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    177 posts categorized "Too much going on"

    December 22, 2015

    I'd like to settle in for my long winter's nap now

    Another Cheung Christmas party in the books, another post-party week of me flinging myself across the couch all, "NOW WHAT?!" Because I am super mixed up on the reason for the season and after all the booze is drunk, I'm always a bit surprised there's actually more of Christmas left. Kids opening presents? The Christmas pageant? Family? Eh? 

    This was my best year for party stress, mainly because I decided not to stand in the kitchen all day handwringing over homemade appetizers. I finally allowed myself to JUST NOT MAKE FOOD this year. I know! I mean, there was FOOD, but nothing I slaved over (and subsequently ruined) and therefore no running around like a crazed banshee during the half hour before guests arrive trying to get the food done. And guess what! THE PARTY STILL HAPPENED! I KNOW! Of course, no one appeared to EAT anything (COINCIDENCE?) I would be much more upset with myself about this if it weren't for the fact that this year my guests only drank half a bottle of Makers Mark as opposed to last year when the entire bottle disappeared within the first 20 minutes of the party. Maybe we were all just a bit more moderate this year. This is what I'm going with. 

    I ALSO did not freak out about enough people coming/WHO was coming/what I would wear (that much)/the decorations/the little stupid food labels/whether or not the hot cocoa display could hang with the other hot cocoa displays on Pinterest/getting fancy Christmas soap for the bathroom/people who RSVPed and didn't show/people who didn't RSVP and came/whether or not the food was any good. I just didn't. And I know, I'm suspicious too, it's like someone switched out the Type A for Type Anything Else, but let's just hope it sticks. Not being crazy is so much better than being crazy. 

    ANYWAY. That's over. We did my-side-of-the-family Christmas the very next day and yesterday I cowered in a corner and sobbed. No, I was fine, until the late afternoon and hour nine million of dense dark gray rain and I had to go to the Christmas pageant rehearsal. Which! Was fine! But you know what? If I do this again next year? GROWN UPS ARE NOT INVITED. I'm just going to leave that there. It will be a lovely fifteen minutes on Christmas Eve and then I don't have to think about it until next December. And next December I shall be better prepared, with a flask and strong-Christmas-pageant-related-opinion earplugs. 

    The bakery madness is over, thank God. We have some big things to think about for next year, if Thumbprints continues to exist. Did you know the FPC is having a baby? In February? YESSSSSS and guess who will be saying, "NO COOKIES IN FEBRUARY (OR MARCH, APRIL, POSSIBLY JUNE AS WELL!)" I turned down a TON of orders this month because our two corporate orders were just that big and time consuming. We basically did nothing except those two things, but tripled the amount of money we made from last December. The issue is no longer "What does it look like for Thumbprints to operate" - I think we've figured that out. Now it's a matter of, "Does this work for us? Do we want to keep it up? Is it worth it?" All questions to figure out later. After I've done all the taxes, obvs. SIGH. But I'll tell you this much: if the bakery still exists next December, we're either going to be as exclusive and choosy as we want to be, OR we are hiring helpers and a big kitchen with storage space and working until we fall over. We got so many calls this month SO MANY CALLS. And I think I might enjoy bossing a few extra bakery hands around.

    Speaking of bosses, I got an email from my first job boss wanting to know if I want to work a few hours from home for him ummmmm hmmmm... (No. The right answer is no. Don't let me keep pondering that.)

    The next few days we're just getting ready for OUR Christmas. We're a Christmas Eve family, so after the pageant and church, we'll come home and eat incredibly unhealthy snacky foods and open presents. I will miss my family and all the noise and movement, but I just want to do it at home so much. It does make me remember growing up overseas, though, where you never have any family around and your friends come over on the holidays and I miss and want that too. Why don't I have any orphaned friends to invite over?! Phillip is going to have to adopt some young work people away from their families. 

    Christmas Day we usually host a brunch for Phillip's much smaller side of the family, but this year his mom is leaving (tomorrow!) to work on a Mercy Ship in Madagascar! Ack! And because hosting a Phillip's family thing without his [wonderful wonderful] mom around is not something I want to do, we changed plans. FORTUITOUSLY one of Phillip's cousins opened a Chinese restaurant this year. Two minutes from his parents' house. Like, it's where his dad eats all his meals now. AND GUESS WHERE I SUGGESTED WE HAVE CHRISTMAS LUNCH? Am I not the smartest person in the world? And it's just so FITTING, my husband's family being Chinese and me being half Jewish, right? Everyone will be much happier doing this than eating strata at my house anyway. 

