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frugal beauty school (freauty school?)

i have sunk to new lows in money-saving madness.

as we have seen, i have a tendency to let my hair grow...and grow...and grow... (too bad hair can't really be harvested for anything useful.  i could have a goldmine on my hands...er, head.)  so this time, i was determined not to let it get out of control before getting another haircut.  and believe me when i tell you, i scheduled two haircut appointments in the same week just in case one didn't work out. 

well, excuse me for being a tightwad, but 32 bucks seemed a little hard to stomach and i got cold feet...and cancelled both of my appointments.  so now what to do?

enter my brilliant idea:  i will cut my own hair!  i mean, todd cuts his own, he cuts atticus', lauren cuts her own...and i'm no stranger to the homegrown haircut, although i've rarely personally cut more than just my bangs. but others have.

over the course of my life my poor hair has seen its share of desk scissors, kiddie scissors, $6 goody shears from walmart and, yes, even kitchen shears.  (a moment of silence for my poor fallen chunks of hair.)  in fact, my first 'paid' cut was when i was 14 and i could probably count on both of my hands the number of times someone has received cash in return for one of my haircuts since then.

not that i'm aching to relive the whole "half-my-hair-is-bangs" stage of life that i found myself in for too long a while, but i don't wonder now why my mom paid my old hairstylist with beer instead of cash...not that beer is cheap, either, but three bucks worth of beer goes a lot farther than three bucks in cash when it comes to cutting hair.  believe me, i know.  not that when you're twelve you thoroughly appreciate the bargain that is a slightly-buzzed hairstylist, but that's a story for another day.

anyway, back to the real point of this blog.  lucky for me, i spent neither beer nor cash for this 'do.  i just sweet-talked todd into cutting it all in a straight line, then i added my own layers and bangs.  i'm pretty happy with it, although i don't know that i'll be doing this every single time i need a haircut.  just enough to make those 32 big ones go a lot farther.

a few disclaimers, though, before you go around shaving your head and telling people you did it as per my guidance.  DO NOT cut your own hair if:

1. your toddler has run off with your only hand mirror so cutting layers in the back depends at all on the strength of your imagination.

2. your husband has an astigmatism, parkinson's, or has dipped into the stash of beer you were supposed to have saved by doing this yourself.  unless you're going for some kind of flock-of-seagulls asymmetry, make sure your husband is well-rested, wearing his glasses, and has not imbibed anything questionable recently. 

3. "good enough" is not good enough.  if you are hoping for salon perfection, mow a couple of lawns to pay for a decent haircut.  i won't judge you.

4. you straighten it for church and sit toward the front.  a curling iron will be my best friend here for a while because even though i eventually found my hand mirror (see #1), the back of my head is still a little 'iffy.'

5. your best friend cuts your hair.  seriously don't burn any bridges over this.  you'll need her later when your homecut goes seriously awry, as it is certain to do at some point, let's just be realistic.

6. don't try anything fancy.  you are no 'inverted bob.'  you are no 'halle berry pixie.'  you are a cheapskate who gets varying lengths of long layers.  live with it.  go a little wild with some bangs if you must.

i will also say that 'fiskars' is not an acceptable brand of haircutting shear.  nor is 'crayola.'  call me disloyal to the cause, but splurge the five bucks on a pair of actual hair scissors from walmart.

you have now graduated freauty school.  congratulations.  i look forward to seeing the semi-choppy but oh-so-frugal 'new you' around here soon.

thwr: that's private.

paige: please don't point at mommy and say 'nipple.'


and that's how we roll.

