Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to Shop for Swimsuits.

Throughout history, there have been two types of shopping that can completely unhinge any woman.
1. Jean Shopping
2. Swimsuit Shopping

The time has come for the latter of the two, for carrying and birthing two Things has wreaked havoc on my body, making the bikinis I once sported no longer seem appropriate.... or flattering. Damn it.

Last summer, being the kind and generous person that she is, my sister gave me her black one piece in exchange for my cute-as-a-button pink and white polka dot bikini. I had just birthed Thing 2 and was happy for a dark colored one piece to draw attention away from the area that was formerly known as my waist and the other area that was twice the size of my normal ass. What I didn't realize is that I had made a BAD TRADE. I was wearing the suit at a public pool when I looked down and saw my mayonnaise white flesh gleaming THROUGH the black fabric. Apparently my giant fleshiness was compromising the integrity of the fabric, making it a viable candidate for spontaneous combustion (just like the drummer on This Is Spinal Tap). To my great dissappointment, this strain on the fabric was NOT happening in the chestal region. Of course. Additionally, there is the fact that my sister informed me (after the suit trade and the public exposure of my "I just birthed a baby!" jiggly parts) that she had, in fact, owned that suit since the 8th grade.The suit was so old that it was basically disintegrating while on my body.  Aging spandex, chlorine and extra fluffy stark white lady pieces= a very bad day indeed.

Does anyone see "Sucker" stamped on my forehead? I think my sister did it while I was sleeping.... Please don't take me to a big city as I will come home without my lizard skin cowboy boots, but with a brand new pair of mint condition Moon Boots from the early 80's. Awesome trade! To my sis: I hope you and your "I work out every day and have never carried a fetus" body are enjoying my adorable Daisy Duke bikini. You suck. Bring the ingredients for chocolate martinis the next time you come for a visit. xoxo Jo

My friend has access to a pool through her condo and now that the weather is stupidly hot, we plan on spending a great deal of time there with our herd of children. I wore a bikini the other day. Let me express my deepest condolences to people of the condo pool. Between my extremely flat chest, my bloated, stretch mark clad, c-sectioned gut and the hail damaged so-beyond-white-that-I-may-actually-be-mint-green other parts, I was feeling like a... well... a mom. After little to no thought, I decided that I needed a new suit! I am currently in the market for one piece, preferably with some sort of spanx for the bulgy stuff, some well-enhanced upper area "support" and a mothereffing genie to grant my three wishes.... because I am delusional and a slow learner, I would like the new suit to make me look like this (totally attainable, right?):


Picture borrowed from:
http://www.heidiklumfans.com/gallery/Heidi-Klum-pic34.jpg
 Since my super model days and the giant paychecks are long gone (blahahaha), I decided to look at the Neiman Marcus of all super stores, Target. I found a suit! It was on sale! It was a most slimming shade of black!The label proclaimed it to have magical shaping capabilities! I hurried to the dressing room, certain it would work. Unless you count elastic cutting into my ass "magical", it didn't have any shaping capabilities. I still looked gross. And I didn't even BEGIN fill out the super-padded cups that were supposed to enhance my girls, in fact, there was extra fabric swimming around under my armpits. Nice. As par for the course with any swimsuit shopping endeavor in my entire life, I left on the verge of tears, feeling horrible about myself and wanting a margarita. (I had twoTuesday night- it'sallgood).

I decided that I can't be the only one with swimsuit shopping issues and decided to put together a "How to Guide for Swimsuit Shopping with Common Figure Flaws". You. Are. Welcome.

Spoiler Alert! Let me just state up front: Head to the accessory section and by a cute cover-up. Problem solved.

1. The Apple
Also known as: "I can't keep these girls contained", "Why is this happening to my body?" and "Mom"



Issues: Breasts too large to be properly supported by any suit. Straps/elastic cut into shoulders and waist. All weight gathers in mid-section.

Don't buy: Bikinis (especially of the string variety- that tiny triangle will barely contain on nipple), One-pieces (unless you enjoy looking like a potato with a wedgie), Halter tops (they enhance the bust and make you look like a line-backer) or underwires (they will cut your boobs in half and smoosh them unattractively because they hit at the wrong place)

Do buy: Margarita Mix. Go ahead and get the Cointreau.

2. The Pear
Also known as: "God is not a fair guy", "My thighs are best friends, also known as "why I don't wear corduroy", "What is cleavage?" and "Mom".


Issues: No boobs. Plenty of butt and thigh, extra in fact. Needs two completely different sizes. Elastic cuts into the bottom half.

