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Writing

Writing

My biggest reason for blogging (aside from an overly optimistic and definitely unrealistic desire to attain some level of fame) is to maintain at least some of the writing skill I developed in college. Some days the writing is easy and I find myself weeping over my keyboard at how beautiful my words are, but other days, like today, the words and ideas just don’t come together. My sentences are about as poetic as the bag of garbage I need to take to the trash can and my thoughts are about as deep as . . . as . . . See? I can’t even think of an appropriate comparison. (Let alone the literary term for what type of comparison I’m looking for.) Sigh. Today the juices just aren’t flowing and it’s about time I stopped wasting time drafting and deleting posts. As a peace offering to the writing gods, here are some sweet pictures of the little people. Perhaps they can convince my muse to return.

 

Facelift

Facelift

Not only is my husband smart and good looking, but he is fluent in multiple different languages. Make that multiple computer languages. Pretty dreamy, huh? Seriously though, Noel has some crazy coding skills that he recently put to use on this here blog. We’ve been talking about giving the blog a makeover for awhile now and making it less of a mom blog. (No offense to mom blogs. It just didn’t seem fair to have Noel seem like a guest poster.) Back before we had kids we both blogged fairly equally about quirky, random things and we’re hoping to get a little bit of that back.  To preemptively answer some concerns about the new changes, yes we will still post pictures of our adorable kids, no not every post will be about insulation (just some 😉 ), and yes we will do our best to be funny. We still have an awesome header that’s in the works, but decided it was about time to reveal the new theme. If that anticipation doesn’t give you incentive to keep checking back, we don’t know what will. Update: The header is now done!

I’m starting to think

I’m starting to think

  • we don’t eat like most people.  I just finished a bowl of  leftover Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice topped with Blue Cheese Croutons for lunch.
  • I’ve unintentionally turned my daughter into a social experiment. It seems like every time I take her out in public I dress her in blue or green. People get excited when they see the car seat and exclaim, “Oh, such a cute little . . . ” Their eyes flit back and forth from the safari print car seat to the flower blanket to her supposedly male colored clothes. (Ruffles and accessories apparently doesn’t make the gender detection easier.) Don’t worry everyone, I’m just messing with you.

  • about racing again. It’s crazy what your first trail run in 2 1/2 years  will get you thinking.
  • I traumatized my son by brutally murdering two moths that he was happily chasing around the house.

  • about opening an Etsy shop, but worry it will be a flop.
  • I may never get “What Doesn’t Kill You” out of my head. (Oh Kelly, you’ll always have a special place in my heart. Remember when Since U Been Gone was the theme song for my sophomore year of college? Oh those were . . .  Well, they were times anyway. )
  • my kids have me exactly where they want me. Every time they’re about to push me over the edge, they pull one of these stunts and all is forgiven.

Keeping Busy

Keeping Busy

The reactions I get to being a stay-at-home mom are sometimes amusing. Women that are contemplating the “career path” often ask “What do you do to stay busy?” (I admit I wondered that myself before becoming a mom) and women that work try their best to politely ask, “So, what exactly do you do?” When we first moved into our house one of my retired neighbors (a man) in a spirit of camaraderie commented, “Isn’t it so great to have so much free time? I’m just loving being retired.” Well, staying at home with your kids isn’t exactly like being retired, at least as far as I can tell.

Since making the choice to be a full-time mom, I’ve been quite surprised at how much free time I don’t have (and I only have two kids). Laundry and diaper changing alone seem like they consume enough hours to constitute a legitimate part-time job. Then when you add in the things you need to do (like grocery shopping) and the things you should do (like keep your yard from looking like the median on the interstate) you have to fight to fit in the things you want to do. (I’ll refrain from getting up on my soapbox about how I think this fight is a very important one for the stay-at-home mom, at least for the moment.) Sometimes I even joke that I don’t need to workout because normal life is enough of a marathon. I mean, getting the kids in and out of the car works up a pretty good sweat.

