I KNEW the Day Would Come

For years, I’ve been suspicious that I secretly had what it took to be fully dressed (this means socks AND shoes AND a bra), have make-up on and a clean house all…
AND people would come over unexpectedly.

Yesterday, it actually happened. There’s nothing sweeter than validated suspicions. Ahem, providing those suspicions are sweet and not awful (like “I think my husband is cheating on me”).

As I did laundry yesterday, there was a knock at the door. It was my neighbor from down the road. She’s a grandma with no local grandchildren. My daughter, The One Who Knows No Stranger, simply adopted her.
This brings her total Grandma count to 8. Seriously.
There’s Granny, Grammy, Grandma Hoopes, regglar Grandma, Great Grandma, Super Grandma (yes, that’s a thing), Other Super Grandma (yeah), and Grandma Elsie.
Grandma Elsie came by yesterday and we visited, and it was wonderful.
I was free from the pressing stress of the house, and I was able to just enjoy her company 100%.
I still enjoy company when my house isn’t clean, but I don’t enjoy it 100% because in the back of my mind I’m thinking, ‘uuuuugh… filth.’

Anyway, it finally happened yesterday. And it may never happen again, so please: applaud, or write it in your journal, or send up a hallelujah.

And then check my Muskateers out. They’re the best.

A Few Fings

My current tune which I play on repeat and feel soulful. If you need a little validation that you’re cool cat, jam this:

Remember: you don’t have to be current to be cool. You just have to believe in yourself to be cool. Just ask anyone.
(PS: It’s purty near impossible for me to keep up on the current, so I have myself convinced that coolness isn’t about currentness… because a life without coolness just seems too gloomy to stand.)
Now here’s what I love this week:

It’s funnier when your Dad is mechanic and you’ve spent many hours of your childhood discussing life lessons with his legs and pointing a flashlight at his head. Incidentally, you can learn a lot from a hard workin’ man’s legs (not the least of which is never, EVER under any circumstances budge when you’re holding a flashlight for him).

My parents love The Andy Griffith Show (who doesn’t?) and for some reason this picture made me laugh out loud… belly laugh out loud.
blol, if you will. and yeah… I officially hate myself for creating a new slang term. but hey. yolo.

Forgive the near-porness of this image, but I LOVE F. Scott’s talent and wordy creations (he would never stoop to “blol”), and this quote reminds me of Danny Deets and I. I still remember meeting him and feeling like it was, if I can quote Nora Ephron (and I do as often as I can):
“It was like coming home, only to no home I’d ever been before.”
And I should mention that I feel the word “intimacy” means WAY more than sex… because we didn’t fall into that kind of intimacy briskly. Promise, Mom.

Speaking of “intimacy”…

Thanks, Steve for sharing that one.

Happy Wednesday, ya’ll. Come on over if you’d like to take a load off. Today’s laundry day, after all.


Oil Trial

I still remember the day I saw the commercial.

I was sitting in my living room on the couch, and a woman pointed to her cheekbone and said, “Do you feel oily HERE?”
Yeah, I nodded.
She pointed to her flawless side-burn area and said, “But extra dry HERE?”
YEAH! I nodded.
“Combination skin can be wah wah wah…” It was all a blur after “combination skin.”

I finally had a name for whatever was going on with my face. I would wake up everything morning with a face so oily I would have to wipe it with tissues… but the edges of my face were so dry they were FLAKING OFF, and it was gross. I was in High School, and there was nothing worse than being asked, as a 16-year old, “Hey, what’s wrong with your face?”
My self-esteem was taking a sucker punch to the flaky face.
I still remember lying about my dime-sized zit on my chin to people… “I fell…”

I hate lying.
And now I finally had an answer to the “what’s wrong with your flaky face?” question.
“Combination skin,” I would say and sigh and wave my hand carelessly in the air… like I knew what I was talking about.
“Oh…” the women were always sympathetic and the guys had too much ego to admit they had no idea what combination skin was or meant.

The best products for my skin are Mary Kay products. Hands down.
However: economy, kids, diapers, money, food… I need to use something other than Mary Kay if I want to eat. It comes down to this: I can have flawless, glowing skin or I can eat.
Naturally, food trumps vanity because I’m not 16 anymore.

