Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's done...

On this lovely snowy day, I thought I'd share a little piece of me with all of you. There is something I've wanted to do since I was 16 and circumstances prevented it until recently. When circumstances changed, the ever problematic money kept me from doing it too. That final road block was removed a couple of weeks ago when I found exactly what I needed at Walgreens for $10.

You all know me. This is me on an average day. Here, my hair was getting a little unmanageable, so I just got a haircut.

This is step one. AGGGHH! NOT my best look.

But, woohoo! Here is the final product. Love it or hate it, it's me for the next few months. :) I dig it, personally. (And so does Ben.) I have yet to go upstairs and see the looks on my parents faces... THAT will be fun. :)

Blue is my favorite color, so why not blue hair? I think the blue hair compliments my skin tone.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Audrey's first impressions of Santa

Last night was our first opportunity to tell Audrey about Santa. She recognizes Santa when she see's him, but she has no idea why he's such a big deal around this time of year. We were watching a Santa movie on TV and she would point every time he'd show up on the screen and say, "Santa!"

So, we gathered her up in our arms and said:

"Audrey, did you know that Santa is coming to our house tonight?"

Big eyes, "gasp!"

"Yeah, Santa is coming to our house tonight and he's going to leave you a present under the tree!"

Bigger eyes, "YEAH!"

"But he can't come until after you go to sleep tonight."

The smile fades as the cogs in her little head spin away, "Awwwwwwww...."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My take on Balding

I know that balding is a sensitive issue for men and so, I will try to give my opinions about this touchy subject in as delicate and kind a manner as possible.

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH! Whew! I crack myself up sometimes...

Ben can tell you that I have been encouraging of him whilst he has been going through his hair loss. I know that it makes him sad and so I sympathize with what must be a truly disappointing aspect of his genetics. Ben has been shaving his head for quite a few years but, occasionally, he tries growing it a bit longer to see how it looks. Each time, I sweetly let him know that it's not his best look but that he can do what he chooses with his hair since I do the same with mine. (Ben would prefer me with long hair.)

I've been thinking about men and their battle with hair loss and, I'm sorry, some men just need to give it up and embrace their baldness proudly. It would certainly be a lot better than what they choose to do in whatever state of denial they are living in. Seriously... it doesn't look good, guys!

Here we have a few examples of what men try to do to deal with their hair loss and my interpretation of what it would look like were they not bald.

Here we have the Bald Mullet:

Business in front, party in the back. Whether or not it's short in front on purpose, it's still a mullet.

And this is the Bald Pompadour:

Since this guy obviously couldn't shape his pompadour in the usual way, he compensated by having his pompadour start in the back.

The Bald Pageboy:

Now, this one is NEVER okay for a guy to wear, bald or not.

The Bald Emo:

Ha! Ha! I couldn't resist!

The Bald Monk Pate:

Really tall guys have the advantage of few people seeing this type of baldness, at least until they sit down.

The Bald Geographic Design/Picture Hair:

I'm sure the poor guy in the first picture was just as bemused as the rest of us with what was going on with his hair but, really, trying to part it didn't help.

The Bald Fauxhawk:

I just couldn't make up my mind on the two bald pictures on this one.

The Bald Mohawk:

Poor Jude, I love him so, but he's just not rocking this do.

The Bald Doublehawk:

You've got to be a special sort of crazy to pull off the Doublehawk. Well... I suppose both these guys are a special sort of crazy. You won't find the first guy on the cover of Rolling Stone though... small consolation though that might be.

I couldn't resist adding the beard combover. This is how I feel about all men who deny their baldness.

Guys: Bald is gorgeous! Bald is sexy! There is almost nothing better than a bald guy who owns his do. Whether your bald is 100% natural or assisted by a razor, I'm first in line to cheer you on!

Go Bald!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another sleep adventure and Audrey does a craft!

On Thursday, we left Audrey playing in her room for quiet time as has been usual recently. When quiet time was over, I went to go open the door and let her out. She had been quiet and that usually means trouble or sleep... As it turns out, it was both.

I knew something was amiss when I couldn't open the door to her room. I pushed gently and was able to see that quite a few of Audrey's toys were blocking the door. I peeked around to where her bed was and found it empty... hmm......

I pushed the door open a little more and this is what I saw:

I couldn't resist taking pictures. I know, I'm an insensitive mother. I finally got into the room and took a picture from another vantage point.

