Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santa Babies

Oh how the me of yore would kick my ass.

To be honest, I rolled my eyes at myself when I considered even BUYING these matching outfits.  But I did.

I scoffed when I thought to put them in those matching outfits for our Santa picture this year. But I did.

I judge me, but you can't deny these girls are too.freaking.cute.

What a difference a year makes, indeed.

Beyond the completely NEW little person on Santa's lap - we've been able to go from this:
2010 L meets Santa (again)

to this:

2011 L giggles with Santa

Magical, people. MAGICAL.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Different Kind of Holiday

This year the holidays look different. Not wrong, just different. Last year it was our first Christmas hosting. It was our first Christmas home; Santa finally came to our house and it was wonderful. For years, we wanted to stay home for Christmas. Even before kids, we wanted Santa to come to our house instead of trekking all over for the holidays. This year, is our second year at home - though our home is much further than it was last year.

At first it was a bit heartbreaking to explain that MyUncleChris was not going to be sleeping over on Christmas - even though she thinks he always does. I guess that's the thing when you are 4, if the only Christmas you really remember is your 3rd - of course everything that you remember is what you always do. Now, she understands we won't have the same house full of people or that we won't have anyone coming over like we did last year. It wasn't like we had our entire extended family over, but with two out of three sets of grandparents and one out of three uncles or aunts - those numbers plus a super small apartment? This meant a full house. This year it's the four of us.

It's a special holiday because it's JJ's first Christmas and L's first as a big sister. Someone to share it all with. Sure, JJ is 4 months old - but the way L walks her through what is about to happen? It's magical. The way her 4 year-old hyped up self can slow down, even if for a moment, to tell her baby sister to expect wonderful. It's Christmas-errific. Santa is coming over with a vengeance (damn you incredibly reasonable deals & adorable child) and for the last few weeks we've been receiving packages from friends & family. We are planning a trip "home" after the holidays (no dates have been decided, family) and I'm sure there will be more holiday merriment to be had. It's not that she won't have a wonderful Christmas. In fact, I believe this will be one of the best - each one is better because she understands it more and can get excited and into it. But it's different, even if she doesn't realize how much.

To make this year special, seeing as she wasn't going to be seeing everyone, she's been involved in the gift giving process. While it would have been 1000% (no typo - I meant to go over - way over- 100%) easier to just do the shopping myself or only shop online and have people wrap their own presents and or spend the wrapping fee (which kills me); since L loves to go shopping we included her in every present. She loved it. If there was a choice - she picked it out. If we were given a store to shop in, she did the selecting. She helped to wrap every present and ch0ose every ribbon (which will promptly get smashed en route). She even decorated some of the boxes we shipped things in and carefully chose which pictures to send. If she could have addressed the boxes, she would have. 
I love this kid. And I can't wait to see what's to come. Wrapping, ribboning & decorating the box made her ridiculously happy. When her wildest imagination of toys, clothes & accessories explodes in her living room? She may combust.  And to help her sister unwrap a few goodies of her own? I just don't know my heart will be able to handle the joy. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


For a moment this was going to be a Wordless Wednesday, but then I realized even though this will be posted on a Wednesday there was no way I could be wordless about this one. I present you with an outtake from our holiday card photo shoot. I'm pretty much obsessed. 

JJ is not a fan of the whole family "photo shoot" - she's more of a on the fly smile type of girl. And getting TWO girls to smile at the same time? Mission impossible. She's more likely to spit up. Obviously. L on the other hand isn't as used to being puked on as yours truly. Me? I don't know what I look forward to more. A full night's sleep OR not being puked on.  It has come to the point I just wipe it off (barely) and get on with the day. Why change if I know it's just going to happen again? L on the other hand? HORRIFIED. And now, I have proof. {insert evil laugh}

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scarring Children & Finding My Way

What you need to know: 
  • I get lost. I get lost anywhere. Everywhere. Any how. I get lost. Some say that I get lost from the bathroom to my bedroom - and those people? They would be right. Sometimes I turn the wrong way.
  • My kid asks a lot of questions. Like your head explodes a lot of questions.  
  • We are committed to speaking the truth with the kids as much as possible. It isn't always pretty - but we are committed to be real.
The story at hand: on our way home from a play date the other day this happened. Word for (pretty much) word. Out of nowhere.

