Weekend done right

I interrupt this three-day weekend to tell you: I AM ROCKING IT. 

I dug up ALL the overgrownness in my front yard, weeded it, stared at it for a really long time, and decided that what I really needed was a whole bunch of Large Bushy Plants to fill in the bare dirt areas. I thought about going to Home Depot or Costco and buying up whatever was cheap and big, but I have a CRAP TON of plants in the backyard that are driving me insane. There's this huge area, sectioned off with decorative bricks and two by fours, that possibly, at one time, was a pretty flower garden, but is now just a giant mess. It WAS full of hostas and irises, but as of today I have transplanted ALL of those into the front yard. I don't like hostas OR irises, but they take up space, they come back year after year, and they are FREE. I still have two peonies, an ugly rosemary bush, and two unidentified flowering plants stuck in that flower bed in the backyard, all of which must go. The peonies I plan to gently and lovingly place in some undecided spot, the rosemary bush as well, and I'm just going to throw out the other plants because they're SO unattractive, even with the flowers. Besides, that whole area is going to have to be redone once we put the stairs in off the deck, so I have to transplant things anyway. I'm feeling very brilliant about this whole arrangement and even mulch-less and sporting half-falling-over transplanted irises, my front yard looks a trillion times better. 

I promised Jack I'd "play baseball" with him after I did all my digging. So I grudgingly went out to make good on my promise and DUUUUDE, my kid can hit a ball! I did not know this! I was even able to tweak his stance and give him advice on how to swing and he TOOK MY ADVICE (GASP) and hit a ball over our (admittedly short and picket-like fence) and PRIDE, BURSTING, ETC. So much so that I almost immediately took him to Fred Meyer and bought him a REAL bat and ball (we were just using a whiffle bat) and I am thisclose to signing up to coach Little League. (HA. THAT IS A JOKE.)

Last night after the kids went to bed I hung out with some friends eating chocolate covered strawberries, which I already know I like, and baby carrots, which I think are vile and the devil's preferred vegetable. I HATE RAW CARROTS!!! Except! Last night I was shoveling them into my mouth as fast as possible thanks to an unbelievably high fat concoction called Uncle Dan Ranch Dip. BOW DOWN BEFORE IT. It's this packet of ranch dip mix whisked into one cup of sour cream and one cup of mayo and it is so delicious that it even makes raw carrots palatable. Of course I immediately bought a packet for myself today and I've been chowing down on carrots and snap peas all evening AND! AND! AND! my kids are too! When you are a parent who does not love vegetables it's hard to figure out how to get your kids to eat them. But JACKSON CHEUNG IS EATING A SUGAR SNAP PEA AS I TYPE. I know that ranch dressing has been a parenting tool since it's existence, but I never have it around (OR dip-friendly raw veggies if I'm being honest) so this is a freaking COUP people. (ALSO: LOW CARB. SCORE.)

I suppose this weekend hasn't been a TOTAL success - my attempt at putting EJ to sleep unswaddled was, shall we say, Amusing. As in, EJ was HIGHLY AMUSED. I'm trying not to get super discouraged about this. I HAVE done it twice before. I know it will happen eventually. I will not be swaddling her and rocking her to sleep in college. But MAN is it getting old right now. JUST ROLL OVER, FTLOG!

In other (very! important!) news, I was able to shoehorn my butt into a pair of Old Jeans. Namely, the jeans I wore to the Original Blathering, mere months after my Hot By Thirty finale. I can button those jeans! THAT SAID! I should not wear them in public! And I certainly cannot wear a shirt that is the slightest bit fitted at the waist for fear of exposing the impressive amount of muffintop BUT I CAN BUTTON THEM AND WOO HOO LET'S CELEBRATE WITH RANCH DIP!!!

I still have one day left to go and I am SO excited to tell you that I plan to spend it perusing the aisles of a brand new HOME GOODS that cropped up dangerously close to my in-laws house. The internet recommends that store so often that I have been INCENSED not to have one near by but NOW! I DO! Tomorrow I will spend all the money! And this concludes the dumbest post EVER!

The Gospel of the Snack

You guys remember my friend Pancakes, right? Here she is again.

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Let us gaze longingly at her namesake:

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(Okay, so we also ordered this giant plate of FRUIT along with our Palm Springs pancakes, but the pancakes were really the stars of breakfast.) 

Anyway. I met Pancakes long long ago, my first week of college when she invited me to an NDCF event. And now, umpteen years later (let us not dwell on how many years), she's, like, THE BOSS of the NDCF. I know! 19-year-old me is TOTALLY JAZZED. (Wait, do people say 'jazzed'? It just felt right. JAZZED. Yes. Right word.)

