November 2014
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The Worst Laid Plans…

It is a testament to my husband’s good nature that I can say something like “hey, let’s paint the kitchen cabinets” the weekend before Thanksgiving and he will actually go along with it.

(In my defense, we had a friend volunteer to babysit for us, and you have to take advantage of these situations.)

Shopping with Daddy + nap time + (free! OMG free!) babysitting = 12 hours of prep and painting.

Which is how we ended up with this:

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(I just might have a tea hoarding problem).

I figured, we’re going to all this trouble, we should probably clean out the cabinets, bleach the insides, paint the insides…. At that point, you might as well reorganize the whole kitchen. I mean, it just makes sense .

Also, you can’t just paint the cabinets, you have to take the doors and all the hardware off. And the people who painted the cabinets last time did a supremely shitty job, so we had to scrape and sand off all of the drips and brush marks. And did I mention that they neglected to follow step one?

Because the hinges all kinda look like this:

I attempted to soak the hinges in mineral spirits, but all that did was make them really stinky and flammable. Which made my husband kinda mad, because he did kinda sorta warn me that might happen.

But, hey, the cabinets looked like this:

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(It’s a little embarrassing just how long we lived with those paint sample patches).

And then they looked like this:

And now they look like this:

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Progress right?

More importantly, the dining room looks like this:

 

Ok, so it’s still full of doors. But it’s not full of rooibos, and that’s what I call progress .s

(Kristian says I’m never allowed to buy rooibos. Ever. Again).

(He kinda has a point there).

Even if we don’t get the doors back on in time, I’m pretty sure we can give everyone enough prosecco on thursday that they won’t notice. Better hosting through booze, that’s what I say.

Tea for Two

I slept funny on my leg Saturday night. When I woke up on Sunday, I was in all kinds of pain. It kinda put a dent on my plans to go for a run and then my favorite yoga class. But, it worked out pretty well in the end, because a certain little someone wanted to have a tea party.

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Everybody got their fill of tea, and then we pretended we were in music class and sang the hello song. Lilian got out her little ukelele and pretended to be the teacher.

I’ve been doing a lot of work on the house lately (if stress-cleaning is wrong, I don’t ever want to be right). I had some big plans for Sunday (I may or may not be planning to re-paint our kitchen cabinets), but it was kinda nice to throw them out the window and just hang with my cutie.

Night of a Thousand Elsas

Spoiler alert: Lilian totally wore her costume .

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My sister Melissa told me that Halloween was going to be the night of a thousand Elsas. Who’s Elsa, you ask? Perhaps, unlike me, you haven’t seen a rather popular movie called Frozen about a couple dozen times. Well, Elsa is one of the main characters. She’s rather popular with the ladies. And Melissa knew they all wanted to dress up in that sparkly blue dress for Halloween.

Not my kid, though. My kid didn’t even know what Halloween was . This was my last chance to pick her costume for her. And I picked a giant, fuzzy, blue monster.

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I got home from work a little early on Friday, and we decided to go ahead and see if Lilian would be cool with her costume. She was surprisingly amenable to putting it on, so my Dad (he and my step-mom watch her at our house on Fridays) said to seize the moment and take her trick or treating so that she’d get all excited and want to keep the costume on….

… Which is how our next-door-neighbors came to find us ringing their bell at 4:45pm, with the sky still light out, and nary another trick-or-treater to be seen. Lucky for us, they are very nice neighbors and very good sports.

Once Lilian found out that people were going to ooh and ah over her and then give her candy? Let’s just say she was completely sold on this whole costume business.

(Apparently my Dad knows a thing or two about these things.)

We hit up a couple of houses, then decided to take advantage of the fact that it was still light enough out for pictures.

(I spent waaaay too much time sewing that thing to not document the shit out of it.)

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Did I mention that I wore a creepy cat costume to work? Because I totally wore the creepy cat costume to work.

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“Rawr!”

Once it was actually kinda dark out, Lilian, my Dad, and I headed out for some more trick or treating. We only did a block and a half, but it took us over an hour. Why? Because Lilian really does love being oohed and ahhed over. Also, we stopped at the elderly housing down the street and those old people looooove to talk.

(They also love to make with the candy, so it worked out pretty well.)

(Seriously, though, my little monster made them all reeeeeally happy. I was so proud of her.)

I now understand why you see so many people with their kids in wagons out on halloween. Lilian was a little overwhelmed by all of the hubbub, so she kept asking me to carry her. My arms are still sore! It was totally worth it, though. We had a great time.

(Lilian apparently prefers goldfish to candy.)

(I have no idea where she gets that particular personality trait.)

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My little monsters.

You know what’s kind of weird? I don’t think we saw one Elsa all night. Kristian stayed behind to hand out candy and he said he didn’t see any either. Maybe we don’t live an an Elsa-loving neighborhood? Some people were writing on Facebook that they didn’t see any Elsas, either. But some people said they had a ton. I have no idea what this means, but I did think it was kinda odd.

