Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What I'm Wearing & #iPPP

It's Listen To Your Mother Week around here and today I'm talking about what I'm going to wear on the day of the big show.  Not only am I a co-producer/director of the show, but I am also going to be doing a reading.  I will be on stage!  So, what I'm wearing is a very big deal, to me.

I found myself with an hour of child-free time last Friday evening so I set out to find the perfect dress for my stage debut. I went to the place for high fashion, Marshall's.

Look #1: My Hippie Dippy Dream Dress
Part of me wants to dance in a field and make flower headbands.  No shit.  I would love it.  I would learn to play guitar and finally learn to love quinoa.  That version of me would wear a dress like this one I tried on the other night.   I mean right?  Except when I put it on I got a let's go baptize someone in the river vibe and it just didn't feel right for the stage.

Look # 2: Disguising My Pear Shape
This color reminded me of a dress I wore in 1988 when teal was all the rage.  I loved how it concealed my lack of a chest and made me look more balanced (the top matching the bottom kind of thing).  At first I felt curvy in a good way and I liked it.  But then I felt little grandma-ish, like this might be more I'm the hip mother of the bride and less I'm making my stage debut and there ain't no stopping me now.

Look # 3: Bold Neckline 
I loved this dress.  It was comfortable, easy to dance and walk in, and it was just fun.  The color worked for me.  BUT the neckline was a little too low for my stage debut. I worried that I would be worried the whole time about what I was revealing with my dress, not my words.  
The socks really make this look, don't you think?

Look #4: The Safe Little Black Dress
There's nothing risqué or spectacularly special about this dress but it's comfortable, covers what needs to be covered and isn't completely unflattering.  And it was only $15. 
I am embracing my pear shape these days
and it's pretty liberating.

I am 95% sure that look # 4 is the one I'm going with on show day.  The only thing I'm 100% sure about is that even almost 40-year-olds can have fun and look ridiculous taking selfies in dressing  rooms like all the kids are doing these days.  

pleated poppy It's been a long time since I linked up with what i wore wednesday.  So happy to be back. WIWW 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." 

All the pictures in this post were taken on my iPhone. Come play with me on Instagram.

Now link up for the #iPPP 
Angela Amman (my LTYM co-producer and #iPPP co-hoster) and I want to see your funny, yummy, heartfelt,  favorite phone photos from the week!  Your post can be about anything, as long as it contains one picture from your phone.  Link up below and don't forget to visit some of the others!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Listen To Your Mother Week & VEDA

It's Listen To Your Mother week around here.  Yeah, the Metro Detroit show is less than a week away.  The show that I am co-producing!!!!!  It's kind of surreal and exciting and nerve wracking and holy-shit-oh-my-gosh-what-the-hell-here-we-go!!!!

So I haven't been crafting or Pinteresting lately and I miss it.  Pinterest Poser Tuesdays will return after I recover from the show.  But until then, head on over to my YouTube channel and watch my VEDA (Vlog Every Day April) videos.  

Here's the vlog that I did last night.  It's about how uncool I am, tragically uncool.  I promise you I didn't even plan on having something green stuck in my teeth, it just sort of proves how uncool I really am (and how tired I am right now, because there was no way I was going to redo the video, lol).

Since it's Listen To Your Mother Week here are the VEDAs I did about the show:

The one where I talk about my biggest LTYM fears:

The one where I show you a behind-the-scenes peek into our rehearsal:

This doesn't have anything to do with Listen To Your Mother, but so what who cares? Here's the most adorable 4-year-old boy talking about his first day of T-ball.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel, click here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

His Own Team

It was strange being on the sidelines and not having to take care of anyone.  No toddler to chase or baby to soothe.  Nope.  Just me watching my boy play baseball.  My baby boy, who isn't really a baby anymore.  

This past Saturday, my baby boy who isn't really a baby anymore, got his very own team.  

