Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Smells like summer

This afternoon, work got a little hectic right around quittin' time. I needed to stay late, which meant I had to ask Matt to leave early and pick up Lindsey from daycare. Stress stress deadline grumble grumble.

Finally left work an hour later. Confidently got on I-35 (rather than taking the longer way around), thinking that since rush hour was over, it'd be a quick, breezy drive home. Cut to massive, standstill traffic. Stress stress stupid highway grumble grumble.

Got home to find Lindsey ready for her evening sippy of milk. Matt handed her off to me so he could log in and finish some work. He'd done all the hard work of getting her home, fed and changed, just for me to swoop in and steal the snuggles afterwards. Guilt guilt bad mommy guilt guilt.

And then, it happened.

As Lindsey chugged down her milk and we snuggled on the couch, I leaned in to kiss her head. There it was: the smell of sunscreen, left over from playing outside at daycare. My eyes closed. All that stress and guilt were gone, and I was instantly 7 years old at the pool. I was shrieking at the coldness of the water, doing handstand contests with my friends, splashing in the deep end, scorching my feet on the sun-baked concrete. I heard the kids laughing, the lifeguard whistles, cheesy pop radio over the loudspeakers.

Smiling, I opened my eyes briefly, then rested my cheek against Lindsey's head and breathed deep. "How would you like to go swimming this weekend, baby girl?"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"This is how rumors get started..."

Remember me, Interwebs? Don't worry, I'm not dead ("hey I'm not deaaaad...." -- name that SNL skit). Just lazy.

This won't be a long post, but I had to share a photo from Memorial Day weekend. Some of you may have gone to the lake or the beach, thrown big parties, maybe even watched a "Pawn Stars" marathon, but I guarantee you nobody can top my weekend. Are you ready? I alternated between taking naps and eating THIS.

Awww yeeeeeah. I won a Colossal Cupcake from Crumbs Bakeshop through a giveaway on one of my favorite blogs, Mommy Shorts. It arrived on Friday and did not survive the holiday weekend. If there is a Crumbs near you, please go, right now, and get one of their Devil's Food cupcakes. And maybe... maybe you could send me one, as a thank-you for the recommendation? Please?

I miss you already, giant cupcake. I'll always remember the beautiful weekend we shared. Sniff.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

According to the clock on my oven, it's still Lindsey's birthday for two more minutes, so I still have time to post an official birthday photo or two!

Lulu, I can't believe you're a year old already! I know you won't remember this birthday, or your party on Saturday (including the fabulous rainbow cakes I'm currently baking for you), but we can't help but celebrate how happy you've made us this past year. Your daddy and I love you bunches, darling girl. Happy Birthday!

Is it cake time yet?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's time

It's time to finally face it: I need to lose this pregnancy weight.

Becoming a first-time parent is hard enough, so I didn't put any weight-loss pressure on myself for the first few months. By month five or six, I figured the baby was still young enough that I could get away with not caring. By month eight, it was Thanksgiving, and what's the point of trying to lose weight at that time of year?

Rationalize, justify, repeat.

But Lindsey's first birthday is in two days. My baby-weight grace period is over.

Don't get me wrong: I am crazy excited about my baby girl's birthday. It's an amazing milestone, and it will be so fun to celebrate with our families and get those cake-in-the-hair photos. It's just that I'd pictured myself looking... more like ME next to Lindsey in those pics.

That's actually the problem: I still do look like me, but I look like me circa 2002. At that point I was wrapping up college and had moved from Kansas to Florida to Texas within six months. Though it was an exciting time, it was also stressful, uncertain, and often lonely -- and I reacted to every one of those emotions by eating. Whether I was happy or homesick, it called for food. I was the heaviest I'd ever been.

Over the next couple years, I managed to lose about 30 pounds. Now, I realize that every day, people are dealing with true hardships and overcoming serious problems, and I won't minimize that for a second. But people? Losing those 30 pounds is one of the hardest things I've ever done. It sucked pond water. I hated it.

