Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kristina's Color Challenge #7

Kristina has issued her latest color challenge.

The colors are Chocolate Chip, Close to Cocoa, Soft Sky and Very Vanilla.

I used Soft Sky for base card stock, Close to Cocoa DP, Chocolate Chip as a base for the Very Vanilla piece with the pussy willow from the Blooming with Love stamp set. It was stamped in Timber Brown StazOn and the pussy willows were colored in with a Creamy Caramel marker. The sentiment is from the Simple Delights set stamped in VersaMark. The band is Chocolate Chip grosgrain and the ruffle is Very Vanilla Taffeta. All materials and stamps are by Stampin' Up! I think it will be the Mother's Day card I send to my step-mom in Colorado. Thanks for looking!

Wordless Wednesday

What is Wordless Wednesday?
On Wednesdays all over the Internet, bloggers post a photograph with no words to explain it on their blog. Hence the ‘wordless’ title. The idea is that the photo itself says so much that it doesn’t need any description.
Check out for an archive of interesting WW posts.

Taken from: Mom's Talk Radio formerly Mom's Radio Network) is a network of Internet radio and podcast programs for moms. It's like chocolate for your ears!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

If I've said it once....

I have said it a million times:

Leave the bathroom door closed.

Cole likes to play in the water. Any water. The toilet has water! Okay, how gross is that? No matter how often I clean the toilet. Our toilets are crappy and I mean that. They are the low-flow kind that helps you "save" water unless of course you have to hold the handle down and flush it two or more times to send it away. They get plugged at least every couple of days. And the older kids are not interested in making sure the bowl is empty before they leave. I have been asking nicely for as long as Cole has been crawling or couch surfing to please keep the door closed. I have heard the warnings about how toddlers can fall into a bucket of water or toilet head first and don't have the upper body strength to push themselves out again. I hate thinking about it. I baby-proofed the house as much as I possibly could but it really doesn't matter if you don't have everyone on board with that plan.

Finally, something to illustrate my point:

These are Daddy's glasses. He was watching them while I was in the shower. He decided to go out and mow the lawn. Did he tell me he was leaving? The kids were in the bathroom with me for the moment, but were wandering freely back and forth. (Leaving the bathroom door wide open so all my nice steamy warm air was escaping while leaving the cold front right outside the shower door.) Ryan came back in and said that she couldn't find him anywhere. (Where could he be, he supposed to be watching the kids?) I told her to see if he was in the bathroom. Apparently he had been there because he left the door open. Then he went outside. YOU CLOSE THE FRONT DOOR WHEN YOU LEAVE..... same concept!!!!

I found Cole playing in the toilet. Thank God it had been flushed properly. Later on DH told me that I heard him go outside and mow the lawn. Really? Because I am pretty sure I didn't hear anything other than the sound of the shower, the kids making their usual din, and the sound of my own voice over theirs. I guess I am supposed to just know where he is and what he is doing. I think I'll try that next weekend when he is in the shower and sneak off to Starbucks. You heard me leave!

So I grabbed my camera, took a couple of shots and left them there. :D

Monday, April 28, 2008

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

I finished this book the other day. The author has also written Chocolat which I have not read yet, while the movie is one of my all time favorites. It will be interesting to read it and see how different it is from the book. Perhaps at this stage it is even unfair to offer an opinion on this book based on my Chocolat-the-movie expectations. I thought that perhaps this book would be like Chocolat, whimsical in nature but still dealing with the stuff that happens in every day life.

Every day life.... life is what happens when you are making plans, right? The movie Parenthood with Steve Martin had a good analogy about life. Near the end of the movie the Grandma is explaining to him and his wife how life is like a roller coaster. Steve's character thinks she is just senile while his wife truly understands what Grandma is talking about - thinks she is brilliant actually. It isn't until the school play that it makes sense to Steve's character.
My own life, and as I watch, the lives of my friends are just like the game of Chutes and Ladders. It seems financially to about all of us that just as you're about to make it to the tippy-top finish line you are dealt the spin that sends you packing all the way down down down to the beginning. Never mind the other stuff that comes with marriage and family, life and death. And you don't get to just lay there, crying about it - you pick yourself up and do it all over again. The fun parts are the rewards along the way as you make your way back up again.
Anywho, overall I liked Five Quarters of the Orange. I will read it again sometime down the road and most likely get something new and different out of it at that time. At times it made me tense: I didn't want to read further but I had to. It made me uncomfortable at spots because of what was occurring to/by the characters. The book, Like Chocolat is written in the prose of food. A number of the names are fruits like raspberry and peach, the mother's recollections are threaded through her cookbook, and the main character owns a restaurant. It is a rich book, with lots of textures and flavors woven throughout. It is not a bright and cheerful book, although there is resolution and hope in the end; I have a friend who is going on a vacation for a couple of weeks and I am not going to give it to her for her beach read, not light and fluffy enough for that kind of reading. I will give it to her when she gets back and let her choose a time to try it. And who knows, she may get something entirely different out of it than I did.
It's a keeper but won't be worn torn on my shelf.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

