A Cabin, Snowman Family, and Plastic Surgery?

Now onto some of my favorite parts of Christmas with the in-laws:

1. Misty mornings on the lake. One of R’s coworkers graciously let us use her family’s cabin for the weekend. It was more than we could have asked for. You just can’t beat this view.

2. Waking up to our Christmas Canoe filled with presents!

3. FIL preparing his lesson on Jesus’ birth for our Christmas morning church service together. We decided to stay in and break bread with just the family, which resulted in an intimate, lovely experience. I was most worried about singing in front of everyone, but that melted away with the first verse. I’m seriously considering this becoming a Christmas tradition for my little family.

4. Getting our family portrait made. This one was my favorite. Ruth cracks me up.

5. And the pièce de résistance: making snowmen. Can you tell she’s a preschool teacher? They are the only ones that can explain things to me in ways I’ll understand. Plus, she allows for nap time. The only weird part is when she stands outside the bathroom door waiting to make sure I wiped from front to back.

I was a wee bit nervous making crafts with these two because creativity oozes out of their every pore. Visual arts are not my thing. I can hardly play hangman without someone asking what exactly is being hanged. What is that? A walrus? No, a person. Then why are there tusks coming out of the face. Those are the arms. You lose.

What. I can’t take critiques well.

So I couldn’t help squealing at R’s ‘professor with a combover’ creation. Complete with a bow-tie.

I tried hiding my recreations of our family, but alas, they were found.

We staged a scene from our life:

R comes home, eyes red with anger from something that annoyed him at work, and vents to his wife, who apparently has been cast in the next season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and is recovering from the obligatory facial plastic surgery. You know, the kind where the nose creates those weird tight wrinkles when they smile? I guess I just don’t understand plastic surgery (and Botox) for vanity’s sake. Reconstruction surgery is one thing. But plastic surgery? I mean, why not spend your money on something more substantial, like bulk Cheese Puffs from Sam’s Club. Now that I’ll firmly stand behind.

Back to the scene:

Wife tries to roll her bandaged, but unwrinkley eyes and hears her baby crying, happy for an excuse to escape the onslaught of frustration.

Darling, the baby is hungry. Let me get her.

(You can tell this is a fictional scene as I used a term of endearment.)

Okay, now go on with your story, honey, while I nurse Ruthie.

End Scene.

And just so you know, R added the cradle cap on little Ruth.

Gotta keep it lifelike, you know.


P.S. An update on diapers. When she was born, we had been given some disposables diapers for her current size & weight. So I used this long weekend as an opportunity to use them. After starting her on cloth at six weeks, I was curious to try them again.

The verdict? I was very happy to get back to my cloth. Despite what you may think, it certainly wasn’t any easier using disposables. They were obviously thinner, which was nice when putting on her tights. I don’t know if the tights would have made it over her bulky cloth ones. However, there was just a different feel about them. I can’t explain it. My friend, J, had mentioned that there is a certain smell to disposables that you don’t notice unless you’re away from them. I was somewhat skeptical, but now know exactly what she means. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not horrible, but it just smells… well, you know how the hospital or doctor’s room smells? That rubber glove kinda overly sterilized sort of stench? I picked up on it right away. I know you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m serious and not just touting the cloth diaper horn to make me feel better. I did like that I didn’t have to think about the snaps at 3am, but that can be remedied by using velcro only for night changes.

I’m just saying that I feel good about my choice in going cloth. I’m not as stressed out about it as I thought I’d be and think they’re just as easy as disposables. Dollars saved in this department is also a big bonus as R and I discuss our 2012 financial goals. One less necessity to buy. Plus, it saves room in the budget for more cheese puffs. And that’s always a good thing.