So yes, while I am home folding laundry and/or putzing around all day, Pancakes is out Doing Ministry and Making Impacts and Speaking Truth and Organizing Really Amazing Events and OKAY MAYBE I'M A LITTLE JEALOUS. Although Pancakes is gifted in ways I can only dream of, and this was never more real to me than at the NDCF winter retreat we attended this weekend. You guys I am just SO PROUD of her and SO PROUD to know her. 

(Also, the one time she looked at this website happened to be a day when I was (gasp) CRITICAL of the NDCF, but tonight I am feeling very RAH RAH NDCF! and I am going to EMAIL HER and tell her to LOOK AND SEE THAT I WROTE NICE THINGS.) (WOO!)

But what I really wanted to say in this space is that one area where Pancakes particularly excels is picking out snacks. Specifically, Snacks That Are New To Her Friend Maggie. 

I have to say, Internet, I'm not a huge snacker. Wait. Snacking is basically what I do all day long, so that's probably not the best way to say it... I think I'm not big on foods that are marketed and sold as snacks. I'm SUPER big on foods marketed and sold as DESSERT. Which can also be snacks. But, like, my airplane carryon is full of cookies. When I'm feeling snacky in the afternoon I reach for more cookies. (Or peanut butter straight out of the jar. That also works.) 

But Pancakes stopped at Trader Joe's before she made her way to Portland and her room was stocked with the MOST amazing snacks. Little bits of deliciousness that I seriously could not stop cramming into my piehole all weekend long. Saturday, pretty much directly after eating lunch, Pancakes and I went in search of snacks - we bought smoothies at an Orange Julius, and then, because that was not unhealthy enough, sneaked past the meeting going on in her room to retrieve the Coveted-By-All-The-Volunteers Bag O' Snacks, which we brought to a loungey area by the elevator, in full view of whoever got on and off. We proceeded to gorge ourselves (perhaps this love of gorging is why we are such great friends? YUM.) but we ALSO offered our snacks to anyone passing by, which is how the Gospel of the Snack was spread. We were doing holy work, people.

My favorite of all the snacks? Trader Joe's Yogurt Pretzels. OMGGGG. You know how the internet loves Trader Joe's? I myself am sort of: eh! Sometimes I go there for prosciutto that does not cost a college education. I have definitely shopped there for wine. And it's true, their aisle of chocolate-covered-things-in-plastic-tubs is to die for. But the snacky things have never really attracted me. That has all changed, of course, due to my newfound devotion to Trader Joe's Yogurt Pretzels. Somehow this one bag made it to Saturday evening. I have no idea how this is possible, seeing as how I was popping a Yogurt Pretzel at every available minute - I bet it was because we were at an NDCF conference and God just wanted to give us a current day application for the loaves and the fishes. There were more than enough Yogurt Pretzels for everyone. 

But also: chocolate covered potato chips?! HOLY WOW, Trader Joe's! This bag of extra delicious trail mix? (Also populated with chocolate chunks, OBVS.) These little salty puff things? Amazing granola bars? Pretzels with PEANUT BUTTER INSIDE? 

The sad news is 1) guess how much weight I gained this weekend NO REALLY GUESS and 2) guess what I gave up for Lent NO REALLY YOU'LL NEVER GUESS. 

The first one I may or may not write about on the weight loss blog. Probably won't. I think I need to skip this week's weigh in for the benefit of my mental health. But the second thing? I GAVE UP CHOCOLATE, INTERNET. I know. At the last second I was all, "No!" and "How about asparagus! Or salad!" but God was all, "No! It must be sacrificial!" and I was all, "WAAAAHHH." At which point I also decided to give up wine.  Heads up: there will be MUCH pain in suffering in this space for the next fortyish days. 

But the Yogurt Pretzels were on the Approved Lent Foods list and LO, THEY WERE DELICIOUS. 

Do you have a favorite snack? I need to hear about it. I have been in the Snacking Dark these long thirty-odd years. 

I put a lot of thought into this Ash Wednesday Eve reflection and I hope you enjoy it

Last month a mystery package showed up on my doorstep. I was all excited until I saw it was addressed to someone else. My address was correct, but I have an address that's easy to get wrong and I just assumed it was mislabeled. I left it on the bench in the entry way until the next day when I could give it back to the postman. Except I reeeeeally did not want to hand this particular box back to my grouchy postman because when you turn the box on its side, you find out it is a box of THIS:

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Then again, I didn't want it laying around in MY entryway forever, so I thought maybe I would write "return to sender" on the box and leave it by the mailboxes for the postman to pick up, thereby eliminating any opportunity for excessive blushing. 

Except, when I went to write on the box, I took a closer look at the label and DEAR GOD, it wasn't just addressed to "So and So", it was addressed to "So and So OR CURRENT OCCUPANT" AND THEN I DIED.

