Thursday, March 31, 2011


I feel terrible today. I ache all over. My throat is sore. No amount of hot tea or HGTV home decorating shows seems to be helping. For the last 45 minutes, though, my sweet Ella has been playing quietly in her room. Aaaaahhh... sweet ladybug. I love her. It's so thoughtful of her to let Mommy rest for a little while! My sweet baby girl.

See how cute is she?!

This is an outtake from our Christmas card photoshoot. She's so adorable, she should be ILLEGAL. I mean... look at that face! My little sugar booger. Sweet, precious angel.

She constantly makes us laugh. Here she is with her heiny-ho hanging out. Putting on your own panties can be TRICKY BUSINESS, I tell you! So, cute. I could just eat her with a spoon! Nom... nom... nom...

After a lovely bit of time with my tea and my tv, trying to get my feeling better on, I went in to check on my little bunny princess poo. So sweet. I opened the door and saw this:

Ummmmm... really? Princess POO is right.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I have plans.

Plans, people! I have plans!

Today is going to be busy. I have a metric poo ton of things that I want to get done. However, I'm not sure exactly how many of those things will get accomplished.

So, what's on the menu? Weeeellllll, someone I really like asked me to put together a tutorial for making paper flowers (two different kinds.) I think it would be fun! So, I've got to get my act together. But, the biggest thing on my "To Do" list is to figure out how to finish a table for my... NEW CRAFTING SPACE. *squeal* Yes, I'm taking over part of the basement and giving myself a new-ish office/craft space. It will be ALL MINE!!! *evil cackle* Can you tell that I'm just a wee bit excited? I've been trying to plan it out over the last week or so. I already have shelving, two desks (we're a multi-desk household), and a bunch of storage containers. And over the weekend, Rhett and I made a table base out of galvanized pipes that is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. (No worries... there will be pictures.) I've just got to figure out a table top for all that galvanized deliciousness. So, long story short, I'm going to try to make as much progress today as possible because I don't have an enormous work load today.

Dear God/Universe/Whoever is Large and in Charge:

Please help me be productive today. Please let Ella be GOOD. Please let me come up with good ideas and have the energy to carry them out. And please help me leave the box of Ding Dongs that is hanging out in my pantry ALONE.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Banana + Bread = YUM

A while back, I mentioned that I was making my Grandma Vasey's banana bread. A couple of people asked for the recipe, so I'm sharing it. I highly doubt that Grandma Vasey would mind. She was pretty awesome that way.

Here's a link to the printable recipe.

Of course, you can absolutely just print out the recipe and start baking! However, if you don't do a lot of baking, I have a tutorial ahead. Because sometimes more information is NOT a bad thing.

First things first. Take a minute to turn your oven on to 350 degrees F so that it can preheat. SUPER IMPORTANT. Next, prepare your loaf pan(s). I personally have the best luck using Pam cooking spray liberally on the bottom and sides. However, you can use shortening or butter if that's all you have in the house. Just make sure that you very liberally grease things up. Otherwise, there will be stick-age. I promise.

Then, you need to decide if you want one loaf of bread or two. This recipe is written for just one loaf, but you can easily double it. In fact, I almost ALWAYS double it. You'll have to excuse the fact that all the pictures are for a double batch. Sorry, folks, I'm not willing to bake only one loaf... even if it's for the blog. *wink*

Next, start creaming the following ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs

I use my Kitchenaid mixer for this because I have weenie arms and am entirely too lazy to do this by hand with a spoon. But, you absolutely DO NOT have to have a mixer to do this. Truly. Don't sweat it. And in case you're wondering what the creamed mixture should look like, here's a picture:

See how creamy it looks? (Hence the term "creaming".) No lumps. Completely incorporated.

The rest of this is a "dump" recipe. Just measure and dump it in the bowl. For this recipe, I never sift or fuss about mixing all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before I put it in the wet mixture. Really. No worries there.

3 medium bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt (a big pinch or a small pinch... really isn't a big deal either way.)

A few (or a LOT of) words about the bananas. Please use bananas that are over-ripe. I'm begging you. Mine looked like this:

See? Brown. And kinda yucky looking. I would never eat these. In fact, I often wait until they are even darker brown on the outside. The darker they are, the sweeter the bread will be. And for the record, if you have brown spots or bruising on your bananas, you don't have to cut that off or anything. Just throw them in a bowl and mash 'em up. You won't be able to tell a difference at all.

