Friday, August 29, 2008

Going swimmingly

Week two (or is it three?) of watching my friend's son a couple days a week while she returns to school, and things are going well.

video

(Yes, those are just swim diapers. And a $6 kiddie pool the boys had been jumping in and out of -- thus the leaves. I run a very classy daycare.)

(But you have to realize it was so hot that I would have been running around in my undies too if I could have. There are laws against that, though....)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: DYO shoes, part 2

What I'd wear today if I could: a pair of shoes designed by myself at Keds.com. What a great idea! (Design your own shoes? Where have I seen that before?)

Here, I had fun turning my blog design into a pair of Keds Champion mini slip-ons. Sure to be a conversation starter.

These are more than I would spend on a pair of shoes, but it's fun to play around with the possibilities online. All of you artistic types could design and upload your own images, and even sell them there through the Keds store! Then you could tell everyone you're a shoe designer. You can also add text to your shoes and put your best foot (feet?) forward. Have fun trying it out -- and don't forget to get some sleep tonight.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Weekend by numbers

0: Long baths I took

1: Can of Silly String I sprayed

1: Naps I took

1:30: Time I fell asleep Saturday night

2: Walks on the beach

2:30: Time I fell asleep Friday night

5: Times I got out on the all-chick-line-dance dance floor

7: Times I felt old

7: Times I felt young

8: The number of times JP has told me how happy he is that I'm home ("Fly really keeps you busy, doesn't he?")

13: New people I met

15: Times I prayed

30: Minutes of massage

43: The number of times I saw little children at the beach resort and made me miss my little munchkin

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Friday, August 22, 2008

It's a girlfriend getaway -- break out the Silly String

Mind clouded and fuse shortened from lack of sleep, and feeling like a martyr for changing my diet so my breast milk wouldn't make Fly sick, last year I declared that when Fly was weaned, I was going away to a hotel room by myself to sleep and to eat whatever I wanted -- mainly a forbidden chocolate peanut butter sundae and a real-milk mocha venti. With whip.

Then it was just a dream. A far-off, unobtainable goal.

But.

Now Fly is nearly weaned.

And tonight, I am leaving for a weekend retreat. I know that sounds like I am going to be in a cabin in the woods singing Kum Ba Yah, but really I'm going to a resort on the beach a couple towns away where it's just a bunch of women hanging out by the pool and having a fun pajama contest -- like a large girlfriend getaway. And I am going to sleep all I want, and I am going to not dress for practicality, and I am going to eat whatever I feel like (mostly because I won't have to cook), and I might even jump on the bed a little and squirt someone with my secret stash of Silly String.*

And I'm going to miss Fly and JP a whole lot.

I didn't know if I could leave Fly knowing he wouldn't be able to nurse to sleep -- but he doesn't really need to nurse (I don't think he's getting any milk anyway), and I know he will be fine with JP. It will give JP and Fly the chance to spend a lot of dad/son time together. And I won't be far away if something awful happens, which it won't.

It's my first time being away from my little one, though. And I just have mixed emotions about that. I don't know if that can be cured with a chocolate peanut butter sundae and Silly String. But I will find out.

*I know you're wondering why I don't act my age sometimes, and I wonder the same thing too.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

I had a funny title but it was stupid but please read anyway

Is this the best month for blogging or what?! Last week, White Hot Magik gave me the Arte Y Pico award, and now Mozi Esme has given me the Share the Magic Award. Thank you, Mozi Esme!



(Do you detect a magic/k theme here?)

Isn't Mozi Esme sweet? I should mention this is also my first international award, as the Mozi in Mozi Esme means Mozambique. How exotic. Please check out her fascinating blog and say hi!

RDH Mom created the Share the Magic Award to recognize her blogging pals. There are no rules attached to the award, which is super because I never want to leave anyone out when it comes to selecting a handful of people to pass on an award or a meme. I guess you could say I like to be all-inclusive.

That doesn't sound slutty, does it?

