Monday, March 30, 2015

Hello April

*March goals here.*

HOUSE/PURGE:  This month, we're tackling another fricking task that's been on my list since we moved in TWO YEARS AGO- the shitstorm that is the laundry room.  I also want to empty out a few of the 'junk' cabinets in the kitchen (yes, normal people have junk drawers- Engelbrechts have entire cabinets) and the black hutch in the dining room, which we might as well call a junk hutch.  I have a lot of junk.  It sounds like a lot, but if I get off the computer, I could do all three of these things in one naptime.

NAGGING TASK:  This one is a little ridiculous, a little why didn't she just DO that already?! I need to super glue the canning lids together on all my little hipster mason jars for all my little hipster coconut oil projects.  You know what I'm talking about? Like, there's the rim that spins onto the jar, then the disc that goes inside? It infuriates me when I spin the rim off, then I have to grab the disc off too.  Am I insane? Probably. But then minutes with a tube of glue will fix it, so let's hop to.

HEALTH/STYLE/BEAUTY: For this one, I need to get the kids some summer shoes.  Ava, weirdo that she is, never wears the Toms I get her, she only wants to wear sneakers.  So weird.  So I guess I should just get her some sneakers.  I got the boys these too cute Vans last summer and they both hated them. What is wrong with my children?!!? I also need to track down some footies to wear with my Toms and flats because these ones ain't cutting it- I think I sweat MORE with them on!! Any advice? Also worth noting: It's nowhere near warm enough to be thinking about ANY of this.  Just so you know.  Ugh.

CRAFT:  April is gonna be busy quiltwise. I have a lap size quilt I have to finish (er, and start) for a goodie basket donation thingie, plus Serena's Birch farm. I'd like to have the top completely done to that, but the goodie basket is going to have to come first, so who knows. I'd also like to make some headway on the trail tote I've been saying I'm going to make for about ever and I'd like to get a few rows on the baby doll blankie knitted.

Edit: I typed that out before I realized that I'm a moron.  Measurable goals Engelbrecht!!! So. I'd like to attach all the pieces to make my 'yardage' for the trail tote (I'm doing it quilted) and make the piping.  And research making zippers.  Ugh.  And for the blanket, I want twelve rows a week.  That's two a night, plus a night off.  That's TOTALLY doable, I can do four in an hour long show, plus we're going on holiday, so there's lots of knit time there.  And the Birch farm top ain't happening.  My goal is to have the top half of the top done.

PHOTOGRAPHY:  Um, maybe get some pics? Ugh.  Okay, measurable.  A pic of all four kids in Cornwall, a good one.  Worthy of being framed.  WITH MY BIG CAMERA.  There.

March recap: I purged half those Lego! Probably more than half.  And the kids never even noticed.  Suckers.  I didn't throw them out, I stuck them at the top of my closet. Does that even count as purging? Whatever. It's exactly what I wanted.  Go me!

I sharpened all those fucking colored pencils.  Took me a million hours.  And I tossed dry markers and broken crayons.  I was an art supplies Nazi.  Two for two!! GO ME!!!

I made (and quickly became ADDICTED to) a sugar scrub.  More on that another day because OH MY GAWD I LURVE IT. I ordered the razor and have used it three times, so it's a little premature for a declaration of love and adoration, but it does get the job done.  I did not throw out a single half empty jar/tube of anything in the cabinets.  Oops.

My crafts goal taught me a lesson I already know: goals have to be measurable!!! "Make some progress" on the knit blanket?!?! That's NOT a goal!! So did I? I don't know!! I knit a few rows.  Dammit Jennifer!! Rookie mistake! Get your head in the game!! I did, however, press open all three hundred and sixty eight fucking HST for Serena.  She better CRY when she gets this quilt!! You hear me Samantha!?! I want TEARS OF FUCKING JOY!!! So yeah, it's good that I'm taking a break from hers to to the INQ, or I might just light those motherfuckers on fire.  Do I sound bitter? BECAUSE I TOTALLY AM.

Photography fail.  Ugh.  I took my big camera out a few times, but didn't get anything that blew me away.  Nor did I crack open the composition book I got from the library.  There's always April.  Sigh.

March goals here.  Ya'll got any goals for April?

Friday, March 27, 2015

About Us

It all started on a dark and stormy night.

babies getting married!!

