Thursday, July 30, 2009
So one of the things I was so distracted by at Hobby Lobby this week was the 50% off sale on fake flowers. Because of Jen's post a few weeks back (see here), I had the bug to try some cute hair accessories for the girls...
This was trial and error,but I've got it now, and it is EASY-PEASY. Along with the flowers, I bought a half yard of stretchy cotton (WHY can't I think of what this is called...you know, the stuff t-shirts are made of that have a little bit of give in them???). Anyway, that stuff. A half yard will give you enough to make 15 of these...it's a lot.
I figured out how wide I wanted the headbands to be and measured the girls head's for a snug fit. And then I just sewed them together. There is slightly more to it than that (not much)...if you sew you know how to hide your seams...right sides together, leave a small opening and then flip the whole thing right sides out. If you don't, that sounds like alien language...and I apologize. Really, it's one of the simplest things you can do, with a basic knowledge of sewing.
All this to say, attaching the flower was the tricky part. As I learned, the easiest way is to take the whole thing apart...which, for me, meant cutting the base off and removing the center of the flower so that I could sew the flat petals directly on to the headband. Once those were on, I hot-glued the flower center back in place. I tried to attach the whole flower, but the point on the backside of it makes it all kind of awkward.
So, there you have it. A whole headband for...$1.25? Success!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Do the laundry.
Sort the laundry.
Pack the bags.
Clean the car.
Scrub every bathroom, change the sheets, clear the countertops, sweep the floors, put away all random crap.
Funny, since I don't live in that state of clean. But it exists, in my absence. Hmmm.
And then for fun, I went around the house snapping pictures of the "mess" I am referring to. And by mess, I am referring to the PILES of stuff I seem to accumulate. Everywhere. As well as the general dirt-and-grime sort of slobbery. Pictures will only reference the piling...amoebas and general dirt parasites are hard to catch on film.
So. This is what my house looks like, on any given day. Except when I am on vacation, apparently. Come to think of it, that's probably why I go on vacation. So that the house gets cleaned.
This year, I have formulated a new plan--and that is, to pack FIRST, clean second. Rather than stressing about it all up to the very last second, I figured I might as well feel prepared to be away from home. And then worry about the state of my house...which, I might add, becomes a complete disaster 2 minutes after we return home and unload our crap.
Mike is at the ballgame tonight, leaving me a free night to work...and to freak out about how much there is to do. We'll call Mike my mood stabilizer. Because on top of it all, I wouldn't be my crazy ol' self, if I didn't bite off a huge (gigantic) crafty project for myself.
I think vacations make me crazy.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
You know, the usual stuff.
We are also preparing to leave town, so.....
I combined my children's love of crap with a plan to get them excited for 14 hours in a car! This year, I decided that they are going to pack a few things on their own--mainly, all the random toys/junk I just can't seem to keep up with. Not to mention all Lovies and bowling pin kitty's and purple geckos (Big J's animal of choice).
These are the bags for their stuff.
You can probably tell that this craft was so easy, I can't really take credit. First we went to our beloved Hobby Lobby to select our bags and buy a pack of fabric markers. I'm sure permanent markers would work just as well, but ours are getting a little dry, so I opted for something new. Crayola makes a box for $4.99...not too bad.
Not to worry. I am packing all clothes and essentials. Because if they were in charge of underwear or shoes or toothbrushes...well, that would just end badly (and expensively) for me.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Fun times tonight on the golf course in back of our house. Which, of course, is closed today...or else we would be putting our children in serious danger of head injuries.
Today would also be the first time we realized that the kids can be near the pond (which sits in the middle of this hole) without GREAT fear that they are going to fall in. That's comforting.
Golf courses with a slight slope are also excellent places to learn to roller skate. FYI.
Oh, I just love this. I am pretty sure my Big J is in a coma upstairs, based on the number of times he pushed his Fred-Flintstone car up and down the slight hill of this hole. Lived here almost six years and have never once brought yard toys on to the course. It's like we've stepped into a whole, new, awesome, world.
Went to Hobby Lobby tonight and got way side-tracked. My purpose was to let the kids pick out some supplies for a project we are tackling tomorrow...instead the sale signs and all the pretty, sparkly, crafty things distracted me.
I did get the stuff for our project. And the supplies for 5+ projects I have no time to tackle in the next 6 months. And when I do have the time around Christmas (because that is TOTALLY a non-busy season), I won't be able to find this stuff.
I am also having a slight issue with grosgrain ribbon. Well, I'm not sure if it's the ribbon's fault or the stores that stock the ribbon.