    And then the next day I get on a plane for St. Louis where I will volunteer at Urbana for a week. I am... I feel terrible about leaving the kids right when they get all their new stuff and we want to organize and play and have fun. Molly and Emma are getting all these things for their Target brand American Girl dolls and I want to help them set it all up! Figuring out childcare was hard. Leaving Phillip for a week is sad. I kind of think of Urbana as "work travel" for me, because I really am going to train and learn and grow in the things I want to grow in, but it's NOT, obviously, and it's a big deal for me to be gone a whole week when the kids are out of school, and during the holidays! It's a big deal and I'm thankful Phillip is so supportive of me and my "work". 

    Of course, on the other hand, I have been so tired and frustrated with so many things, that a week in a nice hotel room with one of my best friends super super far away sounds soooooo niiiiiice...

    Was that not the most mommybloggy update in the world? SNORE. But here I am, dropping a digital pin on this point in my life. 

    I think I'll eat some cake now. Katie made me a passionfruit ganache cake for Christmas (BEST GIFT EVER?) and I am slowly (okay, not that slowly) working my way through. It's hard work, but I'll get it done, no worries. 

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! If you're St. Louis adjacent hit me an email and maybe we can meet for lunch!

     

    December 07, 2015

    December Madness, fueled by sugar cookies

    The December Panic kicked in this morning. It's late this year - usually it starts on Thanksgiving, ha. But this morning I find myself wordlessly roaming my house, mentally curling into the fetal position. It's all the usual stuff, plus the stuff that I should care about but don't usually, plus the stuff that I should care about and never do, plus the bakery, plus the Christmas party, plus the fact that I'm leaving for St. Louis the day after Christmas and will be gone for a week... suddenly I care very much about ALL THE THINGS. All the stuff on the deck that I still haven't put away from the summer? VERY IMPORTANT! The kids not putting their things away in their assigned places and just haphazardly stashing in their rooms? PANIC INDUCING! The fact that no one has any clean socks? I HAVE FAILED AS A MOTHER! My inability to choose a Signature Cocktail for the Christmas party? A DISGRACE TO THE HUMAN RACE! 

    And the bakery, oh you guys. The bakery basically has two customersSug in December: our big corporate client from last December and then a tiny corporate client who ordered 59 dozen sugar cookies - FAWNCY ones at that. Yesterday we decided that we're not taking any more. We have one tiny order for late December, but that's it. I've turned down lots of orders over the last 2 weeks because we literally have no space, but now it's official. DO NOT CALL US. This is madness, the end. 

    I should say more about the bakery, for those two or three of you interested in this entrepreneurial mental illness, but that's a little more procrastination than I mean to have right now. (Basically if I am writing on my website I am avoiding something I really SHOULD be doing. Like dishes.) 

    Let's discuss something more important, like my hair appointment tomorrow. Yes, one million things I need to do, but YOU BETCHA I am going to the salon and fixing my head. The hair is in a state of way-grown-out pixie, where it's more like a slightly layered bob, with some random slicing into it since I cut it myself a few weeks ago. I curl it with a flat iron everysingleday. The layer right under the top layer is all going gray. And the fact that I can gather it into the teeniest of ponytails drives me INSANE. A short hair lady cannot abide even the minutest of ponytails. But I am wondering if I SHOULD let it grow, that maybe longer hair suits me right now (but not TOO long). Everyone I ask says, "Oh, I like it like this!" but NO, WRONG ANSWER. 

    So when I was wandering around Anthropologie the other day hunting for a Festive Top (this was going to be my too-fat-for-all-my-dresses-holiday-solution), instead I found the most perfect head of hair on the girl manning the dressing rooms. It helped that she was 1) tall and thin and 2) freakishly movie star beautiful. Being none of those things it's entirely possible her hair will not work on my head, but I stalked her anyway and surreptitiously took pictures... I kind of can't believe I did that. So creepy! But she had the perfect long-ish pixie, and her hair was dark like mine and came to a point at the nape of her neck like mine and appeared to be straight-but-worked-over-with-a-flat-iron the way I do mine. SO MAYBE. 

    Anyway. Congratulations, Me! Instead of folding the pile of laundry on your bed or doing the breakfast dishes, you wrote a pointless blog post! And now you have to go meet a friend for coffee because HELLO it's not like your priorities are COMPLETELY out of whack. When you get back you have nine million sugar cookies to box (AND YOU GUYS I LEARNED HOW TO TIE REAL BOWS!!!!!) so it's not like anything your family actually needs you to do is going to get done today. But you'll have had a good day! Throw some Xanax at that December anxiety issue and you're ALL GOOD!

    November 10, 2015

    And guess what! There's no school tomorrow! HAAAAA

    So if I wanted to, I could write my whole blog post in super huge Impact font what do you think about that I sort of love it maybe this is fuuuuun!!!

    Okay, sorry, it's just that Typepad made it a whole lot easier to be annoying and I couldn't help it. 

    Oh, Typepad. Remember when Typepad was where the cool kids started their blogs? 

