Merry Christmas Eve

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. I love it. I blame this on my mother. Christmas is a holiday steeped in tradition for us. Every Christmas eve we get to open a present and we read the Christmas story and we usually had a Christmas play. And so many presents. John and I can't quite match the 5 children at home present load, but I like to try.
Christmas starts before October, when no one gets anything new in the Madsen household. Everything we purchase gets wrapped in coordinating red and white wrapping paper and labeled. Items are put in a red and green bin until the day after Thanksgiving when the tree goes up and the neatly wrapped present pile begins. Since I want a big pile, all clothing and anything household that isn't cleaner goes under the tree. Most of Danielle's huge pile of presents last year was clothing she needed or diapers and wipes. They looked cute and she didn't really know the difference. So this year I was wrapping all the presents. I explained to John that all purchases in the Madsen household after October get wrapped. He was assigned some housework while I worked on our all important present pile. A few minutes later he took a break from the dishes to comment on my job. He looked up and pointed imperiously- "you can't wrap that for Christmas!"
I guess he was right. It was a clearance copy after all.
Husbands are always trying to break the rules these days.
I hope this doesn't throw off the equal number of presents per person rule.
Meanwhile my mother's Christmas spirit is so big she isn't ready for Christmas to end after it is over- she buys presents for next year. She is making us presents for next year and I know she has worked on them for hours. I already feel behind.

Read more...

Sad Times

Well I finally Finished Danielle's Stocking and it has a robot on it. Danielle loves robots. She squeals about Wall-E and tries to get the wall-e preview to replay again and again. When we watch Wall-E she says "Oh no, Oh no, oh no." when she gets super excited about Wall E. It is adorable. So I decided that Danielle needed a robot on her stocking. Some day when she is older I will have to ask her what she actually wants on her stocking and then she will probably get a new one but we all have stockings for Christmas!
Except Austin. I captured his sadness in a photo. The poor boy has been laying around all night just thinking about how everyone else has a personalized stocking and he doesn't. Austin is still a part of our family though.
And now for what you come to my blog for- the bad news. Danielle climbed out of her crib. She climbs out and falls and hurts herself so she got to make the jump to a toddler bed this week. I wasn't ready for her to be done with the baby cage but I freaked out when I saw her bruises and I don't want her hurt. So she has been grouchy and doesn't want to take any naps. We say- let's read your book and say prayers and go to bed and she says "NO!" Why always with the no. She likes to tell me no- she would not like a sandwich- then she says "cookie." Obviously you want a cookie not a sandwich. Except in the case of tuna fish, which is a surprise favorite. So rather than getting the sleep she needs Danielle is slightly surly and very argumentative.

And finally- here is our routine for curing the cats of ringworm- Simon isn't responding well.
1. Take towels from the kennels and put them in the sanitize wash - don't start it yet.
2. Assemble cat cones and mix cleaning solution
3. Sanitize kennels with bleach solution and add a new towel to them.
4. Pour fluid into the sink.
5. Restrain the kitty- best with two people-
6. completely soak the kitties entire bodies without getting any in their eyes ears or mouth. Although Maya needs a lot of liquid on her face since it is growing next to her left eye. This is best done by completely submerging one side of the kitty and then turning them over (just pouring doesn't even count).
7. Put the cone on the kitty.
8. Place the first kitty in the kennel and lock it- they can't come out until they are completely dry. If they lick the sulfur bath off of themselves they can get ulcers. Of course Maya already has gingivitis- possibly from licking it off her face.
9. Wash the second cat and place them in their kennel.
10. Completely sanitize every surface in the bathroom with a bleach solution.
11. Wash everything that you can- like bowls and toys (no fabric toys for kitties with ringworm.) Discard any scratching posts or other toys that can't be sanitized in boiling water or bleached.
12. Throw away all the litter and clean litter boxes with the bleach solution.
13. Wash the clothes that you wore in the process of the cleaning.
14. When this doesn't prove effective, start oral suspension which could cause liver problems.
repeat twice a week for 4-12 weeks. Enjoy!

Read more...

Stockings

one of the most sacred traditions of Christmas is the stocking. The best presents come in stockings- small ones that are wrapped in small print paper. My mom always had plastic bins that she used for our stockings and I loved them. I love the cute little things you find and that there is always an orange in the bottom. We all open our stockings with so much excitement I am surprised we make it to the presents. My grandmother Sharp made all the family stockings and I always liked that they matched. Having a stocking with your name on it is so exciting- and we got to take turns finding a spot for our stockings before we went to bed.
Well this year we got out the Christmas stockings and I realized how disappointed I was in John's. My grandma didn't want to make any more so she doesn't make them for the in laws of her grandchildren. John's stocking was sadly store-bought, and it doesn't even match. Also I discovered that I have Paul's Christmas stocking- maybe I stole it for Danielle since she doesn't even have a stocking. I suppose Paul might want that stocking- but he is also invited for Christmas. That way he can pick it up instead of me mailing it.
After thinking about buying matching ones I got sad- I love my stocking! So I decided to finally use the pattern my grandma Sharp sent me for stockings. I really wanted John's and Danielle's stockings to match my stocking. I have had the same stocking my whole like and I love it. My dad still has his from growing up and stockings are probably my favorite part of Christmas (thanks to my mother's mad stocking skills.) I thought of making really simple ones with only red and white since most of our ornaments (on the front of our tree) are red and white and all of our wrapping paper is. Then I asked John what he wanted on his stocking. He said the three wise men and the star. This was a little bit fancier than the three felt stars I had planned. I decided to post a picture of the stocking I made John and ask- what should I put on Danielle's stocking? John suggested sheep and I thought- oh I could also put a manger in the background- the only problem is that her stocking would be pretty bland if it had sheep and a manger- no color at all. She really likes robots- but should I put them on her stocking? I don't know what to do. You can't see it in the picture but I put John's name in his stocking. and I hand embroidered some of the wise men's clothing. I am pretty proud of that thing. Maybe Danielle wants to wise men too.
The other stocking is based on what one of my friends wanted but I don't know if they will like it. Especially when it is next to my wise men stocking.