My face quit flaking when I quit using medication for my acne (which was off the charts, promise), and I’d lately been washing my face with BAR SOAP (I know, I know…) and moisturizing it with a pot of St. Ives Moisturizing Cream.
My hormones have been fluctuating, and I’ve been breaking out. The bar soap wasn’t helping, but what could I do? Nothing. I couldn’t afford to do anything.
And then my brother suggested I try something he’d heard about from our Sainted Aunt Julie (hi!)… you mix olive oil with castor oil and rub it on your face at night only.
It removes your make-up.
You don’t need to wash your face with cleansers. You don’t need moisturizer.

I decided to give it a try, and I had a friend ask me to blog about my results, so I’ll be honest. Very honest.
#1) I still believe Mary Kay is the best product for my skin; HOWEVER, this process comes in second.
#2) I don’t believe I’m the best test subject for this because I still have combination skin. Someone with oily skin or dry skin or normal skin would probably fair better.
#3) I’m saving so much money.
#4) I feel good about knowing what’s going on my skin. There’s not a gigantic list of unrecognizable ingredients in what goes on my face. It’s straight up: EVOO and Castor Oil and a few drops of essential oil (lavender or melaleuca).
#5) If you store the oil mixture in a clear container on your bathroom counter, your husband will assume it’s urine and get a little freaked out.
#6) I once watched a few segments of “My Strange Addiction” in the which a woman was addicted to drinking her urine. She also brushed her teeth in it…
#7) I’m getting off topic.
#8) I have noticed some holes in my face left by old black heads. They seem to “fill up” faster with this oil method which isn’t really a problem because I don’t care about it very much. If I did care, this would be a problem. Oil filled holes in my face? NOT the most attractive thing, but I wear make up. So it don’t bother me none.
#9) My skin feels a little like baby skin.
#10) I can touch my face as much as I want without having to worry about oil and zits and all that nonsense.
#11) I’m saving SO much money since I always keep a vat of olive oil on hand and only paid $3 for castor oil.
#12) I bought my castor oil at Wal-Mart.
#13) I still have acne. It’s manageable and not too bothersome.
#14) I’m going to continue this oil process for the foreseeable future.
#15) My other sainted aunt Julie asked to borrow castor oil and I haven’t forgotten (hi!). I’ll get it to you… I swear!
#16) I am not following the routine like I’m supposed to because I read it wrong and just realized today I’ve been doing it wrong… even so, I’m still relatively pleased with my results.
#17) Some mornings, I have to rub the smallest bit of oil on my face because my skin is too dry. Other mornings, I have to splash a little Witch Hazel on my face because my skin is too oily (combination nation!).
#18) Buy Witch Hazel when you buy Castor Oil. Hopefully you already have Extra Virgin Olive Oil on hand because it is amazing stuff for cooking and massaging and life.
#19) I’m going to start doing this oil routine the EXACT way the woman says to on the website I’m about to link to. And after a few weeks, I’ll report again.
#20) I appreciate going to bed without make-up on every night. Before doing this, I would always fall asleep with make-up on my face because washing my face twice a day dried it out and I was always over compensating with too much moisturizer AND I can’t afford make-up remover.
#21) Make sure you sleep on a pillow case you don’t care about and can be washed frequently… just in case you don’t get all the make up off or some of the oil comes off onto the pillow case.

Here’s my results. Don’t expect to be wowed… but DO expect to be wowed that I’ve been applying OIL directly to my face every night and I currently am NOT sprouting acne everywhere.

If you’d like to try it out, you can get the info by clicking HERE.

It’s recession-friendly.

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’

On Thursday, February 21st, 2013… my baby girl rolled over for the first and second time. The first time, my son saw her. The second time, I saw her, my son saw her, and my daughter saw her.
The third time she rolled over, I was determined to let you see her -I was going to capture the moment!

In order capture a baby rolling, you’ve got to put the baby down.

Once the baby has been placed on it’s belly, it will become discontent.
Do not pick the baby up.
Discontentment is a necessary step in the rolling over process.
Or maybe that’s just an In My Case and Family rule.
Either way:

Now don’t stray far.
Keep that camera steady! It’s nearly time!… ….