Don't buy: Bikinis (especially of the string variety- there is not enough "upper" to hold the top in place). One pieces (unless you enjoy enhancing the look of the Nebraska Plains, otherwise known as your chest). Scoop necks (they aren't flattering, trust me), anything unpadded (it is just too sad) or anything too padded (cut to you,  holding your child against your chest and the pressure is squeezing those pads like a couple of kitchen sponges, thus making you appear to be lactating pool water)

Do buy: Franzia boxed Cabernet- $13.99 for 5 liters! Yeah!

3. The Asparagus
Also known as: "The 12 Year Old Boy", "I've even tried protein shakes" and "Skinny Bitch"

Issues: No curves. At All. Gets tired of people saying "go ask your mom if you can...."

Don't buy: Bikinis (especially of the string variety- unless you want the tit triangle to end up under your armpit...). One pieces (unless you like looking like a plank of lumber). Anything with an underwire (wire on bone is not pleasant). Anything from the junior department (even if it fits, Dora isn't age appropriate).

Do buy: Ingredients for Grasshoppers. They are delicious and the calories won't affect you. Bitch.

4. The Butterface.
Also known as "She looked great when I saw her from the back, BUT HER FACE...." and "no amount of liquor can fix that".


Issues: Causes visible jealously, always followed by visible cringing.

Buy: Whatever the hell you want, your body looks great. Make sure to accessorize with a giant hat and bigger sunglasses.

***************************************************************************

Just remember, when you are standing in that dressing room, with those horrible fluorescent lights casting their awkward purple glow onto your pasty skin; highlighting cellulite that you didn't even know you had, don't allow yourself be seduced by the swimskirt. You will initially scoff at it, but after 14 suits that were apparently made for some breed of fleshless bone people (with elastic moving to the top of your Enemy List), you will start to see the skirted suit in a new light. It will appear to be the solution to all of your figure flaws! You will convince yourself that it is retro and that you can work it out with some great heels.  No. You can't. Unless you are 70+, a card carrying member of AARP and know the names of all the servers at the Golden Corral at the Early Bird Special hour, it is not allowed.


I hope that this guide will help you with your swimsuit shopping for many summers to come. When you feel the overwhelming urge to shoot out those horrible fluorescent lights, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
Come to think of it, maybe winter isn't so bad after all.....

Peace, Love and Unicorns,
Johi



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's not me, it's you. No, it's me.

Upon scanning this blog page, I realized that I start most of my posts with "I". This is one of the basic "what not to dos" in any writing class I ever attended. Whoops. Lame huh? Well, TOO BAD. I am living in a world that is all about me meeting the needs of others and this blog is my "Me time". So if I sound narcissistic and self-absorbed, then HOLLA! because I am doing what I set out to do, which is something for ME.

Now I need to go find my children, clean the house, put away three baskets of laundry, plan a list of mind stimulating activities for my offspring and make something nutritious and edible three times today (plus snacks). Me time over....

Here are some pictures that I selected for your Tuesdayness:

We keep the dogs because they are such
fantastic help around the house.

My boys are both natural lady charmers...
Coy kiddos. Killing me!


I call this rosebush "Beauty and the Beast"
because it only produces a singe flower every summer...

...but it's a good one! B&B 2011.
OKAY! One more of Thing 2 in this little old
man outfit. Too redonk not to share.
Have a great day!
Johi

Monday, June 27, 2011

I am a terrible person.

Friday night was DATE NIGHT. It was awesomesauce. Brock and I doubled with another couple. We decided to be thrifty (because we had to be) and drive "somewhere" and "drink some beer and stare into a campfire". So I typed "burning things and loitering in Northern Colorado" into Google and got nothing. Then I tried "Campfires in Northern Colorado". I found a shit ton of campsites which made me feel like I had too many choices and I have no idea what these places look like! and can we can just pull in and find a fire pit? and it is Friday and every place could be full?!?!? and why am I in charge of this???????? After stressing out and swearing I mean sweating profusely (okay both) I made some dip and decided that we should just head up the Poudre Canyon and "see what happened". Poudre is pronounced Poo-der for those non-natives. I can't say it without smiling because on the inside (and on the exterior chestal region) I am 12 years old.

Whatever. We had beer in a cooler. It was all good.

We ended up parking illegally (after dusk) at an area called Picnic Rock, which was the first one up the Poudre Canyon and I desperately screamed "How about this one?", as I was in the back seat and I feared that I would projectile vomit onto the back of Brock's head because I get horribly carsick in the backseat of cars in canyons. My instability ended up working out well for all of us because Picnic Rock had a fire ring and it was the perfect place to drink a beer, listen to the river and star gaze. 

