Sunday, March 30, 2008

Drugs + Batteries = Birthday Fun

I just love a good birthday celebration, especially when it comes to throwing one for other people.

The members of my immediate family are the usual recipients of my overly heightened sense of Birthday Excitement and Overkill, where I plant the seeds for what fun party will transpire and then entice/beg/brainwash them to actually desire the kind of party I already planned for them. 

So we both win.

I'm coming off a fabulous week-long celebration usually reserved for royalty and dead people. Or in my case, 31 year-olds.

After battling about three weeks of violent upper respiratory congestion, coughing, snot, sleeplessness, sinus trouble, and The Plague, I caved and went to the doctor. I know, I am weak and pathetic.

I hate taking medicine, so I resist at all costs. Plus, it never seems to have the desired effect on me. Tylenol PM keeps me wired for weeks when I should be sleeping. Even Mucinex and Ambien aren't enough to knock me out. My anti-sleeping genes are strong.

Well, my first birthday present came in the form of some absolutely magnificent prescription medications that caused me to sleep well for the first time in weeks.

The doctor might as well have put a big red (make that a brown grossgrain) bow on them. It was a beautiful moment. Especially after I had recently been told by a friend that I looked "green" and "really bad."

So yea! I am feeling better! Finally!

One of my favorite birthday traditions that Brad created involves helping the kids make cards and select gifts based on my perceived "interests." It's always hysterical and very sweet. And a grand display of my inadequacies.

Lilly's card:

Brad and I decided that Lilly needs her own font. To my knowledge, there is not another one out there where the "y's" curl around so cute that you could eat them and the "t's" look like a headless cheerleader. 

And someday she will not write like this anymore and I will curse her penmanship teacher. 

Jackson's Card:
Please note all the x's and o's he took the time to draw. And please note the fact that it took him all ten seconds to write this out. Because he is growing and male and could care less about handwriting.
In case you weren't sure, the "m" and the backwards "j" identify exactly which characters we are in his precious card. 

I love how he shows the height of various people by drawing longer legs. No matter if he's drawing Shaquille O'Neal or Mini Me, the head and torso size are the exact same. The legs just get longer and longer. If only that could happen in real life.

Brad's card:
Seriously, y'all. 

I love how Brad gets out his best cursive and then decorates the card as he feels I would really enjoy. I'm not sure if I'm more moved by the stars or puffy cloud surrounding the message. Or maybe I love the dramatic, two-color shadow technique he used on the letters. 

Even though Brad isn't exactly in touch with his artistic talent, I crack up every year at his sweet attempts.

Okay, now it's time for a journey through the fabulous gifts and prizes I received for merely continuing to exist another year despite the best attempts of my recent illness.

Brad brainstormed with the kids many things they thought I'd like/need for my birthday. He lets them buy whatever they want, as long as it isn't a new Honda (which Lilly was sure I would love. Brad talked her into just visiting the dealership and pointing at the ones she liked instead.)

Lilly noted that I have troubled with things running out of batteries. 

Me? Really? When?

"You know," she told Brad, "Things like phones, cameras, and computers. Mommy never has enough batteries for things."

So looky here:
Of course, the things which I regularly run down are all rechargeable, but that is clearly beside the point.

However, these are the kind of batteries the Wii remotes require and I won't shock and alarm the parenting authorities by reporting how often they need to be replaced.

Next up, Brad's gift:

I think back in 2003, when I was still optimistic about being organized, I mentioned I wanted a label maker. At 31, I am jaded and disillusioned, so this gift didn't quite make the impact that Brad intended.

Until he admitted he bought it for himself and he'd allow me to use it under direct supervision if I promise not to make mean labels and stick them on his back. (Which I refused to do.)

Also, he had a gift card at Staples. That is the love of a vibrant, nine year marriage, my friends.

Next up, my gift from Jackson, being modeled on my hairy, wrinkly, and aging arm:

My Big Pumpkin noticed that my sports watch died sometime last summer. It was the second of a few Nike sport watches I'd had that were not actually as waterproof as the label said. Also, Jackson has noticed that I am late. Often.

And this watch is also a strapless heart rate monitor. Whoo hoo! Now I will know exactly what my heart rate is when I fall off the spinning bike and pass out from cardiac failure. Today when our instructor made us SING the chorus of "Right Now" as we were at the top of a hill, I wasn't sure if my legs or lungs would give out first. Or both.

