We have quite an update. Well…just a long overdue one.

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In our last installment, we just put the refinished wheels with the new tires back on her and she was looking mighty fine. We had also recently dug up some info about Comets and excitement was building.

In the time that passed from our last update to now, we found a guy that restores vintage camper trailers in Johnson City. We took Clementine to him on Valentine’s Day, 2014 with high hopes and expectations. After multiple missed deadlines (that he set for himself) and catching him in lots of lies about all sorts of different things, we held his feet to the fire to really try to get this done. Unfortunately, he doesn’t take kindly to people who hold him to his own promises, so he fired us. So on July 29th, we picked up Clementine and brought her home. I’m not in the habit of bad-mouthing peoples businesses, but if you are looking for someone to help you restore a camper, I DO NOT recommend Vintage Travelers.  It’s a joke disguised as a business.

ANYWAY. Now that the ugliness is out of the way…

Let’s back up, even before V-Day 2014…Stripping paint and buffing 70 year old aluminum.

It was really labor intensive and really slow going. One really exciting thing that did happen, besides a great arm workout, was the Comet emblem. Before you could barely even make out what it said. It took us a while to even finally read ‘Comet’. Once we put the gook on that ate away the paint, we assumed it was a goner. But lo and behold… I believe our gasps could be heard above the power washer. Which was loud, if you’re unfamiliar.

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The process was simple enough. We slathered on Cirtistrip and waited for it to get good and dry. Then used a pressure washer to remove the paint, dirt and citristrip. It was, in a word, mesmerizing. About a week after that, we headed back to the ranch to start buffing. I was on toddler-duty so I didn’t partake, but some family came to help. It was a long and grueling process. But we finally started to see some improvements.

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We also used this time to start pulling away at the interior to see the extent of the water damage and rotten wood. Up until this point, we wanted to preserve as much as possible. But after seeing all the damage, we’re opting to rebuild. Close to the original but with some modern updates.

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Finally, the day arrived to take Clementine to Johnson City (yay?). D and his Dad headed out to the ranch the night before to get everything hooked up to his dad’s truck (camper, tail lights, etc). They got there later than they expected and were doing a lot of work in the dark. It finally just got way too late and decided to just get up early to finish. Well…the morning light didn’t really help. His dad’s truck is wired all wrong so the temporary tail lights we got wouldn’t work because none of the wires were where they were supposed to be. Long story short, and thanks to D’s great uncle Henry, they were on the road around 1 (got up at 7 in the hopes of getting on the road soon after). It was a very frustrating day and I felt both sad for him, and relieved that I decided to stay at home with J.

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We arrived in Johnson City at around 5 or 6. Did a once over with Sean and his wife about what we were wanting to do and left about an hour and a half later. I could tell that they weren’t totally on board with our wanting to update everything. They made that clear. I should have listened to my woman intuition then and there, but we’d come so far.

I’ll stop there. It seems logical since this is where our story goes dark for about 6 months. Wait until you see how far we’ve come…the next few posts will show LOTS more progress! Stay tuned!

Refashion

Refashion #1

So, yesterday I mentioned that I refashioned my first piece of clothing. I’ve been wanting to do it for some time, but I was so nervous that I just didn’t do it.

Then I came across the Refashionista, Cotton and Curls and Merrick’s Art blogs and was inspired. Well, that and I’m so tired of buying shirts that I think fit…then I get them home and the second June tugs on it it’s completely immodest. OY! Or, they are such deep V’s or scoop necks that they require an undershirt. And I’m tired of wearing 2 shirts in summer in Texas. So it’s really a necessity at this point.

Since I had no idea if this would actually work, I didn’t bother taking a before picture. I found this 1XL men’s polo shirt at a thrift store for about $2 (normally $4 but it was 50% off) and liked the feel of the fabric and the pattern. Then it sat while I thought about it for weeks. Then I finally just decided to jump in and start cutting away what was obviously not going to work.

Long story short, here’s the final!

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I first decided to turn the shirt around so the buttons would be in the back. Then I clipped the collar off and made a tight V-neck. Where the sleeves stop is where the seam of the sleeves met the shirt originally. I just cut right at the seam, folded it under and just did a little top stitch.

Then I dug out a shirt that I liked the fit of and cut it based on that size and shape. I’m most proud of the bottom. It’s hard to tell but the front bows down while the back is more straight across. It’s a little shorter than I anticipated because I had to fix a few problems along the way…but I think it worked out to my benefit.

