Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gray

I have gray hair.

There, I said it.

Not that I've been particularly secret about the fact that I dye my hair.  But still, I've been running away from my gray for a long time now.

I saw my first gray hairs start popping up at 16 or 17.  At first there were only a few and I told myself they were "white hairs." I told myself they were like blond hairs mixed in with my brown. I was already experimenting with hair color every now and then, so it wasn't a big deal.  Since there were only a couple, I sometimes just pulled them out if they were too obvious.

Another year or so and then there started to be more grays. I realized I couldn't keep pulling them out. But I was having fun with hair color still every now and then, so most of the time they didn't show.  I mostly had one streak of gray that was getting denser, but it only showed when I pulled all my hair back and when I had gone a long time without coloring. My blond best friend started saving her old dark brown mascaras for me so I could swipe a little on my streak when it started showing too much. Problem solved.

Then my senior project in college happened. It was a bit of a stressful semester. There were some all-nighters. I can't prove it, but it seems like I had quite a few more gray hairs when it was all said and done.  And I wasn't all that okay with that.

I mean, I wanted to be confident about my natural hair. Really I did. But I was 21 years old. I was single. I was already the 5'10" electrical engineering major who talked too loud. I already stuck out like a sore thumb. It was already hard enough feeling attractive and getting dates. I just wasn't ready to add "...with the premature gray hair" to the list. Sometimes I wished I could rock a "gray streak." But I wasn't sure if my gray streak (or my self-confidence) was strong enough to make the gray interesting instead of just vaguely "off" and dorky.

So I decided that I would just dye my hair a little more frequently, at least while I was still part of the singles/dating scene.

Fast forward a little and I was married and still in my early-to-mid 20's. M knew I dyed my hair and we chatted about it a bit and I decided that I still wasn't ready to stop dyeing my hair. Someday maybe... but not yet. I decided that I just didn't want to be in my 20's with gray hair, so I would keep dyeing it at least until I turned 30. Then I'd re-evaluate.

Fast forward some more and I was 30. I still didn't feel ready to be gray. Now the problem was that everyone already thought I was so much older than I was. Having gray hair would only make it worse! Plus the transition was going to be so hard!

But the more I chewed on the thought in the back of my mind, the more I knew the time was coming. Eventually I would stop dyeing my hair. I just had to figure out when. It was never going to be easy. There would always be an excuse not to. So I started focusing on the reasons to do it.

There are a lot of reasons I want to stop dyeing my gray:

#1 - This is the hair God gave me. I don't want to be fake. It was so freeing a few years ago when I finally accepted that my hair was wavy/curly. I stopped trying to pretend to have straight hair and I finally learned to love the hair texture I had. I want the same thing to happen with my hair color.

#2 - I'm tired of all the money I'm dumping into maintaining an illusion. It's one thing to spend money to do something "fun" with your hair, but spending money just to make your hair unremarkable is so lame.

#3 - Also, the time. I'm sick of the TIME I spend getting my hair dyed. I'd much rather spend it doing something worthwhile. Or even just sleeping.

#4 - I want variations in my color without having to highlight. I look at the amazing red highlights the sun gives my mother's natural hair color and the blonde highlights in my sister's natural hair color and I envy all that gorgeous variation. Maybe I would get highlights from the sun too if I wasn't so busy covering my gray?

#5 - I want to remember what the natural color and texture of my hair is when it hasn't been dyed. Because honestly I'm not sure.

#6 - I want to see what my gray looks like. Where are my "silver highlights"? Is it everywhere? Is it just framing my face? How uniform or how chunky is it? The suspense is killing me! It's not often to we get to surprise ourselves! ;)

#7 - I am blessed to not have to convince anyone that I'm young. I'm happily married and I'm not competing in the workplace. If I look older than I am, why would it really matter? (Still working on believing this one.)

#8 - I'm not a granola or something, but I kinda don't love the idea of pouring all those chemicals onto my head all the time.

#9 - I'm not ready to burn my bra or anything, but I do like the idea of taking a stand against the false standards of beauty and youth that our society is enslaved to. And one of those standards is hair color. What's wrong with gray hair?

#10 - The longer I wait, the harder it will be. The more gray I have, the more often I will have to get it dyed if I want to hide it. (More money, more time, more chemicals, etc.) And the more obvious it will be when I stop dyeing it.

#11 - There's no reason not to transition right now. I'm not interviewing for jobs. I'm not talking to teachers about my grades. There's no weddings on the horizon for me to worry about how I'll look in the family pictures. It's as good a time as any to have funny-looking transition hair. It will never be an EASY transition, but there could definitely be worse times to do this.

#12 - In the end, I've got a bit of rebel in me. Just a tiny little benign bit, but it's there. And having gray is a whole lot more rebel than buying into the "norm" of women hiding their gray.

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Today my youngest child entered full-day Kindergarten.

Today is my 34th birthday.

I have gray hair.

Am I young? Am I old?

Who cares!  I'm me.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Any Excuse for Snowflakes in May!!!

Like every other little girl on the planet lately, Kate is really into the movie Frozen. So when her preschool teacher said she could choose a day near the end of school to celebrate her summer birthday with her class, she of course, OF COURSE wanted to bring Frozen cupcakes.

Well, she lucks out that her mother is semi-obsessed with snowflakes, because I was eager to oblige.



She really wanted chocolate AND vanilla for the cake part, so we did half and half.



I sprinkled white sparkling sugar over blue frosting then added the snow flakes made of white chocolate. (Normally I consider white chocolate an abomination, but for snowflakes I'll make an exception!)

To make the snowflakes I melted white chocolate and put it in a little plastic sandwich bag with a corner snipped off. Then I piped it onto wax paper over a snowflake pattern. (I used a pattern for DIY window clings I found here, then printed it at about half size.)



