Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Eli loved taking pictures all weekend. I see a camera in that kid's future.

I told myself that I wasn't going to freak out until after Christmas was over, and I stayed true to my word. We had an amazing Christmas weekend. Every year since we moved to California we've gone to Yosemite on Christmas Eve Eve. Knowing that this might be our last year, and we made the most of it. It was amazing! We stumbled upon a choir at the Awahanee (a super fancy lodge) and the kids were thrilled to hear that Santa was on his way. Definitely our best Santa experience yet. No laps still, but Syd didn't claw my face trying to get away, and Eli was brave enough to reach in and take a toy (stuffed squirrels! Adorable!) from Santa's bag.

Plus, for the first time in years you could get to Tenaya Lake. It was completely frozen over, so Eli was able to finally test out the skate-trainers my boss lends us every year. Syd loved sitting on the sled and playing with the ice.

We came home and gorged ourselves on spaghetti and meatballs. Eli schemed how he was going to stay up and see Santa, but decided "not to risk it" after we told him that if Santa knew he was awake, he wouldn't come. Which meant no presents for him OR Syd. He compromised by asking if he could stay up later than Sydney. Then crashed about ten minutes after he left cheese and crackers out for Santa, because he figured that Santa probably needed something more substantial than just cookies (and he ate the last one).

I want to dress them alike every day

In the morning Eli was up at 5:30 whisper-begging to either get up or watch a cartoon (OMG. Totally a post for another day but the kid is obsessed. Like 12-step obsessed.). C made him wait until 6:20 to get everyone up, and luckily Syd woke up at about 6:15. We all trooped down the hall to find that Santa had brought Eli "THE SPIDERMAN HOUSE!!!!!" and Syd had a brand new, very pink, shopping cart and Abby Cadabby doll (the first of many babies of the day).

The skirt was a hit! So were the blocks and the wood peg people, but I forgot to take pictures. I'll try to get one soon. The people have already become well traveled and segregated into "cool guys" and "everyday guys." I've been chastised for not including a Black Ranger. So overall, total win.

We finished off the day with a family viewing of Captain America, popcorn, and apples. Absolute perfection.

Turns out Christmas ended at 7:00, because that's when the freaking out commenced. I was hit with an almost unbearable need to take down all the Christmas stuff and start packing. I resisted, mostly because we had company, but did wake up and put together all my packing supplies. In a box. With a sharpie. And I feel a little better.

Everyone agreed this was one of the best ones yet. No one projectile vomited all over the room, we had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see an amazing lake and play on the ice, and Christmas itself was easy and perfect. Homemade Christmas was a huge hit. My dad asked me, "If money wasn't an object, would you do it again?" After not-much thought at all, I said that I definitely would. This year I enjoyed the gifting process. I put a lot of thought and effort in, got to work my creative muscles, and I never once had to go to Target.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sibling gifts

Eli and Sydney got in on homemade Christmas too. It was pretty awesome to see Eli especially put thought and effort into Syd's gift. He came up with the idea, and did most of the execution. So adorable!
Syd made Eli a t-shirt
(the tie originally said "Best Brother Ever" but the sentiment got lost in the art)

Eli asked to make Syd "a little skirt. Like a ballerina. A red one."

They both worked together on C's (idea from Pinterest). The road is on the back, so when they drive on it he gets a back rub :)

So freaking cute. I can't wait until Christmas.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Got the letter (FINALLY!)

We're headed to Choice 2. We're both a little disappointed, but also excited to move forward and put all this uncertainty behind us. Plus Choice 2 has an IKEA, so you know I'll be rocking that :)

So yeah. Next adventure? Moving a family of four, a dog, and an enormous cat to a new city in 30 days. Aaaaannnd... GO!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Y'all. My stupid letter didn't come today. Other people got theirs, but I haven't gotten mine. The chiefs at work have a list, but it's confidential and they have instructions not to inform anyone of their placement before they receive the letter. I do know that I was matched and have a transfer, but I don't officially know where. It was "suggested" that it's Choice 2, but that was all very cryptic and vague and now I keep replaying every comment every person made today. C and I talked, and no matter what people say, it won't be "real" until we see it on paper. I'm so frustrated right now.