I’m pretty proud of it, truth be known. I wore it on Saturday and my friends didn’t think twice that I didn’t buy it as is. It’s a bit wrinkly in the photos because I dug it out of the dirty clothes hamper to take these photos…do you think this counts as airing my dirty laundry for the world to see?

I’m afraid to wash it because I am fairly certain it will fall apart. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I have a decent little stash of things to refashion and I’m actually pretty excited about it. I hope they all turn out as well as this one. I figure if nothing else, I can turn it into a scarf. Right?

Hope you like it! Next time I’ll make sure it’s less wrinkly.

Family

New Look!

Yay! 3 cheers for better, simple design! I finally sat down to find a new design for the ole blog and I’m liking it so far. Hope you are, too!

It should be easier to read on your phone…since I think most of the people who read this come from Facebook. (Hi, friends on Facebook!)

Anywho, I’ll be doing some final tweaking over the next few days…as I fumble around CSS nonsense. Good times.

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Here’s a quick picture from the 4th of July. It was J’s first firework show and she did great. Although, we were pretty far away. Hoping to go to our normal diggs next year, at Auditorium Shores. It reminded me of when we would watch fireworks when I was a kid. We backed up onto a hill, covered up with blankets (I think we were normally dressed in PJ’s) because this was California and not Texas and settled in for the show. This was basically the same gig…but no blankets because TEXAS.

I spent the 4th refashioning my first shirt… I hope to do a post about it. I don’t have a before picture but I’m pretty happy with the after.

Hope you have a great week!

a

 

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I have so many exciting things to share with you! I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose at the beginning is better than typing random pieces of information.

So all last week we were trying to find anything about the Comet trailers. Anything at all. And aside from the few and far between blogs about a Comet remodel, we found approximately ZERO information. Making it all the more intriguing.

David took the day off on Friday and we headed to “The Ranch” to check on the new babe, Clementine. We had a general list of things we wanted to accomplish and I’m happy to report that even with a cranky baby (our human baby, that is…actually our fur baby was pretty whiny, too) we managed to accomplish everything. We were motivated.

Here she is not long after we arrived. David gave her a quick sweep around with a broom and it was amazing how much better she looked after just that. He also moved all the stuff that was leaning against it away and Ta-Da! We popped open some of the windows and can I just say…even cuter. It’s like she’s waving. She’s so friendly.

We also learned that David’s granddad just painted the trailer with a silver paint. We’re currently going back and forth, trying to decide if it’s worth the effort to remove the paint and buff the metal, or just paint it a fun happy color like the adorable trailers I’ve been pinning.

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We stuck J in the pack and play…which she had no problem expressing her disapproval about…but it allowed both of us to work. The side of screaming was a lovely touch. But I worked on cleaning out everything from inside and wow…things were crammed everywhere. It took about 45 minutes for me to find everything and get it out. Then I put the seating area and the sofa together and it felt SO much better!

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This is the smaller bed to the right when you walk in. The laminate top is actually in perfect condition and is pretty cute. It’s a cream base with little gold colored flecks. And the little notches on the corners are pretty adorable (and useful since that space between the stove and the left bench is about the width of my knee…). The hook on the wall that holds the table is in desperate need of attention. Actually, I think it’s more like the hook is pulling out of the plywood because it’s super old. The bones of the cushions are in good condition, but the vinyl is ripping apart.

IMG_7537This is looking toward the back of the trailer. Everything is in about the state we expected. You can see on the ceiling where the leak caused lots of damage. Layers of plywood are flaking off bit by bit. BUT, the cabinets on both sides seem to be structurally in good condition.

The other big thing was to get a better understanding of the tires and wheels. I should mention that David’s uncle was at the ranch and helped David understand roller bearings and such. We were happy to have the help, that’s for sure. While I tried to get J down for a nap (a joint effort that took about 2 hours) David and Uncle Michael worked on jacking it up to get after the tires. After about an hour, I think, it looked like this:

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IMG_7561Here’s David cleaning and greasing the roller bearings. Isn’t he dreamy?

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While David was working on that, J woke up (all that work for a 40 minute nap. I’m just saying.) and luckily was totally happy to hang with Uncle Michael. He’s normally not quite so…chipper…which makes this photo even more hilarious. Although, he took a nap, too. He had major surgery recently and J was right at the weight limit that he could hold. Lucky us. Thanks, Uncle Michael!

