You Can Take the Girl Out of the Country… 

I was born and raised a country girl. 

We may have covered this before: my parents were both raised on farms. Farming is in the blood. My parents did not choose to have their own farm but we spent plenty of time farming as I was growing up. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of being perched on the fender of a tractor with my dad or my grandfather (my pappy and I once shared a picnic lunch in a tractor, in the back corner of a field during planting season); or roaming around the farms on a four-wheeler, most often with an end goal of bringing feed to the cows; and that one time my dad thought it would be fun to climb the pile of sawdust (he later made me promise I wouldn’t tell Mom). I’ve bottle-fed calves; drank fresh, raw milk from the cows my great uncle and his family owned- the last surviving dairy farm in the township till just about a decade or so ago; and walked barefoot through freshly plowed fields. I know how to can (even though I don’t do it), make my own homemade jams, and can preserve fresh produce in the freezer.  My dad taught me how to shoot- and respect- rifles and bows, and I have even attended one game dinner, sampling several unexpected types of meat. Venison remains a favorite in our house, and our freezer is stocked with that and beef from the cows my brother raises. And a defining moment in our marriage just may have been that summer we helped my dad and brothers on the hay wagon, with Ryan slinging bales from the bailer as I perched at the top of the wagon trying to secure the load.  

I’m not a farm girl. I was raised to know how to work on the farm AND how to work a farmhouse kitchen, working side-by-side with my granny to feed my pappy and his farmhands: lots and lots of coffee to get them going in the morning; hearty meat-and-potato meals, often featuring a loaf of hot bread and melty butter; and knowing that dinner would sometimes have to be reheated because during planting season and harvest, farmers don’t rest. I’m no stranger to the farm life, even if it’s not the life I’ve chosen. 

Every once in awhile, though, we go home and that country girl resurfaces. With a little coaxing from my mom and my husband , she came out to play for a few minutes a few weekends ago. 

Where we live, we don’t start measuring snow till it measures in feet. Where we come from, four inches is a huge deal, and an opportunity not to be missed if you own a snowmobile. My youngest brother just happens to have one, and my husband just happens to desperately want one, so clearly our weekend plan was a solid one. 

Now, I’m not sure if y’all are familiar with snowmobiling, but let me just say, there’s something very liberating about ripping through a wide open field at 70mph. As I clung to my husband for dear life, I may have briefly questioned my sanity, and simultaneously questioned why I’d  waited so long for this experience. The answer is as follows: I never claimed to be sane…and I hate being cold. 

Nevertheless, it was fun to get out and tour the farm- albeit at a higher rate of speed than I’ve been accustomed to in the past several decades- and of course I can never turn down an opportunity to wrap my arms around Ryan’s waist and let him be in control of whatever machine he’s operating. Of course, he’s the most competent man I know, and I trust him completely. Clearly, so does my mom. 

When Ryan went outside to get on Cory’s snowmobile, he looked at me and said, “you wanna go?”  But…I was warm. And my boys were…well, happy, content, and playing without even acknowledging my existence, so that wasn’t an excuse, but I still said no.  Before I had finished responding, my mom had her coat and her boots on, quickly enough that Ryan might’ve been taken aback. With a glimmer in his eye, he and my mom took off. 

When they returned awhile later, my mom burst through the door, cheeks rosy, and thrust her gloves into my hands. “You get out there right now!” she demanded. Mom spoke, I listened. Knowing my boys were still content, well-tended, and blissfully unaware of my plan, I bundled up and headed outside where my husband was waiting. We took off down toward the barns, cutting though the field where my pappy’s cows used to graze and toward the corn crib, past the machine shed and up through the fields we used to toboggan on with my grandparents. He cut back toward the corner of the property where the millstone sits: a large boulder with a hole in it, once used by Native Americans to grind corn. We followed the property line to the edge, then circled back down past the pond, to the open field behind the house…the same field where I remember being pulled on a sled by my pappy’s four wheeler when I was a little girl. By the time we finished I could barely feel my face, but I was exhilarated by the flash of memories at such a high rate of speed. 

I guess you just can’t take the country out of the girl. 

Can you hear me now?

