Wednesday, September 3, 2014

poker face

Don't worry... this post is not about Lady Gaga. If I ever get to that point, please put me out of my misery.

My hubster has been 'blessed' with this ridiculously maddening ability to have the same expression on his face 24/7. Seriously, I can't tell if he won the lottery, ran over a dog, or is preparing for a colonoscopy. Most of the time I am envious of this mysterious trait of his... except when it involves wedding//family photos.

Luckily for him, he married a women who is an expert in non-verbal communication. If I played poker, I would lose all my money in about five minutes. I'm pretty sure I have a face for every feeling from "boy that chocolate cake tastes good" to "I'm going to kick the next person that tells me I look tired". Want to know how I'm feeling? Just look at me.

feel free to caption this loveliness
Somebody once told me I have the facial expressions of Claire on Modern Family, and I can't say I disagree. I like to say it keeps my honest. Unfortunately, it at times means being a little too brutally honest. Like the other day when I loudly announced across the cafe to my boss that a group of teenage boys {who were still in the cafe} left me 5 pennies. I didn't have a mirror, but pretty sure the look on my face was not pleasantness.

There are a lot of verses in the Bible about being slow to show your anger or exhibit your frustrations.

Whoops.

Fail.

The only time I would use the word 'slow' to describe myself would be while running.

Unfortunately, my son seems to have inherited my talent for the non-poker face. While it has been nice in terms of knowing when something is wrong or when he's guilty, it probably isn't the greatest trait to have in terms of quick-temperedness {pretty sure that's not a word}.

I don't know that I will ever physically be able to get rid of some of my less-than-friendly facial expressions. However, I definitely need to work on having a 'calmer' spirit {my friends right now are laughing hysterically} that perhaps slows my reaction time and promotes some thinking time.

That counting to 10 thing? I definitely need to try that. Except, I better start with 5.



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Monday, September 1, 2014

top 5 reasons to scrapbook

Scrapbooking has become an incredible hobby for me. I enjoyed it a bit in high school and college but have really come to appreciate it since having children. Tonight I was editing my photos and getting extremely pumped for my next scrapping weekend in just 4 days.


Scrapbooking can be very intimidating for those who do not consider themselves the 'creative' type or who have never tried it before. Rest assured... if I can do it, a monkey can do it. I still draw with stick figures and get any creative 'ideas' from Pinterest and even I can make a presentable, display-worthy scrapbook.


Before you discount scrapbooking as lame and falsely describe it as a bunch of old women saving locks of their children's hair and noting their children's daily poop schedule {was I the only one who thought this?}, allow me to convince you otherwise.


Top 5 Reasons to Scrapbook... Now!

5. It helps you capture the moments you won't remember. I do not put a massive amount of pictures in each scrapbook. Instead of just using photos from special occasions, scrapbooking has become a way to capture everyday moments consisting of facial expressions, playtime, giggles, or even nap time. These are the moments that are so easy to forget and scrapping helps me ensure that I am capturing their true personalities and everyday life.

can you feel their love for each other?
4. Scrapbooking is a great way to ensure time with girlfriends. My scrapping took off after spending my first 'scrapbooking weekend' with a group of ladies from my former workplace. I was hooked. Now that I no longer work at school, it also means a chance to see ladies that I so badly miss. We laugh, we eat {a lot}, we sleep in, we wear yoga pants, and we do it all in a beautiful facility. These two weekends a year are exactly what this mama needs.


3. Technology is there for you. I have made three valuable investments when it comes to scrapbooking: a nice DSLR camera, a photo-editing program, and a printer that prints high-quality photos. I have never taken any sort of photography class or editing class nor do I consider myself 'tech savvy'. Yet, thanks to these three investments, my scrapbooks have lovely photos without a lot of extra effort. Do they look as good as professionals? Nope. But I think they look pretty darn good considering my lack of photography background. Also, the Internet is an excellent place to find simple tutorials {remember, so easy a monkey can do it} to help with such tasks. I have learned everything either from my scrapping ladies, particularly Jen, and//or the Internet. There are also tons of album kits, paper sets, and photo layouts to assist you should you not feel confident in your abilities.

pretty good photo for someone who knows nothing about taking pictures

2. Scrapbooking helps with your long term memory. I don't know about you, but there are many days where I wonder how I'm every going to remember anything by the time I'm over 50. Scrapbooking has helped me mark milestones in my children's lives, remember little things that are so easy to forget, and keep a chronological, photo-journal of times I want to remember forever.

who wouldn't want to remember this?
 Side note: It is also a great way to do some journaling. You can include as much or as little journaling as you like in your albums.

