Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pinterest and Pancakes

"So yah, I'm converting my son's mobile into a sassy, girly one for our daughter-to-be!" my girlfriend said as we all sat admiring her work and feeling slightly shameful of our own sewing skills. After all, isn't this what our ancestors were doing...sitting in knitting circles while they dished about their families? Yet here we were, indulging in delectable pancakes, waffles, scones, egg souffles and more as we chattered on about our children's milestones, our engaged husbands and impending births that spring held right around the corner.

Pinterest and Pancakes: the theme for our January MOMS group outing, hosted by my dear friend Kylie, which included nine girls each ripe with a project in their hand and a story to share.

There were knee patches sewn, mobiles created, pregnancy scrapbooks put together, ornaments glued, magnets assembled and more. And best of all, new friendships were made, conversation rich with female life and the perfect way to start a Saturday.

So if you're looking for a bit of a theme that's easy to plan, affordable, fun and lets your girls get some breathing room to actually work on a project, perhaps a Pinterest one is for you.

Happy crafting!

Friday, January 25, 2013


Frday afternoon, post glucose test and I find myself indulging in a pile of Starburst when a rare email pops across my screen from the spouse:

     Subject line: none
         I love you.

         Ryan Gosling
         Director of Dreaminess

Complete with his company logo and all.

I don't know who I adore more for his good looks, humor and bizarre behaviors, but I'll sure take it after a week like this one.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


"So, you're telling me I'm at the wrong office?" I said with a sigh, immediately feeling guilty for not having listened more attentively to my voicemail or triple checked the electronic appointment reminder. I mean seriously, that's why they have those tools. And hello - I spend half my career helping Radiology and Ambulatory leaders sort through why their patients are late, at the wrong clinic and the downfall it causes for providers and patients in the office. I blame the baby brain. Lack of sleep. And maybe, just maybe the sugar-filled red stuff I had just downed for the day's glucose test.

Friendly and patient, the intake coordinator sends me back for the diabetes screen that I'd fasted for despite my husband's sweet gesture to prepare a plateful of delicious chocolate chip cookies. I'm met with a loud spoken, slightly smoky smelling lab tech who immediately grills me on how I followed the instructions on the sheet since I  wasn't on her schedule and the front desk had coded my test wrong, who quickly informed me of my second failure: not doing the test correctly.

This Master's degree of mine is clearly not paying off at all.

Despite my best efforts to chart the times I was supposed to x,y,z and interpret the instructions to the best of my ability, something about the words "Begin drinking 45 minutes before your appointment time. Drink within five minutes of starting" was too much for this girl to process. A debate ensued as nearby the gals waiting for sono shook their head in sympathy for me (from my lack of intelligence or the need for now a four-person pow wow I'm not sure) and I prepared to leave, the option to drown my body in more of the sugary substance not an option for getting a good read on the test.

After several attempts to lighten the situation with humor (reminder: this never works with most hospital personnel), I rescheduled, listing out the time and location four times verbally and noting it in three different places and walked away with an extra hour in my day, though induced by whatever is in that bottle of weirdness.

So another 48 hours pass that I'm unsure if gestational diabetes is in my future, yet a whole day lives in between where those chocolate chip cookies can be mine.

Pass the milk, will ya?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Design Diva

“So, what if he like, paints a MURAL or something? Or balloons?!” my girlfriends half gasped, half giggled around the mahogany table that housed bottles of wine, a quickly-emptied bowl of chips and guacamole and sets of loving, some-manicured hands.

“Dude, I don’t know, but he’s messing with my design mojo – and everyone knows not to front with a preggo that’s in nesting mode,” I said, my posture slumping as the hours grew heavy on my expanding body.

For weeks, the hubs has been talking of his vision for the paint for the nursery, and despite my every attempt to gush about the pins already in place, the ease of hiring a painter (“saves you time and energy!”) and how this was the LAST nursery we’d do so let’s go totally different and with what we love…he wasn’t giving in. That and my ability to recognize when a man engages and cares (particularly when it comes to his unborn son), you must embrace and support the moment, even if it means polka dots on what were supposed to be your perfectly shaded gray walls.

Here’s a look at what I had in mind for our youngest son’s room, a combination of images from others who prioritized creativity before me:
                                                               Source: via Megan on Pinterest
                                                           Source: via Megan on Pinterest
                                                         Source: via Megan on Pinterest

A bit out of the ordinary and far from the Pottery Barn catalogue that was his brother’s, I dreamed of Etsy finds, chevron afghans, unique, customized accessories and bold aqua and oranges with a touch of IKEA to serve as his theme. With many similar items within the budget purchased, I began to gather and collect and line the room with a mix of little dude’s old things along with the new that marked this vision. We had found the perfect shade of gray and despite my Mom’s warnings it would clash with the slightly gold-toned fraise carpet, I was in love. Mom and hubs on the other hand…not so much. I sighed as my pinteresting dreams slowly felt as if they were slipping away, but let it go thinking it may pass with the regular chaos and deadlines of our everyday lives.