And now, I'm staring down those same damn 30 pounds again.

I know it can be done, I know how to do it, and I know how great I'll feel when it's over. But so far, I just haven't been able to make myself start. I've been eating crap, lying on the couch and hiding behind the baby whenever a camera is around. It's pathetic. I'm using her as my prop to say "See?! I have one of these! That's why I look like this!!"

Enough of that. It's time to stop idly hating what I see in the mirror. I'm ready to put in the work and feel good about myself again.

It's time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Love Me Some... Miranda Lambert

Welcome to the first installment of a series that I just made up! See, I can do that, 'cuz it's my blog. I am in charge, and stuff. Anyway, this series is called "Love Me Some..." and it's simply about things that I love. I make no promises about regular updates to this series, because that would be crazy talk, but I hope you enjoy them whenever they happen.

First up! I love me some... Miranda Lambert.

Now. If you saw that name and thought "ugh, country music, NO THANK YOU," I am begging you to stick around for a minute. I had written off the entire genre, too, until my persistent friend Dara slowly changed my mind during our freshman year of college. (Deana Carter's sweet "We Danced Anyway" was my gateway drug, as I recall.)

Don't get me wrong; there is a lot of bad country music out there. But there's also a lot of bad "insert any other genre here" out there. That's the problem with categorizing music too broadly: Amazing artists like Miranda Lambert can be overlooked, and that makes me sad, because Miranda... well, she just kicks ass.

Waaay back in 2003, she was on "Nashville Star" during its first season. I still don't understand how it is that she came in third, but thankfully, someone signed her anyway. She writes most of her own songs, which I really respect, and has a gorgeous, sincere voice. A few things to note:

  • Do not make her angry. Though she claims it's not really who she is, songs like "Kerosene," "Gunpowder & Lead" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" have given her a vengeful, violent reputation. Maybe it's just a persona, but I wouldn't bet against her in a fight. She could take Carrie Underwood, that's for damn sure.
  • Right after she scares the crap out of you, or maybe at the same time, she will make you laugh. She shows her sense of humor in... well, lots of songs, but my faves are "Dry Town," "Only Prettier" and again, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."
  • Once she's got you thinking she's this tough, funny chick, she'll drop her guard and break your heart a little bit with "The House that Built Me," "Desperation" or "More Like Her." On that last one, she manages to be both pitiful and a little catty.
  • Random sample lyric that I love, from the breakup song "Dead Flowers": "I'm living in a hurricane, and all he can say is 'Man, ain't it such a nice day?'"  Love that. That song is pretty melodramatic, but she sells it.

That's my little (and by "little" I mean "way longer than I intended it to be") sales pitch for Miranda. Lord help me if I ever write one of these about Barenaked Ladies or Ben Folds. We'd be here all night.

Note: I apologize for all the YouTube fan videos linked above. I'm sure there are more sophisticated ways to link to songs, but I am a noob, so YouTube it is!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love my country boy

As a teenager, I didn’t have enough dating experience to have a “type,” but I usually figured I’d end up with a clean-cut preppy guy like the ones I went to school with. The kind that wore a lot of polo shirts and spent summers relaxing by the pool.

Luckily, this was just a vague picture in my head and not a rigid requirement. If it had been, I would have missed out on the jackpot-winning lottery ticket that is my husband.

Matt and I were introduced through friends at K-State. I soon learned that relaxing during the summer was a foreign concept to him, since that was the peak season for his family’s vegetable farm, and his rusty, thundering old pickup would have raised some eyebrows in my high-school parking lot. In fact, I'm pretty sure Trace Adkins wrote that song “Ladies Love Country Boys" about us: city girl goes to college, meets “a wild-eyed boy with a farmer’s tan” and goes “riding in the middle of his pickup truck.” Check and check.

This camping, hunting, goatee’d guy was not the type I’d pictured falling for -- and, as he later told me, he hadn’t seen himself with “a sorority girl,” either. But we made each other laugh and loved being together.

