Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How I (unwittingly) hired strippers for my daughter's 2nd birthday party.

Yeah, I wish I were kidding.

Have I mentioned that I love birthdays? I've been obsessed with over the top birthday parties since Kai was born. Her first birthday party had 60 people at it. It was kind of insane.

But, for her second birthday I decided to really go all out. Thomas' parents were coming into town (from Hawaii...see where this is going?) and I decided to throw an authentic luau to celebrate her birthday. I wanted to impress them with my commitment to celebrating their son's cultural heritage.

Thomas and I found some hula dancers online and booked them for our party. We were assured they studied under a woman who had been a part of a Hula Halau in Hawaii. They practiced authentic Hula. And, we never actually met them until the day of the party which, in retrospect, was a bad idea.

So, here I am, 75 friends, family, church people all hanging out at my mom's house when our exotic hula dancers come marching up the driveway. And, it's at that point that my sister looks at me and says, "I think your strippers just arrived."

Oh, friends, it was a fine moment indeed. They came complete with their "bouncer." I fully expected a "don't touch the girls" lecture for the kids to take place at any moment. I. could. have. died.

But, they were great with the kids and took pictures with everyone (though none of the moms seemed to want them to pose with their husbands). In fact, once they did their hula, posed for photo ops, and handed out leis (insert inappropriate joke here) I thought we were in the clear. Until, the one on the right exclaimed, "Hey, Ya'll got a bathroom here? I gotta piss."

If only I could have scrapbooked that...

For more pics from the past, head over to THAT family's site for this weeks Fro' Me To You!

For all Maternity...

I must admit that upon discovering I was pregnant with Arema Kai I went straight out to Mimi Maternity and spent WAY too much on maternity wear. I loaded up on t-shirts, tanks, jeans, dresses, suits, bras, maternity panties (which, can I just say, I have an unhealthy obsession with). I tried on the belly and longed for the day my belly would match that adorable stuffing filled baby pouch.

I could probably have purchased an Italian crib for what I spent that day in maternity clothes. And, of course, I went right home and started wearing them. At 6 weeks pregnant. It mattered not that I could barely hold them up. Or that I looked absolutely ridiculous. I was pregnant, doggone it, and I would dress the part.

With Ivy, I knew better. In fact, I wore regular non-maternity jeans up until the day she was born. I adapted my regular wardrobe to fit my growing belly and supplemented with just a few maternity pieces that I bought sparingly. I loved my belly and had fun dressing it. Pregnancy #2 I hit my stride.

Which brings us to baby #3. Sweet mercy, how I wanted to avoid wearing maternity clothes early on in this pregnancy. But, bloggy friends, this baby has other plans for my body. I am 8 weeks pregnant and already safety-pinning my jeans. I am stubbornly holding onto these pants. I'm wearing yoga pants and flowing tops and refusing to transition too quickly into the dreaded maternity wear.

In an effort to put it off I did make myself a couple DIY Bella Bands to help my pants stay up. Basically, I just cut a couple of slightly too small stretchy tank tops off at the chest and ta-da! A homemade Bella Band in any color I want thus allowing me to avoid maternity pants and shirts for a while longer.

But, it will happen. Oh, it is inevitable and I know that. But, I will not go into that dark night of maternity wear without a fight. No, I will rage, rage against the dying of the...ah, to heck with it. I think I'm gonna go to Target and buy some stinkin' maternity clothes already.

Kai-versations vs. Ivylish: Their first religious debate

Kai: "Can you turn on the Jesus song please?"

Ivy: "Jejus! Jejus!"

Kai: "No, Ivy, it JeSus."

Ivy: "Jejus!"

Kai: "JeeeeSSSSuuuussss!"

Ivy: "Jeeejjjjuuuusss!"

Kai: "Mom, Ivy's messing up Jesus' name!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday

My husband is a prince among men. I may have said this before, but, people, it's true.

I could give you a list a mile long of reasons he is such a good husband. It would be filled with things like, "never comments on how messy the house is" and "dresses like a princess when our girls beg pretty please" but there are other reasons I'm blessed to have him as my partner in crime.

See, Thomas puts up with my ridiculously horrible cooking abilities. He even eats the food I make without letting on about how disgusting it is.

Case in point: I once made Thomas Thousand-Island Chicken. Have you ever heard of it? No? Want to know why? Because it something only a 6 month pregnant woman with no kitchen instincts would make thinking it sounded good.

When I was pregnant with Ivy I decided to make Thomas a special dinner. A dinner made of chicken, rice, and - yep, you guessed it!- Thousand-Island dressing. It was disgusting. I mean, as disgusting as it sounds and then 10 times more disgusting.

