Friday, October 24, 2014

POTD 2014 | september 1-10

244.365 | she's back!

she's back!

After spending Labor Day weekend out of town and Shadow at the dog watcher's house, we were reunited in a flurry of hugs and kisses and tail wags. She rode in the backseat, so clearly happy to be going back home to see her family. And we were so happy to see her.

245.365 | back to school. YES!
back to school. YES!

I love my kids. But it was absolutely time for them to go be entertained and educated by someone else besides Mom-Mom-Mom. It's a funny thing. In June, I am excited and energized to have my babies all to myself for the summer. But come August, I am counting the minutes to Labor Day weekend, knowing that the next day they will be off with their friends and teachers and textbooks.


Time for my mani-pedi.

And then back to work.

246.365 | in the window.
in the window.

All summer long we waited for a single butterfly to take a rest on the flowers in front of our house. Supposedly these flowers "attract butterflies". Well, make that "attract butterfly" because this was the only one we saw since we planted the flowers back in May. So much for ecology.

247.365 | where is my friend?
where is my friend?

Shadow looks out this window and can see almost exactly into the neighbor's door. If it's open, she will likely be looking right at her BFF Fiona the Dog. Then they will bark at each other until no human can tolerate the noise anymore and finally lets them out to play.

Dogs 1, People 0.

248.365 | shawshank shadow.

shawshank shadow.

Shadow went all Shawshank Redemption on us. She chewed her way through the long leash in the backyard and made a run for it. I think she may have been gone for a total of 94 seconds, but still. As the Puppy Mommy, she completely freaked me out.

249.365 | date night.
date night.

Datenight. Grey Goose martini. No kids menus. A welcome break from the daily grind.

250.365 | unfinished business.

unfinished business.

Our street has been under construction for a good year now. It was finally the day they put down the sod to cover the giant patch of dirt in our lawn. Except that.... apparently the dinner bell rang. The workers left for the day with this tiny patch remaining. It made me think - in what other job can an employee get away with leaving before they are done? So blatantly un-done.

251.365 | who am i?

who am i?

Today, I will be called Debbie.

253.365 | moon over my homie.
moon over my homie.

During a nighttime walk in the backyard with my pup, I noticed the full moon glowing over my house. It was so bright I could see the outline of our house, the trees and even the electrical wires. For what it's worth, thanks to the light of the moon, I could even see our black dog in the backyard.

254.365 | what a pita-ful lunch.
what a pita-ful lunch.

This was my lunch today. Hummus, sliced tomatoes, Kalamatas and Feta all on a pita.

OK, and yes, I am aware that need to stop with these terribly corny photo titles.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

POTD 2014 | august 21-30

233.365 | ready for school.

ready for school.

We re all registered for third grade, supplies are handed in, fees are paid. David is ready. And as a side note, he is convinced the school painted the hallway stripes in Bears colors. Sweet kid. Go on.

234.365 | sparring competition.
sparring competition.

David  participated in a sparring competition at the dojo today. He fought hard, beat his opponents and ended up winning third place in the ENTIRE tournament! I loved seeing the look of joy and pride on his face as he showed me his medal. Good job, David! Way to fight!

235.365 | tomato, tomato.
tomato, tomato.

It's that time of year again. Tomato lineup time.

236.365 | tomato lunch.
tomato lunch.

For two weeks solid, this was my lunch of choice. Garden fresh tomato and basil, delicious, healthy and easy. You can say I'm addicted to Caprese. Next thing you know, I'll be raising an Italian cow so she can make me fresh mozzarella...

237.365 | not it.
not it.

Here is a sad tomato from our garden... and the bite mark was not mine. Raaaaabbits......

238.365 | nice glasses.

nice glasses.

Sam had her eye doctor appointment today. While we were waiting, the kids tried on some crazy glasses. Looking at them, I wonder exactly what year it is.... 2014 or 1984?

238.365 | write on!
write on!

School is nearing and the kids aren't the only ones needing to refocus their energies. Mom needs to get all her Box Tops plans in gear! First contest of the school year: Box Tops are Write On! Every student in the school will get a brand new pencil... because they, too, are Write On! Corny, perhaps. But the kids love it so that overrules corny by a mile.

239.365 | time to make the donuts.
time to make the donuts.

