Happy Sunday

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 7:44 PM

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Things I love this fine Sunday:

The view out my kitchen window. Every afternoon this time of year, we get this eerie light and the sky goes dark. It doesn't always rain, but it always looks like it's going to, and that's enough to make me happy.



Devlin is reading Matilda, by Roald Dahl. For the second time. The second time today.

Cupcakes.

A clean kitchen floor.

This spread in my new InStyle magazine. Isn't she just the cutest thing? I already have this haircut, but I'm so inspired now with new styles! I think I am going out tomorrow to get some eyeliner too. And then I just need Lasik. Awesome.

Name Game

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 10:17 PM

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Just for fun:

If you have children, what would each of them have been named if you had had sole naming privileges? If you hadn't had to compromise?

For me:

Devlin Thomas would have been Sebastian Alexander
Eve Marian would have been Tamsin Juliet
Iris Olivia would have been Iris Penelope (or possibly Iris Ophelia, although not even I would have given two sisters Juliet and Ophelia - even in the middle.)

I'm looking forward to reading these all weekend, so don't be shy!

Pretty Ugly

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 6:38 PM

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A little while back, I heard about a pincushion swap at the super cute store my sister-in-law Angie works at. I like pincushions. I like swaps. I like creating nice little things, on some masochistic level. I thought this was a good Wizzle-size bite of crafting.

It almost was. There was the small issue of my sewing machine going completely berserk (oh wait, it does that every time I use it), leading to me finishing a one-hour project in three hours.

There was the incident where I put 92 cents on my debit card.

And there was that one time when I thought it would be easier to leave the kids in the car while I ran into the store for 15 seconds to drop off my finished project, and they set off the car alarm. Twice.

So here's what I decided: projects make my house pretty.



But they make me act ugly.



I don't think I should try to be so ambitious anymore. Like, maybe we should not be aiming above grunting at each other and poking the dirt with sticks.

We've been listening to, and thoroughly enjoying, Where The Red Fern Grows, and I'm thinking early 20th century hillbilly living sounds about my speed. (Now, if I can just get past the fact that the guy on the left in this picture is the one reading it, we'll be all set. Shudder.)

Maybe I'll forgo my "participant" ribbon and just watch Project Runway instead!

A Place For Everything

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 9:56 PM

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And everything in its place.

One of the things that bothers me most is when I don't have a "spot" for something. These things never get put away, because they don't have an "away", so they just keep popping up on various surfaces all over the house, every couple of days, and they always seem to be my problem. It's my job to categorize them, to enable thoughtful, effective organization of said items, and then enforce the system.

Coins, long wooden swords and magic wands, rock collections, elaborate creations of plastic bottles, paper, and pipe cleaners, priceless dried up flowers...these things are the bane of my existence. I just don't know what to do with them!

Hence, the further I get into this "housekeeping" thing, the more reluctant I become to bring new possessions into my home. If I don't know where it's going before I bring it through the door, I don't want it, thank you very much.

That's why I was so happy to find this happy little yellow number yesterday at Last Chance. I already have a cardigan collection of sorts, so there's definitely a place for her in my closet (I'm calling her Audrey, because she sure does make me feel like a lady!), and even her pretty little extra button went right into the drawer where all my extra buttons live. Done, and done.



She meets all my requirements for a spot in my wardrobe: natural fabric, flattering fit, versatile color, special details. She just fits right in there.

And for the low, low price of $4.97, I'm going to be flying high on that acquisition for a couple of weeks, most likely. I can hardly get a cardigan that cheap at Goodwill, and this one doesn't even smell like someone else's chain-smoking cat.

I am a Little Black Raincloud

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 8:15 PM

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It's just one of those days, you know?

We paid $2000 last week to get a new pool pump and filter, and they still don't work.

I also have water leaking from an as-yet-undetermined location in my laundry room.

Yesterday I broke off the van's passenger-side-view mirror on the Sonic drive-in menu board, handily negating the $2.66 I saved at happy hour.

Devlin has a terrible rash under his cast because I am a negligent mother.

I have a terrible rash on my feet because I just always have a terrible rash on my feet.

Iris is swallowing so much water at swimming lessons that her belly swells up and gets hard to the touch, so now I'm freaking out about dry drowning, or just regular drowning, or maybe she'll just explode like a tick. (I'm joking, but I am actually worried.)

