Thursday, April 30, 2009

Guily pleasure TV

I've noticed that I watch a lot less TV now that both kids are in daycare, at least during the week. I think I overloaded on trashy TV while I was on maternity leave and needed to give my brain a rest.

But I do have the occasional show that I like to TiVo and watch whenever I have some free time and/or need to fold laundry (which seems like all the time anymore. I hate laundry.)

Most of these shows are shamefully geared towards the younger female set: Gossip Girl, The Hills, The City. Why, yes, I'm 30 now. I guess I like to live vicariously through the characters on these shows. Or something like that.

But I think my favorite guilty pleasure show has to be GREEK on ABCFamily.
I am a sorority alumna and watching this show brings back fond memories of my time in the house in college.

Now, it's definitely exaggerated for entertainment, but many of the situations in the show are somewhat typical of being in a sorority/fraternity in college, or at least being in college in general. It does a good job of showing the ties formed between members without being too Animal House (and the stuff that is Animal House is so obviously overdone for entertainment purposes). And it's just a funny show! The writing is brilliant and the pop culture references are often subtle, but hilarious. It's definitely one show I like to make time to watch every week. Even the hub likes to watch it with me when he can.

I know I can't go back to college (even though some times I'd really like to) but at least I can reminisce on the fun times while watching this show. Now, do you think I should tell the hub he can get me season one for Mother's Day?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I love Sephora

As I've mentioned before, I'm not a particularly good girly girl, despite my lip gloss addiction.

But I'm in love with Sephora. I think I discovered their website my senior year of college, so about 8 years ago. I love browsing and seeing what's new and reading reviews of things I think I want to try.

And I'm a huge sucker for their three free samples with purchase.

Sometimes I'll look through their samples and order something small (where the shipping is usually more than what I ordered) just to get the sample. I especially like the free samples to try out perfumes.

So when I ran out of my Smashbox color adjust primer (green, to help combat the constant redness of my skin), I had to check and see what the samples were before I could place an order.

And then I noticed that there was some cute lipgloss on sale. And I wanted to get more Benefit Boi-ing concealer becuase the stuff the salesgal talked me into the last time I actually went into the B&M store just wasn't cutting it for me. And at that point I was only $8 under the amount needed to qualify for free shipping, so I hunted around until I found another lip gloss (of course!) that put me over.

I was so excited when the UPS man dropped the box off on my doorstep today while I happened to be home for lunch. It's almost as fun as Christmas!

We have an Ulta in town, but it's not nearly as big as the Sephora is in the capital city. It'll do in a pinch, though, and they do have some good specials. But if I'm going to go all out, I'd rather wait and find the time to drive the 2 hours to the actual Sephora store. I should probably do that sometime before summer. I'm forever on the hunt for a good foundation and have yet to find one that I really love. That and I need more mascara.

I like to say that my version of heaven is a combination of Sephora, Pottery Barn and Cadbury chocolate. I'll be fat, but I'll look fabulous on my stylish furniture.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Funny Girl

The kidlet is a watcher. She loves to watch everything -- the dog, us, tv (yeah, I know). She especially loves to watch her big brother. And he loves to entertain her.

The kiddo was the first to get a successful belly laugh out of the kidlet - by doing belly flops on our couch (again, I know).

The other night he had her rolling by playing with the toy we have stuck on top of her high chair tray.



Poor girl. I fear she's going to have a weird laugh, just like her mommy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rats

Last night was the trivia contest I talked about in my post here. Our team was made up of my dad, my two sisters, my husband, one BIL and the son and DIL of a family friend. Having placed fourth (just out of the prizes) the past two years, we had high expectations again this year.

So it was fairly humbling when we completely fell on our asses, so to speak.

The questions were HARD this year! Some of them, especially the questions about our alma mater, we really should have gotten all right. But we weren't thinking. Or maybe we were over thinking. Either way, we got some wrong we really should have gotten right. On the other hand, we think the judges were a little lenient with some of the answers, because they had us with more points than we thought we had.

We found out that we don't know our state capitals as well as we thought we did. We did know our Presidents, though. And trying to remember song lyrics isn't as easy as you'd think it is, espeically for a mixed generation table as ours. But it was all in fun, and we had a good time even though we placed way down at 10th this year. 10th out of almost 60 teams, though, so it wasn't too terrible.

