Thursday, May 31, 2012

what not to wear: Reva edition


5 shows in 3 days, so I need 3 decent get-ups.  My favorite thing to wear is a black tee and a brown peasant skirt, but last year I was wearing it and was asked how far along in my pregnancy I was.

Maybe it was my posture, or the extra ice cream I'd eaten that day trying to stay cool.  Regardless, I'm afraid I'm going to have to nix that outfit, which means I have no cute, airy outfit to love while I'm playing in the hot out-of-doors.  GRRRR.

I wore my Magic Dress (aka the one that hides everything perfectly) for the Ceilidh-banquet thing and even though it looks nothing like the kind of thing I should be wearing while playing Scottish music, I don't think I can fit into my kilt.  So this is a nice substitute.

I also wore this on another day last year, but as you can see, it makes me look like I drive a minivan and have multiple children.  And for 3 days out of the entire year I'd like to look like a musician.  Someone cool. Who is not me.

I wore this 3 years ago.  But I was also 7 months pregnant, so it's acceptable.

This was what I wore 4 years ago.  The top is ill-fitting around the armpit region, and I think pin-striped capris are probably a no-no as well.  So I'm really lost.  It's not easy to find something cute on a budget that fits AND is modest.  Which is why I complain about this every year.  I had a solution, but then someone asked me if there was a baby in my tummy.  Which there wasn't.  Ugh.  Any suggestions???  Puleeeeze??

By the way, I'm SO excited!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

365 days 133-137

Messing around with backlighting while rocking out to the Muppets.  Of course.

We went to Iowa for a wee vacay and got to go to a birthday party at a place that rehabilitates birds of prey who have been injured.  WonderGirl can't stop telling everyone she sees about how she saw all these birds of prey with eyes missing.  I was melting from all the sun at the time.

I took a picture of my hand through a balloon - not as easy as it seems.

We got back from our wee trip and I found these in the mail waiting for me!  I needed some new summer shoes and wanted something with a bit of a pop AND utilitarian at the same time.  They are wanna-be croc material.  Would you believe I got them for 8.95 with free shipping?  Because I did.

Two-faced.  I had an awesome idea for a picture but my camera would not cooperate.  So the left-hand shot is my creative joy, and the right-hand is realizing I am a talentless hack with a mean camera.

I was in a serious funk last week.  The pictures reflect that too and I couldn't figure out why all of the sudden I hated what I was producing.  I looked through my older stuff and realized everything was kind of monochome, so I'm bringing the color back.

Want to know a secret?  I really don't like having my picture taken.  I like HAVING pictures of myself, but the process makes me tighten up and think of all the times that I've seen a picture that makes me look like a horse and I try to NOT recreate that look and while the person squints into their camera and says cheese all my brain is doing in screaming LOOK DOWN, NOT TO THE SIDE OR YOUR HUMONGOUS HONKER OF A NOSE WILL STICK OUT DON'T BLINK SMILE DAGNABIT YOU LOOK LIKE A MORON WHEN YOU DON'T SMILE SUCK IN THAT GUT AND STAND UP STRAIGHT, IGOR!!!!! 

It's kind of distracting.  And not at all helpful when most of the time is there IS a picture taken of me, it's quickly thrown in my face and I look like a conflicted moron.  Which is kind of my default setting, but I try to  temper it for the general public.

Anywho, at the beginning of this year I thought to myself I should really figure out how to use my fancy schmancy camera and lo and behold, Elizabeth posted a link to a 365 club a friend of hers was hosting with prizes just for participating!  I figured that was the best way to keep me going so I signed up.  It wasn't until after I signed up that I saw the one rule besides taking a picture every day, was that I had to BE in every picture.  Self portraits?  That wasn't really how I'd envisioned getting more acquainted with my camera, so I was slightly disappointed.

But having that one major handicap has really forced me to get to know more than I would because of the added trick of making sure I don't look like a horse.  I'm getting super familiar with angles, lighting, composition, and it's translating really well to my other photo subjects/victims.

I like admitting I was wrong when the right is awesome.

Oh, and I thought my world would end when Picnik (my favorite pic editing site) went away, but I have found a new love in iPiccy.


I took this yesterday and typed up a whole nifty post on my phone on the way home from our wee vacay in Iowa, but alas, the Blogger failed to publish about 42 kajillion times.  Okay, I lie, I only attempted it 41 kajillion times.

