visiting the farm

when we went down to my mom's over the weekend, we were able to take the kids to the farm where i buy my eggs to see all the animals.

penelope wanted to prove to the animals that she was a homie.

they got to help gather the eggs.

i got to spend quite a bit of time learning about how to keep chickens...hoping the info will get to be put to practical purpose soon!

atticus driving a golf cart and wearing a hitler-like mustache made of dirt.

penelope preparing to merge.

and just to prove finneas really was there with us the whole time...

punny title of the week: eggstremely gross.

the other day i was at walmart, and what did i spy with my little eye?  prepackaged hardboiled eggs.  and the first thing that came to mind was, no wonder other cultures hate us.  we can't even boil our own eggs.  i hate us, too.

really people?  pre. packaged. hardboiled. eggs?  it takes all of 15 minutes and enough brain cells to boil water to make them ourselves.  and yet we're paying someone else to do it for us, and paying four times more for the convenience.  in fact, we're paying more for conventional pre-boiled eggs than for organic, free range,  these-chickens-are-basically-treated-like-humans fresh eggs. 

which is ridiculous enough, but then on top of it, is it disgusting to anyone else that we're buying vacuum-packed eggs?  sick.

please, please tell me you've never purchased these.

sand and swim.

this weekend, we took finneas on his first road trip and went down to visit my mom.  after naps on saturday, the kids cooled off by playing in the pool.


check it out.  atticus did not forget to bring his pool face from last year. 


the thing i love about so many of the pictures we got this weekend is that the kids look so joyful!  only kids can be that happy - it's like we forget how as adults.

the kids had a great time digging in the sand, splashing in the water and stuffing their faces with my mom's yummy food.

what we've been up to this week.

what have we been up to this week?  getting our 'suburban white trash' on.

check it out.  we don't have a pickup or a trailer, but we do have massive amounts of yard waste.  so i had the brilliant idea of hauling it to the dump in the kiddie pool...before checking to make sure the pool fit inside the van.  it did not.

i should maybe also mention that we don't own bungee cords or even rope, so we kept the pool on top of the van with plenty of good old-fashioned finger crossing.

the new, cargo-equipped vidivan setting sail on her maiden voyage.

also happening this week?  banana pants.

i stuck my head in an oven, all for the greater good.

when we moved in a year ago, one of the things i LOVED about our new house was our sparklingly clean oven.  i had never before laid eyes an oven with a window you could actually see through!  novel!

well, needless to say, that glitzy oven has been used for a year and was showing some wear and tear.  i finally decided to clean it after each and every half-second crack of the door would send the smoke detector a-blaring.  however, i didn't realize that my oven is not self-cleaning, one luxury that i apparently took for granted over at our super ghetto apartment.  and being anti-corrosive cleaning supplies, i couldn't use standard oven cleaner in good conscience. 

so i tried my hand at good, old-fashioned, elbow-grease kind of oven cleaning.  and it majorly sucked.  it essentially involved a paste of baking soda, which was then sprayed with vinegar and scrubbed clean.  awful.  awful.  but the worst part of it all is what leads me to the actual point of this post.

who was the racist who designed this stupid oven?! 

the baking soda crumbles kept falling through the crack between the door and the oven, down into that drawer thing below.  but i couldn't remove the drawer because it's basically welded in place.  to make matters worse, there is this crack all the way around the bottom of the drawer where the crumbles would build up, but that i couldn't scrub out, and i obviously couldn't tip the drawer upside down because, as i've established, it was non-removable. 

and as for the crumbles that fell on the floor?  i couldn't sweep under the stove because its feet are non-slip and it wouldn't budge.  and as i've said a million times already, that dumb drawer wouldn't pull out so i could cheat and get to the underside that way.

at this point i was pretty darn close to dropping an f-bomb or two.  how did cleaning my oven all of a sudden make my kitchen irreversibly dirtier?  not to rag on the less delicate sex, but men who don't cook design kitchen crap.  i'm positive of it.

men who don't cook and who don't have kids, but who do have maids, design kitchen crap.

who IN THE WORLD decided stainless steel was the 'in' thing?!  and don't even get me started on the absolute ridiculousness that is the side-by-side fridge.  i HATE that thing.  who would make a freezer that can't even fit a casserole dish?!?! FASCISTS, THAT'S WHO.  dishwashers that you can only run pre-cleaned dishes through?  ovens that require you to remember to push 'start' even after you typed in your desired temperature?  fridges with shelves that don't come out for cleaning?  not to be a jerk or anything, but if you're the one who designed one or all of these things, you may want to soberly examine yourself to see if you're an idiot.  all i'm saying is that it's a possibility.