I use a potato masher to mash my bananas up. This masher belonged to my Grandma Sterrett, who was an incredible cook and baker. Somehow, I have this belief that if I use her utensils, whatever I'm making will magically turn out fantastic. It seems to work... at least some of the time.

Okay, now that all the rest of those ingredients are in the bowl, start mixing. Keep going until all the flour is completely incorporated. It should look something like this:

Now, if you want to, you can add 1 cup of nuts, stirring them in well. I often use walnuts, but pecans will work really well, too. This time, I skipped the nuts.

Pour the batter into your pan(s). They will be a little more than half full.

Put them in the oven. I try really hard to make sure that my baking rack is in the middle of the oven when I'm baking. If it's really high or really low, I have problems with the cook times being correct. Leave them in the oven for 55 to 60 minutes. At around 55 minutes, check them with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out gummy, put 'em back in. If the toothpick comes out clean, then you're ready to put the pans on a cooling rack. I usually cool them in the pans for about 10 to 15 minutes on the cooling rack. Then, I carefully run a knife around the sides of the pan (to make sure they aren't sticking), and then carefully turn the bread out of the pan. Leave the bread on the cooling rack until it's COMPLETELY cool. They should look something like this:

Once they're cool, wrap them up in aluminum foil and let them set on the counter for at least 8 hours. That part is so important, I'm going to say it twice.



Surely letting the bread sit for 8 hours can't make that big of a difference, right? Wrong-go chong-go, my friend. Really. Waiting at least overnight makes all the difference in the world when it comes to sweetness, moistness and texture. I have no idea why. But, you're going to have to trust me here. It will make an enormous difference. I promise.

Well, that's it. And a big shout-out to Grandma Vasey who has been chillin' out on the other side for many years now. The world was a whole lot better because you were in it, Grandma. Love you. Miss you.

Enjoy, my friends!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nutella is awesome.

Before last July, I'd never eaten Nutella. Never. I know. The thought sounds positively BLASPHEMOUS to people who are familiar with this hazelnut chocolate spread. If God could be bottled up in a package of sunshine and light, I choose to think he'd want to be in a jar of Nutella. Yes. It's that good.

Now, if you know me well, you fully understand that I have a lot of ideas. (I can feel my husband rolling his eyes right. this. minute.) Some of them are terrible... real stinkers, I tell you! Some are just plain crazy cakes. But once in a while, a really good idea emerges. It's the kind of idea that feels like the Universe handed me a heaping tablespoon of awesome. (Well, because it DID.) And when that idea involves Nutella, I'm double sure that other people will share in my enthusiasm.

Get this:

A hot, flaky biscuit   +   Nutella   +   strawberries   +   bananas   =   the world just got a little better.

To some, this combo probably sounds mighty strange. Or, if you hate any one of these ingredients, you might find this suggestion downright offensive. But, if you're lucky enough to like all these foods on their own, things might never be the same for you ever again. From here on out, you'll be plagued with a serious craving for these little babies. Good luck with that. *wink*

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Again?! *&$%#@&

At least twenty times a day, I fish Charlie Bacon's ball out from underneath the couch or the loveseat with a fricken' yard stick. That's on a good day. On a bad day, I just get sick of it, and ignore it. But, it drives me crazy. The whining. The pawing. The barking. *&$%#@&!

I had to come up with something to keep his dang gum ball out from under the couch. Seriously. Enough is enough. The solution? Pool noodles, covered in canvas drop clothes with duct tape. Yes. I actually said duct tape.

The supplies:

Measure the opening under your furniture. It really doesn't have to be exact. Close is absolutely good enough.

Measure out how long you need the pool noodle to be.

Cut the pool noodle to the correct length with a serrated knife.

Lay the pool noodle on your canvas drop cloth. Use it to get an idea of how big you need the canvas to be. See those fold-y lines? Use those as a guide for your cutting. No real need to measure, people! Just make sure to leave plenty of overlap to go around the noodle and at least 4 inches at each end.

If your furniture is long (like my three-seater to the left), you might have to put two pieces of pool noodle together. No problem. Just measure and duct tape those puppies together.