Read more...

My My.

Well I have been told that I need to update. The Madsen Empire has been plagued by the worst colds ever. Turns out we had nasty sinus infections. And our cats have ringworm. And I do. We get to dip them in a sulfur bath twice a week. If you think normal cats and their litter is stinky you should try shaved cats that have been dipped in sulfur bath and their little. And I found out that I am allergic to cats. Hence my lingering cough and itchiness whenever I see them. We don't know what we are going to do but I think we are going to try to help get them better already. Maya has a terrible cough. I feel like our adventure in cat ownership has been a trainwreak.
Anyway Danielle gets really excited about presents and she occasionally has been known to go quiet and sneak a present off to open. Luckily she has only found small ones, like hallmark ornaments I bought last year after Christmas and wrapped up. I discovered that I will never have to buy wrapping paper again. Danielle got a present in the mail the other day from her grandma Madsen and she opened it up immediately. I don't know how she knew the package was for her. Maybe she can read her name already. I always knew I was raising a baby genius. I captured her moment but she was so excited that she didn't want to look at the camera. It just seems like my camera doesn't do a good job and the photos are always of the top of her head or half of the photo is occupied by an enormous baby hand. So the cute photos of the event are a little blurry and not that cute.
Turns out her favorite thing in the kit was a plastic pair of scissors. Kids just know what scissors are. They must be born with a radar for dangerous things. One of the most terrifying moments of my life was when Danielle handed me my fabric shears one day. Turns out she was tall enough to get them off the table. I was just glad she knew to give them to me so I told her she was great. After that she would try anything to get the scissors so she could bring them to us for praise. I feel like a lot of the time when I think I can teach Danielle something by praising her she gets a little confused. Also sometimes she likes to see if she can make her parents mad. Like when she decides to hit daddy in the face and see if he cares. Recently we started a new initiative called- is what she really wants attention? That was it is easy to remain calm in the face of seemingly vindictive baby behavior. Thank goodness for those child development classes or I would think there was something seriously wrong with her. I was only a note taker for those classes though, so I am still baffled by some of the crazy things kids will do.
I have been making things for claireandjanae.etsy.com and selling some stuff. Really it's nice to have people like what I am making- because I like to make things more than I have an actual need for the things so it's nice that people give me money so I can buy more fabric. I love fabric. John recently went to Ikea with me and we built a table where I could make things. We got adjustable height legs for 30 dollars each leg-(cheap!) the top was also about 30 dollars and is big so I have lots of room for sewing. I set the legs almost at the highest setting- that way I can cut out fabric and stand up. The table is tall enough that Danielle can't reach the scissors. I love it so much. I have been organizing all of my sewing things in the guest room and there is still room for bed, which is good since my bedroom makes me itchy from the cats. I feel so good having my own space. It surprises me how nice it is. I think everyone should have their own room- or at least their own bookshelf or desk.
I have decided that I would make a revised Christmas List based on what I really want. I am also done with most of my Christmas Shopping so this list is a bit silly.
1. Fabric.
2. A fancy camera to take photos of stuff I want or just get a picture of Danielle that is in focus. Just today I noticed several of the functions of our camera stopped working. I think the warranty probably expired yesterday.
3. ric rac.
4. Fabric.
5. A fancy embroidery machine.
6. people to buy things from my website.
7. A fancy purse.
8. thread or ribbon
9. a pincushion
10. a 12 inch roll of poly tubing to make plastic bags with. from Uline.com
That is my revised list. I am constantly thinking of new things to put on this list. Lucky for me I have a blog where I can write about all the things I want. Then the next day I can write a new list. I don't really expect to get these things. It's like the act of making the list gives me some portion of those things- like filling up a shopping cart online and then closing the window when you realize you can't afford any of it.
I decided to post a picture of a little cuddle blanket I made the other day. It is a monster and I am pretty proud of it.
I am glad that I am feeling better. It is nice to feel better. And to make stockings for everyone in your family.

Read more...

Madsen Winegar Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

Read more...

Madsen Sharp-Minert Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family search - Geneology

Read more...

I am a Bette. Or a Joan. You decide.


Check out this quiz that can tell you which Hollywood icon you are. It's probably not the soundest science but who doesn't love a quiz and Hollywood icons?
I scored high as a Joan or a Bette but I think Bette fits me better. What do you think?