No.  Just kidding.  I barely even remember how it all started.  What I do remember is that we met at Auburn when we were both (sort of) doing ROTC.  We made out, we fell in love, we got married less than a year later because we cray.

babies having babies!!!
Nick graduated, rejoined the Navy, moved to Charleston.  I graduated, joined the Navy, moved to Virginia.  Eventually Nick joined me (sort of) and despite being out to sea eighty five percent of the time, we managed to have a bunch of babies.

how i pretend Guam was
I got out of the Navy and we moved to the exact other side of the world, Guam.  Ohhhh, Guam.  Looking back with my rose colored glasses, I loved it there.  We had our last baby (yes, LAST) then moved to Hawaii. Then we didn't have any more babies (because we are not having any more babies EVER) and we moved to the London Borough of Hillingdon.

Best. City. Ever.
Yes, you read that correctly.  I live in London.  Sort of.

Because I am a total badass.

Nick is almost done with the Navy.  God willing, he's done with submarines completely.  We don't know where we're going next, and no, we don't even have a little idea.  No means no.  It will most likely be America, but that's all I got. We're due to leave London in June 2016, but I'm trying to think of a way to live here forever.

So far, I got: just stay here and hope for the best.

kids are LOUD
Not much of a plan, but hey.  Gotta start somewhere.

So, Nick is a mechanical engineer and he's in the Navy.  For  just a smidge over four more years. I don't do anything, but I used to be a nurse in the Navy. We have four (yes, four) children, two girls bookending two boys.  The oldest is nine and the youngest is four.  If you're considering having four children in less than six years and you're on the fence and wishy washy, lemme give you some advice.  Don't fucking do it.

quilting kicks ass
Why do I blog? I don't really know.  In part to keep a record of all we do.  Although what we do is watch a lot of tv and cry and drink margaritas and make messes.  Not really record-keeping-worthy.

I like to write, it's like free therapy. I like to quilt, and talk about quilting, and show off my quilts in the hopes that someone will see one and say "Hey, I'd like a quilt at cost, I'll buy the fabric if you make one!" That way I get to enjoy my hobby without going bankrupt, and she gets a (slightly imperfect but made with LOVE) quilt at cost.  Win win. (Win.)

I like my mom to have somewhere to go to look at pictures of my adorable snot nosed children. I especially like to document our travels and for some reason, I cannot get enough of talking about the books I read. But mostly, it's our mundane day to day life.

Our perfectly flawed, exceptionally awesome, blessed beyond all measure, loud, obnoxious every day life.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Report (almost done with 2014!!!)

So I'm still trudging along (is that the word I'm looking for? Trudging?) trying to get my books on this blog anywhere near the books in real life.  The good news is, I'm almost done with 2014!!!  The bad (but actually sort of awesome) news is that I'm already ten books into 2105.  I just really like books.

And libraries.  Obvs.

This round up, we have Station Eleven (Best Book of 2014.  Well, one of the two best.), The 5th Wave and The Infinite Sea. None of those links are affiliate because I have yet to figure out how that shizz works.

If I hadn't read Life After Life and I didn't loathe having to pick favorites, Station Eleven would easily have been the best book I read in 2014. It sounds like your typical post apocolytic formula- it is NOT.  It is ANYTHING BUT.

From the back: An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. 

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. 

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek:“Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. 

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

This book was just gorgeous. Beautiful.  Haunting, just a little.  I used to not know what people meant when they said a book was 'gorgeous' but then I read Night Circus and I kind of got it. Mandel (is that her last name? Or is it St John Mandel?) just has a way with her words.  She's magical.  I was sobbing so many times thru this book, seriously.  It will make you happy to be alive, it will make you want to hug your babies and smooch your husband.  It made me BETTER.  This books made me want to be a better human being. Their catchphrase "survival is insufficient" is basically the entire book's message, summed up in one fell swoop.  I seriously considered getting it tattooed the entire time I was reading.  And for months after.  And now.

But seriously, it's NOT about the apocalypse.  At all. So don't let that steer you away. Five stars.  Drop whatever you're reading now and go get it.  RIGHT NOW.

The 5th Wave and the Infinite Sea are the first two of what I'm assuming is a trilogy.  It could be more though, no idea. From the back of 5th Wave: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Justin Cronin (The Passage) blurbed this with something along the lines of 'I couldn't turn the pages fast enough' and I'll give Yancy that- I tore thru both of these.  They were good.  Not stunning or perfect or mind blowing- just good.  I was interested to see what happened next, and I guess, bottom line, that's the point of a story, isn't it?

Infinite Sea confused me a little bit, but nothing that made it suck.  I just can't really figure out the aliens or the mission or how things work and I can't tell if you're SUPPOSED to be confused, or if I should have picked up some cues somewhere.  From the back: How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

I'd only bother with these if you really like this sort of story.  I happen to love it, so they were fab for me, but I can see these not being everyone's cup of tea.  I hate to ever admit that I read Stephanie Meyer, but I think the Host did this whole idea better.  Don't tell anyone I said that.

