“Slumber” Party

When I was a little girl, my favorite weekend of the year was the weekend my father took my brothers to Fathers and Sons outing.  When they left, it was just ME and my MOM.  Well, for five years, anyway.  After that there was a pretty little red-headed sister to go with.

Anyway, one year in particular always stood out to me.  It was by far and away the most special.  Mom invited her friend Tammy over.  Her friend Tammy had a daughter named Lindsay, and Lindsay and I were great friends.  Mom told me that we were going to… watch “Cinderella” and eat cookie dough!  I should have liked to DIE from the excitement of it all.  Mom set fancy place mats on the floor in front of the TV, put cookie dough on a glass plate, and then let me relish everything girly.  It. Was. Spectacular.

Yesterday, I braved the city alone.  Alone plus my kids, I mean. Remember my last trip?  The one where my kids ate gum from under the tables and yelled out “Doggy Doo Doo!” in the middle of a food court?  Well, yesterday was MUCHmuchmuchmuch better.  We had a good time, all in all.  I came home and put most of my groceries away.  I usually put them ALL away right when I get home, but after a day in the city with my kids -even a good day -I’m exhausted.  I was so glad I bought a rotisserie chicken for dinner right up until the moment I opened the back hatch of my car and it fell out, popped open like a plastic Easter egg and absolutely rolled in my gravel driveway.  You can bet I brought it right in the house and rinsed the snot out of it.  And then? We ate it.  There’s nothing wrong with a little grit in your diet, right?  My husband pulled me up next to him on the couch to show me the latest and greatest phones.  I’m up for an upgrade and there’s nothing he loves better than new techie toys.  It wasn’t but 10 minutes into his clicking on pictures of phones that I realized something: I didn’t care about phones.  I just wanted to watch a television show and completely zone out.  So I told him that -nicely, of course.  He understood, helped me get the kids to bed, and then he went to bed himself after turning all of the lights off in the house.  I was left alone with the comforting glow of the television.

Until my daughter came out.

“Mom, my movie is over.”
“Okay, run and go potty and then go to bed.”
Off she went.
“Mom,” she came back a few minutes later, “Can I have a drink?”
“Not at night, baby.”
“A snack?”
“There’s grapes in the fridge.”
Off she went.

It was getting ridiculously late. I watched the clock pass 1 am -I knew I was staying up way too late, but it just felt SO good to sit and think of NOTHING and have NO ONE need me.
“Mom,” I looked up to see my daughter standing in front of me in the darkness, “I just have a sleepover for us in my room. You might come. I have blankets and a pillow for us and dolls for me and for you.”
Ummmmm… adorable.
Could YOU tell her that it was 1:15 in the morning and there’s no such thing as sleepovers for 4 year olds at 1 AM?! I couldn’t. I absolutely could not. I snagged her, had her watch the end of my TV show with me, and then I made my way into her room where a party awaited.

Blankets, pillows, and dolls as promised. The movie of choice? Cinderella.
She handed me a small bunch of grapes and directed me to a small wooden box where I could put the stems.
The dolls had been primped accordingly.

So we HAD to be dressed to match:

As Cinderella played on her television screen, she informed me that at slumber parties… you PLAY.
“We might just play and then put our toys away like Daddy says to.”
We played dolls until they all got fevers. Then we played doctors using a night eye mask (the white silky kind) as a doctor’s face mask (because it works better for that anyway). Around 2, I explained to her that while slumber parties are great fun, I still had to get up with the boy sleeping on the bed next to us.
She wasn’t having it.
But she finally gave in.
And guess what? I’ve been up for over and hour and she’s still sleeping soundly on her floor. Trenton is actually using her as a big pillow and she’s dead to the world.
The special thing about my daughter -er, ONE of the special things -is that if she takes even the slightest bit of a nap, she won’t sleep at night.
And yes, she slept in the car on the drive home from the city.

Someone please come bolster me up today. I’ve got groceries to put away, toys to go through (we were given an entire SLEW of toys from Aunt Lilly last night. TWO BINS of Polly Pockets. She couldn’t be happier!), a kitchen to clean (my son climbed on the counter yesterday and helped himself to powdered sugar, butter, and dry spaghetti noodles. Yum?).
And a few phone calls.
And errands.
“And then there’s the mending and the sewing and the laundry…”


But I’m tired!  The priceless slumber party has taken my motivation from me.  But it was MORE than totally worth it.  Not to brag or anything (but of course I mean to)… my daughter is the coolest.Photobucket


