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August 2010

This post = 100% of your daily carbohydrate intake

Because I love my husband I MADE dinner tonight - I'll remind you that I threw a small yet glorified playdate this morning, complete with fresh scones and bread and a salad FROM MY GARDEN and I was TIRED. Meatloaf. Eh. Not my best effort, but now I can throw that recipe away and move on to the next, right? Anyway, because I love my CHILDREN, I heaped their plates with the following: 

  • meatloaf
  • apple slices
  • half a banana
  • green beans
  • chicken nuggets, because they won't eat the meatloaf OBVS;

and carried these plates downstairs and let them eat on the little Ikea table in front of Caillou. (GAH I HATE CAILLOU.) 

So my son, who ate an entire scone and three slices of cheese for lunch, takes a long critical look at his plate, and says, in the voice I imagined he wouldn't have until he was fifteen, "Why did you give me THIS? I don't WANT this." He circles his finger around in the air above the offensive items in case I'm not quite clear on what he doesn't want on his plate and then looks up at me. As if to say, "JEEZ, Mom. GET A CLUE."

At this point today's blog post can veer off into an Angst-Filled Discussion Re: Food, Eating Habits, Should We Or Should We Not Force Him To Eat His Vegetables and Proper Nutrition. Or I can just skip it and tell you about our morning. 

Which was, if I may say so myself, the perfect amount of Toddler Party. It didn't start till 10:30, so we could have lunch not even a half hour into it if we wanted (ie: SOMETHING TO DO) and everyone left by one-ish, which: PERFECT. I mean, not that I don't love my guests, but Mama needed nap time. 

There were doughnuts:


From Top Pot, which is God's favorite doughnut shop. Those little bags have Betty Crocker mix cookies in them, and I wasn't planning to hand out favors, but Jack was killing me yesterday and we made cookies out of desperation. (When in doubt, feed child cookie dough.)  

I made these scones (which I LOVE) and the European peasant bread recipe from this book and caprese salad with cherry tomatoes from my garden (they are turning RED you guys! And not a moment too soon!) and there was fruit and cheese and deli meat and Martha's macaroni and cheese. I did hear some murmuring about the giant carb-fest going on in my kitchen, but come on, I AM a giant carbohydrate. Welcome to eating at my house!

The kids also managed to comply with my one brilliant idea for an Activity: 


That would be painting on a giant taped-together piece of paper OH YEAH. 

Sure we spilled a little water and there was some squabbling over paint-stealing, but we got five whole minutes of Quiet and it was awesome. And then when it was time to eat, we threw the paper away and used the pink plastic tablecloth as our table. Me = Fantastically Fabulously Brilliant. 

My girl turns two tomorrow. TWOOOOOO.


"JEEZ MOM. Can't a girl eat her carbs without having a camera shoved up in her face?" 


It occurs to me, too late, that this party would be greatly improved by mimosas

My contacts are sticking to my eyes. Don't you hate that? It used to be nightly torture until I started using this. [Dudes, that link is so against Blog Policy. I do not shill. And yet! I highly recommend!] ANYWAY. Now my contacts only stick to my eyes and blind me at night when I am Flat Out Exhausted. LIKE NOW. I just cut up a pineapple, a canteloupe, two bricks of cheese and hacked up an entire vine of grapes. I've made a list of all the bakey things I must accomplish in the morning, I've laid out all the appropriate dishes, I came up with an Activity for the preschool/toddler set and I've decided who will eat where, kind of an important detail for having a party in my strange little house. And that was just the last two hours! You have no idea what all I did during nap time! 

I love having people over. I really really do. So why don't I start preparing and planning BEFORE the night-before-the-party? Honestly. People have been asking me if I have a THEME or how I'll DECORATE and yes, I may have written a doughnut birthday party post for Style Lush but you KNOW I just had to come up with Post Material, right? 

When my in-laws came over this afternoon I dashed to the mall to figure out what I was going to do for napkins and plates and decorations. I had NO IDEAS. There are no doughnut-themed napkins/plates/decor, in case you are wondering. Cupcakes - yes. Princesses and fairies and Hello Kitty (that was last year) and endless Nick Jr. characters - yes. Doughnuts - no. So. Hmm. 

When it comes to Themes or Decor or whatever, I rarely sit at home and decide that the baby shower I'm throwing will have an aqua and orange color scheme, with onesies pinned to the mantel and baby bottles as flower vases. No, I'm usually out in Target or wherever and I see orange napkins sitting next to the aqua napkins and I think THAT'S IT. 