David had been BEGGING to make some donuts in his donut making machine. I looked at him, puppy dog eyes, pouty bottom lip, over-defined dimples... and of course told him yes! Forty-five minutes of cooking for a gleefully content little boy? I'd say that's priceless.... or at least worth a dozen homemade donuts. With sprinkles.

240.365 | pizza at nana's house.
pizza at nana's house.

There is something special about having pizza night at Nana's house. First, unlike when mom and dad order pizza, you can ask for whatever you want on the pizza and Nana will order it. Second, the pizza is good. Really good. Third, Nana orders a lot of pizza. The term "Pizza Buffet" was coined right here in Nana's kitchen. Other phrases often used: "Enough food for an army," and "We pay the pizza place's rent."

241.365 | oops, I smashed the cake.
oops, i smashed the cake.

Due to extremely busy schedules, travel plans and fall sports, we celebrated Pat's and Sam's birthdays a little early. They took turns making their wishes and blowing out the candles. Papa picked up the cake to bring it to the counter to slice and -- WHOOPSIE! Everyone was in stitches, laughing till our sides hurt. Except Sam. Sam didn't quite see the humor of her cake smashed all over Papa's shirt.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Stitch Fix Delivery Falls Short

Well, here it is. I ordered my second delivery from Stitch Fix.

[Giant Parenthesis]
If you don't know what Stitch Fix is, read my first post about it. Then click my referral link to order your delivery so I can get credit. You doubt me now, but you WILL want to sign up. I think it may be a cult. A very pretty, well dressed cult.
[End Parenthesis.]

With all that hype, I hate to say it but I'm really disappointed this time. I have heard about people not liking their Fix, telling their stylist why, and then the next month they want to purchase all five pieces. So maybe I'll try it again sooner rather than later.... After all, I'm doing this all in the name of blogging and informing the public. Really.

So here goes....

Oh wait. First, a disclaimer: these might just be the worst selfies EVER. Ok, moving on.

So yesterday was another day "in the office" (glued to my laptop). I had no grand plans for meetings, shopping, lunch or any human contact. Just me and my butt in a chair and the dog wanting to play.

This is my BEFORE: Old Navy men's sweater. It was my husband's, headed for Goodwill until I went in for the interception. Capri leggings (stretchy, easy and comfortable) and Chucks.

So here are the first two items. On top is the grey Ezra crochet detailed knit short sleeved sweater. I like this one. I may keep it. I could wear it all year, layered or not. (Maybe?) The only catch is that it's rather sheer so I have to layer at least with a tank. No biggie.

Then there's these dark blue Mavi skinny jeans. I can't even begin to tell you how fast I said no, even before I tried them on. And then I put them on and, while my face looks confused in the picture, I was laughing my backside right off. Because..... I had put them on backwards. I pulled them on and thought, "Gee, these are the absolute worst fitting pants in history." As I took them off 2.5 seconds later, I realized... no, it can't be. Yes. It was. They were backwards. They zip and button in the back. Who on earth designed these freaking pants? I would need an assistant not only to get dressed and undressed but also - god forbid I had to go to the bathroom at any point during the day - I would need a helper to go potty with me!

I am going out on a limb and declaring these the stupidest pants ever made. 

So I thought I'd throw on a pair of my own jeans with the sweater. Except. Um. My jeans drawer was empty. So I ran downstairs to the dryer. Nothing. I darted back upstairs to search through the three baskets of dirty clothes (who's in charge of laundry around here, anyway? Jeesh!). This blog is anti-smell-o-vision so I knew it would be safe for you. :)

Much better don't you think?

Next up... this burgundy RD Style chunky-ish, short in front/long in back knit sweater. Nope. This style didn't suddenly become more flattering on me since last time. Get. It. Off.

I got a dress! I wanted to try one with my cool, new-ish boots. I love stripes. But, as I learned, these particular stripes do not like me. This black and white striped, flared dress by Pixley was horrible on me. I couldn't find a single flattering angle to even shoot this garbage iPhone picture. Straight on was, amazingly, the best angle. Yuck.

Can you see the growing look of disappointment on my face?

Finally, the last piece. I was kind of excited about this - they sent me a jacket! Grey wool peacoat by Tulle. I knew there could be a problem just looking at it. It's double-breasted. Nothing double-breasted has ever looked good on me. But I know better with Stitch Fix. Just try it, right? I put my dirty jeans back on and picked a simple green t-shirt so you would be able to see the jacket. And also I like green. First, I almost broke something getting the jacket on. It was really snug. I couldn't button it without using force or duct tape or both. Although it looks cute unbuttoned, it's pretty impractical to buy a jacket that not only can you not button, but you can't move in in it either. Bleh.

