Nov 27, 2009

We Interrupt Your Holiday to Bring You This Important Message

So are you stuffed yet?

I am.

Sam, on the other hand, just whispered in my ear: "I just pooped out all the food that my body didn't need."

He was very proud, but in more of an excited-to-have-a-great-secret kind of way. Some secrets just have to be shared though, so consider this a virtual whisper in your ear.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 11, 2009

Tough Choices

In order to get my shopping list done today I had to sit my kids in front of a video. Don't judge, this is after I tried to occupy them with sitting quietly on the couch, counting grains of rice, sorting the recycling, memorizing the Declaration of Independence, choreographing interpretive dances to the Dances With Wolves soundtrack, etc. Nothing was working, and our 1 year supply of whole wheat organic pasta was getting dangerously low (more like a 10 1/2 month supply). And desperate times call for the Electronic Babysitter.

Hey Kids, do you want to watch a video or something?

Yeah! We want to watch Baby Einstein! 

Baby Einstein? Really? You know it's for babies, right? And it's just a bunch of video taped toys and stuffed animals set to classical music? 

Baby Einstein! Baby Einstein! 

Ummm, OK. 

Now that we know the truth about Baby Einsten, it left me thinking: in essence, my kids were getting stupider just so I could fill their bellies. (Wait, is it stupider or more stupid? I should know, I was raised on Sesame Street*, they didn't even have Baby Einstein when I was a kid.)

So for some reason I just thought the blogging world would want to know that in the battle between intellectual and physical nourishment today, my kids' IQ's took a big hit. And since their chances of getting into Harvard are now pretty much shot, I went ahead and bought them the junky high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden, flourescent-tinted yogurt they wanted so bad today. Oh crap-- there goes the whole physical nourishment part.

Well, what can I say, it's a slippery slope. I think tomorrow we'll watch Soap Operas and eat pop tarts all day.

Made any tough choices lately?


*Happy 40th Sesame Street! Check out this great post on my friend Aimee's blog.

Nov 6, 2009

Aarrrgghhh, is the candy gone already?


Note: In a radical departure from my strict blogging policy, this Halloween post is brought to you just a few days after Halloween, rather than my usual 3 month lag time. Don't be too alarmed, however, it's likely to never happen again. Look for our Christmas post sometime in April 2010. 



 The theme this year was 2 pirates, their pirate monkey, and the monkey's pink-haired lady trainer. I somehow convinced Mia and Sam to wear the same pirate costume this year, and lucky for me they both fit into a size 4 boy's costume, since all the skanky pirate costumes for 6 year old girls were sold out. We take any opportunity for free candy pretty seriously, and so the kids have spent the past few weeks "getting into character" to prepare for the big day. This involved referring to everyone and everything as "matey," wearing their pirate costumes almost non-stop, unruly demands for snacks, a sharp decline in proper hygiene practices, general pillaging, plundering, and of course, lots and lots of swashbuckling. All in all, not too different than normal, though I was constantly reminded of a particularly regrettable episode of Wifeswap that featured a pirate-obsessed family and the outright abuse of the word pirattitude (which is to say, any usage at all). So basically, I've spent way too much time lately thinking about one of the worst hours on television ever.

But I digress...

In the picture above, we are about to go trick or treating at a local assisted living center. Don't we look so happy? Well, somewhere in that old folks home, we not only collected a year's supply of butterscotch, peppermint, and cinnamon candies, but also something that looked and smelled suspiciously like diarrhea on Sam's pumpkin. We were too busy gagging and saying bad words to take pictures of how happy we were about that. Needless to say, that effectively began and ended our tradition of trick or treating with the old folks.



More trick or treating festivities (with a thoroughly cleaned pumpkin). What I love about this picture is that Sam and Nate have almost identical expressions, though one is smiling and the other is screaming.




 And what would Halloween be without a little post-Halloween hairpiece swap?


 We spent the evening with some friends whose attempt to buy a house had turned into a true Halloween nightmare, which we metaphorically recreated in our attempt to build a haunted gingerbread house. It looks way better in the picture-- you can't even tell that the walls aren't plumb and the roof is caved in in two places.

(Good luck Jen and family. We will miss you!)