The good news is that I and most of my co-workers were placed. That means we have jobs. Most of my co-workers got their first choices, which means most of them don't have to relocate. Both of my top choices involve relocation, which brings us to the bad news.

According to other people (who have their stupid f-ing letter in their hand), the transfer comes with a hard (read "non-negotiable") start date of January 18th. Giving me 32 days to pack and move.

So yeah. Freaking the freak out.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Not yet

No letters yet. Supposedly there was "official confirmation" that the letters were sent out yesterday. There's also a list of "numbers but no names" that suggests that most, but not all of us, got matched to a site. The list also suggests that most of my co-workers' first choice (because of it's commutability) got several new psychs but didn't fill all their spots. This is good because it suggests that everyone who wanted to go there will. My first choice is less clear, so I may be good, or I may have to go to my second choice. Hopefully we'll know tomorrow. Both choices are good, and I will be grateful to have a job, but I'll be sad if I get my second choice. Some new information has come out that makes Choice 2 a little less appealing, but I'm trying not to focus on that. So good thoughts, wishes, prayers, etc. would be appreciated. Longest. Week. Ever.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tick tock

Waiting waiting waiting. The theme for this week is "Nervous Energy." We all filled out our voluntary transfer options a few weeks back, and the packet stated that we "would be notified the week of December 14th" whether we were able to get a transfer and where. So now it's the week of December 14th. There was a rumor, based on other weird things happening, that the letters were being sent out last Friday. Saturday I literally ran INTO (as in, with my face) the mailman's truck and ripped the mail from his hands. Yesterday was okay, I think because C and I finally got through our "take out all our stress on each other" so we were in the lovey, teamwork rocks! make-up haze. But today. Oh today. At work we all compared notes to see who's mail came earliest (damn my route! Our mail doesn't get here until around six) and we all crowded around the guy with the earliest time's phone, waiting for his wife to call. Of course, no letter today. Conspiracy theories abound based on staffing models, other people's rankings, even the wording of "the week of December 14th." "What does that mean? Why would they choose that day? The 14th is a Wednesday..." Crazy people, all of us. Though I still really want my first choice, at this point I just want to know so that we can get on with our lives. And it'd be nice if I could stop stalking my mailman. He's sweet and all, but I'm pretty sure he's getting the wrong message.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Felt board Christmas tree

I found a pretty good size piece of green felt in the remnant bin (I'm obsessed with the freaking remnant bin. It's a sickness) a few weeks ago and just couldn't leave it. I figured I'd come up with something to do with it. *Cue Hoarders soundtrack* This morning, faced with another day of cleaning the house like a modern-day Sisyphus, I decided we'd use it to decorate. Five minutes later, literally, we had a Christmas tree! The kids were entertained by it for a good half-hour, which in our house makes it a total success.
In hindsight, I probably should've ironed the felt. Live and learn...
Syd especially likes rearranging the ornaments

I love this picture so. freaking. much.

Syd says, "Touch my tree and I'll cut you. I mean it." Girl is mean.
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Saturday, December 10, 2011


for a week of dinners that included frozen meatballs and PB&J?
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kicking the Dog

I'm feeling better. I took a long weekend and went with the kids to visit my dad and step-mom on the coast. I came home and prioritized all the "must-do's" "want-to-do's" and "Chick, are you crazy?s" Work, though frustrating and not all that conducive to not freaking the fuck out, is fine. I'm embarrassed to say that my work quality has dropped, but to be honest, a lot of the time I just don't care. It's hard to get passionate about change when you know you'll likely be leaving very soon. But I go, and I get my stuff done, and occasionally, like today, I have a really good day and do really good work. We're getting through. We should find out next week if/where we're going to transfer. We have a pretty good chance of getting into one of our top two, both of which would be great, (fingers crossed for my first choice cuz it would be AWESOME!) but more than anything I cannot wait to be out of this holding pattern.

