Sunday, November 27, 2011

How many questions does a 4 year old ask each day?

The average 4 year old has NOTHING on ours.
My kid is above average. Every day I am reminded of that fact.  Especially with the questions. OH for the love of the questions.  Sometimes she asks so many questions that she confuses herself. Sometimes she knows she has asked too many questions in succession that she raises her hand in hopes that requesting permission to ask another damn question will get that question answered.  Sometimes she asks questions just to ask questions; she KNOWS the answer to the question. "What's this?" as she points to her lunch which consists of a sandwich - she knows what it is. 

Oh the questions. How it usually goes is any word or statement she doesn't know or even those that she does will lead into a downward spiral of the never ending question game. Example?

Ball&Chain: "Is it bad that the goal of the day is to do nothing?"
L: "Is what bad?"
Ball&Chain: "If the goal of the day is to do nothing."
L: "Why is that bad?"
Me: "That's what' Daddy's asking, is it bad that it's the goal of the day?"
L: "What a goal?"
Ball&Chain: "An achievement." {At this point, he tags out}
L: "What's an achievement."
Me: "It's a goal. {disorientated by the word puzzle we have going at this point}  
L: {silently confused, I'm sure she's trying to formulate another question.}
Me: "Something you work for - like your stickers? When you get 20 stickers and then you get a prize? Getting 20 stickers is the goal."
L: "Oh. When can I have another sticker?"
Me: "When you earn it."
L: "What are we doing today??"
Me: "I don't know, other than nothing? Maybe being quiet?"
L: "Sure! Why?"
Me: {bashes head against wall}

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's worse? You be the judge.

Saturday my dreamy husband gave me the day off. While normally mothers do not get the day off - I got a vacation day.  The ball & chain took the girls for the day while I went off to get my Breaking Dawn on.

Maybe you didn't know, but I am a MAJOR fan. Twi-hard. Major, people. And I know how ridiculous it is. I love their love, however ridiculous you find it.  I don't care.  I have read the books more times than I can count (yes I realize it isn't the best quality of writing, but you are reading this, aren't you?). It is one of hand full of movies (The Goonies, anything John Hughes, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dirty Dancing, do not count) that I will see more than once. I will buy the DVD with digital download. I will see in the theaters at least three times. It's a sickness. I embrace it.

You think that's a problem? Get a load of the new problem I have on deck. 

Saturday morning, as I was getting ready to leave - I told the kid I was "running errands." This, is the truth. 

Courtesy of Merriam Webster:

errandsplural of er·rand (Noun)

Noun:
  1. A short journey undertaken in order to deliver or collect something, often on someone else's behalf.
  2. The purpose or object of such a journey.
I was on a journey to tween oblivion. I was going to get my geek on. I was going to swoon. I was likely going to cry. Smile. I was going to collect some good warm & fuzzies and stare off to a dreamy state of mind. 

My swooning was interrupted by a little voice....

L: "Mama, where are you going? Errands? Where? Shopping?"
My well meaning, albeit dumb, husband: "First she's going to the movies, then shopping."
Me: {Totally silent.}
L: "The mooooovvviiees??!!?!? I WANNA GO!"

Movies to my kid is like a beach vacation. It's Christmas. It's fireworks. A movie AND popcorn? It's EVERYTHING to her. She would do just about anything to go to the movies.

Me: "Well, yes - we'll go to the movies soon, I promise. (We're planning on the Muppets at some point -so this isn't quite a lie.)

She seems to take that. 

My well meaning, albeit dumb, husband:"It's a movies for adults only.  An adult movie."

Great, so the chances of my kid going into school on Monday talking about how her Mama saw an adult movie this weekend. 90-10.  

And just when you thought it couldn't get worse?

Hours later - when I get home from bliss (the movie) & food shopping (sure it wasn't the pairing I would have hoped for - but it was HOURS alone and that was lovely):

L: "Mama. How were the vampires? Did they eat blood?"
Me: {blink. blink.}
My well meaning, albeit dumb, husband:"What? She had questions. I wasn't going to lie to her."
Me: {blink. blink.}

Just when I thought "My mama went to an adult movie" was the weirdest thing my kid was going to regurgitate at school?