IMG_7562Pretty soon, the roller bearings were back on and the wheels and tires were ready to be loaded into our car for the smelly ride home.

Meanwhile, while David was cleaning and Michael was baby holding, I was busy taking dimensions of the interior. And sweating. Lots of sweating. I’m hoping to create a model in Sketch Up. Maybe not a full 3D model, but at least a floor plan that will help us with square footages. Here are some additional gratuitous shots of the interior. Where there’s a change in ‘wood’ is really contact paper covering up who knows what. I was too nervous to peel it away. Plus I was dripping in sweat. Did I mention that?

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IMG_7585Sorry about the yellow tint to all these photos. I would adjust them in photoshop, but I’m still exhausted. And quite honestly, I don’t know that I care all that much.

Anyway, so that was yesterday. Today, I started to really think about where to look for information. General ‘Comet travel trailer’ googling was leading no where. I stumbled on the Vintage Camper Trailers website and found their resource page…connected to a separate website that they provided, Atlas Mobile Home Museum, owned/managed by a guy who’s been collecting vintage travel trailer information since the late 90′s. There was no link to anything for a Comet trailer, so on a whim I emailed him.

Meanwhile, on the side of the trailer, where the Comet logo is, it has Wichita written below (extremely hard to make out), so I decided to do some digging about Wichita. Turns out that (according to their Wikipedia page) they are “The Air Capital of the World”. Really? Did you know that? I sure didn’t. As this states, they had some major airplane manufacturing going on in the 20′s -40′s (and the main manufacturer of B-22 Bombers for WWII). To bring it back full circle, David has had a growing suspicion that this was made out of leftover airplane material. While I was measuring, NOTHING was a normal dimension. Everything was like, 19 5/8. And no 2 windows are really the same size (you know, like they were making these things as fast as they could). Giving more credit to the idea that these were maybe leftover parts. AND, in the Wikipedia article, it mentions that the first aircraft to be built in Wichita was called the Cessna Comet. Interesting, don’t you think?

Within an hour of emailing the Atlas guy (Juergen), he had written back. He said he actually has a decent sized archive of Comet trailers – exciting! He also mentioned that the company was started in 1952 (although David has found conflicting information that the company was started earlier) and this looked like it was one of the first ones they made. So that’s cool! He also mentioned that he has tons of resources (available for purchase) on how to restore old trailers, original Comet material and specs, etc. It would appear that I accidentally hit the jack pot.

I’ve also sent an email to the local government for Wichita asking if they can point me in the right direction on where to dig up information. I’m sure they’ll be like, psh…we have like, real matters of government to discuss…but I hope they can at least respond with something.

So that’s where we are! We are so excited about the progress we’ve made in both the actual tailer and finding out information about it!

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No, I’m not pregnant. And no, we’re not adding another puppy…or fish…or any other breathing thing. No, no. Something that we have wanted for a very, VERY long time!

We just inherited this 1950′s (we think) Comet travel trailer. Ain’t she a beaut?! I think I’ll call her Clementine. Clementine the Comet. Yes.

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Come on in, I’ll give you a tour!

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This is what you see right when you walk in. The bed on the right is what converts to the table – we have no idea the state of the table, etc. I imagine it’s similar to the state of everything else. In front of you is the kitchen including a sink and cook top.

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This view is taken from the bed in the previous photo, looking at the kitchen and second, main bed. I’m not quite sure what’s going on with that little separation between the bed and the cook top. Sheet metal? Who knows. All those boxes are covering up the sink to the left of the cook top.

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This is sitting on the main bed…kitchen in in front and to the right. Can I just point out that adorable little lantern light fixture to the left of that window. You’re cute, Clementine.

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Now we’ve turned around, looking at where the previous photo was just taken. I think that’s a little medicine-type cabinet to the left of the window. Then a little cabinet where that mirror is….and D’s personal favorite…the cabinet below is an actual ice box. As in, we need to figure out where to buy a block of ice. Or I suppose we can put in a mini fridge, but it seems to lack some luster. And to the left of those cabinets is a tiny itty-bitty clothes closet.

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Here’s a close up of the ice box. Oh, my darlin’ Clementine. You can see the front door peeking through on the left.

What do you think? Sure she’s a little rough around the edges…but this is a dream to an interior designer who is currently on an extended hiatus. (That’s me).

Here are some other gratuitous shots of the exterior.