And this is completely unrelated to Halloween, but Sam got a hold of my camera recently and these are some of the pictures he took. Turns out he's a way better photographer than me.


  

I'm not used to such artsy pictures on my blog, and it makes it difficult to know how to end this post. I feel like I should be all deep and introspective or something.

Ummmm, yeah, I got nothing.

Hope you had a fun and poop-free Halloween.



Oct 17, 2009

I Know it's October, But is it Too Late for a Summer Recap?

Yeah, it probably is.

In fact, I'm pretty sure it's one of the Official Blogging Rules. Yep, #47. No Summer recaps after October 1st, sandwiched between #46. The words forever and busy must always be in all-caps (as in: "Sorry I haven't blogged in FOREVER. I've been so BUSY!") and # 48. Never let your blog wear white after Labor Day. 

It shouldn't have to be said, but these rules are very important. Not only are they for your blog's own protection, but they also ensure correct emphasis so there will be no question as to just how BUSY you are. So, I guess that means no Summer recap. Besides, it's been FOREVER and I barely even remember what we did this Summer because I've been way too BUSY to post about it. (See what I'm talking about?)

On the other hand, (as the saying goes) rules were made for the purpose of finding loopholes so we can do whatever we want to do without technically doing anything wrong (trust me, I'm Mormon, I know all about this kind of thing, as do politicians). So, in the great tradition of loophole finding,  I suppose I could just list the possible titles of things I would have blogged about had I not been on a break this Summer, and also had I not been so busy, I mean BUSY! That way, it's not technically a recap, but you don't have to miss out on even a moment of our incredible Summer fun fest.  (And if that's too confusing or seems too compromising to you, you probably would not do well in politics.) 

So here is the list of Bardsleyland Would-Have-Been Summer Blog Post Titles:

  • Summer Vacation:  44 Days, About 88 Tantrums. 
  • Never Judge a Family Camping Trip by the First 4 Hours
  • Faux Pas at the Neighborhood Block Party
  • Our Family Garage Sale: Somebody Please Buy This Crap
  • My Little Sister Visits, and it's All Fun and Games Until Sam Refuses to Eat in the Same Room as Her
  • Is it the Hottest Day Ever, or Do I Just Have a Fever? Oh Wait, it's Both
  • When Your Nieces Come to Visit for a Week, it's Best to Not be Boring
  • Bardsley Family Reunion 2009, Rapid City, South Dakota: What's Eaten at the Family Reunion Stays on My Hips and Thighs Forever
  • Vacationing with the Obamas: Our Trip to Yellowstone 2009
  • "Old Faithful is Boring" and other memorable observations by Mia
  • Reasons Why One Should Never drive for 12+ Hours in One Day with 3 Kids Under 6. EVER. (Let Alone Three Times in One Vacation)
  • Miracles Do Happen: Sam Lives to See His 4th Birthday 
So do you feel like you were there?  Can you almost hear the high-pitched squeals of joy and laughter that echoed throughout our house (on the first day of school)? Do you think I'm a bad mom for not actually posting anything about Sam's Birthday? Don't answer that. Instead, watch this slide show in honor of Sam and his Summer as a 3 year old. 


video

And just because I'm feeling generous, here is the reason mentioned above to avoid long road trips with my kids: *Correction: In the beginning of this clip I say that we're 4 miles away from home, when we were actually 4 hours away from home. Small, but critical detail.

video

Oct 6, 2009

Before I Know It, He'll Be 18 Right?




When I tell people that Nate is 16 months old, I often have people actually tell me that it is their favorite age. I usually politely smile and respond with some sort of vague pleasantry, but inwardly I'm thinking WHAT THE EFFING CRAP?!  Either people routinely will tell you whatever age your child is is their favorite just to be nice, or most everyone has pushed their memories of their own children as toddlers deep, deep down to some scary dark place that is completely unreachable except through electroshock therapy.

All I know is that I increasingly find myself looking at my budding toddler and wistfully recalling the good old days of babyhood. Remember when you would sleep for hours every day Nate? Remember when you couldn't walk or even crawl, and instead happily sat  playing with an actual baby toy for 45 minutes at a time? Remember how it was before you developed gross motor skills? It was awesome.





This however, is not awesome.


Tearing toilet paper into little tiny pieces does not make for a happy mom.










