Saturday, December 24, 2011


Friday, December 16, 2011

My Favorite Little Bum

We went to the park with friends the other day.  It was chilly enough to need a coat but not a hat.  However, Kate insisted.  And she insisted on wearing her little backpack the entire time.  Add the jeans and tennis shoes and I'd say she was totally rocking the homeless person look, don't you think?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hooray for Ballad Meter!

I never got around to blogging this before, but last year I was asked to teach a class on Christ-centered Christmas traditions at a church activity.  Last year was a rough year for me, and since I suspected I wasn't the only one feeling like I could barely keep my head above water sometimes, I really wanted to come up with something for my class that was actually helpful instead of just guilt-inducing.  

Most things seems to suggest that having a Christ-centered Christmas is "simple."  All I have to do is remember each and every day of December to remember to pull out some 3-ring binder full cheesy stories and read one while my angelic children sit still and listen without poking each other or needing to still finish their homework.  Or to gather my whole family around to write and stage our own nativity musical for all of the neighbors, with proceeds to be used in our own elaborate 12 Days of Christmas charitable act.  Or to make lists of all the fabulous good things we intend to do as gifts to Jesus and hand embroider them onto a blanket that we keep track of for an entire year so we can reflect on our failure next December.  All of these could be great ideas if they work for you, but when you're already feeling overwhelmed, they could also be enough to make you collapse into a sobbing heap.

I decided instead to focus on actually SIMPLE things we could do because if anyone suggested one more complicated thing to add to the Christmas season, I was gonna scream.

I started out the class by horrifying all in attendance with my singing voice as I performed this little number:

The Ballad of Carol's Christmas
(to the tune of Gilligan's Island)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a stressful time
That started on Thanksgiving day,
So listen to my rhyme.

Carol is a mighty busy gal
Who fills her days and nights
And yells at her busy husband to
Put up the Christmas lights.

The Christmas bonus will be used
To buy a 12 foot tree
And a blow up Santa Claus
Riding a Harley, riding a Harley.

Her cards say “Happy Holidays”
But she forgot the stamps.
The ones that show all 8 reindeer
Dressed up like little tramps.

She wants to give gifts to her friends,
Co-workers, neighbors too,
But without time for homemade fudge,
Some candy canes will do.

Now what to get her husband Bob
So he will think she rocks?
No time - just get a gift card or
Another pair of socks.

She has to buy the latest toy
And that would seem just fine
If she didn't have to stand and wait
In a three hour line, a three hour line.

Carol sets the wrapping paper down
In the only open space
With a Barbie doll
And Skipper too,
Potato Head and his wife,
A movie player,
A processor and memory
Here on the kitchen island.

And while she wraps and wraps and wraps
She listens with her ear
To songs about how Grandma got
Run over by reindeer.

Across the post office counter
The presents all get tossed.
If not for the tracking number she got,
The package would be lost, the package would be lost.

Yes, Christmas time was here again
For Carol's family.
They're just too busy to make time
For the nativity.

We all feel pity for Carol.
She has too much to do.
A little too familiar –
Does Carol sound like you? Does Carol sound like you?

O Christmas time, it seems we have
Done all our time permits.
In all the many things we do
This is where Jesus fits?

Amazed at what has happened
Here in this world of sin,
With tears we stop and wonder how
The dear Christ enters in? The dear Christ enters in?