SO i propose that someone pay me to come up with something better.  i bet you a thousand schrute bucks i could do it, and i'd take my winnings and buy my self-designed appliances with them.  (even though one thousand schrute bucks are only worth about ten real cents... but my self-designed appliances would not only be the ULTIMATE in standard kitchen appliances, they'd also be affordable.  everyone is going to LOVE me for this and maybe i'll get to be on the nate berkus show.)

so pull out your dimes, ladies.  you're going to want to invest in these puppies.  and no need to thank me; i'm just an ordinary lady trying to do my job.

video vednesday: i can be a shark.

to all two of you in the world who have not already seen this, this one's for you.


daily log.

i decided the other day to start a daily log of what we do during the day.  which i realize sounds a lot like a blog...both in that it 'logging' sounds like a grosser version of 'blogging,' and also in that the whole point of the blog is to document our days, right?

well, the blog is just not mundane enough to suit my tastes.  so i've decided to start a pen-and-paper journal that says stuff like, 'mowed the lawn today.  it must not have rained much.  wore ballet flats and that was dumb,' and, 'served burgers for lunch.  success limited.  reverting to pretzels.'

yes, i have decided to commit time, energy, paper and crampy handwriting (due to fancypants fake nails and the world's fattest pen) to this endeavor.  why? because i realize that in six months - not to mention six years - i will have a hard time remembering what life was like right now.  i can't even remember penelope cooing ever.  which i'm sure she did, and not that long ago, but i can't remember.  and it seems like as the kids get older (and more prolific in number), time is just snowballing away from me.  and i desperately want to remember these days - how they really looked, not just the highlight reel.

so we'll see how this effort turns out.  i'm not really one for journaling, especially when i have to write by hand, and i'm not super disciplined about stuff, but it's not hard to just jot quick stuff down as i'm going about my day.  so i'm hoping i can stick with it, because i know i'll be glad i did.

thwr: not exactly the westminster confession, but getting there.

atticus: god made everything and god will make me.  we must enjoy him and we must color.

and that's how we roll.

R.I.P. in advance, you horrible little darling.

so, i have this fish.

my college roommate and i each picked one out at one point, i believe at the end of our sophomore year.  we had no idea what kind they were, we just knew they were available (the girl i babysat for had a million of them after her own fish procreated), they were free, and we were in need of some kind of entertainment other than watching reruns of friends and trashy VH1 all the time.  so we brought them home and named them joeytribbiani (naturally) and spudgy (after a youtube video of a narcoleptic dog).

we got a good laugh out of the fact that joeytribbiani (later shortened to joetrib) appeared to have a crush-bordering-on-stalker-obsession on spudgy, as 'he' chased 'her' (still have no idea how to identify fish reproductive anatomy) all over the fishbowl everyday for weeks on end.

then came spring break.

as katy and i were both going home and had little desire to cart our fish (and their varied aquatic paraphernalia) home with us, we left them under the watchful and tender care of a friend who was from china and therefore not going home for spring break.  (now that i think about it, we may or may not have been big fat american jerks for not inviting him to come to one of our houses instead of burdening him with lame pet sitting.)  and i will never forget the phone call i got the day we returned:

paige: hey sky, can i drop by and pick up our fish?
sky: uh, sure, but i have a good news and a bad news.  which do you want first?
paige: um, good, i guess...
sky: your fish is still alive!
paige: great! okay, what's the bad news?
sky: last night there were two fish, and this morning there were two fish, but one fish did not have a head.

after i made a politically incorrect but still funny joke about chinese people eating their pets (which he laughed at, so i am mostly not ashamed to admit that), i picked up our one remaining fish: joetrib.

since that fateful day when i realized he had not been trying to get his groove on with spudgy, but rather had been envisioning her as a giant swimming chicken leg (or whatever hungry fish hallucinate about), i have discovered what a cold-blooded killer he truly is.

first, i tried to introduce him to another tankmate, hoping the whole 'psychopathic boyfriend' streak was out of his system.  the new fella lasted less than an hour.  then i fishsat for my friend jeska's fish and just put their tanks next to each other.  two days later, her poor little guy was sewage sludge.  again, i fishsat for my sister's fish, manpone, who - though i put them at opposite ends of the kitchen counter - died within the week.