Well, first I emailed my internet ladies (AS YOU DO), THEN I died. Seriously, though, OR CURRENT OCCUPANT? Are they sending out SAMPLES now? They just ASSUME Current Occupant could use [SEE ABOVE]? They don't know me! I could be a dude! DID THEY KNOW ME? Who does this? Were they travel sizes? Blogger perks? WHY ARE FREE SAMPLES OF [SEE ABOVE] SHOWING UP AT MY HOUSE?

I kind of forgot about it. I think I threw it in the garage? I really didn't know what to do with it. I didn't want to OPEN it, but I didn't want to throw it away unopened, BLARGH. 

I should say, I completely forgot about it until this afternoon, when I came home from a playdate and saw ANOTHER BOX OF [SEE ABOVE] ON MY DOORSTEP. 


This time I took a picture and emailed it to ladies who do not have my blushing problem because it DID appear to be, as Elizabeth put it, "like Birchbox for your hoo ha!" Which is my new startup, I think. I've already got the inventory.

Anyway, tonight I was talking to A'Dell and her smartypants self suggested I Google the name on the box. DUH. I just assumed the address was wrong, because "So and So" is not the name of the previous owner and I do have a weird address. But I did as I was told and HOLY HECK "So and So" lived in this house in NINETEEN NINETY EIGHT. I don't think I had ever HEARD of such a [see above] in 1998! 

She ALSO happens to be an OB/GYN, HOWEVER. She has not lived in this house for AGES. I am dying to know if the previous (elderly-ish, quiet couple) were receiving monthly supplies of [see above] samples. Then again, I only received my first installment last month, and I've been living here since May. So. How long do you think I'll keep receiving this item? Do I need to send a polite letter? SHOULD I OPEN THE BOX?!

I have been thinking of what to DO with the [see above], especially if I keep receiving said items. So, uh, we have the start up idea, obvs. Then practical joke packages to internet friends? Save them for a white elephant party? Donate to some sort of shelter? Or maybe a nursing home? Drop them off at my OB's office? BLOG GIVEAWAY?!?!?!

Year In Review (Summary: TIRED)

2011, while ultimately a fabulous year, certainly kicked my rear end all over the place. Just REMEMBERING what this year contained made me tired. 

There was the Baby. We got pregnant in January and I was SUPAH EXCITED and my husband was SUPAH APPREHENSIVE and then it was like we almost FORGOT about it because (see below) 1. House and 2. Business Travel got in the way. I swear, if I hadn't been so freaking TIRED all the time I'm not sure I would have ever thought about it those first several months. I don't think I've ever napped so much in my life. The napping continued the entire nine months - turns out I was anemic! Fun times! What else about being pregnant? Wait, why do I even want to remember anything else? MOVING ON. Then we HAD the baby and I've briefed you on THAT event. We are all recovered, except the part in my brain that is all WTF, BODY? 

And the baby... I just love her. I just LOVE her. I am so happy to get to do this all again, even though it's hard and a slog and tough on my marriage and a bummer for my social life and puts a stop to pretty much everything I want to get done in my house. But I just love that Emma is EMMA, and I don't really know who that IS yet, but I will get to find out and it's all very exciting. Less exciting than the first time, because it's not the first time, but MORE exciting than the first time, because I know what's coming and I know how awesome it is. So very grateful I got a baby out of 2011. 

Then there was The House. We'd always planned to move sometime this year, just not QUITE as quickly as we did. I think the month where 1) we found out the landlord was selling the house and 2) we found a new house and 3) we dealt with people constantly coming to look at the rental house AND the landlord working on the rental house and 4) packing and 5) moving while 6) PHILLIP WAS ON A BUSINESS TRIP... (and also still in school, GAK.) I am not exaggerating when I say I think that was the hardest not-anxious week/month of my entire life. I suppose that goes to show how easy my life has been/is, but managing a house purchase, managing a move, packing every single box myself, managing a real estate agent who is selling a house that is NOT mine, all while solo parenting two children and anemic pregnant with a third... okay, I feel like finding a nice hole, crawling into it, and sobbing right now. 

That said, the new house was/is awesome and I continue to marvel at this huge HUGE answer to prayer. I prayed for "a big enough house in Seattle" for YEARS, people. YEARS. Because there was just no way that we would be able to AFFORD a big enough house in Seattle unless God magically made one appear. AND HE DID. It's not perfect. It's in a weird neighborhood, the layout is weird, it's got hideous 1980s cabinets, there's a hole in the carpet, and I will be waging a war against pine needles until the day I die BUT OH WOW IS IT BIG ENOUGH. So one of the more fun parts of my year has been organizing it, decorating it, fixing it up, and discovering a secret passion for spray paint. If you had told me this time last year that I would purchase a giant buffet with the intention of painting it white I would have laaaaaaughed! HA HA HA. But I am really excited about doing this stuff and investing in this place. 