You and Me and You and Me and other ramblings

This is the card I created for Beate's Weekend Sketch Challenge #45. I was compelled to make it tonight. I had to because I made a card that was a good idea but not a good final product. It was a submission to No Time to Stamps: Stamp Simply #32 - Think Outside the Box: to use a stamp in some way that it was not originally intended. I thought that was a great idea. I used alphabet stamps: two B's became a butterfly, U for tulips, D & o for a ladybug, O for robin's eggs. The scribbly flower from Mixed Bouquet became the bird's nest. You get the idea - check out her blog for the creative ways people used their stamps.
I am happy with this card so I can go to bed without my mind stewing over the other one. Base cs is Ruby Red with the Weathered stamp in River Rock. What a great color ~ SU! should really add it to their Neutrals selection in their catalog once it is gone from the In-Colors. The sentiment in Chocolate Chip is from Cornish Heritage Farms: The Rummage Bin "Primitive Beginnings." The accent is from K & Co. The designer paper is from My Mind's Eye: "#2 Berries" & "Just Like Us". I {heart} dp! The dp pushes me to try new and different colors. I bought the Bazzil paper because of a card that Biggan did - she has amazing colors and puts her projects together beautifully. I was in the Bazzil area trying to recreate that card when I stumbled into the Mind's Eye selection. I could spend all day and all my money on paper. Biggan is on my favorite places to go: she is the Swedish blog that I can't read! I tried to convert it but you know how well that goes... language is such a fluid thing and there is a lot of lingo in the paper crafting world.

It was a good thing to get out of the house for a while today. We were out of peanut butter and I heard that gas prices have reached another high per barrel. Yippee! Time to fill the tank and Costco has the best prices around here. I drag the kids out of the house before 9:00 am Monday through Wednesday so I can go to the gym. I feel like I owe them a morning at home. But there comes a time when you just have to change the scenery. For us, that was a trip to Costco. Ryan loves to go there because of the samples they hand out. She reminds me every time she sees a station, "Mommy, I'm hungry!" And yes, that was me, trying to act casual, holding my daughter's hair out of her face as she spit the sticky wad of almond butter into the trash can.
Kids keep you really humble.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Left Over Scraps!

The List:
1. Make a square card. (Any size)
2. Use only scrap pieces of paper. (The base card doesn't have to be a scrap.)
3. Use ribbon or fiber scraps.
4. Use only ONE other embellishment.
5. Use any colors, stamps, and tools.

My List:
  1. My card measures 4.25"
  2. All scraps: River Rock (base), Old Olive, Very Vanilla
  3. Christmas Ribbon
  4. Stamps: Absolutely Fabulous, Friendship Blooms
  5. Ink: River Rock, Basic Black
  6. Tools: Distressor, Glue & Pop dots

I tend to save anything that I think I might have a use for at some later date so I love a challenge like this. (Although - I don't know if this is reinforcing bad behavior or not...)

The paper was from my Easter Boxes project. I had to cut a 1/2" off the DP to create a smaller bottom box so I had this pile of pretty strips of paper. It was pretty late last night and I was just finishing up the card project I am making for my mom when I saw the pile. I spread them out and just started to weave them. Kristina recently did some ribbon weaving on her blog which looked pretty nice. The ribbon was from a gift basket of chocolate covered nuts that we got at Christmas.
They were yummy!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tire Swing

When I was a kid we had a huge elm tree in our front yard where my dad placed a tire swing. This provided hours of fun for my sister and I as well as our neighborhood friends. When my husband gets home my kids greet him in a way that any outsider to our family would think was bizarre. They both lay down on their backs with their hands and feet up, little turtles who have landed on their backs and can't roll back over. Or the little dogs in the pack showing their bellies in submission to the Big Dog. Then comes the mantra from the little boy, "'wing, 'wing!" They want to go for a swing. I swear my daughter is as tall as she is for her age because she has been stretched out from swinging. It's the stuff the doctor tells you not to do and dad does it anyway. Swinging comes in a variety of ways and all to the delight of the little ones. There is much happy shrieking and laughing and it does make everyone smile.

It's hard not to smile when you go for a swing at the park - I almost never see kids frowning while swinging. I find it is a place where you can let go of those things that pester your mind and drive you crazy. When I lived in Ohio there was a factory that had a company park with the old time swing set - the kind that would not be allowed to remain standing these days. The arc of that swing when you were really going seemed to last forever. I loved that swing and wonder if it still there.
There was a challenge two weeks ago on scs on using eyelets. The above card was my submission and these were the thoughts behind the sentiment from the Happy Hellos stamp from the Stampin' Up Lots of Thoughts stamp set.