He has been going to games of his brothers and sister since he was two days old. 
The big brothers had baseball games this weekend too.

I'm not exaggerating to make his story more dramatic.  He was born on October 7, on October 9 I took him to his big brother's flag football game.  Tim had to work, Grandma had the other kids and I took Wade to the game.  It's literally been his whole life.  So getting his own team? Yeah, that's a very big deal.

I knew it would hit Wade in a big way, but I was surprised by how hard it hit me.  Watching my baby boy who isn't really a baby anymore walk up to the tee and hit the ball made my eyes well up with tears.  

How did this happen?  Four and a half years felt like a minute.  I'm happy and sad and all kinds of oh-my-gosh-he's-growing-up-and-when-did-I-become-such-a-sap?  It's happening, my baby isn't really a baby anymore.  Nope.  He's a happy pre-schooler who loves baseball, looks up to his big brothers, plays anything his sister will play with him and now has his very own team.  He also has the sweetest lisp that better not go away this year or I will f*%#ing go over the edge of the sappy-I-can't-handle-my-baby-not-being-a-baby ledge.

Here's the video of his very first day with his very own team (and you can hear the sweet lisp):

The weekend was a weekend of baseball firsts.  JT won his very first tournament, which made him very happy.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Moments & What I Know For Sure

Life is such a blur right now and I feel like my ADD is in full effect.  My mind is bouncing from one idea to the next and there are so many things to think about and do and say and's so much that all I really want to do is lay around, eat ice cream and watch old episodes of Thirtysomething.  But duh, there's no time for that.  I'm not complaining, just explaining what's going on in my crazy head/life right now.  I feel like I should pull an Olaf and say that these are "all good things, all good things."  If you don't get the Olaf reference then, well, you obviously haven't watched Frozen a billion times.

Last week in the middle of all this craziness, Tim and I went out for a date after the kids' parent/teacher conferences.  It was really sweet and romantic and wonderful and quiet.  

We were holding on---to the moment, to each other.  Because it's very easy to get lost and caught up in this thing called life.  

I know for sure that you have to grab those moments and not let opportunities for connection slip away.

Here's What Else I Know For Sure:

Me at our last rehearsal at the amazing Saint Andrew's Hall in Detroit.

  • I am upset that Tori Spelling is putting her therapy sessions on TV.  But I watched anyway. I know! I couldn't help it.  I really liked them and I feel so sad for them.  And so pissed at Dean.

  • Sunshine is a wonderful thing.  Wade was digging the sun at his sandbox this week.  He's so in the zone in this picture.  Soaking up the rays, sucking on a BlowPop from his Easter basket, singing war chants (because that's what he does) and playing with the sand. 

  • Father and son matching fashion is pretty rad.  I dreamed of maybe my only daughter and me dressing alike one day.  Okay, I didn't but I thought if there were going to be matchy fashions to post it would be us.  But nope, JT loves to dress like Tim.  I kind of love it so much.

  • April is almost over and I am going to miss VEDA- Vlog Every Day April.  I've missed a few days, but not too many.  I am having so much fun and being so ridiculous.  Here are a few most recent ones:

The One Where I Do A Bunch Of Different Accents

The One Where I Put Make Up On And Go Out

The One Where I Ask The Important Questions Like Is 40 Too Old For Braids

What do YOU know for sure this week?  Come on, we're friends, tel me.  Leave a comment below or head on over to my Facebook page.  Share what you know for sure right now.

And come on over and play with me on Instagram- @Jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Epic Homework Battle of 2014 (Round 375)

"Well, say good-bye to your birthday party!," I yelled to my almost 8-year-old son.  "That's right mister, no party!"

I yelled that because I am a horrible mother.  I yelled that because he was officially, how does the old saying go... he was on my last nerve.  
The homework stare-down.

My older children do their homework without much intervention or reminding on my part.  But JT, my almost 8-year-old son?  He is so much me it's crazy.  I mean we both kind of agree, without saying it, that home is not really a place for work.  We both have trouble concentrating and would rather be dancing or playing or doing anything but work.

