Thursday, January 31, 2013

The subtle way of being bitchy: Emily Post style

Hey, I was just thinking, did I ever tell you about the time I gave Emily Post's book, Etiquette, as a wedding gift?  I haven't?  Well, sit right down honey, grab a cup of joe and listen up cause it's a good one. 

Let me begin in saying that normally I am not a total asshole and do things like this.  Generally speaking, I give people a chance, the benefit of the doubt.  I am honest when I say that not only did I do it in a spiteful, snarky, gentle nudging kind of way, but that many people that knew the bride thought that I was totally justified in my actions and actually supported the idea.  They just weren't brave enough to be THAT bitch that gives a book of etiquette to a new bride.

While Jake and I were still dating, a very good friend of his was getting married.   Jake and I were planning a June wedding and this friend's wedding was actually a few months before.  Jake was the best man in the wedding and had known this fella for many, many years.  I had no complaints with his friend, we'll call him "Steve".  Steve was funny, the life of the party and could be anyone's friend.  A really great guy with a fun sense of humor.  Steve met, let's call her "Crazy," shortly after Jake and I began dating.  Like I said, I give everyone a chance when I meet them.  I am usually a pretty good judge of character and I will admit that after I met her, there was something that didn't sit right with me.  I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but I knew that there was something that I didn't like about her.  She came on really strong, seemed a bit of an attention whore and overall immature.  While we were all still in our early 20's, she acted much like a catty, snobby 16 yr-old high school girl with a trust fund.   Although, she came from a typical middle income family, she really gave off this aurora that she was better than you and her shit didn't stink.

Needless to say, Steve was in love with her and they dated for about a year before he proposed.  In the mean time, I tried to avoid social interaction with her as much as I could.  I avoided her like the plague.  She became very possessive of him and he came around less and less.  He wasn't allowed to hang out with his friends like he used to.  She gave him an "allowance" with his own money, she checked his cell phone for unknown numbers, although he never would have cheated on her.  In a short amount of time, she proved to have invented a new strain of crazy and no matter what people said, Steve still loved her and wanted to marry her. 

So as the time came closer to the wedding day, since my husband was the best man, we were forced to listen to Crazy's incessant bragging about how much better their wedding was going to be than ours.  (I shit you not.)   We hung out with them several times prior to the wedding and I simply smiled and about ground my teeth to a bloody stump trying not to tell her how I really felt about her.   She even baited the conversations with things like, "Oh, have you gotten a DJ yet?" 

Me- "Oh, yeah, Jake's uncle is going to DJ for free, he's pretty awesome."

Crazy- "Well, we got this (tra-la-la) DJ and it cost like $1000, blah blah blah, it's so expensive, blah, blah, blah, but I will spend whatever it takes for a perfect wedding. Blah blah blah.  Did you find a photographer yet?"

Me- "Yes, a friend of a friend is going to take pictures.  We just wanted something pretty simple."

Crazy-  "Well, we got (so and so locally famous photographer) because he's a friend of my uncle's cousins boyfriend.  Yeah, he cut us a pretty sweet deal, blah blah blah.   Did you book a honeymoon yet?"

Me-  "YES!  I can't wait!  We're going to the Bahamas for a week!" ( I was especially proud of this because neither one of us had ever been anywhere tropical, not to mention an all inclusive resort for a week! Drinks included! And when you're 22 yrs old that is some pretty serious shit!)

Crazy- "Well, we are going to Puerto Vallarta for a week.  yeah, my family is from Mexico and super rich (in Mexico maybe, but in the U.S. her family lived in low end subsidized housing, whatev)  and they are putting us up in (XYZ) resort.  They might even have a parade or something like that waiting for us when we get there!"  (I totally didn't make that shit up.)

Me- "Wow, sounds great!  Hope you guys have fun!"

So you get the point, she was totally a douche bag.  She obviously had something to prove to herself by bashing my wedding plans and shining a huge spotlight on her plans.  It got to the point that the thought of seeing her in a social atmosphere made me cringe on the insides.  Jake knew how I felt, but we were obligated to smile and bear it. One time, while we were all out to dinner with other friends, she took her bra off at the table. At Chili's.  I'm not kidding. Classy.

