Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Naptown to Super City




You can watch the entire thing online via the link there there.
It's very well done.
Give it a watch.
Or a listen...while you do your work today...not that I've been doing that today or anything...

Left Brain :: Right Brain

How utterly gorgeous are these images?

 They're a part of a Mercedes-Benz ad campaign that launched back in February, 2011. But a year later, I'm just now seeing them for the first time. And, while the Mercedes-Benz TV ads focus on the sleek, stylish vehicles themselves, certainly nothing to turn ones nose up at; This print campaign is simply a thing of beauty. Each one is articulate, creative, carefully crafted. They're works of art. And the text is damn near poetic. I'd hang it on my walls, even with the logo there in the bottom right.

Diversification in advertising is important. It allows you to reach multiple demographics on a variety of levels. These appeal to an entirely different group of people than those who drool over the cars themselves. And this campaign goes one further. It appeals to that segment of people that treat their cars not just as vehicles but as an extension of themselves, their image, their persona. There's just something to be said for a good print ad campaign, people.

Agency: Shalmor Avnon Amichay/Y&R Interactive Tel Aviv, Israel
Chief Creative Director: Gideon Amichay
Executive Creative Director: Tzur Golan
Creative Director: Yariv Twig
Art Directors: Gil Aviyam, Dror Nachumi
Illustrators: Gil Aviyam, Lena Guberman
Copywriters: Sharon Refael, Oren Meir

Friday, January 27, 2012

Impressionable Youth...

This morning, The Monkey announced that she much prefers my radio stations (92.3 or 104.5) to Radio Disney. Internally I was cheering &pumping my fist triumphantly. Outwardly I smiled, a bit smugly, and asked why?

"Because" Monkey answered. "Sometimes when we ask you to turn it to our radio station you make a scrunchy face."

I forget sometimes that The Munchkins are just giant sponges these days.
I forget how impressionable they are.
They pick up on every look, every eye roll, every small, snide remark I make under my breath. And they DO NOT FORGET. Also they repeat. At inappropriate times. Like in the line at the grocery and such.

I need to be more aware of how I react to their likes and dislikes. 
They're all in that crucial and fascinating stage where they're in the process of forming their own personalities; their own identities. When they were babies they were such small, soft things. But even then, even when you'd press your finger into that soft, doughy skin and still not find bone, you'd see sudden and unpredictable sparks of "I am" in a look or a gesture. Just before they threw a toy across a room, before they rolled over or took a first step, before they (I swear) purposefully dumped an entire bowl of bananas and oatmeal over their brother.

They were all such stubborn things, as babies. I don't know why I thought this would ever change. And, over the years, those small sparks of "I am" have solidified. Forged like steel, the core of who they are has been strengthened from the inside, out. But they're still so impressionable. And there are days I wonder if the face I pulled when one of them suggested lima beans (Lima beans for goodnessake!) for dinner has eternally altered their perception of the legume family. (shudder. lima beans...).

They won't break. I know this. But they will bend. Under the sometimes innocuous pressure of my own opinions, likes, dislikes, preferences, and subconscious yearnings I'm helping to forget that steel of "I am" every day in them. What a terrifying though.

I've got to stop rolling my eyes at Radio Disney.
I'm not really thrilled about its mirror image on my daughters these days...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Hometown Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLVI
It's coming!

Downtown had been buzzing for weeks now with actual Super Bowl set-up going on.
Constructions is heavy in and around Georgia Street and they've started taking major arteries through Downtown down to just  a single lane or two in some areas.

So DO NOT park in the Moon Garage at Circle Centre Mall. You know, the one that spits you out onto Georgia? Just don't. Trust me on this one.

And for each person I've heard say "I'm not going anywhere near Downtown on Super Bowl Weekend!" I've heard four more than that hatching plans to come Downtown not just over the weekend, but on weeknights and random afternoon lunch-hours to check out all that the Big Event has to offer. What? People in Indiana going out on a weeknight? In February?! Amazing.

There's so much to do that doesn't cost a dime, that I'm planning on schlepping The Munchkins out and about all weekend to see what kind of Super Bowl Mania we can get into.

I'll try and do a roundup next week of Not-To-Be-Missed spots and photo ops...in case anyone else wants to try and experience a bit of the Bowl without facing game-day crowds.

Super Bowl Countdown Clock:
11 Days and Counting...

 So...Um...Who can guess what I did on MY lunch break today?
I might have just maybe frozen my tush off walking over to the Circle, just to be jostled by swarms and swarms of people desperately jockeying for positions to take "THE"  photo of the day: Giant Roman Numerals have found a home nestled just to the south of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Circle Downtown, and you can't go more than six inches in any directions without bumping into a news crew or a professionamateur photographer.  Awesome.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lego Cufflinks

Okay. How great are these?
Pretty Great, right?
Lego Cufflinks!
They may be, quite literally, the quickest, easiest, most satisfying craft/gift I've ever made.