Then, threatening to kick out anyone who suggested something that wasn't simple, we had an open discussion about ways to replace or simplify our existing traditions to be more Christ-centered.  Some of my favorite suggestions (that I remember) included: 
  • Buying/making Christmas cards that say "Merry Christmas" and not just "Happy Holidays," etc.
  • Buying the Madonna and Child Christmas postage stamps instead of the less religious snowman, pinecone, etc. ones
  • Instead of going out as a family to look at Christmas lights, go out to visit a nativity (many churches/communities have really cool live ones)
  • Instead of a big elaborate Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner, have a Bethlehem meal on the floor of figs, dates, olives, goat cheese, nuts, grapes, grape juice, dried meat, honey, fish, etc.  Things that Mary and Joseph might have eaten at the time.
  • Read inspiring Christmas stories for bed time with your children instead of their usual bedtime stories
  • Sing Christmas hymns for bed time songs to your children
  • Listen to Christmas hymns as you go about your activities
  • Giving Christ-centered items out as gifts to friends/neighbors/co-workers, or at least attaching a Christ-centered tag/message ("Joy to the World" pass along cards or even the "Joy to the World" video itself were mentioned) 
Now remember, if you don't already do an equivalent of one of these activities, you shouldn't feel obligated to start doing it.  You can if you want.  But if you're already doing something similar to one of these, why not tweak it a little to be more Christ-centered?  But whatever you do, DO NOT STRESS YOURSELF OUT.  Otherwise I will have failed completely.
I ended the class by having a friend (who could actually make it sound pretty) sing: 
(to the tune of O Little Town of Bethlehem) 

O Christmas time, it seems we have
Done all our time permits.
In all the many things we do
This is where Jesus fits.

Amazed at what has happened
Here in this world of sin,
With tears we stop and wonder how
The dear Christ enters in.

Sometimes you don't need to add more verses to your song, you just need to change your tune.

I don't know how well this idea conveys without actually hearing it.  I'm not a music person, so I'm not even sure how well it worked out in person.  But I'm trying to change my "Christmas tune" to be a little more O Little Town of Bethlehem and a little less Gilligan's Island.

Anyone have any suggestions for simple changes that can be made for a more Christ-centered Christmas? How have you "changed your tune"?

[WARNING:  Same rules apply as the class I taught - KEEP IT SIMPLE.  But since I can't kick you off the internet, instead just know that if you break my rules M and I will mock you mercilessly amongst ourselves.  Be intimidated.  Be very intimidated.]

Friday, December 9, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #10 - Childhood Memory

Isn't playing in the dirt a quintessential childhood memory?  My kids don't seem to like playing outside all that much at our house, but at my parents' house they LOVE to get "down and dirty."  Kate was collecting these "rocks" (AKA clumps of dirt) and handing them to me.  Carrying around her large collection of "rocks" was only mildly annoying until she handed me a dried up cow patty "rock."  Now Kate knows the phrase, "cow poop."


I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challenge even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Monday, November 21, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #9 - Someone You Love

I love the little person that belongs to the hands in this picture.  But that little person REALLY loves this doll we made together.  And because we had fun doing it together, I love this little doll too.  Claire's homework was to make a clothespin doll representing her cultural heritage as a way to honor all "pilgrims."  We chose to represent Norway, where my maternal grandmother's family was from.  Claire named her little doll Anna.

I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challenge even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Friday, November 18, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #8 - A Bad Habit

There's two layers to the meaning on this one.  First of all, spending too much time on the computer is a bad habit of mine.  (And it's ironic that I'm admitting that WHILE spending time on the computer.  Huh.)
Second of all, as you can see from this photo I took of one of my old keyboards, I have a nasty habit of ruining keyboards.  I tend to wear off the letters.  Weird, I know.  Looking back at this old keyboard, I can barely believe it.  Look at how there are actual grooves and indentations on some of those keys.  I swear I didn't take sandpaper to them!
But I have good news for those who have been following my plight with bated breath.  We found a keyboard we've been using for awhile now that I LOVE and I've had no problems so far. This illuminated keyboard seems to do the trick because the letters are actually translucent to allow the light through, instead of just being printed on.  Plus it's really nice to use and very cool looking to boot.  YAY!

I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challenge even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #7 - Fruit

It may be so hot in the Texas summer that you can't keep a garden alive past June, but at least in the 
winter the grocery store is full of these babies:

(Also?  I really want a macro lens.)

Texas grapefruit have become part of our Christmas morning breakfast tradition.  YUM!