It appears that navy, polka-dotted, grosgrain ribbon does not exist in this city. Which is AMAZING to me, because I actually saw this exact ribbon in every shade of the rainbow. Except navy.
Anybody have any suggestions as to where I might find this? Hobby Lobby was a major letdown...and I do not use those words lightly. There is Hancock Fabrics, which is just two doors down, however, I was already there twice today as that is where I realized I was missing my credit card. Which happened to be at the last location where I used it, two days ago.
My choices were to drag four children, including a screaming, whining, hungry Little J to Hancock's for the THIRD time today. Or go home.
I chose home. And the navy, polka-dot grosgrain ribbon eludes me.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Let me preface by saying that I kind of hate water. But I do recognize it as necessary for life.
During my pregnancy with the triplets, my water broke with our son Caleb at 12 weeks. Contrary to what you are told when you are full-term and your water breaks, I managed to stay pregnant, and at an incredibly high risk for all kinds of complications, for 3 more months. In those next 13 weeks, it was strongly suggested that I drink a lot of water.
Water swallowed by yours truly, would naturally help to replenish what was lost when my water bag broke. Except that it would also continue to gush out, as that fragile little bag surrounding unborn babies does not heal. Well, not when you've ripped a gigantic hole in it.
So, in addition to practically drowning myself with tap water every day....while I lounged on a Lazyboy for 14 hours straight...I began taking a large glass of water to bed every night. Somewhat necessary, as I would wake up to strong contractions, without fail, every night, somewhere around 2:00 a.m.
The only thing that would stop them was water.
However. I would also go straight into labor with a full bladder. I really couldn't win.
Old habits die hard, apparently. Because ever since the Fall/Winter of 2004, I have carried a cup of water to bed. Even if I'm not thirsty. Even if I hate water and would prefer to take a Diet Coke (but realize that would be perceived as horribly unhealthy and that, potentially, I would get no sleep).
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Have your Us Weekly. Have your weekly hit-show and all of it's rerun glory. Have every news channel watching your every move. I have four kids, so I don't have time for that crap anyway.
But People Magazine? That's low. Now you've invaded my personal space and you've brought your little 22-year-old girlfriend with you.
Do you KNOW who reads People Magazine? Married housewives with kids, who feel better about reading this smut when articles on everyday heros and rare-disease survivors are also included. That's their niche--sympathetic, nosy women.
The list of subjects to which we will sympathize: extreme weight loss, unexpected death, victims of serial killers, animals saved from burning buildings, celebrities with poverty backgrounds, any kind of cancer, infertility, rap stars that die tragically, unexpected teeny-bopper heart break, innocent men sent to prison for crimes they didn't commit. Oh and families with s--t loads of kids.
Not included on this list: divorcing your wife and running off to Saint Tropez with your 22-year-old girlfriend. While leaving your ex-wife with s--t loads of kids.
That looks bad, my friend. Real bad.
But you don't care! You're free! Free to live the life you missed by having those miserable kids and that nagging wife! Free to travel the world and have a "fun" girlfriend who "won't make [you] do something." Free to sip champagne on yachts and meet with clothing designers!
News flash. That is not the life you would have had without your wife and kids. That is the life that P. Diddy or Puff Daddy or Sean Combs or whatever-name-he's-going-by these days has.
Sidenote: we DO NOT sympathize with child-less travel OR designer clothes we can't fit childbearing hips into anymore, either. FYI.
Listen. I know that marriage is tough. And that having someone verbally berate you in public or constantly question your ability to function without drooling can be immasculating. I can't argue there. Trust me when I say that I will think twice about nit-picking my husband's ability to dress our children (even though he believes stripes match with stripes) or care for them in my absence.
You have succeeded in your campaign of fear. That my husband will sport gi-normous diamond earrings and leave me for a hotter, less-stretch marked, size 0, twenty-two year old. I will never scold him for cleaning out the fridge, ever again. Ever.
But for the love of all things holy, I may just have to track down your travel itinerary and follow you from island to Mediterranean island with MY FOUR KIDS if you don't leave my People Magazine alone. I'm pretty sure TLC would be on board for the kind of ratings that would bring in.
Consider that my campaign of fear.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
We like to save the end of our bread loaves for feeding the ducks at a nearby park. Which is a GREAT idea, if I don't get sick of little plastic bags with two pieces of crust in them and ditch the whole little-house-on-the-prairie persona that I like to play-pretend sometimes.
But today it was 70 degrees and we had something like 7 pieces of end crust piled in my bread basket (which is currently overflowing with potatoes and bananas). Cha-ching.