There was Business Travel - not anything new, but made for a difficult couple of weeks here and there. For me. I still can't find a Perspective to have about this, one that works for me and doesn't make my husband feel bad. Blargh.

There was Preschool. I was unhappy with the decisions I made while realizing that I probably would have made the same choices all over again. I did the best I could with the information I had, basically. Things have worked out by now, but this was a major Sticking Point Of Failure in my head for a long time. That said, the preschool section of this blog post also contains preschool during the first half of the year, back when Jack was at the original school. And that one was awesome and completely perfect in every way and I'm so thankful Jack had that awesome introduction to Life Away From Home. 

There was the Nonexistent Eating Well and Exercising, which I am dealing with NOW. 

There were some pretty awesome times with my family. 

There were some fun trips with my husband. Grad school ended in June - PRAISE THE LORD.

There was that weekend at the end of March when my internet ladies stayed at my house OMG THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN I MISS YOU GUYS WHEN ARE WE DOING THAT AGAIN?

I met some really great new friends this year too, which is awesome because how often does that happen when you're a grown up, hmm?

And to use Tessie's sublime summary system: Happier/Fatter/Poorer (although the fatter and poorer don't really count since I'm fatter because I had a BABY and poorer because we bought a HOUSE, both TOTALLY WORTH IT, right?) 

2011 = Mostly Awesome With A Side of Major Exhaustion And Excruciating Pain (See 9/23/11)

See you in 2012! Next week on the blawg will be The Week Of 2012 Resolutions. You = WHEE!

Even you know how to give good gifts

I have this little Brush With Fame that I'm SURE I've told you about, but I am going to tell you all over again. So! In case you were unaware, I was a Budding Thespian in my youth. For reals! I can't really picture my parents doing this, but when I was five years old they let me try out for the Christmas play at the army base somewhat far away-ish from us. And I got a part! (My mother says this is because I was the most well-behaved child there, although I prefer to think it was because of my Budding Thespianism.) 

The play was an adaptation of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and I was "Juanita", AKA Baby Angel #3. Hello Stardom!

I have many clear memories of this experience, from drinking myself sick on Swiss Miss cocoa backstage, to crawling underneath the lobby Christmas tree and breaking a bunch of ornaments, to watching the mother of Alice Wendleken curl her gorgeous blond hair in her dressing room. For a five-year-old, it was a Blast And A Half.

Somewhat later - maybe that year? Maybe the next? - Barbara Robinson, the woman who wrote this GENIUS Christmas story, visited my elementary school. She was going to read to the sixth graders, but because I was a well-behaved child, not to mention totally utterly spoiled by every teacher and staff person at my elementary school (on account of all of them being on a first name basis with my parents who used to teach at the same school) I was pulled out of class all special-like to sit in on the reading. I remember sitting with a teacher or two, maybe the librarian, away from the sixth graders but with an excellent view of Ms. Robinson, a Real! Live! Author! (I was also, obvs, a Budding Author.) 

Afterwards there was an opportunity to have Ms. Robinson sign our books. I have no idea if I actually owned the book or if someone bought me a copy or what, but growing up I had, on my personal bookshelf, an autographed paperback copy of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I remember watching her sign it, and feeling a tiny bit foolish when I told her I played "Juanita" and she laughed, since there is no "Juanita" in the book. 

I don't have this book anymore. I SUSPECT I left it at my parents' house when I moved away to college. I don't remember taking many books with me when I moved back to the states, at least. And now that my parents live here I haven't seen it in any of their bookshelves. It's lost, misplaced, given away. It's certainly not the biggest deal in the world, but it DOES bum me out when I think about it, and I DO mention it when I refer to my Budding Thespianism, or any conversation about meeting your favorite authors. 

I was having such a conversation with a friend a few months back. A simple, silly, "ha ha, I was a BABY ANGEL", blah blah blah, "sure wish I still had that book" story that eventually moved on to things like "is there any more wine" and "how do we get our kids to listen to us, FTLOG!" You know, the normal stuff. And then last week I opened my mailbox and there was a small package inside: a used book from a used bookseller, a hardcover copy of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, with the original illustrations, and autographed by Barbara Robinson. 

My heart, it grew so many sizes. 

This friend knows how to give good gifts. This was not the first good gift I've received from her, not the first gift where she remembered a conversation or something I mentioned admiring or something I longed for. These aren't expensive flashy gifts, they're thoughtful. Gifts that show that you are known - those are the best kind. 

I, on the other hand, am a terrible gift giver. Oh, I have my moments. Sometimes I can come up with some pretty great ideas for other people's gift giving dilemmas. Every once in a while I, too, will remember The Thing that will make the perfect gift. Months before her birthday I made a mental note of the moment my sister said something about wishing she had a "From The Library of Ms. Lastname" stamp for her classroom books. I was RATHER proud of myself. But just as often I buy my mother a sweater than doesn't fit, a friend a random string of jewelry I'm just hoping she likes. Worse yet I don't remember to GIVE gifts. How many new babies have I neglected? Even when their mothers have showered me with out-of-the-blue treats and gifts. And how many just-thinking-of-you packages have I thought of to send, and never got around to it? (SO, SO MANY. Sorry, Internet Friends.) 