Then came MLK Day, which meant a day off for the spouse and the painting began. I watched as he dragged in shades of bright orange, Jayhawk blue and neutrals and took big breaths as I imagined our new son hypnotized by the neon that was his walls. Reminding myself it was just a room and what a blessing it was he had one at all, I listened as behind closed doors the rock blared, the roll of the brush cascaded down the walls and creativity began.

Two days later, I anticipated him inviting me in and lo and behold, the offer lay before me. For hours I’d been practicing my response – a warm hug followed by a large thanks and excitement in my eyes, no matter how forced – and prepared myself to enter the abyss that was once the subtle, funky dream I had for our last kiddo to make him at home. Bracing myself, I entered into:

Stripes. Two small, perfectly plotted and well-painted stripes done with love, by a son’s father who cared enough to tape, prod, spackle and place these straight lines above his crib.

Stripes! I could live with stripes. And the argument they needed to layer the two walls beside it to look finished, even though it did go against my plan for the perfectly placed prints I had pre-selected just for the space.

Because in the end, all that matters is love, and this, my friends, was an act of the unconditional. Two vacation days dedicated to ruling, taping, thinking and stroking the perfect lines for his son’s nursery. Two days of showing his love through elbow grease, creativity and effort. Two days of what could’ve been filled with basketball, Sports Center and gym time, but instead was ankle deep in paint samples. The thoughtful approach as to how it went with the curtains I’d already selected and the organizer baskets that line the changing table. To get it as close to the pics as he could with his own little twist of taste.


So you know what? I’m putting aside my design diva/psychotic nesting phase and loving it too.

Because love is all you need. And maybe a few stripes…

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Leave Them Home for One Day...

And our son falls in love with “Angry Birds.” I’m talking all out lust, will break down in tears when you cut me off at 15 minutes kind of puppy, er, bird love.

“Are we sure that is an age-appropriate game for him?” I asked the hubs, who happened to be just as engrossed as the wee one with the Star Wars themed version of the game.

“No, it’s totally fine – look! No firearms, cursing, blood or guts. Just glory,” he said.

With a harrumph I turned my back and began mopping the counters, feeling a bit like a 50’s housewife in the moment I had lost the argument. That and I was still questioning my judgment because after all, every tee store in town offered an “Angry Birds” option in size 3T. Other kids talked about it. And Lord knows nearly ever gentleman I pass holding their wife’s purse at a retail store is playing while he patiently waits. But did it make it right for my growing boy? And so my obsession with the obsession began.

Little Dude had been home for two days, his fever climbing to 103, leaving him confined to our four walls and rooftop while he fought off infection. Between bouts of Pedialyte, lengthy snoozes and “Tinkerbell,” he found his affections for “Angry Birds” and hasn’t looked back. In fact, it was becoming kind of a “thing” in that some days he’ll beg for it, negotiate with me and for hours spend crashing into our furniture, bouncing off my big belly or simulating a scene across our bed pillows. Though generally a laid back, anything goes kind of Mom (though notably oversensitive to noise and extreme activity), I began to wonder if the game had become a gateway drug to all other things boy, and if it three was just too early for all the shenanigans.

In the week that followed, Ironman, Spiderman and Batman made frequent appearances on our home screen, the cleaner 60s versions still sparking the kind of passion, excitement and babbled question after question I’d not yet seen before in our preschooler. This weekend it’s “Transformers,” and I slightly cringe as later I watch him bash his Legos together again and again, focused on good guys vs. bad guys, punching others in the chest and other sad choices he used to be terrified of because it just the thought of it could mean a time out.
I hear it’s all normal and find some solace in that every time I approach the pre-school playground the boys can only be found wrestled against one another on the green top, laughing as they twist each others limbs and shout into one another’s ears. This does not excuse however, the words he learned from friends this week (“kill” and “dead”) from becoming frequent phrases in our household. That and the frequency of hitting instead of using our words when emotions are high are enough to send me over the edge some afternoons. And don’t get me started on the droning lull of “Mario Kart” as it blares across our halls after a long day (bright side: I can spruce something and get a load of laundry done in these moments!)