1. I hope that one day, my children will appreciate the gift {if they don't, they're out of the will}. I love looking at old photo albums of me or my relatives. They stir up so many memories and emotions and keep us connected to the places we came from and the people who surrounded us. My prayer is that my children will see the albums someday as reminders of the love I had for them, the joy they brought to my life, and the importance of family.


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Friday, August 29, 2014

rewind

There are a lot of intelligent people in this world... Bill Gates, scientists, and whoever invented the Snuggie. We've managed to design robots, master genetics, research causes and in some cases cures for terrible diseases, and create a cookie pizza. So why... why has no one created a rewind button for parents these days?

If there's anything I've learned in almost 4 years of parenting experience, it's that I know nothing and that just when I think I've figured out something, God sends a whole new serving of humble pie my way. He's quite speedy and creative with his delivery.

Junior is approaching 4 years old.



Some of our biggest battles with the little fella have been over potty training and hitting {sometimes simultaneously}. Usually our battles began with the assumption that "he should be" or "he shouldn't be", which let me tell you, are a dangerous couple of phrases. When Junior neared the age of 3, I fought with him for months to get him to use the potty. He and I duked it out for hours with lots of tears while he sat on the pot and I assumed the fetal position on the bathroom floor. I was sure my son had some sort of social//emotional disorder in which he would forever pee himself, never learn to poop in the toilet, and never be able to spend the night at a friend's house.

Lo and behold, about 4 months after the age of 3, junior used the potty. On his own. Without any battles.

Duh.

At the same time, the hitting out of frustration began to disappear. Most likely due to the fact that his perfectionist, over-achieving mother was not constantly pushing him to do things he was not ready for.

Why do we constantly push our kids? Why do we always seem to want to make them older than what they really are {and then wish them to be younger when they are older}?

People, I think we're losing it.

Lately, junior, hubster, and I have participated in WW III over the concepts of 'sharing' and 'obeying'. I have been convinced that my child will never make any friends, because he will always be saying 'no' and grabbing things out of every one's hands. We also had a bust with swim lessons in which he was forced to jump in the water and go under. The instructors convinced me his fear would subside, and it probably would have, but after a month of it getting worse and worse, I decided it was not worth it.

He's 3.
Three.

Will he learn to swim someday? Probably. Will he one day play nicely with little sis? I sure hope so. Will he still be grabbing everything in sight when he's 18? Most likely not.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that these concepts cannot and should not be taught to toddlers. I am not saying that there should not be discipline involved. But why am I pushing him so hard to master something that most children do not master until they are several years older? I've seen many a first grader who couldn't share a darn thing so clearly expecting a 3 year old to do it and understand it perfectly is a little ridiculous.

There are many recent moments I wish I could rewind. Moments where I lost my temper. Moments where I worried about junior becoming a social misfit. Moments where I was completely unappreciative of the age he is and how fast he is growing up.

Moral of the story... Know your child. Know what is developmentally appropriate for your child. Help them excel in their strengths. Encourage them in their lesser strengths. Most of all, enjoy them for the age that they're at. Enjoy them for their God-given unique personality.

And rewind as best you can. My rewind button usually comes with a fresh "I'm sorry" and "I love you". 




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Thursday, August 28, 2014

15

I am a huge tennis fan. It was the one sport I found success at growing up due to my white-girl jumping inabilities that prohibited my play in basketball and volleyball.

I've been watching the U.S. Open all week and am sitting here watching some 15-year-old American play in the second round. She beat the #12 seed in the first round.

15.
Are.
You.
Kidding.
Me.?

In honor of #TBT, I thought I would bless you all with some photos and memories of what I was achieving at 15.

rockin it
When I was 15, I was getting my hair highlighted by paying a hairdresser to stab my head and pull hair, in a non-gentle manner, through holes in a cap. Am I right ladies? When I was 15, I was deliberating every few months on what color to put around my braces. Oh yeah. I was also lamenting the fact that I had to wear rubber bands all over my mouth in intricate patterns. To school. In public.

When I was 15, I spent a good hour getting ready every morning and had many a hormonal breakdown over a hair out of place or clumpy mascara. I wore my Roxy tank top with pride along with my Silver jeans and Dr. Martens. I wore a size 4 at Abercrombie and thought I was fat. I changed approximately 11 times each day before leaving the house and spent each night living it up with homework so I could be co-valedictorian and get very little scholarship money for it.


This post is reminding me why I was and am terrified of parenting a teenage girl.

CiCi Bellis is currently working it out on the tennis court, on prime time television, in classy Nike tennis-wear {and a fancy looking bracelet}, with well defined leg muscles.

I wish I could say the same...

go get em
The saddest part of this photo is not the middle part, squinty eyes, frizzy hair, or braces. It is the fact that those rippling arms played #1 singles for my high school tennis team at the time. Intimidation at its best. 


