Thursday, April 30, 2015

Important Update on The Pajama Situation!


Several weeks ago I wrote about not having a proper pair of pajamas, and how terrible that was. You can read about how terrible it was HERE. Or you can just trust me. 

Here is the look I was dreaming about: 

Apparently my (enter exceedingly complimentary adjective which I haven't already used here) boyfriend thought to himself 'hmm, Amanda has a birthday coming up in a few weeks...' then got all Magnum PI up on his computer and found the exact pair of super-classy pajamas I'd used as an example in my post!

Well, almost exact. Really really close. This pair was, I guess you could say...white. 

I was like "um, have you seen me eat food?" which I quickly corrected by saying "oh my gosh! Thank you so much, I love them!!" *hug* "but, um, you have seen me eat food, right?"

He took a moment to reflect on all of the times he's seen me eat. Or gotten a text from me regarding spilling salsa down my bra or any other such examples of my slovenly habits. "Yeah, good point," he agreed. "But they were all out of blue! Well, the blue is back ordered. I guess everyone read your blog and there was a big rush on the blue ones you featured."

"Yes...yes, that seems reasonable." Sadly, I had him return the jammies. 

Since that time I have continued to sleep like a commoner in the day's leftover shirts and any variation of casual pantwear. Sigh, woe is me. 


She's very thoughtful
Yesterday a package arrived in the mail! I couldn't open it right away because of the whole 'feeding kids' thing, but as soon as I was able, I ripped that sucker open and inside I found another pair of pajamas. Tra la laaaa! I immediately put them on and got right down to the not-busy task of living the life of leisure I always imagined I was meant to live. 

I tried to take a picture, but I couldn't because our dog Mesa was busy breaking my new sleepwear in with her slobber and fur so that there was no way I could ever return them.

I know you're dying to see them, right?! Here they are! 

I look JUST like that model, I know.

To say that I love my new pajamas would be an understatement. I like, love-love them. I was super bummed when it was time to get dressed to drive the kids to school this morning, which Paulie noticed and said "you don't have to change, just wear the jammies!" Silly Paulie! He doesn't know that school drop-off is a very serious affair and we moms are being judged at every turn. Since I already don't brush my hair or teeth for this event, I know wearing pajamas would be completely unacceptable.


So I put on some jeans and hid my jammie shirt under a jacket. And then took some selfies in a stranger's front yard.

This right here is a pj top, ladies

I was so excited that not only had I been given the perfect pair of pajamas, but the pajama top doubled as a bonafide shirt, I had to show off. I vroomed over to my friend Suzanne's house, where her mind was blown by the awesomeness of my ensemble. Needless to say, she had to take a picture - not because she's a professional photographer, but because I asked her to and she complied. She got really into it, too: "I'm gonna get all artsy n' shit here, lean up against that wall. Put your hands back, do this, do that...." The final result is okay, as long as none of my old Barbizon teachers see that foot positioning OMG amiriiiiiight?! I blame them though, for telling a 5'2" girl with a scar on half of her face that she could be a model. That's what you get, Barbizon!! Look at that sloppy footwork!

Yes. Yes I am this super cool all the time.

But I digress. 

As you can plainly see I am thrilled with my new pajamas-slash-shirt. And I have once again let Barbizon down. And I don't look anything like the pajama model. 

But you know what? I don't care. Because I'm comfy, I'm matchy, and the dog still loves to rest her head in my crotch. Happy five-weeks-late Birthday to me!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Big Hero

What a great weekend!

We had pool time:

An artsy photo shoot in the park:

And best of all, MOVIES! Okay, I know "screen time" is EVIL, right? I'm ruining my kids and should be enriching their lives with the arts. Well then, how about performance art?

Movie time at our house isn't your typical slack-jawed passive brain atrophying couch-potato time. It's a goddamn SHOW staring Finley Bairdsmith. It takes him about two viewings with a new favorite film for him to start acting out the whole thing. We've only had Big Hero 6 for a month or so and Finn will already do the action in every scene with some approximation of the dialogue.

It's like a very clean Rocky Horror Picture Show. I couldn't capture the best moments because he casts himself as the protagonist, the young Hiro Hamada, and me as the deuteragonist, Baymax the big white robot. Invariably a lot of our scenes are close up and we didn't have a reliable third person to capture those moments on film. Jodee draws the line at double-digit viewings of any Pixar film and Liam is always too emotional after the first act.    