A Mother's Day Card for Me!

A locally owned bookstore in town was a huge destination spot for many people but because the way people have changed the way they buy books the bookstore decided to close. Along with books they had a great selection of cards - unusual and quality in their selection. The ripple effect still touches me on major holidays because that was where my DH shopped for my cards. He doesn't like the ones in the grocery store and isn't the Hallmark kind of guy. So instead I made myself a Mother's Day card for him and the little kids to give me. It was fun. This was for another combination of splitcoast challenges; a card sketch (layout) and colors: chocolate chip, pretty in pink and certainly celery. I used SU stamp sets: All in the Family & Accessories, Fresh Fillers, Blooming with Love, Mixed Bouquet and Watercolor Garden.
The main flower image was done using Watercolor Crayons and I added Yellow stickles to the centers. The stickles are also on the flowers that the kids are holding. Those flowers were cut out and popped up a little bit using mini glue dots.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How cute is this?

I LOVE how creative people are - they make you look at the world with new eyes. I find it thrilling to see what other people come up with. Inspirational challenges are fast becoming a favorite of mine. What inspires you?

Grow Grow

"Behind every blade of grass is its very own angel that forever whispers, grow grow." (The Talmud)

My friend Kari gave me a book a couple of years ago and this was one of the quotes in it. This quote has always stuck with me. Now that I am a mom it has even more meaning to it. It is the definition of Motherhood - for you are their angel whispering, hoping, cheering for them to achieve, to grow.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In the eye of the beholder

Mess? or tunnel?

You decide.

Beate's Weekend Sketch Challenge #44

I was able to do Beate's challenge since there was not a Sprint Cup race on TV today. I am number 117! It is not posted to my scs gallery as there are no uploads on Sunday. Here is what I used:
Stamps: Simply Sent Simple Delights card kit and Watercolor Garden
Ink: VersaMark, Rose Red, Close to Cocoa, River Rock, Always Artichoke, Soft Sky, and StazOn Timber Brown
Paper: River Rock (for the base card), Night of Navy, Always Artichoke, Kraft, Soft Sky and Basic Grey DP Phresh & Phunky: Phlordilee and Phiniky
Accessories: twill tape (stamped with the StazOn), SU Vintage pewter brad, Brown SU journaler (stitching), K & Co. "" adhesive chipboard, SAMJ, glue dots
Tools: SU Mini-envelope template, Making Memories Paper piercer, sponges
Techniques: faux stitching, distressing
It is difficult to see but I used VersaMark to stamp the flower on the Night of Navy. On the envelop I stamped off in Close to Cocoa, River Rock and Rose Red. I distressed the envelop and stamped the inside with the smallest stamp from Simply Sent with River Rock. The sentiment card from WC Garden is stamped in Always Artichoke and I sponged River Rock and Rose Red along the edges. There is faux stitching along all the edges of the main blocks.
Thanks for Looking!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An Apple a Day...

I was wandering around the new submissions on Splitcoast when I ran across a card that really popped to me. I opened the post up to find that it was part of this challenge:

The challenge was simply to use black accents, that's all. And there's no time limit! Woo hoo! So I made this after I put this kidlets to bed.
I used Stampin' Up (SU) products for stamps & paper. Filigree stamp for the background on the Old Olive and Swirls & Blossoms for background on the Real Red, both stamped in VersaMark. The Real Red inked apple is out of the Fresh Fruit set. I used a Brown SU marker for the stem. The double stacked ribbon was a technique challenge from a couple of weeks ago; it is a combo of Michael's ribbon. The SU gingham ribbon in the corner is secured by a Vintage black brad. It was a very simple card to make.
I uploaded my card and stumbled across another challenge from Beate - she's big at splitcoast! I hope to give this one a shot tomorrow.
I think it is fun to wander around people's blogs and see where you end up. Around the world in 80 pages, ya know?

April showers bring May flowers

Okay, so if April showers bring May flowers what does mid-April snow and hail bring?
We awoke to snow this morning! It started after I went to bed last night. The flakes were the huge ones that would cover the palm of my daughter. The ground wasn't cold enough for it to stick and play in. It made for some happy kids though! Ryan wore her cherry boots with her jammies for breakfast and Cole wandered around, pointing and saying "'no, 'no."
I googled the saying and the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition, 2002. brought me this: Some unpleasant occurrences bring about better things. My personal version of this one: "A little cow manure in the garden to make the flowers grow," although that is not exactly how I say it when I am relating it to someone else.
The weatherman said to expect thunder snow this afternoon. I love thunder, I can't wait!

