Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thankful this Thursday

Thanks for all of the well-wishes and prayers sent up on behalf of my furry first-born. We received word this afternoon that the surgery was a success (no more surprise testicles hidden up in there) and that we can pick up our boy tomorrow. It's amazing how that little neurotic dog has stolen my heart over the last nine years.

(Ha. I'm laughing to myself thinking about the fact that this post has the phrase "surprise testicles" in it and what type of traffic that could bring to my little corner of the Internet. Haha.)

I am the world's biggest library geek. I love the library, as in I love the library and books and reading so much that if I could rip the pages out of them and eat them I would. Not really, but maybe. I'll have to do a post sometime soon about my life-long love affair with the library. That being said, my latest obsession is checking out DVD's for my son of some classics I enjoyed as a child. This week we've been enjoying "Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Pluto Volume Two (1947-1951)". My son sits there with his mouth gaping open, eyes glazed over, paralyzed in a Disney-magic-induced-temporary-coma. I've sat alongside him and caught several of the shorts as well, and thought, for today, in honor of my beloved Romeo and his successful surgery, I would share my favorite Pluto cartoon from the collection with you. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, you must at least fast forward to about the 5-minute mark and catch my absolute favorite part of the clip. I love those girl dogs screaming like crazed Beatles' fans. So cute!



Speaking of the library, maybe you were wondering what is on the top of my nightstand stack of books? Right now I am knee-deep in this little charmer:

I know, I know, I am so predictable. A book about a pig and what he can teach us about life + me = love. The quirkier the better, I always say...

And last but not least, I am over the moon excited about tickets I bought today for a concert next month here in Wonderland. I'd actually never heard of this trio until I saw the concert listing today, but after listening to a few snippets of their songs on iTunes, I was hooked as an instant fan. And who wouldn't love their name -- Hot Club of Cowtown?!

(image from their website)
Western swing and jazz -- those two are pretty much my favorite music combo these days, so I know it will be a great concert. Until then I will be soaking up as much of their music as possible and channelling my inner cowgirl. And, don't you know, it will be yet another opportunity for me to bust out my favorite footwear...

From one parent to another

Today is the day. The day they remove my baby's surprise tumor. Now before you go all spastic on me, I am not talking about my three-year-old-son, but I am referring to my first baby, my beloved Italian greyhound. He is my first dog, and he has been with me through thick and through thin these last nine years, so I cannot help but turn into a nervous mama today, worried for my baby that's about to go under the knife. If you get a moment to say a little prayer for my guy that everything goes well, I'd appreciate it.

(If you haven't already figured it out, yep, we're those people. The ones that think of their dogs as their own children, just below their beloved three-year-old; the ones that have the crazy doghouse in the backyard with the cable TV and air conditioning; the people that talk to their pets as if they are human; and the ones that simply cannot imagine life without one of them there.)

Thanks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Let them eat cake.

Today was the 30th birthday of one of my friends, so I made a little cake to take to lunch with us.

(image courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)

It's not your standard birthday cake by any means, but since the birthday girl is a culinary WonderWoman herself, I figured she might not mind if it wasn't traditional. I tweaked it just a bit by using Trader Joe's Apricot Preserves instead of the Orange Marmalade it called for, mainly since I had a big previously opened jar of it in my refrigerator, but also because, I'll admit it, the idea of orange marmalade scares me a little. I am not a fan of peels or pith. Say that word five times fast: pith pith pith pith pith. (Haha, did you really do it?) And no, just because I have a few Trader Joe's items in my pantry does not mean I live close to a Trader Joe's. I am so very unabashedly bitter about this fact. The day we get a Trader Joe's in Wonderland will be a very lovely day indeed. Until then, we try and smuggle back as much as we can in our suitcases when we are visiting Trader Joe's territory. The whole kitchen smelled so amazing that my son walked in, sniffing the air, and said, "Mmmmmmmmm!!!!!! I seh pee-za!" (Mmmmmmmmm!!!!!! I smell pizza!). Don't let his declaration fool you. It was the most heavenly citrusy scent wafting out of our oven, the furthest smell from pizza possible. Although, I think in his world, that was a very high compliment.

Four Seasons Summer Quilt

Here it is in all its little glory...



and a closer look...
(click on the photos to get an even closer look if you dare)

I myself am actually not a big swimmer, but we do have a swimming pool in our backyard which has gotten lots of use this season. I do consider myself a "bathing beauty" in the fact that I am much more comfortable lounging poolside or just getting in (head above water, of course) and floating on something. I knew that I wanted to find a vintage-looking swimmer to put on the quilt, so I searched and searched online until I found the iconic Jantzen girl. Perfect! In my searching online I had also stumbled upon lots of Esther Williams pictures and info, which in turn, led me to my new favorite swimwear. So this little quilt has already made my summer!

It's not without its little "issues" -- some puckers here and there, stretching and pulling in places there shouldn't be, a finished size of either 20" or 21" square (haha, why can I not get things to square up just so? oh well) etc. -- but I sure enjoyed making it and hope that its new owner will enjoy it just as much. I figure all of its issues just make this quilt all the more endearing. My favorite part about it (besides the lovely diving girl) is the clouds that I stitched in. They are nice and subtle. Of course, I love the colors as well, since they are still my favorite combination these days. It is going into the hands of the United States Postal Service this afternoon. Will you be the lucky recipient?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dear Snobby Mothers at PBK

Dear Snobby Mothers at PBK (Pottery Barn Kids),

I'm sorry I had to interrupt your plans this morning by walking into the store to pick up a baby gift. It was simply terrible of me to expect you to actually move your big honking $800 stroller out of the way for me to be able to pick up an item to purchase off the shelf. I shouldn't have bothered you since you were in the store only for the free story time (by the looks of the baseball diamonds balanced precariously on your fingers, I'm guessing you didn't really need their free services, but whatever). I'm sorry I was in your way by standing in line trying to pay for my items and get the heck out of Dodge. I apologize for trying to smile at you to brighten your day; I do realize it would have not been worth your time to burn enough calories by smiling back. I'm sorry that you are too busy to be bothered to keep your crazy out-of-control children from running and screaming around the store and bumping into actual customers like myself, all the while destroying the property of the store. I realize that it must be your highest hopes and dreams for your children to grow up to be just as snobby and disrespectful to others as yourselves -- if so, you are doing a fantastic job and should pat yourselves on the back, or better yet, buy a little something something at Saks or Coach to reward yourself for such a fine parenting job. Oh wait, looks like you already did. And it was a really nice touch to walk through the door I was graciously holding open for you with your three monsters, nanny, and even-snottier-looking-mother in tow without acknowledging my presence. It really just makes you appear so much better than the rest of us, which I'm guessing might be your aim.

Wishing you a wonderful life,
Valerie

Monday, July 28, 2008

You call it "treadmill", I call it "DREADmill"...

Sometimes you gotta change it up. Come up with a new plan to replace the old one that wasn't working. What am I referring to? The dreaded "E" word: EXERCISE.

Yuck. I really am not a fan of the word. Sure, in theory, it all sounds great, but actually stick me on the treadmill and expect me to sweat the pounds off? Not so fun. The main problem has been that I got off the treadmill a couple of months ago for an out-of-town trip, and NEVER GOT BACK ON. Oops. Now I've heard a lot of people say naughty things about treadmills, remarking how "boring" it is to be on one for any amount of time. I might agree if it wasn't close to 100 stinkin' degrees outside, so to me, my little set-up of the treadmill, parked in front of the TV loaded with five billion channels, one big fan on high in the front, and one fan on high in the back, well, it's not the worst deal.

Whilst I was "faithful" to my treadmill, I would walk 4 miles in an hour, 5-7 days a week. And I noticed that my thighs shaped up a little. And I was happy. But it still wasn't such a noticeable difference in my body for such a lot of effort on my part (at least in my opinion).