    That reminds me, I stupidly volunteered myself to start a blog/website dealie for my churchy crowd... which brings me to today's topic, it being POSSIBLY I SHOULD STOP VOLUNTEERING FOR THINGS. 

    Remember the bakery? Yeah, the bakery. That's still happening. We got our most $$$ single order this week and that's exciting, especially because it's not one that makes both Katie and I hyperventilate, ie: we can handle it, no prob. But we've also got a bunch of custom sugar cookie orders, including one from a lady who's having her own cookie cutters designed and created by a 3D printer OH YES. And we're back on the holiday menu for one quite large local e-tailer so it's safe to say Thumbprints Holiday Madness is in full swing. So there's that. My business, for which I pay taxes and write emails and suck up to government officials. Kind of a thing on my plate. 

    OTHER THINGS:

    • (sorry)
    • That pesky school boundary issue. I have a meeting about that this week. This meeting was announced via email where it was noted that "Maggie has some great ideas (and contacts!)" and I have yet to correct the record on the contacts part. Just knowing WHO to contact is definitely not the same as Having Contacts. Derp. 
    • Being the website, Facebook, newsletter, and brand new Twitter account updater for the school PTA. I would rather do this job that pretty much any other job for the PTA, but with the boundary issue I'm realizing I could pretty much turn THAT into a part-time job. 
    • Every Monday night I do a church thing. Every. Monday. Sometimes it's two blocks from my house, sometimes it's an hour away in traffic. I super love doing this thing, but again: every. Monday. 
    • We got our bathroom leak and ceiling fixed! And now it's my job to draw up a design and source some materials for our bathroom remodel, still scheduled for the spring, but with A Dude rather than A Remodeling Firm which means more work for me. (But you guys. I really had no idea how much A Remodeling Firm would charge for a bathroom remodel. I mean, I thought I knew, but I didn't really know, and that's made me A-OK with hiring a chatty yet reliable and weirdly inexpensive Dude rather than my preferred Firm.)
    • OH, HEY, BEING A PARENT
    • Planning and prepping for our yearly holiday party.
    • And the newest thing! Last year a friend and I threw around the idea of doing a Christmas pageant at our church. We didn't approach anyone about it till about Thanksgiving time and because our church is the sort of church that does things Well, it was a bit horrified at the thought of throwing together a Christmas pageant sort of last minute like. But this year we have another friend who is now church staff and sort of the Go To Lady To Get Stuff Done and guess who talked the priest and choir director into a pageant, created a whole practice schedule, and already put a notice in the bulletin. And... when I said, "Sure, okay, I guess?" I didn't realize we'd be practicing EVERY SATURDAY in December (overkill?) (but remember my church does things WELL!) and HOO BOY. So that's bakery deliveries and at least 3 parties on December Saturdays, coupled with pageant practice... Phillip is going to kill me. 

    I'm NOT someone who has a problem saying no. Honest. I have lots of nice ways of saying no, but I only bust those out when I don't want to do something. And I'm realizing that most of the time, I WANT TO DO EVERYTHING.

    Phillip? Not so much. 

    Yeah, so my list of things up there, I'm excited about every single one of those things. BUT CAN I DO ALL THE THINGS? 

    I think the answer is: December is just going to be crazy. Like everyone else's December. Every year. CRAZY = DECEMBER I am very much a "All right! I see the list! It will be rough, but we'll get it done and WE SHALL PREVAIL!" 

    Phillip will struggle. I will plan and organize and do nine million things so he only has to do four, but he is still going to kill me. Maybe that's why I'm writing this out, so you know what happened when I tell him about the Christmas pageant and I never show up on Twitter again. 

    Buuuuuut.... this is why we planned a grownups-only weekend in Vegas in January? Maybe I can leverage his February ski weekend with friends into this. Maybe a good, "BUT WE WANT OUR KIDS TO BE IN A CHRISTMAS PAGEANT!!!"

    Last night I attempted Actual Cooking and made Indian butter chicken, one of our favorite things. The end result was not something that tasted anything like butter chicken, but it was vaguely Indian and definitely edible. Not a total fail, I thought. But Phillip, who is absolutely never anything but encouraging about my "cooking" struggled to find something positive to say and the kids wouldn't eat it at all. So tonight we are having hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls, probably some macaroni and cheese. I do know how to say no to SOME things. 

    October 26, 2015

    A Litany of Complaints

    Okay friends, if you've got any pep talks lying around, I could use one. 

    Things are not HORRIBLE. At all. Much of Twitter is experiencing Actual Horrible right now and all I've got is a leak in my ceiling. 