So as the wedding quickly approached, I thought about how utterly tacky, uncouth and rude she was about the whole wedding thing.  I decided that she was definitely this way because she had never been properly taught how to act (benefit of the doubt).  So maybe I should be a good citizen and provide her with an equal opportunity to be taught how to act like a civil individual, not a total tool bag full of loose screws.  While talking to a few co-workers about how awfully she behaved, someone said "Sounds like she needs to read Emily Post's book of Etiquette."

Hot damn!  What a great idea!  I'll buy Emily Post's book, wrap it up anonymously, and leave it on the gift table!  GENIUS!

My co-workers thought I was kidding and Jake thought it was absolutely amazing!  So the week of the wedding, I went out, bought a set of dishes off their regular wedding registry and Emily Post's book of Etiquette, that was definitely not on the registry.  I wrapped the dishes in a pretty wedding paper and then realized that if I wrapped the book in the same paper, they may figure out who it was from.  Hmmmmm.  I worked at a flower shop and we had this floral wrapping paper for gift wrapping, "That'll work," I thought.  She'll never know it was from me.

So with presents wrapped, armed with inner self-affirmation that I was doing the right thing, we went to the wedding.  Let me say for the record, even though our wedding was obviously not as high dollar as theirs, it was definitely a much more classy, beautiful affair. 

The best part of the whole day wasn't the fact that I snuck a book of etiquette to the classless, rude, tacky bride, but that Jake's best man speech was flubbed up with "I'm so happy that you two have found each other.  I wish you the world of happiness for however long it lasts.......I mean, happiness forever."  He was very sick with the flu and doped up on Nyquil and pain meds, but it was the highlight of the wedding! 

Seriously? That's cute.
Not to mention, when Jake and I arrived at the reception hall first, strategically so I could place the anonymously wrapped gift on the gift table, we noticed that the tacky wedding cake with the two sets of stairs, you know the type with little bridesmaids and groomsmen walking up the stairs, had a little groom that had fallen face down in the cake.  I'm being 100% honest!  I couldn't make these things up.  It was so hilarious that we took a picture and if I tried hard enough, I could find it and show you!

 Fast forward about two years...they were divorced.  Finally, we were all free of Crazy and we could have our friend back!

Fast forward another eight years...I tell Steve what I did.  Yes, I lived with that secret for almost ten years.  Well, Jake knew, my co-workers and handful of friends knew.  Ok, I'll be honest, mostly everyone except Steve knew, but whatever, I came clean.  The best was the conversation that led up to the confession.

Steve, Jake and I talking about Crazy one night:

Steve- "Yeah she was nuts! Why didn't you tell me?"

Me- "Well, I tried, in a way."

Steve- " What do you mean?"

Me- "Do you remember getting any strange wedding gifts?"

Steve-  thinking...."Yeah, I remember there was a book or something."

Me- "That was me.  I gave her a book about etiquette"

Steve- "Oh, that's right!  She was so pissed!"

I think Emily Post would be proud of my endeavors to better our society, don't you?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why I blog

My husband has asked on several occasions, "Why do you write that blog?  What's the purpose?"  Hmmmm, good question.  Here's what I came up with, a list of why I blog.

1.  I enjoy writing. I do it for fun.
2. It gives me an excuse to put on headphones, listen to music and not be bothered.

3.  I am opinionated.

4.  I WAY over-think too many things.

5.  It makes me more reflective in my daily life.  I am always thinking of how I can turn conversations or situations into a blog post/rant.

6.  I blog about things I enjoy, things I find funny or things that bother me.  It's similar to therapy, but in a more public way. 

If you know me in "real life" you know that I am quirky, goofy and have a pretty good sense of humor.  I don't take things too seriously.  I like to have fun and see the hilarity in everyday life.  I am not here to impart some grand wisdom or make you change points of view with this here blog.  Much of what I like to write about are things that I dwell on, obsess about and ponder in my daily life. 

I write this blog because I REALLY enjoy writing, but I don't really like putting pen to paper.  It's much easier to type anyways.  I used to keep a journal but that was before computers were so easily accessible.  It took too much time and didn't have spell check.  (Remember I obsess about things and spelling is one of them, because I'm not good at it.)