So I'm in this cute little kitchen store at the mall and I'm looking at these super cute oilcloth tablecloths which OHMYSTARS cost seventy dollars and I think: but I have a table runner that looks almost EXACTLY like this! And that's when I decided I didn't need matching paper plates and napkins and blah blah blah, I have everything I need at home and SCREW YOU seventy dollar tablecloth! 

Now that the decisions have been made, the food as prepared as it can be the night before, and all the friends who've offered to help politely turned down (oh, except for the friend who is BRINGING THE DOUGHNUTS, the one and only link to my original Doughnut Birthday Party Idea, GAH), I'm in the This Party Is Probably Going To Suck Stage. Ah, the small and ridiculous miseries of the girl who owns twenty-seven different sets of place mats, candlesticks, napkin rings and champagne glasses. 

Keep in mind this is a glorified PLAYDATE. With TWO-YEAR-OLDS. We have not invited the Queen. These are people we see all the time, who come over all the time, who have been to numerous soirees at the Cheung house, who have seen this particular table runner at least ten times. AND YET. I am still worried that it will be a Lame Time. A Lame Time can be divided into sub-worries, as follows: 

  • not enough food
  • awkward seating arrangements 
  • no one eating the food
  • accidental destruction of the food by the hostess, ie: burning, dropping, forgetting key ingredient
  • children not going along with my timeline
  • children hating my Planned Activity
  • food tasting terrible

The other night our good friend came by for dessert and I was all flustered, in AUGUST, about whether or not I should have a Christmas party, and I made our poor friend fall all over himself assuring me that our Christmas party is certainly not the MOST lame social event he attends during the year. I am a piece of work, you guys. 

And then we're doing this all again on Saturday, only for family and at dinnertime and somehow that feels different. I am not worried about THEM. It's a compliment, even though it doesn't sound like it. 

When I look at houses online, the first thing I look at is square footage, then I want to see what the living/dining/kitchen areas look like. If I can't picture my entire family there for Christmas, if I can't picture a dinner party with two or three other families, if I can't picture summer barbecues or a murder mystery party or a book club or the neighbors or, yes, a future Blathering, it's out. OUT! I love our old rental house, I really do. If it were mine I'd completely remodel the downstairs bathroom, I'd buy new appliances, I'd get a new front door and take a backhoe to the yard and figure out why the kitchen floor slopes down in the southeast corner, but it would never BE mine, even if it were a possibility, because: THERE IS NO DINING ROOM. And that kills me. I can live with it for a year, maybe a year and a few months, but my future as-forever-as-it-can-be house will! have! a dining room! 

Of course, even if we had a dining room I would still be worried about the stupid PARTY. Wait - GLORIFIED PLAYDATE. 

And you know what all this fretting over food and dishes and decor means, right? That the kitchen floor, not to mention both bathrooms, have been completely neglected. That's just a small warning for those of you coming over tomorrow morning. Maybe you'll want to make an extra stop at your own bathroom before you head out to the car. I'm just saying. 

Oh goody, another week is starting

Well, it's always uncomfortable when one of your real life besties calls you because she read on the blog that you aren't doing well. I mean, normally I'm the Champion of Blogging and all that, but such a circumstance really does put a socially awkward lonely-girl-in-her-underwear-in-the-dark-with-her-laptop spin on things. Especially when you tell your friend, "Oh, I just write it out and then I feel much better! The end! Or at least until we go out for a restorative cocktail because I haven't seen you in weeks AND I NEED HUMAN INTERACTION." 


How was YOUR weekend? Mine was weird. As I briefly alluded last week I got all bee in my bonnety about a house - new construction in our price range, we must be dreaming. So we drove down there on Saturday, but not before I googled the everloving you know what out of the house, the builder, the area, the amenities. I did my homework, people. And by the time I finished I was convinced that if only the house was the right kind of house, we would be breaking our lease and moving. 

Well, I TOLD myself that that was ridiculous, do not get emotionally invested, you are so bad at these things, YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING YOURSELF INTO TROUBLE. So it was probably a good thing that it was not the right kind of house. It was a pretty house, brand new, and prewired for surround sound so that I would never have to argue with Phillip about exposed speaker wire again in my life, but... no. These houses were SO squished together. There was no yard whatsoever. And yes, one of them looked out on a huge park with a huge playground, but even then, NO YARD. Barely enough patio for a tiny table. 