But, you know what my husband did? He ate it. And pretended to enjoy it. When I couldn't stomach a bite of it, he ate it. When I let him off the hook and told him we could go out for dinner, he ate it. Even when I told my mom about it and she went on and on about what a gross concoction is was, he never admitted that it was horrible. He's a good man that way.

There you have my Total Truth, Folks.

I am a horrible cook with the worst kitchen instincts ever. It's kind of shocking considering I am the grand-daughter of a baker and the daughter of a woman who can throw together a gourmet meal in minutes. But, I just cannot cook.

I can bake, sure, but since my kids need to eat more than apple pies and cookies for dinner it doesn't help too much. Still, I'm lucky to be blessed with a man who knows his way around the kitchen and is even willing to plan recipes for me to make during the week. I guess that's why we make such a good pair...

Kai-versations: thanks.

Kai: "Hey Mom, when we get to the bus stop can you come back here and smell my arm pits? I need to know if they smell good or stinky."

Gee. I didn't realize I'd signed up for that duty when I became a mom...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Retro Housewife Challenge: Day 13

Since I know everyone is dying to know how my resolution to be domestic is coming (note: that's sarcasm, folks!) I thought I'd share a little about my progress.

For starters, it did get better after that first day. I think I've started to adopt a healthier attitude about my housewifely duties. I mean, sure, I don't love cleaning the toilets. But, I am still finding my mood about such things has improved. Especially since I get to see such a happy and relieved look on my husband's face when he comes home to a less disastrous domicile.

But, there are a good many things I still need to work on. The whole waking up before the rest of the household and making breakfast resolution lasted exactly one week. And then I quit. For now, I'm blaming it on First Trimester sickness/fatigue. I mean, anyone who has ever been pregnant knows there is nothing worse than touching/smelling/seeing eggs first thing in the morning. Not to mention, that this pregnancy's defining symptom has been an absolutely incapacitating exhaustion rivaled only by my bout with mono 5 years ago.

That does not make for easy mornings in the kitchen. Actually, it doesn't make for easy cleaning afternoons either. But, I am determined to prevail!

So, here's my list of things I have accomplished as a retro housewife:

Completely cleaning and reorganizing my bedroom and closet
Organizing and storing all non-summer season clothes
Cooking meals (almost) every week night
Keeping kitchen and family room clean and organized and chaos-free
Planned a homeschool calendar for all of 2008-2009
Washing my hair/getting dressed in real clothes (people this really is an accomplishment so try not to judge me, 'kay?)

Here's my list of things I need to work on:

Healthy and nutritional breakfasts for my family
Keeping laundry caught up
Not wasting time during the day
Vacuuming in high heels ('cause I did say I was going to try)
Organizing the sewing/craft area and the dining room
Organizing the laundry room and purging unneeded clothes

I'm sure Thomas could come up with 100 other things I need to work on, but he won't and that is a big part of why I love him! So, there you have it. The Retro Housewife Challenge is alive and well and improving the quality of life in the Land of Lovings!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow!

Friday marked a big day in our family. It was the day of Kai's first haircut.

Well, not her first cut. She had a trim once when she managed to get a rubber band completely tangled in her hair a couple years ago. But, this? This was a real big girl haircut.

Let me first say, Kai has some difficult hair. It is coarse and dry and hard to manage. It is curly beyond belief. But, oh how she loves having "falling down"(long) hair and refused to have it cut. Here's her before pic. Notice the 80s hair band look and the necklaces, bracelets and ring? She's "dressed up" for her big girl trip to the salon!

After a particularly horrible hair brushing experience (in which she became hysterical and nearly threw-up over having the excruciating torture of having her hair brushed) I decided it was time to cut it short. So, we found a local kid's hair salon and headed over for some pampering treatment. The hairdresser was a wonderful woman who knew just what to do with japanesecaucasianpuertoricanblack hair. She conditioned it, cut it, and topped the experience off with some stick-on earrings and fairy dust.

Of course, it cost $22 which seemed like a great price until I realized I don't even pay that for my own hair anymore since I haven't had a real cut in who knows when. But, nonetheless, I thought it was well worth the money to have a good cut and a very happy little girl!

Still, it got me wondering, what do you do about haircuts? And, how much would you pay for a kid's cut?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When did it happen?

Tonight this baby ran into my room trying to escape a "horrible dream." She climbed clumsily into my lap and clung to my neck. She whimpered in a sleepy voice and begged me not to make her go back to her bed.

And while I comforted her back to sleep I realized, this baby who used to sleep snuggled along my side, who used to fit so perfectly in my arms as I sang to her, and who would cuddle-cuddle on my lap until she finally drifted away into an unbreakable sleep, this baby who did all of those wonderful things was no longer a baby.

Her lanky four-year-old legs now stretched too far to snuggle comfortably into my lap. Her head rested to high to fit beneath my chin. Her body, having grown so tall this summer, now rested a bit too heavily on my lap for rocking. This baby of mine is no longer a baby.

