Friday, July 29, 2011

Patio Party

Just a few quick snapshots from our dinner party the other night.
Warm weather.
Cold drinks.
Salads & Slaws & Pina Colada Cupcakes.
Good Friends. Good Food. Good Atmosphere.
We don't need anything more than that...













Get over it.

You  know that point where you're so frustrated you just want to cry,
But if you start you probably won't be able to stop?
I've been balancing on that point for nearly a week now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I am Stubborn

Here's your fun fact for the day, kids:
 
One can, through sheer dint of will, fit five new patio chairs into a small-ish Chevy Cavalier.
During said expression of sheer dint of will, one can expect to be approached by three very terrifying-looking, but well-meaning, gentlemen (and I use the term rather loosely here) offering to help...or at least stare for a bit, while one tries to squash the damn things in there like some retarded Tetris puzzle.


It's these. But bigger. Much. Much. Bigger.

I wish I'd thought to take a picture of them all crammed into the car before I pried them loose (again, in front of an intrigued audience which included my apartment's handyman and resident gardener-ish guy). But frankly I think the heat and the profuse sweating had gone to my head at that point and a picture ranked about 100th on the list that topped with Get-Chairs-on-Porch and was closely seconded by Take-Shower.

Seven intriguing things

Why seven?
Just because.

What it is: A monthly (or bi-monthly depending upon your fancy and/or your bankroll) delivery service of the best indie English-language mags from around the world. All offer "an intelligent alternative view of films, music, art and whatever else crosses their pages, they guarantee a fresh perspective on the world."  The fun part? Every Stack delivery is a surprise – you never know what you’re going to get next.
Adorably awesomemazing little etsy shop featuring archival quality prints of my favorite childhood toys: Fisher Price Little People. Layered with snarky little sayings, these prints would be perfect for a kid's room...or your own...

Because sometimes? It's like winning just to make it home in one piece some days...


4. Instant Cameras
There are vintage versions floating around ebay and such (like this little pink beauty)
 And Fuji's even relaunched theirs to snap & print "credit card sized mini photos" (The white Fujifilm Instax Mini below) But I miss laying the photo on the table and gathering around it to see how it develops. There's a touch of nostalgia that, if I could afford the cost of film, I'd like to introduce to the kiddos.




5. Vintage Pyrex
It's just so pretty...AND functional...I can't help myself.


6. Pillowcase Dresses
It's an old classic...and one I've yet to attempt...but the blog world seems to be littered with these the past few weeks (probably due to the heat, and ease of project completion? I hope?) so it's time to try one... I'm a big fan of this beauty by Aesthetic Nest


Which I've attempted to do a refashion of in my own colors/block pattern. It's almost hypnotic once you get stitching...and I see a LOT more in my future.


7.b the same site also had these great men's neckties which I'm itching to bust out...
In fact, when you get right down to it, I love this entire blog. She's got great style.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Running ourselves Ragged

It was a big weekend.
It was the kind of weekend that makes me simultaneously glad that The Munchkins are old enough to run errands all afternoon without crashing, AND makes me miss the nap-time days...
Saturday was our giant-blow out-back-to-school shopping extravaganza.
Each kid got new clothes for late summer/fall/uniforms/etc.
And a new lunch box and thermos and all the little ticky-tacky school supplies that are so much fun to buy. Correction there. Actually. You always think they're going to be fun to buy. You remember them as being fun to buy. But in reality? Walmart and Meijer and Target turn into holy hells of aisle mazes teeming with whiny kids, frustrated parents and too many carts. At 2 in the afternoon, no one wants to budge an inch from the center of the aisle, and you end up sending your kids out secret-agent-style to fetch the pencil packs and purple rulers, letting them dodge between speeding carts and supersized adults who have long forgotten words like "please" and "excuse me".


They thought it was great fun.
I thought I could hear my bank account slowing draining, like the bathtub

But, because they were such little troopers; enduring first a massive trip to Old Navy for clothes and then several bix-boxes for school supplies, we rounded out our trip with lunch at Steak & Shake.


Which solidified, in my mind at least, that cheese fries & milkshakes can, in fact, make the world a better place.
 (Monkey was the ONLY one who would wear the hat with me... the other two are now officially old enough to be embarrassed that their mother wore a paper Steak & Shake hat all throughout lunch. I'm going to have SO much fun with that.)

