Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Steam, Dirt, Leaves and Other Fall-Like Things

   Autumn is sort of sacred around these parts. These parts being my household... or perhaps just in my own mind. And in my heart. I have written about the magic feeling of Fall several times before, but I just can't help but revisit it. There are some things that seem to be an endless wellspring of inspiration and to me that is what this season is. However short and fleeting it can be here in the Midwest. I have been doing my best this year to indoctrinate Bastian into my Autumn loving ways. To step out of my normal lazy, indoor prone ways and say "Yes" to as many "Outside" requests as possible, despite the added work of finding socks and coats and a hat... which never all wind up in the same place from the day before.

   On one such day last week I did a better than normal job of documenting our adventure. In fact I took 197 photos before nap time that day... The leaves haven't done a lot of changing yet and a lot of green remains but there was the telltale nip in the air, so we bundled up and headed out. First to the backyard where toddler boy would be fenced in and Mommy could do some reading while he played... but he soon noticed that just on the other side of the gate to the front yard there was some oddly thick and smoky looking air flowing out of a tube-like thing off the side of the house... this was too fascinating to ignore and so we ventured out past the gate "Close a door" and learned a bit about "SEAM" (meaning steam, obviously). The wide eyes of a little boy playing in the mist and fog that seemed to appear like magic, despite my knowledge of its roots in the laundry room on the opposite of the exterior wall we stood beside, was enough to make me feel the wonder of "how does it work?" a bit myself. One of the saddest things about growing up is in losing that sense of amazement over the littlest of things. Things that don't seem so very little, when you are. Little yourself. Having kids of your own brings this back, at least temporarily, and of course vicariously by nature... but still, magic nonetheless.

   Eventually the steam ceased and our adventure moved onward and outward into the front yard, then to the driveway and finally to a patch of dirt where the grass has refused to grow all summer directly next to the fence to the backyard... as close as you could be to the backyard without being fenced in. Just enough rebellion to make it fun. New and different. But still home. Still ours. We collected the few fallen leaves and threw them into the air with wild abandon. We ran back and forth so fast that we toppled over upon stopping to change directions. And then we sifted through dirt. First with sticks then with fingers. We poured it down the front of our jeans to see how it would land or fall. Then we tried to stow some away in our pockets for more fun at a future time... but by then our noses were cold and red. Almost as icy as our fingers. And so went inside for orange Oreos and a bath. All of which were met with the same level of excitement as the dirt, leaves and steam. Oh to be a two year old boy.

   See for yourself:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Schizophrenic Style: Scarecrow Chic

   On Thursday I made a shirt. Or more accurately I followed instructions as my mom laid out practical plans on how to go about creating a shirt I had visualized in my head... because I am really out of practice when it comes to sewing.  But, the shirt is finished and I couldn't be happier.

   Have you ever picked up a piece at a thrift store and instantly imagined it as something else. A much better version of it's current self, but even better than that, a one of a kind piece... a piece that when inquired about you can legitimately answer "Oh this? I made it!"Well this was one of those garments for me. I didn't get a before picture (shame! what kind of blogger am I?) but it's not hard to visualize... it was your basic XL mens dress shirt. Ah but it was the prettiest plaid made with some of my favorite colors. It screamed Fall, and so for a couple bucks I threw it in my cart and brought it home... where it stayed... in a pile of "to alter" clothing... FOR. EVER.

    I let myself become intimidated by how much I loved the fabric thinking that I hadn't the skill to do my idea justice, and so there it sat until Wednesday night when the scissors called to me. They reminded me ever so gently that a shirt unused out of fear of failure is no better than one unused due to an actual failed attempt at alteration.  And so I cut. And I measured and I cut some more. But ultimately I hit that impasse that makes a 25 year old women throw her arms up in the air and huff to herself... "I'm just going to have to ask my mother."

   Lucky for me my mother is both an incredibly skilled seamstress and an incredibly patient teacher. She gladly shared with me some of her best tricks and reminded me of many that she had once taught me before that I had forgotten. It wasn't but a few hours before, between the two of us, I had this new beauty to wear. A hybrid of some different styles I have seen here and there about the internet over the years. Something with a bit of my own flair.

   And now I throw my arms up in the air with a little bit of "I made that" pride and a lot of excitement. How about you? What have you made lately that you had been meaning to get around to for quite some time? What's still waiting patiently, softly whispering your name?

Shirt - Thrifted. Remixed by Me and my Momma
Pants - Gift (from Goodwill I believe)
Shoes - Target

Friday, September 21, 2012

Brilliant Bastian Turns Two (Part 3 Partygoers)

   As promised, the third and final installment of Bastian's birthday party recap mania. I will be going at this a tad bit differently, in that the post will be arranged by who took the pictures vs. the normal chronological start to finish nonsense... because, well, I didn't take many of my own during the party. I got a lot of the set up before hand and I pulled my camera back out just as most people were leaving, so first are my three good ones of the actual celebrating:

   Isn't my husband so incredibly handsome? I really do think so. And what is better than a Daddy who dresses up for his two year old's birthday party? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing.