Audrey had successfully destroyed her room, but at least she wore herself out doing it.

After dinner, we went about decorating the gingerbread house we built the day before. When decorating the roof, we instructed Audrey to space out the little button candies. The row at the bottom left edge was her idea of spaced out:

The picture on the box was very detailed and meticulous, but I instinctively knew that if I tried to copy that look or even come up with a similarly beautiful one, the two year old in my life would have made it impossible and I would have gone insane. As such, our haphazard decorating was fun for all of us and we came away only a smidgen more insane than when we started.

Audrey was proud of the house and so we took a quick picture of her with it.

This is the face we got when we told her to "smile!!"

Audrey's first craft project! One down....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Big Girl Pajamas and another craft

I've had a couple of outfits stowed away in Audrey's closet because they've been too big for her. They're labeled 5T. I figured it would take a little while for her to fit in them. She's currently wearing mostly 4T with a little bit of the bigger size 3T.

During one of her "quiet times" a couple of days ago, she discovered them and pulled them all out. Among the outfits was a pair of purple pajamas. She insisted on wearing them to bed that night. I thought they would be impossibly long. They fit nearly perfectly.

Look at how red her hair is!

She's almost as tall as her 5-year-old cousins, and taller than some of her other cousins that are even older than that. She's growing up so fast, it's hard to remember that she's only 2 1/2. Her vocabulary and enunciation also make her seem older than she is. She has a cousin that is slightly older than her and a cousin slightly younger and both their mothers understand Audrey better than their own girls. (I can't take credit for this, really. She's just naturally verbose.)

I've just finished another "craft". I put quotes on craft because it felt a bit too easy to be a proper craft.
Ben's had some cartoon character prints since his mission, so we made a bunch of copies. I whipped up a front and back cover out of cardstock and we borrowed Dad's binding machine. Poof! Like magic, I had coloring books! Easy Christmas gift!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I stand corrected...

...THIS is the best nap ever! (Until the next best, I suppose.)

Henry refused to take a morning nap yesterday and so by the time lunch time came, he was Super Crankapotomis. My plan was to feed him his normal baby food lunch and then take him downstairs for some calming milk and a nice nap.
By the time I got to the "dessert" portion of lunch, he was leaning his head on his shoulder like he does when he's playing shy. I thought that's what he was doing until I turned away for a minute to put away the leftovers. When I turned back, this is what I saw:

I thought for sure that it was a light sleep and that he would wake up quickly and want to have some milk, so I started to clean his face:

That not working, we took the tray off his high-chair so we could take him out... nothing!

I figured for sure he'd wake up when Ben picked him up...

No, he was that out!

Unfortunately, his nap was short and heavy. He was up again after about an hour. He has a little cold and I think his nose is driving him crazy.

Maybe I'll get back to my craft blogs tomorrow... unless we have another crazy sleep adventure.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The best nap ever!

The past few days or so, we have been telling Audrey that she can choose between a nap or "quiet play time". She usually doesn't want to do either but, since she has no option, she gets put in her room with the door closed and she has to fend for herself. The first few days we did this, she was so put off by the phrase "quiet play time" that she just put herself in bed for a nap. I wasn't about to complain!

Yesterday, however, I brought her to her room with the same instructions. She could nap or have quiet play time. She was upset by this and immediately grabbed onto my legs so I couldn't close the door. In the midst of trying to explain to her that it was non negotiable, she was distracted by her legos... "Orange!" and let go of my legs. I closed the door post-haste.

I listened to her play in her room for a while, then I went upstairs with Henry to work on a new Christmas project. When I took Henry down after an hour or so to feed him and get him down for a nap, she was still clunking away in her room. I figured that was fine and, even better, she would go to bed in the evening that much easier!

Shortly after I finished the main portion of my project, I went downstairs to get Audrey up. It was very quiet in her room and I opened the door expecting to find her in her bed, or at the very least, doing something quiet and, therefore, extremely naughty. It was difficult to open the door as she had but the beanbag in front of it, but this is what greeted my eyes:

Note the socks and boots that I did NOT put her to bed with. I'm not sure where she thought she was going to go, but she never got around to trying to figure out the laces, or maybe that's what wore her out!

The sound of the camera woke her up and she turned over. I can't imagine that the recliner is the most comfortable place to nap.

I'm most impressed by her ability to move the pink horse around the room. It's pretty heavy. She probably had to get it out of the way so she could put the beanbag in front of the door.

