Sunday, July 31, 2011

HAND-y Crafts

That title hurts, doesn't it? The wall above my couch needed some help, but C and I are notoriously bad at agreeing on things, so we've been without any art since we moved in. After a burst of inspiration I came up with a project that was a) cute b) personal and c) cheap. I started with a value pack of blank canvases (40% off!) and painted them to match the couch.

At first I was going to paint a quote in three parts across the canvases, but as C and I were talking we (WE!) came up with a better idea.

Pretty adorable, eh? I'd show how it goes with the couch, but right now it's under a pile of laundry. But trust me, it's a major improvement.
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Random thoughts

This is how Syd would eat every meal if we'd let her. If she ever went feral, I think she'd do Just Fine.

It's been almost a week since my last post. C is working overnights, meaning he literally leaves as I'm crawling in bed and gets home as the kids and I are walking out the door. Though I'm asleep (or more often in bed watching True Blood on the iPad) while he's gone the schedule has really done a number on me. Today I am exhausted. Luckily the kids didn't nap and can't tell time, so all were in bed by 7:30. I'll be following shortly. But in the meantime, random thoughts.

-I have an urge to do a major purge, like almost everything purge. I want a home with things we love, and things we can find. Right now it's more like a home with 8 million socks and a large collection of McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

-I have a client right now who is taking up about 90% of my time with what amounts to a constant barrage of complaining. It is so exhausting that today I realized that I'm avoiding going to the unit just so I can stay in the quiet of my office. You know that Family Guy clip? "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom." "WHAT!!!!" "Hi!" It's like that. Except that she's also got a criminal mind and so I'm never quite sure if I'm being manipulated or not. Super fun.

-We booked tickets to Portland. I am so ridiculously, disgustingly happy about this. I just want to sit in Pioneer Square and absorb Portlandia. Then I'll put a bird on it.

-We had friends over the other night for beer and pizza. The boys played PlayStation and the girls sat on the back porch (at my patio set thankyouverymuch!) while the kids played in the kiddie pool. Syd shit on the sidewalk. I am not the one who discovered this. Then I cleaned it up with a Target bag over my hand. I think the fact that it was Target makes me classy.

-The dog appears to be going deaf. Or obstinate. Or both. I figure she's earned it. Though C being gone is making her paranoid and skittish. Unfortunately, I can't figure out whether I should be worried or sad when she perks up her ears. Poor Haley.

-I'm thinking about doing the South Beach diet. Thoughts? Any one have any experience with it?

-Yesterday I had to explain to my very sweet, very conservative supervisor, and my raunchy, super smart but at times totally inappropriate supervisor, what "scissors" (I was going to link to it, but thought better of it. Google for more information) were. And I tried to use only PG words. Think about it...

I keep meaning to write a post about The Ominous Donkey. Pulling up to my house the second or third time on our trip home, I notice this concrete donkey that's been painted purple with red paint dripping down the sides. Hmm. Mom says, "Before you say it, we have no idea where it came from." And it's not like she lives on a busy street. Her driveway alone is a quarter mile long. So someone drove down, then dropped off, The Ominous Donkey. I'm not sure you can tell, but it has one ear, no tail, and "Gangsta" writing on one side saying "Do some hoodrat shit." You can't make this stuff up. So I let Eli ride it.

-I'm in a funk today. Help me out. Tell me the most random thing that happened to you this week.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's a hair day

I need help. Syd's hair is starting to come over her eyes. Do I trim it?

Can she rock the side swept bangs?

Headbands, maybe?

A do-rag, perhaps?
Or something more unique?

Vote now!
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to road trip with babies: Take 2

This last trip was our second back home. Last year's, quite frankly, sucked. I read all the articles and sucked up advice like oxygen on how to road trip with kids and arrive with as many souls as you left with. First piece of advice? Drive while the kids are sleeping. Sounds smart, so we left at 8:00pm. And Syd cried starting at 8:15. Eli held it together until 9:00. C until 9:15. It was awful. Not only did we have uncomfortable, forcibly restrained children, but they were also tired. It pretty much went downhill from there. This year though, I thought it out like a rational person and thought about MY OWN KIDS (I know. Ground breaking!) And let me tell you. This trip made the angels sing. It was so perfect we probably won't remember it in two years. Here's what I think made the difference;

1) We left in the morning, like normal people. The kids napped at the same time they usually do (although they stayed asleep a little longer.)

2) We planned to stop. This one's a biggie. I was raised in a family that road tripped like a remake of Speed. We drove until someone fell asleep behind the wheel. If it was at a motel, great, but a lot of the time we slept in our seats on the side of the road. My family? They don't really get the appeal of this approach. So on our 15 hour drive, we knew there was a clean bed and a swimming pool waiting for us around hour 7. We made it to the hotel in good moods and with enough energy to play both ways. Nothing like jumping from bed to bed to burn off some energy.

3) I stopped being so frugal. I love the idea of packing sandwiches and healthy snacks, eliminating fries and huge food costs. My husband and kids love McDonald's. So last year I fumed while they wolfed down mcnuggets and my sandwiches went bad. This year, we played on the playground and I ordered a salad. Win win. To make up the money, I did insist on eating the continental breakfast. Not great, but free.