Christmas Mio

Here’s a quick overview of my favorite parts of Christmas at my parents’ house…

1. Setting the table for brunch. It took a little arm pulling and chocolate bribing to not use the darker maroon and green napkins, but she was thankfully open to the idea and ended up liking it. I understand her reasoning, though. She has always used those colors in the tablescapes and wanted us, in the future when thinking of Christmases past, to have that sort of sentimentality when remembering those details. Like when, after arriving in Kansas from California, moving into our new house: Mom put in almost every outlet a Glade ‘Country Garden’ freshener. Now, whenever I smell that fragrance, it brings me right back to that first summer in Kansas.


2. Sitting around opening presents. My nephew W makes a great Santa, which is one role I absolute hate doing. In fact, not being Santa is a gift in of itself. Sprawling out on the couch and shoving Chex Mix in my mouth while someone drops presents on my lap is pretty darn near perfect. Throw in a foot rub and I’m never leavin’.

This year, instead of drawing names amongst the grown children, we bought our favorite thing which had to be under $7. I’m a fan of this type of gift giving because it forces you to be creative. And the good thing is, you only have to be creative once. Doing it multiple times for multiple people is overwhelming and usually ends up with me just getting a gift card. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some gift cards, but am starting to move away from them when possible. It’s like getting a handwritten letter in the mail versus an email. My stomach still flips with excitement when seeing my name on an envelope.

That being said, one year we had to make our gift for one another. I drew my brothers name and he ended up getting a big bird house with these random balls and dots all over it. Hideous. So, being creative has its drawbacks as well.


3. Watching the kids open their gifts. I asked R to do the shopping since I have now become a prisoner of R and hate to mess with her sleep schedule. He also wrapped and tagged the presents as well. For little K’s gift, he wrote To: K-, From: K-. We thought it was just being silly, but there was actually a purpose! He knew that her name was a definite word she could read, so decided to use for both the To & From so she could find it under the tree. What’s funny, is that I watched her pull it out and with her pointer finger read her name, then ran over to her mom asking if she could open it.

I was dreading it just a tiny bit, because the girls had just opened their American Girl dolls from their grandparents. And then, when finding out what M&D got kids as well, I begged to let us go first in the opening presents order. If not, I just knew we would have to endure the: “You got me a flipping bedazzelled hat, that looks straight out of The Fly Girls on In Living Color? You suck!” Yes, that’s how I imagined a 4 year old would react. Instead, she jumped up and down and my fears were relieved.

They’re easy to please.


4. Realizing that while being literally smothered in a mountain of gifts, the only thing Ruth really wants for Christmas is her fist.

5. And finally, watching the Chiefs beat the Packers. We all agreed how refreshing it was to actually cheer on the Chiefs, instead of letting out loud sighs of frustration. It also helped that my mom and I had gone to, we think, a former Chief player’s home for a garage sale. Neither of us asked, unfortunately, nor did we purchase the multiple laminated signed photos of a #25. It brought back bad memories of asking Marcus Allen for his autograph at the airport and getting de-NIED. Big time. I was eleven and am still mad about it.

Next up: craft time at the in-law Christmas.

Hairy and the Hendersons

What do you get when you combine hair, sugar, and Moscoto wine? Duh, spa night. Particularly with girlfriends you haven’t seen in what feels like forever.

FOR-ev-er. For-EV-er.

Nevermind, Sandlot reference. There are some words that I can’t say without thinking of a movie/show. Like I’ve mentioned before, ‘fickle’ (I Love Lucy with Bill Harden – I’m fickle?); ‘Occurs’ (The Last of the Mohicans – No matter what occurs, I WILL find you.); and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Mary Poppins – …even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious). That last one comes up quite a bit, believe it or not.

Anyway, so L & A came down for the weekend. Upon arrival, R uncorked a couple bottles of wine and then immediately went to bed….leaving us in the living room to talk until, wait for it, 5 o’clock in the morning. Look out kids – Mama’s gettin’ caraaaazy up in he-uh!