If you like the things that I have to say, good.  If you disagree and think I'm an idiot, fine.  I hope that the people who choose to read my blog do it for the purposes of finding like minded people with everyday problems, discoveries and interests. 

I don't really have a set theme or niche to speak of.  I write about what I am obsessing about at the moment; sometimes it's about a DIY project, sometimes food, sometimes a larger social issue.  You never know what you might find here. 

I encourage my readers to comment and I will gladly respond.  As I tell all my friends, WRITE ON SISTER!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stay at home vs. Working mothers

I received a message from a friend yesterday that really got me thinking.  This has been a very heated debate in the mommy-sphere for quite some time.  After asking for permission to copy the conversation, with some editing of course, I decided this was a topic worth some thought and investigating.  The following is the message from a friend that prompted the conversation:
 I was thinking today how annoying it is to see posts from stay at home moms that say things like "I am so glad that my husband loves me enough to let me stay home with the kids" or "I am so glad my husband works so hard so that I can stay home". Uhm hello... are they implying that working moms' hubbies don't love us, or that our hubbies are a bunch of bums? What's wrong with a relationship of sharing the responsibilities of the family (I know both of our husbands are fantastic cooks)-financials, kids, chores, etc. And why does everyone assume that working moms work because they 'have' to. I think there is something satisfying about having a job you enjoy and can make a difference in some way. I would argue, our husbands respect our independence- knowing we don't 'need' them for anything. But, instead, that we are in this relationship because we want to be. No obligations, just love.

More food for thought and I need a sounding board   For me personally, that's not to say I don't wish that I could only worry about what time I need to be at the library's circle time or what snacks to make for the play date. Because you know I wish I could be (my town's) very own June Cleaver. But it just won't work for us, but I don't believe its because my husband doesn't love me enough. Do you? And he works very hard. And so do I (no body knows the daily b.s. I put up with (at work)!! But I do it because I like contributing to something valuable,and I'll be able to provide a better future for these monkeys and us. Anyway, that whole thing has been on my mind today. Thanks Dear Abbey for listening

So, in my attempt to be completely unbiased, I have done a little research on the topic and found out that there is a lot of mud slinging on both sides of the debate.  It seems to be a fight over who is better: working moms or stay at home moms?  While, I'm sure that we can all agree that our first and foremost priority is our children, providing them love, attention and affection.  It seems that there is a
"I'm better than you because...." on both sides of the debate.  While working moms state that it is much harder to work outside the home and stay at home moms state that working moms don't provide the love and attention that their children need, it seems that we have lost site of the fact that we, as empowered women, now have a choice in the matter.  Just a short while ago, maybe 50 years ago, it was just assumed that women would marry, have children and stay at home.  This shouldn't be a matter of who loves their kids more.  It should be an argument over, are you happy with your choice? And if the answer is no, what can you do to change your circumstances?

I have personally known working moms that chose to work outside the home, worked because they had to financially, and worked because they genuinely love what they do.  All have been undoubtedly devoted to their children. Whether they work because they want to or have to, at the end of the day, they love their children.  I have also known working moms that hated working and suffered an immeasurable "mommy guilt" for leaving their children at daycare, with sitters or family members. 

I am a working mother by choice.  I tried the stay at home mom gig twice and it's just not for me.  I love my children with all my being but I am not a happy camper at home all day with two children.  I am too social, I thrive on adult interaction and conversation.  When I had Ivan, I stayed at home for the first four months and while it had it's good times, for the most part, I was miserable.  In fact, I attacked my husband on a daily basis with a barrage of questions when he came home.  "How was your day? What did you have for lunch?  Tell me about your day.  How did the such and such deal go?  Who did you work with today? Tell me about your meeting.  Anything, anything, anything!"  It was so overwhelming to him that he would have to tell me to slow down.  I really missed adult interaction.  I loved being there for my son's first smile, rolling over and first giggle but I REALLY missed the camaraderie of having co-workers.

When Luci came to town, my business had just closed and I was in a real dilemma about what to do with myself.  I had no educational degree and the only skills I had involved doing the thing that I had to walk away from in my own business.  I was really stuck.  I was 28 years old with no direction.  I was terrified that my loss of income would negatively affect our family, but somehow we managed.  We made lifestyle adjustments and I became more frugal in meal planning, grocery shopping and household shopping.  I stayed at home with the kids for eight months and it was actually better the second time around.  I made more of a daily schedule, talked to friends on the phone, and took the kids everywhere.  I also made plans to go back to school full time. 