Yes, folks. I'm duct taping the fabric around the pool noodles. You can put the duct tape to the back and NO ONE will see it. Easy peasy.

How do you finish off the ends? No problem. There is a little hole at each end of a pool noodle. Just tuck the fabric in there. It stays put pretty darn well.

The big, rewarding AFTER shot:

Hmmm... not exactly a big TA DA because they're barely noticable. I realize that you *can* see these under the furniture, and that might really bug some people. You could absolutely use fabric that is the same color as your floor/rug/etc. Then, they would practically disappear in the background. I, however, wasn't really worried about it. That's code for "I was just entirely too lazy to go to the fabric store and just happened to have a spare drop cloth." For me, this is a look I can totally live with. And so far, NO balls under the couch. *sigh* Thank. Goodness.

Now, I'm actually looking forward to figuring out a good use for the rest of that canvas. I LOVE canvas. Surely I can think of something cool to do with it. Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ode to Baking

If you know me at all, you know that I love to bake. LOVE it. ADORE it. I'm pretty sure that I could bake all day, every day, and be a really happy girl.

A lot of people, upon learning that I love to bake, say something like, "I hate to bake because you have to be so exact." Aaaaah... that's exactly why I love it so much.

Most of the time, life is messy and unpredicatable. There are so many things about it that don't make sense (at least not to me.) It's constantly a surprise. There is no owner's manual or recipe to follow. And the only thing you can really count on is that life is going to be changing and different all the time. Baking is not like life at all. When I bake, I can carefully measure my ingredients. I put them together as the recipe tells me to. I put them in the oven at a precise temperature for a certain amount of time. In the end, I always get the same product, every single time. Well, I get the same product ALMOST every time. Occassionally there are conditions that you can't control, and you have to work around (high humidity, heat, etc.) And sometimes, things go wrong for no reason that you can come up with (the Big Karaoke Cake Debacle of 2011 is a perfect example.) But, most of the time, baking is predictable. Baking is safe. I can totally count on baking.

Yesterday, I made banana bread from an old recipe that belonged to my childhood neighbor. Despite the fact that we didn't share genetics, we called her Grandma Vasey. She was a very elderly spitfire of a woman. I'm pretty sure that her picture is next to the word "sassy" in Webster's dictionary. She made the best baked goods on the planet. She was pretty amazing. And lucky for us, she left lots of little pieces of herself in our recipes boxes. Her banana bread absolutely, positively kicks ass.

It is dense and moist and all that is wonderful and right with the world. It helps me remember Grandma Vasey and some of my most lovely childhood memories. It makes me feel like at least something in my life is a little bit predictable. And quite frankly, I could use all the predictable I can get.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Random Fridays

Well, I wrote a ridiculously random post last Friday. Nobody complained. So, I'm going to make it a regular thing. Well, and mostly because by the time Friday comes around, my brain is fried. They should really just name it "FRIED-Day", don't you think? So... on to the random!

- My migraine is gone... replaced with a dull headache. But dude, I can totally handle a dull headache. NO PROBLEM. It's like the difference between a paper cut and a gaping chest wound. Migraine = super bad. Dull headache = meh.

- Ella's napping strike has officially ended. She is actually in the next room, SLEEPING. *doing the happy dance, shakin' my groove thaaaaang* Oops. I bet you really didn't want that mental image, huh?

- I just ate a Reese's peanut butter egg. Ssssshhhhh... no one else knows. And actually, I lied to the kids and told them that they were for someone else. By someone else, I meant "not you."

- I've totally stopped going into my older kids' rooms. It's just too depressing. And it makes me angry. And then I get all yell-y. So, it's just better that I shut the door and pretend that they all subscribe to the idea "a place for everything and everything in it's place." Yes, it's a delusion that I'm completely comfortable with.

- In a few hours, my mom is coming to get the girls. She called me this morning to offer her weekend-long babysitting services. (I LOVE YOU, MOMMA!) Then, tomorrow afternoon, the boys are supposed to go visit their bio-mom for an entire week... being spring break and all. I love my children. Really. I do. But, I could not possibly be more excited about a little time away from them.

- I'm going to talk Rhett into going out to dinner Saturday night. And maybe a movie. I don't care how crappy I feel. Hell, I don't care if I'm bleeding out the eyeballs. WE. ARE. GOING. I'll just pack extra tissues in case of the bleeding eyeball thing.