L: "How did you get the baby out?"
Me: "You mean JJ? Well..." {silently thinking - where is this going, how do I get out of it, what do I do? You need to STALL.}
L: "When you had the baby. When JJ got here. HOW did she get out of your belly? HOW did the baby get out?"
Me: "Well..."
{silently thinking - where is this going, how do I get out of it, what do I do?}
L: "You know! How did JJ get OUT of your BELLY?! HOW?"
Me: "Well... {Feeling pressured.  Frankly at this point I'm feeling like perhaps the whole parenting principle of that pesky "honest" approach isn't the way to go. I'm thinking child birth would encompass what I SHOULD be truthful about? So off I go...} so, remember when Mama had that booboo? Well {SHIT I'm doing this thing.... nope. I'm not.} I had a surgery and the baby was born!"

{Please let that be good enough. PLEASE.}

L: "What is surgery?"
Me: {F}
L: "Mama, WHAT is SURGERY?"
Me: "Ok, so the doctors gave me medicine and they took the baby out."
L: "How?"
Me: "I don't know, L, they took the baby." {LIE, you are lying to your child.}
L: "Where did they take the baby? How did they get the baby out?"
Me: "I had surgery."
L: "What is surgery?"
Me: "It's when the doctor uses something like a knife to make a cut to get the baby out."
L: "A KNIFE?!"
Me: {crap} "Well, not a real knife - that we use to cut things - but a doctor's special knife for surgery."
L: "Did you feel the knife?"
Me: "No. The doctor's gave me medicine so I didn't feel anything. And L, it's not the same kind of knife that you know."

{Please let that be good enough. PLEASE.}

L: "So the baby was cut out of you?" 
Me: {Inner monologue: well, when you put it like that I have sufficiently f'd you up. Honesty, you are a son of a bitch. Silver lining? We're done here.} "Yup."
L: "But how did the baby get there? In your belly? Before the doctor had the surgery in you."
Me: "Um." 

{head explodes}

L: "Mama, how did the baby get into your belly?"
Me: "L. Um. I'm lost I need to pay attention to where I'm going, OK?"

I totally punked out. Good news? She's 4 so I'm sure I can find somewhere on this here Internet it's too soon. Also? Since I get lost pretty much everyday she is none the wiser that I wasn't actually lost.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Family, you can go ahead and skip this one.

Remember when I said my husband was 12 years old? 

Perhaps I should have waited to hand down that judgement.

Just when I thought Elf on the Shelf couldn't get any more fun? I am proven wrong. Who knew the elf would be so much fun? 

Now if I could only remember to move him nightly.

There's a contest that you just HAVE to check out.  "Inappropriate Elf Contest" - and it's filled with some seriously F'd up elves that just make me GIGGLE. People come up with some hilarious stuff.  When I originally heard about it I thought - I have the PERFECT IDEA. I cracked up over them for awhile. I won't lie.  Now, even though I'm sharing them, I know I might be the only one laughing.

Then I started to see the entries roll in and I saw that I had clearly misunderstood the intent.  I don't know, I think a little chat with the Peacock, Nutcracker & Alesssandro is hilarious if you see it the way I do.

"Mrs. Claus is such a tease."

Alessandro & his blue bells

Come on. Let the inner 12 year old in you giggle.

Have you checked out the contest? Go do that. I mean if it were a double entendre or euphemism contest, I'd be in.    

Time out: both words sound dirty just to say them. Is it just me?  I'll double entendre your euphemism. That's what she said. (See beginning. I'm 12. Also, if we needed to call a TOD (time of death) of my father-in-law "getting me" I believe we can all agree, right about now. I call 'em like I see 'em.)