Monday morning:
Me: "L, what do you want for breakfast?"
L: "Blood."Me: {blink. blink.}

We couldn't just stick with running an errand, could we?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sometimes being caught with your pants down is a win.

I wasn't one of those girls that dreamed about how it would happen; the day my betrothed would ask for my hand in marriage.  I thought about it, but not the way I hear people describe... "I envisioned this day since I was a little girl."  That wasn't me.  That said? I certainly didn't think it would go down the way it did. Our story is not romantic. It is not dreamy. It is our story and ours alone. Also, it's to be filed under: it could only happen to us.

Disclaimer: this story is better told in person. I was inspired by Girls Gone Child to share. If you haven't seen her playlist of uber romatico proposals? Go check it out. Need a good cry? See people proclaim their love for each other. Good stuff

Side note: I am so freaking glad this isn't on video.
Truth: there is a little bit of me that wishes it was.

-------

The set up:
Picture it, it was 2005 and I was in the throws of relocating.  I was moving from New York to Massachusetts.  We were going to live in sin after our long-distance relationship. Finally no more weekends filled with traffic. No more figuring out schedules and stressing over who would go where.  Same state. Same city. Same apartment. Glorious.

Before the glory, there had to be some pain.  That's where moving me comes in.

The week of the big move we talked about "the plan" - I figured he would take the train from Boston so that one of us could drive my car while the other drove the moving truck. But OH my Lord he kept arguing with me - he wanted to drive down. My argument: what are we going to do with TWO cars, ONE moving truck and TWO people?!?! He didn't want to take the train.  I later learned he planned to drive so he could speak to my parents, in person.  Apparently he didn't think ahead about the logistics of how many drivers there were vs. vehicles to drive.  At the time?  It was so freaking annoying. It made no sense.

I won, obviously.

When I picked him up from the train he was weird. So freaking weird. I didn't have time for the weird, I had things to do.  In addition to packing up my apartment, I may or may not have had some work to do. I suggested that we go back to my office, if he came with me I knew I'd focus and go faster.  Then we could go back to my apartment and finish packing. But OH my Lord he kept arguing with me - he wanted to go back to the apartment first. He wanted to change. My argument: you can change at the office?!?! He kept talking about getting a jump on the packing and he kept pacing.  I later learned he was just nervous.  At the time? It was so freaking annoying. It made no sense.

I won, obviously. 

After just under two hours of him pacing around my office and longer than I intended to, we eventually get back to my apartment.  Gotta pack. Gotta go! And he can finally change. Jesus. What a woman!

The scene: My woman boyfriend was changing and I start in by washing some dishes. As soon as I start running the water I realize nature is calling. I gotta pee, but this pot has to soak.  I have a stroke of genius.  I'll let the water run on the pot and scoot in the bathroom.  I go in and sit down, just as the dog nudges the door open. So now I'm peeing with the door open. Even though we are moving in together we weren't quite at the point where we are peeing with the door open. I think to myself, "Self, I should probably get up and shut the door. Well, it'll only be a second and hey we've got to get to this place sooner or later."

The inevitable:
Just then, I hear him.

"Hey, J..."

He walks out of my bedroom toward the sink in the kitchen, because don't forget - the water is running. He thinks I'm doing the dishes. Instead I am on the toilet. Peeing.

So, for those of you that aren't paying attention. I'm peeing. I hear him call my name. I look up - in the mirror. In the bathroom, because I'm PEEING.  The mirror faces my bedroom door - which is where he is walking out of (freshly changed) wearing a different t-shirt. I see that he doesn't see that I'm at the sink. I see his t-shirt. 

J WILL YOU MARRY ME

He hears me at this point.
Me: "Oh.My.GOD. NOOOOO WAY!"

To catch you up, I'm on the toilet. Pants down and my beau comes in - pacing (again) in and out of the bathroom.

Him: "What should I do? WHAT should I DO?"

Now, I'm off the toilet. Pants still down - crouching in the corner screaming "GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!!!!"

Laughing so hard- I might have peed my pants if I had pants on or I wasn't JUST peeing.