By now you all know that my life is a series of screw ups and debacles, and that I’m the kind of girl who almost gets confident in her place in this world, only to be shown that I’ve got it all wrong. 

Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to be better organized. Ryan changed jobs this week, our oldest is in preschool and soccer, and they race Radio-controlled cars as a hobby. Add in regular doctor, dentist, hair, appointments, etc for five people, and our calendar fills up rather quickly.  Last year, I decided to turn one wall in our home office into a “command center,” (basically just a place where I have a dry erase board, calendar, and filing system to keep important papers from being returned to school with four days’ worth of stove splatter on them). This fall, I’ve focused on managimg my household chores and responsibilities, and generally decluttering my life. Because, you guys, kids come with ridiculous amounts of stuff (especially when well-meaning and very generous family members shower them with gifts every chance they get.) My boys are pretty loved, and I’m not complaining. I’m embracing the opportunity to reexamine what I really must hold onto. 

Thus, the majority of my life lives on my phone. I note appointments in my phone calendar, then centralize my personal calendar to the one in the office where I’m guaranteed to see it. It’s kind of an extra step, but I figure I can use all the reminders I can get. Plus, if anything ever happens to my phone…you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Being married to a “computer guy,” (which is seriously understating his job title) has its perks. He keeps all of my gadgets in tip-top shape, reminds me to back up my data (ahem, 500 pictures of my kids), asks- even when he’s exhausted- how my laptop is running.  He will drop everything if I have the slightest technology conundrum, and he will not rest until I’m back in business. 

Last week, he was home with us before transitioning to his new job. Ironically enough, we woke up on his first morning of vacation to find that my iPhone had attempted to update overnight, but without enough free memory available (ahem, 500 pictures of my kids), it wiped out everything and completely reset my phone to what was basically factory settings. And, guys, he fixed it. Like, recovered the vast majority of my photos, contacts, all of it. The man is a saint. And a genius. A sanitly genius. 

So imagine my chagrin when, while trying to get the boys out the door for a mad dash to Target for the Halloween costumes I’ve been envisioning for a year but because I lost track of dates (despite my two calendar rule)…I dropped my newly-formatted phone in water. Obviously, my pretty hot-pink case was more for show than for protection because the phone is definitely fried. In less than 24 hours, my saintly genius had taken care of that problem, too. 

But you know what I’ve learned from my 48 hours free of technology in the past two weeks? I’ve learned that I can do the day-to-day without my phone. I’m lost in the midst of cooking when in need to google an ingredient substitution or to find the recipe for homemade taco seasoning, but I don’t need to check it every time I walk by it. 

At soccer practice this week, I took my phone inside because Ryan was meeting us after work but he wasn’t sure he’d get there in time. I also wanted to use it to take photos. What I actually found myself doing was taking pictures and posting them on facebook, then surfing facebook, responding to comments, texting photos to family members, and…well, not really watching my boy do this thing he loves so much. 

We all say we’re putting our phones down. I pride myself in trying to keep mine off the dinner table. Mealtime is family time- that’s how I was raised, and I believe in that philosophy. But I’ve been less diligent lately. 

And, clearly, it’s gotten me (and my phone) into hot water. 

Xoxo,

~d

Oops. I did it again.

Invented another recipe, that is.

Sorry for the title.  But it got you here, didn’t it?  So…maybe I’m not so sorry.

My life is pretty much a comedy of errors.  So I don’t need to explain why I’m posting nearly a week later than I had intended to, right?  Suffice it to say, our week has been a little different from most.  Awesome, just a little different routine.

This past Sunday was an R/C race day.  This race puts me within 20 miles of the closest IKEA, so I usually tag along with Ryan and our first racer for  this one.  (In fact, quick side story: race morning arrives and little man says, “Mom, I’ll miss you while you’re at IKEA today.” I responded, “Who says I’m going to IKEA?” His reply? “You ALWAYS go to IKEA when we go to this race.”  Yep.  Touche.)

So, yeah, obviously I went along to go to IKEA, though I didn’t make my final decision to go until about 11:30 Saturday night.