Do you know what is even less awesome? Doing this just a few hours later:


Yes, that's toilet water all over the floor (and down the hall). I swear I had closed the bathroom door earlier this morning. Sam must have used the potty before school, which would mean, you guessed it, that's pee water. So. Flipping. Awesome.

And who was the kid who threw a hysterical tantrum at Albertsons later this afternoon because I wouldn't buy him a stuffed animal?

And who thinks it's a challenge to try to get out of his high chair now at each meal?

And who screams and arches his back every time he gets puts in his car seat?

And who walked over and hit Sam on the top of his head with a heavy plastic toy today?

(OK, actually that was pretty funny. )

And who is my only child sleeping through the night in his own bed still?

For that reason alone, I love you. Just stay out of the toilet.

Sep 17, 2009

Some Days Are Better Than Others

My mom once got a Mother's Day card that said  
Good moms let you lick the beaters. 
Better moms turn the mixer off first. 



Today I felt like being one of those better moms, As opposed to yesterday when I probably would have kept the mixer on.


It's a good thing that you don't usually feel like making cookies on the bad days.


Here's to licking the beaters.



5:52 PM Addendum: Is it Murphy's Law that says whenever you blog about having a good day, the Universe will immediately right itself in a glorious blitzkrieg of chaos, whining, and meltdowns? Or is just the Law of the Witching Hour?

 
...Cookies for dinner anyone?

Sep 16, 2009

Olympic National Park

Mark here...this is my first guest post.
We camped at the Olympic National Park at the start of summer. It was amazing. We had fun. Below are pictures that prove it.






Our campsite was nice. The kids enjoyed playing on/in all the old growth trees.





Our rock stacking put us in contemplative moods.













Why yes, that is the biggest, gnarliest, tree root thing you will ever see. I am fairly certain this thing comes alive at night and eats other trees.



Picture Taking 101 - Rule 1: Make sure nothing in the background appears to be sticking out of the main subject's head.



Yes actually, people do kind of ruin this photo.





We drove through Forks on the way home. Donna got a kick out of all the Twilight tourists. We stopped and ate some very, very bad Mexican food. The bad Mexican food alone will be enough to re-wipe Forks off the map...until someone writes another book about the place.

Sep 11, 2009

Pssssst

Are you still there? 'Cause guess what?


I'm baaaack!


In case you were wondering, I spent my Summer taking really artsy pictures at weird angles of all the AMAZING things we did all Summer long. And when I wasn't being an INCREDIBLE semi-professional photographer, I was super BUSY creating PRECIOUS memories for my kids with all of the crafts/outings/singing/family-togetherness that we did. And when I wasn't building and/or documenting our UNBELIEVABLE Summer of Fun, I was probably just relaxing, or yelling at my kids/wading through endless messes/reading blogs/packing/cleaning/shopping/unpacking/repacking/yelling some more/ and probably crying. But until I get around to posting the thousands of pictures and memories, I've posted a little something for your reading pleasure. You know, in case you'd been missing your sporadic doses of cynicism. (That's for you Katy).


Enjoy.


The House That Sam Broke



I just wasted away a few minutes of my life taping up a paper lamp from Ikea. I know, that's what I get for thinking that a lamp made out of paper for $2.49 from Ikea was a good idea and/or in good taste right? But really, it fared quite well for a long time.

Until Sam came along. Lamp, meet Sam. Sam, meet lamp. Lamp, so sorry about that big gash. Sam, go to your room. Self, get out the tape.

So I taped up the lamp and put it back on the side table, next to the frame that no longer stands up by itself, thanks to Sam.

Just before fixing the lamp, I picked up Sam's toy rocket that we've had for one week and is already broken in two places.

I put the rocket on the counter next to the pile of Tupperware lids that don't have matching containers anymore, because they are probably out in the yard being used as snail houses.

Before that I was wiping off our table that now has nail polish, permanent marker, paint, and (Sam's) bite marks on it.

On the table was an assortment of broken crayons and dried out markers with no caps that I stashed away in a cupboard with a door that won't close because somebody (guess who?) was swinging on it.

I won't even tell you about the state of the games, toys, and miscellaneous items inside of said cupboard. Well, OK, I will: 2 board games missing pieces that render them pretty much useless, a ripped parachute, about 8 containers of dried out, mixed up play dough, and a stained Aqua doodle. And that's just off the top of my head.

