Friday, June 28, 2013

Summertime, What I Know For Sure & #iPPP

There's an air of love and of happiness. Oh wait that's the Fresh Prince's new definition of summer madness. Yeah, it's Summer, Summer, Summertime. Sorry to go all old school Fresh Prince, but I love that song and he raps the truth.  Because we are all love and happiness up in here.

Sure, the kids fight, the house is a mess and all of that.  But who cares?  It's summer!  I love summertime.

Not to get all Byrds on you, but come on, just like Will Smith back in the day, they were right too.  To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn)and a time to every purpose, under Heaven.

A time for running through neighbors' sprinklers.

A time for sticking our feet in muddy rivers.

A time for hiding and seeking outside.

A time for monkey bars.

A time for lacrosse sticks and broomsticks to be swords, top hats and flags and wild imagination in the middle of the day just because.
I think they were chanting "for Narnia!"
A time for clover flower crowns.

A time for climbing mountains, chasing rainbows, jumping waves, soaking up the sun and looking up and grabbing every minute of wonder everywhere.
I love summertime, I know that for sure, always.

Here's what else I know for sure (this week):

  • Giveaways are good and this one is really good.  All the pictures above were taken with my iPhone.  In fact, that's my go-to camera since it is ALWAYS with me.  In honor of living in the moment, loving it and capturing it on your iPhone, I'm giving away a quick-change camera lens for your iphone--the olloclip.  A lens that can make the awesome pics you already take on your iphone um, awesome-er.  It is a $70 lens and is perfect for capturing all the summer memories you are making.

    All you need to do is leave a comment here or like my Facebook page and leave a comment and you will be entered.  You have until next Thursday to leave comments and enter.  A winner will be chosen randomly and announced next Friday.

  • Our obsession with RummiKub lives on.  It's such a fun, all-ages, any-season kind of game.  Perfect for my favorite place in the whole world, our front porch.

  • The little boys are in love with two books right now, actually we all are.  Here are two of our favs right now:
Pete the Cat is such a fun book about staying cool no matter what.  It's fun to read and a great message.  

Blackout is a perfect summertime book and a book about unplugging and spending time together as a family.  We all relate to this message, everyone from the 3-year-old to the 39-year-old in the family.

  • I'm not so anti-technology for my boys when it gives them bonding moments like this one.
Checking baseball scores before lights out.
  • Subscribe to my YouTube channel here, so you don't miss out on how-to videos like this one.  You know, where I tell you every way not to put on false eyelashes. Subscribe!

  • Nature is scary.  My kids think I'm nuts, okay everyone does, but nature doesn't like me and I don't trust it.  We literally almost ran into this deer on a family walk after dinner the other night.  Look at the deer, there's no fear there, just a challenging, menacing stare.  
I was crying while taking this picture,
too afraid to move (no lie).

  • Bitchy resting face is real and I have it.  Have you heard of this?  I laughed out loud after I read this and watched the video.  You must, especially if you are an aging woman who doesn't use Botox, watch this video.  Personally, I'm so glad there is a movement to accept "BRF." :)
Click here to read all about it.

What do you know for sure (this week)? C'mon, we're friends, share what you know. What do you love about summer?  Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page (and don't forget you might win the super awesome iPhone lens).

  Please come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

I'm linking up today with my friends Greta from and Sarah from for the #iPPP link up.  They host a link up where they encourage people to share "your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favorite photos of the week" from our phones.  
Check them out.


Oh yeah, and because it was a post full of music references, here you go:

Summer, Summer,Summertime
Drums please...

Turn, Turn, Turn
Bruce Springsteen style...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Not Giving Up

I was sitting downstairs, listening.  It was night time.  There was a knock at the door, muffled voices.  They were being quiet on purpose.  I felt nervous and confused.  

"We'll take good care of the dog," I could hear a woman saying.  And then quiet.  Nothing.