Wait for it…

If this should happen -do NOT get deflated.
The baby will wake up.

OR, in My Case and Family, you’ll take this picture… TWO hours later:

I’ll catch this prankster rolling if it’s the LAST thing I do.

Hard Truths.

Six days ago, I taught Sharing Time. The older group (Senior Primary, kids aged 7-11) were being rowdy and not listening.
I jokingly threw up my hands and said, “Do I not look good today? Am I not pretty enough to look at? No one is looking at me! I even tried half-hard to look nice today!”
A pretty eager-to-please 8 year old girl in the back shot her hand in the air. I called on her.
“I think you look just like a regular mom!” She said.
My life goal is officially complete. I mean, I always WANTED to be a mom.
I guess.

Yesterday, my daughter pinched my belly fat.
“Are you starting to make another baby?” She asked.

As it happens, I was stressed yesterday -not over the belly pinching, although that didn’t help much. I couldn’t really DO anything about the situation that was stressing me out and the stressed boiled over and I threw it all in my laundry room.
I threw everything OUT of that room, scrubbed, sorted, washed… folded, swept, threw things away.
My house is slowly starting to make a comeback from the Babymoon. Before my stress had it’s way with the laundry room, there were clothes over every inch of the floor.
And I MEAN literally. I’m not using “literally” the way it so often gets used now (which is to throw it in literally every sentence. Get it?)… I’m using literally the way it was meant to be used.
My floor was not visible.
It looks GREAT now, and I’m all the healthier for it seeing as how my stress level has been down-graded. This morning, I asked my daughter to please put her coat in the dirty clothes. She emerged from the laundry room and said, “HEY! No squishy!”
“Squishy?” I asked, “What are you talking about?”
“Usually the floor is all squishy with clothes, but NOT TODAY! I just WALKED on the regular FLOOR! Mom, you’re the best!”
I do what I can.
Lacy was also super-thrilled with her outfit today. She’s changed three times this morning. Why?
Because she has clothes to change into.

Between that and the Little Debbie Brownies I gave them last night, I’m sittin’ pretty… too bad they don’t know they’re just about to clean their room.

“Mom, I have the SAME HAIR as Thor. So I AM Thor!”

What Kind of Family Did I Get Myself Into?

Sue She

A few years ago, a friend of mine made homemade sushi and posted pictures on her facebook wall. I wanted to try it, so I asked her for the recipe which she promptly gave me and which I promptly lost.
Typical of me. hmph.

But the idea was planted.
And it only took a few years to put it into action.
Typical of me. hmph.

As I was collaging pictures of Sushi Night this morning, I realized there is not even a shred of evidence that we had friends over that night. So let me preface the pictures with this: I PROMISE and I SWEAR there was another family over at our house.
Maybe I was trying to be polite by not taking pictures of them? I dunno.

Shopping for sushi ingredients in rural Northern Arizona is borderline hysterical. Apparently in the land of Cowboys and Indians there ain’t much market for nori and bamboo rolling mats. And because I didn’t plan weeks in advance and only went to shop for ingredients THE DAY OF (again, typical Alicia), our Sushi Night became a group effort.
Smack dab in the middle of Wal-Mart I phone my best guy friend from high school who served his mission in Japan.
“What kind of rice is the best to get?” I asked because I forgot to write it down (typical). He told me. He also gave me some fulling tips, some curry tips, and an invitation to join him and his wife and NEW BABY BOY in making a Japanese dinner the next time we were together.
I picked up the rice he said was best. And somewhere between that moment and the moment I went to make the rice, the rice went missing.
As if it wasn’t insulting enough that we had to come home without a bamboo rolling mat, now we had NO RICE! No sushi rice!

Earlier that morning, I posted a youtube video to my friend’s wall. Her and her husband were planning on coming over that night to make sushi with us, and I jokingly told her to memorize the video because there would be a test later that night:

The video is very informative. and entertaining. win!