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Little Angel

"LIAM!! We do NOT hit daddy in the penis!"

"I'm sorry daddy, what's wrong?"

As Liam's communication skills improve, so have his lies. In fact I think being able to more effectively bullshit has been his primary motivation in overcoming his speech issues. Hey, whatever works!

My grandfather used to believe in the concept of "the bad seed" but I think that's baloney. All kids are sweet, innocent, and precious...especially my boys. Admittedly, if you throw a few pigtails on him, Liam does bear a striking resemblance to a young Patty McCormack.

And sure, his hugs can get a little intense...

And he does get quite the thrill out of holding my head underwater for as long as possible...

And there's this...

Plus I noticed that every time we've come home this week, he picks up a rock from the ground out back and destroys a spider web on the porch railing. He let's the spider live, but I think that's just so the poor dumb spider will rebuild the thing.



Then again, he's my hero when it comes to Finn. Sure, there are times I hear Finn cry out from the next room and when I go to investigate I get Liam's usual, incriminating overly-sweet greeting, "Hi daddy! HI! Hello! Hi DADDY!!" But who shares ice cream? Honestly.

The best part too!!

Awww!! So sweet, right? Thankfully every evil genius needs his minion.

P.S. Liam, if you're reading this, I'm totally joking and daddy loves you very very very very very very very much.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The To-Do List

I had yesterday off from work at Sprout, which is a very rare occurrence and warrants a fun mix of trying to force myself to relax and also attempt to check a few things off of my ever-growing to-do list. I got through a few things (in fact, I’m accomplishing #3 right now!), and yet the list still looks daunting and makes me want to crawl into bed with the crappy book I’m reading and let it put me to sleep like it always does. For nothing other than my need for validation, here is the list, in no particular order:

1. Pick up shoes from the cobbler (I dropped them off over a month ago, but he's always closed when I'm not at work)
2. Sweep entire house
3. Write (in progress!) ((yes this counts!))
4. Mail Evie's letter to her penpal (it's been like 3 weeks, oooooops)

Mail for everybody!!

5. Redeem massage gift certificate (I've, uh, had this thing since November - what nincompoop can't find one damn hour for a free massage?!)
6. Finish writing this year's will
7. Check out sale at Cheese Shop
8. Shave legs (I know. I know. I can't believe it either!)
9. Wake up early enough to call the clinic that takes Medi-Cal, get weird armpit lump checked out

One of these things is not like the other
10. Trim other hedge (I found 10 minutes two weeks ago to trim one of them, but not both)
11. Return neighbor's drink container thingy
12. Buy lightbulbs, hand towels and a new cordless phone for Sprout
13. Replace the 11 burned-out light bulbs at Sprout
14. Find/book tickets for Michigan trip. Try not to punch anything/cry/scream
15. Review list of goals - add/amend/assess
16. Send a Santa Rosa postcard to that kid for her school project - DUE IN MAY!!
17. Finish crappy, typo-filled book I'm reading so I can start something more worthy of precious time consumption
18. Look through photo albums for baby picture of Evie for midwife's retirement party
19. Plan clothing swap in lieu of shopping for new clothes
20. Clean baby chicken poop off of living room floor

I’m going to stop at 20. Rest assured, there are more. Especially considering I didn’t put ‘nap’ in there. Or ‘Take a deep breath’. Or ‘Unclench jaw’. Or even ‘Everything is going to work out just fine’.

It might be time to make a new list.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Two Days of Yes

I asked my daughter a question the other day and her response was "mmmm...I'll think about it. Then it happened again later. I noticed a variation on this happening over the next couple of increasingly frustrating days until I finally realized that she was giving answers that she hears all the time. From me.


When I took some time to pay attention, I noticed that I say ‘no’ a lot. To be fair (or, defensive?) my kids ask for a lot of candy (no, it's bad for you!), dangerous freedom (no, the park has tweakers in it, you may not go alone!) and media time (your eyes get all buggy and no, no, no!). 

But sometimes they ask to go on bike rides, to go swing together at the park, or for quarters to buy trinkets at the grocery store. Often I find myself saying no to these things, too. What the heck?! For example, if Evie had asked me if we could make clothes for the baby chicks, I would have automatically said no. Luckily she asked Paulie instead who of course said "we sure can!" then dropped everything he was doing and got to work. 