We started the evening with a 90's style senior portrait-esq photoshoot, but our attention was quickly drawn to my husband and his fire making capabilities. 
The "Back 2 Back".
I love it that we both have crazy eyes.
I had picked up firewood and kept telling Brock that I forgot matches, to which he would respond "I have it under control." Lord help us when he answers like that. "Under control" meant that he came equipped with a blowtorch. Do they teach that in Boy Scouts? In record time we had a nice blaze which we pulled our chairs around to prepare for the oncoming calorie consumption and chit chat. After my total bullshit lesson in astronomy and The North Star that I delivered with fake confidence, we all settled into that campfire-induced, glassy-eyed state of staring at the flames. I love that feeling....


Me Man. Me Make Fire.

FIRE.
Me Proud White Man.
 As soon as we were all thoroughly relaxed and laughing and enjoying our rare and precious adult time away from the wee ones, someone looked at a clock and mournfully declared it was time to go relieve the babysitters. In this time, it had also turned from "dusk" to "pitch-ass-black". As prepared as we were with beer and snacks and camp chairs, none of us had thought to bring a flashlight.

My friend's husband brilliantly whipped out his smart phone and allowed the screen to light our path. We made about 678 trips back to the truck, including a very special one, where my friend's husband stepped back against an poorly placed log and fell like a tall pine in the forest. He hit the ground hard, like a 200 pound sack of flour, and I immediately panicked and ran to see if he was okay. All the while, Brock stood paralyzed by his man-fire. Did I mention that said friend's husband just had back surgery two months ago? There was a moment of sheer terror for his safety, but once I realized that he was okay my other persona took over.

I laughed.
I pointed at him and laughed.
I laughed hard.
I can't help it, when people trip and fall, I laugh uncontrollably.
I'm a horrible person.

It started as giggling, then tears welled up in my eyes and I was shaking with that silent laughter... then I guffawed and there is a really good chance that I was snorting by the time it was done.
I'm going to hell.
Could I be a worse human? Apparently yes... because I then, through my tears of glee, I promised him that I wouldn't tell his wife. She was at the truck when he fell and she didn't know it happened. Earlier in the evening he was giving her a hard time about her telling people that he falls all the time and he had insisted that he doesn't.
I felt sorry for him and said, "I won't say a word! Scout's Honor."
Problem is, just like Brock, I was never a scout.

I lasted about 10 whole minutes in the truck on the way home when I mentally relived the moment where this man hit the ground and the giggling erupted again.  I leaned over and said through my laughter "he fell...*giggle*... while you were loading your chair...*guffaw* .... he just stepped back and went down hard...*BAHA!*"
She laughed and smacked my leg and said, "SEE??? I told you!!"
...and then she said, "He is like ~TIMMMBEEEEEER!"
And then I flashed back to my mental image of his 6'2" body going back straight as a tree and hitting the ground so solidly and that was exactly it, and being the delicate flower that I am, I snorted for sure that time.

Then I realized that I am not equipped to ever work with the elderly, I am not a woman of my word and I should not consume so many corn products in one evening.

Here is the dip recipe:

Don't Fall on yer Arse Dip
2 avocados- diced
2 tomatoes- chopped
1/4 cup salsa
1 can corn, drained (I used frozen)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup diced onion
1/8 cup cilantro- chopped
juice of half a lime
pinch of sea salt

Gently mix, serve chilled with corn chips and beer.

I'm still bloated and I deserve it.

And to my girl friend's husband: I'm sorry that your wife selected me, a total asshole, to hang out with . And I'm sorry to be such a disappointment. Let's get together again soon! I had a really great time. Thanks for the CD's. You are awesome.

Peace, Love, and for the love of Pete watch your step around me,
Johi

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happiness is a Berry Good Salad (and some other stuff)

I'm happy. Not in an annoying way like Richard Simmons or that guy from the Bachelorette, but happy enough to make me wish it was always summer. What a fantastic week! I love summer so so much!


We got a new flag for $5.
 The stars must be aligned because it was one of those weeks that was both fun AND productive. Score! (Looking over my head for broken power lines or lightening.)

The weather was wonderful. It ranged from 60's and drizzling (I walked the pooches in this, it was refreshing) to 80's and sunny (the Things and I went swimming!). The nights have been gorgeous too.

