Sunday, August 31, 2008

Beautiful day in the neighborhood

If you've read my blog anytime in the past year you have most likely heard me raving about our neighborhood. Well, actually, our neighbors. We're very happy to live on a street with lots of other families that also have young children, and we have become very close and depend on each other frequently, as many of us don't have family nearby. And not just the women...the guys are all pretty close too. (Well, you know, as "close" as guys will admit they are. They no likey the feelings so much.)

You can imagine our shock when we discovered that TWO of these families would be moving out of state within the same week. Both were for positive reasons, for better jobs and to be closer to family. But still... talk about a double whammy!

So what to do when the going gets tough? BLOCK PARTY, baby!
Here are the girls posing for one last shot together. Erin (furthest on the left, striking her America's Next Top Model pose) and Jenny ( in the black print top - you can't even tell homegirl is pregnant with twins, huh?) are the two hens flying the coop.
I can't even express how much I will miss both of these amazing women. Our relationship with their families has made our time in Kentucky a great experience. I love a quote that I read somewhere (maybe on a card? I can't remember): "Each person who enters our life, each spirit that accompanies us upon our journey, leaves us forever changed and enriched".

And then someone had the grand idea to get all the neighborhood kids together for a photo op. Yep, that's my tiny redhead screaming her lungs out. I typically don't post pics of other peoples' children for privacy purposes, but I couldn't help this one!
Being the culinary overachiever (or perhaps delusional lunatic) that I am, I decided to try some ideas from my new book: Hello, Cupcake! Full of the cutest ideas that are all designed to use easy decorating items like candy, and no special tools, only ziploc bags to decorate.

I was hoping to modify their design for the doggy cupcakes to make Arkansas razorbacks on the cupcakes, for our neighbors who were moving back to Arkansas. Why didn't someone warn me that making red icing simply is not humanly possible? No matter how much red gel dye you use. No matter how much you stir. Please note the color of the icing (salmon) as compared to the icing lid (true red). Ahem. So I went on to plan B: sunflowers, which are pretty and summery, and had a very detailed guide in the book.
Ta-da! Not too shabby!
They were a huge hit with the kids and I was fairly proud of the final product, especially considering how quickly they were thrown together. Guess what the lady bugs were made out of? M&M's. And they were crazy easy.

And lest you think that I am a classy, culinary wizard soon to rival Martha, I present to you my 2nd dessert. This is a cake made for Tvrtko (Erin's husband) in reference to a joke he told about himself. And it has to do with poop. I'm so sorry to admit that, but truly that just speaks to how close we are in this neighborhood.

Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I've got nothing, folks!

I know what you're thinking.
We haven't heard from her in almost a month.
Her last story was about the dude with the mullet in Kroger.
It all adds up... she must have gotten caught up in all his mullety-goodness and run off with him, never to blog again.

Fun story, but the real deal isn't nearly as interesting!

I'm just in a rut. Several factors, none of which are truly awful, just some things I need to work through without influence from outside sources. I want my blog to be authentic, but I didn't want it to turn into a rant or a pity party, and certainly didn't want to worry people with my absence. Actually, life is a lot more manageable without me staying up until 2am to blog, but I do miss it terribly and plan to return very soon. Life has been traveling so quickly for the past several years that recently I just looked up, took a breath, and was unable to recognize very much about myself anymore. I think it just freaked me out, plain and simple. That and the fact that for the first time in forever, I don't have a clear picture...AT ALL...of what my life is going to be like in the future. Deep breaths, just keep taking deep breaths. I'm a planner. I just need a little more time to wrap my brain around things.

Don't delete me from your blog roll just yet, folks! I just have to figure out how to get my groove back, and quick. Actually I have a plan. I'll call it the GMGB plan, as in "Gettin' My Groove Back". To be shared soon... in the meantime, I leave you with a cute Pooh pic. Because a little Pooh can really make your day sometimes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Maxi-mize your shopping experience

Just a little story to make you laugh on a Friday. Let's set the scene:
Our weekend was so busy that I didn't get to the weekly grocery shopping, so we did it on Monday evening after work. Luckily, Hania is an excellent shopper and loves to ride along. She is obsessed with my paper shopping list, so I usually give her an extra piece of paper to play with and all is right with the world.

On this particular day, I had grabbed my favorite huge faux Coach bag that looks cute and summery. It is big enough to double as a diaper bag, and spills won't be a tragedy because it isn't the real deal. Here's an important detail that will play into the story later: I haven't used this purse since I was in the hospital for Hania's birth. I promise, it IS important.

