We Don’t Take Turns

I’m sure you all you parents out there in blog land know the drill by now – you produce a few wee ones and the glorious glorious days of sleeping until 11 AM come to an abrupt and screeching halt.  As fun as it is to stagger out of bed before first light and immediately change a poopy diaper and fend off a four year old clinging to your leg and screaming “CAN I PLAY WITH MY REMOTE CONTROL HELICOPTER RIGHT NOW”, most people, most couples, they alternate this delightful experience, and dad gets to sleep in Saturday morning and mom gets to sleep in Sunday morning, and life goes on, sleep deprived as it may be.

And here is where I have to tell you my very guilty little secret, internet.  I have to admit something to you, and when I admit this thing, you will realize I am married to the very best person the world has ever known.


Yep.  It’s true.  Sometimes I wake up anyway and there have been a few days when Mr. E was so tired that I did the best I could with my limited resources at 5:45 AM, but for the most part, for the past five years, my husband has gotten up with my kids at whatever time they have woken up so that I could sleep in, and yes it’s partially because he wakes up early anyway the rest of the week and yes it’s partially because I need sleep like some kind of jonesing addict and yes it’s partially because my kids want to be with him more than they want to be with me and they’re kind of impossible if he’s home but unavailable to them, but mostly it’s because he’s a much much much better person than I am.

And please note – he almost never cleans the bathroom.  I do all the grocery shopping.  I cook dinner every night.  He leaves trash all over the backyard, he never cleans anything up all the way, he flaps the blankets at night after I have already warmed up my sleeping space, and he pinches closed the hooks when he hangs up the ornaments on the Christmas tree.  He is not a perfect human being. But damn, is he a good one.

Happy Birthday, Mr. E.  You’re the very best person I have ever known. I consider myself profoundly lucky to be having this crazy adventure with you.  There’s no one else I’d rather sleep late with, or get up early with.  Or you know, not take turns with.  Thanks for being so very awesome.


2012 Resolutions

I get the vibe that people aren’t that fond of New Year’s Resolutions? Whatever, I love them, and we all know it’s my vote that counts, so here are mine:

1. Get Eli into Kindergarten.  This is more complicated than one might imagine, but whatever, let’s do this thing.

2. Fix the backyard so it doesn’t stress me out.  (We’ve discussed this, obvs.)

3. Figure out how to use my camera. I have a fancy ish camera, and I’ve never cared about any of the settings until right now, so I think I’m finally ready to figure out how to use it.

4. My “House To Do List.”

5. And this is the big one – I would really really like to be proud of how I look in next year’s Christmas card picture.  I am really really tired of being worried about how my jeans fit.  I have thousands of dollars of clothes I want to be able to wear again.  I feel better when I am eating healthy food and exercising on a regular basis and I am just plain not ready to give up this fight.  So I really really really need to lose some weight.  I just can’t go on like this anymore.

So I am rejoining Weight Watchers, because it’s worked for me in the past.  I am going to make time for exercise, again, although it means that almost nothing else gets done in my day.  Although I can run the kids in the jogging stroller twice a week, to preschool.  That takes care of Tuesday and Thursday. I can run on the treadmill a few other times a week.  I’m thinking of buying a recumbent bike that I can put under my bed so that I can read or watch movies and ride a bike at night, because how awesome does that sound?  But I have no idea if that’s a terrible idea.  Does anyone have an opinion about this?

I make a meal plan every week, and then I go to the grocery store, but toward the end of the month the meal plan is full of really fattening things like pizza and spaghetti because our grocery budget has been spent on hookers and blow.  I’m going to add $200 bucks to the grocery budget.  There’s nothing more important to my weight loss than having tons of readily available fruits and veggies in the house and at this point I would GLADLY pay $200 to wear a size eight so I am going to put my money where my mouth is.  Literally.

You will also please note that I have been writing said meal plan out, on paper, for years. YEARS. And it has only just NOW occurred to me that I should save it.  I could save it! And look back on all the ideas of all the things I’ve eaten before instead of having to come up with ideas for low fat dinners and healthy lunches over and over and over again.  Wow.  Sometimes I wonder what else I’m just…not thinking of.

Anyway, I am having such a hard time getting motivated to do this weight loss thing for more than three days at a time, but I am hoping that if I keep going to the grocery store and buying veggie trays and raspberries and delicious overpriced yogurt that it will help keep me on track.  I think available fun delicious healthy food is going to be the key.  I’d love NOT to spend a shocking amount of money on groceries, but that’s not…getting it done right now.

Up for Consideration:

6. Run another half marathon.  Damn, this is a lot of work. It really is.  And it’s SUCH a huge time commitment.  But I once ran a 2:08 half marathon and I’d love to get that to under 2 hours, some day. I am not sure if this is the year, but I am thinking about it.

