Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stories to Make Your Heart Swell

I can't be the only romantic (though I'm sometimes stubborn about it) whose heart swells when listening to the stories of those who have been in love for such a long time, can I?

These are lovely:

(Disclaimer: I know it's a commercial for life insurance, but it's just so charming. We have no affiliation with this company; I was just drawn in by their effective marketing and lovely interview subjects.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Don't Worry That It's Not Good Enough

I've always really liked to sing. I don't care for singing solos (I get nervous and I don't feel like my voice is that strong by itself) but when I discovered choirs in high school after a few voice lessons, I really, really loved singing for people. I sang through high school and three years of college and in a few church choirs, and I always found it really fulfilling. I'm not the greatest singer in the world, but singing makes me happy.

Lately though, I don't have too many opportunities to perform, and my skills are probably decreasing. With a new baby in the house it's hard to get motivated to join the church choir when I could be napping on Sunday afternoon, and anything else seems like a lot to coordinate right now. My husband works some nights, getting babysitters stresses me out, you know the drill. I get my singing kicks by singing to my babies. 

When CB was a baby, I sang everything to her. Old choir songs I remembered, Broadway show tunes, hymns, songs from Sesame Street or the Muppets, stuff by the Beatles or Simon and Garfunkle - anything I knew all of the words to was fair game, and sometimes I stayed in her room rocking her longer than was strictly necessary just because I enjoyed singing to someone who didn't make me feel self-conscious. 

Now CB is two and a half, and she has opinions about what we should sing. I sing the ABCs about 15 times a day, "Once Upon a Dream" about a dozen, and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" makes an appearance at most bedtimes. I still get to sing whatever I want to little sister when I get my rare one on one time with her, but for the last month or so I've stopped minding singing what CB wants to sing - because now she sings it with me. 

If you want to experience something joyful, it's seeing your child enjoy something that you love and ask you to do it with her. Although sometimes she wants to sing alone (and she tells me - "No Mommy, you not singing!") sometimes she demands that I sing along. It doesn't matter where we are or who else is around either. If it's time to sing "Sleeping 'Boo-ty,'" it's time.

Better still, when little sis is upset, we ask CB to sing to her to help her calm down. At first this was just a tactic to help her stay calm, but crazily enough, 85% of the time it actually seems to do the trick. And if you ask CB what Miss D's favorite song is, she'll tell you the ABCs, and her favorite singer, of course, is her big sister. I'm not sure there's any feeling that is sweeter than watching my baby look at my toddler with a look of pure delight, when seconds before she was sobbing, and watching my toddler singing at the top of her lungs to make her baby sister happy, no matter who is around. Her sweet little voice cracks, she mixes up words, (my current favorite is, "You'll love me at once, the way did you once upon a D-WEAM!"), and if I tell her it will help her sister, she never, ever hesitates to start belting it out. 

I really love Sesame Street, and I've heard their "Sing a Song" about 40,000 times, but I especially love this part:
Sing, sing a song
Keep it simple, to last your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song. 

I don't think I sing well enough for EVERYONE else to hear, but singing to my daughters makes all of us happy, and I'm glad that, for now at least (until I'm SO EMBARRASSING MOM STOP) it's good enough for them. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reinvented Childhood Bookshelf in Just 62* Easy Steps

Completed project... for now... 