Race days are long days.  Ryan usually leaves our house between 6 and 7AM, depending on how far he’s traveling.  This trip required a 7AM departure. (We never got on the road till 8).  He usually just grabs a gas station breakfast for him and his companion (breakfast sandwiches, donuts…whatever.  I try not to interfere too much on these days).  I do, however, usually try to send something semi-healthy for munching.  With all three boys going this trip, I decided to make something that would be mostly healthy and filling, and not require heating or cooling.  My solution?  Scones.  I thought if I packed them with peanut butter, oats, and wheat germ, they’d fill those little tummies enough that we could keep snacking throughout the day to a minimum (this plan backfired, by the way.  However, I maintain that I provided a solid breakfast for him to absorb some of the sugar.)

Anyway, back to my scones.  I love cinnamon ones, while pomegranate is another favorite in this house.  This time, I was hungry for peanut butter scones.  Of course, I’ve never even tried them, never mind used a recipe to make them.  (In fact, the only scones I’ve ever eaten are those I’ve made myself.  So…I hope I’m doing it right.)  Google said peanut butter and chocolate chips was a great option.  Pinterest agreed.   I had no chocolate chips (remember, 11:30PM).  Peanut butter and jelly sounded divine, but those had to be cut with a biscuit cutter and, and jelly in the car didn’t have me all that excited.   At midnight, knowing I had to be up by 6AM, I wanted to do it the easy way.  Peanut butter and oats?  That I could do.  But again, none of the recipes I saw matched the ingredients I wanted to use.  Again, I invented.  Here’s how:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Scones

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup wheat germ (or flax seed)
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup milk
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars, soda, salt, oats and cinnamon.
Add butter, use two knives scissor-fashion to crumble until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add milk, egg, and peanut butter, then stir till just combined.Dump everything onto a parchment-lined baking pan (or, I just use my pizza stone for easier cleanup) and pat into a circle, about 12″ in diameter and a half-inch thick. Cut the circle into eight triangles, and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are golden.

And behold:

dsc_07971

 

These were easy, filling, and yummy and kept my boys happy.  I’m not sure how necessary the cinnamon was, but I’m one of those people who thinks cinnamon works in just about any recipe, especially in the fall and winter; use at your discretion.

Scones, baby.  It’s what’s for breakfast.

 

Cheers!

xoxo,

~d

Pumpkin Spice. Nuff Said

I have a problem.

Actually, I got 99 problems but…

Right.  Family show.  Moving on.

So,let’s focus on my two biggest problems of the moment:

  1. I cannot for the life of me back down from a challenge, even when (especially when) it comes from my four-year-old.
  2. I have zero capacity for resisting anything that comes labeled as “pumpkin spice.”

There’s a humorous back story here, and a semi-related and wholly hilarious YouTube video parody to go along with it.  The back story is this:

Our oldest son goes to preschool three days a week, for two and a half hours each day.  He takes a snack every day, and he really loves to pick what he’s going to take- though, some days he prefers to be surprised; it really is a mood thing.  Among his favorite snacks to take are yogurt, these seasoned pretzels, fruit, graham crackers, goldfish crackers, and granola bars.  I started making my own granola bars about two years ago because they go REALLY fast in our house.  Ryan loves them at breakfast time.  And after dinner. They’re perfect for the boys’ “after nap snack,” as our oldest says.  And I love them too.  So those little boxes of eight that you pay $2 for?  Doesn’t even get us through a day- I can’t justify it when it takes just a few basic ingredients and little more skill than one needs when making Rice Krispy Treats.  So last week, the little guy asked me if we had any granola bars for me to send for his snack this week.  I didn’t, at the time, but I’d purchased what I needed with the intention of making some.  Then, he said these magic words: “Mom, could you make pumpkin spice granola bars?”

The words were music to my ears.  I immediately began searching for recipes.  Google, Pinterest, and all of my cookbooks.  But…I kept coming up empty.  I had a few results, but nothing that really sang to me (or the ingredients I had on hand.)  Sadly, I couldn’t let it go.  I had to find something that would work.  Because, not only had my baby boy asked me for something and I wanted to deliver, but also because it’s October and I’ll put pumpkin in ANYTHING this time of year!  So, I resorted to experimentation.  I went to my go-to granola bars recipe, then found one recipe on Pinterest I could tweak to my needs, and attempted to mash the two together. (By the way, if you’re following the links to check out the recipes, note that the first one is for a 13×9 pan-sized batch; the second is for an 8×8).

