Sunday, July 18, 2010

Celebrating a Birthday

I think Betty Crocker would be proud. My daughter's sixth birthday party. Finally, a birthday held in my very own backyard.

A balloon wreath: 

Her Happy Birthday banner:

Her cupcakes, complete with melting icing. Not one of my proudest baking moments:

The backyard setup. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The theme was "rainbow," which made it really easy to decorate. Mutli-colored plates and silverware. Different colored streamers (several found at a resale shop!) plus rainbow balloons.

Kids had a scavenger hunt, did "sand art" drawings on sandpaper and decorated t-shirts. Okay, most of the girls decorated shirts. The boys just reinacted Lord of the Flies with swords and anything else they could use as a weapon.

Overall, a great party. Low-key...and didn't involve Chuck E Cheese or a bouncy castle.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You!

I've got rhythm, I've got music. I got my man-- who can ask for anything more?

When it comes to dancing, I have rhythm. Not enough to be a chorus girl, mind you, but enough that I feel confident when dancing. And let's just say it, the type of nerdy dance moves I rock require a certain amount of confidence to pull them off.

Now, when it comes to my days, I do not have a daily rhythm. I hear it is important-- no, it is necessary-- if you homeschool to have some sort of rhythm. I just well...I don't know.

I want to. I TRY to. It is just that I feel our days aren't steady enough to have rhythm. I struggled with this so much this past Spring-- I spent every. single. day. schlepping my children from here to there. We ate in the car. We did this. We did that.

We definitely did not do any housework, that's for sure.

By May, I was completely burned out. I had pretty much stopped returning all emails. I was getting my days confused and missing things I had registered/signed up to do.

And I was Grumpy with a capital G.

I hated it. I hated it all. We went out of town for three weeks and I promised myself things would get better when I got back. And then...we settled into going to Vacation Bible Schools. And then we have swim team twice a week. And the kids are starting an activity group twice a week near our house. Let's not forget golf for the little man!

And, of course, where am I in the midst of this? Dragging people around, willing myself NOT to have a breakdown. Part of this homeschool thing is I feel I MUST give the children every experience they can have. Not all of them cost money--- these could be saying "yes" to every field trip or library program or youth musical I see-- but they all cost time.

And most of the time, I'm feeling a bit nuts.

I have to find a way to not let myself continue to get sucked into Doing Things. We have spent the morning gloriously doing nothing-- we've put together three puzzles (the universe, the world and a Cars puzzle) plus played "The Ladybug Game."

Now the kids want to swim. And I'm cool with that.

And honestly, I feel I can say that the kids and I are probably a bit happier when I'm not rushing them around like a regimented drill Sargent, complete with soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I've just got to convince myself that its for the best.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Betty at 30

Somehow, I've managed to turn thirty years old. As a teenager, I could never have imagined myself as a 30-year-old Mom. But, alas, here I am.

In fact, I had made my Big Plan of How Things Are Meant to Be when I was about 20 or so...and it involved me having my first child at 29. Ha! Here, at 30, I am gearing up to celebrate my first child's sixth birthday. So, I am a bit ahead.

I actually like being 30-years-old. I joked when I turned 28 that I was finally at a respectable age to parent; when you're 25 and lugging around a baby (while pregnant), people typically think you are The Nanny.

I doubt, now, anyone confuses me with your average Nanny. Now I'm just your run-of-the-mill Mom of Two who spends too much time dragging her children around by car. But, with age comes Aging. While I haven't felt most of the effects just yet, I do realize that I need to be proactive in trying to stay healthy, fit and whatever else it is a person needs as she nears mid-life.

I like how I look at thirty. Sure, my face is changing slightly, losing a bit of the fatness in the cheeks (it appears, however, that the fat under the chin is here to stay), but I'm okay with it.

But it doesn't mean I can just sit on the couch and become a big bump on a log. Because, let's face it, bumping on the log is exactly what will happen if I don't start to get my rump in gear!

