Wednesday, October 21, 2009

at my house today...

Everyone, with the possible exception of Lizzy, is sick. My kids are tired and whiny and clingy and so am I. I imagine that if Brent were home, he would be too. He stopped answering his phone at work mid-afternoon. I think he's avoiding my complaining. I've spent the past several hours teetering and tottering between loving that my kids want me to hold them and cuddle with them and wanting to drug them and put them to bed so that I don't have to.

As previously hinted to, Lizzy seems to be comparatively healthy. I'm not sure if she really is or if she's just not bugged by being sick, but whatever. She's my helper in training. She was feeding Charlie mac & cheese complete with choo! choo! noises. What a pro.

Jane has spent most of her day curled up on the floor in a blanket watching whatever was on tv, including HGTV. I took the opportunity to introduce her to Candice Olson, design goddess. Never too young to start brain washing them, right?

And now the day is coming to an end and even though we're all still wearing pajamas and our hair is a mess and we've all done our fair share of crying, it's been ok. As a mom, it feels good to get through days like today. It's empowering to imagine things being as miserable as they can get and then facing the misery and making it through relatively unscathed. And Brent just called to tell me that he's coming home a little early. Life is hard, but life is good.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hey Emily! Look!

At one of the boutiques where I sell my hair clips, someone was selling these really neat cake plates. (that doesn't sound right. aren't you NOT supposed to start sentences with a preposition? is 'at' a preposition? so many questions that will go unanswered. maybe jane can teach me when she gets there.)

I was going to buy one, but the crafter in me took over before I got to the register. I noticed that they weren't actual cake plates, but rather normal plates that had been affixed atop glass dishes/candle sticks to create a serving dish. 'Crafty Laura' declared with great confidence "Don't buy it! I can make those and I can make them cuter."

She was very convincing and she totally delivered.

I bought the candle sticks on clearance from Target (my happy place) and have been looking for the right plates to complete the look. My friend, Emily gave me the brown one for my birthday. I should have taken a photo of it when it was full of home made caramel apples drizzled in chocolate and crusted with toffee. I was ill after eating them all, but as you can imagine, they were worth every bite. I still want to get a little statue of some sort to put in the middle of the plate so that I can cover the spot where the adhesive shows through.

And the final cost for this low budget, high style renovation?

I've been watching too much HGTV and I'm also not telling. I found the blue plate at a shop in Gardner Village when I was there on Saturday for witches night out. Yes, I went to witches night out. It was intense. It was also really fun. I didn't dress like a witch, but I WAS coerced into doing the macarena with dozens of women who were. Not my proudest moment, but I have no regrets. I was caught up in the excitement and splurged on the plate, which totally broke the budget even though I used my coupon that I won by picking the right potion. It was Witch Hazel, go figure.

I really like them. I'm kind of obsessed with serving pieces lately because, you know, I need them for all the fabulous dinner parties I'm always throwing.

That was a joke. The only dinner parties I throw involve me, my husband, our kids and the actual throwing of food.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Allow me to introduce you to Brent's family

Yes, it's true. Brent has a family. A large one. It's hard for them to squeeze themselves onto the blog because we see them very little compared to the amount of time we spend with my family. And by "my family" I mean Leslie and her kids.

It's a little tricky getting the Stringham family together since there are a total of 6 kids and 21 grandkids, I think. Brent's parents always seem to be out and about babysitting grandkids, going to dance recitals, flag football games, soccer games, birthday parties, holding girls' night out and on and on. They are definitely devoted and busy grandparents. They've been getting together once a month for a full blown family home evening and last Monday we were invited to their friends' farm to pick pumpkins and cornstalks. I was all over that like white on rice since you know how I feel about pumpkin patches.

First, my kids all looking very much like themselves...

Charlie, a little dazed and confused and ready for bed.

Lizzy, a little awkward and anti social and looking like a ragamuffin.

Jane, being silly and putting on a show for anyone that will watch. She fell in love with a pumpkin.

Brent's mom, Grammy. All the kids love their Grammy.

Brent's sister and her family. Excuse me, one of Brent's sisters and her family, there ARE 5 of them.

Melissa and Jane. We love Melissa. She's an awesome babysitter and an awesome ballerina and Jane idolizes her. We all think they look alike too so I wanted to get a picture of them together.

Sister, Shelli (in true Shelli form) and Brent's dad. Brent looks just like his dad only a little watered down and (a lot) less tall. We have actually had people come to us and say that "they saw a man looking like Brent, only older at a McDonald's close to our house and it was so weird." If you have a similar experience, yes, that would be Brent's dad.

Shelli's son, Ethan. He's a football player, can you tell?

Almost all the kids. We were missing about 4. I love Taylor sticking up in the back. He has a counterpart, Spencer, but he was one of the missing ones.

Lexi is growing up too fast for me. I use her age to judge how old I am. This is what she looked like at my wedding reception...