Before I went to the store and saw that grapefruit had come in season, I was thinking that a photo of my new jacket might work for this prompt too:

It is kinda fruity, isn't it?  But I love it!  It's a hand me down from my aunt.  I'd been craving a coat that was kinda... irresponsible.  I love my gray wool pea coat, but sometimes it's fun to spice things up.  On the other hand, I am loathe to spend a lot of money on a coat that will only get worn a couple weeks every year here in Texas unless it's pretty classic.  So when I saw this in the box of stuff she sent, it made my day.  And since my sister and I were splitting the items in the box, I was extra thrilled when my sister said she didn't want it because it didn't work for her.  What do you think?  Was my sister wiser than me, or did I luck out?


I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challenge even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #6 - From a Low Angle


I learned something about shooting in manual mode.  When it's a very dark cloudy day and you're chasing your toddler around your kitchen trying to get photos of her shoes, the lighting changes A LOT.  It's really hard to keep your photos properly exposed and your white balanced.  Especially when adjusting your settings will take 0.5 seconds and she will only stay in one place for about 0.3 seconds.  Maybe toddlers do occasionally call for not shooting in manual mode?  SIGH...



I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challenge even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Friday, November 4, 2011


I've lost a total of 10 pounds now in approximately the last 2 months.  YAY!  I am now back to what I weighed before I got pregnant with Claire.  Unfortunately, that's not as awesome as it may sound.  I'm weird.  I weighed less each time I got pregnant.  5 pounds less than this when I got pregnant with Scott and almost 10 pounds less than this when I got pregnant with Kate.

But here is another sewing project that's been helping distract me:

This sweater used to be a V-neck pullover, but I almost never wore it because a) I live in Texas and I hardly ever need a sweater,  b) it fit a bit short for my taste, and c) the few times I do want a sweater, I rarely want one I have to pull on and off over my head.

So, inspired by some pins I saw on Pinterest, I turned it into a cardigan, and now I LOVE it!  I have the exact same sweater in a dark charcoal gray, so stay tuned because it's definitely getting chopped too!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #5 - From a High Angle


I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challenge even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Costumes 2011

Claire wanted to be a butterfly this year, so I went the lazy route and bought her wings.  But we still bought glitter and customized them because Claire was not satisfied with plain pink:


Scott is obsessed with all things Wild Kratts right now, so OF COURSE he was going to pick an animal that had been featured on the show.  He picked a black rhino and I tried to oblige.  It was far too warm to make some full-body outfit, so I figured a head covering and a tail with black pants and t-shirt would suffice.  This one required the most thinking for me on how to make it, but I think it turned out pretty recognizable as a rhino (asking anyone to know he was a black rhino might be a bit much to ask):

Kate wanted to be Hello Kitty, of course:

And even Hello Kitty has a little tail:

And I indulged her and bought this exorbitantly expensive trick-or-treat bucket ($8!!!! Really???) just to tip people off that she was more than just a "cat":

Even with yellow paint on her nose and whiskers, I don't think it was that obvious that she was something beyond a cat, but who cares.  She loved it and, really, a toddler costume of any kind with ears, a tail, and a dress is pretty cute:

M and I dressed up too, but I forgot to take bloggable photos:

 Your search is over!!!

 Just call me Rosie...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkins 2011

M and I really love carving pumpkins but we had to force ourselves to keep it simple this year because we just have too much on our plate.

Kate chose Hello Kitty, of course:
(There were definitely some moments when I had to laugh that THIS was "simple.")

Scott wanted something from Wild Kratts (big surprise...) so we talked him into the simple paw print symbol from their creature power discs:

 (This was quick and easy.  Gotta love hole saw attachments for the drill!)

Claire chose a soccer ball:

(Again with this one, we need to rethink our definition of "easy.")

Photography Challenge Day #4 - Something Green

Green is my favorite color!  It was so hard to settle on something because I liked so many ideas!  In the end though, I'm going to highlight the pumpkin I carved for Kate:



I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challenge even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Friday, October 28, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #3 - Clouds

Is it me, or were the clouds were being copy-cats?

This one was good because it forced me to notice these clouds.  And seeing these clouds reminded me that there are at least some perks to getting up, taking my kids to school, and getting back home all before the sun has risen.


