Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The thing about lipstick

The thing about lipstick is that it's kind of essential for my face. Why? Because. I've got these lips that, for reasons unknown to me, are so terribly pale that if I don't wear lipstick, it looks like I haven't got any lips. Like I've just got a line for a mouth, like a muppet or something. If you've seen me without makeup (which of course you have if you've ever seen me outside of church), you've probably come away scratching your head trying to figure out what looked so funny. I'll tell you--it's because I appeared to be missing a mouth. That's why I love lipstick, and why I try to wear it semi-frequently.

It can be a little tricky, though. I can't wear anything too red, because then I look a teensy part hooker-ish and a teensy part like I've been playing in Mother's makeup. I also tried this plumping lip gloss once. Just for fun. It kind of stung/itched for a little bit, but after that I had these big, plump lips. Kind of fun, and a lot cheaper than Botox, I thought. Then J caught a glimpse of me, did a double take and stared at my mouth with a twisty, horrified expression. "What is WRONG with your mouth???" I started laughing; he kept staring, trying to make it go away. "I tried this plumping lip gloss," I explained through my giggles. "Ewwww. Please don't ever do that again!" he said, unable to rip his eyes away. "Kiss me!!" I said, as I puckered up and chased him out of the bathroom.

Chestnut colored lip liner from Estee Lauder is also crucial. It goes with everything and-- although it costs a small fortune--lasts forever. Estee Lauder also had my all time favorite lipstick. Can't remember the name--something about 'nude'--but it was the perfect shade. Like the unicorn of lipsticks. Perfect shade, perfect gloss. Dress it up or down, just like a little black dress. Then one of my children destroyed it, and when I went back for more, found that it had been discontinued. A sad, sad day in the cosmetic world. I've tried a ton of 'nude' lipsticks since then, which is why I have a drawerful of half-used nude lipsticks.

One time, in very much of a hurry, I dashed out the door with only lipliner on. When, halfway through my day of teaching preschool art, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. It looked like I had just drawn lips on my face with a crayon. When I confronted J about it (clearly, his husbandly duties include telling me when my makeup looks like an illustration) he shrugged sheepishly and said, "I thought that's how you wanted it." I thought that's how you wanted it??? Another time, we were in his hometown going to his best friend's parent's Christmas party. We were driving over and I was having to apply makeup in the dark. Well, let me tell you what, it's not good when your lipliner and eyeliner are packaged the same way. I walked in to the party looking like this completely goth chick, dark brown eyeliner lining my lips. And again, no warning. Good times, good times...

J claims to like me better without makeup (less to get on his shirt and whatnot), but somehow I feel the need to prove to the world I've got lips. So tell me, what's your favorite shade? Or your favorite must-have cosmetic? Maybe I'll go try it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's Official

So, Wild Man Sam turned 5, and now, I'm like totally a soccer mom. I've had the van full of kids for a while, but now it's official. We gave him 'soccer' for his birthday--a ball, clothes, shin guards, cleats and eight Fridays from 4:15 to 5:00. Imagine me doing a little soccer mom dance around my kitchen. Yeah, fun.

On so many levels, it's hard to believe he's been here for five years. It's been a wild ride with this (intense, brilliant, beautiful, wild) one.

Here he is with the remains of his breakfast in bed. Per his request, it was chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, and eggs. And a juice box. He ate really fast, and I've got four kids, so I didn't get an actual "in bed" picture and you'll just have to use your imaginations.

His light saber cake. This year's theme was Star Wars, even though he didn't have a friend party. He's already requested a 'friend party Star Wars birthday' next year.

Star Wars cookies. Out of this world. (Sorry, I couldn't resist)

The official, size 3 for ages 8 and younger, soccer ball.

Star Wars legos--the other favorite gift. His expression is only one of a kazillion I see every day. Lucky me.

His first day of co-op preschool 2010.

First day of soccer. He's the one in the grey top.