This movie is a great chance to use snowflakes in some month other than December or maybe January. YAY!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Grilled Cheese Tragedy

Kate usually really loves grilled cheese sandwiches. Most days she asks me to make her two for lunch and happily devours them both. So last night when we decided to have grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner, I assumed she would want two sandwiches so I didn't even ask. She asked me what I was making her and I told her two grilled cheese sandwiches.

She burst into tears. I was surprised and confused but reassured her that it was okay, she didn't HAVE to have two. I said I would just make her one. But she kept crying saying she didn't want that. I was baffled. I told her I thought she loved grilled cheese sandwiches? I asked what was wrong - what did she want?

Through her sobs she explained, "I don't want two grilled cheese sandwiches, I want THREE!!!"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

We Survived Our Road Trip

A few weeks ago M's sister got married in Washington D.C. The wedding was on a Thursday and the kids already had Monday off school. We only had to take the kids out of one extra day of school and then we had 9 days for trip. Because we had the extra time to work with, it was SO much more economical to drive instead of fly.

If you don't factor in your sanity.


Things We Hoped to Do on the Road Trip

Things We Expected to Really Do on the Road Trip

Things We ACTUALLY Did on the Road Trip

 

Get such an early start and make such great time and feel so alert that we just drive straight on through the whole 1500 miles.

Get tired slightly past half way and find a nice inexpensive hotel to stay in for the night.

Wander around Jackson Tennessee for 45 minutes trying to find a non-scary hotel room only to finally find out that all the hotels are booked up because Lane college is having their homecoming that weekend.

 

Set the cruise control and make great time.

 

Hit a little traffic here and there and get in later than hoped for.

 

Get detoured to small country roads in the middle of the night for 30 miles because the interstate was closed just outside Memphis TN  AND hit such bad traffic in Virginia that we actually put the car in park and  turned off the engine for 30 minutes.

 

Enter an address in the GPS and get accurate, concise directions for getting there.

Listen to the GPS say “Recalculating” every time we had to get off the freeway to pee.

 

Have the GPS lose satellite reception every time we looked at it wrong.  Have it choose yet another slightly different route for getting there every time we tried to drive to the same place.  Develop suspicion that the GPS is getting paid for every unique street it makes us drive on.  End up renaming the GPS “Willis” so that we can start saying, “What choo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?”

 

Only go to the bathroom at meal stops.

Make pit stops every 2 hours.

Pee early and pee often. Have the dedication to pee 3 times in an hour, whether we need to or not. Pee before the meal, after the meal, and again 20 minutes after we finally get back on the road.  ALL THE SAME KID.  Get our drink privileges taken away.

 

Sleep.

 

Stare out the window bored.

 

Pick up Kate’s princess dolls from the floor of the back seat while telling the kids to stop bugging each other.

 

Sing songs together.

 

Listen to music.

Have the kids yell at each other to stop every time one of them starts happily singing a song.

 

Have Claire and Scott do homework while Kate played happily with toys.

 

Let Kate listen to a movie with headphones on while the big kids did their homework.

 

Inform Scott that we were not going to play the Barbie Fairytopia movie over again so he could hear it this time because we didn’t want his testicles to shrivel up and fall off.

 

Read out loud as a family from the Little House on the Prairie book series.

Watch a few movies.

Try to ignore threats from Kate that she will “be bossy” if we didn’t let her watch the movie she wanted… again.

 

Discuss family goals and aspirations.

 

Tell the kids to stop bugging each other.

 

Insist that Kate ask politely before you pick up her princess dolls from the floor of the back seat... again.

 

Have a neat, organized car because we had thought of everything.

 

Need to wash and vacuum out the car when we got back.

Cleaned up spilled orange Powerade with a pillowcase.  Get our drink privileges taken away… again.

 

Have the children entertain themselves so that M and I can read and talk about grown up things.

 

Risk throwing out our backs passing out books and snacks.

Risk throwing out our backs picking up Kate’s princess dolls from the floor of the back seat… again.

Eat up leftover snack foods from around the house.

Let the kids pick out few new snack foods from the grocery store.

 

Wander around Wal-Mart for half an hour buying snack food only to have the children crumble the food up and leave it in Lake Powerade.

 

Attend a fabulous wedding where we get to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the marriage of a beloved sister and her new husband.

Be present at the wedding.

Attend a fabulous wedding where we get to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the marriage of a beloved sister and her new husband.

 

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pumpkins 2013

It was a bit of a tight squeeze to fit pumpkin carving into the schedule this year.  Like I said in my last post, my sister-in-law's wedding made my October a little crowded. Not that I'm complaining. I wouldn't have traded being a part of her beautiful wedding for the world. But it did mean our pumpkin carving was a little less elaborate this year.

In the past we've been able to get our pumpkins carved for the church party and still have them not entirely gross when Halloween night rolled around. But this year our party at church was almost a full week before the actual day of Halloween. Not gonna have carved pumpkins for both. Normally we would have chosen to have the pumpkins carved for our church party, but given our busy month, we ended up carving them for Halloween night.

We let each of the kids pick out a pumpkin and what they wanted carved on it.

Claire chose Angry Birds and did a lot of the carving herself:



Scott designed his own silly face and we helped him execute it.  The googly eyes were an extremely important design element for him:



And Kate really, really wanted a princess pumpkin. A Sleeping Beauty to be exact.  And because she has me wrapped around her little finger:



And then the next day I let her decorate a gold crown to put on Aurora:



M and I wanted so badly to do a design of our own choosing too, but we were running out of time.  In the end, we stayed up way too late rushing to carve one and I don't think really turned out.  Can you tell what we tried to carve?