   My sister (Lindsay Grace of Lindsay Grace Design) snapped these next two photos of the birthday boy himself as he entertained the crowd of partygoers with his wide eyes and beaming smile. Seriously, this kid is almost always happy but the word happy just doesn't cut it in describing how much joy he was obviously experiencing that day. Which was of course the goal so I would say check mark in the box on that one. The other goal was to have a ton of little kids over to celebrate with him since the company he normally keeps ranges in age from 23 to 63, and on that front I would also have to say that we succeeded. Not only did he have a yard full of kids to play with but he actually socialized with them quite well given his lack of experience in the area.

   The vacuum was a big deal seeing as he has, since first seeing "Mommy's vacuum" had both a strong fascination and even stronger fear of the machine... when it's on and Mommy is pushing it around being all noisy. I had a suspicion that all it would take to break the fear was a Bastian sized machine that he could hold the reigns on so to speak, and it turns out I was right! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

   The next couple of photographs are care of my father-in-law and they show a bit more of the activity and atmosphere of the party than the ones above, although I have decided to refrain from posting some of the more detailed photos I collected from various people that depict the playing, since, they are other people's children and I do not know just how they feel about people posting pictures of them on the internet... that being said there a couple that give a general idea of the festivities. A lot of running around, playing ball, twirling and throwing hula hoops, playing the kid sized piano and plastering fake mustaches and temporary tattoos all over one another.

   And this last set is of pictures I stole off of my sister-in-law's Facebook page (sorry Jenna). Bastian hasn't quite got the unwrapping presents thing down entirely yet, he still gets distracted between each gift and has to be reminded that there's more to open... but when it came time to blow out the candles on his cake...he was an old pro at it! How did that happen? When did my baby become a big boy sticking his face up into the fire with a hug smile and a mischievous laugh? Two. Whole. Years. Old.

   And of course this happened...

   I had every intention when looking forward to writing these posts, to wax poetic about what it was like as a mother to watch her son as he turned two. From a toddler, a big baby like person, into a boy... but I'm finding the feelings of the day hard to connect to. I can't quite gain access. For fear or sadness or overwhelming joy I'm not quite sure... but I can say that birthdays are quite a different experience when they are not just the day that someone you love was born, but also the anniversary of the day that you gave birth. Became a mom. Met the person that grew inside of your belly for nine whole months. Your not just celebrating another year for that person, you are also celebrating another year of the person that they made you upon coming into this world. It is... frankly too much.

   So instead of trying to wrap up that serious thought eloquently and stumble trying to find something profound to leave you thinking on, I will share with you one last picture, courtesy of my best friend Leanne, of what a first time mother wears to her sons second birthday:

...and there you have it. Every last bit of it. I hope you enjoyed yourself. I sure did!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How (Not) to Talk to a Woman Trying To Conceive

   So here's the thing. The thing that I have been avoiding writing about. Talking about. Even thinking about when possible, because if I don't it entirely takes over my mind for days, weeks... months. I haven't shared it with most people because, well, it's awkward. Or at least it is to me. But the fact of the matter is that we, my husband and I, are trying to get pregnant with a second child. I didn't want to announce it because I knew there would be interest, questions, inquiries as to "how it's going" and I really didn't think I could bear it. I still am not quite sure... but I do know that as a writer it is best to write what you know, and all my heart and mind know right now revolves around the raw emotions, hopes and fears relating to trying to conceive. Or TTC if you frequently Google possible pregnancy symptoms, which I do. On the regular.

   This whole endeavor is a wild rollercoaster ride of elation, nervousness, longing and despondency. Add to that the prospect of parents, in-laws and acquaintances asking innocent, well-meaning, but still somehow prodding personal questions about what ultimately is your sex life, and you can understand why the whole thing makes me want to vomit. Which in turn makes me wonder if my nausea could in fact be a symptom... a sign, that maybe, just maybe this is our month. All this melodrama is a bit much for me to take. And so I kept it as quiet as I could for as long as I could, but the thing is, these are the things I love to read about. People transparently opening up their hearts for others to read. Things that you know were painful to write. That and at this point it's about time I reached out for support. Step out of lurkerdom and joined the ranks of TTC women on the internet sharing their stories. Being a part of the community instead of just observing it from the sidelines. Use my keyboard for more than incessant search engine inquiries. 