I'd seen these handmade cufflinks floating around etsy and the like for a while but kept putting off purchasing any, because in the back of my head I kept thinking..."but I could make those!!!"

And, a week or so before Christmas I broke down and ordered a set of cufflink bases.
I just ordered basic silver cufflink bases from this site. They have such reasonable prices on all their findings and notions. I should have known better than to try and order in the week preceding a major holiday... but they finally arrived and with just a drop of craft glue and a handful of Lego bricks swiped from my son's collection... Viola! Lego Cufflinks!

I'm especially pleased with with this final set. I wish I'd thought to use the skinnier bricks on all the cufflinks. It allows for stacking...and greater coordination with whatever shirt/tie might be work with the cufflinks. Although really these were gifted more because I had fun making them and less because I think they'll actually be worn anywhere...but for less than the price of a tank of gas? You can have about 20 sets of these babies... They'd be perfect for groomsmen gifts, birthdays, Christmas, etc. Anytime you just need a little token gift that looks like you spent a lot of time on it!

And any time I can get away with something that
looks like I worked really hard on it? I'm in.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LTTSA - December

All right then, I'm ready to call this crafting slump officially over.
I'm back on the bandwagon, making up for lost time by finishing up a little gray's Little Things to Sew-Along project for December. With a bit of a twist.

Poor Mr. Man. Someday in the not-too-distant future he'll probably hate me for these photos.
But they're hilarious.
You see, Mr. Man has a one-man-show classroom production coming up. Each kiddo in the class was responsible for memorizing a beloved piece of children's literature/story and then reproducing the story in front of the class using one prop. Mr. Man (obviously) picked The Three Little Pigs.

He requested a full-on Big Bad Wolf Costume, but I told him that, being short on time, what if we just did the head? And, then we brainstormed a bit. Okay, I brainstormed, he played Legos, but the result was a slight alteration of the Cozy Winter Hood from Little Things to Sew.

The only alterations I made to the original pattern in the book were to make the hood fully reversible and adding a second set of ears on the "pig side" of the hat.  I braided up some gray yarn from my stash, rather than using ribbon for the dangly ties. Mr. Man insisted ribbon was "girly". I hate to break it to you, kid? But you have a pig hat on. Ribbon isn't gonna make it worse...

Because I cut both the pattern transfer and my materials all out a few nights ago, construction was simple and smooth and really enjoyable. In just about an hour I had completed the whole thing!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

20 Things I Wish I'd Known Before my First Baby

20 Things I Wish I'd Known Before my First Baby
A Memo to my prego sister-in-law

1.       Take. Naps. Now. Seriously. You don’t get that luxury later.

All you really need before the baby arrives is a couple packs of diapers in varying sizes and a handful of onesies. Truly. There’s no need to freak out if you don’t have the vibrating bouncy seat that you put on your registry and it’s just four weeks before the baby’s due. You also don’t need to worry about putting up that Winnie The Pooh wallpaper border before the baby comes either. You’ll probably never put it up anyway. I didn’t. Don’t judge me.

3. Those handful of onesies? Wash them and de-tag them now. Because the first time you change your kid and realize they have a little red spot from where the tag was rubbing them? You’re going to feel awful. And you have the time to do it now anyway. You won’t later.

Nesting happens for a reason. It’s the last time you’re probably going to deep clean before The Baby comes. Just go with it. At a time in your life where your body is out of your control, I always found contentment in the fact that I could at least keep a room clean. Of course after The Baby? Pull that whole I’m-not-supposed-to-do-hard-housework card with my brother as long as you can. It’s awesome.

5.      You will constantly misjudge the depth of your belly. I banged it on counters while putting glasses away out of the dishwasher. I bumped it on door jambs I had to squeeze through sideways. I knocked it on the steering wheel and my desk at work and random people in line at the bank. It’s okay. We all do that.

6.      Not everyone’s water breaks. Mine never did on its own. That’s no big deal. Don’t worry about that. And honestly? It hardly ever happens at work when it does break. More than likely you’ll wake up at 3am and think you peed the bed. S’what I’ve heard anyway.

7.      Labor is different for everyone, but I always knew I was ready when my back hurt for a full 24 hours, then I felt awesome for 24-36 hours, like I was invincible; and then when the contractions got so bad I couldn’t breathe the day after that. That point when you just wanted to punch someone in the face? That’s how you know you’re ready to go to the hospital.

8.      Once you actually check in to the hospital? Relax. It’s alllll out of your hands at that point. For some reason the thought of actually checking into the hospital always stressed me out. The car ride, the bags, the making sure you had your insurance cards and camera batteries and phone chargers, etc. But once you’re there? It’s cake. Mostly.