Jessica, Lexi and Melissa, I'm old. Make it stop!

It was getting dark, but I wanted a photo of me at the pumpkin patch and as usual, Jane was more than willing to strike a pose with me.

Needless to say, it was a fun evening and now we have lots of corn stalk debris in the van and a very festive doorway:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Over the Weekend...

A box of Cheerios must have exploded in our kitchen.

This is what happens in our house when our two year old is left alone for more than 5 minutes. When I saw the mess, I had to laugh since I recalled that a few minutes earlier, Lizzy yelled up the stairs...

"i making a messy!!!!"

I'll be responding promptly next time.

In other news, Lizzy was attacked by a Fruit Roll-up.

I'll be really glad when the people at the Fruit Roll-up factory stop putting dye all over their fruity, chewy, mouthwateringly delicious product and then encouraging small children to lick them. I suppose that the easy way avoid this would be to just not buy the Fruit Roll-ups in the first place. I didn't used to, until I started couponing and since then I can get them for so stinking cheap that I can't help myself. Instead of paying with traditional currency, I pay for them indirectly via soap, water and laundry detergent.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Out and About

I am a little ashamed to say that Sundays are not always what they should be in our home. Generally, our church experiences start late, end early and are mostly spent in the hallways. When we get home, we generally do everything we can to get the entire family sleeping and then laze about for the remainder of the day, going to bed feeling as though we've wasted our time. Yesterday, I decided I'd had enough of it.

Our Sunday School lesson was partially about the building of the Salt Lake Temple, which (like so many people) has always been my favorite. Jane loves it too. In fact, she watches the movie Mountain of the Lord regularly and therefore I'd bet she knows more about the construction of the building than any other 5 year old of our acquaintance. The lesson made me want to visit temple square, so even though the kids were super exhausted, we decided to have lunch, hop on Trax and spend the afternoon there. It was the best Sunday we've had in a long time.

I'm not sure the kids would have gone for it, had it not involved a train ride. THAT was an adventure in and of itself. Public transit on a Sunday evening attracts some... characters.

I didn't know that impatiens grew that big. It makes mine (the ones that didn't shrivel up and die several months ago) look even more pathetic.

I think that my children almost fell in the reflection pool no less than 10 times. Fortunately, Jane never did succeed in drinking from it.

I never get over how pretty it is.

We also went over to the conference center and got a tour and everything. It blew Jane's mind. She loved it. Right after taking this photo, the lady that gave us the tour finally confessed to me that I looked so much like her sister's daughter's niece (I can't remember the connection) that I could almost be mistaken for her. I get that a lot. A LOT a lot. I must be the most generic looking person that has every existed because I swear every week or two I have a complete stranger tell me I look "just like so and so, it's so weird!" "you look more like my sister that her own daughter!" and on and on. That's how Brent introduced himself to me, in fact. And of course, when I tell people that I get it a lot, they always say "Really? You have very unique features. I can't imagine how you get that so much." But it's true. And I always reply "I don't mind. People like familiar faces, so I figure it can't be a bad thing." And that's true too.*

On the ride home, the kids we're so tired that they were completely loopy. Charlie could hardly stand himself. But even though they were tired and it was chilly, we had such a great time. It taught me that we just have get out more, even when it seems harder than it's worth.

* SUBPOST: Familiar Faces

I am formally announcing that after YEARS of avoiding it, I have finally purchased my first pair of skinny jeans. Observe:

When skinny jeans first hit the fashion world, I thought that some wealthy, powerful, unstable designer was smoking crack and had designed them while they were completely out of their mind. Everyone knew that it was a bad idea, but no one dared put a stop to it for fear that they would immediately be disgraced. So to the public they came, crazy, unflattering and uncomfortable as ever.

Seriously, I remember my last pair of skinny jeans. Back then we called them tapered. They were forest green and the ankles were so tight that I could hardly get my feet out of them. I liked to wear them with a cream colored top. I can still see the outfit in my head and it's frightening.

So all these years I've watched them. Models were wearing them, friends were wearing them, Stacey Freaking London was wearing them and I called them all hideous and impractical until one day, I realized that I didn't mean it anymore. I'd seen them so many times that they actually started to look cute. And then when Leslie suggested that she wanted some to wear with boots this winter, I immediately confided in her that I wanted some too. And then we immediately hit Forever 21 to look for some. And then I immediately decided that I like skinny jeans.

It's a green eggs and ham sort of story.

Friday, October 9, 2009

jane. jane. jane. jane. jane.

I'm struggling here with Jane and school. It's a lot to adjust to and I've not yet got my sea legs. I'm not sure what protocol is, how do I actually get in touch with her teacher and what do I need to talk to her about? I don't want to appear as though I'm totally aloof, but I don't want to be obnoxiously involved either. I've already decided that even though parent volunteers seem to be sorely needed, I just can't do it. With my two little ones to take care of and their weird schedules and my nerves, I think that it's best that I don't get involved there.

