Saturday, December 22, 2012

Diapers for Sale

Selling the following diapers for my brother:

 1 USED wetbags (1 white) $5 each,

16 NEW Organic Cotton Soakers $7.50 each,

1 NEW small Bummis Whisper Wrap velcro girl design $10 and 1 USED medium Fleece cover girl design $10

2 NEW Planet Wise Pail Liners $15 each,

1 USED Dark Pink Flip cover (needs elastic repair in legs) $5.

(can get photo if you're interested)

Steal ALL for only $150!

Prices are plus shipping.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Yes, I Let Them Get Away With That

A few things I "let" my girls do:

Tank, showing me what she wants for lunch
And that's what we had!
Monster climbing the wood pile.
Helping decorate their Aunt's birthday cupcakes
And eating their Aunt's birthday cupcakes
First snow of the year; Eating snow from the dirty exercise ball.
Helping Papa fix the chainsaw
Creating a "net"/"trap" with the Christmas tree decorations to "save"/"catch" something
Monster, painting Tank's nails violet
Going to The Nutcracker Ballet with Monster (3 yo)
Building a fort out of the couch cushions
Sitting on the fort just like her cat

Turning the box car I made into a cradle

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Real Life Eating

So many bloggers post about the great, healthy, fun food that they make for their children. In my attempts to be as real as possible, I'd like to take a day a week to explain exactly what my girls are eating. I'll post recipes for some of the best meals, but at least you'll know I'm not perfect.

The girls each had a bowl of Froot Loops with organic milk, an organic apple, and three or four clementines. I had a bunch of Pinterest no-bake breakfast bites, which I'm going to call "Everything But the Sink" bites. Find a link to the recipe I used and my alterations below.

While I was in the shower, the girls helped themselves to a bowl of goldfish crackers. I ended up having more breakfast bites and a clementine that Tank was rolling on the floor with her foot. Tank figured out how to open the fridge. Not good.

We all had hot dogs, cheddar cheese, and Ritz crackers. This is not a normal lunch for us. I love hot dogs, but they are disgusting, aren't they? We usually don't have them in the house, but when we went shopping the other day, Monster asked for them and then Tank said "hot dog" for the first time and I couldn't say no. The truth is, I can rarely say no to them.

Monster had some local/organic carrots during Tank's nap. And home-popped popcorn with coconut oil.

Everyone has water to drink today.

Herb Roasted Chicken (local, w/ local/organic herbs) & roasted root veggies (local/organic). The girls and I devoured a fair amount of the veggies and half of the chicken - just the three of us.

After dinner, I picked the rest of the chicken off the bones and froze the bones. They'll become broth in the future. The leftover chicken and veggies will become a chicken pot pie once I make my own crust and add some gravy. (The pot pie was actually better than the chicken dinner, I think!)

So yeah, that's what we had the other day to eat. I'm posting this a bit behind schedule because the week got crazy. I'm sure they had more snacks than I wrote down. Monster always eats a pre-bedtime snack as well. Tank nurses like crazy still.

Everything But the Sink Bites
Monster calls them "dessert balls" or "donut balls" (because they look like donut holes). Here's the original recipe I followed, and my alterations. We've made 3 batches of these in the last 3 days. I've eaten most of them... [Update 12/9/12: This morning we made 3 more batches. Monster made her own batch, with a little of my help. Hers included chocolate and white chocolate chips and no coconut. My batch (doubled) included chocolate nibs from Askinosie, peanut butter chips, unsweetened coconut, and cranberries.]

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, refrigerate for 30 minutes, and roll into balls. Easy!

In the second batch, I cut the chocolate chips down and added crushed pecans, chia seeds, and dried cranberries. To help it stay together better, I added more peanut butter. In the future, I'll cut down the sweeter things (sweetened coconut, sweetened cranberries, chocolate chips, etc) even more. You can substitute whatever you want for all of it - just think of the possibilities!

The girls really love baking with me, and this recipe was fun and easy for them to help with.

Herb Roasted Chicken
1 Roasting Chicken, 3-5 lbs
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed (I just use pepper)
1 large clove garlic, crushed (I minced it)
1/4 c fresh rosemary needles, chopped (mine were dried)
1/4 c parsley (again, I used dried)
2 tbs marjoram leaves (I used dried oregano)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbs red (or white) wine vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 c red (or white) cooking wine

Gravy (optional)
1 tbs flour
sea salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400*. Prepare chicken by rinsing and drying it. Loosen skin.

Combine herbs, pepper, garlic, salt, vinegar & oil.

Rub 1/2 herb mixture into flesh under skin. Spread remaining over chicken and into cavity.

Place chicken in roasting pan. (I roast mine separately from the veggies, which I just chop and sprinkle with olive oil. I put them in the oven with the chicken. I save all the cuttings from the veggies and freeze them; later, I'll make veggie broth from them.)

Bake for 30 minutes, add wine and lower to 350*. Bake 20 minutes more for each pound, or until 165* internally. Baste several times.

For optional gravy, reserve cooking juices in a pan on low, whisk in flour, salt & pepper. Simmer 10 minutes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Box Cars

On Tuesdays we have a friend come over to play. Bug's mom and I switch childcare time - on Tuesdays I watch Bug for 4 hours and on Fridays she watches Monster and Tank for 4 hours. I highly recommend finding someone to do this with. It's been a lifesaver and it's FREE!

