered trimmer on a pole in order to get it done.  With the bushes so overgrown, there was no way he could reach the top middle, even with a ladder.  So trimmer on a stick, to the rescue!  I mostly collected the trimmings and dragged them all onto a tarp.  When we were done, the tarp was so heavy that Rob had to use the lawn tractor to pull it.  I am not sure what we’re going to do with all this yard waste, now.  We’re going to try to get it to the township for mulching, but it won’t fit in the van.  Maybe one of those 1-hour $19 rentals from home depot.  Ugh.  It is sort of neverending.

The kids and I went down to my in-laws’ on Sunday, while Rob continued to clean gutters, trim bushes, mow the lawn, etc.  We brought the sprinkler, and the kids had a good time with that for about the first hour we were there.  Then we came inside, and the children were going INSANE.  I had to hiss at them in my very serious mom voice that if they couldn’t take it down a notch we were going to have to get back in that van and go home.  (They took it down a notch.)  My in-laws are so tolerant and understanding about rambunctious kids, but I just can’t stand for it to get out of hand.

Hey, remember when N was saying that he wished he had Star Wars pajamas?  Guess what my MIL had for him on Sunday.  Star Wars pajamas!  They’re not Hanna Andersson, and definitely won’t live to be passed down through the generations, but they certainly fit the bill, here!  100% cotton, short, summer PJs.  He LOVES them.  I could not believe she found cotton ones.  I looked all over (onlinez) and couldn’t find them anywhere but sold-out Hanna.  So…hooray!

We are going up to the lake soon.  My sister and her family are joining us, along with probably one stepbrother and his fiance.  I am really looking forward to it.  N will turn 7 while we’re there, so we’ll have cake and presents for him up there.

I KNOW that somewhere in this house is the 5th cup in a set of 10 stacking cups.  It’s a kids’ toy.  I haven’t seen that 5th cup in years, but I just know it is here somewhere (where would we have taken it?) and I will rejoice when I eventually find it.  It is dark blue.  I know it’s here somewhere.  Bothers me every time L gets the cups out.

We had a tuh-huh-huh-HUN of rain this week.  Especially early Wednesday morning.  Our neighborhood was flooded.  I have neighbors who had flooded basements.  Our basement just got trickles in the usual places, no big deal.   But it was crazy for Rob, trying to get to work that morning, and crazy for me, trying to drive N to camp.  Our neighborhood streets were like little rivers.  So many roads were flooded, washed out, etc., that Rob couldn’t get to a train station and ended up coming home and working from home.  N’s camp (Nerd Camp!  Aka Camp Invention), has indoor facilities, but getting there was tricky.  One of my neighbors said she went for a walk on Wednesday evening, and there were dead fish all over the street.  No idea where they came from.  Anyway, exciting times, right?

When we get back from vacation, we’ll be going to a family 80th birthday party on Saturday, and then having N’s TWO birthday parties on Sunday.  Friends in the afternoon, family in the evening.  It is going to be cruh-hay-zee.  Poor kid…birthday is always around 4th of July weekend, and people are always busy.  But there’s going to be a bouncy house in our yard for 24 hours.  Man, this is going to be good.  Those kids are going to be so dead tired.

One of my cats peed and pooped on the built in couch in the basement.  It went all the way through to the foam.  I had to wash the slip cover, remove the casing and rinse it outdoors and spray it with Resolve, and drag the foam pad outdoors, too, soak up all the pee, and spray THAT with resolve and leave it in the sun.  I really hope the smell doesn’t linger.  That is going to suck if it does.  These couch things are built-in platforms, with covered foam pads for cushions.  They are all custom fit, and getting a new one would not be high on my list of things I want to do with my money right now.  Stupid cat.

I am going to try my hardest (as soon as I get off the computer) to really CLEAN this house before vacation.  I always hate coming home to dirtiness and chaos, and I always think I will really clean the day before we leave, but then I never really make it happen.  Making it happen!  Plus also, then it will already be mostly clean for the party on Sunday, and we can just touch it up here and there.

Happy Solstice!

It’s the summer solstice today.  Happy solstice!

We try to do something outdoorsy to celebrate, and try to watch the sunset.  But today’s been pretty rainy, so I’m not sure we’ll pull it off.  I’m kind of hoping we can hit a carnival tonight.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?

N had Cub Scout camp this week.  I think he really enjoyed it.  I volunteered one day, and it was really fun.  They did all kinds of activities: archery (he got a bullseye!), learning the basics of different sports, crafts (leather stamping!), a station called “erehwon”, which is supposed to be about thinking outside the box in different ways (they did optical illusions on the day I was there), games, all sorts of stuff.  They have a little program during the lunch break, and it was a regionally well-known awesome storyteller on the day I was there.  The kids are pretty great.  I got to be leader for our regular group of boys, but there were only 5 going to camp, so it was pretty easy.  First grade boys are so goofy.  I had to have a serious little talk with two of them about writing (misspelled) inappropriate words on their camp shirts.  I was firm, but kind, but the poor boys were both so abashed.  Poor things.  I didn’t figure it out till the end of the day (due to the misspellings), so I asked their parents to have them black the words out at home.

Anyway, I think N really liked spending all this time with his Scout friends.

Yesterday, we had a play date with a school friend of his at the park.  He and N are All Star Wars All The Time, at school, from what I understand.  We’d never hung out with them before, so it could have gone either way, but it was awesome.  The mom and I talked up a storm the whole time.  The school friend has a younger sister, too.  She and L didn’t play too much together, but all the kids seemed to have a good time.  We went to a park with a splash pad for the first time this year.  It’s finally warm enough!