- (in my tiniest, wee, whisper-ish little voice, so as not to jinx myself) I'm done working for the day. I have nothing else in my email box. So, I'm totally going upstairs to vegetate on the couch and watch stuff on the DVR that Rhett absolutely can't stand to sit through. (He loves me, but a man has to have his limits ya know.)

Happy weekend, folks. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The last couple of days, I've had a migraine. The never ending, soul crushing, nausea inducing kind of migraine that only medication, caffeine and sleeping in dark rooms seem to cure. Thing is, despite the usual tricks, it just isn't going away. Ugh.

On top of the migraine, I've had a bad case of the sads. And the panics. There's been more Ativan taken than I'd like to admit. There's been very little parenting on my part. There's just been survival mode. It will all have to just be good enough for now. The heavy parental lifting will have to wait for a while. In the meantime, it all feels like chaos.

If I had one wish for myself, it would be that today, I find some peace. Peace from the migraine. Peace from the depression. Peace from the anxiety. Peace from the crazy kids that keep showing up to my house and calling me "Mom."  Peace. Pretty please?

Oh, and if I could be granted a second wish, it would be that Ella takes a damn nap. If there is any justice in the Universe, today, Ella will nap so that *I* can have a nap. Because I HAVE to get rid of this migraine soon. Really. HAVE TO. Please and thank you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Forty years

Recently, I put together a little invite. It looks like this:

First of all, Mom... I'm talking to you. Breathe deep. I changed all the info on the invites so that we won't have all the internet stalkers in the world showing up to your anniversary party. And I changed the RSVP info. And I even changed the last name. So, relax, okay? (Can you tell I know a couple of things about my mom?)

These are the invites for my parents' 40th Wedding Anniversary party. Oh. My. Forty years? How is that even possible? Well, I know that it's POSSIBLE, but I don't know a lot of people these days that stay together for 40 years. Truly. It's an incredible accomplishment. Or a freak of nature. Whichever.

My parents have taught me a few things about their relationship, and relationships in general. Here's what I think I know:

1. You have to be willing to overlook some of the most glaringly obvious faults in your partner. They are good people, but neither is even close to perfect. Just like most people, they are each a collection of neuroses. Putting up with your own neuroses is tough enough, but add someone else's quirks to yours? That can pretty much be an invitation to crazy town. But, somehow, they handle it. Good, bad, indifferent, they make it work. God bless them for it.

2. After you've been together for 40 years, at times, the need to communicate with words seems to practically vanish. My parents now have the innate ability to shoot a shockingly brief look at their partner and communicate at least 500 carefully chosen words to the other. You know... with just that one look. It's crazy. It's weird. We're lucky that government scientists haven't kidnapped them and done studies on this strange but cool phenomenon. Spoooooky, I tell you.

3. Even in really tough times, somehow, some way, there is fierce love between those two crazy kids. They aren't the kind of folks that just stayed together for my sister and my benefit. Oh no. They are in love. Each is the other's soft place to fall. Good times or bad, it doesn't matter. They stick together like Gorilla Glue.

Happy (belated, but soon to be celebrated) Anniversary, Mom and Dad. Love you. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to spend a Saturday

This is how I spent my Saturday:

Well, it's also how I spent a portion of my Thursday and Friday, too. But who's counting, right?

A good friend of mine was having a birthday party. Her loving hubby asked that I bring a cake. I wanted to experiment with gum paste flowers. Soooooo... I made this.

This cake taught me some important things:

1. Gum paste does NOT dry the same color as it is when it's "wet". So, don't mix your fondant that also goes on the cake until the flowers have been made and dried for at least 24-48 hours. Seriously, self.

Be patient with the process.

2. When the cake isn't perfect, do NOT point out your mistakes to people. They probably won't notice. And if they do, and they say something mean, they're jerks anyway.

Perfect is not required.

3. Learn to take a frickin' compliment. When people tell you the cake looks awesome, say "Thank you!" and smile big. Do not assume that they are just being polite. Do not be weirded out by the attention you're getting.

Shining a little is okay. In fact, it's expected.

4. If people ask you questions about the cake, please do not feel weird about answering them. Truly. If they ask, they probably want to know. Get the hell over yourself. It's okay.