But it is my job as a responsible, caring mother to make sure he does his homework.  Right?  I need to make sure he doesn't fall behind.   I need to teach him about responsibility and doing all the have-tos in life. 

It started out fairly peacefully.  "Honey, finish up your homework and then go outside and enjoy the sunshine," I told him as I gave him his after school snack.  I smiled like an idiot thinking it would go smoothly.

JT wasn't interested.  

I bribed him with leftover Easter candy.   I bargained, "do half the problems now and half after dinner."  I begged.  I counted, "1, 2...if I get to 3 mister and you haven't started your homework, well, well, I'll...."

Ultimately, I threatened.  I threatened to take away his birthday party.  A party we haven't even planned yet.  He stared at me, his beady little eyes saying "you wouldn't dare cancel a party for someone as cute as me."  But his cuteness had no effect on me.  It was hour two of the epic homework battle of 2014 and I'd had enough, he was on my last nerve.  I stared right back and that's when I said "If you don't start your homework right now, I will cancel your birthday party for sure."  Not swayed, that stubborn kid put his pencil down and crossed his arms.  

And well, you know what happened next--me yelling and canceling, JT crying and going to his room.

I stayed in the kitchen making dinner, muttering to myself and feeling like the most horrible mother ever.  A few minutes later, Lucy came in and said "I just talked to him, I think he needed to cry.  I helped him start his homework."

Needing a good cry? Um, I told you he was so me.  I understand the whole not focusing and not wanting to do math and needing to cry.  I get it!!!!!!

I also get the whole idea of doing something when you are ready.  I get the idea of fighting against something.  I get the idea of pushing buttons and testing people.  I get the idea of wanting to know that there are people that will love you know matter what kind of meltdown you have.  I get the idea of loving that there are people (like amazing big sister people) that reach out when you need them.  I get it.

Before bedtime I laid down next to JT and we talked about homework, change, what scares us, what reading comprehension means, what the best kind of Easter candy in the world is, how we need to get mad sometimes and cry sometimes and do work at home sometimes. 

"Do I get a birthday party?," he asked.

"Yeah, okay," I said because I am a horrible mother who is the queen of empty threats.

Are there any winners of the epic homework battle of 2014?  Oh, I don't know.  It's just another night around here, I can't really over analyze it.  Besides, I have a party to plan.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Family & #iPPP

Candy for breakfast? Check.  Bubbles inside? Check.  Hands up in the air, waving like we just don't care? Check and check.  Yo.  It was a holiday weekend and we did what we do...celebrate and act all crazy.

We also carried on traditions like Easter Bunny cake.  

Even though the dog ate an entire ear of our bunny before we could say Peter Cottontail, it worked out okay.

When I was little, my mother was was all about the Easter Bunny cakes, Labor Day picnics, candy for breakfast on special days and more.  Every year, it wasn't perfect, but it happened.  Until it didn't.  When my parents got divorced traditions stopped.  

In between a million moves, parents remarrying, my mother's anxiety and mental instability and addiction issues, and us just growing up, traditions stopped.  My brother and sister and I used to try to maintain some of the little things they did--making special foods at holidays or singing certain songs.  But it never really stuck.

Traditions, even silly one-eared bunny cakes, matter.  They are part of the story of the family.  They link generations.  

Peyton rolled his eyes when I asked him to get in the traditional Easter Bunny Cake picture this past weekend.  I promised not to post it anywhere on social media and he reluctantly agreed.  "Listen kid, I am going to make a bunny cake forever," I told him.  "You will be posing for this picture with your kids."  He rolled his eyes again. But I know. I know that if I stopped making this bunny cake or doing the things that make our family us, it would matter.  Because it's part of the story of the family, it links us.