And so…the first attempt turned out to be pretty decent.  I would say they could still use a little something (chocolate chips are at the top of that list.  I’d also say mixing in a half a cup or so of finely chopped pecans might take this right up to where it needs to be).  But, for my first attempt and also for a completely fabricated recipe, on the first try, I’m a little proud of myself.  And my boy was happy, so, yay me!

Wanna try them?  Here’s how I did it:

dsc_07592

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Heat over medium-low heat until just boiling.
Add:
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

dsc_07561

Pour immediately over:
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup wheat germ (or flax-seed)

dsc_07601

Stir to combine, then pour into a 13×9 pan
lined with aluminum foil (this makes it easier to
pull the bars out to cut them, and also helps with
cleanup)

dsc_07621

If you’re going to add chocolate (and, by all means, DO!), make sure you don’t mix them into the pumpkin mixture; they’ll become a melty mess.  Instead, once you’ve pressed the bars into the pan (I use a sheet of waxed paper.  Press HARD), sprinkle 1/3 cup or so over the top, then press gently once more.  And if you’re thinking of adding nuts (I totally will next time; this version is missing a bit of crunch), add them to the oats, cereal, and wheat germ or flax-seed.  Probably 1/4 to 1/3 cup is a good starting point.  And when you fall in love with these…

you can thank my son. Because I’m off to Starbucks for a PSL.

Cheers!
xoxo

~d

 

 

 

Pinterest has ruined my life

Seriously.  Pinterest has deluded me into thinking I’m awesome.

Please tell me I’m not the only one this has happened to.

I’m an “ideas” girl.  I’m really good at ideas.  I can see all kinds of awesome things in my head.  I just have a hard time getting my body to cooperate with my brain to get those ideas into concrete “stuff.”  It’s kind of like a lack of hand-eye coordination that has manifested itself into every single fiber of my being.  It’s debilitating.  And incredibly frustrating.

It’s also what makes Pinterest so addicting.

I spend far more hours than I’d care to admit surfing pages on Pinterest looking at others’ ideas and pinning them on my boards because seeing others’ ideas makes me think I can do those, too.

In other words, I’m the real-life definition of a Pinterest Fail.

I’m starting to get back to crafting, finally.  Which means I’ve created lots of things that, well, look nothing like the images I’ve pinned to my boards.  See the following:

Image I pinned:

Front door wreath, hydrangea wreath, burlap wreath, grapevine, french country, burlap bow:

Image via Etsy via Pinterest.  Or vice versa.  

The Danielle Version:

dsc_0678

Pay no attention to the reflection of the person in the (dirty) glass…

 

I sewed curtains for the twins’ room when I couldn’t find any already made that I liked.  Sewing is so not my thing.  They turned out as sort of a disaster.  Hanging them in a certain way somewhat hides the flaw in my measurements, but the crooked hem lines are still pretty obvious.  At least the fabric was only $3.97/yard.

I found this adorable pumpkin that I HAD to make last weekend.  The Pinterest version:

How to Make a DIY Wine Cork Pumpkin. This fall decor idea is adorable!:

The Danielle Version is incomplete because I’m out of jute and I keep forgetting to buy it and the fake leaves when I’m out.  (Also, apparently I need to start drinking more expensive wine because it seems my favorite brands all have switched to rubber corks.  Our of the 26 I needed, I only had 7 that were actual cork.  There may be ten or so in a box set aside for another project in the basement.  Crap, I forgot about those…)

DSC_0717.JPG

I saw something similar to this at a craft show/flea market a couple of weeks ago with my mom and my sisters, and decided to steal some of Ryan’s wood from the garage to try to do it myself:

Every Child Is An Artist - White/Rainbow

Image via Etsy

This is the Danielle Version:

dsc_0712

Enter a caption

(I can’t take credit for the actual artwork.  That’s by our preschooler.  Pins I’ve seen have also suggested digitizing all school artwork so that as things fade, fall apart, etc, we still have record of all of his artwork from school.  I’ve kept everything he’s done thus far, but in one year and two weeks of preschool plus three years of craft day at the library, we’ve filled a JC Penney shirt box.  Eventually, I’m going to run out of storage space.  Fortunately, I live with a computer genius who assures me that if I back up my computer regularly- like more than once a year as I seem to do- everything I transfer from my camera should be safe.  On a server, I think.  Or maybe on “the cloud,” whatever that is).