I still stand by the fact that I am not stay at home mom material.  I love what I do, really like my co-workers and miss my kids when I 'm at work.  The old saying that "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" applies here.  The more I am away from them, the more quality time I think we spend together.  Since we are not together 24/7, I try to make the time we are together really count. 

So back to the argument as stated above, is there a right or wrong in this debate?  My answer is no.  I think it relies mainly on the person.  I think that if you don't want to be a working mom and you have to be, you have to make the best of it or construct a plan to change your situation. I think if you are a stay at home mom and you don't want to be, then you should also construct a plan to change your situation.  But, please, if you make the choice to be a working mom or stay at home mom, please don't constantly complain that you hate what you are doing. 

I think the bottom line is that we need to stop pointing fingers to make ourselves look better.  We need to stop judging other women because of their situations.  (I am guilty of this and I am working on it.)  We need to quit making assumptions about others. Instead of tearing each other down, we need to provide love, support and understanding to one another.  We need to be a foundation of support for our fellow sisters and remember that above all, we all love our children.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What defines you?

While riding in the car the other day, Luci was being her usual self and asking a load of worldly questions for a 5-yr-old. It made me think of how we have raised our kids to be inquisitive, challenge things and be themselves.  I think Luci has definitely found her place in this world as a free spirit and Ivan is well on his way, as well. 

It really got me thinking about how we start, as children, developing who we are, what we stand for and what we value.  Without being coached in any way, she has developed a very definite personality full of quirks and uniqueness.  She sees the world in a very innocent light.  She loves animals, music, dancing, fashion and being an overall princess.  Even at the tender age of 5, she knows who she is, what she likes and what she doesn't like.  She has many qualities that defines her.  She is a lover of anything magical, mystical, and shiny.  She lives life in a very laid back way that resembles a summer-of-love hippie.  When people think of her, they think of a sweet, spirited, and opinionated pixie.  (At least, that's what I think of her.)  I love that she has such an infinite interest of things beyond what I think a 5 yr-old should be interested in.  She asks about how Jake and I met, as if we have always known each other.  She wonders what animals think, like if they have something they want to be when they grow up.  And above all else, she is thankful that she is part of our family.

A few days ago she looked at me with those huge blue eyes and said, "Mommy, I'm so glad that I live here with you, Daddy and Ivan.  I'm glad you're mommy."  And in spite of their constant bickering, she loves her brother.  Even when he is being difficult and she simply wants to be near him, she loves him with all her little being.  She looks up to him and idolizes everything he does, but she is also not afraid to tell him to sit down and be quiet.  I love that about her!  I always hoped that I would raise a girl that didn't take any shit off anyone. ( I secretly giggle when she stands up to her Daddy and he can hardly stand it, because she is so darn head strong, like him. He melts and usually fights back a smile.)

While Luci is a head strong, independent, free spirit, Ivan is quite the opposite.  He is a people pleaser.  A tender soul.  A sensitive, strong boy.  With all that he has endured in his life, with health problems, ongoing medical tests, scans and being poked and prodded, he is so strong.  Yesterday, as he was getting his blood drawn for the millionth time, I was in awe as he sat so quietly in the chair and chatting with the nurse, as if he has known her for a lifetime and they were reminiscing about a life full of experiences. People have always said he had an "old soul" and was very wise for his age.  This is becoming more apparent as he is getting older.  He complains of the "childish" behaviors of his peers and how he gets annoyed with silly behavior.  He is a rule follower and he HATES it when others don't follow the rules.  You can see the problem I have here with Luci who is definitely a rule breaker! 

Making sense of who we are and how we define ourselves is an ongoing and evolving process in life and I am happy to see that my children are well on their way to becoming their own person.  This thinking has got me thinking about myself and how my definitions of myself have changed over the years.  So, how would you define yourself?  I'm sure there is no, one definition of yourself, but I'm curious to see what others think of themselves and if that jives with the view the rest of the world has of them. So here's my list (*GASP, this is very revealing and personal, you know...if I do it, you have to do it too!)