I’ve been following the (often overwhelming) posts on Apartment Therapy. Every once in a while I get the bug to turn my dreary, piecemeal apartment into something fashionable and sleek (and then I remember that I have no budget -- who has the money to spend $1,000 on on a plastic chair?). But, rather than get overwhelmed by actually doing something productive (like cleaning larger spaces like, oh, I don’t know, my living room or kitchen or bathroom), I dig into a task that isn’t very high on the “need to do” checklist, because, you know, priorities. I had this old bookshelf that I’ve had since I was probably 5 (particle board, nothing fancy). It’s white laminate with stains from old candles I got for a long-ago birthday, and I’ve been using it as kind of a catch-all (imagine junk drawer, but with more dust). I kept old electric bass amp cables, an old set of double bass strings, my old digital camera, bibs and participant medals from every 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon I’ve ever run, bobby pins, old photo frames no longer used, tags I’ve removed from new clothes just before heading out the door wearing said new clothes… You get the idea. Recently I’ve been acquiring more cold weather clothing: Cuddl Duds, long-sleeve t-shirts, layers upon layers upon layers. I wanted to find a way to store these new layers, along with the sweaters that can’t/shouldn’t be hung up and so, with a little obsessive internet browsing, I came up with the idea for my repurposed (budget-friendly) bookshelf. Here are the steps I took (should you try this project, your steps may be different):
  1. Stare at my dusty old bookshelf for approximately 4 years.
  2. Allow it to accumulate clutter beyond my wildest imaginings.
  3. Ignore the dust bunnies (that seem to multiply at a faster rate than real bunnies) for the last 8 months. (If you don’t touch it, it’s not airborne, right?)
  4. Start obsessively reading Apartment Therapy, dreaming of a sleek, clutter-free home.
  5. Realize that isn’t going to happen any time soon.
  6. Stare at the sweaters draped across my drying rack.
  7. Realize that I rarely actually put them “away,” and instead just wear the same ones over and over directly from the drying rack.
  8. Go through my closet and realize I actually do have a decent selection of cozy clothes to keep me warm.
  9. Resolve to do better.
  10. Stare at my dusty old bookshelf some more.
  11. Go online and browse Target.
  12. Spot these awesome baskets that are more expensive than I need, but they’re so pretty.
  13. Order these baskets, and also some more practical ones that do the exact same thing, but for less money.
  14. Wait for baskets to arrive in the mail.
  15. Open magic box from Target -- Huzzah! Baskets!
  16. Immediately gravitate to the awesome design baskets and see how my folded sweaters would fit in them.
  17. Continue to stare at my dusty old bookshelf and take no steps to actually start cleaning it off.
  18. Admire my neatly folded sweaters in one of the fancy baskets I ordered.
  19. Calculate just what the shelf height should be to accommodate the fancy baskets. Realize it’s the same height as the non-fancy baskets.
  20. Finally open the non-fancy baskets, because I feel guilty non opening them, just to see how they’d look.
  21. Stare at the two baskets for a little while. Finally decide to splurge a little and go with the slightly-fancier plastic basket for the project.
  22. Decide I won’t really have a good idea of how the project would look unless I actually make an effort to clean off the bookshelf already…
  23. Sit down and watch Hulu for 2 hours (because Miranda is hilarious).
  24. Eat some supper, because it’s that time already.
  25. Wash the dishes.
  26. Glance at the bookshelf to see if it is still dusty and ugly, or if my project has magically completed itself. It hasn’t.
  27. Sit down on the floor in front of the bookshelf to get started.
  28. Realize I forgot all dusting materials under the kitchen sink.
  29. Get back up and fetch everything I could ever possibly need to tackle such a massive amount of dust.
  30. Begin the dusting process.
  31. Shove found bobby pins in random places in my ponytail (to be found later, while getting ready for bed).
  32. File away old race bibs and medals, dusting each individually (not because they’re precious, but because they are that dusty).
  33. Shove old picture frames aside to be dusted at the end.
  34. Try to remember which electric bass cords actually still work. Give up and shove them in a corner with my instruments, to figure it out later.
  35. Dust each shelf thoroughly, and then remove the shelves and dust them again (because, somehow they’re still dusty).
  36. Move the bookshelf and realize I hadn’t vacuumed behind it since I moved in. Use all the vacuum tools/attachments to get in the nooks and crannies and corners of the carpet and the bookshelf itself.
  37. Take a sneeze break.
  38. Look at the bookshelf and question whether it’s even worth trying to do anything with it.
  39. Walk away for a while.
  40. Come back, looking at the floor with bookshelf clutter exploded all around. Decide I do actually want to be able to walk through my hallway without tripping over clutter. Resolve to complete this stupid project.
  41. Look at the peel and stick wallpaper thing I found at Target. Consider covering the back panel and top (to cover up the stains from the candle from many birthdays ago).
  42. Decide against the wallpaper (too much work and too expensive for just an old bookshelf) and go with some wrapping paper I have lying around in my closet.
  43. Measure the back panel to figure out just how to cut my wrapping paper -- Carefully cut the wrapping paper.
  44. Realize that my angles aren’t 100% square, but it’s for the back of the bookshelf and there will be baskets in it anyway so it doesn’t really matter that it’s not perfect, right?
  45. Try to figure out the best way to adhere the wrapping paper… Little rolls of packing tape -- If it’s good enough for the mail and for presents, it’s good enough for me.
  46. Stick little rolls of tape around the edges of the inside of the bookshelf.
  47. Try to figure out a way to keep the paper from rolling back up while I’m trying to stick it up in the two top corners… Find a couple of bobby pins in my hair and clip them onto the bottom two corners of the wrapping paper. Somehow stick the paper to the tape and pull the rest of it tight and smooth out the paper -- Success!
  48. Realize I still have to cut wrapping paper for the top of the bookshelf. Decide to use one long roll of packing tape across the whole front of the top.
  49. Get caught in a web of sticky tape.
  50. Throw away a lot of tangled tape and start over.
  51. Finally succeed in making a roll of tape. Realize I need to measure and cut wrapping paper.
  52. Finally get the perfect piece of wrapping paper cut only to have it roll into the already adhered tape...one corner was correct...and one corner curled with the pattern down.
  53. Try to get the paper up from the tape without ripping it.
  54. Fail at getting the paper up from the tape without ripping it. Tear it violently and curse the wrapping paper gods.
  55. Cut another piece of wrapping paper for the top of the bookshelf.
  56. Adhere it correctly and smoothly and do a happy dance!
  57. Realize I still have to put the shelves back in.
  58. Put shelves in, but notice there is a wobbly one because I accidentally put one of the shelf pegs in the wrong hole.
  59. Take the shelf out; fix the peg; put the shelf back in.
  60. Figure out which of the sweaters (and Cuddl Duds) goes in which baskets and on which shelves.
  61. Finish the top of the shelf with pictures (no longer covered in dust).
  62. Worry about the sticky tape residue that will inevitably be a problem someday in the future, but decide to ignore it until I get another project bug.

