Sunday, September 30, 2007

Are We Tired of Talking About My Hair Yet?

Swistle asked for a picture of my manless hair. So here ya go.

I feel it worth noting that this is me, freshly bathed, before I have styled the hair. No style. I usually at least try to style it before leaving the house. I figure you don't care.
I stood in the aisle at the drug store for a loooooong time. I ended up with Loreal Preference, light brown. Since I had the highlights, it was going to still have highlights. I was glad for that. I was just mostly tired of the grown out roots and the amount of time (none) that I have to keep up blond hair. I like how my blond hair looks (usually) but am crazy-grumpy this week and needed a change. This was actually exactly what I needed!
I realized as I started this little project, in my bathroom, that I had no idea what I was doing. And that Jill was going to kill me. Jill would be the person who cuts/colors my hair. Who is licensed to do so.
I only did the top since that's all that Jill does.
It worked out better that I expected it to.
I like it.
I feel suddenly empowered by my brown hair. I have brown hair! Yay me! (Really, who knew my hair could take up so much of my time/thoughts? Who knew?)

Grains of Gratitude - The Pie Edition

I'm grateful this week is over! Isn't that a terrible thing to say?!

It's so true. Last week sucked. I fully intend that this week will be better.

I'm making sure of this by baking a delicious dessert for this evening. It's the second time I've made it and if it is as good as last time, then we are in for a treat!

Brown Butter Creamy Apple Pie
Prep Time: 30 min ; Start to Finish: 3 hr 40 min
Makes: 8 servings Nutrition Information
A crumbly brown sugar streusel tops a classic apple pie made easy in a frozen pie crust.

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (5 medium)

1 Pillsbury® Pet-Ritz® frozen deep dish pie crust

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup firm butter

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 . Heat oven to 400°F. Place cookie sheet in oven to heat. In 1-quart saucepan, cook 1/4 cup butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
2 . In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the egg with wire whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in cooled butter. Gently stir in apples. Pour into crust-lined pan.
3 . In medium bowl, stir together all streusel ingredients except butter. With pastry blender or fork, cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Place pie on cookie sheet in oven.
4 . Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and cover edge of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 40 to 50 minutes longer or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cool 2 hours.
5 . In small bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining topping ingredients; beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon onto pie.

I make my own pie crust, only because I like my pie crust. Tonight I'm not making the whipped cream, only because I forgot to buy cream. So we'll have vanilla ice cream with it. Yumm! I highly recommend.

I'm glad that there is a pie baking in my oven, it gave me something special to be thankful for!

Have a great week!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Permanent Color

For the first time in a while, I'm just trying to be me.

Trying, really hard.

I was about 20. He was noticing that I wasn't his high school sweetheart anymore. I was his college sweetheart. And my thighs were rounder. My hips grown. My hair had lost some of its blond hue, since I now spent my summers in the classroom rather than in working in the corn fields.

I was different and I didn't want to be.

He was my first love.

Have you ever heard the term, "He's not that into you"? I think it was a book that I didn't read. I probably should have.

He was not that into me for four years. But I gave him what he needed, and he took it all.

So I was twenty. I'd gained 20 lbs since high school. I was no longer a four sport athlete or the golden girl he met at a track meet in eleventh grade. I was becoming a woman.

Unfortunately, that was not to his standards. I could see it, feel it, and even hear it. "You look good in THAT outfit."

So I dieted. A lot. And started highlighting my hair.

Tonight, I did my first at-home hair color. And probably my last.

I don't have fake highlights any more.

I'm going to be real.

And even if tears spring to my eyes as I think of it, I'm going to accept myself as the woman I've become.

It may have taken 10 years.

But tonight I washed that man right out of my hair.

Rambling Friday

I sure am glad I've started this Friday post, which is all about making no sense at all.

Because I'm pretty sure that tonight I'm not up to making sense.


That, I can do.

This week has left me feeling tired and grumpy.

The students were belligerent (I'm not exaggerating). Even the good ones. All hormones and negative energy. Some don't believe in it, but full moon sucks.

Today would have been the birthday of a dear friend, had she not passed on in May. I brought out the autumn pillow that she gave me last year on my birthday. And I missed her.

Another dear friend is now fighting cancer from another angle, and bravely so, I must say. Still, I wish it weren't so.

My own kids are darlings, but also tired and a little grumpy themselves.

I've got a decision to make about Brenna and dance class. It's so fresh that I'm not sure if I can even talk about it. She doesn't appear to have much fun (although she says it is fun). She seems tired for the 45 minute class. There is no buy in, she doesn't do what the others are doing. My friend asked me if she's the one in the outfield picking dandelions. Why yes, she is.