Fast-forward to a month ago when I read an article on the Internet that suggested folks that added spurts of jogging or running into their walking routines were losing weight up to FOUR TIMES FASTER those that were just walking. Sign me up! Oh wait. I hate to jog. Pretty much the only instance you would find this body jogging would be a.) if a truck full of FREE MONEY was in front of me, or b.) if someone was chasing me with a gun.

So, I figured, what the heck? I'll try it. Last night, after months off the treadmill, I got back on for an hour. I made my own little routine of 5 minutes walking, 2 minutes jogging, etc., etc. for the entire hour. (Don't laugh -- 2 minutes at a time of jogging seemed like an eternity to me! Thankfully it added up to over a quarter of the whole hour that I spent jogging, a vast improvement for this non-runner.) And my body was drenched in sweat. Gross. One more thing I don't love -- sweating. But I felt a grand sense of accomplishment, and I felt things jiggling that I hadn't felt jiggling ever before. I'm hoping that means over time they might jiggle right off my body.

We'll see how long this lasts...

I've been tagged!

How exciting -- my first "tag"! Thanks to Waldeck Dry Goods for tagging me.
Here's what you do:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Six things:

1. I only drink pop (soda, Coke, whatever you want to call it) once or twice a month usually. One summer in college I tried going "cold turkey" and losing my pop addiction. Ever since, I don't enjoy it nearly as much. I now only seem to drink it (half a can maybe) with pizza or Mexican food. And I don't drink coffee. No caffeine addict here, unless you count chocolate, and then I am so busted...

2. Please don't tell Bill Cosby on me, but I do not like Jello gelatin, even though I know he says that "there's always room for J-E-L-L-O". I like Jello PUDDING and Pudding Pops, but Jello, no thank you. I'd starve in a hospital.

3. I've gotten embarrassingly good (or terrible) at this, but if I am really enjoying a book, 90% of the time I skip to the end to see what happens because I can't stand the wait. I am really trying to work on this and cut it out, but since I am an avid reader and many times the books on my nightstand are only checked out for 2 weeks (with no renewals since they are usually off the "hold" list), I am limited to how long I have to finish them, and it stresses me out to no end. I know, I need therapy.

4. My absolute favorite movie hands-down is "The Goonies". I love that movie so much I planned a trip to Oregon a few years back with my mom (also because I did want to go to Oregon anyway) and dragged her on a "pilgrimage" of all the filming locations. It was awesome.

5. I don't have to shave my legs. Too much information? Sorry. I guess there is enough Native American blood in me that hair just doesn't grow much on my legs, and when it does, it is too fine and invisible for the razors (or Nair) to pick up.

6. My secret wish is to be a singer with a big band (big band as in music from that genre, not a large band). Although my sole identity used to be that of an accomplished pianist, I always secretly wanted to be in front of one of those big silver vintage looking microphones wearing a spectacular vintage gown, and singing all of my favorites like "Don't Fence Me In", "The Very Thought of You", and "Orange-Colored Sky". One of my friends gave me that opportunity at her New Year's Eve wedding a few years ago, and I got to stand up with the band at the reception and sing a few songs, one of the most fun things I have ever done. It was also great because my dad got to see me up there -- it is from him I got my love of big band music, and my performance was only a few months before we found out he was dying of cancer and had to say a quick goodbye. I am always secretly hoping that somehow, some local big band would call me up and let me perform with them. Maybe someday...

I tag Courtney, Amy, Amber, Ruth, Mo, and anyone else reading this that wants to play along. If you can't do it, no worries, but if you can, it's kind of fun!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Toad-in-a-Hole

I have truly enjoyed reading all of your comments, especially so many helpful ones regarding my three-year-old. It is always beneficial to get the advice and support and encouragement of those of you who have been there. Despite his recent naughtiness, I feel I should redeem myself and him by sharing some of his best traits with you. He is one polite and caring little guy. This morning I sneezed and unexpectedly heard a little voice from yonder call out "Bess ooh, Mama" (Bless you, Mama). I didn't know he knew that phrase! And although he has been awfully naughty lately, he at least is innocent (and naive) enough to come forth bravely and tell me his indiscretions. Like this morning -- "I naw-nee, Mama. I daw wih mah-mer." (I naughty, Mama. I draw with marker. A phrase no parent of a three-year-old really wants to hear, since there was no paper involved.) So for right now, he at least isn't deliberately hiding the naughty things he has done, which does help in finding the messes. And he is a champion eater -- not picky either. I love that it is no big deal to get him to eat pretty much anything, which makes getting three square meals a day in him so much easier. He also is very much a happy-go-lucky guy 90% of the time, and he doesn't really seem to have a mean bone in his body (maybe some ornery ones, but not a mean one). It makes my heart sing to know that he is a positive little soul that truly seems to delight in the world around him. I hope he keeps that sunny outlook throughout his life. (Can you tell we had a much better evening last night? Um, yeah, except for him waking up sometime this morning around 6am. Not sure what that was all about, although I'll take it since he did bless us with an uninterrupted night's sleep and no major offenses and no dirty sheets to have to change.)

Have you discovered Pandora yet? It's so cool -- you can plug in your favorite artists, and it will create customized radio stations for you. I usually just open it in a new window so I can listen to it while I work on my computer. Sometimes I'll even take my laptop around the house with me just to be able to listen to it. I've discovered so many new artists via Pandora. Right now I'm groovin' to a little bit of Roy Rogers! That's right, vintage cowboy music, man, do I love that stuff. In fact, speaking of good ole' Roy, I have some Christmas fabric coming in the mail, that is Roy Rogers Christmas fabric:

How fun and quirky is this stuff?! Even if you are not a vintage cowboy fan, you cannot deny the cute factor going on in this fabric! I wish I'd known about this fabric sooner because there's barely any left of it. I had to take the last yard the seller had, so that'll just have to do. I figure I'll make some sort of a quilted throw, utilizing it as the main fabric. Man, thinking about Roy Rogers makes me really miss my dad. Roy Rogers was right up his alley. Okay, let's change the subject...

This past week I signed up for an apron swap, my very first! So far I have only done quilt swaps, but the apron swaps have always been intriguing to me, especially now that an apron would actually get used around here since I am cooking much more frequently. It's perfect timing, too -- by the time Thanksgiving rolls around and it is time to cook my 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Dinner a la The Pioneer Woman Cooks!, I will be needing a full apron to wear in the kitchen especially for the big task.

This morning for breakfast, I attempted to make this easy recipe.

(image via Pioneer Woman)
So good and so easy! My husband is already a fan of eggs over easy, but I have never been able to make them for him since my family only ate our eggs one way -- scrambled -- and I had no intentions of ever changing the way I cook eggs. But Pioneer Woman changed all that, helping to fix the rift in our marriage, to change up this "house divided", haha. I made three of them for breakfast morning, one for each of us, and they were gobbled up in minutes. I told my aunts about it this afternoon when they stopped by my house for a visit, and they told me that they had to learn how to make the same thing in home ec growing up, but it was called "Mummy Eggs". I guess there are a lot of strange names for it out there. I think our house is going to pick the name "Toad-in-a-Hole" for no other reason than it makes me laugh.

I hope you all are enjoying as nice of a random Saturday as I am. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things that go bump in the night

I have this boy. He was the absolute best baby, a pretty easy toddler, but I think sometime in the last few months he was abducted by aliens in the dead of night and replaced with a three-year-old. I kid you not, a living, eating, fire-breathing three-year-old. We'd heard rumors and legends about such a creature, but we never thought we'd see one in the flesh, let alone find one living down the hall from us in the nursery.