A mutual friend commented that she had just made sushi at a church activity under the direction of Jeannie Downs.
So when I got home and had NO RICE in NO GROCERY MAN’S LAND, I phoned Jeannie’s husband Sandy and proceeded to ask him if he had any sushi rice. He did.
I sent my husband to fetch it, and he came home with rice AND a bamboo rolling mat!
Between my friend Rial and my friends the Downs and my friends (who I swear were present) the Burts… Sushi Night was a success!

We deep-fried some, and that was my favorite!

It was so much fun!

We bought two frozen pizzas, one for the kids to eat and one for us just in case we fudged up the sushi.
We only needed one (for the kids -just in case that wasn’t clear):

Valentine Experiment

This year, Valentines was very different for me.

I’ve always been so wrapped up in the Romeo+Juliet side of Valentine’s Day that I completely missed the true mark of the holiday: LOVE.
Whether you’re in a relationship or out of a relationship, whether your relationship with a significant other is rocky or rockin’… come Valentine’s Day, it really doesn’t matter. There’s no reason to hate Valentine’s Day -no reason to hate commercialization.
Because no matter who you are, what you are, or when you are: you are LOVED. you do LOVE. and LOVE is a gift.
You don’t need money to show it or share it or bask in it or enjoy it to the fullest.

This year, I embarked on a Valentine’s experiment. In the last 12 months, I’ve learned more about love than I ever thought possible. That sounds posh, I know. It wasn’t. As it turns out, learning lessons in love isn’t easy or fun or comfortable. But it IS worth it… because what I discovered about love is this: there isn’t types of love. There is only LOVE. Once you feel it, taste it… there’s no going back.
Someone once described it as “the difference between Dove and Dollar Store chocolate.”
I speak chocolate, so that analogy makes perfect sense.

Love is pure.
It doesn’t expect anything.
This year, I decided to show love to people I love. THAT was my experiment. Like my Mama always said, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”
Best kiss she ever gave me.
I started the week before. The kids and I busted out all manner of paper, fabric, glue and notions and we made Valentines to send to our out-of-town family and friends. A few didn’t make it out, but MOST of them did.
The kids loved it. My kitchen area didn’t, but hey: if life were tidy, it wouldn’t be livin’.
(That was all me. No Mama involved. I think I’ll needlepoint that into a pillow, or something.)

The kids loved it, and I loved it.
A few days before Valentine’s Day, I hit the store and picked up a few things: $1 containers of Cotton Candy (one for each of my immediate Valentines -not counting Alice Michelle) and some candy hearts for Lacy’s school Valentines.
I ordered a movie from Amazon for my husband, and I “planned” a Valentine Party for my Trenton.

Valentine’s Day morning, we had our traditional pink pancakes, and Lacy left early for school… Valentines in hand (I just bought some from the store and attached a few candy hearts to each one. Simplicity is my mantra, Mama).

Okay, I don’t actually DO parties… you know the parties you see online, all over the Internet? Mothers ’round the globe are throwing awesome, coordinated, TIDY parties! And I’m like… “Have a pancake. Douse it in sprinkles… then go play.”

They couldn’t have cared less about the pancakes.
All morning, my son was on Cloud 9. He was hopping all over the place, so I put his energy to use: he vacuumed while I did dishes. As his guests arrived, he greeted them with a high, excited voice.
The pancake “eating” lasted 10 minutes, and then it was play time.

After the guests went home, I peeked into my son’s room. Want to have a laugh? Check this out:

Remember: if it’s tidy… (say it with me) you ain’t livin’ (Good!)
I brought the kids into their room and we had it cleaned up within an hour. After their room was cleaned, I did a quick sweep of the house: the dishes were done, the living room was cleaned and re-vacuumed…
Lacy took a bike ride to the neighbor’s house with a bar of Cadburry chocolate in her bike basket. The kids had decorated hearts and taped them to the chocolate bar.
The chocolate Valentine was delivered to “Grandma” Elsie -our neighbors across the street who have grandchildren of their own that don’t live in town. A few minutes later, she rode back (I watched her the entire time, just in case you were freaking out for a second there…) and I could see two small teddy bears in her basket where the chocolate bar had been.
Grandma Elsie had shown love BACK to my children.
My husband came home from work with the most beautiful mixed bouquet! and a movie and a package of microwave popcorn and Raisinets… it’s like he KNOWS me, or something. Nothing says “love” to Alicia like a good movie and chocolate and bright array of all kinds of flowers. I honestly wasn’t expecting anything, and it came as a total surprise!
I’ll write more about the movie later because it’s worth discussing…