I can’t remember the last time I stayed up that late. Oh, wait, yes I can.. the first week with Ruthie. This time around was infinitely better, though. The hours flew by, discussing jobs, babies, memories…

The next day we ate breakfast, chit-chatted for a few more hours and then drove to Fayetteville to pick up our 5K race packets that we never ended up going to. We had priorities: sleep.

When we returned…

A teeny spa area had been set up. I looked at R and smiled.

He follows directions well! [For anyone who cares about how sexy R and my conversations are, we spent a good portion of this morning discussing when to use ‘good’ and ‘well’. We decided that the state of being is good, and doing a task is well. Please correct me if there are any exceptions, my fellow grammar freaks.]

So, yes, he follow directions well.

because I left him details on how to set it up. Yes, I am that cool. I even erased one rectangle because it was not proportionate to the coffee table. How R snagged such a catch as me, we’ll never know.

The excitement of seeing the table was short-lived, because we were exhausted. So we took a nap. I came out only when I heard hooting owls in the living room. A had found some background spa music. I mean, when aren’t owls relaxing?

So I ran out there and yelled, bootcamp style, at them to get in relaxed positions. NOW!

Nothing like stressing someone out beforehand. But L happily obliged with the foot soak.

And A, who I’m sure is ecstatic about this photo, started in on her toenails.

I used my almond meal/honey/jojoba oil scrub (Told ya I was gray)…

…and then it got serious, folks. I’d been wanting to try a sugar wax recipe I saw on youtube. This was a big deal to me. Because even though I have a high pain tolerance (for the most part), waxing is my achilles’ heel. The last time I had my legs done, I was living in Spain and spent the majority of the time trying to yell in spanish that waxing is akin to corsets and will be written about in future history books on how women torture themselves for beauty.

I gave up after trying to think of the word  for ‘waxing’ and just started whimpering. Big baby.

This would be my redemption.

Before the girls came down, I made a couple batches of wax. R was impressed and said that was unlike me. I said Thank You without realizing it really wasn’t much of a compliment.

Here’s the recipe. Get ready, because it’s extremely difficult:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Have I lost you yet?

Mix it all together and then throw into a pot until boiling.

Oh yeah, if possible, have a candy thermometer handy. Would you know that I had just picked that bad boy up at an estate sale a couple weeks prior? And R says I only bring home junk. Hmph.

After you get it to a boil, reduce the heat to the low.

I don’t know what ‘low’ looks like on a gas stove, but this is what my flame looked like.

Here’s where the trickiest part begins. You want the mixture to be slightly thicker than honey and a dark amber color. But watch out! It will literally turn to candy if you let it cook for too long.

Here it is light.


More Darker. The temp on the thermometer should be between 240 – 260.

The first batch I made was left on until close to 260. The second was taken off around 240 and they both work fine.

In fact, it worked great. So well in fact, that I made loud exclamations on each pull of the cloth.

Okay, I’ll admit. I did two strips on my leg and then was dunzo. Both A & L were champs and did several areas.

I was intending on waxing the rest of my legs at my parents’ house and each night would find a new excuse… usually a word that started with HG and ended with TV bailed me out. When we got home yesterday, I took a look at my now extremely scary-looking legs and by golly, those two strips were still bare after a full week! That, coupled with R’s observation of how whiney I was: “Did A & L even do the waxing because they didn’t make any noise,” I am now finished with both lower legs.

I don’t know why everyone made such a big deal out of it.

You big babies.


My mom asked me not to write this post. And so like any youngest child, I will immediately disobey her as soon as I get the opportunity.

I’ve just returned home this morning from a week in Kansas City, staying at my parents’ house and generally soaking up time with the little slobber machine. It was delightful. 

One morning we decided to make cookies of days gone by. These are the ones we kids all sat around the table decorating while hosting imaginary talk shows. For some reason, every time I tried being a cohost, the station had technical difficulties.

Sigh. To be the youngest.