My red rosebushes are blooming all over the property.

Tiny little carrots, broccoli, radishes and more are poking their bits of greens out of the soil to say hello. Oh hi there!

We all ate a giant salad picked from our garden last night. Nom nom.

I instructed a herd of children in some pumpkin planting. They still like me. Who knew? I'm like a freaking child whisperer.

Fresh air and sunshine seem to be working miracles around here. Smelly Cat looks healthy. The kids have been sleeping well, and so have I (probably the main reason for all this unusual glee).


"I hope this tiny sailor isn't planning on TOUCHING me...."
The dogs have cut back on their car chasing.

My house could pass for clean (as long as you don't look too closely).

and! I am now an affiliate member of the blogher team. (I'm still not totally sure what this means because I get confused when reading contracts, but I feel excited!)

and! I got a PRIZE from the lovely Just Jinny at A Girl in the Real World! Because SHE IS AWESOME. She called me adorable... hahahahahaaha. I think she might be confusing me for my Things.


^Jinny gave me this here award^

Thanks Jinny~ You are the adorable one! Go forth and read her blog my friends. She is a radiant girl who sees life with such a refreshingly positive point of view. You can't help but smile when reading her blog.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. To help your taste buds in the enjoyment of this warm weather,
here is a recipe for one of my favorite summer meals, and the berries are in season (i.e. Affordable) right now.

Berry Good Salad
(serves 4)
4 chicken breasts or 8 chicken tenders, brushed with 1 part olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar
Grill them!
Bed of salad greens (spinach or spring greens are good choices)
1-2 cups of Fruit/Fresh Berries of choice- I like a mixture mandarin oranges, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup of feta or blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup of candied walnuts or almond slices
Annie's Raspberry Vinaigrette or Poppyseed salad dressing

Gently toss greens, fruit, cheese and nuts together. Slice grilled chicken and lay on top. Drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!



Pre- chicken/cheese is a nice vegetarian/vegan option.

Impress your friends (and bad begging dogs) with
 your creative and masterful meal!
The kids will like this, too.

I see this in my menu for the weekend....
Peace, Love and Unicorns,
Johi

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to leave the house with children.

Back when I was young, carefree and single. I would grab a bottle of water and some chapstick and hop in my truck (which was always spotless inside and out) and just go.

Okay, I would always have some food tucked in my purse, like an apple or a granola bar. No one wants to be around me when I get low blood sugar. And since I live in Colorado, I would also have two extra layers of clothes and sunglasses. It is not uncommon to see people wearing shorts, flip flops and a parka in this state.

Regardless of my chapstick, water, food rations, layers and sunglasses; I could still make it out of the house in 5-15 minutes. I could even eat my breakfast in the vehicle if I was in a hurry.

Since having children, and those children being 1 and 4, it now takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours to leave the house. I wish I was exaggerating. FYI, those are the 1 1/2 to 2 hours that childless people get to use to do things like Exercise, Get Ready to GO (which includes showering and styling your hair) or Have Relations with their Significant Other. Let's all pause and have a moment of silence....

If your house is anything like mine, here is how the 12 hours prior to your leaving will break down:

1.) You will have decided the night before, when your 4 year old didn't go to bed until 9, that you are, in fact, too tired to stay up and get ready to leave.

2.) You will go to bed, but lie there unable to sleep because your husband fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow and his breathing/snoring is keeping you awake.


3.) You will finally nod off at midnight, and if you are lucky, you will sleep through the night until the four year old hovers by the side of your bed at 5:58 a.m., which is clearly an unreasonable hour to be awake.

4.) You or your spouse shuttles him back to bed and you try to get a little more rest because you are exhausted, but you are thinking of everything you need to do and can't sleep so you finally just get up at 6:45.

5.) You put on coffee.

6.) As soon as you sit to drink your coffee, both children are suddenly awake. Awake Children=Needy Children.

7.) You have to feed them, as children require scheduled feedings and it is pretty much cruel to make a small child miss a meal, seeing as they can burn through all of the calories that they consume during a day in one manic wrestling match diapering session. I do not recommend feeding a one year old in your vehicle. Let's leave it at that.

8.) Next, you have to hose down the feeding area because it will now appear as if a Frat party exploded in your kitchen, or a pack of wild dogs. Either way- same result.

9.) Then you look around the house and you realize that it looks like maid quit three months ago and no one bothered to hire another one. This will always be the case when you are trying to leave for the day, even if you spent the ENTIRE previous day cleaning. So if you are like me, you will feel the need to do a quick pick up, because who wants to come home to a dirty house when you have two no-napping children on the verge of a meltdown at 8 pm? Not I....

