that thing.

There was that thing today.
Not Lauren Hill that thing, that thing, that thingy-ingy-ing song, which I now have stuck in my head since titling this post all of 30 seconds ago. Hope you do to. Just a little gift.

Anyways, that thing. Let me explain.

I met my new kids today.

I met them.

They finally moved from being figments of my imagination, names on pages, to real actual people. And in the midst of meeting them, I had a moment. With a new friend.

"Can you put your name on that so I know who did it?"

"Oh! Do you have problems with your remembory too?"

And there it was. It hit me. That thing. Moments like that, comments like that, I felt that thing. That thing that makes me remember why I do this. Why the bulletin boarding, the staple removing, the contact papering name tags into just the right spot is worth it.

That thing that reminds me I love what I do.

We start on Wednesday.
I want to play I'm sad to end summer vacation.
I want to play how bummed it is to go back to work.
Because that's what everyone expects.

But this isn't really work. And I'm not really sad.
It's time. They need me, and I need them, and I'm ready to get this show on the road because I have a lot of new friends to make.

How lucky am I?
I just got 18 new friends.

found it.

We're two days back to school and I am exhausted. The kids haven't even come yet. This is purely staff meetings, bulletin boarding, and a lot of teacher chit-chat exhaustion. It's just really hard returning to work after 2 1/2 months off (That was mean. I know. Not everyone gets a summer vacation. I should play nice. Doesn't mean I'm gonna).

I've been in a mad cleaning blitz to prep the house for the coming monsoon of school starting. I shurk a lot of responsibility around here when school starts. I want to feel bad about that, but it's just, well, I don't because starting a school year is unlike anything else. My feeling is that if I can get the house really clean before school starts, then I can kind of coast for a few weeks. It's not ideal, but it's completely necessary.

And when I say clean, I mean, crazy clean.

Scrub the baseboards clean. Soak the veggie keeper clean. Actually go through boxes of junk that may (or may not) be left over from moving into this house a year and a half ago clean. Whatever. Judgy wudgy was a bear. Some boxes, and the entire extra bedroom, were left to their own devices. I'm really more of a progressive mover-inner. I would say, rough estimate, that we are fully unpacked no sooner than year 5 of house-ownership. Write than down. Oh look, I did it for you (I'm such a giver).

There were some gems of items found in the box I'd stuffed in the corner of our closet that I was using as a clothing display (I tell Chuck I'm displaying my clothes. Really, I'm too lazy to hang them back up. Oh and I'm also 12).

But the best thing, one of my favorite things in the whole world, I found buried at the bottom of the box. And yes, I did know it was missing. I wasn't actively looking for it, so much as I knew it was somewhere in the house, I was content with that, and when it was ready, it would be found.

And I found it.

That's it.
A little (cheap) sterling silver band.

Ah, but it's so much more.

Chuck gave me that ring in college seven years ago. Oh my. Seven years ago to almost this exact weekend. I just vomited. Seriously. It's offensive to me how long I've had that ring. Really offensive.

Ok. Back to the ring.

The year I got this ring was the year of The Promise Rings. Everyone we knew had promise rings, were giving promise rings, or were hoping to get a promise ring. Apparently, promise rings were all the rage in college and every boyfriend was getting one for every girlfriend.

Chuck and I did not like promise rings.
[disclaimer: if you had, have, or hope to have a promise ring, well, don't take this personally. This is simply a story about a boy and a girl who are a little off and do things a little weird.]

I think we just didn't get promise rings.
We never could figure out what people were promising.
And whatever it was, it seemed so permanent. A huge promise to make at 20. Too big for us, anyways.

But, everyone had one.

So, did that mean we were going to have to get one?
Were we, barely out of our teens, still susceptible to peer pressure?

Kind of.
But not really.

Chuck got me this ring.
And he had "maybe" engraved across the top.

Maybe he'd stay with me.
Maybe he wouldn't.

It's my Maybe Ring.

And maybe it would end up as arguably the best representation of our entire relationship.
A little off, a little funny, and a little perfect for us.

Maybe. Maybe not.

real-live horse race show.

I feel this post should start with a trumpet noise.