Bug is only 6 months older than Tank and they play very well together. Sometimes Monster plays well with them, but sometimes she wants to spend time playing by herself. I didn't have anything planned for them today, and Monster got bored quickly. She wanted to watch TV, but I don't allow her to watch TV while we have friends over. Then she wanted to play with all the boxes we've been getting in the mail, since I bought most of my Christmas presents online this year. (Another lifesaver for a SAHM of two - I don't have to worry about finding time away from the girls to get them the perfect Christmas gifts.) Monster specifically asked to make cars, and luckily I'm adept at following online instructions, which I found here.

Box Car Materials:
* Larger box
* Packing tape
* Box cutter
* Paper plates
* Glue
* Crayons/Markers/Paint

First, I got out the boxes. Luckily, I had three relatively big ones. Of course, the kids had to play in them before we did anything else.

That's Bug in the box in the front. Monster's hiding in the box in back.

Build the Box Car
1. Tape the boxes up really well. I've decided there's no such thing as too much tape in this case.
2. Using the box cutters, cut a semi-circle at the back end of either side of the box. These will be the doors. If you want doors that open and shut, don't cut it all the way through. It'll be able to swing open (but you'll probably need to reinforce it with tape). Make sure you cut the pieces all the way off - I didn't do it at this step and had to do it later. It's easier here!
3. Cut from the back of the car to 2/3 the way (or a little less) towards the front to make up the seat part. Do NOT cut the part off the middle, though. (Here's Tank checking out the first car after I did this step.)

4. Fold the piece you just cut on top of itself and tape tape tape! This will become the windshield.
5. Cut out the window for the windshield. Make the edges thick so it doesn't break very easily. Then tape it in place.

6. Using paper plates (or circles you've cut out yourself), glue on the tires. Finally, a part the kids can help with!
7. We also taped on paper plates for a steering wheel, but they ripped off the first time the kids tried to turn them. (Tank, since she's the smallest kiddo, go the smallest car. It was a bit too small.)

8. Monster spent some time coloring her car and gluing extra pieces of paper on it so it would have com devices and lots of buttons. (She's been watching lots of Lunar Jim lately.)

I had to let go of my perfectionism and the kids had to practice patience while I made it. Then I had to let go of my creations so they could play with them - and ruin them. One of the first things Bug did was rip off all the glued-on parts. And Tank squished one of the cars pretty quickly too. But they had fun!

After we were done, the living room was trashed. Cars are everywhere, broken into pieces, upside down, and on their sides. Here's a photo - after a couple more hours of playing with three kids. I've decided to post at least one "real life" photo of my house every week. I'm sick of mom sites pretending they can play with the kids, teach them (even home school them), cook the meals, and keep the house clean all at once. It's not possible. (Notice you never see photos of the moms themselves. Maybe they don't shower or do their hair or even get dressed...)

Have fun with your cars! It's a lot of work, but it's so much fun once they're done. Right now Monster has hers on its end, sitting inside it (apparently it's a cradle... and a boat... and she's using it to build a fort with a blanket too).

Playtime with Monster and Tank

Switching focus a bit on the blog. I'd love to start working toward something I can use to catalog my time with the girls, but also have a better audience. So today, I want to share some of the things the girls and I have been doing.

Sand Castle Dough
Emma loves building sand castles, but the problem is that we don't live near enough to the beach to do it, and we don't (yet) have a sand box. When we're up north at Gram-Gram and Papa's house, she spends a lot of time in their "sand" (aka: dirt) pit. At Grandma and Grandpa's house when she's in the sandbox, she always asks for water to make her sand wet enough to build castles. So when I saw this Mouldable Sand Recipe from The Imagination Tree, I knew we had to try it.

The recipe is very simple:
* 5 cups plain flour
* 1 cup baby oil
* lots of glitter

We tripled the batch and could have probably quadrupled it for the size of our bin, but I'm glad we didn't because that stuff is messy. Luckily, I had read a post earlier about how cloud dough (which really, this is) is so very messy, and I was prepared. We had the drop cloth from our painting supplies down, I had the girls stripped (mostly), and I was prepared with a broom (and a vacuum if that wasn't sufficient).

I made sure the girls knew that the sand stayed in the bin and that they weren't to get off the drop cloth until I'd cleaned them up. Still, we (I) tracked it through the house. Thankfully, it sweeps up really easily on our wood floors.

I wanted to take a good photo of the entire invitation to play, with everything set out, but they weren't that patient. We had plastic containers for building sand castles, trucks, spoons, knives (plastic butter knives, don't worry), forks, animals, sea shells, a potato masher, cups, and that great cupcake filler thing I've only used once on cupcakes but that they love for play dough.

Both Tank (20 months) and Monster (3 years 2 months) loved helping me create the sand by measuring it out, pouring it in, and mixing it. (We started mixing with a wooden baking spoon, but soon just gave in to using our hands.) The sand smells amazing because of the baby oil and isn't too sticky or oily on your skin. Tank had fun until she realized she was dirty. Monster loved it and spent a lot of time creating sand castles, burying/digging for treasure, and then stripping naked and getting in the tub to bury herself. She finally decided she'd had enough when she realized she was too messy to eat her snack. :)

When they were finished, clean up was relatively easy, as I said before. I shook out the drop cloth outside, put the toys in the sink, and plopped the lid on the bin. It's waiting for next time, which will probably be tomorrow when we have a friend over to play.

Have fun!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

31x31 - Reality Strikes

I have just under 7 months left until I turn 31. So I decided it was time to revisit my 31x31 and see how I'm doing. And decide if I need to make a few realistic changes, since so much of what I have on the list is lifestyle stuff that is hard to cross off... So here's the list that I so neurotically made for myself (let's see how I've done)...