1.  I believe in seeing the positive in every situation.
2.  I love being alone, although, it doesn't happen often.
3.  I think a lot.  Sometimes, too much.
4.  I love to write, draw, paint, create and sing (not well).
5.  I am a silver lining kind of person. 
6.  I believe in making the best of everything.
7. I laugh and smile a lot.
8.  I am a great friend.
9. I am a great listener.  I sometimes give kick-ass advice too!
10.  I am understanding, compassionate and give the benefit of a doubt.
11.  I give everyone a fair chance. 
12. I can read people pretty well.  I am also a pretty judge of character.
13.  I really, sincerely love the company of my husband.
14.  I take lots of things into consideration when making decisions, judgements and conclusions.
15.  I am sarcastic and have a pretty goofy sense of humor.
16.  I love life and am thankful for it everyday.

So there you have it.  My God, that was harder than I thought.  Even if you don't intend to comment or respond to my rant, please give it a thought.  What defines you?  The answer might be quite liberating!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cooking, Lounging, Pinterest, Adam Levine, Oh my!

It's been a whirlwind week, again.  This week was full of eating, theatre, art with glue and cereal, dog videos and cleaning.  Let me give you the rundown.

Monday was the first day that my student teacher was in the classroom full time and I have to say that she pretty much rocks socks.  She is a real go-getter and the kids love her.  We made some fabulous plans for this week and next and I can't wait to see her in teaching action.

For Luci's 5th birthday present, I got her tickets to see Beauty and the Beast at the theatre.  (Yes, we are very fancy and take our 5 yr old to the theatre.)
She loved the show and we stayed up way too late on a school night!
My rockin' student teacher and I have been teaching a weather unit and we had the kiddos bring in cereal, pasta, candy, pretzels, etc for a "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" art project. I was really excited about this and the kids have such great imaginations. I just gave them each a big piece of construction paper and they first drew their city and then glued on their food items (raining) down on the city.
You know it's been a good day when you glue cereal and pasta on paper.
Friday was a half day for the students and meetings in the afternoon for the staff. I, of course, got in trouble for talking too much, but I'm used to it. There was a good amount of time for planning with our grade level partners, so that was good. Friday was super exciting at home. I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at 5:30 (shit) with no dinner planned, so we ate hot dogs and mac & cheese.

The rest of the weekend was amazing with the exception of Saturday being woke up at 5:45 to the 5 yr old flipping on the light. As I hissed, screamed and cussed the light of day, she quickly turned it off and ran away. I got to fall back asleep and an hour later that same 5 yr old ninja crept into my room and pounced right onto my lifeless body. I was having a really great dream and the next thing I know, my legs are bearing the weight of a 45lb beast. I decided to give in and get up. With weary eyes I loaded the Keurig and prayed for the best. This was not the way I wanted to start my three day weekend. (Thanks for everything Dr. King, not just days off.) Shortly after the coffee was entering my system Jake showed me the funniest dog video ever! You can watch it here and thank me later.

We laid around, watched cartoons, checked our Facebook, did a shit ton of pinning on Pinterest and then decided to clean. Jake got a hair up his butt that we needed to deep clean the bedroom, dust and vacuum. The kids are really good at dusting and Ivan can run a mean vacuum, so they did that while Jake and I cleaned the bedroom. (To be honest, I would have rather continued my couch marathon, but I felt obligated to help.)
After the cleaning marathon, I sat for the rest of the afternoon and felt pretty guilty about it at about 3:30. With no plans to speak off, I asked Jake if we should invite some friends over, so we called up our good friends S & L. They were in the same boat with the no-plans-on-a-Saturday-night-and-we've-got-kids, so they came over. We ordered pizza, drank adult beverages while the kids played and laughed our asses off. I love like minded people.

Sunday came too early and it also involved more Pinterest, cleaning, laundry, movies on the couch and cooking. Don't get too jealous of my decadent lifestyle people, I really live life in the fast lane, I tell ya! I did make some awesome dinner which some may call tater tot casserole, but our family calls Lazy Bitch casserole, but it takes little to no effort at all. (The kids don't call it that, but wouldn't it be hilarious if they did!) It's really just a layer of frozen tater tots, American sliced cheese, cooked ground beef, more tots, and topped with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Really easy, especially when you are lazy.

