Friday, September 30, 2011

We Can Paint If We Want To

I’ve wanted to put together a post for a while now about all the crafty things I’ve been doing the past few months but I just haven’t gotten my pictures and everything together yet. So the rest will come later, but I couldn’t wait to share the project I just finished last night!

I am doing a grey, white and yellow color scheme in our bedroom here in Lincoln. I was determined to make my own art for the walls to save some money. I had a large canvas that I had put together from the old house and I decided that size would work really well over our bed.

Imagine the circles on a white canvas. Somehow I have absolutely no pictures of this after I finished it. Go figure, huh?

So I set out to remove the circles that I had Mod Podged onto the canvas so that I could paint it grey and…no dice. Apparently I was very thorough with the Mod Podge a few months ago. (As I type this, I’m having flashbacks of second, third, and fourth coats. So…yeah)

Plan B – rather than removing the circles I was going to cover them up. I got plain grey broadcloth from good ol’ Hobby Lobby at a whopping $2.99/yard and hot glued it onto the canvas to cover up my wonky circles and my sad attempts at removing them. But after one layer of that thin broadcloth you could still see the circles. Sigh. Better make it two layers. : )

After the canvas was completely covered with the grey broadcloth, I let it sit for about two weeks. This ‘resting’ period was not necessary for the project unless you consider me freaking out about ruining my canvas necessary. I apparently did. I spent that time looking up DIY artwork ideas online and trying to muster up the courage to take on this project on my own. Here are some of the ideas that I liked:

Ultimately I decided to TRY to recreate the gorgeous chrysanthemum pattern that I saw on the piece from the Simple Vie shop on Etsy. I loved what she did, but the teal wouldn’t work and I couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it. So last night I decided enough was enough and I started out.

I used my disappearing ink marker that I occasionally use for sewing and spent roughly 40 minutes drawing out exactly 260 petals on my fabric-covered canvas. (I didn’t count them until I was done painting because I was afraid I would break down sobbing give up. And then—let the painting begin!

I painted…

And painted…

And kept painting…

And then, about three hours later…

Finito! I have to say, I’m beyond happy with how it turned out. I had very little confidence in my ability to paint something like that, but it was really very simple and required basically no skill. It just looks complicated.

Here it is in my room. I love it! Since we don’t have a headboard it really gives the bed a little pizzazz. Now what is missing from the bed? Oh, that’s right. Pillows! That’s right up there on my to-do list too. : )

I also took a couple pictures of the little felt flowers I got at Michael’s and added on to my lampshades. I’m still trying to decide if I think those lamps work in there. A little too small maybe? Hmm…maybe I should go to TJ Maxx just to be safe…

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ten Things I Learned About Life

{You have to read the title like the Heath Ledger movie 'Ten Things I Hate About You.' Just so you know.} : )

Isn’t it funny how you learn things along the way? And once you’ve learned them, you can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for all those dumb naïve teenagers that obviously have no idea what real life is all about?

I’ve been thinking about this lately for a few different reasons and I’ve come up with my own semi-original list of little insights into life. Some are meant to be funny. Some are serious. And some are so true they’re frightening. (Are you worried yet?) : )

 Disclaimer: these will not be true for everyone. These are just some of the things I’ve learned as I’ve stumbled journeyed through the daily chaos and blessings of being a grown-up, a wife, and a mother.

  1. Never ask your husband ANY questions about your weight. It’s a lose-lose situation for both of you. Anything he says will be used against him (Miranda rights don’t hold any water in marriage), and you will end up feeling bad about yourself even if he tells you he thinks you look great.  
  2. Women, if you want to complain about something you have two choices. You can either call your best friend/sister/whoever and gripe to them or you can give your husband/boyfriend/fiancée/male counterpart strict instructions not to try to solve anything before you say a single word. Those instructions are very important; they will save you from feeling defensive when you think he acts like your problem is simple and easily fixed. And it will save him from being completely confused when you get upset at him for giving what he thinks is sound advice.
  3. When you have babies you will really never sleep again. I know that most people have probably heard this and thought it’s just a horror story that parents tell, but it’s actually true. Let me tell you why: even if your kids are sleeping you can hear them. Even if you are sleeping, you can hear them moving around or stirring or whining in their sleep. And if by some miracle you are sleeping so soundly you could swear you’re once again single and childless, that’s when they’ll lower the boom. “Mommy, I wet the bed. Mommy, I threw up. Mommy, I wet the bed and threw up and plugged the toilet and there’s water all over the floor and I think something’s on fire.” Don’t say you haven’t been warned. : )
  4. Just because something comes easily to you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work for it. Trust me on this one. I floated through high school and most of college and then when I did need to study, I had absolutely no idea how to go about it. This idea also holds true when you have some natural gift for something. You have to work hard and dedicate yourself to improvement in order to achieve mastery of any subject. For example, no one can sit on a sofa in their pajamas drinking Mountain Dew and consuming massive quantities of chocolate quite like I can. It’s taken years, but I’ve truly mastered it. Dedication people!
  5. Make a decision early in your relationship about how you and your husband are going to fight. I know this sounds stupid and/or pessimistic, but the truth is that you ARE going to fight. And if there are no ground rules, you’ll fight dirty. When we first got married, Landon and I decided we weren’t going to yell at each other. In my experience yelling is the first step toward losing control and I simply wasn’t going to be in a marriage where one of us was losing our cool all the time. We also resolved not to call each other names. If we do call each other a name, it is as a joke. : )
  6. Money sucks. You’re always either trying to get more, trying to save more, wanting to spend more, or trying to figure out where all of yours went. Don’t let it control your happiness or your mood. I’ve definitely had my stressed-out times when I’ve been trying to figure out why, with the two of us working a total of three jobs, we were having trouble making ends meet. The answer always comes back to us. I like these sayings:
 “It's not your salary that makes you rich, it's your spending habits.”