One of the things I realized while I was gone was that I've been taking an awful lot of stress out on C. Too much. If I'm being honest, the poor guy has been my punching bag (figuratively, of course) for the past few weeks. Freud described it as "displacement" but all through school I've always thought of it as "kicking the dog." Essentially, you take out your anger and frustration on a less threatening target. I can't go to work and rage and be pissy and pout. So I come home and treat my husband like crap, resenting him for not magically knowing what I wanted him to do. Really not my finest moment. I'm trying to remember that he's going through this too. He's stressed out. And sometimes I'm a crazy person.
He's a lucky, lucky man

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fifteen minutes

It's 8:30 in the morning and today sucks. No, it capital "S" Sucks. It's one of those days where things just snowball, until you realize that there's really no way to turn it around. I woke up to my alarm at 5:00, only to find that I couldn't turn it off because there were too many people on top of me. As I brushed my teeth Eli came shuffling in, as he has for the past week, to shadow-kid my entire morning routine. He literally lays on the floor next to the shower. The cat puked in the hallway. No one's folded laundry in God-knows-how-long so I had to do the ever dignified dig for something acceptable to wear to work. I went to start my car, and found that C had left his keys in the door overnight. It took me five minutes to force the fucking key out of the door, while Eli sat next to the door wrapped in a blanket asking, "Mama, are you frustrated?" It's "C" show-and-share and Eli wants to take Tical (the cat of enormous size). Great idea, but not gonna happen. How about a camera? Can't find the f-ing battery. So he wants to take this quarter-machine ring that he gave me ages ago, since it's a "crystal." Sure, fine, whatever. Please be careful because it's very special to me. Blah blah blah. Literally as I'm walking out the door, just barely on time, C sends the baby out, saying "Incoming!" So back inside to situate the kids. Finally ready to go, I go to tell C (who is still in bed) goodbye and his parting words are "Take a deep breath. Try to calm down." I will tell you right now, saying "Calm down" to a sometimes high-strung working mother who currently is just barely holding her shit together is like writing your own death sentence. You may as well tell me to get back in the kitchen, take off my shoes, and remember my place.

I get to work, where a get a call from C who starts out saying, "You know that ring you gave Eli for school today? How important is it?" Deep breaths, because we both know where this is headed, and I'm trying to maintain perspective and not think about how Eli gave me that ring a year and a half ago because "It's beautiful like you Mama" "Well, Eli lost the stone and I'm trying to decide how much effort to put into finding it." If you'd seen my house this morning, you'd know that this was akin to finding the lost city of Atlantis. Deep breaths (though in my head I'm thinking "Did this really warrant a phone call? What do you want me to do about it?") "Oh wait, he found it. Should I let him take it to school? What do you want me to do?" ("Just super-glue the fucking thing. I don't care. I'm barely holding on and I've eaten two donuts since I got to work and everyone is looking at me with pity in their eyes and oh dear god I've lost all semblance of professionalism and I'm a walking fucking stereotype") "Babe? What do you want me to do? You know what? Nevermind, I have to go get the kids to school." Click. And then my head exploded all over my office. And now it's 8:45. It's going to be a long fucking day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I so very much wish that I had written this. She writes it as a stay-at-home mom, but I think it's true for all moms. I've never seen the "mom club" described so well. It's like we're all simultaneously embracing and generally surviving the same adventure. There's an awesome camaraderie, despite all the daily judginess, that comes with recognizing the look of sleep-deprivation and complete adoration in another woman's eyes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bow Board Tutorial

Last year my sister-in-law moved in with her boyfriend and his two awesome kids, an 8 year old girl and a 5 year old boy. We met them during our visit in July and fell in love. However, 5 days was not a ton of time to really get to know them. So I was really stuck for gift ideas for the girl (I'm pretty good on 5 year old boys right now). I had the idea to make her a few bows, but then thought I'd need to make a bunch to constitute an exciting gift. That's when I came up with the idea for a bow board to go with the barrettes. I really love how it came out, and it was super super easy.
A $4 frame from Target, a fat quarter, and trim scraps

Pop out the glass and replace with cardboard cut to size (taken out of the recycling bin)

Cover the cardboard with fabric, ensuring that you pull it tight as you glue

Lay out your ribbon. I started with an assymetrical design, but decided that I liked the weave pattern better.

In my disassembly I broke off the stand, so I glued this thick ribbon to the back so it could be hung on the wall

And covered the back in fabric to hide the scar from the broken stand. I actually like this a lot better. I think it gives it a finished look.