My daughters cannot spend one minute in each others' company without screaming at or assaulting each other.

Thanks to the miracle of birth control, I'm on my period for the second time in two weeks.

All of our pants have snags and pulls on the back of the right thigh because of our stupid falling-apart dining chairs.

I'm worried about our tenants, and worried about my own family's finances, and wishing there was some way those two concerns could both be served.

But it's not all bad: I got a gorgeous yellow embellished Kate Spade cardigan at Last Chance today for $4.97, the kids are all asleep, and I am having Crunch Berries for dinner.

And tomorrow we all get another chance.

A Lovely Night

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 11:07 PM

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Tonight, my mom took Eve and I out for a girls' night at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater to see Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. It was pretty magical.

I allowed Eve to wear one of her "new" school dresses, which made her very, very happy:



And I completed my first-ever successful French braid, which made me very very happy:



We had dinner, as one does at a dinner theater, and then Eve went through the dessert buffet line and got carrot cake, jello, and ice cream with sprinkles and strawberries - some of which can be viewed here on her chin:



I encouraged her to bring a doll, which she did happily, in case she found the show to be less than riveting, but it turned out that "Clara" spent the entire duration sitting untouched under the table because Eve wouldn't take her eyes off the stage. I literally could not get her to look at me until the lights came up.

Well, color me surprised, as usual.

I think this picture sums up Eve's experience pretty succinctly. Although she was born to a cruel mother who buys her secondhand clothes and often forces her to eat food that comes from our very own pantry and not a restaurant kitchen, I did spring for a clear "glass" slipper souvenir for the extravagant price of 55 cents with tax. She insisted on staging it on a pillow for this photo, just like in the Cinderella story - and yes, she always poses like this:



I would try to hire that beautifully intense gaze out as a model, but I think all the profits would just have to go right back into the shotgun and security fund to keep the boys away in 10 years.

Warms the cockles of my heart

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 9:54 PM

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David: Iris, are you a babby?

Iris: No, I not a babby. I'n Mommy's house elf.

More letters

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 8:27 PM

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(I didn't quite get everything out of my system last week.)

* * * * *

Dear Unwashed Craigslist Masses,

When you say "butcher block", I think what you really mean is "light-colored wood-like surface". Good luck foisting your crappy maple-ish kitchen table on someone else, because you're not fooling me.

You're welcome,

Design Star

* * * * *

Dear Boden,

I don't suppose you've seen my darling green cropped cardigan (from your establishment) that disappeared last year? Or even have any thoughts on how an entire sweater might go missing in the first place? The more I think about it, the bigger tragedy it seems. However, I think I might be able to put my sadness behind me and call it a draw if you simply send this as a suitable replacement.

I'm nothing if not reasonable,

And Green Is My Color

* * * * *

Dear Costco,

I know I have high expectations. Champagne taste, beer budget - I believe you've met? Anyway, when I shop at "bargain" grocery stores, I expect to find a hairy strawberry or two in my pint. But when I splurge for produce at a store that doesn't require roller-derby maneuvers to reach the merchandise, I'm treasuring loftier aspirations. I can smell a rotten potato a country mile away, and you can hide it in the middle of a 5-, 10-, or 50-pound bag, but I will find it. I would rather just pay an extra nickel for my spuds than have to endure the indignity of picking through the bag for the proverbial rotten apple - which does, it happens, actually spoil the barrel.

You should be ashamed of yourselves,

The Mold-Averse Management

* * * * *

Dear Everybody,

Did you know tortoises yawn? It's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.

As surprised as you,

A Twitterpated Reptile Mom

* * * * *

Dear David,

I know this is going to sound weird, but the news that you were researching how to replace a toilet online was every bit as welcome as would have been the news that you were researching jewelry, romantic vacations, or my shoe wishlist.

But who says you have to pick just one?

Your Loving Wifey

Out of Order

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 at 8:23 PM

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Today I bought 15 pints of strawberries (3/$1 at Superstition Ranch Market - and don't worry, I left plenty for you!) Looks like tomorrow is jam-makin' day!



I love making jam, especially if I get to have good company (which I do), and I love eating it all year long (with homemade bread and cheese). So there's really no downside...

...except that an hour ago, before I remember tomorrow was Jam Day, I mopped the kitchen. Hands-and-knees style. Efficiency fail.

Can anyone think of a way to salvage this situation? A tarp? Maybe I could get in touch with my pioneer ancestors and make the jam outside, boiling water on a campfire?