    But we already had someone out to fix the leak! And we were going to get a guy to come repair the ceiling and that was going to last us until the spring when hopefully we'll have enough money to gut the whole bathroom and start over, which is what REALLY needs doing. But as soon as I got out of the shower this morning the kids shrieked, "THE CEILING IS DRIPPING AGAIN!" and lo, it was so. Our top [main] floor bathroom is situated directly over the bottom floor bathroom [the kids use this one] and we thought it was the toilet, but maybe now it's the shower? 

    We had our 5th contractor come out to give us a bid on the bathroom and while this is our first Fairly Reasonable In Our Opinion Bid, it's still a huge chunk of money. And he didn't include redoing our shoddy shower tile job, which we're pretty sure we want. 

    TANGENT: If you had one bathroom on your main floor that served as the master bedroom bathroom AND the bathroom everyone in your home uses during the average day, including guests, would you:

    OPTION ONE: Divide into 2 bathrooms, creating a hall bath with a toilet, large shower, and teeny sink, and master bath with double sinks, small shower, and toilet, or

    OPTION TWO: Keep as one large bathroom, but replace giant tub with giant shower and replace current shoddy tile job shower with a sink, so that the pocket door dividing the bathroom would actually be USEFUL (giant shower/double sinks on one side, toilet and new sink on the other side). 

    (I suppose it would be helpful to note that the bathroom currently has one giant soaking tub, double vanity, toilet, and shower, but a pocket door that divides it into tub/sinks and toilet/shower. It also has a door on either end, one into the master bedroom, one into the hallway, IT MAKES NO SENSE, your Christmas party guests feel like they're walking into your shower.)

    OMG THIS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE AN ESSAY ON MY BATHROOM. 

    I'm also sick and I've been sick for going on three weeks and I AM OVER IT. 

    I tried REALLY hard not to go over my grocery budget this month, but no one in this house is cool with being a vegetarian except... oh wait, probably everyone is cool with it except Phillip. And Molly, I guess. Future Post: How Molly Is Mini-Phillip.

    I screwed up Molly's Halloween costume. Royally. 

    I absolutely hate my hair, but if I chop it into my preferred long bangs pixie I'm afraid I'll look even fatter than the nearly 40 extra pounds I've gained this year OH YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT FORTYYYYY. 

    Also, I spend an inordinate amount of time each evening ogling the gray hair multiplying over my scalp.

    But you know what, I might be okay with all of these things if my four-year-old would literally get her you know what together and figure out how to use the potty. I pretty much never want advice about anything, but people, if any of you know the tiniest thing about potty training while on Miralax PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put your assvice in the comments I BEG YOU. (I should note the other aspects of potty training are good, including night training, in fact, that was the first thing she mastered A YEAR AGO. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS KID?)

    Let us pause while I figure out if there's anything else I want to sob about. 

    Eh, I think that's it. Time to open that bag of Halloween candy that put me over my budget WISE DECISION, SELF. 

    February 24, 2015

    Out of Office Message

    Hey Internet! I felt like I should tell you I'm headed out of town in the morning. EARLY in the morning. My friend and I are road tripping to Redding, CA for a church conference and while I love my friend, I am strongly doubting her claim that she will be here at 5am. Nonetheless I shall be up and ready to go because WHAT IF SHE IS?

    Don't ask me what the church conference is about. I actually don't know. I honestly have no idea what sort of thing I'll be attending for 3 days. All I know is that my friend has been before, raaaaaaaved about it, and told me I should go. And now I am! I am easily swayed. 

    But I feel like the amount of work it's taken to enable me to be away from my house for 4 days was INSANE. Maybe I didn't have to make a freezer meal and do all the laundry in addition to figuring out every single logistical detail, but I did and it has lessened the guilt somewhat. What is this guilt about? I guess it's because I don't HAVE to go to a church conference for four days? 

    This morning I'm telling the kids what's happening and what to expect and how Aunt Katie is going to pick them up from school and Jack said, "Things don't work very well without you!" If he hadn't been all the way in the back of the van I would have smothered him with kisses. Things WILL work well without me, and even though I'm sure he doesn't really know what he meant, I felt his meaning and I loved it. Then he said something about how Daddy should just not work while I'm away because who is going to take care of everything? And THAT'S ABOUT RIGHT, KIDS. I take care of EVERYTHING. 

    I'm so tired. I still have to eat dinner and pack my shampoo and make sure I don't forget my contact solution like I do on every other trip and OH I should probably call my mother. But I felt like I should say HEY, I'LL BE AWAY I don't know. You = whatevs. 

    P.S. The bakery had a great February. Without us doing a Dang Thing. I absolutely cannot wait until this presentation to other catering managers (in April) LOOK OUT! WORLD DOMINATION!