I cried before I knew what was really going on.  Then my mother came downstairs and told me people had come to take Smokie, our puppy.  "It was just too much, we couldn't take care of her," she told me lovingly searching my eyes for understanding.

"You gave away my dog?," I asked in shock.  I knew she was trouble, but my god, giving the dog away?  That's serious.  That's forever.  I was horrified, devastated, nervous and confused.  I felt guilty (I was an advanced 8-year-old and felt guilt and anxiety like a boss).

"How could you just....give up on him?," I begged for an answer through my tears.  "I'm sorry. I'll walk her more.  I'll play with her more.  I'll be better."

For the past 30 years, I've thought about that night every now and then with such sadness and judgement.  "How in the hell could my parents have done that?!" I thought.  I've thought that until we got our new puppy this spring.  And now, I have a whole lot more compassion for my parents.

Cosi is our puppy.  She does puppy things.  She chews on everything, she nips, she wants to play all.the.damn.time.  She sheds, she whines, she smells, she needs to go out a lot.   She's just being a puppy, a dog.

Being the only one home all the time and in charge of her along with the four kids has made me pretty grumpy.   I've texted my husband so many times saying "getting Cosi was the worst mistake of our lives" and "I'm not an animal person."  I've sworn more in front of my kids in the last three months than the last 11 years.  I do a lot of complaining.

After eating a 500 million berries that fell from a Mullberry tree we didn't realize we had in our backyard and getting an upset stomach (that's a nice way of saying she couldn't stop pooping), it was just too much for all of us.

"I put feelers out to give Cosi away," my frustrated, tired husband informed me.  "Someone wants her and they want to pick her up tonight at 6:30."

I was speechless.  It was 1982 all over again.  I was horrified, devastated, nervous and confused.  I cried.  "Oh my god, I'll walk her more, I'll play with her more, I'll be better," I told my husband through tears.  "I just complain to vent, I'll be better.  We can't...[sob, sniffle, sob]...give up on her."
JT and Cosi, best friends.

My mind raced. I wondered if I was doomed to repeat patterns, repeat history.  Shortly after my parents gave my dog away, they got divorced.  In my arrested emotional development's point of view (which arrested around the age of 12), they gave up on us.  Yeah, there it is, spoken like a true product of a broken home.  Waaaaa.  Was this how it all started?  With a really unruly puppy?  (There's that 12-year-old over simplification thing I do really well.)

I took a deep breath and spoke slowly, "We are not giving up on this puppy or us."  

Tim looked at me funny, like "us? What the hell are you talking about?"

"Okay, I didn't see this coming, but okay," he said.  "And hon, we're fine."  And then he hugged me. And we both made a plan to be more patient with Cosi and make more time for her.

The kids had overheard most of what happened.  They were all relieved that we weren't giving away their puppy.  I was relieved I didn't have to have that oh-so-memorable talk with them.  

"This is a good thing Mom," Peyton said to me.  "I mean, Youngbloods don't quit, isn't that our thing?"

Years ago, Tim had said that was our family motto in a moment of trying to be Super Hero/Motivating Coach/Hard Nose, Yet Loving Dad.  And I guess it sort of stuck.

This experience has made my compassion quadruple for people and families that have to give up their puppy because of life circumstances and whatever reasons.  It's not an easy decision and I can't/won't judge.  Sometimes people have to give up, let go, quit their jobs, their pets, their marriages.  Sometimes it is what has to happen.  Sometimes it is better, of course.

But it's not for us.  I am on a path to make my own mistakes, my own patterns, my own history with my own family and my own puppy--giving up ain't my story.

Whether Cosi likes it or not, she's part of this wacky gang.

Cosi can't leave, she has a buddy next door!

We're keeping her, but that doesn't mean she doesn't owe me an apology for the sh*t she chews up.  Here's what I have to say about that:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Scarf, The Bathing Suit & The Body Image (What I Wore Wednesday)

I'm linking up with the pleated poppy's What I Wore Wednesday(wiww) again to talk fashion.