That was in December 1998. Since then, we’ve moved to Texas and back, gotten pets, gotten married, bought two houses, had a baby, laughed, cried and driven each other crazy.

I could do an entire post of stories and examples of how great he is, and probably will someday. But for now, I'll just say that after 12 years, I still wouldn't trade my sweet, smart, selfless and scruffy guy for anything.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he looks damn good in a polo.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Down with chalkboards

As an HGTV junkie, I feel compelled to talk about a design trend that I don't get. Namely: chalkboard paint.

When it became popular a few years ago, I thought it was a neat idea. "Oh look! You can paint a little message board right on your kitchen wall! What a great place to write grocery lists!"

Adorable, right? From

That lasted about 30 seconds. Then I contemplated actually *writing* my grocery list on a chalkboard. Am I the only one who gets chills whenever I write on one? It's not worth the trip to Goosebump City when I just want to jot down that we're out of Diet Sunkist.

I'll admit, there are some cute applications for chalkboard paint out there. You could do a colorful chalkboard mural in a kid's room and let them draw on the walls, for instance, and I do kind of love the chalkboard globes I've seen. But as a public service to anyone contemplating one of the following projects, I'd like to point out some potential problems.

Chalkboard dressers and other storage pieces:

Again, adorable! From
It's not that these storage pieces aren't cute, because they really are! The problem is, every time I needed, say, some markers or stickers from this craft dresser, I'd reach for the drawer, brush one millimeter of a fingernail against the surface and OH GOD NO CRAFT TIME IS OVER.

Another version of this same problem? As soon as your kids figure out how annoying the nails-on-a-chalkboard sound is, scratching it just to drive each other (or you) crazy will be their new favorite game. So maybe that mural in their room isn't such a good idea after all.

On to lamps:
The whole point of the chalkboard paint trend is to write and draw on it. So why would you put this paint on a fragile object that will fall over as soon as you try to do that? This same issue goes for vases and wine bottles, which I've also seen.

And a personal note to whoever wrote this particular lamp message: You probably shouldn't encourage too much drinking and merry-making in a house with chalkboard lampshades. Before long, it'll be "Heyyy, wherezzzachalk? OK, lemme draw you a pisshure. Imma draw a pretty heyyy, whyzza lamp fall over? Izzat a fire?"

Kitchen cabinets and backsplashes:
Design Sponge
For the cabinets, the same "can't touch them without wanting to die" issues apply here, and that's a problem for cabinets that you touch 50 times a day. If I had to risk scraping a chalkboard every time I wanted a bowl for ice cream, I would weigh about 30 pounds less. Which... hm. Now I'm rethinking this.

For the backsplash: yes, it's customizable. Yes, it's easier to draw a new pattern than re-tile when you're tired of it. And yes, you will have chalk dust in ALL OF YOUR FOOD! Mmmm. 

I really do think chalkboard paint is a great *concept*, and I don't want to discourage anyone from being creative. In fact, if you've used it, please comment here and tell me how it went! I'd love to see photos... just as long as I don't have to actually inhale any chalk dust.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spreading the love

My friend Mary recently gave me a great present: a Liebster Award! It's a way to recognize your favorite smaller blogs -- ones that you love to read but that currently have 300 or fewer followers. Thanks Mary!

Mary's online home is called The Tulip Patch, which I love because tulips are my favorite. She's a talented quilter who's been featured on Moda Bakeshop, and she's also one of the funniest people I know. So go check her out.

Now it's my turn to spread some blog love. I'd like to give a Liebster Award to...

Super-cute baby girl? Check. Funny and relatable stories? Check. What else could you need? Oh, and according to her bio, she spends her free time "napping & avoiding horror movies." So, yeah, I'm pretty sure we're twins. 