Date Night
This is going very well. Date night is something that's almost religious for me. It was pretty much a cheap shot to include it in the 31x31...

  • January
  • February
  • Date Night in March
  • Date Night in April
  • Date Night in May
  • Date Night in June
  • Date Night in July
  • Date Night in August
  • Date Night in September
  • Date Night in October
  • Date Night in November
  • Date Night in December
Pretty Toes Fridays
I've been slacking with Pretty Toes Fridays... Some weeks, it doesn't get done. Some weeks it's not on Fridays. There have been a TON of weeks when Emma hasn't wanted her toes painted, or I haven't done Fia's toes because it's just that much more difficult. But my toes have been painted since my birthday. So that counts for something. (Also, I'm branching out with colors. It's not just Grand Central Carnation anymore. And that's a lot of fun.)
  • In January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • Pretty Toes Friday In June
  • Pretty Toes Friday In July
  • Pretty Toes Friday In August
  • Pretty Toes Friday In September
  • Pretty Toes Friday In October
  • Pretty Toes Friday In November
  • Pretty Toes Friday In December
Outdoor Playhouse
I did email the cousins and got the plans for their playhouse. I've talked it over with my dad and with Mike. The decision I've come to is that the plans are way too complicated for what I want to do. So now I have to figure something else out. The girls WILL have an outdoor playhouse soon, though...

Create a Will
I asked Mike & Barb who did their will. I emailed that attorney. That's as far as it got...

College Accounts
Yay! I should probably write a quick post about this, but it was much easier than I thought. The girls now have college accounts and that's where all their money goes. :)

Love Letters 
I wrote a couple, Then I stopped. I have no excuse. They're coming with me on our vacation so I can do the May ones... in June...
  • Sophia in February
  • Sophia in March
  • Sophia in April
  • Sophia in May
  • Sophia in June
  • Sophia in July
  • Sophia in August
  • Sophia in September
  • Sophia in October
  • Sophia in November
  • Sophia in December
  • Sophia in January
  • Love Letters to Emma in February
  • Emma in March
  • Emma in April
  • Emma in May
  • Emma in June
  • Emma in July
  • Emma in August
  • Emma in September
  • Emma in October
  • November
  • Emma in December
  • Emma in January
Finish the Playroom
We've barely gotten anywhere. And I keep bringing more toys in. I need to get that hammock up and the book nook together!!!

Less TV
I'm happy to say that Em's down to a MAX of 1.5 hours a day. She gets three shows - one after breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner. It's going well. I am happy about it. :)

Family Fun Day 
I'm pretty religious about these as well. I love them. We've done something different each time. I should be taking photos and blogging about them. There's a lot on my plate right now. (Insert excuses here...)
  • in February
  • Family Fun Day in March
  • Family Fun Day in April
  • Family Fun Day in May
  • Family Fun Day in June
  • Family Fun Day in July
  • Family Fun Day in August
  • Family Fun Day in September
  • Family Fun Day in October
  • Family Fun Day in November
  • Family Fun Day in December
  • Family Fun Day in January
Play with my girls in the snow
This was so much fun that I'm looking forward to doing it again next year. Blog post with great photos at some point in the future. I have such great ideas... 

My Tattoo
Yay! I love it. So much. Which is good since it's on me for the rest of my life.

Continue to Work Out & Make it to 150 lbs
I hit 150 lbs right around Fia's birthday and stopped working out because her nap schedule changed and my life got super-busy again. I told myself that if I could maintain 150 (or below) and not work out, I wouldn't worry. But I'm slowly creeping up again. So as soon as we get back from vacation, I'm back on the elliptical.

Purge the Stuff & Bring it Home
Well... I went through the stuff at Mike & Barb's. I brought some of it home and took some of it up north for Mom. I even made a list of what can go. But I need to save SO MUCH of it. And since my basement is an exercise room/craft room/cat room/laundry room/work bench/storage area there's not much space for a ton of boxes. But I do need to coordinate with Barb about how/when to Freecycle the rest of it.

How to Change a Flat Tire

How to Use the Drill

How to Sew

How to Knit and make a Sky Scarf
I got sick back in February and stopped recording the sky. So maybe just "How to Knit"? And then make a Sky Scarf next year... or learn to knit and start the Sky Scarf as soon as that happens that work on it for a year after that? I really wanted one for my 30th year. Oh well.

Learn How to Bake Bread
This one has been so much fun. I've made at least three types of bread. I love it. The only problem I have right now is that the bread goes bad before we eat it all. And I need to find a better sandwich loaf. I'll keep trying. I love baking!

Take a Cooking Class

Hang Out With Friends 
Oops. This hasn't happened. Why? Because I'm really busy. Because it's not a priority. Because I'd rather spend my time at home with my family. Because I hate asking Matt to be the primary caretaker for the girls. (I don't know why...) So this one might need to be revisited.
  • In January
  • Hang Out With Friends In February
  • Hang Out With Friends In March
  • Hang Out With Friends In April
  • Hang Out With Friends In May
  • Hang Out With Friends In June
  • Hang Out With Friends In July
  • Hang Out With Friends In August
  • Hang Out With Friends In September
  • Hang Out With Friends In October
  • Hang Out With Friends In November
  • Hang Out With Friends In December
Read 25 Books
  1. We Animals
  2. How to Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way
  3. Money Hungry
  4. Right Behind You
  5. The Sojourn 
  6. The Outliers (only counts for half)
  7. Dreams from my Father 
  8. An Island Like You
  9. A Step from Heaven
  10. Monster
  11. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  12. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
  13. Skim
  14. American-Born Chinese
  15. Persepolis: Part 1
  16. Persepolis: Part 2

Roller Derby
Matt & I went and I loved it. It was a great date night. We completely want to go again with Joe & Nina. Hopefully that'll work out... I have it on my calendar. 