Kicking in his first goal while all the kids chant his name. Made my soccer mom heart proud.

His good friend Dylan is on the same team. Hopefully they'll grow up together and this picture will be priceless.

Instead of a friend party, he chose to do something fun (Imagine Children's Museum) and take a friend (Dylan) along.

Pretend vet buddies.

Yes, he has his mouth on it. Yes, I'm completely disgusted.

Since his birthday, he's really taken "5" quite seriously. He's a huge helper, very obedient, and very responsible. All of a sudden.

How glad I am that he's in our family. How glad I am that I survived the first 5 years of his life. Did I mention that he has an invisible parachute that he uses to jump off of very visible, tall play structures? Also, I--surprisingly--had to make it a rule to "keep your eyes open and uncovered while riding your bike". He's a delightful, funny kid who has taught me a lot about patience and laughing. His mind absolutely amazes me and I absolutely cannot wait to see what he does to this world. Love you a million, billion, zillion, Son.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A new theme song

When J and I got married, our "song" was "L-O-V-E" by Nat King Cole. Loved that tune. Whenever we heard it we'd look at each other and smile with a romantic twinkle in our eyes. Our tune has changed. Now, it's the circus theme. It's playing in my head at this moment, in fact. When things get hairy, we look at each other and sing it, now with a sort of crazed glint in our eyes.

I wish J would have been there to sing it with me on Saturday when I went to the grocery store with ALL FOUR KIDS. ...and I swore we'd be chewing on food storage wheat before I did this...

J is out of town. Church luncheon on Sunday, Sammy's birthday (=light saber cake) on Monday. No babysitters available.

Albertson's, ready or not, here we come.

All five of us, in the car, in the parking lot, to the store.
Sweetie in the cart basket, Buddy in the seat.
No room for food in the cart.
Cute boy scouts at the entry asking for food donations.
Check prices of fruit and veggie trays for luncheon. I'll get those last.
Run through the store. Weekly ads, shopping list, and boy scout list in hand.
Ho-hos, black licorice and ice cream cones for the light saber cake.
Pasta and cereal for the boy scouts.
Ooooh, Honey Nut Cheerios are on sale. Must buy 10 for the discount.
Everyone carry a box, please.
Sweetie starts crying.
Sammy is explaining his cake to the worker.
I'm glad, so they don't think I'm just feeding my kids this junk for fun.
Crying is louder. Buddy's trying to grab things off the shelf.
Check out.
Hand off food to the scouts.
Let the kids ride bikes to celebrate a mostly successful trip.


Forgot the fruit and veggie trays.

Back in the car.
Back in the store.
Carrying Sweetie in her seat. Holding Buddy's hand. Pushing the cart. Don't ask me how.
Boy scouts have had a shift change and are asking for more food. I explain, over the crying.
To the fruit and veggies.
Not enough. Shoot. Search some more.
Why are there 10 boxes of mushrooms in my cart?
Oh, Buddy! Stop!
Come back!!
Shhhhh,'s okay...
Load up with fruit and veggie trays.
Do you want me to leave without you?
To the self-check. No time to wait.
Buddy's now loading us up with 5-hour energy drinks.
Turn back for 1 sec.
Where did my cart go?
Girlie and Sammy are trading rides.
Give the Look.
Stop. Now.
Shhh, Sweetie, shhhh.
Why does it say "Wait for attendant"???
Grab all the hands, infant carriers, carts, and bags I can get my hands around.
Stink. I forgot my coupon.

Cue the circus theme.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fall Mantels, Elements

Welcome to fall mantel 2010. Only one of a kazillion ways to usher in the new season. (Okay, truthfully, I feel like throwing a kicking-and-screaming tantrum that summer is over. We hardly had any sun here in Seattle. I'm feeling pretty gypped at this point and it was with a little bitterness that I pulled out my four boxes of fall decor. But I digress.)

