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i've been this girl.


i'm no longer this girl, and i don't miss her, but to read about her on hyperbole and a half makes me smile in understanding and feel just a wee bit nostalgic for the days when i could go bats&*% crazy at the drop of a hat.

and for those of you who have never had a bad, mental day in your life (i'm talking to YOU, marc skinner), read and try to understand why those around you hate you on certain days:

the sneaky hate spiral


365/52 week 20

check it out: i'm on time!! the upside of hot, humid days during which harper and i won't set foot outdoors and all she wants to do is play with her zhu zhu pet or color.


wonder how long she'll let me do this?



reminder: my car is getting old.



our first glimpse of the new twins' stadium. it was amazing.



meet harper's new pet: inchy yoshi lime inchworm. she named it.



another nameless pretty, blooming in my yard. (i really need to remember just what it is that i plant ...)



ahh, lantana! you i *do* remember! aren't you sweet, with your little butterfly buds?



a sweet surprises awaited me when i got back from picking up harper from school: marc sent flowers. and a sweet note. guess i can dial back on the guilt trips for awhile.


. . . . .

maybe next week i'll get pix of stuff other than flowers. to whit, my youngest "graduates" from preschool on friday, and our dirt officially becomes ours. there may be pix from those little events. have a happy, happy holiday weekend!

365/52 week 19

just a quickie tonight ... i'm beat. we went to see the twins play in the new stadium today - awesome (i'll share pix soon), but also 90 degrees. i'm w.i.p.e.d. out.


day five of daddy being gone. i gave up on both cooking and caring about just what the heck my kids are doing.


i spent last saturday antiquing with my friend, sue, and finding some amazing new goodies for the house (i'll tell you more about them later, including the $20 chandelier for the new mudroom. remember the mudroom?). this building did not come home with me, but it was sure pretty.


sunday morning ... and my heart melted just a little.



(then harper gave me the stink-eye, so i took that as my cue to get lost so they could finish reading about ariel and her beautiful pony.)


ahh ... monday.


took pix of some beautiful kiddos who are getting ready to say goodbye to their daddy, who is heading to iraq soon. we'll miss you, jay!


on an errand to macy's, harper caught sight of this bed, gave a little gasp, and ran full-steam toward it and, wrapping her arms around it's atrocious brightness, delared, "mommy!! can i please please have this hawaii bed for my new room??" picked out a new bedspread for her room in the new house. (have i mentioned her new life-plan? to move to hawaii and be a fisherman by day, beader/dress maker by night?)


mchotness came home.



and that, my friends, was week 19.

sometimes i forget to take care.


there are days when the week has been so long, so lonely, so unappreciative of the fact that i keep the wheels turning all by my damn self, that i don't take care of how quickly these two are growing. i try so hard to give them my attention when they ask for it, or my feedback when they want it, or my laughter when they prompt it, but more times than not it's the easy road that gets handed to them so i can get back to whatever it is i need to do. even if all i need to do is sit and mope about how how long and lonely and unappreciative my days have been.

i felt let down on mother's day when there was no breakfast in bed, there were no sweet cards handmade by my children and thrust upon me at the glorious hour of 9 a.m. there were no flowers and card from my husband, thanking me for being on my own for the better part of 75% of the past three months, not to mention the last three years, and doing a bang-up job of holding down the fort and raising our offspring. there was no leisurely lunch or dinner provided by someone who knows their way around a fish taco and then cleaned up by someone who was thankful for the $10 they earned washing my dishes. i made the family's dinner. just like every other night.

and the disappointment of it sat on me all week long as i heard about all the lovely mother's day celebrations my friends had. as i sat stewing in the resentment that first thing monday morning, i was back on my own for five days, talking to marc maybe 10 minutes a day and always at around 10 p.m., when it was finally convenient for him to call his family.

and then it hit me:

i WANT to be appreciated. i WANT my presence to be acknowledged and enjoyed. i WANT someone to listen to me. i WANT people to say thank you for all the things i do, even if it's just all the little stuff i do each day (heaven knows marc likes to be thanked when he does the dishes ... like he's just done me some huge favor).

and then it occurred to me: do i do that for the kids? do i give them all the attention and respect and energy they deserve from me each day? am i telling them how much i appreciate their love for each other? am i allowing them to really and truly get everything they need from me?