This is the story of a scarf, wait it's a story of covering up, wait it's a story of body image, wait it's a story about acceptance and summer fashion.

The scarf
I've featured the scarf before.  I got it last year at Francesca's for $14.

It's been a shawl.

Um, a scarf.

Lately, it's been used as the perfect reading spot at brothers' baseball games.

And even as a prop in an imaginary bullfight.

And then back to being a shawl, for my Lucy.

Covering Up
I love summer, but I don't love bathing suits. Not one bit.  I've had the same suit for four years and tried it on to go the pool a couple weeks ago and knew, well, it was time.  The top was so thin and stretched it was basically sheer.  The bottom skirt was also stretched, so far in fact it was basically a knee length swim skirt.  Even though I was grateful for the coverage, it just looked ridiculous.  So, Lucy and I went shopping for bathing suits.

I headed to TJMaxx armed with $40 in search of some deals.  After trying on a few, I found one that I loved and that was only $30.  It covers up what I feel needs to be covered.  It's gathered material in the middle allows me to actually eat at the pool party or on vacation.  It's retro in a 1940s kind of way and I love it.

It has a built in bra, the kind you might imagine your grandma having in her bathing suit.  The kids are fascinated by it.  And I am too.

Walking around in a bathing suit just isn't my thing.  So when I went looking for a cover up, I went straight for the trusty scarf.  And the scarf did not disappoint.

The scarf covered up what I wanted covered. But it wasn't hiding, there's no blending in with these bright colors.  It's not about hiding or competing or worrying, it's about comfort and feeling good.   
Here I am cover up-less and still smiling.
I found the perfect bathing suit for all those relaxing, lounging days by the pool this summer.

I won't let my hatred for my thighs stop me from having a great summer.  I'm not giving any answers on how I figured out how to love my body, accept my flaws and embrace the changes in my body as I get older.  In fact, I am my own worst enemy with it all.   I am desperately trying to love my body just the way it is.

Someone who has great ideas on loving our bodies is photographer Jade Beall.  Have you heard about her "A Beautiful Body" book project?  It's amazing and inspiring.  Click here for more details.

And then there was the post by Brittany Gibbons last spring where she modeled a bikini and embraced her body online.  Inspiring and all kinds of amazing.  Click here to read it. 

Yesterday, I  got lost on Pinterest for a while.  There I found yet another way to use my scarf, so I tried it out.  I'm wasn't feeling the look so much and neither were my kids.  My youngest yelled "Mommy's a pirate!" 
We're like twins, right?

So, the scarf can't do everything, but it comes pretty darn close.  So, I'm not totally comfortable with my body, but I'm trying and I'm getting closer.

Please leave a comment and let me how do you deal with accepting your body, wearing a bathing suit and covering up.  Do you have one piece in your wardrobe that you can use for multiple looks? 

Be a part of my Facebook experience. Or in other words, click here and like my FB page for updates and other fun.

Since I started doing the fashion link up with the pleated poppy'swhat i wore wednesdays (wiww). WWIW link up was started by blogger/business woman extraordinaire, Lindsey, as a "fun way for us to encourage each other to simply get dressed each day, and get out of our pj’s or yoga pants."   I've thought more about fashion than, well maybe ever.  And it's been fun (click here to read Color Popping).  It's been therapeutic (click here to read about my Closet Therapy).

pleated poppy 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wild Things on the Porch & Pinterest Poser Challenge

A couple weeks into summer and it's been all kinds of wonderful.  It's been sunny, lazy, playful, busy, fun and free.  And wild.  

Most of our time is spent on our front porch that I can't stop talking about.  And it is the space that I'm once again featuring in a Pinterest Poser Challenge.  I decided to make our porch more of a reflection of our playful, fun and free style.  So, I decorated.  I decorated with what I had in my house--paper, ribbon, kids' artwork, plywood, spray paint and of course, of course, ModPodge.  I probably never would've done this pre-Pinterest just because you know, Pinterest is great like that.  All ideas and inspiration and MacGyver-like crafting or maybe it's more like the mice in Cinderella when they make her dress.  Whatever, it's inspiring.  And ya'll, I'm no poser so here's how it went down.