N is saying he wants Star Wars pajamas.  I am KICKING myself for not sucking it up and buying the Hanna Andersson Star Wars PJs when they came out a few months ago.  I didn’t want to cough up the money for them.  (And frankly, I still don’t, really.)  But now they’re completely sold out in all the big kids sizes.  It’s easy to find licensed character PJs all over the place, but impossible to find actual COTTON pajamas with licensed characters.  Star wars, for sure, anyway.  Both my kids have such sensitive skin that they have to wear cotton or else they get all rashy.  (First world problems, yes, I fully admit.)  I guess he will have to settle for a Star Wars pillowcase.  I am more than happy to make him one.  I have a really cute pillowcase pattern somewhere.

Speaking of pillowcases, I got a real score of a deal at Goodwill this morning.  I found a set of Pottery Barn Kids sheets in a cute watercolor fish print for $10.  All the pieces were marked separately, so I was glad to find enough different ones to make a complete set.  I’m going to have to take in the double fitted sheet to make it a twin, but that seems pretty easy.  So…I spent $10 and created a project for myself to go on the pile of unfinished projects.  OOPS.  (But they’re so cute.)

Speaking of unfinished projects, I need to make a new name label thing for L’s backpack.  She is inheriting N’s preschool backpack, but his has his name embroidered on it.  I figured I could make a little applique patch with her name on it, and sew it on.  It will look cute.  Just have to do it.  My sewing machine is currently buried under a heap of things.

Speaking of a heap of things, this house!  I have a summer goal to go through all the closets and drawers and seriously clean it OUT.   It’s ridiculous.  No more places to put things, and the storage areas we do have are being used very inefficiently to store stuff we don’t necessarily even need.  Same old story you’ve heard before.  But this time in goal form.  Do it!

I also have a mini goal for L’s little social life.  I don’t hang out with enough people who have little people her age.  Need to drum up some playmates for this kid.  (And it wouldn’t hurt my social life to get some new faces into the rotation, either.)  So…working on that.

I just started watching the BBC show “Call the Midwife.”  MMMMmmmm…British period dramas…

I think that’s it for now.  :)

Interviews with my Kids

I saw these questions on a blog this morning, and decided to interview my kids before N left for camp today.  Here’s the results:

Interview with N, Age: going to be 7 in about a week…

  • What is the meaning of life?  You have a family.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?  Nothing.  Just a grownup.
  • What brings you the most happiness?  Family.
  • When do you feel the most loved?  When I’m with you, Harley, Figaro, Dad, and L and myself.
  • What are you afraid of?  I’m afraid of shots, robbers, and tornados.
  • If you had one wish, what would you wish for?  I would wish for all the legos in the world.
  • What is the funniest word?  Potatohead.
  • What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?  The hardest thing to do is to have no candy in my whole life.  The easiest thing to do is to jump around.
  • What is the best/worst thing in the world?  The best thing in the world is love and family.  The worst thing in the world is mad and stressful and pouting.
  • What makes you mad?  I don’t know.  Not really much.
  • What is the meaning of love?  Love means…I don’t know what love means but I know it has some stuff in it that makes you feel good.
  • If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?  I would buy everything in the world.
  • What is your favorite food?  Lots.
  • What is your favorite season?  Summer vacation.
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  I would go to Tennessee.  I don’t know what’s there.
  • Anything else you’d like to say?  There’s not much in the world that starts with Z.
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Interview with L, Age: 3…

  • What is the meaning of life?  Think about your favorite stuff.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?  A scientist!
  • What brings you the most happiness?  My family
  • When do you feel the most loved?  When I hug people.
  • What are you afraid of?  The dark, monsters and ghosts.
  • If you had one wish, what would you wish for?  Winter!
  • What is the funniest word?  I think…um…Mr. Potatohead.
  • What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?  The hardest thing to do is wait.  The easiest thing to do is not wait.
  • What is the best/worst thing in the world?  The best thing in the world is staying with my family.  The worst thing in the world is ghosts.
  • What makes you mad?  People annoying me.
  • What is the meaning of love?  Hugging.
  • If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?  Collect all the pieces of the world!
  • What is your favorite food?  Cereal.
  • What is your favorite season?  Winter.
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  To winter!
  • What does Daddy do for work?  Help people.
  • What does Mommy do?  Writes on the computer.  Writes notes.  Take the stinky garbage out.  Clean the Leap Pad.  Do everything good at the house.  And that’s it.
  • How old is Mommy?  17.
  • What does Mommy like to do after you go to bed?  Get her p.j.s on.  Make breakfast when I wake up.
  • Anything else you’d like to say?  Yes. I love you.

Biiiiig Update, because it’s been forever since I posted.

I haven’t updated in a long time.  What’s been going on?