You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.
  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.
  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.
  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.
  • * Give me space to be alone.
  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.
  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.
  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette

  • * being independent and self-reliant
  • * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on
  • * being courageous, straightforward, and honest
  • * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life
  • * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me
  • * upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette

  • * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to
  • * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence
  • * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it
  • * never forgetting injuries or injustices
  • * putting too much pressure on myself
  • * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often

  • * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit
  • * are sometimes loners
  • * seize control so they won't be controlled
  • * figure out others' weaknesses
  • * attack verbally or physically when provoked
  • * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents

  • * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted
  • * are sometimes overprotective
  • * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

  • You are a Joan -- "I need to succeed" Joans are energetic, optimistic, self-assured, and goal oriented.

    How to Get Along with Me

  • * Leave me alone when I am doing my work.
  • * Give me honest, but not unduly critical or judgmental, feedback.
  • * Help me keep my environment harmonious and peaceful.
  • * Don't burden me with negative emotions.
  • * Tell me you like being around me.
  • * Tell me when you're proud of me or my accomplishments.

What I Like About Being a Joan

  • * being optimistic, friendly, and upbeat
  • * providing well for my family
  • * being able to recover quickly from setbacks and to charge ahead to the next challenge
  • * staying informed, knowing what's going on
  • * being competent and able to get things to work efficiently
  • * being able to motivate people

What's Hard About Being a Joan

  • * having to put up with inefficiency and incompetence
  • * the fear on not being -- or of not being seen as -- successful
  • * comparing myself to people who do things better
  • * struggling to hang on to my success
  • * putting on facades in order to impress people
  • * always being "on." It's exhausting.

Joans as Children Often

  • * work hard to receive appreciation for their accomplishments
  • * are well liked by other children and by adults
  • * are among the most capable and responsible children in their class or school
  • * are active in school government and clubs or are quietly busy working on their own projects
Joans as Parents
  • * are consistent, dependable, and loyal
  • * struggle between wanting to spend time with their children and wanting to get more work done
  • * expect their children to be responsible and organized

Read more...

Emergency camping

Yesterday John went to school and I decided to plan a surprise. It was lots of fun- I packed up our 72 hour kits which also happen to be all of our camping things and picked him up at the train station with baby, dog, and camping gear. It was exciting to be able to plan a campout and get our baby and myself ready all in 15 minutes. On the way to the train stop I was a hazard and found a place to hike in our hiking eastern Pennsylvania book. It was harder to find everything online and I had to plan the whole thing in about 15 minutes. John doesn't have school Wednesday so I thought it would be perfect to surprise him and try out our emergency preparedness. We haven't been camping in so long and it seems like November is really the perfect time. Danielle was thrilled when we got to the hiking place. I couldn't find the short 5 mile hike I had found since it was harder to find and it was already dark outside at 5:30 when we got there so we went to a 7 mile hike. Danielle jumped into her baby carrier. Here are some things I learned

  • There are no state or national campgrounds open in November in Pennsylvania. Many of them are being renovated. So we didn't actually get to camp
  • The 72 hour kit food bag was separate from the rest of the 72 hour kits
  • Danielle needs warmer gloves
  • it seems like when you only have a few baby coats and fleece pants your baby is compelled to dump water on themselves.
  • Taking pictures of a baby in the dark of the car will usually get you a cute smile picture and other times get you a nose picking photo.
We had so much fun hiking and I was so proud of us. I carried Danielle and John carried a massively heavy pack with most of our things. Austin carried the food and water that we brought.
We even brought our bright orange clothing- last time we tried to go climbing we quit when we saw a man stalking into the woods with a rifle and read the "Hunter's wear orange- do you?" sign. Biking clothes are a good source of Hunter's orange or a more attractive fluorescent yellow.
I forgot my camera but I can post an excellent "captured in the night" photo of Danielle showing me how she can pick her nose. It all started when we taught her the names of different body parts. eyes- fine- belly- fine- ears- fine- nose- instant nose picking. How can I teach her the difference between nose and pick your nose? Only time will tell.

Read more...

here Kitty Kitty

Well yesterday the Madsen family got two additions- here they are. We have been thinking about it for over a year now and picked out a cute male orange tabby. We had to wait a week and then when we went to pick him up there was a cute little black cat named "abc" for another black cat. She was super cute and we ended up with two cats. Our tabbie's name was Scamper but I think we will rename him- we thought of Simon or Tobias or Little Paul. What do you think? He does scamper all over the place and is super playful! The little black girl is a little more subdued and seems like a hunter. I think we are going to name her maja. Scamper was born in August and Maja was born in May- they are both already litterbox trained. Scamper purrs super loud and loves to be cuddled. We also considered the name Jade for the other kitten because she has green eyes but I'm not sure. We are happy to have these cute little cuddles. Scamper has already met Austin. He still isn't sure about the dogs but I am sure they will get along eventually.

Read more...

Tupperware Winners

Well I am tired but I did the random.org number generator. I will contact the winners in the morning but here -they are these people

Stacy said...

I'd buy a shape toy! I work in Early intervention and my kiddos would love one. I actually didn't know they still made them- I've been on the lookout for one at a garage sale.


Pamela Vest said...

The blooming teapot, the salt and pepper shakers and the baking mat. I love the hamburger press, my is shot and wish I could get a new one. i was given it when i first started keeping house quite a few years ago and it has been worth it's weight in gold!

Lauren Horsley said...

Ha! I had no idea that Shape-O was Tupperware! I've been meaning to get one for my son.

I've got a Tupperware list about a mile long - we just moved into our first home and my kitchen is poorly stocked! But the twistable peeler has to be the first thing I'm gonna buy because my husband is always complaining that he hates our peeler. Maybe if I can get one he likes, he'll help out more! :)

lisagee said...

