Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kara, the decorating grinch.

I read quite a few blogs who writers decorate their mantles/tables/sideboards/buffets for the appropriate season or holiday. Their homes look perfectly lovely. But secretly, in the back of my mind, whenever I see one of those decorated mantles, I wonder what real person actually has the time and energy to devote to something so frivolous. (Not to say that I'm above frivolity and am totally staid and serious. I'm happen to ADORE the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books and have found myself re-reading them. Teenage chick lit is the best.) But sometimes I wonder, shouldn't that person be doing something more productive with their time?

I am entirely a grinch when it comes to seasonal decorating. I don't even really enjoy putting up all my Christmas decorations and all that who-ha (gasp - I know, I'm a terrible person). But simple mantles with just a few accessories are simple, seasonless, and classic.

Really these decorated mantles are the only mantles, a crabby decorating grinch like me, can put up with. The idea of having to constantly redo and freshen my decor makes me weary. Because it also means that I would have to dust :) But if you want to come over and dust and freshen up my decor for muy caro, let me know! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Fiver

Five things on my radar this Friday:

1. On my playlist: Gym Class Heroes "The Fighter." It makes me want to go-go.

2. On my fingers: fun, beachy melon colored nail polish for my DIY manicure. Because I ponied up the money to get my haircut and heaven knows we can't afford a mani and a haircut in the same month. This is Zoya's Willow shade.
3. Idina Menzel. Lance and I are going to her concert tonight - these were tickets Lance got me for my birthday. You may recognize her from Glee, or Rent, or Wicked or the movie Enchanted. Needless to say, she's got some singing chops.

4. I want ridiculous Tory Burch gold shoes. But these particular shoes are $106. Pass.

5. The Des Moines Arts Festival is the weekend. It's a good time and I'm hoping the whole fam will be able to enjoy it. I'm sure there are a few items I'll lust over.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Crabby Par-tay!

Some people go overboard for first birthday parties - pintrest anyone? In my last issue of Real Simple magazine, the editor stated that events can be cheap, fast, and great. Reasonably you can expect two of the three, but never all three. I would definitely agree with that. I started planning out a theme about a six weeks in advance and slowly started to do things. I found some crabby printables that I liked and took them to a copy shop to be printed. I found some letter banner printables, printed them out myself and then had them laminated at work. I borrowed mason jars from my mother-in-law. I purchased paper supplies from Nobbies and from (gasp!) Wal-Mart.
Out of respect for our budget and my sanity, I tried to be reasonable. I didn't make the cupcakes (Target). My mom made most of the salads. I had lots of help putting together the fruit kabobs. I didn't do party favors like I originally wanted to (hand decorated crabby sugar cookies, which then evolved to homemade caramel corn, which evolved at midnight the night before to nothing). I didn't put together the rest of Lucan's first year photo books. I didn't print off Lucan's monthly photoshoots. I didn't put together a video slide show. And guess what? The party still went on. In fact no one, besides me, even noticed these elements were missing. Lucan didn't care, which is the point of a first birthday party. I'm sure that people still probably think that I put too much time and effort into the party as it is, but I don't care.

Looking at these pictures, my napkins and decor, in hindsight, look a little patriotic.

Lance made barbecue pulled pork sandwiches. He was really concerned that we wouldn't have enough at 15 pounds of pork. True form to us, we have enough pork left over for six large sized containers. It's a good thing that it freezes well.

My favorite decoration was his birthday banner. I printed the letters from here.

At some point I had intended to get a balloon bouquet for Lucan's highchair. Oh well. We were 20 minutes late as it was to his party, who knows how much later we could have been if I had insisted on some of the things I had really wanted.

Cupcakes were from Target. Buttercream frosting. It wasn't my original desire to get my cupcakes from Target because I wanted "cool" designer bakery cupcakes, but I didn't want to drop half of my party budget on 3 bites of cake. So Target! They allowed me to pick the way I wanted them frosted (a cloud of buttercream with primary colored sprinkles on the sides) and then I assembled all of the toppers for the cupcakes in my "free" time. I got some help on these - my mom helped do some cutting and tracing along with my mother-in-law. Lance did ONE sheet and declared that he had helped enough ...

I'm not sure if tissue paper poms are too girly, but I loved them. I had them hang in my dining room for about a week prior to the party. I also hung crabs on curly whirlies from the poms. I made red, navy, turquoise, and white with polka dot poms in varying sizes.