So, that’s it, just 62 easy steps to the perfect, sweater-filled bookshelf. 

Wrapping paper tops it off
Completed back panel

* 63. Realize after taking all of the pictures for this blog post that the middle shelf is still crooked (see completed back panel photo). Take out shelf; fix pegs; return shelf; resolve to not do any more "creative" projects, at least for a little while...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Things I Think to Myself or (who am I kidding) Say Aloud to Myself Because I Live Alone That’s What People Who Live Alone Do

On this list:

  • You have got to be kidding me.
  • There’s no way that is normal or natural.
  • Where’s the thing with the things?
  • (Said with disgust) Oh I HATE it when you freeze up!
  • There are so many emails and I hate them all.
  • I just want to wear sweatpants all day. When will these count as business casual?
  • Why am I always cold and why am I too stubborn to turn the heat up? 
  • Could you BE driving any slower? (Channeling my inner Chandler Bing.) 
  • Is it supposed to be that color? I don’t think it’s supposed to be that color...
  • (Very audible sighs and grunts while getting up and down and lifting things, all unnecessary.)  
  • Why is my purse so heavy? Oh, pants. Huh. (Pulls pants out of purse--yes, really.)
  • These are magic socks. (Yes, socks do have an impact on happiness levels.)
  • I could fix a real dinner, or I could snack on these candy canes all evening instead…
    Candy canes it is. 
  • Uffda!
  • I can’t be the only one who reads mail in the bathroom. 
  • What day is it today? (Every day.)

And so many more that just sound normal to me, but I sure no other human would think the same...

What are some things you catch yourself saying without even realizing it?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pregnancy Texts: Part Two

A sequel to my first pregnancy texts. I think I might have been slightly more rational this time around. But then again maybe not enough time has passed for me to be objective about Pregnant Paige.

