Thursday, February 28, 2013

letter magnets: you can do this in your sleep

A magnet wall.  Thanks to Pinterest and twenty hundred mommy bloggers, I've long wanted a magnet wall for letter practice and crayoned-masterpiece displaying and, well, for cuteness.  I considered the equally en vogue chalk wall, but then I remembered I effin' HATE chalk.  OMG, just the thought of chalk.  The touch, the feel, the SOUND.  Kill me.  Anyway.  Finally, I got to work on a wall for the magnets.  At like 8pm last night, which is TOTALLY my husband's favorite thing, when I disappear out to the garage for a few minutes, then start hauling in the hammer and nails and some randomass piece of sheet metal and get that crazy look in my eyes just as he cracks a beer and starts moving toward the remote.  It was an easy-peasy project, we still had time to watch Criminal Minds, and I'll share the finished product soon.  I'd say I'll share it tomorrow, but we'd all know that's probably a lie that won't happen, because really.  Buuuuut, anyway.  Today, I set to work on acquiring alphabet magnets to adorn the new magnet wall.  I wanted those felt ones we've all seen on Etsy, likewhoa.  But $50+?  For a set of alphabet magnets?  I think not.  If I'm going to spend $50, it's not going to be on something my kids will eventually leave on the floor and the dog will take for a snack.  No.  And for two seconds I thought about sewing some my own damn self but then I remembered I don't actually sew.  Details, shmetails.

 So this morning, Vivi and I went to a local book store that stocks the cutest kid products (Maria's Bookshop in Durango) .... and, womp womp, just found the primary colored Melissa & Doug ones I've seen fifty times already.  But they were a thrifty $13.  And wood.  And right there in the local store and not in a faraway land called Amazon, Dotcom (patience, I have none).  So I bought the not-quite-right magnets.  (And twenty other things so sorry J.)  And then started thinking about how I'd make them workable. Because primary colors were not going to work.  In the basement playroom, perhaps, but the new magnet wall is in our "informal" dining room (the kid-friendly eating area that's in the kitchen, not like the "real" dining room is actually "formal") (because you don't do "formal" in a house with three kids four and under, that's why).  So no go on the primaries.  First, we went to a hardware store.  I needed a few things there, anyway (WHO AM I?) but also thought for sure we'd find the magic fix for our unsightly magnet situ there, because you know what?  "Mandy" was playing when we walked in, I shit you not.  I laughed, and I told Vivi why I was laughing (because I never sleep?  And then I had a Venti?  And not enough oxygen in the mountains?  Maybe that's why?) and she looked at me like I had three heads and kept a few steps ahead of me with her mini shopping cart pretending we weren't together.  We spent some time staring down the cans of spray paint.  But .... blech.  It was all so bright, and not much better than the primary stuff I was trying to get away from.  And there was nothing else in that whole store that caught my eye as a solution, and we have no Hobby Lobby right in town.  (Sad panda.)  So, I came home, I hauled out the stack of pretty papers and the Mod Podge and I done got to work while the girls napped.  Because goshdarnit, there's just about nothing Mod Podge can't fix.
It's so easy I actually feel a little silly explaining it, because I know some of you will be like "oh duh please shut UP" but I also know some of you asked for the info on FB and IG .... so here goes.

This is what you need to do this project:
-pretty paper (mine is from Hobby Lobby)
-wood magnetic letters (I used the Melissa & Doug brand)
-pen (for tracing the letters)
-scissor (for cutting letters)
-knife or razor blade or something sharp like that (for cutting the holes in the holey letters)
-Mod Podge (if I have to explain this we're over)
-brush for applying the Mod Podge (the cheapo spongie ones work well)
-baby wipes (to take a layer of Mod Podge off your fingers periodically)
-drop cloth (to catch the runaway Mod Podge)
Trace the letter onto your paper.  Cut the letter out, using your knife to remove center portions of letters having center portions (O, P, R, etc.)  Better to cut the tiniest bit outside the pen marks (tiniest bit!) so you definitely have enough paper to cover the letter.  Apply a liberal helping of Mod Podge to the back of the paper using your brush, then apply to colored part of your letter magnet.  I set mine in place, then flipped the letter upside down and pressed hard against the drop cloth to ensure the paper went flush to the letter and to remove any paper wrinkles.  This also causes the extra Mod Podge to squeeze out the sides, which is good, because next you want to use your finger to smear that Mod Podge on the paper edges and smooth it down.