i hypothesized that joetrib was a highlander, sucking other souls to boost his own lifepower, and started watching my own back.  the fact that he seemed somewhat immortal only backed me up on my theory - considering he is now seven or eight years old, i only feed him about once a week, and i haven't cleaned his tank since we moved to this house a year ago, i have been pretty sure he would watch my cold body lowered into the grave at some point and laugh a hearty, triumphant, italian-don kind of laugh.  because he is immortal and because he has plenty of reason to want to exact revenge for my negligence and not-even-thinly-veiled hatred.


last night i gave him his weekly ration of fish flakes and he couldn't even get his belly off the (disgusting) floor of his tank to eat.  he just sat there all listless and about-to-die-looking.  and you know what? i was pretty sure he was knocking on death's door.  and i was pretty sure i was kind of sad about it.  because that little guy has followed me from the dorms, to my newlywed apartment, to our house...he has been there when all my kids have come home...he has stuck it out through some rough times.  and to not have that constant in my life is a little sad, surprising as that little discovery was.

but mostly i was kind of sad because now i have to find something to decorate that corner of the kitchen counter with, and i have no idea how to narrow down my options.  so, though he's still hanging on by a thread, i'm dealing with my grief by planning on composting him and also surfing etsy for some kind of print that would look pretty in that corner.

so i could get all, 'it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all' to commemorate and romanticize his (hopefully imminent) passing, but i think a more accurate sentiment would be 'there are literally plenty more fish in the sea.'  cue accompanying shoulder shrug.

party like it's 1999 (and the weirdest thing is, my kids will never know what that means. not that i really do, either.)

this last weekend we celebrated penelope's birthday with a little family gathering on mother's day.

a couple months back, todd's mom sent me a bunch of fresh lemons from their home in arizona, and i juiced them, made lemonade, and froze it, with plans to host a 'lemonade and cupcake' - themed party.  (actually, i planned to do a lemonade-themed party, but then found some cupcake-themed invitations on clearance after valentines day, so the idea expanded.  you will see through this post that the idea then further expanded to be 'lemonade, cupcake, and garage sale junk'-themed.)

so we did a lemonade bar, complete with lemonade and mix-ins, topped off with ball jar glasses:

i LOVE peony season.

the mix-ins i chose were food-processor'd strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, along with mint and basil leaves.  served in my great-grandma's wedding crystal from the '40s.  hiding my nasty fish tank in the corner.

and the cupcakes that made the theme the actual theme...i'm lucky i found those little cupcake wrapper things (also on clearance after valentine's day), because the cupcakes i made were HOMELY, to put it nicely (downright fugly to put it not-so-nicely).  served on garage sale plates and a weird little plate-rack-stand-thing that i also found at a garage sale for a dollar.

here's the whole food spread.  like with atticus' party, i just served up sandwiches and chips for lunch and called it a party.

when asked if being two meant that she was now a girl or a woman, penelope replied she is now a chicken.

while i would not fault you for thinking you're witnessing her falling into a sugar coma, what you are really seeing is her giving her cupcake kisses.  this is shortly before she nearly choked to death while trying to consume this cupcake with the wrapper still on.

i told atticus he had to finish part of his sandwich before he could have a cupcake.  result?  half a sandwich devoured in a single bite.

a view of the party via piggycam.

i let penelope open her presents in this gorgeous chair that i bought as a present to myself a couple weeks ago at a garage sale.  SEVEN DOLLARS, PEOPLE.  SEVEN DOLLARS!  that garage sale lady got had.

a few weeks ago, the following conversation ensued between me and atticus:

A: i gonna get lots of presents at the birthday party, mama?
P: no, this is penelope's party.  you had your birthday party already, and now it's our turn to celebrate penelope's birthday.
A: she gonna share her presents with me?
P: yes, she'll share her presents with you.
A: hey sis, do you want a scooper truck toy present?

conniving little guy.  but while he doesn't look thrilled in the photo above to not be the one to get to open presents, he did a great job letting penelope be the center of attention for the afternoon.  probably because he got plenty of hugs and attention from his awesome aunt lauren:

what's that disgusting tumor of a food item, you ask?  well, i thought it would be cute to make penelope her own little cake with leftover cupcake batter and frosting.  but the frosting wouldn't spread and the cake was all the idea got scrapped, but only after i was halfway through making it.  looks delicious, right?