Mommy, keep your eyes open

I don't want to! I am sick.
Mommy, why are you spitting in the sink? I could hear the concern in my daughter's voice as I dealt with a terrible headache and yes, regurgitating my lunch.
Mommy, just take a deep breath, my daughter tells me. She's such a sweetheart. My son is on a high-fat diet so that he gains some more weight. We even go back to the doctor on Wednesday because he hasn't gained enough since January. He drinks half and half instead of whole milk. He gets toast with lots of butter and breakfast sausages to start his day. Cheese whenever he wants. Steak and pasta Alfredo for lunch. Basically I feed him everything I wish I could eat a lot of. Everything that isn't on his allergy list, which complicates the whole food thing. So yesterday after nap I fed him ice cream (made with only egg yolks) and whipped cream. I also ate some too. (sigh) I have no trouble gaining weight. But that all came back up. The good news is that it tastes okay the second time around. I have learned from experience that Doritos do not taste good again, but peaches are pleasant. The kids had the same thing that I had but they were fine, thank heavens.
The children, of course, can sense that I am ill. Ryan was making sure I was cozy on the couch and sharing the blanket with me so I didn't feel alone. Cole was up close looking in my eyes and giving me pats. I, of course, sleep with one eye open because he has not yet grasped the term gentle. Well, I should have kept an eye open. He bonked me on the head with the house phone and the hand-held music box that once belonged to my sister. (Think sharp object before the idea of baby-proofing and child-safety was invented.) He also thinks it's funny to sit and throw himself back with all his might. It is just not so funny if he is on your lap and you're caught unaware. God, you gotta always be on your A game as a mom.
I make a call to my DH to see what he has got going on. He is at his son's baseball game out of town. After that, the boy is off to batting and then back home to work with the personal trainer. No help there. The last time I was sick, it was January. My son was sick too and lost the weight that I had been able to put on him. He was drinking Carnation Instant Breakfast with half and half which the doctor suggested as a weight-gainer that night. Now he has taste aversion to anything chocolate and grape (Pedialyte). Anyway, the morning that I was first ill I asked my DH to please go to the store to get some 7-Up. My mom always served Fresca during these episodes and to tell you the truth I am not sure they even make it anymore. DH said that he didn't have time. (DH is older than I am - I think that he forgets that someday I am going to be taking care of him. Think slightly evil giggle.) How nice and caring he is - just makes me wait, that is the fever. I am not sure I covered this in my Thank God for Girlfriends Post, but my friend Shannon brought some over right away and she and the 7-Up were life-savers. I love my girlfriends.
So I move off the couch and to my bed for maybe a moment's peace for my headache. Soon the little pitter patter of small feet can be heard. And a moment after that, Cole is straddling me and bouncing up and down because this is how we play "Giddy-up Horsey" and Ryan is jumping on the bed. Ahh, peace and quiet.
When my husband comes home I am serving dinner to the little ones. Frozen mini-pizza that I don't have to prepare, or smell much for that matter. When he comes in he says hi, scrapes the little kids off of him and heads to the garage so he can participate in personal training. Are you kidding me? I barfed. I still have a screaming headache. And you're going to do what you always do? He doesn't really like the look on my face but isn't stupid enough to ask "What?" He amends this by taking the baby with him to the garage. Not really helpful because it prolongs the dinner hour for me and puts off bath and bedtime for all of us. But I take advantage of it by finishing the laundry. Yippee.
I get "dinner" fed to the little kids and have them in the bath when DH comes to ask me about dinner plans. If you were a baby bird I could help you quite easily... open wide. Okay, that's gross and evil thinking but I am doing way more than I feel like as it is. There is plenty of stuff in the fridge.
It's fend for yourself night!
I think I heard him heading off to the store as I was putting jammies on. It is always fun when he goes to the store because he buys as if money isn't tight, and even better if he goes hungry because there are all kinds of treats in the house for days.
I put the three of us to bed and was asleep before 10:00 p.m.
I am much better today, thanks!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Live Love Laugh

I think that is such a great motto to live by - the key is to remember to practice it every day. I need to laugh as I reshelve the books again after finishing this post! Friday is Limited Supply challenge day at splitcoast stampers so I made a card. I just got this stamp set last week from Cornish Heritage Farms. The set is called "Primitive Beginnings". I had been visiting with out of town family so I have been out of the house most of this week. It sometimes takes me a couple of days to settle back in. I wanted to participate in Kristina's color challenge on Wednesday but the pile of laundry was more pressing. Hopefully I can catch the next one. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fitted Sheets

Don't they just drive you crazy when you want to fold them as nice as the flat sheets? Sometimes it just really BUGS me when I can't get something to look nice. And yes, I have even resorted to having a mini-temper tantrum (privately, as I should be modeling proper anger management to my young children) and balling up the wad and shoving it on the ridiculously shallow shelf in my bedroom closet. There!