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So it’s still sitting between Caldwell and Hern at D’s grandparents ranch. We haven’t pinpointed when we can go pick it up…but we need to figure out where to get a permit, new tires and what exactly we’ll pull it with. Among other things that I’m sure haven’t even crossed our minds yet.

We’re also still going back and forth on how exactly to give Clementine a face lift. We’re feeling white, flowy with some fabrics that pay homage to the 50′s. If you want to follow along with our inspiration, you can follow our pinterest board, Glamping. (If you’re interested in what Glamping is, it’s a combination of the words Glamor and Camping. And there’s even a book – which we just ordered this evening…)

We feel so honored that D’s Grandparents deemed us to be a good fit for this sweet diamond in the rough.

D’s been working hard on getting our backyard ready to house her. We’re also going to construct a nice covering for her – to keep her safe from weather and maybe even keep it cooler while we work on it.

Can’t wait until we can show some progress!!

 


So my birthday was last week. And I must say, having given birth puts a new twist on your own celebration. And since J’s birthday is around the corner (1 week!), I thought this downtime before her festivities would be a fun time to share. I, personally, love reading birth stories. D on the other hand, may be mortified that I’m sharing this. Only time will tell. But a warning, it’s long…but it was a long day.

In the days leading up to June’s birth, I was on and off the phone with my doctor who was trying to convince us to induce, and emails were flying back and forth with the doula service we were using. My doctor was wanting to induce the second I hit 40 weeks and the doulas were like, “NO! Don’t do it!”  So I listened to the doulas and my doctor finally gave up.

After trying multiple tricks to go into labor on my own, I finally decided to try acupuncture. I had read good things and found a place nearby. I went on Tuesday and Wednesday for treatments. After Wednesday’s treatment, I felt pretty off. I went home to lie down and veg for a bit.

Thursday morning my water broke…but I wasn’t totally sure. I went about the rest of my morning routine and come back into the bedroom to tell D, “um…I think, *maybe* my water broke. I’m 80% sure. Maybe.”. How’s that for the ‘IT’S GO TIME!’ announcement? We decide to get everything into the car, just in case…and I fully acknowledged that I would be totally ridiculous if it turned out to be nothing. We drove separately so that in the event that this was a false alarm he could continue on to work. Genius.

En route to the Dr. office, at about the half way mark, every time I hit the brake or gas…things would happen. More and more fluid every time. I called the office to say that my water had broke and asked if I should go ahead and come in, or just go to the hospital. They said since I had an appointment, to come on in to get my stats there, then head (across the street) to the hospital. Can I just stop and say something? Never, ever drive yourself to the hospital if your water broke. Or if you think you’re in labor. It’s gross. That is all. I waddled up to the 3rd floor and check in…they instruct me to have a seat, at which point I politely remind them “I’M THE WOMAN THAT JUST CALLED SAYING HER WATER BROKE! Can I pretty please just go to the room?” They were more than accommodating. Dr. M pops his head in the room, looks at D and with much enthusiasm says IT’S BABY DAY! So he checks me out and I really have no recollection of what he says except for he sang, “We have amniotic fluuuuuid!”. I’m 110% sure that the people in the waiting room heard him. He tells me things like, “get checked in, but walk around the maternity ward a bit to speed up the process.” And “Sure, you can wear whatever you want for birth, it doesn’t have to be the hospital gown.” …These sentences are to serve as foreshadowing, if you didn’t catch on to that.

They wheel me across the street to the hospital. Once I get somewhat settled, a nurse comes in and pulls out a hospital gown and instructs me to put it on. I explain that I brought comfy clothes to wear for labor and birth but my husband went out to the car to get them. And she just stares at me. Like, I was from another planet. 15 minutes go by, D is still gone (moving the car and getting the stuff…and I think calling people), and I’m still sitting on the bed refusing to wear the gown. Then comes my first run in with Nurse Mary… she comes in, basically claiming that we don’t have time for this and I have to get hooked up to the heart rate and contraction monitor and I MUST be in the gown (Note, I was feeling zero contractions at this point). What…like you’re going to refuse to deliver my baby if I’m in a Target skirt?? I am getting a little worn out and finally give in. I change and D comes back with a confused look. I explain they refused to let me put my own clothes on (Which is still so stupid to me!) and he is dumbfounded. As am I, good sir.IMG_8673 copy

After they had a reading on ‘baby girl’s’ heartbeat, I asked if I could walk around, since my doctor had instructed me to. Apparently, that was out of the question. Nurse Mary *claims* that she called Dr. M and he had no recollection of that. Really? I’ve known Dr. M for over a year at this point, and I’ve know her for a hot minute. I was getting really frustrated with my nurse and I wasn’t even feeling contractions yet. Oh joy.