The End: Eventually I get some pants on (it took longer than I'd like to admit) and come out of the bathroom.  I (have to) believe there were some lovely words spoken.  Down on one knee he asked if I would be his wife.  I said yes to what will be a lifetime of laughs, an amazing family, a partner in life and as a token of what is to come? A story I wouldn't believe except I was there, a beautiful ring and a t-shirt.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

No Sew Costumes, NO Problem

I know kid, I'm as surprised as you that our
costumes were hand made by yours truly.
The Royal Family - Queen, King,
Pascal & Rapunzel

Have you seen those posts where people show you how to make things? Creating, DIYing as the kids say, crafting their talented arses off? This is not one of those posts. This is me documenting how I cheated the system and won.

One of my friends (you know who you are) may or may not have thought the idea of me making the costumes this year was a terrible idea. To quote her... "I feel like you are going to have to use a lot of duct tape to hold them together."

Usually
she's right - this time? SO.FREAKING.WRONG. To be fair? There are only so many things I will be able to make that do not require sewing. I would LOVE to sew, to learn to sew - but I'm just not there yet. Someday, one day - I'll get there. But until then? I'm going to scour the world looking for no sew projects. This Halloween? I was able to throw together a Rapunzel costume and complimenting (low key) King & Queen costumes without a stitch.

The Cuties of Halloween Past
Don't get me wrong. L's first, second and third year costumes were all store bought and couldn't be cuter.  But there is something about a homemade costume.  And while I was scared, I was also (pin)spired to do it on my own.  Last year I bought a homemade costume for L.  This year I wanted to give it a go.  I am compelled to share what I did because it turns out it really wasn't hard, time consuming or expensive. I saved a ton o money and frankly I am pretty damn proud of how Rapunzel came out.  Side note, knowing what I know now about tutus? Big time buyers remorse - from last year's purchase of a tutu. If you have a need for a tutu? Make it. SO.FREAKING.EASY. (Sorry, Etsy stores selling tutus at a premium - it's true.)

Here's how I did it:

The skirt = tutu like amazing.
I found directions on how to make a tutu (seriously easiest thing EVER) and I also found how to cut tulle the easiest way. I used the directions, but increased the length of the tulle to make the dress "floor" length. Note to self: if you are making a long tutu? Be OK with the fact that the skirt WILL be a magnet for all things... we found candy, crowns, leaves, dirt, flowers all up in her skirt. 

The first picture below brings you to instructions on how to make a tutu - it is impossible to mess this up. The second is how to cut the tulle for the dummy proof tutu. It takes a minute to smooth out the tulle and wrap it around, but again pretty much impossible to mess up. For this kid's SUPER full 'floor length' tulle tutu I used 6 rolls of tulle clocking in at 2 bucks a roll. I totally could (and probably should have) used 4 rolls.  The whole project probably took me 20 minutes from start to finish? Maybe 30 minutes.


The shirt? All my brain child, baby.  
Or I just didn't see it on the Pinterest.... I'm sure it's there somewhere. Everything amazing is.  But I have no where to link to because I claim to have thought of this myself. I don't sew but I needed ribbon crisscrossing on a shirt... what's a girl to do?

Hem tape.

Timeout - the first time I was inspired by hem tape was when I couldn't find curtains for our kitchen that I liked. It's a long story but our kitchen is TOTALLY hodgepodge and it works for us, in this space. It's NOT our dream kitchen (by any means) but we love it for now and we spend good quality time in there.  Anyway, I wanted curtains somewhat cafe length and different patterns. I couldn't find what I was looking for (at a reasonable price) and the length of the window is SUPER long.  I took it on myself and made the ones I wanted.  How?

Hem tape.

I purchased a bunch O dishtowels on the cheap and worked the hem tape magic.

The process of making curtains.
Finished product of curtains.

Time in: back to the costume at hand... Rapunzel.  I took regular run of the mill pink ribbon and underneath the ribbon I used hem tape (cut to size) to a purple long sleeve.  Since the ribbon was thin, I put cloth between the iron and the ribbon - and boom. Easy. Peasy. The ONLY thing I will say - take your time.  Once the hem takes take hold... it takes hold. I could have used fabric glue too, I'm sure. I didn't think of that until after the fact - when I was making the King's cape (you'll see).