Sunday saw us right back out in the thick of it.
We got rained out of our play date at Carmel's West Park (which, incidentally, has an awesome sprinkler park & giant jungle gym). So we crashed Castleton Mall's indoor play area so the kidlets could all get their wiggles out.
It never fails to amaze me how big Other People's kids get. And then I realize how big My kids are getting. And then I just want another DQ Blizzard, because that line of thinking will either end in depression or the bottom of a nice bottle of Pinot g.  
Regardless, it was immensely fun to catch up with everyone, and no one really had a major meltdown until it was pretty much time to go. Which, I figure, after two days of keeping them in and out of stores? Someone was bound to melt down sooner or later!
And so, Sunday night saw us making blanket nests on the living room floor, with a movie on the tube, and bowls of warm mac&cheese and carmel corn for dinner. Maybe not the most nutritious thing I've ever fed them, but I was being indulgent. And lazy. Mostly lazy.

It's one of those weekends that blew by in a blur...but there were moments that will stick.
In just the same way that I can remember so clearly picking out my first Trapper Keeper, or my Lisa Frank dolpins-jumping-out-of-the-water-over-the-moon folder. 
And it's that little bubble of a memory that makes me pause when I'm ready to pop The Munchkins little heads off for being cranky in public. I remember the most random of moments from my childhood. I don't remember how clean the bathrooms were (sorry, Mom. I'm sure they were spotless). But I do remember riding in the station wagon singing along to Under the Boardwalk one afternoon with the windows rolled down and a blur of summer green flying by my window. 
I don't want my littles to grow up remembering that mom had a complete meltdown in the paper-aisle at WalMart (which I almost did); but rather that I took them to Steak & Shake one year, and let them order whatever they wanted off the menu, and that we got giant milkshakes and that I wore the stupid paper hat all through lunch; and that I let them pick the radio station driving home, and that we all sang some random song by the Plain White Tees at the top of our lungs until it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

I want to make random memories with them.
They're the best kind.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

so big

When The Munchkins were little we used to read Pat the Bunny. A lot.
Their favorite page was always the one that said 'Soooo Big' because they would throw their hands up over their head and hold the "Soooooooooooooooo..." for as long as they could, dissolving into a fit of tiny little giggles.



God, where has all the time gone?


Saturday, July 23, 2011

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you


here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart


i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
-e e cummings



I've always loved this poem. e e ranks right up there with Neruda for me. and Bukowski, sweet angry Bukowski. Some days, when i can't say what I want to say, I lament the fact that I abandoned poetry so early on. I loved those college courses. I filled notebooks with little mini novellas of poems and memories and moments. I wonder whatever happened to those...

Friday, July 22, 2011

When you breathe

I watch you sleep sometimes. Did you know?
The steady rise & fall of your chest calms me in the way that only you seem able to do these days. You ground me.
Even in your sleep you're a touchpoint for my sanity. A safe little harbour away from the currents that seem to drag me out to sea most days. I smile more with you. Laugh more. Breathe easier. You lift the pressure of the day just by walking in the door.
Just by being there. Just by breathing. Next to me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Last Minute Super Hero Capes

What do you do when it's 8:30 in the evening and two of your three children confess they need Super Hero costumes for summer camp the next day?

This. You do This.



Materials Needed:
1 XL Men's Tshirt
Scissors
Needle
Thread
etc.


The Easy Way
 Cut carefully around the front neck of the Tshirt, leaving ring intact.
Cut off sleeves above the shoulder seam.
Leave back bodice/piece of shirt attached to neck.
Hem as needed, or not, jersey won't fray.
Attach applique if desired.
The End.

But wait...  you need TWO capes?! And you only have ONE Tshirt?
Ahhh...well then.. for the second cape, retrieve that front piece of the Tshirt that you cut away for the initial cape. 
Go ahead and grab one of your abandoned sleeves as well.



Fold that sleeve down inside itself to form a tube.

Lay the rough edges of your sleeve-tube down to match the rough/cut edges of the top of your shirt front.  Stitch all the way around the rough edges of your tube, right sides together, finishing the edges of the front and joining the neck tube to the cape/shirt front.

It helps to take a few tucks/pleats in the body of the cap so that it lays well on your kiddo.

And, voila!
Two capes (with random felt applique for each kid) in under an hour!