There were other Slightly Wrong things about the house and the neighborhood, so I drove home not so much disappointed as annoyed with myself for wasting so much time. Everyone I've talked to about this says that I'm not wasting time, I'm just doing research so I'll be super informed when we do find The Right House, but whatever. My "research" always comes with a huge helping of "neuroses". ANNOYING. 

Then YESTERDAY we went back to the exact same area and looked at another house, only this one was about three hundred years old. I have to say, if we were the types who liked to flip or work on houses, this one would have been awesome. It was GRAND, you know? But no, we are not those types. AT ALL.

Blah blah blah new house SNORE.

It also just occurred to me that Molly turns two on Wednesday. Her kid party is Tuesday, her family party is on Saturday. That's TWO PARTIES. I am a big fan of party-throwing, but 1) it's going to rain on Kid Party Day and 2) this house has nowhere to eat. We crammed our table into the kitchen and it works for just our family (or two kids visiting for a playdate) but other than that it's a little... tight. I've already warned a few partygoers that I plan to put newspaper down in the playroom, maybe a tarp? I'll put out the pan of mac and cheese, hand out spoons, lock the door and then go upstairs to drink mimosas with the mothers. I THINK this will work. I THINK it could be an excellent way to spend a morning. I THINK.

IN OTHER NEWS. When you start a writing group? You sort of have to WRITE STUFF. And if you are in CHARGE of said writing group and you tell everyone the assignment is due Friday, it looks really bad if you don't turn it in until very late Sunday night. I'm just saying that maybe this wasn't such a great idea. 

Oh, and remember when I bought Molly underpants? It appears that underpants signaled the end of Potty Training Interest. I am trying to care. 


The color of this blog post is Shipwreck Gray

Molly woke us up, right on time, at 4:30 am. I was rudely awakened from a dream about the Blathering. I'd brought two real-life not-blogger friends with me and was SUPER ANNOYED with them the whole time, for being extra clingy and shy and I was all, "THESE ARE MY PEOPLE, I SEE THEM ONCE A YEAR, BUZZ OFF." I think I am much nicer than that in person. (Oh, AND we brought our kids, which, NO.) (AND AB Chao was there. I don't know. I'm a dork.)

And then, when I was really and truly good and awake, I couldn't go back to sleep because I was obsessing over these houses I found last night. Big, beautiful, new construction, affordable. (This is not a dream.) But what would it be like to move pretty far across town? To not randomly get together with friends? To go to a different church? To live in what is pretty much a development (albeit a small one) in an area that is mostly definitely in the process of gentrification? To give up my cutesy stores and trendy cupcake shops and walkability? To have a completely different city experience? It was very stressful and I never went back to sleep. 

I loved your stories. I wish you would write more. The best thing is that my story is rural - or, at least, much more rural than I ever have personally experienced. I am making it up as I go, but it helps to hear the real life stuff. Fortunately I have the drinking in the back of pickup trucks totally down. 

Also, I am super glad to hear I am not the only one who missed out on the party scene. It was a little different in my high school, but I've sort of stopped feeling like missing out was a bad thing. More an "oh thank GOD" thing. 

Last week I randomly applied for a freelance writing job which, judging from several factors I won't explain here, I'm 99.9% sure I didn't get. This is totally bumming me out. Kind of a lot. Ugh. 

It's just been a weird week you guys. Hard and sort of dark around the edges. I can tell I haven't been doing that great, because I want to stay home and crawl into myself the same way the kids want to stay home and inside and smear Play Doh into the carpet. Usually I'm all gung ho to see friends and get out and attack this and do that! But last night I had an opportunity to go play volleyball and I went, even though I didn't really feel like it. And then, when it turned out the gym was closed for some reason and everyone decided to relocate to a park, because THEY are all friends and THEY all want to spend time together, I ditched. I guess so I could go home and obsess about houses I won't buy on the internet. 

I need my routine back, I really do. Sometimes I think I need that schedule more than the kids. I want to get all jazzed up for my weekend and get back on track and ready for next week which includes TWO BIRTHDAY PARTIES. But I kind of feel like next week will be just like this week and before I know it Phillip will be back in school and that will just be... it. 

I tried to catch up on Mad Men last night. Maybe that's why I'm all doom and gloom. 