I worry, because I know for a lot of people, Presents are how they know they are loved and remembered. But we are not all fabulous gift givers. I have one friend who - I'm just going to say it! - is quite possibly a worse gift giver than me. But you know, she is super fabulous, the best I know, at taking care of you when you're down. Cleaning your messy spaces, feeding you, entertaining you, watching your kids, giving of her time and energy to physically help you out of your funk. It's a HUGE gift, and yet another kind that I am terrible at giving. But it does give me hope that I am giving as well, in my own way. 

I wish I was the aunt who sends silly holiday-themed treats in the mail. I would love to be the friend who spies the perfect Etsy birthday gift. I wish I could MAKE things, I wish I could bring delicious dinners, I wish I was even halfway AWARE of what other people are needing at whatever point in their lives. 

Instead I love - I know how - to write to you, to tell you how much I love and appreciate you, to make sure that you know that I know you, and I feel as much as you wanted me to feel about your gift. I love to write an embarrassingly mushy card, an email that perhaps betrays too much, a line in an instant message conversation that solemnly declares that I love that I know you, that I'm so thankful just for that.

It would help if I titled this before I hit publish. HAAAA

Here are the things you need to know about today. 

Today is the day I could no longer button my pants. I think we'll save the Getting Fat All Over Again discussion for another day, perhaps one where I did not eat an apple fritter the size of my face for breakfast. 

Today is March 1st, which: dude! March already! That was my first thought. My second thought was: WE ARE GOING TO DISNEYLAND IN TWO WEEKS. Now this is going to sound horrible, but I haven't given a lot of thought to Disneyland since the Third Baby discovery. And now I'm a little, well, fatigued. Suddenly the ten minute walk from our hotel to the front gate sounds downright exhausting. The double stroller seems to have doubled its weight. Riding Dumbo nine times in a row sounds a little barfy, and let's not even talk about the spinning tea cups. I KNOW this is most first worldy problem you've ever heard and I AM ashamed. I am. And I am trying to drum up some enthusiasm. I'm sure we'll have a great time, and I always do really well when I have tons and tons of distractions and PHILLIP likes the spinning tea cups. So yeah. I need to go to Target and buy a weeks' worth of yoga pants and it'll all be good. 

Today is also the day I saw the first house I really liked. Phillip and I have this problem I may have mentioned once or twice on this website, where we can't decide if we want a smaller, older, in-city house or a bigger, newer, suburbs house. We are (stupidly) hoping for something biggish, newish-or-at-least-super-updated in the city, but so is everyone else who is looking to buy a house right now. DUH. So I've been READING about stale inventory ie: the junky, yucky, weirdo houses languishing on the market for months on end, and how as soon as something good pops up at a particular price point ie: OUR PRICE POINT it's gone in a flash. 

My agent warned me this house would go fast, so I arranged to meet her there this morning when she went to preview it. And you guys: SUPER CUTE. Super old, but adorable. I love old houses. It was big enough and bright enough and had my required playroom/basement area and yeah, the kitchen and bathrooms would need remodeling eventually, but not immediately, and did I mention ADORABLE? And within the boundaries of an excellent elementary school? On a cute street with other cute houses? It wasn't my first choice neighborhood and I knew Phillip is generally anti-old house, but I thought: hey, might as well drag him along to look at it. Maybe tomorrow morning? 

Except when I got home I had an email from my agent saying that the sellers would be reviewing multiple offers that night, and it would probably go $25K above asking price, which was already out of our range. This house went on the market YESTERDAY. 

I wasn't crushed, if you're wondering. I didn't have The Feeling when I walked into that house. And when I picked up Jack at preschool I spent some time hanging out in the school and talking to the teachers and you guys, they already all know Molly, we met her teacher for next year and everything. And Jack's teacher went ON AND ON about how wonderful he is (while he TOTALLY put on this huge show of smooching and hugging and playing with his sister, SUCK UP) and Molly was totally getting in line with Jack's class and helping put away the toys and I was just all: WE CAN'T MOVE AWAY FROM THIS PRESCHOOL! 

I mean, I know that's one of the top stupidest reasons to cross a house off a list, but whatever, when I heard that house was already taken I just felt sort of relieved. Like I didn't have to CHOOSE. At least not right THEN. 

Today was also the day when Jack allowed me to sleep an hour on the couch without shouting for snacks or water or to "come look!" Thank God. 