Sunroom Garden
This one is in-progress, finally. I've got part of it weeded. I need to keep working. It's never-ending. Plus I've started thinking about the other gardens that need some love, and the new garden I want to put in up front...

Kitchen Herb Garden
I bought everything (except Cilantro... I want Cilantro...) I need to figure out a way to attach my boxes to the wall and then I'm going to plant them. This may happen tomorrow. It needs to get done before we leave on Friday....

GJB Business Plan
Haven't formally done the business plan yet, but I've written a few ideas down and things are going better with GJB. Five tutus in May alone. Plus some new items. I just need to sit down and formalize it. Yep.

Locavore Month in June August
We have a CSA for veggies and a CSA for meat. I tried the goat-milk share but didn't like it, so I canceled it (but I made cheese!). I know how to make bread. This will be easy with the farmers' market going on. It just can't be in June because we've got our vacation.... And I still need to set my parameters... What do I mean by "local"? What percentage? How local? Any exceptions? These are things I need to figure out soon.

Wired-less Wednesdays
I thought I was doing terribly with this, but according to my previous parameters for what "wired-less" is, I'm not doing too bad. I don't watch TV, I don't get on my computer except for class. But I need to do better with checking FB and my emails. And it'd be nice if I could nurse without playing games on my phone... :/

Daily Housecleaning - DAILY!
I suck at this. It needs to be removed and something else put in its place. Besides, I have a monthly maid service.

MilkShare - pump daily/weekly
Well, I pumped at first. Then I donated all that milk to a local family (50+ oz). Then I stopped pumping. And gave my pump to Mariah. So this one needs to be replaced too. Or. Does it count, since I did share my milk? Hmmm. Let's count it.

Stone Circle
I should probably start memorizing my poem. Immediately.

Dinner Crawl
I have this all planned out. I cannot wait. And I hope that a certain couple will still be able to come with us, for at least part of it, even if they should have a newborn by my birthday... or be ridiculously pregnant... 

In conclusion (I hate when people say that), I should have spent this time working on my midterm instead of writing this. Also, I'm not doing as terribly as I had thought. I need to replace two (monthly with friends and daily housecleaning), so I'm going to take a look at my longer list to see what's there that's worth anything. I've gotten a lot done partially. I've completely taken 6 things off the list (one a month, pretty good... but that means I have 24 to do in the next 6 months...) So I need to kick it into high gear if I'm going to cross everything off!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, February 3, 2012

31x31 Week Two Update

Some day I'll work on this during the week instead of Friday night when I'm tired and want to go to bed.


  • 30 minute work out
  • 15+ minutes house cleaning
  • Sky Scarf: Light Gray
  • Pumping - 4.5 oz in the freezer
  • Worked on the playroom - shelves & hooks up!


  • 30 minute work out
  • 15+ minutes house cleaning
  • Sky Scarf: Light Gray 
  • Pumping - 2 oz in the freezer


  • 20 minute work out
  • 15+ minutes house cleaning
  • Sky Scarf: Light Gray 
  • No pumping


  • 15+ minutes house cleaning
  • No working out because Em wanted to snuggle, and how could I turn that down?
  • Sky Scarf: White-Blue 
  • No pumping
  • Education Accounts - Some guy showed up at my doorstep with info about this. Ok, that sounds sketchy. But really, the Universe wanted me to remember that it's on my list. ;)


  • 20 minute work out
  • 15+ minutes house cleaning
  • Sky Scarf: Light Gray 
  • No pumping
  • Wired-less Wednesday - check


  • 20 minute work out
  • Sky Scarf: White-Blue
  • 15+ minutes house cleaning
  • Pumped 1.5 ounces (I hate pumping) and fed it to Emma because she's sick


  • 30 minute work out
  • 15+ minutes house cleaning
  • Sky Scarf: Light Gray 
  • Pumped 3 oz - in the freezer
  • Pretty toes! We are all wearing It's All Greek To Me by OPI
  • Playhouse - Emailed Nana & Papa to get the contact info of someone who has the blueprints of the house I like (but want to expand)
Week-long TV fail. Emma's been sick and cranky. I haven't fought with her about it... But I haven tried to get her down to 4 shows a day. I'm hoping to get her down to 4 shows and then cut those shows to 15 minute blocks... 

And pumping fail because the girls are sick and it's hard to pump when they need all my attention. That's only 10.5 oz total this week, with only 9 oz in the freezer. And I just realized I have milk in there from May and June that I should probably find a home for. It's not a lot, but I need to use it or donate it soon.

I'm really liking Wired-less Wednesdays. Some day I'll write a post about it, thus breaking my wired-lessness. Maybe I'll write it on paper first. ;)

Keeping the house clean is great. The girls help me clean up at the end of every day, I sweep a lot, clean the kitchen a lot. And we bought a great Groupon - 12 housecleaning sessions! I'm so excited about that. I'll use it soon, but I need to organize the house a bit better soon. Everything needs a place before strangers come in to clean everything. It's only for 4 rooms, but the first time I'll have the entire house cleaned. This makes me very very happy. 