Anyway, pleasepleaseplease pick up this award for yourself! If you are on my blogroll ... or if I have commented on your blog in the past six months ... please accept this award from me! I know you're thinking, "Oh, but she doesn't mean me. I never win any of those blog awards." Yes, I mean you! You know yourself that when you're a mom you don't have a lot of free time. So if I am spending my free time at your blog, it's gotta be pretty magical. Consider yourself awarded.

And while I'm at it, because I've recently met so many bloggers who are new to me, if you'd like to be added to my blogroll, please let me know.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: A complete outfit

What I'd wear today if I could: A whole, coordinated, complete, accessorized, pulled-together outfit. Do you know how hard this is to do when you have a small person alternately whining, pushing your knees in from behind, finding the cabinets you never got around to putting a lock on and pulling everything out, splashing in the cat's water dish, shredding the toilet paper and ... you get the idea, and I'm sure you do know how hard it is. There are many days I am lucky to have a top and a bottom that matches, never mind trying to figure out my shoes or change jewelry. Fly will be two years old in a couple of weeks, and he is just now getting to the point where he can entertain himself long enough for me to (once in a while, maybe on a Saturday, if he's playing with anything that has wheels) rummage through my stash of earrings and actually switch out my earrings for a change. Weeks used to go by before I would change earrings; I'd even sleep in them because I just couldn't find the time to take them out. Now I have a little more time and can make more of an effort. Of course, I also have become more efficient in getting ready over the past two years. I suppose most moms do.

If you're still with me after all this rambling, my post isn't about a single item that I would wear today. I heard about this site, Polyvore, where you can create collages of images found online to assemble outfits, interior design looks or other pictures just for fun (like this butterfly martini I found there). I just thought it sounded fun and played around with assembling an outfit, which I posted above. Everything there is from eBay.

This is more fun than actually getting dressed!

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Fly's first hurricane

Into every life, a little rain must fall -- and sometimes it's six inches of rain, along with 50-mph winds.

Tropical Storm Fay is headed our way.



JP and I feel we're set for whatever Fay does -- even if she becomes a hurricane, as forecasted.

(Bring it!)

(Update: Fay never became a hurricane. We got a lot of rain, some cool breezes and that's it. Our house is 12 feet above sea level (!) and there was no flooding in our community.)

People here are a little on edge because the last hurricane that came through was Wilma in 2005, and that was a true disaster. Trees blocked roads. Traffic signals were missing or didn't work for about a week. Two of our neighbors had trees fall on their houses and cars; many others had tarps on their roofs for up to a year afterward while waiting for insurance companies to sort out the damage and waiting for roofing companies to get down the long line of people needing repairs. For a short while, you had to boil any water before using it because it had been contaminated. Some places had flooding.

JP and I didn't have electricity for 10 days. He lost a week of work. When he finally did go back to work, because of the traffic signals being down, his commute time doubled. We lost several trees. There was an eight-foot-high, 14-foot-long pile of debris we picked up in our yard.

My wildflower garden was flattened. It looked as though a giant came and stomped it with his boot. I started from scratch with a bare dirt floor and a few stripped shrubs. I made the garden even better than it had ever been.



In the midst of this crazy aftermath, two months later, Fly was conceived. With my garden fresh and budding, and my boy growing inside me, I was inspired to start Growing A Life.



Good things can come out of hurricanes.

But of course, we hope Fay won't be a big deal.

Anything you want to know about my experience with hurricanes or the storms in general? Ask, and I'll try to answer!

- - - - -

Lissete, I was here for Hurricane Andrew in 1992. That wasn't just a disaster -- that was a war zone! I couldn't possibly write a short response to Andrew. That's a whole 'nother post!

MMTAM, since Wilma, JP and have replaced some of our windows with hurricane-impact windows. We also have shutters for our windows and doors. We have enough bottled water and food for several days. Also after Wilma, we had the local power company install a unit of some kind that allows us to hook up a generator to it and power the whole house. It won't run everything, but it will keep the refrigerator running, let us have some lights, and let us cook a bit. That's a huge improvement. We also put gas in our vehicles and have extra gas in cans (for the generator and for the cars) -- after Wilma, some gas stations installed generators too, but it's still a good idea. Those are the main preparations. Of course, if the storm spawns a tornado that wipes out our house, those things won't matter!