In the same room as the cupboard is the TV/DVD player that we will someday have to remove from the Armoire with a chain saw (our fault), which we have to use the plug to turn off and on, and no longer plays DVDs (both of which are Sam's fault). Not that we have any DVDs that Sam hasn't scratched or bitten or drawn on anyway.

The tale of destruction continues throughout the house.


Here's the moulding that he took a bite of a few days ago.

And our piano that Sam broke over a year ago? Broken even a little bit more now.

This is the most recent pile of casualties from his room: 5 books ripped apart.


And here's something fun: a box of baby wipes that he got to with a pair of scissors, AND ONLY STABBED THE PICTURE OF THE BABY, REPEATEDLY. (What he was doing unsupervised with a pair of sharp scissors is a very good question and is currently under investigation. I'm sure there is some body/thing to blame besides me. Probably corporate media, but that's a blog post for another day.)

Disturbing? YES.


I'll stop there, but trust me, I could go on. And on.

Some people can show you their collection of highly prized curios, or rare objects from their travels around the world. If you come over to our house we'll show you our taped up Ikea lamp and our mutilated baby box. It's an art form in and of itself.






Jul 11, 2009

Good Times at Target

In case you were wondering, Summer vacation has been a huge success so far. And by huge success I mean that no members of our family have made the evening news for strangling any other members of our family.

Expectations: exceeded.

We've even gone out in public together, such as yet another memorable trip to Target yesterday morning. Target is like heroin for moms. After every trip I swear I'm going to cut back, or maybe even quit cold turkey. But I just keep going back to it, over and over. With the kids even. That's how powerful it is.

In the middle of this week's fix, in the girl's department, Mia made this comment: "Mom look at this belt! Oh wait, it's Hannah Montana. I'm definitely not in to her."


I have seriously never been so proud.


And that's when Sam came around the corner with a bra on his head.


Yes, so proud.


Then there was a little conversation we had this evening when Sam was having a hard time understanding why he has to wait until he's an adult to buy a real boat with his own money. "But that will take too much longer," he said. "I need to get a boat tonight... Is Target still open?"

He's like a crack-baby. I'm telling you, I've got to cut back. For the kid's sake.


And speaking of cutting back, I'm going to be taking a little blog break for a while. Come now, no tears. I've posted something like 3 times in the last 2 months-- let's not pretend we didn't all see this coming. Don't worry, I'll be back before you know it and we'll all go back to being best blogging buddies. I promise.




Jun 18, 2009

The Monster at the End of this Week

It's called Summer Vacation.

Did you love The Monster at the End of this Book when you were little too? Lovable, fury, old Grover could only imagine the horrors waiting for him at the end of the book and did everything in his power to keep from getting there.

Well, every time I think about The Last Day of School (consequently followed by the First Day of Summer), I end up in tears. There's very little I wouldn't do right now to keep Friday morning from ever happening.

Never mind that in the book, the moral is that Grover had nothing to be afraid of but himself. This isn't Sesame Street. These are my kids we're talking about. At home with me for the rest of the summer.

All day. Every day.

For 75 days.



Oh have mercy.




*Oh, and my apologies for the graphic description of Sam and a towel in my last post. With a recently potty-trained 3 year old boy, we're being exposed to a whole new world as parents. Seriously, who needs a dog? If you came over, he'd probably hump your leg.

**OK, I'm probably going to have to delete that before he gets old enough to read it huh?

May 27, 2009

A Scene From the Lives of Overtired Kids (Vancouver Trip, Day 3)

Cascadia Hotel, room #807, 5:36 PM:

Mia is holed up in a corner of the hotel room, snarling like a wild animal at anyone who comes near her, talks to her, looks at her, or even thinks about coming near her, talking to her, or looking her.

Sam is on the other side of the room humping a towel.

Nate is a human barnacle.



I think it's about time to go home.

May 23, 2009

Due Date

No, I don't have an announcement.