And just now Phillip was showing the kids video clips from our last trip to Disneyland and you know what? The enthusiasm level just increased a little bit. Everything is so bright and fun and sing songy! I love sing songy! And the kids on the couch were nearly as delighted as the kids on the screen! If only those clips weren't of me at my Skinniest. I believe I'll be enforcing a No Video ban on this trip. Gah.

Yes I am exactly this dull

Before I got out of bed this morning I'd purchased, in the span of about ten minutes, one queen-size down comforter. SHAZAM! Phillip and I have been engaged in a battle of wills with our down comforter - as soon as we shake the stupid thing out, all the feathers sink to the bottom. So our feet are toasty, but all we've got at the top is two layers of sheet. Not acceptable. Phillip keeps snapping, "Let's just buy a NEW ONE" and because he is the Buyer in our family and I've just sort of trained myself to resist him lest we find ourselves wearing burlap and holding cardboard signs on the freeway on ramp, I haven't bought a new one. Usually this is a good thing. Usually the things he thinks we need, immediately, or else we'll positively die, are things like stereo equipment or routers or fancier routers or an Audi or that new Roomba. But to be honest, the down comforter is making me insane too. I finally started saying, "OKAY, once I have TIME to go LOOK for one." 

Then Jack had a bloody nose at five in the morning, and then at six in the morning he insisted on gracing us with his presence in our bed, and oops there went his nose again. So not only was the down comforter not very comforty, but there was blood all over the sheets and soaked into Phillip's pillow (at least it was HIS pillow) and Phillip was just sort of stompy and fumy and I hate it when he starts taking out his frustration on inanimate objects. So I reached under the bed and pulled out my laptop (where do you keep YOURS?) and ordered a new down comforter. Thank you reader reviews and Amazon Prime. I figure if we hate it, it's cheap enough to put on the guest bed that I like to imagine exists in our future new house, and we will get a new one. (Though that guest room will never come to exist, if the State Of Things on Redfin is any indication. WOE.)

THEN. Later today I was pulling off all our sheets to wash everything and GROSS, the mattress pad on Phillip's side is TOTALLY worn out and ripped up. So I hauled out the laptop and bought a new mattress pad. In, like, THREE minutes. Thank you reader reviews and Amazon Prime. 

I'm so the kind of person who is paralyzed by too many choices, who has to read EVERY REVIEW and research EVERY STORE, but gah, who has time for that anymore? Phillip and I have completely different philosophies on buying stuff, which makes it harder. For him, buy the best and priciest item so it will last. I don't know how many times he's given me that I Told You So look when I complain about Old Navy clothes falling apart. But for me, who says I want a shirt to last ten years? I like buying shirts. Perhaps I want to buy them more often. And dear God, the last thing I want is a couch I have to live with for the REST OF MY LIFE.

Also I hate spending gobs of money on something as boring as a MATTRESS PAD.

Anyway, I am enjoying this Amazon Prime thing. I mean, WHY NOT order the down comforter this morning? It will arrive TOMORROW. Possibly as you are READING.

I still have to put the new sheets on my bed and then read a book and maybe watch a TV show, so I'll be going now. Thus ends the blog post about BUYING A MATTRESS PAD OMG WHY DOES ANYONE READ THIS WEBSITE.


My pioneer spirit

I would like to tell you how I solved my clothing dilemma. 

First of all, as I was child-free this morning, I got out of bed as soon as my eyes opened and went straight to the kitchen to start making lists. What do YOU do when you have a free morning, HMMM? Me, I like to think in the nice empty quiet of my house. Thinking! So underrated!

And then I decided I totally had enough time to do a bit more shopping. Even though I'd already visited every women's clothing store in the Greater Seattle area, sometimes stores in different locations have different items! Look at me and my morning optimism! 

But no. I went to Target, I went to the mall, and I went to the little shopping center by my house. And I almost spent an obscene amount of money on a very short silvery skirt from J.Crew, which would have been ridiculous, as what I needed was a TOP. (And also: my legs do not go in short skirts. Ever. Near miss, party goers!) Thankfully I managed to talk myself out of it and went to the grocery store, which was the thing I was supposed to be doing anyway. 

Then I came home and looked in my closet. No magnificent party clothes had appeared overnight. BLAST. 

THEN I decided to look online. At all the stores I'd already been to in person, as well as online stores I'd only heard about in places like Style Lush. Ie: stores I probably have no business shopping at since my standard look is Frumpy 30-Something Mom. I found various possibilities, but nothing that screamed YOU WILL LOOK SMOKIN' HOT IN THIS! and for a while I considered the risk of 2 day shipping on something I would inevitably end up returning and finally I talked myself out of THAT. I said to myself, "Self? You will just have to MAKE DO. Where is your PIONEER SPIRIT?"