And, if you're feeling saucy?
Grab your scraps and fashion a couple of wristbandlets for each kiddo.
One spare sleeve from the men's XL tee, cut into strips, will make six wrist bands with some to spare. Kids have small wrists.

Just set your machine to a zig-zag stitch (to preserve the 'stretchiness' of your knit and so the kids can get the bands on and off easily). Turn your fabric strips right side together & stitch together at the short end so you have a small tube. Take any remaining felt scraps from your Super Hero Letter Applique and tack them right on your wrist bands.


Total cost for the Project: $0.
And Mr. Man STILL leaps from tall buildings[couches] in a single bound in his. Repeatedly. Much to the chagrin of the evil dark lord[his mother].




Seriously.




Monday, July 18, 2011

Holiday World or...how to do a super awesome vacation on a shoestring budget

Whoever told you that vacations had to be big, extravagant things was wrong.
Sometimes the best vacations are a few hours drive away...
on a teeny tiny little budget.


The Munchkins have finally reached the age where I felt comfortable taking A Vacation with them.
And, even though I'd reached a general level of comfortability with the theory of it, I was still immensely relieved that my parents wanted to come along as well. Because looking back, three kids, one adult, two days one overnight and one very crowded theme park still would have been far, far too much to handle on my own.

A few thoughts on the experience:

Three hours is a very long time to be in a car with The Munchkins, even when they are very well behaved.




Planning is, as in all things, essential.
The Munchkins & I saved & counted down the days for a good, long while prior to The Vacation...
And there is no better value out there than Holiday World (woo hoo 2nd day discount tickets!)

Everyone chipped in in all sorts of wonderful ways... 

Stevie Wonder and The Beach Boys make excellent road trip music.
Fisher Price Little People Sing Silly Songs does not. Especially, it should be noted, when it is played end to end, twice. It's much akin to having bamboo shoots driven under ones finger nails to be completely honest.


The first ride I go on when I get to an amusement park is still always the bathroom.

 

I don't care how old you are...ice cream IS an acceptable snack no matter what time of day it is.
 


Isabelle is old enough to ride roller coasters. If that didn't shock me into adulthood I don't know what will. I still remember the first roller coaster I climbed onto with my dad some 20-ish years ago. It was the Racer at Kings Island. I wouldn't hold his hand in line because I was so nervous that my palms were sweaty...and I didn't want him to think I was scared...even though the wumpa-wumpa of my rapid heartbeat probably gave it away anyway.  Isabelle, on the other hand, chatted it up for over an hour in line with nothing more than a case of the jumpies when we got to be next in line. She loved it. My girl for sure.


^ Little Thrill Seekers ^
Pepsi Oases are the best thing about Holiday World. Hands down. Free soda for all!



The Monkey managed, in two days, to consume the following: Two ice cream cones, one cup of dippin' dots, one gigantic slice of cheese pizza, three mini corn dogs, half a bowl of apple sauce, one (of MY) chicken finger, one giant corn dog, two oreos, one cup of fruit, a breakfast bar's worth of food, and several hundred cups of root beer and pink lemonade.
This one's just like her momma...

 
Everyone's first reaction to staying in a hotel room for the first time is still to oooohhh and aaaahhh at the tiny soaps and shampoos, and to marvel at the crisp, folded-under corners on the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. In fact, when we got home, I found Mr. Man in our bathroom, attempting to fold our toilet paper into a point.



Everyone's second reaction to staying in a hotel room for the first time is to jump on the bed. Which I allowed. Because we were, after all, on vacation.


It is, in fact, possible to fall asleep at dinner after a long day at the parks riding rides & swimming. It is also possible to fall asleep in the car, and while being carried back to the hotel after dinner. Playing is hard work...


There are few things funnier than seeing your kids ride the scrambler.
Among those few things, I would include seeing your mother and father ride that same scrambler...

Everyone in my family laughs, rather than screams, on park rides. The only exception being The Monkey as she comes barreling down water slides. She squeals at the top of her lungs just to hear the echo.
We all had a blast.
Temperatures were high and we spent a LOT of time in the water park.
Standing in line for rides and hanging out in wave pools sparked some great little conversations, and as soon as we got in the car after the second day, The Munchkins were already asking when we were coming back.
THIS is going to have to be an annual trip for sure...
 
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