Monday, September 29, 2014

Coolest D.C. Happening...According to Me

Saturday Rhett and I went downtown to Crafty Bastards. What is Crafty Bastards, if not something with a hilarious name? It is "an exhibition and sale of handmade alternative arts and crafts from independent artists." And seriously people, it's my favorite event in D.C. Which explains why I haven't been in years. Actually, it doesn't explain it. My kids explain why I haven't gone. But this year I figured Rhett was big enough to not complain and whine the entire time and Chuck and Ollie were happy to stay home.

So what did we see? (I didn't take any pictures and I'm afraid of copyright, so it's just a bunch of links. Sorry.)

This cool jewelry. I know, I know; it's just jewelry, but this is fun wood jewelry.

This food jewelry. I mean, donut earrings?! California roll earrings?! Poptart necklace?!

This handwoven jewelry. (I think that's it for the jewelry.)

These scarves. I mean, have you ever seen a knitted salad scarf? A pizza scarf? A bacon and eggs scarf? No, no you hadn't until now. Probably.

These cutting boards. Again, cutting boards at a craft fair? So done. But what's not done is Super Mario cutting boards (unfortunately, not pictured).

These stuffed animals and dolls. The tattooed dolls were the coolest, although the fancy pugs did get our attention.

These stuffed animals and faux taxidermy. C'mon, how cool is that narwhal?

One more jewelry. I bought something here (from her sale basket because DANG). I love all the little things she puts in there! Mine necklace has grass.

These bicycle clocks. Pretty cool, no?

These patches. And I thought my mom patches were cool. No, no they're not. ALERT: Some of these are NOT kid-friendly. I whisked Rhett away quickly now that he can read.

These hilarious posters. I love the original posters, but these? Totally surprised and delighted me. Make sure you read the small print on them.

And these. The best of the show, in my opinion. They were gorgeous. Meticulous, interesting, beautifully-colored. If you clicked on nothing else, click on this one. Do it. You will not regret it.

These two were the only pictures I took, and I'm positive I have the rights to display them. Rhett loved the blow-up deer and wondered if it was for sale (it wasn't). Rhett did not love the popsicle when he got a bite with a slowly-dissolving gummy bear. I loved my frozen chocolate-covered banana. I did not love the hipster food truck prices. Oh, and so many vendors loved (and commented on) Rhett's t-shirt. One even asked if I made Rhett's backpack and told me she loved the Ed Emberley fabric. Yep, I was proud. Which was okay since the whole rest of the day I was humbled by all the talent.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mothers and Sons Washout

Um yeah. So we had ten gorgeous days in a row and then, on the night that I want to take my boys camping, we get a rainstorm (complete with flood watch). And although I may inadvertently go camping in the rain, I don't advertently go camping in the rain. Because the rain wasn't scheduled to start until the nighttime, we invited friends over to "play camping." We set up a tent and made s'mores. Then we went to sleep in our own beds. It was kind of the best of both worlds.

P.S. Yes, I made up the word "advertently."....Ooooh, maybe I didn't! Blogger doesn't recognize it, but Google does. I'll go with the latter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mothers and Sons Campout

With today being a half-day and tomorrow a school holiday, it just screamed camping trip. It also screamed, "But Chuck can't be there!" So I screamed back even louder, "Hey, I can do this on my own, right?" And by "on my own" I meant, of course, "with friends." So as long as the weather is good, Rhett, Ollie, and I (along with friends) are going camping this afternoon. Wish us luck!

P.S. Ever notice how there are Fathers-and-Sons, Mother-Daughter, even Daddy-Daughter events, but no Mothers-and-Sons? I did. Maybe this will become a special long as we live in a place where Jewish holidays are also school holidays, that is.

P.P.S. Seriously, weather? Seriously?

P.P.P.S. Thank goodness friends have their stuff together enough to plan a trip to the fire station; we all know I don't.

Monday, September 22, 2014

One of These Things

These are the new bushes we put in a couple of months ago. Can you see that one of them is not like the other? Do you know how much I stress over whether or not these plants are okay? Being a homeowner is hard, I tell you. Being as cute as Ollie, not so hard, however.

Friday, September 19, 2014

World War Dinner

Someday we won't fight at dinner. Someday my boys will eat everything. Someday I'll enjoy cooking and feeding all of my boys. Sadly, that day is not today, or yesterday, or tomorrow. Unless I'm feeding them pizza, noodles with red sauce (but nothing else...looking at you, baked ziti), or burgers, dinnertime is a fight. And c'mon, I'm not feeding them crazy, out-there meals. In fact, everything I serve is basically the same thing with a twist. But when my boys won't even eat quesadillas, there is no hope.

A couple of weeks ago at a particularly hard dinner, I lost it. Completely. After I found it again, we came up with a new rule: within reason, whatever they don't finish at dinner becomes dinner the next night. If they don't eat it the next night, then they get it the night after that. No, they don't need to "clean their plate," but taking two bites and saying, "I'm full" is unacceptable from boys who can eat three slices of pizza. We make sure they understand that it's going to get grosser and grosser each night that it's not eaten. They also know that if the next night's dinner is pizza, they won't get any until they eat tonight's dinner. Point is, they need to learn to eat food that they don't love. They also need to learn to respect my role as food provider.

