I just don't think I'm going to be blogging much until I finish reading Angela's Ashes.
(Partly because it is just so utterly wretched that I feel compelled to blast through it as fast as possible).
So, maybe I'll see you tomorrow night. Tomorrow is leftovers day, so all my "cooking time" can go into the "reading time" column instead.
This afternoon, as my head was absolutely spinning with endless research on every subject under the sun - from hotel reservations, to TiVo vs. Apple TV vs. cable, to the best way to grill corn on the cob - I said aloud to David:
How did we ever find out all this crap before the internet?
Then again, before the internet, we didn't think we needed to know all this crap in the first place.
Even this little knowledge-hungry redhead is pretty burned out on information overload today. Too much of a good thing is still TOO MUCH.
If you were to ask me what Devlin wants for his birthday next month, I could give you a few ideas.
Anything to do with Harry Potter.
And duct tape. Colored duct tape.
Because this is my child who has always, always loved trash, and building things out of trash. I have to recycle empty boxes and cans immediately, otherwise they are spirited off to Devlin's Happy Home for Cast-off Containers and upcycled into fabulous new contraptions.
Tonight, he is wearing his new camo jammies, and they apparently inspired new heights of creativity. He decided he needed a helmet to go with his camouflage:
And he needed to go outside, so the camo pattern could be done justice. Army crawling, I think:
But then even that wasn't quite enough, so he got the full DIY Rambo look going on:
He is in bed now, and I think we convinced him to remove probably 75% of his accessories. He has taken to sleeping with his "satchel" on, and I just go in after he's asleep and pull it off his shoulder so it doesn't strangle him in the night.
Obviously, allowing him to paint his toenails has not quite managed to "make him gay" yet.
Just a couple of little zingers from Eve today:
Upon arriving home from school, she was coloring busily when: "Woops! I better not waste my time peeing in my pants!" and she scampered off the rectify the situation. I've never heard it phrased in exactly that way, but I'm just glad she caught it in time!
And after homework time, when I reminded her (AGAIN) to put her homework in her folder, folder in her backpack, and backpack on her hook: "Mom, you see everything. You have great big eyes and you are smart."
So, my secret is out, folks. Great, big, smart eyes. I see all. That is how I keep my minions in line!
Around 4 this afternoon, I was wondering out loud how I was going to survive until bedtime.
Iris now has no one but me to absorb her considerable verbal output, and so it feels like she talks all.day.long. I must verify every birdie sighting, confirm the correct technique of every pirouette, and certify 4,732 daily wardrobe changes.
She didn't nap. That's never a good thing.
Devlin and Eve come home from school every day and leave their warm, festering lunch remains in their backpacks, which they drop on the ground in a trail that also includes their sweaty, sandy clothes. All their clothes.
(Except their shoes. Those usually go on the kitchen counter. No, I don't understand it either).
Once they cool down a little bit - which I agree they are fully entitled to do - they wander back into the kitchen, glassy-eyed, and ask for snacks. They do this until dinner, which they then of course will not eat because they have been snacking for three straight hours, unless I intervene.
So, if you're keeping track, that's a clumsy, overtired, highly verbal toddler with no short-term memory, and two hot, hungry kids in their underwear who I have to convince to do homework and keep their food intake to merely, say, yogurt, an apple, a glass of milk and a cookie.
Actually, it was a really nice day. But at 4 in the afternoon, I was falling asleep on the floor and it was kind of all adding up.
Then we got to my parents' house, and Papa got out the trains.
And suddenly everything was awesome again.
Devlin was setting up obstacles on the track:
Iris was absolutely smitten with the train whistle and conductor's hat:
And Eve was close by and yet so far away, in her little hiding spot under the piano:
It was just the right reset button. We came home to a beautiful (low-key) dinner, baths all around, and then Devlin offered to read the bedtime story so I would have time to put foam curlers in Eve's hair.
So now the girls are in bed with silk kerchiefs on their heads like Rosie the Riveter, and my chivalrous young gentleman has drifted off to the strains of Beethoven's Ninth.
I have managed to only run the dishwasher once today.
David comes home tomorrow.
All is well.
Want to know something amazing? While I was going through all the bother of doing this, the contest closed. So now you can't enter it, and neither can I. I feel like I lost $250 and an hour of my life.
So, David is out of town.
It's only for a couple of days. No biggie. I am pretty used to having three children (well, hey, it's only been three years! It does happen eventually!) and at this point, my only recurring problem during a short business trip is the fact that it takes me forever to fall asleep without my best friend to talk to.