Time in:
Since it seems when Jill over at Baby Rabies said "Inappropriate Elf" she actually meant inappropriate "ELF" not "Inappropriate Elf Poser" I won't be holding my breath on the win. Hell, I'm a joiner and I just can't help it. I'm a sucker for some captioned photos. 

I present you with my slutty Alessandro. 

Save a Reindeer. Ride a Santa.

I don't expect to win. Dude, there is a the original creep stalker elf, Elf on the Shelf meets a Silence of the Lambs captivity scene,  * in a box and a freaking Dexter elf for God's sake.

Sidenote: Perhaps I was just flat lining before. Right NOW is the TOD of my father-in-law getting me.

I'm just a girl who likes to take pictures of my kid's footless doll. Also, I'm a girl who right now wishes family didn't read this blog because I'm talking blue bells and riding deer.  Never mind not 'getting me' - there are more out there that if they didn't think I was strange before? Let's just say - mission accomplished. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Magical Holidays

Oh my Elf, I am so behind. I started writing this - who knows when. I wanted to interrupt my Elf on the Shelf obsession to bring you good clean family fun. The holiday season was upon us and oh what fun it was. I was all wrapped up in Alessandro, I forgot to breakdown our turkey (Thanksgiving). As I look to edit this post a bit we may or may not still have the tree "up" and all lit up. We usually take the tree down on January 6th but this week has been hell-a busy.

OK, back to the story from way back when. AKA 2 months ago in a time long, long ago called Thanksgiving.

Seeing as we are in the STL - we didn't have to decide where to go (win) and was able to host Thanksgiving (win). Grammy & Poppa made the pilgrimage to the Midwest and in addition to not having to travel (have I mentioned, win?) L + J got to spend time with some of her grandparents. 

We went to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (yes, they have that in places other than NYC - thank you very much). Sure the one in NYC probably doesn't have a firetruck with the leg lamp from The Christmas Story - but hey. They DID have giant balloon floats.  And lots of candy. After the morning at the parade we came home and just hung out. We watched more parades on TV. Glorious.  The day was filled with enjoying good food (thanks ball & chain), good company and cold beer.  Let me highly recommend hosting Thanksgiving in a low key event?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Alessandro's Treasure

Our elf has arrived and while I planned to take one picture a day - I have failed horribly. I'll try to do catch up but since you aren't allowed to touch the damn elf otherwise his magic gets taken (it's in the book people, catch up) it's difficult. I will tell you this: you should really play out the story or situation you put your elf in, before presenting.

Recently the husband was in charge of our elf's landing.  He chose to place him above a shelf in the kitchen.

Side note: when you adopt an elf you name him or her. Last year, when we adopted our elf, L named him... Alessandro. One of her buddies from school was Alessandro and he will live in Guarro family history as our elf. It's a lovely name (for the little boy)... but is it elf-y? Absolutely not. I should have steered the naming session toward a more elf-friendly name like Scooter, Snowflake, Jack (Frost) or Buddy. You know
all the other Shelf Elfs used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Alessandro join in any elf-like games.

Back to the story, Alessandro was up on his shelf, just sitting there. BORING. Listen, I appreciate my husband. He got up after I realized we forgot. At that point we were seconds from slumber town. I appreciate it.  The thing is, when I saw Alessandro the next morning, he was just sitting there. No story. Nothing. I felt like I had to do something.

So far, Alessandro has been swinging from the chandelier (as you do),  sliding down the stair railing, sitting in a pumpkin patch, in L's room getting into her jewelry box and "make up," working for the weekend, and hanging out with the King of Kings.

elf montage
Alessandro & King of Kings.

Point is? Things were happening.  Alessandro was busy. Sitting there on a random shelf? Alone? BOOORRRING.

When the kid wasn't looking I threw some gems we had left over from our Halloween extravaganza on his lap thinking we could spin a "Look! He has treasures!!!"
To be fair - I should have thrown MORE gems.
Treasures. Jewels. The TWO I threw up there? Doesn't help my story. I did not think this through.