10.) Then you must get both children dressed and ready for the day. Savor these moments that they let you select their outfit and they aren't spending every day dressed as Spiderman... or Zorro (I know a grown man who did this. And yes, I dated him. My decision making skills are unparalleled...)

11.) Then you must pack a bag with 22 different "emergency situation" outfits, diapers, formula, food, drinks, cups, bottles, bibs, cleaning rags, pj's, blankies, pacifiers(OMG DON'T FORGET THIS!), toys to amuse them in the car, wipes, sunscreen, hats, strollers, backpacks and maybe a pack-n-play, depending on where you are going. When you have all this crap packed up in 3-8 different bags, you will most definitely leave the ONE THING YOU REALLY NEEDED sitting on the kitchen counter.

12.) Now that the children have eaten, the mess is cleaned up, the house in semi-orderly and the bags are packed, you set your precious angels down in front of Max and Ruby and you go get yourself cleaned up.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT skip this crucial step. You will want to. You will think to yourself "I feel like I just ran a damned marathon and we haven't even LEFT yet. This pony tail and these sweats that I slept in last night are fine. I don't need makeup! I'll just throw on a ball cap!"
I say NO!!! Guess what??? If you leave the house like that you will most certainly run into 1 of 2 people: an old boyfriend, or worse, an old flame of your spouse's. GUARANTEED. Go shower and slap on some mascara and deodorant.


13.) Then you put the dogs in the barn or the house, which requires belly crawling under your vehicle to retrieve Red Dog who scuttled away from you and is hiding in dead fly position because she believes that we will never return to throw the ball for her.


14.)Then you herd the excited children and the 500 pounds of crap that you are hauling with you into the vehicle, buckle up and listen to the manic laughing turn into spitting turn into screaming turn into crying.

15.) Then you arrive at your destination and you do your super fun thing that you left the house to do!


Yay! Caged intelligent beings that haven't yet
evolved into humans! ...in a CAGE! yay?

16.) Then you drive home. See 14. If you are us, your children fall asleep in their car seat approximately three miles from the house.

17.) Then you unpack the vehicle and attempt to get the kids to bed before you collapse into an unconscious heap on the kitchen floor.

Have fun traveling with your kids this summer!


We are staying home.


Why would we ever need to leave? We have beer in the fridge and boxed wine in the pantry.

Peace, Love, and Unicorns,
Johi

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

...And then Larry the Cable Guy made me feel all mushy and I may have cried a little.

I would be lying if I told you that I enjoyed every single moment of my childrens' ages. One and four can be rough, yo.

I know that I'm incredibly blessed with my two little carpet monkeys. I do praise and thank God every night for them. It is just that sometimes, during the day, when they are awake and screaming and getting into stuff and covered in sticky OMGWhatisthat?, I temporarily let my mind wander to a fantasy of their older selves. The versions where they are well adjusted, handsome, intelligent men who have carved out their own niche in life (because of my stellar parenting skills, of course). The ones that know not to eat dog doo and touch a hot stove (Thing 1 knows these things, Thing 2, notsomuch).

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy my kiddos every day, just not EVERY moment of every day. There are times that I just want to relax and not worry about them burning or maiming themselves, eating foreign objects, falling into water and drowning, crawling into a horse pen and getting kicked in the head (this happened to me as a young one), choking, climbing on furniture that topples on them, playing in the toilet water, trying to eat out of a dog food bowl, coloring on the walls.... you get the picture. Along with the 24 hour nurturing and feeding and bathing and clothing and comforting and loving and pinning their tiny flailing bodies to the changing table so that they don't hurl themselves onto the floor; our main job is to keep these Shorty High Pockets from killing themselves. Go find that in a parenting book. No one says it, because it is the ugly truth. Parenting is an exhausting way to spend your time, 24-7. Any parent who doesn't admit to this is a liar and should be immediately removed from your facebook friends list.

There is always a moment that snaps me into the present. Something that happens during the children's awake time that shoots right to my heart and makes me remember to cherish these times. Oh! the preciousness was thick yesterday. It was my sweet newly 4 year old Thing 1. We were getting him dressed and I pulled out some shorts. They were plaid, so I took the opportunity to tell him everything I knew about plaid.
Me: Do you know what this pattern is called?
Thing 1: A treesussyiessd. (He makes up words when he doesn't know the answer. Long ones.)
Me: It's PLAID. (That's all I know people. There is no Scottish in my bloodline.)
Thing 1, with a twinkle in his eye and a huge smile: Can I wear my Tow Mater shirt?
Me: Of course! He is awesome!