I’ve tried several recipes too (as noted in this post).  I’ve thrown two birthday parties for our three boys, the ideas for which mostly all came from Pinterest.

On a related note, crafting gives me ADD and anxiety because every time I get on Pinterest I find an idea I MUST try, so as I’m gathering materials, I find more half- finished projects and inspirations I’ve had once, which means I MUST FINISH ALL OF THE PROJECTS.  Right now.

And this past week, because I pinned three cleaning schedules on my “Home” board (I took a cue from Grey’s Anatomy episode names and decided that all of my board names need to be song titles), I felt like my house was a disgusting, disorganized mess (cause, yeah, three boys under age five), I went crazy with fall cleaning.  And when I say crazy, I mean not even my car or our dog were exempt.  I mean, you can’t have a clean house if your dog is shedding all over everything you just cleaned.  Never mind the kids, who obviously thought it was a fantastic idea to put their fingers, lips, noses, feet…and who knows what else… all over everything I’ve painstakingly scrubbed this week.  I even used the one “cleaning hack” I saw where you use a pillowcase to clean ceiling fan blades- I’d recommend that one!

Which is why it’s Thursday night and I’m sipping a glass (or two…) of red following the Grey’s Anatomy premier and writing about it instead of cleaning more stuff.  This mama is pinned. out.

 

Cheers.

xoxo,

~d

My Boys are Foodies-in-Training. And I Love it!

I’d be lying if I told you I don’t love seeing what kinds of weird foods I can get my boys to eat.

Don’t get alarmed- everything I give them is safe, (mostly) healthy, age appropriate, and allergy tested.  I don’t give them, like, dog food or anything.  (They are boys though, and I’m pretty sure all of them have tasted it at least once.  Hey, I’m only one person here!)

No, what I mean is, my kids have very, very mature palates.  Tonight, I fed my sixteen month old twins white pizza with spinach and tomatoes (only minus the mushrooms because I forgot to buy them when we were at the store yesterday; mushrooms are the default pizza topping for four out of five members of our family).  For lunch, all three of my boys had homemade lentil soup with their sandwiches and fruit- and the soup was MADE by my four year old!  (with my careful supervision and assistance, of course).

Yes, he’s four now.  On his birthday a few weeks ago, I decided to make him a special birthday lunch, since we had planned to go out for dinner.  His birthday lunch was a surprise so I didn’t ask before I started cooking; I just made what I know he likes.  That day?  Linguine with clam sauce.  Yep, I feed these kids seafood out of a can, mixed with chopped up garlic and served on a big ol’ bed of carbs.  There was not a bite left over.  They also all love salmon- ANY way I serve it, but this recipe has proven to be a huge hit with just about anyone I’ve ever served it to (including Laken, who was here to visit in May and requested the recipe.  See this post if you want to laugh at me some more about my demented sense of time).

I’ve fed them lentils prepared this way too, found via Pinterest and adapted to basically substitute all the healthiest aspects of the recipe: whole milk for the coconut milk, spinach in place of the kale, regular soy sauce instead of the gluten-free tamari variety, and boring ol’ button mushrooms instead of the mixed variety (my relationship with Pinterest is a whole other post.  Coming soon, I hope).