In other news, I bought Molly some underpants. I thought this would be a fun thing, you know. Letting her pick out her own? But OH THE DRAMA. Because she wanted MICKEY Mouse not MINNIE. And then she wanted Thomas. Get these Disney princesses away from her! And I was standing in the middle of Target trying to talk myself into buying my little girl BOY underwear (THERE IS A DIFFERENCE) but then (THANK GOD) we saw Ni Hao Kai Lan underpants on the opposite side of the aisle and peace was found. She's still verrrry interested in the Potty Process, but it finally dawned on me that I can't just ask her if she needs to go. I have to stick her on every twenty minutes, regardless of what she says. I know this is common sense for most of you, but see: six months to train Jack. Sigh. I'm getting bummed out again.

Anyway. Go find something cheerier to read. Off you go!

This is better than telling you about my day, promise

Usually when I go force myself to endure thirty minutes of tedious brain-numbing exercise, I come home with at least a paragraph or two waiting to be hammered out. Not so tonight, Internet. I'm blaming it on my day, which was miserable, not because the kids were so dreadfully horrible but because for some reason today I woke up a little less equipped to deal with the regular amount of horrible. I am so tired of being whined at. So very tired. 

I didn't come home with any novel or blog fodder, but I did think of how to acquire some: ask you for help. So. It appears I've come to a point in my plot-less, pointless, terribly written YA novel where I have to write a party scene and the humiliating thing is that I have no experience on which to draw. I have no idea what happens at high school parties in someone's parents' basement. I know what happens when a bunch of girls basketball teammates have to sleep in a classroom on a Friday night, I know what happens when you're getting ready to go dancing at midnight, I know what happens when you've graduated but you're home on Christmas break and you break your own rule about getting in cars with strange people and the carabinieri stop you on the way down hill from the Paradiso because you have so many kids packed in the car but then you find out they think your driver was drinking OMG (SORRY MOM! EVERYTHING TURNED OUT OKAY!) but parties? Not so much. 

This is where you come in. Your job is to leave me some story about after hours high school socializing. I will accept any kind, any type, any scenario. I NEED IDEAS. Also: entertainment. My children are slowly sucking away my will to live and YOU have the opportunity to make me laugh. I NEED TO LAUGH, INTERNET. 

P.S. If you're really missing the mommyblog stuff, my curse against two-year molars is up at Parenting on Thursday. 

Lazy lazy LAZY days of summer

So, today is a bust. I am not loving today. I am sitting in the bathroom banging out a Post of Dissatisfaction while my kids take their second bath of the day, not because they're dirty but because it's something to DO.

I don't know if Jack is just getting bored with summer or what, but he never wants to DO anything anymore. Well, I suppose that's not exactly true, since all morning he wanted to go to the playground and when we went to the playground I was informed that this was not the RIGHT playground, the RIGHT playground is the one with the SANDBOX so I totally up and turned the car around because heaven forbid I thwart the boy, right? But every time I suggest going outside he is... unwilling, to say the least. No talk of sprinklers and baby pools and watering the plants can change his mind. No going for walks. No physical exertion, just his computer and/or TV please. Molly goes down for a nap at one and from one to nearly three he and I are engaged in a battle of wills. Today I gave in and held him (2:45) just to shut him up and we both fell asleep and at 3pm I woke up, realized he was still asleep and just put him in his bed. Right when Molly started bawling from her room. 

Which is how it goes lately. Jack either doesn't nap at all, or falls asleep at the most inopportune times. I go from battling Jack to entertaining Molly and ugh, it makes for a long boring day. I always think we'll go out for a walk when the kids wake up, or play outside or just DO SOMETHING. But the day just drags on and on until I get so stir crazy I decide that yes I AM going to cut Molly's hair like I've been talking myself out of for weeks. It's cute. Not too crooked. The bangs have a sort of Spock-ish quality that I can't quite figure out, but the good thing about hair is that it grows back. 

Phillip is meeting an old professor tonight, hence the poor attitude. He's also going out Thursday night. Who is going to send me cookies? No, wait, my major coping mechanism for boredom involves standing in front of the refrigerator. I certainly do not need gratuitous snacks. 

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but: I think I'm ready for summer to be over. Today was eighty something, which is not at all unbearably hot and ordinarily I am thrilled with high temperatures, but today it just felt like overkill. Like, enough already, SUMMER. I'm done with you. I'm over it. Get moving. Let's start something new. Let's DO THIS THING. 

I feel like Jack is supposed to go back to school, even though he's never BEEN to school. Phillip is definitely supposed to go back to school. I am supposed to start the volleyball league. I'm ready to start making butternut squash soup and wearing sweaters and if it weren't the season where anxiety traditionally reared its unwelcome mug, I'd go so far to say fall is my favorite. 