TupperCanoe™ Toy Life Boat would be great for bathtime!

Thanks everyone for entering- I am planning to do more giveaways someday. How fun!

Read more...

Election Day

Today was election day. So far all I know is that two very bad things have happened to me.
1. I didn't get an "I voted sticker." Luckily Barack Obama's campaign had lots of extra money so when the regular election fell apart I got a nice 3 inch "I voted for change" sticker. Since when do you not get a sticker?
2. I don't get to see the results to dancing with the stars. Who cares who won the election, I want to know who is being eliminated.

I remember before I could vote I was excited to, like most of the people in my high school were excited when their older and similar looking brother turned 21. Then the first time I could vote I was part of a small group of people in Austin whose registration was "lost." That was interesting- something to tell people. After that I heard from an economics class that your vote doesn't matter. (obviously very oversimplified)
Good thing that I now live in a swing state. All my super America friends vote (2 separate links there people) so I do too. My new driver's license has not arrived in the mail yet though so I was nervous- lucky for me I voted in the primary so I was on file.

I am glad that I voted, but honestly it was boring. We didn't even have a line. The only thing holding us up was the difficulty of my first name. I was good though- I didn't even correct her when she called me Jenna. About 15 times. Why is it always the people that can't pronounce your name that use it excessively, like how I am "Janelle" at work with Cindy.
If you want I will mail you an I voted for Change sticker. Consider it a giveaway. They gave us a stack.

Read more...

Good Morning

Today I woke up and John was watching some strange Bruce Lee movie on demand. That is probably a good movie for Danielle's morning. I asked if it was Bruce Lee's true Hollywood story and he said yes. 10 minutes later I realized he didn't get the joke since the movie was about Bruce Lee's hollywood story. Often I find that my jokes really aren't that funny in addition to people not getting them. Does this mean that I am like Michael on the office? I don't think so because I have to believe my facebook results that said I was like Ryan. Only this was the first season. I'm not sure which is worse -being Ryan or Michael.
One summer my dad and I started watching all the Bruce Lee movies we could get our hands on.
After about 10 minutes of the glory of Bruce Lee and John telling me his story my thoughts inevitably went to Chuck Norris. I wondered if Chuck Norris was in the Bruce Lee movie, but then I got bored and didn't want to watch it anymore. I asked John if there was a movie with Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee. His response? "yes, and Godzilla is in it too."
This from the man I married for love.
Then I bought a baby onesie from my brother's site- I didn't realize it came in different colors so Danielle will be wearing red, but it is pretty funny.

Danielle went trick or treating last night a.k.a. the worst Halloween ever. She made it to two houses next door. After receiving so much candy Danielle decided that it was time to go back home and eat her candy. One of the houses gave her two full sized candy bars though.

Read more...

Tupperware giveaway

Well here is another giveaway- just visit my tupperware site and say what you would buy to be entered to win the shape O toy- I had one as a child and I loved it- who knew it was tupperware? I like their products so much and I can feel good about reusing what I have rather than using plastic bags or foil in the fridge- good for the environment!

I am also giving away some mystery tupperware pieces- maybe you will get one of your favorites- I will give a total of 150 dollars of merchandise away and contact you to get your address. This is limited to US bloggers. If you don't leave me a way to contact me then I won't contact you so don't forget that!

Maybe you Don't think you can afford tupperware- but if you have a party you can earn free pieces- that's how I got into it. I wanted so much and invited my friends over and got over 270 dollars worth of free items! If you have an online party you can get free credit for the tupperware you want- just ask people if they want anything- most people do! (well I think so because I always do)

Want more entries? Here are some ways
1. Start an online party at my site and invite at least 6 people = 5 entries.
2. Buy anything from the site! = 3 entries
3. Blog about this giveaway= 1 entry
4. Add my tupperware button to your sidebar = 1 entry


This is part of Bloggy Giveaways! Literally over a thousand giveaways!
Contest Ends November 5th.

Read more...

$20 Challenge 4 Charity!: My first Giveaway - $125 Lodis Ballet Wallet! Let's make it great!

$20 Challenge 4 Charity!: My first Giveaway - $125 Lodis Ballet Wallet! Let's make it great!

Read more...

My sister Rachelle


Well I always buy things at my sister Rachelle's etsy shop so I thought everyone else should. I help Rachelle with her shop and post everything online so whenever I need a hair thing I just go get one out of the bin. That gets pretty spendy you know. Seriously though I decided to do a giveaway with Rachelle. You should check her blog for my giveaway. Then you should go over to her shop and tell me what your favorite thing in the shop is. I have never done a giveaway before. The Contest is over November 5th so better get to it. If you buy anything at her shop then you get another entry and if you blog about her shop you get another entry. If you "follow" my blog you can also get one. Each time you do another thing post another comment! I am obsessed with entering blog contests and I won one the other day. Good luck to everyone. Maybe I will start a blog dedicated to this type of thing. Make sure if you aren't my family I have a way to reach you!
The prize- 2 sets of your choice for 2 lucky readers.
check out http://www.donttrythisathome.typepad.com/bloggy_giveaways/ for lots of giveaways

EXTRA ENTRIES
1. Follow my blog
2. Buy something from Rachelle's shop- 5 entries!
Janae

Read more...