So we head to the pond at the park, where I happen to spot those good-for-nothing Canadian geese, who will take your fingers off, I'm pretty sure. All this based on the hisses I received from the resident goose of my old office parking garage back in '00. They may be very nice as a species, but that little bastard was mean (and I suppose I have never gotten over it).
So we stalked out a quiet spot on the pond, near some of the ducks we came to feed. Opened the bag of stale bread ends, which apparently is the trumpet call to all of duck kingdom. There was no time for fear.
That's a lie.
There was plenty of time for fear, as I witnessed my children PETTING wild ducks and having whole bread slices plucked for their little fingers. And the more we withdrew, the closer they came, on all sides.
But once I identified the main perpetrator as a large white duck (whom I have named Gus), and tricked his little bird brain by flinging bread as far as my under-toned arms could send it (you are no match for me, Gus!), I noticed the rest of the gang was quite lovely apart from their ring leader. And felt I saved my young children from a small battle with duck bullying.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Such is life.
So. While I am getting my act together, I thought I would share a list of my favorite art/craft supplies, which I try to have on hand at all times. And I write this because sometimes people gasp in wonder that I can pull a craft out of the air! NOT TRUE! I just happen to have all the pieces available..which makes all the difference. Hey--I have an entire pantry full of stuff and no idea how to put a meal together...but, give me some crafty supplies and I can entertain a six-year-old!
Been thinking about this list for some time, and I think the general idea is..."If I were stranded on a dessert island, what 10 craft items would I want with me?"
Disclaimer: Do not let the "stranded on a dessert island" part fool you...this list is in no way practical, or capable of building shelter, producing water or supplying food (unless said food is made of paper mache and mod podge). And if I was, indeed, stranded, YES I WOULD want something to craft...I'm not so much for the fishing/shelter building/water purification responsibilities. Now that we have that out of the way.
Mod Podge. No shocker here. I love it and I find new uses for it everyday...honestly, it just gives a nice shiny look to everything, it's a glue the kids can handle and it dries amazingly fast. Anything the kids paint (for example, flower pots), I shellack with mod podge and it takes it up a level. If you know what I mean.
Acrylic Paint. Now...I wrestled with this one a bit, because acrylic paint is non-washable if you don't get to it soon enough. For that reason, I really don't let the little ones paint with it too often, unless we are doing something I plan to keep for years (yes, I know this is means almost everything) or gift. Everyday painting is done with the water-soluble stuff. However, I believe the vibrancy is great and the color palate unmatched (as there are HUNDREDS of shades by numerous brands available...for a very low price).
Grosgrain Ribbon. This is more of a finishing touch on gifts and such, but I use it a lot when making spontaneous little girl jewelry. Toss on a shrinky-dink charm, and you've got a bracelet, or a necklace. I am particularly fond of grosgrain ribbon with polka dots. Shocker.
Scrapbook paper. Lots of it. In all shades and patterns that speak to me. I used it a while back for the torn-paper collage I did with G (see here), but also like it for making last minute gift tags, or to put cute borders on pictures that the kids draw, that we'll often keep and frame, or give to grandparents...it dresses up plain white paper, is what I'm getting at. Occasionally I do scrapbook, but seeing as I am still working on Big J and L's baby book, you can see this is not high priority on my list.
Felt. I heart felt. It's cheap, it's easy to work with, and you can do a lot with it! I made hair clips for G earlier this year, I've made appliques for t-shirts and fun clothes for paper dolls that G has decorated. For about a quarter a sheet, I just like to have these on hand. I thought about including fabric on this list, but honestly, I think felt is the most multi-functional. Granted, you are not going to want to make a dress out of 25 cent felt...but for everyday use, this stuff can do a lot.
That's five...enough for tonight, more to come tomorrow or Thursday. And I put that disclaimer in there, because you never know what weird thing my kids will smear on the walls, or what great adventure they have brewing in their crazy little heads (for which I will come along to clean up the shrapnel that is inevitable).
Monday, July 20, 2009
Okay, well not these girls, exactly. These girls 10 years later with jobs, and babies, and husbands, and graduate degrees, and some suburb livin', and crazy bosses, and gluten allergies and au pairs, and some big city living. And perhaps less gold lame and polyester. I should note that we did not actually attend college in the '70's (much as we ROCKED that style for a night).
Maybe it was the general theme of shenanigans and ass-making. Or the fact that we lived as closely as caged mice for three years. Or that we are all so incredibly different. Or that there is not one part of me that is intimidated or insecure or unsure around them. And there is never a second when I hesitate to be around them, though it only happens in a group on yearly occasions (if that).