Kristi, as you know, Punta Gorda is on the southwestern coast of Florida. I've been there, and I remember it was hit bad by Hurricane Charley in 2004. In fact, I heard Fay is following a track similar to the one Charley took. The track of the eye of the storm takes it through that area, as I found online, "The state's southwestern coast is predicted to suffer the brunt of the storm and was put under a hurricane warning at 11 a.m." No matter where the eye goes, however, it looks like all of southern Florida is going to get lots of wind and rain.

Groovyoldlady, I remember Hurricane David too! It missed us.

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Baby got rhythm

Giving Fly a bath this weekend, I was inspired to sing.

There are bubbles in the air, in the air

Fly grunted twice. I hardly noticed.

There are bubbles in the air, in the air

He grunted two more times. Odd.

There are bubbles in the air
There are bubbles everywhere
There are bubbles in the air, in the air

[Grunt, grunt]

I either have a boy who's got some rhythm -- or I have a singing pig!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Family Circus Olympics


What's your favorite event in your own family's Family Circus Olympics?

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Winning a medal

It seems everyone's attention is focused on the Olympics -- the moves, the inspiration, the hot bodies, the scandals, the medals! As a girl, for about two days I dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast. Fortunately, that dream went away....

I'll never be in the Olympics, but I have won a medal -- OK, it's not a medal, but it's a blogging award from the super-nice White Hot Magik. Turns out we have a lot in common. She loves bugs, I love bugs! She loves Magnetic Monday, I love Magnetic Monday! She lives in a warm place, I live in a warm place! She has an eBay shop, I love to shop on eBay! WHM has given me the Arte Y Pico award. Apparently, Arte Y Pico roughly translates to "Wow. The Best Art. Over the top." Take that, Olympians! I mean, thank you so much, White Hot Magik!

In turn, I must pass this award on. See? The rules say so.

  1. Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.
  2. Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog by so everyone can view it.
  3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.
  4. The award winner and the presenter should post the link of the Arte Y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
  5. Please post these rules.


When I think of blogs that are creative, interesting and contribute to the blogging community, five that I think of include:

Carrie of Eyes Wide Open and gremlin wrangler. She is writer, photographer, singer, songwriter and portrait artist. I bet there are other talents she has we don't even know about.

My favorite Aussie h&b. Her self-decorated home was recently featured in an Australian design magazine. It's beautiful! You should see the nursery and playroom. She is always doing something to her home and garden.

Amanda at The Wink and Tumble Dry. The way she writes about her three beautiful daughters and the relationship she has with them is sheer poetry. But she can also be wickedly funny.

Michelle at Scribbit, who has probably already received this award, but she deserves it anyway. She always has interesting crafts on her site, and she also has her own Etsy shop. Her weekly recipe also rocks.

Heather and Whitney at Rookie Moms -- talk about contributing to the blogging community! Rookie moms no longer, these gals turned their blog into a book and wrote The Rookie Moms Handbook.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Less is more

Recently, Fly and I took a bike ride to a park nearby. I knew of the park but hadn't been there before. There wasn't much to it -- mostly a grassy area with a stand of trees in the middle, and two half-hearted playground areas.

The park didn't have much going for it as far as Fly was concerned, but it was almost surrounded by a canal that winds through the neighborhood. We followed a path along the water and were surprised by a blanket of flowers there. There also was a covered bench right at the water's edge.

I looked beyond to the other side of the canal and was surprised that the houses that backed up to the water were pretty spectacular. I saw pools bordered by Roman columns wrapped in fabric, a two-story wall of windows, romantic balconies and lush landscaping. The people in these houses looked out their backyards to this little park with its flowers, trees and cute little bench on the water -- a really nice view. All of this was just a short bike ride from my home.

Looking at all this beauty, I wondered why that couldn't be my family and me in a house like that. And I immediately felt ashamed -- as though I'm not grateful for what we have -- and indignant -- because I know we could probably have more if I worked at a full-time paying job.