And, though I knew how big she was getting and how much she was changing, it still saddened me to realize that some day soon she will not fit on my lap. And I just can't, for the life of me, figure out when this happened? How do these moments slip by so quickly?

For most pics from the past, check out THAT Family's Fro' Me To You Carnival!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday

Yep, you guessed it. We've got a bun in the oven!

After two whole weeks of trying (seriously? how fertile can I be?) we managed to get me all knocked up!

So, next March we'll be adding kiddo #3 to the Loving family. Which is crazy and fun and terrifying and completely awesome!

But, like everything in our life, it is a bit complicated. After an agonizingly horrible delivery experience with our Kai (which is another story for another day) I have no choice but to have C-section deliveries. I know some of you won't believe me, but, trust me, I have absolutely no choice. This is not an issue of vanity and convenience.

Sooo, we had a switch of insurance after Ivy's birth and got glorious and wonderful group health through Thomas' job. But, that job was short lived (it was a tech company that completely closed it's doors 3 months after hiring him) and we had to go back to independent insurance. Which means, guess what? No maternity coverage whatsoever after having had a C-section. Apparently, needing insurance is one big huge disqualifying factor for insurance companies. God forbid you actually need their services.

And, if your still reading after this long boring story, that translates to absolutely no maternity insurance for us with a $15,000 (or more) C-section on the horizon. But, at the risk of sounding completely naive, I am going to trust that it will work itself out. 'Cause I know God is in control of these situations and this is a really minor challenge compared to others we could be faced with.

Still, for those of you curious how the whole no-insurance thing will work I'll be blogging the experience. Look out for some crazy highs and even crazier lows. And, if any of you have any tips or have been through this before I'd love to hear your stories!

So, there you go. My Total Truth Tuesday. Loving baby #3 is on it's way and we couldn't be more thrilled!

I feel compelled to clarify that we do have insurance (lest you think my children uninsured) just no maternity insurance...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Look what we've got!

Works for Me Wednesday - Fresh Produce for Cheap

I have fallen completely in love with local fresh produce. I am addicted to it. Between our backyard garden and my newest obsession, the local Farmer's Market, I am getting completely spoiled on fresh local veggies.

And, people, let me tell you it is easier than you can imagine to grow your own. We planted our summer garden in the spring and it included carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, radishes, and onions. Now, of those 6 things we only had success with the zucchini, tomatoes, and green beans, but the success we had was huge. My theory is that we had a few very hungry bunnies and chipmunks raid the garden before those other plants got the chance to grow.

Still, the veggies we had were nothing short of AMAZING. They were totally organic and delicious. I have never had better green beans than the ones I cooked up after picking them in our garden that day.

We're already planting our cool weather garden and are looking forward to a good crop of lettuce, broccoli, squash, peas, green beans, carrots, onions and pumpkins (for Halloween, of course!)

Growing your own produce is easy and cheap. It takes up very little room in our backyard and, I'm telling you, if we can do it anyone can do it. Because my black thumb is legendary and we've still managed to get some great food from our garden.

But, we can't grow everything and for the rest of the produce we use we are finding amazing stuff at the local farmer's market. Every Saturday dozens of pick-ups pull into the town square and sell their best produce. Their veggies and fruit are fresh, delicious and so much cheaper than supermarket produce. We have scored some amazing food going there.

Check out this Cabbage:

It was $2 at the Farmer's Market. In fact, we got this Cabbage, a large container of potatoes, three huge organic squash, three big organic onions all for $8. Plus, the best part, was we were supporting local farmers which just makes us feel good. We've purchased everything from baked breads and rolls to local honey at our Farmer's Market and we're continually surprised by the quality and variety we see.

You can check out your local paper and agricultural bulletin to see where and when your own local Farmer's Market meets.

So, that's what is working for me this week. Local grown produce. Whether grown in our backyard or from local farms, there is nothing like the taste of local, organic fresh picked fruits and veggies. Check it out!

For more WFMW head over to Shannon's Dryer and see what other mom's are doing!

Total Truth Tuesday will be a bit delayed...

I have a great Total Truth Tuesday, but I'm going to have to wait and post it Wednesday 'cause, well, just because. Oh, I know why. Because I said so. That's why.

Anyways, in the meantime, I thought I'd share some truth that came straight from the lips of my oldest kiddo. Kai, who cannot tell a lie - at least not when talking about her mother - gave me some brutal honesty the other day. And, it went a little something like this:

Kai: "So, did God give you alot of 'love you's' in your heart for me?"

Me: "Yep. He gave me a big HUGE bucket of 'I Love You's' to keep in my heart just for you."

Kai, thinking: "Soooo, is that why you have such a big belly and big butt?"