This three-year-old is a foreign creature to me. The disobedience that so easily spews out of his fire-breathing mouth is unbelievable and never-ending. He doesn't seem to enjoy sleeping like he did before the supposed alien abduction (12-13 hours a night, 2-4 hour naps every afternoon), and his constantly-wiggling body can't seem to stay in his bed at night. No, it isn't a matter of his being too scared (remember, he is fire-breathing himself) -- it seems to be a matter of wanting to get out of bed to break every last little rule that we set forth every single night. Many times during the night this creature also has started uttering forth the most blood-curdling screams, ripping me from my dreams, stumbling down the hallway to his room, only to find him mad that he woke up and his music was not on (he falls asleep a lot listening to a bedtime mix CD I made) or simply wanting to get out of bed to read a book (I'm glad I have a little bibliophile on my hands, but notsomuch at 3 in the morning). It's become quite the "Never Cry Wolf" show most nights. Every time the screams happen, I think, I am not going down there, but again, this is not the normal fake crying uttered forth by most children, it truly is blood-curdling and sounds like something is dreadfully wrong. (Believe you me, I can spot the fake crying before it even starts. Fake crying has nothing on this mama.) This three-year-old has also been showing off his latest nasty little skill of taking off his overnight diaper if there is poo in it and climbing back into his bed naked and un-wiped, or he takes it off it has pee in it, puts his pajama pants back on and then puts the diaper back on, climbs into bed, and resumes peeing all night long. Either way, it is so not cool because I've been having to change the sheets almost every morning now, and again, I feel like Jacob wrestling the angel because his bed is one of the most difficult to change the sheets on.

Needless to say, I'm tired. (And yes, I can hear you all out there, howling with laughter at such an absurd and obvious statement, especially one from the parent of a three-year-old.) I didn't have to get up with him at night as a baby and toddler because he always slept through the night (I can hear you out there again, playing your world's smallest violins for me), so this getting up 3-4 times a night is killing me. And normally I pride myself on discipline, being extremely consistent with my boy and raising him so far to be a fairly well-behaved and respectful individual, but I am at a loss on how to handle this new nighttime routine. I have tried positive reinforcement ("if you stay in your bed tonight you will get a quarter to put in your piggy bank"), negative reinforcement ("if you get out of bed, turn on the lights, touch the CD player, get all your books out, etc., etc., you will lose any TV privileges and your beloved stuffed dog for the next day and night"), and other punishments, all of which seem to work for a short period, but never last beyond one or two days before he resumes his naughtiness.

Short of duct-taping him down in bed every night, putting a pad-lock on is body to keep the diaper on, and removing his voicebox (I kid, I kid), what else should I try doing to stop this madness? Any suggestions? Or maybe you've heard of facilities that take in these creatures and return them when they've grown into respectable four-year-olds? ;)

Talula Does the Hula.

You know how I love me some Yahoo news stories...
Check this one out. Poor Talula!

"WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A family court judge in New Zealand has had enough with parents giving their children bizarre names here, and did something about it.

Just ask Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. He had her renamed.

Judge Rob Murfitt made the 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so that her name could be changed, he said in a ruling made public Thursday. The girl was involved in a custody battle, he said.

The new name was not made public to protect the girl's privacy.

"The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name," he wrote. "It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily."

The girl had been so embarrassed at the name that she had never told her closest friends what it was. She told people to call her "K" instead, the girl's lawyer, Colleen MacLeod, told the court.

In his ruling, Murfitt cited a list of the unfortunate names.

Registration officials blocked some names, including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit, he said. But others were allowed, including Number 16 Bus Shelter "and tragically, Violence," he said.

New Zealand law does not allow names that would cause offense to a reasonable person, among other conditions, said Brian Clarke, the registrar general of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Clarke said officials usually talked to parents who proposed unusual names to convince them about the potential for embarrassment."

Seriously? Talula Does the Hula? Bless that poor girl's heart...

When I went to the Feist concert a couple of months ago, she mentioned she had just taped an episode of Sesame Street. You gotta love any girl who wants to be on Sesame Street! Anyway, I've been anxiously waiting to see her on the big screen, and I guess I must have missed it (we don't catch Sesame Street every single day), but I did manage to find it on YouTube:



Brilliant, I tell ya'. My son is going to be over the moon when I show him this video.

Anyone out there have the "anywhere chair" from Pottery Barn Kids? My son is the proud owner of a denim-covered chair, embroidered with his name on it. For your viewing pleasure, I should have recorded a video of myself trying to stuff the chair inserts back into the cover. Lord, have mercy. You'll remember the recent "Poo Massacre of '08" from a week and a half ago, and well, the anywhere chair was a sad, sad victim of the poo. Thankfully, the removable cover washed up nicely after a couple of 'go-rounds in the washer, but in order to make it look nice and de-wrinkled, I threw it in the dryer as well. Oops. I don't think those things are pre-shrunk. Or at least the ones from a couple of years ago. It was like Jacob wrestling the angel, me and that crazy anywhere chair. Thankfully I emerged victorious, and hopefully after a couple of "sittings", the denim will have stretched a bit back to its original shape. So, a word to the wise, don't put your cover in the dryer. Unless you're a fan of the WWF.

So cute. I just made a batch of cupcakes (from a mix, just because I was craving cupcakes. Don't be a hater.) My son walked into the kitchen after I had taken them out of the oven, sniffed the air dramatically and said, "MMMMMMMM!!! I seh pie!!!!" (I smell pie). I guess right now one of the only baked goods words that he knows is pie, not sure why. And then he looked at me and asked, "a haha barebay, Mama?" (Happy Birthday, Mama?). Being cute has saved that boy's rear end many a time, I tell ya'.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This post couldn't possibly be any more random.

Ah, yes, I only tell you about the BIG poo stories, but there are oh so many more little day-to-day ones. Lots of little pee stories, too. Like the other night, for instance. Unfortunately the overnite diaper (not a typo, Huggies Overnites are spelled that way, thankyouverymuch) was not positioned perfectly over "Mr. Willie", and the floodgates opened. My husband checked on our boy sometime during the night, found him swimming in pee, stripped and changed the sheets, and then put him back to sleep. All while I slumbered peacefully in the other room, unaware of the situation. Sweet, huh? The funny part came in the morning when I found my child sleeping under a tablecloth. Apparently Papa was unable to tell the difference between a twin flat sheet and a tablecloth.

Um yeah, I didn't quite accomplish either of the two things on my "Tackle it Tuesday" list yesterday. A big ole NADA for me. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. But I do have an excuse -- yesterday ended up being quite the wild goose chase, having to acquire a few items and paperwork needed for final approval to be a "backup plan/break-giver" for a foster parent friend of mine. And have no fear -- I now am the proud owner of a kitchen fire extinguisher. Safety is my middle name, oh yes it is. And besides, my failures and bravery to tell you about my failures, well, that just makes me all the more endearing, right? Well, even if it doesn't, I'm going to tell myself that it does.

Want to hear something funny? The other day my mom was talking about blogs and Internet sites like Facebook and MySpace, and she was commenting on how shallow and self-centered she thinks it all is. She was saying how she couldn't believe people have their own websites where they talk about themselves and their interests, yada, yada, yada. (Insert evil daughter laughing here: Mwahahaha). And all the while I have over 120 posts under my belt so far. I totally wanted to laugh. But instead I just nodded my head and said "hmmm" a whole lot. Obvious she is clueless to my Internet life.

Anyone hungry for a little greyhound sandwich?

Or how about this cuddly guy?

It's a darn good thing they are so cute. It helps me forgive all the potty accidents, excessive barking (cough, cough, Minnie Pearl, cough, cough), and general mayhem that goes down thanks to these three.

I saw this post on ohdeedoh today.