With another on the way I’m working quietly through what this means, straining for understanding, trying to embrace the exposure and talk to other Moms about the exposure’s potential impact, if anything at all. As one of most gentle male friends who has recently become a new Dad said: “You wouldn’t believe the violent stuff my brother and I would do…and look at me now!” And it’s true; this guy is quite the gentle giant.

So maybe there is hope out there, “Angry Birds” or not. For now I’ll celebrate his cuddles and quiet times in between, the way he still adores princess cartoons and the cautious way he approaches new things and uses kind manners in social situations. In fact, there’s not a thing I’d change about him, this remarkable little boy who is changing so quickly in front of my eyes. But I will admit: I don’t get it. And I’m not sure I feel great about it. And I don’t know what it means for my job of building a strong character with a nice blend of compassion, gentleness, kindness and well…maleness. But I’m doing the best I can, which I hear counts for something.

And the hubs? He’s pretty smart too. So together we’ll do our best, I’ll build my trust and continue to attempt to understand this male brain that functions and is drawn to things so very differently than ours. And I’ll love, support and teach along the way with open conversations, exposure with boundaries and explore what he has ticking in his constantly revolutionizing brain.

But I’m not buying an “Angry Birds” t-shirt, that’s for sure…

For the Dual Owners

You'll so get this:

Classic. And though our fat feline Sully happens to be one of the sweetest fur balls around, I can't help but conjure up past images of him and tears of laughter when I see the newspaper portion or watch that paw tip over the milk.

And when the dude walks in the door and the canine is all alive with energy and is super ashamed when he did something wrong? Couldn't be closer to our people-pleaser pooch.

So for as many moments I find myself tripping over them, barking orders or just plain ignoring them as our life grows a bit more chaotic, I'll relish in the memories recreated here and many more, along with their unconditional love.

Dogs. Cats. Gotta love them (ok, the dog a little more....shhhh....).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Pinteresting Attempt

Like a mug lined with marshmallows and accented with hot chocolate, Cupcakes and Cashmere is one of my weekly guilty reads. For the past few months, I've marveled at blogger extraordinaire Emily's fingernails, perfectly poised and different in nearly all the photos she posts. Given my affinity for all things that glitter, her "sparkling arch manicure" has particularly caught my eye over the holiday, so when she posted a tutorial, I decided to give it a shot:
My work is not worth picturing here mind you as I did it at 3 a.m. in the half-darkness of our master bedroom (note unclean edges, etc.) , but it still makes me smile. Which is a lot these days given seven weeks of illness, a few crazy weeks at work, the post holiday lull and the third trimester right around the corner. By the way, your non-dominant hand will take a bit of patience to tackle!

I went with OPI's "Teenage Dream" as the sparkle base coat, then arched it with Essie's "Off the Shoulder," since the best holiday is just a month away. 

This is as pinteresting as I get minus some of those delectably easy cookie recipes, and I'm thankful for the tutorial because I kept starting with the solid color then coating in the arch, which just didn't work at all. And though my arches are imperfect and likely to be bitten off in less than one week, it was a pinteresting attempt, and one that sheds a little feminine light on the cloudiest of days.

Thank you, CC!

Insomniac's Delight

A perk of insomnia coupled with bed rest from viral illnesses? Good reads. Here are a few I've combed through in the past two weeks that I highly recommend downloading...or maybe even calling me at 4 a.m. to discuss. I'm ready for new agenda topics at that hour.

Like a bowl of gourmet mac n' cheese it's ravishing, and despite how full you get, you can't put it down. The ending is a major bummer, but worth it all the way through those last 18 pages. 

Full of adorable quotes and stories where you say, "omg - I thought that only happened in our chaotic household day to day," this is an endearing, eye-opening, empathetic and touching quick read, particularly for boymoms. The quote that spoke to me the most so far a quarter of the way in: "No one sets out to have a single-gender sibling set. Plenty of people get one of each. The rest of us wind up with something that looks different that what we imagined but is somehow the answer to the hopes and dreams we never knew we had." 

Go for the smaller box of tissues for this one, but a box nonetheless. Moving, a reminder of how love looks in simple gestures and how blessed you are for your health are key messages in this one. 

Happy downloading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Woman Needs a Cape

“Was that your Mom I saw again in the parking lot?” my colleague said, her look inquisitive as if it were narcotics we were swapping vs. Target finds on work grounds. Though at this moment when respiratory infections have swept our household again, I may just take her up on it if that’s what she was delivering…

“Why yes, yes it was. She was dropping some stuff she picked up for the new nursery,” I said with a grin, watching her face change to what I’m unsure, but could have been pity, jealousy or just support.