I was just remembering that Nate's due date was 1 year ago today. And if you remember (what, you don't?), I was sitting around not going into labor at all. He was born a week later, which means that he turns 1 next Friday. I figure I should do a preemptive birthday post, as I can almost guarantee I won't ever get around to it if I wait until his actual birthday. Don't believe me? Well, seeing as how I have yet to post about our recent white water rafting trip, Mother's Day, our 11th anniversary, and traffic tickets #3 and 4 (yes that's right: Mark felt a little left out), it's really quite likely that the kid will be 5 before I even upload the pictures from our camera (assuming I actually take any). Of course by then, cameras will be obsolete and we'll just take pictures from the microchips embedded in our foreheads. Can't wait for that.

Anyway, what a difference a year makes. I swear he isn't really any longer, just wider.


This kid stops little old ladies in their tracks at the grocery store. It makes for very long shopping trips. And he pretty much has everyone in this family wrapped around his little finger. Mia and Sam can be smack in the middle of trying to tear each other apart, but if Nate crawls by they'll immediately stop and rush over to shower him in hugs and kisses. He is my little peacemaker. There may only be 10 pictures of him since he was born, and most days he's lucky if anyone remembers to feed him, but really we love this kid. Happy 1st Birthday Nate-- we'll be sure to give you some cake and wrap up one of the other kid's old toys or something. And I'll try to remember to take a picture.


And while I'm ahead, we're going to Vancouver, BC this weekend, and we had a great time.


In other news, we had a death in the family this week. Mia's captured pet caterpillar, Mr. Fuzzy, sadly didn't make it through 3 days of being left alone in a cage with some dried leaves and a rock. Looks like it will be a while until we're ready for a puppy.


Oh yeah:

Whitewater: So fun. And very very wet. Thankfully, there are no pictures of us in wetsuits.

Mother's Day: We forgot to call both our mothers. Is that even forgivable?

11th Anniversary: Yep, still married.

Traffic tickets: Let's just say we're seriously considering selling both our cars.


Mother's Day 2009


There you go, all caught up and more.
Hope you have a great weekend Memorializing.

May 4, 2009

Lately

  • I've been having recurring dreams about being on the The Amazing Race.
  • I've been getting a kick out of Sam saying "what the heck?"
  • I've been thinking about my side bar.
  • I would love to know if you read my blog.
  • I find crafting so compelling and so problematic.
  • I've been compiling a list of all my past and current running partners (Carol, Michelle, Cary, Heather, Kris, Amy, Jen, Courtney, Patti, Ruth Ann, Julia, Brooke, Jeni, Lisa, Karla, Sara, Diana, Michal, Marie M, Marie B, and Kathy-- did I forget anyone?) All of you are superwomen in my book.
  • I Vote or Die.
  • I haven't watched Wife Swap at all.
  • I've been reading a book called Living Simply with Children, and boy is it making me laugh, though I don't think it was meant to be funny.
  • I've mistaken myself for a master gardener, which is why I haven't gotten around to posting these pictures from April:
Proof that we let our kids take candy from strangers.

If you're related to me you might recognize these people. We're looking forward to having them live closer to us (hopefully soon by the way).


From a trip to a local farm. Probably the happiest moment of Sam's life. Seriously.

"You find me irresistible don't you?"

Our vegetable garden, ready for planting (for the first time since we've lived here).

And here are the seed packets that I was going to plant in said garden, that is until Sam spread them all around the backyard flower beds. 1500 carrot seeds, 100 cucumbers, 225 peas, and I don't know how many watermelons and beans. Thanks Sam! That was sooooo helpful.


That does it for April. What have you been up to lately?

May 3, 2009

See Mark Jump

Mark had a birthday back in April. It was during our unemployed phase, so the theme was "Low Budget, but Not Low on Fun."And to prove that I love him, I made him make this video so I could post it on our blog and show everyone what a fabulous birthday I put together for him. (Because let's face it, this blog is about ME, not him right?). Some friends of ours graciously allowed to go over to their house while they weren't home and jump on their trampoline. Mark loves trampolines almost more than he loves me, so he didn't even notice that I didn't get him a present!

The first slide show is just for fun. In the second video you will see why I married this man: for his crazy trampoline skills.


video



video

Oh, and in case you were wondering: thirty-five!

Walk-a-Thon

video



From the Press Conference:
Reporter: Sam, you just walked around the playground for 15 minutes! How did you find the strength to get to the finish line?
Sam: More juice, please.