The Pioneer Woman's little smartypants quizzes did help me on a question, I knew the Hundred Year's War was between England and France thanks to her. I wish they would have asked how long it lasted, because I definitely knew that.

There wasn't any big family news shared this year, either. Last year the trivia night was right around the same time the hub found out he was being inducted into his collegiate athletic hall of fame. So when my dad saw him, he told the hub "I hear you have some pretty big news." The hub, in his infinite wisdom, thought my dad was talking about the fact I was pregnant with #2. So he inadvertently let that news out instead. We had been planning on telling them that weekend anyway, but it just came out a little different than expected.

But this year there were no pregnancy announcements, no hall of fame inductees, nothing. Just lots of fun and free beer and pizza. Oh! And I did win a shirt for the hub from the raffle. We'll definitely do it again next year. We'll have to start practicing our trivia now.

And if anyone ever asks, there are 8 furlongs in a mile. We know, the hub figured it out on a cocktail napkin during one of the rounds. There are definitely times I'm glad I married an engineer. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Big fat baby

The kidlet has always been big. She was 10lb 6oz when born and just keeps piling on the rolls. At her 6m checkup she was 22lbs and 28.5". She's the same length as her brother was at that age, but she beat him on weight by 2 pounds. Pretty soon she'll be able to sit on him to get what she wants. Which is good because he has a penchant for "borrowing" her toys, even though he has a gajillion of his own.

This week we finally started her on some solids. Daycare takes care of giving her some rice cereal during the day and we work on pureed veggies for supper.

This week it was sweet potatoes. I think she likes them, don't you?
Yum!

More, mom!

Oh just give me the darn spoon, I'll do it myself!

The kiddo is a really good eater. He even likes *gasp* vegetables! He eats more veggies than my sister does. I hope the kidlet is the same.

If I were really ambitious and had time and a bigger kitchen, I'd possibly consider cooking and pureeing my own baby food. But I'm not, so Gerber it is! Plus, the plastic containers are handy for snacks. Or for holding cinnamon and sugar for toast.

Oh my sweetness. I'm not ready for her to be getting this big!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to reality

It was lovely to have a few days off work and relax at my parents before Easter. If you could call not sleeping because the kidlet was totally off her schedule and up most nights relaxing, anyway.

We had a good time, though the weather wasn't quite as warm as I'd hoped. We didn't even get out and walk around the feedlots or check out the new big tractors. That's what I get for lugging the big double stroller all the way there and back - I didn't even pull it out of the back of the Outlook.

The kiddo had a good time, too. It's always more fun to play at Grandma and Papa's because they have cool toys. Old toys from when my sisters and I were younger, like the Little People Sesame Street playset or a really old Tonka van and pop up camper.

On Friday we actually ventured into town because the local feed store had chickens and ducks. The kiddo loved that, can you tell?

He did a really good job being gentle and holding them very carefully. There were no unfortunate Easter chick tragedies. He really loved the ducks, but they were a tad wiggley for his taste. He really wanted to bring one home, but I told him we couldn't. My dad would probably laugh, but I wouldn't mind having chickens at some point. At least I wouldn't mind the idea of chickens. The reality might be a different story.

After that we met up with Papa (my dad) and got to see some baby cows at one of the farms.

Isn't he just so pretty?

With Papa and a camera-shy calf. We liked looking at the cows from far away, but up close they were kind of scary. You can't see it in the background, but there are some very watchful mama cows hovering in the background just making sure we weren't doing anything to their precious babies.

I haven't informed the kiddo of the proper terminology for cattle yet; to him they're all either cows or baby cows.

The kidlet slept through seeing the baby animals, but she had an enjoyable Easter, pink bunny ears and all...

She was bound and determined to get at that marshmallow bunny. I didn't have the heart to tell her you need more than two teeth to eat them. Poor girl, let's just start with rice cereal and pureed veggies and work up from there. Maybe next year I'll let her have one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Country roads, take me home

The kiddos and I are heading back up to my parents house tonight for part of the long Easter weekend. Daycare is closed the next two days so I figured it was a good time to take off work and go back to the farm for a few days as we haven't been there since November.