My Naptime


One of the best things I learned about living with my Grandma was that naptime is a sacred time. She told me that she took a nap every day no matter what age her children were. In addition to a funny picture of my dad being forced to sit on his bed every afternoon after high school I realized how deep this familial need was. I love taking naps.
When Danielle was born the barrage of mommy competition questions started. Many mothers proudly asked me when Danielle took a nap and told me how important it was to establish a solid schedule with children. According to them, without a set in stone schedule your life, child, and the very fabric of time would implode. They were, of course, a bunch of nut faces.
Last week my baby decided she no longer needed a nap. According to the What to Expect the Toddler Years that Eliza Magland kindly lent me this is an age appropriate behavior, even though your child still needs naps.
More importantly I still need a nap, or at least a few minutes to clean up the morning explosion of toys. Danielle helps sometimes but to her it is really just part of the joy of throwing things. She is just as happy to throw the toys in the bin as she is to carry the bin onto the highest piece of furniture she can manage and dump it.
So I've been trying to figure out what her sleepy signs are. At the first sign of sleepiness she gets to go down. Unfortunately by toddler has grown to love playing in her crib. It started when she one day reached down and got her duplos out of her toy bin. This has evolved into sneaking favorite toys into the crib. The other day I kept trying to put her down for a nap. After an hour she would cry and I would go get her, mostly to discover she wanted a diaper change or something to eat or a toy. She didn't seem very rested. I was skeptical but not clever enough to notice what was covered by the blankets. First it was a toy covered with black marks, then her bed and all the toys and the sheets I had finally put back on the bed after the vomited sunscreen incident.
Danielle had outsmarted me again. I left the monitor on louder and heard her delight. It was unpleasant to clean up the vomit adventure but the sharpie marker adventure is just insulting. When I was a child I remember waking up before it was light outside to find my mother's Sharpie markers. We stripped down naked and put on out "war paint." You see we were Indians. I also have vague memories about coloring all over the wall, our beds, our dressers, and most specifically a lampshade in green and red Sharpie. In those baby proofing classes they really should tell you to just get rid of every permanent writing implement in your life until your children are out of the house.
My attempts to enforce a nap time have left me feeling a little neglectful. I understand why I need a nap but maybe I should just wait it out and Danielle will go back to her naturally good sleep schedule. I felt a little bad about Danielle wanting to play in her crib all day only to be shocked at a 5:00 P.M. nap. According to what to expect that is much too late for an effective nap. Such a late nap is a real mommy failure. I suppose they would also be unhappy that my baby frequently stays up past 9:30 and even 10 or 11.
Maybe those "nut face" moms were really just talking to me about toddlers. Danielle now has an enforced nap time as well as a crib sweep every day. I've found lotion, pens, a package of envelopes, Austin's toys and a few pair of shoes so far. I asked my friend what type of mom has a child that would rather sit in her crib all day than play with her mother. "One with a Sharpie Marker" was the response. I guess part of motherhood is accepting that you are just not as compelling as a Sharpie. A valuable life lesson for all.

Read more...

Public Transit

The most convenient staircase for me to get from track 1, section B of Suburban Station to the building where I go to class often smells like a toilet. I don't just mean it smells like urine; it smells a great deal like a public restroom. Apparently SEPTA tries to subdue the offensive odor of pee through use of some powerful cleaner. The result is a mix of human elimination and chlorine-bubble-gum. Each time the smell hits me, a kind of mild itching moves from my nostrils and through my cheecks, culminating in an electric plucking in the front teeth of my lower jaw. I don't know what is in the masking cleanser smell, but I don't doubt its deletirious health effects. Maybe one day, when I'm having a nose-hair transfusion, I'll recall those days when I smelled the unusual odor and the doctor will enroll me in a case-control study that, though it won't be big news to the average American, will be featured in a highly regarded occupational health journal.
Also, while travelling in Washington DC last weekend, I noted how fast the Metro trains go when they first arrive at a station. A sudden image of someone bumping me from behind made me widen my stance a little, hoping for stability in the event of an untoward event. Do people ever push other people? I know that suicides often occurred on the tracks of the elevated trains in Berlin. It seems so dangerous to have no gate or security webbing to prevent falling to the tracks. But I'm sure it happens. Sort of morbid, I suppose, but it came to mind. Maybe it's all this Halloween business.

Read more...

Money Mondays Stuffed Animals Edition.