Thank you, CiCi Bellis, on behalf of all current and former 15-year-old girls, for making us look significantly sub-par.



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Monday, August 11, 2014

a new season

Today marks a new season in this mama's life. For the first time, since I was 5 years old, I am not going back to school. School has been a continuous, constant part of my life... as a student, college student, and a teacher.


I am missing the relationships. My co-workers, who are no longer my co-workers, were so dear to me and one of the best parts of my job. They brought me laughter, put up with my shortcomings, and were my saving grace when I was stressed. Now, I have to make more of an effort to maintain these friendships that I so badly do not want to lose.

This week, I will not be in a room full of 6 or 7 year old children. Instead, I will be in a house with a 3 year old and a 9 month old. This is my new season.

I am so thankful for this opportunity. I am so thankful for the peace I feel with my decision.

I know this new season will be full of different joys and different frustrations. It will mean new challenges and new celebrations. It means a different identity and different habits. It has given me more time to appreciate the little things but has its own set of obstacles.

As I enter my new season, I was reminded of these verses:

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

No matter what season you are in, I pray it brings you a time of peace.

via


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

baby jealousy

I just got back from a week-long vacation with my family in the picturesque mountains of Pennsylvania. It was a week that taught me many things... how much I need a cell phone signal, the importance of a comfortable mattress, and how easy it is to gain five pounds.

But my biggest revelation from the week is...

I'm jealous of my baby.

Yep. She has it made. She can have her cake... and eat it, too.


Why Being a Baby is THE Life Stage of ALL Life Stages

You get to be carried around.. either in the arms of a loved one, or a stroller that unfortunately, is too small for adults. If sat on the ground and reached up my arms at hubster, I would not receive the same results.


Literally, your every demand is met. Hungry? Shed a tear and you shall be fed. Want a new diaper? Just stink up the room. Tired? Wail until someone picks you up, rocks you to sleep, and lays you in a bed full of stuffed animals and ridiculously soft blankets. Where is my blanket made of organic alpaca fur imported from Peru?

You look adorable making any kind of face.
When adults do this... it goes viral, and not in a good way.

 People do not get mad at you. They go out of their way to make you happy. In fact, they even give you jewelry. And watch you chew on it. If I did this, I would be admitted.

People spend hours... and hours... and insane amounts of energy trying to make you giggle.   
 
You have one job, and one job only. Play.
life. is. rough.
You are completely perfect, even in hideous floppy hats that protect your perfect skin from the hot sun.

You are supposed to get fat. Your rolls are "cute". If you are not chubby, people worry.

You are naturally made with skin that is pore-free, smooth, and blemish-free. And your mouth looks naturally glossed thanks to a bit of drool.
I mean really...
You have nicer wardrobes than your parents. 

You can get as dirty as you want, and then receive a bath in perfectly temperate water.

Sign.
Me.
Up.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

honesty couch: bachelorette edition

Time for the fantasy suites. Last time Andi entered a fantasy suite, it did not have a happy ending for her, although I personally enjoyed her ambush of Juan Pablo.



 

Andi travels to the Dominican Republic for the final episodes of this season. I must say that I am looking forward to this season being over. Andi has slowly but surely gotten on my nerves this season.

Like any good Bachelor//Bachelorette we see Andi in deep thought, writing in her polka-dotted journal, contemplating this difficult decision she has to make. My hope is that Andi's journal looks like this:

1. Chris
2. Josh
3.        
.......
.......
999,999,999. Nick

While talking about Josh, Andi describes herself as a "brat" and a "diva". I'm glad she's at least somewhat self-aware.

Andi talks about Josh and Chris while ABC kills time with relationship highlights. Then she talks about Sir-sulks-a-lot. She uses words like "sweet", "affectionate", "passionate", "smart", and of course talks about the infamous "mental connection". Her list of adjectives is quite different than mine.

Nick is up first. I hope this overnight date goes as poorly as Andi and Juan Pablo's. As usual, Sir-sulks-a-lot wants to tell Andi how much he loves her while looking at the camera with the expression of a kid whose dog just died.

They take a helicopter ride to a private island. I think I've seen this date 42 times on this show. Nick and Andi immediately frolic in the water. As we learned with JP and Clare, no good can come from such frolicking. Andi talks about how they have a strong physical chemistry, ewwww, but that there seems to be a lot that she doesn't know about him... such as, he appears to be a stalker who pouts all the time.

Sir-sulks-a-lot talks about how hard previous break-ups were for him, and that he didn't talk to anyone for 6 months after one of them. This is not helping his reputation as one who sulks... all the time.

The conversation gets incredibly awkward, because Nick becomes tongue tied and can't seem to tell her he loves her. It was painful to watch.