It's just finding which gear gets me going is the hard part. I know lots of people enjoy exercise videos...but I just can't make myself do them.

I feel like I have so little time to myself these days, I don't want to fill the few minutes I get with Jillian Michaels yelling at me to "not phone it in to the gym" while I do push ups.

(Cue me saying in a high pitched voice, "Jeeem? Jeeem? Whaaaat aRRe you doin?")

I want to do exercise that I enjoy. Something that brings meaning to my life, as well as making a few pounds leave my middle. I had restarted running (in a group) before we left Texas for Arizona. I was doing quite well (though I was dealing with my spent calories by eating my weight in cupcakes). And then, we got here and the aridness of the desert just killed me. It was hot! And dry! With no humidity!

I hated it. And I quit.

I need to find something that suits me. Something I look forward to doing; not something I absolutely dread but do because I feel obligated.

I've tried a bit of Hula-Hooping and really enjoy it, but I am an extremely novice hooper and keeping the hoop up for 30 seconds is a major achievement. I've been eyeing tap dancing for quite some time...but again, the time commitment (we're looking at about 30 minutes drive to and from) has me second guessing.

For the time being, I'm walking around the neighborhood. I go at night, after dinner, when the sun is still shining but is fading slowly behind that desert skyline. I walk for thirty minutes, which is not too hard when your neighborhood looks like this:

(We're surrounded by resorts! People paying tons of money! To look at the same thing I see every day!)

My pedometer seemed to think I could walk a ten minute mile (I'm not so sure), but estimated I took about 3,000 steps on my little walk. Not too shabby.

While I'm still unsure of what I want to do as exercise, I think getting out and hoofing it for 30 minutes a day can't hurt, right? I guess time will tell if walking for exercise can stop my schoolmarm arms from growing any worse.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Resolutions

I love holidays just for the reason I can compare life from year to year. I do it with my children at their birthdays, my husband and I on our anniversary...and life in general at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween.

Not Easter. Don't ask me why-- perhaps it is in the Spring, as I do have an aversion to pollen and warming temperatures in general-- but I don't really "do" Easter.

Today, on the Fourth of July, after who knows how many years, I finally decided to not celebrate. I don't know why. I really don't like hot dogs, hamburgers or cookouts. I can do without potato salad, thankyouverymuch.

So, this year, as I conciously didn't celebrate the Fourth (with the exception of the required fireworks), I thought about what I want. Or, exactly, how I don't know what I want anymore.

Over the past several years, I've lived a very goal-driven life. And while I can't say I reached all my goals, I did reach many, and it felt good. Then, I got to a point where those just weren't my goals anymore. Things no longer interested me. I wanted something else.

While I've spent almost two complete blog-free years, plus a year without conciously trying to abtain freelance work, I'm still not sure what that "something else" is. When you reach your goal and write for The New York Times, plus several other magazines, where do you go?

I went on an adventure of life. An adventure that required moving across the country to a climate and locale quite different than the one I was used to. I left everything (and everyone) behind and started over.

Life has treated me well over the past year. I've done okay.

But...yet...I feel as if I'm at this point...a point where I'm trying to figure things out.

So, until I can, I can continue to work on those things that made me start up Betty Crocker in the first place: the house, the kids, the days, the food, the exercise...all these things that make up the day to day experience... yet leave me feeling completely lost on a daily basis.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The One Where She Always Quotes Titles From Friends

I tend to think in "ought tos." You know...I ought to call Grandma, or I ought to do that laundry. I ought to catch up with my friend and see if they're getting sent to Ten Buck Two for her husband's new job.

I ought to go on the Innernet.

Things started falling apart around Halloween. From what I understand, we had a few little kinks in our daily system. It started with my husband "redecorating" our house for the holiday, then went on to us bringing in a new dog. The dog got sick and was bitten by a rattlesnake. It turned out he had Distemper and eventually died.

And then we had my bit 3-0 and a trip to Disneyland...and then....the holidays.

And here we are.

