Monday, August 27, 2012

A Late Vocation

My IHOD-inspired (don't ask how, it just was) refurbished coat-rack.
When I was a young and single thing, carefree and flush with cash from my lucrative stints in the world of Catholic non-profits, I used to dream about the way I'd decorate my eventual home, and about the many lavish and extravagant purchases I would one day make at AFW.

Fast forward three years and two babies, and while the benjamins have stopped rolling in (in fact, most of them roll out these days, what the ...) my desire to decorate my nest has not abated.
$6 headboard from Saver's, transformed ala spray paint and glaze. Also pictured: small party animal.
















In fact, as Dave would be quick to point out, it is actually fairly and neurotically intense. To the point that, 2 days after a move or the night of an arrival home from traveling, I'm frantically unpacking, moving furniture, scrubbing floors and filling bags and bags (and bags and bags) of crap for Goodwill. So that I can, you know, bring home more future bags of crap from Goodwill.
Detail on headboard. You're welcome.
So I've had to figure out a way to channel this latent desire to decorate - to create - in a way that doesn't destroy our meager 'home furnishings' budget. Because let's be honest; there's just not a line item for that one yet. For some saner, holier people, I suspect the answer might be patient, gradual accumulation of nice pieces over the course of several years/decades of marriage. For me, it's the suburban equivalent of dumpster-diving. For my husband, it is a deeply shameful exercise in humility every time I direct him to pull over in his church clothes and 'grab that thing off that person's curb' wearing a sharpie'd 'free' tatted on a piece of cardboard.


roadside freebie turned back porch coffee table. also pictured: the truck we hauled it home in.

Figuring out that #1 I liked to do this kind of thing and #2 I was passably competent with a can of spray paint was nothing short of astonishing. 

Formerly known as ugly-ass some-assembly-required Walmart bachelor piece.



















After 13+ years in the public school system, I had successfully managed to avoid a single art class past the 5th grade, so I was fairly certain I was creatively crippled, doomed to spend allllll my hours of leisure time as a SAHM reading trashy novels and emptying the dishwasher. And maybe dusting off the 'ol trumpet for some souza-inspired afternoon tunes, since I was playing in the pep band while my cooler friends were throwing pots in ceramics class. Loser.

I have to admit, even Pinterest, with all its glittering promise and happy 'finished product' images made me a little nervous and not a little insecure. I couldn't replicate anything from the culinary department, I had no desire to learn how to sew (or any machine to feed fabric into), and I was certainly not about to refinish old milkcrates to look like Anthropoligie-inspired shelving for our family library...or was I?

Basically, choosing the least intimidating (in my humble opinion) means of 're-creating' something old and ugly into something new, fun, and, if not perfect, than at least passably attractive, has opened up for me an entire creative world. Instead of pallet boards, I now see potential patio furniture. An abandoned MDF bookshelf from Target looks to me suspiciously like a wine shelf waiting to be redressed. And a can of spraypaint? Liquid gold. Even if it is a more sensibly-hued turquoise or bronzed iron. (Sorry, Glamma.) And you know what? Naptime has never, ever been this fun.

Gotta be honest, one of my most amazing creations yet. Definitely a collaborative effort.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Party Animals

Davers turned the big 33 last night, so naturally, we celebrated by cooking a multi-course ethnic smorgasbord, inviting all our baby-toting friends into our new backyard, strung up some party lights, and drank boxed wine until 10. That's 10 pm, for all you hot young things who imagine you might be able to keep up with us.

also, we smoked these, which were left behind by Steubie-bound sister number 5. which are legal. but which don't make the morning-after any more pleasant than ordinary, additive-full cancer sticks.
The upshot was that our sugar-hyped almost 2-year-old slept until an unprecedented 7:45 this morning, leading us to understand that a 10 pm bedtime will yield a reasonably civilized wake up call. Thanks Joey, we're so thrilled to discover after 23 long months that you actually have the nocturnal needs of a teenager.

I also baked a bomb.com gluten free german chocolate cake, which pretty much gave everyone in attendance happiness seizures, and did not taste in any way like feet.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to combat my boxed-wine/nursing-all-night-infant hangover with some awful home brewed coffee and the looming specter of Lifeteen Mass this evening, since we all slept through our normally only mildly horrific 9:30 am Sunday obligation.

Amen. Happy Sunday.