And jealous she should be! In the past month alone, my Mom has initiated, helped, or just took care of the following: purchasing holiday gifts and wrap, running the family pooch back and forth to doggiecare, taking several round trips to the airport, watching our goopy nosed, not quite himself (read: honery) pre-schooler on sick days, wrapped most of our holiday gifts, helped prepare meals, organized closets and the basement in our home, run personal errands such as nabbing birthday gifts or knitting a baby gift for tomorrow’s shower, researched products, got dizzy on the merry-go-round distracting little dude while I ran that one errand at the mall, found the perfect maternity clothes to add to my collection and so much more. I swear it’s nearly on an every-other-day basis that I hear that familiar ring of the iPhone and she’s offering to come to the rescue in some way.

The woman needs a cape!

If you’re the sewing type, it should probably be red, white or black, because she doesn’t sway far from that palate.

Bottom line: I don’t know what I’d do without her, and I surely don’t know what I did to deserve any of this. I’m uncertain as to what motivates her to help us out so significantly, but I’m going to spend each minute of every day being incredibly grateful for it. And you know what’s even better?

She’s fun. Loving, Understanding. Patient. Open to ideas. Even flexible at times. Smart. Efficient. Resourceful. Impressive.

I can only hope I’m half as gracious and kind as she is when I’m 60. Oh wait – I’m going to have sons and they will have forgotten me by then…

Mom, may you always know how incredibly loved and appreciated you are – not just for all the big and small things you do, but for the woman and remarkable person you are. Even if you took all those things away, we’d love the same amount of moments spent tidying up our incredibly chaotic life just to sit and embrace you for all that you are and all that you’ll be. We could never give back an ounce of what you’ve provided for our family, but then I suspect that doesn’t even cross your mind as you give and give.

Thank you for being fabulous, wonderful, you.

Seriously – you deserve a cape.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Great Chair Debacle

“Yah, so I’m torn – I’m reaching out to my Mommy friends to get some of their advice,” I said to the gals at work, their heads nodding in understanding but their eyes lightly glazing over from my latest “debacle.”

To own two rockers, or not own two rockers? That was the question. These are the type of first world issues we have in Johnson County you know…

We landed on saving some dough (you know, since we’re still slightly uncertain how we’re going to do things like keep the house and feed our family with two in daycare) and sticking the rocker in L2’s nursery and starting this weekend with weaning little dude from the confines of his Mom’s arms and the peace and quiet rocking of our souls into the night. To get him excited and comfortable with this plan, we made some slight rearrangements, stuck some toys in his room, placed an activity table in the corner and splurged on some Spiderman sheets. Since then we’ve had marvelous moments in his room, reading for hours under the blankets with a flashlight, launching rockets and cars from the new surfaces and using the twin mattress for extra snuggle time against Mommy’s growing belly. Besides a few 6 a.m. request to “rock” that were quickly satisfied with cuddles among the superheroes, it’s been quite seamless. Except for one thing:

Putting the damn Pottery Barn “Everywhere Chair” together.

An old favorite, we had room for this puppy now that we whisked away the honker of a rocker to another space, so alas, it made for the perfect accessory to place back in his reading corner. After a few eager attempts, I resorted to Google and this little diddy:
And this master’s prepared student had to watch the damn thing at least six times. At one point I considered stuffing a bunch of plush animals in there and calling it a day or just chucking it out the window, then remembered this was not a lesson I would teach my kids.  Of course, neither were the list of swear words that were needlessly pouring out of my mouth, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. That and he loved the darn thing.

It’s erect now. Definitely imperfect, but standing nonetheless. And with all the leaping, driving and wrestling that occurs on it daily, I’m certain it will look just as it should in no time. And before you poke fun, you should know the video has had more than 4k hits, which means there have been other parents out there finding themselves in the battle of the seat stuffing.

Harder than that is working to wrap my brain around splitting time between my soon to be two sons, our drawn out bedtime process though stressful at times, one of the keys to the seemingly unconditional love and bond we share day to day. I keep referring to the classic “Love You Forever” children’s book where the mother rocks her son for what seems like decades, only to find he returns the favor as she enters her old age. Call me when I’m 80 – I’ll totally be this chic. And judge all you want, but these quiet moments are spiritual, the perfect wrap to even the toughest of days when the kind of love you never thought possible marries gentle stillness among white noise and starlight.

It’s magical. So much so I promise it erases any chair debacles that may come your way.

So rock n’ roll, baby. It’s totally worth it. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Merry and Bright in Pictures

This Christmas was one of the best yet, marked by the magic lit behind a three-year old's bright baby blues, hugs swapped among people we love the most and quiet moments led by spirituality, calm and fulfilled love we never thought possible:

With these being the greatest gifts of all this season, we can't wait to see what 2013 brings. Cheers to you and yours!