How do you type the noise a trumpet makes?
Should I just go with [insert trumpet noise here]?
Should we try "budda dum da dum du dum dum dum dum"?
Why can't blogs have sound?
My life is so unfair. A myriad of difficulties.

We need to move past this. I need to move past this.
We made it to our first horse race show.
Bang the drums, sound the bells (but not the trumpets, because I can't deal with them anymore).

It was a little spur the moment, our decision to go. It was a beautiful summer day -- we just had to be outside.

Gorgeous. Summer. Day. Go Seattle. Go.

But really, if I'm being honest, it was more Chuck's decision to go. My decision would have much more thought out and would have given me plenty of shopping time. As it was, Chuck's haste to run off to a horse track resulted in Susie Injustice #143,762:

No hat at the horse track.
Why? I've already said why. It was spur the moment. No planning time. No hat. No Julia Roberts and the steaming divots. (and btdub, that's not a cumulative lifetime injustice count, that's just for our marriage).

It did not help that there were surrounded by hats. I mean, ok, so not everyone had a hat, but a few did. And I was uh-jealous.

IRregardless of the Hat Disaster of Ought '10, we still had a time. Better than we ever could have hoped. It also was quite educational.

For example, I learned that you don't vote on horses.

And that you don't vote based on prettiest names, though it does help. My first vote was for Sum Princess (because my Dad is an accountant -- sum = addition total -- and I'm his princess, duh), but things did not go well for us. I stopped voting that way. It was devastating.

I also learned that you don't order your votes at the Ordering window. Apparently, that's not right either.

And this:

This is a tractor.
Not a Zamboni.
I thought it was nice of the Zamboni to resurface the track.
Chuck told me that no, it was nice of the tractor to rake the track.
To each his own. Agree to disagree.

It was fabulous.
We are doing this again, but of course with proper planning, shopping time,and, really, just shopping time. I need a hat. Move that from the wants column to the needs column.

[ps: I put this horse in the post because I liked her leg warmers. I wish they had Miss Congeniality at the track. She'd be number one with a bullet.]

the last shower post.

Ok, ok, last baby shower post. Promise.
But really, can you take my promises that seriously?
Really, really, this promise, I promise to make it stick. Promise. Ha. Now that's an empty sentence if I do say so myself. Love it.

I was so happy with my decoration contribution to Dania's shower:

Two pennants for Baby P, spelling her first name and middle name.

I got the idea for this from sister-in-law, Nan, who made me one for my birthday too many years ago. Of course, fancy Nancy made hers out of fabric with hand cut felt letters, which is just way too beyond for me.

I thought I could make this a little simpler by swapping the fabric for paper. I did a little Google Re-con and found some directions on how to make one with newspaper. I loved it.

I hope you do to.

The accomplices:
A ruler (Chuck was so proud that I actually used one and didn't eyeball everything), paint of your choice, sponge brush, small brush for later, and good scissors (I sound like my mother-in-law: Queen of "Good Scissors". I only have good scissors because I can't bear the look she gives me when she asks for my good scissors and I say "huh?")

Newspaper, iron, pencil and string were all unavailable for this photo. The planning ahead that it requires to take a materials picture is beyond me. I feel that I got more than 50% and that's enough for me. I have such high standards.

Take some newspaper (newspaper: it's a way to read the news that doesn't involve Yahoo Headlines) and cut out equal sized triangles -- hence the ruler. I made a good one as my template and traced to my hearts content. Make sure the small side of your isosceles triangle is the fold of the paper. We're going to open these babies up.

See the fold? Open the triangles up into little diamonds and lay them out. Talk to them and make sure they are emotionally ready to be painted.

Get your paint ready. I used the only two paints I owned, red and white, to make 14 different shades of pink. You can use any color you want. I wanted pink for Paisley.

Paint the triangles, making sure to lift them after they've been painted so they don't stick or dry to the paper below.

And this is the first time Chuck is seeing that this whole project was done on our hard wood floors. He is going to be thrilled with me. But actually, I think he will be, since obviously I didn't spill (much) paint on the floor which is a miracle for me.

Once they are painted and dry, they will wrinkle and fold in on themselves. Not cute.