    February 09, 2015

    In which I tell my own self how fast it goes

    I forgot about our big trip there for a second. Then yesterday I realized we have no tickets for Venice to London and I should probably get on that and then I got frustrated with my options (suuuuuper cheap for an 11pm flight, nearly 3x as much for a daytime flight) and now I'm done again. My dad keeps asking me about cars and car seat regulations and of COURSE I haven't figured that out because that's got to be the most boring part of our trip to research. But we booked the London apartment. We have tickets to cross the Atlantic there and back. The Paris flights are purchased. Big stuff accomplished. 

    (Except for the packing. Oh my God, the packing. Every time I start to think about what suitcases or what kind of carryon bag or how many pairs of underwear or if I need to buy the kids new things because maybe they've grown out of their summer clothes I MAYBE start to cry. A little bit. Paging Emily Cassee.)

    I was thinking February was going to be a nice drifting back into routine, but NO, have you heard of Valentine's Day coupled with 100 Day and (imagine Jack motormouthing excitedly) PAJAMA DAY TOO! I did not think about Valentine anything (except for bakery stuff, I suppose, and barely even that since I took our store down and we're not shipping anymore SORRY), until maybe yesterday. Oh right! I have to get the kids valentines! (See how I didn't even CONSIDER helping them MAKE valentines?) 

    Also 100 Day. Yippee. And Pajama Day is stupid. There. I said it.

    Also there are LOTS of February birthdays I 1) have already forgotten and 2) am bound to forget. And did I tell you I'm going on a little road trip with a friend at the END of February? Which is actually not that far away? I did plan out the whole thing and everyone's been notified and I know what's going on, but still, whoa. That's coming up quick. (Church conference. Redding, CA. DRIVING. God help us.)

    My parents took Emma overnight last week and it was freakishly quiet for almost 48 hours in my house. I could THINK! I started to wonder if this is what it will be like when she goes to kindergarten. Preschool, when she starts, will just make everything worse. I want very much for HER to go, but it's not a convenient schedule and will involve lots and lots of driving back and forth for pick ups and drop offs. But it can't be worse than the year I had a kindergartner and a preschooler and a BABY, so chin up, Maggie. No, the rest of this year (we're attempting to start her in preschool at the end of February, early March, just until we go on the trip) and all of next will be all about the Annoying Schedules. MAYBE the following year, if we decide not to test her for early entrance to kindergarten (born 3 weeks past the cut off). But the year she DOES go? Whatever shall I do with myself? 

    MAYBE the bakery will be ready for world domination and I'll be very busy indeed. Even if it isn't, our hope is that we get busy THIS year and will need a sort of on-call additional baker. That's the goal. So it's entirely possible that even a regular baby bakery will keep me busy. 

    But what if it doesn't? Or what if we don't HAVE the bakery then? 

    See how I was all whiny about being busy at the start of this post and now I'm freaking out about NOT being busy? I must be excruciatingly difficult to live with. 

    My big kids are getting SO. BIG. and my little kid is getting big too - she wanted me to hold her in church and my arms wanted to die. I keep thinking about how when JACK was 3 he was a BIG BOY and I sent him to preschool and he had to be nice to his little sister. And now his littlest sister is 3 but she's still my BABY. Junior high me is severely unimpressed with my lack of attention and care for birth order unfairnesses. 

    I was telling my mom how it suddenly got hard staying home with just Emma. I think that has MUCH to do with the fact that she stopped napping, if not EVERYTHING. But also the not being potty trained, the not having a preschool or class or regular outing we do (besides, ah, coffee and pink cake pops.) I've been thinking so much about preschool and mother's helpers and childcare at gyms and stuff like that, but I know from having the older two, once it starts it just keeps going. No more little kids at home with me. 

    It hasn't even happened yet and I'm still marveling at how fast it went. 

     

    January 03, 2015

    A bullet list without the bullets

    I think I've found an apartment rental in London. It's walkable from Phillip's office. Walking distance of 2 tube stations, several grocery stores, several parks. An acceptable amount of pounds, meaning Phillip's company will foot the bill for MOST of it. I am ELATED. I mean, I'm going to have to do some mental work and character growth re: not getting to do everything *I* want to do in London, but I feel confident that I'll work it out. 

    We've decided EJ Cheung needs to go to preschool. Like yesterday. Staying home with mommy does not seem to be cutting it anymore. Just feeling like SHE could be getting more out of the world than going shopping and eating cookies at 9am with her mom, you know? But I've been looking for preschools happy to accept a young 3 in the 3s class who is also [insert shameface emoji] not potty trained. This preschool has yet to appear on my google search. 

    I bought this cardigan/sweater/fleece thingy at the Nordstrom clearance sale today and it is made of teddy bear snuggles and Christmas pajamas. Not terribly efficient at butt covering, but excels at muffin top disguising and keeping one toasty in one's poorly heated house. 