Don't they know how hard it is to plan a menu that's (1) not boring, (2) not filled with junk, and (3) hopefully edible? Don't they know how hard it is is grocery shop within a certain budget? Don't know they know how much it hurts when, before even trying it, they declare dinner "Gross?" No, they don't. They're kids. But someday, someday, they'll know. And I'll sit back and laugh. Just like my mom is laughing at me now.

P.S. I know mommy battles over mealtimes are not new nor novel. I know. I might as well write about our struggles at bedtime, right? Except that right now, we're actually doing okay with bedtime. So there.

P.S.S. Due to our recent "clean the house" efforts, I'm on the lookout for a mop. Anyone have one that actually CLEANS, unlike the Swiffer I bought?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We Made Stuff

These pants for made for a friend's soon-to-be-born baby boy. Tutorial from Made by Rae, found here.

The baby daddy is a ping pong player (in fact, this is part of his job or something), so of course I had to make a personalized onesie.

Rhett LOVES to create things with paper and tape. This was one of his latest creations: the campground at Assateague. He nearly throws a fit every time I have to put these creations in the recycling. But I have to, right? I mean, some of these things are BIG.

And Ollie made a chocolate face.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Family Duathlon: Biking and Running

Once again, I'm amazed how much the weather can influence my mood. Thursday was really warm and really humid. Even though I spent 10.5 indoors in a cooled office environment, I was still grumpy. But Friday? Saturday? Sunday? Gorgeous. They were days you wish you could clone, you know? "Low" humidity and cooler temps: my kind of weather.

Last week we learned that Rhett had somehow taught himself how to start his bike. He learned how to ride a bike last summer, but still needed us to start him. (It's amazing what a couple of inches will do, however.) So now he's in love with riding. All Friday afternoon, Chuck and I sat lazily on the porch while the boys scooted and rode. It was glorious. Saturday morning I headed out early and it was so cool and so overcast (no sun heat!) that I kept running and didn't stop until 10 miles later. I really think I could have done three more, and probably should have. It was just so lovely. In the afternoon we spent more time just sitting outside, watching the boys ride back and forth in front of the house. And Sunday morning a half marathon was being run not far from our house. So we hopped in the car and drove to mile three and sat on a bench and cheered on the runners. I think that they loved Bruno the most.

Oh, also I went to a baby shower for a friend on Saturday. I won Runts. It was amazing.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Updates on Everyone

Today marks the end of the third week of school. How is everyone doing? Read for yourself (youngest to oldest):

Ollie: I wish I could say that he's sad when Rhett's at school, but he's not. He's such a good solo player, and I love that about him. He helps me with chores, takes super awesome naps, and even though he'd choose BounceU everyday if I let him, he's happy to do whatever I suggest (although I do ask him for input--don't worry). This kid LOVES to wear "soft pants." I'm afraid that I won't be able to get him out of sweat pants as a teenager. Unless he cares about girls, in which case he'll never touch sweat pants. I would like to start some sort of "Mom 'n' Me" preschool with him, but haven't had the energy yet. Hopefully soon.

Rhett: It ain't been pretty, folks. The start of school has once again wreaked havoc on our mostly-happy home. Daily tantrums have returned. Attempts at naps have been thwarted. Early bedtimes have been strictly enforced until tantrums subside. I have hope, however. He is doing great in school and seems to like his teacher. He started karate on Wednesday, and while he's not the most coordinated little person, he had fun. I just hope he keeps the karate to himself and doesn't "share" it with Ollie. Nearing his six-and-a-half birthday and still has all of his baby teeth. So glad I made this, huh?!

Chuck: Now that he's in a 12-month position, his life hasn't changed much. He loves when parents from other counties call to ask about "smart kid" programs for their 18-month-olds, however. So yeah, ask him about that.

Me: I am LOVING the return of routines that school brings. I find that the start of a school year is the time I'm most drawn to setting goals. The one big one for me is to be more disciplined. Which, I know, is a terrible goal because it's vague and not measurable. But in my head I know what I mean. I mean that I make myself do the things I should do before I do the things I want to do. "Things I Should Do" include chores, making Rhett's lunches, playing with the boys, etc. "Things I Want To Do" are internetting, sewing, etc. But I've done okay so far. Snags include when babysitter is sick and we have to rework my schedule and chaos ensues. Thankfully for all parties, babysitters get better.

House: Remember when you brought your first baby home from the hospital and you thought, "What were they thinking?! Who would let us take home this baby?! Who would let us become parents?!" Well sometimes that's how I feel about homeownership. I mean, who let me buy a house?! What do I know about houses? When will I ever find time to take care of it? Some time ago, we started "No TV Mondays." We would use that time to work on house projects that I just couldn't seem to fit in during the day. Then it lapsed. Then I brought it back. Then Chuck said that he'd like it better if we spread it out over the week. So our new plan is to spend the first 30 minutes after the kids go to bed working on "big" house maintenance things. So far we've done things like clean the blinds, scrub the wood floors, clean the cabinet fronts, clean walls, clean closets, vacuum basement spiders, wipe down our dining room table that was a disaster, etc. I'll still get done the smaller things like dusting and sweeping and vacuuming during the daytime, but these big jobs are just much better with company. Plus, it means a whole new calendar I'll get to create!