This may seem like a meaningless conversation to you, but the sweet and earnest way in which he was truly excited to wear a t-shirt with a cartoon truck on it made me turn to mush inside. This little guy is in the prime of his innocence. There is no ego. There is no social bullshit. There is just my wonderful, adoring, tow headed boy. He loves his momma without fail and willing gives me bear hugs and sweet kisses. He loves and emulates his dad every day. He loves his baby brother and has been so sweet to him in the past month (the dinosaur treats are really working out for us over here). He loves Toy Story and Cars and Thomas the Train and Bolt. He wants to be a trash truck driver when he grows up and he thinks cowboys are magical. He. Is. Precious. Times like this, I just want to take him and hold him and keep him from everything that is ugly and hurtful in this world. Times like this I just want to wave a magic wand and make him stay four years old and sweet and full of amazement and innocence forever. He so eager to learn! He is so happy! He watches Ellen with me! He tells me that he loves me at least 10 times a day! Moments like these, that happen almost every day, throughout the day, is what makes me so grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity to be a mother.

The love that mothers feel for our children is unparalleled and indescribable. There is something that these little people do to your heart. The first time you meet that new baby and you touch their skin, you are hooked. It is like they take their tiny chubby baby hand and grab a part of your soul, and you will never get it back. It doesn't matter what kind of torture in the form of sleepless nights, colic, tantrums, and substance leaking out of their body onto you; you will ALWAYS love them. They will tire you out and push your limits like no one has ever before, and you will ETERNALLY Thank God for them. They will take your former life and twist it around and dangle it in your face in mockery and you will smother them in kisses and wonder how you could ever live your life without them.



So what is a corn fed girl to do? Do my best to raise two boys to have values and morals and a strong sense of self. Hold on to these tender moments with my children. Cherish these times when they adore me. Soak up all the hugs and kisses and prepare myself for the day when they are too aware of their peers to give ole' mom a hug. Then I have to prepare for the day when they leave home and Lord knows I will have no idea what to do with myself. *Sigh* Yep, those durn kids really mess with your emotions. Ahhh, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Peace, Love and Tiny Baby Feet,
Johi

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time well spent, mostly.

The weekend contained lots of activities (if you count yard work as an activity). It also was Brock's Birthday and Father's Day.

There was a lot going on. We are really tired. Just like normal.

The kids found a toad. The toad still lives! (Yay for mommy!)


They are not mean boys, I just feared that Thing 2 would attempt
walking near him and topple over. Splat.

I  love toads. I can't help it....
I made another gluten free birthday cake.

As you all know, I made these INCREDIBLE (if I do say so myself) cakes for Thing 1's 4th birthday earlier this month:


Who Who is awesome? ME.
Brock watched the kidlets while my friend helped me assemble and frost. I think this combination may have been my key to success....

When my wonderful devoted husband turned *cough cough*another year older last Friday and I decided that I would bake him a John Wayne cake, wait that sounds hard a cake that said "Happy Birthday Pilgrim"!

I baked. The Things ran around the house like a pack of rabid dogs. I layered. The Things slowly and methodically ripped apart every square inch of my house. I spread raspberry filling in the center. The Things ate food off the floor and licked the mirror. I made the same chocolate buttercream that I made for the Hooty Group up there and then I remembered that my friend owned all of the frosting tips. The Things resisted naptime. Yay! I found some parchment triangles and while the kids screamed I started to write my Duke inspired message to my hubby.... Apparently, I wasn't paying attention to details. Details like s p a c i n g.

 
I'm impressed that it doesn't say "Happy Damn It!"
Yes, those are stickers. I was out of steam.
Don't judge me.

It really doesn't matter. It tasted great. I think Brock knows that I love him. I don't need a cake to tell him....
I tell him every day in my own special ways. Like when I wash his clothes, fold them and put them away. Or how we drink wine together... Or go on our date once a month.... Or when we tag team the kids bedtime routine at night... Or... ehhhh. You get the picture.


We are both MUCH more attractive in person.... I hope.

Saturday and Sunday were spent on the yard. The barn yard, specifically.

We took the barn yard from this:


Yes, the Things are cute, but the weeds.... not so much.
To this!

Tah dah! And the grass seed has been planted in the bare spots.

Good thing we birthed us some workers children. We like to start them young around here.