Better luck next time, Stitch Fix Stylist Lady. You can do it! I know it!

So what do you think, friends? Should I keep the grey sweater? Or should I keep the pants and frame them with a plaque that says, "don't be this dumb."?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

POTD 2014 | august 15-20

227.365 | gifts for teachers.
gifts for teachers.

What a great pile of back-to-school presents for the teachers, thanks to Labels for Education! They got everything from boxes of crayons to electric pencil sharpeners to a chart stand. Have a good year, teachers.

228.365 | cukes.

This summer we gave cucumbers a try in our garden. After a while, I thought nothing was going to grow. And then they did. All at once.

229.365 | backyard friend.
backyard friend.

Tyler and David became friends through our backyard. Today Tyler moved away to a different state. David was absolutely devastated. He really liked having one neighbor friend. Now there is nobody.

It makes me sad, too, because my kids are growing up in an older, completely kid-less neighborhood. They will never know the joy of merely "going outside to play" and instantly meeting up with the other kids on the block to play tag, catch, roller skate on a driveway or just roll in the grass and stare at the clouds.  My neighbors left a lasting impression on me and I only wish my kids could have that experience.

230.365 | summer-fresh lunch.
summer-fresh lunch.

This is my favorite time of the year for food. Everything is so fresh... farmers market lettuce and tomatoes, home-grown cucumbers and basil. Topped with my usual Feta and olives and homemade dressing. This is lunch.

231.365 | cuddles and his dog.
cuddles and his dog.

Seriously. This is too much.

David loves to get down on the floor or couch or wherever Shadow is laying and cuddle her. He just gently lays down by her and wraps his arms around her (well, as far as they'll go... she's giant-sized).

Today I caught it. Just look at them. This is love and happiness all rolled into one giant hug.

232.365 | locker combination.

locker combination.

Today I registered my baby girl for middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL. JUNIOR HIGH. Sigh.

Part of being in middle school is remembering (trying!) the combination for your locker, dialing it perfectly right and pulling the lock open with the perfect balance of control and brute force. And then once the locker is open, remembering what it was you needed.

This is it, Sam. Welcome to middle school. You've got this.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

POTD 2014 | august 9-14

So remember when it was summer? A lot of families take a vacations in the summer.... and so did we. I realize that it's Sort-of-Officially Fall and we are all getting our sweaters out of storage. However, I'm just now playing catch up and sharing some pictures of summer, vacation and people wearing shorts. Enjoy...

221.365 | flying at the fair.
flying at the fair.

vacation day 1.

Today we spent the day at the Wisconsin State Fair. And since we were considering it part of our vacation, we did our best not to rush past all the rides, snacks and games and leave within 90 minutes. No, we DID the State Fair. The kids rode rides. And rode them some more. We ate. And then ate some more. Then the kids squealed down the Giant Slide (you know the one) and bounced on the bungee-corded trampolines.

Consider the State Fair mission accomplished. Check.

222.365 | red hot chili peppers.
red hot chili peppers.

vacation-ish day #2

We grew some red hot chili peppers this summer. Seriously. And we did it so that I could eventually use that photo caption. No, just kidding. Pat wanted to make his own red pepper flakes. Which he did.

223.365 | toothless in minnesota.
toothless in minnesota.

vacation day #3

That tooth! That tooth had been hanging by a literal thread for what seemed like eternity. It finally came out. Right in the middle of the Mall of America.

224.365 | bugs in the microscope.
bugs in the microscope.

vacation day #4

Today we spent the day at the Minnesota Science Museum. Of all the various exhibits and experiments, the one that captured their attention the most was looking at tiny insects through microscopes. Yay bugs?

225.365 | oh, those faces!
oh, those faces!

vacation day #5

So there's this giant roller coaster inside the Mall of America. Several of them, in fact. The kids - all three of them, haha - loved  the rides. Personally, I found the view.... entertaining. Just look at those faces!

226.365 | iowa city.
iowa city.

vacation day #6

I've been wanting to go back to Iowa City for years and today we finally did. After lunch at the Airliner (that sounds funny to me!) I gave a very miniature tour of the campus. And the university bookstore. Where we just might have gotten applause from the cashiers on our way out.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

POTD 2014 | august 1-8

213.365 | lunch and a book.
lunch and a book.