Those straws. In pintrest pictures you see all of them looking symmetrical and lovely. Mine were less than lovely. In my mind this looked a lot different. But I purchased a gazillion paper straws off of ebay. My future parties will also include classic red striped straws :)

Fruit kabobs. Note to self: buy pineapple in advance so it can ripen on the counter. If you try to purchase it the day before at Costco, you will be sorely disappointed and tempted to but $9 precut pineapple from the grocery store. Then you will stop yourself because $9 on one container of pineapple is an outrage to mankind.

Haha. I looked and looked and asked around for a fishbowl. Again, being unwilling to buy a fishbowl that I would use once I looked for another option. The crab is one of my printables sitting in the hurricane sand glass decoration that lives in my bathroom at home. It came to me that morning when I was hurriedly brushing my teeth that no one would know ... except me, Lance, my mom and my mother-in-law. You should have seen the confused face on Lance when I packed it up to go over to the party room.

The following pictures were all taken by Lance's aunt Cathy. My friend Erika had suggested I appoint someone to take pictures and while I didn't specifically ask Cathy to take pictures, I'm so happy and blessed that she did. My mom took some too, so it's nice to have an array. I suggest for all the rest of you party hostesses with the mostesses, ask someone to be your candid photographer. It really simplifies your hostess life.

Happy boy. As long as he was with his dad.

Lucan had crabby overalls on too. But you can't see them :(

My mom, my grandma, and myself finally catching a minute to eat.

Time to open gifts!

Lucan and his cool shades. I don't know how other moms do it, but I can't convince Lucan that his sunglasses have a purpose other than ripping them off of his face to play with them. If someone can give me pointers as to how to keep them on Lu's face, shoot them my way.

We started off with just our nephew Wyatt being interested in the presents. One kid=totally manageable.

3 kids ... well, I had a hard time keeping track of who gave what. Maybe next year we'll have to set some ground rules for our little "helpers."

Ahhh... the smash cake.

Lu was confused as to why we were holding his hands and why he couldn't touch the "shiny" (candle flame) thing.

These pictures may have you thinking that Lucan really enjoyed his cupcake and frosting. That would be farther from the truth. I had to smear some frosting on his face for him to try it. I would also try and put a little cake in his mouth and oh, did that tick him off!

Frosting covered Lucan is not a happy Lucan. In the end we gave up. He never really ate any of it.

It was only after we cleaned him up and fed him pears and peas, was he really happy again. Silly birthday boy.

Lance got stressed by the last minute hustle and bustle of the party. I did a little too. But I stopped to give Lance a hug and to remind him that this is a celebration of our beautiful baby boy and his first year with us. That's what first birthday parties are all about.

Happy birthday Lucan! I hope you enjoyed your crabby party!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

It’s often said of parenthood, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

There is certainly truth behind that statement. There are times where I'm standing in the kitchen trying to get supper going and Lucan is whining and tugging on my shorts for me to pick him up. I feel like I'm trying to juggle four different things from making sure that I don't burn dinner and keep Lucan from either melting down or trying to surf on the dishwasher door (seriously child?!). That magic hour from when I pick-up Lucan from daycare to when supper is on the table is what I imagine the author had in mind when he penned those words.

Lucan is going through a period where he doesn't like to be away from us or be held by a "stranger." I remember when my other friends' kids went through this phase too. I remember specifically my friend being embarrassed that her daughter didn't want to be held by me and apologizing for it. I can identify with that feeling of embarrassment. Lucan! This is a nice person who loves you very much and just wants to hug you for a bit - be nice!!

Lu also gets upset when one of us takes whatever he is playing with away from him. Wailing and gnashing of teeth. The mornings have become interesting because Lucan insists that he gets to hold onto his blankie while he has his diaper changed, while he's being dressed, and while he nurses. Sometimes he also insists that he get to hold his bottle of saline nose drops too. And if he doesn't get these things - well, you can expect hysterical tears.

My friend Erika has told me from the very beginning that everything is a phase. She's absolutely right. I know this whole first year of his life has been a phase. The days of Lucan being mesmerized by the fan - gone. The days of swaddling - gone. Sometimes I have to pause and remind myself that this moment of babyhood will soon be gone too ...

(taken during maternity leave around 4 weeks old)

(Lucan's first wading pool experience at 1 year old)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lucan: 12 months old

I have a one-year old. I have no idea how that happened. I'm sure this is a fairly common experience among parents. How did my child get to be this old? But I'll save those observations for another day.