I realized I needed to change my ‘no’ habit - and the best way to do that was to go cold turkey. I decided for the rest of the day, I'd say Yes.

It started out easy enough: Evie wanted a lollipop before lunch. “Sure, sweetie.” Jonah asked if I could help him figure out Paulie’s computer password. “Heck yeah!” Evie asked for a dollar so she could buy something at a garage sale, even though she had the exact same item at home. “Okay, having two might be fun, huh?”

Soon I realized that I had to be really creative with re-direction, because once the kids caught a whiff of this new-improved mom and her consenting ways, they went straight for the gold. “Can we watch Netflix for the rest of the day? If we agree on what to watch and we don’t argue?”

Oh boy.

“Hmm, man that does sound like fun, doesn’t it?” ThinkThinkThink “How about this: I could use some help clearing the debris off the sidewalk when I trim the hedges, if you’ll help me with that, then we’ll revisit this question. Sound good?” And amazingly, they said yes.

I decided to try saying Yes for a second day. I liked the way it felt, once I got used to it. And the challenge of pausing before I trigger-answered the kids’ requests was a nice change - it forced me to slow down, consider, and use the creative side of my brain when I really wanted to say no.

“Mom, can I climb through the back of the car into my seat?” “Sure!”

“Do you think I could get two new shirts instead of just one?” “Dude, YES, that’s the coolest shirt ever!”

“Want me to help filling wine bottles?” “That would be great!”

I have to say, the practice of saying Yes is super hard! It extended beyond the kids, too - Paulie asked if I would drive home after a late night; the teenager asked me for fifty whole cents and if I could proofread his girlfriend’s History paper; some other things were asked that I’m sure I said yes to but I just can’t remember get the point.

It was a fun experiment. By 'fun' I mean it's exhausting being agreeable all the time, but it was a joy seeing my kids' looks of wonder and amazement at this new and improved mama they found before them.
I'm glad I took the time to stop and pay attention to what I was saying and why, and I'd like to continue to implement more thoughtful answers to the requests being lobbed at me left and right all the live-long day.

the All Yes All the Time stuff? Yeah, I'm done with that baloney now.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Brother's Keeper - Part 2

I was just reading some old blog posts when I came across this gem HERE.

So you clicked that right? You never click the link. Will you just go read it this time? Would it kill you?! It's got pictures of Liam and Finn together when Finn was just a week old. It's amazing, you'll love it! I'll wait.

See! What did I tell you? I know, things have changed a lot in three years and not just the fact that Liam is a man now.

Want me to drive?

He never succeeded in taking his brother's life back then and now he does all he can to keep Finn safe.

Finn's inherited his mother's fearlessness and is something of an adrenaline junkie. He can't afford skydiving yet so he gets his fix by trying to pet stray dogs and running off in the hopes of getting lost or kidnapped.

The other day we were at Badger Park. Badger Park has an enormous fenced-in play structure with a slide consisting entirely of cylindrical rolling bars. If you try hard enough, you can wedge a three-year-old's fingers in between the rollers which is evidently quite painful. Finn has done it three times. Outside of the play structure is a grass area about the size of a football field that is ringed by a path where people walk their bitey dogs. Just beyond all of this is a spooky tree line that hides the swiftly flowing Russian River. This is Finn's favorite park.

Last week Finn managed to open the gate and make a dash for the river. Mind you, I watched him the whole time because I know what I'm doing with him. I just hold back a moment because I like to see if, at any point, he shows some sign, a glimmer, of self-preservation. He never does.

Before I could dash after him, an act he finds endlessly hilarious, I hear Liam behind me shout, "NO FINN!! COME BACK!" I kind of kept a safe distance and let things play out. Liam ran the entire length of the field to grab Finn by the hand and lead him all the way back to the playground, and Finn was compliant. I couldn't have done it any better.

After that we went to the club where Finn went straight for the part of the kiddie pool that's just above his nose and I did my Hasselhoff impression.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Chickens!

It's Springtime, and we all know what that means! Our chickens should be putting out in the whole 'egg' department. At this point, I'd say they're doing a so-so job. I can't blame them too much, though...I mean, these girls are getting old.