Interesting, huh? A real live dollhouse!

I finally got around to taking a picture of our new picket fence. (Keep in mind it has already soaked up 9 gallons of stain, not kidding, and could probably use a few more.)

We love, love, love our new picket fence. Now we have a place for the boy to run around without a.) falling in a pool, b.) stepping in dog poo, and c.) getting hit by a car. What more could a girl ask for? Well, maybe some cute shutters. And a custom screen door. Maybe some windowboxes. And how 'bout a couple of Adirondack chairs on the lawn? Preferably in blue, thanks. (You know my husband just loves me to pieces. The neverending-human-honey-do-list. That's me.)

And before I forget, I must wish a very Happy Birthday to Amy today! Hope it was a fantastic birthday! Here's a fun little birthday video I found just for you:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hey good-lookin', whatcha got cookin'?

For dinner tonight, we'll be having a little of this (the original version), some salad on the side, and this sinfully delicious concoction.

6:30 sharp. Don't be late. (Just kidding, I'm not that nice, you're not invited.) I just love that Pioneer Woman (the gal behind the crazy good recipes). Seriously. I heart her.

I want her to come live at my house, cook for me every day, shoot pictures for me every day, and keep me in stitches every day. Oh wait, I guess she already basically does that with her blog. You should read it, too. (What are you waiting for? Go read it!)

As proof that the British accents are ever so sophisticated, I give you one of my newest favorite discoveries, Charlie and Lola! (Or rather "Cha-lee" and Lola). I dedicate this video clip to my friend, L, who, like Lola, isn't too keen on "to-mah-to's":


If you've already seen them, I apologize, but I think they are the most adorable duo and love to watch them occasionally with my son on the telly.

As promised, some sneak peeks of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap summer quilt I have been slaving over:


It's a darn good thing I cut out enough fabric for two of these babies because it would be awfully hard to give this one up. I think I might end up entering the one I keep in the state fair this year.

Tackle it Tuesday: Early Morning Edition

Let me preface today's post by telling you that I am sitting here on my laptop at 6:45 AM. Yes, AM, that is not a typo. My favorite son (the only one, actually) must have come into my bedroom yesterday and pushed the buttons on the alarm clock, something he is not allowed to do. There is a "time zone" button that must have been pushed for I awoke (unknowingly) one hour earlier than I needed to, got up and took my shower, and came back into my bed for a few minutes of checking email, finally glancing up at the time on the top of my computer screen and realizing it was awful early. Repeat it with me now: I love my three-year-old. I love my three-year-old. I love my three-year-old.

I finally watched this movie from Netflix that I have had sitting on the shelf for a couple of weeks now:

I wasn't really expecting too much from it, but you know, it was actually pretty entertaining. Of course, I'm a sucker for those treasure-hunting movies (starting with my first love, The Goonies, but that's a whole other post in itself), and this one didn't disappoint. Now, it's not necessarily an Oscar-contender or anything, but entertaining it is.

In other news, I won a blog giveaway!!!! SOOOOO exciting!

Over at Susan's blog there were $50 worth of bath and soap products up for grabs, handmade by another blogger Karen, called Lulufish. I am super excited and looove bath products, so this is right up my alley. Thanks, Susan! Thanks, Karen!

(Oh, and did you notice in the previous paragraph anything new? That's right, folks, I'm growing up into a better blogger -- I finally, FINALLY figured out how to insert a link! This is going to open my world wide up, kids. I have a feeling I will become a linking fool...)

For today's edition of "Tackle it Tuesday", I am going to attempt to:
1. finish the quilting of my Four Seasons Summer quilt, which I've been doing by hand, thankyouverymuch
2. finish at least one more tree (sans leaves and oranges) of my master bathroom mural

It's a short list so I don't overwhelm myself, which I tend to do quite frequently. I'll be back later with updates and finally that sneak peek of the summer quilt that I've been promising you...

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's what I do best...

...randomness, that is.

Would you believe that one of the Christmas cards we sent out (last year, mind you, at the BEGINNING of December even) was returned to sender and showed up in my mail slot last week?! Seriously, it took that bad boy 8 months to make it back home! I thought it was pretty funny. Of course, then I had to email the gal it was supposed to go to and tell her why she never heard from our family at Christmas.

I watched another great flick last week from Netflix: Dear Frankie.

Have you seen this beautiful little film? Here is a short summary I found online:

"Nine-year-old Frankie and his single mum Lizzie have been on the move ever since Frankie can remember, most recently arriving in a seaside Scottish town. Wanting to protect her deaf son from the truth that they've run away from his father, Lizzie has invented a story that he is away at sea on the HMS Accra. Every few weeks, Lizzie writes Frankie a make-believe letter from his father, telling of his adventures in exotic lands. As Frankie tracks the ship's progress around the globe, he discovers that it is due to dock in his hometown. With the real HMS Accra arriving in only a fortnight, Lizzie must choose between telling Frankie the truth or finding the perfect stranger to play Frankie's father for just one day..."

It is a great little movie. Of course, it doesn't hurt that there is a little Gerard Butler thrown in, haha, but Emily Mortimer is fantastic as well, and the little boy in the movie is so endearing you want to take him home in your pocket. I also enjoyed the music and the Scottish accents. Oh, the Scottish accents. How is it that the Scottish, Irish, British, and Australian accents all sound so incredibly sophisticated? Our accents here in the States cannot even compare, sounding terribly plain and even somewhat country-bumpkin-ish in parts, even if we are intelligent beings. Not that I'm not proud of the varied accents here in the US, but they certainly don't sound anywhere close to being as debonair and romantic.

Would someone please fast-forward me to October already? Summertime is officially here, and the temps are now in the upper 90s and are supposed to remain there indefinitely. I am definitely not an extreme-heat gal, but if it must be this ridiculously hot, well then, I will just give thanks for the pool in my backyard.

Enough already with the ignorant media! Once again, I spotted a photo of Nicole Kidman captioned with the phrase "new mom". New mom?! Yes, she just had a baby, but she has been a mother for years to the two children with Tom Cruise. No, they didn't happen to pop out of her belly like this recent one, but they are her children just the same. Again, is this just Hollywood and the media once more being completely insensitive to the fact that those two children, adopted or not, are HER children and she is THEIR mother? Nicole Kidman is not a new mom. She has already been a mom for years, she just has a third child now to show for it. Enough already.

And I am really looking forward to this movie coming in August, with my favorite Gilmore Girl, that's right:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! What can I say? Get yourself out with your best girlfriends, leave the kids with the husband, grab a box of Junior Mints (always my movie-watching candy of choice) and go enjoy this movie. There were several points in the movie when I looked around the theater to see almost everyone's toes tapping or seats rocking. It's impossible to watch this flick and not have a great time. The scenery is breathtaking, the acting superb, and the music top-notch. Now, I must tell you, it was a teensy bit hard not to giggle when Pierce sang, only because it just didn't quite seem right to me, but I still enjoyed his character nonetheless. Meryl, ah Meryl, gave a fantastic performance -- I've always liked her; she definitely seems the sort of person that you totally wish was your aunt or good friend or something and that surely she would be such an interesting and fun gal to hang out with.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All in a day's work.

Kids do the darndest things. After lunch my son fell down in his room and apparently hurt his tush because he came in to the room making kissing sounds at me and pointing to his rear, indicating he wanted me to kiss his little hurt bottom. I offered him a quick smooch on the lips instead. There was no way emotionally I was going to "kiss his butt" after his naughty attitude this morning, but it did make me laugh!