Then do that 25 more times.  Or 51 more times if you're doing upper and lower case, bless your heart.

Also: I only glued paper to the top, and not the sides.  These magnets are pretty thin and the sides are plain wood colored, so they looked just fine with exposed edges.  Does that make any sense?  Does any of this?  'Ello?  I mean, knock yourself out if you want to wrap the paper around the edges as well, or cut little tiny strips to apply to the edges, but yeah.  I'll see you in the year three thousand when you're done with that nonsense.

And ...... TA-DA!  Alphabet magnets!  Just uppercase ones here, for now.  Lowercase is going to have to wait until .... some time not today, because my time to cake my hands with Mod Podge and drink Diet Coke is up.

I also slapped together some magnets while I was at it.  The hardware stores sell plain black magnets, did you know that?  They do.  Way in the back corner, hidden.  I bought some that were large enough not to be choking hazards, obvi.  Do just like you did with the letters, except you do need to cut strips to glue along the edges because exposed black magnet edges won't be pretty.

One other thing.  I also bought these adorable flash cards at the bookstore today.  (In truth, we left nothing in the children's section of Maria's Bookshop.  We just bought it all damn out.  Apologies.)  I've been looking at them forever but today, inspiration hit.  So I grabbed a roll of magnetic strip while we were in the hardware store.....

And voila!  Flashcard magnets!  Even with the magnet strips on the back they still fit on that little blue ring, so we'll probably put up some kind of hook beside the magnetic wall to keep these on when not in use.  But Vivi?  She LOVED.  Spent all of dinner-prep time calling out the letters and saying the words and being all kinds of genius.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

6 months

There are mysterious noises coming from the basement play room.  Mysterious noises, raucous laughter, more mysterious noises.  But, nobody's crying.  And there are no Sharpies (or sharp objects) in the basement.  And Mabel's peacefully resting in my lap and I just think I'm willing to deal with whatever it is they're destroying down there if it means I get a few more minutes to sit here wasting time on the internet and holding my snuggly half-year old.  HALF YEAR OLD, YALL.  I'm ignoring the mysterious noises and staying put, right here, with my baby.  Because, I know, the second half of her year is going to whip by as fast as the first half of her year did and before we know it, she'll be one.  And not a baby who lies on her tummy on the living room rug, raking up plastic blocks and bringing them to her mouth and screeching and rolling around to grab at the one that fell just out of her reach, before yawning and fussing and "mamamama"ing and falling to sleep in my lap when I scoop her up for a snuggle.

Mabel, you're six months old today.  The past month, my girl, has been a mess.  You got the flu, which caused an ear infection, which cleared long enough for you to suffer through your first two teeth pushing through your tender gums, only to return in the other ear just after that.  Then, just in the past few days, you picked up the cold your brother dragged home from preschool, so you've been snotty and coughing and just not as happy a girl as you'd usually be.  We've been to the pediatrician four times and urgent care and the emergency room in the last 30 days.  And we have not slept, Mabel, we just have not.  After a quite promising start as a solid sleeper, and spoiling your mama and daddy with all-night slumber for months and months ..... you've slept like a newborn this past month.  Every hour, every other hour if we're really lucky.  Until, and I hate to breathe a word of this and jinx us .... last night.  When you slept just like you used to.  Hours and hours and glorious hours until I woke up and momentarily panicked "OMG KIDNAPPERS OMG IS SHE BREATHING?!?!?"  But maybe it's a calmer time coming in.  Your two new teeth are in place, your ears are clear per yesterday's six month well child check up, and your snotty faucet of a nose is drying up.  So maybe, the worst is behind us.  Maybe we won't have to Ferber you, maybe you'll just pick up where we left off before the illnesses?  I can hope for this, sweet girl, I sure can.  Because to hear you cry is to break my heart.  Like, burn down a Target and forbid my morning coffee and hide all my crafting supplies kind of heartbreak.  Maybe worse, even.