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Nurse Mary proved to be just as rude as I was worried she would be. She was rude to our doula once she arrived, and she was so condescending to me saying things like, “I know you planed for a natural birth, but we’ll see *eye wink*”… But I don’t want this whole post to be about Nurse Mary. Because I totally rocked the birth, if I do say so myself. And this is my blog…so I’m going with it.

June was actually delivered by my OB’s wife, which I think is fun. She came in to introduce herself. She said that since my water broke and I wasn’t progressing at all, then she would really like to start me on pitocin. I explained my issues with the drug and she very respectfully said that was fine, she let us have another hour or 2 to see if my body kicked into gear and if not, then we’d start on a half dose and spread the administration out a bit. Long story short, I got the first dose around noon.

Our doula, Jenni-the-great (I added the ‘the-great’ part…that’s not really her name) arrived soon after I got the dose, but I still wasn’t feeling anything. They were looking at the contraction monitor and the strength of the contractions was off the chart. Like, literally. But I wasn’t feeling a thing. They kept looking at me confused, because according to this machine that I had to be hooked up to, I should be screaming.

Around 3:30 or so is when the first contraction hit…well, that I felt anyway. And it wasn’t any worse than a abdominal cramp. I was able to talk through them. And we were talking about how unbelievable it was that I couldn’t wear my comfy cotton clothes…or walk around…which I was (and apparently still am) worked up over. I’ll let it go when June is 18.

Gradually the contractions were increasing in intensity. I had checks by Dr. G periodically to see if I was making progress. I was admitted at 1 cm and 25% effaced. Around 4:30,  I was at a whopping 2 cm and 50%. I was a bit disappointed, but Dr. G and Jenni were encouraging, saying the effacement is the toughest part and a jump from 25 to 50 is pretty good. By 7:30 the contractions were hitting harder and much more painful. Dr. G checked and I was 85% effaced but still only 4 cm.

We adjusted the bed to a sitting position and Jenni showed D how to rub my feet and she helped me with my tribal grunting. Nurse Bethany tried to take my temperature and I fell asleep in the 30 second space between contractions…while sitting. I had heard that some women do this, and I never pictured myself as “a sleeper”. But then again, I can sleep anywhere so why should labor be any different? I have no idea how many times I did this, so I’m guessing a few.

Around 10, Dr. G came back to do another check. Angels sang as she announced I was at 100% and 7 cm. For the next hour or so, I alternated lying on my sides. Apparently this speeds things up. And apparently, this is the most painful thing. Ever. Just as I was getting comfortable on one side, Jenni and Nurse Bethany would gang up on me and help me flip. And then the worst contraction to date would happen. Every time. It was in these moments when I was getting close to being able to push, I thought “You idiot. Why in the world would you not take the epidural?” But I’m pretty happy with myself that these thoughts didn’t even hit me until 1 hour from the end. Dr. G also told us that they had been backing off on the pitocin for a few hours and by this 10:00 check, it was all me. I so love that she did that.

D was rubbing my feet, Jenni was putting pressure on my hips, and Nurse Bethany was using acupressure on my wrists. You’d think I was in a day spa…except for the tribal grunting. Oh, and the pain. And the embarrassing fact (sure, I’ll share it) that I think I screamed at some point that I felt like I needed to poop. Stay classy, man. But in our birthing class, the nurse said, you know when you’re getting close when you feel like you need to have a bowel movement. So I guess in my head, the Nurses would need to know this vital piece of information.

Jenni mentions that they are getting ready to have me push. I look up and see no less that 1 million people in my tiny little room. I still don’t know how they all fit in there. Before I know it, they were telling me to push. The second I had the ok, I pushed like there was no tomorrow. And I think that worked against me because I got worn out really fast. Although, it could also be because the health care system is so messed up and doesn’t let mom’s who are in labor eat while they are at the hospital (I ate whatever I could find before we left the house, by the way – it just didn’t last 18 hours…). Anyway, I became so light headed that they gave me an oxygen mask to help me stay with it.

But I will say in my experience, pushing was far less painful than the contractions. I don’t know if it was just because I could finally do something about the pain…or if the pain was so great that my body shut off…whatever it was, pushing was a huge relief.