We went to Tim's parents' house for dinner on Easter evening.  I looked out on the deck and saw him talking to his three brothers.  They weren't talking about anything particularly special.  They were just hanging out on the deck on Easter evening because that's what they do.  That's their tradition, that's part of the story of their family.

What is the story of your family?  
What traditions do you all have?  

All the pictures in this post were taken with my iPhone.  And I post most of them to Instagram.  Come on over an play with me there.

Now link up for the #iPPP 
Angela Amman (my LTYM co-producer and #iPPP co-hoster) and I want to see your funny, yummy, heartfelt,  favorite phone photos from the week!  Your post can be about anything, as long as it contains one picture from your phone.  Link up below and don't forget to visit some of the others!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Crazy Busy, Mostly Crazy Good

Life is busy right now.  Busier than our normal busy.  So busy my heart is racing and I'm short of breath a lot and feel like I am late for something all. the. time.  

Life is jam packed full of baseball games, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, family, creativity, friends, good food, good music, meeting new people, getting new ideas, traditions and so much more.  

It's life and I am living it waaaaaay out loud right now.  It will be quieter soon--there will be ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys.  Right now, it's crazy busy and mostly crazy good.

Creating a vlog every day doesn't make life less crazy, but it does make it a little more fun.  I have missed three days so far and I am a little ashamed of that since VEDA stands for Vlog Every Day April.  But I've had a blast making the other 18 vlogs.  

Check out a few of them: 

Here's the vlog where I do different accents. Yup.

The one where I read my diary from 1990.

Head on over to my YouTube channel to check out the other videos and subscribe. Click here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

How I Write

I was asked to take part in a blog tour.  I was surprised to find out that it didn't involve a fancy bus and hitting the road and groupies and stages.  A blog tour isn't exactly like that you guys.  But it's still cool.  A blog tour is linking up with other bloggers and sharing words/ideas/thoughts/stories.  This particular blog tour, called How I Write, asks participants to write about their writing process.  My friend Sarah Reinhart from little white whale asked if I wanted to be a part of this tour.  I met Sarah when I started linking up with #iPPP last year.  She has become a good friend who has supported and encouraged me so much over the these last few months.  She is a talented writer, an amazing photographer and a mother of four (who is going to have a fifth baby very, very soon). Sarah asked me to answer a few questions about my writing process and to talk about my video/vlog process as well.

So, here it is, a peek into my process...

1. What am I working on?
I try to write a new blog post every night.  Sometimes it's very easy and I am bursting with creative energy to share the funny or the weird or the frustrating or the amazing parts of my day.  Other times I write about a craft/recipe or fashion or the occasional sponsored post (which I still try to make part of a story).  

I am just starting to dabble more in putting my stories out there beyond my blog.  I've worked with Mamalode a little bit the past couple months and What To Dipping my toes into the rather intimidating world of freelance writing. Pitching ideas and getting ideas rejected, edited, applauded, approved, judged.  It's very validating when a story is approved.  It's humbling when it isn't.  I am learning so much and I love that.  I am learning to appreciate editors' suggestions.  I am learning to not take rejection too personally.  I am learning to be a better writer, a better storyteller.

As far as vlogging, I am smack dab in the middle of VEDA which stands for Vlog Every Day April.  I have been putting up video blogs on my YouTube channel pretty regularly for a couple years now.  But VEDA?  That shit is crazy.  Every day?  What was I thinking?  

Actually, I have had a lot of fun with VEDA already.  I have sort of turned into a suburban version of Joaquin Phoenix in the movie Her, carrying my camera everywhere and talking to it. I even filmed myself in the grocery store the other night.  I've also interviewed my husband and my daughter, vlogged myself on the same stage where Adele, Nirvana, Eminem and other artists have performed, captured moments with friends and dancing like a fool in my kitchen.  Pretty rad stuff.