While Thing 1 and Brock were toiling away with their wheelbarrows, I was raking the crusher (zen garden, anyone?) and watching Thing 2 so that he didn't eat dirt.

Oh surprise! There is red dog with the ball.


Whoopsies.
So I wasn't doing a very good job. The raking was too awesome.

If anyone enjoys eating cake and dirt, kisses, toads, work... and eating dirt, stop by and say hi! Bring your  gloves though, Thing 1 is a real task master.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Where do I sign up for Shady Acres?

Upon much reflection over the weekend, I have decided that the time has come for me to retire and move into an active adult community. Of course, I have based this decision on hard facts:

1. I like gardening, baking, the thought of crafting, sitting in a lawn chair and watching able bodied people labor, cats, ceramic plates, and throw pillows. I also would have no problem watching reruns of The Love Boat or The Golden Girls.


2. I feel that I have met the necessary physical ailment requirements; bad back, sinus problems, headaches, insomnia and the fact that I shrunk 1/2 inch in the past 10 years. As a bonus, I also have metal parts in my left knee so I can tell when it is going to rain. (Not really, but I watch the weather.... which brings us to number 3....)

3. I watch the weather. I also love to talk about the weather.

4. I am really good at playing games. I love Pictionary, Taboo, Poker and Euchre. I don't know how to play Bridge or Canasta, but I am a fast learner.

5. I like Jello.

6. I enjoy reading and I am mildly entertained by The Reader's Digest.

7. I understand the feelings of those that shun technology. I too, enjoy a nice handwritten letter that arrives in an envelope, in the mailbox, with a stamp on it (I used to collect stamps...). I also like record players and still own a VCR.

8. I like naps.

9. I like quiet activities, like identifying flowers, so I could easily start watching birds. The transition would be almost seamless.

9.5. Noise sometimes unhinges me. Good thing my children are such docile, tranquil little creatures.

10. I know who Paul Harvey is.

11. I ROCK AT THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE.

12. I look at young people and sigh, as I reminisce what it was like to be young. Then I roll my eyes at their underwear hanging out of the back of their pants (then I check to make sure my underwear is not on display... then I wonder "Did I remember to put on any underwear?")

13. My childhood toys are over 25 years old, which officially makes them antiques (I don't know if 25 year old things are "officially" antiques, but someone told me that once and I remembered it. It would be like me to remember something that wasn't true)


Holly Hobbie is the shiznit, yo.

14. I am really good at being cantankerous and yelling "HUH?" or "EH?".

15. I like Jello.

16. I also forget what I say and repeat myself. A lot.

17. I like to "lose": my coffee cup, only to find it in the microwave; my glasses, only to find them on top of my head; my train of thought, only to start over again from the beginning; and my patience, which has nothing to do with a retirement home but I thought I should keep this honest.

18. I think that men should still wear hats and three-piece suits and women should wear lipstick and drink martinis. I would also like someone to fix my hair for me while we gossip. I actually don't care if we are talking, I just really need my hair done. It has been since October since a professional touched it. You can tell.

19. I like saying old-fashioned things like "That'll do." and "Goodness Gracious!" and "Jimmeny Crickets!" and "Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck!". I think I would be quite popular.

20. I like putting things in containers that look like doilies and I have a chair named Eleanor.


Oooooo! Pretty!

21. When perusing the Fort Collins Recreator for summer activities, I kept being drawn it by titles like "Bellydancing" and "Scroll Saw Projects" and "Bob Ross Style Painting" or "Moonlight Melody Dances" (they serve refreshments!).  All of these take place at the Senior Center. It's a sign....

2891. I like jello.

Yep, I'm ready. Someone toss me a walker and point me at the nearest bus stop. Shady Acres- here I come!

And all the old people moan "We're not ready...."

Friday, June 17, 2011

I had a Painkiller and now I need a painkiller.

I have been working on this long brilliant post that is supposed to delight and entertain you because I wanted to post is here today. Guess what? I'm not done. Wanna know why? It was book club night last night.

It was a much much much needed girl's night out and I had one margarita and one painkiller. Not in a pill form, but in a drink form. If you have not tried this I highly suggest that you feign a summer attack of H1N1 in front of your boss, take thyself immediately to your local pub and order one (or two). The level of deliciousness provided by this concoction is ridiculous.

Recipe:
SERVES 1-2
2-4 oz. of Pusser's Rum
4 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. cream of coconut
1 oz. orange juice
Grated fresh nutmeg

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add first four ingredients and stir. Pour into cocktail glasses and top with grated nutmeg.