Part of the original post went something like this:

Man, I love visiting family. Having young kids makes hotels a headache, doesn't it?  Being able to send the kids off with some cousins while I poop out on a couch is luxury indeed.
Also on the luxury list are portable DVD players with dual screens, boy howdy.  Ours quit right as we started our trip, but luckily for us all, I snagged the handiest man alive and he assessed the culprit was the adapter cord.  After an intense surgery with dental tools and multiple fuses, it is now in fine working order.  The kids were angels on the trip down without it, but I sure love Dora taking a turn parenting these cherubs.
Don't judge, I'm on vacation for another hour and a half. 
Although minutes after I gave up on posting this, the DVD player stopped.  The kids were sure nice about it.  I think it might have stopped because I put in a Barney DVD.  Again, don't judge. The normal laws of science, nature and kid shows are invalid when applied to the laws of the vacation.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

365 days 129-132

Just spinning around the kitchen.  I put the camera on the floor and went crazy while trying to make dinner.  Note the trademark Ball o' Hair.  More on that later.
Book club at my place.  They said they'd finally do the one book I've actaully read in the last 2 years, but I had to host it.  FINE.  It was fabulous motivation and my house is still pretty squeaky clean.  The conversation was deliciously fantastic!  have you read Outliers?  You have to.  Because I bring it up in like, every conversation I have with anyone.  Ever.

(and yes, Jenna, we are aware that you disliked it - we read your GoodReads review out loud:)

Scoping out the sun from the inside of the house.  Sunlight is so wonderful, but I do love my domicile more.
We had some serious wind out here so I went out front to get an action shot of my messy blob hair.  After a few shots I heard voices and realized my neighbors were on their porch, staring at me.  GAH.  I love civilization, I truly do, but there is just no privacy.  Why don't these people have privacy fences???

We're actually getting a fence for the backyard - we put in the order today.  Just a small picket fence so the kids can be safe outside on their own.  It's small and unobtrusive so it won't look too out of place with the rest of the neighborhood, and I'm super excited.  I hate sending the kids out and then madly dashing from whatever I'm doing to the window every other minute to make sure they are safe and haven't wandered off.  I'm kind of a nerous wreck.

Oh, and I've decided I'm also on strike.  I'm not getting my hairs cut or did, probably until Forster goes to elementary school.  I hate how long it takes to get my hair cut and colored and finding the time to do it gives me a massive headache, so I'm just quitting.  I'm going to let my cruddy au natural color take over and see how long this mane gets before I get cited by the fashion police.  It is now officially my Ball o' Hair.  Even if I did manage to get to the salon, I just have to jump through more hoops a few months later. GGAAHHHH.  I quit,

Also, have you noticed that I'm sort of losing ideas and steam with this 365 thing?  I'm still a total novcie at photography and I've used just about every trick I've got, plus my brain is fried and my creativity fell out somewhere.  C'mon people.  Help a boring housewife out.

sweet hour of chaos

Okay, okay.  I'll bite on this one.  I spied a link on Pinterest on keeping your kids reverent in church without snacks or anything else, and I clicked over.  It was okay - it was one man's opinion, and there is an ideal we should try and aim for.  But then the comments were just plain nasty, talking bad about either side of the issue.

I'm going to just lay my side out because I have no desire to get in a debate over there, but dagnabit, I've got an opinion.  And it is:


That's it, really.  It's HARD to sit there for an hour as kids, and it's harder as a parent.  I can't even give my kids a snack after sacrament meeting to keep them from going bonkers in their classes for the next 2 hours because they are so excited to get to class they won't eat.  So yeah, I bring pretzels for them to munch on.  My one goal is to KEEP US QUIET SO EVERYONE CAN HEAR THE SPEAKERS.  I try my darndest to keep the kids quiet and calm so the people around us can pay attention to and feel the Spirit in the room.  (Last week while I was desperately trying to keep the Dude stationary, he grabbed my face and yelled "ARE YOU HAPPY?!"  I smiled silently so he joyfully yelled "YOU SMILE!!"  Just can't win sometimes:)

They are not always quiet, but I try.  I insist they sit and don't get on the floor or move around, but if some other parent does, there is no way I'm going to judge.  IT'S HARD.  We're all trying.  It's hard for me because my husband is sitting up on the stand and I'm doing it all alone, but the sainted mother behind me who comes to church alone with her 4 boys under the age of 5 and has her own toys and tactics to survive in sacrament meeting is doing her very best too.  Every other Sunday, by the time church starts, our kids have already been there for an hour and a half while husband and I are in meetings.  My awesome MIL made little church bags for my kids and I love them.  Yeah.  I bring church bags with scripture books, pictures of temples and Christ, and colored pencils and paper so my kids quietly occupy themselves to keep the peace for us and everyone around us.  Some people don't subscribe to that.  I don't subscribe to toddlers wandering around the aisles either, but I also know how &^%$ hard it is to hold onto a toddler for an entire hour.  We are human.  