I still really love the little stuffed animals from http://www.curlyqcuties.com/ They have a new site where you can go and design your own stuffed animal. I love it. They are $25.00 I always want to get them for people and the other day I was wasting time on their website and I realized I really just want them for myself. I don't know if it is normal for a grown adult to want piles and piles of stuffed animals but Danielle seems quite happy to throw herself in piles of pillows and stuffed animals. I still don't have a pile big enough. Don't you think John would feel really loved if I designed him his very own stuffed animal monster?
Well I taught Relief Society this Sunday. I was super nervous which is surprising- I just don't know these women as well and it makes teaching scarier than usual. Claire came to visit earlier in the week (she left before Sunday) We have no photo Evidence. (at least not on my camera) I used my mad paintbrush skills to prove that we spent some time together. Claire got a green shirt and I got a blue one and Danielle got a cute pink dress she wore to church. She is in nursery and she really likes it- it is weird to have her go to a class and be happy and not really know what she did. She seems to really like it but the new feeling will take some getting used to. (don't get me wrong- it is a super good feeling). Claire and I worked on some really cool designed baby onesies. Claire and I were a pretty formidable baby onesie decorating team. I also wanted to make one with a little tie on it but Claire doesn't like those. I have never had a boy so maybe she is right. Overall it was a great week, despite baby Danielle gets sick and throws up all over her crib time. It's pretty shocking when you are going about your life and then your baby wakes up early from her nap with a stinky diaper and throw up all over her and all her crib stuffed animals and everywhere. I guess that just wasn't really in my picture of mommyhood- and who do you tell that at first you just wanted to walk back out and wish it all never happened. I would never do that of course but I realized how much I have come to expect certain things of the baby routine and unpleasant surprises are not welcome. Poor baby Danielle- she threw up a few times and I was so worried! Turns out she had pulled a little sunscreen stick from a toy bin by her bed and eaten it. Throwing up was good so she didn't get really sick but I didn't know that. I don't know if the lion will ever look the same after his visit to the washer, but Danielle is better now. Hopefully.

Read more...

Things That Make My Life Better.



My life is awesome. One of the things that makes my life better than most is pictured here. I have been pretty involved in cutting out coupons and using them and I was pretty thrilled when I learned that part a two year supply is also cleaning supplies. Some of the shaving cream I got for less than a dollar!
Every time I use a bin it ends up on top- but this organization was from the original set up. You can't see the bathroom cleaner in this picture. I decided to have a set of cleaner in each bathroom. Does this make me more lazy that I don't want to carry the cleaner from one bathroom to another. Also how specific should the first aid bin be? Maybe I shouldn't post these things online.

Oh why is the Container Store the best place on earth? Everything in my life is organized these days.
Maybe I need more outside friends.

Maybe I just need more bins.

Read more...

My disgusting little Toddler

I think little kids can be pretty dirty creatures. When they aren't trying to grab the dog's tongue or bring you a dirty diaper they are throwing food all over the world and dumping anything they can on themselves. Also Danielle likes to carry around her toilet seat. and today she dumped her yogurt drink on her plate with the ketchup and stirred it up, then put the hot dog in the container. After mashing it up she wanted to share. This is probably just bad karma for daring to feed my daughter a hot dog.
This from the child that cries if she has to walk outside without shoes on.

Read more...

Peacemakers

This summer we got to go on a lot of cool trips. Trips that I kept hidden from the world. Maybe out of fear. One of the most relaxing trips was to Bellingham WA. I love Bellingham. Some of the highlights included visiting Calhan and Liz. Ok that's about all we did but we got to go hiking and see stuff- all with Calhan and Liz. You might not know Calhan Ring and Liz Hart (fantastic names). They are my friends from high school and they live in house in Bellingham and have lots of good books and chickens in the backyard. I really liked the paint in their kitchen and I wanted to stay and read all the books. We did lots of cool things and we got to eat Rocket Donuts. I recommend the rocket donuts to everyone- especially the apple fritter that is as big as your face.
I haven't really stayed in touch with anyone from high school except for a little thing called facebook that was invented. Liz is quite good at keeping in touch with people which could be motivated by her good penmanship. I would probably be better at writing people letters if mine was that good just so I could look at my own letters. Then again I might just keep them to read again and again. It would probably be really important to write your husband love notes if you have good penmanship because then you can read them occasionally. Liz also has forgiven me for stealing her book in high school called "Please Understand Me" about the Meyers Briggs Personality test. Once in high school someone gave me a piece of steak for my birthday. Not from a cow- a ceramic one that was painted. I believe I still have it and I always attributed it to Liz but this trip she said she had no idea what I was talking about and that she never took ceramics so this trip brought mystery- who gave me that excellent present?
Liz is a social worker and Calhan is a mediator and sometimes John would recognize Calhan smoothing over conflict. I think some people are natural peacemakers. I am not one of them, but they really are fun to hang out with. Our visit made me think about the peacemakers I know in life and realize that it is quite rare to have that gift. Sometimes I wonder if I really would want to be a peacemaker- I really dislike people who are phony and some people pretend everything is OK at the expense of honesty. People who cave under pressure or just agree with you because they don't enjoy conflict are the most likely to stab you in the back. Peacemakers just naturally invite people to look outside themselves.
I am still not sure what it would mean for me to want to be more of a peacemaker. But one thing I do know- I love donuts. A lot.

Read more...

Money Mondays Famous Edition

Well this Monday I bought something that was really thrilling. I bought the CD from someone I know. Kasey Anderson. You can check out his website at kaseyanderson.com and then I bought his CD on iTunes. He has two CD's that you can buy on his site and you can even get a shirt. I was pretty excited to learn that you can buy his music on iTunes. I really like iTunes and I feel like being able to buy it on iTunes means that he is pretty famous. And we went to high school together. I am friends with someone famous. You should buy his CD now. It is "country alternative" and has a slight Bob Dylan feel.
He has lots of press on his site- here is some of it.

"[The Reckoning] delivers on the promise of 2004's Eric Ambel-produced Dead Roses -- and then some. A versatile and confident songwriter and singer, Anderson nails these hard-luck tales with grit and gumption."
No Depression

"[The Reckoning] is a rough, visceral collection of songs that rip through a personal landscape of love and loss."
The Chicago Sun-Times

Cost on ITunes?: $9.90
(or get a physical CD for $15.00)

Read more...