  • Rob and I took a little anniversary overnight trip to Madison, WI.  It was our 10th anniversary on Friday.  My in-laws stayed at our house with the kids.  This was the first time I’d left L overnight, and I was a little worried about how much of a hard time I thought she’d give my MIL.  But as it turned out, it was all fine!  L asked to go to sleep “alone”, which surprised me (she usually (okay, always) wants me to sit next to her when she’s falling asleep.)  But I guess if Mama wasn’t there, then she decided she’d rather have nobody, which is ultimately what I want for her, anyway.
  • ANYWAY, so we went to Madison, and did about seven hundred things in 24 hours.  To wit: farmer’s market, public botanical garden, local pizza and improv comedy show, lots of walking, candy shop, free outdoor rock concert, stayed at a nice hotel, the hotel sent champagne to our room, very nice casual restaurant breakfast/brunch the next day.  WHEW!  It was fun to do so many things, but a little bit exhausting!  I was kind of worn out by the time we got home.  I guess we weren’t going for a “relaxing” experience, but more of a “let’s do things that can be a pain in the ass with the kids here” experience.  So that’s what we did.  If we’d had a longer time frame, I think we would have incorporated a little more down time.  Maybe.  Haha…I don’t know.  I think I’ve forgotten what downtime is really like.
  • Oh!  The day before we left the kids in someone else’s care for 24 hours, L decided she was done with diapers and was only going to wear underpants.  So my gracious in-laws took THAT on, too, when L had less than a day’s experience of being a potty trained little person.  To her credit, she was about 75% successful on her first day, and has been steadily improving ever since.  Go L!
  • My new planner is the SHIZZ.  I am in love with that thing.  I bring it places, and make appointments easily and confidently.  I keep a running to-do list on the days when things need doing.  It’s working, and I am pretty pleased with it!
  • I told Rob, a couple weeks ago, that I was tired of our family living like slobs.  He laughed and said that, sadly, slovenliness was kind of his natural state (I’ve known Rob for almost 19 years.  He’s not kidding.)  I think we had just, as a couple, gotten extremely lazy about picking up after ourselves.  So, in the time since then, we’ve both been making more of an effort, and it makes a big difference in how the house feels.  I want to live in a house that is RELATIVELY tidy.  I want to model good habits for the kids, and teach them how to be successful grownups when they have homes of their own to manage.
  • To which end, I have been teaching N more household stuff.  He’s cleared his own dishes for quite a while now, but now I have him rinse and put them in the dishwasher, too.  He is the guy who brings the garbage and recycling cans back to the garage after garbage pickup (man, do I LOVE having a kid to do that chore for me!).  He wipes the table after dinner.  Corralling library books into the library basket.  Stuff like that.  L is my shoe-straightener by the back door, and she likes to help me with cooking things.
  • I spent two whole days cleaning, decluttering, and reorganizing the kids’ bedrooms.  The big problems in L’s room were too many clothes (outgrown, waiting to grow into, right size but wrong season, etc.), and too many big ride or push-toys in the bottom of her closet.  Moved some outgrown toys to the bin of baby toys (which I keep handy for friends with little ones), moved a couple ride on toys to the garage.  N’s room had been the repository for ALL THE THINGS.  I threw away two big garbage bags full of junk papers from his room.  I went through all the bins of every paper I’d saved from four years of school, plus his baby book and baby keepsakes, and winnowed it down to a reasonable number, organized by year.  We’d thrown several organizational systems into his space, but none of them were working efficiently.  So I eliminated only about one small box of toys, but by cleaning and decluttering, was able to remove MANY plastic bins, and sterilite storage cart drawer things from his floor, and a big bookcase from his closet.  I thought, “what does this kid actually play with these days?” and the answer was “Legos and hot wheels and he reads a lot of books”.  So that’s what I keep handy for him to access.  I was SO satisfied when I finished each kid’s room.  They actually PLAY in there, now!  They can see the toys they like, available for them, with space for them to play.  And if I’m not embarrassed for people to see the rooms anymore, then that is kind of a bonus, isn’t it?
  • For about two weeks, I decided that homemade guacamole was the best thing EVER, and I made myself some for lunch just about every day.  Now?  I’m over it.
  • We’re going camping soon!  Driving down to Kentucky to visit Mammoth Caves.  Staying in tents at the Jellystone Campground nearby.  We will be camping with my sister and her husband and their 1-year-old.  I think it’s going to be awesome!  It’s going to be a LONG day in the car each way, though.  Yikes.  Especially with a newly-potty trained kid.  Double yikes.
  • I ordered myself a new swimsuit, and I really really really hope it gets here before we go.  It is supposed to be HOT, and there is a SWIMMING POOL.  And water slide.  Because we are camping at Jellystone and I am SO EXCITED!  My swimsuit from last year (which I bought because I desperately needed a swimsuit when my 7 year old suit gave out) does not fit me very well.  It’s OKAY, but not great, and I’m not totally comfortable wearing it.  So I am hoping for better things, and then I can use the old-new one for, like, playing with the kids in the sprinkler in my own yard.  Or some such thing.
  • I’m supposed to go to a training meeting tonight for being a Den Guide for N’s Cub Scout day camp next week.  Everyone who signs their kids up for camp is supposed to volunteer one day, either as a Den Guide (leads the kids from station to station and helps lead the activities at each station) or as Program Staff (stays in one place as groups of kids come to them, leads the activity at that station with the help of the Den Guide.)  So I’m volunteering a day, and I have to go get trained.  But it’s supposed to be a crazy thunder and hail storm around here, right at the time when I’m supposed to be going.  Unfun.  I do not wish to be hailed upon.  I am taking the car (10 year old Hyundai) so our van (much newer Honda) can stay in the nice safe garage.

I think that’s about all I can come up with for now.  I need to go work on housecleaning (not living like slobs takes actual EFFORT.  Did you know that?) and planning/packing more for camping.

L

Lily likes to do little dances, after which she expects us to clap and say “bravo! bravo!”  Except she thinks the word is “robbo!  robbo!” And if you say it wrong, she gets mad.

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Yesterday, she was cleaning up some blocks, and did NOT want help.  She gave me the stink eye, while continuing to put blocks in the box, and made up a little song:

“I cleaning up the blocks, and  You.  Don’t.  Help.  Me.  I singing little song and YOU.  DON’T.  SING.  IT.”