I'ts so easy to talk about how our parents did it and get on high horses, but I'm far too aware of Karma and how swiftly it kicks me in the butt when I start getting all high and mighty.  I look at other families with lovely, peaceful kids and force myself to not feel like an awful mother.  As my mom says, comparisons are odious.  And as I also mentioned in my last post, we ALL get our turn.

Just come to church.  And try.  Smile and lift others up and it will lift you up.  And then try again.  And mind your own beezwax.  You can look that up - it's in the book of Reva, 5:24.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

turn, turn, turn

I have this theory about parenting, where we all take turns having the worst kids in public, to make the other moms feel good about themselves and their kids.  I have this theory because my kids are usually the poster children for how NOT to act in public.  You're welcome, other moms.

But today, I was chatting with the nicest mom at the park, when her 3 year old pulled down her panties and went pee in the sand.  I joked with her that the park was just a big litter box, so she must have given birth to a cat instead.  She laughed with me as she tried to make sense of the ensuing preschooler crazy.  Then as she was leaving, she lost her grip on her stroller and it started rolling into the street before she caught it.  I shot her a big smile, and she shot one back, exhausted but bright.

It wasn't my turn today!  Although when I got home, the Dude spent a good 10 minutes screaming in the car about some mysterious whatever (most likely because he was tired and the universe was annoying him).  But no one was there to witness it.  SCORE.

Wait, as we were leaving our house to GO to the park, I was in the backyard getting it measured by some workmen to get a quote for putting in a blasted fence (WHY DON'T HOMES IN WISCONSIN COME WITH FENCES????) and asked WonderGirl to go get Forster who was racing around the front yard.  She literally dragged him across the front yard while he screamed bloody murder.  I ran to save him, and saw the park across the street was inhabited by a playgroup, full of moms staring at my psychotic children.  I'd blocked that out of my memory...

So it was my turn too, today.  Touche, Karma.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

365 days 122-128

I got this BowHold Buddy for WonderGirl.  The inventors of these are geniuses!!  I don't know how I taught bow holds without them.

I went to a city council meeting to see husband graduate from a leadership program.  He got to put his hand in a cow's stomach!  Not at the meeting, although that would have been far more entertaining.
Took the teen girls at church at Pewitt's Nest - which is AWESOME!!  It's this wee watering hole in the woods and I can't wait to being the whole fam there for the reunion in July!
I wanted to take a portrait of what me as a mom looks like.  When I think of of a mom, this is what I picture:

Kind of like a JCPenny ad.  I don't ever feel like I look like what a mom should look like.  I feel like I'm always disheveled and off - and like every other mom looks like they know what they're doing.  I don't know if my goal is to look like a JCPenny ad.  But maybe it is...

My subdivision is so bright, I gotta wear shades.

Summer is coming!!  Our Saturday was lovely.  The husband put together his new grill and put together an amazing meal of seared ahi tuna steaks, grilled pineapple and chicken hearts.  Then we took a stroll the 1/2 mile down to the store to get some tomatoes and apples.  It felt so European!
Does this look like the face of a boy who woke up repeatedly last night screaming then threw up all over himself at breakfast?  Well, it is.  He's dancing around, happy as a happiest thing that ever was happy.  I am far less annoyed at him than I was at 2am.

Oh, that Dude!  So yesterday on our walk, WonderGirl brought some nickels so she and the Dude could experience the joy that is the Wild Hog ride at our grocery store.  The ensuing joy that escaped the Dude was epic.  The husband had to run out of the checkout line just to capture a few seconds of it.  Behold, pure joy:

Because the poor Dude had thrown up before church, I knew I couldn't let him in nursery with the other kiddos, but I still didn't want to miss the first hour of sacrament meeting - partly because the husband was speaking and I loves me some husband.  Afterwards, I slipped out and spent the next two hours snuggling the Dude.  Yes, it is a one of the deadly sins to envy, but it is totally justified here.  You may envy the Dude snuggles.

I did glimpse in the mirror when I got home and was so impressed that I didn't look like I was running on half a brain and little sleep, I had to take an unfocused picture to document it.  Someday I'll need hot pictures of myself to remind me I was once a dish.

Why am I out of focus by you can see the mess in the coat closet in perfect clarity?  There is so much about photography that puzzles me...