We've also got things like book orders and fundraisers to think about. Jane calls it the "fun-raiser" because it sounds like so much fun, so it about broke her heart when I told her that she would not be participating this year. I meant that she was too little to go around and knock on doors, asking complete strangers to buy overpriced, low quality wrapping paper and tins of chocolate. SHE ended up telling her teacher that she wasn't allowed to have anything to do with it and that her mom told her she couldn't go to the assembly, forcing her teacher to find another classroom for her to sit in while they went. She subsequently came home and cried that she was the "ONLY ONE!" that wasn't allowed. Great. That is so not what I meant. Now her teacher thinks I'm a freak.

And there's the school pictures. I was torn about the school photos. It was as though my sensible mom was in my head telling me things like

"they're overpriced!"
"they never turn out good!"
"you're getting family photos taken later!"
"don't do it!"

But then there was this other, less sensible part of me that thought...

"wait a sec, mom. you paid for school pictures for us for years before you swore off them. who are you to judge? and maybe i want them... maybe."

After throwing away the order form, I ended up going into the office the morning of the photos, getting a new one, writing a check for the cheapest package I could get and calling it good. Maybe, like my mom, I need to learn my lesson the hard way.

As it turns out, even the least expensive package provides you with a lot of smiling faces.

That's a lot of wallets, I don't know what we're going to do with them all. Want one?

So we've got the "funraiser" and the school photos out of the way this year. I'm currently in the process of working on book orders.

Hopefully I learn how to manage all of this soon because right now, I'm feeling bombarded with complications as a result of Jane's education. Who knew?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

post script

i'm having a giveaway on my lou lou blog. click HERE to check out the details.


When Jane was a baby and wouldn't nap, I chalked it up to my inexperience as a parent. She's always my guinea pig.

When Lizzy was a baby and wouldn't nap, I didn't blame myself. Her issues seem to be beyond my influence.

Now that Charlie won't nap, I'm forced to consider a new possibility.

It might be me.

This photo was taken after he forced himself awake by screeching for about an hour. It was deluxe and it happens most days. A couple of times. Heaven help me.

On the bright side, he sleeps through the night like a champ. And I have say that I'd take the nights over the days without blinking.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fun Mom Chronicles

It must be fall. I know that technically it's Fall, but those dates don't REALLY mean anything. It isn't Fall until it FEELS like Fall.

Today I:

made sugar cookies
wore a coat
turned up the heat several times
dined on home made chicken soup and bread
picked PUMKINS (for cam)
got cold on the inside.

It officially feels like fall. And since I have a little energy to direct towards blogging today, I have documented MY first day of fall.

It is imperative that when baking cookies you eat enough of the dough to make yourself sick. I believe it to be one of those unwritten sugar-cookie-makin' rules.

This is me in my fancy, retro-ish apron. You can't see the rick rack, pocket and ruffles on the bottom. Drat.

I wear it at every given opportunity and then strategically place myself in front of a camera so that in several years, we'll all think that I spent my days wearing cute aprons and baking.

A couple of friends came over to help decorate them with us, which always makes sugar cookies more fun.

We tried to prevent Charlie from screeching by feeding him M&Ms during the decorating. Delicious.

And the finished product. They taste good. I ate the bats before I took the photos. Mmmmmm. Bat cookies.

I love pumpkin patches. If you've been reading this blog long enough, that's a fact you may recall from last year. Somehow we always manage to pick the coldest day every year to go, though.

We are all looking "winter-y"

Jane was having so much fun, but Lizzy was being a grump. Poor baby was probably freezing.

Chas' coat is a little large. He's constantly struggling with it and I'm constantly laughing at and photographing his discomfort.

Told you Lizzy was a grump.

The Jackson-Barron clan joined us, as usual. BTW it was Leslie that made the home made soup and bread and Halloween cookies with M&Ms in them. She's getting really domestic since she started staying home. This was previously the role I filled in our family. It's making me slightly uncomfortable, but I'm letting it go because she does make really good bread and cookies and soup.

And the always awkward Stringham family photo. I don't actually get to see us all together very often. It's kinda funny to look at this picture actually. In my head, I still see Brent and I as a couple of kids that are playing house. We have cars and a home with furniture and we make dinner and Brent goes to work and I stay back and take care of the kids, but it all seems so fragile, like kind of a dream, a game. It feels like we're always just hanging on by the skin of our teethe hoping that our children don't ever notice that we have no idea what we're doing or how long we can keep this up.

When I look at this photo, I see a (still awkward looking) full fledged family. Is this the image that the rest of the world sees? Weird.

Pardon me. I was just having an out of body experience.

So all in all, today turned out to be a lovely first day of fall.

And I've got several posts fluttering around in my head, so hopefully I'll be able to pin some of them down this week.