My husband is an excellent father. He really is. Want to know what he did tonight? First he earned some Brownie points by taking our son for the afternoon while he worked so I could have a break. As rough and tumble as my boy can occasionally be, he somehow managed to scrape his face and bump his head (not a big bump, just enough for him to say "ouch" and cry a little, more for the drama than anything else). He told my husband he needed to go to the "dah-duh" and get a "beh-beh" (band-aid). So that's what my husband did. He drove our little guy over to the hospital (less than a mile away), took him in, found a nice young doctor apparently on break and convinced him to (wink wink) look our man over for any injuries. The doctor, good soul that he was, played along, gave our son two bandaids, one on his cheek and one on his hair, and pronounced him cured. He then asked my husband why he brought our son over, and my husband told him "to show him that the hospital is not a scary place, so if he ever, God forbid, needs to come someday, he might not be so scared". How cute is that? Two thumbs up for our kind-hearted (and clever) Papa.

Tonight the bats were out! Growing up, I never saw a bat in real life (not that I really wanted to see a bat as a young girl, no thank you). But our neighborhood has bats, and in the summer, if you are patient enough, they'll come out right as the sun is almost completely gone, and fly for about 10 minutes or so. In the past summers I have only seen two of them, and it was in our backyard. They like to swoop down and take drinks of water from the pool. But tonight, there were six of them swooping and swirling over our house and front yard. It really is a neat sight to look up and see them silhouetted across the darkening sky. Kind of Harry Potter-ish, I suppose. I love the bats -- they eat mosquitoes, and anyone that gets rid of the mosquitoes is a friend of mine. I counted 16 bites on just my right leg alone already. Sheesh.

I'll leave you with a fun picture. Recognize this gal?

It's big ole beautiful me! Now don't tell me that you folks out there with MacBooks don't secretly play around with the Photo Booth option. I had to have something to keep me entertained in the bathroom while I let my boy splash around to his heart's content in the bathtub tonight. (And no, I don't really look like that. Or do I? Haha. Don't I look like a character out of one of those goofy movies where one actor plays a million different characters in fatsuits and such?)

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some pictures to show of the picket fence for you. I would have already posted them, but we are having it professionally stained tomorrow (to match the trim color on the house), so I figured I'd just wait until it really looks finished. And I've also been hard at work for a couple of weeks already on my Four Seasons summer quilt, so I'll try to give a little sneaky peek of that tomorrow as well.

Nighty-night!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The fat lady has sung.

So how did I do?

From the "reality" list, I tackled everything but:
emailing my Sunday School women,
and I'm not done with getting the quilts ready yet (but I will be before the night is through).

I also accomplished:
30 minutes of soccer with my son
cooking both lunch and dinner (go me!)
6 loads of laundry (yes, #6 is actually in the dryer, but the rest are not only clean but also folded, ready to be put away)
AND I killed a spider (a huge victory as I usually defer to the husband for that)
AND I returned three DVD's to the library (much to my son's dismay -- no more Donald Duck for a while)

Here's the uber-delicious pizza I made for dinner (courtesy of "The Pioneer Woman Cooks!"), pesto sauce with mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, and parmesan:

All in all, not too bad. And before the night is over, I will probably have the quilts finished as I only have to assemble the backing on each and I'll be done. So, everything but an email? I rocked it! But am I exhausted? Well, yes.

Here is the quilt top with the borders finally added. The finished size is 43.5"x51.5". The binding will be a bright Kaffe Fassett polka dot and the backing is a bright Kaffe Fassett floral.


Ouch! Going to the grocery store was painful! I kept to my list, only adding a few things extra, and the grand total was $198!!!! And mind you, I shop at the Walmart Neighborhood Market which is usually one of the cheapest places to shop (sorry all you Wal-Mart haters out there). Today was really the first time I've grocery shopped and noticed the increase in food prices. They weren't kidding on the news when they said that food and gas had gone up again. It definitely will help me to focus better on making sure we eat all of that food and don't let it go to waste. Now, $20 of that was overnight diapers (which, of course, we'll be purchasing until he turns 18, just kidding, hopefully), $7 was sunscreen (yet another one that probably is not doing it's job, but the ones they mentioned that work are not carried at any stores in Wonderland), and $3 was laundry detergent that never made it home, I just realized. Don't you hate that? I'm sure it was either left at the checkout (bless his heart, we did not have the most efficient checker) or possibly even in the shopping cart. Boo. $3 down the toilet. And wouldn't you know, we had a close call when one item would not ring up. Out of all of those items in my cart, the one single item that gave the checkout guy grief was a nice big package of maxi-pads. Ha! I was just picturing what would happen when he would have to call for a "price check on aisle whatever" over the loudspeaker, or I would have to grab my crazy kid and the package for all to see and walk all the way back through the aisles to find the price. Thank goodness it finally rang up. Ever since I was a teen, that has been one of my nightmares -- public price check on maxi-pads. Ha.

Tackle it Tuesday: Fantasy vs. Reality

Over on the "Five Minutes for Mom" blog, they have something called "Tackle it Tuesday" (duh, every Tuesday for those of you still trying to figure that one out). Each week people can post (or link to a post, of which I am still in the dark about how to do) showing what they are going to tackle that day (or have tackled successfully), specifically housework/chores/projects, etc., all in the hopes that the accountability from posting will actually bring you some success. I am perfect for this one -- I love to read the posts, see what people are accomplishing (while cheering them on in my head -- you go, girls!), but what do I do myself? Sit on my sofa, laptop in hand, dreaming of things I would like to accomplish, but oftentimes having nothing more than an image in my head of a finished project to show for it, haha. Anyone out there that can relate with me on this one? It's very much like when I have bought exercise videos in the past, and watch them all the way through from my sofa. Seriously. I have done that many a time.

So today I thought we'd have a little experiment of sorts, kind of like a real-life reality show episode for you to watch, Truman Show-style, of my little day in the life and how much I accomplish. Keep in mind, the pressure is on by posting this, so I may accomplish a tad more than I would have knowing that I have an audience. But also keep in mind that I am prone to real-life diversions, especially the bodily-function kind, that could trip up my day -- for example, I woke up early this morning when one my beloved pooches hopped on the bed to barf on my sheets. Well, thank you and good morning, dear sweet doggie! (Um, that may or may not be an exact translation of what came out of my mouth.) And we all know the track record with poo around here, so that could also affect said experiment. Just so you are all aware of this.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. I guess to start out I need a list of what I would like to tackle today. But to be fair and give you a true glimpse into how my brain works and what a "glass-is-half-full" optimistic dreamer (read:nutcase) I am, I think I should write out both a "reality" list and a "fantasy" list, since the twain shall never meet and since that will give us something fun to compare to when it comes time tonight for me to post how much I actually accomplished.

So, the reality list (things I really need to try to accomplish today:
take a shower (when you have a kid, you know that sometimes this needs to be written down to actually happen, haha)
go to the grocery store (blech)
go to the fabric store for another package of batting
add borders to one quilt top
prepare quilt #1 for dropoff tomorrow at the quilter's: sew up backing, trim batting to size, fold top, batting, and backing and put in bag ready for dropoff
buying a birthday present and card for my father-in-law
same thing for quilt #2 + first add the final borders
post office to mail packages
send out email about women's ministry for our Sunday School class
re-wash sheets to re-make the bed (my dog has perfect timing as I had just put clean, fresh, sheets on the bed last night)

Here is my "fantasy" list:
all of the above
PLUS
playing at least 15-30 minutes of soccer with my son in our new fenced-in front yard with his new soccer goal
weeding my flowerbeds in front
finishing up trees #1 & 2 (of a total 3) in my bathroom painting job
having a carpet cleaning company come to purge the poo smells from the playroom (depends on whether or not this gets scheduled by my husband)
try to finish up one of my library books (244 pages left)
clean up my sewing mess in the dining room
laundry
read blogs, lots and lots of blogs
playing on iTunes
cooking dinner
watching the other Netflix movie that I have had for almost two weeks now
upload pics for a post tonight

And truly, that "fantasy" list could go on and on and on. But it is now almost 8:15am (thanks for my early morning wakeup call at 7am, dear sweet barfing doggie), and I need to get a move on, especially since I need to take a shower, fix my hair, get my kid up, etc. Oh just kidding, my there are already lovely kicking and banging on the wall sounds coming from the nursery. Check that one off the list -- check!