Lastly, my dear Jennaroo was with me at Pewitt's Nest and found my attempts at self-documentation hilarious and snapped a shot of it in action:

This is priceless.  Thanks for sending it, Jenna!  This sums up my 365 year in one shot :)

Monday, May 14, 2012


I'm not going to take the bait.  I keep telling myself this.  So far the only person I have ranted to about the TIME mag cover and article has been the husband, and he wisely runs the other way whenever I start.  See, they want us fighting, stirring up controversy.  "Are You Mom Enough?"  Really???

Isn't being a mom hard enough without fighting each other??  The minute I trash-talk another mom's decisions, karma is SWIFT and my kid will do something equally cruddy or worse within hours.  My house is Chihuly glass, baby.

Put whatever you want on your baby's butt.  Feed them chicken nuggets, organic beets, Tootsie Rolls or octopus.  And for the love of all that's holy, mind your own beezwax.  I am trying to teach WonderGirl to respect other people's privacy, and I figure I should do the same.

Life is much happier with less karma attacks.

Woohoo, I didn't take the bait (I think)!  I think I deserve some chocolate.

Lastly, some outtakes from my picture challenge of hair and movement.  I EARNED this whiplash.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

365 days 119-121

Thanks for all the imput, I went with number 1.  And oh man, does my neck still hurt...!

I think purgatory might be just like a 5 year old's birthday party...

Happiest of Mother's Day to my way-cool mom.  Honestly, every day I am more and more shocked that she didn't go completely mental raising us 4 nutjob kiddos.  This mommying job is NOT easy work, but it helps to have an example of someone who made it out the other side and still loves her job.  I am a truly blessed gal.
Speaking of blessed, check out the grins on these two!  Holy snap I love these kids.  This morning I was awakened by WonderGirl running into my room, desperate to tell me about something she'd just learned about Zimbabwe from her new atlas.  I have no idea what it was, though.  Then later as they were bringing my Mother's Day breakfast into my room, WonderGirl shouted "Happy Mother's Day!" and the Dude yelled "Happy Birthday!!"  It was happy indeed - especially when husband surprised me - he had scheduled WG to speak in church.  I was completely blown away by my 5 year old daughter's self-written, freakin' adorable missive to the entire congregation and by the fact that she had managed to keep this a secret for an entire week.

She said she hoped to be a mommy like me someday, but I have a feeling she is going to blow my try completely out of the water.  Happy Mother's Day, y'all!

Friday, May 11, 2012

quick question

I did this picture for my 365 thing today but can't decide which edit works the best.  Thoughts?  Also, I'll share the outtakes later.  Also also, I have serious whiplash and a headache.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

365 days 115-118

He moves so fast I can rarely get a decent picture of him - but you are lucky today!  This is the happy Dude I get to play with all day long.  Just now while I was trying to type this, he climbed all over my head and growled like Max from Where the Wild Things Are (merci, Maurice Sendak), giggled, then shouted "YOU.ARE.TERRIFIC."  I had no idea he could say terrific... terrific, I say!!
Last fall when husband and I got the amazing opportunity to have a weekend in NYC, I got this for my souvenir.  I don't really buy jewelry, but if I do, it's while I'm on vacation.  I love accessorizing myself with happy memories.
What's up?  Hahahahahaaaaaa... seriously, this was fun, but I woke up this morning and my first thought was if I'm going to do all these action shots, I really need to remember to mess with my shutter speed.
Showing some school pride this morning.  Go Screaming Eagles!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

domesticity in the (not so) city

It's no secret I'm a scatterbrained flibbertygibbet?  I mean it, just like Meg Ryan's Angelica in Joe versus the Volcano, arguably one of the best bad movies ever made.
Back to me.  You know this about me especially if you have ever been to anywhere I've lived.  If you knew me in college, you are probably surprised I have never gotten the flesh-eating virus from my bathroom.  But that's kind of changed.  Kind of.

A while back I was talking to Heidi and she mentioned something about changing the sheets on the beds at their house, and I asked her who had thrown up.  Apparently NO ONE had.  She changed them on a regular basis. ?!?!   And it occurred to me that 1. If my house burns down, I'm calling her and asking her if I can sleep at her place, and 2. My cleaning regimen is one big catch-up act.  I'm so focused on the kids that I don't notice the house until something really needs something and I have to fit it into my schedule, which is pretty dang inconvenient.  

So a month or so ago, I made a tidy list.  Just a guideline, a set of suggestions, really.  

Monday: Middle floor (kitchen, living room), bathrooms, laundry
Tuesday: Bedrooms, front closet area
Wednesday: Lower floor (the "office" and play room)
Thursday: Floors - vacuum and mop
Friday: Re-tidy bedrooms and middle floor

I don't sweat doing laundry on Thursday, because I scheduled Monday to freak out about it.  The sheets to all the beds are in the wash right now.  And the downstairs is a mess, but I'm worrying about that tomorrow since today I'm vacuuming bedrooms.  I missed mopping last week, and I've done spots here and there as needed, but I'm not worrying about it until Thursday.  And if the trash is overflowing in the bathroom, pfft.  I'm not sweating that until Monday.