Today, I baked bread and lemon cookies, made a tomato/mozzarella/avocado salad for lunch, tomato basil soup and sandwiches for dinner, and overnight steel cut oats for breakfast tomorrow.
(I'm only telling you this so that I won't seem so frivolous when I now share that I have spent fully the last HOUR devising the beautiful outfit above on Polyvore - which, in all seriousness, I cannot recommend: way too much work for something Pinterest does in a much easier format).
Why? There is a contest going right over here. It ends today, and you can enter either in a number of ways to win an Anthro gift card. Naturally, since I feel I have earned some relaxation time this evening, I have throw my hat into every available ring!
If you don't feel as motivated as I do, you can just leave a comment on the contest blog stating one thing you would buy from Anthropologie with your winnings, should you be so lucky.
Go on, I'm sure you can find *something*. Now be a dear, fill my quiet evening, and come back and tell me what it is!
Me? I'm tempted to put my money on this, and dream of the day when I can wear it with skinny jeans and boots and GO OUTSIDE. I am so, so ready for cool weather!
This is a post that probably only I will love.
But it's my blog, and I do love it - and if you want, you can love it too.
Iris is inching ever closer to three years old. She talks in complete, grammatically correct sentences - paragraphs really. She often tells us to "go away". She gets her own yogurt and put away her clean laundry. She's not *really* a baby anymore. But every morning, she still asks to "dance in the ring sling". She wants the same song every time, and she wants to dance on her "stage".
You got it, baby. You got it every time. Forever.
Today didn't really start off so well.
(That happens sometimes).
I think I am worse than average at pulling myself out of a slump, but today I was successful. I manufactured some happy. (Until I tried to take everyone to Costco. But that was right at the end, so I'm not counting it.)
Here is what worked for me today:
Get over yourself. New glasses not working? Put your old ones back on and like it.
Dress cute. Don't shlump because you feel sad. Heels give you good posture!
Make your bed. Just do it. You'll thank me later.
Curl your eyelashes.
Finish something. (I made my shrug via this tutorial. Seriously, it took 15 minutes.)
Do something nice for somebody else. I made two shrugs - one for a friend!
If you have one of these, I suggest you have some snuggle time with it. And possibly a cookie.
Spend some time looking at pretty fabric. But only if you don't have kids with you, or the kid you have is easily bribed with treats.
Listen to something that makes you happy. I suggest this.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9:03 PM
I got my new glasses today.
I ordered them from Zenni Optical, which is supposedly the home of the $8 pair of glasses (mine ended up costing more like $60, because I am special, but that is still less than half of a Costco pair of specs, which in turn is less than half of what they cost at the optician. And I am told there are yet many higher strata of expense and luxury of which I have never been privileged to partake. Vision correction ain't cheap.)
So, more and more of us four-eyes are seeking out alternative eyewear purveyors in the hopes of finding stylish, functional, affordable options. Zenni is one such business. I've been hearing about it from satisfied customers for a couple of years, so I took the plunge.
But I am not at all sure that I like them.
I can't tell if it's just because they are so different in shape from the pairs I have had before, or if it's because they are just ugly, plain and simple!
I kind of feel like they cut off my eyes too much at the top, and extend too low down my face underneath. Like, hello, it's my EYES that need correction, not my cheekbones.
And yet one more view. For research purposes.
So, this is the part where I solicit your opinions, and they flow forth freely and abundantly from all my readers. Be honest - I may be vain but I can handle the truth. I promise.
Ready, set, go!
You would not believe all the housewifery that is going on around my house this week. You just wouldn't.
Today's cute project is this:
A headband holder made from a Quaker oatmeal cardboard container! I covered it with fabric (leftover from when I hemmed Devlin's curtains), hot glued a ribbon around the bottom to hide the frayed edge of the fabric, and hot glued on some tulle and a button to hide the fact that the ribbon didn't quite reach around the tube.
And that is basically a metaphor for my entire life, right there. If it looks cute from the outside, it's probably a mechanism to hide some shortcoming or other!
I also cut out a circle of scrapbook paper that I had laying around and glued it to the top of the lid to hide the rather homely Quaker guy on the label.
Rigid or delicate headbands go around the container, soft squishable or unembellished ones go inside. Genius, right?
(Oh, and if you like my headbands, you should definitely check out Holly's Headgear here. She's my little sister, she makes them, they are beautiful. That black one on the top? That is MINE.)