I am ridiculously excited to go back to my parents house for a few days. Like I said here, even though I haven't lived there for roughly 12 years, a part of me will always consider it to be Home.

I'm also excited because it's calving season. I think one reason I enjoy reading Pioneer Woman so much is that she posts gratuitous cow photos. Granted, there's quite a difference between a large cattle ranch like theirs and my family's farm, but cattle are cattle no matter where they roam.

My sister took these photos last year when we were all up for Mother's Day. She and my dad took the kiddo and her two kids out to the pastures to look at all the baby cows.

Don't you just want to take him home? I love the curly little patch of hair in the middle of his forehead.

Having a little snack. Mama doesn't look to thrilled to have this captured for all eternity.

Basking in the sun.

Somewhat artistic (albeit tilted) shot. WTG sissy.

Even a year later, the kiddo still talks about going to see the baby cows with Papa. I can't wait to take him out again this year, now that he's a year older and can understand even more.

I loved helping my dad tag the calves after they were born. We'd hop in one of the pickups and go bumping down the gravel road to one of the many calving pastures. Once we were there, I'd have to jump out to open the gate, wait for him to drive through and then close it again, always looking where I stepped (and always wearing old tennis shoes) because there was inevitably a fresh cow patty in the area. Then I'd get back in the truck and we'd slowly drive around the pasture looking for new calves. I'd load up the tagger and keep my eyes peeled, notebook at the ready.

The guys had a little notebook they kept in the tagger box where they'd write down the tag number of the mother, the tag number of the calf, the sex and the breed in a shorthand they'd come up with after years of raising cattle. I always enjoyed looking at their notes in the back of the book, too. Sometimes there would be a mama cow who was sick or mean or lost a calf, and they would note this for future reference. Sometimes there would be twins and the mama would only be able to feed one.

Seeing nature in action like that was a great life experience while growing up. We learned early that life isn't all sunshine and roses. Sometimes animals die and there's nothing we can do about it. Sometimes we can. That's the kind of experience I want to be able to offer my kiddos, too. I just hope we can.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'll take Potent Potables for $500, Alex

I love trivia. I think I get it from my dad. Growing up, he seemed to know everything. Had a question? Just ask dad. If he didn't know, I'd find it out for myself.

I have an insanely good memory, especially for random useless knowledge, and put it to good use in middle school and high school doing dorky things like participating in Quiz Bowl.

Even now, my coworkers usually ask me first when they have a random question. Sometimes they don't even ask, I just tell them. Because I'm nosy like that.

I don't know why I can remember the things I do. I read a lot and that information seems to store itself in the recesses of my brain just waiting until that moment it's called upon. There are some times I would love to go on a game show, just to see how well I would do, but with my luck, I'd end up getting all the questions I don't know.

I'm an avid reader of The Pioneer Woman. I think she's entertaining and funny and a great marketer, intentional or not. For the last week or so she's been having Smartypants quizzes on her Homeschooling section and they have been great fun to do. I haven't won anything, but it's been great practice for my Alma Mater's annual Athletics Trivia Fundraiser.

This will be the third year of the trivia challenge and the third year our family has participated in some form. The first year it was me, my BIL and my dad along with two other friends of my dad. We ended up in 4th place, just out of the prizewinners. Last year it was me, both sisters, one BIL, the hub and two friends of my dad. Again, we ended up tied for 4th. This year we vow to at least place.

So I need to flex my brain and start practicing.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Hellish Threes

Whoever coined the phrase "the terrible twos" had yet to have a three-year-old. Or they were smoking some serious crack.

Because one month into the threes, I'd gladly go back to two for another year.

The threes are obstinate. Threes are sneaky and wiley. Threes are also apparently deaf because the kiddo, he doesn't listen.

These are very trying times in our household. We're trying to give the kiddo the independence he wants/needs while still maintaining some sort of order. And making it out of the house in the mornings within an hour.

Almost everything turns into a mini war. What he wears for the day. What he eats for breakfast. What he drinks for breakfast, for that matter. What toy he takes along to daycare. Who puts him in the carseat. Who shuts his door. And Lord forbid we do something not exactly right. We either get a resounding NO! with accompanying pouting lower lip or we get scrunched eyes, fat tears and a wail that would make a great ambulance sound effect.