Reporter: Sam, will you be competing in the National Preschool Championships?
Sam: I haffa go potty.

Reporter: Mia, you've obviously been Sam's biggest supporter. What's it been like for you?
Mia: Awwww, these medals aren't even real gold!

Reporter: Sam's Mom, tell us about when you knew your son was destined for walk-a-thon greatness?
Sam's Mom: Well, he started walking when he was about 13 months old, and it was obvious right away. He's pretty much been walking ever since.


*Sam would like to thank all the big people, the color red, and goldfish crackers.


Editor's Note: I have no idea why Sam and Mia were holding hands the whole time, and no, they do not do that at home.


Back to Normal (100th Post)

Thank goodness that Mark is working again, and I can go back to whining and complaining about regular things. Like this week for example. First week by myself with the kids in 6 weeks. You would never know I'd been doing this for 6 years. Before the week was over, I'd eaten half a tub of chocolate frosting and cried to myself in a park.

It was a little rough.

The crying thing is interesting because I never once broke down while Mark was unemployed. Well, at least not about the unemployment. (I probably teared up over touching cell phone commercials and that ugly lady on Britain's Got Talent-- I don't really remember.) But leave me alone with my kids for days on end and I end up blubbering at the park while all the other parents pretend not to notice the hysterical mom on the bench. OK, it wasn't really that bad, but I know I made at least one park dad pretty uncomfortable.

What is it about staying home with kids that is so hard sometimes? Kids can be so sweet, and bubbly, and wonderfully innocent, with their big Bambi eyes and pudgy toes, and their cute little noses that haven't morphed into some unflattering shape yet. But they also never. let. up. They whine (oh, can they whine), and fight. They pee on the floor, and demand to be held at just the wrong times, and need and need and need and need, and when you have nothing left to give they need some more. And it just can bring out the worst in you.

That's when you have a good cry in public and break out the frosting. (Betty Crocker, you are such sweet, sweet therapy.) And you make it through another little rough patch.

So we've got the first week behind us: a little breaking-in period, a readjustment, a few extra pounds gained. Next week will be better. Or not, but tomorrow is another day, some famous fake person once said. Parenting can be hard, so hard sometimes. But millions of much less emotionally stable people have done it and survived right?

And just so I don't get accused of glass-half-empty kind of stuff-- on the bright side, none of us died from Swine flu this week.

So that's a plus.

Mostly a plus, I think.

Apr 25, 2009

The Search is Over

That's right, Mark starts a new job on Monday. He is so excited to be the new Crossing Guard at Mia's elementary school. It's not exactly full-time, and it's kind of a volunteer thing, but in these tough economic times, it's a start right?



OK, really.

We (meaning Mark) have a honest-to-goodness, actual-pay-check-earning, 40 hours a week (hopefully not more), slaving away at a desk under florescent lighting, in a cubicle with no windows, JOB. (Wait, we're supposed to be excited about this right?). No we are, we're thrilled. Ecstatic. I mean, forced family togetherness all day, every day, was super fun because we all totally love each other and, being the big happy family that we are, we just love being together ALL THE TIME and just can't stop singing and holding hands in a circle while roller skating like the creepy intro to Big Love, but without all the extra wives. Really, that's been great. But I for one can't wait for next week when Mark is gone and I can go back to sticking the kids in front of the TV all day so I can play Sudoku online. And I think that Mark will tell you that living off the government is fun and all, but eventually you just feel this need to go out into wild corporate America and sell your soul to the Man, whoever he is.

Here are the details:

It's a Canadian company. Based in Vancouver (BC, not Washington). Owned by an American company. Opening an office in Seattle. Doing some big projects for Starbucks. Confused? Me too, but go think about it over a frappuccino at Starbucks. Seriously. Let's keep us employed now right?

So what did I do to celebrate? What every other suburban, middle class, Caucasian, 30- something, Mormon housewife would do, of course. I went to Target!