When she came out of her room, she was supremely cranky and didn't want to take off her shoes, look at anyone, watch TV or do anything except cry.

As a side note, later in the day, Audrey was in her room for a time out. I went in to tell her it was okay to come out and I found her completely naked and in the middle of getting on her pink horse. Maybe she was channeling Lady Godiva.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Please put a penny in the old man's hat...

Another example of me avoiding using my painting supplies for creating great art:

These are homemade hair sticks. As I don't have enough hair to make good use of them, I've made them to give as gifts. About a year ago, I had the girls in my Activity Days group make these.

1 pair of chopsticks (of the rounded variety, not the kind you have to break apart)
Tea Bags (optional step)
Paintbrushes, stylus, sponges, etc

It would be good to have several sets of chopsticks as they frequently have cracks, gouges or other imperfections that sandpaper won't smooth away. When you have enough pairs for your project, sand the chopsticks to smooth out the surface and get rid of any loose wood that can snag in hair.
In a large pan or pot, boil water and steep tea bags. Pan or pot should be large enough to lay the chopsticks in. Boil chopsticks in tea for about 20-30 minutes or until desired darkness. (I left the chopsticks in a tall container overnight with the cooled tea to enrich the color.)
Let chopsticks dry completely for a day or two.
Paint chopsticks as desired. I used a sea sponge and acrylic paint to create a speckled/dappled effect, but a paintbrush can also be used to paint flowers, stripes and other tiny designs.

This is batch number one. As it turns out, I will need to make another batch as I didn't have any left over for Audrey!

I'm currently feeling more ready for Christmas than any other year to date. I still have quite a bit to go and I've had to leave some things by the wayside, but it's been a fun adventure so far!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The goose is getting fat...

I like painting. No, I'm not very good at it. But, as a result, I have quite a few canvasses that were gifted to me over the years that I have every intention of getting to eventually, when the painting bug of inspiration hits me again.


I've always wanted a ribbon board but I've been intimidated by the prospect of handling fabric for any reason whatsoever. I turn into a sort of moron when it comes to fabric; measuring, planning, cutting, sewing, etc... it always turns out weird. So, I've been avoiding making my own ribbon board and buying one simply goes against my desire to save money.

So, I have these canvasses just sitting around and I found a super cute idea online. Forget batting, attaching fabric, etc. Just take a canvas and staple ribbons to it in whatever pattern catches your fancy. Add a few brads (or in my case, push pins) and you've got a ribbon board. And you can't get any better than free.

As you can see, I've already put up a couple of Audrey's old pictures and the first two Christmas cards of the season.

When I feel the urge, I can cover this board with pretty paper or fabric (I'm already fantasizing about toile...) or I could paint a fun picture and put the ribbon on top of that! For now, though, I'm liking the simplicity of white and red. Very festive, don't you think?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas is coming...

The moment December hit, I was busy being festive. I had set up a schedule of what I needed to do and by what date, so that my Christmas preparations wouldn't turn out to be a frantic rush 2 days before the big day.

On December 1st, we put up the Christmas tree. Audrey helped for the first time, which gave me great anxiety as the majority of my ornaments are glass and/or highly breakable. She got bored after a while and eventually got sent to her room for a time out since her boredom oozed out of her in the form of a dozen demonic toddlers terrorizing the living room. My advent house was put out and one of my little nativities right next to it. We still need to put up the garland around the walls, but we'll see if we get to it at all this year.

I also started working on Christmas gifts for family. I decided fairly early on that buying gifts outright wasn't going to be fiscally responsible, so I've been working on home-made items. One of my big projects was to make bath salts. It took several afternoon nap times to put together enough bath salts for my sisters and sisters-in-law.

I had fun with the colors and scent mixtures. Now it's just a matter of waiting for the bath salts to "cure" a bit and they'll be giftable.

While I was talking to Mom about my first attempt to make bath salts. I was very excited about the prospect of making something that would normally cost $5 to $20 to buy... PER PERSON. She looked at me incredulously and said, "People actually USE bath salts?" I tried to explain...
"Yes, Mom... you know, it's the relaxation thing.. the.. 'Calgon, take me away!' moments..."
"People have time to relax?" came the query.

Sigh.... oh well. If no one wants any bath salts, I've got about 12 pounds of them to last me the rest of my life. At least I'll smell good.


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