10-Day Challenge

A friends of mine is hosting a fashion challenge, and I thought it would be good for me to join up given my utter lack of fashion skillz. In high school, my entire wardrobe was furnished by Thrift and NONE of it matched, but I was prodigious proud of it.
When I met my husband, he remarked that my clothing was something he loved about me… my insane ability to wear pretty much whatever and pull it off. Once we were married, however, I became something of his pet. My husband -now this is his secret, so keep it. Won’tcha? -is remarkably good at dressing people. He can pick out a stellar outfit. He’s great with sizing and coloring and he’s all mine. I needed him desperately as a 20-year old. Thrift clothes that don’t match are fine and dandy for a teenager with a quirky sense of humor, but once that teenager marries (yes, I married as a 9TEEN year old) she needs to sort of mature out of the stage where she wears shirts that say “I dig boys in bands.”

My husband worked at a retail store, and using his discount he dressed me. By the time he left that job (2 1/2 years and one child later), I had a new wardrobe. It molded my style. While I still insist on wearing crazy clothes now and then, I’ve more or less tamed that unruly side of me that wore wrap-around red skirts with worn out cowboy hats.
Just typing that made me REALLY miss high school.
Oh, look at that. Two seconds later: I’m over it.

Anyway, I figured the fashion challenge would be good for me. It’s ten days long. Rachelle -The Woman in Charge -has listed a bunch of cue cards. We pick a card a day and using some of the cues on it, dress accordingly. Today is the first day I’ve dressed naturally. I mean: something I’d actually wear out. The last two days have been rife with grown-up dress-up time. My daughter was my photographer the past two days. My husband was suckered into it today.
I paid my daughter a quarter for each shoot, and she hated every second of it. Poor little trooper.
I didn’t pay my husband.
He’s a slave for me.

Here’s the first three days.
Day one: Bohemian, titled “BOHO” for short. It makes me sound unnecessarily loose.

I’m wearing a peasant blouse with a flowy skirt and my turquoise necklace was my mom’s. She wore it to her 8th grade graduation. It’s one of my greatest treasures. AND it was one of my best fashion accessories in high school. I made it go with everything.

Day two: Man inspired. This day was definitely the most dressy-upped. I would never dress like this for realsies, so it was fun putting it together. Also: please pretend my head isn’t there. It’s the worst part of the picture. I should have taken my glasses off, but they kind of matched the tie a little too well.

Day three: Romance. Today isn’t dressy-upped at all. Today I’m going to leave the house like this and conquer the world. Or get the shopping done. Whichever.
Ruffled blouse, ballet flats, huge flower ring, and a free skirt (couldn’t leave that out. AND the skirt has pockets. Wonder of wonders! I’m just like a woman from the 40’s!).

If you haven’t guessed already, my jewelry is made by my aunt Cat. I’m really not big into jewelry (that isn’t from my mom’s teen years), but everything Cat makes… I HAVE to have. There’s an inherent need in me to OWN it.
Here’s some more of her creations. Look to the sidebar for her etsy shop. (If you scroll down, there a “love” necklace which I now own and wear and love.)

To browse through the other ladies’ outfits, click HERE.

Who’d Think of Marryin’ an Octogenarian?

I got a letter in the mail yesterday:


I have NO IDEA how I got on THAT mailing list, but I do know this: they probably just thought I was old.

My favorite magazine is Lehman’s Product magazine. I love all of their products, American-made (sometimes Amish-made) and they all promote self-sustainability.

One of my favorite past times is crocheting my stress away.

I love to make my own everything: crackers, english muffins, bread, jam… and I like to do it from scratch.

I tend to buy old lady clothing and LOVE it. My husband has affectionately dubbed my style “old lady” and I honestly couldn’t be more pleased. My love of polyester knows no bounds.

I spend the day listening to classic country on Pandora, and I’d rather listen to old country than anything else.

I refuse to use text lingo such as “btw” and “idk” and “sa;oairwaenoaig;” and I think it somehow makes me the stuffy old English teacher who never smiles and smells like medical salve.

I’d rather wear a house dress than jeans.

I spend my laundry day watching black and whites. Turner Classic Movies is my favorite station.

So MAYBE just maybe… The Scooter Store is justified in sending me their mail. I’d better take the free mobility assessment they offered me, just in case.
I am all for self-sustainability on the cheap.


My husband hacked off his facial hair for family pictures. I’ve enjoyed seeing his gorgeous face for a few days, never mind that he’s already in the process of growing his beard back.

Our family picture adventure was a success! My brother was the chief photographer (working hard while his wife shot pictures at a wedding), and he did an amazing job! I never doubted him for a moment because I’ve known him long enough to know that whenever he does a job, he does it perfectly -no matter what it is. He’s the very best! And he’s sooooo handsome.