Ta da! I'll gift it with these bows I made. Altogether, including the bows, the cost of this project was less than $10 and took under 2 hours total. I think she's going to love it! And now I have to make Syd one...
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Wood peg dolls

I found this awesome tutorial via Pinterest and immediately fell in love with these little wooden people. I'm picturing them accompanying the wooden blocks that we're making for the kids. A few tips: I found that a straight pin was the easiest way to paint the eyes on. My brushes all made too big circles, which ended up looking a little freaky. I also had intended on much more specific characters (i.e. cowboy, space man, firefighter) but once I got started I liked the more generic ones better. That way the kids can make them be whatever they want. I ordered these through this website. I really wish I had bought the box of 100, verses 3 packs of 10. It wasn't a huge price difference, and I think I would have used them. Also, these were a bit smaller than I was imagining. If I did it again I may buy the bigger ones (2 1/8 in vs. 1 11/16th in).
Finally, ninjas are a great way to salvage ones that don't come out very well. Just paint over the whole thing black :)
These were so fun to make. I painted them in two nights after the kids went to bed and ended up with a very cute little village. I can't wait for the kids to see them. Now I'm trying to find a cute little box to put them in.

Of course there had to be Power Rangers. And ninjas.

About half the family. I added a few, including several generic people,
Batman, and a space alien.

I think this would have been a fun project to do with the kids too, and depending on how they like them I may buy more so we can add to the set. And if they don't like them? I'll probably steal them for myself.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

How we spent Black Friday

What do you do with two stir-crazy kids on Black Friday when it's too cold to go back to the park?
Take a cue from a friend and bust out the "trampoline"
I love long weekends at home.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011


It was a really awesome, fabulous day

"The Turkey Bowl 2011"
Where a bunch of 30-somethings play tackle football early in the morning and hope no one gets injured bad enough that they have to tell their wives. Thankfully, no one did.

The Turkey Bowl cheering section. Can you tell who's had coffee?

They FINALLY allowed a picture of them in their turkey hats for school. So freaking cute.

Third try at a Thanksgiving family picture (at my new table!) This one's my favorite. We can't all smile at the same time, but we can duck-face like nobody's business :)

I have been so filled with gratitude lately that I was really looking forward to today. A day with no consumerism and a day to spend just hanging out with my favorite people. In all the stress and B.S. of everyday life I love those moments that hit me with how lucky I am. We're all healthy, happy, and relatively sane. We have a freezer full of frozen meatballs and a pantry full of chicken broth and spaghetti sauce. I can go buy milk or get gas without having to balance my checkbook first. My kids go to an amazing daycare and I get paid well to do a job I would do for free. I have faith that grows stronger as my world becomes more uncertain. My friends are seeing miracles. Life is good and I am thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why shrinks have weird kids

Eli: Mama, are you frustrated?
Me: No, buddy, I'm okay
Eli: Mama, are you mad?
Me: No, Bud, I'm fine.
What is it about the backseat that makes kids so freaking conversant?
Eli: Mama, are sad?
Me: Nope
Eli: What are you feeling Mama?
Me: Bud, I'm fine! I'm just trying to concentrate so I can find this place.
Eli: No, Mama. That's a thought. I asked how you were feeling.

My husband and hundreds of clients are right, that is obnoxious.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I think he liked it

This is the face he made in the car as we pulled up to the studio

I couldn't get a decent picture without other people's kids in it, but just imagine him and six other little kids with crazy focus shouting "Yes Sir!"

Loosely-karate related accident. He bumped his knee on his mouth as he was running back to his circle. I think it counts.

Before we went we came up with a code, because Eli was worried that it wouldn't be fun or that it would be a "baby class." If he said "elephants" it meant that he liked it and if he said "peanuts" it meant he wanted to try somewhere else. At the end of the class, despite the bonk, he came running up to me whisper-yelling "Elephants! Elephants!" I'll have to work something out at work so I can get him to the one weekday class, but for now we're signed up. Twice a week he gets to put on his uniform, run like animals, and "show respect. It's very important, Mama."

He is so freaking in love with this uniform, and completely fascinated with the fact that he has to earn his belt.

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