May 27, 2011

my favorite things: link love

Happy Friday!  In case you are curious, this is my last Friday of the school year!  WooHoo!  As a celebration of my coming freedom, I thought I would share some links that I loved this week:

I read this yesterday, and I realized what my struggle truly is.  Such wisdom here.

I want to try all of the suggestions here; maybe a summer project (or two or three)?

This made me laugh to myself a bit because we had the hardest time getting Cara to nap when she was itty bitty.  Basically, it took daycare to get her on any kind of nap schedule.  Can you say "first time clueless parents?" Why, yes, I think that was us.

I adore this outfit.  There is a navy dress in my near future.

We bought some fresh eggs at the local market yesterday, and I think I will make this recipe with them.  (Our eggs look just like the ones pictured, all mismatched and imperfect.  I love it).

This is going to be the next dress I make for Cara, and I promise that I won't make a matching one for me this time...

Need to entertain some littles on the cheap?  Try this!  It looks like so. much. fun.

Yum.  I have no other words.  Just drool.

I have been all stressed about bathing suits this summer.  I broke down and bought my first one piece (should be delivered today!), but then I read this and decided that maybe I won't retire all of my bikinis.

Look at these pictures with a tissue handy.  You will bawl.

May 23, 2011


In the fifth or sixth grade, I got a chess board and a how-to-play-chess-and-always-win book. Being the total nerdface that I was (and still am?), I devoured the book and played anyone who was willing. At that age, I soaked up all kinds of new information without trying, and chess became my game. I felt smart, maybe smarter than my opponent, even when I lost. The appeal was strategy. You rarely win at chess through luck; when you win, it’s because you planned and implemented attack after attack, counterattack after counterattack. You don’t gloat. You just know.

My sixth grade crush was better than me and beat me every time. He was a skater kid with a sling (remember that haircut?) and baggy clothes. I was late getting my Chuck Taylors and still rolling up my jeans. We were unlikely partners, but I loved it. I packed my board in my backpack every day, and we would sit in the reading center and play after we finished our work. Pretty soon, our classmates wanted to learn how to play, so we became their teachers and coaches. I liked that he was better than me and challenged me as an equal. I’m not a feminist by any stretch, but it is important to me to feel like an intellectual equal, an old insecurity that lingers into adulthood.

He went to a different middle school, and that was the end of my childhood crush.

I never joined a chess team. I was a cheerleader instead, though I could never hide my inner nerd completely. I still played from time to time at home with the boys who were never serious. I won sometimes, but for me, that’s not nearly as satisfying as a solid challenge.

PJ and I met when I was 15, and of course, I made him play with me. He almost always beat me.  In fact, I'm not sure that I ever won at all.  He drifted in and out of my summers for a few years, and by the time I was 17 or 18, there were other things on both our minds besides chess…

I had an unfortunate boyfriend in college for seven or eight months. It was a relationship that I knew was going nowhere from the beginning, but I was feeling rebellious. It happens. I remember challenging him to a game one night around Christmas, a time when I always feel a bit nostalgic. He was good, matching me play for play. I tend to vacillate from competitive to insecure, doubting my ability, desperately trying not to seem too confident, and I’m certain my attitude during this match was no different. He should have won, but he made a stupid move right at the end.

Check. Mate?

There were only two possibilities: either he was really stupid or he let me win, which meant that he thought I was stupid. He didn’t last much longer.

I think tonight I will pour two glasses of wine and set up the board. I’m sure PJ and I are both rusty, but I’m also sure he would never just let me win.

May 22, 2011

two new dresses

So, I might have made matching dresses for Cara and me.  Not on purpose; I just had lots of fabric and a few patterns I wanted to try. 

We might have worn our dresses to church this morning.  It's not weird to dress like your almost two year it?  I thought we looked like a wedding party.  I can be an awesome bridesmaid. 