Not to make you sound like a terror, MG.  You are most certainly nothing of the sort.  You're a bright eyed, giggling, smiley faced, go with the flow baby sister.  Go with the flow as babies with two big siblings must be, no?  We can't sit at home smiling at one another all day, because your brother needs to go to preschool and your sister needs to go to dance and your mama needs to hit up the coffee shop drive thru in order to function well enough to get us all safely to the other end of the day.  So you take your morning nap snuggling your seahorse in the car seat, you wait patiently for me to feed the others and clean up the kitchen and make it upstairs to put you down for your afternoon nap.  You splash in the tub with the other two because there's just no time to blow up the special ducky sitting-up baby tub and bathe you alone.  You absolutely light up when your daddy comes home at night.  No doubt about it, you're your daddy's girl.  But you're an equal opportunity lover.  Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunties, uncles, friends, wet-nosed pets, needle wielding nurses, strangers in line at the post office ..... you love 'em all, Mabes.

Happy half-year, Mabel Gray.  Here's hoping for a happier seventh month and also, maybe for time to slow down just a wee bit?  I'm not ready for the crawling, the pulling up, the finding your feet and running off with the others and taking the last of my motherhood babying babies along with you when you do.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I'm home alone.  In my house.  With nobody asking for a snack, nobody upstairs fighting sleep of any sort, nobody to tell me to get out of my bathrobe and put down the chardonnay and do something, for heavens sake.  And I know I should be all "miss my babies and sad and such!" but really?  I'm kind of like, YES.  YES YES YES.  I needed these few hours of quiet time, friends.  Poor Mabel's been a mess.  Tooth one pushed through the beginning of the week, tooth two last night.  Ear infection, again.  Sleep?  HAHAHA DREAM ON.  She doesn't want to go to sleep, she doesn't want to stay asleep.  The other night, and I couldn't tell you which one because my short term memory's gone to shit, I actually googled the hours of my local Starbucks at 3am because I was thinking if they were open, I may as well load up Miss No Sleep Ever and drive on down (because, suddenly, the car is about the only place she wants to sleep) (right, who is she and what has she done with the original MG?) and get my vanilla latte and just get the day started.  Because, really, is there anything worse than doing all you can do to console an unconsolable baby at 3:00am when you're so tired your limbs aren't really functioning correctly and your mind is reeling with all you need to do when the sun comes up and you're nauseated at the thought of all of it because you know your sleep deprived body will just be like, NO?

I don't even know what I was talking about.  SEE?  Memory.  Shot.  Case in point: this morning, I rushed us through the getting ready routine, fought to get teeth brushed and hair combed and sippies filled and the like.  Eat your cereal! Find your boots!  No the other boots!  Wrong foot!  Find your vest!  Snap it up!  Baby!  Crying!  Gah!  Into the car at 8:57am.  Deep breaths in the car, answer 100 questions about when can we go sledding and where is daddy and when will he be home and what does that sign mean and why is that bird in the AIR?  Turn into the dance studio parking lot at 9:11am .... and it was THEN, at that highly inconvenient way-too-late moment, that I remembered there was no dance class this week at all.  Try explaining that to an excited three year old girl decked out in a tutu, why don't you.  Know how she thanked me?  By pooping her pants in Starbucks, where I took them to get donuts, because I kind of owed them something, don't you think?  I totally deserved to clean a poopy pair of dance tights in a Starbucks sink (just tossed the Dora underpants, because Imeanreally.)  In her defense, she had told me while we were in line that she had to "go".  And I told her I'd take her as soon as we ordered.  And then, this should come as no surprise, I totally FORGOT.  Until five minutes later when her eyes got huge and it all came back to me and I was just like "OMG PLEASE JUST BE PEE."  No.  No, sirrrreeeeee.