On your mark......
get set.......


GO!

( I said go, you lazy fool, what are you still doing in bed reading blogs off of Google Reader?! Haha. Okay, I'm getting up...)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Poo happens.

Or rather, I'm sure we all know the real word for that phrase in today's post title, which in our case would actually be very appropriate, but since I'm a clean gal, I'll leave it at that. This was definitely a POO day, and, although I really would rather not fill my blog with stories of my son's bowel movements, I cannot go without telling you what happened today. (But stay with me people, there are going to be pictures in this post, I promise! Oh, and they aren't of poo, don't worry.)

The fence man was back to continue progress this morning. While my husband took our son to soccer this morning, I stayed at the house with all five dogs inside (since the fence man needed access to the backyard as well). After soccer, the boys came home, and I left to go run a few quick errands, leaving my husband in charge of the stir-crazy dogs and our son. Just before I left, the fence man accidentally hit a water pipe from the pool. Yes, good times. I had no idea my husband would know how to fix something of that nature, but sure enough, he went out there and got to work, quickly covered in mud from head to toe. I left, knowing that my son was safe in the playroom, having just had him sit on the potty before I left.

Wouldn't you know that about an hour later I got a call from the house from a panicked husband. Our son apparently got a case of Montezuma's revenge while my husband was outside (which was only about 10 minutes while he was assessing the situation and figuring out how to stop the leak), and an especially bad one at that. My husband went on to tell me about the seven or eight separate piles of runny poo scattered throughout the playroom all over the carpet (one of the only rooms in the house that even has carpet as the rest of our house has wood floors), on our upholstered chair and ottoman, and to top it off, with a nice little pair of poo-soaked underwear hidden behind the chair (bless his heart, he thought he was going to get in trouble). Lawsy. Thankfully my husband is especially good at getting messes like that cleaned up and was able to get most of it out. We will be calling a carpet-cleaning company first thing Monday to come out and finish it up. Oh heavens. All I can say is I was especially thankful for actually being out of the house this time for a change, but bless my poor husband's heart. The positive side to the story is that my son went on the potty immediately after being discovered and went several times there. That's a positive note, right?!

Anyway, at least my errand-running was successful. I was able to buy backing fabric for this...

...my Garden Party quilt! (Er, if you can actually call it a quilt since it is really just a big piece of fabric in the middle with one border around it. Click on the photo to make it bigger if you want to see how lovely the fabric is!) It's about 54"x71", a decent size. I actually got it finished like I said I would, and I even had great luck when I went backing fabric hunting today. Here is the backing fabric I picked up:


Hopefully you can tell from the pictures that it is an orange background with coral branches on it in purple and light purple, three of the colors from the Garden Party main fabric. Even though it is somewhat of an ocean print, because it is rather wild colors, I thought it might not look so coral-ish next to the florals and look maybe more like plain branches in funky colors. Regardless, the best part is that it was $9-a-yard-Tina-Givens-fabric marked down to $4-a-yard, and since I needed over 4 yards, it saved me money, but I still got high-quality quilting fabric. Tomorrow I will sew up the backing and buy batting so I can drop it off to be quilted next week.

I also finally ran into a decent cotton leopard print, something I've been looking for a while now. It is upholstery weight (and 54" wide) so it is a bit thicker than regular cotton, but at least it is cotton and not a furry fabric. I got the idea to mix it with my Drawing Room fabrics from this ad:

I love the shoes in this ad (I have a hunch they are from J. Crew), but I haven't been able to find a leopard print quite as golden-hued as the shoes, as I don't think one exists. But I think it will look rather nice to mix in a little leopard when I make the pillows for my sofas, probably using it as piping, and also to throw in a few squares of it for the quilted throw I hope to make as well. Here is my stash of fabrics, ready to be made into pillows and a throw:

I may need to order more of the teal and green fabric on the bottom left since I only have what was left from the chair reupholster.
Wouldn't you know it is raining again? What a crazy year of weather we have had so far. At least it makes everything nice and green and cools off the temperatures for a while!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Playing catch-up

Guess what today is?! It's "picket-fence-in-our-front-yard" DAY!!!!!! Finally! We got an estimate to have the fence installed maybe almost 2-3 months ago, and I have been dying from the anticipation of them actually starting it. All of the monsoons in Wonderland pushed our start date back further and further, and when they were supposed to finally start earlier this week, you guessed it, the rains returned. But not today! There is a picket fence going up in my front yard today!

Sesame Street was cracking me up yesterday. There was a "Meal or No Meal" segment, a spoof off of "Deal or No Deal" where the contestant has to determine if food items are a meal or not. And Cookie Monster was the secret banker up behind the dark screen, trying to make offers for her to settle. I love how they throw us parents a bone here and there with something funny for us. You gotta love Sesame Street -- still current after all of these years.

We must be doing something right. Today my son came to me and said "sossy, Mama" (sorry, Mama). I asked him for what, because it had been at least a good 10 or 15 minutes since his last minor offense. He said, "sossy for putty" (sorry for puppy). About 15 minutes before he had been too rough around one of the dogs and I could tell it was annoying her. That was the first time he came to me on his own and not only said sorry (which he is very gracious at already doing on his own) but added in the for what, giving me the boost of confidence that he understands (for the most part) when and why he gets in trouble for things, and the need to say you are sorry when you do something wrong to someone. Yay!

Of course, on the other hand, we have yet another poo story, thankfully one my husband dealt with while I was sleeping. Apparently last night my son (once again) saved up his poo for his nighttime diaper (a growing trend, unfortunately), but instead of leaving it for us to find in the morning when we take off his diaper and set him on the potty to start out the new day, he decided to "take care of it for us". My husband said when he went in to check on him last night, he found poo scattered across the floor (no joke), a used and very empty diaper next to it, and our son in bed with his pajamas and a new pair of underwear on. At this point I'm thinking of having a toilet installed in his room right next to his bed. Not really...

Oh, and I'll throw this extra potty story in as well, while we're on the subject. My brilliant husband (insert sarcasm here) told me that when he was a kid, if his parents wanted him to poo in the potty, they would set him on the potty and put his feet in a bowl of warm water. Somehow the sensation caused by the warm water was supposed to help. (Sounds sketchy to me, but whatever.) Anyway, my brills husband did just this to our son last night, and left him there in the bathroom for a few minutes. I had no idea that he had just set this scenario up, and I asked where our son was. On the potty, was my husband's proud answer. Because it is awfully quiet back there, I pointed out. Yes, my husband said, because he is concentrating on going poo. Hmm, I thought, as I walked back to the bathroom to check the situation out for myself, where I found a bathroom completely doused in water, my sopping wet son sitting on the potty (no poo in sight -- remember, that apparently was to be found later on his bedroom floor), proudly telling me that he took a bath and "wah my heh" (washed his hair). Niiiiiiiice. Good try, Papa.

And one more story. Tonight while driving home we passed the local hospital, a Catholic hospital. All of a sudden from the backseat came screams of "Day-doo Dah! Day-doo Dah!" (Thank you God). At first I thought maybe my son had decided to hold an impromptu praise and worship session in the car, but then I looked over and saw he was pointing to the statue of Mary with her hands held in prayer in front of the hospital. It was one of those adorable kid moments for sure. He noticed that she was praying, and he then started screaming "Por my poo! Por my poo!" (for my food, the other half of his mealtime ritual prayer). I guess he assumed they must be thanking God for their food just like he does every day. I just love the fact that he is starting to understand a little bit about loving God. It sure does this Mama's heart good. There may be poo on our walls, there may be sometimes disobedient little boys running around, but the things that really matter are starting to stick.