I just want to take this moment and point out that Pinterest is only a time-suck if you sit in front of it for hours on end, imagining all the good things you *could* be doing.
(And, um, I know that from personal experience).
But I have made a bunch of projects this week (got another one to show you tomorrow!) and several recipes on the current meal plan have been found via Pinterest too. So, you know, if you use it right, I think it's a really great tool.
Come back tomorrow and see my next cool thing I made, okay? Because I PROMISE, if I make it, you can make it. I am all about simple.
Super productive couple of days here!
(I *love* that).
Most blog-worthy project (unless you really care about the fact that we replaced Devlin's ceiling fan and are updating all our doorknobs):
The girls' hairbows were mobilizing forces and threatening to take over the entire house. They were getting very unruly. So I quelled the rebellion by making a couple of holders out of frames I already had (the frames were free, yes FREE, and I had even already spray painted them) and $3 worth of ribbon.
Notice the alternating pink and yellow ribbons for my color-obsessed girlies? I'm a sucker.
And while I was at it, I tidied up the frayed ribbon ends and re-glued all the bows that have been "out of commission" for weeks/months/years. THAT feels amazing.
Problem solved - and, not to worry, you'll notice I still have room for a few new bows up there.
We are doing great around here.
Iris looks darling with her missing tooth. It doesn't bother me at all anymore. She has started sucking her thumb again to go to sleep, and that takes some weight off my heart.
(She'll stop someday. But I wasn't ready for it to be like that. You can all think I'm nuts, and I should have gratefully seized the opportunity to break the habit. But I'm the mom here, and she's my last baby, and so help me she will suck that thumb as long as she needs to.)
Feeling good. Really good.
Not least because I finally got to get me some pretty new things. David has been working like a three-legged sled dog, and it finally paid off. Literally. So I got a few dollars to myself, and I am feeling so good that I will post this photo even though being photographed from this angle (aka: by a shrimpy 7-year-old) is Against The Rules For A Very Good Reason:
Pants, top, belt, necklace: Anthro (sorry - I've been collecting for a few years!)
Shoes: Famous Footwear, on clearance, 5 years ago
Earrings: gift from Granny D
Fresh new haircut: Tantrum salon
Are those pants not so amazing? Cool, breezy, beautiful, machine washable, and fit for an hourglass figure with no alterations. Ring 'em up!
(Iris before her dance recital in May. She asks multiple times every day since when her next dance recital is. If you're wondering, the tooth she knocked out is the one on her left, of the front two on the top. It was affectionately known as "the big one".)
I promise, this is the last one. I do feel better today. I'm giving myself one more post to honor this moment in our lives, and next week hopefully I'll come back with something else on my mind.
Have a (safe) wonderful weekend!
It sounds really stupid, and I almost don't want to say it, because it sounds like I am making my tiny little non-problems out to be Real Problems - but I think I am grieving the loss of Iris's tooth.
Today I can mostly talk about it without crying, but several times I have just welled up with tears out of the clear blue sky. I can't look at her mouth. Her tooth is gone, it's not coming back (not for a good long time anyway), and I wasn't ready.
She's asleep in her room right now, and she has a big drool spot on her pillow because her lip is so big she can't keep her mouth closed, and she doesn't know what to do with her new tooth configuration. She keeps trying to suck her thumb in her sleep, and the suction reopens the wound so she wakes up with blood all over her face and pillow.
She's fine. The tooth fairy brought her an Elmo DVD, Granny brought popsicles. There is no real problem from her point of view.
But I'm pretty sad. I keep looking at the last picture I took of her with all her teeth. I wish I had known what was going to happen - I would have filled the memory card with her perfect little smile.
I think this might be a little bit crazy, so feel free to ignore me. Just please don't tell me to my face, okay? Because I don't think I can handle it right now.
Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 7:42 PM
Iris has not had an easy time of it today.
She and I are going to have a lovely time this year, I just know it. There are lots of things I can say "yes" to when I only have one child that don't even get the time of day, normally. The fancy race car carts at the grocery store, a quarter to put in the vending machine, and her choice of music while we make lunch.
But I could tell that all she wanted was her brother and sister.
She wasn't sad, or naughty, exactly. But every little thing set her off on a wave of sobs, and she just didn't seem to know what to do with herself. She talked nonstop, made unreasonable demands, and was generally kind of a nuisance.
But then her playmates came home, there were chocolate chip cookies, and we all watched Mary Poppins together. Things were definitely looking up.