This fancy watch also tells me how many calories I did (or didn't) burn, which I admit did impact my decision not to have cheese fries for lunch. 

It also came with an alternate wrist strap in case I want to mix things up a little bit. Of course, my female offspring has already confiscated it and won't take it off.

Gives a whole new meaning to "a hair past a freckle."

I'm sorry. I had to.

And my family? They are the best!

Just When I Think He Can't Get Any Sweeter

A little something from Jackson, lovingly transcribed on the tablecloth at Macaroni Grill:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

If They were Polka Dots, I'd be Puking Right Now

I thought today might be a good time for a little fashion lesson. Spring is around the corner, evidenced by the fact that I went running outside in shorts and a tank top today. No tan lines afterwards, but one thing at a time.

(However, I'd like to give a quick shout-out to Jergens because apparently the self-tanner is working well enough so that drivers on the road didn't have to swerve and cover their eyes when they looked upon my barren limbs.) 

The wind was blowing at gale force, but I focused on the fact that I was simultaneously Outside and Not Freezing to Death! It's the little things.

Anyway, per the fashionista's advice on TV (where everything they say is true), I'm positive you all at home are busy cleaning out and purging your closets to ready them for this year's latest styles.

Or at least the new army of tank tops from Old Navy. Who says uniforms are just for kids?

Lilly, blessing me with her unique sense of style and creativity, graciously demonstrated one of fashion's purest principles: Just because you buy something at a fabulous clothing store, it doesn't mean that everything they sell is attractive or that all items should be worn at the same time.

Exhibit A:
While I love a good stripe as much as the next sailor, what I don't love is three different varieties of stripes on one child. Especially when the child is mine and wants to go in public.

She struggles with the concept of "Too Much of a Good Thing," evidenced by the above Fashion Don't. 

I struggle with too much of a good thing as well, but it's more focused on chocolate, Mexican food, and Starbucks products. Which, now that I've talked myself in circles, proves that you can't actually have too much of a good thing.

Just stripes and four year-olds who think they should dress themselves.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blogging About Salad Makes Me Feel Old

Well, Easter was just fabulous.

Between the obligatory Colorado snow, the adorable outfits, great church service and (of course) the food, we had ourselves one fine day.

Because when you start the day with peanut butter eggs, things can hardly go wrong. And if they do, just eat more peanut butter eggs.

The meal, which sounded promising on paper, turned out to be just as amazingly delicious as we'd planned. Steaks were marinated and grilled to perfection, the bread was outstanding, and the cake was good. (I would give it a "great" but I think my chest/cough/cold medicine cocktail took away some of the flavor.)

The sleeper hit of the meal was the salad. Strawberries, pears, avocado, pecans, and blue cheese in a dreamy vinaigrette. Oh man, it was good. That said, Brad and my dad ate absolutely none because they were worried about their steaks getting up and running off. And Brad is careful to stay away from vegetables in general because they might rise up, join together, and retaliate against him in response to years of neglect.

But look! There it is! 

My other favorite part of the meal was setting the table.

As soon as I'm done with this blog, I'm going to put in a phone call to the nearest Senior Center so I can go hang with some gals who share my lame interests.

But seriously, I love a beautifully set table. The fresh flowers, ironed linens, classic china etc. Just ask Ethel and she will tell you how gorgeous and essential those components are to any fine spring luncheon. Then she will challenge you to a wicked game of shuffleboard.

On that note, check out these amazing napkin rings my mom brought me:

Not sure if you can tell, but they are just beautiful. I think they are made from actual vintage silverware. My mom found these little gems in Canton. What makes them cool is that they are Real! And NOT from Target (not to be confused with the napkins.)

Just like the Blue-Haired Beauties at Shadowcrest, I am a lover of fine place settings, so those sterling napkin-ring holders were just the ticket.

Lastly, here we are in all our Easter glory. Or at least our Forced Easter Photo Op.
Um, I am off to the gym.

Because I want to go.

Not because of the peanut butter eggs. 

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Because I'm Positive You Care Deeply

A few, small, newsworthy items that I've numbered! Because, LOOK! I'm organized now!

1. The Flood
Let me start by saying that I appreciate the loving care and concern so many of you have shared over the Self-Inflicted Flood of Stupidity '08.

