Sunday, May 31, 2009

Latest Project

Not much to say today but here is my latest creation which will hang above Baby's bed. We didn't want anything heavy or framed in glass in case of earthquakes, so I used cheap canvases that I bought at Michael's and scrapbook paper. The animal cutouts were also from Michael's and came pre-painted and cost $0.59. Am I a big spender or what?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Headache that Won't Quit

I've been doing my best to post more often. I realize that posting on Saturday and then next on Wednesday is not "often" but this weekend included a giant birthday party for Baby on Sunday and Memorial day on Monday so the only day that really counts is Tuesday. Since Sunday, we've been dealing with the chaos of clutter that comes with any party and trying to find space in the garage for the 27 leftover juice boxes. Meanwhile I woke up with a headache on Sunday morning and though it isn't incapacitating, I've had a constant dull ache ever since. I've been drinking more water and consuming a little caffeine but not a lot. Painkillers have not made the slightest difference. Hopefully this thing goes away soon because I was ready to be over it on Sunday night.

The party was a huge success and I think everyone had a good time. I will post pictures today or tomorrow. Our friends were overly generous and brought presents despite multiple requests not to bring gifts. It was very sweet to see our friends so excited to celebrate Baby's first birthday with us. And the giant cake turned out to be very cute and a suitable substitute for cupcakes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cupcake Plan Gone Awry

photo by Bakerella at
Inspired by this post by Lindsey from the Pleated Poppy, I had a wonderful idea for Baby's 1st birthday party this weekend. (As a side note, this might be one of the most creative women on the planet and the parties she throws are jaw-droppingly cute.) Anyway, my plan was to make cupcakes and do the frosting myself but let the kids decorate their own cupcakes with sprinkles, confetti, etc. We invited a lot of families with children in the preschool to kindergarten age range so I thought even though we aren't doing a "kid's party" per se, this would be a fun activity. Fastforward to the rsvp update from Evite and with 55 people attending (55!) I decided that cupcakes were no longer part of the gameplan. With Baby not at an age where it will bum her out and Fiance working a half-day today, I decided that for the sake of my own sanity, baking six dozen cupcakes was not in my best interest. So we ordered a cake from Vons and I think it will be adorable. Plus my mood will be much better tomorrow if I'm not up until midnight tonight frosting six dozen damn cupcakes.
*Note: Obviously my cupcakes would have looked just like the one pictured above... in my wildest dreams where pigs fly over the frosty slopes of hell.

For future parties how cute are these featured on Bakerella...
Or these...
Someday soon I hope I have the time and effort to try these cuz they are so freaking cute!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twaddle-free and Twaddle-full

Today I happened to read this old post from Simple Mom and it got me thinking about the quality of my own reading. I love to read and always have, and I very much hope to instill the love of books in my child(ren). I appreciate the challenge of high quality literature that pushes your mind with both language and content, but I also like to include the occasional fluff just because it's fun and gives your brain a little break. Simple Mom references Charlotte Mason's definition of twaddle as Dumbed-down literature; absence of meaning. I know that chick-lit isn't exactly fine literature but sometimes when I want to escape the world, a little twaddle goes a long way. Here are some of my recent favorite twaddle-full books and also some twaddle-free.


With or Without You by Carole Matthews
Admittedly I hated the first book I read by Carole Matthews, but this one struck me for some reason. Probably because I was in a very wishy-washy time of my life and was inspired by the idea of marching of on a trek in Nepal by myself. It is cheesy and silly but also charming and funny. I've read it three times :)

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
I love the entire Shopaholic series and I think Sophie Kinsella is a hoot. These books run in the same vein as Bridget Jones and they are full of ridiculous shenanigans and hilarious debacles. They are a great pool-side read that had me laughing out loud.

Good in B
ed by Jennifer Weiner
Jennifer Weiner borders a little more closely to literature than the previous books but most definitely still falls in the chick-lit category. I've liked all her books that I've read, including In Her Shoes, which was far better than the movie version. A sequel to this book recently came out and I'm hoping to read it during a vacation this summer. Jennifer Weiner brings a little more realistic emotion to her books but still adds in the sillyness that make chick-lit heroines who they are.


Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
The story in this novel comes from a tiny passage in Moby Dick when Captain Ahab references a young wife he left behind in Nantucket. Sena Jeter Naslund creates a beautiful tale of Una and how she came to be married to Ahab and living in Nantucket. It's one of my favorites.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Obviously most people consider Jane Austen's novels to be classics and Pride and Prejudice is one of the big ones in her collection, but I just read this book for the first time a couple years ago. The language is a challenge at first but once you get the feel of it, the story is lovely. I actually found myself still in suspense about the ending, even though most everyone in the free world knows how things turn out. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Most people have already read this one too but I just finally picked it up just before the movie came out. I tend to shy away at first from books that are strongly popularized in the media and then read them eventually. I was glad that I eventually read this one. I thought the story was both poignant and touching and I'm curious to see the film version. I don't expect it to live up, as few films do, but I'm still interested.