7.  The book thing.  So I’m squeaking in under the wire but I think I’ll make my goal to read 180 books this year, and I’m not sure how I feel about repeating that next year.  On one hand, I spent A LOT of time reading.  I ignore my husband to read.  I don’t watch movies to read.  I don’t listen to music. I have a subscription the Sunday New York Times, but I don’t read it, because it “doesn’t count.”  I never read the New Yorker anymore, even though I love the New Yorker, because I can’t put it on the list.  And I read some really bad books that I had no interest in reading just so I could add to them to my growing number of things I’d read. That’s pretty stupid.  On the other hand, I read 180 books last year.  I’m pretty proud of that.  So I’m not sure about that one.


Christmas Decor 2011

It’s taken me until just about now to be satisfied with the amount of Christmas decorations that we have up in the house, and I’d say I’ve been buying and making them for about ten years.  Every year I buy one expensiveish thing to supplement all the handmade stuff, although I don’t know if I bought anything that fancy this year.

Next year I’d like to get some red lanterns for the front steps and a Christmas duvet, because I am just that brand of crazy. If you can’t sleep under a holiday duvet in December, when can you?

This is not all of our Christmas decorations, just the notable ones. It’s actually kind of interesting when you think about it.  The areas in my house that I like and that feel “finished” to me felt very natural to add a few Christmas items to.  The areas I am not so thrilled about are still problems.

I was supposed to write this post for Maggie, about how to decorate on the cheap, about three weeks ago.  Bookmark this one for next year, Mags!

I found these two fancy metal frames at a garage sale this summer, spray painted them white, and then couldn’t figure out what to do with them until I decided to make them into Christmas chalkboards.  The inner section is just cardboard from a gift box spray painted black. I traced the shape of the frames and cut out the cardboard and then taped it into the frame.  I think I’ll change this out depending on the holiday, it’s chalk marker, so I should just be able to wipe it off and write “Happy New Year’s!” on there in a week.


I don’t decorate our bedroom that much but the vases that normally hold flowers get filled with candy canes.


This is the bathroom, it’s just some left over greenery from a bouquet that’s long since been tossed and a bird candle from the dollar section at Target.


This is so hard to take a picture of, but this wreath over the mirror in the living room is amazing. It’s my favorite thing this year. I’ve had the wreath forever but this is the first year I put it on this mirror and it’s fabulous.  This is its rightful home.


Normally I have all kinds of junk all over the mantel but this I went really simple. It looks boring in pictures, but it’s just what I wanted in person.

I buy myself a new nativity scene every year.  I eyed this one for two months in the dollar bins at Target. It’s ridiculous, but I’m absolutely crazy about it.



I made that pillow last year, it continues to be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made.


I’ve always had innapropriate feelings about my peppermint garland.  The ornament hanging in the middle (a gift last year from my step sister) totally makes it.


This is my beloved Williams Sonoma red felt table runner and an IKEA tray that I keep spray painting different colors.  Filled with some cheap peppermint candy balls. Balls. Heh.


We have a lot of oranges.


I stole those red berries from someone’s front yard.  And I swapped out the regular tea lights in the candle holder for red ones.


One year at Walgreens I bought about eight red pillar candles and I save them in the Christmas box, and I swap them out for the ivory pillar candles that are in holders the rest of the year.


Our thrift store is a little picked over right now but in November they have SO MANY Christmas decorations.  I got this wooden sign for $2.95.


I don’t do a lot of decorating in the kitchen but these handmade marshmallows (in a jar from Target) are super pretty.


Just for Jonna, in my spare time I embroidered names on a few special packages. Heh. Packages.


I finally made the magazine trees that I read about on Style Lush.  They are super fantastic.  Glitter makes me happy.

Those lemons are from our yard. I dug the bowl out of a pile of junk at a garage sale for $1.


I’m in love with my front porch this year.

This adirondack chair gets moved under the porch for the winter. That adorable pillow was a gift from A’Dell.  The birch branches I found on the street and loaded into the trunk of my car.  Eventually I want to turn them into something (a table?) but for now, I think they look so nice next to that red chair!

I made the garland from the section we cut off the bottom of the Christmas tree, and then I ordered the  Happy Holidays letters from Amazon.  They’re just glittered cardboard and I think they cost of all $5 but I love it.


I really hope next year we’re not looking at that hideous metal screen door.

And that we have a Christmas door mat.

E dog out!

House To Do 2012

Every year I like to type this list up. I don’t know that I’ve ever finished it, but it’s good to get it all out there. A girl can dream, right?

Also, those links are the only previous year I can find, even though I know I’ve done this a million times. Whatever.

Here’s our Big Terrible House List for 2012:

(And how exciting that “Refinish the hardwood floors” is not on there anymore!)