If you're like a lot of people, you know what you like when you see it, but have a difficult time producing the results from scratch. So, for this fall mantel, I'm going to point out some elements, so that you can train your eye to see why you like something (and then produce your own gorgeous fall display at home).

1--I started with my favorite fall garland. This is actually two pieces that overlap in the middle to give it some centering fullness. The garland sort of underscores the whole arrangement, draws it all together. I used white artists tape to secure it. It doesn't leave any sticky residue. (See below for my taping method)

2--Then I attached some bunches of Indian corn (I buy these at pumpkin patches or the grocery store and use them year after year). They are bound on the husks so they don't sever the corn from the husks. I also taped them to the mantel like this:

They're a little heavy so I put a crosswise piece of tape over this tape to secure it.

3--The green window was already in place (thanks to Mother's Day), but I added another ($2 at an antique sale!). I turned it perpendicular to the other window for variety, and placed it off center. I love the old chippped paint texture.

4--Balance is really important here, even in an asymmetrical arrangement. I added the hydrangea wreath for some visual "weight" on the left side. It's hung with a wreath hanger I stole off my front door.

5--I LOVE berries, and the color on these ones. They are on a wired vine, which makes them super easy to work with. They are taped in two places at the top (you can see the left one). They add some fun texture and mirror the berry cones I've got on the left side.

6--Berry cones (from Target last year). It gives some nice height and unusual shape to the mantel. If you're using two of the same things together, vary the height (you could use candle holders like this, old books, vintage wooden crates, etc). They're also a 'weightier' element. The deep orange color is gorgeous. Unfortunately, it gets lost against my red wall. Next year I'm going to try to find some old, grey barnwood for a background.

All the different textures make it visually interesting.

7--Fall is all about pumpkins, right? This one is tipped toward the front. I rolled some tape (you can see it at the bottom) to help keep it in place. The smaller window, to me, looks almost like a setting all it's own.

8--Of course I had to add candles! A small detail element, to round out the variety of sizes. They look so warm and inviting, like "Come on in for some hot cider and apple pie!"
So, the thing that this mantle has going is variety. There are big windows, small pumpkins and candles. Circle wreaths and pumpkins, triangle berry cones and Indian corn, rectangle windows. It's got elements on either side to visually balance it, and underlining garland that ties the crazy mess all together.
Questions? Leave a comment to let me know if these were helpful ideas.

PS: Here's a link to last year's mantel.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What We Did in August

This if for anyone who wondered why we were MIA in August. If you didn't wonder, well, then I might question your choice of reading material.

J got 4 weeks of paternity leave. Did I mention that we love working for Microsoft? We tried to make the most of it. We got a lot of home projects done, like the girls room, a mini project in the kids bath (I'll blog about these later), and the garage organized (which I probably won't blog about). We also had a lot of fun doing things like...

contemplating the universe

loitering on the front porch

workin' a purple helmet while showing off some mad bike skills

testing gravity

cruising Puget Sound

cheering that there was a 'tennis' court at St. Edwards Park

getting ready to jump down that hole

figuing out how to get down

plotting a splash park take over

sun worshipping


comparing melon sizes

back yard water ballooning

blue eyeing

dining alfresco

getting within spitting distance of a giraffe

riding a bronze elephant

sincerely hoping that none of the kids spring over the edge, because the Woodland Park Zoo sign clearly states that items cannot be retrieved

{brass} monkeying around

channeling our inner Tai Lung (Kung Fu Panda)

being matchy-matchy blue squared


betting on the depth of Lake Washington

and testing the temperature of the water at Waverly Beach Park

being surprised
blocking traffic at Pike Place Market (with Uncle Jamie and Aunt Lauren)

hiding from the kids at the Museum of Flight

taking Twin Falls by storm

slaving over a hot stove

taping up our faces with Liam from Utah (because that's weird enough without commentary from me)


smelling a baby

and being too tuckered out from all our activities to actually make it into bed.

And that's just the stuff we took pictures of.