(rhythm, so I don’t forget it when I’m old and grey,  = 1, 2 and 3 and 4 and 1, 2, 3, 4.)

Pinterest WIN!

This morning, I saw an idea on Pinterest, and I put it right into action!  Of course, L didn’t like it the way it was “supposed” to go, so I had to adjust, but still.  Pinterest WIN.

The idea was to sort matchbox cars by color onto pieces of colored paper.  She was skeptical about the paper part of it.  Totally willing to sort, but unwilling to sully her precious coloring paper.  So…we sorted onto the lines in the rug.  Works for me.

And I took pictures, because that’s how I roll.

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New Pix

I took pictures of Rob reading to the kids this morning.

 

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Rob is awesome.  And my family makes good funny faces.

 

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They also hug and that’s good too.

 

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Yesterday, I went out thrift shopping with my aunt.  It was a lot of fun.  We hit one place that didn’t seem at all like a thrift store to me.  It was upscale women’s (old ladies’) consignment, mixed with a lot of new accessories and home decor merch.  LOTS of expensive boxy jackets.  I did pick up a (new) melon-colored ruffled scarf there.  I’ve been wearing a lot of scarves this winter, like casually looped over a plain colored t-shirt.  I really like the look.  And it would be nice to add something so complexion-flattering as a coral/melon color, and I don’t have anything warm-colored in my stash yet, so this was a good choice.  The ruffles are just added fun.

I hit my favorite kids’ consignment shop, and got a bunch of things for L and a few items for N.  My favorite buy was a little set for L from Janie and Jack.  It’s a pale blue plaid skirt and matching capelet (with long-sleeved shirt for underneath.)  SO ADORABLE.  And it was an amazing bargain.  Funny thing…it’s clearly been worn once or twice.  I would say it’s in excellent, but certainly used condition.  But here’s the thing.  The little basting stitches that hold the pleats together have never been removed.  You must know what I mean…like the little X-shaped tack that holds a kick pleat down on a skirt, or the stitches that hold men’s suit coat pockets shut.  You take those off when you’re going to WEAR the garment.  Right?  I mean, people know that, generally, right?  Not to leave weird super obvious BASTING stitches in place?  But apparently not.  I commented on it to the consignment shop owner, and she said they get things in once in a while like that.  Or boys suits that have been worn but still have the manufacturer label basted onto the sleeve.  Like, they wore it to a wedding that way?  She said she guessed people just didn’t know.  It seems pretty clear to me, but…oh well.  So I’ll be taking those basting stitches out before L wears it.  Naturally.

My aunt and I went out to lunch, and I spilled strawberry lemonade all over my lap.  Nice.

We talked a little about planning for my grandma’s 90th birthday party, and about my grandma’s stash of family photos and what my aunt really wants done with them.  I think we had some good conversation.

Last night, we showed L the movie “Cars” for the first time for our family movie night.  She liked it.  Maybe she’ll want to inherit N’s gigantic cache of Cars cars.  He never plays with them anymore.  She slept with a green and a purple Ramone car last night.

Oh, speaking of which, L still likes to sleep with a big assortment of toys in the bed with her.

And here’s what it looks like when a 6-year-old boy plays My Little Pony with his sister.  At least in my house.

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Way too much talking about dishes

I bought bowls the other day, to replace the bright plastic gerber baby-food bowls in which I was still serving my kids’ meals.  Kind of tired of the plastic, and N was starting to ask to have “big kid” bowls instead.  The bowls that are part of my dish set have a shallow slope to the edges, so the kids tend to push stuff up and out when they use them.  Not ideal.  Also, and I don’t know if you know this, but I kind of have a thing for bowls.  I LOVE bowls.  It’s hard for me to not acquire all of the pretty bowls that I see and I like.  My pressssshusssss….

Where was I?  Oh yes.  I indulged, for once, in my desire to buy some bowls.  (Urged on by Rob saying, “when are you going to go buy some new bowls?”)  I wanted something with a steep side, fairly deep, and honestly, I like the little foot/stand on the bottom.  I really like the shape of Anthropologie’s latte bowls…

anthrobowls

…but I was just not too keen on the color options.  So I went looking.  And I found just what I wanted at Bed Bath & Beyond, on clearance, even!  Sweet deal.  I got these bowls in white, and in royal blue.  (My main dishes are blue willow, so the blue and white goes with what I have.)

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In other dishware news, when I was out, I saw my very own blue willow pattern, but in BLACK.  They look SO PRETTY.  And they call them “midnight willow”, which sounds so romaaaaannnnntic and lovely.  Midnight.  Willow.  OH it was so hard not to buy them.  The blue willow pattern is a very old dish pattern, and there is a lot of variety in the pattern when made by different manufacturers in different time periods.  You get a lot of variety in the middle scene, and a lot of variety in the edge treatments.  If you collect antique blue willow (which my high school best friend’s mother did, which was probably one of my major influences in liking it so much), you will see a wide variety, but they will all look pretty together.  But this Midnight Willow set that I saw is MY EXACT pattern, only in black.  I just thought it would look so pretty in the fall, with brown and orange and natural tan linens.  All those fall colors clash a bit with my blue dishes.  SIGH.  My life as a homemaker is full of strife, people.  BLACK WILLOW.  It’s where it’s at.  (For those times when Blue Willow doesn’t cut it.  Which is almost never because blue willow rocks the bomb’s socks off, never gonna give you up, let you down, run around and desert you, etc.)

midnightwillow

Anyway, enough about bowls.