Mom confessed that the icing recipe was really taken from this mini-mix it children’s cook book from who knows when! And the mats are straight up 1983, people. Pretty soon, I’ll be framing it on the wall and lugging them to Antiques Roadshow. See the rolling pin drawn on the mat? And see it in the first photo above?

They’re the same! I know, I’m amazed that they’re still around and weren’t eaten, plastic and all, simply because cookie dough got stuck to it. I’ll eat anything if cookie dough is on it. Hey there Henry, you gonna eat that spoon? Give it here, please… just can’t pass up silver plated metal used to scoop out cookie dough ice cream. And don’t wash it off your hands, either. I’ll clean them for ya.

It can get kinda embarrassing. Well, for R. Not for me. I don’t care.

Ruth woke up in the middle of rolling out the dough, so grandma rocked her as we cut the shapes.

I don’t know if you’re aware, but R and I don’t have a TV at the Shack. Instead, we keep the computer in the living room and watch episodes online. This was fine in town. But now we live amongst turkey farms and cow fields and the only internet provider available puts a cap on our download usage. Meaning, we could probably watch one hour’s worth of episodes per day. So we’re choosy and it ends up being Survivor (yes, we still watch it) and then something more substantial, like Bridezillas.

When I go to my parent’s house, however, it usually involves watching back-to-back episodes of House Hunters for 16 hours straight. I hope someone is taking care of Ruthie, cause I ain’t budgin’.

This day, however, I got my cooking shows kick.

…then Miss Giada came on. And her twins.

I looked at my mom who did the appropriate eye-roll that I was hoping she’d do. It’s part of our bit. There are specific things that we’ve talked about that I know, if I look at her during certain moments, she’ll make a face. Then we laugh.

Giada and her decolletage is one of them. Why we feel the need to discuss them is beyond me. But we can’t help it.

As I iced the now-baked cookies, I asked her if I reminded her of Giada.

She said no.

And rolled her eyes.

This is an A & B conversation, so C your way out, thankyouverymuch

R has had a busy few weeks at work. When he leaves, we are both still blissfully dreaming… and when he gets home, Ruth is either down for the night or only awake for a quick diaper change before zonking out again.

And he’s been bummed. So he’s settled for running into the back room as soon as he walks in and gazing at her over the side of the crib.

Last night, however, she awoke earlier than normal in the evening and I motioned to R to go back and grab her. She was a growly little monster yesterday, so I wanted to wear her out before her next chunk of sleeping time (read: during my next chunk sleeping time.)

So he walked in the bedroom… and never came back out. I heard talking going on, so decided to peek in.

And this is what I saw…


I had one moment where my heart about burst before remembering to run for the camera.

Two shots in, I was spotted and told in not so many words to leave the room. This was her daddy time and she was not about to let me spoil it.

I played it cool and left as requested. Besides, when she did go to sleep… she slept for 5 straight hours. (Can I getta What! What!) I was in heaven. She needs daddy time more often me thinks.

Sweet Cheeks McGee

Can you believe these sweet cheeks are 3 months old? We certainly can’t.

It has been the longest and shortest three months of my life. As the days start to have glimmers of a routine, and I have finally figured out how important sleep is for her, therefore equaling more naps, I can take a step back and see how fast it is slipping away.

There are two moments that I am now cherishing more than ever. They’re both tied to each other in a natural way, and one of them may surprise you. But they’re two times that I can count on me and her connecting one-on-one for a good amount of time to come.


And changing her diaper.

And yes, I’m savoring them both equally, because she so loves getting her diaper changed.

So in honor of her turning the big 0.3 0.25 (Thank you Kristy for pointing out my horrible math skills!), I sang to her Sweet Child of Mine by GNR, along with my very best snake-like dance moves.

She was not impressed.

When did I give birth to James Gandolfini

Well, at least in looks, that is. I’d say she’s more Don Corleone in personality.