I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challenge even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #2 - What I Wore Today

This one was hard for me.  I tried a few things and don't love any.  Since I'm struggling to pick one, I'm just gonna post two:

Halloween toes and PANTS!  (This was a few days ago.  Even though Halloween is in a few days, today was still WAY too hot for pants.  I miss pants.)

I love the back on this shirt.


I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this 30 Day Photography Challege even though the "official" challenge is over.  Posts may or may not be daily.

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photography Challenge Day #1 - Self-Portrait



I want to force myself to practice taking photos a little more, so I'll be posting for this Photography Challenge here on my blog to help myself be a little accountable!

I saw a 30 Day Photography Challege on Pinterest and even though the "official" challenge is over, I thought I would use the list as an excuse to practice a little.  Especially on something besides just my kids.  I don't promise the photos will be daily and I don't promise the photos will be great, but I do intend to plug along through the list in order and try to learn something along the way!

My rules for my self are:
1 - Take everything in manual mode   (I normally rely too heavily on Aperture Priority mode so I want to force myself to practice setting ISO, aperture, and shutter speed)
2 - No post-processing, only SOOC (I have a tendency to tell myself I can just fix things later in Photoshop - especially color)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Turns Out, You NEED Those Numbers at the End

My kids all have their own Gmail accounts.  Actually, two accounts apiece.  One user name is respectable and the other is more playful.  I sign them up for them shortly after they are born because I'm crazy like that.  As Claire has gotten old enough, she has occasionally used hers to email grandparents and such.  I'm pretty sure my kids are going to thank me someday for getting them addresses ASAP so they aren't stuck with some user name that is followed by twelve impossible to remember numbers to make it unique.

But speaking of numbers at the end of an email address making it hard to remember, lately I'm having a problem.  The kids' accounts all forward to my email and I'm getting email for some other Claire with the same last name.  She is apparently some sucker whose mother DIDN'T sign her up for an address soon enough, so hers must have some numbers after it.  But apparently she doesn't remember this.  She thinks she owns the address with no numbers after it.  How do you not know your own email address? I can understand one or two mistakes, but how exactly do you not notice that you haven't received things you're expecting?  Important things!

She appears to now be a senior in high school considering various colleges. She lives in Georgia and attends Baylife Church.  She is not getting her church newsletter.  Nor is she getting messages from her chemistry study group.  She is not getting her J.Crew ads.  Or several other store ads.  But worst of all, she is not getting info about deadlines for online registration to Duke University, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Tech.

I am also now in possession of her login names for these online registrations and, since OBVIOUSLY I know her first and last name, I'm pretty sure I could reset the password on most of her accounts.  But I'm not going to.  She's lucky I'm a nice person.  I really do hope she's not missing all these deadlines that I keep getting emailed about.

Also, I hope none of these universities find out about all of this. Do you really think someone will believe you are Duke material if you can't figure out your own email address???

Monday, September 26, 2011

Diet Aid

I've been trying to lose weight and therefore, I've been sewing a lot. 

How does that work, you ask?  Well, I like to sew a lot.  When I'm going about business as usual, I am often tempted to stop for a little snack.  But when I'm sewing I get so caught up in it, I forget. I lose all desire to eat. (I also lose all desire to sleep, bathe, and leave the house, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.)

Along with some other tactics, it seems to be working.  I'm down at least 6 lbs in the last month.

And I've gotten some good sewing done.  I just finished this dress and wore it to church Sunday:

Now the trick is to finish my sewing projects fast enough that they're not too big by the time I finish them.  And if that's my biggest problem, I'll take it!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

C'mon Scott, Your Baby Sister Can Do It!

Scott and Kate are quite the contrasting pair.  Scott being very reluctant to do new things by himself, and Kate being QUITE the opposite.  Kate seems to be quickly overtaking Scott in many areas. Yesterday was an interesting day of firsts in our house.