My kids bring home a lot of papers from school, especially at the end of the year.  School has been out a couple weeks and I think I finally just got through  it all.  I think.  They bring home a lot of crap and a lot of stuff they worked really hard on and sometimes they bring home some really cool artwork.  Artwork that doesn't belong in a pile.  Artwork that should be displayed.  Artwork that symbolizes everything playful, fun and free and wild about childhood.  Artwork that helps tell our story.

This is JT's interpretation of a monster, a wild thing, from Maurice Sedak's Where the Wild Things Are.  

I love it so much.  It's incredibly appropriate coming from my wildest wild thing.  It must not, it cannot, get lost in one of my infamous countertop piles that I eventually put in a cabinet or a drawer only to be seen again months later when the cabinet or drawer is unable to be opened.

So I decorated the porch with this wild thing.  What better place to put this wild thing portrait than where my own little wild things, my own little monsters, have been gathering for every meal, every game, every family meeting and even story times this summer, THE front porch.  THE place for a good wild rumpus to start.  THE place to feel happy and safe, a place where the kids know they are loved best of all.

First I found some plywood and asked my fabulous Pinterest Poser assistant, aka my husband, to cut the wood.  I had just enough spray paint for the border.  

After the paint dried, I used a hefty coat of ModPodge all over the picture and on the cut plywood.  

We screwed in some old screws in the back, twisted some wire around and hung the masterpiece.  Aaaaahhhhh! Rumpus time.
From the moment people step onto our porch, they know what they are getting themselves into--a fun, playful,busy, happy, free kind of family.  A group of little monsters ready for a wild rumpus--not a poser in the bunch.

I also ModPodge-framed a beautiful work of art by Lucy and hung that on our porch too.  The kids are so proud that their artwork is displayed for us, but also anyone that walks by our front porch.

And hey, what about the flag banner I made from paper?

For over a year, I've coveted people's flag banners on Pinterest, Tumblr, Etsy and everywhere else. Here are a couple I love: 

I don't know why I haven't ordered one, but I know why I haven't sewed one, um because I'm no poser and I just don't sew, yet.  So last week, when JT's fever prohibited us from going anywhere but our porch, I got busy.  I pulled together the supplies I had in the craft cabinet and came up with this.  Scrapbook paper cut in large triangles, paper hole punched holes and ribbon threw each hole holding the banner together.  It took approximately eight minutes and done. Whimsical.  Fun.

It's not a long-term kind of decoration however.  It's the perfect banner for a party or if you don't mind the edges curling up a bit after a few days.  Especially on hot, muggy summer afternoons.

Have you made something from Pinterest lately?  Had any great successes? Or advice?  Or warning about a project that's a total waste of time? Do tell.

Please share whatever you're working on in the comments here or over on Facebook.  Come on over and follow my Pinterest boards.

Here are some of the projects I've already attempted, the good and the bad:

Door turned into Table- click here
Summer Wish List Chalkboard-click here
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Sandwiches-click here
Painted Mason Jar Vases-click here
Cinco de Mayo Paper Flowers- click here
Earth Day Cupcakes- Click here
Nail Art-click here
Homemade Photo Booth Fun- click here
Fake Bangs- click here
DIY Subway Art- click here
Furniture Painting and Bench/Chest Makeover- click here
Thanksgiving-y Project/Gratitude/Holiday Countdown- click here
The Smoothie-click here
The Free Printable Turned Artwork in a Boring Hallway- click here
The chalk board-click here
Seven Layer Dip in Individual Cups (my favorite so far!)-click here
The pumpkin address-click here
The Kitchen Dancing Sign--click here

Come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

Oh yeah, and come follow me on Twitter @AngelaYBlood and subscribe to my MomPulse YouTube channel here.