Then I decided to use a free hour before dinnertime to take my sewing machine to the fabric store to be serviced. While I was trying feebly to describe the thread knots and breakage I intermittently experience, Iris took advantage of the shiny lineoleum floor, twirled just a little too enthusiastically, and fell right on her face.
I knew right away she was serious. Her cry was calling for more than just attention. When I scooped her up, her mouth was full of blood and it was pouring out of one nostril. I sat her on the counter, cupped my hand under her chin, and calmly asked for a paper towel. No biggie, I've seen this before. Lips bleed a lot, we'll just figure out the source of it and be on our way.
I asked Iris if she was crying because she was hurt, or because she was scared. "SCAAAAAAAAWED!" she heaved, and buried her bloody face in my shoulder.
Well, that's good. I carried her to the bathroom, Devlin and Eve trailing behind, and started washing the blood from our hands and arms. I scrubbed her fingernails and examined her magnificent fat lip.
Then there was a knock at the bathroom door, and the nice saleslady poked her head around the corner and handed me my daughter's front tooth in a baggie.
And I lost it.
It just caught me completely off guard. I hadn't even thought to look at her teeth! Her lip was so huge and tender that I couldn't see in her mouth at all without significant manipulation, which she was not allowing, understandably. But the bleeding had stopped, and I was ready to sign my credit card receipt and put the whole thing behind me. And then I realized she had a gaping hole in her beautiful smile, and it would be there for a long time. She would go to preschool, and kindergarten, and maybe first grade, with that gap.
I know it happens to lots of kids. I know she'll be fine. She's already fine, really. She ate lentils and rice for dinner, just like everyone else, and she got to pick the story and the bedtime song. The big kids are positively salivating at the thought of a very generous emergency tooth fairy visitation.
But the whole situation is kind of breaking my heart.
I think the saddest thing is that she's asleep right now, and she's not sucking her thumb, because she can't. It's just killing me.
She may be fine, but this mama definitely needs a hug.
Well, just look at these two.
Aren't they just fantastic?
Devlin, sporting (for the third consecutive day) his camo shorts and shark shirt, and Eve looking enigmatic:
Eve's class is focusing on a different color each day for the next couple of weeks. Today's selection is red, obviously. She changed her first-day outfit plan drastically when she received this information:
Dev, the littlest Big Man on Campus:
Iris happily joined in, before she realized we would be dropping her playmates off at The Place With Not One, But Two Playgrounds without her:
She figured it out eventually, and she was not happy. This morning has been hard for her. She cried when I didn't realize she wanted to wear her backpack in the stroller, then she cried when she did not receive a water bottle, and then she cried when we turned and started walking back home without her siblings.
I am super excited for Dev and Eve to get some special time together as they walk to and from school. I think it will be good exercise and good company.
I was worried that Devlin might be impatient and want to prove his physical superiority by leaving his sister in the dust:
But when Eve started lagging behind, he had her grab onto his backpack strap to remind her to keep up.
And little moments like that give me hope for the future.
Now, I'm off to make cookies for their after-school snack, and I'm going to have Iris help - because baking is the kind of thing I enjoy doing with the help of one child.
(I'm trying to distract myself from what I know is coming. Iris's hair has a hypnotic effect.)
Tomorrow is the first day of school.
I am mostly thrilled. The kids have had a lovely, low-key, relaxing summer, swimming and reading and building forts with the couch cushions. We have eaten lots of watermelon and taken lots of naps - and there has been plenty of sibling discontent, too.
I think they're ready to head back. And I think I'm ready too.
Devlin will be in third grade, and I'm not too worried about him. We have done this a few times before, he and I. Sure, he's a little quirky, and a full head shorter than everyone else in his class, but I think his variety show routine last year earned him quite a few admirers.
I think he's made a name for himself. He is safe.
But tomorrow is Eve's first day of kindergarten. And the first day of kindergarten is pretty emotional for me. There are just so many things to worry about for a tender little sprite leaving the safety of her home for the first time.
I hope she likes her teacher.
I hope her teacher likes her.
I hope someone will be her friend on the playground.
I hope she remembers what classroom she is in.
I hope her shoes don't give her owies when she walks there and back.
I hope Devlin is kind to her while they walk, and doesn't make her cry or do anything unsafe.
I hope she likes her lunch.
I hope she knows how much I love her.
Whatever happens, she knows she had a big hug and a plate of cookies waiting for her when she gets home.
I feel good.
I worked out this morning, running and biking, sweating buckets. I'm very pleased with my efforts.