There is something very freeing about having a drink with lunch while reading a book while sitting outside on a sunny day. And even better, not to be in a hurry for once.

214.365. farewell.

Over fifteen years ago we picked the tiny kitten that was sitting in her food dish.

We loved her, our first baby with fur.

We loved her even when she snagged up our brand new (at the time) couch...climbed the screens on our doors and windows...pooped on me... puked all over our various houses... made my eyes itch...hissed at all our friends and family...drank my Heineken and ate my ice cream. We loved her when she curled up at our feet in bed... got comfortable on our laps and watched TV with us... hovered protectively over my pregnant belly (when it was)... meowed at the birds and the squirrels and the chipmunks... spread out lazily in a sunny window... played with a string or laser light for 3.5 seconds... greeted us at the door when we came home... purred with delight when we pet her behind the ears and under her chin (but never her belly)... meowed with concern when the kids cried... fought over the "good spot" on the couch when the fire was lit.... and so much more.

With our EC (Evil Cat), it was the little things that made her sweet. Truthfully, no one who ever visited our home in the last 15 years believes us when we say she was a sweet cat, but it's the truth. We saved her, we loved her, we nurtured her. And in the end, we couldn't bear to see her suffer any longer so we protected her from pain.

Farewell, kitty. Thank you for being such an important, cuddly and tender part of our family. We miss you already.

E.C. the Cat
04.30.1999 - 08.02.2014

215.365 | tall and short-ish.
tall and short-ish.

Tonight Pat and I celebrated our 14 years of marriage-ness (three days early, but the kids were at Nana and Papa's so.... I'll take three days early over not at all).

First, we went to a local steakhouse that has been calling our name... for five years. Eddie Martini's was SO AWESOME. In fact, we are searching for a reason to go back. Someone, quick, give us a reason (and the funding) to go back.

Afterward we walked over to Cafe Bavaria for some (more) drinks. for the record, no, we don't always match our drinks. The shorty (me) got the tall beer and the tall guy got the short glass. No matter, they always fit together. Just like us.

216.365 | brave.


Selfies are such the rage that people tend to forget that they require a certain level of bravery... and I'm not super brave. Group selfies, ok. Friend selfies, sure. But individual selfies, eek.

I was dressed and ready to leave the house to meet a new client when I realized that I was DRESSED. And not in something that consisted of a Cotton/Spandex blend with matching running shorts. This was really something. So click I went. Feeling so brave and actually happy about it!

P.S. StitchFixers - The blue silky tank is from StitchFix, with a 3/4 sleeved cardigan from my closet and a purple necklace from my drawer that matched the shirt surprisingly well. You can't see the khaki-colored pin-striped dress-up capris that I had to retrieve from the basement "storage" closet. Note to selfie: wear this outfit again.

217.365 | pool chairs.
pool chairs.

The late afternoon's setting sun casts its glowing rays onto the chairs, and the chairs mark their place with these beautiful, perfectly even lines of shadow on the concrete. This is summer at the pool.

218.365 | dew drops.
dew drops.

This is a sign. Fall is coming when you can see dew drops on leaves in the early morning. Fall is coming... yet somehow I don't remember summer ever starting.

219.365 | buried in the sand.

buried in the sand.

My friend and I came around the bend and... WHAT THE?!?!?! At  the playground, Samantha was buried under the sand all the way up to her chin. BY REQUEST. Who asks for this? I was speechless, standing there like a buffoon with my mouth hanging open. I literally had no idea what to do about this.

Needless to say, we left the park immediately following her Godzilla-like exit from the sand-cocoon.

220.365 | happy puppy.
happy puppy.

It wouldn't be a proper week of 365 if I didn't include a gratuitous puppy picture. Here's my Shadow, as happy as can be. If I didn't know better, I'd swear she's smiling.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

POTD 2014 | july 15-31

Part II of the Great Photo a Day Summer Catch Up... resuming with mid-July.

196.365 | so tall.
so tall.

I know, glancing at this photo, it's nothing special. But where there's no quality, there's great story. I think that's how the Chinese proverb goes.

I had picked up the kids from summer school and as we were walking down the grassy berm in the middle of the parking lot, I turned around to ask them something - how was summer school, what did they want for lunch, or why were they walking so slowly. However, instead of asking them anything, I stared in momentary disbelief. They were SO TALL. Who were these giant kids and what did they do with my babies? My, they grow fast.