Me, trying not to laugh hysterically: "Um, well, that's not a very nice thing to say to Mommy."

Kai: "I'm not saying your fat or anything. I mean, just because you have a big fat belly and a big fat butt doesn't mean I think you're like a big fat giant or something. You know, you are what you are. I mean, your body just looks that way. And, you know, Mom, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit, right?"


Monday, July 21, 2008

Wii will, Wii will...Rock you!

Last week we got an awesome treat. We had a good week selling things on Craigslist (remember what I said here?) and earned ourselves a much anticipated reward. So, I waited in line at Walmart until they got their Wii shipment out and on the floor and snatched up one of the few Wii's they actually had. Man, those things go fast! They were sold out by the time I left the store 30 minutes later.

And since then, we have Wii-ed our hearts out. I must say, I'm not much of a video game kind of girl, but this thing? Oh my, is it addictive.

And I'm not the only one who thinks so. My girls have decided they need to form their own preschool rock band. Ivy is generally on the drums ("I play drums, now!") and Kai is in charge of vocals. Despite the fact that their "band" pretty much always gets kicked off the game for failing to hit any of the notes or keep any semblance of rhythm, they scream excitedly every time that they are WINNING!!!

I thought I'd share some pics of our future pop superstars...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Come on in and have yourself some pie...

So, here I am. Not at BlogHer. Not at cool parties. Not hobnobbing with Blogosphere A-listers. In fact, I'm actually just kinda chillin' on the sofa with my hubby eating some delicious Buttermilk Pie (see below) and totally breaking our new "no eating after 9pm rule" because it's Friday and, darn it, if you can't fall of the diet wagon on Friday night then when else can you?

And, I'm trying to think the best way to introduce myself to all of you joining our regularly scheduled blogging via the Blog Hop.

So, who am I? Well, I'm kind of a cross between Lucille Ball, Bridgette Jones, and Mother Theresa. Okay, except for that last part. I meant, Mother Goose. 'Cause she wrote about a woman who lived in a shoe with a ton of kids and I write about life with two wild kids and sometimes parts of my house smell like a shoe.

Anyways, want to know more about me? I'm wife and a mommy to two crazy girls, a Bad Femininst who says ridiculous things to my children on a regular basis, and a mini hobby farmer in a completely suburban setting. I don't always fit in and I am generally okay with that.

So, there you have it. The Cliffs' Notes version of me.

And, now for some party food. I just so happened to have baked my favorite pie in all the world tonight and so I thought I'd share it with the rest of the world. Ladies, prepare yourself for your new favorite dessert.

The Buttermilk Pie

Oven: 350 for 45-50 minutes.
Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 rounded Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash Nutmeg
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Cream together sugar and butter. Add flour and eggs; beat well. Add buttermilk and flavorings. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell.
Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.

Recipe from A Taste of Georgia cookbook.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my little blog. Be sure and head back to the Blog Hop to check out all the cool bloggers who aren't hanging out at BlogHer this year!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kai-versations: Sneaky, sneaky...

There is huge drama brewing in our house. The issues surrounding an important event in the fall is causing quite a stir. The debates are heated. The intensity is palpable. And, the family is split down two opposing sides.

What is this key issue causing such a divide?

No, it's not the future of health care in our country. It's not the war in Iraq. It's Halloween. And, the family is divided as follows:

Those who think Ivy should be allowed to dress up as a mermaid like Kai [3].
Those who think Ivy should NOT be allowed to dress up as a mermaid like Kai [1]

Kai has determined that Ivy should NOT be a mermaid even though all Ivy talks about is dressing up like a mermaid for Halloween. She wants to be just like her big sister. But, her big sister is having none of it.

So, Kai came up with a sneaky solution the other day. Sometimes she scares me just a little bit.

Kai: "I have an idea that will make everyone happy, Mom."

Me: "Good Kai! What is is?"

Kai: "Let's trick Ivy. We'll tell her that she is dressing up like a mermaid, but really she'll be wearing a flower costume. Isn't that perfect?"

I've got to convince her to use her powers for good and not evil...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Do you suppose...

that the writers of Shrek 2 could have suspected that by putting a scene in which Fairy Godmother goes through book after book looking for fairy tales with Ogres in that it would translate into two children enthusiastically pulling every single book off their shelves and saying, "No Ogres!" to each one and dumping them unceremoniously onto the floor during naptime?

No? Me either.

Ugly can be your friend...

Or, How I got an upgrade to Business Class on an international British Airways flight.

If I'm being honest, I have to say I don't take great pictures. I'm not saying I'm Heidi Klum in person, but I must say I do look better in real life. I just missed out on the photogenic genes that seem so dominant in my family.