I BOUGHT GLASSES TOO!!!!!  I know…SHOCKER.  These are them.  They are acrylic, and I think they, too, bridge the gap nicely between baby plastic bright colored toddler cups (which N now rejects), and actual heavy glassware, which I don’t especially want to give to L.  Frankly, I still make her use a sippy-top cup, because she plays and spills and puts things in her drinks and I am not a fan of cleaning all that up all the time.  Also, she plays with her stuff and knocks it off the table ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY.  So, yeah, just no.  She gets sippy cups until she is 17.  The two sets of glasses that we got when we got married (neither of which we picked out and both of which were lovely gifts) have now gotten etched by the dishwasher to the point where I am embarrassed to serve guests in them.  They look filthy all the time.  So, out with the old, in with the new.  I figured since I was buying a set of old fashioneds, to be short glasses for N, I might as well buy a set of highballs to be tall glasses for the rest of us.  Done, and done.  (And…shhhhh….don’t tell anyone, but I PREFER a plastic glass for drinking my water.  It’s not so heavy.  I told Rob this, and he teased me (because that’s how we roll), “Is a glass glass TOO HEAVY for you to LIFT to your LIPS?  Oh POOR HEATHER, etc.”  Ha.  He is a dork.  But yes, Rob, the glass glass is too heavy for me and I’ve been suffering in silence for many many years now and now I bought plastic glasses YAY.)

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In other news

  • I just looked up “simple cow diagram” online, to show L the difference between where the milk comes out and where the poop comes out.  Yay for the internet!
  • N has no school today, so he’s getting a haircut, going to a play date, and going to a birthday party. Busy day!
  • My kids seem to be incapable of playing in the same room without screaming at each other.  It drives me batty.  One of the other of them always thinks they are the boss of all the toys in the room, and the sibling’s mere presence is INTOLERABLY GALLING.  Just as I was writing this, I heard a whistle start blowing, and then N’s voice came from the front room, hollering at L to knock it off.  I peeked around the corner, and saw him sitting quietly, reading on the couch, and her sitting next to him puffing on a whistle.  Like, RIGHT next to him.  Just blowing that whistle as hard as she could, over and over.  Not into his ear or anything, but just right next to him, like *thisclose*, blowing on a whistle.  And I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t tolerate someone blowing a whistle right next to me when I was trying to read.  Not for very long.  There’s a lot of that type of thing around here.

So, this seems kind of strange.  Two times in the last couple of months, now, I have been shopping the the produce section in the middle of the day, with my wedding ring on and my toddler around my knees (= old married lady), when Hispanic men shopping by themselves have offered to help me choose avocados.  Is this a thing, now?  Because I am a pretty good avocado chooser on my own, actually.  I don’t think I appear perplexed, or anything.  And no people, Hispanic or otherwise, male or female, have offered to help me choose any other kind of produce.  So…  just the avocados, then? Weird.

I took my van in for service today, because mice has chewed up the hood liner and made a nest up in/on the cabin air filter.  So, every time we turned the car on, the air blowing on our faces was blowing through a mouse nest.  You can imagine how pleasant that was.  UGH.

Lily picked out flowers for our table, at the grocery store yesterday.  I steered her towards the carnations, because they last FOREVER.  I love carnations in a bunch on the table.

pastels and chocolate

I am stumped as to what color to repaint the hallway.  I keep thinking and thinking about it.

I also keep thinking about the trim and the doors, and the colors thereof.

I keep thinking that the white-trim-and-doors thing is going to turn out to be a fad, and I will be glad that I didn’t spend a lot of energy/time/money redoing all my trim and doors.  However, it seems to be sticking around.  I object, though, to what seems to be a prevalent idea that that’s the ONLY way one’s home can look acceptable.

We have a 1970s ranch house.  The trim is all stained dark wood.  I actually don’t mind it.  It certainly wears well and it matches well throughout the house.  And in the kids’ rooms, which are painted light aqua and spring green, it looks really GOOD with the rich brown trim, in my opinion.  Like pastels and chocolate.  I like it.

It seems that the doors in my home (inexpensive hollow core doors that I am not particularly attached to one way or the other) were at one time stained dark to match the trim.  Then at some point, someone (not us) painted them cream.  So they all look the same, but none of them match the dark trim.

I can imagine that painting the doors cream lightened up the feel of the home considerably, but honestly I would rather have them matching.

I am rambling about paint.  Yay.

I do think a lot about it, though.

I am not satisfied with how the hallway turned out.  I am going to repaint it a lighter color.  Just not sure WHICH lighter color.  I keep looking online for inspiration, but across the board, all the homes on DIY blogs or decorating blogs have white white white trim.  White trim everywhere.  White trim as far as the eye can see.  And I do think it looks really NICE in a lot of cases.  It’s just…it’s just so very across the board that I am frustrated by not being able to find pictures to help me visualize what I want to do.  And I feel like all those pictures, just EXISTING, on the INTERNET, are pressuring me to conform.

Grr.

(Do I sound insane?  I feel a little insane over this.)

Saturday through now

This last weekend, on Saturday, I had a MASSAGE.  It was awesome!  I truly felt like my whole body was being deeply respected and well cared for.  It was amazing.  Like, not only physically good but emotionally good.

I went out to lunch afterward with my aunt and my mother.  We talked about things like my grandmother’s 90th birthday party, and the stacks of pictures in her basement.  Ideas were mentioned about “getting organized” and “dealing with the pictures”, I think with the idea that we’d probably better get ON that.