Precious Brad (who is eligible for sainthood after this latest debacle) labored to get the contents of the basement dryish to quite dry. The only major casualties were all things that don't belong to me. So while I'm relieved on a personal level, the guilt runneth deep as I share with others who dared to leave their belongings in our home that their things are lost forever.

Luckily, one of the victims is my mom who understands my track record for disaster dating back to a small carpet fire around age five. And some other incidents I'd rather not recount in case she has forgotten.

2. Car News
After being separated from the 'Burb for yet another 3 days after a not-so-minor relapse, it's back and running with all doors attached. (Which I still do not believe is too much to ask).

A longish, rubbery, black piece wasn't staying glued to the left side, causing an eccentric aerodynamic effect, forcing other drivers to honk and roll down their windows at stoplights to inform me of the plight.

At least when it snowed tonight, my seat warmer came in handy. Finally.

3. Easter Menu
There's nothing to quite get oneself over the heartache of an unnecessary flood like food. Even though as I write this, my stomach is still full from the Best Apple Crisp Ever I am still anxiously awaiting tomorrow when I get to eat again. Don't worry, I don't treat my pain with food. Oh no, I don't.

I'm hoping to take pictures tomorrow, but if I get distracted actually eating Easter dinner instead of taking blurry pictures, here's the plan:

Strawberry-Pear Salad on Mixed Greens
Fresh Baked Whole Grain Bread
Mini Zucchini Muffins
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Roasted Asparagus
Filet Mignon
Chocolate Espresso Pound Cake

So you see, it will be very good and very light. I'll probably try on my swimsuit right after lunch.

Or at least lube up with some self-tanner.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas: Night IV

This post actually has nothing to do with my continued Mexican Craze. But I just thought you'd like to know. Tonight I turned up the funk and had some chips and salsa with the enchiladas. And I think I could eat them again tomorrow without remorse.

In other news, I am my own worst nightmare.

This afternoon, I sat down to do some blogging and even post some pictures of Lilly and I shopping at the Gap. Really, there is no finer mother/daughter bonding experience and she enjoys trying on the clothes and making purchases just as I do.

We are kindred spirits although her fashion sense is not yet refined.

Those pictures, however, will have to wait.

Before I finished typing THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE of the post, I got up from the computer to go retrieve my camera from the car (which I should mention is momentarily a Chevy Impala--but that is a story for another time. Like perhaps when my blood pressure returns to normal in 2012.)

I walked past the laundry room and powder room (across the hall from each other) and noticed only what can be described as a flood.

Yes, I said "flood."

Involving water. In my house. Again.

But this time the fault was all mine.

I am totally understanding of the Absent Minded Professor, except that I've never created anything as remotely interesting as flubber. Except chicken enchiladas.

My first thought was slight discouragement at having to wipe up two smallish rooms.

That was before I realized our entire home and all our possessions stored in the basement were afloat somewhere in the Pacific.

Approximately an hour earlier, I started filling the laundry room sink with water AND BLEACH (because it adds both cleanliness and drama to this tale) to give the sink a good scrub. So I plugged up the drain, started the laundry, and left the water running until I planned to return approximately 30 seconds later.

But you see, I am easily distracted by shiny objects.

I went to the bedroom to try to blog a little bit and respond to a month's worth of emails that have slowly built up without so much as a reply from myself. (Because when I sit down to do things like email I FLOOD MY OWN STINKING HOUSE.)

At which point, I also cleaned a few shirts out of the closet and checked my five voicemails that sat on my phone for the last week and fantasized about the Easter dinner centerpiece I would create from moss and fresh flowers.

See? I am already distracted from the main storyline as I tell you about my earlier distractions.

While typing, I thought I heard water running, but I just TOTALLY FORGOT about the sink and assumed it was the washing machine. Because I am slow. And chose to be soothed rather than horrified by the sound of rushing water in my own house.

So as I stood there, mouth agape, on the levee of the hardwood floors (which, GLORY TO GOD, didn't get wet), I rolled up my pants and waded to the faucet, which I promptly turned off.

Reaching below the sink to grab the towels, I realized the water had seeped into the cabinets and the very aborbers with which I planned to dry the floors were already wet.

After turning off the water, I realized there was still a signficant, Niagara Falls-ish roar of water.

Then I noticed the water rushing toward the vents in both the laundry and powder rooms.

Oh. Crap.