This morning we had to go the hospital for Ivan's blood work and so that was an inspiration to actually shower, get dressed and put shoes on before noon. Since I knew we would be leaving the house, I went ahead and planned meals, took inventory in the fridge and made a shopping list. After we went to the hospital and blood work was done, it was only 9:00, so I decided that we should go to my classroom to get a little work done. The kids weren't being extremely annoying and were getting along quite well, so I figured what the hell. We worked there for about 3 hours.

I have been determined to reorganize the class library, which includes approx. 1.5 million books,(not really) so I printed and laminated new labels for my bins this week. I sorted, labeled and organized while the kids destroyed, colored and messed up my puzzles and games. I also bought some Rubbermaid tubs to organize monthly items like books, art projects and class games. It took a while but I will say it looks a lot better. Now if the 21 eight yr olds don't destroy it, we'll be doing great.

We then preceded to go to lunch, grocery shop and return home so I could get all Rachel Ray up in here. Well, let me tell you that she's got nothin' on this girl. Whilst all the pinning was going on this weekend, I found some really awesome recipes. I decided a while ago that I didn't want to be one of those people that pins a bazillion things and never does any of them, so I picked a salad and soup that I could make for dinner tonight. They both turned out ah-mazing!
Santa Fe chicken wraps and broccoli cheese soup
The soup was a broccoli cheese soup that was no less than a feat of grandeur. The recipe came from here and I followed it exactly as listed. The salad was from here and I did make a few major changes to it. I followed the recipe for the chicken mix but I didn't add the dressing and mixed items to the salad. I thought the salad would get mushy so I left the mixed greens in a separate bowl. While I was making it, I kept thinking that this would much more awesome as a wrap, so clever me, I got out the garden veggie green wrap that I bought today and slapped some mixed greens on it and topped it with the dressing/chicken/veggie mix.

So there you have it!  I look forward to the rest of week, mainly because my student teacher and I have some fun plans for the week and I took Friday off so I can go to the doctor and finally get my eyes checked.  Maybe I'll be able to see again!?  Also, Saturday night my boyfriend, Adam Levine, is hosting Saturday Night Live and we're super excited about that!  Hope your weekend was as exciting and relaxing as ours! 
Isn't he adorable?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mommy Worry

This morning, in the shower, I was washing my hair, and all of a sudden I hear the door to the bathroom creek open. I peek out the shower curtain only to find the Yorkie sitting on the bathroom rug. Whew...I sure didn't want to have to get all ninja on somebody. In the flash of a few seconds though, I realized that I had created a whole horrible scenario of something happening to my family in my mind.

We are all guilty of mommy worry. You know you do it too. Those moments when you concoct some worst-case-scenario in your brain and go through all the possible outcomes in your mind. You name it and moms have probably thought of it. Hell, doomsday preppers have nothing on us when it comes to running down the worst case scenario ahead of time.

I have talked to many other moms about this and I know it's not just me. I have heard completely sane, educated women tell me their worst case scenario mommy worries. My sister in law has a whole plan in place in case an airplane crashes into their house. (Her fear is not completely unfounded...they live within a few miles of a small airport.)

In addition, I have heard the what-if-the-bridge-collapses-as-I'm-driving-over-it scenario. Holy crap, what would you do if the bridge collapses as you're driving over it? My personal  fave is when my first born came home from the hospital, we had set up a spare bed in the nursery, so I could be near him and nurse.  The bed had a simple metal frame with no head board/foot board.  I had this irrational mommy worry that I was going to drop him and he would hit his head on that damn metal frame.  Of course, I never dropped him and he never split his head open, but my God, I spent many dreary-eyed nights worrying about that!

My mommy worries have been anywhere in realms of a catastrophic event like a meteor crash to a child falling down the stairs requiring a full body cast. When Ivan was a baby and very, very sick, my mommy worry got really out of control.  I would create horrible what-if scenarios in my mind so elaborate that I starting feeling as if they were real.  As soon as I talked to my doctor about this ('cause I thought I was going crazy!!)  she reassured me that mommy worry is very normal.  She also said that it is our defense mechanism to mentally prepare us if something catastrophic really does happen.  She reassured me that my extreme mommy worry, at the time, would pass in time, due to the stressful health conditions that my first born was experiencing.  Thankfully, the extreme mommy worry has since passed and now I'm just down to the worry of a fall down the stairs, broken heart or missed homework assignment. 