Me: Ugh my phone keeps randomly turning itself off, sometimes during phone calls.
Josh: Do you need a new phone? I can order you one on eBay. They're only like 15 bucks.
Me: Nah I'll just stick it out. That's like seven pumpkin cream cheese muffins.
Josh: So you measure currency in pumpkin muffins now, huh?

So I live in a small town and the same few people are always at the gym and in the beginning of my pregnancy when I was just gaining weight but didn't look definably pregnant yet I was convinced they were all judging me-
Me: I just took my jacket off at the gym to hang up and a bunch of cookies fell out the pocket and everyone was staring at me. Now they are judging me for sure.
Josh: Why did you have cookies in your pocket?
Me: To eat as a reward for going to the gym.

Me: So I have a yeast infection on top of everything else pregnancy wise.
Josh: I'm sorry.
Me: Do you even know what a yeast infection is? Google the symptoms so you can feel properly sorry for me.
Josh: Ok googled it.
Me: And?! Are you sorry for me?!
Josh: I'm heartbroken.

Me: Ok meeting is over, I'm on my way home. Good thing too because I'm STARVING!
Josh: Oh I thought they had food there? What do you want me to make you?
Me: Spaghetti. And chex mix. And yes they had food but it was a bunch of women so I had to take a tiny plate of vegetables and pretend that was all I wanted.

Preface: We live out in the country and have a lot of deer in our yard frequently. At least once a day there is the same family of three deer hanging out in our yard. Also my husband works for the city and knows the animal control department and what limited funds they have.
Me: There's no baby deer today. Just the mom and the brother.
Josh: Oh. Poor little guy.
Me: Josh!!! I told you yesterday the baby was limping and you wouldn't let me call anyone and now it's gone!
Josh: I'm sorry you're upset. It's sad. But there's nothing we could have done.
Me: We could have called animal control or a vet or something! I'm going to call right now.
Josh: You're calling animal control? To say what?
Me: That there's a missing deer and I think it might be hurt!
Josh: Paige, the animal control department is only one person. And they don't have the budget to go look for a missing deer that no one knows where it might be.
Me: Yes they can! They might have like heat sensors or thermal imaging or something!
Josh: I'm pretty sure they don't.
Me: Well I'm calling! That's a baby deer that's hurt and alone somewhere!
(After about 30 minutes) Josh: So did you call yet? Is Beverly gassing up the chopper?
Me: Not yet, I need to stop crying first.

This story has a very happy ending though as the next day the baby deer was back! And it no longer has a limp.

Me: I guess I'm not showering today FYI, I can't get my shirt off that I took Cooper to his early morning appointment in. I need you to help me out of it when you get home.
Josh: I'll help you. Maybe you should stick with your maternity clothes from now on.
Me: No. I'm sick of wearing the same things over and over again.
Josh: You could wear my clothes. I have a bunch of basketball shorts that would fit you.
Me: I'll kill you.

I tend to sweat a lot when pregnant, something I guess has not gone unnoticed by my husband.
Josh: I'm going to pick up some milk at the store on the way home. Do you need anything?
Me: Yeah deodorant.
Josh: Just regular kind? You don't need like extra strength or something?

After texting Josh about my various feelings for a while-
Josh: I'm going to buy you a pregnancy journal where you can write down all your feelings.
Me: Ok that sounds nice. But I'm still going to tell them to you too.
Josh: Then what's the point of the journal?

After talking to Josh about a comment made about my diet coke consumption while pregnant (which by the way is well within the caffeine limit for pregnant women)-
Josh: Well why do you care if people know how much Diet Coke you drink?
Me: Because I don't want people thinking I'm a fat slob!
Josh: No baby, they think you're a pregnant slob.