This week has been particularly jam-packed. People over for dinner, getting a new furnace, competitive shopping on Craigslist, and even a potential job interview. I’d love to tell you more about it, but that’s going to have to wait. Right now I’ve got a half hour to get everyone dressed and ready for playgroup. On your mark, get set, go!

The kid that keeps me most on my toes.
Not Flattering

Not Flattering

So, I was at Target the other day scouring the clearance maternity racks. I had a $3 coupon for Liz Lange Maternity in hand (You can print one from their website if you’re in the business for maternity apparel. I think it doesn’t expire until the end of February.) and was bound and determined to find something that a) Fit b) Looked good and c) was cheap. I found a top in a size larger than I usually wear (I’m really hoping outgrowing my maternity clothes means I’m nearing the end) and tried it on over my clothes right at the rack. (Don’t judge, the dressing room scene isn’t the most friendly scene for a mother and a toddler, but let’s not go there. Not today anyway.) I looked at myself in one of the mirrors they had in the area and was HORRIFIED. I looked like a whale. I took the shirt off and hung it back on the hanger and checked my reflection to make sure my hair didn’t look any more disheveled than when I’d arrived at the store. To my dismay, I discovered that I also looked huge in the outfit I’d put on that morning. I really hadn’t thought I’d looked that bad when I’d checked myself in the mirror before loading Cooper into the car. I was about to start feeling super depressed when I noticed that there was a huge difference in the reflection of a pair of pants in the mirror compared to what they looked like hanging on the rack. I grabbed the shirt I’d previously tried on and headed out of the Maternity and Plus Size area and into the Junior’s Section. I located a mirror, retried the shirt and breathed a sigh of relief. Sure, I looked like a pregnant gal with a really big belly, but I didn’t look ginormous.  I’m not sure what kind of cruel joke Target is trying to play, but I’m not sure how they expect to move any of their Plus Size or Maternity clothes with a fat mirror in the department.

Weird Green Things That Make Me Smile

Weird Green Things That Make Me Smile

Becopotty: It’s a completely biodegradable toilet. It’s designed to be used starting with really small babies (for parents more dedicated than me that practice elimination communication), but I’ve read several reviews of people that used it with their toddlers. The seat can last for multiple kids and when you’re all done with it you can bury it in your yard and it will biodegrade over a couple of years as it nourishes your flower garden. The best part is it isn’t anymore expensive than one of those plastic toilets ($12.99 from Amazon and a few other places).

I love Seventh Generation laundry detergent because it’s specially formulated to get clothes clean using cold water. I wash everything in cold (except for a hot wash on dirty diapers) and it’s not only doing good things for the environment, but for our utility bills. To make their detergent just that much cooler, they designed a bottle awhile back that is 100% recyclable and compostable while the detergent itself is 4X concentrated.

I am a chip addict. No seriously. When we first started to try our best to avoid processed foods I really and truly suffered chip withdrawals. I had to avoid the chip aisle (Side note: Our local Kroger store labels this aisle “Salty Snacks” which always gives me a good chuckle.) when shopping to avoid a complete meltdown where I was tearing open bags and downing Doritos like there was no tomorrow. Fortunately, I found Boulder Canyon chips which are not only delicious and frequently on sale, but a local product. To make themselves even cooler they recently began packaging their product in compostable chip bags. I know they aren’t the first company to do this, but I think they have more clout than to stop doing it just because people complain about the noise the bag makes.