with henry, it's both easy and hard to do these things. easy, because it's always been simple to quantify the things that make me proud: how smart he is, how respectful, how obedient, how sweet. hard, because this year has been a little different for us. last year, he goofed around when taking the test that would qualify him for entrance to the gifted academy and he missed the cut-off by just a couple of points, thus keeping him out of the same class as 99% of his friends. his attitude has been different this year, and his level of interest in school and pride in his work has declined. all he wants to do is play his video games and read. now, i can't fault him for the reading - i applaud how much he loves to read! he reads when he's supposed to be getting dressed, he reads when he's in the bathroom, he tries to read while brushing his teeth, he reads at the table, he reads in the car, he reads the minute he gets home, he reads in bed when his lights are supposed to be off. but because of the video games, he's now choosing to spend much of that reading time with things like the pokemon index and guides to various mario worlds. not really anything that will benefit him in any way. unless he grows up to be a poke-trainer.

he's so tall, and his feet and hands are so big, and i think he's getting self-conscious about that. he hunches and lurches and walks with this lazy, goofy amble. i worry about him being teased when he enters junior high in just 15 short months.

however, now that he's in track, he's getting more self-confidence and he's becoming willing to TRY ... a trait that has always alluded him. he's been so smart and capable of learning easily for so long that anything requiring him to GIVE IT A GO has been swept under the rug in favor of something he's less likely to not do well. something else that's given him a reason to try was being invited to re-test for the gifted academy for next year. i explained to him that he can't just assume he knows all the answers; he needs to make sure he reads all the questions and provides the answer the test is seeking. so he did that, and he bettered his score by nearly 20 points, well within the range of being admitted to the academy. and the fact that he will once again be with all of his friends ... i have high hopes for his mood and willingness to TRY and WORK next year.

i need to remember to not pressure him or express disappointment when he doesn't put forth the effort i think he should have. because when i take a good hard look at it, i also haven't put forth proper effort in being 100% proactive with him for the past year or two. i've let my attention to his activities slide, in the name of "i can't possibly do this one more minute of one more hour of one more day right now." it's easier to give in than to fight.

with harper, it's been a different story. because she's such a different child than henry, i've had a harder time relating to her in many ways. with henry, the first few years were all about expanding his mind, because that's what he and i both loved. with harper, she could quite honestly not care less about learning to write, about sounding out letters, about completing a maze. she wants to use glitter, and build houses for ants, and bake something. and those things take too much of my presence. after doing this mom gig for the past 10 years, the last three of it largely on my own, i've hit burn-out point. harp is getting the short end of the mommy stick. we haven't been as involved with friends and outings as henry and i were, and that isolation definitely has a hand in my apathy. then again, she's my HOME girl. every day she asks me if we're going to just please stay home. she doesn't want to go to school, she doesn't want to do errands, she doesn't want to have to get dressed. she wants to please just stay home with me and talk about her stuffed animals or pretend she's a turtle.

they are amazing children, and they truly are my world, and i couldn't possibly love them more or be more proud of them. i want everyone they meet to know how special they are. i want their families to want to know them and talk to them and adore them for the wonderful little beings that they are before it's too late and they are too old to want to share their lives with people other than the friends they deem important enough to be in their realm. but as much as i want others to give my kids the time of day and not hurt them with indifference, i need to remember that about my own actions, especially because marc is gone so often. i need to double-time my attention to and appreciation of them. and that is so hard to do when the well feels so empty.

i hear people - even marc - telling me that i need to make myself a priority. but i just can't. with the little energy i have to care each day, i need to make sure it goes to my kids. i can't spend it on me and then send them off to fend for themselves. there's a balance that needs to be struck here, and i haven't quite figured out yet what that balance is. but for today, the scale tips to the side of my kids getting my all, because i haven't done so hot with that lately.

365/52 week 17. and 18.

we've had interminable rain, interminable absence from marc, and my energy and chipperness have pretty much left the building. but i have pix ... so, okay.


henry and i have been watching "jamie oliver's food revolution," and henry expressed interest in cooking the stir fry jamie got the town to cook. so i bought the cookbook, harper and i chopped the ingredients, and henry cooked the entire meal. and loved it. one less chore i need to worry about, i guess.


first track meet. henry did a great job, considering this was his first organized team sport ever. he even chose to run the mile ... amazing!!






started getting prices for tile for the bathrooms next year. i'm fixated, i tell you.



trying to learn headstands. funny stuff to watch, truth be told.



we can now accessorize the ponies. it's a good day when she gets a bow.



i really, really, really just want to stay in bed some days.


daddy was home for three hours this week, during which we attended harper's kindergarten (ack!!) open house and rode a school bus.