We got a new (to us!) couch on Saturday, too!  We gave away our 12-year-old futon (our primary seating in the family room), and replaced it with a couch that my mom wanted to get rid of because she bought new furniture and this couch never fit right in her room.  I am THRILLED with the exchange.  We have a real couch!  Like a real couch like grownup people have!  And it’s SOOOOOO cushy, compared to the futon.  The futon had solid wood arms, so it was a nice place to set drinks when sitting around watching TV, and now we have to use the coffee table.  But I think I can handle that.  Those solid wood arms were always scary when the kids roughhoused on the couch anyway.  More than one head has been clunked really hard on them.  So this is better.  And now I have a couch!  We gave up the sleeping option of the futon, but honestly, since it’s 12 years old and sort of sprung by this time, I don’t think it was super comfy for guests anymore anyway.  Better to put them on the platform beds and air mattress downstairs.  That’s what I think.  Also, COUCH!

Saturday night we had family movie night on the new couch.  It was good.  I need to come up with some new movies to add to the list, though.  Need to be able to stream them on Netflix.  Can’t be too weird or scary for L, but have to be interesting for the rest of us.  Shorter is better…about an hour is a really good length for us right now.  So…suggestions are welcome!

Sunday, I declared that we were not going to church, because we’d really just had too much going on, and my cousin and his wife were coming to visit at noon.  Staying home for the morning was just what we needed.  Except.  Hang on a minute.  I didn’t totally stay home.  I forgot…I went to the grocery store, to get vegetable broth for the soup I was making to feed my company!  So, it was good to go to the store by myself.

My cousin and his wife live in Chicago.  They came out here to the burbs on the train.  We went to my dad’s donut shop, got local Mexican food, and hung out and played board games with lego star wars minifigs for pieces until dinner time.   I made vegetarian potato soup, bread, green salad, and fruit for dinner.  We tried star fruit for the first time, and all agreed it had the taste and texture of apples.  Yum.  It was pretty awesome.  We got caught up about different parts of the family members, and agreed that pouring your energy into those people who pour energy into you is a good idea.  So.  Glad we agree!  Next visit might be in February, and perhaps we’ll go into Chicago and take the kids to a museum or something.  (Cousin and wife don’t have kids yet, but love hanging out with mine.  Sweet deal.)

Monday was MLK day, and Rob’s office was closed and N was off school.  So we were able to all be home together, which was nice.  We took the kids to a jumpy house place, which was, of course, mobbed because of the holiday.  Rob and I prepped for Tuesday’s CS meeting.  We ate leftover soup.  It was good.

Tuesday, my major accomplishment was getting final prep done for the CS meeting.  I don’t know if you know this, but I am kind of a procrastinator, without ACTUALLY being a total slacker.  So I put things off and put them off, and kind of refuse to work ahead, but then I don’t want to do a shitty job at things or actually blow them off, so I end up putting in a lot of effort right at the end.  Lifelong habit.  Hard to break.  So, yeah.  I did manage to pull it together, and I think the meeting went well, I communicated necessary info to the parents, and we’re on board to get all the kids their badges at the B&G banquet in February.  Whew!  After this, we’ve finished all the REQUIREMENTS for the year, and we’re on to just fun stuff and electives and it’s more loosey goosey.  I need ideas.  I have asked the parents in the group but not gotten too much response.  We’ll just have to be creative I guess.

On Wednesday, yesterday, I met my friend for coffee and we sat there for TWO HOURS talking.  Lily had a chocolate milk and a squeezey applesauce thing, and when she got bored with playing around our feet, I pulled out the Leap Pad and let her play that.  This is one thing that Nathan would not have done at her age.  The Leap Pad would definitely not have kept his interest for an hour.  (An hour!  Shocker!  Slacker Mom Sucks Down White Chocolate Mocha and Gabs About Important Things Like Literature and Pinewood Derby While Toddler Melts Brain Cells But Also Practices Writing Her Letters and Blow Drying Her Imaginary Pet Which Is Actually The Cutest Thing Ever Because She Has To BLOW INTO THE LEAP PAD, OMG!  Details at 11!)

I also did some laundry on Wednesday.

Now it is Thursday, and Rob and I have agreed we need a new mattress, so I am researching mattresses.  Anyone bought a mattress lately?  It seems like a giant racket, designed to confuse and rip off the consumer.  I’m just sayin’.  Advice would be handy.  Thanks!

Oh!  I bought JEGGINGS and gosh darnit if they are not the most comfortable things in the whole entire world.  Jeggings and black corduroy leggings.  I love them.  I promise not to wear them as pants, and I think I need to find a knee-length skirt or two to really get the most use out of them, but I love them.

I feel like my wardrobe is moving in a kind of fun direction, and I like it. But it’s not totally there yet, and there are gaps I need to fill.  I tried to find skirts at the thrift shop yesterday, but no luck.  What I really want is a-line corduroy knee-length or just above knee.  Think how cute those would look with leggings and boots.  Think about it!  I would be adorable, people!

Okay, off to switch the laundry around.  Adios!

Mommy’s legs are a boat

The best way I can think of to get L to comply with my wishes, without it turning into a giant battle of wills, is to get creative with how I request things.  This takes mental energy, and I am not always up for it.  But it DOES seem to work, and I’m hoping these methods don’t stop working any time soon!

1. If I want her to go somewhere (like go to her room to get dressed, or to the bathroom for teeth brushing or something), she will not go just because I ask her to.  But she WILL go if I make i a race.  “Hey Lily, race you to your room!  Ready, set, go!”  Hint: she always wins.