And now that Matt's ill-mood has leached to me, I'm going to post this and go have another drink. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

31x31 Weekly Update - Week One

Well, I'm not in a very positive mood tonight, so this probably isn't going to be the best update post. Sorry about that in advance. I'm seven days in to my 31x31 list and have already scratched one thing off the list: My tattoo! (Or, as Emma calls it, my "tat-toe") So that feels good. Actually, right now it feels itchy. But that's normal. ;)

There are a lot of daily items on my list and I'm trying not to beat myself up for not doing so well with some of them. I mean, this is the first week and these are lifestyle changes. So I'll try to keep that in consideration. Here's the break-down:

  • Tattoo!
  • 30 minutes working out
  • Emma watched an hour or less of TV (at our house)
  • Pumped 4 oz - which Fia drank
  • Sky Scarf = White-Blue
  • (Housekeeping fail)
  • 30 minutes working out
  • Emma watched an hour or less of TV (at our house)
  • Pumped 3 oz - in the freezer
  • Sky Scarf = Light Gray
  • Got Bread Making Class for Birthday!
  • Finished a Book (counts as 1/2)
  • (Housekeeping fail)
  • 30 minutes working out
  • Pumped 4 oz - in the freezer
  • Sky Scarf = Light Gray w/ Rain
  • Started a book ;)
  • Housekeeping = at least 30 minutes, probably more because I didn't pay much attention
  • (TV fail)
  • 30 minutes working out
  • Pumped 4 oz - which Emma & Fia drank
  • Sky Scarf = Light Gray
  • Housekeeping = Probably 15 minutes
  • TV = OK, but not great
  • Bought snow pants for Matt & I on sale!
  • 30 minutes working out
  • Pumped 3.5 oz - in the freezer
  • Sky Scarf = Light Gray
  • Housekeeping = probably 15 minutes
  • TV major FAIL
  • Wired-less Wednesdays = great until hubby wanted to watch TV with me. (But I only watched 1 hour and I wasn't online/texting/tv-ing/computing for any other part of the day.)
  • Finished Mockingjay
  • 20 minutes working out
  • No pumping :(
  • Sky Scarf = Light Gray
  • Housekeeping = 15 minutes, if I'm lucky
  • TV fail
  • Started a book
  • 10 minutes working out
  • Pumping = 3 oz in the freezer
  • Sky Scarf = Blue
  • Housekeeping = 15 minutes if I'm lucky...
  • TV major fail
  • Pretty Toes Friday!
The Positives:
I'm pretty proud of myself for working out 180 minutes this week. I'll step on the scale tomorrow, but I doubt I'll have lost anything because I'm eating like shit. (I need to control that. Yes, I do.)

I also pumped almost every day. That means I've put away about 13 oz this week. Pretty good for a girl who really doesn't do well pumping. (And never has.)

I'm reading again and I love it. I've read 6  books already this year (or, 3 books twice), but only 1.5 of them count for the purposes of my 31x31 list. I loved The Hunger Games Trilogy and really hope the movie doesn't suck when it comes out in March. And now I'm reading two books: How to Raise An Amazing Child the Montesorri Way and We Animals. They're both pretty short, easy reads so I wouldn't be surprised if they were added to my DONE list by the end of the weekend.

I've also done a good job writing down colors for my Sky Scarf. This will be more rewarding after I remember how to knit and start making it. Then I can just knock off a row every night and not think about it. It does kinda depress me, though, how many gray days we had this week. But that's Michigan, especially in the winter.

Plus I bought Matt and I each a pair of snowpants so we can go play with the girls once we get some snow... next winter, probably.  Hopefully we'll get enough snow to build a snowman before this winter's over.

So that's the update. It feels really disjointed to me, and if it feels the same way to you it's because I sat down 4 or 5 times to write it. Well, that's my life!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart[and on my legs])

Well, my 30th birthday was yesterday. I've decided that 30 isn't scary at all because I'm exactly where I thought I'd be - I've been a teacher, now I'm staying at home with my kids, I'm married, we have a house. I'm pretty sure that if you'd asked me at ANY point in my life where I'd be at 30, this is what I would have said.

Plus, I'm already rocking out on my 31x31 list. 

Got my tattoo!

Yep. Yesterday we dropped the babies off at my in-laws and drove over to Tattoos by Raven in Otsego so I could get in line for walk-ins. They opened shop at 2 and I was nervous that they'd be busy and I wouldn't get in. Actually, on the way there I was upset that we were late (we got there at 2:10) and was so worried that I wouldn't get my tattoo that I didn't have time to even think about being nervous about getting the tattoo.

But we got there and Kendra didn't have anyone in the shop so I got to sit right down with her and officially design my tattoos. It was great!

I showed her this picture, which is the heart-within-a-heart design that I wanted. Then I explained the coloring, etc. that I wanted (sapphire for Emma, aquamarine for Fia, and two black ones for my miscarriages). Immediately Kendra changed things a little bit by recommending that the inside heart be shaded instead of outlined. Then she took my picture and started tracing, copying, and shading with her colored pencils. When she was done, she had four adorable little hearts to put into carbon paper and then stick on my leg. So simple and I still didn't have time to get nervous.

As she got everything ready, I signed the waivers and she showed me all the needles, etc in the sealed packages (blah blah blah). Then we went into the room and I sat on the chair and watched Flying Wild Alaska on Discovery Channel because it was what was on. She positioned the tattoos and then we got started.

Matt calls this the "I've had two natural births, so this is nothing" look... I'm just watching TV while she places the tattoo. 

Here she's working on the left leg. You can see the tattoos on the right leg are finished. 

Here's the finished product. Two hearts on each leg. Left leg is in color (Emma on top, Fia on bottom); Right leg in black.