Friday, August 17, 2012

7 Quickies

1. I spend too much time on the internets. Between my job, my penchant for stumbling across new and life-changing blogs, and my naptime addiction to HGTV.com, I have a problem. And I'm ready to admit it. That and my almost 2-year old sometimes bursts into tears when I open the laptop. Priorities, I haz them.

2. So I decided to write about it...on the internet. Yeah.

3. Parenting. Small children. Any advice/suggestions/reading recos? I am slowly transitioning from survival mode to 'maybe I should do something proactive about my child's behavior and character formation.' So far, all I've got is 'spend less time on the internets' while he is awake. (Obviously he is awake now. 10 points for me.)

4. We live 5 minutes from a Starbucks now. Damn you, green mermaid. I just can't resist your siren call, gay agenda and chemical coffee notwithstanding...

5. Joey is obsessed with fans. Oscillating or otherwise. Expect an ER-related post soon.

6. I have inherited a producing garden and smallish orchard/vineyard. There is literally produce pelting our roof and filling our walkways in its overabundance, and i have no idea what to do with it or how to care for the fecund fields of bounty in our backyard. Any tips from mamas with greener thumbs? So far I've managed to identify: peaches, apricots, strawberries, rhubarb, mint, plums, zucchini, 3 different grape varietals, and possibly some beleaguered tomatoes.

7. John Paul is pulling out not small chunks of my luscious post-partum locks and sucking energetically on my collar bone, so I bid you adieu. Please remember little Quinn and her family in your prayers today. And, as always, off to Jen's you go.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Click-it

So a dear friend from grad school sent me a heee-larious link that sums up much of my newfound excitement for this election season. Feast your eyes.

Speaking of inappropriate, I read my first ever (ever? Probably.) GQ article last night (salty sailing language disclaimer), and I have to say, I quite enjoyed it. But then, I quite enjoy Tim Tebow. And for one, glorious, nail-biting season last fall, I quite enjoyed NFL football. (Denver Broncos, you're dead to me now.)

This is one of my new must-check blogs. Seriously, what an awesome mama. And I dig her hipster playlist at the bottom of the page. Usually sneaky web playlists scare me to death with their sneak attacks, but hers is unusually good. Especially check her adoption story. Love.

Finally, thanks Grace for making yesterday a step above craptastic with your no-fail delivery of Ashley Jones' latest gem. Thank God she didn't retire After the Final Rose...

You're welcome.

P.s. We're settling into our 'new' rental house and enjoying allllll the drama that goes with a minor/major relocation. Including potty-training (against my will), a sick husband, a sleepless bebe and, of course, broken major appliances. So please forgive my appearance if you happen to see me in person sporting a 3 day old wash job on my luscious locks and wearing an odd combo of maternity/too small/too big/seasonally inappropriate mishmash of a wardrobe. Glam-tastic.

Friday, August 10, 2012

7 Quick Takes, the profanity edition

1. The night before last, a skunk sprayed our window AC at 2 am. Have you ever been victim of biological warfare of the most primitive degree?

2. Efffff word.

3. In other neighborhood news, I spent the better part of Tuesday afternoon trying to figure out the origin of the pinging noises and falling debris raining into our backyard whilst Joey splashed innocently and ignorantly in the wading pool. The source? Mexican tweens with bb guns. Shooting at my house. And, consequently, my two small children. We are now sporting a 'bullet hole' in one of our living room windows.

4. And on that note, we're moving today. And not a moment too soon. Armed with trashbags and febreeze aplenty, we're moving 2 miles across town (literally to the other side of the tracks) to an infinitely better zip code and into a slightly more expensive and much, much, much nicer rental house. With a 2 car garage. Perfect for refinishing all manner of Craigslist furniture gems. DIY madness be mine.

5. Moving. With a manic depressive toddler whose two-year molars are erupting, and a sleepless wonder of a 3 month old who is vehemently opposed to not being held every waking hour of his day. Of which there are approximately 17. Pray for us.

6. I dumped an entire glass of H20 on the laptop this morning, screamed a word that rhymes with BumpIt, and ripped off my shirt to mop up the spill. Sending poor, delicate Joey into a fearful panicky fit of sobbing, the likes of which can only be brought on by the sight of one's topless, swearing mother trying desperately to salvage the family's most priceless piece of electronic equipment. If you can read this, it all turned out alright. And Joey will work the rest out in therapy some day.