But seriously, my appetite is INSANE. I was making dinner and I was so hungry that I ate two bananas and a heel of bread while I was cooking, then I ate that meal two hours ago, and now I'm sitting here folding laundry plotting how I can get my shaking hands on a giant Chipotle burrito.
Does this get better?
We've had our dining table and chairs since we got married. The table was still in fine shape structurally, and although the legs and top showed many evidences of its role as a family dining table, we certainly weren't looking to replace it. The chairs, however, were "budget" quality to begin with, and after 10 years the rush seats were unraveling and sending us all on our way from dinner with snags and pulls on the seat of our pants.
I decided it was time to do something, and was looking either for replacement chairs, or chair cushions to protect our rapidly unraveling trousers. But I was having a hard time finding chairs to match our table that were a) affordable, b) coordinated with our table and c) good quality. I am inherently suspicious of anything that is in my price range and manufactured in, say, my lifetime. I think stuff nowadays is pretty much made to fall apart as soon as its out of the warranty period, so I was hoping for something "vintage".
But our table was pretty modern, and I was having no luck finding chairs that complemented it. I had resigned myself to trying to find cushions instead, when I found an ad on craigslist (where else?) for a just-the-right-size table with three leaves, 4 chairs, and a hutch (which I wasn't looking for).
For $80. For everything.
I called to confirm its existence, to check that the seller was in control of his faculties, and found it was mine if I wanted it. Because the set was such a good deal, I decided to buy the hutch too even though I wasn't exactly sure where I would put it. I had a couple of ideas.
Turns out, it does a perfectly serviceable job of holding our sheet music:
(I think it complements Mr. Kimball very nicely too, don't you? Even though the piano is from the 30's and I think the dining set must be from the late 60's or early 70's.)
And the dining chairs will be recovered as soon as our finances recover from the initial purchase, but I think it's going to be a perfect fit.
It's in excellent shape, with some wear along the backs and arms of the chairs that I find very appealing, and one scratch on the top that we managed to incur while transporting it home.
This purchase even solved my two main Tablecloth Problems, which were that the cloth was just a bit too short for my old table, and that it kept sliding off. This new set is slightly smaller, better suited to the room and just the right length for my tablecloth - and the seller threw in a custom-made felt table cover that was made for playing card and board games, but also anchors my tablecloth perfectly. It doesn't budge now!
So that's my latest story. I'll be sure to update when I recover the chairs!
I just got off the phone with David.
Not only is he at the drugstore, looking for a hairspray and a detangler whose names I could not remember, but he called me, calculated the price per ounce for each, and read the product descriptions for all of them aloud so I could choose the one that sounded best.
And he did it in his Tim Gunn voice, because I love it and I asked him to, and I thought it would be funny.
I was so right.
Today was a pretty awesome day all around, but I'm going to give Devlin the win:
He finally saved up enough money to buy the illuminating Harry Potter wand he has been ferociously coveting for months. It is actually pretty awesome.
I managed to acquire both requested items of clothing for his first-day-of-school outfit: camouflage shorts and a shirt "inspired by the sea". (That's what he said.) It's weird, but I found them both - on sale.
He got a letter from his ELP teacher next year, and the gifted program is going to be exploring both Greek mythology and the periodic table - two of his very favorite subjects. I think it's safe to say this is going to be a good fit for him!
Last and definitely not least, Devlin (and both his sisters) is having one last sleepover at Granny and Gramps's house.
I'd say that's a pretty good way to start winding down the summer.
(by the way, you just *have* to click on the photo. Devlin's face is not to be missed.)
Rachel's Parenting Tip of the Day:
You know what? Just ignore them. They're happier, I'm happier.
They play nicely about 15% of the time, they are in danger of physically harming each other about 15% of the time, and the rest is somewhere in between. Not award-winning behavior, but not bad enough to call the cops.
And that's the way it is, no matter how closely I hover, no matter how many communication prompts I offer, no matter how many boring speeches I make or how many times I lose my temper.
So, when I felt like I was getting frustrated, trying to moderate their squabbles and minimize the noise level, instead of losing my shipoopie (again)...
...I locked myself in my room and read Catching Fire for an hour.
And when it was time to make dinner, I came out and made dinner. And I was happy.
No one died. The mess level in the house was slightly higher, but the mess level in my mind was good. Better than good.
Now, the question, is: can I remember my own advice? This is not the first time I have come to this conclusion (for myself). Can I survive the last 9 days of summer by ignoring my children as much as possible?
Time will tell.