1. Install shoe base in the whole house.

2. Prime and paint the baseboards.

3. Paint all the inside trim.

4. Repaint and poly the kitchen cabinets. (They should have been poly’ed the first time and now they’re all dinged up.)

5. Buy a new TV

6. Buy a living room rug.

7. Buy a bedroom rug.

8. Fix the backyard.

9. Install the ceiling medallion in the dining room and the entryway.

10. Install the green light fixture in the kids room.

11. Finish decorating the kids room.

12. Patch the entryway floor.

13. Figure out the stair thresh hold.

14. Fix the front window and add a window sill and trim.

15. Replace the non matching kitchen floor section.

16. Install thresh holds all over the house. (kitchen to dining room, back door, and entryway).

17. Get a new doorknob for our bedroom.

18. Replace the front door and the front screen door. (I’ve been waiting three years for this! Is this my year?!)

19. Paint the bookshelf in the living room.

20.  Buy a new white slipcover for the IKEA chair.

21.  Frame my mandarin festival poster.

22. Buy casters for my desk, and try moving it into the bedroom again.

23. Buy that kitchen print I like and put it in the kitchen.

24. Replace the kitchen counters on one side with IKEA butcher block.

25. Refinish the electric chair or buy a new living room chair.

26. Have the refrigerator plumbed so we can use the ice maker.

27. Add a drawer pull out to one more kitchen cabinet.

28. Buy a new duvet cover for our bedroom.

29. Buy a composter for the backyard.

30. Take off the butt ugly down spout by the roses and replace it with a rain chain.

31. Remove the ugly edging next to the roses and replace it with something, remulch the front and the side by the roses.

32. Buy an olive tree and plant it in my giant pot.

33. Fix all the lattice work that is falling apart.

34. Figure out what to do with that stupid palm tree.

35. Buy a potting table.

36. Put shutters on the front of the house.

Won’t happen but would love to do:

37. Tile the front steps

38. Get new counters and a subway tile backsplash

39. Put the windows back in the living room.

40. Raise the kitchen cabinets and add crown molding.

Whew.  I am sure I will accomplish all this in no time.

Ok, now everyone go make lists of their own! For some reason these are one of my favorite things to read at this time of year.

Not In My Backyard

So today is really actually a pretty nice day.  Aside from the fact that this December could not have been less Christmassy, the weather has been basically awesome and has reminded me why I can never leave California and why we live here.  I do love sunshine.

Normally it starts raining in November and it doesn’t stop till March or April or like last year, July. (Shudder).  This is terrible because we’re trapped in our house and it’s wet and muddy and depressing but one benefit of that rainy and gross weather is that we can ignore what our backyard looks like for six or seven months even when when what it looks like is horrible.

And this year it’s been so  nice and every time I come out into the backyard in the sunshine it puts me in a really really bad mood. It just looks SO DAMN TERRIBLE.

Now, make no mistake, the back yard got pimped a while back and damn, did it look AMAZING.  For five minutes.

And then my children and my dog and my husband did their thing, and now most of the time how it look s is “stressful.” Stressfully awful. It needs SO MUCH WORK all the time and I just don’t have the time or the inclination to add another giant pile of work to my life.  I have to spend every waking minute of my life cleaning my house and doing laundry. The last thing on earth that I need is something else to clean.

What I want most from my backyard is to be able to sit around in it and read a book while I drink a tall diet coke and my children play, so this year my number one most important goal in life is to make this backyard work for us so that it is not a giant source of stress in my life.  It really needs to function as a playroom and another living room for us and when it’s screaming “I am a mess” at me it really negatively affects my quality of life.  So here’s what I am planning to do as soon as spring starts springing and as soon as my bank account has recovered from Christmas 2012.

All that stupid black mulch has got to go. Black mulch plus a light colored patio is just a recipe for disaster.  I spent weeks carting bags of mulch into the yard last year, and it was so much work and then it all washed away and got tracked all over the patio and I still haven’t figured out what you’re supposed to do when leaves fall all over black mulch.  Do you…rake them up? It makes no sense.  Anyway, the black mulch is all going goodbye and we’ll put a bunch more grass back in and I know this is not eco friendly and I do not care.  Grass just makes way more sense for us.

Last year I tried to make a nice flower border but it was so much work and most of the time it looked awful.  This year if I find a low maintenance bush or tree or one of those nice flowering shrubs that they always have at Home Depot that says something about low maintenance and low water (I think most of them are from Australia) I am going to grab it and plop it in the yard.  We will still have a vegetable garden, but I am not going to worry about a flower border.  Plants that make my life easier?  Yes please.  Fussy annuals? No thank you.

I am also wondering if I might experiment with garden boxes in the cement driveway.  I have a big space where I could put these, but I am not sure how plants grow when the boxes are placed on top of cement (rather than over dirt).  Does anyone have any experience with this?