We coaxed a tiny smile.
 But she was having none of it after that.
 Still not having it. 
 So we took a walk. 
And she was better.
my dress:  New Look 6557
Cara's dress:   Simplicity 2265

May 19, 2011

medical emergency update

Cara's little "surgery" seems to have been a success.  The process of it was pretty awful though.  PJ and I had to hold her down while the surgeon gave her the numbing shot, which didn't seem to do much numbing because she screamed the entire time.  So sad.  I couldn't watch what the medical folks were doing, but PJ did.  By the time we got home, Cara was pretty upset, and she quickly moved on to inconsolable.  She was obviously in pain and tossed and turned around in my lap, desperately trying to find a comfortable spot.  Again, so sad. 

After a little Tylenol and a long nap, we had a new child.  It boggles my mind.  She was ready to run and play and required no more snuggling or coddling.  I think children have superhuman bodies or something because I know I would have whined a whole lot more than she did.  Here's how Cara spent her afternoon yesterday:

Perhaps I overreacted a little.  There is still some healing to be done before I'm comforable sending her back to daycare, but the best medicine right now seems to be gummies.  I think she'll survive.  Especially since she's recovered enough today to request her purple shoes and a dress.

(please ignore the pressure washer in the chair in the living room.  i have no idea.)

May 17, 2011

may = medical emergencies

(The post title might be a bit overdramatic.  Maybe.)

What is it about May that seems to bring on strange illnesses?  I would think that May would be the healthiest month with all of the sunshine and warmth.  The pollen levels seem a little lower; it's like OUTSIDE just calls our names. How is it even possible to be sick in May?

Last May, Cara had a crazy rash that thoroughly freaked me out.  Our doctor told us not to worry, so I left his practice.  How could anyone NOT worry about a child who randomly woke up looking like this:

not cool

Until today, the rash was the craziest medical issue that Cara has had.  I know that means we are very, very, very lucky.  Last weekend, we had a mild fever scare.  Cara and I went to visit my mom for her birthday, and we went to a vineyard in Myrtle Beach for a picnic.  The toddler woke up from her nap in the car with a blazing fever.  She was really lethargic and clingy, which is highly unusual; Cara is typically trying to run away from me as fast as possible!  We ended up in urgent care with ear infections, but the antibiotic seemed to clear everything up pretty quickly.  As we were leaving to head home on Sunday, I noticed that Cara had a bump on her bottom that seemed to be bothering her a little.  By today, the  bump was the size of a nickel and really, really hard, and it was bothering Cara more than just a little; she barely even wanted to sit down.  So sad.  Her teacher at daycare thought it might be a spider bite (google spider bite pictures and just try not to get freaked out).  I took her to the doctor today, and I couldn't believe what he told me.  I actually thought he was kidding at first.  I felt like the worst mother in the world.  My child has a MRSA abscess on her bottom.

Do you know what the treatment is for this?  A surgeon has to cut it open and drain the infection.  Gross, gross, gross.  And surgery??  I am freaking out a little, even though the doctor assured me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this, and really, there is nothing I can do to keep this from happening again.  He said it is kind of like ringworm.  It seems gross, but it's everywhere, and it doesn't mean that anyone did anything wrong (unless you are letting your child play with poop.  Clearly, that is wrong.).

So send up a little prayer for Baby Cara (and her freaked out mommy) around 12:30 tomorrow.  I'm spending the next few days snuggling with my girl.

May 11, 2011

today is awesome

We had a really bad storm late last night.  Bad enough that I woke up and wondered if I should grab my sleeping toddler out of her crib and camp out in the bathtub.  Those tornados in Alabama freaked me out a little.  We were fortunate that we only lost power for a moment and no falling trees/limbs damaged our house or cars.

Cara's school was not so lucky.  An awning from a garage or a patio or something landed across their main power lines on the street.  They also had some water damage, so they were closed today.  And it seems fitting that I didn't find out that they were closed until I was on my way to drop Cara off and go to work.  Thank goodness my school was on a two hour delay.

I had a long moment of panic because I have no Plan B.  My dad is in town, but he works too, and my hubby was already at work 30 minutes away.  I felt like it would be unlikely that I would find a college student willing to babysit all day on short notice who was actually awake at 8 in the morning.  So, baby Cara went to high school for a little while so that I could get my classroom ready for a sub.

In the back of my mind, I wondered what would happen if I couldn't find a sub.  I guess Cara would have stayed with me in my classroom all day?  That might have worked out okay until around 11:30 when Cara would start to need a nap.  Perfect lesson in birth control.