Later the few of us that were avoiding going home still enjoying our evening attempted to go out dancing because we were in Old Town Ft. Collins and that is where the action is! Except for last night, where we only saw two guys taking turns break dancing, a bachelorette party that was on the verge of falling asleep from boredom and one really REALLY drunk girl. So instead of dancing, one member of our group rocked it out all by herself and beat the high score on the Mrs. Pacman game at the bar. WOOT WOOT! Actually living during the eighties has its perks after all, aside from the John Hughes films...

Even without the dancing, it was a wonderful night. I just don't sleep well with alcohol in my system. Or when the dogs are fighting in the next room. Or when they bust the gate because it is raining outside and they are scratching at our door because being with us in our room somehow makes it all better..... But when I woke up I was too tired to do anything (like write a post that required thought- see this entire week of posts.... sorry) except wish Brock "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!" and tell him "I love you!"

I even sang him the Birthday song. Damn, he is a lucky man.

It is his special day and I greeted him this morning with crazy hair and a slight headache. I like to keep it classy like that. I will make up for it by honoring him later with gifts and cake. Now I need to go make a cake. No owls today! I wish I knew how to make a John Wayne cake.....


No I didn't make this- the yumyum cake person did. This looks too hard.....
However, there is a strong chance that I will write Happy Birthday Pilgrim on the cake that I make.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

I am pretty sure that my horoscope just called me flaky.

Yesterday I missed the play date that I had been looking forward to all week (sunshine! picnic! other kids to entertain Thing 1! hand selected cool moms!) because my precious little Froodley Doodley Snoodley Thing 2 was napping right through the time that I was supposed to be there.

I have done a lot of things in my day.

I have hiked to snowy mountain peaks.
I have taken public transportation (no, I don't want to talk about it).
I cut my own bangs.
I remove splinters with a pocket knife.
I was almost attacked by a bear.
I recently rode my bike without the proper amount of brakes (scarier than the bear).

But I don't do one thing: I don't wake sleeping babies.



I hope the other moms at the play date understand.
But maybe they don't. When I checked my horoscope, it said this:

You're the liquid that takes the shape of its container, Pisces. Even though this may seem like the most non-confrontational way to do things, you may find that it's actually a cause of great frustration for you and others. People may be annoyed that you're always following someone else's lead instead of taking the initiative. Try to be more assertive while continuing to be easygoing.
Fine. I am going to be more assertive with Thing 2.
I'll practice...
GO TO SLEEP NOW, LITTLE BABY!
WAKE UP NOW, LAZY LITTLE BABY!

Nope. That is not going to work for me.... Until my kids are older, consider me liquid. Liquid in the form of wine.... in a wine glass. Flaky schmaky, my children need their sleep.
Cheers!

Johi

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

RECIPE!!! Yes, I still cook!

Barbecue season is upon us! *jumps for joy!*


BYOB
"Bring your own baby to hold your beer"


I apologize for being inadequate with my recipe posting. I have about ten recipes that I am ready to share with you but I keep posting about my flowers. Whoops.
We went to a BBQ at a friend's house last Saturday and I made this little treat. Thanks for the recipe Mom!



(I did some modifications and will post the original recipe below)

Going to a Party!Cold Veggie Salad

1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 can drained and rinsed black beans (I think Chick Peas would be great too)
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped red pepper

Mix gently into bowl

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar

Mix and heat on low while stirring until dissolved. Pour over veggie mixture.
Chill and serve.

Vegan-friendly; dairy, egg, nut, soy and gluten free! Great with corn chips or just as a veggie side dish.

I actually think you could add the chick peas to the recipe, in addition to the black beans. There was plenty of liquid left over.

My mom's original recipe called for:
1 can drained corn
1 can drained peas
1 can drained french green beans
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 jar of drained pimentos

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c oil
1/2 c vinegar
~heated and poured over veggie mixture
~serve chilled

Either way you make it, it is delicious!

What's that? You wanted to see what is blooming this week?
Twist my arm....



The peonies get my award for "Flower of the Week!"
Their fragrant and showy blooms get center stage in my
kitchen, right next to a stack of bills, a broken toy and receipts
from my wallet.....

Dianthus (I think!)


Pretty in Pink Carnations!
Carnations are one of my favorites, as long as people
aren't trying to disguise them as roses!



I don't know what this bush is, but the blooms are precious.

Hollyhock buds!

Crab crawl! Hahaha!


Happy Summer!
 Peace, Love and Unicorns,
Johi