i clearly gave up halfway through frosting it.

it was a wonderful day and so much fun to throw a girly party!! 

video vednesday: stop. hammer time.

in case you missed this on todd's blog on sunday:

even though i know vader is on the dark side, it still weirds me out to see him pelvic-thrusting.

three's a crowd

i've had a lot of people ask me how the transition has been, going from two kids to three.

i won't lie. sometimes, it's really hard. when one of them needs something, they all need something. all at once. it's hard only getting new-mom amounts of sleep and still having to keep up with two bigger whirlwind kiddos throughout the day. we're not as mobile, and the kids have gotten restless to play outside now that the weather's nicer, but it's just not super do-able with a tiny baby just yet. everything is harder: grocery shopping, garage saling, making dinner. the amount of laundry is indescribable. 80% of the time, at least one of them is crying. 90% of the time, at least one of them is awake (bye bye, mommy rest-time). and as much as i love cuddling finneas, and as speedy as he's getting at eating, i'm still spending around four hours a day nursing. just sitting there. while the older two destroy the house and pillage each other.


in my personal experience (and i know it's different for every family), this time has been a lot easier than the transition last time. part of that is because of the horrible postpartum depression i dealt with after penelope came home, and i'm so blessed to not be dealing with that this time around. but a lot of it is because i feel like i finally am getting my bearings being a mom to newborns. i've found a really comfortable balance of scheduling and flexibility. i'm not so anxious if finneas isn't sleeping during the day, or if he wants to nurse at weird times. i'm more able to handle his 'bored' cries without feeling like i need to drop what i'm doing to entertain him, or getting frustrated with him for wanting to be entertained. my day does not have to revolve around his schedule. i am not having to learn how to split my attention and affection between multiple kids for the first time. and time flies, so even the long days aren't so long, and the long nights are slightly less long.

so my personal but honest assessment has been that this time around has been generally easy peasy as far as newborn weeks go. (i realize that's like saying someone was in a good car wreck, as far as car wrecks go. but still.)

so consider this my little encouragement to all you overwhelmed mamas out there to go get yourself knocked up and see if i'm not right. or just take my word on it. whatever works.

(i apologize in advance for my sporadic posting this week; my internet has been really spotty for some reason.)

Guest Post: Special Mother's Day Edition

Please follow the link HERE.

gearing up for gardening

so, i've already mentioned that i've been trying to get the garden ready for planting.  and while i haven't planted much yet (i know, i know, i have to get on that), i've been prepping for planting for a while now.

in march, i planted pepper, tomato and basil seeds indoors.  i probably could have stood to put them under a grow light, but with our awesomely huge south-facing windows, i just figured it was good enough to stick them in the kitchen and pray for the best.

so they're still pretty spindly.  and i've been hardening them off this week and they're looking a little more like pre-pubescent seedlings than they are like full-on-facial-hair-stage seedlings, and they appear to be terrified of wind.  and the sun.  so we'll see how they do.  i'm pretty sure the weather is going to shove them into their lockers and/or trash can them.

in addition to these little guys, i have gotten a few things planted so far; some onions, peas, bush beans, and carrots.  the carrots are an experiment: i took a morning and made 'seed tape' (surprisingly not something i found on pinterest), where i made a paste of wheat flour and water, then 'glued' carrot seeds in intensive-planting spacing onto strips of newspaper.  that way i don't waste as many carrot seeds having to thin everything out later, and all i had to do was cover the tape with a thin layer of soil.  i think i have one baby carrot showing itself, but it's too soon to tell for sure.

here's what all i'm hoping to grow this year:

garlic (planted last fall, but not looking so hot right now)
bush beans
cherry tomatoes
canning tomatoes
sweet potatoes
bell peppers
jalapeno peppers (spicy and mild)

so here's hoping for the best.  but even if it up and does awesome, i think i've already experienced the biggest victory of Gardening Season 2012, and that is realizing that i have finally used those springform pans i begged todd for in 2008 because i desperately needed them and would use them all.the.time.

two months old!

finneas (or, as i like to call him, 'sweets,' because it's hypermasculine) turned two months old yesterday.  he is getting older, as demonstrated by his spare tire and male pattern baldness. (seriously.  kid is a chunk and kid is balding.)

photos from his official two-month sesh.
he has been cooing and smiling all the time, and he loves sitting in his bouncy seat and kicking his legs to watch the little toys above him clang around.  as for other favorite activities, he likes sucking on his hands, eating every 2.5 - 3.5 hours, and also not dying at the hands of his loving siblings.