I don't deep clean every time, just tidy mostly.  I was feeling pretty down about all my work because the middle floor is where we do most of our living and it looks awful all the time.  Because I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old constantly trashing it.  And me too.  But my I realized my bathrooms are cleaner than ever, and my bedroom just looks nice all the time.  So that's cool.  It still looks like I live here, but it's a teensy bit better.  And I feel calmer.  Eventually they'll move out.  Although that doesn't solve the problem of ME trashing the house...

I saw this nifty thing on Pinterest the other day and thought I might incorporate something like this into me wee schedule:

image via
Maybe, but much more general.  I have no idea the last time I cleaned the microwave, but I'm okay with that.  Also, what kind of crazy person does laundry every day?  I say just buy more clothes.

Now to get some kind of grasp on meal planning.. that's a bear.  It's so dependent on taste preferences (which change frequently around here) and what we have in the fridge.  You can make a grocery list, but somehow it always ends up that I get too much or too little of something and then schedules change so we don't have dinner at home that night or time to make the intended meal and the food I was going to use for that night goes bad and blallahahhhhh.  I could grill, but birds are living in it.  Seriously, they built a nest IN OUR GRILL.  All up in our grill.  Hahahahahahaha.  (I'm literally laughing out loud to myself but I still have enough dignity to type out the noise instead of the infernal lol.  CURSE YOU, LOL!!!!)

Husband went in with a coworker and they are buying a cow to be butchered - we're getting like a 1/4th of it or something.  We have a big freezer, so that's cool.  Except I have NO IDEA how to cook beef.  Not a clue.  It always seemed too expensive for me to experiment on.  The only reason why I know how to cook chicken is because in college, Urmi felt so bad for me that she took me to the store, made me buy a bag of frozen tenderloins and showed me two fast ways to make a meal from them.  Both involve rice.

But seriously, let's keep going on the domestic tangent and just make this the wordiest post ever.  So you know how all winter we were all in limbo, not knowing how husband's job was going and frantically trying to find another one?  We scaled back as much as we could, and I did my darndest to prepare for the worst.  We've been unemployed before, you know.  I have some experience in this sort of thing.  By the by, Pinterest rocks, have I mentioned that?  So these are some of the things I instituted to try and cut costs:

image via
I make my own laundry detergent. (I add a scoop of Oxi Clean and my whites look smashing.)

image via
I make my own tortillas.  (I just use plain white flour, and use the directions from this recipe for Indian roti bread.  Which is an Indian tortilla, apparently.  Seriously, it's water, flour and salt.  And we take the leftovers from dinner, cut 'em up, cover them up with cinnamon sugar and bake them for a few minutes for dessert.)

image via
I always have these in the fridge for a snack.

I bake my own bread.  From the recipe for Papa John's pizza dough, so this dough is also used to make our own pizza.

image via
I pop my own popcorn - on the stove now.  It's not as convenient as just throwing it in a paper bag and nuking it(my previous method), but this pops more and there are almost no unpopped kernels.  It's such a cheap and easy snack.

We made our own Valentines.  With nothing more than a crayon, red paper and a stick of gum.  Not too shabby, either.  I know we usually do this, but everything was on hand except for the pack of gum, so I think the whole project set us back 97 cents.

image via
I make my own foaming handwash.  Because it's so freaking easy.

And using this tutorial, I made both kids pajama pants for Christmas.  Then, I took it a step further and figured out how to make shorts for the kids using old jeans my MIL cut up for me, and t-shirts from the dollar store.  I'm kind of on a roll and hope I won't have to buy any shorts or pants for the Dude for the summer.  WonderGirl is totally set for skirts, and I just can't stop cannibalizing old clothes to make new things for her, some of which are actually wearable!

I even made WonderGirl make her own pants.  Child labor?  Yes, please.  I didn't get a picture of it, but I'm totally making her vacuum stuff too.

It's little things, I'm sure most of you do them too.  It's just kind of big for me since I'm not the domestic type.  And now that we are slightly more stable, I'm still digging on these things.  And digging the digging on Pinterest for more.

See all the blogging that happens when my mom leaves the country??  Man, when she heads to China next fall you are gonna get an eyeful fo sho'.

HEAR YE. I need to document the fact that I ran 3 miles and didn't feel like death.  So just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I did...