All right, two more books and we'll be in 2015!!! Hooray for literacy!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dear Diary (Or "Random Bullshit Swarming Around in My Head")

-I feel like it's not a good sign of mental health when I'm doing well mentally and that disconcerts me.  It feels weird that everything is awesome.  And that can't be right!! I've barely had to use my sad lamp all winter.  I'm not very anxious at all.  I still feel depressed sometimes, but nothing like usual.  Is it because I upped my meds and that helped? Is it because I'm just coping better?

Who gets anxious because she's NOT anxious?!?! Ugh.

-I make my bed, every single day.  The entire rest of my life can be (and usually is) a complete shitstorm, but somehow, pulling the quilt up over the pillows? Sets my mind at ease.  I can't tell if this is a sign of profound higher thinking, or a total delusion of the fibers of reality.

It started when one of the kids was born.  No idea which one, there's too many. But I don't think it was Ava because I feel like I haven't been doing it that long.  I wanted a good backdrop to take pics, and the bed is as good a place as any.  So I started pulling the quilt up over the pillows.

Still don't have the photo I was aiming for though.  So that sucks.

-I hate to be touched. This should come as a surprise to ABSOLUTELY NO ONE.  I spend the weeks leading up to any sort of party or social event talking myself into not shuddering when someone inevitiably hugs me goodbye.  Why? Why do we have to hug goodbye? You're not my children.  You're not leaving forever.  When Samantha left forever, I hugged her goodbye.  When my children climb all over me, I hug them. When I feel blue or happy or just because, I hug Nick.  When my mama comes to visit, I hug her.  That's it, those four instances are the only times it's okay to hug me!! Go away, random casual acquaintance at a party!!

That being said, I love having my hair washed when I get it cut.  Isn't that weird? As long as the girl isn't talking to me (and she usually doesn't, I sort of have a vibe...) I could sit there for ten minutes, eyes closed, sighing contentedly as she just...washes my hair.  Shiver.  I just love it.

-And that's basically it for the random thoughts in my head.  Now I'm gonna bundle up to go sit in the sunshine.  Because the sun is out and it's still fucking cold.  Why does that happen?!?!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Around Here

Around here....

...spring might be coming. But probably not.

... coloring.  Lots of coloring. 

...going to shows. Because we're badass.

... taking so much advantage of the library, it seems almost sort of criminal.

... knitting, even though it doesn't seem to be getting an easier or faster.  I just love the repetitive motions.

... watching chicks hatch at nursery.  None of the other moms seem impressed, but I beg Daisy to take me in every morning so I can look at them.  They're so cute!!! Why doesn't anyone else care?!?!

..playing lego.  Always playing lego.

... reading in weird places and entering the photos in school competitions.  For once, a school project I can get on board with.

... loving life.  And taking lots of pics of Daisy June because she's the only one who lets me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 in Scrapbook Pages (Vol 1)

I just love making my yearly 'scrapbook' type thingies.  They always end up being just a little bit lamer than I expect them to be. The kids never even bother to look thru them. I barely look thru them after the first time.  But I dunno, there's just SOMETHING about it. I love making them. I love seeing them that first time, even if they're lame.

I had my December Daily book printed at adoramapix for the sole reason that they were the only ones I could find that did a 6x8 book. Ya'll. That book is GORGEOUS.  Absolutely stunning. The quality is just TO DIE FOR. I just can't believe it. I used to use Blurb bc their interface (is that a thing?) is the easiest, but their books are... meh. I tried Artifact Uprising because it's all the rage right now, but I was underwhelmed by the quality.  Extremely underwhelmed.  I typically stick with shutterfly bc the interface (??) is manageable and the books are inexpensive and a decent quality. But now I'm gonna do  my damnedest to go with adoramapix. The interface (seriously, is that the word I'm looking for?) is a little difficult for me (probably because I'm a moron) and the biggest you can go is 76 pages, but I'm gonna try to power thru because I'm serious- TO DIE FOR.

This year, I'm using paper from a completely different shop (gasp- I KNOW!!! CHANGE!!!) because I just don't need any embellishments. I went with this kit from Lilypad and I just got rid of all the embellishments. It ended up not even being cheaper because I just added the rest of the kit and tons of embellishments that I DO NOT NEED OR WANT because I wanted more paper. Sigh. It's hard being me. Why didn't I try harder to find JUST a paper pack?!?! There's PLENTY out there!!