-Charles A. Jaffe

“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.”

-Mad Magazine

  1. If you figure out how to be happy with your weight, please let me know. I thought I was fat in high school at 120 pounds and now I’m looking back and trying to figure out when I ate part of that 120-pound girl. It’s too bad, really. She was kind of cute : )
  2. There will be moments in your time as a mother that you will look at your child in some ridiculous state (covered in poop/vomit, screaming at the top of her lungs, whining like there’s no tomorrow, or trying to kill her younger siblings) and think, “How on earth did I get here?” Don’t worry. You’re not a bad mom and it will pass. I’m not saying it ever gets easy, but those moments are very temporary and the important thing to remember is that you are their Mommy. They are your gift from God and He trusts YOU to take care of them and do the right thing. Whether or not you feel like you can, you can. Also, if anyone without kids ever even looks at you judgmentally, you have my permission you slap them. They’ll understand soon enough, but they need that look wiped off their faces right now so help me God. : )
  3. Don’t treat anyone like they’re stupid. Waitresses, Wal-Mart cashiers, those teenagers that apparently have no idea how silly they look. No one. No one deserves that. On a side note: many people seem to believe they can treat their family worse than they can perfect strangers, presumably because ‘blood is thicker than water.’ (I totally don’t get that saying, by the way.) The truth is rudeness is rudeness no matter who you’re talking to. Don’t treat your family like they just have to stick around and take everything you dish out. They don’t deserve it any more than a random stranger does.
  4. Finally, the one that I’ve learned that I kind of wish I hadn’t. I have regrets. I regret quitting cross country in middle school. I regret not learning how to handle my money wisely when I got my first real job at age 14. I regret not traveling more before getting married. None of that is to say that my life right now would be any different except that I might have maintained a MUCH better fitness regime throughout my life, kept better track of my finances, and seen a little bit more of the world. Regrets (I think) are just a part of life. And unless you live your life doing everything you want to, you will have regrets. Scratch that. I think that everyone will have regrets at some time in their life. They don’t have to define you or depress you. Let your regrets change the way you make your choices in the future so that you can reduce—if not eliminate—your ‘should-woulda-couldas’ in the future.  
So there you have it. The world according to yours truly. I know. I’m so wise, right? I’m not sure if any of that is useful or particularly insightful but it’s been on my mind for a while now so I thought I’d share.

I leave you with Tina Fey’s “Prayer For My Daughter.” I love it and it sums up so much of what having a daughter is like. : )

 First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her – When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need not lie with drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

 And when she one day turns on me and calls me a bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

 And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Late Night Insanity

I don’t like to shop. I know that’s weird coming from a female, but it’s the cold, hard truth. There are some exceptions to this though. I LOVE shopping for my kids. Almost anything is cute in a size 6 months (for Judah) and in 4T-5T (for the girls). I also really enjoy shopping for my home and for crafty items. Hmm…maybe I should edit my original statement to “I don’t like to shop for myself.”

There’s something about buying something that’s just for me that seems inherently selfish. I mean, there are plenty of things that my family could use that I should be putting that money toward, right? The idea of buying a shirt/purse/outfit, etc that only I will use doesn’t quite seem fair.

But last night I did it. I went nuts. Nuts I tell you! I bought myself—wait for it—a new wallet! I know, I know. It’s just crazy. : ) I have to admit I felt like such a rebel when I clicked on the ‘Add to Shopping Cart’ button. And even more when I entered in my shipping information. Then came the credit card info and I could feel my heart start to pound. And when I finally clicked that ‘Place Order’ button, I literally threw my arms up in the air and cheered, “Oh yeah!” (Just like Vector in Despicable Me).

So why this sudden bout of selfish abandon? Well, it was time for a new wallet. The one that I currently have is about two years old and even though I love the colors and funky look of it, the fact that I have to hold it shut with one of my daughter’s elastic hair ties is too much for even me. I’ve been surviving that way for a while, but yesterday morning when I was at the mall with the kids shopping for—not me, I noticed the sales clerk giving me a funny look when I removed the purple hair tie from my wallet while searching for my debit card. I had to draw the line. No one was noticing how cute my wallet was anymore. All they could see was that darn purple hair tie. Curse curse curse.

After much deliberation, (I honestly thought about it all afternoon) I decided it was time for a new one and set out to find the perfect wallet out there on the World Wide Web. I checked out where I found a couple of neat options, looked on just for old time’s sake (Mr. Bug used to work there), did a search at, and finally just punched ‘wallet for women’ into Google. Blessed Google. : )

And there it was. Those magic words: FOSSIL® Wallets - Iconic American Style - Est. 1984 | Cue chorus of angels just like when I walk into Target. Fossil is pretty much my ideal for casual awesomeness. I know there are lots of other brands that are fancier and more stylish, but for me it’s always been just the right style.

I checked out the site and looked at a few different wallets. I thought about going for one solid color, a.k.a. boring, and ultimately decided on this one. Drum roll please…

BOOM! It’s definitely more money than I would usually spend on myself, but I figured that since it’s higher quality I’ll probably have it for a few years. And if I use it even just once a day for two years, that brings the cost per use down to about half a cent. Even I can justify that to my cheapskate inner self! : )

So there you have it. My late-night wallet-shopping insanity. Now I’m just counting down the hours until I see that magical little package in the mail. I can just imagine the little angel song when I open that mailbox…