    I've talked to a few people (sisters, friends) about better-observing the liturgical year, and what it would be like to switch the party from a Christmas shindig to a Twelfth Night something or other. Problem is, Twelfth Night is pretty specific and it'd be lame to have your Twelfth Night Party on the Eighth Night because Twelfth Night is a school night. You might think I'm worrying about this a bit too far in advance, but then you must not know me at all. 

    After careful study of both products, I prefer my Naked 2 palette to my Lorac Pro 2 palette, though because of formula and the way Urban Decay eyeshadow goes on as opposed to colors. I love the Lorac 2 colors, they're just... powdery? Fly away? And dark ones are super dark and the light ones are too light? I was thinking today I might go for Naked 1, but are there too many pinky browns? Pinky browns are my least favorite. I need a palette full of grays and taupes and and lavenders and smoky blues and sparkly white-pinks, with a few shades of greens and golds. Does this exist? Possibly called The Black Eye Palette.

    The Seahawks are not playing this weekend. Which is great, except for Phillip just casually mentioning he'd need to watch anyway (DAMN FANTASY FOOTBALL). Remember when Phillip didn't want ANY sort of ball? Also I am for real apprehensive about this upcoming week of football because seriously, the whole city seems to need a Xanax and everyone wears their blue and green gear and they exchange knowing looks and UGH THE PRESSURE. It's like I somehow internalize the playoff anxiety - the PERCEIVED playoff anxiety! - of perfect strangers. STAY AWAY, AM DELICATE FLOWER!

    I am suuuuuper happy about the kids going back to school this week and everything going back to normalish, except for the part where getting out of bed and pouring cereal and making lunches is normalish. I still think Thumbprints should market bags of savory filled buns and whatnot to put in freezers for kid lunches. Not that my kids would eat those. Maybe filled with peanut butter. 

    I am super into a song called 'Dangerous' by Big Data right now. But then I finally got Phillip to watch the Veronica Mars movie last night and this song is playing in the bar scene! This movie came out last year! AM I THAT BEHIND? (But in my hunt for lyrics I read a bit about the music video and hmmm, it sounds icky. At least the lyrics themselves aren't noticeably icky, like, for example, 'Habits (Stay High)' and 'Take Me To Church', which is so disappointing because I like the MUSIC.) (I don't think I'm a HUGE prude about song lyrics, but dude, that High song is gross. AND SO CATCHY.)

    While we're complaining about music, that song Rude? DRIVES ME CRAZY. First of all, it's not RUDE so much as debatably CRUEL, and what is this girl, cattle? Also I hate reggae. I SAID IT.

    I'm just sitting here writing this as I refresh Twitter every two minutes and click on Cillian Murphy gifs. Thinking I am nearing the end of my blogging career. Maybe. I need to do a Reads & Recommends pretty soon if only to wax rhapsodic about my string of WWII spy novels and Benedict Cummersnitch in The Imitation Game. GOOD NIGHT

    November 10, 2014

    HALP, people who work from home

    There's no school tomorrow. Something about veterans or whatever. FINE. I'll just suffer through an entire day at home alone with these hooligans. 

    (I'M JOKING. About the veterans. I *am* on my ninety-third WWII book. But I was not joking about the hooligan part.) 

    ANYWAY. I am a teeeeeeny bit freaking out because even though I brought my computer on the retreat I volunteered at this weekend, I didn't crack it open at all (SHOCKER) and I feel BEHIND. I am behind on personal things, like responding to emails and evites and updating my calendar so Phillip knows what the heck is going on around here and figuring out when we're going to see grandparents and what's going on at school ETCETERA ETCETERA. And I'm terribly behind on WORK stuff, which is super not good. I am terrified of the day I forget about an order that's due because I just didn't update the calendar or bother to tell Katie or something else completely stupid. And also I really want to get that online store up and running before it gets much closer to Thanksgiving and I just don't know how it's going to happen. I can get SOME stuff done in the gaps when the kids are in bed or Phillip is doing stuff with them, but what I really need is some good several-hours-long chunks of time when I can concentrate and test things and THINK. I'm finding that I can DO stuff with kids around (package things, print out postage, tie ribbons) but the THINKING and PLANNING with kids around is beyond me. And if I don't think and plan, we don't grow. Blargh. 

    And tomorrow everyone is home. Plus my sister-in-law and her three kids will be here most of the day since they live a few hours away and are in town so my brother can go to a nearby interview. So they can maybe move closer. I love having people around, but it's not like I'm going to get any work done. I need to get work done. Ack ack ack. 

    I also see that I am making two meals this week for a friend who just left the hospital, I have a birthday get together, I have a cookie delivery, and possibly meeting up with a brand new friend so I have to put a little more effort into Having My @&%$ Together that day. CAN I DOOOO THAAAAAAT?