That's it for today. I promise I'm working on more posts, but scrapbooking is calling my name this evening.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Failing at filing

Things that are in my "Manuals and Warranties" folder in the filing cabinet:
-the warranty card for a TV/VCR combo I no longer own
-the manual for the ice-cream maker Matt insisted we register for
-instructions on hooking up the printer we got rid of two years ago
-the manual that came with the fan we bought last summer

That last one should tell you how obsessed and careful I am about keeping instruction manuals. You never know when you're going to forget how to PLUG IN A FAN. (Or, as the manual calls it, a "power air circulator.") And that's why this next one is so frustrating...

Thing that is not in my "Manuals and Warranties" folder:
-the manual that came with Lindsey's car seat

You know, only the more important, potentially life-saving piece of baby gear we own. The one that has about a million ways to install it incorrectly. The one that we'll need to take out and re-install facing forwards in a couple months. Grrrr. Why did you leave me when I needed you most, Filing Skills??

But on the bright side, if anybody wants to make dust-flavored ice cream, well... I'm your girl.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Somebody grab that scarf I dropped, please

So we meet again, Coat.

First things first: you have read Why I’ll Never Be an Adult, correct? If not, go read it! (And then read everything else on Allie’s site, too, just promise me you’ll come back here eventually. Unless you can’t because you are DEAD FROM LAUGHING, which is a real possibility.)

Anyway, in the spirit of that “I’m not really an adult” post, I thought it’d be fun to share one of my little adulthood barriers. Here it is:

I cannot put on a coat like a grown-up.

You know that move where you pick up your coat, then put it on by swishing it around you like a cape? I love that move. I am entranced by it. It’s so graceful, so sophisticated. THAT is how an adult prepares for going out in the cold.

Yeah, I can’t do that.

It’s not for lack of examples... People do it all the time. Some people even get all fancy with it -- capping it off by flicking their hair out from under the coat’s collar, or swishing their coats on while walking out the door and holding a conversation. Show-offs.

I can’t always hear the conversations, but I imagine them going like this:

“So, my fellow grown-up,” (*swish*) “where should we have lunch today?”
“Well, friend, I would prefer a restaurant where we can discuss our stock portfolios while eating sensible meals that will definitely not include chicken fingers. It is great to be an adult, am I right?” (*swish, hair flick*)

Now, let’s compare that to my coat-donning technique. Have you ever seen a four-year-old boy try to put on a coat? Then you’ve seen me do it. This method involves sticking one arm through the sleeve, then helplessly flailing my other arm around behind me as I walk. The show gets even better when I’m carrying a few things, because then I have to switch my purse, grocery bags etc from one arm to the other as my halfway-on coat drags behind me. Bonus points if a glove falls out of my pocket during this process and I don’t realize it till I get to my car.

I am a moronic one-woman outerwear parade. But come join me anyway! We can go get chicken fingers!

What about you? What weird thing is standing between you and “real” adulthood?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Steppin' Out

If anyone is in the market for funny stories and photos of the most adorable, doe-eyed toddler ever, may I recommend The Haps? It's one of my favorite blogs... Mandy shares little snippets of her life with two-year-old Harper, and manages to keep it both entertaining and family-friendly. Lots of writers can only manage one or the other.

My blog wants to be The Haps when it grows up. But until then, I'm joining Mandy's link party in a shameless, desperate attempt to be connected in some small way! She hosts Steppin' Out Saturdays, when readers are encouraged to share a photo of their efforts to step it up a notch, sartorially. So here's mine... a Christmas Eve shot of Lindsey and me!

And since this is what most people on Steppin' Out do, I'll list where our outfits are from: My sweater is from NY&Co, cardigan from Target, Lindsey's dress from Target. Oh- and Lindsey loooooved my necklace from Express... It kept her entertained during church that night.

And after.
"Oooh, shiny!!"

Aaaaand then she was done with it. That face cracks me up.
"That was five minutes ago, MOM."

So that was us, Steppin' Out... Matt looked very snazzy too, but you'll have to take my word for it. I hope you all had a great holiday season!

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