Did you do anything for Halloween? Did you play the drinking game where you drink every time an Elsa rings your doorbell? Did it get you hammered? 

Happy Halloween!

Apparently I made a passing reference to buying a new sewing machine, promised a story, and then never wrote about it again. Whoops.

So, yeah, I bought a sewing machine. A really nice one. It was used! And fifty percent off! But, ya know, fifty percent off of expensive is still freaking expensive. Note to self: You know how they say not to make big decisions and/or purchases when you’re going through stressful situations? There is totally a reason for that.

Basically, what happened is this: I’ve had a Janome Travel Mate since I was in college. It wasn’t the world’s fanciest sewing machine, but it got the job done. Mostly . I had it serviced periodically and all that jazz, but one day it just plain stopped working. It wasn’t worth getting fixed, so I was trying to figure out what I should do. My MIL offered me hers, but it turns out that sitting in a closet for 15 years was not exactly the best thing for it. It was completely seized up, the needle wouldn’t budge a millimeter. I brought it to a local sewing store to see if they could fix it. It turns out they couldn’t…

And then my sister went and broke herself in a bicycle accident .

I didn’t know how to process the news about my sister, so I decided that it would be a great idea to get in my car, drive to the aforementioned sewing store, and pick up my MIL’s busted sewing machine. Just keep moving, right? I got to the store, told the owner that I was probably going to buy a new machine at some point, and she mentioned that she had a used machine for sale at a very nice price. Long story short, I let my emotions get the best of me, handed over my credit card, and then had to explain to Kristian that I had just spent about two week’s salary on a sewing machine.

Seriously, whoops .

What does this all have to do with Halloween?

Well, now I just had to sew Lilian’s costume.

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(That’s Sulley from Monster’s Inc, btw, if you’re not a Pixar fan.)

Lilian tried it on once when I had it partially sewed, declared it to be “too hot,” and now she doesn’t seem to want to put it on. I figured we’d be able to bribe her with the promise of candy, but now I’m not so sure. I suspect she might end up trick or treating with just the hood on. I am trying to make myself ok with this.

Honestly, it was a lot of fun to sew it. Plus, it’s a little on the big side, she’s a little on the small side, and there is a good chance that she could wear it again next year. I was happy to have an occasion and a deadline with which to motivate myself to start and finish a craft project. It’s been a stressful couple of weeks around here, so it was nice to retreat to my craft room and immerse myself in blue fuzz.

In case any sewing nerds are curious, the pattern is McCall’s M6628 Furry Monster. It’s discontinued, but I bought it off of eBay for like seven bucks. The faux fur is called luxury shag in turquoise, and the purple bits are all just your basic felt. I didn’t have to make any real adjustments to the pattern. I left a few things off (like rick-rack around the horns), and I didn’t make the hands or feet. But mostly I just kept it simple. The purple dots are a spray-on fabric paint.

(I almost forgot to spray them, but Kristian reminded me at the last minute.)

(Thanks, buddy!)

It’s so much fun to have a kid who’s getting old enough to participate in holidays and get all excited about them! Kristian had a work thing last night, so Lilian and I had some time to hang out, just the two of us. When I picked her up at daycare, I asked her if she wanted to help me make cookies, and she said “yesssss!” And then turned and sprinted for the door! She powered through dinner, got down out of her seat, walked over to the oven and said “make cookies? make cookies?”

(I guess you could say she was pretty eager.)

(She didn’t even ask to eat a cookie, and I didn’t offer. I think she just really likes helping us cook.)

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If you let her, I think she’d attempt to make the entire recipe herself. As it is, it takes a lot of redirecting to have her feel like she was an integral part of the baking process, and still end up with something edible. She’s pretty good at letting me hold her hand while we measure stuff out, and then she can dump a quarter cup or a teaspoon into the bowl and have most of it actually end up where it’s supposed to. She also unwrapped the butter sticks. And she’s a total champ with a mixing spoon.

But her favorite part? Putting M&Ms on top of each cookie.

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I did a little bit of rearranging. Because I am slightly OCD and it’s just plain wrong to have unequal amounts of each color on a cookie. Wrong, I tell you, wrong . Luckily, she’s a good sport about it. She’s also either a sugar ninja, or she didn’t actually try to eat the M&Ms.

Isn’t that just the cutest little outfit, BTW? My mom bought it for her.

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We’re taking her trick or treating tonight. I’ve been psyching her up for it, with reminders that she needs to say “trick or treat!” and promises of candy. It will be her first time trick or treating, so I’m pretty excited myself!

(Fingers crossed that she actually wears her costume).

CHaD Hero Half Marathon

On Sunday, I ran the CHaD Hero Half Marathon . I trained for it most of the summer and all of the fall. I was hoping for a better time, but you know what? I raised over a thousand dollars to help out a great hospital that serves a lot of kids and their families. I think I’d rather be better at fundraising than at running.