See? What a looker! But really:

I lub him.

We lived across the hall from each other for years, and I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to just slip back in time -just for a few hours -to sit on the couch in his room. Those were some good days. Those were some emotional roller-coaster ride days as well. Ah, high school.

Anyway, Mike did an amazing job, and my kids love him. We took the pictures just west of town on my grandpa’s land. There were corrals and cornfields and sunflowers everywhere (obviously). We all got et up by mosquitoes (poor Mike was such a champ) but it was WORTH it! Stay tuned for more pictures!


On the 16th, my son turned “fwee.” We got him everything he asked for and then some.
We asked him time and time again, “What do you want for your birthday?”
And time and time again, he answered, “Toy Story Cake and big gun.”

His Dad knew exactly what gun he wanted, and I took care of the cake. My husband has always been the stellar gift-giver in our family. I try really hard, but it just comes naturally to him. I sent him off to get the boy’s gifts, and he kept calling me.
“What about this?”
“Should I get that?”
“What color of…?”

I finally cut him off and said, “You know better than me! Get what you think would be best!”
And so he did.

A backpack!
Iron Man sunglasses!

The boy is big into backpacks. He actually slept with that thing on last night. And he’s presently clutching it in his little hands.
I’m no master cake maker to say NOTHING of my cake designing skills. I’m not big on fondant because
1) I don’t know how to use it.
2) I’m not big on the taste -even the homemade kind.
3) The kids don’t like it all that much.

So it was a losing cause. There is a Buzz Lightyear cake pan at Michael’s, but I would have had to make sure the cake didn’t stick AT ALL to the pan, and I’m pretty much the best at making cakes stick.
You would think all of this would add up to me just BUYING a Toy Story Cake, but no. No, I can’t do that.
And it’s all my mother’s fault.

Growing up, she would make us each a cake for our birthdays. I would sit by her side as she patiently dotted my care bear and Barbie cakes with icing. When she was done with the cake, she would pipe the leftover frosting onto my palm, making stars and faces… it was the best. I remember how exciting it was to SMELL the cake baking, to see Mom’s decorating kit on the counter. My children deserve the same. I have a feeling that in a few years, when they’re old enough to see the reality of Mom’s Botched Cakes (should I trademark that?), they’ll BEG for a regular store bought cake. BUT UNTIL THAT DAY… I will bake and frost and eat half of the icing.

Instead of buying a Buzz cake pan, I decided to buy Toy Story figurines and jam into the icing on top of the cake. The figurines, I should note, cost the same amount as the cake pan would have. Isn’t that madness?

Also, when I bake layered cakes, I use one cake mix and make three layers. I don’t know WHAT kept me from thinking straight. I thought I should make a four layer cake, and because my brain is on some kind of Primary overhaul, I did simple math.
4 layers.
2 cake mixes.
2 layers per mix.

And I didn’t realize exactly what I was getting myself into until I started stacking the layers, and then I went… ooooooooops.
Tack one more onto Mom’s Botched Cakes!
I set the cake on a glass platter, and I set the glass platter onto a glass candlestick.
You all know how I feel about cake platters.

This is what four layers looks like:

One layer of confetti cake, one layer of white cake with blue food coloring. And repeat. I asked the boy what color he wanted the layers to be, and he said:
“Toy Story.”
“Ok, but what COLOR of Toy Story cake? Blue? Green? Orange?”
“I want Toy Story.”
“Blue Toy Story? Green Toy Story?…” I gently prodded. At this point he literally GRIT HIS TEETH and through clenched jaw hissed, “TOY STORY.”
Wowza, he’s a regular birthday-zilla.

And speaking of birthdays… we had one a few days ago! A brand new niece! I’ve been dying to post some pictures of her, and I can’t WAIT to see her in person.
Welcome to the world, Olivia!

Family Pictures Scheduled

Months and months ago, I set a date to have family pictures taken by Brushfire Photography.

That day, lords and ladies, is today. I’m excited, but I’m not one of those awesome moms that shows at at photo shoots with adorable props, coordinating outfits, and super original pose ideas. To quote my daughter, I’m just regoo-ler.
And that’s okay. Honestly, if I did hang family pictures on our wall of us in coordinating clothes and cute poses, everyone would say “Why do you have a big picture of strangers on your wall?” And I’d have to go through the painstaking process of explaining that the perfectly posed and coordinated people on my wall were actually US. And then I’d have to endure their stifled laughter.

So it’s really better this way. My husband picked out some clothes for us that sort of match, and we’re taking along a change of clothes for more relaxed and funzy pictures.
But really.
I wish yesterday could have gone a little better.