another day at the track. my son has the dubious honor of being one of the only kids able to climb the goal post.



what i got for mother's day.


drove by our dirt. saw the new neighbor's house going up. which further solidified the fact that we'll be the smallest house in the neighborhood.



the unceasing rain has made the world lush and green. it can stop now.



mall of america sugar rush with emma.


sending my child off for yet another day of school. in the rain.



seacrest out.

no-brainer storyboards

ever since i started writing blog content for andie smith designs, i've gotten to play with many storyboard templates that she has designed to make the photography/blogging work flow so much easier and more efficient. verdict? definitely easier and more efficient. whereas posting individual photos in a post takes a minute or so for each one, and then trying to figure out how to size it so the post flows nicely, nearly always causing an apoplectic fit when words wrap strangely, i can now pop a half a dozen or more photos into one template, upload that one image, and bam: done.

this works nicely for photographers, who want to display a few images from a shoot ...

5-11 stybds-2
to the mainstream blogger who just wants to share photos from a vacation ...

5-11 stybds

or the artistic talents of their amazing offspring, while totally borrowing the idea from this etsy shop ...

5-11 stybds-3
if you think storyboard templates sound like something that might make your life a happier, less-stressful place (and truthfully ... who doesn't think that about life??), run over to andie smith designs and check out her wares!! and i hear there might be a contest coming up soon about just this sort of thing ... ;o)

i'm going to need rehab by the time this year is over.

we're still 10 months from breaking ground on our dirt, but i've already planned out pretty much the entire house. i was joking with our rep the other day that the design process will likely take about four days because i'm so ready and have already thought everything through in great detail.

someone seriously needs to tell me to "walk away from the floor plans. and tile websites. and decorating blogs."

the saddest thing? of all the rooms in the house-to-be, the one i'm most obsessed with, the one that's completely planned out at this point, is ... are you ready for this? ... the mudroom.


i think it has something to do with the fact that we'll actually HAVE a place to hang coats and remove shoes and hang backpacks and keep out-of-season outerwear, etc. right now, we have the world's most useless front closet, that opens directly into a 3x5 entryway (with tile that's falling apart), that opens directly into the dining room.

it's pathetic. and so, so frustrating, especially when shoes take over and no one hangs up a coat or a bag. heaven help us when visitors come and suddenly there are MORE shoes and coats.

so, in my "marc's out of town for the week and i don't know what to do with myself once the kids are in bed" mood the past few days, i did this:

and it will go like this:

(feel free to tell me to get a life. ha ha. seriously, though ... i should.)

we're getting ready to re-tile our entryway, and i picked up some old-school-looking lino tile - you know, the 12x12 squares of flecked retro-ness - and decided i'm in love with it. plus, they are on the green building list because they are made out of natural materials. plus, they are super durable and easy to care for. and the more i thought about it, the more i realized i want to use a checkerboard of tiles that are white with little flecks of gray and gray with little flecks of darker gray in the new house's mudroom and main floor bathroom. the main color on the first floor will be white - walls, woodwork, etc., the mudroom is just off the kitchen, and the island will be topped with brushed stainless steel, and the bathroom and my studio will be that robin's egg blue "white rain" color, so how cute would the gray and white look?

the whole thing started when i saw that old wire storage rack in the sundance catalog. that got the old brain working. built-in "lockers" are not something i've wanted ... i just don't get the idea of putting wet shoes and coats in an expensive built-in. a mudroom, to me, should be utilitarian, not fancy. that wire rack personifies "utilitarian," plus i think it and the bench would be a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for the construction and painting of the lockers.

i was watching an episode of "sarah's house" one evening (i adore sarah richardson) and saw her use this ikea bench in a mudroom and i loved its lines.  plus, there is room under the bench for shoes, for those who live in my house who are unable to put shoes in the supplied shoe cubby.

and the pottery barn system already lives in my office. so, free. plus, it would be so much handier in a place where i could actually use it to track my family.

so, that's it. that's what i have been obsessing about for the past five days. ridiculous, i know, but i look at it as a proactive exercise. planning ahead ... that's never a bad thing, right?

first, a. then, b.

a) i have a new article up on it may involve stuff like this:

and b) my college roommate's husband introduced me to my newest obsession: mumford & sons. am i the last person to know about these guys? they are perfection wrapped up in an british rock/folk/bluegrass package. i'm in love. i bought the cd within 24 hours of mike sending me a link to a song. thank you, mike. and this is my favorite: