Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lydia Day

Sorry Mom! I know I have totally slacked on getting photos of your Liddy-Bitty on here. Here are a few moments from a couple recent Lydia days, including the one that I blogged about in "My Motherhood Game Plan". Photos AND a video!

"Lydia Day is a day I focus totally on doing things that I know Lydia loves to do. Our last Lydia Day was this past Wednesday. My husband went in to work a little late so that he could spend breakfast with Lydia. While they ate, I went outside and set up a little surprise. Lydia has been asking everyday to go pick strawberries like we did a month ago. Unfortunately, strawberry season is over. Instead, I scattered a pint of strawberries throughout our backyard. Lydia was so excited to get to “pick strawberries” and then eat them with mommy on a blanket in the sun. Next we went swimming with friends, then out to hamburgers at her favorite restaurant. I even sat down and watched a new cartoon with her (instead of running off to empty the dishwasher or check my email). She was in heaven. To be honest, so was I. Spending such a concentrated amount of time with her reminds me how fun being a mom can be. A day of no housework isn’t too bad either."

video


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kelly Couture

I think most people know Kelly from the awesome swap she organised a month or so ago. (Seriously how fun was that?!) - When I checked out her blog I fell in love with
Kelly Couture - her personal line of hand stamped sterling silver jewelry. We recently decided to do a little trading and look at the lovelies she sent! My photos are horrible, but make sure to check out her site for yourself. Wouldn't these be amazing birthday or bridesmaids gifts? Thank you Kelly! I can't wait to make all of my friends jealous.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Paisley Lane Giveaway

I know I just had a giveaway, but I had to get in on the fun of the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival! Please comment on this blog to be entered to win this silver and black necklace and earring set from my Paisley Lane Organics Collection. I will announce the winner on Wednesday August 6th. And don't forget, I love trading product, so if you make something fun and want to get a little handcrafted jewelry for yourself (plus a little blog love on my site) - let me know!

(Mention that you subscribe to my blog or have me on your google reader, and I will enter you a second time.)

Good Luck!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to the movies.

Last week Lydia and I were getting stir crazy in the house. Rain was pending, so the park was out. I decided as a special treat I would take her to see a movie. We start out and immediately the rain begins. One thing I love about the South is the storms. Sudden and intense, they are almost frightening. This one topped almost anything I had ever seen. Within minutes the lightning started. As we were getting nearer to the movie I felt strongly to move my arm away from the side of the car were it was resting. Suddenly I was blinded by a flash of light and I screamed at the most intense thunder crash I have every heard. Then my car died. Everything shut down. Through the curtain of rain I could see the building of Shane's previous employer and I coasted into the parking lot, running a stop sign on the way. It wasn't until I was actually parked that I noticed my car smelled like smoke and realized that I had actually been hit by lightning.

I quickly got Lydia out of the car and into the building. Shane was in San Diego on a business trip, so I called his best friend Todd. Todd yelled into the phone that he was outside in the rain trying to keep his house from flooding and he couldn't hear me. - So no help there.
-
Long story short. In about an hour the tow guy comes to get the car. I thought that Lydia would like watching from the window at how that car was loaded up. This turned out to be a very bad idea. She was terrified at someone taking our car and was desperately to save it. After calming her down, one of Shane's old co-workers offered to take us home. We pull out of the parking lot to see the freeway at a total standstill. We turn on the radio. - They were reporting 50 wrecks within the last hour. The freeway was completely shut off due to semi wrecks. The main road to my house - flooded and closed. The backway to my house - backed up for miles. After almost an hour of driving around trying to find a way home - we are finally dropped off at my friend Wendy's house. 6 hours after leaving for the movie, Wendy drops us off at home.
-
Of course the power is out, air conditioning included. The house has to be in the high 80's. That night Lydia wouldn't sleep in her room. It was too quiet without her little fan and too hot. Instead she "sleeps" with me. Actually, she thrashes throughout most of the night -screaming that her car is gone. Finally she says that she wants to sleep on the floor and she dozes on some blankets for about 2 hours before her nightmares start again and I have to rock her and sponge her little forehead with a damp cloth until morning.
-
Lets just say that this was not the best day ever. To add salt to the wound. This is where Shane was staying during this time:






And this is what he was driving.










But still....happy ending. Shane brought me home a little treat.
Everything is better with a love letter and some See's Chocolates.
-------------------------------------------------------------------


Follow up:

Later it was found that most likely the lightning hit the road around me and I was just within the shock radius. The only damage to my car was the complete obliteration of my electrical system. No cosmetic damage. Still... our entire cruise budget went to fixing my car. Sigh.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kristi's Party

A couple months ago my friend Kristi's husband, Kyle, stopped me at church.

"Natalie, are you planning anything for Kristi's 30th?"