Me: "Look, L! Alessandro has some treasure!!!"
L: "Lemme see (I lift her up - because the shelf is high - another problem with this spot) - OH he has jewels!"

Ball & chain: "Yup, it's just Alessandro & his family jewels."
Alessandro & his (family) jewels

Later on that day?
L: "Is Alessandro still playing with his family jewels?"

Days later?
L: "Remember when Alessandro had his jewels? His family jewels?"
She also asks if we remember when Alessandro was hanging from the chandler or the stairs - but I'm sure you understand... these memories aren't quite as funny.

I wish I could respond with, "Yup L, we remember. We'll always remember. On a side note, you should know: your father is 12." If I did that I just KNOW she'd just correct me, trying to convince me he is in his 30s.

Smart (ass) kids (and husbands).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Elf on the (what now?)

Last year we got Elf on the Shelf.  It took forever to find one, truth be told - as I may or may not have waited until the last minute. That's how I roll. It was exciting, however late it was.

What is Elf on the Shelf?  The elf is adopted by a family (us) and he (or she) look in on the kids of the family and report back to Santa how things are going. Yes, Santa watches if you're naughty or nice - but who helps him? The elves. Directly from Elf on the Shelf:
Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.

Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!

Before the family awakes each morning, their special scout elf will fly back to their home from the North Pole. However, since these elves like to play games, don’t expect to find them in the same spot!  While some like to hide in the freezer (probably because it reminds them of the North Pole) and others prefer to sit on the fireplace mantle or hang from the chandelier, these elves love to play hide-and-seek with their families.
This year, homeboy is going to rock the house.  Why? You'll never guess. Pinterest.

I KNOW? Are they paying me to talk about them, or what? Your answer will be "what" after I finish this story.

ANY WHO there are all these fantastic ideas on what to do with the Elf on the pinterest. I told the ball & chain about some of my favorites - the Elf turns up doing snow angels in flour, hanging from a chandelier, or playing games with other toys. You'd THINK he'd be down with this.  This (seems to be) is right up his alley.  As I explained this to him, and reminded him of antics very recently with the trolls... this happened. Verbatim.

"That is so creepy. I mean what's next? A 3 way with Belle & Barbie."

My guy is so dreamy. 

Like I said, pretty sure Pinterest is not (pin)terested in MY endorsement. More on our elf's story and the trouble he gets into this year... G rated people. Keep it clean.

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)

  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. 


He hears me at this point.

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."

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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Need your baby to sleep? Put them in a dirty bag.

Pre-sleep smiles
September 27th: We put JJ to sleep as we normally did. Some cuddles, I nursed her, topped her off with a little formula and a cozy PJ. Just a normal bedtime routine, though the PJs were a new addition.

Another hand me down from her big sister - maybe that's why L's sleep good juju took over. That night, JJ slept 7 hours. SEVEN STRAIGHT HOURS. Glorious. Do you know what 7 hours feels like after months of not have 3-4 hours of sleep? It's amazing. I was a new woman.

September 28th: Listen, if it isn't broke don't fix it. We Groundhog's Day that baby. Same routine. Same amount of formula. Same PJs. What? She didn't run a marathon? She didn't leak through her diaper- why not just throw on the sleep sack again?  That night, she slept 6 straight hours. 

September 29th: See September 28th.

(rinse & repeat)

October 8th:
It's been over a week and it's been working. JJ is sleeping anywhere from 6-7 hours straight at night and it's glorious. Not so glorious? The PJs. There remained unwashed. Listen - would you tell a winning football player to wash his jersey before the series play offs? (I know, different sports - I did that for effect.) The ball & chain had a harder time putting her in the crusty PJs night after night. Me? Not so much. Of course, I would have washed it if she had an accident in them - but beyond that? What's a little drool, spit up and wear between friends? When the top started to get cardboard stiff - he started talking about washing our lucky PJ. I put it off for as long as possible. Finally, reason (and the husband) won - and we put her in a 'similar' pair of PJs.  The warmest ones we had because we are convinced it's the fact that she is toasty and warm that lets her sleep. 
A substitution that work

October 9th:
I'm pissed. I was up all damn night with the kid - every 2-3 hours. It isn't being warm. It's the magic of the sleep bag. It's warm, like a blanket but there needs to be more. Maybe but the fact that it's a bag bottom - she has the freedom to kick around. I don't know if it's the 8 day old drool on the damn thing that lets her sleep - but what I do know is we need another sleep bag because we need her to wear these PJs everyday.