Let people be nice to you. 

While the cake isn't perfect, it turned out well. And most importantly, my friend seemed to LOVE it. It was a gift to be able to put a smile on her sweet face.

Happy birthday, Candy. You're the bestest!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Awesomely random

It's Friday. My brain is only working on 50% power at the moment. Heck, I might be lucky to hit 30% at this point. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for a random post! (Please, contain your excitement.)

- Does it make me a bad mother if I can remember every measurement and detail of my favorite buttercream recipe, but I have to stop and think about my children's birth dates?

- I bought a good friend a tiny token of my appreciation today. I cannot WAIT to mail it. :)

- My monthly invoicing finally got done today. I hate invoicing with a passion. You would think that as a business person who wants to get PAID for what I do would LOVE invoicing day. Nope. Hate it. But, I did it. And I had a GREAT month. Note to self: save a bunch of that money, girl. Lean times are always around the corner. Always.

- Please keep in mind that, because I work part time, my idea of a super great month is really not all that much money. Just thought I'd state that for the record.

- The kids didn't have school today. I got to sleep until 7 am. Well... kinda. Rhett got up at 6:15, and I lay comatose for another 45 minutes. It was really nice. And then it got even a little bit nicer when someone very small and sweet climbed up into the bed to wake me up. "Momma, you're the best." Who wouldn't want to wake up like that?!

- At this very moment, I'm in the middle of making a cake for a dear friend. Just a quick covering of fondant, and I will be done for tonight. Tomorrow? Gum paste gerber daisies and all the finishing touches. Then... PARTY!

- Today was absolutely beautiful. The kids spent lots of time outside. At the very least, it was good for their souls. Poor babies have been so cooped up for so long!

- I broke out the capri pants and ROCKED THEM like the soccer-ish mom that I am. Yes, I realize that they are often considered a fashion no-no, but I cease to care. You should just be glad that I don't have mall hair anymore.

- I love Scooby Doo.

The end.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

37th birthdays aren't so bad either. :)

I turned 37 years old on Sunday. THIRTY-SEVEN, y'all. Cripes. I guess I can no longer claim that I'm in my mid-30's. Oh well. I'm pretty sure the extra year doesn't show too much.

This year, my birthday was celebrated on multiple days. Who doesn't love the idea of being celebrated for pretty much an entire weekend?

Friday evening, I got to go on a dinner out with "the girls." My cousins, Julie and Robin, were headed to the Kansas City airport (on their way to Boston to teach some painting classes! so awesome!) Because they love me so much, they stopped in Topeka and kidnapped me for a meal out... sans hubby and kids. I loved every minute of it. Truly. I did not have a sippy cup stowed in my purse. I didn't cut anyone's meat or tell anyone to pipe down. I didn't have to shoot a mommy look at anyone. AWESOME.

While out to dinner, we got to do soooooo much talking. I was able to open up about my illness... something that we've never really talked about before. It made me feel so loved. Two people that I absolutely adore were listening to all of my psychosis and providing an enormous amount of support. It was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. (Love you, ladies!) And dinner was really, REALLY good.

Saturday, the focus was on Carter. I didn't mind a bit. As I said before, he had such a good day. There was lots of happy to be had!

Sunday was lovely. I got breakfast in bed with one of my very favorites: a cinnamon roll with toasted coconut on top. (It's okay that you're jealous.) I didn't leave the bed until after 10 am. And when I did, everyone was on their best behavior. While the big kids babysat Ella and Charlie, Rhett and I went over to Target so that I could spend a good bit of my birthday cash. I stocked up on my usual "uniform" of t-shirts in several colors. I found a little light grey jacket thing-ie that is ADORABLE. I even found the perfect pair of little grey flats that I've been searching for forever. Can I tell you how nice it is to shop with a husband who just wants you to be happy and has endless amounts of patience? It's crazy nice. (I love you, Rhettly.)

The only hiccup in my day was dinner. We went to On the Border because I was craving fish tacos. It did not go well. In fact, it was so bad that they comped our entire meal (all 6 of us!), I didn't get to eat my dinner at all (but got it in a "to go" box), and I left with a burn on my hand. Note to restaurants: when you give someone something completely inedible, insist that this patron MUST talk to a manager before she gets edible food, eventually realize that the manager is refusing to come to the table, try much later to fix it by resubmitting her order, give her an order that isn't right, then return to the birthday girl's table with a screaming hot plate and hand it to her as if it's room temperature, you're going to make her cry. And she will never be back no matter how much money you take off the bill. Ever. *sigh* At least the burn on my hand was only a little swollen and didn't blister up much. And I eventually DID get to eat the food. And even better, it was edible the second time around. So, there's all that to be glad about.

We came home, I collected myself, and we had a nice evening as a family. There was Oreo mint ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. *swoon* I got lovely cards. Rhett and the kids gave me some perfume that I've had my eye on forever and an OXO herb mill that I cannot wait to use! (I love, love, LOVE fresh herbs but hate chopping them.) I got the chance to snuggle up on the couch with my very favorite person in the whole wide world (Rhett, I'm lookin' at YOU.) And by the end of the evening, the ugly birthday dinner was a distant memory, replaced by feeling happy and loved.

As we were getting ready to go to bed, Rhett handed me my iPod and said, "Check your playlists." So I did. There was a special playlist labeled "Happy Birthday." It contained the new Mumford & Sons CD. I love them so much! *squeal* So, while getting ready for bed, I got to listen to this:

I love this song. Let love grow, indeed.

Not a terrible way to spend a birthday, huh? :)

PS... There are no birthday-girl-with-the-cake pictures because I am Chief Officer of all Things Photograph at our house. And we just kinda forgot because we really wanted to DIG IN to that crazy yum cake! Oh well. For year 38, there will be pictures!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

13th birthdays are a little bit awesome.

Carter had his 13th birthday party over the weekend so that grandmas, grandpas and one cousin could share it with him. I think the big guy had a really good day. For lunch, we all caravanned over to the local hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that, of course, has an all-you-can-eat buffet. That is absolutely how Carter rolls. Mexican buffet? Multiple trips? Sign. Him. UP.

After lunch, we returned home for cake and gifts. Thing is, when you become a teenager, the entire landscape of a birthday party starts to change. Instead of brightly wrapped presents, balloons, or kiddie cakes, you end up with grown up presents that tend to be smaller and more sophisticated. There are cards with money. The cake doesn't usually look like a Rainbow Brite barfed on the table. Everything is more grown up. Truth be told, it makes me a bit sad. But, on the other hand, it's interesting and a little bit heartwarming to see him turning into a man. Yes, folks. He's gonna be a man sooner or later. Be still my little pea-pickin' heart.

See that? Wads of carefully folded cash and a case of his favorite Diet Dr. Pepper. I'm not sure he could have been any happier than right at that very moment. Getting to be the big guy that gets to go to the store and buy whatever his little heart desires? TOTALLY RAD. And doing all that after he gets to drink one of HIS sodas? You know, the ones that he doesn't have to share with his brother or sisters? YES!!! *fist bump*

And in case anyone was wondering what kind of cake would be had, it was a Dr. Pepper cake. I experimented with the innards, putting Dr. Pepper in place of the liquid for both the cake and the buttercream. It was tasty, but you couldn't really tell it had Dr. Pepper in it. Next time (and there absolutely will be one), I'll reduce the soda down by half on the stovetop and use that instead of soda straight out of the can. Can't hurt to try. :)

Oh, and just to make a record for all posterity, this cake instituted a new cake rule for me. No logos. Ever again. Never. Ever. Ever. Let's just say that I was having such a hard time with the logo (cut out of fondant and outlined in black buttercream), that I had to spend a full 20 minutes getting over the panic attack I had while trying to finish it. You know... when all of our company walked through the door. *sigh* I'm not proud of having a panic attack over something like a cake. In front of my parents and in-laws. But. Well. That's how *I* roll, I suppose. Love me or leave me.

Tomorrow will be MY birthday post. There was lots of happy with very minimal yuck. I'll tell ya all about it. :)

PS. On a totally random note, I think it's odd for my spell check to always and forever flag "buttercream" as a spelling mistake. Doesn't EVERYONE, including Mr. Webster, know that my life's blood is spelled B-U-T-T-E-R-C-R-E-A-M? So weird.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Like a wee little mouse

How in the heck do I follow up yesterday's post? Ummmmm..... I dunno.

I feel quiet and small today, like a wee little mouse. But, I'm okay. Scratch that. I didn't sleep well, so I'm really tired, but otherwise, I'm feeling okay-ish. And quiet. And small.

Yesterday, the outpouring of love was pretty darn amazing. Truly. I appreciate all of it. My cell phone blew up with text messages and voicemails. My email box was full of love, too. And the comments... so sweet.

After going through the comments/texts/emails/etc., I figured a few things out.

1. I am a terrible liar. My family knew all along that I was suffering. I fooled none of them. Really? All that forced smiling and chipper-ish small talk wasn't masking it? Clueless... party of one!

2. People that I know more casually had no idea that my brain was broken. Really? Somehow I thought that my anxiety disorder was obvious to pretty much everyone, like a scar on your face or a missing digit. I guess not.

3. I am loved. I knew this to some extent, but I didn't really understand the scope of it. I think I get it now.

Those are some pretty good realizations, no?


Today will mostly be spent working (web stuff) and starting Carter's birthday cake for the weekend (the actual cake part.) I hate to be a negative Nelly, but I don't wanna. I do not want to work. I do not want to bake. But, I have a client that is desperate to get a project completed (even though she's waited until the very last minute to get me things. Grrrr...) There will be work arounds and complicated coding and other problem solving nightmares. Yuck and yuck. And then there's Carter's cake. He wants a Dr. Pepper cake. That signature Dr. Pepper red color? It's a bitch to try to achieve with basic colors. And he wants it in the shape of an aluminum can. Tall + skinny + crumbly cake = possible disaster. I'm going to try, though, because I love him. No pressure, though. Right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A little story

Once upon a time, in a not-so-faraway land, there was a little girl named Jenny.

She was a sweet little girl who loved to swim. She loved school. She loved dressing up her dog, Molly, in old baby clothes. And she loved to sing country songs to herself while she was staring in the bathroom mirror. She was pretty ordinary, really... except for one little detail. Her brain was a little bit broken. She panicked at the drop of a hat. She was nervous almost all the time. And as she got older, it got worse. She worried about her grades. She worried about feeling different than everyone else in school. She was awkward. She cried a lot. And the kids teased her relentlessly. It was a hard way to grow up.

Fast forward until Jenny is a grown up. Thirty six and 352/356ths years to be exact. Now, she has four children and a little freelance business. She has a husband and a dog. She lives in a modest, but nice house. She drives a mini-van and still sometimes sings country songs to herself while she stares in the bathroom mirror. But her damn brain. It's still a little broken.


Last night, I had myself a good ol' fashioned nervous breakdown. For reals. I cried buckets. My hands shook. I rambled on and on, feeling the pressures of motherhood... feeling like I do EVERYTHING... feeling like I've lost myself somewhere between the corner of my current life and where I want my life to be. It's lonely here. And it sucks ass.

So, between the general anxiety disorder that I've had ever since I can remember, and the crippling depression that can result with so much constant anxiety, I'm a hot mess. I've tried literally DOZENS of different meds and med combinations. They all make me horribly sick or just plain don't work. I've tried all that fancy cognitive therapy stuff, but it's hard to pull yourself back from the edge sometimes. I have to do something different. Now.

For last night, I just took an Ativan to stop the racing thoughts and passed out until morning. I feel a little better today, but I'm still struggling. A lot. And truth be told, I'm waiting for it to get bad again because experience tells me it will.

Thing is, some of my really close friends know about this part of me. However, most folks don't. My family doesn't really have a clear idea of how bad it is. They ask me how I'm doing, and I always give them my best, "I'm going well, thanks." It's all a lie. I don't want to burden them with my broken brain, so I fib.

But, there comes a point when you have to stop pretending that you're okay and be real. You have to admit that you just can't handle things the way they are right now. You admit that you need extra love. You need thoughts and prayers and good mojo. You need phone calls and little encouraging notes in the mail. You need it like you need air and water and nourishment. For me, that time is now.

So, there you go. I'm out of the depression and anxiety closet. It was dark and stinky in there. I have no idea where to go from here, but, I'm out. At this point, I'm trying not to feel embarrassed or self-conscious... or so damn broken. I guess that's something I'll just have to work on.

Now, I guess I have to figure some things out. What's next? Will anybody care? Are people going to be supportive? Are the people who I thought loved me just going to... go away? Will I be forever branded "that crazy girl I went to high school with"? I have no idea. But, I do know that I can't stand another day in the depression and anxiety closet. Did I mention that it's dark and stinky in there?


PS. And for the record, if you call me and I don't answer right away, it's because this post has probably been the hardest thing I've ever had to write, and I may not be up to talking about it right away. But, I'll know that you called. And I'll appreciate it. And I promise to get back to you when I can verbally string together two sentences. Mkay?

Happy birthday, sweet boy.

Today is Carter's 13th birthday.

I remember meeting him for the very first time over 7 years ago. At the time, he was 5 yrs old. I remember thinking that he was insanely smart and so friendly for a kid his age. He was sweet. He loved building things and was already reading by that time. He was such a great kid.

Fast forward 7 1/2 years. Not much has changed, really. He's still insanely smart. He's still friendly. He's still sweet and can build just about ANYTHING out of Legos. He still loves to read. He's still an overall great kid.

What has changed as he's grown up? Well, he's a heck of a lot taller now. He's taller than me. Cripes. He's a little sassier. He's so much more logical and is all about the critical thinking. He's becoming a man right before my eyes. *gulp*

Over the years, there has been one big thing about Carter that took me completely by surprise. Even though he doesn't share my DNA, he's more like me that either one of his biological parents. Sure, he looks like a careful blend of his dad and his biological mom, but his personality is so much more like mine that it's a little weird. He worries like I do. He's a great problem solver. On one hand, he's very sensitive and creative, but on the other, is logical and hates chaos. Maybe we're so alike because we share the same astrological sign? After all, our birthdays are only 4 days apart. Or maybe it's because I've been helping to raise him for the last 6 years, and he somehow identifies with me more? It's hard to tell. All I know is that he's a boy version of me, with a Justin Beiber haircut, glasses, and teenage boy clothes. Oh, and at least a full 4 inches taller. Yep... just like me. *snort*

Happy birthday, sweet boy. This momma loves you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tutus, Facebook and OUCH.

This post is going to be as random as it gets, folks. For reals. RANDOM.

* Last week, we let Ella go to the store like this:

I have to win at least a few cool mom points for a tutu and tiara in a public place, right? And no, we've never let her watch "Toddlers and Tiaras". And for the record, she only owns 2 tutus and 4 tiaras. Crap. I guess this is our fault, huh?

This crazy chick-a-dee, when asked to pose for the camera, insisted that I take a picture of her back side. According to her, "It's more INTERESTING, Momma." You know. With the "Gah, Mom. You're soooo out of touch" look attached. I hope that isn't going to become a trend. Otherwise, y'all are going to see a lot of her butt.

* Tomorrow is Carter's 13th birthday. *gulp* He's already crossing over into moody teenager territory, so in some respects, the day will be a formality for the start of his teenage years. His big rite of passage? Joining the masses on Facebook. *double gulp* Yep, we're those uncool parents that don't let our kids join Facebook until they can honestly answer the question, "Are you 13 yrs. or older?" We have lots of rules about it. He MUST "friend" us. We MUST have the password to his account and reserve the right to check his account if we feel like we need to (which Carter understands is completely up to us.) And if we see anything questionable on there (nekkid pictures, stuff that reminds us of the Trenchcoat Mafia, etc.), then we have the right to close his account. Man. Am I ready for this teenager stuff?

* I cut my finger REALLY badly with a serrated knife a day and a half ago. Damn super crusty (super delicious) artisan bread! It's dangerous stuff, I tell you! There should be laws.

Anyway, the cut is on the tip of my index finger, really close to the nail bed. It's in a place where stitches would be nearly impossible. So, I went to Walfart and picked up some of that fancy liquid bandage stuff. IT. IS. AMAAAAAAAZING!!! It's basically one step down from Super Glue. It literally glues the wound shut. So awesome! The only downsides? It burns like a b-i-t-c-h when it penetrates down into the cut. And it smells like fake bananas. And now that my cut is stuck together, I don't have a good excuse to get out of dish duty. But, truth be told, I think those are downsides that I can absolutely live with.

That's all I've got for now. Happy Tuesday, my friends. :)