2. How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

I think I write with an honest voice that is both raw and funny, sad and happy.  There are so many talented writers that pull this off.  I think the thing that sets me a part a little bit is that I am not afraid.  I am not afraid to go to places that others might tiptoe around.  I don't tiptoe.  I march. I dance. I stomp. I skip.  I do not tiptoe.  

The same can be said about my vlogs.  I am not afraid to look stupid, look bad, look silly and it's sort of freeing (for me and the hopefully the viewer).

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write what's in my head and heart.  I vlog the same way.  

Some days it is silly and light.  Other days it's hard, spirit-crushing kind of hard.  That's life.  And that's why I write.

I write to make sense of my head and my heart.  I write to get it out of my head.  I love what Ann Morrow Lindbergh said about writing.  She said "I must write it all out, at any cost.  Writing is thinking.  It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living."

My whole life--before blogs were a thing, before the Internet was a thing--I wrote the same way.  I wrote stories in journals and diaries, on napkins, notebooks, receipts, the back of my hand.  When I couldn't find the right words to speak I wrote and wrote and wrote.  I wrote stories, essays, notes, letters, newsletters, ad copy, columns, interviews and eventually emails, Facebook statuses and blogs.

I simply don't know any other way to think or feel.

I vlog more for fun and to capture memories of my family.  I love making videos of our life and set it to music.  It is a huge creative outlet for me and a whole different kind of storytelling.

4. How does my writing process work?
I write every night after the kids go to bed.  Sometimes the words and stories flow out of me easily. Sometimes wine and the Aretha Franklin Pandora channel help.  

Sometimes there are stories that are in my head for days or weeks.  I usually format them while I'm running on the treadmill.  Then when I get an hour during the day, I knock out the story and my head is clear and it feels amazing.

Vlogging is the same.  Sometimes I have an idea for a video and format the whole thing in my head before shooting it.  Other times it's a shoot from the hip kind of deal.  

Or I link up with other bloggers and use their prompts to make videos.

Here's the closest thing I have had to a viral video, it's my attempt at the cup song and where I end up singing a Prince song:

My process is a bit scattered, full of emotion and passion and creativity, love and a sense of humor.  My process is messy and appreciates editors and validation.  So, yeah, my process is basically my metaphor for my whole life.  

Part of the blog hop is asking two more writers to answer these questions.  

First I thought of my dear friend Greta Funk of GFunkified.  I met Greta at BlissDom a few years ago.  We have a lot in common, she is a mom of four, gluten free and enjoys running.  She is down to earth but at the same time such an inspiration.  On her blog she gives people a peek into what it's like to have a house full of kids.  She also writes about her fitness journey, shares great gluten free recipes and takes amazing pictures. She recently started a new adventure managing the site Today's Work @ Home Mom.

Next I thought of my new friend Andrea Mowery of About 100%.  I just started getting to know Andrea and I am so happy about it.  She is funny and sweet and real.  When I read her her words I always smile.  Andrea recently wrote a piece that was featured in Mamalode, called Transition, that had me nodding and saying "mmm-hmmm, totally!"  

Be sure to check out Greta's and Andrea's responses to these questions!  They'll be posting their answers early next week. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

THE Dress & #iPPP

I couldn't believe it when I saw it.  It being the dress that I always wanted.  The dress I imagined myself wearing as a grown up.  There it was hidden in the racks at a thrift store, stuffed in between a boring black polyester dress and a hideous floral muumuu.  It took my breath away.  It was a sea foam blue, satin/silk blend vision of everything I thought was glamorous and sophisticated about being a grown up(when I was seven-years-old).  It was the type of dress that Julie would have worn on her night off on The Love Boat.  And Julie was the coolest.  

I stared at the dress for a few minutes and then took a picture of it and posted it to Instagram.  Friends encouraged me to buy it.  At first, I listened to the voice in my head that said "it probably won't fit, don't buy it."  But then a friend of mine that I grew up with but haven't seen in over 20 years made this comment on my Instagram feed-- "Buy it Angie--even if you wear it around the house, check it off that bucket list!"