The Guinea Pig

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 7:28 PM

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Devlin is my first child. He is 7, almost 8.

He loves to read.

He loves to swim.

He always, always has a blanket.



He broke his wrist last weekend. Just a little bit. He was thrilled!

He wants to like spicy food. (Sometimes he is successful).

He thinks he has wicked dance moves.

He has a quick mind. He gets things. He remembers things.

But he tends to become discouraged and angry very quickly if something is a challenge.

He likes to have his toenails painted.

His room is always a mess. His teacher said his desk was even worse. Legos + magnets + piles and piles of books.

He weighs 50 pounds. (After dinner. With clothes on. Soaking wet.)

He loves to wrestle with his dad.

He is a clown. He loves to make people laugh, so much so that it sometimes trumps his love of pleasing authority figures.

He loves to wear footie jammies. His father taught him that they were "integrated sockies".

He is getting old enough that I am having to shift my thinking as a parent. He doesn't need to walk right next to me. He doesn't need to hold my hand in a parking lot. He can go to the bathroom alone. He doesn't need, or want, me to tell him what to do in many situations.

He sometimes decides not to do what I have suggested, and I am practicing being okay with that.

I have to talk less, and listen to him more.

I can sense us laying the groundwork for his teenage years, as he begins to break away just a little bit at a time, my authority chipping apart like the swing arms in one of his beloved rocket launches, so he can fly with his own engine.

But he will still come sit on my lap any time I ask him to.

Even in public.

The Hangover

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 10:44 AM

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Well, I got to bed just after 3am, and the good news is - I'm not too old to do stuff like this yet! I thought I would have trouble staying awake, but that was definitely not the case. The movie was really pretty good. I was happy. And the experience was very fun!

Gryffindor!



And posing with the best part of the last movie:



I am pretty stinking tired, but that's okay. I am just spending the day relaxing on the couch with a pile of movies and a pile of kids on my lap (and a pile of laundry, but that's just so I can say I was productive today).

And, to take the edge off the movies being "finished", we've put the first audio book on hold at the library. Again.

Because that's the great thing about a story, and a world, that you grow to love: they eventually make all the movies, and the actors grow up, but you can go back into the books again and again, as many times as you want, and it gets better every time.

And having three kids who will happily come along for the ride just makes it that much sweeter. Brainwashing for the win.

Stupify!

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 8:33 PM

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That's going to be me tomorrow on 4 hours of sleep: stupified.

Because I'm going to the midnight showing of the very last Harry Potter movie tonight!!!

(Wow, I never use three exclamation points. I think I'm going to need a nap before I head out).

This week has been spent in moderately-frantic preparation for today. There was a movie release party at the library this afternoon, and they said "come in costume!" so, of course, we did.



I found almost everything at thrift stores or in our own closets, except Iris's pillowcase dress, which I made from er, an old pillowcase and two unused IKEA curtain tiebacks. Her ears are courtesy of the dollar store and a little old-fashioned creativity, the wands are sticks from my mom's pear tree, but the Gryffindor ties and Dev's glasses I did buy new from a costume shop.

(The library event was at 1:30. At 12:50, I had never tied a necktie. At 12:55, I taught myself to tie a four-in-hand knot via the Brooks Brothers website. Why four-in-hand? It has the coolest name, although the Prince Albert knot did give me more than a few minutes' amusement.)

And Devlin's scar? On our way out the door, I realized all I had for a red scar was washable marker, which wouldn't last 5 minutes in the Phoenix heat. At the last moment, I drew on the lightning bolt, squeezed out a few drops of Fray-Chek on my finger, and dabbed it over the ink to dry. It worked like a charm, and after dinner I just peeled the whole thing right off!

Of course, after all this effort, there was only one other attendant in costume, and I was certainly the only grown-up in character. If things like that bothered me, well, I wouldn't be me! We had a ball, and Halloween is all taken care of. You have no idea how big a relief this will be in a few months!

I'm sure you're dying to see my costume, and see it you shall.

Tomorrow.

Goodnight, sweet muggles!

All About Eve

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 10:08 PM

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Eve is 5 years old. Almost 5-and-a-half.

Her favorite color is yellow. She was born that way.

She is no longer my most difficult child. (That's partly because she has gotten more manageable, and partly because I have gotten smarter.)