Okay, I promise pictures tomorrow. I mean, come on, I know, posts aren't near as fun minus the pictures, so I'll be sure to show you some tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hilarious.

I saw this "meme" on an adoption blog and had to try it. As stated, it is pretty self-explanatory and also pretty darn entertaining as you will see:

1. Type in “[your name] needs” in the Google search:
Valerie needs to weed out those who seek only to waste her time as soon as possible. (Appropriate enough by itself, but a little horrifying that this was from a website for a professional escort service -- yipes!)

2: Type in “[your name] looks like” in Google search:
Valerie looks like a "giant blowdryer". (Ha! I'm not sure this one rings true, but it certainly made me laugh.) Or how about this one: Valerie looks like a "21st century scarecrow". (Gee, thanks.) Or this one: Valerie looks amazing! She's even hotter than her Jordache jean wearing days... (Ah, so nice that you noticed!)

3: Type in “[your name] does” in Google search:
Valerie does Dancing With the Stars. (My mom would be so proud. And jealous.) Or even better: Valerie does walk kinda funny with a bit of a leg gap. Like she sleeps with pillows between her legs or perhaps a Quarter Horse? (Niiiiiiiiiiiiiice.)

4: Type in “[your name] hates” in Google search:
Valerie hates hiccups. (TRUE!! SO TRUE!!! I used to get hiccups something awful in school -- I sound like a sick dragon when I get them and used to get sent out of the classroom because it was so disruptive. I also tend to get them for hours at a time, which is so miserable.) Also, Valerie hates to date vacuum cleaners. (Yep, they can tend to really suck. Hahahahaha, I crack myself up.)

5: Type in “[your name] goes to” in Google search:
Valerie goes to Shipshewana. (Never heard of it, but apparently it is a town in Indiana where you can buy plain dresses in the Amish or Quaker style. Note to self: add that to the list of must-see places apparently, even though it sounds a far cry from Anthropologie...) Or my personal favorite: Valerie goes to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah every January. (I'm oh-so-cool that way.)

6: Type in “[your name] loves” in Google search:
Valerie Loves Me! (Yes, kids, repeat it over and over to yourself. I love each and every one of you. I think.)

7: Type in “[your name] eats” in Google search:
Valerie eats dog biscuits. (??? Come on?! I know I have five dogs and all, but really???!)

8: Type in “[your name] has” in Google search:
Valerie has arrived. (Oh yes, yes she has. Here I am, world, watch out!)

9: Type in “[your name] will” in Google search:
Valerie will clean your house, change light bulbs, wash the dishes, do the laundry, check the sports scores for you, book plane tickets and call the police if there's an emergency. She speaks English but more importantly, understands English and hence be programmed by non-programmers. Valerie will be on sale by Christmas 2004 for US$59,000 with a two year warranty. (This totally had me cracking up -- apparently there is a "domestic android" out there for sale named Valerie. So don't get your hopes up folks -- it would take a lot more than $59,000 to get me to come do all of that!)

So, what all has your name been up to?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Random -- it's what I do best.

(Brace yourselves, this post is really random.)

(image via flickr photostream from user "Donna Lethal")
This morning I did laundry. And then some laundry. And more laundry. Then I stopped for lunch. And continued this afternoon with laundry. More laundry. Laundry, laundry, laundry. Yeah, and I look just like Jayne Mansfield here when I do the laundry. It's glamorous, I tell ya', simply glamorous around here.

Wowza. Anyone else watch The Bachelorette season finale last night?

I didn't see that one coming at all! Like the rest of America, I was sure she was gonna pick Jason. But, of course, looking back, I can totally see how those clever ABC execs made us all think that. When DeAnna was talking with her sister and sister-in-law, her sister-in-law mentioned that she felt Jesse was a better fit for free-spirited DeAnna. I should have picked up on that. Because those clever ABC execs wanted us to think all along that DeAnna was more of a "planner", and thus would pick Jason, when all along, she is a free spirit. Knowing all of that now, it makes sense she picked Jesse, although I totally would have picked Jason. Man, did he ever get the rug pulled out from under him. But such a great guy surely won't have trouble finding true love in the future. I'm sure the ladies will be flocking to him soon enough. And although I would have picked Jason, it's not like Jesse is a bad guy -- he seemed very sincere and nice and in love with her. Best of luck to those two -- these crazy show-mances don't usually last forever, but hopefully they can beat the odds.

I just finished the final quilt square (#7) from my assigned "homework" from the quilt kit my mom purchased. So months #1 and #2 are about 75% complete...

Here's a crazy dog story for you:
We have five dogs, three of which are Italian greyhounds, one of which was my baby I brought into the marriage. My beloved dog has been with me for 9 years now, and, crazy little thing that he is, he is my baby. Some dogs start to get fatty tumors as they age, and he has had a few show up this past year. We've had them checked out before by the vet to make sure they aren't cancerous, but I started getting worried this past week as I noticed one on his stomach was getting larger and quite fast. So my sweet husband took our "wild child" (seriously, the dogs is nuts half the time) to the vet, and what we found out was shocking, to both us and to our vet (who has been in practice since before I was born).
Believe it or not, his testicle had dropped. Say WHAT?! He was neutered 9 years ago, so how is that possible? Sure enough, the vet explained to my husband that on rare occasions, when the surgery is being performed, a testicle can hide, making the vet think there is only one to remove. So here the poor little guy is, nine years later, needing to be neutered once more. This whole time he could have been fathering numbers of puppies (thank goodness, we don't think he has any illegitimate children out there, haha). And it explains why our guy has been very much a "ladies' man" throughout his years, still getting awfully frisky around females, if you know what I mean. And after 9 years, the vet said this upcoming surgery really could help to calm him down (which I had hoped would happen after the first surgery!). I think our guy seems to have a little extra sparkle in his eye this afternoon after hearing the news about his manhood...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nearing the end

Only one more day of staycation left folks. We really have been blessed with our almost week-and-a-half of family time, and I am a little bit sad that it is almost over! I really never would have thought that staying at home would end up being so good for us as a family, and I am not lying when I say that I think this has been one of our best vacations ever (and we've been on some real doozies). Even my husband said the same thing yesterday. It's been 10 days (well, 11 if you count tomorrow) of such great bonding time for us as a threesome, full of relaxation, fun, a few projects that we have made some major headway on, and some much-needed separation from the rest of the world for a little while. I cannot recommend a staycation enough, if it's done properly. I cannot tell you how proud I am especially of my husband, who usually has a hard time "turning off" his job -- he truly has made us a priority this week and has not hardly checked his Blackberry, email, computer, etc., and I can tell it has really been good for him personally to have such a break as well.

Yesterday, while working outside, my husband spotted this teeny little fellow hiding in the ivy. Can you see him in there? A teeny tiny baby bunny!

We love our bunnies -- there are between 3 and 5 of them that take up permanent residence in our front yard and come out every evening to graze. Some folks don't have the bunny love since they are wild, tend to eat flowers, etc., but we have extra love and affection for our bunnies since they mean one major thing to us: when there are bunnies, there are no rats. If the bunnies have moved out of their burrows in our yard, watch out. (Bet you might not have wanted to know that, did you?) We live in a great neighborhood with a creek that runs through it a block and a half over from ours, and unfortunately, here in Wonderland, creeks sometimes equal rats. The rats don't care if it's nice or a ghetto. But thankfully, the rats haven't paid a visit in a long while.) So you'll understand why we sometimes even go so far as to leave carrots in the front yard for our bunnies. Please stay, bunnies, we implore. Please stay!