We did redeem the day.  I took the bigger kids to Farmington, the town 45 minutes down the road with a Target and a Slobby Blobby (Hobby Lobby, but isn't Anderson's take on it way more fun?) while Mabel stayed back with Mommo.  It was fun, reconnecting with my bigger two sans Ergo and bottle stops and "shhhhhh, baby's sleeping!" refrains.  We sang along to country songs (Vivi does an impressive Tornado, I tell you) and cracked up at the creepy doll heads in Slobby Blobby and picked out a toy apiece at Target and stopped at the Colorado sign to take a picture, which totally shocked and unnerved my eldest, Mister By The Book.  We stopped!  On the side of the highway!  And GOT OUT!  I let them not nap on the way home.  It was just all so good.  I needed that time alone with those two, and I hadn't even realized it until we went and did it.  And also, can I brag?  Vivi had $40 in birthday money from her great grandparents.  She had my permission to blow it however she wanted to in Target.  She picked out a little pink cash register toy, asked if she had "more moneys", and told me she wanted to give the rest to Anderson so "him can have a toy, too." Heart, melt.

And to further this Saturday redemption?  Date night.  Oh, do we need a date night.  We've been like coworkers this week, J and I, passing the baby back and forth and mixing bottles and chasing kids back into beds and loading and unloading the dishwasher twice a day and cleaning up messes that pile up at an alarming rate before our very eyes.  And we are putting a stop to that co-working tonight.  Dinner out with friends and plans to go to a BAR after.  I mean, we'll still be home by 10:30, but then?  WE GET TO SLEEP ALL NIGHT.  OMG, yall.  I can't even.

So, home alone.  E! News is on, no Disney.  I just ate a handful of potato chips out in the open, as opposed to huddled in the corner of the (dark!) pantry where nobody will find me and beg a chip or two off of me.  (And even if I'm not found, they'll smell it on my breath when I sneak out of the pantry and be like "YOU ATE CHIPS MOM GET ME CHIPS TOO.")  I'm in my bathrobe, the one nobody wiped their nose on two seconds after I donned it.  And, you know, wine, glass two.  Because no risk at all of anyone falling and cutting their face open and needing a ride to urgent care!  And the dog?  The dog is just beside himself with the luxury of being the only child for a moment or two.  He's not usually allowed past the gate at the top of the stairs.  Not only did I let him through the gate, I encouraged him to follow me down the hall to my room, and I looked the other way when he slinked up the side of our bed and made himself cozy on top.  Knock yourself out, pal.

Time to go put on makeup.  Without Doc McStuffins blaring in the background.  And I will not share my bronzer brush with anyone!  Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, February 18, 2013

she eats

Mabel.  She ate, big girl style.  The first few spoonfuls, she kept in for five minutes and then, puke.  The second (watered-down) taste, she couldn't get enough of.  Grabbing at the spoon, slamming her little hands against the high chair tray, smacking her little lips together in satisfaction until the little green bowl was scraped all clean and I figured we'd better stop before she exploded.  I think you might say she was ready for solids.  She cut her first tooth over the weekend, and has two more following suit, so let's hope when those poke out and she's got a belly full of real food, she might decide to once again gift us with full nights of sleep.  (Because mama tired, yall.)   

And just for fun, the three littles, side by side:
Mabel looks more like Vivian than I remembered.  Don't you think?  

Friday, February 15, 2013


I'm so behind!  So much to blog about, so little time!  I mean, I had a sitter this afternoon for the big two and you want to know what I did?  I grocery shopped, I spent ten minutes sniffing around my vehicle until I finally located the awry pee diaper that was making said vehicle smell like dead gerbils, and then, in a moment of total indulgence just before the sitter's release time of 6pm .... I clipped my toenails.  You guys.  This is just SAD.  SAD!  So, this week, things happened.

The most major?  Vivian turned three.

She's three, my Vivi girl, my first daughter, my sassy pants.  And much like a certain middle child who came before her (cough cough Auntie Megan) ..... this is a girl knows how to work a birthday.  A donut celebration at Starbuck's, a few new books at the book store, visiting with cats at the shelter (Mommo adopted one!) (we did not!) (because J would file papers!), lunch with daddy that included a special gift JUST from daddy, cupcakes with some of her nearest and dearest ..... and a party coming up tomorrow, on top of that.  And then a quick Mimi visit to drag the birthday fun out just a little bit MORE, even!  Lucky girl, miss V.
hey vivi, act like you're three!
hey vivi, cats!
hey vivi, lunch!
hey vivi, must you do everything yourself always?
(yes.  yes, she must.  because, she's three.)
I did manage, in a free ten minutes before preschool pick up, to get a few pictures of my girl on her third.  No editing, no fanciness here .... but they're so Viv.
i bought her these birthday flowers.
she was obsessed.

this picture just makes my heart so happy.
perfectly imperfect.
And with that, I gotta go.  There are people coming tomorrow for a party, and it looks a bit like there was tornadic activity in our house this afternoon.  And I'd like to get to bed early.  To watch Girls.  Because, obsessed.