As we stroll through the produce section I hear Hania cackling. Yes, this child cackles, she doesn't laugh. I turn around to find her bouncing and waving at a man that I shall henceforth refer to as "Mr. Mullet". Now Mr. Mullet is rockin' out in true 80's style while selecting his corn on the cob. He has spared no detail in recreating the look of that decade, down to the painted-on acid washed denim and concert t-shirt with the sleeves and collar ripped off. Hey, who am I to judge? Mr. Mullet sees me trying to reach a produce bag, and in gentlemanly fashion he pulls one down for me. Which is nice, but isn't there a rule out there about accepting favors from men with mullets? I think there is. I say thanks, Hania continues to wave at him, and we're on our way again.

Several aisles later, I hear Hania cackling again. Yep, you guessed it. Mr. Mullet is making cutesy baby faces at her, sticking out his tongue, bobbing his head. Hania has this effect on strangers, it seems. She thinks this is a riot. Mr. Mullet smiles winningly at me and winks saying "your little girl likes me". I smile back, but not too big. I'm not trying to encourage Mullet-love. And I'm hoping this isn't a pre-cursor to Hania's future taste in men.

In the dairy section Mr. Mullet appears yet again, and I try to pretend that I don't see Hania performing "so big" by raising her arms in the air. Oh no, he's trying to catch my eye. Hania, please stop engaging Mr. Mullet. See, you already have a da-da at home, and you never know if there is a MRS. Mullet around the corner waiting to kick the butt of any little mullet-magnet who is flirting with her man. Still my head is down, no eye contact, pretending I don't notice.

Then I hear the crinkling of paper. Hania is apparently playing with something in my purse. Still not looking...still not looking...don't encourage him... SPLAT! Something hits the floor. I look over to see that Hania has thrown the object from my purse into the middle of the aisle, and Mr. Mullet is dashing over to pick it up. Oh well, probably just some sticky notes or keys. I look over just in time to see what Mr. Mullet is handing back to me with a smile. It is one of those humongous post-partum maxi pads that the hospital gives you after you give birth! These are the ones that weigh 10 lbs and look like a diaper. Yeah, we're not bringing sexy back with that contraption. Apparently I left one of those bad boys in my purse, and forgot about it because I hadn't used the purse since my hospital stay. Thankfully, Mr. Mullet had no idea what he was handing to me, so I just graciously accepted it and then died laughing.

Hania thought it was a funny joke too. She had on a wicked little smile, similar to this one...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It was Jason

I've had some requests from old friends to clarify who the recipient of the lovely 6th grade Color Me Badd tape was... (drumroll please)... Jason Henderson. Lucky guy. He had a much older girlfriend that was into PDA, so perhaps the song wasn't terribly shocking after all.
And now please, take a minute to bow your heads with me while I pray that Jason doesn't Google his name and see this story when I haven't seen him since high school graduation 13 years ago. Amen.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Procrastinator Alert! #50-100

Um...remember a loooong time ago when I started to post my "100 things about me" to celebrate my 100th post? And only did 50 because it was way more challenging that I imagined? Not to mention the fact that it made me feel self-absorbed, which does not help the whole Mommy guilt factor...