London usually has pretty mild winters (well, not compared to say... Hawaii ;) ) but it does occasionally snow for five or ten minutes every few years. Gag me. I don't really know WHY the winters are so mild- we're so far north! Right? Are we? I don't know. But it doesn't usually get below zero, which is what, 32F? Anyway, I obviously love this fact. And since I'm from Mississippi and hate 110F degree weather with nine hundred percent humidity, it's easy to deal with the trade off of very mild summers. Although it's hard to remember that on the rare days when it does snow, and when the sun sets at quarter to four.

I'm gonna tread very lightly over the fact that my baby Junebug turned four because basically, I don't want to talk about it. But remember when she was born? Sob.

I've convinced my kids that we're not allowed to have birthday parties while we're in England (kids are so dumb) so we just had cupcakes and dinner and a few presents with our 'plus' family, Megan and all her kids.

I'm also going to gloss lightly over the fact that Samantha moved away. It was AWFUL and I'm still reeling, but sigh.  Se la vie, right? We'll meet again.

For the first school break of 2015, we kept it extremely low key and headed to a Center Parcs.

It.  Was.  Awesome.

We picked the one in Sherwood Forest and it was just perfect. I love sightseeing, I really do, and I can't believe all the opportunities we've gotten to take advantage of. But last winter half term, we went to Rome, which OF COURSE was epic. But it was also exhausting. EXHAUSTING.

This week we spent in Sherwood Forest was EXACTLY the opposite.  We didn't see anything cool (sorry to anyone who lives out there...) but it was still perfect. We woke up, had a lazy breakfast, walked to some of the playgrounds, had a lazy lunch (all the restaurants have playgrounds in them!!) then spent the entire afternoon in the indoor heated water park. Then a lazy dinner, movies, sleep. Wake up and repeat.

It was awesome.

Then we came home and my other baby turned six.  Ugh. Remember when he was teeny tiny?

I sort of fell of the taking pictures game for his.  Sorry Dub. But you get the idea. Daddy made a cake, we had the Alfonsos over for dinner, you got some Lego. Wrapped in Christmas paper because I also fell of the buying wrapping paper game.

So that's our year so far. Bland and boring. Just the way I like it ;)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Thoughts on Mother's Day

Yesterday was UK Mother's Day.  I don't understand why Mother's Day is different here, but Father's Day is the same.  So essentially, I get two days, and Nick only gets one.

Sucks to be Nick.  Especially since he's the one that does most of the actual mothering.

Since it was Mother's Day, I wanted to have some gorgeous deep thoughts about being a mother. Sort of like this essay. It actually made me choke up a little bit, get that achy feeling in the back of my throat. But I didn't actually cry. Mostly because I was more than a little bit jealous of her ease with words and her story, how she managed to do something she thought was too hard.

I don't really have any deep thoughts to share.

I was thinking the other day about this book I never finished (never got even halfway thru- it was REALLY long) but it was about Helen of Troy, sort of. (I think it was this one, but honestly, I'm not even sure. I really didn't like it, not because it was bad, it just wasn't my thing.)

Anyway, I don't know much about Helen of Troy, but in that book, she has a daughter. So when she falls in love with Orlando Bloom and runs away with him and leaves her husband and starts a war...she also leaves her daughter.

She LEAVES her baby.

I'd rather die. If for some reason I'd had these kids with someone else and then I met Nick and we just HAD to be together for some reason and I was willing to forsake my vows and go on the run... I couldn't leave my babies. Not even for Nick. Especially totally and completely.  It's not like Helen could Facetime once she got there- it was over. They were effectively dead to each other. I can't even wrap my mind around the idea.

But then I got to thinking... maybe Helen's kid sucked.  You know how some kids are just... lame? I love my kids (obviously) but they're EASY to love. They're sweet (for the most part) and kind to me and each other and they've always just been good.  Good babies, good toddlers, manageable kids.

What if I'd had an awful kid? What if I'd had one of those babies that don't sleep?  Apparently, they're very common.  I wanted to strangle- actually STRANGLE- Warren when he was a baby bc he went thru like a six week phase where he didn't sleep well at night.  Would I have been able to love a baby who made my life miserable?

Would I have been able to love a child with some sort of severe life altering special need? Or what about just one of those kids who sucks? Like, the parents do everything right, but the kid is just sort of a dick? Would I still love my babies?

I know normal women would.  I mean, that's human nature, you love your babies. Survival of the species, spreading the gene pool.  But I'm awfully self absorbed, and I don't like doing hard things.