We don't have the best house in the neighborhood, but it's not the worst, either. JP and I try to live within our means. There are some things we do without, while there are other things we splurge on -- probably like everyone. For example, we've never had cable or satellite TV. (A boss once asked me, in all seriousness, how I lived.) The most I usually spend on an item of clothing is around $30 -- thanks to shopping sales, eBay and being able to sew. JP does most of our home repairs and improvements himself. I use coupons at the supermarket (last week: $6.75 worth). We often buy electronics used. Many of Fly's toys are secondhand, like the Big Wheels-type tricycle I picked up at a yard sale for $3. JP and I have really cut back on our travel, staying in the state for the past several years. You could say we're good consumers, except we don't consume much. (Not to mention most of this is environmentally friendly.)

So, sure, we could have a nicer home with more up-to-date interiors, we could have newer cars, I could have fancy shoes and I could save time by skipping over coupons and sales papers. But for now, I am committing my time to Fly. And yes, I do realize many moms absolutely must work to keep the household running -- and that could be me if my husband ever can't find work -- and God bless moms for doing so.

For my family, though, right now we are content with having less because it means Fly can have more. He has more of me. He has more daily examples of do-it-yourself hard work. I believe having Fly at home gives him more freedom. Having less gives me more, too -- more time watching Fly discover new things, more practice with patience and faith, more chances to appreciate the things that matter most.

If I'm ever tempted again to gaze longingly at a fabulous house, I will just remind myself that less truly is more.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: La Perla

What I'd wear today if I could: well, it's what I'd wear tonight. Since Fly was born, I've gotten used to wearing long pajama bottoms, a tee, socks and even sometimes a robe when I go to bed. But now that I don't have to get out of bed two times a night for an hour each time and brave the cold temperature my husband sets the thermostat at every night (don't ask), I'd like to feel some slippery silkiness next to my skin rather than something in fuzzy cotton. Because WIWW is mostly a dream list of the unobtainable kind, I can indulge myself here in the top lingerie: La Perla. For example, this $468 slip. Heavenly, and completely unobtainable. Anything silky would do, but if you're going to wish, then wish big.

This might also work:



Or this:



Well, I wouldn't sleep in this bra. But I just had to include it. As long as I'm wishing.

I'm willing to entertain the idea of other upscale lingerie companies. Anyone?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The two-child test drive

So this is what it's like to have two children.

Two drinks that will get lost.

Two diapers that will be filled.

Two meals that will go ignored.

Twice the getting-into ability.


Living room aftermath


Family room aftermath

Twice the desire for the same piece of real estate.


This playground isn't big enough for both of us!

Two sleepyheads that need a nap, no matter how they might protest.

Two times the fun!


What would I do without my friend?

If things work out, starting today I'll be watching friend Guinevere's son two times a week while she goes back to school. And I get to take the idea of having a second child for a test run.

What advice do you have on taking care of two or more children? Any good stories to share?

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Ah, Monday!

Don't you hate Mondays? Can you believe I had to meet with my boss today?

Well, that would be my former boss.

At the pool.

With our kids.



So that was great, but this isn't:



You can also see I need to vacuum.

And we all know vacuuming sucks.

Except I got a new vacuum that I love (which I tweeted about).

So, um, I'm having a hard time writing a post for the Gremlin Wrangler's Monday Haters Unite!

Sorry, GW -- you just caught me on a bad (good?) Monday.

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An able friend


...and so much more.

This will be my last regular Magnetic Monday post. I might post an MM in the future, but not on a weekly basis.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday I'm in love



Can you tell I'm thinking about The Cure?

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fear of weird plants and other stories

Maternal Mirth tagged me for a meme to list six unspectacular things about myself. We haven't known each other online for long, but she already knows me well enough to know I will have no problem reveling in my unspectacularness.

Let's see....

1. I have a bad habit of biting my left forefinger knuckle when I'm sitting and thinking. Seriously. I don't know where this came from. It's only been since Fly was born. I actually have a callous on that finger from the biting. Beautiful.