2. This morning, I needed to walk to the pantry without her clinging to my legs and crying about something, so I made a game of stepping on the floor tiles only in a certain way.  All of a sudden, compliance!

3. I wanted to change her diaper and get her dressed.  She REFUSES to comply, so I made that a game too.  The lying down for diaper part was pretending she was a baby lying on a cloth I’d put on the floor.  Getting dressed was “mommy’s legs are the boat and all the floor is ocean.  Don’t fall into the ocean until you get your floatie on!”

It would be easier if she would just do what I said when I told her to do it, but…well…that doesn’t really work so well these days.  Creativity is not always easy, but it does seem to have good effects.

The one with the boots

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This is us on New Year’s Eve 2013!

And on New Year’s Eve 2003!

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Just goes to show some things never change.

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This is me, wearing THE BOOTS.  I bought them.  And I love them.  I am coming up with different ways to style them (skirts and tights! ETC!)  But for this morning, for walking down to the bus stop when it was TWELVE DEGREES out, I wore them thusly: boots, jeans wadded up and shoved in, snow parka-type winter coat, black gloves, nordic black and white ski hat that I have had for at least a decade and that never ever shows any signs of wear AT ALL.  No joke.  Now I have to buy my coats to match the hat, because the hat is not going anywhere, ever, apparently.  Ha.

So, we walked down to the bus stop in the freezing weather, and then L wanted to play outside  for a bit when we got back to our driveway, so I ran in and got the tripod and camera, and had myself a little photo shoot in the front yard.  Decided that the neighbors might think I was weird and/or crazy for getting out a TRIPOD and taking pictures of myself at 8:00 in the morning, for goodness sake, but that I did not care.  :P

So…here are the boots!  They are awesome.

I just ordered some tights (emerald and charcoal) from the site, “We Love Colors”.  I hope they are good tights.  I am down to one really good pair left (they are, like my hat, many years old, but tough as nails.  They are Lane Bryant brand from before they switched to selling all Spanx stuff, and they are the best tights in the history of the world.  They have a really high waist, which I love, because they don’t roll down and they keep everything warm and snug.  But they are finally (after literally many many years of wear and machine washing), starting to droop a little.  So, since I’m trying to live a more skirt-oriented life, and I live in Illinois where it is COLD in the winter, I need tights.  And/or leggings.  Anyone have any good leads on tights and leggings?  I actually think I might get a pair of demin jeggings.  I was against them until I realized how cute they might be with my boots and a sweater dress.  Or something like that,

I bought a purple sweater dress at the thrift store yesterday.  I need my new tights to get here so I can figure out how to wear the dress.  It’s purple, people.  Apparently I am sick and tired of my mommy uniform.  Ha!

Okay, gotta go eat my lunch.  Wraps, made with turkey, swiss, avocado, and salsa.  YUMMERS.

Oh, P.S. Lily got up at 4:30 in the morning today, and she’s still awake.

Probably took a baff

The birthday kept going!  I don’t mean to go on and on about it, but I was talking with my sister on Tuesday, and she asked if I’d liked the birthday gift she’d left for me when she stayed here at Christmas.  Um…totally forgot it was in the house!  So I headed down to the basement, and there, lo and behold, was a wrapped gift for me, from Hilary.  Inside were a very lovely plum and fuchsia bracelet (that I’d admired in a store when we were together and which she swooped in behind me and picked up without me realizing it!) and also a long beaded warm-neutral necklace that can be worn as one long loop or doubled over.

I just…honestly, friends, I felt so wrapped in love from my family and my friends.  I did not expect all of this.  In fact, on Friday, I was talking to my sister about how I was not sure anybody would make a deal of my birthday at all.  Not in a mopey way, really, but in a “I guess this is what being a grownup is about” kind of way.  So, a big thank you to everyone, for the well-wishing, and the little notes, and the cards and gifts and celebrations.  It was really REALLY nice, and I felt very warm and cozy and secure and snuggled up in all of it.  Thank you.

On Tuesday, I started getting Christmas decorations down.  And started Baby Steps on Flylady again.  I shined my sink!  I’ve done the Flylady thing enough times that I have internalized a lot of the messages, and I know which parts I am likely to blow off, and I’m OKAY with blowing off parts of it, because I don’t expect it to be a complete fix-all, but that I enjoy the structure of it and the affirming little messages and that I like the whole idea of it, so I’m starting it up again and my sink is shined and yes.  Here I go.

After the kids went to bed on Tuesday, I asked Rob to come watch TV with me, and he looked at the stack of dishes that needed hand washing, and asked me if I’d rather he wash dishes or watch TV with me.  I voted for TV, because the shows we watch together, I don’t want to watch separately.  So I had a stack of hand wash dishes next to the sink to deal with on Wednesday, but I knew it would only take about 10 minutes to get through them.  I hadn’t DONE them yet, but I didn’t RESENT them being there.  :)

Let’s see…what else?  I know!  Pictures of my kid!  It’s not the same without them.  This is Lily, on Christmas Eve, at my mother’s house, wearing her Christmas sweater dress and also a pink zebra butterfly tutu and wings that she got from Grandma and Grandpa.  Sometimes I feel like every picture of my kids is my favorite picture ever, but seriously these are close to the top.  :)

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I left the house this morning, for the first time in three days.  I hadn’t been out since we came home from dinner on Monday night.  But that was okay, because I got a ton of stuff done inside.