(Although I wouldn’t mind being better at running too.)

(Next year? I am doing a lot more hill repeats. That course is seriously steep .)

Kristian, Lilian, and I drove up to New Hampshire a day early, so we wouldn’t have to rush up for the race. That also gave us a chance to spend some time with my sister Christina and her husband Luke.

(And to stay in a hotel and swim in a pool.)

(And to go out to dinner and eat french fries.)

(Best weekend ever.)

It rained all last week, and Lilian liked my pink rain boots so much she asked to kiss them (I may or may not have imparted a little too much of my love of shoes to my child). So, we figured she might need a pair of her own. We didn’t find any boots in her size at the local mall, but we did find a kinda creepy bench.

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You know why I love my husband? He saw me trying to get Lilian to pose as one of the monkeys and he coached her into being the “See No Evil” one. That’s my guy!

We kept up our pre-half marathon tradition (we’ve done it twice, so now it’s a tradition, dammit) of taking Lilian to a local park and then going out to dinner. Vermont and New Hampshire have some kickass parks. Or maybe our local parks are just kinda lame.

You know what’s not lame? The delicious dinner that we ate. And my brother-in-law letting Lilian make herself comfortable on him, while she ate half of his dessert.

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(Not pictured: Lilian announcing to an entire table full of strangers, “I went pee-pee on the potty!”)

(They all clapped for her.)

(Which was very sweet but also kind of extra embarrassing.)

(Oh to be two years old and have people applaud you for such mundane tasks as passing urine.)

I would say that we had to be up bright and early on Sunday for the race, but that would be a terrible, terrible lie. This bad boy didn’t start until noon . Decadent! We didn’t even set an alarm. And Lilian let us sleep until 7am. We got breakfast with Christina and everything. And still had time to take some goofy photos on our hotel room of me dressed up like a super hero.

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This would probably be a good time to mention that the race is super hero themed, and that I didn’t just randomly decide to dress up like Wonder Woman. But you know what? Dressing up like Wonder Woman is kinda all kinds of awesome. I may run all future races dressed up like Wonder Woman. Especially if it means that people give you extra thumbs up, high fives, and yell “way to go, Wonder Woman!”

Photos taken by the very awesome, Pepper, aka the nicest friend ever, aka I can’t believe how far she drove to stand in the rain and cheer for me.

I have no photos of the race itself, but picture rain, and a lot of hills. I rain the first five miles or so with one of Kristian’s coworkers. Then, there was finally a porto-potty for me to use, so he took off while I waited in line. I don’t know that I would have been able to keep up with him the rest of the way, but I do kind of wish I’d tried. He definitely had us going at a good pace (tough, but not impossible). I ended up falling way off the mark once I was on my own and I didn’t even come close to the time I was hoping for.

I was still four minutes faster than my last race, on a course that was a lot more challenging. So, no complaints here. Also, I saw a little baby near the starting line that had an oxygen cannula in its nose. Which kinda gives on a heaping dose of perspective. Like: your kid is happy and healthy and you are strong enough that you can run a half marathon without stopping too much. Get over yourself about wanting to finish faster.

I will say that the part of the race where you pass right next to the finish line, but then have to run four more miles, and the volunteers keep telling you “you’re almost there!” but then you turn a corner and there’s another fucking hill to climb? Yeah, that part kinda sucks.

But then I sprinted out the end, and I could hear the announcer say my name, followed by “put away anything flammable, because she’s on fire.” And that was pretty awesome. So was the part where I firefighter wrapped me up in one of those space age blankets. I’ve never had one of those before! They really are super warm.

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Not pictured: Me stuffing my face with chocolate chip cookies.

Because I hit a thousand dollars in fundraising, I got a few extra perks. Apparently there is a display somewhere with my name on it (I didn’t see it, but we didn’t have a lot of time to wander around). I also get a free entry for next year’s race (smart move on their part, because I will most likely try to raise a bunch of money for them again). Best of all, I got a voucher to spend at the CHaD store after the race. The jacket I picked out was pretty sweet, but it was even sweeter to have the volunteer say “wow, that’s a big voucher!” and be able to reply, “I raised a thousand dollars.”

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It was a really great day, and I am so grateful to all of the friends and family who made it possible. I was honestly shocked by how much money I was able to raise. I have some seriously generous people in my life, I am just blown away by it. Kristian was a great sport, doing almost all of the driving and most of the toddler wrangling. My sister treated me like a princess (she made me a little gift bag, cheered like you would not believe, and then took such sweet care of me post-race when I was seriously hurting). And Pepper drove 2 hours up from Boston to cheer me on! I felt a lot of love from my friends and family this weekend, it was amazing.

Next half marathon I want to be faster, and next year I want to raise even more money.

And I kinda want to be Wonder Woman all the time now. :p