After teaching piano lessons, I left my husband to put together a new baby swing (since the motor in ours finally died a great death, leaving me stranded with a cranky infant who seems to be as attached to her swing as I am). I took my daughters with me to the grocery store where we got everything to make a Valentine Feast.
Each year on Valentine’s Day, my husband and I forgo a Valentine Date and have, instead, a Valentine FEAST, children included. It’s usually marinated steak with all the fixings, but given that February 13th nearly killed me with awfulness, I forgot to pull out the steaks.
So I went to the store and got everything to make Roasted Chicken -a recipe in our fancy cookbook that my husband has shown interest in.
I bought a whole chicken. I’ve never done that before -more on that in a minute…
I bought Martinelli and bagged salad (simple!) and stuff for dessert.
I came home and dove right into my chicken’s arse:

I have NEVER put my hand inside a chicken before. I’ve helped my Dad with Thanksgiving turkeys but that was after all the insides had already been removed. It turns out putting my hand inside a chicken wasn’t as bad as I thought -not NEARLY as bad -and it made me feel a little Julia Childish. I might have even done my best Julia impression as I threw the stuff into the trash.
“Chicken livers… you take the chicken livers and throw them away!”
As the chicken roasted in the oven, the kids played video games with their Dad and I set the table. I made a paper table runner and decorated it, threw some paper hearts and conversation hearts on it and then added a million or so candles.
And I used our finest china. you know: the kind that cleans itself. the kind GREEN people don’t use. the kind my mama loves:

The kids were so excited.
“This is so FANCY, Mom” my son said, over and over as he stared bright-eyed right at the Martinelli.
“You did GOOD, Mom” my daughter said, as I pulled the chicken from the oven.
And then she said.
(I kid you not)
“Hey. Why is there lemon up that chicken’s butt?”

My partner chef always adds the MOST intriguing commentary to my imaginary cooking show.
Don’t you have one of those going on in your kitchen when you cook fancy stuff?

As I cooked the meal -which was actually VERY simple in the making (don’t be fooled by my fancy china) -I made an executive decision.
Our Valentine Feast is going to be annual… traditional.
LOVE is so important. Celebrating the gift of love is a great idea. Celebrating it with people you LOVE more than anything is worth it.
How lucky am I to have a chance to love, to be surrounded by those I love, and to have the chance to TELL them I love them while they’re still present?
And yesterday was full. I hopped from before sun-up to after sun-down, but I loved every second of it (except for the second when the grocery store was out of strawb’rries).
At the end of the day, my husband excused himself from the dinner table to use the restroom. He came back, put his arms around me and instructed me to GO take a bubble bath he’d just drawn for me.
“You’ve been going all day. Go slow down.”
He’s a thoughtful guy. I mean, he buys raisinets. RAISINETS!
We ended our dinner with a dessert: brownie on bottom, cream cheese frosting in the middle, berries on top -compliments of the commentator chef:

My Valentine Experiment was a raging success. Flowers, chocolates, movie, and milk bath aside, I enjoyed this holiday more than I EVER have before.
And I can now admit: Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday.
Love is so important, dedicating an entire day to it is genius. I hope you can surround yourself without someone you love: a friend, a neighbor, a sibling, a stranger in need of something YOU have to offer…
This holiday has addictive powers.
I’m already planning my Valentine’s for next year…

And I can’t wait for another Valentine Feast.  This year’s feast earned me TWO stamps of approval.  See?

You’re In My Heart

…and I really mean that.

Two Months

Two months ago right this VERY second, I was in a heckuvva lotta pain. But now?

All’s well.

None of my children have blue eyes. I have blue eyes, and I’m so excited to see that Miss Alice is looking like she’ll share my eye color! My kids look so much like my husband and hardly anything like Hansen babies, so I’ll take every shred of likeness I can get.
Not that my husband isn’t fabulously great-looking… I’d just like a little one that resembled me. even if it’s just a wee bit.