I'm ready for a break.

I hope this weekend is enough.


8:26 PM at my house.
Brenna, to me: "I love you as King Triton loves Ariel."

Now that, my friends, made my WHOLE week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

My mom ended up being really sick while we were back this weekend. While this was a huge bummer, I'm glad she was doing better today. It seems like she's recovering from a nasty virus. I'm praying that whatever it was is something that my family has had or can at least fight off!
I was thankful for some time back at my folks'. It's nice to have a change of pace. Yesterday afternoon Mason and I walked the property while the girls finished their naps. I took him down a dirt field road that lines the corn fields around my parents' house. We live in the city and I'm so grateful that my kids get a chance to spend time in such a rural setting too. I don't think we'll be back for harvest this year, since we were just back. But hopefully next year the kids can watch the huge combines level entire fields of corn. It is a sight to see. Especially for my city kids. Nebraska or not, where we live now is very urban to me.
I enjoyed the fall breeze, okay, wind. I enjoyed the smells. The sights.
I got to see my brothers house, which is gorgeous. And to help celebrate my niece's 4th birthday.
I'm thankful for many things tonight, but am perhaps to tired to articulate. It's good to be home.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fan Club

He may be goofy, but I've always enjoyed Jim Carrey.

This is why I am now in love.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rambling Friday

I'm rambling two hours early. It's Thursday night and I'm packing for a weekend away.

Hubs is staying home and I'm driving with the kids two hours to my parents' tomorrow. He has a two-day golf tournament. We're going 'home' to get spoiled. My brother has finished BUILDING his house (with his nurse-by-day, general contractor by night wife) and I'm so excited to see it.

My kids are healthy. Knock on wood.

Brenna was so tired tonight she couldn't focus at dance class. It made me picture many weeks of not-focusing at dance to come. Do I really want to do this every week? I'm the queen of 3 weeks and this was Week 3. Brenna promises she really wants to do it. We'll see next week.

Mason did not bite this week. Not once. Great week. Great kid. I worried about not much after two bad days.

I feel like I should knock on more wood.

I'm tired. The kind of tired that makes me try to shrug it off and pretend I'm fine. I'm hoping a weekend in the country cures all.
My mom's got these great flower beds and I feel at peace there. It is where I grew up, after all. My dad spent the summer helping my brother BUILD his house, so I haven't seen him for awhile. Can't wait for a visit. And a hug.

Have a lovely weekend. I intend to.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - 2001

Just a couple of words: I can't believe that they're seventh graders now.

Monday, September 17, 2007


I adjusted my mirror today, on our way home.

Their heavy little heads leaned slightly towards each other. Little eyes heavy with a day of learning wonderful new things. Their faces a mess from an afternoon spent outside. Mouths sagging into frowns, but content and peaceful.

"Did you have a good day?" I ask.

They barely muster an answer. I see a slight nod.

Their faces are happy, but tired.

Another Monday gone by.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

This week I am so grateful for:

  • The gorgeous fall (even though it is technically still summer) day. We took a nice walk with the dog as a family. Brenna walked instead of riding in the stroller and enjoyed getting some exercise.
  • We went to church as a family this morning, which we hadn't done in a while. Although it is hard to keep Mason corralled for an hour, it's still a nice thing to do together.
  • I haven't really worked much this weekend, a first in a while. I had three IEPs this last week and I'm really grateful to have those finished. I like helping my students set goals, but oh my! The paperwork.
  • We are planning a trip back to my parents' next weekend. We haven't been back in a few months and I am excited to go spend some time with my family and see my brother's new home (which he and his wife built themselves!).

That's the short list. I'm feeling more relaxed after feeling very pouty yesterday. I don't really like missing out on fun plans, but knew it was for the best. I'm grateful that the gloomy mood has lifted.

That's it. Have a great week!

I'm going to try very hard not to whine. We'll see if I succeed.

Yesterday's dreary, 50-something degree weather and fore casted rain left us uninspired to drive an hour to an outdoor festival. Our kids are a lot to manage on a perfect day, I can't imagine what fun two cold and wet children would be. Couple that with their recent recovery from random daycare viruses and we nixed plans to go to the AppleJack festival. Boo hoo.

Then I got all restless in the afternoon and decided I would take the kids to the mall in the afternoon and walk around. Mason needs jeans, so I figured we'd drop by Children's Place and I'd let them go to the Disney Store (Brenna's favorite).

Bad idea! I will never do that again. Our double stroller is a side-by-side. It definitely gave me empathy for anyone who has ever tried to shop at the mall in a wheelchair. Why bother! The wheels kept getting caught on displays and I kept running into people. It was frustrating for me and I have a pretty high tolerance for such things. Couple that with my kids whining and fighting, wasn't pretty.