As I’m scheming and thinking of picture ideas, my children were terrible and awful. They haven’t been THIS terrible and awful since I don’t know when. All I know is that I was frantically texting my husband, who had to stay late at work, and letting him know that Mama was on the verge of bursting into tears.

The kids fought ALL day long. She stole his toys repeatedly and then she chased him around the house for the sole purpose of hearing him scream. And scream he did. He’d scream all the way to my side, and by the fifth time it had happened, I hurled him back into the game and commanded that he GET HER BACK and NOT PUT UP WITH BEING CHASED. So he did. And a few seconds later, a screaming girl was at my side, claiming “he HIT me!” to which I replied, “Well it’s about time!”
And that’s when I knew something was up. Mothers should never condone bad behavior. Frazzled mothers often do, though, on account of the frazzledness.
I got a lot done yesterday -never mind the little dears -and that felt pretty good. I made homemade laundry soap, four loaves of zucchini bread (the little darlings sabotaged an entire loaf while it cooled, but never mind that as well), made and canned salsa, did the dishes, folded the laundry, made phone calls, and I even got to BATHE.
As I went to put away some laundry I had folded, I came across this (please note that “picked up the hallway” was NOT on my list of things I accomplished yesterday):
My son taught himself how to use scissors. How maddeningly proud I am. I love it when my kids teach themselves how to do something. I puff up my chest, but only so long as it takes me to get the vacuum… and I didn’t even get that chance. Because as I took that picture, my son came and told me that the girl done pooped.

And that was it. I cashed in my sanity card and the texts to my husband became nearly hostile.
I reported the pooper and got no sympathy at all. He thought it was funny, but it wasn’t. So help me, it was NOT!
Stop laughing!

By the end of the night, I guzzled a brownie, washed it down with milk and then went straight to bed.
Today we’re going to take family pictures.
Today we’re going to like each other, even if we have to FAKE it.
Today we’re going to make memories that we’ll look at in 15 years and say “awwww…”
But most of all, we’re going to steer clear of trees…

Work, Whether You Whistle or Not

I’ve always believed that being near the soil is good for the soul.  I was raised to learn the value of hard work.  Now wait: that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes retreat to my blankies and a good book once in a while because I do.  Obviously, I do.  But I know what it takes to make life work, and it’s work.  It’s as simple as that.

Call me conservative.


I came across this video today, and I wanted to share it with my Dad. Dad worked on Grandpa’s dairy for a long time, so I knew he’d appreciate it. But after I finished watching it, I wanted to share it with all of you because it touched me.
It’s about a Mormon, but that’s not what I loved. I loved his simplistic attitude -his easy smile. Most of all, I love that he can’t seem to be bothered with making a little movie because he’s got WORK to do.

I’m off to take Loretta’s zucchini bread out of the oven and put another batch in.

I’m Grateful for the Moon…

My husband and I have always had a special sort of dynamic to our relationship. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, so I’ll illustrate instead.
As noted in my previous post, my motivation and creativity have been debunked. This means I’ve spent the last two days under a blanket reading “The Help” emerging only to tend to necessities. I bathed, fed the children, did a few dishes, made a few meals, bottled the blasted peppers, got the mail, and powdered my nose on occasion.
Other than that? I read a book. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve sat down and read a book of fiction, cover-to-cover? I don’t. Needless to say: it’s been a long time. I think the last time I was able to was when I was in the hospital with an infection a few days after I birthed the boy.
In any case, it felt bloody wonderful.

But my husband, though he wouldn’t say, wouldn’t agree.
Do you know what he did last night? He cleaned. He vacuumed. He completely mucked out the laundry room (on account of it’s flooding while HE did laundry).
You might think: Wow, Alicia is a lazy BUM and doesn’t deserve a husband like that. To which I would say: bollocks. I’m just busted, is all. Out of motivation, energy, and spunk.
My husband is the good sort that picks up where I leave off -partly because he loves me, but mostly because he can’t stand clutter.

This has happened before (don’t pretend to be surprised). The house has gotten away from me, and my husband has managed it while I did something else less amazing. And I’d be et up with guilt the entire time he huffed around the house, broom in hand. I’d berate myself for my lack of… pretty much everything.
If I was really a good wife, I would have had all of this done.
I bet he regrets shacking up with me.
He could have anyone.
I should change my name to Millstone.

But last night, I didn’t. Last night, I was just grateful for him.
I’m grateful for him even though he would have RATHER been resting or reading or playing Stupid Zombies (thanks to Kourtney Butler for that)… he cleaned. Was he happy about it? Not at all. Did he voice it? Not even once.