Fortunately, I am now sitting at home drinking another cup of coffee while Cara watches Dinosaur Train (I do not understand that show.  Dinosaurs on a train???).  Today is awesome.

May 8, 2011

happy mother's day

Happy Mother's Day!  I have to admit that I was pretty excited about my gifts for my mama and mother-in-law.  I used Anna's Runaround Bag pattern two ways.

Bag 1 (for my mama):

with a pleat and a magnetic clasp

a few crooked stitches = lots of extra love

Bag 2 (for my MIL):

reversible with a flower pin

I really love the button in the center of the flower!

And I am so thankful that I get to be this little girl's mama:

Thanks for putting up with me, Baby Cara.

May 6, 2011


My friend Kimberly made these two highly entertaining and relatable lists of things she digs and things she finds overrated, and I'm totally copying her today.

Things I Think Are Awesome:

1)  The chop.  I have had not one moment of haircut regret.  I am so glad that I let those 5 or 6 inches go, especially when my hair is not getting caught under the shoulder strap on my purse or in the back of a chair, when I do the end-of-the-work-day-fingers-through-the-hair and there are no tangles, when the wind blows and everything falls right back into place, but especially, especially when it takes me way less time to get ready in the mornings.  Woo-Hoo!

2)  Three weeks left of school!!! (!!!!!!!!!!)

3)  Anna's Runaround Bag Pattern (more on that later)

4)  My denim jacket.  I want to wear it every day.

5)  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I started this one a few months ago and put it down because it didn't hook me at all.  I tried it again last week, and it got me.  I don't know what changed.  So weird.

6)  Son of a Peach and a little free therapy with my favorite new mommy and old bff (she's not old, but we go back a few years...M, it's getting close to NINE years I think...)

Things I Think Are Overrated:

1)  Tanning.  I used to soak up the sun like a sponge, but here it is already May and I have been out in the sun for the purpose of baking myself for only one hour.  My skin got all itchy, and I decided that I probably won't put a lot of work into my tan this year.  I got a little bronzer, and I think that will be sufficient.  I feel like I just have other things I need to do besides speed up the aging process.  Although, when we head to Florida for a week in June, I have every intention of playing in the sun the entire time.

2)  Cable TV.  We cut off our cable about a month ago, and I haven't missed it even once.  Cara watches The Cat in the Hat on PBS while I cook dinner, but that's about all the TV I'm interested in.  PJ and I like to watch TV shows on DVD (we are working our way through the latest season of Mad Men right now and waiting anxiously for the new season of True Blood to come out), and I like that we can have a little date night on the couch after the child goes to bed.  I thought I would miss Food Network, but I think I replaced it with a few food blogs...

3)  Top 40 pop music.  It's kind of like cable TV.  I realized the other day that I have no idea what songs are popular right now.  I keep the radio tuned to NPR and the Christian radio station because Cara repeats way too much of what she hears.  The last thing I want is for her to go to school singing something about grinding that booty on me...not cool.

May 3, 2011

so I got bored

with my hair.  If you haven't seen me lately (or haven't looked at my blog header lately), my hair has been medium longish for at least three or four years.  I've added bangs or more layers, but nothing very drastic.  All it takes is one really bad haircut to make a girl shy away from a dramatic change.  (I don't really want to talk about it cause it was *that* bad.)  But, my haircut lady and I have been going strong for over a year, and she has never once done me wrong (even when I showed up 45 minutes late), so I felt like it was time to throw off the weight of my hair and embrace leaning back in chair with no hair pull-age.

And so we have this, which seems very drastic to me but probably not so much to the rest of the world.  I love it regardless of how drastic the world thinks it is.

Of course, my husband pouted when I told him I was going for the chop.  If it was up to him, I would have a long, Amish braid (no offense to the Amish, but I'm not Amish), but when I came home, he was kind and complimentary.

The best part was taking the pictures.  Seriously, I am a terrible subject, and PJ could only laugh and tell me to just stop talking! 

Apparently, that's hard for me.

It's also hard for me to take any kind of decent picture.  Here's the best we got:

Just kidding.  Sort of.

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