197.365 | my boy and his dimples.
my boy and his dimples.

I did some location scouting today and my one willing model happened to be wearing green that day. It's like David went all camouflage on me. All that you can really see is his cute little dimple. Love that boy.

198.365 | at the carwash.

at the carwash.

It makes me smile that a carwash is a major entertainment event for the kids. Oh, the squeals and giggles! Plus, I can guarantee it will rain tomorrow.

199.365 | [insert twilight zone music here.]
[insert twilight zone music here.]

At the end of our dinner at PF Chang's, this is the fortune I found in my fortune cookie. Can we say CREEPY? See, lately we have been discussing the fact that we haven't moved in over five years - a personal record for us. Yet, apparently my fortune thinks this is our year. The word on the back of the fortune: December. The word in my head: OMG.

200.365 | see shadow walk.
see shadow walk.

Look at this puppy! Wow, don't blink - she's moving SO FAST you might not see her.


At least she's cute.

201.365 | facetime.

When the cousins want to play, they will play. This isn't a half-bad idea... playing YuGiOh cards via FaceTime. Sure beats being bored.

202.365 | summer is hard.
summer is hard.

Summer school. Play dates. Sewing class. Pool time.

Mom 1, Sam nap.

203.365 | speedwalker.


You see, when Shadow doesn't budge from her spot-of-the-moment along our walk, it gives me plenty of time to stand around and take pictures of her. I have to do it quick because wow, look how fast she's going.

Someday I know she will be a great walking and running partner. But for now, she's just being a puppy who is easily distracted by sitting down and watching bunnies.

204.365 | i scream for patience.
i scream for patience.

I surprised the kids with a trip to Yo Mama! after we ran all our boring errands. But of course, even ice cream (yogurt) can be boring...

Whenever we visit Yo Mama! Sam wants to color a picture to add to their wall of art. The only problem with this is that she's a perfectionist, cannot stop if it's not complete and won't take go for an answer. We have to fight through a little of impatience (see above) but her drawing is always amazing and worth the wait.

In defense of David, not only is he only 8 years old, he's her BROTHER. He's filled the job description perfectly.

205.365 | frozen pizza.
frozen pizza.

It was a frozen pizza night, a common occurrence in our house. With all the kids' evening summer activities - swimming, karate, track - Pat working late, plus dog training class and running my business,  there are times that dinner is the last thing from my mind. Either it's not planned, not defrosted or not available without calling a phone number (or going to the grocery store).

So tonight was a frozen pizza night. With our garden bursting with jalepenos, of course they ended up on his part of the pizza. While it looks pretty, I wouldn't dare... I generously let him eat all those peppered pieces (which he said were delicious).

206.365 | another one bites the dust.

another one bites the dust.

On the exact day I receive my replacement external hard drive, my dog chews up the case for it. It had been sitting on my desk, empty for weeks, while I went about the process of replacing the failed drive. Apparently the soft-sided  nylon case looked suspiciously like a dog toy. Hello, Amazon?...

207.365 | the first tomato.

the first tomato.

Hooray to the first tomato of the summer garden! In about a month, when the rest of the tomatoes start ripening, we will commence the cooking of salsa, pasta sauce, Caprese salad, BLTs and more. I can't wait!

208.365 | nice shoes.
nice shoes.

A family that wears ugly shoes together, bowls together.

209.365 | watching them work.

watching them work.

Today we had a dead tree cut down. The crew showed up with all sorts of equipment and quickly went to work. David was fascinated. He couldn't stop watching. Later, he said to me, "I never knew cutting down a tree could be so interesting."

210.365 | good idea.
good idea.

David wanted to bake cookies. I never turn down a suggestion like that, especially when I have a helper. I forgot how ridiculously easy peanut butter cookies are - we will revisit this in the near future, for sure.

Here's the easiest recipe I've ever seen for cookies:

1  egg, whisked
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup  sugar
1/2 cup  brown sugar
1 tsp.  vanilla

Mix ingredients.
Bake 11-13 minutes at 350.

211.365 | grilled cheese.
grilled cheese.

Today was one of those days that called for an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich.

212.365 | birdie in the window.
birdie in the window.

This little birdie came to say hello this morning. She stayed there long enough for me to watch her a while, get my camera and snap a few pictures. What a sweet tiny bird. Come back and visit soon!


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