And, for the most part, the only effect it has had on my life was to make my pile of embarrassing pictures thicker than my Encyclopedia of Biblical Symbolism in English Literature. Which, just in case you don't have one of those lying around your desk, is really, really thick.

But, there is one moment in my life where I was thankful beyond measure that I was the proud owner of a fairly hideous passport photo.

One summer in college I studied abroad at Cambridge. One of the single most influential experiences of my academic (and personal) life. It was hard and frustrating and challenging and wonderful.

My mom and sister, Tara, met me in London for the tail end of my trip and after traveling around we were planning to fly home together. And, since we're neither multimillionaires or the owners of extensive expense accounts we were flying coach.

We checked in at the gate and, though this is usually where my tales of bad luck begin, this day was different. The girl behind the counter approached us in a routine manner and asked for passports. Mine was first. And, it looked like this:

And after I handed it to her, she did the most unexpected thing. She began to giggle hysterically. Really, really loud. But it then moved on to full belly laughs. I mean, it's not a great picture, but belly laughs? Really?

She looked at me and then at the picture and then announced rather proudly that anyone with a picture that turned out that horrible deserved to have an upgrade. And she upgraded my mother, sister and I to business class.

There are not enough italics to express how important that was because when anticipating an international flight in a space the size of a steamer trunk with sweaty people and snoring old men, an upgrade to business class might as well have been an upgrade to heaven.

Have you ever been in business class? Angels sing there. And they have movies. And chairs that recline all the way. And flight attendants who don't hate you. It is glorious. And if getting a free ticket into that world of luxurious bliss means I have to be the owner of a particularly horrible passport photo then I am happy to oblige.

But, I'm wondering, do you think there is anywhere in Expedia to use that as a coupon code?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday - Sock it to ya...

I hope you know that I only share these things 'cause I have faith that you'll be my friends no matter what. I mean, you will, right?

At any rate, this is my Total Truth. Remember my first ever Total Truth where I told you I had a sock problem? Well, I discovered today that, oh, sweet mercy, it goes WAY beyond what I ever thought.

What you are looking at is my widow sock pile. My WIDOW socks. That means as big as this pile is, I have lost that many socks somewhere in my house.

I generally just collect these socks in a designated Widow Sock basket and don't pay much attention to them. But, today, I looked at the basket. And, then it occurred to me that the sock basket was 2 feet tall and that I couldn't stuff one more sock in it. And I was completely astounded.

Can't someone please tell me where these socks are going? Is there some cosmic wasteland of socks somewhere? Are they hiding in a corner of my house mobilizing for a sock revolution? Perhaps there is an underground railroad of socks where mine are slipping away to freedom?

Whatever the case, I think these widows are destined for a life of sock puppetry and mismatched leg warmers. See, what my mother calls pitiful home management on my part, I see as a laundry basket of possibility. Guess I'm a glass half full kind of girl after all.

Retro Housewife Challenge: Day One

Let me be perfectly honest about this experience. I. hated. every. minute.

Okay, so there you have it. I am a horrible domestic goddess. Horrible.

Here's what I did my first Retro Housewife Day:

1. Woke up at 6 AM to cook my husband breakfast. And resented the fact that I could hear him snore while I was scrambling his eggs (with cheese, of course, per his request).

2. Started the monumental task of cleaning, organizing, and rearranging my bedroom.

3. Laundry, laundry, and more laundry.

4. Deep cleaned the kitchen and scrubbed the kitchen floor Cinderella-style.

5. Did 3 loads of dishes. Three! People, what is that about? I mean, there are only 4 of us living here.

6. Had a nutritious meal completed in time to get Thomas at the bus station.

7. Took a nap. Darn it! I know. But, 6 am came SO early. What was I supposed to do?

It's going to get better, right? In 30 days I'm going to love this. Surely.

Tomorrow I will be working more on cultivating the selfless attitude and drinking martinis while vacuuming in my high heels. Hmmm...considering my tendency to break ankles maybe I'll just stick to the domestic tasks and leave the martinis for later.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Putting my big girl panties on.

Okay, this is a confession and a challenge to myself. I'm hoping saying this out loud (or, you know, posting it out loud) will force me to rectify it.

Here goes:

I am a lazy SAHM.

First, let me say that I believe being a SAHM is a very big job. It is a hard job. And I admire the heck out of SAHMs who manage to really run their home like a business.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those. This is not a declaration made proudly. I am ashamed at how lax I've become in my household duties.

My laundry room is a mess. My bedroom is, in a word, pitiful. There is much left undone at the end of the day. I take naps. I watch TV while my kids are napping. (I know, I know, it's horrible.)

So, there I've said it. I am a bad housekeeper and a lazy SAHM. But, friendly bloggers, I am going to turn over a new leaf.