First of all Kate, my little pantry bandit, came wandering up to me drinking a contraband juice box.  Apparently she can unwrap the straw and poke it into the hole now herself.  Scott couldn't do that until, like, last month.  (Anyone have any tips on how to keep a toddler out of a pantry with double doors but the kind that latch up at the top?  All the lock type things I find for child-proofing won't fit around full size door knobs, but the regular knob ones are worthless since these knobs are just for pulling, not turning.  The rope set up we've tried fails on so many levels.  It's hideous AND cumbersome.  So cumbersome that I never remembered to re-weave the intricate knot around the knobs and therefore just stopped using it.)

Second of all, Scott learned to pedal a tricycle.  Yes, he is in Kindergarten.  He's been a bit of a late bloomer in this department.  Up until yesterday, he just didn't care to do it enough to bother.  Every time I would coax him onto a tricycle, he would try for a second and then give up because it wasn't instantly easy.  But Claire and the neighbors were having bicycle races up and down the street and he figured out he would never keep up on his scooter.  Yay for peer pressure!!!  So he was determined to head down the path towards mastering the bicycle.  He did great on the tricycle, so we tried putting him on his bicycle with training wheels, but that resulted in a freak out of epic proportions because it was "TOO HARD!!!"  Oh well, at least my 5 year old can finally pedal a tricycle a mere month or so after my 2 year old figured it out!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Want the Drought to End Too, BUT...

Dear People Who Are Members of My Church (Maybe not ALL, but certainly MOST of them),

I have a small issue I would like to address.  It has bothered me for many years, but ever since Mother Nature decided to stop making rain clouds in Texas and it became the land of searing heat this year, it's started coming up a lot more.

It's about your prayers.  Don't get me wrong, I want the drought to end.  I'm glad you're praying for it to end and I am too.  It's the wording I have issue with.  Do you really have to ask for "moisture"?  And when we DO get a little sprinkle, do you have to say thank you for "moisture" too? 

I believe the word "rain" is the appropriate choice here.  We want RAIN.  Or we're thankful we got RAIN.  Why not just say that?  For some reason though, you seem to think that when you're praying you ought to say "moisture."  I have some guesses about why you might feel compelled to say this:

1)  "Moisture" sounds more formal -- No, it doesn't.  Moisture sounds disgusting.  It brings to mind sweat, used sponges, or worse, some sort of feminine issue.  More formal would be something like "waters sent forth from heaven above."  Maybe a bit overkill, but better than saying "moisture."

2)  "Moisture" is more generic and all encompassing and we'll take anything we can get -- While I appreciate the sentiment, there are two problems with this.  First of all, this is Texas.  If you're hoping that we'll get snow instead of rain, you're kidding yourself.  Maybe you grew up in Utah where it actually snows and picked up the habit there?  Well, that brings me to my second point.  You might have learned this in like, elementary school.  We have a word for generic wet stuff falling from the sky: precipitation.  I know it's kinda long, but say it with me now:  Pre-cip-i-ta-tion.  And if you forget the correct generic word, do you honestly think it will hurt to just say "rain"?  I mean, I'm pretty sure if you say "rain" the Lord isn't going to think, "Oh, I was going to send some snow, sleet, and hail, but since they only asked for rain, I guess they're out of luck."

3)  "Moisture" includes humidity and dew -- This is probably the least objectionable reason for saying "moisture." HOWEVER, I hate to break it to you but I don't really think raising the humidity around here is going to stop the drought.  It WILL make us all even more miserably uncomfortably hot and sweaty (moist?), and it may be a little better for the plants, but it's just not going to cut it.

4)  You say "moisture" just to annoy uptight people like me -- By all means, carry on then.  You're doing a great job.

All that being said, keep on praying for rain, or precipitation, or dews from heaven distilling, or... *gulp*... moisture, or whatever.  Just keep praying for something to end this drought.


Friday, September 9, 2011

A Casual User

Kate is a casual potty user.

We tried potty training Kate earlier this week.  Originally I wasn't planning on it until she was much older, but it seemed like Kate had other plans.  So we gave it a go.