7. My heroic husband returned from the gym and announced with a wink and a smile that he had a present for me. Then he handed me a pack of Camel 99's and said 'I thought you might be able to use these this weekend.'

Laugh or cry? Still debating...

Happiest of (finally) Fridays. Now go see Jen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mom jeans?

This changes everything. Damn you, Gap empire. I've been so wrong for so long...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How I love thee, JP: Ode to a second-born

You are sleeping sweetly right now, the first night of your short external life that you've ever (EVER) gone down before 8 pm, and so to celebrate, I thought I'd pen a ballad for you.

My sweet second boy, where do I begin? Being pregnant with you was nothing like the first go-round. I was too busy with an external baby/toddler to spend much time obsessing over my internal offspring...until you arrived a full month later than your big brother did. Clever boy, you sensed mommy's distracted mindset and made sure you had my full attention before debuting at week 41.

You nurse like a starvingstarvingstarving animal. You have since you popped out, and I expect you will continue to until you wean. Seriously, you nursed for nearly the entirety of your first hour outside me, and you still spend the majority of your waking and partially-waking hours begging for food.

You are a little chunker for it, too. I've never seen a man so enjoy his meals, and I've never seen anything cuter than your fat little cheeks working so furiously to get just one.last.drop of milk. As if that would satisfy your ravenous appetite.

Speaking of nursing, you have a curious and delightful little habit of flipping me the bird while you drink up. Seriously. Just that one middle finger, extended and resting on my chest, letting me know exactly what you think of my response time to your cries of starvation. Or maybe it's just a coincidence...

You gave us a scare in the hospital, and you are slated for a relatively uncomplicated (though still necessitating the use of general anesthesia) surgery this fall, and this has caused my heart to ache and grow in ways I never knew possible. After the shock wore off, I found that I was somewhat guarded towards you, almost as if I didn't want to get too attached just in case, you know... isn't that awful? I was also suffering from terrible post-partum depression, making it that much more difficult -no, impossible - to feel like I was bonding with you.

One of the first clear signs I had that things were getting better came one evening while I was just holding you on our bed, kissing your cheeks and feeling the downy fluff on your scalp and whispering over and over again  'I love you JP, oh I love you.' That's when I knew the clouds were parting and the dark time was passing away.

You look like a little old man with fat cheeks and a mostly bald head. You have little fat pouches under your eyes and they crinkle when you smile or laugh. And oh, your laugh. It is one of those laughs that invites everyone who hears it in on the joke; it's so contagious. You have delicious fat rolls around your thighs and neck and after having a slim jim for a firstborn, your chub is so, so edifying to a nursing mother. You are that fat because of me, because of my effort and nourishment of you. It's amazing.

When you smile, you smile with your entire body, launching yourself forward in delight and cracking your gummy smile as wide as your mouth will allow. You are pure joy, except when you are pure rage, and the latter is generally correlated with hunger and/or your arch enemy, the carseat.

John Paul Francis, you are such a little love. I thank God for the privilege of being your mama, and I have to tell you, it's sweeter for what was bitter having come before.

Now go to sleep.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Jiggity jig

Home again after a short and semi-relaxing jaunt up to Lake Michigan for a family reunion. Semi-relaxing because, lets face it, there is no such thing as a vacation with kids. At least not with kids under the age of 2.

Still, loads of fun had by one and all, and very satisfied grandparents now on both sides of the Mississippi.

An aside: although I ran every other day and hiked the Mt. Everest of beach stairs to and fro our abode daily, I still gained like 3 lbs aaaaand was nauseous EVERY day (not pregnant, soooo not pregnant). I blame it almost entirely on the beers, crackers, pasta and pancakes which were consumed once my delicate resolve cracked on day 2. I picked up a fascinating read called "Wheat Belly" last night and I'm a couple chapters in...so far, super intriguing and very, very motivating to me to climb back aboard the gluten-free express.

And now I'm off to pack my house, as we perfectly timed our move for the end of this post-vacay and upper 90 degree week. So smart. Joey has been handing me random objects from the piles of semi-organization in every room, thereby ensuring excellent parenting practices as I yell 'just go sit in front of Dora!' while frantically stuffing clothes into garbage bags. What? Isn't that how you pack?