Today I went on line to search folding fitted sheets knowing that Martha has one out there. I wish Martha had done a video; however, I hadn't ironed my sheet before attempting this project anyway. I watched a couple before realizing I wasn't in the mood to follow directions step-by-step. I did it how I usually do it (no, I didn't have a temper tantrum) and it turned out pretty good. I thought this video was the best one of them all:
I'll try it next time!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Redefine Your Life

Sounds like the title of a self-help book. I think that is what parenting is - a redefinition of your life. Say goodbye to staying up late and sleeping in. Hasta luego to going to the bathroom all by yourself and eating your food while it is hot. Au revoir to impromptu trips out with friends, never mind a quickie with the DH in the middle of the afternoon.
Let's take a moment to redefine picnic.
As you used to know it, is sounds wonderful. A red and white checked blanket spread out on the ground with all kinds of yummies in a wicker basket. Some food. Some beverages. Something sweet. Some chat. Maybe even a little nap under a tree in the heat of the day or quiet time with a book next to your partner.
The other day my friend Wendy and I decided to get together for lunch. She works in the construction industry as I did before I quit my job to be a stay at home mom. Some days she has difficult clients and likes a break from the stress of her day.
I like contact with the outside world. Other adults. I like getting out of my house. Sometimes all you seem to do at home is clean up a mess so they can make it a mess all over again. I have lots of books around so that my kids and I are surrounded in a print-rich environment. The book shelf is open so that I can stack books on both sides and it defines my daughter's "bedroom" area from the rest of the master bedroom. (We have 6 people living in a 3 bedroom house.) My daughter loves to look at books (YEAH!) which I encourage. She just isn't able to reshelve them easily. My son loves to stand in front of one side of the bookshelf and PUSH all the books out the other side. Then he chooses a book from the pile on the floor. I can only stand this chaos for a little while before I have to straighten them back up on the shelf. Mess begets mess. The books are not alphabetical or on the Dewey Decimal Point system but they are grouped in similar sections: Maisy books together top shelf, My First Little House Picture books larger shelf on right, board books on their the middle short shelf; you get the idea. And yes, life would be easier for me if I didn't care about grouping.... Time to get out of the house! Strap the kids in and off we go.
Redefinition: Picnic
We eat in the showroom because there is a play area for the kids to play in which is great because maybe they will self-entertain for a minute while we have a chance to talk. Plus, the room isn't used by others on a regular basis and we can lock the door. I get a box of California rolls which Wendy, Ryan and I will eat but the restaurant forgets Cole's side order of steamed rice which is a bummer. Wendy volunteered some cheese from her stash upstairs which supplemented their meal nicely. I brought along our snack bag so there were graham crackers and Ritz for Cole to eat but it didn't seem very much like lunch for him. We brought the little kids' table and chairs for them over to sit beside our table. I spread out their little feast and they made a huge crumbly mess in just under a minute. There is the normal amount of getting up, cleaning, wiping, reminding and catering as with any meal with my kids.
Then Ryan requested one of the cheeses. Cole was happy with his string cheese so everything was fine. Well sort of. She was gobbling down the cheese like a mouse while Wendy and I were talking. I look over at her when she starts making some distress noises and she is drooling. Unusual since she is three and not teething. She tells me that the cheese is stuck. She is leaning over and spitting little bits of cheese on the floor, the table, her shoes.
Am I a good parent? Ready with a soothing voice to tell her it is okay and we'll get it out right away?
I am crackin' up! I can barely tell her it's going to be just fine, but she is laughing too so she is not traumatized (a lot) by this event.
We have been through this once before so I know what is going on. The cheese is stuck on the roof of her mouth. I have her get a sip of water which has no effect at all. She is trying to push it off the roof of her mouth with her tongue. I tell her to scrape the cheese off with her finger. She gets some out but not able to fix it completely. She is gagging a little bit at this whole thing. I stick my finger in there and get some out too. I take a break to wipe the tears from my eyes and grab more paper towels. I sneak a peek at Wendy and she is laughing at this whole episode, too. I thank god she has cats because she is familiar with hairballs. I figure this is just like that. Ryan gets her finger in there for another attempt and a chunk of cheese comes flying out. Projectile vomit made of cheese. Okay, maybe not exactly like hairballs. It hits the floor with a splat and I thank god for industrial grade carpet. I can barely stand up. I am saved because I have to get on the floor to clean it all up.
Ten minutes later, calm is restored. Everyone's hands , shirt, leggings and shoes are washed, the cheese has either been picked up or ground so fine into the berber that you can't see where any of it landed and the crumbs have been hoovered outta there. Wendy and I settle down for the rest of our picnic.
Redefine: picnic.