For dinner, Sir-sulks-a-lot wears a clown suit, complete with coral pants, and a V-neck shirt with light blue and neon yellow. As if the conversation couldn't get more unrealistic, Nick decides to pull out a fairy tale that he wrote for Andi. I'm sorry... but if any man would've done this for me, I'm pretty sure I would've laughed in his face. I mean really. This could not be more cheesy. Andi thinks it's "super-romantic" and has her plastered on clown face while he reads it to her. These two are a match made in clown heaven. I did enjoy one part of the book when he described himself as a "big baby". Well said.

I am a little disturbed that Nick finds it so difficult to say "I love you," that he has to write some ridiculous story. Let me help you out buddy.

1. Open your mouth.
2. Say, "I".
3. Say, "Love".
4. Say, "You".

You're welcome.

They immediately decide to go to the fantasy suite so Sir-sulks-a-lot can "talk her ear off". Andi is one lucky lady. I can think of a million things I'd rather do than listen to Nick talk about himself for hours.

Sir-sulks-a-lot finally tells Andi that he loves her. The entire time, she had her frowny clown face on. Maybe they are perfect for each other....

I really don't know how you can be attracted to a guy in hot pink pants. I just don't.

Josh's date is up next. He shows up looking like Cody with his shirt unbuttoned down to his belly button. The guys on this show have some interesting wardrobe preferences.

The two of them tour the city. Poor Josh is sweating like a pig and probably wondering when they get to strip down and get in some water.

Ummm, Josh apparently is fluent in Spanish. Impressive. Where you at Nick?

Josh and Andi dance terribly in front of people, who are genetically inclined to dance well, and are probably uttering obscenities about Americans who think they can dance.

A date with Josh would not be complete without baseball and sports references. They play with some kids. It's cute. Andi is impressed. Yawn. Let's get on with this date.

Josh brings it right away and tells her he loves her. It's a little more believable from Josh versus Nick. Josh is giddy and smiley while Sir-sulks-a-lot looks like he is trying to cast an evil spell with his eyes.

What is with the mass of pigeons on this date? Nothing says romance like getting harassed by a flock of pigeons.

Time for dinner. They discuss family, kids, and the conversation is easy. Andi continues to question him, stereotype him, and doubt him. I really don't know how he's put up with this constant questioning from her. And where is this with Sir-sulks-a-lot? He has red flags shooting out his ears but she doesn't seem to see a one of them.

They walk to the fantasy suite and are surprised by fireworks. I love the normalcy on this show.

Josh and Andi seem as natural together as you can possibly be on this show.

Chris gets date #3 for this week. Andi is not sure if she's comfortable enough to spend the night with Chris. She prefers men who have the personality of a professional stalker.

The two of them go horseback riding, which is one of Andi's fears. I must say that I do enjoy that Andi is not afraid to face her fears or put herself in an awkward situation. The horse starts moving a little faster and she flips out. It's hilarious. It reminds me of myself on an airplane. Her words were "why is it trotting" while mine would be "why is the wing flapping" or "why aren't the engines loud anymore".

They have a picnic, and Andi tells Chris how much she loved his family. Good to hear. Now don't ruin it with this perfectly dimpled, white-toothed, rich farmer. They play hide-and-seek and he carries her around. However, Andi is still not sure she should have an overnight date with him. Did she fall and hit her head before this week? She'd rather spend the night with a man who lies to find out her hotel room number instead of a guy who is a homeowner, land owner, sweet, and incredibly easy on the eyes. I don't like where this is headed...

Can I just reiterate how much better Andi looks with her hair parted on the side versus the middle?

Andi expresses doubts again about her life in Iowa. She is afraid that what she saw in Iowa wouldn't be her everyday life. She starts rambling on and on and somehow reaches a flipping out point. Chris is clearly taken aback and doesn't know how to respond to her freak out. He says the sweetest things while she frowns the entire time. What is wrong with this girl?

What. 
Just.
Happened?

Andi basically tells Chris she doesn't share the same feelings he has. For an attorney, she has a hard time getting to the point. "I'm an idiot." Direct quote from Andi. Could not agree more. 

Chris responds with his typical wisdom and respect. All I can say is this guy had better be the next Bachelor.

I think the astonishing thing about this whole episode is that Nick has made it farther than Chris. I can't think of one positive characteristic to say about Sir-sulks-a-lot and yet I can't think of one flaw to say about Chris. Andi... your IQ isn't looking to good here.

Oh goody... a sit down with Andi and Chris Harrison. Let's inflate our egos for a while.

Chris Harrison is getting his workout in walking Nick and Josh down a mile long walk to the shore for the rose ceremony. Andi still feels the need for a rose ceremony.

If she picks Sir-sulks-a-lot, I just might break a television. I'm hoping her pops treats him the same way he treated Juan Pablo.


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