We all want our kids to be happy, successful and confident so I think mommy worry is very natural.  My own mother says that she still experiences mommy worry and I'm 34 years old!  Great, so it never goes away!  My point here is that no matter how old your kids are, you will have mommy worry. Whether they are still infants and you check to make sure they are still breathing at night while they sleep (you know you've done it!) or your child is fully grown and trying to find a job/relationship/love, we are going to worry.  So worry as you may, but remember mommy worry is normal.  It simply means you have someone that you love so much that you would be devastated if a meteor hit them while they were driving in their car and the bridge was collapsing.

So, now I'm curious, what's your mommy worry? Feel free to share!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to throw a fabulous kid's party for under $100!

Today we celebrated Luci's 5th birthday.  As hard as I tried, I couldn't find a place to have Luci's party this year.  I really wanted to have it somewhere besides our house but, alas, I waited too long.  With her birthday being the beginning of January, I, of course, waited until after Christmas to call around for party locations.  I tried to find an open gym type place, but everywhere was booked.  And I refused to settle for Chuck E. Cheese. Finally, I made the decision to host the party at our house.  Since it's in January I wasn't sure what to expect with the weather.  I really didn't want a huge parking issue with ice and snow so we decided on just inviting family this year.  Next year though, I will make arrangements before Christmas!

I asked Luci what type of party she wanted and she said she would like an owl party.  Great, I thought!  I love owls, I can do this with no problems!  We went to Hobby Lobby and bought some owl stickers, glitter tulle, a cupcake holder, ribbon, flower ties and other assorted beautiful things.  We spent roughly $45 there.

For the cake-  I really hate the idea of spending $30 on a cake, so I decided I would make my own cupcakes and we could make our own cupcake picks with the owl stickers.  Here's what we did:

Step 1: I cut two sizes of ovals with my cricut machine.  (I knew I had tons of card stock in bright colors, so that was money saved. I also had some double sided square stickers that I use in card making.)
Cut two different size ovals from card stock. I used 3" and 2 1/2".
Attach a double sided sticky pad to the larger oval.
I love how simple these sticky pads are!  They also give a 3-D effect.
Add your sticker of choice to the smaller oval.
Stick the smaller oval to the larger one.
With your trusty hot glue gun, run a small strip of glue on another small oval.
Attach a toothpick to the glue.
Place the two ovals together on the glue. 
Voila! A cupcake pick~cheap~!

For the cupcake holder, I had a few options. I could pay anywhere from $20-$30 for a metal stand that I had no idea where I would store it or I could buy the $4 cardboard, disposable stand that I could decorate myself. No storage needed afterwards! I just bought a bolt of pink and green ribbon and hot glued it to the stand.
You have to do this with a pretty steady hand and quickly so the glue doesn't set up.
Make sure to double check for glue strings after you are done.  No one wants hot glue strings in their cake!
Pretty cute if you ask me!
I had some owl fabric from my classroom that I brought home to use. I decided to use it as a table runner and cover for the food counter. I laid a strip of the leftover ribbon down the middle of the table and added the flowers. Luci got two dozen pink and green roses from her Daddy on Thurs. and they were starting to droop. Once roses have reached that point, I always cut them down really short and pack them in tight together. They will easily last another 4-5 days. I loved the way they looked in the stemless wine glasses!
Dining room table with plastic table cloth, owl fabric, and ribbon. 
You can sometimes pick up open roses from the floral shop cheaper.  Ask!!
Here is how the food counter looked.  We decorate around the cut-out with glittery tulle, balloons and hanging decorations. 
The owl cupcakes with DIY stand.
These are so fun!  I hung them from the curtain rod with the glittery tulle.
I had some tulle left, so I made a long fluffy bow for the fireplace mantle.
I also customized a flag banner that we found at Hobby Lobby. It was just plain flags and I cut 4" letters to say "Look Whoooooo's 5!" I used the double sided sticky square to attach the letters to ovals and to the flags.