    When Phillip and I created this joint desk thing in a very public area of our house I made a big stink about how I was going to insist that he keep it clean and looking nice and picked up and now I'M the one with a giant unopened pile of mail, a bajillion bakery Post-It notes, scattered pens, hand sanitizer, nail polish, all the fancy camera paraphernalia, printed out spreadsheets, receipts, cards, magazines, and for some reason the tongs to the cocktail ice bucket. I don't know. Now accepting applications for Personal Assistant. 

    I'm going to sit down and do the thing that is probably least important, which is stamp and address my Christmas party invitations, not that I have any idea when I will have time to actually think about what we're going to have for the party this year (do you want to come?)

    Wait. First. People who work from home. Do you use daycare? Family? Mother's helpers? Babysitters? My mother-in-law retired this summer and seems to be more than willing to come up whenever I ask and watch Emma. I think this is my first and easiest option, though I can't make it a regular thing. I mean, even if it turned out that she came up one day every week, I'm not going to ask her to COMMIT to that. (No. Don't tell me I should just ask, because no.) So while I have that option, it's not something I can necessarily plan around. Other options are: finding a daytime sitter and then escaping to a coffee shop? Once a week? I'd rather not work with someone else in my house watching the kids. My sister could? Sometimes? But definitely not something I'd ask her to commit to doing either, just on an as-needed basis. There's preschool too, but that seems even more expensive than a sitter, only a few hours, I'm not excited about the for-sure unpleasant adjustment to going somewhere without me, and also the going back and forth in the car is my least favorite thing ever. HOW DO YOU DO THIS? WHAT IS YOUR PLAN? 

    When we were trick or treating I found out there's a CHINESE DAYCARE down the street from me. Like, I can walk there. They would feed my kid good food and teach her Chinese. I should do this, right?! Maybe? Ack. 

    Maybe my biggest hurdle is admitting to myself (rather than the blog) that I really do need one or two days a week to do Work, on my own, no kids, get it done, focus, then close the computer and let it go. I answer email all the time, I talk to Katie all the time, I update the calendar all the time, but I'm talking website and marketing and planning stuff. Just a few hours a week. I need to commit to finding that time and making it happen. Right? (ACK)

    October 29, 2014

    This post includes the phrase "self absorbed and obsessed with appearances" so, same old same old

    The bakery gears are churning again. October was not a spectacular month for us, order-wise, but after weeks and weeks of not feeling sure, I feel very much up and running. I keep reading things, talking to people, snagging advice and connections and ideas. The kids had friends over this afternoon and when the mom (who I didn't know) came to get them, we ended up on the couch talking out our fledgling businesses for another hour. I feel like there is encouragement everywhere. 

    Also discouragement. We've decided to set up an online store and it is taking me FOREVER. And I have a million questions about every step and uncertainty about the whole endeavor and bah. We've been prodded to open an online store (as opposed to our current website and order-via-email-conversation system) by more than a few people, but it never felt DOABLE. The biggest thing was just not knowing if we'd be able to FULFILL those orders. When someone orders something online and pays for it right then, they sort of, you know, expect it fairly soon. Our current system allows us to schedule things the way we need them scheduled. Also the shipping charge element is overwhelming to me, I don't know what boxes to check on a lot of these inventory questions, we don't know how to best list our products or even writing the copy BLARGH. 

    BUT. This seemed like a DUH kind of thing to do, and we talked over the schedules and availability thing and what kind of language we'd need to include in the listings to make all of that manageable. Some of those questions I'm still working on (shipping! UGH I HATE SHIPPING) but if this all works out? Anyone who's ever visited our site and didn't order something because emailing back and forth seemed like a giant pain in the ass for just sending a box of cookies to Grandma might be more inclined to order. ALSO we're putting together what we hope are irresistible holiday boxes and Christmas is gonna need to pay January's rent. Right? So. That's what I've been working on. (We're using Storenvy by the way, instead of Etsy or whatever else. Maybe more on that later. Thumbs up so far.)

    And just in general I feel a little like... like things COULD be spinning fast, but not yet? And the only reason they're not spinning YET is because I haven't got up the nerve to make them spin. Lots of people are offering help and advice and connections and I have yet to really GO there. I should. At some point. Sometimes it feels like we can barely handle what we're doing NOW. But, you know, I like to move forward, always, and we'll eventually take the next step. Whatever that is. 

    I think things are going well. Phillip seems really happy at work right now and I'm feeling like a good mom lately. I don't know if it's because they're getting older or if I just have more brain space or I'm not STARTING a bakery anymore or it's a full moon, I don't know, but I'm really ENJOYING the kids in a way I haven't experienced yet as a mom. Of course I've always enjoyed my kids. I mean, I love babies like nothing else and we think ours are the best kids on the planet, like any other self-respecting mom and dad. But they are really FUN right now! The reading, the curiosity about the world, the wanting to play with other kids but still being little and calling me mommy - it's just awesome. Before my grandma got too deep into the Alzheimer's, she and I would still chat a bit and sometimes I could get her talking about HER kids and she'd always say that the days when her kids were little were the best days. I'm sure that's different for different people, but these days when my kids are big but still little and still wanting to spend so much time with their mom and dad are really super great. For me. I'm a fan. 