Right leg - two hearts for two miscarriages
Left leg - Sapphire heart for Emma, Aquamarine heart for Sophia
And it didn't hurt. Well, ok, it hurt a little. But when Kendra first started, I had to look down to see if she was actually doing anything or if she was just kidding with me. I barely felt it. The shading obviously hurt more than anything, but for the most part it just felt like a cat scratch. If I felt myself tensing up, I just did what I did with Sophia's birth and told myself to relax. It worked very well. And now I just have to care for my tattoos until they heal. (They still barely hurt; they just sting sometimes like a cat scratch.)

You might still be wondering about the significance of the tattoo, other than the obvious two babies + two miscarriages = 4 hearts. Well here's the poem by e.e. cummings that started it all:

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)

So here I am, at the end of day two out of 366 (leap year). I've already got one thing off my 31x31 list. Plus I've also finished a book (I'd started it before my birthday, so I'm only counting it as half a book, but still, that means I only have 24.5 books left!), taken note of two days for my Sky Scarf (white-blue yesterday, light gray today), I've worked out for 30 minutes both days, and Em watched an hour or less of TV both days (while we were at home - I'm not going to count time at Grandma & Grandpa's house)...

Starting my 30s in style, with a 30x31 list.


And already trying to figure out where to put my next tattoo... 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My OFFICIAL 31x31 List

I cheated to get this list down to 31 items by combining some of the similar things. Here's the official list, in no particular order, really. (Also, there are links, but as the night wore on, I stopped adding them. If I weren't so tired, there'd be photos too...)

The List
For my Marriage
(1) Monthly Date Night - These should probably go on the calendar too. We usually do a good job going out once a month, but I want to make it a priority. And I want to branch out from dinner and drinks, at least a little bit. Maybe a walk in the park? A trip to the beach by ourselves? And definitely a wine tasting tour of the Leelanau Peninsula. Soon our babies will be old enough for me to be away for a longer period of time. Oh! We can even learn to sail this summer. I'd like to get a list going for these as well... and probably get the dates on the calendar. 

For the Girls
(2) Pretty Toes Friday - For those of you who don't know, while I was pregnant with Sophia, Emma and I had pretty toes Fridays, which meant that on Friday or Saturday I stripped the old polish off our toes and put new polish on. Emma always gets to choose her own color. (Lately, when we do it, she chooses blue & white.) Anyway, we haven't really done it on a regular basis in a long time and we have so much fun doing it, so I'm bringing it back. And we're including Sophia in this as well. Her toes will match mine, though, until she's ready to chose her own color. Anyway, that's 52 weeks of pretty toes. Having my toes painted makes me happy. All the time. Especially when the colors I choose remind me of having my toes in the warm sand, even though it's the heart of winter and is going to be in the single digits tonight... 

(3) Outdoor Playhouse - The girls are getting an outdoor playhouse this spring. I am either designing it myself or emailing my (extended family) cousins in Portage for the plans for theirs. And then we - my dad, Matt & I - are building it for them. I know exactly where I want it to go in the backyard. I know pretty much what I want it to look like and how big I want it. I cannot wait to do it. We will break ground as soon as the snow leaves... assuming my dad can take a long weekend off to do it. It will be kinda like this, but bigger. Yes, bigger. And then I will fill it with a play kitchen and a table and chairs and it will have a painted fireplace with a mantle. And flower boxes with shady-time flowers that Emma and Fia can water themselves. 

(4) Create a Will - I am a grown-up. I have two children. I have a (very small) personal bank account and some other things of value. So I need a will. A very basic will, but still, I should have a will. Matt & I should have a will. So this year we will make one. This also means we need to make the difficult decision about who gets the girls in case we die. Gah. No one wants to think about that. But we need to.

(5) College Accounts - My girls will both go to college or some other secondary school. I hope. This will cost money. We need to be thinking about this now. I want to start putting some [of Matt's] money away for them every month. And if they don't use it for school, then they can use it for traveling the world, or having an amazing wedding, or a honeymoon, or buying a house. Or whatever. I wish we had the money to give them all of those things. But we don't. And we won't. But at least we can plan ahead and provide them with something. I'd love it if they could get through school without going into debt. That would be amazing.

(6) Love Letters - When I found out I was pregnant with Emma, I started a journal of love letters to her. And I started one for Sophia too. But it's been forever since I've taken 10 minutes to write in them. Why? Because  apparently Facebook and/or TV and/or sleep is more important to me. But it's not. So here's the goal: Every month (on their birthdate) I will write them a letter. Just 10 minutes. Longer if I want. But at least 10 minutes. This is very important to me. I want them to be able to read these letters in the future and to see how much I love them right now.

(7) Finish the Playroom - I have this amazing playroom envisioned for the girls. And it's almost there. Here's what needs to be done: hanging the shelves and the hooks in the closet, hanging the chair, hanging the new shelves, organizing, making the animal zoo, and putting up the art. My goal is that the playroom can be something like the Play At Home Moms' rooms. Something like. I'm excited about it. I want the girls to feel like it's 100% their space, but I want it to be easy to organize too. Anyway, I'm sure it'll look amazing and I'll want one just for myself. ;) 

(8) Less TV - I'm ashamed to say that Emma watches a lot of TV. On a good day, it's an hour and a half. On a bad day, we don't turn it off. At least she only watches PBS (Curious George, Word World, Signing Time, Sesame Street, Cat in the Hat, Caillou) and the occasional Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But I'm still not ok with the amount she watches. So by my birthday next year, I'd like her to be watching an hour of TV or less a day. I know this won't be easy for either of us, but it will be better for both of us. All three (four) of us, really. I'm not sure how to do it yet, but I know it relies heavily on me being a more present mama. On reading books with my girls - not just at bedtime but throughout the day. On playing with them. On doing crafts with them. On taking them outside to play. On going on field trips and inviting friends over to play. These are all things I did before PPD hit me. Now I will relearn how to do them. And I will not beat myself up if, from time to time (especially when we are sick) we spend days in front of the TV. But her reliance on it as primary entertainment must end. We will start the weaning process soon. Yes I will.