I will not take them to the mall by myself for many, many years. That stroller will never darken their doors again. It is great for outdoor events and walks in the neighborhood, but NOT for shopping!

During the trip I marveled at how it was just one of those days. I paid $2 for a soda and dropped it. I knocked stuff off of racks. I bumped into people. It was as if the universe was telling me to go home! So I did.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rambling Friday

Mason must have had a better day because his daily note just said "Have a good weekend!" Damn you people! Don't you know I need feedback before the weekend! Sigh. Hubs had picked up the kids and didn't even think to ask someone if it was better. I would have asked.

Vegetarians Beware: The OM family is eating Meat Lover's pizza tonight!

I told the Hubs never mind after calling his name. He still said What? I said, Oh never mind. I don't need beer, I need to learn to manage my stress without alcohol. He said, I'll go get you some right now. He knows me so well. And now he's off to the football game. (FYI: The beer is for ME, not the kids. I like to have one on Friday when they are off to bed.)

Hubs is off to supervise
(i.e. kick out) high school kids at the football game. Brenna has picked out Annie for her weekly movie night. The Sun'll Come Out! Tomorrow!

ESPN College Game Day is coming to Nebraska tomorrow. Big news around here! Hubs is even taping it. Yes, that's right, taping it. We haven't gotten the DVR back yet (we seem to get it back every fall during football season and then give it up in the winter when we're trying to cut back bills). So he's firing up the VCR to tape Game Day. And then we're off to the parade at AppleJack Festival.

I'm still mulling a post on turning 30 around in my head. Can't seem to articulate what's rattling around up there. I'll keep you posted. Pun intended.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another Toddler Milestone

My little guy has entered an ugly new phase. One that I feel like I can't talk about. But can't stop talking about.

He's biting.

And hitting.

And crying.

We talk, read books, tell him "nice hands", and still get the sad note (that's really what they call it) at the end of the day about biting, and hitting, and crying.

I hope it's a very short phase, I hope it's not a sign of things to come.

I hope that I can get over talking, and talking, and talking about it.

Feels like a self-fulfilling prophesy if I just keep talking about it. Like I'm stuck on the the n-word (naughty).

I'm bracing myself for the worst.

But he's only just one. And he's my baby.

[My baby who is the happiest little guy right now, smiling and laughing as he plays.]


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mid-Week Blah Blah Blahs

My hubby and his dad are doing a tile project in our entry, from the front door to the back patio door. It will be so nice, because of the high traffic area. But having my high traffic area out of commission for the past two days has left me feeling grrrrrrumpy. I stayed upstairs in the bedrooms with kids last night and just kept them out of the house completely tonight. I'm so tired, but don't feel like going to bed. Call me melancholy.

How long do you wait to turn the furnace on? How cold do you let it get in your house? Just curious. With little ones, it's different. Especially if you've got a little girl who refuses to wear any pajamas, because she will be h-o-t. So instead, she's a little popsicle in panties by morning. I've been tempted the past two nights to turn on the heat.

I can't wait for the weekend. We're going to the Applejack Festival in Nebraska City, which involves a parade and picking apples. I'm hoping that it will help brighten my mood, which has gone to a dingy shade of blue this week. It's the day, I know. But it's also such a mixture of happy-sad. Good-bye to summer.

We remembered victims of 9/11 in my classroom today. My students scarcely remember where they were that day, since they were so young. But I remember.

May we never forget.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Updates and Grains

Making a few changes today.

I now have a matching email address for blogging friends.

I feel much better now. I like when things match.

I totally stole B&P's idea for a name tag at the bottom of the page. Scroll all the way down and check it out, it is really cool. As she mentioned, the blog author may be the only one who ever sees it, but it's fun anyway. Feel free to go get your own!

On my profile, it has said "One Young Mom" for a while now. I turn thirty in less than 30 days, so I took out the young. Some may laugh, but I've always felt that leaving one's twenties means the end of youth [more on that later, I promise].

That's it for now. Email me at my new place, I'd be so happy to have mail from someone besides Google! I may even go crazy and start nominating people for ROFL and Perfect Posts and Just Posts. The world is all open to me now that I've got an email address to go with the blog.

Happy Sunday to y'all. I'll be tending to children whose noses seem to be leaking yellow goo today. No church, no first day of Sunday School, no rally day with all of the potluck/church fair activities. Just me, wiping noses and applying Vick's.