She has a tremendous, florid imagination, whose content and beauties she normally keeps to herself. If I ask, though - and I have learned to ask - she always shares her thoughts. And I always love them.

She has taught me more about mothering than I ever thought possible, and more than my other two put together.

She loves to build forts.

She loves to be read to.

She cries easily: over teachers left behind, playmates misunderstood, and sunflowers wilted.

She loves to listen to Sara Bareilles, but we always have to start with "Fairytale". Then we can go back and listen to the rest.

She claimed not to like tomatoes - until today, when she ate a yellow one, and found it to be very satisfactory indeed.

When I need help around the house, she is the first, longest, and loudest to complain. But when she starts, she is my best worker, and never leaves a job half done.

She has kissed a boy. I think. She told me she did, anyway. (I think we are in trouble.)

She hardly ever naps anymore - but when she does, she needs me to lay with her so she can fall asleep, and wakes as soon as I get up. I find this tremendously flattering.

She can sing, very well. I often hear her singing whole songs from memory that I had no idea she knew.

She loves hand-me-down clothes.

She claims to have had a loose tooth for the last year. Is this even possible?

When we go check on the kids at night, Devlin and Iris push us away and mumble and growl. Eve throws her arms around our necks, kisses us, and whispers in our ears that she loves us.

A Very Enthusiastic Homecoming

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 7:51 PM

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My "little" brother David came home from his mission today.

He has been in Riverside, California for the last two years.

As we were all waiting at the airport security gate this morning, holding a banner and balloons, anxiously looking for his tall lanky form to appear at the end of the walkway, an older couple on their way to the baggage claim smiled and asked us from where the obviously much-missed "David" was returning.

California, we replied.

They smiled politely, clearly confused. "Oh, we figured maybe Iraq or Afghanistan," and walked away.

(We neglected to specify that he had been a missionary - and I guess most people returning to Phoenix from Southern California haven't been away for 24 months, and don't get such a hero's welcome!)



I forgot how much my kids love him.

Iris Lately

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 8:43 PM

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Iris is 34 months old.

Her favorite color is pink.

If you ask her where her nose is, instead of pointing, she now says gleefully "I not telling you!"

She still sucks her thumb, but only when she's tired (or sad, or shy, or scared).



She changes her clothes FIVE THOUSAND times per day. Usually into a leotard. For her "dance recital".

She loves to eat. And she eats everything! The only food she has ever outright refused is a hard-boiled egg, and she has since come around to even those.

I don't know exactly how tall she is, but she's tall enough now that she almost never pees over the front of the toilet. Upgrade.

She calls it "Harry Potter an' de Gobble Fire".

She hates to be left out of any activity, or to be perceived as a baby, and is quick to chime in that "I go to kinnergarden too when I'n FWEE!"

She can buckle herself into her carseat, but cannot unbuckle herself. Perfect.

She knocks down everyone's towers, smashes their Lego creations, and scatters their marbles. But everyone adores her anyway.

She loves to dance, and can shake it like no little white girl should be able to. Recent dance venues include: her carseat, sacrament meeting, and the bathroom stall.

This?



Just grows out of her head. Just like that! Can you believe it?

She is a very capable, confident girl, but no matter how much fun she's having, she still runs over to "check in" and bury her face in my knees every 5 minutes or so.

She can swim.

When the family exchange hugs and kisses at bedtime, everyone wants to hug Iris first.

Letters

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, July 8, 2011 at 7:23 PM

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Dear Treadmill,

I've tried everything: pumping music, fascinating podcasts, and trashy television. Nothing distracts me from the fact that I'm...on a treadmill. My heart, lungs, and legs can handle it. But somewhere around the 12 minute mark, my brain starts screaming "GET OFF! GET OFF! GET OFF OR I'LL KILL YOU!"

I don't really know what to do about that.

I'm going to keep seeing you until the weather cools off and I can try to win the hand of your supposedly much more handsome, interesting counterpart, Running Outside. I just hate you, and I wanted you to know.

Pffffffffffttttttttt,

The Sweaty Redhead

* * * * *

Dear Raw-Tomato Sauce Pasta,



You are delicious. You were delicious when I made you two days ago. You were delicious for dinner last night, and lunch today, and dinner just now. But I'm so glad you're gone and I can eat something else tomorrow with a clear conscience.

Stuffed,

Chef Rachel

* * * * *

Dear Harry Potter,

You're taking over my life. And I like it. I don't think my husband does though.