I don't know what we were thinking.  She didn't seem to mind when her underwear got wet.  (I think underwear is like an accessory to her, "YES!  We get to go try on another pair of underwear!")  She refused to go on the potty if I suggested it.  It was pretty miserable.

After two days of (confession!) me being in tears by late afternoon, we gave up.  Of course I'm wondering what I did wrong, but I think I have settled on not shouldering the blame too much myself.  Maybe she just isn't ready.  Maybe I'm just not ready for what it would take.  She's younger than Claire and Scott were when we potty trained them even though she's showing more signs of readiness than they did.  She talks, but nothing like Claire could at this age so I think there are some communication issues going on too.  I think we just need a little more time.

I've never been so happy to put a diaper on a child!  For now Kate seems to be content continuing to just use the potty when it's her idea and she's in the mood.  So most mornings when she wakes up and almost every night before bed, she gets the brilliant idea to use the potty.  Before I know it, she has stripped her diaper off herself and done her business.  Then she gets a few M&M's as reward and then we put her diaper back on.  And as long as I never suggest she use the potty, everything's good.  For now, this halfway state seems to be working.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When You're So Excited You Put Underwear on Over Your Clothes

We went back to school shopping the other day and while we were there I decided it was time to let Kate pick out some big girl underwear.  We went to the underwear aisle and I laid out all of her choices and told her to pick one.  She pointed at one.  Then another.  Then another.  So I tried to explain to her to pick just one and put it in the cart.  She picked one up, put it in the cart, then came back for another package and tried to put it in the cart too.

Obviously this was not working.  So I went ahead and narrowed it down to just three choices for her.  And told her to put just ONE in the cart.  So she proceeded to stack all three packages on top of each other and try to carry them all to the cart in one trip.  Ha!  Nice try Kate.

I know she's barely two, but I KNOW she understood me.  She was just trying to be tricky.  But finally I convinced her that she had to put all but one back and that did it.  She loves cleaning things up so we put all the others back on the rack and ended up with Hello Kitty panties.  Of course.

We proceeded to the checkout and as I thought we were about done checking out I looked over and realized that somehow Kate had gotten the package of underwear out of the cart and had opened it.  She had pulled three of the six pairs out of the package and was carefully unrolling them.  I quickly grabbed the package while she screamed in protest, had the checkout clerk scan it, then quickly gave it back to Kate.

By the time we got the car loaded and I was ready to put Kate in the car, she had managed to put her legs through the leg holes of two pairs of underwear. I went ahead and buckled her into her car seat still clutching her beloved package of underwear.  When we got home, she had four pairs of underwear put on as far as she could get them while still sitting buckled in her carseat.

Later when M came home, I told Kate to show him her beloved new underwear.  It took us all a moment to locate them.  She had taken Claire's new school backpack and had loaded it up with all six pairs of her new underwear and had been toting it all around the living room all evening.

I'm thinking she likes the underwear...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thanks, But It Would Be Better If You Would Just USE THE TOILET!!!

Why must motherhood involve so many graphic discussions of poop?  I'm sorry for this, but a) this is a pretty funny story and b) this IS my life, so if you want to hear what I have to say, it's gonna be smeared with poop every now and then.

Kate is showing all the signs of being ready to potty train.

Take just now for example.  She had a poopy diaper and I got out the supplies to change it and tried to call her over, but she refused to come.  Before I could manhandle her into coming over, I was pulled away by one of the other kids for a few minutes.  When I came back over, she had laid herself down on the changing pad.  She had taken off her own pants, set them nicely down on the floor next to her and had opened her diaper.  I found her in the act of trying to wipe the poop off her own bottom with some wipes.  There was a huge pile of about 10 wipes covered in poop as well next to her diaper on the changing pad.

Really Kate?  Could you just let me do it?  If you're so keen on taking care of this stuff, then why is it that every time you tell me you want to go on the potty, I help you sit down and nothing happens?  You brought it up, not me.  I have been stalling until you were a little older, because the idea of potty training a just under or just over 2 year old who barely talks makes me tired just thinking about it.