Grains of gratitude for today are for the minutes I've been given this morning to update the blog and read the few posts that people have done over the weekend. I've even wandered the blogosphere and have been lurking at all sorts of other blogs that I don't regularly visit. It's fun to do it without anyone screaming and crying at me while I do it! Thank you Playhouse Disney!
A quiet Sunday morning with a nice cup of coffee is something to be thankful for!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Big Week

My little girl had two big firsts this week. I want to post some brilliant words about how I feel and what this means. Instead, my head just bounces around a jumble of words and phrases, none of which can connect to make a coherent statement about being the mom of a preschooler.

Next fall we'll go to parents' Cry Day, as she starts kindergarten. Next year she'll be a school-ager.
This year, we are in between. I love this age, four. She's so bright, so ready to learn, so happy with life. I love her energy and her silliness. She is this fantastic light in our home. This imaginative little girl, who loves without question. Who gives whatever she can. Who still needs her mommy and daddy to snuggle her and help her fasten her shoes.

I want to capture this moment. When she's on the cusp of becoming even more independent.
She had her first day of preschool. After a slight bit of drama where she was put in a different room than we expected, with a different teacher (they changed her back after I wrote a kind, but firm letter), she's all set for a year of Kindergarten Readiness preschool.

Our other first this week was her first dance class. She'll be going on Thursday nights for a 45 minute preschool dance class. Two of her best little friends are in the class. The other reason we chose the studio is that it's run by a former high school classmate of hubs, so that's fun. It's an old building on this sort of off-the-beaten path industrial track road. It all feels very urban to this smalltown girl who never took a single dance class. It's a great studio and Brenna "had so much fun!", at least that's how she put it when she came running out after the class. We're not planning on Brenna taking dance for more than a year or two (but who knows, she may surprise us) but think it will be a fun way for her to build coordination and rhythm. I'm a huge Klutz and would love it if she doesn't have to deal with that! We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Smell of Football

Back to work today.

Yesterday was lovely.

I continued on my cleaning quest. Dusting off the front entry. Shooing away the spiders who were inhabiting the light fixture. I cleaned the front and back doors, ridding them of the two-foot high fingerprints that covered them.

We cooked out on the grill. And ate right there at the patio table.

We thanked God for the food and each other.

The wind was soft and I could feel the slightest hint of cool in the air. Summer is waning and I'm anticipating autumn with impatient excitement.

It's my favorite time of year, autumn.

I believe it's because I'm a Libra and was born in October. I always return to my center in the fall.

The changing leaves make me nostalgic for my childhood. For burning piles of leaves.

For buying pencils and Trapper Keepers.

The smell of the air on cool Friday night gives me butterflies in my stomach. We call it the smell of football.

In my small town, we would walk from the volleyball game at the school to the football field for the 7 o'clock kick off. You could hear the announcer from several blocks away.

It was all so exciting to a 14 year old. Being with friends. Hanging out.

There's nothing better than this approaching season. Even at 29.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Keeping House - Unfinished Basement, After

I showed the horrifying shots of my unfinished basement.
My mom came. And we worked really hard. She's great at sort of, well...telling me what to do. Which I appreciate because, well...I sort of suck at such projects. I tire easily. I want to get lazy.

Instead, mom had me keep on keeping on.
She had this great idea to hang some flat sheets, to give the illusion of the wall. Even though we are the only ones who ever go down there, now we don't have to look at the shelves while we watch a movie. We hung them right where real walls will some day stand (when we finally finish the basement).

seating area before
seating area after

We also made an old t.v. stand my dad made for me when I went to college into a arts/crafts/games shelf. Which I am very excited about!

storage shelves before

storage shelves after - behind the new "wall"

I also organized all of my photos and scrapbooking supplies in one corner, which is really fun. Now when I scrapbook, it's all right there.

That's it. I could go around my entire house, showing off all of the gleaming surfaces. The places in the carpet where we spot cleaned out the dirt. The bathrooms where the gunk is now gone. But how boring would that be, really? When you could just say, "But OM, that's how my house always looks!"

Happy Labor Day! Aside from putting away some laundry, I'm taking the day off!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Grains of Gratitude - The MOM Edition

My mom is apparently Super Woman.
When I get tired, she just keeps plugging away. When I'm complaining that my back hurts, or I've grown bored of whatever task we're on - she just keeps plugging away.
She's amazing. I've never met anyone with so much energy!
So she came to town to help me organize and clean up my basement. We did that on Saturday, plus laundry. Then today worked on my upstairs. We did all three bedrooms and the bathrooms. Plus more laundry. Between Goodwill, a second-hand kids' store, and the trash - I got rid of a ton of stuff!
Pictures tomorrow. It looks awesome!
Thanks mom - I am so grateful you came! What we accomplished in two days, I could not have done over weeks and weeks. Oh who am I kidding - I couldn't have done it without you!
I'm grateful for mom. She's just so cool.