Accessories: pots, crowns & flowers - oh my!
The pot is a pot she had in her play kitchen - it was silver - but I covered it in chalk board paint. It could have been black spray paint. I made a magnetic chalk board for L's play area recently so it was laying around. Also - I'm obsessed with chalk board surfaces (notice the bread box above that is now covered in it in the kitchen shot) so it was only a matter of time I incorporated chalk board into her costume. She used the pot to trick-or-treat and we carried a bag she could dump into. A few times, anyway.

Her crown? She had - one of many. Funny enough though - she ended up using the crown I had made for myself for trick-or-treating - she liked it better.

I had thought... for a minute, I would complete this tutorial that I found - to make her a wig. I didn't realize until I sat down to do it that I did need to sew a bit.  How could I keep on with the No Sew theme with that? That said - if you really want to kick this costume up a notch I say wig it out.  In lieu of the wig we put a braid in her hair and stuck in some artificial flowers in. I never thought I'd buy fake flowers... nor did I ever think I would love them as much as I love these.

On to the King & Queen.

The King - we could have taken it up a notch, but we wanted to keep it simple. He wore jeans & a sweatshirt. To make (him feel) more regal?

A cape & crown.

How did I make the cape? You can see the tutorial below, but basically glue, fabric & gold trim. I think the total damage was $5 for fabric, $6 for the two rolls of gold trim.  Good news? The fabric I used for our background of the monthly pictures I've been taking. More on that, another day - also inspired by Young House Love and what they did for their baby girl. I didn't find it on Pinterest, but it's all over there as well because well - obviously.
The Cape's day job: photo background
An outtake to prove - it's the cape alright.
Sure, the tutorial is for kids and a bit more formal than we took it - but there are other ideas to take it beyond the King of Jeans & Sweatshirts.



The crown was more stressful than it needed to be. I actually really panicked. I couldn't find a King crown anywhere. I almost just went with form or stock card board and then - I thought... wait a tick. Spray paint can make ANYTHING better. See if this were a real deal how to blog - I'd have the before and after... I don't. So instead I found online pics of the crowns (kind of) that I bought at Michael's. I took off the faux fur that was on the Princess tiara turn the King's crown and spray painted that bad boy gold-ish. I added some gem stones that I've been wanting to buy anyway. My comb crown came in a pack of 10 and was $2 (I know. Dealio.) The Princess tiara turn the King's crown was another $2.  The gems were probably the most expensive thing in all of the costume make up - but only because I bought the "value" bag, because I can't pass up a value- with a coupon it was $10. It turns out? I didn't need the value bag - there are a LOT of fake gems in a value bag. Oh well, we'll work it out later.

My outfit, it turned out I had - I used a shirt I had under a dress I had - I was really going for the Rapunzel "after" the haircut look - but L wasn't thrilled with us BOTH being Rapunzel she didn't get the overlap. Geesh.

JJ was a makeshift Pascal - wearing a Lizard costume I found at Target. I was going to jazz it up with a better hat and fashion a tail somehow - but with the crown scramble of 2011 time got in the way. Homegirl kinda got the raw end on the stick - but look at this face cute in whatever we put her in.


That's it folks. It's possible to make things, even if you are totally incapable like yours truly. Fact.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clear Thinking

A girls day out at the zoo - don't let the photo fool you -
JJ WAS having a really good time before I broke for a photo op.
The end is near. No, I'm not talking about The Rapture.  As I write this, the countdown is ON. 1 (very short) week from yesterday is the last night of my maternity leave. Depending on timezones, one might say even less by the time I press publish.

First, let's get the disclaimers out of the way:

  • We are a blessed family in all kinds of ways - including having two happily working parents. We love our jobs, the companies we work for, the things we do and who we work with.
  • I'm happy to be able to have a job to go back to. 
  • My maternity leave + vacation time brought us most of the way through the 4 months I am able to take advantage of. The remainder, while unpaid, we made it work.  Planning ahead as best we could and changing our plans made it work. Missing a visit home, that sucked. Not falling down the Target hole of spending, yeah that was easy (enough).  That said, I have a sneaking suspicion after the holidays? Target is going to get hit hard by yours truly. Bam.
Are we clear? Good.


I am excited to go back to work, to get started on some projects that I know are going to be on my plate and the possibility of the projects in the future.  My job is something I have been trying to work on for years. I'm lucky. And if I may be so bold, more than luck? I worked hard. I work hard.

Are we clear? Good.