That's where the iron comes in. Iron them on the lowest setting, then fold them back into triangles and iron them again. They need to be crisp and flat.

And no, that isn't my real ironing board. That's my one from college but he's too precious to part with. And he's great for lazy ironing when I want to sit on the floor because standing is oh-so-much-work.

Crisp and flat. Cute and bug's ear come to mind.

I laid the triangles on the floor and arranged the pinks into the order that I wanted them. And there were no cut-sies. And it doesn't matter who's first and who's last. And it appears I am ready to start school next week...

I pulled back out the white paint and painted a letter on each triangle.

And this is the first time Chuck's seeing that I painted on the carpet without any protection. Whoops. Gotta love me.

I then laid a piece of twine on my carpet and slid the traingles down onto it so they can hang together and play nice.

Glue the triangles shut around the twine so you know it will hang perfectly without any problems or the fear of seeing the unpainted insides.


For those keeping score, I was able to use only items I had around the house and didn't buy a thing to make these. Which means I'm even more in love with them than normally. Because I'm a miser.

Oh, one more thing.
I just have to show you.
And then I'm shower done [microphone drop].

Jessica got the idea to hang little onesies like a laundry line as decoration at the shower.
Here's what it looked like in the window:

Anyways, Jess wanted them to be personal onesies to add a little fun.
We were pretty proud of ourselves.

You want to be surprised.
But you're not.

Does it help or not help that we also made a Backstreet Boys onesy that said "I want it my way"?
We are hecka cool.

diaper cake. exactly as it sounds.

I don't like to play favorites.

That's a lie.
I'm trying to work on inner self and really find harmony with me; finding happiness in being me and not needing to lie to be cooler.

Lied again.
I'm not working on anything.

I digress. Back to favorites. I had a total favorite at Dania's Shower.

It's name was Diaper Cake.

Diaper Cake. Meet the World. World (aka 5 friends and my Mom who read my blog) meet Diaper Cake.

The first time I saw a diaper cake, years and years ago in a magazine, I honest to Jimmy Choo thought it was an cake made to look like diapers. Kind of like how I thought Nesting Dolls were named after a designer (last name Nesting) and not the fact that they stacked together (a la, nesting). I thought diaper cakes were a trendy solution to sheet cakes. I found out they were not.

Jessica saw a diaper cake at a shower she went to recently and reasoned that she could make one herself. I love when people can see something and duplicate it without directions. I can't even fathom how to do that. Directions are my life blood. I may only glance at them (which drives my mother nuts). I just like knowing they're there. Directions are my security blanket.

This cake is her second creation -- she's getting pretty bomb at it.
She claims she needed my help, but really I was in the way like always. I may have even gotten slightly scolded once for taking pictures. Whatever. She loves me. That's why we've been together so long.

So. Let's make this cake. I'll give you the directions that I would need to recreate this. ps. The pictures are total crud. Point and shoot. But Rule #73: No excuses. Play like a champ. These are stink city.

Obviously. Lot of diaper rolling. Jess bought a massive pack from Costco, but was ultimately a tad disappointed. Though they were cheaper (sorry Dania, we love you), cheaper made them stiffer and harder to roll, PLUS they weren't plain white diapers. They had little monkeys all over them and they seemed to taunt us throughout the day. Bottom line: If you can pay up for the plain white pampers, do it and avoid our mistake. They're roll easier and we like the look of plain better. But, regardless, it worked, it came out bomb, and everyone still oooh'd and aaah'd.

On a pizza pan (is that what that's called? -- I'm having one of those moments where I can't think of the name of a standard object) , we (Jessica) stacked two decorative paint cans bought from Michael's as the insides. We (Jessica) filled one with baby q-tips, the other with little wash cloths.

Next, cut a large string of twine and loop it around the bottom can. Begin putting rolls in, one at a time, making sure you keep the loop of twine pulled tight. That was my job. I was twine holder. And even that was too much for me. I failed once because I was taking pictures and Jess had to re-roll 6 diapers. She was less than happy with me, but she loves.
Make sure to roll them tight, hold the twine tight, and line them up snug. No one will see this row (it will be hidden by outer rolls), so it doesn't need to look completely pretty, but it does need to be tight. And we'll call that a double use tight: tight and tiiiight.