See, I've had this crazy obsession with the 1960s lately and I am in awe of the amazingness of the housewives of that era. I am longing for the desire to work as hard as they did. And I'm challenging myself to do this in my house.

I'm making myself a retro housewife challenge. And here's my plan.

For 30 days I am vowing to do be a true housewife which includes (but is not limited to) the following:

Wake-up before everyone in the house and fix breakfast
Keep the housework completely caught up every day and make the home a haven for my family
Cook homemade meals every week night
Cultivate more of an attitude of selflessness
Treat my days like a job with goals, expectations, and deadlines
Vacuum at least once in high heels ('cause I'm obsessed with those housewives in shirtwaist dresses and heels!)

And, do all of the above dressed for the real world with hair done and a full face of make-up on.

You know, basically be the complete opposite of my every day self. 30 days of retro housewife goodness. I'm starting this challenge tomorrow and, to be honest, I'm pretty scared of what lies ahead. Trying to pull this off may just be the end of me.

I know most of you reading are probably thinking, "uh, yeah, that's not a retro housewife. It's just being a grown-up." And, you know, you're probably right. But the Retro Housewife Challenge is SO much sexier sounding than the Jenna-is-finally-putting-on-her-big-girl-panties challenge, don't you think?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ivylish: Mastering the art of the knock-knock joke

Oh, how my girls love them some knock-knock jokes. But, they just don't get them. You know?

Ivy sure is trying, though, as evidenced by her latest attempt.

Ivy: Knock-knock.

Me: Who's there?

Ivy: Owl.

Me: Owl, who?

Ivy: Who, who!

She was trying to repeat one she'd heard me tell her sister and just got mixed up. But, what she lacked in understanding she made up for in her enthusiasm! She was positively delighted at telling her very first joke!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Things I've had to say...

Do NOT suck on your hair.
Quit smelling each other's feet.
No, you cannot wear Daddy's deodorant.
Telling people Mommy has a baby in her belly IS a lie.
Licking your hands does not make them clean.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It ain't easy being a tooth fairy...

July 4th marked another independence in our family. The liberation of Kai's first tooth. I know, she's too young, right? I thought so, too. I mean, by all accounts I should have at least a year, maybe two, before she starts losing teeth.

But, as usual, she does things her way and she went ahead and lost her first tooth. And, in what is a shining example of how things work in our family, she lost it in her 4th of July cook-out dinner. And swallowed it.

So, when it came time to do the whole Tooth Fairy bit we wrote a little note explaining what happened and I told Kai the Tooth Fairy would totally understand. We put the note under her pillow and off to sleep she went.

And, then I had a Strongbow and watched a movie. And I got sleepy. And I went to bed. Without remembering to do my Tooth Fairy duties.

The next morning a tearful and distraught Kai woke me up crying emphatically, "Wake-up Mom!! The Tooth Fairy forgot me. She forgot! I just don't understand!"

And then it hit me. I am the worst Tooth Fairy ever!

I told her that I was sure the Tooth Fairy came and maybe she just missed it. While she was distracted by telling her Dad the insult the TF gave her, I made a quick little note from the TF and slipped it in the pillowcase with $5. When we went back to her room I made her search everywhere. Then I told her that maybe since the tooth was in Kai's tummy the TF put the money inside something, too. She looked in the pillowcase and Ta-da! Redemption.

I had to explain that the TF doesn't always give $5 for a tooth only the first tooth (or when she forgets to get some singles and only has a $5 bill in the house) but she was quite happy about the whole thing. As luck would have it, the 5th was the huge Library book sale near our house so she was able to go get about 15 books for her $5.

She's already got another one on it's way out and I'm gonna have to step up to the plate this time and do it right. Otherwise, this is going to be one lavish (and guilt-ridden) Tooth Fairy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dude looks like a lady. Well, sort of.

For the record, this is what a good dad looks like.

But, Thomas goes WAY beyond a good dad. And here, my friends, is why.

When his daughters, who are obsessed with make-up and princesses, asked him pretty, pretty please with sugar and sprinkles on top if they could put mommy's Mary Kay make-up on him this weekend he reluctantly said...yes.

Well, that's not entirely accurate. First he said no way. Then, no thank you. And, later, well, maybe. But finally, he went into the bathroom and shaved all but his little lip goatee thingy and said, have at it. And the girls were giddy beyond belief.

So, we broke out the make-up samples and I let the girls turn their daddy into a fairytale princess. And, of course, made sure I captured the journey of transformation on film.

And this is where it gets good. 'Cause if the first the picture is what a good dad looks like, then these pictures are of a super great amazing dad.

Not only did he let the girls put make-up on him, he sweetly agreed to let Ivy put the wigs on him when she came out yelling, "Daddy needs hair! Daddy needs hair!" And, not only that, but he let me take pictures of it. And, blog it.