GUESS WHO'S THE HUGEST?

penelope gained 15 ounces in the last week!!!!  now she's in the fifth percentile!

i'll take her in again in two weeks to make sure she's still on the right track, but this is super exciting!

two things i know: that i am a great sinner and that god is a great savior.

penelope went in last friday again to get weighed.  she dropped nine more ounces and is now in the first percentile.  according to the doctor, she is malnourished.

can i just tell you how heartbreaking it is...to know that your baby needs just a few things from you and that you can't give it to her...to think about how happy she has been now knowing that she's been so hungry the whole time...to know how your body is supposed to work, and how it has worked in the past, and that it won't this time, for whatever reason...to know that sometimes your best isn't good enough...to know that this isn't a game and i can't afford to prove anything to myself...to second-guess everything i've done thus far to provide for my children...

maybe the reason atticus only gained a pound betwen 6 months and 12 was because he was hungry, too? maybe he's bottomless for a reason?  maybe he knows what it is to be truly hungry?

and then i read an article in the sunday paper about children that got deported with their parents after the postville raid.  about tiny children living in poverty.  about a little girl, 20 months old (one month younger than atticus), who has stopped growing because gone are the days of fruit and yogurt and meat.  all they can fill her bottle with is coffee...

and can i tell you just how...blessed i am in the midst of all of the frustration and self-doubt?  i have food to feed my toddler.  i get to pick and choose what we eat and from where we get it.  if it turns out that i have to stop nursing, i have quick and easy access to a long list of milk alternatives...all of which i would complain about the cost, but ultimately can afford.  i will get to mix it, on demand, with clean water.  my children will never be truly hungry, truly malnourished.  i will never have to watch helplessly as they suffer the lack of basic necessities.  and i am so grateful to our good, good Jesus.

but there is this nagging in the back of my mind...maybe i'm too quick to brush off the "coffee in the bottle" because it leads me to gratefulness for the true comfort and provision my family has received.  is the whole purpose of that story just to point me to thankfulness for how great i truly do have it when i'm tempted to think i don't?  regardless of how thankful i am or am not, that mother still has to watch her little girl drink coffee instead of milk.  her reality doesn't change because i'm thankful for my own situation.  and would Jesus tell me, well done, good and faithful servant because i felt grateful?

thwr: one man band

(the scene: todd is humming and beatboxing and singing lyrics to a favorite "jam")

paige: i don't know why all those people seem to think you need more than one person to form a band.  you seem to have it under control by yourself.

todd: i think that's funny, but only because i'm not a stupid wuss.

reminiscing: my favorite part of the whole state fair

my favorite part of the whole fair was this guy, apparently also enjoying the heck out of the fair.


thwr: prejudice

todd (during a huge storm, to atticus):  look, atticus, god is 'making it rain.' he's the original rapper.

paige: ...sketchy...

todd: what?! 'making it rain' is just where you throw money at people.

paige: yeah, at strippers.

todd: are you saying that strippers aren't people, too?



and that's how we roll.

thwr: healthy eating

paige: i'm excited about all the produce i bought today.

todd: yeah, you would be.

paige: eat poop.

todd: you'd probably make me if it was good for me.

paige: actually, i was thinking about having us start to eat...

todd: NO.

paige: eww, no, not poop.  ...clay.

and that's how we roll.

(side note: we will not be eating clay anytime in the near future.  however, in defense of my consideration, it's high in silicon, a micromineral which purifies your body of built up aluminum.)

someone call my mom, i have an unexcused absence.

on an unrelated-to-the-rest-of-this-post note, the woman at my high school who was in charge of calling my mom when i had an unexcused absence was named sharon barron.  funny, yes.

anyway, on to the original point of this post.  i apologize for my lack of activity around here lately, as i do realize to what extent you all take life-sustaining nourishment from my blog.  it's like mother's milk, really, not to be gross or anything.  which, ironically, leads to my excuse for why i've been gone...

at penelope's four month appointment, she weighed in at 10 pounds 13 ounces...which is in the fourth percentile.  she was ITTY BITTY. (all the nurses kept thinking she was there for her two-month.)  i have friends who weighed more at birth.  it turns out i wasn't making enough milk to keep her growing.

so now i find myself nursing her, feeding her a bottle of stored milk, then pumping to increase the demand on my body.  and all this is highly time consuming.

and while i would love to honestly say that i love my breast pump as much as the woman in the picture apparently loves hers, getting all giddy just sliding that backpack-fulla-goodies from it's storage place behind the couch and entering a near-euphoria every time i hear the chug-CHUG of the motor...um, well, i apparently don't have what it takes to be that girl.  it has been a rough couple of weeks.  (although atticus does love my breast pump and loves to pretend to use the shields.  not kidding....it's a little unnerving to see him try to hook up his belly button to the pump.)