I feel like a lot of development has occurred the past month. I have a one-year old. Opps. I digress yet again.

  • Lucan is couch surfing quite nicely. Meaning, he pulls himself up on the couch and walks alongside it. He's not walking on his own yet. But from what I hear from my friends, not walking isn't necessarily a bad thing.

  • If you scold Lucan for doing something or getting into something he's not supposed to be in (like touching the tv screen), he will burst into tears. There's a part of me that wants to apologize and pick him up and comfort him, but I think that would be mixed signals. Basically if you say "no" in a loud and commanding voice, Lucan will wail loudly.

  • Speaking of wailing, Lucan does not enjoy having his diaper changed. I think that this must not be an out of the ordinary experience as Huggies merchandises a "little movers" brand of diapers. If you flip Lucan onto his back to have his diaper changed, he gets mad and tries to roll over. We try and give him various items to play with, but Lu just throws them over his head onto the floor. Typically there is a bottle of saline spray, diaper cream, lotion and his brush on the floor at any given time. It is certainly a challenge to try and wipe a poopy butt and keep Lucan from crawling off the changing table. Good times. Poop wiping with an extra challenge. Certainly my idea of fun.

  • Okay, I'm not sure if other people's children are like this too, but Lucan is a very wild sleeper. He will start at one end of his crib and then flip, roll, and tangle himself in his blanket and end up at the other end. There are days when I think I should put his bumper back in because various limbs will end up between the slats.

  • My good eater is picky about textures. Really picky. Diced watermelon. Spit it out. Strawberries in yogurt. Gross. Hamburger & rice mixture. Bizarre. Essentially everything needs to be super smooth or crunchy like a Cheerio. I suppose it's just another one of those things that will take time. I'm also paranoid Lucan will choke because my little boy is storing food in his cheeks like a squirrel. Why just last night I found a green leaf and a starburst wrapper ...

  • Speaking of crunchy like a Cheerio. Lucan likes popcorn. And chips. Which are not Lance approved. But Lucan was looking at me like he wanted a taste, so who am I to say no? Lance also doesn't like the fact that I allow Lu to take an occasional grass tasting. Whateve Lance, I'm sure you've eaten more than your fair share of grass as a kidlet.

  • I deserve some applause here - I have successfully nursed Lucan for a full year. If you would have asked me at 6 weeks if I would have been able to stick it out, I would have told you no. Ironically enough, I'm having problems letting breastfeeding go. I feel like once I stop, Lucan will no longer need me. I know, I know. I have issues.

  • We are down to two naps a day. Squeezing a third nap in was proving to be challenging and somewhat of a waste. Lu gets a morning nap around 9 am and then an afternoon nap around 1:30 or 2 pm.

  • Lu loves to sit in a grocery cart. Loves, loves, loves it. I think he enjoys the feeling of being able to swing his legs. It's pretty cute if you ask me.

  • We go over to our neighbor's house to hang out on their trampoline. Lucan loves it because it's like a giant pack and play for him.

  • And on the note of non-loves: carseat. If he has to be in his carseat longer than a half an hour, Lu starts to protest. And by protest, I mean crying loudly. The last time we went to our parents' houses was certainly a test of patience and love. This weekend we will be in the car for 4 hours. With another baby. Should be really interesting.

  • Lu's favorite toy are his stacking cups. Weirdly enough, the number two cup has mysteriously disappeared. But Lu likes to crawl around clutching a cup in each hand.

  • Lucan doesn't really have distinct words he says. I'm sure that the doctor will have something to say about this.

  • And Lucan doesn't consistently feed himself. This is partially our fault, but we are working on it. I'm sure the doctor will also say something about that too.

  • Nor does he really use a sippy cup. Whatever doctor.

  • BUT ... Lucan will hold his bottle. Occasionally.

  • Lucan loves swimming in Fire's water dish.

  • He also wants to explore all nooks and crannies of the fridge. If you know me, this is hazardous.

  • Because Lucan is learning his balance, he falls quite a bit. He usually has a new bruise or red spot on his head because of a fall or mishap.

  • Lucan has become quite stubborn. If he wants something, he wants it. A battle of the wills.

  • Oh. This one has me slightly annoyed. Apparently Lance is Lucan's new favorite parent. Lu will reach for Lance and give Lance huge smiles. Me, I'm the back-up parent who will do when there aren't any better options.

Blinking? What?? Crazy hair? Not me.

I'm a little man.