Thankfully, I can usually push these thoughts away because it's a moo point.  You know, like a cow's opinion.  I'm done with babies and I don't strangle anyone when she/he wakes me up every now and then. Scott is a dick, but he's also extremely kind and caring and easy to love. Warren, my only 'challenging' baby (and he really wasn't at all) is so charming and gorgeous and funny and sweet and he makes me so happy to be a mama.  Ava is practically perfect in every way and she made my transition into motherhood the stuff of fairy tales. And Junebug reaffirms every single day that THIS is what I was made for- loving my babies.

This is my purpose.

It's not something I ever saw for myself when I was younger and dreaming of the future. I didn't even want kids until my sister had her baby. But now? I wouldn't give them up for anything. I cannot think of a single thing I'd be willing to trade them for.  Certainly not Orlando Bloom. I can't fathom my life without them, and there's not a single thing I'd change about any one of them.

And that's shocking, to me more than anyone else.

I would not change one single thing about any of my four children. And I can't believe that that's how I feel about motherhood.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Favorites (Mar 13)

My numero uno favorite thing lately?


Yall. I've lived in lots of sunny places.  I grew up in Mississippi. I had Daisy on the equator in Guam.  We lived in Hawaii before we moved here.  But London sunshine?


2) If you are in need of a granny modest bathing suit, look no further.

I need a new suit for our summer trip this year (Greece!!!) so I've been scouring the internets lately reading every single review ever written in the history of the world wide web and I finally settled on this little miracle.

Granted, I don't look quite this good in mine. But I certainly feel like it ;) I've always worn the Mom Tankini from Land's end, the tank top and skirt combo? But that sort of makes me look awful (AWFUL) and I finally started thinking maybe it was because it was two pieces, so they were cutting me in half at my widest point? I don't know. I'm making this up.

This bathing suit is a Speedo, I didn't even know Speedo did anything besides racing suits!! Who knew? Anyway, point being, it's well constructed and I fully expect it to last a while. It super sucks in my belly, but then the 'dress' part of it drapes really nicely, so you don't have to see all the wobbly bits that are being sucked and shifted all around town. And it's not a halter top. Why are all bathing suits halter tops nowadays? Am I missing something?

3) This perfume is my favorite perfume in the history of ever.

But as I was dutifully spritzing my pulse points today, I got to wondering- do people still wear perfume? Do people under the age of seventy five still wear perfume? I have no idea.

But I do. Every day. Probably no one else can ever even smell it. Or maybe it smells awful? But I don't care. I DO NOT CARE. I love this shit like you wouldn't believe.

Best part? It was coming up on Christmas, probably a hundred years ago. I certainly didn't have any babies. Was I even married? No idea. I told my mama I wanted this other perfume, because- wait for it- Liv Tyler did the magazine ad and it looked super cool.

That's how I chose perfume.  The magazine ad looked super cool. Not even "the smelly thing in the magazine ad smelled super cool." Nope. Liv Tyler was in my favorite movie of all time (Armageddon- eat me. I love it and I don't wanna hear how much you hate it) and she did perfume ads and I wanted it.

So my mama dutifully went to Dillards (remember Dillards?) and told the girl what she wanted. AND THANK THE LORD, that perfume girl talked her out of it. And told her to get this.

Either that, or my mom just forgot what I wanted and randomly picked up this one.

But either way, who cares. I love it. I love this perfume.

My name is Jennifer Engelbrecht and I am addicted to Organza.

4) The Invisibilia podcast.

I don't know what it is about it, but I love it.  I first heard about it on Elise Gets Crafty, my former podcast obsession. And no offense to Elise, but this is a thousand times better. Mainly because it's professional. I still love Elise!!!

The first one I listened to was the Power of Categories and it was like a knife to the brain because I am COMPLETELY addicted to categorizing stuff.  All the stuff.  Every single thing in my life, I have to have a category for it. I get super itchy if I can't figure it out. Don't ask Angela how often I have a breakdown because I can't categorize my favorite shows.

Then today I listened to the first one, Power of Thoughts.  Ya'll.  Gut wrenching. It almost brought me to tears.  BOTH stories, they were both so heartbreaking and also so filled with hope.

I don't know.  Sigh.  Just give it a whirl.  There's only six episodes (OF COURSE) and now they're done? But I'm hopeful they'll be back.  It's two girls and they DO sound alike, but it doesn't bother me at all. I don't really care which one is talking. Does that sound mean? Oh well.

And for my last fave thing....

5) The music from the Invisibila podcasts.

You're welcome.  They played just a few notes of two different songs in each podcast I've listened to, and both times I was all I know this song, what is it?!?! 

Thank God for the google.  Amen and amen.

The first one was that song that used to be everywhere, from Little Miss Sunshine. It's called And the Winner Is by DeVotchKa.