in the meantime, i have started feeding her a little rice cereal and homemade applesauce, hoping it will fill her tummy a bit more.  she had a weigh-in (yes, like the wrestler that she is) the other morning and she's gained 13 ounces in the last 10 days, which is great.  however, she'll have another weigh-in next week before they can issue her her singlet...here's to hoping she gets to jump up to the next weight class.

august and everything after

august.

what we were doing:

penelope was living her fourth month of life fast and loose.  she had her first sit in the bumbo, began playing with her hands and feet, and recently started reaching for toys.  she loves looking at todd and watching atticus.  her hair is getting much lighter, and is definitely starting to fill in in all the bald areas.  she still has her rooster tail and this funny little shaggy stripe across the top of her neck.  ladylike.  (to offset her wild and crazy hair, she has pretty pearl earrings and frequently sports pink toenail polish.)

she is still ridiculously chill.  toward the end of the month she was eating at 7:00a (ish), 10:00a, 1:30p, 4:30p, and 7:00p.  right after eating at 7, she goes to sleep and sleeps until the next morning (7-ish), but usually wakes up once in the night wanting to have her paci put back in.  simple enough.  i count it as 12 consecutive hours of sleep.  THIS MAMA IS THRILLED.  she is also a great napper.


the three of us (in the shade) at the state fair.  atticus is looking rather suspicious at the...miracle whip...or whatever it is in his carrotty hand.

i have been taking advantage of getting up earlier by resolving to shower everyday and read my bible most days.  whew.  who'da thunk the day would come when hygeine and spiritual development would regain a place of prominence in my life? i'm still on track to finish reading through the bible in a year, but only because i worked hard to get ahead in the reading schedule before penelope was born.  i admit, it has definitely fallen to the wayside over the last few months.

atticus turned 20 months on the fifth of august and he is such a toddler! he loves to read about animals, pretend he's an animal, look at animals, talk about animals...he also loves to build with legos, play with cars, and watch the ever-present construction guys out the window (they're building new apartments across the parking lot).  he also likes throwing things in the trash, taking a bath, picking up his toys, and telling me when he has poop pants.  i hope this whole "neat and orderly" attitude sticks around.

he LOVES to sing and dance, and can sing the beginning of "hey soul sister" and "he likes to dance" from yo gabba gabba.

todd has casually started keeping his eye out for new employment opportunities...so if you hear of anything
that is not in insurance and not in dsm...:)


getting ready to leave to get her ears pierced.

some highlight events of our month: penelope got her ears pierced, i took the kids to visit a local farm (more on that later), we checked out the state fair, we got flooded in and boiled our water for a few days, i reorganized the kitchen, we've started trading babysitting nights with our friends jacob and jamie so that we can go on dates, and we've begun modifying some of our eating habits (and i hope to continue to do more of this as the months go on).



at the salon, waiting to get pierced.

what i've been reading:
..you are what you eat by dr. gillian mckeith.
..the dictionary of wholesome foods by ...well, a bunch of people with hard-to-spell names...frenchies, maybe? just go here if you care to know.
..food, inc.: how industrialized food is making us sicker, fatter and poorer - and what you can do about it edited by karl weber
..the vinegar book by emily thacker
..don't waste your life by john piper (todd and i read this aloud at night)
..a bountiful harvest: the midwestern farm photographs of pete wettach, 1925-1965  by lesley loveless (pete wettach was from my hometown...as was tom vilsack...and me...not to brag on MP or anything, just sayin')

i'm also still plugging away at my one year bible read-through plan, and todd and i read a daily entry from  "my utmost for his highest" by oswald chambers each night before bed.

what we've been watching:
food, inc. (which i HIGHLY recommend)
super size me
all jacked up: hungry for the truth?
a pbs special on the photographs of everett kuntz
...and lots of american farm documentaries.


if you look carefully, you can see her earrings)

so there is our august. 

thwr: fridge ice

todd: want some fridge ice? it's basically just really cold water in individual-serving-sized amounts.


and that's how we roll.