Yeah for jobs!


ps- In all seriousness, thanks for every one's love, prayers, and support. We're hoping that is one life phase that we only have to go through once. :)

Long Overdue


This is truly embarrassing how long it's taken me to post about this. A while back (it seems like months ago) I entered my sister-in-law's craft give away on her blog, and a short time later I got the world's most adorable frame in the mail. I can't even tell you how much I love it! It's decoupage, can you believe it? When we were in Hawaii a few years ago, I went in some upscale knick knack store that was full of all kinds of over priced things including some frames almost exactly like this. I remember staring at those frames for what seemed like hours trying to justify paying $70 (yes $70) for one single frame that I loved so much it seemed to whisper to me, "I complete you." I was almost intoxicated enough by that wonderfully warm Hawaiian beach air to actually buy it.

But I didn't.

And now I have this beautiful homemade frame. Makes you want to give decoupage another try huh?

For those of you who don't know my sister-in-law Dakin, she is one of those people who does everything perfectly and better than anyone else, yet strangely, you don't hate her because she is also so stinking nice! Thanks Dakin, you are amazing!

I Do It Myself


Make sandwhiches

Get dressed

Go potty
Take pictures


Ta Da!

Apr 13, 2009

Happy Easter from Sam


In the middle of church today, right during a really quiet part, Sam made sure to let everyone know that he needed to go poop. He then got a lot of mileage out of another more descriptive potty word, one that is very similar to the word diorama. For some reason he felt compelled to say it over and over and over again. I'm sure it gave everyone warm and pleasant Easter thoughts. Though I'm not sure if this is a step up or down from a few weeks ago when announced very loudly, "Awwww, I don't like church!" Whatever the case, this kid doesn't keep his feelings locked up inside.

Thanks for sharing Sam. Inquiring minds wanted to know.

Apr 4, 2009

Adventures in Unemployment

Besides handling a mean iron, this job contender also looks hot in floral aprons.

Uh, yeah, no job yet. This is probably not very surprising considering that there are approximately half a million people out there applying for the same three jobs, namely anything that is full-time and does not involve doing this. I haven't posted much about the job search for a number of very important reasons. #1 being that it's one of my strengths to completely ignore reality and instead make repeated trips to Costco to buy chocolate, and #2 being, well, eating that much chocolate keeps you busy obviously. Also, the cheerful, hopeful part of me doesn't want to appear too negative (because if there is one thing I've learned from blogs it's that if you even kind of hint that your life isn't completely one big profound festival of joy and love, you get comments from that rascally Anonymous reminding you that "people are starving in Canada," and "WWSNB?" (What Would Stephanie Nielson Blog?)), while the realistic part of me is a little worried that 6 months from now it's going to be a little old when I'm posting "yeah, still no job yet." Just trying to keep it fresh you know?

So it's only been 3 weeks, and besides the obvious perks of aggravated insomnia, and the stigma of being referred to as "that bum with no job" (I keep telling Mia to stop calling Mark that), we've come to experience many other joys of unemployment, such as:
  • Reading material! Applying for unemployment benefits results in piles and piles of riveting paperwork from the government. The "Unemployment Claims Kit" is only 47 pages long and is a must-read!
  • Continually singing Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" in your head all day.
  • When your kids complain that you've turned the heat down, you get to say things like When I was your age they hadn't even invented heat yet, now go put on a sweater! (which is entirely untrue, but haven't you always wanted to say that?).
  • Youtube! (This being one of our latest favorites)
Over all the biggest perk is having Mark home during the day. We've gotten so used to this, in fact, that yesterday he left for a measly 4 hours and came home to find all of us curled up on the floor in fetal positions, whimpering and incoherent. (A note to anyone who lives within a 5 block radius of us: if you happened to hear what sounded like an adult woman throwing a hysterical tantrum around 6:34 PM yesterday, I'm sure it was just someone's TV). (Note to self: we need more chocolate).

Oh, and current freak-out level: still about a 3... maybe 3.5.



Apr 3, 2009

This week in TMI

*Consider yourself warned.


Yesterday I volunteered in Mia's kindergarten class. It was jump rope day. This simple exercise immediately presented a small crisis:

Why is it that I can run three miles with no problem, but jumping rope for 2 minutes results in the proverbial opening of the floodgates.

There should be a warning label on all jump ropes: "Attention all mothers: if you have had 2 or more children, DO NOT attempt to jump rope in public, or while wearing light-colored pants." This should be a law. I think I'll write my congresswomen right now. I hear they don't have much else to do.