Ahhh, yes. THAT one.

The second one was hella harder to place, but man, the google!! People just sit around and type shit up!! Cray.  But I'm so glad they do.

I first heard it on an episode of Scandal!! Small world, right? I'm telling you, if you watch enough tv, soon enough, your life will come full circle.  You heard it here first folks: TV IS THE ANSWER.

It's from when they're in the hallway back on the campaign and they agree to 'one minute' and then again when they do it on her couch- ya'll.  That show had more sexual tension than anything else I've ever seen EVER. But those 'one minute' parts? BEST PART OF THE ENTIRE SERIES.  (So far. I've only just started season three.)

Anyway.  It's called The Light and it's by a band called The Album Leaf. Sigh.  But despite that band name, it's AMAZING.

So there you go.  My favorite things of the week.  Yall got any faves to share? Linking up with Momfessionals to see what everyone else is up to.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Goals (Halfway Thru March? Eh, Who Cares)


Since I love to copy other people so much (it's kind of my thang) I found this post the other day and decided to run with it. Basically, she set up general categories and then picks goals each month to fit into them.  Small, easily attainable, sort of...shallow? Does that sound mean? It's not meant to. These aren't her big goals, the stay healthy and pray daily and be better goals.  They're the little ones that fit right into my Do the Work project this year- small things that NEED to be done, but they're so easy to push aside until wow it's been two years and I still haven't thrown out a shoe that I lost the mate for when we moved here?!?!

(Some of hers don't fit me exactly, so I'll be modifying as needed.) (Also, I know it's already March 11 but I didn't want to wait all the way till April to start.)

HOUSE/PURGE: Purging was a huge fail for me last year, so I'm trying to get back to it.  Maybe baby steps will be easier? In March, I want to deal with the playroom- toss toys we don't need, set aside half (MORE THAN HALF) of the Lego. They love Lego, and I love watching them build, but they dump all that shit out to make the same house and car a hundred times a day.  A house and car they can make with two hundred pieces. Then they leave the other eighteen HUNDRED pieces on the floor for me to step on.

NAGGING TASK: The epitome of the baby steps, the crap I just don't want to do, but it would only take ten minutes so I should just DO THE WORK already!! This month, I'm sharpening all the colored pencils and tossing the markers that are dry.  Ugh.  This has seriously been on my to-do list for two years.

HEALTH/STYLE/BEAUTY: This month I want to start using a sugar scrub (the struggle against dry skin and patches of eczema is real) and try out one of these razors I read about somewhere one day. I also want to use up or toss most of the half empty jars of skincare in the medicine cabinet and same with the makeup in the table drawer.

CRAFT:  I want to make some serious progress on the blanket I'm knitting, plus finish AND MAIL Blair's quilt, and get ALL Serena's HSTs trimmed AND pressed open.  It's gonna be hard, but I think I can do it. Probably the knit blanket will be the one to suffer. It is already the twelfth, after all...

PHOTOGRAPHY: I miss taking pictures with my big camera. Like, really miss it. I always just grab my phone because it's easier (duh) but I really miss taking real pictures, editing them, looking at them...sigh.  So I grabbed this book on a whim at the library and I'm excited to get back into it. My goal for March is to a get a great shot of one (or all) of the kids at the new table, working on art in the playroom.  Tricky bc the window in there faces weird.

So there we go.  Baby steps.  What do you think?

Monday, March 9, 2015

It Got Better

Like everyone else with a baby/toddler/early preschooler, I spent an obscene amount of time wanting to stab myself in the eye with a pencil.

No? Just me? Weird. Maybe getting knocked up when I had an eight month old was a lame idea?

And of course, people would inevtiably tell me one of two things: You're gonna miss this. It gets better.

I do not miss it.  At all.

But ya'll.  They were right.

They.  Were.  Right.

It gets better!!! It did get better!! It gets even MORE better, almost daily it seems!!

Ava is nine.  Scott will be eight on April fourth.  They take their own showers.  (Pretend to) wash their own hair. They can read, and write. They can (for the most part) communicate their needs to me. They can (if they aren't being assholes) pick up after themselves. They can help out around the house.

You guys. THEY CAN HELP OUT AROUND THE HOUSE. They can make dinner, if you don't mind a huge mess and a few pieces of...not your food.

They're like real people!!! Only smaller. And still sort of wild. A lot wild.  They're like fifty percent still wild crazy toddlers.  But come on!! You remember toddlers, right? How much more awesome would it have been if they were only fifty percent toddler and fifty percent real person!?!?!