Monday, February 11, 2013

stir crazy

Stir crazy.  Your dear children might be a smidge stir crazy if, when your friend from down the street stops by to say hello, before she can even shake the snow off her boots your son says to her "hi.  What's your name?  Can I go to your house?"  And you, mama, may be equally stir crazy if your friend looks at your crazy eyes and unwashed hair and the squealing, no-nap baby in your arms who's just spit up down the arm of your sweatshirt and says "sure!  Hey, A & V!  Come play at my house for awhile!"  And though you're normally not one to send any member of the family out looking (too) disheveled, you run for their snow boots and coats without a moment's hesitation.  Middle child out the door in Christmas pajamas layered under a size 24 month tiger Halloween costume (as middle children do), to boot.  Their teeth weren't even brushed, you guys.  Bye!  Have fun, now!  Because the baby needed a nap and naps don't tend to happen with kids banging things around and screaming at the dog and quite honestly, I just needed two seconds to clear my head, for goodness sake.

The weekend?  It was no weekend at all.  J, I can tell you now that he's home to protect us from crazies, was away in Dallas.  My parents, in Florida.  So minus a few hours my sister relieved me on Friday evening for a friend's birthday dinner downtown, it was me, three kids, and a snow storm.  My car hasn't left the garage since Friday, 8pm.  So my weekend-passing plans of fun outings and dance class and such?  Shot down.  We made the best of it, we did have fun!  We muffin baked and crock potted and Valentine created and movie watched and fort built and did every other thing one can possibly do under the roof of this house.  And by Sunday, when J's flight was due in at 11am?  We were so ready.  Anderson, asking every three and a half minutes when daddy'd be home, why daddy wasn't home yet, WHEN WILL DADDY BE HOME?  And Vivian, fretting that he'd miss her "birfday" if he didn't get home soon.  And Mabel, cranky because she had woken four times the night before.  (A record breaking night!  Lucky me!)  Except, as tends to happen in winter storms, J's flight down from Denver was delayed.  And delayed again.  And you get it.  Three hours later, just as the kids were stomping downstairs from their naps and demanding an explanation as to WHERE, exactly, their father was .... his flight was taking off.  And an hour after that, it landed in Durango.  And thirty minutes after that, he was still sitting on the gate-less plane, which sort of blows my mind as we don't actually even HAVE gates here in Durango, we have .... a big place where planes park and you actually get off outside so WHAT EXACTLY IS THE HOLDUP?  And an hour after that, he was still waiting on luggage.  Gate checked luggage.  Gate checked luggage containing truck keys and essential medicines.  Gate checked luggage that was sitting on its' gate checked ass back up in Denver.  For real.  Ninety minutes later, after calling my sister to come get him and take him to the dealership for a vehicle to borrow, he was home.  By then, it was 5:00pm.  Let's just say this whole gang was spent.  S-P-E-N-T.

And so now it's Monday, and I'm not feeling very refreshed, as a person just off a weekend should, because again, the "weekend" was a mythical thing.  Didn't even happen.  And I decided to get all "Fun Outdoorsy Mom" and take my kids outside to sled, and you guys?  WHY?  Ten minutes in, Vivian peed her snowpants.  Then, the dog knocked Anderson face first into the snow.  Then, Anderson inexplicably threw snow all over Mabel, and THAT WAS THAT.  So now I've got a hallway full of snow soaked clothing and a wash room full of pee soaked clothing and, also, a headache.

I need a weekend* do-over.  Like, whoa.
(*Except I mean the kind of weekend where J is home and I have time to wash my hair and don't wear the same pair of leggings for 48 hours, including sleep time.)
it appears the muffins are under attack.
i did find time to start watching 'girls'.  omgobsessed.
and i was all, 'plane!  you're going the WRONG WAY.'
i got so desperate today that i figured out how to work a snowblower.