We spent our day driving around looking for a complimenting PJ.  Keeping in mind the original is circa 4 years ago it wasn't easy. We found a Babies R Us and Target that carried the sleep bag - but at two different levels of thickness. We kept the thicker one and now have her wearing that one or the original.

True story: the more worn (some might say dirtier) the PJ is, the sounder she sleeps.

True story: If it were up to me, we'd wash the sleep twins less.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Inspired to Do, Make & Create

Listen up: I'm not a crafty person. I can't draw a straight line with the assistance of a ruler. I am not kidding. I've been feeling especially inspired with the help of Pinterest.

(Time out:
Family - if you come here for the pictures, quotes, videos and sit through my snark? This is not for you. I'm about to geek out - come back tomorrow or the next day - I'll post a picture or something.)

What in the world is

You know when you find something online and you're like, "OOH... (and the next statement is something to the effect of any of the following) I want to save this somewhere. I want to do this. I want to buy something like this. This is good to know. What a great idea. That's fun. That's funny. I love this.  Hilarious. Thoughtful. Inspiring." I used to send myself an email, save the link as a favorite or make it a bookmark.  Well... you can do those things still - but for things that you want to visually see together? 

It's a vision board that people use for all kinds of things. Inspiration, funny quotes, decorating, gift ideas, crafts/DIY projects to do, holiday fun, ideas for photos, meal planning, styling, etc etc. It's really what you make of it.
You find that thing online that starts you saying, "Ohhh." and you... PIN it.
Me: I have different boards for different subjects (you categorize your pins on boards). I use it to keep track of things I want to do, try and remember.  I have holiday boards for things to do during the holidays, or costume ideas for Halloween as well as gifts I want to give, get or funny quotes I like. The list keeps shifting.

Yes folks, another thing to spend time doing online. Too much time
is can be wasted. It was fun when I was decorating the new house.  I could keep track of how much stuff cost as I weighed each product against each other. I read a blog that I think totally explains it - if you want to know the how to and why to. I imagine you can just sign up for an account, but if you need an invite - let me know.  Suzanne over at Behbehblog breaks it down with an easy "how to." If you know me at all, you know I love me some instructions and screen shots. Most people are super overwhelmed to start... and then? They get addicted. Pinterest is the new FB crack - remember the first time? Same thing. You get sucked in.  And then the next thing you know - you are writing paragraphs about something only 1/2 of the intended audience is reading, if that.

Here's my point. 

Martha Stewart can relax - I'm not coming for her job but I AM
doing something with her website.  Like the pin that inspired this
staircase and this face.
Something amazing happened recently. Not only did Pinterest help in the decorating of our new home - but it is inspiring CRAFTS & CREATIVITY up in here.  It started with a favor idea for the kid's birthday, that spilled into Halloween because the kid has a new found love for creepy and now I'm a Princess skirt (tutu) deep into half of a 100% homemade costume and ready for more.Pinterest provides ideas, inspiration, fun and a total time suck.  The only way to make good on that time suckage? Do something! And something I have done. 

It's been 2 weeks and with every little project I feel accomplished.  In the time it took me to start this post and publish it, I'm another 2 projects deep. One completed salt dispenser from a mason jar WHAT? (Note to self:
Pinterest loves herself some mason jars) and craft supply jars.  Sure, if you click through you'll find that all I did was print out labels, print google images, tie knots and cut templates - but dang they are festive.

completed (sucka easy) "projects"

Follow Me on Pinterest

(c) 2007 all rights reserved. aka don't be a D and swipe any content, photos, etc - sucka. Should you be tempted, let me know so I can be flattered and then give me something write about.