There are many things I'd like for the new year. I'd like to get back on track with our house and the clutter. I'd like to figure out what the heck I'm doing with homeschooling. I'd like to make meals that don't involve tortillas.

I hate that when I finally do get my breath to get back on track coincides with the New Year. Probably because I hate New Years.  Feels like such a cliche.

But...then again...with New Years come more Rubbermaid containers in the maybe being a cliche isn't a bad thing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fashion Forward

A long time ago (just shy of three years) in a far away land (Texas), lived a woman who enjoyed wearing pajama pants (Care Bears. Blue. With Stars) out in public. (That's me!) She insisted on being "comfy" at all times, even if it meant looking like she deserved to be on

Then, one day, said lady went to the grocery store with her two very small children. There she ran into a girl she knew from high school. Not just any girl...but one of the cheerleaders.

Said cheerleader was dressed appropriate for the store. The PJ Lady was not. Cheerleader took one look at the two snotty children, the PJ-clad mama with wet hair, faked a half smile and ran.

It was a glorious stomping to my self-esteem, yet it didn't make me try to dress any better. Why? I don't know...perhaps I reveled in the fact that I looked like a Hobo, which may be totally politically incorrect to say, but true. Except most Hobos would probably take offense at my wearing the blue Care Bear PJs and relating myself to them.

Don't believe me? Here's one of my "fancier" outfits from the time. Note the "born to camp" shirt." Classy.

Exhibit A:

Post baby fun

Then, one day, I realized that maybe people want to make friends with gals who get up, get showered and then get dressed! I started slowly. The whole shower thing in the morning was a total buzz kill, so I started waking up, putting on workout clothes and then taking my children to preschool.

Yes, I'd pretend to go work out. Then I'd go home and take a shower. No PJs in public! Yay me.

I've been taking baby steps over the past three or so years. I went from the Care Bears and fuzzy slippers to the gray "yoga pants," then the workout clothes. Eventually I managed to put on jeans! In public! Before bedtime!

Now I am proud to say that I can wake up in the morning and get dressed...all before 8AM. I'm making a concentrated effort to really try to look decent. The area I live in is considered a "small town" and you do run into a lot of the same people on a daily basis. That means no PJs out in public, no yoga pants, no fuzzy slippers or anything with a cartoon character on them!

I want these people to have me as their friend, no consider me as the possible babysitter.

And, well, it is working. I'm feeling good about myself. I ENJOY getting dressed in the mornings and I'm even enjoying taking part in The Working Closet's 30 days of fashion flickr pool.

The best part? I enjoy the fact that the majority of my clothes come from thrift stores! I enjoy finding clothes that fit me for a fraction of the cost.

Exhibit B:

November 5

Now, if only I could go back and time and tell myself to lay off those Oreos...I'd be set.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How to Go Crazy; A Photo Tutorial

How to have dirty floors: a picture tutorial.

First: Have your husband get laid off. Get him another job in a different state. Have two weeks to get there.

Second: Make sure your husband is very annoyed with your older house that you're selling. He's super tired of repairs and fixing things last minute so that you can get your money back. Make him insist on new McHouse with view of mountains.

Third: Find him a nice McHouse with view of mountains. Make sure McHouse includes cream colored tile and carpet.
Tis Beautiful...But it doesn't feel like home

Fourth: Make sure the state you move to is Arizona. Arizona lacks grass and has an abundance of dirt and sand. If your children are like normal children, they will like to go barefoot or wear sandals. That insures the dirt will NEVER come off their feet.


Fifth: Add in a dog. A large puppy. Make sure puppy gets bit by rattlesnake and has a big huge festering wound. Bring him outside with you, complete with festering wound, because you're worried he'll go and pee on that light colored carpet.

(Crotch licking is optional.)

Add all together. Bring inside house. Have heart attack on daily basis. If you're feeling really lucky? Hand the kids Halloween candy and let them drop wrappers on the floor as they watch Spongebob in a candy-induced haze. 

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