The kiddo requested Zaccheus as one of his bedtime songs tonight and kept correcting the hub that it wasn't Za-KEY-us as both the hub and I had learned, it was ZA-key-us. Whatever, kid. It was the hub's battle to wage tonight, I had kidlet bedtime duty, per usual.

But, there are the occasional breaks in the storm clouds of three-dom where the kiddo is just the funniest, goofiest, smartest boy. He's "reading" books to us completely from memory; books we've only read to him once or twice. He's helpful and considerate and free with the hugs and kisses. He's a joy and a love. We only have to survive 11 more months. Certainly the fours are better, right? Please tell me they're better. And if they're not, Lie.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Favorite

I didn't drink much in high school. I can count on one hand the number of times I was drunk (and I'm positive my parents knew about both times even though they never said anything to me). I was too involved with work and extracurricular activities to party. Plus, I hung out with the geeky music/drama/speech crew, which meant I wasn't really invited to many parties anyway.

That changed when I got to college and discovered that it was fun to go out on a Friday night (or Saturday or sometimes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). I was never a big beer drinker, but it was cheap and that's what was usually available, so that's what I had. And because I was in college, it was never a "good" beer. It was usually what was on sale at the Keg Shop or local grocery store. So I had a lot of bad beer -- Natural Light, Keystone, Busch Light and even Milwaukee's Best (the Beast).

So I didn't know much about beer aside from the fact it made you want to eat greasy food at 3 am and made you fat. That changed with the hub, though. He introduced me to different beers, and that's how I discovered I actually like stouts.

Which leads me to my Friday Favorite: Left Hand Milk Stout.

I don't remember who bought the first six-pack, me or the hub. I remember taking a few drinks and thinking "I like this." Then taking a few more and thinking "I *really* like this!"

I'm not a beer connoisseur; I don't do things like talk about the head (heh heh, head) or lacing, smell or mouth feel. I just know I like it. It has a good stout flavor with a touch of sweetness. It's not too heavy, so if I want to drink more than one I can. But most of the time, one is enough. I'm not in college anymore, after all.

There's usually some in our fridge, though it doesn't last long because both the hub and I like it so much.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I am not ashamed

to post old embarrassing photos of me on the interweb.

At least from when I'm really young and cute. I think I'll bypass posting the unfortunately awkward photos from age 8-16, though.

This photo always makes me smile:
I'm guessing I'm probably around 18 months here. This would be the dining room table at my parents house. Judging by the melon rind on the plate in the background (and the fact I'm rocking out clad only in a C3P0 underoo shirt and a diaper) this was probably taken in July or August.

Aside: my parents still have that salt and pepper set and still use the lovely Corelle dishes with the brown floral edging every day.

I don't know the story behind the photo, but this is how it plays out in my head:
After enjoying a lovely mid-summer meal, the adults relax and converse amongst themselves. Spry little Farm Girl notices the jar of delicious homemade strawberry jam on the table and decides she wants some (because Farm Girl knows her grandma makes the best homemade strawberry jam ever). Farm Girl clambers up the table and commences sticking her entire arm in the jam jar and eating said strawberry jam, even occasionally getting some in her mouth. Adults look over and see what happened, snap photo and laugh uproariously before taking an extremely sticky Farm Girl to the bathroom for a much-needed wash.

See, I was getting into trouble at even a young age. I need to be more diligent of taking embarrassing photos of my kids, if just to have something to blackmail them with when they hit high school. I do have a lovely one of the kiddo walking around after a bath in his yellow-hooded ducky towel and my pair of leopard print platform slingbacks. That's a classic. It's also borderline obscene (even if it is cute nekkid baby tushie) so it won't be making its way here without some censoring first. Oh wait, I think I do have it censored.
He's going to need some serious therapy when he gets older, isn't he? Sorry kiddo, but that's the joy of being a parent. You get to do stuff like this. It's payback for 15 hours of labor and countless sleepless nights. You'll get to do the same when you have kids.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

6 months!


The kidlet is officially 6 months old today. 6 months! How did that happen? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was waddling around trying not to pee my pants every time I sneezed?

6 months!

She's a little sweetheart. She's also a velcro baby. We were extremely spoiled with the kiddo, he was good at playing independently from a very early age.