About 30 minutes in, Dr. G announces that I need an episiotomy. She does some topical numbing meds and I don’t feel a thing. But once I start pushing again, I realize that I am just so totally wiped out. Dr. G says that if I really can’t push any more, it’s a c-section (oy! The whole reason I didn’t want pitocin!) or the help from the vacuum. I opt for the vacuum…ONLY because June’s vitals had been perfect the whole time…because they were annoyingly prompt about fixing the monitor if it got off. I could really tell a difference when I pushed with the vacuum’s help. But it took 3 attempts. June, we soon found out, had a lot of hair and the vacuum had a hard time staying put. I remember looking at Dr. G on the 3rd attempt and thinking how sweaty she looked…turns out that after 3 vacuum attempts if the baby is still not out, it’s an automatic c-section. But we finally got our acts together and there she was. The pain was over and it was amazing.

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I remember feeling surprisingly numb for not having an epidural. It could be that they put that tiny little human on me and nothing else in the world matters. They laid her on me and I told her “Hi, Baby girl.” I don’t actually remember her crying, although she must have. While she was with me, she just looked at me. Taking it all in. And it’s so funny because that is totally her even now. They cleaned her up and D went to check her out while I was stitched up. Once we were all clean, we spent the next few hours having some skin to skin time and bonding and fawning and in total disbelief. We had delayed her first bath so we could get as much skin to skin time as possible.

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Later that day, we decided her name would be June Harper. Our other option was Ruby Jane…which I just loved and was really hoping for. But we agreed, she just looked like a June. And a year later, she still looks like a June, so I guess it was a good call.

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Motherhood has been a crazy and fun ride and I have the most perfect little girl. She was worth every pregnant and exhausted afternoon, every stretch mark and every single contraction. And, ok…every pound of baby weight. My cup runneth over with all the blessings that God has given us. We certainly don’t deserve any of it, but I am forever grateful.

Ramblings

Contentment

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept of contentment. We live in a society where when something breaks, we throw it away and buy a new one. (guilty) Or we throw it away an upgrade to the latest gadget. (guilty) Or the grass is always greener on the other side. (sometimes guilty)

As a Christian, I feel responsible to take this concept of contentment seriously. In a few of different aspects. And I feel that perhaps in the past, I didn’t put as much contemplation and effort into it. Allow me a brief flashback: I worked across the street from Anthropologie. If you aren’t familiar…well. Do your wandering eye and bank account a favor and stay away (never mind that 15% off coupon I have burning a hole in my pocket for my birthday month!). Don’t get me wrong. Some of my very favorite pieces of clothing are from there. But it’s expensive. When I would have a particularly stressful day of work, I’d wander over there with the intent to just look at pretty things that don’t live in the internet…then I’d wander right back out with a few pretty things of my own.

What I’m saying is, I have too much stuff. I’ve been blessed with so much. Like, it’s over the top. And now that I’m not going into an office and I am staring at the things I already have all day, it’s slapped me across the face. How did that happen? It’s not like I need to be on an episode of hoarders or anything, but why do I feel compelled to just buy more and more things?

So I’m putting an end to it. I don’t need lots of stuff. Sure, I’m a fan of surrounding yourself with some things you love. But there’s a line somewhere, right? So we decided to have a yard sale (June 15th!) and I’ve been slowing cleaning out closets and things under the bed. And it’s a little bit overwhelming. But oh so satisfying to see all the stuff that’s just been sitting around collecting dust finally out and seeing the light of day.

I just need to live more simply and have contentment for the things that I do have. And more importantly, I want J to grow up with an understanding of contentment – and being okay with it. And love it, even. (And if you’re able to come to her birthday, please don’t feel compelled to bring a gift! She has so much stuff already – we just want to build memories with all our friends!!) Wouldn’t that be awesome? I’ve started reading the blog Blissful and Domestic, in which she discusses a bunch of different family night ideas and emphasizes that it’s the fun you’re having that’s important, not the amount of money you spend. Sometimes, I find myself equating lots of money to lots of fun and that’s just simply not true.

I’m just starting this life detox and so far I’m diggin’ it. And I know there will still be times when I’ll spend money on various things, but I hope those purchases will be much more thoughtful and serve a higher purpose than just retail therapy.