Let me also make it clear the last few months have been special. Beyond special.  With L, the experience was tainted. For a month, we went through the hardest in our life (thus far, and if I may be so bold - I'm all set with levels of hard times).  When we got home things moved so quickly - family and friends came and went, our au pair arrived sooner than it turned out we needed help and the next thing I knew the adult to baby ratio was 3:1 and life was different. It was important to me this time that things were different than the first time around.  The last few weeks it's just been me & my girls. Of course we had the family come and go and some serious help for the first few weeks but this time was different. Success.  For the last few weeks it's been me & my girls.  Some days were more tiring than others and without my baby daddy I may have gone mental.... but when I look back at our blessings - the last few weeks shine. Even though as I type this I'm fairly certain I have some dried puke on my shoulder. It's been a refocusing time - spotlighting what really matters.

Next week, I'm back to work but I'll do all it takes to stay focused so that when it's time to shut down I can do so.  And make sure I still get to spend times with my family, because they are what is important. And while I won't be with my girls during the day - like I can be now - I'll be able to focus on them with a different kind of energy.

Are we clear? Good.

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to review this here post when or if things get foggy. No one is perfect, least of all me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And then I said to myself, "Self - if history repeats itself - you are doomed."

I have this memory of a girl scout trip, when I was younger. I'm going to guess 4th grade. I could call my mom on this one and get the details, but I'll tell you what I've pieced together. {Warning: this story is likely going to zig zag. But if you stay with me (read it slowly and not scoff at the possibility you may need to re-read) and follow me - it's going somewhere.}

Anyway, I was young - a little kid.  We were going out on boats - it might have been a school trip maybe not girl scouts? There were canoes.  I was friends with sisters, they were twins  (well they still are- that's how that works) and I wanted to sit next them or be in their boat (if you can't tell it's a little foggy).  Innocently enough, the boat was full or perhaps they were like, "Hell no we won't sit next to you." Either way, my feelings were horribly hurt and I'm fairly certain I cried about it. Like wailed and freaked out about it.  I was always a pretty sensitive kid. This story is just one freak out moment I had (of many).  Things upset me. Big or small - it was always a lot to me.

As the stories (still) go, I'd often find myself running to the bathroom at my grandparent's house, locking myself in the bathroom - you guessed it, crying. "She's so sensitive."  they would say.  Yeah, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the tension you could cut with a rusty knife, parents that clearly no longer liked each other or a grandmother that gave body issues & self esteem neurosis out instead of kisses.

Yeah, so I guess I'm sensitive and a wee bit sharp on the defensive.

The point is this: I felt things deeply and some might say out of proportion with the reality of the situation.

I remember having friends, but I also remember in middle school trying WAY too hard.  I remember being nervous (as I am now) when trying to make friends, or being awkward in social settings.  I never liked to feel left out, but often did.  I may not remember specific details, but I remember feeling sad beyond sad and gutted. All of these memories; why am I reliving them now?

L has started being more sensitive.  I see her putting important stock in the friendships she makes and how relationships go. I see how much she feels and how deeply she feels those feelings. She is sensitive to how we say things, what words mean and how they make her feel.  I see myself.* 

I barely survived adolescence - now I have to go through it again with not one but two daughters.

Somewhere in-between middle school and high school things started to shift.  Though it's around this time hormones kicked in so my sensitive woes turned into sharp tongued attitude.  I also remember my mom spouting something, I suspect I will (beyond my control) repeat: "I hope you have a daughter just like you - that gives you just the same crap you give me." Consider the curse underway, Mom. While things got (slightly) better, it wasn't until college that things leveled off for me.  In college I think I eventually found my way. As young adults do, they begin to find some sense of prospective. If history repeats itself? She isn't going to be off to find her way for another 15 years.*

I remain a sensitive person, but depending on the setting I (would like to think I) have better control over it.  In some sick twist of the universe (or curse, thanks again, Mom) ever since I had L I cry like the "good ol'days" at a drop of a hat.  At first it was the go to statement to say, "baby hormones." But years later? It isn't that, anymore. Now, when do I get hit the hardest? When my baby girl hurts. It's like that sad beyond sad and gutted feeling magnified beyond comprehension. She's (only) 4 people. I do not honestly know if I will make this.* 

*Read: I'm screwed.
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