Take when our friends stopped over on their way from South Carolina to Kansas. First off, let’s give them a virtual fist bump for driving straight through to our house. When Ruth was Is’s age, we took her to Kansas City and I remember asking to be dropped off at every intersection we came to. “Don’t worry. I can walk the rest of the way,” I assured them.

It was a rough ride.

So when they arrived, I allowed only minimal small talk before kicking them into the back bedroom for a nap. Ruth and I would take care of baby.

She was only slightly excited to make a new friend. Just like her mama, creating an awkward tension with her overeagerness of potential friendships.

I whispered to her to wipe that scary “I’m gonna gobble you up!” smile off her face and play it cool.

She didn’t listen.

Ruth wanted to sit on my knee and just stare at Is. I told her that was creepy, but she insisted.

She waited for Is’s aknowledgement. And waited…

And waited.


In fact, I’m pretty sure Is hurt herself in avoiding eye contact with Ruth. It was tough to watch, but Ruth needed to learn this lesson in how not to go about making friends. Hovering over a resting person, boring your eyes into the side of their head is probably not the best plan of attack.

And that’s when something changed in Ruthie, aka Don Corleone.

She leaned back during a forced photo op, her bulky cloth diaper making her reminiscent of an old mob boss at the coffee shop…. waiting to have “a talk.” Ruth said something to Is that none of us could hear, causing her to get very upset.

It didn’t faze Ruthie. She calmly continued with her Godfather/Sopranos ways…

and poor Is eventually succumbed to Ruth’s friendship. Probably against her will, we’ll never know the specifics of that conversation…. but we think it had something to do with offers that Is couldn’t refuse.

Who could blame Is, though, when faced with James’ identical twin. Would you refuse?

Special Features: Behind the photo shoot

These girls never saw it coming.

Dodging Thanksgiving

It was my family’s turn for Thanksgiving. R and I switch on and off for the big holidays. This year it is Thanksgiving with my side, Christmas with his and next year it will switch. We stole that idea from my sister, have jumped on their schedule, and have so far really liked it. No wondering about hurt feelings for missing a get together or trying to squeeze road trips to see everyone for everything. It has been a relaxing ride for sure. And it’s also nice that neither of our parents are so controlling that they throw a fit on our “off” years too. What a headache that would make. Thank you guys!

Speaking of thanks, was Thanksgiving not on the most spectacular gorgeous day of the year? We had the windows open during our meal and went outside for most of the afternoon. Perfect.

This is the one shot I took of us during the meal. The other opportunities came while I was shoving mashed potatoes in my mouth. Let’s not sugar coat this, it was a scary sight… as if I had morphed into T-Rex with a big mouth and short arms. And considering that my arms couldn’t reach from the table, around the corner, and into the kitchen to spoon out some more gravy, then yes, they were definitely too short.

After I rolled around for a few hours on the couch, clutching my now too taught stomach, we decided to go outside and enjoy the beautiful day…

…with a game of dodge ball. No one was spared.

Not even grandma. Her darling grandson wound his arm up….

and launched it at her.

We don’t discriminate, you have to give us that. I don’t care if you’ve just left after an extended trip to Shangri-La, you best get your agility on. (Did anyone get that reference? Lost Horizon is the first full book I’ve read since Ruthie joined me. It was an accomplishment.)

I felt like a kid again, playing dodgeball. In third grade, it was a daily staple, except we used soccer balls. So if you couldn’t dodge, you were in a world of hurt. The air was crisp and I lost track of time.

That is, until I heard a tap tap tapping on the window above. My mom was standing there holding Ruthie who had just gotten up from a nap.

Sigh. Okay, I can learn to have fun from this vantage point too.

PS. Things are slowly (and quickly) changing with little Ruthie. She is taking consistent naps throughout the day and I am feeling more and more like a normal human being… To the point that I am missing that chubby little face at my side all the time. I personally think she’s figured out this is how I can give her more kisses…because the first thing I do when she wakes up is smother her in them.

Happiness. 🙂