4) Supplies. There were a few that were especially pivotal in our trip's success.
  • For Eli, a lap tray and a cheap set of old-school style headphones for the DVD player. The tray let him play with cars, color, even nap comfortably and keep his stuff within easy reach. The headphones let him put them on and off himself, and control the volume when he was watching a movie.
  • I made him a travel size pillow that he used a lot to help himself get comfortable or to lay over his tray and take a nap.
  • For Syd it was the this bowl, which by the way totally works. I was skeptical but now I'm a firm believer. I hope the inventor is making a ton of money. I think we vacuumed up a total of 6 cheerios/puffs/edamame that had spilled out of the bowl.
  • I also loved her "wings", which kept her from having to stay in the neck-crinky position for too long.
  • We got each a kids Camelbak. New enough to want to use all the time (no juice boxes!) and didn't spill, ever.

5) The surprise bag. This one was probably the most effective and made the journey a lot more fun. I took a big tote bag and threw in there some toys I picked up at BigLots super cheap (a hot wheels motorcycle, a tube of tiny superheroes), a couple Early Reader books for Eli, a couple movies that were on sale at Target, a magazine I knew C liked, a new toy phone and a couple rubber duckies for Syd, some HFCS-laden fruit snacks, fruit leather, and a couple tubes of Pringles. And about every 3-4 hours someone got to pick out of the bag, but only if they'd been "a super good road tripper so far." They were all FABULOUSLY pleasant in anticipation of getting a turn. And if they got a turn, they also had a new fancy distraction for the next few minutes. I cannot recommend this one enough.

Looking back, these are the things I need to incorporate in every big road trip we make. Otherwise C and I yell at each other, Syd screams, and Eli whines. No one has any fun and it's really pretty miserable. We had a great time, the four of us on this road trip. There's a few things I'll probably add for next year.
1) Another screen/another portable DVD. Syd seemed kind of interested but couldn't see what Eli was watching.
2) Travel blankets and a travel pillow for the passenger seat. C tried to steal Eli's a few times, with no luck.
3) Books on tape. We downloaded a couple new albums, but I would've liked a book for when everyone was sleeping.
4) A "Motel Bag" We had to haul all of our stuff in each time and it was a pain in the butt. Next time I'll pack us each pajamas, a traveling outfit, bathroom stuff, and a couple toys. Easy peasy.

So that's it. The voice of experience. We'll see how next year goes. Anyone have any good travel tips for traveling with kids?

Nightime visitors

Look what I found this morning in my bathroom! I'm calling him Wayne (or Wanda?)
He (or she?) was pretty adorable and I really wanted to put him (her?) in a jar so Eli could keep it as a pet. But then I remembered Snaily...

Wayne/Wanda was freed and hopefully now lives in our backyard. I wonder if he realizes the bullet he just dodged...
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Obviously I have pretty low standards. My house is borderline hygenic, my laundry waits for days, and sometimes weeks to get folded. My son picks all his own outfits and has been known to leave the house in a variety of Halloween costumes in various stages of disintegration. I haven't blow-dried my hair since we got back from Colorado. My five second rule is a more generous "beat the dog to it." But I still like to believe that I have some standards. Especially when it comes to my own personal success.

I've talked so much about my struggle to lose weight that I'm kind of sick of mentioning it. Long story short, I've tried a lot of things and the needle isn't budging. I got frustrated, gave up on the diet, and quit forcing myself to go to the gym. And I lost a couple pounds. Probably when that stick fell out of my butt. Moving on...

While we were back home I met a couple of C's friends wives who were drop-dead gorgeous. All of them actually. And pulled together and fit and pretty much exactly how I want others to see me. I come home and it seems like everyone is having great success staying in/getting back into shape. It's like reality television around here, all the beautiful people. I have, at times, had a body I would describe as fit. I have at times looked super-cute in a tight little dress and heels. That time is not now. And frankly, it's driving me crazy. So I decided I would force myself back to the gym, back on the diet, back to the grindstone. Problem is that I have 0 motivation. None at all. I'm working slightly longer hours, C's working a lot of nights, and even if I could force myself to exercise I have a hard time forcing my kids to drive from one daycare to another, then home to rush through dinner and start the bedtime routine. And that's where my lightbulb went off. I'm busy. Really busy. I have a long commute, a typical full-time job, two kids, a husband, a house, and pets. I do a lot of the household chores. I always do daycare pick-up. I have to make sacrifices for my time, and unfortunately I've chosen to sacrifice my health, fitness, and some of my self-esteem. That's not exactly how I want to live my life, and certainly not what I want to teach Syd. So I'm throwing it out there. How do other working moms fit in time for themselves? Especially self-care stuff like the gym? I'm thinking about trying videos at home, but I'm not sure how feasible that will be. I have to assume that if I try long enough, the weight will eventually come down and I can rock that mini.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I think maybe I'm a little bit of a psychopath. But in a good way.