Me: Josh I'm really upset today. I had a very scary dream last night that Cooper (our 2 year old boy) was homeless and alone and wandering the woods and getting chased by wild animals and he looked so tired and hungry and scared! And it was awful! And I can't stop thinking about it, my poor poor Cooper!
(Josh never responds)
Me: Josh! What about homeless Cooper?!
Josh: Oh! I didn't think you needed me to respond to that. Do you? Cooper is asleep in his crib right now. So I'm not sure what the problem is.
Me: You don't get it! You don't even care about homeless Cooper!
Josh: How do you not understand this was just a dream? You were laying down asleep during it!
(I never responded)
Josh: Baby I'm so so sorry about homeless Cooper. I hope he gets away from those wild animals and gets himself into a social program for homeless toddlers.
Me: He couldn't get away from the wild animals, he was trying to run but his shoes were untied and he couldn't figure out how to do up the Velcro.
Josh: :(

Me: I want a salad and a hot dog and Chinese food and cheese breadsticks and a Cinnabon and pizza and doughnuts and a hamburger and rolls and chips.
Josh: Wow! That's quite the list. Well we have soup or a sandwich at home you can have for lunch.
Me: Neither of those were on the list.

Me: Do you want to talk about hot dogs? Because I do.
Josh: Ok what about them?
Me: Everything! Like how they sometimes have roasted onions on top. And sauerkraut! And the smell of the hot dog cart outside of Home
Depot. I love Home Depot hot dog man. And polish dogs. And bratwursts! And the special feeling you get inside when you eat a really good hot dog!
Josh: I think you covered pretty much everything.

Me: Thanks for packing me breakfast. This is quite a large amount of food though. Did you really think I'd eat it all?
Josh: Well whenever I fix you food you look at the portion size and say, "What do you think I am? A baby bird?"

Josh: What do you want for breakfast in bed on your birthday?
Me: Chinese food.
Josh: Um I don't get it.
Me: No that's really what I want.
Josh: Oh! Ok... Well I don't know that any Chinese restaurants are open that early but I guess I can call around and check.

Me: Hey you got me a pumpkin muffin!! How'd you know I wanted one?
Josh: Well last time you ate one it was hard to tell where your face ended and the muffin began. So I assumed you enjoyed it.
Me: We're not friends.

I guess I had been complaining to Josh all day when he responded with this-
Josh: Take your nap baby. I'm sorry everyone is so stupid.

Me: I guess I fell asleep on the couch watching Thomas the Train with Cooper. The weird part was I woke up with a mouthful of food! I think I fell asleep mid-eating. Is that even physically possible?
Josh: Only for the classiest of individuals.

My son and I were out of town visiting family and Josh was home working-
Me: What are all the things you miss about me?
Josh: Snuggling. Getting you food. Seeing you at lunchtime. How mad you get whenever I eat anything. How you always want to watch Gilmore Girls. When you accidentally toot all the time.
Me: Um half of those were terrible things.

I happened to read a very sad book while I was pregnant and ended up crying all night one night while I finished it. I had planned on re-reading the last chapter when I woke up the next morning so I put it on my nightstand but when I woke up the next morning the book was gone and my husband had left for work earlier than usual-
Me: Why'd you leave so early this morning? Have you seen my book anywhere?
Josh: Oh yeah, I got up early to take that book back to the library first thing in the morning.
Me: But I was going to read the end again.
Josh: I know, that's why I took it back before you woke up.

While visiting family alone with my toddler, my little buddy got a horrible stomach bug and was really sick for a whole week. Needless to say I spent a lot of time caring for him and not a lot of time eating so I ended up losing a few pounds that week.
Josh: How'd your doctor appointment go?
Me: Well I was supposed to have gained two pounds since last I saw him and instead I lost three. So he was kind of concerned. He just wants to make sure next visit that I'm gaining weight.
Josh: I have every confidence in you.

Me: So I gained my weight back already, no need to worry.
Josh: In 2 days?!?!
Josh: I mean, that's great baby. Way to go.

Me: I just want to eat a dozen doughnuts and break a bunch of Precious Moments figurines.

Me: If you don't stop eating my special peanut butter I'm going to kill you.
Josh: I'm sorry, I just had one piece of peanut butter toast, I thought it would be ok.
Me: It's not. We have separate peanut butters for a reason.