Without further intro, here are #50-100: Things you never knew about me, and still aren't sure you want to know!
50. I have a small tattoo of a 4-leaf clover and the Notre Dame symbol on my hip.
51. 2 of my other girlfriends also have the exact same tattoo, courtesy of Spring Break 1999. Woohoo!
52. I wonder if theirs is faded and blurry, and looks like a prison tattoo like mine?
53. Working in the emergency room was by far the most entertaining position I've ever held. ER doctors were total pervs, but it sure made the nights pass quickly.
54. My tiny hometown in Missouri hosted the Miss Missouri pageant every year. I was always alternately envious and horrified at that competition.
55. Top 5 CD's I could listen to on repeat:
Indigo Girls "Swamp Ophelia"
Buena Vista Social Club's self titled album
Natalie Merchant "Tigerlily"
Marc Cohn's self titled 1st album
59. Smashing Pumpkins "Pisces Iscariot"
60. My daughter's face peering over the rail of her crib every morning is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
61. I adore Project Runway but I'm no fashion icon in my Gap outlet t-shirt and shorts today.
62. I adore Tim Gunn and about hugged him through the tv when he said "Holla!" on the last episode. Can he really be that adorable in person?
63. I can be extremely compassionate and giving, but have a low tolerance for unnecessary drama and BS.
64. Having to depend on someone else for ANYTHING makes my skin crawl. I dislike it immensely. Which makes marriage a bit of a challenge.
65. Which links directly to my inability to delegate.
66. Which links directly to my job burnout. More on that after Sept 19th - aka "Day of Long-Awaited Freedom but also Poverty".
67. I believe that human sexuality is a continuum between straight and gay. Some folks are reeeeally straight, and some reeeeeally gay, and everything in-between. No hidden message there about me personally, just my belief.
68. We have a fairly small family; I'm an only and my husband is the oldest of 2.
69. Yes, I was spoiled as a child but at least I was appreciative most of the time.
70. I played the Frontline Fairy for all 5 of our animals last night, and only have 1 scratch to show for it.
71. I used to be a voracious reader, but since grad school I've only read a handful of books.
72. Some of this is a result of time constraints, but mainly it is because I become overly emotional when I truly get into a story.
73. For example - on vacation in Jamaica I read The Time Traveler's Wife and cried because it was so sad and beautiful - for 2 straight days. Blah!
74. Most recent ballsy thing I've done: pulled a tick out of my infant daughter's scalp.
75. During the next month I have SEVEN pot-lucks to participate in. If that doesn't say "suburbia" I don't know what does!
76. I always seem to gain weight quickly in the summer and lose it around Thanksgiving, every year. Isn't that backwards?
77. The smell of gasoline reminds me of Twix candy bars. Always has.
78. I've mowed grass exactly 7 times in my entire life.
79. I was almost arrested for public nudity on a spring break trip in Cancun...but I ran. Really fast. And hid from the cops.
80. And then studied super super hard the 2nd half of that semester and pulled out my best grades ever, because I felt so guilty about that incident.
81. I would DIE if my daughter ever did that!
82. Taking a hike or bike ride helps me to feel closer to God than participating in any church service ever has. But I still attend church hoping this will change.
Arrested Development is my all-time favorite sitcom and we still watch it on dvd after it was canceled. Why are all the smart shows canceled?
84. I really, really want to have a garden in our backyard and grow most of our own produce. Hope to start the process next Spring.
85. We simply do not talk politics on our house, for the sake of our relationship.
86. I wore hot pink shoes on my wedding day, and Hania had red shoes for her baptism.
87. I just purchased 10 new pairs of
cheap undies and it MADE. MY. WEEK. It's the little things, folks, really. Cheap as in inexpensive, not cheap as in hooker-ish.
88. I love baking theme cakes with shapes, and can't wait to do one for Hania's birthday. My favorite was a pair of
flip-flops for friends that were moving to Florida.
89. You almost have to sedate me to shape my fingernails with a file. Which is why I've only had 2 manicures in my entire life, and probably never again!
90. I have Aveda taste in hair products, living on a Pantene budget.
91. I feel passionate about youth participating in service projects. This was an integral part of my development, and I would like to create opportunities for them to have a similar experience.
92. Except the experience teaching summer school in Newark, New Jersey. I'll just tell them about that one! They shouldn't have to do it. It wasn't pretty.
93. One of my biggest fears is that my daughter will grow up somewhere that is not culturally diverse.
94. One time in 6th grade I went to a guy's birthday party and gave him the single " I Wanna Sex You Up" by Color Me Badd. I didn't wanna sex him up, I just thought it was funny. My mother obviously didn't catch that one. His family was Pentecostal. Obviously I wasn't invited back. I still cringe thinking about that - seriously!
95. I watched a lot of MTV as a kid, and now when I hear 80's songs I see the videos in my head. And then I describe them to my husband, who didn't watch MTV. My mom was pretty hip, and videos weren't as racy as they are today.
96. I distinctly remember my mom dancing to the video for "Peace Train", and thinking she was so very cool because she could move her hips that like (in our family room with red shag carpet - doesn't that just paint a visual?)
97. I love National Geographic, partly because it is an amazing publication, but mainly because it reminds me of my Dad, who has had a subscription since the 70's. I feel like I'm carrying on a family tradition of sorts.
98. My car has not been washed in over a year. Shameful.
99. But the baby gets a bath every night, I assure you!
100. So very happy to be done with this procrastination post! Grateful to anyone that has stuck with me for the last 50!


For the moment, my blog has turned into a gratitude journal!

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