So, without further ado, I present to you he who was crowned "Princess Daddy" by my girls. The best daddy in the whole wide world. (And a man who, for the record, will never be able to run for political office. At least, not outside of San Francisco.)

Working it! Love the 'fro and the flower crown!

Rocking the old school, Cyndi Lauper style.

My THREE girls!

For more funny pics, check out That Family's site for this week's Fro' Me To You Carnival!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Easy Vegetarian

We are not vegetarians in my family. Not by a long shot. We loooove ourselves some red meat. And we eat it way too often.

But, the fattyness of red meat has a tendency to add a bit of, um, much undesired fattyness to my swim suit areas. So, in an attempt to get healthy and cut cholesterol we've been trying to cut out some red meat from our daily diets. It's hard, though, 'cause A LOT of the easy family meals seem to call for a pound of ground beef.

So, in an effort to replace the meat without making cooking too difficult I found an awesome substitute: Veggie crumbles. They're located in the frozen vegetarian section of your grocery and they are an absolute lifesaver.

Basically, they are "fake" meat. Which seems wrong and unnatural, but I promise they are quite delicious.

They look like ground beef. They taste like ground beef. But, they lack the fat and cholesterol of ground beef. They're actually even easier to use because they only have to be warmed up in the pan and take less time than cooking raw meat.

The brands we've used are Boca Burger and MorningStar. They come in package that is the equivalent of 1 or 1.5 pounds ground beef (depending on the brand) and generally cost a little less than $3. It is the perfect way to cut the fat content of a meal and still keep the tastiness that comes from using red meat. Check it out for yourself and (for extra fun) don't tell your family before you do. I promise, they'll never know the difference!

Well, that's what is working for me this Wednesday. Head over to Shannon's Dryer to see what's working for all the cool bloggy moms!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The One Car Wonder: Day 21

So, the one car thing has been going really well for us. We've managed to get everywhere we need to get without suffering any major inconveniences.

In fact, (don't say a word, Ryan T.) I actually mentioned to our Bible study that I didn't even really notice that we only had one car. Being the kind souls who keep me accountable, they mentioned that perhaps Thomas was the one busy noticing that we had one car since he was the one taking MARTA. Fine. I stand corrected. Yes, it has been noticed but I promise not in a bad way.

We've noticed a dramatic decrease in gas charges on our bank statement. We've noticed that we managed to pay off an outstanding credit card balance with our proceeds from the sale of the Xterra. We've noticed we've become more efficient. We've noticed that if I am going to be the one driving our only car on a regular basis then we are going to have to get AAA. Why, you ask?

Take a look:
This is what happens when I attempt to back down my driveway while "multitasking." And by multitasking, I mean, dialing my phone, breaking up a fight over whether frosties or chocolate milk are superior, finding Avril Lavigne on the iPod, and, oh yeah, looking out the rearview mirror.

Yes, I am the person who managed to rip a 3 inch tear in her tire's sidewall in HER OWN DRIVEWAY. It was my sequel to last month's flat tire wherein I backed over three 5" screws that had been left somewhere in the driveway. And, everyone knows that sequels have to outdo the first installment.

But, AAA saved the day (thanks, Michael!) and luckily I was still able to pick Thomas up at MARTA on time. Lesson learned today: always have a back-up when relying on one car 'cause you never know when being supermom will leave you stranded.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What I meant to say...

Why is it that every time I go someplace with real live grown-ups around I always manage to embarrass myself? Why is it I am never half as eloquent in person as I am when I'm writing something?

I hate those moments when you're in the middle of speaking and you realize that your mouth is a traitor to your mind. You think to yourself,

who is this speaking? Is this me? Is this really what I'm saying right now? STOP talking! No really, just stop. You did not just say that did you? Holy cow, please just walk away people. I can't stop talking so run for your lives. Seriously, could someone just throw something at me to make me stop. A rotten tomato? A pitchfork? That lovely strappy sandal you're wearing? 'Cause, for the love of all that is good and holy, I need to SSSTTTOOOPPPP talking!

See, today, when you asked me about whether we were thinking about homeschooling, what I said was:

"Um, yeah, well we're thinking about it 'cause, you know, we don't like rules and stuff. And, you know, um, well, we like doing things differently. 'Cause, um, well, you know, we're just different. Like, you know?"

Or something to that effect. But what I meant to say was,

"We are planning to give it a try this year and see how it works out for us. We have a tendency to favor non-traditional learning and I think this is going to be an exciting trial for us. We love the idea of showing our kids the world and teaching them math, science, history, and literature through a variety of methods and mediums. So, we're going to see how Kindergarten goes and figure it out. Plus, we are looking forward to the freedom that comes with being able to take the kids places and see the world as we are educating them."