(9) Family Fun Days - Every month I want the four of us to have a family fun day. I want to do fun things like go on bike rides (ok, maybe everyone's still too young for that) or go to the Nature Center, or go to the beach, or play at Jungle Joe's. No matter what it is, we do it together and have fun. All four of us. And I'd like to schedule those soon for the rest of the year so that our busy lives don't get in the way. If I get it on our family's Google Calendar, we will be more likely to do them. (And vacations count!)

(10) Snow Days - I will buy myself a pair of snowpants. I will play in the snow with my girls. I will have fun. Instead of doing what I do now, which is bundling Emma up and watching her from the window as she has all the fun.

For Me
(11) My Tattoo - I've wanted a tattoo since I was probably 15 years old. I still remember Jon telling me that he'd buy me my first and second tattoos whenever I was ready to get them - as long as my first tattoo was my social security number on the bottom of my foot. He said that if I could handle that, he'd buy me whatever I wanted. Luckily I was smart enough to pass that up. Because I know that my 30 year-old self would have regretted the heart tattoo that my 15 year-old self wanted. Especially where she wanted it. But now I'm very excited to say that on Saturday I'll be (hopefully) getting my tattoos. Yes, there's an S at the end of that word. So far, I've only told a couple people what I'm getting. But here it is: I want this heart within a heart image four times. On my left leg, above my ankle, I want one in sapphire for Emma's birthstone and below it one is aquamarine for Fia's birthsone.  On my right leg, in the same spots, I want two in black for my two miscarriages. This way I will always carry my babies with me. The poem alluded to is [I Carry Your Heart] by e.e. cummings and is perfectly how I feel about my babies. (And don't worry. There will be room below them for a 3rd child if he or she happens...

(12) Continue to Work Out - I've struggled with keeping this on the list, but it's really important to me so I'm keeping it. Since August, I've been working out 3-4 times a week for 20+ minutes each time. This is pretty easy for me because my amazing husband bought me a used elliptical machine for my birthday two years ago and it's in my basement. The girls come downstairs with me and play while I work out, or Emma stays upstairs and Fia takes a nap. Yes, it's been nice to lose some weight, but mostly it's a mental health thing for me. When I don't work out for over a week, I start getting angry and bitchy and life is not good in this house for any of us. So my goal here is continue doing this 4 times a week, 20+ minutes each time, for at least 45 weeks in the next year. (Math alert!) That's 180 workout sessions and a minimum of 60 hours on the elliptical. I'm impressed by that.

As a sister-goal, I'd like to get down to my wedding weight of <150 lbs. I'm currently at 157 and hope to be back to my pre-Holiday weight of 154 by Valentine's Day. I haven't been under 150 in 7 years. It'd really be nice to get there. I'll probably have to work at it, though, and I hate working at losing weight... maybe some of my other goals, like going completely Locavore for a month (see below) will help. 

(13) Purge the Stuff - Oh, I've purged and purged and purged our junk. Last summer I gave away who knows how much stuff through Freecycle. It was quite amazing. And yet, there is a TON of stuff in Barb & Mike's basement. We don't really need it, but I don't want to get rid of it. It's not even in my own house, which tells you how important it is to me. So I will go through it and get rid of what I can. And anything that I want to save, I will bring back home. It's my (our) stuff, so I should own up to keeping it at my house.

  • (14) How to Change a Flat Tire - I cannot believe I don't know how to do this. I have some idea as to the theory of it. But my goal for this year is to actually remove a tire and put the spare on. 
  • (15) How to Use the Drill - I've used a drill. But I know that I'm probably not using it as efficiently as possible. So this year, I will become comfortable with it. This goal is in conjunction with building the playhouse and finishing the playroom (see below). 
  • (16) How to Sew - I have a sewing machine. I know how to thread it. I even use it to sew together the elastic for my tutus. But I don't understand the different stitches, and I certainly can't sew a straight line. If I can learn to sew, I'll be able to quilt someday. And that's definitely on my bucket list.
  • (17) How to Knit - I knew how to knit once, kinda. I specifically remember making a blanket... for my Barbie. I don't really need to make anything super-impressive once I know how to knit, but I do want to make this Sky Scarf. Actually, I better keep a sky journal, because the Sky Scarf is more of the goal than the knitting...
  • (18) How to Bake Bread - Without using the bread machine. Ok, I know. I can follow a recipe really well. So there's probably not so much learning as there is doing. But I'd love to take the Bread Class through the Can-Do Kitchen at the Co-Op. Because the perfect whole wheat recipe alludes me... at least with the bread machine. And maybe I'll find out that the bread machine is better. But at least I'll know I can do it. And by "it" I mean: White Bread, Wheat Bread, French Bread/Baguette, Bagels? and pretty shaped breads that are fun to eat and taste like France. Ok, maybe that's a bit too much to ask. ;)
(19) Take a Cooking Class - I love to cook. And I love to learn. So I know I'd love to take a cooking class. There's one next week at the Can-Do Kitchen on winter veggies which is perfect for me. Or there are classes at Food Dance all year long. The one on cooking without recipes sounds right up my alley. 