So I shelled out the five dollars and I bought my dream dress.
And it made/makes me so happy.  

My inner child is flipping out with joy. 
I plan on wearing this dress to church on Easter, a charity event and/or wedding reception that has a dance floor (so I can pretend it's Studio 54!), parent-teacher conferences, the grocery store and maybe even to my kids' baseball games.  

It's funny how much joy this dress brings me.  It's silly even.  But I dont' care.  It's the best five dollars I've spent, possibly ever.
My look may be more Jennifer Lawrence from American Hustle than Julie from The Love Boat, and I love that too.

pleated poppy It's been a long time since I linked up with what i wore wednesday.  So happy to be back. WIWW 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." 

All the pictures in this post were taken on my iPhone.  Come play with me on Instagram.

Now link up for the #iPPP 
Angela Amman (my LTYM co-producer and #iPPP co-hoster) and I want to see your funny, yummy, heartfelt,  favorite phone photos from the week!  Your post can be about anything, as long as it contains one picture from your phone.  Link up below and don't forget to visit some of the others!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Safe & Happy

When we first became parents, Tim and I really didn't know what we were doing.   The day we took our firstborn home from the hospital, we had no idea how to put him in the car seat to actually take him home.  Tim oh-so-gently guided Peyton's tiny little body under the buckles which I held up so they wouldn't touch his new baby skin.  It took a good 25 minutes.  Neither one of us thought about unbuckling the buckles to put Peyton in the car seat.  We simply thought "wow, people weren't kidding when they say babies are a lot of work and now we understand why it takes so long to go anywhere."

A few days later, as we attempted to leave the house and take Peyton to his first doctor's appointment, a friend watched as we once again tried to gently ease our new baby into his car seat without unbuckling buckles.  That friend, an experienced parent herself, tried not to laugh as she reached over to unbuckle the buckles and suggest that might make things a little easier.

Well, 13 years and three more kids later we have unbuckled and buckled car seats a million times.  We know so much more than we ever thought we'd know about kids and car seats.  

We know weight limits, height requirements, what buckles work and what buckles Houdini-like children can wiggle out from under. We understand and respect that getting to the booster stage is a rite of passage that kids really look forward to, much like the coveted front-seat, shot-gun seat that our firstborn is now old enough and tall enough to call his own most of the time.

Our baby, Wade, has reached the booster stage.  He's not a baby anymore, he's four and more than ready for a booster.  But not just any flimsy, old booster that has been passed down and beaten up by his older brothers and sister.  No, Wade got a pretty sweet seat--the Evenflo Symphony™ DLX car seat.  

"I can see the whole wo-wld!," Wade exclaimed when he sat in his new luxury liner of booster seats feeling like a king.

Wade loves the height the seat gives him and the cup holders.  Those are really great, but this seat is about more than fancy bells and whistles.  It is safe. Evenflo has taken safety and comfort to the next level with the introduction of the Platinum Protection Series of car seats, which feature NASA-developed Outlast® technology, a temperature regulating fabric that keeps babies and toddlers comfortable during hot and cold weather.  Yeah, NASA.

I love the Buckle Pockets, they protect from hot buckle burns and eliminate digging under your kid's legs for lost buckles.  I only wish I would have had this car seat years ago.  This All-In-One seat accommodates kids ranging from 5-110 lbs, making it the only car seat you would need forever.  It is hands-down the easiest car seat we ever adjusted to a booster seat, ever.

Now that I finally found the perfect way to keep them safe and securely buckled in tightly, I can't even believe I'm only a few years away from my firstborn actually driving.  I can't even go there yet, so I won't.  I am just going to focus on being so happy that Wade is happy and safe and excited to see the whole "wo-wld" outside his window.

Click here for more information about the Evenflo Symphony™ DLX car seat.

I participated in this sponsored campaign on behalf of One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.