I guess I tend to get intimidated by real grown-up moms and dads since I still don't feel a part of that club. But, the good thing is, blogging what I meant to say almost makes me feel better about screwing it up the first time. And now I get to quit replaying it over and over and over in my head.

So, to the mom I talked to today, in the off chance that you are reading this, sorry you had to endure my middle school style answer to an important question regarding the education of my child. And thanks for not looking at me like I'd just sprouted a foreign appendage in the middle of my forehead as I suffered the symptoms of what I am fearing is a chromic case of logorrhea.

Bloggy friends, do tell, is there anything you meant to say recently?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, America!

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. ~Erma Bombeck

We've been celebrating our nation's independence by eating hot dogs and macaroni salad, playing in the backyard, and talking to our girls about what freedom means. Kai and I made America a birthday cake (above) and I let her decorate it like a flag as we talked about why today is an important day.

She will probably only remember that she got to put strawberries and blueberries all over the cake, but hopefully someday she'll recall why freedom is so important to us and what so many men and women have sacrificed so we can have it.

How did you celebrate America's Independence Day?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kai-versations: Telling on Yourself

The other day during "free playtime" (a.k.a. mommy's blogging time) I heard Ivy suddenly start crying. I went into the playroom to find her sitting on the floor crying what I know to be the my-big-sister-just-done-me-wrong cry. Which explained why Kai was sitting so perfectly calm in the chair beside her.

Me: "What's wrong, Ivy? What happened?"

Ivy: "Kai-Kai did it. Kai spank me."

Me, looking disapprovingly at Kai: "Kai spanked you?"

Kai, indignant: "NO, I did NOT spank her! I pushed her out of the chair and on the floor!"

I wonder, did she think I would think that was so much better?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This is what it's like...

when kids have unlimited access to markers and a mom who really should pay more attention to what they're up to. Is it better or worse if I say all these pictures were taken months apart? Worse, I say. Much, much worse.

Have I mentioned, by the way, that the second picture was the product of a black SHARPIE marker? Yeah. That one lasted for days.

You'd think by now I'd have learned my lesson, right? Then again, they do make for some fun photo ops!

For more fun pics from the past, check out Fro' Me To You over at That Family's site.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - 5 Ingredients or Less

This week's Works for Me Wednesday is the 5 ingredients or less edition. If you know me (or have read my hundred things) you'll know that I really hate cooking. Thankfully I'm married to a man who loves to cook and that means I don't really have to cook that often. But, on the nights I do have to cook you can bet it is going to be simple and easy. And I'll probably end up making this recipe because it is simple, easy and cheap.

I actually got this recipe out of the back of a Real Simple magazine ages ago and it has served me well. It is a really great recipe and no one will ever be able to tell that you faked it!

EasyPeasy Shepherd's Pie

1lb. ground beef (or I use Boca vegetarian meat crumbles)
frozen or canned peas, carrots, and/or corn
frozen or refrigerated mashed potatoes
1/3 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Brown beef in skillet. Add veggies, ketchup & Worcestershire sauce. Prepare mashed potatoes as directed on package. Add meat & veggie mixture to casserole dish. Add potatoes on top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese if desired. Bake for 15 minutes at 250.

For more 5 ingredient or less recipes, head over to Shannon's Dryer for Works for Me Wednesday!

Total Truth Tuesday

Here's my Total Truth for this week:

Believe it or not, I used to be smart. Really smart. I used to write 150 page papers on the Depiction of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the works of John Milton and William Blake. I took my entire Freshman year of college while attending my senior year of High School and never got anything below an A-. In fact, in my entire college career I only got one B. That was in Bowling. Which is embarrassing for so many reasons.

But, lest you think me braggadocios (can you tell I pulled that one out of my pre-baby brain archives?), let me make my point clear. I was book smart and a good studier and I had it all together. Once upon a time. But that was a veeeerrrrryyy long time ago.

I am thoroughly convinced I passed a significant portion of my brain to my oldest child. I think she absorbed what ever "smarts" I had. Because now, I'm not entirely convinced I even have a brain some days.

Now, I'm lucky to remember my kids' names on a regular basis. I have been known to completely forget about laundry sitting in the washer for so long that it has spoiled and I have had to wash it twice. Maybe even three times. I can't spell embarassing embarrassing on the first try no matter how many times I use it. I am incapable of winning a game of checkers (let alone Chess). And, in fact, while writing this post I managed to lock myself out of the house in the backyard while wearing my swimsuit. At least the wireless carried out here.

I used to be smart and now I'm just...not. I'm kind of like a ditzy version of Lucille Ball. Which is a really scary statement to make. But, want another truth? I'm thinking I might actually like it that way. 'Cause now I have a well-developed sense of humor about myself. Something that I think is even more valuable to me at this point than a well-developed brain...