Running down to the basement, the tidal wave noise grew louder. Probably because there was standing water in the basement and a lovely aquaduct-system pouring water through the pipes.

All over EVERYTHING. Like photos and Christmas decor and (close your eyes, Susan) pianos.

I shook my head and almost laughed because my choices at this point were a) laughter or b) weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Thus, the clean up began.

While I dried the towels on the deck, the neighborhood kids jumping on the trampoline were all, "Miss Nicole, did you guys go swimming today?!"

"No! I just tried to ruin everything we own including pictures of my children's babyhood and a piano!"


At this juncture, I probably don't have to point out why the enchiladas were the highlight of my day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

For the Love of Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies and Of Course, The Dough

Without fail during every group fitness class, the Instructor/Torturer asks us "Why are you here?"

And the answers never cease to crack me up. Every. Single. Day.

First of all, I'm glad that some people are breathing with enough regularity to shout out their convictions amidst 60 other aerobicizers.

Personally, I want all of the friendly banter to just stop already AND GET ME AN OXYGEN TANK!

The first shouts I heard were all of the "Jesus" answers, like "To be healthy!" or "To feel strong!" or "To get fit!"


Those are lovely sentiments, but being healthy would never drag me to a barbell strength class where I am doing so many lunges that I can actually feel the muscles failing, twinging, and painting their microscopic faces a Braveheart Blue so they can join together and revolt against me the next morning.

Then the braver souls start to shout, "I'm here for swimsuit season!"

"To look good at my high school reunion!"

Again...wah wah wah wah wah wah. (I am trying to type the Charlie Brown teacher noise, but am not sure how to spell it. Apologies.)

Swimsuit season is compelling, for sure, but I have a little tip. Instead of dragging yourself to the gym every morning to lose maybe ten pounds, GET A TAN! QUICK! AND MAKE IT FAKE!

Because scientific polls have shown that one looks a little slimmer with a nice hint of tan. Or, if you're a body builder, a nice hint of unnatural dark brown combined with canola oil.

I am not in favor a tanning beds but I am highly in favor of Jergens lotion.

One little bottle of Jergens Express and you will feel like a svelte Greek goddess or at least her unsightly stepsister. I've been a believer in the Jergens Natural Glow for a few years now, but the recent discovery of Jergens Express amazes my highly refined tan-in-a-bottle sensory system.

Reports have come in from other users that the application made them a little orange, but thus far, my skin tone has withstood the intense color/moisture.

Thank goodness because I had a bowl of Founder's Favorite the other day and I do not think it is a diet-type snack.

In lieu of eating vegetables and rice cakes, I just applied some tinted lotion. And snake oil. Works for me!

So when Miss Perky asked the class about our motivation, I found it odd that I was the only one with the courage to say, "To eat more!"

Really, it is all about the food.

Because on the way to the gym today, what do you know?

My favorite fast food eatery was advertising a FREE BREAKFAST!

I turned in to the restaurant, hightailed it to the drive-thru window and said, "I'll have two of whatever you're giving away for free."

"That would be our chicken mini 3-packs."

That was my first sign today that God is with me in more ways than one. Because there is nothing on this earth that I love more than a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit breakfast sandwich. And there were THREE of them. In one box.

Praise the Lord and pass the honey.

For ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY AT ALL! For FREE! For me! All because I can read signs held by cows!

I tried to discount the fact that it would take upwards of 700 barbell curls to counteract just one bite of chickeny, biscuity goodness. But that's ok. That's why I work out. For the molten lava cakes, the french toast, the bread pudding and cetera.

Currently I'm on a Nightly Consumption of Chicken Enchiladas and Other Mexican Delicousness kick, but it will pass. And then I'll move on to something really healthy like granola mixed with Reese's chocolate eggs. Oh, I jest. I'll just eat the chocolate eggs.

So the moral of this post is:
1. Get a fake tan
2. Food Rocks

The End

Monday, March 17, 2008

Outranking Both Dad and Ah-nold

Jackson and I were deep in conversation while he was brushing his teeth:

"Mom, I know God is the strongest in the world and all, but I definitely think you're second."

I guess that's what buying 50 pound bags of flour at Costco will do for you. That, and a lot of peanut M&M's.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just When I Thought I'd Hit Rock Bottom

So the other day, I humbly listed my shortcomings of the week, but sadly those were just the tip of the iceberg I sailed right into on Friday.

Jackson climbed into the car after school, head hanging low.