Melissa's Bridal Shower Card

This is the card I made for Melissa's shower. We had such a great time visiting with family. The theme of her shower was chocolate so the food was yummy too.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Melissa's Bridal Shower Treats

My sister Melissa is getting married to a wonderful guy. She is actually my step-sister because my dad married her mom. I got the best deal out of that union. I have a wonderful "other" mom and grandma to my kids, the little brother I didn't get as a child and a second sister. I don't think of them as step-anything - I am truly grateful that they are in my life.

So in honor of her impending nuptials we are gathering together this weekend to celebrate and I made her these. A found this video tutorial on a website by Angie Kennedy Juda called Chic n'Scratch.

Melissa's wedding colors are brown, green, cream and pink. The only thing I did differently was to add some glue dots to make sure the chocolates stayed securely inside the holder and changed up the ribbon to use the pink grosgrain I had on hand and the Certainly Celery grosgrain as well as the Chocolate grosgrain from the tutorial. Otherwise everything is exactly the same. This is called a CASE = Copy and Share Everything. For more stamping/paper crafting acronyms click here:

Ca$h Math

This morning my DH traded me my small bills (a grand total of $41) for his $100 bill. He is always generous with the cash he has on hand and I appreciate that. He likes to keep a small roll in his pocket - not like a dope roll, but just a couple of big bills and coffee change - he calls it his walkin' around money. His friend Curt always told him it was hard to feel really bad if you had a C note in your pocket so DH adopted that practice. Before I married him I almost never had cash in my wallet. I always relied on my bank card. But I have found that it IS nice to have some cash and you do feel okay (well, not about everything) if you have a $20 on hand. So I scrounged through my purse, less cluttered for the purse game post from the other day, kept the money I owe to a friend and gave him the rest. I had made a $59 profit before it was even 9:00 in the morning. He always says, "It takes money to make money."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wake Up Mommy!

"Mommy, my bottom is cold."

I am snuggled down under my cozy comforter cover, velour blanket and flannel sheets, fighting off waking up for just a minute more. You know the second your feet hit the ground it is going to be a dead run until you lay down again. I am breastfeeding the little one because he is the early riser among the three of us and the one that needs the most supervision when up and around. I am actually kind of warm next to the baby and under all the bedding so I can't figure out why her butt would be cold.

It hasn't dawned on me yet.

I ask her if she would like to cuddle up next to me under my blankets and she snuggles right in. So I finish with the baby, roll over and wrap my arms around her. She tolerates that for a minute before she needs to be free. Some days I feel like I don't hug my kids enough. Once you get up you are always moving. We usually just don't stop for a hug in the middle of the grocery store, you know what I mean?

So she scoots over and I starts squeezing her little limbs and tushy because I find her adorable. And her bottom IS cold. So I start investigating. Up her back and down her legs are cold as well. With just a hint of wetness. I put my glasses on so I can further inspect my bed, my SANCTUARY.

Let me just pause to tell you a couple of things. About two weeks ago my daughter was playing with my glasses which were in the bed on my pillow to keep them safe from the baby. He loves glasses and I was afraid he was going to break them. So they were up in the safety zone while he was wondering back and forth between the bedroom where I was and the living room where Daddy was sitting drinking his coffee. This is an unfortunate time to be a little kid in my household as both parents are engaged in activities that are not conducive to play by young children. Mommy is still trying to sleep - after all, I am the one who gets up and attends to all needs in the middle of the night. Daddy is drinking his Coffee, his most prized time of the day. He gets to relax and think and dream on his next venture, after all he is on a dead run the minute he leaves the house. Neither one of us protects the other one's special time.

Anyway, my daughter is with me chatting away about glasses when I hear "SNAP!" Not a good sign. I am so near-sighted that I need my glasses to fully see the condition of my glasses so I sit up and take a peek. Yep, they're broken. They now look like Opera Glasses. There is one side which I can still stuck behind one ear but the other piece is there on the bed. My glasses are thick so they need both sides to hold them on my face properly. And the frames were so cute - little thin wire ones that cannot be glued or even taped together. And one of these days when money is not so tight I will head right into the Doctor's Office to get a new pair. Until then I will wear them as is. Broken.

My bed is my sanctuary. It is a further extension of a no-shoe house. I want clean things in my bed. No clothes that have been to the outside world are allowed in my bed. I change the kids and myself into bed clothes when it is nap time. Today at the gym's Kids' Club some little boy came out of the bathroom without washing his hands. I know because I was right outside the door putting on coats when I heard his transaction. And off he went to go play. That is how things go. They just don't need to go in my bed. I take it so far that if we go to eat Mexican (my favorite) or similar dining experience I toss my kids in the bath before we get into bed. I don't like the smell of Food in my bed. I even close the door when I am cooking so kitchen smells stay in the other part of the house. Anal retentive, I know. But I like to get into a bed that is clean when I am clean. I sleep better that way.