There are so many inside jokes it's like another language. There are so many REALLY good stories, that I can't believe they are all ours. We have travelled all over the place to be together...which works because many of these gals live in cool cities. And in years past we have packed in the activities in our short weekends together.
But not this year.
This year, we met in Chicago, arrived at the hotel on Friday afternoon and left only for meals and an hour of shopping. ALL WEEKEND. We were always together, all the time, doing not much of anything...and it was bliss. Probably one of the best weekends we've ever had together.
I can't put my finger on it or explain it in any kind of way that makes sense...except that perhaps we lived together at a time (college) that was pretty scary and important for all of us. And we stuck together through it. And then we realized how much we really loved those years together when we graduated and struggled apart.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I am so aware that they look nothing alike. These girls just happen to be two peas from very different gene-pods.
This afternoon happened to be one that could have been spent on any one of a million tasks and chores and jobs. Only, last night, G noticed me painting my toenails and quickly requested a girl party with L.
How can I deny that kind of request?
So, girl party it was. Dress-ups first. Nail painting next (no good pics of this as I was not about to snap photos with open bottles of nail polish within reach of my very feisty L, who pretends not to hear half of the words coming out of my mouth).
From nails to hair. Real old-school hot rollers, thank you very much.
What kind of respectable girl party would it be without some sort of crown??? Poster board, permanent markers, glitter and...you guessed it...mod podge...and the princesses are ready to be crowned.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Is it safe? Probably not.
Is it cute? Not yet.
Is it fun? Fo' sho.
My plans include a nice platform/tree house at the top. Polka dots will be involved, I'd imagine. I believe Mike's plans include attaching some climbing wall hand holds and calling it a day. He has no vision for decorated tree forts. Boo.
This is, of course, what has become of the big dead tree in the back yard. We traded one large tacky thing for another large YELLOW tacky thing. Yes, we are the class-act of the neighborhood. However, friends (and you know who you are), I am including this picture below for your benefit, as many of you have previously catapulted from the "Swing o' Death" that used to hang from the big dead tree...notice the hard wood running strong (this is the actual limb the swing hung from)!
So, while small limbs would fall with the weight of styrofoam and enormous sections of bark would rain from the sky on a daily basis, rest assured the the tree was STRONG! And perfectly capable of holding the weight of 30-year-old men who went swinging from our deck, and in to our yard.
I won't name names.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Not in the strike-her-dead sense, of course, but in a wanting-to-obliterate-that-part-of-her-brain-that-told-her-it-was-okay-to-do-that, sort of way.
Let me explain.
Since it is summer, and today was cloudy, I motivated myself and took G and Little J (Big J and L are at camp) to Grant's Trail to ride their scooters. Important to note, I've never done this before.
Grant's Trail, for those not from the Lou, is a paved trail that used to be an old rail line. It starts two miles from our house, and sort of runs diagonally for 8 miles. It's great and flat, and except for the fact that it crosses several major roads in our part of town, it's so nice for the kids.
Or so I thought.
We scootered for about a half a mile, played on a small playground near the start of the trail, watched the cars on the highway, and then proceeded back. G has gotten pretty awesome on her Razor scooter, so she was zipping on ahead of me and little bits.
And after about 3 minutes, I couldn't see her. No biggie, she's cautious. She'll realize she doesn't see me and stop. At this point, I am fighting every part of my instinct that tells me she needs to be close. That I need to keep a tight grip on her.
I should have been keeping a tight grip on her.
After a few more minutes of no G sightings, I begin to think she's made it to the car and won the race against her much slower younger brother. Because at the age of six, EVERYTHING is a race and if you don't win, the rules can always be reconfigured in your favor to make you victorious by the power of opposites, or something like that. We approach the car and she is NOWHERE to be found. And I might add that the parking lot sits just off of one of the busy streets the trail crosses, as mentioned earlier.
But she's not bleeding in the middle of the road. And she is OBVIOUSLY not in the parking lot. I know, because I cannot see her, and I am screaming her full name.
And then I know what's happened. She's been kidnapped. Definitely abducted.
Because there is no way in H-E-L-L that she crossed the busy, four lane street. No, she didn't cross the street.
Honestly, the thought of child abduction seems more possible than my timid six-year-old crossing a road of constant traffic. Without me. I am so sure about this, that I debate calling 911.
In which case, I am pretty confident that the nice police officer will tell me to check the next section of the trail. I am nothing but logical under pressure. So, I hoist a 35-pound Little J on to my hip and dodge traffic across Sappington--but let's face it, I am moving a little bit slower than a six-year-old scooter whiz.