"How was your day, buddy?" I asked calmly, wondering if the Power Rangers had a conflict with the Imperial Storm Troopers at recess.

"Not good and very sad," he spoke through clenched teeth.

Since he has inherited my tendency towards unnecessary melodrama, I was not yet persuaded. "Why is that?" I asked.

"Because today was the 100th day of school and I was the only one who forgot to make a project."

Ouch, ouch, double ouch. To say I felt terrible is an understatement. My stomach immediately hurt and I was wiping my eyes so Jackson wouldn't see that I was crying for him.

I suck at parenting.

You see, homework at his age isn't as much his responsibility as it is mine. I had pulled the information sheet about the special 100th day project out of his folder, discussed ideas with him, magnetically clipped it to the side of the fridge, then promptly never thought about it again.

Until his heart was broken.

I can only imagine that he will be asking Santa for a new mother next year. Which he deserves. I tried to make it up to him with pizza, a churro, and ice cream (2 gold stars for guessing we went to Costco) but that didn't really take the sting out of major disappointment.

I volunteered to help Jackson complete the project this weekend and then bring it to school on Monday to demonstrate that we are not terrible, but merely below average parents. That didn't appease him either.

Finally, he said, "Mom, you can just stop apologizing about the project. It's okay."

Now my 5 year-old was trying to talk me down off the limb. Things are worse than I ever suspected.

I'm not sure if I have ADD or am just spacey. I don't know if it's the out-of-control "P" in my personality or the fact that my brain is just plain FULL. But I do know that I need to find a system that includes physical torture to remind me to complete things on time.

We can only miss so many birthday parties, conferences, and egg hunts before there is a full-on coup and I am overthrown for a newer and more organized gal.

Anyway, I am working on a plan. It involved some online shopping and lots of prayer. And some very adorable organizational tools.

Details...with lots of pictures to come!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Can I Get a Whoo Hoo?!

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship him in the splendor of his holiness."

I Chronicles 16:29

One year ago, Brad and I received the phone call in the middle of the night that everyone dreads. My brother, Mark, not-so-calmly explained that Dad was at the ER in Dallas and the doctors thought he suffered a brain aneurysm.

At first, we thought Mark was being overly dramatic/concerned, then over the course of a wakeful night realized this was actually very serious. Like get-a-plane-ticket-and-come-now serious.

Being in Colorado left me feeling helpless and far away when I wanted only to be near. I kept telling myself that everything was fine, but it's hard to convince oneself of that in the same sentence with the word "brain aneurysm."

One truth continued to race through my thoughts, standing firm and strong despite the swirling emotions: "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1) To this day, I thank God for embedding that precious gift in my soul when I needed it most.

Arriving alone at the airport early in the morning, having left behind a tired husband and confused preschoolers was tough. Wandering through the airport blinking away tears and trying to remain calm was near impossible.

Only hours after initially hearing the news, I arrived at my parent's house in Dallas. The gravity of the situation fell on me. Opening the front door, all of the lights and TV were on. Dinner from the night before sat on the cook top. My parents had run over to the gym for a quick workout, only to go straight to the ER via ambulance.

As I stood there, taking in this unsettling scene, praying and pleading for peace beyond understanding, the phone rang. Because old habits die hard, I walked to the office and answered.

While I'll never remember who actually called that morning, I'll never forget that my chest tightened and my breathing stopped while I stared at the wall directly above the phone.

There hung Dad's photo gallery of some of his favorite running moments, highlighting his many accomplishments, and more importantly, his family members who he'd enticed/dragged to run with him.

While my mind knew he was unconscious in the ICU, I couldn't reconcile that with the photo of us standing together after our marathon, holding a shiny gold medals and unashamedly smiling with pride.

How could someone so fit, so strong, so healthy be fighting for his life?

And again God's tender words whispered to my soul, "Do not be afraid. I am your stronghold. I am your light. You are in the palm of my hand."

To spare you two weeks worth of drama and things you've already heard ad nauseum if you know me, I'll just tell you that for reasons we'll never know, God graciously chose to restore full physical and mental (insert punchline) health to my dad.

So why do I write this? Because when I opened up my Bible this morning on the one year anniversary of Dad's miraculous healing, the first verse I read was I Chronicles 16:29.

The Lord has been good in ways both big and small and I don't want to miss an opportunity to give Him credit and attribute all great things to His unchanging hands.