So there is pee in my bed. And this is pee that occurred some time in the night because there is little wetness left to touch. But the smell is still there. Which means that everything has to come off my bed and the down comforter has to head to the dry cleaners. Spring cleaning has begun!

It's my fault. I knew I should have run her to the bathroom one more time. It had seemed like she had just gone poop so I didn't bother. And she was all zipped up in one those pajamas that have the feet so to sit her on the potty basically means to undress her and redress her all over again. I remember trying to catalog how much she had actually consumed in liquids as I was debating about it. Apparently more than I thought. She still has plenty left for our morning ritual of the potty dance.

So, comforter is at the dry cleaners and maybe I'll get it back on Monday or Tuesday of next week. Which is a bummer because both my husband and I sleep better with the weight of the comforter over the top of us. We got it at the Bon Marche about 5 years ago. The sales lady was explaining the differences in the weights of the comforters and making her recommendations. The one we chose was going to keep us plenty warm, she warned us. She actually suggested the one up from the one we had chosen, but is seemed like it didn't have enough down in it. Boy, was she right. It was winter and we were sweltering. Eventually, we acclimated to our comforter and it has been fine ever since. And we miss it when it is gone.

It is 2:30 p.m. and I am still doing laundry from this morning's misadventure.

You know, you should NEVER ignore that little voice. I'm not talking about the one that is telling you her butt is cold (and don't ignore that one either), but the one in your head that reminds you to do stuff. A stitch in time saves nine. Ain't that the truth!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Purse Game

Have you ever played this game at a bridal shower? It's the one where you dump out your purse and you get points for certain things. Here is what is in my yellow and black Beijo purse:
  1. Wallet #1, supposed to be for check book but it doesn't fit
  2. Wallet #2, just for credit cards and ID
  3. Packet of Kleenex, opened
  4. Wrigley's 5, new gum product, unopened - don't even know if it tastes good!
  5. Check book & register
  6. Stila lipstick "Jo" (red, from my wedding)
  7. Bloom lip gloss "Cutie Pie" kinda dark pink & is the YUMMIEST!
  8. Mary Kay Signature eyeliner pencil "Amethyst" sample
  9. Chapstick "Peppermint"Aquaphor Healing Ointment sample
  10. 2 Carefee mini pads
  11. 1 Kotex Ultra Thin Ultra Compact pad
  12. 1 o.b.
  13. Cowgirl Chocolates "Spicy Orange Espresso" (dark chocolate) for a real emergency
  14. Mini key chain ProMariner flashlight
  15. L's BD gift card :)~
  16. Broken zipper pull from purse (need to find some pliers)
  17. 7 receipts (grocery store, Starbucks, scrapbook store, used book store)
  18. Empty Red Starbucks Mitten to hold gift card which some little purse bandit misplaced today (Grrrrr!)
  19. And the Pièce de résistance: Frigo Cheese Head String Cheese, unopened, put in there a little over a week ago now, I believe

What's in Yer Wallet?

News Flash: Men Create More Housework for Women

(cue special music for breaking news story)

Having a husband creates an extra seven hours of housework each week for women, according to a new study. For men, tying the knot saves an hour of weekly chores.

Yeah... remember when you were dating and your boyfriend was SO helpful around the place? Mine never let me do the dishes and I FELL FOR IT! I grew up in a household where my mom did all the kitchen work and my dad was truly proud of himself if he carried his dish to the counter, near the dishwasher. Then he retired to the couch, you know, because he was tired after a long day's work. It bugged the hell out of me. She worked a full day too but somehow it was fine that he didn't have to help. So this was so important to me in choosing a mate - someone who shared in the chores around the house and didn't expect anyone to clean up after him.

Apparently it is true that you will live in a situation similar to your up-bringing so you fall right back to your old familial patterns.

"It's a well-known pattern," said lead researcher Frank Stafford, an economist at University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. "Men tend to work more outside the home, while women take on more of the household labor."
I wonder what would happen if I went back to work full time?

He points out individual differences among households exist. But in general, marriage means more housework for women and less for men. "And the situation gets worse for women when they have children," Stafford said.
Having kids boosts house chores even further. With more than three kids, for instance, wives took on more of the extra work, clocking about 28 hours a week compared with husbands' 10 hours.
Try adding two small children and two teenagers whose Dad doesn't want them to do chores. (I can't really explain why this is the way it is, but they aren't required to do anything and I am not supposed to ask them.) Do you think they are going to volunteer?
So, I am building my OWN character and those of my little children by raising them to contribute to their household and smile while doing it. :D
I found that card the other day at a store. I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face. I thought the timing of the news story was great since that card had been on my mind for a week now.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lost my passport to normalcy