But not the kidlet. She wants to be right by you (preferably in your arms) at All Times and she will let you know if she's not happy about it. I had to eat supper with her sitting on my lap tonight because she didn't want to hang out in her exersaucer for 10 minutes while we enjoyed turkey chili.

I don't mind. Most of the time. I'm not too terribly thrilled about the once or twice nightly wakings, especially if she won't go back to sleep with one of us patting her on the butt. That means we end up bringing her into bed with us so we all can get some sleep and I'm not all that comfortable with co-sleeping like that. But we'll deal. And drink a lot of coffee.

She's my little girl and I just lub her so much!

Memories...

As my sister has often noted, we have the best parents. I'm sure I'm the cause of many gray hairs and worry lines, but they were mostly understanding of my youngest child antics.

Or maybe they were just tired from my youngest child antics to really punish me. Because, in retrospect, I did a lot of stupid things.

I Friended a girl from my HS graduating class a few months ago on Facebook. We had run in the same circle of friends in middle school, but I split off into a different group when we got to high school. It was probably for the best, I was never really a part of the circle of friends (the "cool crowd") in middle school. I was mostly included because my parents were awesome and let me have parties with minimal supervision.

Anyway, she reminded me of one of my less-than-stellar moments while growing up.

I was in eighth grade. It was about this time of year - early spring - because the snow had melted and the ground was muddy, but it was still chilly out. I had a group of about five or so girls over to spend the night. For whatever reason, my parents were gone for a few hours and we were left to our own devices.

We had done all the normal 14-year-old girl things: watched movies, painted our nails, played truth or dare and talked about boys. Someone (probably me) came up with the brilliant idea of driving around our farm.

Now, where I grew up has about 10-11 acres of buildings and feedlots surrounded by another couple hundred acres of farmland. There is a "route" for lack of a better word around the feedlots so the guys can get the tractor and wagon around to feed the cattle. When I was learning to drive, I would practice by driving around the farm.

So the five of us bundled up in sweatpants, sweatshirts and stockings and piled in to my parents' white Oldsmobile Cutlass. We were talking and laughing and having a good old time. I did fairly well driving, too, and made it all the way around the east side and down to the south part of the farm - behind the feed shed and next to where the field starts.

It being dark, I couldn't really tell where I was going. Suddenly the car slowed and then stopped. I tried and tried, but I couldn't get it to go any farther. We were stuck in the mud at the edge of the field.

After screaming and freaking out for a few minutes, I finally got the other girls to go out and push while I tried to drive it out of the mud. All I really accomplished was spinning the tires and completely splattering everyone in mud from head to toe.

We finally got the car out after another good five minutes of spinning and splattering and I drove over to find a hose and attempt to clean the car off while the other girls went back to the house and tried to clean themselves off. Fortunately, there was a shower just off the laundry room right when you walk in from the garage. Most of the girls managed to get cleaned up and changed (I had to raid all the closets in the house to find enough sweatpants and sweatshirts) while I halfway hosed off the car and drove it back into the garage. I got myself showered and changed and we were back downstairs laughing over our adventure and thinking we were so sneaky for having cleaned up after ourselves. Surely my parents would have no clue what happened! Nevermind the fact the car really wasn't clean, there was mud and muck tracked all over the laundry room, there were 5 suspicious dirty towels and a whole load of muddy clothes in the laundry.

I know I got a talking to. I don't remember exactly what my punishment was, I think I remember having to rewash the car, for real this time, and cleaning up the laundry and bathroom. I'm sure there were other things, too, but they evidently didn't make an impression on me. I'm sure the other girls didn't think it was too funny at the time and I'm sure they talked complete smack about me behind my back over the incident (I mean, who really wants to be out pushing a car in 40-degree-weather, getting mud all over yourself) but at least now we can laugh at it.

I hope my parents can laugh at it too. But it makes me nervous for what's in store for me as a parent. What kind of stunts will my kids pull when they get older? The hub, he was a goody-two-shoes in high school. I was mostly good, too, but I had my fair share of moments. And I can already see the potential for little devil horns in the kiddo. Already at age three he knows how to push certain buttons and how far he can go before getting into trouble. It's the darn red hair and dimpled smile. The kid knows he just has to flash his toothy grin and bat his big old brown eyes and we can't help but laugh. At least we still have the kidlet to work on.