It's like a tiny glimpse of heaven.  Babies and toddlers and even three and four year olds suck.  Sorry, but it's true.  They're just awful.  But older kids? OLDER KIDS ARE THE BEST INVENTION IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.

They can TALK! For real. They can use their words to get an actual message to you. You don't have to guess anymore!! You can fix anything, because you KNOW WHAT THEY WANT. "My ear hurts." "I have a tummy ache." "My friend was mean to me at school today and all the other girls laughed at me."

Well shit. That wasn't part of the plan.  That's not better.

Now what?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Favorites

1) This quilt top...

Can one of your faves be something that you made? Seems a little self absorbed... But I can't help it. I love it. LOVE IT.

I've already said this, but I used a few different collections of Lotta Jansdotter, and I put it together MEGA quick by using layer cakes and this pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew.

And just to prove once and for all that I am NOT even half as talented or creative as people seem to think, I always copy other people's work (hence buying the patterns...) and I'm so awful at math and at 'picturing' how things work, I have to literally draw out each step. I've made this quilt at least six times, and I still have to draw a box around four squares because I can't seem to wrap my mind around how it works!!!

It would be embarrassing except I don't care because I never claimed to be a professional.  OBVIOUSLY.  I print these out for each quilt and literally check things off as I go.  It's so lame.

2) This table for the playroom...

I have plans for Nick to have plans to build this this weekend. It's from Ana White (of course) and apparently he can do it in two hours for sixty five bucks. Of course everything costs a fortune in London, but I can't find one to buy, so this is the only option.

And ya'll, we NEED this.  We've got a typical little kid table in the playroom right now. It used to be perfect. When we had two year old Ava and six month old Scott.  Now? Not so much. Even Junebug is too big to sit at it all alone, it's that small.

I'd also like those square cube chair thingies, but I haven't gone thru the site to figure out where she got those.

Aha! Edited: Nick showed me this link for the cubes. How cool is he?!?!

3) This Etsy shop...

I've already got these earrings and I just ordered these ones, and I'm gonna grab these ones for Nick to give me for my birthday.

I wear a scarf 24/7 right now because I'm fucking cold, but if it ever warms up (it won't) I wanna grab a few necklaces too.  I have big man hands so I can't wear those delicate rings, but I really really like this one.

4) This Instagram account...

It is HILARIOUS. I don't even know WHAT about it is so funny, but just take my word for it.  It's great.  They take a pic of someone from behind, anyone, not someone they know, just some random person, and then invent something for him to be thinking. It sounds stupid, but trust me- it's fabulous.

Here's a recent favorite, but to be honest, I laugh OUT LOUD almost every day. They're all perfect.

I'm laughing again.  Go big or go home!!! Great British Bakeoff.  Oh my word.

5) This oil diffuser...

Or really, probably any diffuser.  I'm not one of the cult who tried essential oils and they cured every ailment I've ever had in my entire life.  Like, AT ALL. I still think it's all sort of bullshit. But I LOVE the way it smells.  I usually diffuse cinnamon bark oil.  Or eucalyptus.  Or thieves. I wanna order some grapefruit.  And orange.  And more cinnamon. Man alive, I love the smells.

I also whip some up with coconut oil to make lotions.  I like it, it makes my hands and feet feel great, but again, I'm not noticing any miracles over here. And no, before you ask, I'm not interested in any oils you happen to sell. But thank you. I just want my house to smell like two little boys don't live here.

Any faves ya'll wanna recommend? Link up with Momfessionals to see what everyone else is diggin this week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Report

So let's see... last time I left off, I was about four hundred books behind. So to try to catch up, I'm gonna do four today. Well, more like seven, but three are in a series and they're all the same, so they count as one.  We've got Sharp Objects, The Rosie Effect, the Gentleman Bastard books, and Love Like the Movies.

First up, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. From the back of the book: Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

This was absolutely without a doubt my definite complete FAVORITE of her three books. It literally took my breath away. LITERALLY. It was SO FRICKING DARK ya'll. Dark Places? I loved Dark Places, and it's my second fave of the three, but it wasn't really even all that dark once you get thru it and realize what actually happened.  Not that I'm some sort of sicko, but when I'm reading a book about the dark and sadistic murders... I expect them to be dark and sadistic.  Maybe it's just me?

But Sharp Objects, holy moly. It was just SO GOOD!!! The perfect story. Twisted, dark, creepy, horrifying, unputdownable. And I feel dumb now, but I had no idea of the 'twist' at the end. In fact, I read the paragraph and STILL didn't get it!!! I had to go back and was like OHHHHHH. How dumb am I!?!?!