Oh well,

A Reluctant Muggle


* * * * *

Dear Rachel,

Stop eating so many cookies. Seriously. Just stop.

No really,

You

* * * * *

Dear vegetable garden,

Look, I don't know what happened. (Actually, I do know what happened. Summer happened.) I tried my best. I enriched your soil, I carefully selected your location, I watered you by hand. And you? Mostly, you did nothing. The plants you did produce grew halfheartedly, and then unceremoniously shriveled and died.

I'm going to give you another try in more hospitable weather. David says he'll put in a drip system. I don't think I can take any more rejection. Shall we let bygones be bygones?

Cautiously optimistic,

Not Martha

Ms. Fairy

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 10:06 PM

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Devlin is falling apart.



Just his teeth, I guess, really. Can you spot the newest vacancy (as of last night?)

No?

That's because his teeth are so crowded that 3 big ones fit very nicely in the space where 4 babies used to be, so there is no hole. In a matter of hours, those poor big sideways teeth with nowhere to go seized their opportunity and for the moment, they have elbow room.

(I don't have the heart to tell them there's another big tooth that, sooner than later, is going to want his spot back. I think maybe I'll let the orthodontist break the news.)



Guess we both better be saving our pennies.

The Upper Hand

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 7:38 PM

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Today was a day where I just could not get out from behind the eight ball.

I tried everything I had at my disposal to pull me out of my funk.

I had lunch with a friend.

Then I had a cupcake.

I did some window shopping.

I had a nap. (It wasn't long enough.)

I pruned and organized my closet, trying to gain control over one aspect of the chaos of my life.

I played the piano.

I got some Vitamin D and some exercise hosing down the back patio and pool decking after Dustnami 2011 yesterday (only to find out that another one might be coming tonight...)

I went through the car wash (along with every other dusty Mesa resident) and drove home the long, long, long way.

But in the end, the only cure was bedtime and a Jack in the Box sourdough steak sandwich.

Clearly, I need some better coping strategies, just in case tomorrow is another doozy. What do you do to set yourself right when you're off your game?

Talk About the Weather

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 11:04 PM

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We had a huge, insane dust storm tonight.

The Phoenix Haboob of July 5th, 2011 from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.



(We get dust storms instead of rain, now, apparently. Just what we need: the dirt rearranged!)

I washed my car three hours before this storm began, and my kitchen window was, unknown to me, open the WHOLE TIME. Entire house covered in 120 grit desert dust. Thank you, Mother Nature.

That's kind of my day in one tidy metaphor, so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bed.

Cheeky

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, July 4, 2011 at 9:48 PM

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Eve decided to celebrate her "freedom" today in a slightly unconventional way: by forgetting to don panties under her green polka-dotted dress.

Tragically, I did not discover this omission until dinnertime - after she had spent a full hour in the IKEA playground. Hopefully she spent most of that time submerged from the waist down in the ball pit.

Hey, what's more American than a good old-fashioned wardrobe malfunction?

Sinking In

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, July 1, 2011 at 8:28 PM

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Yesterday, Eve had a new little friend over to play after swimming lessons.

Her name is Kate, and once I got the girls to my house and they commenced dressing up in each others' clothes, I quickly realized that, from the back, I literally could not tell them apart!

(Can you tell which girl in this photo is Eve? I'll give you a hint: one girl has her hair tucked behind her ears, which is Not Acceptable to a certain blonde offspring of mine:)



They had such a great time taking turns, one playing the guitar so the other one could dance. (And, can I just say, having a friend with connections in India makes for a very impressive dress-up box!)



And in my monthly "Wow, I think I might be doing something right" moment, here is a conversation from lunch today:

Eve, suspiciously surveying her spaghetti leftovers: Mom, this sauce has onions. I don't like onions.

Me: Well, you horked it down just fine last night. You didn't have a problem with the onions then, so I expect you to eat it now.

*Eve scowls ferociously*

*I eat my own spaghetti, feigning cool indifference*

Eve, slapping her forehead: MOM! Guess what I just remembered?! You told me, that if there's something in my food that I don't like, I can just mix it up with the things I do like, and then I won't even taste it when I eat it!

Which she then proceeded to do, with nary a complaint for the duration of the meal.

Folks, it doesn't always work, but it sure is FANTASTIC when it does!

I wonder what else they really are learning that I just don't see...