When Josh had a cold-
Josh: How are you today?
Me: Tired. You kept waking me up coughing last night!
Josh: I'm sorry baby.
Me: Tonight either you're taking NyQuil or you're sleeping on the couch, you pick.
Josh: I really don't like taking NyQuil. Maybe you can take some?
Me: I can't have any of that crap!
Josh: Why not?
Me: I don't know, I think it has alcohol or something in it. The baby would come out with a taste for the sauce.
Me: Anyway I'm sorry you're sick but you're sleeping on the couch.
Josh: But I'm sick and the couch is uncomfortable.
Me: That's too bad.

Josh: How's your doctor appointment going?
Me: I'm still waiting to be called back... His new office is absolutely hideous and I hate it. And that's why I went to this doctor in the first place, because the office was really pretty and now I just feel like I'm waiting in the jaws of hell.
Josh: Well that's a pretty silly reason to choose a doctor. It's just an office.
Me: Well I'm super hungry and this office makes me want to go home and die.
Josh: Why didn't you have lunch before you went?!!
Me: I did. But that doesn't mean I'm not hungry still.

During my third trimester I developed pneumonia and my sweet husband would let me go rest in bed when he got home from work. We exchanged a few text conversations while I was in bed and he was playing with our toddler...
Me: Why'd you smile as you took my  dinner plate away? Were you surprised by how much I ate?
Josh: I was just smiling at you. I'm never surprised by how much you eat.
Me: Aww..
Josh: I just take whatever I think I would eat and then I double it.
Me: Great.

Josh: Are you sure all these clothes need to be washed? There are twice as many of your underwear as mine.
Me: Yep.
Josh: I was just checking because Cooper sometimes puts clean clothes in the hamper. Uh, are you ok?
Me: Every time I cough I pee my pants. Happy?

Me: I just realized I only have five more weeks left. :(
Josh: Don't worry, we'll get everything done.
Me: No only five more weeks of eating treats left!

Me: Cooper keeps eating all my food.
Josh: He's two baby. He doesn't understand.
Me: Whatever yes he does.

One weekend we went to Portland which happens to have a yummy doughnut place that I wanted to eat at. We ended up not getting the chance to eat there and then several days later a friend posted a picture of her eating at the doughnut place I had wanted to go to...
Me: I. Am. Going. To. Murder. Someone.
Josh: Uh oh... What happened?
Me: Guess who is eating at Voodoo doughnuts right now?!
Josh: That's not ok for other people to have doughnuts?
Me: No! Not when I wanted one and didn't get one! The pregnant lady! She deserves a freaking doughnut!
Josh: I asked you if you wanted to go and you said no we could do something for Cooper instead.
Me: Well I was just trying to be nice. I really wanted the stupid doughnut!
Josh: I'll get you a doughnut on the way home from work. What kind do you want?
Me: That is not even close to the same and don't pretend like it is! I'm really upset!
Josh: Baby, are you crying about doughnuts right now?
Me: They're not just any doughnuts Josh. They're really good doughnuts.

Me: I just spent all of Cooper's nap time on my tired feet making stupid chicken noodle soup for you people and it didn't even turn out! It's like a pasta, not a soup.
Josh: Hahaha. Well we can always have pizza.
Me: No you're going to eat this whole pot and then tell me how good it was and then rub my feet.
Josh: Deal.
Me: Now tell me thank you and that you're making every dinner from here on out.
Josh: Thank you. I'll make dinners from now on.
Me: Now tell me to go lay down.
Josh: Go lay down.

Josh: How'd your doctor appointment go?
Me: Ha! Get this, the stupid nurse that took me back was making small talk with me while she did my blood pressure and she complained about her sore throat!
Josh: Baby, she's allowed to have a sore throat.
Me: Cry about it lady. Try being nine months pregnant.
Josh: Oh Paige...

Me: I'm sorry I locked myself in the bathroom and cried last night when my macaroni and cheese didn't turn out right.
Josh: It's ok.
Me: And I'm sorry I made you make me a breakfast burrito at midnight.
Josh: It's ok.
Me: And I'm sorry I spilled my breakfast burrito in bed.
Josh: Sigh. It was a rough night last night.