On the other hand, has this approach ever been tried?  I mean, diapers are expensive, but the worst part is the hassle.  What if I just train Kate to change her own diapers (but do a better job at it, of course - 10 wipes is a bit excessive for the average poopy diaper) instead of trying to coax her body to learn how to go when she's sitting on a potty?

Genius.  I'll let you know how it goes ;)

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Scott still asks me to open everything for him.  Every granola bar package.  Every candy wrapper.  Every peel-back yogurt lid.  It's an area I think we need to work on this summer before he starts Kindergarten.

Kate, on the other hand, is quite resourceful.  In the time it took me to load my groceries onto the belt at the store the other day, she managed to reach into the basket and grab a package of yogurts.  This in itself was quite a feat because I pile everything on the opposite side of the cart from her.  She has a tendency to hug loaves of bread to death and such.  I'm sure people go by my cart and wonder why the side nearest the handle is nearly empty while the opposite end is like a teetering Mr. Everest of groceries.

After she grabbed the package of yogurts, she managed to pull one of the cups free from the carton.  Then she managed to peel back the lid.  When I turned back from the conveyor belt to make sure I got everything out of the cart, I saw Kate sitting there eating yogurt with her hands.

Lately when Scott asks me to open his bag of cookies, I tell him he can only have it if he opens it himself.  After all, Scott, your baby sister can do it!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Maows and Bows

Kate turned two!

She still obsessed with all things girly.  But she shows a definite proclivity for cats and hair bows these days.

Her name for cats is the sound they make, which she says, "Maow."  She has a little stuffed cat she likes to sleep with and when she asks us to find it in the depths of her blankets in her crib, she always pleads, "Maow."  M and I decided to name her little cat Chairman.  Now we both get a nice chuckle when we go searching for her little Chairman Mao.

No outfit is complete for Kate without a bow in her hair.  Preferably a clip AND a bow.

Whenever she sees me sitting writing something on paper, she insists that I draw her a cat with a bow.  

Logical birthday theme?  The most famous cat WITH a bow of all. Hello Kitty of course:

If you find yourself wondering how I made these buttercream Hello Kitty cupcakes, feel free to read on.  Or if you don't care, that's fine by me.  Go on your merry way.


I used frozen buttercream transfers to make the little Hello Kitties.  I've always wanted to try this technique.  The results were fabulous (if I do say so myself) and it was suprisingly easy.

First, I found an outline image of the Kitty herself, made it the right size and copied it as many times as I wanted cupcakes.  (I didn't have to mirror the image like you normally would because Hello Kitty is ambi-drawable.)  Then I printed it off and taped some waxed paper over it.  I put it on a cutting board and then went at it with a tube of black frosting and a simple round tip.

I outlined the whole image first:

Next I switched to red frosting and colored in her oh-so-important bow:

 Then I filled the face in with white:

All the frosting color changes would have been a pain, but thanks to this idea, it was easy and not very messy at all!

Then I took the pink frosting I was going to frost the cupcakes themselves with and piped around the outside of Miss Kitty to support her little whiskers.  The main idea here is to think backwards.  Pipe the things you want to have look like they are on top first and the things you want to look like they are on the bottom last.  As my last step I piped a layer of the same pink as the cupcakes over the whole thing to give it some beefiness.  When I was all done I got my finger wet so it wouldn't stick and pushed down all over the design to make sure everything was flat and as air-bubble-less as possible.
Then I popped them all in the freezer for about an hour.  When I took them out, they easily came off the waxed paper in one piece.  In fact they were small enough that I could just pop them off the waxed paper and stick 'em on the frosted cupcakes like stickers.  Delicious buttercream stickers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Peek-a-boo Pet Door

We don't have a pet, but there was a pet door out to the garage when we bought our house.  One of these days, we really should replace that door.  But until then, it sure is useful when Kate wants to check up on what M's doing out in the garage.  She is very disturbed by lawnmowers and always points at ones that are running and says, "Owie."  So this way she can see what he's up to when he's doing yard work without actually risking contact with the evil mower of pain and destruction.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Silence Isn't Golden, It's White and Really Hard to Wash Off

I had one of those, "It's quiet... too quiet" moments and went looking for Kate.  She was in the living room which is designed to be "safe" for her, so how bad could it be?