Money Mondays

Well I want to get Danielle a chair. She likes to sit with us and mostly she likes to sit wherever I am sitting. When we were at Grandma Sharp's house she really liked the rocking chair that was her size so I wish we could get her a chair her size. She loves the chairs at Target and I thought I wanted a brown one, until I decided to look online. We were going to get the brown one from Babies r us for 79.99 but we went to the store and the fabric was coming off one side and there was metal sticking out of the back. I decided to research online and found the cutest chair ever at Dimples and Dandelions. There were some other chairs I liked but nothing was under $300.00! The Cherry blossom chair is $166.00 with a $19.00 shipping charge. I know it won't match out front room which was the original goal with the chair but really, you have to admit it is the cutest thing in the world. Maybe it will be her Christmas present.

Total Cost $184.00

Read more...

Danielle the Baby

Danielle is so cute and I entered her into the Gap baby casting call. we will see from December 8 to 21st if she is a finalist and then we get to vote which babies win. Danielle sometimes likes to get her photo taken but not always. We got family photos in Utah and I am pretty excited about them. She likes to run around and look at things and didn't want to be too happy about the process at first. I love her tea collection outfit it is so cute. Their clothes are still some of my favorite for babies.

Read more...

How embarassing.

Well Jen and I are driving across the country and I have to share the most embarrassing thing that happened to me recently. You see I found some toilet paper in my pants. More specifically my friend found it. I didn't know what to say- the only other time this has happened to me was in college from a boy. I was mortified. Today it is worse. She asked me what was in my pants, and I don't think anyone else knew but she totally saw me pull out a piece of toilet paper. This person has historically been worried that I think they are messy, and the reason that I had the toilet paper is that I put toilet paper down as a mock seat cover. At their home. Where they live and reside.
I wasn't thinking that their house was messy. When I was young we learned about the dangers of hepatitis C in school- you should always use toilet seat covers. My mom showed us how to make our own toilet seat covers for when they are out of the regular ones. I have always preferred the toilet paper ones. It is easier to manipulate their shape. I always use two layers at least and start over if there is any suspicious liquid. I have learned that some people squat but that just seems a little more dangerous- so even with the crouch I feel the paper is important. The ritual of covering the toilet spread from just public toilets to home toilets and sometimes even my own toilet, if I'm not paying attention. How can I explain that it is always better safe than sorry even at someone's toilet in their bedroom in their residence. Is sorry Hepatitis, or some other fluid, or just getting caught with toilet paper in your pants? Do other people always line the seat? These questions are the stuff blogs are made of. Would this count as my most embarrassing moment because I always tell people I don't have one. No more. thanks toilet paper seat cover compulsion.

Read more...

Rhinotillexomania

Once when we lived in the house with the pink door I walked into the living room and found my dad sitting on the couch reading a book and picking his nose. As any responsible child would, I reminded him that you shouldn’t pick your nose. Sage that he was my dad saw an opportunity to teach me a lesson. He told me that you only shouldn’t pick your nose if other people can see you. Then he told me it was OK for me to pick my nose around him. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the deal then and I am still not quite sure what to think. Apparently Stephen Colbert had an author on his show that touted the importance of picking your nose and used children’s natural behavior as an example of why it should happen. While I appreciate the thought I am pretty sure Danielle naturally wants to do a lot of things which aren’t really good for her health.
Jen and I have finally left on the road and my mind returns again to the eternal taboo of nose picking. The wise Aunt Kim explained that there is an unavoidable relationship with nose picking and driving. On the commute home a fun game to play is the “Count the Nose Picker’s” game. I guess the security of your own car makes you forget that people can see you through the window. Even the people in your blind spot can see your habit.
One of the most shocking things ever was when I was filling out one of those “all about you” books with someone I was dating. I love quizzes and quiz books and personality tests. Almost everyone is fantastic. This particular book had a section about bad habits and you just checked a box for each of them. We were answering the questions out loud and I read to him. When we came to the nose picking question he said yes. I moved to the next question and the test went on, but I was shocked. I was shocked because I had lied on that question. No one should admit to picking their nose. It is pretty much accepted as an unsanitary practice. But nose picking is so hard to give up. A commitment to give up nose picking becomes a compromise to only do it in the shower or with a tissue. Of course I know there are some who would check the no box and not understand why others are so disgusting. Probably like Jen. I have never seen Jen pick her nose. I suspect my husband is one of those people too. I have never caught him on the sly- and I watch. While I can’t condone crazy ideas like books about nose picking for pleasure maybe there should be more people who are willing to make the deal my dad made with me.
We will have to keep a count all the way to Philadelphia.

Read more...