I am obviously thankful for Dad's complete healing that baffles the most intelligent brain surgeons in the country. I'm also humbled and blessed by the Holy Spirit who spoke truth and injected peace into my heart during a time when my thoughts and emotions were running wild.

I just love these words from "In Christ Alone":

"In every victory,
let it be said of me,
my source of strength,
my source of hope,
is Christ alone."

I am looking forward to seeing my dad next week when I will resume kicking his tail on the Wii.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm Not Typing in the Fetal Position

Still here...just not blogging. Doing what...I'm not so sure.

I've realized my cynical/negative/half-empty/dismal self is starting to rule the blog, so I'm attempting to be more chipper.

:) SEE?!?! :)

I find it much easier to write about everything that has gone wrong each day than to celebrate the victories. Hmmm...

(For those of you on Brad's side of the family, I'm sure this only adds to your many questions about why he married me, for which even I have no answers, but I am grateful nonetheless. My humble apologies.)

Anyway, instead of writing about my numerous mishaps this week, I thought I would give you a quiz:

1. Which "important" things did Nicole forget this week:
a) picture day
b) eggs for the Easter egg hunt
c) to eat chocolate chip cookie and brownie batter on the same day
d) Jackson's nightly homework

2. Which minor issues remain unresolved in our lives:
a) the door on the Suburban
b) the heinous sulphur-esque odor of the Suburban
c) the fact that I haven't dusted since late November (or was it September?)
d) purchasing a car we don't even like

3. Which incredibly trivial things have we completed with gusto:
a) watching American Idol, then discussing each contestant at length
b) Dance Dance Revolution
c) eating chocolate chip cookie and brownie batter
d) buying four varieties of Easter M&M's
e) being late for school every day
f) all of the above

1. a, b, d
2. a, c, d (although upon finally getting the Suburban back and it REEKING, OH MY GOSH, REEKING of rotten eggs for a week, the battery promptly died and we had to get a new one)
3. f

Oh dear readers, I am a mess.

Ironically, I forgot all of those things AFTER I started my new filing system where I actually put the papers in a folder labeled "Lilly's School Papers." The filing system just doesn't work for me.

Brad is "taking back his life" using some Microsoft Outlook book entitled "Take Back Your Life" where you enter upwards of 50 tasks EACH DAY and then try to complete them without swearing. I get sweaty just thinking about it.

I can't decide what makes me more tense...forgetting things or being nervous about having so much to do. The combination of those factors is probably why I've never been contacted about being a CIA agent or some undercover Jason Bourne-type person.

Also, I am inexperienced with firearms.

And playing it cool.

I don't want to fully embrace my inner Debbie Downer (well, I do, but I'm trying not to) so I will end on a super positive, things-are-awesome, I heart everything high-note.

This week I:
a) ordered new makeup that actually matches my skin tone (see, I omitted the word "pasty" and just put "skin tone." I am but a ray of sunshine!)

b) ate the best pot roast of my life

c) had a super son win the Prinicpal's Award of Excellence and Cuteness (ok, just excellence)

d) learned that same son reads at a grade level so high they don't even have
tests to measure such greatness

e) had a baby girl VOLUNTEER to wear her pearls to the highly refined and sophisticated Easter program at preschool

f) had the same baby girl remember her complicated speaking role during the Easter program (one word: "bread") I am feeling better.

It is with great excitement and anticipation with which I face tomorrow and the many somethings I've already forgotten.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It's a Wonder I Get Anything Done

I've been busy lately. For real.

Usually I am busy in a way that leaves me time to blog about all of the things I should be doing while I accomplish nothing other than writing a blog to six or perhaps seven people who have in all likelihood, stopped checking my blog because of the rarity of my posts.

This time however, I've (get ready...) ACTUALLY BEEN DOING THINGS!

Like laundry!

Like "organizing"!

Like eating a whole bunch of zucchini muffins!

Anyway, I've been wanting to blog about why I'm not blogging, which is really a roundabout way of telling you what I have been doing. I know, A+ for cleverness.

This is where I feel led to tell you about my "organizing." I have no choice but to put it in quotes because if there is one word in the English language that in no way describes me, it would be "organized." ("Organized" is tied for first with "delicate" and "reserved" but that is neither here nor there.)