   Where we're at is this; we spent three months "not trying not to" get pregnant. The first month I was disappointed when my most unwelcome monthly visitor (AF) knocked on my proverbial door, but mostly it was because the two week wait makes you crazy and I didn't look forward to another one. The next month same deal but this time my motivations shifted slightly more in favor of actually wanting a pregnancy for the sake of you know, having a child (not that I hadn't the month before, we were both just a tad gun-shy with the whole toddler tearing our house apart thing going on) but my main gripe was just hating the "Am I or Aren't I?" head trip. The third month I was tired of feeling like a lunatic for two weeks but I had finally come around to wholehearted excitement over the notion of a positive pregnancy test. No more trepidation, no more feeling like it was still a bit soon, just outright desire for the little pink plus sign (or BFP as it's referred to in this 'circle' which of course stands for Big Fat Positive... Duh). After all of that back and forth we had a discussion and agreed that we were on the same page. It was time to actually, you know, try.

   All signs were pointing to a positive until this morning when a new "symptom" appeared.... one that historically has always been an indicator that Aunt Flow's train had departed the station and would be at the arrival gate within a few days... so, ya, TMI I am sure, but how many euphemisms can I use before I start to get graphic here? Anyway... I had a good cry, one very large cup of hot chocolate, which if you follow me on Twitter unfortunately is not quite as good for you as water, yet, despite my deepest desires. Then I took the two year old up to bed for his nap, sat my butt down and began to type this. This appeal for understanding, grace and possibly even some prayers on our behalf if you would be so kind.

 Photo (from my 1st pregnancy) by A.J. Olson

   So if I refuse the coffee you offer  me or don't take you up on that really tasty looking beer please think back to this post and feel free to give me your best knowing look, even a gentle nudge, shoulder grab or hug if you feel so inclined... but if you can, kindly bite your tongue when those pesky questions inevitably try to make their way up your throat... because you just might have a mini recap of this morning's cryfest on your hands if you don't.

NOTE: I'm not always an emotional mess so if you're a fan of jumping through hoops for a little conversation or are just that curious you are welcome to ask if you can ask... I know tedious, but I am only recommending it for your own good. Promise.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Brilliant Bastian Turns Two (Part 2 Food and Decor)

   In my previous post I mentioned that I went a bit overboard with Bastian's birthday party... and well, I have proof. Proof which I am about to share with you... But first let me just say that while, as most parties do, this cost us a bit more than we had hoped, most of it was all done via the DIY route and I was surprised by just how much circus related stuff we already had hiding around our house!

   After last year's party food fail in which I spent WAY too much time worrying about creating clever adult friendly versions of kid foods only to barely have time to get myself dressed before guests showed up... I decided simple is best. So I tested out that pin that I've seen everyone pinning about hot dogs in the crock pot for large gatherings, and guess what? It worked a charm! Perfect for a backyard circus extraordinaire! In addition to that the husband used the corn dog maker that he got for Christmas to make a few corndogs and was in charge of running the popcorn machine all afternoon. I made The Fresh Orange Birthday Cake from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! ebook the night before and my sister helped the day of in mounting the elephant and creating the mini pennant banner garland for the top. The cupcakes were straight from the box, no alterations at all (which is not like me but I heard they turned out great) and everything else was snacky stuff and sweets I bought on Amazon and put in serveware the day of. All if minimal hassle and maximum rewards. Take a look for yourself!

Above Photo by Lindsay Grace Designs 

Above Photo by Lindsay Grace Designs 

Above Photo by Lindsay Grace Designs 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brilliant Bastian Turns Two (Part 1: Photobooth Pictures)

   On Saturday Bastian turned two. TWO!! ...TWO whole years old!! (How did that happen??) And on Sunday we celebrated. I refrained from posting anything about the party in advance because I'm just a fan of letting the final product speak for itself (and I love surprising people), and so, since the planning and preparing has been taking up most of my thought time (along with something else I'll be posting about in the near future) not to mention my physical time, I haven't been posting much. But prepare yourself for a slew of birthday related posts, because to be quite honest I went a bit overboard with this party so it's going to require a lot of coverage on the blog to do the event justice. And there's also the waiting for all of the pictures to roll in from family members since I spent the day running around making sure everything was going smoothly.

   While you wait patiently for the real content take a moment to check out our awesome makeshift photobooth pictures! {If your friends with me on Facebook I apologize for the duplicate content.}

   Yes, the husband and I dressed up...we'll take any excuse to wear a costume. In fact I distinctly remember him dressing up as a pirate for Bastian's baby shower! Anyway... the photobooth was a sheet I bought at the thrift store hung up against our garage with a short section of the pennant banner garland I hung up around our backyard fence, my camera and tripod that I already owned and some glitter foam sheets cut by hand and hot glued to 29¢ wooden dowels from Hobby Lobby. All in all it likely totaled about $10 tops (probably less). Completely doable... for the rest? You'll just have to come back soon and see!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...