    I ordered Christmas party invitations because OBVS we need to have one. I picked the one day it's possible that ALL my siblings can attend, even my Colorado brother because they're coming out for the holidays. Any ideas for fancy-ish, no-utensils, not TOTALLY bankruptable catering would be very welcome. 

    I'm not sure what to do with the blond. I'm not sure why I feel like I need to know what to do with the blond, but it's something I think about on a fairly regular basis, because I am self-absorbed and obsessed with appearances. Keep blonding? Dye it back? Cut it short? Grow it out? I need a plan. PLANS ARE GOOD. Even for hair. 

    I've bought over half of my Christmas presents. Katie told me Christmas is a soul crushing time of year for bakeries and I should get as much done ahead of time as possible. So. Oh, I know what I wanted to ask you. If you wanted to float a Secret Santa exchange amongst your siblings who won't all be in the same place until Christmas, how would you suggest picking names? 

    There's a whole bunch of stuff I can think of to write about or ask you about or whatever, but I'm soooooo tired. Do not recommend Pumpkin Carving as a playdate activity, especially if the playdaters are finicky mess-avoiders. Weirdos. 

     

     

    October 07, 2014

    The only thing that really matters in this post is that I placed my first Boden order YAY

    I bought a Rainy Day Mac, you ENABLERS!!! I have never ordered anything from Boden, but it helps that 1) I've always wanted to order something from Boden and 2) they were having a sale. I mean, it's still a pricey rain coat, but I LIVE IN SEATTLE. Right? Right. Sad part is that I bought the plain black one because: cheapest. But still. Black goes with everything! AND I ordered two clearance dresses. I told myself that this is my Does Boden Work For Me order, since that's what has always held me up before. 

    (You know, like J Crew? J Crew does not make clothes for people with my body shape. I mean sometimes? If I get really lucky? But otherwise, they're a big nope. I strongly suspect Boden requires a JCrewish body, but WE SHALL SEE!) 

    It's been a weird day. I took a very long nap. Even though I didn't really NEED to nap or WANT to nap, it just sort of HAPPENED. And then there was the whole "what huh smrph" jolted wake up when my alarm went off. (I have an alarm now. Remember when I slept through school pick up? I told you about that, right? GAH) And then Emma has been Constipated (and yes, with her it is a capital C) meaning that the phrase "I mixed her prune juice with Miralax" was uttered at dinnertime. The kids are on a big string game kick and ate dinner an hour later than usual because they were busy making videos of themselves demonstrating Cup and Saucer and Cat's Whiskers. Dorks. 

    I had a weird cake order today too, with an out of state customer wanting it delivered to someone who just happens to live in my neighborhood and the phone kept cutting out and I was toeing the line between Cheery Positive No Problem! and OMG GET THIS OVER WITH. Also I continue to feel like I pull information out of my ass. How much? What flavors? UHHHHH. I need to make myself some sort of cheat sheet and tape it directly to the wall above my desk. It's embarrassing. 

    Katie and I met up yesterday to talk about Halloween treats. We're pretty sure no one will order them, but we need some new fun pictures for the website. I don't think anyone's ordered cupcakes from us (are we coming off the cupcake trend?) but we're going to do a bunch of Halloweeny ones and they're going to be SO CUTE. We also thinked up the menu for a tasting we're doing for another catering company this month and staaaarted talking about Christmas. Right now we are just ASSUMING Christmas will be nutballs, but as soon as we start talking about how busy we'll be, we're both like, "Oh, but maybe no one will order anything from us and we'll feel REALLY STUPID." So. Super professional over here, making all the right businessy decisions, totally prepared, extra chipper. That's us!

    Oh, I wanted to tell you that we went to the Home Show over the weekend because (VERY EXCITING) we are probably going to remodel the kitchen in the next two years (okay, maybe that isn't that exciting, two years is kind of a long time, EXCEPT I CAN COUNT IT ON ONE HAND I DIDN'T THINK I'D EVER GET TO DO THAT) and Phillip was curious. The Home Show was not half as fun as I thought it would be, more boring convention than crazy people state fair, but we did pick up a whole bunch of flyers and business cards and got some good advice. Like no one would think we're crazy if we called them 6 to 9 months before we wanted to start our project. And also that we should probably start thinking NOW about what we want. I mean, beyond a Pinterest board. So. Right now all I've got are solid slab of something countertops and an undermount sink. Did you remodel? Is there a feature you cannot live without? Like one of those hidden mixer cupboards with the shelf that moves up to counterheight? SO COOL. 

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