I think I may just be ready for a SCHEDULE. 

This is Phillip's second year of grad school and after that this whole Waiting Room thing I feel like I'm in will be over and we can figure stuff out. It's always, "Well, when you're done with school..." or "In June we'll know if we can do this or that..." 

I suppose there is SOMETHING new happening: Molly is potty training herself. Yes, herself. Today she insisted on going around butt nekkid and running to the potty (the BIG potty) every twenty minutes to pee. And you guys, I was not encouraging this at all. She's sort of been doing this the last few days, insisting on sitting on the big potty and doing her thing and I am just too lazy for this. I'm all, "Seriously? I'm still recovering from the first child. I am not ready to do the second. STOP ASKING ME TO GO PEE." I know that if this is the real thing (which, so far, looks likely) then it's all to my benefit, but I could honestly wait. I've heard of people actually Potty Training, you know, where you stay home for a week and you make the kid drink a ton of water and you're all Sergeant Pottypants 24/7. I probably should have done something of the sort with Jack. I think I probably did everything wrong with Jack. But MAN does that sound exhausting. And between a week of Sergeant Pottypants and months more of diapers, I choose diapers. I'm bored, but not THAT bored.

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?

Excited for my Monday

We took the kids to my in-laws' after church today and disappeared not five minutes later. We meant to have a lovely afternoon in that Other Part Of Town I was telling you about a few days ago. I wanted to explore a little bit, check out the streets. But we couldn't decide where to have lunch and then Other Part Of Town is SO unfamiliar that we really didn't know where we were going and we never happened upon the area I KNEW existed, the area in which I would have a Gut Feeling, ie: This is where we are supposed to move and live and grow old. 

The good part was that we took a way home that neither of us had ever driven before, which was almost like being in a completely different city. It was so strange, almost bewildering, I really can't explain it. It's like thinking you know everything there is to know, and then finding out what you know has an extra page you've never read. Something like that. 

Now Phillip is out at the driving range with a friend and I am home. I am supposed to be cleaning up and making those whole wheat/applesauce brownies in the back of Martha's Every Day Food magazine, but I am not. I am sitting at the kitchen table reveling in my aloneness. I love being alone. Phillip wasn't going to go out, because he's busy Tuesday and Thursday nights this week, but I was all, "No, it's okay, myself and I will have a lovely time without you."

But the whole reason the kids are staying overnight with grandparents is so I can go to Phillip's Important Work Event tomorrow morning. What do I have to do with Phillip's Company and their Product? Absolutely nothing! But No Impact Man is speaking at 9am and Phillip suggested I tag along and the grandparents were willing to babysit and when do I turn down opportunities to listen to adult conversation? Or, in this case, one adult making me feel guilty about my recent ridiculous attempts at composting? 

What's exciting, though, is that we're going to take the bus. Phillip takes the bus every day. I USED to take the bus every day. There were weeks in college where I felt like I LIVED on the bus. And I liked the bus, too. I had to start driving when I quit my downtown job for the job in Fishermen's Terminal (attn locals: FISHERMEN'S TERMINAL. Who the hell has an office building out in freaking Fishermen's Terminal?! ME.) and driving turned out to be a huge bummer. You can't read your library book while you are driving and you certainly can't people watch. Pretty much the only good thing about driving was not having to listen to other people's cell phone conversations. I am a Fan of the Bus. 

However. Now I'm scared. I'm one of those people who like to do things right, and it seems that I've forgotten how to ride the bus. I don't have a pass. I will need exact change. And I don't know how much it costs anymore. Riding into town will be easy since I'll be with Phillip, but I'll be on my own on the way home and I know I'll have to transfer in the U District and the only memory I have of catching the bus at this particular U District stop is the time I was sitting there, early in the morning, waiting for my bus, when I saw the ugliest animal on earth (POSSUM) scurry across the street from the dorms and (I SWEAR) I dry heaved in front of the only other person at the bus stop. Ugh, even the MEMORY of that possum makes me nauseous. 

Perhaps you think I am getting bent out of shape for nothing, You must be new. 

Even so, I am excited about the bus. I'm going to hang out at the fancy hotel and listen to the speech and then I'll go find some nice hipster coffee shop and write for a while and then I'll go to my appointment in the hipster neighborhood I'm not cool enough to hang out in and then I'll find my way home and then my in-laws will deliver my children and take us out to dinner. Whoever planned out my Monday gets a medal. 