I called her name and she came toddling toward me.  I saw she had a little mess on her hands:

I smelled Desitin.  Clearly someone left the closet door open and she had gotten into the diaper changing supplies.  And she had a bigger mess on her foot:

So she played with the tube of Desitin and got some on herself.  Not too bad.  I can take that.  Phew.

Then I walked around to the other side of the couch to find the lid for the Desitin tube and saw this:

Kate had decided to change her baby's diaper.  That baby doll must have had some wicked diaper rash:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Would You Call It?

I miss having my sister and her family here.  Really I do.  But I'm not going to lie.  We were pretty excited to get our 4th bedroom back!

We have always struggled with what to call this room.  It normally houses all my sewing and crafting supplies, but to call it the craft room seems too greedy of me.  It's where guests usually sleep when they come to visit, but it's so much more than a guest room.  Sometimes M will go in there with his work laptop for some peace and quiet when he's working from home, but we already have another room that's officially the office (though we use it as a playroom).  I suppose a logical title might be the spare room, but that felt so stuffy somehow.

When we moved into our house, this 4th bedroom was painted a dark, DARK hunter green:

I didn't like it, but there was no rush to paint this extra room that was hardly ever seen.  We ended up calling it the "green room."  But then a few months later, we painted a green accent wall in Claire's room.  So to further clarify, this room became the "dark green room."  Cumbersome, I know, but it stuck.

However, when my sister and her family moved out of the room, it needed a little work.  And I wasn't about to re-paint it hunter green.  So it was finally time to paint that room.  We chose a nice light gray.  I LOVE it!  But the big problem was that calling it the "dark green room" just wasn't going to fly anymore.

M and I wracked our brains for what to call this room.  What was it?  It was the room that... became whatever we needed it to be.

That was it!  In celebration of our regained and freshly painted extra space I splurged and ordered some custom vinyl for the door so we could officially christen it for all to see:


I can't wait until our kids read the Harry Potter books and finally get our joke!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Girly? Yes, But Also She's a Firecracker

She brought both these items to us and demanded we help her put them on.  Then she wore them around for a long time!

But I'm sure she'd be disappointed to know that she's much too cute to be scary...



Monday, April 25, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Girly Girl

Kate is ALL girl.  Her favorite shoes right now are these babies:

Today, she insisted on wearing them to the park.  I tried to explain to her that heels just aren't a good choice for the playground.  But she didn't listen... just like a typical 21 month old, sheesh! She stumbled around the wood chips on the playground for a long time before she finally admitted defeat and insisted on going barefoot.

The other day she wore these all morning and then I forced her to let me take them off for her nap.  She went to sleep for about 2 hours and then I heard her just waking up, so I went in her room to get her.  When I got to her crib, she looked at me while still rubbing her bleary eyes and the first thing she said was, "Shoes?"  (And she meant these yellow heels, oh yes she did.  I tried playing dumb and offered her sandals.  She wanted NONE of that.)

I'm really not sure there's anything more comical than these little thunder thighs ending in those shoes.  I'm sad because her little chubby feet can BARELY squeeze into them anymore :(

And bows and clips?  She loves them!  Claire will refuse to leave the house rather than be caught dead wearing a ribbon in her hair.  But Kate requested this hairstyle awhile ago:

Claire and Scott have this set of magnetic pieces that build cars.  The wheel pieces have treads on them that they discovered can be removed.  Whenever Kate finds these removed car wheel treads, do you know what she does with them???

Wears them like bracelets.
For hours at a time!

She's not even 2 years old yet, but we've known all along that Kate is super girly.  Her first word was "shoes."  You wanna debate about "nature vs. nurture"?  Once you have 2 girls that you raised pretty darn near the same and one turns out like Claire and the other turns out like Kate, there is NO question.  They come with their own little personalities.  And the personality on this one is cracking me up!