Our Golden Girls: Neko, Penny and Nickel

So we did what any egg-needy family would do: we got more chickens. Yes I am aware that eggs are sold at farmer's markets and in stores all over town, but we prefer to eat eggs from our own back yard. That way we know what's going into them: broccoli stalks, leftover pasta, the occasional uneaten taco, toast crusts, and all kinds of fun food that would otherwise be wasted. That's right - we turn our kitchen scraps into eggs. It's a miracle!

We were all extremely delighted about getting some new chicks because let's face it, chicks are adorable! The only member of our family who wasn't so sure was our dog, Mesa. Upon first meeting the babies, she immediately tried to eat one. I'm guessing she thought it was a tennis ball and just wanted to play, but either way we quickly made it clear that these were not snacks and were not to be eaten or tossed around for fun.

Then we set to work helping her understand that these were her new sisters and she needed to love them. Gently.

Look! A new friend!

Mesa wasn't sure if she was allowed to come near. She was like, "is this a trick? Are you holding out this treat for me and then you're not going to let me eat it? What's wrong with you?! YOU'RE A MONSTER!"


"I don't know, man. This seems fishy. How do I know I can trust you? I mean sure, that's my nature because I'm a dog, but come on lady. That thing looks delicious. What is this 'friend' thing you speak of?"


"Just because I'm coming closer doesn't mean I'm going to love this damn thing."


"I mean, it's cute and all, I'll give you that. And so fluffy! Heh, listen to it go 'cheep cheep' like that. Jeez, adorbs, amiright?"

"I love her! I love her so much! *kiss*!"

Now Mesa is thrilled to have three new sisters to hang out with in the back yard once they've grown enough to join their bigger brethren. How Neko, Penny and Nickel are going to feel about these wee babes once we introduce them is another story. 

To be continued...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Motherlode of Bling

Apparently, there are women who walk among us who own a lot of jewelry. I am not one of these women - I tend to take a liking to one item at a time and then wear it every day for a few months, until I forget to one day, and then I forget for pretty much ever. I have a little tray on my dresser which holds the few things I keep in regular rotation, and it takes up less than a square foot of my space.

So you can imagine my surprise when I peeked into the innocent-looking bag given to Evie last weekend by her Auntie Ani, which she described as 'just some old jewelry'. Inside was a literal shit-ton of gold and silver and sparkles and animal prints and, *gasp*, and...I can't go on. "Whoa,"was my first reaction.

I let the bag sit on the kitchen table for a day until, during our bedtime ritual, Evie interrupted to ask if I could get something out of the bag for her. "Mama can you find this necklace I saw - it has a plus sign on it, but one side is like, longer?"

"You mean a cross?"

"Yeah yeah, a cross. And it has sparkles in it, like shiny Can you find it so I can wear it to school tomorrow?"

"Sure thing sweetie." Oh, what a naive fool I am.

I went downstairs, peered into the bag, and saw an intimidating mass of tangled chains, enormous earrings, dozens upon dozens of bracelets, countless rings and a random pair of sunglasses. After a few minutes of digging around I found the cross. I set to the big task of untangling it - and that is where I spent every spare moment I had over the next several days.

The fruit of my labor

You see, untangling things is my specialty (read: I'm a little OCD about it), and once focused on the project of doing so, I must finish. A quick look at the above photo might give you an idea of the tangle-potential of the jewelry in that bag. And that's not even all of it - side note: if anyone gets a gift of jewelry from the teenager any time soon, you'll know where it came from. 

I decided that this was far too much jewelry for an 8-year-old without pierced ears, and I would have to find a way to carefully organize it all so that it didn't get retangled before she got a chance to enjoy it, so given is she to throwing stuff into maddeningly random piles around her room.

Can you guess which pair I'll be trying to rock soon?

Of course, there were things I knew she'd want to utilize in her wardrobe stylings immediately:

OMG Gold Bow Bracelet - adorbs.

Notice how nicely NOT tangled these are...

After stacking the bajillions of bangles, I was finally finished:

Now for the daunting problem of figuring out how to organize all of this stuff so that we can have our kitchen table back. Women with masses of jewelry, what are your secrets?! I have a feeling that Pinterest is going to be my best friend today...which is awesome because we all know how much I love a DIY craft project!

In the meantime, I have some accessorizing to play around with:

I think it works

But seriously - please leave any tips, suggestions, ideas on organizing all of this shizz in the comments below. Thanks!