Of course, kids are kids, so they do occasionally turn mealtimes into their own opportunities to demonstrate their opinions (usually based on lunar phases, which side of the bed they woke up on, or just on a minute-to-minute basis).  For instance, our oldest (“Monkey”) just finished a phase of strongly disliking cooked broccoli (he likes it again now.  He says.)  Twin A (“Scooter”) doesn’t have many definite dislikes; rather, his tastes are often based on his mood, and he just spits out whatever the offending morsel is.  And he makes the funniest faces when he tastes something he doesn’t like.  Twin B (“Squirt”) feeds what he doesn’t want or like to the dog.  (Cantaloupe is something Clohe has had a lot of in the past few months.)  However, Squirt will typically finish everything on his plate, as long as he is in control of the fork and the plate.  Or, sometimes even just having the plate on his high chair tray where he can see what his options are is enough to satisfy him. He’s not big on the unknown. And he’s kind of independent.  Not sure where that comes from…

Have a great weekend friends.  It’s officially football season now, so eat well and share your favorite recipes with me; I just gave you three!

xoxo,

~d

 

 

Hot mess mom

Confession: I’ve never had it all together. 

Y’all knew that already. But seriously, it’s getting worse with age. And, guys, I have an age spot on my cheek. I just found it a few months ago…or a year ago. I can’t remember. Time ceases to have any meaning these days. 

This week has been the culmination of many weeks of chaos around here. Our older guy turned four last week. Ryan’s birthday follows five days later- on Labor Day this year. 

Those three day weekends kill me. 

Weeks ago, I got a phone call from our preschool to schedule an individual orientation time for our boy with his teacher. I chose an evening time slot so Ryan could attend also, and because I thought he might keep me on track.  We scheduled for Tuesday evening but my brain convinced me we were actually going Wednesday. So, Monday being a holiday and Hubby’s birthday, Tuesday actually felt more like Monday. So we went about Monday-ing. Translation: we played. My aunt and I took the kids to the beach, attempting to squeeze the last bits out of summer while we could. While there, we saw another student from preschool with his mom and little brother. His mom and I chatted, as moms of preschoolers do, in broken bits of sentences, peppered with exclamations of, “please don’t eat the sand!” and, “watch where you’re flinging the water!”  In the midst of the conversation, the first day of school came up, along with mention of orientation meetings. I heard without actually registering dates. I vaguely remember making a mental note to double-check dates when I got home. 

Obviously, I forgot. 

Tuesday night as I was getting the boys ready for bed, I received a text from his teacher letting me know that I had, in fact, missed the meeting and oh, by the way, school starts tomorrow! 

It was a major face palm moment. 

With that in mind, I managed to deliver him to school yesterday morning- on time!- and bid my baby a wonderful first day. He went to the play doh table with barely a backward glance.  It was equal parts beautiful and gut-wrenchingly painful. 

Day 2: the twins and I dropped him off for his second day, with first-day papers signed, a bottle of soap for the class to use, and a photo of our boy, plus his show-and-tell item. I was pretty proud of myself for about 3.2 seconds when his teacher  complimented my organizational skills at pickup. 

Then I remembered what a hot mess I am, and that I nearly left the house to meet a Grammy-winning, platinum-selling artist in my scrubby mom clothes and sans makeup. 

My plan was to them return home and get some housework done till pickup time, prepare lunch for the boys, then take a short break to attend a wine tasting/signing with the lead singer from one of my all-time favorite bands in the afternoon. Apparently, outside of Mom-land, “afternoon” happens before naptime. 

Fair enough. So my plans moved from beginning at four pm to beginning at one. Clearly, since my biological clock is no longer ticking, it’s now completely AWOL  (I did feel a bit better to learn, however, from talking to the lady behind me at the signing, that I was not the only person who was under the impression that the event started at 4 rather than 1.)

Regardless, all’s well that ends well; despite my hot messiness, I managed to avoid looking like a total disaster and get everything to fall into place the way it needed to. It took some behind the scenes coordinating, but I have a pretty awesome support system. 


Oh, and babe?

Thank you for insisting that I go. The memory of this day will last forever. I love you.

Xoxo,

~d

Lest it Get Me (spontaneity is the spice of life)

I didn’t wake up this morning thinking, “hm, maybe I’ll cut down a tree today.”

I actually don’t normally wake up thinking anything. Thinking doesn’t happen till the coffee kicks in.  