I want to get a big giant piece of plywood and paint it with chalkboard paint and hang it on the fence that runs on one side of the driveway.  If I hang it on hooks I can move it into the garage when it starts to rain, and I think my kids could get some serious entertainment from this. Something like this, but on hooks so I can move it in the winter.

We have a neighborhood happy hour almost every Friday in the summer. I want to DIY something like this table from West Elm so that I can just drop it into my front yard at 4:45.  I love the way the one from West Elm looks but I think I can make it for way cheaper than that.

Finally, I am going to outfit the backyard in every piece of furniture I think we need.  We made some progress on furniture for the past two years, but we still need more sitting stuff.  (Remember, I need to do some serious sitting around in this backyard.)  So I think we need two more adirondack chairs, at least one lounger, two more dining chairs, a dining bench, some furniture for the side yard that we can also use at Happy Hour, and a set of lounge furniture (like outdoor living room furniture instead of outdoor dining room furniture.)  So Cost Plus for the adirondacks, IKEA for the dining stuff, and I found a set of OSH stuff last year that hopefully I can find again this year, for the lounge stuff.

At least lately I have found myself asking “Does this make my life easier” most of the time, whether it’s about furniture or pre addressed Christmas cards and hopefully all these ideas will work because I am really tired of being stressed out every time I walk outside.  If anyone else has any tips for me regarding things you have done to make yard work or backyard maintenance less work, I would really appreciate it.




Advent Days: I Forget

Somewhere in there we went to see Santa.  Katie was not a fan, although Eli was fine with it.


I think it’s especially awesome that now if you ask Katie if she likes Santa or wants to see Santa, she looks right at you, shakes her head violently, and says “NOOOOOO. Santa NOOOOOO.”

I also like those hoochy elf girls who scooted themselves into every single picture. Nothing says Merry Christmas like Random Slutty Elf Number Two, am I right?


We had a dance party. I forgot to take pictures. It was your average dance party where a four year old plays Sunset Rubdown on his Fisher Price boom box.

We made home made marshmallows. It was ok. I find the texture somewhat repulsive, possible because I stopped watching the sugar mixture for two freaking seconds and it got four degrees too hot.   I also thought Eli would think that this marshmallow situation was REALLY fun, and so of course he really didn’t care about it at all, although he did drop the really expensive vanilla on the floor and crack the lid off.  Also, when the mixture was whipping he gagged and yelled out “THIS SMELLS AWFUL!” which it did, oddly.

Oh, we had a candy cane hunt! I was thinking about doing it at the park and inviting all the neighbor kids and having hot chocolate and cookies.  We did not do that. Maybe we’ll do that next year, but I had a vision of all the sketchy teenagers that hang out our park stealing all the candy canes.  They’d have to take a break from sucking face to do it, obviously,  but still I had a bad feeling about it and since “Have a throw down with a 14 year old” isn’t in the advent calendar…

Oh, whatever, that’s all a lie.  We just totally ran out of time.  So 15 minutes before bed time I hid candy canes all over the house and then Eli and Katie looked for them, and Eli LOVED it. He LOVED it.  There’s also still one candy cane missing somewhere which is sort of driving me insane.

Then we did a couple things that weren’t on the advent calendar, because we just live on the edge like that.

Eli went to Kings Fan Night with my next door neighbor.  He found it highly enjoyable, partially because he got to meet some of the players but also because he got to drink an entire root beer and poop in Arco Arena.

That’s such an awesome picture.

Erik and Eli went and picked oranges from a neighbors backyard.

Seriously,  I am boring even myself.  This advent hoodley hoo has let to the complete mommy-ization of this blog. Blargh.  Probably I am just a very boring person.  Oh well!

Were you aware that Carl’s Jr. has a hand scooped vanilla oreo cookie ice cream sandwich? Let’s put that shit in the advent calendar, stat.

The Best Books I Read This Year

(Some of these books were published prior to 2011, but I read them this year.)

1. The Lonely Polygamist

2. One Day

3. Please Ignore Vera Dietz

4. Crossing the Tracks

5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

6. State of Wonder

7. Where She Went

8. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

9. Ok for Now

10. Savages

11. City of Fallen Angels

12. An Object of Beauty

13. Rules of Civility

14. Girls in White Dresses

15. The 1o P.M. Question

16. Divergent

17. Bitter In the Mouth

18. The Marriage Plot

19. I think I forgot to list Live Wire on my lists of books I’ve read this year, but I also really liked it, enough so that I want to go back and read all the books that come earlier in the series.

20. Salvage the Bones

Do you have any favorites I missed out on? I have to read 15 ish books over the next few days to make my goal of 18o books read in 2011,  I’d love suggestions!