The three unsatisfactory tops I bought the day before were still deeply unsatisfactory. I picked the one I disliked the least, and stared at it for a very long time. A very very long time. Because I had no children and nothing that had to be done rightthatsecond and, well, I'm rather vain. THERE, I SAID IT. 

And you know what I did then? DO YOU? I realized that if it just had a different neckline, maybe a square neck or a V neck - anything except this boat neck thing going on.... and then I picked up a pair of scissors... and I Project Runwayed the heck out of my unsatisfactory top. You guys, I used a NEEDLE AND THREAD. !!! And now my boat necked unsatisfactory top is a V necked much less unsatisfactory top, which means I HAVE SOMETHING TO WEAR, THE UNIVERSE MAY NOW RELAX. 

It's still not as awesome as I'd like, but it's awesome enough, if only for the fact that I 1) cut into a brand new shirt and 2) did not use that cheater magic hem taping stuff. I AM SO PROUD OF ME! I feel like I need to run over to my grandmother's assisted living apartment and tell her that summer we spent making one single navy blue and white polka-dotted jumper was not in vain!

I also cleaned my entire kitchen, including scrubbing the floor with Pine Sol and I would just like to tell my mother that the reason I rarely scrub the kitchen floor is that prolonged inhalation of Pine Sol fumes makes me retch. 

In other news, I attempted a DIY project today that was NOT a spontaneous near-destruction of brand new clothes, one that I planned for in advance, that involved a trip to Michaels, and, well, have you fallen over from shock yet?! I KNOW! My pioneer spirit is alive and well! If it turns out I may even post a picture. YOU = ON TENTERHOOKS!

And now I'm going to fill out Jack's book order. SO! INTERESTING!

I just wrote the boringest post in the WORLD. Seriously. Because I love you I deleted it, and now I am having a glass of wine and thinking NOW WHAT? It's not as if I have a plethora of Interestingness going on over here. 

As evidence: I am drinking my wine out of a water glass. This is because I 1) broke the single wine glass I keep in the kitchen for solo wine drinking purposes and 2) I am too lazy to fetch another wine glass from the sideboard in the hallway. Even though it is precisely four steps away from the kitchen. And I sort of LIKE drinking my wine out of a water glass. THIS IS HOW INTERESTING I AM. I AM SORRY.

Today was a good day, mainly because the in-laws had the kids and I had time to do whatever the heck I wanted which was, namely, shop. I spent so much money this weekend. I'll have you know that half the things I bought on Sunday I returned on Monday, but that did not lessen the joy of buying things. I know that's a horrible thing to have joy around, but OH, a new sweater in just the right color is TERRIBLY joyous. I am just stating FACT.

I am also proud to note that I went for a run. It was a gorgeous sunny day, I was all alone, Ke$ha was brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack and I was not stopping to walk. So, to sum up: I played volleyball Sunday night, I ran today - what will I do tomorrow? Running is out of the question as I am proper stroller-less, but I might do a shred during preschool, or maybe take Molly on a long brisk walk if it's nice again. Either way, the goal is to do SOMETHING. Oh! This reminds me: the treadmill people are coming to fix mine on Saturday. They were EXCEPTIONALLY friendly in their response (email! I got to EMAIL them!) and reassured me that they would figure it out (perhaps I sounded a smidge desperate in my email?) and they are coming SATURDAY. Woo hoo!

In other news, I am a holiday planning QUEEN. First of all, we are going to stay in our new neighborhood for Halloween (the last couple years we've gone to my parents' house because they live in one of those perfect for trick or treating neighborhoods) AND we've decided to do it with friends. Do you know me? Come to my house on Halloween! EAT MY CANDY! I've even put up decorations, you guys. We are prepared. 

THEN we started discussing Thanksgiving and how sad is it that neither of us can remember what we did last Thanksgiving? We alternate families and I SWEAR, I cannot remember whose house we were at. All I'm going on at this point is my sister who says she doesn't remember me at MY family's Thanksgiving, which means it's their turn. So we have that figured out. And spoiled wittle Phillip will get to have a second Thanksgiving on Friday because his parents are super accommodating and want to make sure he's properly fed, ie: sticky rice stuffing. I am not being snarky either - have YOU had sticky rice stuffing? It's really the only Thanksgiving food I look forward to, well, that and peach jello with the ice cream on the bottom. GOOD STUFF. 

AND THEN we started talking Christmas! Are we productive or WHAT! (By "we" I obviously mean "I".) We're still not sure what we're doing for the actual holidays, as that's always a big confusing pile of driving and Mass times and staying the night, but guess who ordered invitations for her Christmas party? You're invited to that too. 

LA LA LA life moves forward even when you're anxious. 

P.S. I know you're thinking that THIS post was pretty boring too, but trust me, it's only the SECOND most boring post in the world. 