9.      Everybody poops. ‘nuff said. At this point everyone and their brother and their brother’s intern has come in to take a peek at your hoo-ha and probably stopped to point out something odd or explain to a class that that’s not normal. And all that IS normal. Your modesty is nil by now. And that’s all a good thing because you’ll probably poop on the table, so don’t even stress about that. Seriously. Don’t. It happens. You’ll never even notice.

10.      You are going to cry. You aren’t even going to know you’re doing it, but you’re going to cry. My brother will cry. The baby will cry. The nurses might cry (that’s how you know you’ve got a good one, if they smile and tear up with you even after doing it so many times). Bring Kleenex. The ones in the hospital are rough and scratchy.

11.      Be nice to the nurses. Make friends early on. These are the men & women who will be able to sneak you food if you end up having The Baby after the hospital cafeteria closes. And who will sometimes sneak you sprite or 7up even when you’re supposed to only be having ice chips.

12.      That first meal? After The Baby is born? It’s the best meal you will EVER eat. Everything tastes amazing. Even hospital food. I had the best tomato soup I’ve ever eaten the evening after Mr. Man was born. And I’m pretty sure it was probably Campbell’s soup in a giant commercial-grade can. Didn’t matter. Giving birth is one of those events that puts all your senses on heightened alert. Everything is brighter, bolder, smells better, tastes better…

13.   The pain afterward? It’s manageable. I never thought about how sore I’d be before Baby #1. But oh MAN are you gonna be sore. For about a day or two. Then you’ll be fine. Extra Strength Tylenol was all it took for me. But the fact that someone is going to cheer over your first post-baby poop? And that that someone might, in fact, be you? Well, that humiliation lasts longer than the pain. Take from that what you will.

14.    Speaking of poop. Hemorrhoids. No one tells you about that shit but everyone I know that has kids? Has ‘em. Ew. Just suck it up and buy some Prep H. now. My brother will appreciate not having to run out and buy it from a CVS the week you get home, and if you have it on hand already? It makes a great under-eye cream for the nights when The Baby has woken up eight times just to scream in your face and twice just to poop on you.

15.   A little more on poop. If you can work it, see that My Brother is just ‘accidentally’ present to do that first diaper change. It’s a priceless moment…one best appreciated from afar.  Also, in the weeks following your hospital stay you will be amazed anew each and every day that something so small can poop so much. It’s the weirdest thing. Oh! And buy some really good trash bags. The name brand ones…with the tie handles…and the smell blocker… Maybe that’s enough on poop?

16.   Sleep when the baby sleeps. I know that sounds trite, but please please please do. And if that kid, when it’s three or four days old, decides to take a random five-hour nap in the middle of the day and you start to freak out because you’re wondering if you should wake him up to feed him? DON’T. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Do not call your mother freaking out that The Baby hasn’t eaten in five hours and doesn’t she think you ought to wake him up to make sure he’s okay? No. No you shouldn’t. You should take yourself right into the living room, put on the trashiest episode of Maury Povich you can find, crack open a fresh tub of ice cream, take three giant bites and then catch a nap. The world will be a better place for it. Promise.

17.   Speaking of ice cream…Snacking is essential. I don’t think I ate an actual meal in that first week that Belle was born that wasn’t a cut up vegetable in some sort of dip, or a cartoon-character-themed fruit snack in a foil wrapper, or a giant serving spoon scoop of Jell-O or some sort of gifted casserole.  And those things are all fine and good…just make sure you have some good 3am, you-can-eat-it-with-one-hand while-feeding-the-baby-back-to-sleep snacking options. Because the last thing you want to be doing is trying to make a sandwich when The Baby falls asleep mid-suck and you start spraying milk across the room.

18.   Oh! Which reminds me! You’re gonna spray milk across the room. And it’s hilarious and slightly gross. And I didn’t know that stuff was pressurized until it happened the first time. Get the disposable bra pads. The Lansinoh ones are awesome. Purple box. Get it in bulk. Or don’t, and see how much of your  name you can write in the snow. Either way. Hilarious. And after the first six weeks? It’s going to happen at…er…inopportune moments. You’ve been forewarned.

19.   Invest in a couple of good, soft, absorbent wash cloths. It’s amazing the gross ickiness that tends to cling to the creases in the fold of your baby’s neck. And it all smells like sour milk and looks like toe jam. A damp washcloth does wonders for that.

20.   In that same vein? Some days you’re going to think a shower is just a luxury you can’t afford right now. When that day comes; Call me. You’re not going to recognize that you, too, have started to smell like sour milk and baby poop from that last diaper change. You’re not going to remember that you wore those same blue sweatpants for the last three days. And my brother loves you too much, and frankly is probably a little too-afraid of the slightly feral, new-mother look in your eye at this stage to tell you that you really need a shower. So when this happens? When you can’t quite remember if you showered yet this week, and The Baby hasn’t stopped crying for the last hour, and my brother is at work, and you’re starving and have just realized that’s because you may or may not have eaten a roll of Necco wafers around 5am and called if breakfast? Call me. I’ll hold The Baby for the hour or so  it will take for you to feel human again. I will practically beg you to do this. So you should just go ahead and reconcile yourself to the fact that it’s going to happen and plan on making the call.