But man it was good. The mom was batshit crazy and just written PERFECTLY, and the sister....good NIGHT. Man this book was good.  SO GOOD.

Next, the Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion, which of course was the sequel for the Rosie Project.  From the back of the book: Join everyone's favourite unconventional couple Don Tillman and Rosie in the next chapter of their love story

With the Wife Project complete, Don settles happily into a new job and married life in New York. But it's not long before certain events are taken out of his control and it's time to embark on a new project . . .

As Don tries to get to grips with the requirements of starting a family, his unusual research style soon gets him into trouble. To make matters more difficult, Don has invited his closest friend to stay with them, but Gene is not exactly a prime example of marital happiness, and as his life with Rosie continues to be unpredictable Don needs to remember that emotional support is just as important as his practical expertise . . .

I don't really get why this book caught so much flack. It seems like everyone agreed on the same (not very) witty review: "Twice as long and half as funny as the first one." I'm calling bullshit on all the hipsters. It was longer, but I thought it was just as funny. And sweet. Did it stretch the imagination to think that a few of these scenarios Don got involved in were realistic? Sure. But that didn't make it any less enjoyable for me.  And I thought Rosie was sort of a bitch, but hey, pregnancy sucks and women ARE usually bitches. So that didn't bother me either. I gave it a solid four stars and in my review I said it was better than the first one. Which I no longer agree with, but hey. It was good.

I can't even remember why I started the Gentleman Bastard books, but I love them.  From the back of the first one: An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.

They're all way too long, but they're highly enjoyable. They're just basically about various cons the boys pull and their relationships with each other. I guess it's a 'fantasy' because it's in a made up world? And there are a few fantastical elements- the magi, weird animals in the ocean, all the crap about the Elderglass and stuff like that- but at its core it's just a con and the character drama. So I guess if you like those kinds of books? I think in my review of the first one (Lies of Locke Lamora) I said it was sort of Game of Thrones Lite, but that's not really true. I also compared it to Jack Reacher, which I stand by. Ridiculous scenarios where the hero walks away unscathed? Check.

The second one (Red Seas Under Red Skies) was better than the first one. Or at least, the second HALF of the second book. It dragged at the beginning but once it picked up, I couldn't put it down. Jean Tannen is an AWESOME character. Scott Lynch is just a GOOD writer, you know? Good writing and good story telling. It's a good combo.

The third one (Republic of Thieves) was just too long. It was hard for me to be invested in the back story because duh, I already knew they'd all make it thru just fine. I thought Sabetha was a total bitch and couldn't really see Locke actually being in love with her. It was too out of character for me. And Calo and Galdo (in the back story) were just absolute tools, which they were NOT in the first one, so that was weird too. I just like the characters to character. But I'll definitely be reading the next one, so I guess that's all Lynch probably cares about, right?

Lastsly, Love Like the Movies. Which I loved. Insert blushing embarrassed emoticon here. From the book: In this irresistible romantic romp, movie fanatic Kensington Shaw is thrown into love—Hollywood-style—when her gorgeous ex presents a series of big screen challenges to win back her heart.

What girl wouldn’t want to experience the Pretty Woman shopping scene? It’s number two on the list. Or, try the lift from Dirty Dancing? It’s number five. One list, ten romantic movie moments, and a handful of shenanigans later, Kenzi has to wonder…should she marry the man her family loves, or risk everything for a love like the movies?

I certianly wouldn't label it irresistible but it was highly enjoyable for me.  I read it over a Saturday afternoon slash Sunday morning. No brain activity required. Lol, I was just rereading my Goodreads review and I think I nailed it: "A near perfect fluffy chick book. Fun, quick, interesting. Just a fun read. Reminded me a lot of the Shopaholic books. Which I miss. And are better. But this is still really good."

That being said, if this isn't your kind of story, you obviously won't like it. It's EXTREMELY predictable. Everything you expect to happen, happens. But I really liked it.

So there you go. Four (or seven, depending on how you wanna look at it) winners. My neighbor mentioned the other day that I'm ALWAYS recommending good books- I always say 'oh this was the best." She asked if I've ever read anything I didn't like.  The answer, of course, is yes....but very very rarely. A lot of what I read, I pick up because people I know and who know me recommend it. I read the jackets and if it sounds lame, I don't read it. If the first ten reviews on Goodreads are absolutely awful... I usually won't pick it up. Except Queen of the Tearling, which got so many one stars over there, but I absolutely loved. I love reading, and there's like seven million books out there, I don't have time to waste reading duds!!

That being said, I'm always on the lookout for new stuff.  Libraries man, they are the BEST. Got anything for me?