(20) Hang Out With Friends - Yes, I have friends. I just need to make a better effort at spending time with them. And contacting them. And following through. I'd love to start doing playdates again, but really, this is about me. So I'm saying now - once a month I will get together with a friend and do something without the children. It will be amazing. And oh so good for me.

(21) Read - After having two babies, I don't read that often. But it's one of my favorite things to do. In an attempt to stop losing myself in the mothering part of myself, I will read 25 books this year. I will start with books I own but haven't read. That should get me almost all the way through the 25. And I will use the Kindle. And I will go to the library and pay my fine and borrow Kindle books. This makes me smile.

(22) Roller Derby - How many years have I been saying I want to go to the roller derby?!? Well, this is the year for it. My roller derby night will combine very well with hanging out with friends or going on a date night. I've already had two friends say they'd go with me. And Matt too. So I should probably draw straws. ;) Killamazoo Derby Darlins' - Here I come! (Maybe next year I'll want to be a Derby Darlin... you never know!)

(23) Sunroom Garden - I have had plans for my sunroom garden, but ever since 2009, they've been put on hold. It's not that easy to weed, lay stone, etc when you're pregnant. Or when you have a crawling baby. Or when you have a newborn. So 2012 will be the year my sunroom garden gets weeded, mulched, and paving stones down. I will add more flowers and herbs that I will actually use. And the Peace Pole my dad gave us years ago goes back in. ♥

(24) Kitchen Herb Garden - Speaking of herbs, I want a small kitchen herb garden hanging on my kitchen wall. It needs thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano, marjoram, basil, and cilantro. And maybe some other herbs. And it needs to be cute hanging on my wall. This requires a cute container system and me not killing it. Good luck to me. But it will be wonderful to have fresh herbs year round!

(25) GJB Business Plan - Gracie Jayne Boutique has been fun. Just before Christmas it was stressful. The 3 weeks I gave myself as time off were wonderful. And now I have a ton of tulle in the basement, a ton of ideas, and no desire to promote and sell. So I need to sit down and figure out what's in store for GJB this year and in the future.

(26) Locavore Month - In June, I will spend a month eating 100% local. Or as close as possible. I'll work out the details as time draws nearer. I know this is possible and probably even easy, and definitely fun. We've already signed up for the CSA. June is a great month for yummy local produce - before it becomes a chore. And then I'll keep eating as local as possible throughout the year. 

(27) Wired-less Wednesdays - Starting next week, I will spend Wednesdays unplugged. This means that I will not watch TV, use the computer, check my smartphone, or text. I will make and receive phone calls ONLY. Instead, I will be more aware. Spend more time with my girls. Bake. Cook. Play. Read. And generally have a good time without connecting with the world every 30 seconds. It's a little scary, but it's very very good. And maybe, if I can do that, then some day I can limit my tech time on a daily basis. That would be very good for me.

(28) Daily Housecleaning - I will figure out how long it takes to clean each room of the house, put together a list like this, and spend 15-20 minutes every day cleaning. The list will hang on my fridge or bedroom mirror or cork board and I will look at it every day. These will be my daily chores and I will have a clean house and a happy mind. I love the idea of "faking" an immaculate house. ...That said, I'll probably definitely pay someone to clean it from top to bottom the first time... and soon!

(29) MilkShare - My body creates food. And the beauty of supply & demand is that it can create more food than is actually needed. So the plan is that I pump for 10 minutes every day and anything I'm not using that day for Fia gets put into the deep freeze. My main goal is to have a stash of milk for my niece Ava in case her mama can't produce as much as she needs. But in the event that Ava doesn't need her aunt's milk, I'll connect with other mamas through Eats on Feets and donate my breastmilk to babies who actually need it. 

(30) Stone Circle - It is important to me that my girls grow up going to Stone Circle. Part of the beauty of Stone Circle is that the audience can participate by reciting poetry themselves. So this year, I don't want to just take my girls to Stone Circle. I want to recite [I Carry Your Heart With Me] to them at Stone Circle. This might be the scariest thing on my list. Not because I'm afraid of crowds or of speaking in public. Not because I think it'll be difficult to memorize the poem. But because right now I can't even read the poem out loud without crying. And the two times I've done that, they weren't even in the room with me. Also, reciting at Stone Circle is a very loaded act for me. The only other time I've done it is with my best friend. And I miss her like crazy. So there's that too. ohmygoodness, what if she could be there too????!?  There's sure to be tears. I'll probably just have to warn the audience ahead of time. They'll understand.

(31) Dinner Crawl - For my 31st birthday, on Saturday January 19, 2013, I will invite everyone to a dinner crawl. Not only will it be a birthday celebration, but hopefully I'll be celebrating completing my 31x31 List! We will start out at Zazio's and have cocktails. Then we'll go to Fandango for some appetizers (and probably more cocktails). And then to Food Dance for dinner (and drinks). Then to Main Street for dessert (yeah, I know). And finally to top off the evening, we'll end up at North 11 for another round of drinks. I'm so excited about this, I wish we were doing it this Saturday for my birthday instead of next year. 


So that's my list. I'm very happy with it. I plan on getting right to work on it starting on Saturday, which is my birthday. I'll keep blogging as I go through everything, and as I continue to think about and plan each one. This will be a great experience and a great year. 

PS - I'm already thinking of what goes one the 35x35 list as well. ;)