Oh the things Nina Garcia would say

I'm disappointed to report that I was less than impacted by No Impact Man's talk. Or, rather, his talk-giving abilities. ALSO. I spent entirely too long fretting over what I was going to wear. I was all, "Phiiiiiiiillip, I have Fancy Clothes and Slouchy Clothes but no WORK CLOTHES" and it was all very stressful. Lots of fretting over Appropriateness. I ended up in a pair of gray pants - pants, because it was a cold morning and all of my skirts are of the casual variety - and a black top with an embellished neckline that was more Happy Hour With The Ladies than Business Casual, but you guys, I no longer OWN any Business Casual. And black flats - flats, because I was planning to do a lot of walking. Seriously, my closet and I were having breakdowns left and right. 

THEN. I get to the event and 1) the organizers are wearing skinny jeans and little cardigans and zebra print flats and cool hair and YES they are just cool girls in general and I will never be as hipster as they are, BUT STILL and 2) plenty of attendees were wearing jeans, this IS Seattle and 3) the SPEAKER was wearing jeans. ANNOYING. And then! I ended up taking the bus home right afterwards, so I hadn't needed to worry about a work appropriate outfit I could wear all day and GAAAHHH. 

Also, I missed my connecting bus, even though I sat at the bus stop for HALF AN HOUR (I'm going with: it never came!) and it was all so frustrating and irritating that I totally deserved a stop over at H&M on my way home. 

Okay, I have to tell you that I almost never go to H&M. I've bought various things from that store at various times, but mostly I walk in there and am immediately accosted by 1) My Oldness and 2) My Distinct Lack Of Fashion Forwardness. Both of these things are characterized by the fact that I can't believe people actually wear half the things that are sold at H&M. But H&M works with my budget and I was needing some retail therapy and maybe I could fake twenty-something style. Yes? 

OH, H&M. You baffle me so. I tried on a sweater that I KNOW was supposed to be ginormous and long and downright poncho-like, but the size medium-large FELL OFF OF ME. And I ended up buying a pair of pants two sizes larger than I buy at other stores. Ordinarily I would be horrified by the mere thought of buying pants two sizes larger (bad for the psyche!) but this is H&M. They are crazy. Who knows what size I am at that stupid store. And I also bought a grayish purplish tank top dress that I am wearing over (gasp) LEGGINGS. 

Can we discuss the leggings thing for a minute? So I remember leggings first being popular when I was pregnant with Molly, and my sisters and I were continually being horrified by tiny teenage girls at the mall wearing three-inch-long miniskirts with (gasp) LEGGINGS. But then I kind of thought a dress with leggings underneath would be an awesome maternity outfit, no? Of course I was too timid to actually wear such a getup when I was pregnant and it wasn't until two years later that I bought a pair of six dollar leggings at Target. Which then sat in my closet for months. Until today, when I bought my H&M tunic/dress and stuck the leggings on underneath. GASP. 

AND I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT. Perhaps I look thirteen. Perhaps I look pregnant. Perhaps this fad is on its way out the door. But I don't care because DUDES. This is like wearing PAJAMAS. Big t-shirt! Elastic waist pants! HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG? 

I even wore it out to dinner tonight. I know. I am going to stick my fingers in my ears so I can't hear you. 

AAAAAAANYWAY. That's about the most exciting thing that happened to me all day. Leggings. 

OH WAIT. I was going to tell you how I'm washing my hair with baking soda. Perhaps I was impacted after all! 

So! The baking soda! The results are inconclusive! I've been doing this since... Friday? I think? And you know how I was all "I MUST TAKE A SHOWER EVERY DAY, CHILDREN BE DAMNED" back when I had itty bitty babies? And seriously, I never skipped my shower. You might think this is because I didn't want to smell bad or didn't want to let the spit up ferment in my cracks and crevices, but NO. I have to take a shower every day because I have the greasiest hair in the universe and if I go without washing even one single day my head looks like the Gulf of Mexico. NO LIE. 

But I kept reading about people who started washing their hair with natural products and LO, their hair was beautiful and manageable and completely different in every good way. I had to try it out. Right? So the first "recipe" I tried was one cup of water to one tablespoon of baking soda and no, this did not work. Even though the blogger said that you could even use less if you had thin fine hair (like me). That was my first day and I had an oil slick on my head not two hours later. I know you have to wait a while to let your scalp get used to the new regimen, but that was unacceptable. 

So the next morning I used QUITE a bit more baking soda, but still dissolved it all in water and that went much better. And I've been doing that for a few days now and I have to say I kind of like it. My hair feels pretty greasy right now, actually, and I usually really hate that feeling. BUT. It doesn't LOOK greasy. Which is weird. And the FEELING of greasiness actually makes my hair a lot easier to DO. My hair is so flat and stringy and weird and now it's... not. I don't know. I don't like the greasy feeling, but I'm going to give this at least a week, preferably two. I'll report back. Anyone else doing/done this?