I've been painting in the bathroom again today, but I'm still working on those gosh-darn trees. Hopefully I'll finish them up in a day or two and be able to move on to the final step of adding leaves and oranges.

And I have been doing some sewing recently, but it has been for a project for my mom actually. A few months ago, maybe even late last year, she purchased a quilt kit. Let me add, my mom is not a quilter. And this quilt kit is not small by any means -- the finished quilt will measure 68"x83", and it is made up of a whole lot of blocks, many of which are intricate applique with a lot of hand-sewing around the edges. Thankfully my mom bought the kit from the ladies who made up the quilt because it is the most organized thing I have ever seen. The quilt is broken up into months (8 total) of blocks, usually 2 or 3 per month, and the quilt kit has the fabric not only organized into Ziploc bags for each month, but the fabric pieces are also labeled with stickers for which piece goes with what. It has made this a breeze to get started on. I cannot imagine if she had only bought the pattern (a book, actually) and would have had to buy all the fabric required and cut it all up ourselves. That alone would have taken hours upon hours. We started on June 19th, trying to get together one night a week or so, and already we are almost done with month #2. The two months we have done so far have had a lot of applique that has to be embroidered and hand-stitched around, something my mom hasn't done in a while, so that has been funny to watch her grumble about. It will be interesting to see how long it ends up taking the two of us to get the quilt top done, but I know it will be really neat to see it finished in the end. I'll try and keep you updated on our progress. For now, here are some of the blocks I was in charge of doing this past week while she took home her own "homework" of a bunch of hand-sewing on other blocks. I have 4 out of 7 finished so far.

Now our staycation hasn't been completely at home. We did sneak away two and a half days last week and go on a roadtrip to visit my cousins for the 4th of July. (But you might not have known this, since I figured out I could type my posts before we left and set them to post once a day while we were gone -- clever, clever blogspot!) We had the best time! My husband got us a smokin' deal on a five-star hotel. (This is a picture of the pool, which was great, but the picture is a bit deceitful since the pool closed at 6pm every night, and you couldn't really see the beautiful view at night like this.)

We spent our time walking around the area, shopping (at Anthropologie, of course, although you already know how much restraint I showed this time), and visiting with my extended family. They had the most delicious spread of chicken, potato salad, 7-layer dip, fruit, cakes, etc., and they had also bought fireworks (and a permit, since they live in the city) to put on what I thought would be a little show. No little show there! There were probably close to $300 in fireworks, and the show lasted for over two-and-a-half hours! It was so much fun -- we are thinking we may have to make it our annual 4th of July trip.

If you made it this far, bless you. I think I got a bit long-winded today! I'd better sign off until tomorrow -- lots to still do before I shut 'er down for the evening and watch the Bachelorette finale...

Back on my soapbox

What's wrong with the following snippet from a Yahoo news article today? See if you can automatically find what's got me all hot and bothered:

"Nicole Kidman has given birth, her husband Keith Urban's rep confirms to Usmagazine.com.

The actress welcomed a girl, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban, Monday morning.

The baby weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

"Husband Keith was by Nicole's side and mother and baby are very well," the rep said.

It is the first child for Kidman, 41, and Keith Urban, 40. She has two adopted children -- Connor, 13, and Isabella, 15 -- with ex Tom Cruise."

ADOPTED CHILDREN?! Why in the world can't they just say "she has two children with ex Tom Cruise". Why do they have to point them out as being adopted? I remember the press did the same exact thing when Suri Cruise was born, even going so far as to paint her as his "first child", since his other two were not biological.

I'll have you know I'm not usually one of THOSE mothers, you know, the ones who freak out if someone isn't politically correct, etc. on the subject of adoption. But I do know that I would NEVER EVER refer to my first child as my adopted child if I were to give birth on down the road. Sure, I occasionally will tell people my son is adopted, usually after I get the strange looks between my beautifully dark Hispanic child and myself, pretty much the whitest woman most people have ever seen. It's no secret that we don't exactly look like we were cut out of the same cloth, and I don't want to be mistaken for his nanny or babysitter or anything. But my son is my son. Period. This is the second time I have seen the press do this to poor Connor and Isabella Cruise. It's bad enough they have a nutjob for a father, but they don't deserve to be labeled almost as second-best. I guess the bright side is that at least they aren't blood-related to him, so maybe they won't get all of his crazy genes?

One more reason I can't stand Hollywood.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Are you a winner?

Of course, you are, silly! Everyone is a winner in life (according to Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo). Unfortunately, for my blog giveaway, there can only be one winner, so let's get on to it, shall we?

First up: the PRIZE. I'll have you know I searched THE STORE (come on, people, it's Anthropologie, remember?) high and low for the perfect prize. I hunted through the sale section. I scoured the clothing section, but that just wasn't going to happen since a.) any prize from the clothing section would be pricey pricey (as opposed to just "pricey", haha), and b.) size? And then I searched through the home goods section and found, in my quirky eyes, the most dreamy little prize. I hope you like it, too. (Don't worry, like all good prize-hunters, I bought one for myself, too, haha.)

Here's the beautiful trophy:

Isn't it such a dreamy little vase? I love the color combination of robin-egg blue and orange and the butterfly-print toile inset. It's about 5" tall, the perfect little size for one or two beautiful blooms. Personally I have been trying to stay away from buying more and more knick-knacks, but I couldn't resist on this one. And since I didn't purchase ANY CLOTHING OR EVEN TRY ANY ON for the first time ever while in an Anthropologie store (my husband kept pretend-checking my forehead to make sure I wasn't sick), I figured I at least deserved a knick-knack.

Are you salivating yet? Okay, okay, I'll stop with the Chinese-water-torture and get on with the drawing. Thank goodness I have a trusty assistant (no one's trustier in drawing out a name than a three-year-old who can't read).

And the grand prize winner is...


WOOHOO for you! Louise of "lululollylegs" fame, all the way DOWN UNDER in beautiful Australia! Much like "Wonderland", I don't think there are any Anthropologie stores in Australia, which I think makes it even more fun. (If you'll remember, Louise is the person responsible for making my beautiful bird doll quilt and scooter tote bag, so this is awfully fun that we'll be sending a package back down her way.)

Did you catch that I said "grand prize"? Come on, you didn't think I would stop with just one, did you? It is STILL my "staycation" after all, so I came up with two more little prizes. Alas, they are not from Anthropologie, but I hope you might enjoy them just the same. Last year I did a craft show with my friend, L, and I had these dishtowels for sale (among lots of other things). I made them up in the hopes that they would look somewhat "anthropologie-ish" (my favorite adjective that is not really a real word, but it is in my world).

(These are flour-sack dishtowels with pink backgrounds and black polka dot birds appliqued on them.)

(They have black pom-pom trim at the bottom, and each side is bound with a black and white floral.)

My trusty assistant was more than happy to draw out two more names:




"Quitecontrary1977" (are we the same age?) and "I AM" (the thinksmallblog), you are each the winner of a dishtowel! (Hopefully this is exciting news for you and not causing your forehead to wrinkle up with dread over the thought of having to wash dishes, haha.)

I need all three lovely winners to leave me a comment with your name and address so I can get these prizes out to you pronto. Don't worry -- I'll just get your names and addresses off the comments and then delete them instead of publishing them so they won't be posted for the whole world to see.

Thanks to each and every one of you who came out of the woodwork to introduce yourselves. I've had such a good time with my blog so far. I really wish I had a prize for everybody, and I'm not just sayin' that to be a brown-noser, I really mean it. Anyways you might just want to keep on coming back for more because you never know when I might get the itchin' to do another fun giveaway...

Ya'll come back now, ya' hear?!