I think that's about it. Oh, other than this, the most exciting pin I've pinned recently. I love it so much.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life is Crazy

I have so many things to say about our lives and what we've been doing and how Rhett's been adjusting to first grade and the work Chuck and I are doing on the house and how hard life is when you make yourself do things you don't want to do. But life is getting in the way. Hopefully it won't soon.

P.S. Know what else? Tuesdays are usually one of my favorite days. But yesterday was totally ruined. Hate that.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hooray for Odd Numbers

What was the big surprise? I figured that because I love to be with my friends so much, so must he (uh, love to be with his friends, that is). Of course, running or eating frozen yogurt (or both) are not his things, but golf is. So I secretly amassed seven other guys to play golf with him. When he got home from work I told him to pack his golf bags and get out here. He met his buddies, got 14 holes in before dark, and then found a pizza/lil' smokies with bacon/chocolate chip cookies/Coke dinner waiting for them in the trunk. The one regret was that I couldn't control the weather. After our summer of amazingness, we had our first real taste of the horribleness that Maryland can provide. He came home soaked to the skin in sweat. But do not fear--a good time was had by all. And I got a reputation for being a pretty amazing wife. Mission accomplished.

After such a great job by me, I felt I could be done so the next day was not very exciting. We were greeted bright and early by the boys, one of whom (cough, cough, OLLIE) demanded that Chuck open his presents right then. The presents were delivered to bed, and Ollie forced his to be opened first. It should be no surprise that as soon as Chuck pulled out the Mike 'n' Ikes and peanut M&Ms, Ollie yelled, "SHARE! SHARE! SHARE!" I gave him a pretty sweet card, and Rhett "sewed" him a new pillowcase. The rest of the morning was spent doing our usual thing (me: running, Chuck: playing on his ipod, boys: know, the norm). In the afternoon we got a date through our regular babysitting swap and tried to avoid all things outside.

Sunday, however, was gorgeous. After church we grilled some meat, rode bikes, and then ate this ice cream cake. There's not much in the world that's too rich for me, but man, this comes close.

And now that it's Monday, we're are putting birthdays to rest. Good thing because I'm tired and idea-ed out. Happy birthday Chuck!

P.S. This is great.

Friday, September 5, 2014


It will soon be Chuck's birthday and WOWZA do the boys and I have some surprises for him! I know he's reading this, and I hope he knows how very hard it's been for me to keep these things from him. But I'm so close to being able to reveal all. So very close. Enjoy the anticipation today, Charlie!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Return of Naps = Projects!

Now that Rhett is back to school and Ollie can take good, quiet naps, I've been able to get some projects finished.

One rainy Saturday afternoon we put the boys' beds back to bunks. And then it just made sense that Ollie needed a book bag. So he got one. (Again, tutorial from here. I think this makes four of these bags I've made.)

And as it's been about six months, it's time for a new chore system. Because you know, that's how parenting is. We also thought that because Ollie is now three and Rhett is back in school, everyone could use a little bit more structure and responsibility. We'll see how it goes.

And the back-to-school pants. They are identical, but I figure they probably won't wear them on the same day. And even if they do, Rhett is in school so it doesn't matter. Of course, sometimes I like to force them to dress alike (cough, cough).

P.S. In my defense, I didn't intend for the pants to be identical. But when I got to the store, nothing was inspiring me. Both boys like orange, and I thought these monsters were adorable. Besides, I only had one coupon, so I didn't want to have to buy four cuts of fabric. Plus, I like having fights with my three-year-old in the store over fabric. It's fun.

P.P.S. To show I'm not completely heartless, I used the fabric he wanted for the pants to make the book bag. See, I
can compromise!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Thoughts on the Pool

After having access to a pool for one month, I feel totally qualified to talk about what it's like to be a pool member. First the pros. Both boys became so much more comfortable in water when we went every day. We've done swim lessons in the past, but going only once a week for six times just doesn't do it. But going every day, six days a week for a month did. At the beginning of the month, Rhett wouldn't even put his face under the water. And now? He's just this close to actually swimming. Another pro is that there is a community there. You see the same people every day, and I'm sure if it were swim team time, that would be even more so. It was fun to meet new people. Another pro is that it fills up the hot, lazy afternoons. Well, had we had any hot afternoons, it would have filled them up. And of course, I got a little bit tanner than my usual color of "eggshell."

The cons of the pool are that first, having a kid who still naps means we didn't get to the pool until about 3:30 each day. Which means we didn't get home until 5:30ish. Which means dinner was late. Which means bedtime was late. Which means I'm not happy. Also, pool hair is gross. But I felt little desire to do anything about it because I knew it was just going to get gross again the next day. Also, make up is pointless, so I just looked really old during all of August.

By the end of the month, I am ready for it to be over. Next year, instead of paying the ridiculous fees to join for the entire summer, maybe we'll just do August again.