Anyway, our morning started out much like most other warm-weather days. Breakfast, twins nap, I shower, we go outside. I started pulling weeds yesterday, after taking last summer off to regain our equilibrium with two newborns in the house. It was a mess. And also, apparently, a suitable home for a snake, because we saw one slithering through the grass between the big flower bed and our house. I screamed, then called my husband. I hate snakes. (Lest they get me.)

And that was all it took. No more weed pulling yesterday. 

We started again today. I took the dog with us to scare off anything that might be hiding nearby, and sent my big kid with his plastic hoe to stand guard while I pulled weeds and the twins watched and mocked me from their stroller. 

There was a time when I thought I’d be bored as a stay-at-home mom. That I’d lose my “edge” and my ability to make spontaneously unintelligent decisions. Not so, my friends. Not so.  

As I was pulling weeds, big brother and my auntie took a field trip to the nearby nursery to shop for summer flowers for her house. The twins grew bored and tired of watching me; they went inside to nap. I worked my way around the flower bed, pulling weeds and watching for snakes, waiting for one to strike and swallow me whole. (Kidding. Sort of. Garter snakes can’t do that…right?) 

Anyway, I worked my way around, carefully watching and pulling, until I got to the area closest to where we saw the enemy yesterday. I called Clohe and made her sniff out the area. I kicked around, just to be sure. Then, I went to the garage for Ryan’s little hand saw. And I started cutting away branches of a big, ugly, out-of-control evergreen bush. Before I knew it, the whole thing was gone. 

And that, my friends, is when I decided that I’d cut down a tree today. 

Correction. According to my three-year-old, “mom. You didn’t cut down a tree. You cut down a bush.”

Touché, little man. 

I cut down a bush. 

Xoxo,

~d

Interior designers make the worst clients (and other musings)

I started this blog (way back in 2010) fully intending to jump-start my career in interior design.  Or writing. Or both.

Somehow, over the course of six-plus years, the majority of what I’ve shared has turned out to be, basically, everything EXCEPT interior design.

Cooking? check.

Baking? of course.

Party planning? Heck, yeah!

Parenting? sure, why not?

Whining? eh, maybe a little.

Reminiscing?  yup.

Bragging?  Who, moi?…ok, yeah, that too.

Interior design?  Um…not so much.

There might be a draft or two somewhere in a folder with some posts along those lines, but I’m pretty sure that’s where those sorts of posts go to die.

I was reflecting on this fact last week while I was spring cleaning our living room.  I’m not sure what sparked the specific train of thought, but as I moved furniture around to capture dog hair and cobwebs, I concluded that I’m sort of lost in decorating my own home.  When it comes to design decisions in this house, I defer to my husband.  There’s a reason for this, I think, but it leads to some pretty obvious problems for us.

We’re currently in the middle of remodeling our master bathroom.  As in, new walls, new floors, new fixtures, new lights, the works.  It’s an interior designer’s dream, right?  So it should be easy for me to get online and make quick, sure decisions on what all of the replacements need to be.

Should be.  That’s the key here.

It’s not as easy as it sounds though.

I can’t make a blinkin’ decision to save my life.  I am overwhelmed by all the possibilities of what the finished product could look like.  I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for my husband, sacrificing his evenings and weekends to do this for me and for all the times he’s said, “I’m doing this for you, baby.  Pick what you like.”  I’m overwhelmed by my emotions, which is getting in the way of my professionalism.

Do I doubt my knowledge?  Not often.  Do I doubt my sense for color, texture, aesthetic?  Rarely.  These decisions usually come pretty easily when I’m advising someone else.  In my own house, though, I’m having a major dilemma.  I think my problem is that my personal tastes are too diverse; I don’t have any one favorite design style to base my decisions on.

 

Also, I’ve spent basically all of the past year in survival mode, trying to keep my act together enough to survive life with two infants and a preschooler.  Not complaining, just observing that I haven’t really done much in the way of decor or design in our house in a long time.  I’m out of practice here, folks, cut a girl some slack!

So, my solution to the fact that I can’t decide which style we should go with, and run with it is this: I’m making Ryan do it.

Yep, that’s the plan.