I’m off to fill my home with love and less stuff! What are your best tips for de-cluttering??

a

 

So I accidentally took a break from blogging. Although, I don’t really know if enough people read it to make it a blog. …how many licks does it take to have a legit blog? Or is the center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know.

So I last wrote about my grandma’s party, and then I dove head first into putting together a photo book for her as a belated birthday gift. There were so many photos that I quickly got a bit overwhelmed, but I finally buckled down and finished it a few nights ago. I hope she likes it!

I’m also working on J’s first birthday party. And here’s the thing. I want it to be cute and fun but then there’s the big glaring fact that she will have ZERO recollection of this party. That’s why I’ve chosen to look at it as a “Hey, we survived the first year!” type of party. I mean, it’s totally HER party, but it’s my way of justifying all my little time consuming DIY projects. But either way you look at it, I’m really excited and I think it’s going to be adorable.

In other news, I made BREAD! I never thought I could make a loaf of bread successfully. Every time I try to bake anything, it ends poorly. Case in point, when I graduated college, some friends and I had a girls night. We planned to go get pizza and I got it in my head to make red velvet cupcakes. From scratch. I sautéed the strawberries, but soon realized I didn’t have enough to dye the dough so my SIL had to run to the store to get food coloring. That should have been my first clue that disaster was afoot. In short, I learned that there is a BIG difference between baking soda and baking powder. I now triple check the box I’m using to make sure I’m using the correct ingredient. They looked like muffins and tasted like play-doh. And here’s proof, from way back in the 2007 iPhoto archives. I would try to apologize for the horrible photo, but first, the “cupcakes” really did look that horrible; and second, they aren’t exactly something I wanted to show off. The photo was more to document the total disaster.

cupcakes

 

Every now and then, one of said girlfriends will be all like, “Hey, remember that time you made red velvet “cupcakes”?” (air quotes included). And I’m all like, “I’ll never bake again!”, with Shakespearean drama in my voice and mannerisms. Just give me a skull. But I did try baking again and it turned out great. I made an Italian cheesy garlic bread for Thanksgiving that was delicious. Then a few nights ago, I tried my hand at a honey oat loaf. Did you read that, A LOAF. Amazing. Ain’t she pretty?

honey oat bread

 

Baking is so rewarding. I feel like I’ve finally gotten over the fear of failure hump. And I know I’ve only made this loaf and the bread for thanksgiving, but it’s just so cool to bake your own stuff! Not including the time (you know, since time is money), I think it cost me about $1.50 to make this organic loaf of super yummy bread. Not bad, eh?

So now I want to bake other things. What’s your favorite baking recipe?? Oh, and in the interest of sharing, this is the recipe I used.  I didn’t read her full post, but the recipe is all the way down at the bottom.

Enjoy!!

 

Uncategorized

nos·tal·gia

A sentimental longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

This past Saturday we celebrated my Grandma’s 80th birthday. My aunt and I planned and planned for weeks (thus my little blog hiatus), although she was, I think, the main hostess. My mom, my sister and other aunt were a huge help as well in getting all the last minute things taken care of. I’m happy to report that it seems my Grandma had a fabulous time.

She received cards from people all over the place and even had a surprise guest, her cousin Karen all the way from Everett, WA! She really enjoyed reading everyone’s memories and sweet sentiments.

I was in charge of putting a slide show together of all her old photos, which, as it turns out, is no easy undertaking. When D’s grandma turned 80 a few years ago, we threw her a party, too and I ‘touched up’ all of her photos as well. I’ve discovered, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Anyway, this time around, a lot of the photos that were included had an unfortunate line from when they were scanned…which fell across the prime face region of nearly all the photos. Of course you can’t just leave it there. It took me about 2-3 weeks of J-naps and staying up until 2 or 3 to get them all cleaned up. And it was worth it. My grandma stood there (read: leaning against the wall with her cane) looking at all her photos on the wall laughing and smiling.

But aside from the reaction from her and the guests, I just love looking at old photos of relatives (to clarify…I’m not sure I would care as much about YOUR old photos…is that mean? I’m just saying…yawn.). I think what draws me in is looking for similarities in faces between people from then to now. Like my grandma, for instance. I saw so many photos of her that I had never seen before and the fun thing is…in each stage of her life, she really looked like different people that I know now (IE: my mom, aunt, sister, etc). And I saw a lot of new photos of my mom and aunts when they were young. I always thought I favored my dad’s side, but there was a photo of my mom when she was (I’m guessing) around 10 and I’m telling you, I felt like I was looking at myself at that age. So fun.