This is what it should look like after the first round. Knot the twine and cut it close to the knot (we're going to hide the uglyness later).
And also, see what I mean about those monkeys? TAUNTING us.

We ended up with three rows on the bottom (this is after row two, which I'm assuming you knew because you can count), and we just kept it moving like that. We'd make all the rows for a layer before moving to the next. And again, when I say we, I'm really saying Jessica. I held twine and watched reruns of Glee.

Our four layer cake, held together with twine.
Not really that pretty here.
A little bit like the Leaning Tower of Diapers.

Because Jess thinks of everything, she knew to top it with fake daisies (our shower color) and then add thick ribbon to cover the nasty twine.

VOILA! Diaper cake.

Pretty slick. huh?
A perfect centerpiece and 140 diapers is a pretty good little start for Dania. That'll last her, what? A day?

shower for dania.

It's another Dania post.

She's becoming a staple on this thing lately. Sorry about that, but it's this whole pregnancy thing, it has the awful tendency to pull all the attention off of me and onto her and I don't know if I'm down with that anymore. Everything is all about that baby right now, and, sigh... She just better be super cute and super thankful for the amazing aunts that she has. I will, of course, remind her of this everyday. There's nothing I love more than a good "hold over their heads".

Aren't I the worst?
I mean, really?
And we're all understanding that I'm laying the sarcasm on even thicker than usual, right?

This past weekend was Dania Weekend.
We [Emy, Jessica, and Myself] threw Dania her baby shower after months of planning. I have so many back logged blog posts on our adventures in throwing this shower, but blogging about the decorations before the party tends to ruin the surprise effect for the guest of honor. So, settle in, because the next few days will have a few how-tos, since some of the stuff we did we were pretty proud of and we'd like to share. I mean not wanting to toot our own horn, but...[toot].

For now, a few pictures from the little event, highlighting the food we served and the ridiculously adorable gifts that girl babies get. If there's one thing (well, two things) we love, it's good eating and good clothing. We take our food and apparel very seriously around here.

The food.
My favorite part.
Just a few of the tidbits we made.

Jessica's veggie pizza is divine and the only way to get me to eat my vegetables. I should probably make this everyday because my food pyramid is inverted. I prefer a base of candy and sugar. It makes the healthy stuff go down.

This is a new must have for me. I'm absolutely in love with this recipe. Enjoy. It's fantastic.

The easiest party sandwiches.
Pumpernickel. Cream Cheese. Cucumber. Dill.
Chocolate covered bananas. I think you can figure this one out on your own.
And finally, the absolute love of my summer: Martha's Strawberry Shortcake. We got the wild idea to quarter the shortcakes before baking them and made Strawberry Shortcake Sliders.

The gifts.
Oh, the gifts.
Why are little girls so much fun to shop for?
Why are their clothe divine?
Why don't they make these in Susie-size?

I'm sorry, but Baby Paisley now has a tea set. I don't have a tea set. This seems completely unfair to me. I have been around for 27 years. She hasn't even breathed air yet. She's the one with the tea set. I'm considering borrowing it and hosting my own tea.
Also, I want that tu-tu.
I feel I could rock it, even if I only rocked it at home. It'd be like my adult footy pjs. Fantastic, but not really "life appropriate". One of our gifts was homemade onsies, especially designed for Baby Paisley (I'll show you more later on this week). We wrapped this one up for Dania and we're lobbying for it to be the "going home" outfit from the hospital. We're being met with a scoatch of resistance. Any help you could lend to this persuasion cause would be much appreciated.

We'll wrap this post up with some of my favorite guests from the shower.
Stephanie, because she loves this blog which makes me worry about her.
Sidney, because she and momma Jodi are just too darn cute together.

And of course, Dania.
She soaked up the day and her spotlight.
She opened the gifts so thoughtfully. I would have torn through them with kid on Christmas enthusiasm, but Dania is much more gracious than I. Her mom gave her her baby book to share with Baby P and I died when looked at this picture closely (I hope you will to). Click the picture bigger.

Dania has never changed. Dania today is Dania yesterday is Dania at age 3.
Let the countdown to Paisley begin...

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