Here's to a summer of reading...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Lovey

Lately Baby has been going through a swell phase called Separation Anxiety. This basically means that anytime Mama leaves the room, she reacts with instant whining or an all-out breakdown or anything in between. She has also been having a harder time going to sleep and it sometimes takes up to an hour before she falls asleep. I think this also has to do with the fact that she can sit up on her own now and obviously playing and talking to ourselves is much more fun than sleeping. But anyway... today I decided that I would try giving her a lovey to snuggle with at naptime like the one below.I was a little nervous because up until now we've never put anything in the crib with her. But I decided that she is old enough based on all professional recommendations so I'd give it a shot. And it seems to have worked. It only took her the normal 10 minutes to quiet down and go to sleep. Of course I couldn't resist checking on her and found her sleeping peacefully on top of the lovey with the sad little bear's head sticking out the side by her bum. Cute.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hurry Sickness

With all the technology and gadgets available to us these days, you would think that we would have an abundance of free time where we do nothing but sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. But this is certainly not the case in my life. Some days I feel like if I'm not doing three things at once, then I'm not accomplishing enough. My day seems to go by so quickly that before I know it, it's time to go to bed again and my brain is swimming with all the things that didn't get done.

People are often in such a hurry that if you take a minute to concentrate on what you're doing it almost feels like you are getting in the way. You barely have time to put your wallet back in your purse before the cashier at the grocery store is ringing up the next customer. Sometimes when the person behind me is impatiently inching forward, I just want to say "um I'm actually still standing here so you'll just have to wait 30 seconds!" In his book The Life You've Always Wanted, John Ortberg calls this constant rushing about "hurry sickness." One of his examples is something we've all seen (and done) where we try to guess which checkout lane or traffic line will move the fastest and then we get pissed when we're wrong because God forbid it might take us an extra minute or two to get where we need to go. Last night I was watching an old Ellen Degeneres stand-up routine where she talks about this very topic. She jokes about all the multi-tasking and says in reference to driving while talking on a hands-free phone "don't you think that if it takes both hands to do something, your brain should be involved too?"

There are times when I take the time to smell the proverbial roses and I make an effort to give my daughter my full attention as much as possible. She is at a stage where she often provides helpful reminders if my mind is elsewhere. There's nothing like screaming at the top of her lungs to bring me back to full focus. I hope that I get better at taking my time as I get older and not better at hurrying. I think when life is consumed by rushing from one thing to the next, you are prone to missing the little things that matter most. To me that seems like such a shame.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My First Mother's Day and a Big Birthday

Last weekend was full of celebration. My sister graduated from college, I welcomed my first official Mother's Day (Baby was born the day after Mother's Day last year), and we celebrated Baby's first birthday! My parents, uncle and cousin were all in town for the graduation so we had a fun weekend together and we were able to have a nice birthday party for Baby with Nana and Grampy. It's still hard for me to believe that she is actually one. The year seems to have passed by so quickly that it doesn't seem possible. Naturally I am now an expert in the field of mothering. Ha. More like I've survived so far. But there are a few things that I have learned about being "the mama" as the Fiance calls me.

1. If you can just drag yourself out of your bed and make it to the crib, the smile that awaits you will make you forget how tired you are and how little sleep you've had.

2. You should always have a hair-tie, headband, bobby pin, etc handy because there is nothing more annoying than having your arms full of baby and hair in your face. This is doubly important on a windy day.

3. It is rarely a good idea to put the nice outfit on before a meal because it will almost always get messy- this counts for both you and the baby.

4. Even if the nice outfit get messy, you probably won't care much if it is the result of baby hugs and cuddles.

5. It will always feel a little silly to check that the baby is still breathing but once the thought crosses your mind, you won't be able to sleep until you've checked so you might as well just do it.

6. All milestones big and small are exciting, but hearing "mama" for the first time and knowing it is actually directed at you will warm your heart over and over again.

7. No matter who you talk to or what book you read, no one knows your baby like you do.

Happy (belated) Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My New Obsession

I have found the blog of my wedding planning dreams. It's called Joyful Weddings & Events and is the blog of a southern CA wedding planner named Courtney Toney. She is the owner of an event planning firm by the same name and her ideas are fabulous! She has designs for baby and bridal showers, parties, and best of all tons of beautiful weddings. I have been devouring this website for the past two days and I can't get enough. How cute is this table number?!

(photo by Jenetta Lea Penner)
She is so creative and her decor is so inspiring. Her focus on the tiniest details makes the overall concepts come together so nicely. One of the coolest aspects of her style is that she is very in favor of DIY projects and it gives her events a handmade touch that adds much more personality. I am hoping that if I just soak up the creativity on her blog then maybe I will be able to give my own wedding the same personal feeling. Even if you aren't planning a wedding or shower anytime soon, you should still check out her blog. You will be inspired to host a party just so you can show off. Just look at this candy bar!

(photo by Furious Photographers)

Spring Cleaning Sidenote: You might be wondering where the daily spring cleaning posts are but given the fact that we are going out of town this weekend for my sister's college graduation, I am on a temporary hiatus. My plan is to resume Monday after we get back so that I can actually give this the attention it deserves.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring Cleaning


The Simple Mom has started an online spring cleaning party and I'm going to try to take advantage of the added motivation to get things spiffed up a little around the house. Today's task is decluttering or a "clean sweep," the idea being that if you clean off the surfaces first it will make cleaning easier later. Plus just sweeping the accumulated stuff from the counters, tables, etc makes the house look instantly cleaner. She also recommends having boxes for giving away/selling and also for trash. I'm working during naps so it might be a little spaced out, but here are a few before and after pictures to prove that I'm getting the job done!

This is the corner of the guest room. There's a small desk mostly for storage at this point but we tend to use the guest room as the catch-all for things we want to keep out of the living room.

It didn't take too much to get this area tidied up but clearing off the desktop made it feel like an accomplishment.
It's easy for the nightstands to get out of control, especially my nightstand because I like to read before bed and the stack grows quickly. A lot of the books had already been finished or are baby books that I no longer need.

Ahhh. Much better. Hope to post more later after the second nap.
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