2. There are still wedding gifts JP and I haven't taken out of the boxes. We got married 13 years ago.

3. I have a fear of weird-looking plants. Bizzarobotanicaphobia? When JP and I (used to) hike, whenever we'd come across a plant I didn't know and that looked weird, I could swear my heart stopped beating for a second and I'd do a little jump before slowly backing away from the crazy-looking thing.

4. I am greatly annoyed I still have bad melasma on my face, which was supposed to lighten up/go away after Fly was born. That's what I get for going to the Bahamas on my baby moon.

5. Since Fly, I've gotten really bad about writing thank-you notes. I forget for weeks or even months. JP's parents went on vacation this spring and brought back some nice souvenirs for us, and I never thanked them in written, postal mail-able form (as I'm sure they expect).

6. As a kid, I once convinced a friend's classmate I had two birthdays just because I knew she was the gullible type. I also told her the older kids not only had to learn cursive writing, but cursive numbers, too.

I'm supposed to tag six people, but my meme MO is to open it up to anyone who wants to do the meme. If you do, let me know!

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Not these, part 2

What I'd wear today if I could: definitely none of the following (because we had so much fun with this exercise last time).



These are brand-new shorts for sale at Nordstrom.com. You want to know the price tag? $285. Nordstrom corporate buyers, listen up: I think you'll find it hard to get people who will wear these shorts for free. I know these shorts are making a statement, but the statement is "I lost a bet with my mechanic and had to take his old jeans, cut off the legs and wear them at a busy intersection until someone called the cops on me for loitering." Pairing these shorts with dark pantyhose doesn't make them any more chic.



Now, I love hats. And I like the designer who used this hat to accessorize her clothes. But if a person really feels the need to wear a sombrero that's wider than her hips, she should take a cue from Caribbean women and instead carry an umbrella to ward off the sun's rays. Or, if you think a hat this big helps you hide, you are mistaken. People will be staring. They will notice you for sure.



I just know somebody out there is going to say she likes this dress and I'm all wrong for posting it here, or at least say this dress isn't really that bad. And I guess the dress is less than horrible, but, oh, the monoboob! The crazy gold and silver plaid! The weird neckline pleating! It all adds up to one bizarro dress.

No, I think today is a simple yoga-pants-and-T-shirt day.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

These are the days

Looking back at pictures and videos of Fly as a little baby, I get this woozy feeling that I didn't appreciate his little-babyness as I should have, that I missed out somehow. Maybe I was too busy taking care of him to enjoy him fully, I wonder. That makes me a little sad -- almost as though I lost a part of him.

But I am enjoying Fly now. And I hope two years from now, I won't look back, and think and feel I missed out on this time in Fly's life. Every day, I hold this munchkin-sized creature and try to savor everything that he is, in that moment.

This week, a friend and I are attempting to seize these moments with our kids and squeeze out the last bit of summer before school starts on Monday (for her). Today, we went to watch airplanes and to explore a beach we'd never been to. Tomorrow and the next day are surprise places she doesn't know about. Friday, we plan on going to the zoo. There is also a movie night and Pampered Chef party at her house thrown in for good measure. We are taking the bread and sopping up the broth the spoon can't reach -- a summer that's good to the last drop.

- - - - -

These are days you'll remember.
Never before and never since, I promise,
will the whole world be warm as this.
And as you feel it, you'll know
it's true that you are blessed and lucky.
It's true that you are touched by something
that will grow and bloom in you.

These are days you'll remember.
When May is rushing over you
with desire to be part of the miracles you see in every hour.
You'll know
it's true that you are blessed and lucky.
It's true that you are touched by something
that will grow and bloom in you.

These are days.

These are the days you might fill with laughter until you break.
These days you might feel a shaft of light make its way across your face.
And when you do you'll know how it was meant to be.
See the signs and know their meaning.
It's true, you'll know how it was meant to be.
Hear the signs and know they're speaking to you, to you.
--10,000 Maniacs

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Monday, August 04, 2008

A pure kiss


Ahhh....

Check out White Hot Magik's Magnetic Monday post! It's the best ever!

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Friday, August 01, 2008

From my head, to my fingers, to the blogosphere and back again

I am probably the last person in the blogosphere to know about Wordle.

Here is my Wordle.

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