Anyway, working on this project makes me so nostalgic. It makes me wish I could travel back in time and talk to all these people…and meet them and ask them questions. See if we have other things in common besides simply being related. Wouldn’t that be so fun? My grandma doesn’t know it yet, but I’m working on lots of questions to ask her because I just really want to know (not questions like what was your favorite color; but questions like: How old were you when you had your first kiss? and Who with? and How did you meet Grandpa? How did he ask you to marry him?). She looked like such a fun person to be around and I don’t want to miss out on those memories! (to clarify again….she’s still lots of fun to be around!).

Errbody

4 generations.

As I sit and think what it must be like to be 80 and have kids, grandkids…great-grandkids…it has be so surreal. To have EIGHTY YEARS of memories and stories. To sit there and see what your love with another human created. My grandpa has been gone for a number of years now. But looking at some of the photos of them together, it’s so clear they loved each other. He had some mental issues and I know that wasn’t easy for my grandma (or my mom and aunts). But their love is what carried them through and I’m so blessed to have such a courageous woman to look to as an example of patience and love.

Amy and Gma

So, we’ve had a icky nose, lots of sneezing and pitiful glossy eyes all week. Well, ‘we’ meaning J. I still hold to my meat=allergies theory and so far so good. Except that she hasn’t had any meat…or dairy…so maybe my theory only works for me. But all I had was a little pressure in my head…so, basically nothing.

Anyway, I have been noticing that J has been showing her personality more and more lately and it made me remember a book I have called What Your Birthday Reveals About You. I don’t believe in all that ‘what’s your sign’ propaganda, but I do find personality stuff interesting. One of the principals at my old work brought this book in one day years ago and my birthday was surprisingly accurate. Not in a “you love life and live it to the fullest” sort of lame general way. But in a “In your sweet-natured, diplomatic way, you’re usually able to win others over to your way of thinking. Nevertheless, you’re flexible enough to be able to adjust yourself to people and events if the occasion demands it.” Hi, have you met me? One of my past coworkers would always laugh because I was always trying to control tough clients. Ok…that sounds creepy. But if they were really wishy washy (um, Amy, I couldn’t sleep last night because I just think this red is too red…can we find a different one? …Someone help me please…), then we’d meet in our library and I’d suggest we make it a standing meeting. That way, they’d be able to feel how long we’ve been standing there and they usually made decisions more quickly. …and usually see that the original red wasn’t, in fact, too red.

But it goes on to talk about how I love to throw parties, I’m creative and that I have a knack for mixing work and pleasure. Nailed. It. I also share my birthday with George Washington Carver, Pricilla Presley, Patti LaBelle, Bob Dylan and Victoria, Queen of England. So, there’s that.

But then, way back when my boss brought in her book to work, I decided to look up my love. It says how he’s intuitive, extremely curious and that “challenges rarely faze you…”. So that made me wonder…what does J’s day say?

Basically, it’s the strangest fusion of our descriptions. It says she’s ambitious and hard working. I mean…she was crawling at 6 months and standing on her own at 7.5 months…I think that’s ambitious! It also says that she’s “…charming, charismatic and fun to be around. However, your sharp tongue and incisive wit can get you into big trouble.” Sorry honey…you get that from your momma. At least that last part. But then it says things like “Although it may take a while for you to come to a firm decision, once you do, you seldom make a mistake.” And that has D written all over it. She also shares a birthday with Frank Lloyd Wright, and that’s pretty cool.

Anyway, I also realized we’re the same sign, Gemini. Now…before you all go thinking that I fell off my rocker….I had another coworker guess that this was my sign. We were working together on a project and it was D-Day (deadline day). I kind of turn crazy on deadline days. And any of you old coworkers who may be reading this, I’m forever sorry. But in the middle of this deadline, she turns around and says “You’re a gemini, aren’t you” … uh, yes, why? “Because it’s the sign of the twins and you have a sort of Jekyll and Hyde thing going on.” Oh, huh. Yes, yes I do. Interesting.

So, I just wonder what the little mini-gemini has in store. Those should be some interesting 3-year-old Jekyll and Hyde tantrums. So sorry, babe.

I just think it’s so interesting and fun to see what your kids personalities will be and how to help them navigate through life. Like a nice, clean blank slate.

Have you thought about what your baby’s personality will be? Any glimpses into the future? Any hints that they are fortunately or unfortunately just like you?