You are not going to find any awe inspiring gift wrap or party planning ideas on this blog. I am always amazed at craft bloggers ability to constantly host parties (Seriously, how many pregnant or engaged women do these people know?) in which they completely redecorate their home and create desserts and favors to fit some clever theme. It’s cute and fun in it’s own way, but not my style at all. I generally consider cleaning my house to be a pretty good stab at ambiance, but I promise if you ever attend a party at my house you will no doubt be blown away by the taste of my creations even if they aren’t adorable . Also, if I ever give you a gift it will probably be wrapped in something I previously salvaged. It’s been so long since I bought a gift bag I can’t even remember and I’m pretty sure the last time I bought wrapping paper was like three Christmases ago. Call me cheap, but I prefer green 🙂 Recently I came across the Seventh Generation Guide to Reducing Holiday Packaging which gave me some amazing ideas on how to up my holiday greenness. I seriously can’t wait to send someone a package filled with popcorn instead of packing peanuts 🙂

The Scarcity Mentality

The Scarcity Mentality

If I had to make a list of my personal vices, I’m pretty sure jealousy would be pretty high on the list. The other day Noel sent me a link to an article on The Simple Dollar that helped me rethink the way I want to view situations. I’ve always known that being envious wasn’t a good thing (reference the Seven Deadly Sins),  but I never really gave much thought to how it might negatively affect my relationships, optimism, or ability to succeed. The article obviously says it best, check it out.

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

Let’s be honest. I think about blogging a lot, more than is probably normal. I find myself composing as I fold laundry or drive the car. I jot down ideas on scratch paper and have a slew of drafts that I’ve lost interest in or never deemed publish-worthy.  To be fair though I’ve been composing in my head for years now, even before the blog. I blame this on all the years I’ve dedicated to trying to become a writer. Amidst the editing, deleting, and publishing I sometimes pause and ask myself, “What is my purpose in doing this?”  and honestly, I still haven’t come up with a solid answer – at least not a singular solid answer.

Sometimes I’m jealous of other blogs, whether inspiring or irritating, for having a solid theme or designated purpose: crafts, politics, fashion, literary, journal, business driven, mommy blog, whatever. Maybe it’s because we have two very different writers on this blog or maybe it’s because we’re “well-rounded” or maybe we’re simply weird, but I have a hard time pigeonholing our writings into any one category. Sometimes I like that I can’t quite put a label on the sum of our writings, but other times this lack of cohesion and perhaps identity bothers me. At times like this, I don’t write. I just puzzle and mull. I’ll draft about how I sometimes want to punch out moms that complain about how their three-month-olds don’t sleep through the night, but delete it because I can’t see anything productive coming out of being a hater. Then I’ll move onto a post about a recent craft I did, but drop it because it seems boring and braggy. The literary posts get neglected because they take so much effort and rarely get much attention and a bunch of other random posts get shot down for being potentially offensive, too preachy, or plain old boring.

Generally, I’ll end up with a post about Cooper because it’s safe. It will at least please the family and doesn’t take as much creativity on my part. Plus, these posts always get a plethora of comments, which surely doesn’t hurt my confidence. Still, every time I end up here I pause with my cursor over the publish icon, wondering if this really is just “one of those mommy blogs.” Maybe it is, it’s hard for me to tell. Is that bad? Also hard to tell. Ugh. And on comes another dry spell on the blog as I retreat back to the comfort of my journal (Yes, I’m old school like that.) where I can write and write and not worry about what anyone thinks.

As a reader I hope that the hodgepodge of  topics isn’t too much of a turn-off. I guess that’s just how we are: a crazy mixture of ideas, feelings, and purposes. I hope you can also excuse the fact that as a writer I am sometimes a hot mess. Now do you see why I’m not on Facebook? That’s just more stress than I think I could handle.

Walk Score

Walk Score

Interesting tidbit: if you enter your address at walkscore.com you can get a score out of 100 indicating how walkable your neighborhood is. Our current place scores a 26, which is generous since it counts a butcher shop as a grocery store and a Truss factory as the nearest shopping destination. Our DC apartment scored a 97 (described as a “Walker’s Paradise”). I think the incredible pedestrian access is the number one thing I will miss about DC. Truthfully, I don’t know that I would want to live that close to everything on a regular basis, but we definitely want to improve our walk score when we actually purchase a home.