he is a great sleeper (for the most part).  he has generally been taking his last feeding around 9:30, eating between 4:30 and 5:00, and getting up for the day around 7:30.  he frequently takes a 2.5-hour long nap in the morning and several shorter naps throughout the rest of the day.  we've stopped swaddling him so he can suck on his hands (he still refuses to take a pacifier), and he no longer likes being rocked to sleep.  (for a long time, i'd swaddle him and then scrunch him up against me with his head on my chest and his legs wrapped up under my armpit, and i'd rock him for three to five minutes, after which he'd be out. cold.)  he just wants to be laid in his bed, where he'll sometimes fuss for a few minutes (but frequently not) and fall asleep on his own.  it's awesome in one sense, but i really miss those five minutes every couple of hours to cuddle him.  not that i can't do it at other times, but it's not the same, you know?

this is his Glamour Shots by Deb 'look of far-off wonderment.'

that stupid 'let's wake up after 45 minutes of napping even though i'm still tired' thing reared its ugly head for a few days, but seems to have retreated in submission for the time being.

he's SUPER chill.  i know i say that about all my babies, but then the next baby comes along and redefines 'chill.'  he just likes to hang out in his bouncy seat or on the floor in the general vicinity of the family (well, more like in the general vicinity of a supervisory and protective adult).  and i hate to admit it, but he's so chill and quiet and content that i have, on multiple occasions, forgotten he was there.

showing off his killer upper bod for all the chicas in the audience.

he ate from a bottle for the first time on saturday so that i could leave him with todd while i got my hair and nails did (because i'm a real housewife of central iowa) and according to todd, he did great.

um, what else am i going to want to remember later on, after i forget most of this season? i'm probably already forgetting something but that seems to be it for now.  all i know is that i'm SERIOUSLY in love and i could just sniff his little head and run my fingers through his barely-existent hair and ogle at his sweet little self all decked out in a plain white onesie all. day. long.

oh, so THAT'S what that stands for.

being gluten free (or really, only 98% gluten free, if i'm being honest) is a big old fatty of a bummer.  sometimes you just want a cupcake, you know?  and so sometimes when i see those "GF" labels on food, i first feel really excited because it means i can eat it, but then i feel bummed out because i'm about to spend five times what i would on a non-labeled product for food that tastes significantly more like cat litter.

so in order to dupe myself into thinking my intolerance-induced deprivation actually ROCKS, i've decided to start assuming that "GF" stands for ghetto fabulous

rice bread got you down?  grab a loaf of ghetto fabulous rice bread.

tired of the same-old-same-old nut crackers?  try some ghetto fabulous nut crackers.

see? it's really hard to be depressed when you're pretty sure you're eating like snookie.  although, limit yourself to thinking that's the only thing you have in common with her, or you're about to get even more depressed than you were in the first place.

the hillbilly chronicles, part three: check out what almost gave me tetanus.

so, 'member how i'm turning our yard into the eyesore of the neighborhood?  it's basically because i have a 'yard art guy'-shaped hole in my heart.  however, my aesthetic leans more toward the primitive than the 'artistic.' (quotation marks necessary.)

in my efforts to turn my backyard into a pioneer days farm, i have come to find some interesting and downright life-threatening treasures.

exhibit A:

this piece of wood with rusty nails sticking out of both ends was found behind my deceptively sweet-sounding honeysuckle bushes.

exhibit B:

this rusty old stake was found driven partway into the ground, probably to hide in the grass while still being a likely candidate for getting stepped on and/or tripped over.

and while i don't have photos, i have also found pieces of broken glass the size of my hand, an entire glass casserole dish buried in the ground and then shattered into moderately sized shards, and a rusty old hacksaw blade.  oh, and remember that time i found a bag full of cockroaches and antidepressants

i'm pretty sure someone in my neighborhood is out to at least maim me.  now it's just a matter of figuring out who so i know who to sue for medical reimbursement.

although, i did find a dollar floating around my yard a few weeks back, so maybe whoever it is is starting to feel bad that they're going to cost us so much in tetanus shots and antivenom.  (i'm only assuming there are also poisonous snakes back there because it wouldn't make sense if there weren't.)

also, Snarky Commenter Who's Just Waiting To Point Out My Discrepencies, the title is on purpose and i will explain next week.  if i don't develop a fatal infection before then.