Here’s how it works: together, we selected a vanity that we really like that met all of our requirements (basically, the requirements were, the cabinet could be any wood finish except oak, and it had to be more than 30″ tall and had to fit in the same amount of space our old one took up.  Guys, I’m married to a man who’s 6’2″ tall.  I try to account for his height in all of our life decisions.)  After we selected the vanity, it narrowed our style options down somewhat.  I also decided to match the finish on the vanity hardware (brushed nickel) to the new faucets for the sink, tub, and shower.  Once we decided on the brushed nickel, I narrowed down the selections to a couple I liked.  Then, I made Ryan make the final decision.

I’m dusting off my hands as we speak.  It’s hard work making someone else do all the work.  Seriously.

I’m looking forward to sharing more with you as things progress.  I probably won’t have as much luck delegating writing assignments. Unless I can’t decide what to write.

xoxo,

~d

 

 

 

 

A Letter to Our Twins on Your First Birthday

My Sweet Baby Boys,

One year ago today, I became your mom.  Well, I was really your mom before that, but our formal introduction happened at 7:45 and 7:47 am respectively on this day one year ago.  Seeing your sweet faces, hearing your two very distinctive cries, kissing your soft, chubby cheeks, and holding your tiny little bodies against mine for the first time was a gift unparalleled.

I’ve learned a lot this year, guys.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve learned that the patience I’ve spent so many years priding myself on actually does have limits, and I’ve reached those limits with both of you and with Big Brother more times than I’d care to admit.  I’ve learned to ask for help, to delegate, to let Daddy lend a hand more often than I ever have before.  I’ve learned to let go of some control, to reevaluate my priorities and my standards.  I’ve learned that these years go by more than twice as quickly when my love and attention are going in more directions than they ever have before.  I’ve learned that I can love you three boys, your daddy, and Clohe more intensely than I could have ever fathomed.  And I’ve learned that just because the two of you share a birthday, just because you look a lot alike, doesn’t mean you’re expected to be the same.

It’s been so much fun for Daddy and me to watch you grow, learn, and explore next to one another.  It’s been fun to see you each develop your own personalities, your own selves, side-by-side.  I could spend all day watching you guys interact with one another and with Big Brother.  I love watching you amuse one another, talk to one another, comfort one another, and- occasionally- antagonize one another.

Twin A: my sweet, loving little Mama’s Boy (please, baby, don’t be offended by the term.  You just love to be near me, and I love the bond we share.  And I have to admit, I’m still gloating over your first word being “Mama,”  One out of three ain’t bad).  A pound larger than your brother at birth, you’re now more than four pounds ahead.  You love the color blue, you love Clohe, and you love to explore.  You, my boy, have no fear.  Of anything.  Which, if we’re being honest, scares the daylights out of me.  I’ve joked that you’ve added more grey hairs to my head in the past year than I’ve accumulated in all the time leading up to your arrival.  You can be moody and temperamental, and you demand to be heard.  You also laugh with your whole being, which is such a sight to behold.  Seeing you throw your head back and chuckle down to your toes can make the worst day into the best.  And when you wrap your arms around my neck, pulling me close for a hug?  Well, there’s nothing in this world I’d sacrifice for that feeling.

And Twin B: you, my boy, are your Mama’s Boy in a different way.  I see myself in you in so many ways, little one, in ways I’ve never felt with your brothers.  You are so fiercely independent like me.  Small in stature, you’re tougher than you look, and you’ve shown us you can take care of yourself pretty well despite your size.  (But I’m still gonna call you Squirt).  You’re the baby of the family, and you know it.  Your eyelash-batting skills are second to none, and your grin could melt the absolute coldest of hearts.  Your laugh is magical.  You love to sit and observe…or play in the dog dishes…and your appetite makes me nervous for what we’re in for in the years to come.  Your first word was “dada,” which you uttered before your brother said his first.  You had the first tooth, you sat upright first.

Being your mom is an incredible gift, and your love and smiles have filled every day of the past year with a lifetime’s worth of joy.  And I get to go to bed tonight knowing we can do it all over again tomorrow.

I love you more,

Mom

PS- I promise, I’m done with the Thing One and Thing Two theme now. But seriously, I had to do it