Monday, February 4, 2013


There's an elevator at the pediatrician's office.  My kids find this endlessly amusing, this whole "pressing the buttons, riding the alligator" thing.  You know what I'd find endlessly amusing?  Other than not having to listen to bickering about who's going to get the honor of rubbing their little finger all over the germ-smeared elevator button (the bickering, you guys!!  What is going ON with all this bickering?!  "I PRESSIN' THE ALLIGATOR BUTTON!" "NO IIIIII PRESSING THE ALLIGATOR BUTTON!"  All the way from our house to the pediatrician's office.  All.  The.  Way.  Nothing I said or did calmed this bickering.)  (Until I cranked up 90s on 9 and drowned it out.)  Anyway, what would amuse and tickle me straight up pink is NOT GOING TO THE DOCTOR ANYMORE.  Also known as, having my poor Mabes healthy once and for all and ending the madness.  Last Monday, urgent care.  Last Tuesday, emergency room.  Last Friday, pediatrician's office.  Today?  Pediatrician's office.  Because little babies?  Who throw up their amoxicillin five out of six times?   Their flu-turned-infected-ears, it turns out, get no better.  (Not even with hippie voo-doo magic tricks.)  So they continue not sleeping, they continue cranking at everything and everyone, and they end up hauled back in on Monday afternoon (when the whole crew SHOULD'VE been sleeping) to get a shot of something super druggy shot up into their leg.  And then?  Their leg hurts.  And there's a lot of fussing about that. And then?  When daddy walks in (FINALLY OMG FINALLY) at 6:30pm, I toss the whole lot of 'em in his direction like a hot potato and go lock myself in the shower for a whole lot longer than necessary.

And so also, three and four year old children whose naps are cut short because baby sister has to go to the pediatrician and, of course, the only appointment is smack dab in the final hour of nap time?  They're not very pleasant by 6:00pm.  They're just not.  They don't want to read, they don't want to do a puzzle.  They want to jump on the back of my couches and they want a popsicle and they want HALLOWEEN CANDY and they don't like no for an answer.  Not pleasant.  And neither, it turns out, am I, after all this.  I'm going to retire to my bed with a Mikearita and some mindless show and regroup.

Here's hoping tomorrow's the day when the ears clear up and the clouds part and the strange tumor-like thing on the bottom of my cat JUST DISAPPEARS.  And all that.  Because, BLAH.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

week in review: four(?)

Four?  Five?  Three?  I have no idea.  And I'm in the middle of a manic redecorating/dusting/crafting episode, because I looked at the calendar, really LOOKED at it, and realized it's legit February.  And I'm hosting two social events in our house in the next three weeks and shit needs getting DONE.  Which is why J's painting the closet project that's been unpainted for weeks, and also painting his office door that's been half painted for .... also weeks.  And I'm also supposed to be Shredding while Kid 1 and Kid 2 are napping, because I'd quite like to ditch my muffin top before all this socializing, and instead I'm blogging.  And Facebooking.  And Eviting.  And polling Instagram about a wreath (winter or Christmas?  J and I took it to the web.)  And I'm going to run out of nap time pretty soon, I do believe.  And also I need a Diet Coke, stat.

Mabel update: flu, sayonara.  She's not puking anymore, thank the good Lord, except when we give her amoxicillan for the ear infection she developed thanks to that dumb flu.  She pukes about half the time we squirt that pink goo down her hatch, once so violently it shot up over my head and splattered down onto the front of the dishwasher.  Yum.  So now, in addition to the pedi-approved amoxicillin, we're also putting garlic in her ears.  I know.  Ew?  She smells like a Buca di Beppo and I kind of want some chicken parmigiana now.  But many swear by this garlic ear thing (hi, Brittany and Elizabeth!) soooo....what's the harm?  She doesn't seem to mind it. And she did sleep better last night than she has since pre-flu, so.......

Anyway.  Our week.  Reviewed.
vivi does her alphabets very well.
mabel sleeps until 8am because she was up half the night.
mabel sleeps where the hell she wants.
kids meet a blood-sugar sniffing dog as tall as they are.
mabel, unamused by dance.
mg sleeps with her arm by that icky ear.
bug, underrepresented of late, my bad.
much to j's dismay, the stick on the wall is there to stay.