At which point I flag down a walker and a biker who confirm that yes-indeedy, a cute little blonde on a scooter did pass them. Several minutes ahead of where we are standing.
And here is yet another test--would the kindergartner heed my advice on strangers and not follow this kind, but totally unfamiliar woman?
No, she would not. Ten minutes later they reappeared as Mike was trying to verbally decrease my heart rate. At which point, I am glad she willingly followed the good-samaritan biker, but also began thinking I am slacking in my parental responsibility to make sure that my children are afraid of everything (SOOOOO obviously the reason we are in this predicament to begin with...not enough fear).
I'm kidding. I will only ruin my children and qualify them for life-long therapy unintentionally...not on purpose.
Was she terrified? Freaking out? Thinking her mother abandoned her on Grant's Trail? Temporarily insane thus causing her to forget/ignore every lesson on NOT CROSSING MAJOR ROADWAYS????
Um, no. Not even one iota of scared. More irritated that I interrupted her killer ride. Dude.
I could have killed her. Hugged her and cartwheeled and squeezed her...and killed her for that kind of drama.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Cryptic, I know. But you know us. We are just plain weird and freaky. And you just never know what we'll do with a...tree.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Pronounced Jock-the Croc, for those of you who don't speak frou-frou French animal mascot names.
He is the mascot of our church's summer Sunday school program.
And apparently he is an eater of young children. According to L, who screams and clings to our legs/arms/head/torso for dear life when ever she sees Jacques.
It definitely adds a Sesame Street-meets-Surviorman/Predator-type storyline to our church time. Especially considering that Jacques sits in the back of the service, presumably to scope out the tastiest and most holy of youngsters.
Her aversion to Jacques comes as no surprise. She is terrified--TERRIFIED--of any thing in a costume. I think this stems from two things: a nasty run-in with Fred Bird (the St. Louis Cardinal's mascot, for those of you not in-the-know) at our Church harvest party last October...whoa, L is really going to associate church with large, scary, child-eating animals...and her half blindness, which is not so helpful in regards to her ninja-like reflexes when trying to escape evil, French reptiles.
Well. She is technically blind on her right side. So I suppose that on the left she is all secret-agent-spy...on the right, she's a defenseless bunny.
Jacques even carries a bucket of candy, which my other kids cannot get enough of. Silly Jacques. That will win you no points with L, as she just learned to chew and swallow within the last year. We bribed her with candy for YEARS with no response.
Nice try, Croc. You'll have to be on your A game if you want to attract our little nugget.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Mixed it up. Put it in the freezer to set the candy coating that holds the lo mein noodles and corn flakes together.
And from there I gained 5 pounds. At least. I don't even know how, but I cannot stay away. Addiction. Our recipe book called them birds nest (and looked more like birds nests, versus messy pink trash piles), however, I think they are also known as haystacks? Which means these babies have been around for awhile if they are known by many different monikers...and so it's possible I am just catching on, in which case, I will tell you to look back at my blog. I'm a little slow.
In many areas.
Other projects today: creating a small gift for G's swimming coaches, who have personally taught this girl to tap her inner fish. Make-up bags embroidered with their first initials, plus a little personalized thank you from G herself. A round of applause, definitely, for these gals who wrangle a group of six-year-olds (some younger) in a pool and actually teach them a life long skill. I mostly survive at the pool and pray for no drownings.
That's all I got! Thank goodness it's the weekend...lots to do and play with and create!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
We lost our first tooth!!! I mean, how many milestones can a girl have in a week????
I can't let the day pass without also braggin' on her swimming and how far she has come in 6 months. When we started practice in February, I wasn't so sure she would even be able to dog paddle across the pool. And now! We are swimming the four strokes (freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly) AND diving in to start. Amazing!
***A side note: these pictures contain many shots of the Algonquin team suit for 2009. It's pattern is so bright and busy it may cause spots in your vision and possibly induce vomiting. My apologies.
Simmer down. No paramedics were called. That's just what happens when these skinny little ones swim--they practically sink to the bottom every time they go down to take another stroke. Who knew the near drowning of the young 'uns could be so cute AND entertaining to watch???
And last but not least, G did in fact complete the mile swim yesterday...that's 50 lengths of our club pool. Wow.
And I say that, because I would drown.
She was able to use a kickboard, which made all the difference in the world for her, but all things considered, she kicked (continuously) for an hour and four minutes. And never complained or stopped at any point.
Clearly, she surpasses my expectations ALL THE TIME! Especially this week, when her big-girlness is showing up in all kinds of neat and unexpected ways.
I love this girl.