So in our backyard there is a small concrete patio covered by the roof. Until last week it housed an orphan side table, every cooler we own, our barbecue grill, and three decrepit camp chairs. In a fit of neurotic obsession, I decided that I MUST own a patio set, and that I MUST not pay more than $100, and that I MUST procure said patio set before dawn on Sunday. I have no idea why I decided these things, but I knew them to be true. Luckily I found a perfect set at The Walmart. And I brought it home. And it was perfect.

So now our previously super ghetto back porch is now a "seating area" and the perfect place for outdoor dining (read: letting the kids eat the messy food without pretending that I'll actually mop after the meal). Except. Except. Except that our backyard is also home to our wonderful, amazing dog. Who has sucky "companions." Sucky companions who suck at certain, less savory dog-owning responsibilities. So our backyard has flies. And a shit ton of them.

Despite all this, I was determined to christen our backyard abode. We got take-out with my dad and stepmom and settled in for a lovely dinner. It was lovely. Super lovely in fact. And afterwards I set Syd's highchair in the grass to clean it off. But there were a couple of flies being attracted to her left overs so I went and got the swatter (BTW, it was my second-string swatter. C totally broke my good killing stick trying to kill a wasp last week. Fucker.) There are two things I learned from this experience. 1) A highchair makes an excellent fly bait and 2) killing flies is pretty cathartic. I'd bet that I killed 100. And what's more, I liked it. A lot. In fact, I was kind of excited today to come home and find a couple of those nasty bugs in the window. And then I squashed 'em good. SLAP!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A story about a girl

Once upon a time there was a girl. A very beautiful and smart, and humble, girl who occasionally got all obsessed with stuff until it was all she could think of and all she could see and she couldn'tstopthinkingaboutitfortheloveofGoddon'tyouseehowimportantthisiswe'reallgoingtodie!

She had a handy husband. Handy husband had a very special watch that ran so much sloooowwwer than the rest of the world.

Girl and Handy Husband had a sink. The sink had a drip. Drip drip drip. Girl asked Handy Husband, who worked at a huge Handy store, to please fix the drippy sink.

A week later she asked again.

A week later she asked again.

Two weeks after that Girl went crazy from the drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. So she decided to show Handy Husband.

Girl went to Handy Husband's place of work and procured from his coworker the small, little, 1.09 piece that would change her world and restore peace in the land.

Girl went home with simple instructions on how to fix the sink.

Girl found vise grips. Girl googled "vise grips how to use." Girl went crazy with the vise grips. Girl felt powerful.

Girl snapped a mysterious pipe with her superhuman strength.

Girl returned to Handy Store to get a new mysterious pipe. Boy announces to anyone who will listen "Mama broke our sink and we're just borrowing our house so now we have to fix it or she's going to be in so much trouble!"

Girl looks at pipe options. Realizes mysterious pipe was actually part of the faucet.

Girl leaves store with huge, awkward, $70 box, two pipes, and complicated instructions on how to fix the Drip. Drip. PSSHHHESSSS spray water all over the kitchen. Handy Husband smirks and announces to the store "I'll be home at 10:00! Please don't flood the house!"

*Edited to add that I fixed that mo-fo like a red-headed step-child. My faucet looks downright high class now. Also, I found two rib cages under my sink and I may be a teensy bit traumatized. But I fixed the fucking sink. By myself. Except for the nut I let C tighten when he got home because I'm all about the team. BooYah!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sydney's baptism

One of the highlights of our trip was being able to baptize Syd with our family. We wanted to do it last year, but there were some requirements/classes/planning that needed to happen and we didn't have time. (Someday I'll write a post on our religious leanings. But not today. For context, C is Catholic and so our kids have both been baptized in a Catholic church.) This year the deacon, rather than the priest, agreed to do it. It was perfect. It was just us, the deacon, and his family. There were a ton of little kids running around. It was casual and informal and absolutely perfect

Walking into the church. Cause we do that now.
The only snag occurred when we realized that we hadn't given Syd a Bible name, and so we had to come up with a saint on the spot. The name "Theresa" popped into my head and so it was. Saint Theresa was a child saint who used to keep a string of beads, one for every deed she did for God. I liked that, and I also like that she'll share a name with Mother Theresa.
Sydney Theresa Cheyne.

I'm back!

Oh my goodness. We had a family vacation planned to go back home for what felt like a short trip but actually was a two week long road trip. Obviously we did not give it the weight it deserved, because C and I bought a car (to replace my now exploded MILF van) two days before we left and spent the night before frantically shoving the contents of our laundry baskets into suitcases.

The trip was awesome. The kids were rock stars. The car was great. Both the trip there and the trip back, save for a single vomit episode in the hotel, were completely unremarkable. We were able to see all the people that we wanted to back home, C and I went out TWICE without kids to events that pretty much required drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Syd got baptized in the most perfect ceremony I've ever witnessed. Eli got to go on a date with Abba and ran himself ragged with the cousins. All in all, it was a perfect trip.

Pictures will come soon. Also, my Google Reader is about eight miles long, so I've got a lot of catching up to do. It was a great trip, but it's pretty great to be home.