But I have to figure out what I'm going to wear. How I'll haul my laptop around town. (In it's adorable sleeping bag-ish Etsy sleeve, OBVS, but I still need a BAG.) Shoes. Will it rain? What should we eat for lunch? Oh, and look Phillip and his friend are home and I haven't made those brownies. Oops. 

This day could really use some chocolate

Today was a weird day. I can't really figure out why - most of it was pretty average, and then I got some bee in my bonnet about Making Things Nice and spent the whole evening putting stuff away while the kids watched TV or jumped on my bed or threw their plastic tea cups up and down the stairs. 

I didn't do any cleaning, oh no. But we have this railing along the stairwell that's held Stuff We Don't Know What To Do With since we moved in, and you know what? That stuff is GONE. Poof! The growth chart we bought Jack for his birthday? In May? Finally hung up. My strange basket collection? In the garage. The broken picture frame (because Jack walked on it)? In the garage so Phillip can figure out how to throw it away/recycle it. That medical statement no one can quite decipher? On Phillip's desk. WIN. 

It all started with Molly's room, though, and finally digging out the cloth diapers. CONFESSION: I haven't been using the cloth diapers since we put our house on the market. Basically I didn't want to be dealing with the diaper pail while showing the house. So I packed them up and mostly forgot about them. I know I divided them into Still Stretchy Along The Leg Openings and Not Stretchy At All - I have no idea where the not stretchy ones are (or what I'll do with them). But the stretchy ones were in a box in Molly's closet. I got them out, stuffed them, and put them on the deep window sill we use as a storage shelf. Then I had to go get the diaper pail out of the garage. Then I decided I needed to rearrange the furniture. 

So, uh, HOURS later I decided that there is really only one way the furniture fits in that teeny room: the original way. But I rehung some pictures and her little name letters and switched out some of the dolls on the other window sill and re-committed myself to finding some sort of shelf to put the Hello Kitty CD player on. Right now it's on the floor. Classy!

Then I started changing sheets and stacking and recycling months' old magazines from under the bed and throwing out a ton of garbage in the laundry room and marching back and forth between the house and the garage. Phillip is working late tonight, he probably won't be home till ten, and I know it'll probably be about three or four weeks before he says, "Wasn't this picture hanging over here? Did you move it?"

But I feel like I got a lot done, even if none of it was really cleaning, which is probably more important I know. I just hate it when things are Out. I'm not a neat freak, I can tolerate clutter for quite a while, I can let the dishes go all day, but I'm not really and truly at peace until I can sit down in any given room and things are Put Away. 

Phillip and I had an argument a while back (is it okay if I write about this? Moving on!) where he was frustrated because he was trying to help me and I was frustrated because... well, I didn't know why. So he starts telling me all the things he does to help me, with the kids mostly. "I can tell when you've had a bad day! So I get them away from you!" Which, wow, is that a sucky thing to hear. I mean, it is my JOB to stay home with the CHILDREN and here is my husband showing me that I'm such a stellar mood when he gets home that he is compelled to the kids and his own self from my Mood. GAH. 

Although, you know what? Sometimes that'll do the trick. 

ANYWAY. I'm listening to that but I'm sort of like: yeaaaah, BUT. There was this big hanging BUT. And then it dawned on me: sometimes what would be the most helpful is someone seeing a thing that needs to be Put Away and PUTTING IT AWAY. 

Like the toys. MY GOD, THE TOYS. Every night is a huge clean up hassle and yes there are definitely nights I just don't want to deal with forcing Jack and Molly to clean up their own messes. Jack turns into Moves At Speed Of Maple Syrup Man and Molly starts up the selective hearing. So whatever. I can do it. But someone helping me? Or doing it instead of me? How awesome would that be? 

It's not like Phillip doesn't help around the house. Not at all. But since I've told him the specific things that drive me crazy? HE'S BEEN DOING THOSE THINGS. It's amazing. Today I found a pair of shorts in the wrong drawer and I realized he put away the nine thousand piles of laundry that were sitting out on the couch yesterday, that I completely forgot about. That pretty much made my day, right there. 

It's just so very true that the clutter just adds and adds and adds finally I start to get jittery and upset and things are just MUCH BETTER when everything is in its place. Or temporary place. Or OUT OF MY SIGHT. 

I'm sitting in the kitchen, though, and it could use some work, but I've lost speed. Same with that bathroom I thought I'd clean. Oops. I feel like there were all these real things I was going to tell you, but I can't remember, sorry. (You: BEREFT.) I will now scrounge up some dinner and sit down with Project Runway. Have a nice weekend!