Though my mind be completely void of anything really and truly fun or inspiring, it is stuffed full of gratitude.

I’m grateful for my husband -the willing man who sticks by my side even when my best foot is rather less than forward and even sometimes in my mouth.
I’m grateful for my kids who show their love through giving me flowers.
And telling me they want to be just like me.
(I wear those stylin’ gloves when I chop up peppers, something I must learn to teach my little sister, apparently)
I’m grateful that in the middle of my slump, I opened my mail box to find THREE packages.
I’m grateful for Loretta in so many ways it would absolutely bore you to nausea to hear about it.
And now I’m grateful I have her zucchini bread recipe.
I’m grateful my mail order vitamins were found and remailed. Is that word: remailed?
They’ve brought strength into my fingernails the likes of which haven’t been seen since I was 17.

Before I get to the last package, I just have to say: I’m grateful my kids aren’t in school yet. I’m grateful I can tote them around with me and I’m grateful they BOTH fit in the front seat of the little electronic rocking trains in Wal-Mart. They’re at the best age, and I’m savoring (almost) every minute with them.Photobucket

Finally: I’m grateful for my brother:
He surprised me with a book RIGHT when I needed it -and how could he have known? I guess because he always does. He always knows what I need to hear when I need to hear it. He’ll always be my Dear Abby.
And because I turned the very last page of that book last last night while my husband mopped, I can get back on my feet today.
Is that a word: reinspired?

Anyway, every sister should have a brother -at least one.
Someone who will share guns and apples and eventually books and life’s joys (and grievances).

I’m falling short and grateful for everyone who has tuned in to pick up my slack.
And I’ll also be grateful if someone can tell me the movie the title is from.
“I’m grateful for the Moon, I’m grateful for the earth…”

Ere I Walk

I’ve been buried alive.

I’m coming up for air under a pile of papers that need filing, bills that need calling on (where are my mail order vitamins?!), errands that need running, tasks that need doing, peppers that need pickling… the list goes on.

You know what stinks? My creativity has been absolutely slapped upside the head. It’s being a downright pout about the whole thing and has taken refuge in the uppermost corner of my brain, vowing it will NEVER COME OUT! No matter how hard I beg.

It’s a sort of grief to me that I’ve cracked my Lappy open everyday since Friday and didn’t have ANYTHING to say. Even this morning, I stared at my computer screen and thought ‘Hell has frozen over.’

I went to the city this weekend with the grand idea that I’d buy you some glossing straightener and give it away, but I decided to spend the money on a piano book full of Johnny Cash songs instead, and I hated myself for it right up until the moment I sat down and cranked out “Ring of Fire.”
I’m not going to lie -THAT felt pretty darn good.

But I WISH… that I actually made a teensy bit of money doing this. Not much -not enough to even profit from it, by golly. Just enough to pay for my monthly fee of keeping it AND buy you products I love to GIVE to you. That’s all! I mean, I really wanted to buy you some glossing hair straightener, but it would have taken one month’s piano lesson earnings, and frankly: I wanted Johnny.

I don’t have any pictures to share with you, either. And after a weekend of the county fair, a small town football game, A BIRTHDAY (for shame), a massive Toy Story Cake, and entire DAY in the city… I’ve got nothing.

And that isn’t like me AT ALL. AT. ALL!

It isn’t as if I don’t have any fodder for posting. But my creativity, as I said, slammed the door on me.
Maybe it’s hearing my pleas. Maybe it will pop back up tomorrow.
As it is: I really have a bucket load of stuff to do, and I have to log off.
Here’s to a day of doing and a few Johnny Cash breaks.

Do You Ever…?

Throw your to-do list out the windder and go to the county fair instead? I did.
Do you ever watch a television series instead of live, even if it isn’t AMAZING? I do.

Do you ever sort of give up on a television series after the main characters get together because THAT’S all you really cared about and NOT the actual plot line? I did.

Do you ever stop and think -after a kid asks you about a ride at the fair and you can’t answer because it’s been almost 20 years since you’ve ridden it -about how old you are? I did.

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with gratitude for all of your blessings -so much so that you can barely speak, let alone find words to express it? I do.

Do you ever want to eat your children because they are so so sosososo SO delicious? I  do.Photobucket


Do you ever ride the Ferris Wheel, even though it now costs as much as it does to go to a Matinee? We did.

Do you ever look through your pictures to prove to yourself that your son really did just turn 3 as of 7:56 this morning?
I did.




Do you ever look back on the last few years and wonder if you really appreciated it like you should have? That’s what I’m doing today. Oh, and I’m also making orange pancakes. The birthday boy gets what the birthday boy wants!