I did get all the Christmas decor down and boxed up and out away, including the Christmas tree, which was about a two hour job in itself.  I took down the most obvious Christmas lights from outside, and plan to get the rest (the ones hidden in the bushes) today, before it starts raining.  I brought a second chair up to the living room from the basement, and made it look like a living room instead of a play room.  Maybe I’ll make the kids play in the basement.  This is a regular thought process of mine.

I’ve been a faithful Flylady follower for three whole days now, shining my sink and getting showered and dressed first thing in the morning.  I tell ya, that showering and getting dressed thing is really awesome.  I mean, I KNOW it’s a good thing to do, but for YEARS now I have pretended that I COULD NOT get showered first thing, because of the CHILDREN.  They do make a handy excuse.  So I wold get up and feed the kids and start their days, really, before getting around to (or not getting around to) showering and getting myself ready for my day.  Then I would either shortchange my own prep, or skip it altogether, and be rushing to things unshowered and/or not feeling at my best.

So, it’s not like a gigantic revelation or anything, but since I AM a morning person by nature, I really think I can make more of an effort to work with my natural rhythms and get up and get showered before the day gets away from me.  Before kids, I was always the one to get up and get ready first, then wake Rob up.

So, I have enjoyed getting up and being ready to start my day earlier than normal.  It’s nice.

Um, what else?

Yesterday, Lily came out of her bedroom with a pruney, wrinkly thumb in the morning.  She asked me why it was wrinkly, and I said, “You were probably sucking your thumb while you were sleeping.”  She denied it, and said, “I probably took a baff while I sleeping.”

Okay, I’m going to go make my lunch.  Lily’s eating (or fooling around) and I’m sort of hungry.

Parenting a ball of wild, defiant lightning

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We have had a lot of days, lately, of no naps for Lillian.  Honestly, her not napping makes the bedtime routine go a whole lot more quickly (like 15 minutes to sleep instead of an hour and a half), so I’m kind of neither her nor there on the issue itself.  But on Friday, we went to the grocery store in the afternoon (about 2:30.)  Lily fell asleep on the way there.  I thought for sure she’d wake up when I took her out of the cozy car into the 30-degree parking lot, but nope!  She just buried her face in my neck and kept sleeping.  Same for transferring to the grocery cart.  I took my coat off and wadded it up for a little pillow for her.  She snoozed through at least 30 minutes of grocery shopping.  She got all kinds of admiring looks from other shoppers.  I snapped this picture of her in the butter aisle with my phone.  :)

Saturday, we were at church at noon for Pinewood Derby.  It was crazy!  My parents and my in-laws both came to see the races.  I hope they realized beforehand that it was going to be EIGHTY KIDS plus assorted parents and grandparents and siblings.  It was NUTS.  But you can’t stop these people (I love how much they want to attend events, even events that I am not always so keen on attending myself, you know?  Haha…does that make me a horrible parent?  Can I admit in public that I think Sunday School Christmas pageants are a teeny bit boring?  That I think it’s a little silly that my two-year-old would have a role in such a thing?  Did I ever tell that story?  OMG, it was insane.  Let me get you a picture, here.)

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So, back in the middle of December, Nate was a shepherd for the Sunday School pageant.  All of his Sunday School class were shepherds and angels.  They were SUPER CUTE.  My goodness, they were cute.  Their role was to wear their costumes, sit in a pew, and come up to the front when it was their class’s turn, and recite some lines and then sing a song.  Nate did great.  Awesome kid.  He didn’t want a solo line, but that was fine.  He did the lines with his class, and sang enthusiastically when it was time.  Best little shepherd ever.  All good.

Lily?  My darling, sweet little babycakes Lily?  She and I had a role.  Along with another mom and 2.5-year-old, representing the nursery class of children, we were supposed to go up to the front, say our lines, hang an ornament on the tree, and then the kids were supposed to ring some jingle bells.  The other boy?  Stood by his mom while she read her lines, and then rang his jingle bells.  Right?  Right.  Lily, on the other hand, while I was reading my lines and kind of had to stay put and do my part…wandered all over the dais, climbed into the pulpit, and announced loudly that she wanted to talk there like a Mommy.  She also refused to ring her jingle bells.  Then, when our part was done, I took her in the narthex.  She ran away from me (RAN!) into the fellowship hall, and snatched (SNATCHED!  SO FAST!) a cookie from a plate and shoved it into her mouth before I could catch her.  I took her in the bathroom to clean the green frosting off her face, and then I took her in a stall with me so I could use the bathroom.  I chose the handicap stall so we’d have a little more room in there together, but Lily went and opened the door, ignoring me, and walked out when I was totally not in a position to stop her.  I was just hoping nobody would walk in!  Then she wanted a drink of water from the fountain, but she ADAMANTLY refused all help, and instead chose to squirt herself in the face over and over again with the water in her attempts to get it her own blessed self, completely soaking her dress in the process.  She spent the rest of the pageant running back and forth in the narthex from couch to couch, flinging her body on one and then bouncing off and flinging herself on the other one.

WHEW!  That child is a handful.  I love her extremely extremely much, but it is so tiring to parent her these days!  It is like being the parent to a ball of wild, defiant energy and lightning.  She gets this look in her eye, when she’s being so wild, where I can tell she’s just filled with the total joy and thrill of going fast and being crazy.  She ignores all my stern looks and stern voices, and just goes WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE on the thrillcoaster of defiance.  I hope hope hope that it is a phase, and that turning three will have some kind of calming effect.

SO ANYWAY, yes, a lot of the grandparents came to Pinewood Derby, and it was nuts, but I’m glad we have grandparents who want to come to these kinds of things, because it’s sort of awesome to have these family members around and involved, and Lily is a handful, the end.