My favorite part of any "organizational" project is shopping for and purchasing the supplies. You know, notebooks, labels, label makers, markers, pencils, bins, baskets, etc. Spending hours daydreaming about being "organized" in Office Max is right up my alley.

Spending hours actually organizing followed by a lifetime of staying organized makes me want to just throw everything away.

The reason for the recent project is that a very special piece of furniture in our house is no longer with us. Brad and I graciously offered to babysit our friends' armoire while they were in transition between apartment and house.

Here is the object of my sorrow:
Not this exact one, but you get the idea. It was in our bedroom, housing the TV and most of my desk "files" and "folders." Well, these precious friends moved and demanded it right back.

Not wanting to set the TV on the floor, thus obscuring our nightly viewing of "Jon and Kate+8," Brad gave generously of his time and sizable woodworking talents to create a suitable replacement made out of two by fours and a folding table.

He has also been taking decorating tips from me because he threw in a splash of color to hide the unsightly table legs.

That's klassy with a "k," for sure.

I love how he chose a delightful autumn tablecloth that puddles ever so slightly on the left side. The asymmetrical look of the 80's is not reserved only for clothing. Vern Yip would be proud.

In case you were wondering, that's a custom TV stand crafted out of the finest pieces of wood money can find in our basement.

I've always wanted a piece of "furniture" that simultaneously reminds me of an abandoned dorm room and a free electronics giveaway. One minute I am blogging about filling each tiny space of our house with beautiful things and the next I am a set of blocks and rusty sedan away from becoming the Clampetts. Pride apparently comes before the fall .

The real problem is not just that this bedroom storage "solution" is's that a folding table and see-thru TV stand provide no real storage for the 1,000 papers that remind me about things like birthday parties and teacher conferences that I've missed.

So then, we set up my desk as combined Entertainment/Home Office space:

I'm sure Ballard Designs will be featuring us and our creative, yet cute ideas in their next catalog.

Here is the thing: even though I am an "organizational" nightmare, I can't work amidst mess. I can't sleep with the computer humming or with papers scattered all over the place.

Which is why things got really hairy when we created the Entertainment/Home Office/Exercise Arena and Open Storage Areas:

That way I can mix in a few lunges and crunches with some Bible verse memory and paper "filing."

It took several days to find drawers with vacancy grand enough in which to stuff a year's worth of papers from preschool and kindergarten. Surprisingly, my paper overflow decreased substantially when I weeded out the book order forms from September and grocery receipts from 2006.

We are still mourning the beloved armoire that we knew and loved as our own for several months, but I have begun a mighty prayer campaign that it might be replaced before next fall when I need that table cloth and have to replace it with my Christmas table runners.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Don't Worry I'm Not Trapped Under Something Heavy

Sorry for the lack of blogging, but I've been facing some "issues." Oh, nothing serious, just stuff that keeps me from sitting at the computer.

Brad comandeered my laptop, which was the Mother Board o' the Blog. I used to type in 3 minute increments while standing at the kitchen island. Contrary to popular opinion, blogging didn't occur in hour-long stints from my VERY glamorous office (photos to come). As anyone over the age of 5 knows, mothers don't actually sit down during's more like interval training that is actually fattening instead of calorie-reducing.

Anyway, since I am now relegated to the desktop computer (horrors!) the blogging has slowed down a bit. When we moved in, we had the idea to insulate our bedroom wall (site of my swanky C-suite office) so when the kids are in high school, we can go to bed at a normal hour, while they stay up late and blare the surround sound in the next room.

That might be great in high school, but right now, it prevents me from hearing any crises until it gets so loud that the entire neighborhood has been alerted.

Which is why I can't really get to the computer.


It's March. Which tortures me. 75 degrees one day, snowing the next. My fragile psyche doesn't really handle bi-polar weather very well.



I went to Santa Fe for the weekend. Even though I wrote at one point that I was opposed to all things New Mexican, I had the time of my life.

Because truly, there's nothing a little coffee, wine, shopping, and girl talk can't fix. And chocolate. And sleep, precious sleep.

There was no internet or TV for FOUR WHOLE DAYS and after I got over the shakes, it was quite pleasant. I never realized how many times a day, I want to go "look that up" on the interweb. Because my brain is very small.

But now I'm back to snowy reality.

I'll fill you in more in the days to come.

Until then, I will be fantasizing about warm, beachy locations that alternate lots of laying very still with eating mucho Mexican food.