Yesterday, one of my good friends and I were headed off to our Investor's Club meeting along with my two kids. I don't like to bring them to the meeting but yesterday I used up my "kid-watching coupon" with their dad in the morning. (He thinks it is my job... I think he is their dad.) I used him as a last resort too, because I know what a cramp it puts in his schedule. But since his older daughter had agreed to do it but then decided to spend the night at her mom's house I figured he needed to deal with her flakiness, not me.
I had my Annual - you know, the one with the stirrups and I can't supervise the children very well from that position. Never mind how weird that experience might be for all of us. Plus I can here the retelling of it in the line at the bank. "Mommy, why was that man ....." or "What holds that metal thingy in there?" I have to say, I have no idea about that one, nor do I think I want to know.
One of the last appointments I brought both kids to was Cole's 9 month check up. Ryan was having difficulty listening... or is it I was having difficulty getting my point across to her? about not climbing on the exam table. The doctor told me she was going to step out of the room so I could have a parenting moment. Yeah, something shrivelled up inside of me at that moment. Anywhoo, I decided after that appointment I would see if I could lessen the number of attendants.
Sooooo, I had to bring them along to my meeting last night. My friend is really great with my kids and I think they look forward to seeing her as much as I do. I told her how much I appreciate her helpfulness with them, too. We had to stop at the store which means unstrapping the two from their car seats and lugging them inside. Never a quick stop when you have to do that. But she is a trooper and gets right in there to do it. When my kids were newborns it was always nice to have someone along to help carry stuff - newborns need a lot of stuff like 30 diapers and 25 changes of clothing just in case you get a couple of poops up the back, plus a couple of shirts for me for when they whoops all over your shoulder. That is not even all of it. I called those people my baby-Sherpas. Life savers.
It is funny to see the differences between my girlfriends and my family. The other night our family gathered for dinner; we all came in separate cars. Daddy and big brother (J) had come directly from a baseball game, big sister (M) came with her boyfriend and Storm Holt arrived in the Yukon. My husband left earlier than the rest of us so he could take J to batting practice. The rest of us finished dinner and then it was time to leave. The little ones were obviously squirmy and getting tired. M and her boyfriend left as I was leaving but offered no help getting us to the car. Mind you I am carrying all the leftovers to go in our fridge, the baby and trying to hold Ryan's hand so that we are careful as we leave the restaurant and make our way through the parking lot to our vehicle. I can do it, but if the situations were reversed I would have offered help. Same thing happened with J when I took him to batting practice yesterday. He just climbs in the car and sits there while I put the two kids and my stuff in the car, open the garage to put his bike away, pick up the recycling can which is laying the street, drag it back to the garage and lock the door to the house. Ummm, HELLO?
The entire car ride home, Ryan fed my friend and I a running commentary on boogers and poop. Not that it wasn't fodder for further conversation between my friend and I. But you know you have lost your passport to normalcy when you just accept these topics as regular conversation.
To quote the Talking Heads and their song Once In a Lifetime: And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile ....And you may ask did I get here?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

With this ring....

Do you take your wedding ring off? Is that a sin? Not one of the Big Ten, but a no-no in your marriage. I think it has to do with intent. I take mine off a couple of times during the day. I'll remove it when I am doing dishes and kitchen clean-up. I usually where those yellow gloves to protect my hands because I have sensitive skin, but I am in and out of the sink so much that sometimes I don't, or the gloves are sweaty on the inside and need a break from KP duty. My skin is sensitive enough that too much water/washing during the day gives me a rash of little red itchy bumps. The same kind of rash that I will get under my ring if I wear it while cleaning. My finger has even begun to smell under there like rotten kitchen sink sponge if I don't take my ring off to let it air dry. And no part of the body should smell that way. Ever. I have a beautiful ring; wide band, tension mount, platinum, and I love it. Part of my problem is that it was sized for a smaller me, the me before two kids. There isn't much room under there and if I am swelled up even a little, for any number of reasons (salt, sugar, exercise, overheating, cramps, whatever...) it gets tight. Uncomfortably tight. I had to take it off after about the 6th month of each pregnancy because I didn't want to have it or my finger cut off. And after a couple of months after the kids were born I was able to put it back on again, relieved.

I am back at the gym trying to get closer to my pre-pregnancy size. I do step classes two times a week and my hands always get puffy when I am exercising. I don't like the way the constriction feels, like my finger is choking. So I leave it in a safe place where I know I will find it again when I am ready to put it back on. Anyway, I am hoping that in a couple of weeks of proper eating and exercising that this is no longer an issue.

I don't feel different when I have my ring off. I am not free. Or searching for something. Married is married whether I am wearing my ring or not. I love my husband and want to stay married to the father of my children. And on the flip side of that, I don't think I would get married again, unless I found someone who could do their own dishes.