I hung these with thumb tacks above the french doors in the living room.
I love these colors!
For the cupcakes, I got this idea that filled cupcakes would be fun, so I went to my friend Pinterest for ideas. I simply made the cupcakes as the recipe called for and then when they were cooled, I cut a cone shaped chunk of cupcake from the top and filled with about 1 tsp of raspberry filling. (I found a can of raspberry filling at the grocery store in the baking section.) Then I put the cone of cupcake back on the top and iced them.

For food, I highly recommend an early morning party. We planned the party for 10am, this way everyone is happy and naps are not until the afternoon. (No crankiness.) And also guests can get on with their day. With an early morning party, we decided on serving a brunch. I bought bagels & cream cheese, fruit, quick muffin mixes and ingredients to make a crock pot breakfast skillet. For the muffins, I made them into a bread, so I could cook them faster. I made those the day before. I also decorated the house the night before, so I didn't have to race to get it done by 10am! Jake made the breakfast skillet this morning. One lb. of bacon, one lb. of sausage, 18 eggs, and a bag of cubed potatoes. He precooked everything, mixed it and threw it in the crock pot, topped with cheese.
Breakfast skillet in the crock pot, just to keep it warm.
Apple strudel muffin bread, blueberry muffin bread, bagels and cream cheese.

Still a half bottle of bubbly left.  Hmmmmm, what's a girl to do?!
And of course, what is brunch without a mimosa? I made two frozen containers of orange juice the day before. We also put out a bowl of mixed K-cups, tea bags and iced tea. I think that the party turned out great and everyone had fun. Luci loved seeing all the decorations going up. She kept running into the kitchen saying "Oh, Mommy! It looks beautiful in here!" It really did look nice, I am proud to say that I spent under $100 for all the decorations, food, cake, and drinks!

Feel free to share any ideas you have for party decorations! I can always use inspiration!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Luci Moon's Birthday

Five years ago I was so worried what life would be like with a new baby, three year old, no job and no education to fall back on.  While my flower shop had just closed weeks before and I was facing, what seemed at the time to be, financial ruin, I was also anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby girl.  Lucinda Moon graced us with her presence in the early hours of Jan. 10, 2008.  She
was beautiful then and now and I love her more everyday. 

Never could I have imagined how wonderful life would be since having her.  While all the worry, stress, hopelessness of the bankruptcy and closure of my business kept me awake at night,  it all dissipated with the arrival of Luci. 

From the beginning, she was very laid back.  I never knew that a baby could sleep so well!  Luci instantly slept through the night with the occasional bottle here and there.  She would sleep in the bouncy seat, in the car, in restaurants, where ever we went, she slept!  Once, she even fell asleep while sitting at center ice of a hockey game!  Love that kid!

She has always had a very distinct personality.  She is all girl, yet she definitely marches to the beat of her own drummer.  She is every bit of free spirit that her name implies.  She loves to play dress up, princesses, army, horses, and Barbies.  She can be seen wielding a sword, while wearing a princess dress, cowboy hat, all while riding a horse dressed in royal regalia. 
Today started at 5:45am, and she quickly informed me that over night she might have easily grown 3" since yesterday.  (She even got the measuring stick to show me.)  While the day for the rest of us involved going to work, school and running errands, it was magical for Luci.  Because that's the way she is.  She can take the mundane and make it magical.  She has a talent for it.  So this is what our day was like.

My students made cards for her. (Not planned, but my Smartboard decided to be a turd, so we had 10 minutes to kill.) She loved the cards, by the way!
She got to choose where we went for dinner.  She said "Chili's has the best mac and cheese, Mom!"
Birthday Brownie! Look how her little fist is clenched in excitement. Love her.
Every girl needs roses from her Daddy on her birthday.  She loves pink and green right now.
She was so excited to open her presents.  (We are having a real party on Sunday for her.  She couldn't wait to open something.)
Beauty and the Beast theater tickets for next week!
Clothes from Namma!
Beautiful dress to wear to Beauty and the Beast.

Birthday dress to wear to her party on Sunday.
The day went by too fast, as the last five years have. I did get to ask her how she liked being five and she said "It's awesome. Mom!"