I love you. And I cannot wait to hold Baby M and play with him and spoil him and secretly feed him ice cream and mashed potatoes before he technically has teeth to eat them with.


Monday, January 9, 2012

A Ballerina Princess Party

The sound of 20+ squealing, screaming, chasing little four-year-old girls is deafening.

Especially when you're the ONLY. BOY. THERE.
Sometimes, big brothers just get stuck. Sorry, bud.

At the ripe old age of four, with two older siblings in the house, I often forget that The Monkey is still so young. It's only when I see her with a gaggle of her little friends that I remember she's not as old as she acts. And trust me, the girl acts like she's about 30. Truth.

It's good for her to be around kids her own age.
It's one of the blessings of raising Day Care Kids if you ask me. I remember my childhood years as spent outside with a gang of neighborhood kids, riding bikes, picking up games of football in someone's backyard, knocking on doors until you found someone to go play down by the creek with...

 And, due to our rather urban existence, The Munchkins have never had much of a neighborhood 'gang' to run with. And I shudder to think of the little shut-ins I might have raised, given my propensity for curling up with a book or movie and shutting out the world for large swaths of time...

Plus, it's always sort of a treat to watch The Munchkins play when they forget you're looking, or forget you're there at all. They're freer with their expressions, freer with their play, when they converge in numbers like that. It's school yard gossip, preschool politics. It's a riot is what it is.

And given the Monkey's leanings toward drama and grandstanding, it was comforting to see that she's not the only one who tends toward those things. There were 19 other little ones making mountains out of molehills there. Thank god.

See also exhibit B for why I love Day Caring my kids. Ability for parental comparison. Mostly I'm just glad my kid isn't the total weirdest in the group. Well, not all the time anyway...

Man oh Man are they ever growing up fast.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Jet Packs!

So my friend Aimee found these sweet little kidlet jet packs on Pinterest the week before New Year's Eve.

And Mr. Handsome and I decided we could do that and then some.

So Jet Packs it was.

Kind of awesome, no?
Want to make your own?
They were surprisingly simple and came together really quickly.
The hardest part? Emptying enough 1L and 2L soda bottles to make four jet packs!


Step 1: Collect, drink the contents of, wash and dry 1L or 2L soda bottles.
We found that the new Coke Zero or Sprite bottles make the most badass looking jet packs by virtue of their streamlined design.  Looking for something a little more retro or Rocketeer-ish? Grab yourself a couple of Big K bottles. Just sayin'

Step 2Spray paint all your bottles silver.
One coat of spray covered everything with a nice, even, totally opaque silver.

See those great little skinny 1L bottles in the middle there?
They ended up being my favorite. I got the smaller size for The Monkey so she wasn't dragging around 2L bottles on her back...and they had those great dots & indentations that came out so well when spray painted.

Step 3I didn't snap any photos of step 3. mainly  because I was too busy wrestling with the duct tape.
But we simply fastened two bottles together with a few strips of silver duct tape, then attached several streamers of red, white and yellow into the open ends of the bottles.

Once the jet packs were assembled, I just took a length of thin elastic I had on hand and made a giant loop, threading it between the two bottles and under the first layer of duct tape, in much the same way you would on a pair of angel or fairy wings.

The duct tape held everything secure, and the thin elastic bands were loose enough to allow the kids wide range of motion without knocking the packs around too much.
These things ended up being seriously hilarious and probably my favorite part of the evening.
Jet Packs for Everyone!


Chalk up another successful NooN Year's Celebration to the Indianapolis Children's Museum.
Man I love that place.

I dragged Mr. Handsome & his little Man out with us this year to ring in the New Year at Noon with a countdown and confetti drop and (horror of horrors) about a thousand noise makers. My god. Who in their right mind orders noisemakers for that many children? Someone evil. That's who. Those things "accidentally" got lost in my purse later that afternoon...

We let the collective progeny play to their hearts' content all afternoon, hoping to have some exhausted kids on our hands by dinner time.

 Yeah. notsomuch. Those wild things ended up staying up well past midnight. 

I was fighting back yawns before they were, what with the all-out Nerf Gun Wars, table full of snackage, and various piles of toys and Legos we went through over the course of the evening.

Not to mention the wicked little Jet Packs we cobbled together for them to race around the house in...
But I can think of no one better to ring in the New Year with.

Here's to 2012, gang. 
Wishing you all a little corner of peace to call your own this year.
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