Driving Music

Today I was told by a song to “Say what you need to say.” My only problem is that I was told to do this about twenty million times, give or take. Also there is a song about hearts all over the world that might be telling a woman that he needs her boob. I am surprised what ends up being a catchy song. I try my best not to listen to the lyrics because a song that I used to like has such inane words that I can’t listen to it anymore. Obviously you cannot breathe with no air, what kind of question is that? Do people ever find themselves singing along with such terrible lyrics and stop themselves, embarrassed? I personally think that I’ve only got four minutes to save to the world sometimes. Driving long distances offers time for introspection about the nature of song lyrics and today we are on our way back across the country. I can’t decide if it is just that I hate music or if I’m just in a bad mood. We recently watched the movie Wall-E- I have to admit that my favorite part was probably the clips from Hello Dolly about putting on your Sunday clothes. Those are good lyrics- who doesn’t feel better when they look hot? Of course the idea of hopping down any street with a parasol and a band accompaniment seems appealing to me as I am safely buckled with our over laden car. In reality it would probably be more like the embarrassing marching band days in middle school where for some reason our school made us wear long white pants and blue tucked in T-shirts in July heat. Reality just isn’t always conducive to musicals- I know a girl who is constantly singing show tunes and I just want to use a little duck tape and a rope to get relief. Or maybe I should just drown her out with the actual shows and an iHome. We all know someone who fails to grasp that the reason they aren’t in the musical is that their talent is insufficient. Like the people who sing along with the radio in the car when other people are in their cars. Unless these people are your sisters it really just showcases your lack of talent. Or utter lack of talent.

The band accompaniment of our lives just isn’t long enough, and if the song was it would probably be boring. As someone who grew up back in the dark ages of cassette tapes I appreciate the hours of labor that can go into making a good mixed tape. The danger we face is when the tape doesn’t automatically switch around and you have to jump up and flip it over seconds before your would be kiss. The pauses were important. They taught us our musical humanity. Sometimes I yearn for a time when we could actually follow Simon and Garfunkel and listen to the sounds of silence.

Read more...

Rammidy Rammity


I really like being Bowser on Mario Kart. He is a big character so when I drive I get to just go wherever I want and ram other people off the road. I like ramming. This makes me a bit of a hazard in the team games but I just really like that if anyone runs in to me, it is their fault.
You might ask yourself why this is important. believe me it is. I think it means I need a bigger car mainly. You see maybe the same thing could apply to driving. What kind of car would I need? I think I should blame the video game for my desire to sometimes ram the other players, like the people who cut you off then slow down 20 miles.
We have done a lot of driving this summer- and I have learned that the enemy of cruise control is the competitive driver. These are the drivers that really make me crazy. You set the cruise and come up on them and they speed up just so you can't pass them. Then you give up and they slow down again. Like it's a race. As soon as they realize they are about to lose their spot they freak out, then stop paying attention and slow again. Competitive drivers want you to maintain the status quo- where they are ahead. They want you to know that they were always going fast and your passing is an insult. Maybe they don't have cruise control- and I wish I had some kind of car sign that says- you are the one with the crazy changing speed jerkface. My favorite thing? A competitive driver that gets pulled over when they are trying really hard to establish their dominance.
The other day I was at the grocery store and the strangest thing happened. I met a competitive driver in the aisle. I was trying to look at things and she kept getting in front of me- slow down, speed up, she was just following me. Even though I didn't need anything in the aisle we met in, she was not going to let me pass her. I didn't realize how effective people could be at blocking a shopping aisle where really two carts could fit comfortably past. Normally you can ask people to move to the side but not really when they are still moving and you just want to pass them. She had two whining kids and a shoulder length brown hair with a tight perm. I never did pass her.
The other day at the park Danielle was playing and a kid wanted her to get out of the wooden boat- a competitive driver in the making. Too bad there aren't more adults around to tell those people to let the kid who got their first stay in the fast lane.

Read more...

Tagged. Finally.

Hello everyone I got tagged by Annie- I am happy to be tagged and welcome other tags. so here it is.

3 Joys:
  • Shoes
  • Gossip
  • Chocolate
3 Fears:
  • abandonment
  • being fat forever
  • having no money
3 Goals:
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • finish my business plan
  • work out 5 days a week

3 Current Obsessions/Collections:
  • board games
  • strawberry whoppers
  • sewing
3 Random Surprising Facts About Me:
  • I learned how to make a believable fart noise with my hand last week
  • I have published a paper or two about linguistics and German
  • I am a licensed German teacher.
I tag - Rachelle, Heather and Jen

Read more...

Boise


We had lots of fun this weekend visiting Claire and Steve. Danielle especially liked the fountains at the Farmers market and PF Changs, which is her favorite restaurant. They have huge kids portions and she eats lots of Shrimp Fried Rice whenever we go there. We didn't get to play tennis (I was feeling like too much of a bum) but we did get to play lots of Mario cart.
I have been informed that there aren't very many pictures of me on here- sorry! I take most of the pictures and sometimes I just feel too chubby so I don't post them! Anyway Claire is learning to quilt and I was excited to sew with her. Baby girl was excited to find a permanent marker and color all over her dress and neck. I think baby girl has shut the door to her room right now. She likes to go into a room and shut to door. Then I am supposed to open the door. The process continues from there. I occasionally wish she wanted to play a different game after about 20 minutes of this. It is amazing what Danielle will do if someone is playing with her. She could throw the ball for a few hours. We let her play this game a lot, but then she doesn't understand why she shouldn't throw the bowl. Kids are funny that way. Now she forgot that one of the important aspects of the door opening game is mommy, who is the one who opens the door. She just wandered down the hall and I am writing about Boise. How long are you supposed to wait before freeing a child from a room they have shut themselves into? I am not quite sure but I will probably go get her.
Boise was great fun. It made me realize that I am really dreading driving with her anywhere- especially back to Philly. Oh dear. I also think that working full time must be easier than school, because I get to spend to much time with John. I will miss it. So will Danielle, who starts running all around the house whenever daddy comes home.

Read more...