"Yea, actually, I have been thinking about that lately."
"Good, I wanted to help".
At this point I paused. Now you have to understand that Kyle is a man's man. I was having a really hard time picturing him giving suggestions on party favors and table arrangements. He obviously assumed that was what the pause indicated and continued.
"What I mean is, let me know how much to write the check for."
-
Oh Kyle. I knew right then we would be best pals.
-
So - with a little extra cha ching and my friend Wendy (and her fab house) on board - I think that we put together a nice little party. Thanks to everyone who came, and for the incredible food you all brought. I know I had a great time.







BIG shout out to The Tipsy Girls who designed this amazing birthday cup for Kristi. They made one for me as well, but it is packed away until my birthday in September. The funny part about it is that when I gave Kristi her cup she started laughing and said "I was making one of these for you for your birthday!" She had gotten the directions off of the Tipsy Girl's site. She was so excited when she found out that she had an original! Thanks ladies.


Happy 30th Birthday Kristi!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Giveaway winner is...Joette! Send me your address!

The X-Files Movie

Out this weekend. Oh, you didn't know we were fans? Well, I think that the $800 we ended up spending on the X-files seasons would be sufficient indication that we are. Oh wait. That was Shane's idea. Said that it would be an investment. That our kids would watch them one day. For the record, our kids won't watch them. And, now you can get the entire series for under $20o. Nice. Still, we look cool don't we? I think we were fulfilling a few of our personal fantasies here...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

1,000 Minute Giveaway!




I was making some changes to my layout yesterday and I noticed that I have passed the thousandth mark for profile views. Kind of like when your car reaches 100,000 miles I guess. In honor of this very mediocre event I am having a 1,000 minute giveaway. That is about 16.66 hours. So starting now and ending at 1:11am EST, leave your comment to enter to win these handmade earrings. Will annouce the winner tomorrow morning. Good Luck!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Who needs money???

I think that we should go back to the days when the economy was fueled by trade. It is a fantastic concept... Check out my latest Paisley Lane trades!

Thank you, Thank you to Karen at PaperDoll Designs. She sent me these amazing personalized bottles. Lydia and I are going to be the most stylish girls at the gym! I love the black and turquoise on mine. It is SO me. As a extra treat she sent a package of personalized gift cards and a bag tag for Lydia. Perfect, since A. - I am supposed to keep her bag labeled at the gym and I always forget. And B. - I am admittedly obsessed with stationary. Karen, how do you come up with all these great ideas?!

Then to top things off, my friend Elizabeth traded me one of her famous "snugglies" from her company Lazy Bee. Check out her new site. She finally is selling the hand knit toys that are the highlight of baby showers over here in TN/GA.







Thank you ladies. Made my week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What!? This really happens?

Tonight I was watching my friends 22 month old daughter, Kate, and the craziest thing happened. She fell asleep! She was tired, we were reading stories, she laid her head down and feel asleep. I thought that this occurrence was just a myth. Lydia would NEVER do that. Lydia would never sleep if it wasn't for our constant efforts to make it happen. For the first 18 months, even those efforts didn't work. You know those sweet old ladies that give baby advice like "Oh, babies sleep when they need to". Yea, I want to punch those ladies in the face. Anyway Wendy, I am happy for you that you have an easy sleeper. Kind of.

Disclaimer: This is not Kate.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Flashback Friday

I was thinking today (during Hip Hop Aerobics at the gym actually), that if I could re-live any college experience again it would be to go dancing with Randi, Carrie, Steve, Eric, Rusty and Jake. I guess Nate can tag along too. I would pay top dollar for a photo of all of us together. (Photoshop maybe?)








Of course, later I was out in the pool and I rethought that decision and decided I would much rather re-live the Christmas my family spent together in Jamaica.... :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

White trash toddler?




Today Lydia looked at me and said
"Mommy, you're crazy. You is."
Here is to my best friend, Carrie, who ordered me a subscription to "Health Magazine" when she heard I was stepping up my efforts to get in better shape. Seriously, those monthly gems are saving me at the gym. I can't listen to headphones because I have to be at the ever ready if the intercom calls me to the child care (peanut allergy woes). I prop my magazine on the treadmill and I am good to go. Thanks Carrie. I cannot wait to see you in Seattle this December!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Didn't win?


Didn't win the Paisley Lane Giveaway? Don't despair! There is another one going on here! Good luck!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back in the cool club

Normally, Natalie's post about peanut butter bars would leave me feeling a little "too bad so sad" for myself. Especially since these little beauties could quite possibly be my favorite cookie of all time.

Lydia has a VERY serious, life-threatening peanut allergy. So serious that not only can we never have peanut butter in our house, but even if we are away from Lydia, Shane and I can't eat peanut butter. Just breathing on her after eating the gooey goodness could cause a reaction. Our doctor said, "You can eat it if you are spending the night away from her, but make sure to shower before going home, and throw your toothbrushes away." So basically no peanut anything for us.

Hold the phone! My friend Jenn sent me a link that is changing everything. Sunbutter! It is made from sunflower seeds and is totally safe for people with peanut allergies. And it is DELICIOUS!!! I am so excited. This weekend I made the above mentioned cookie...could not tell the difference. Now, I am not going to be making Lydia sunbutter sandwiches anytime soon, since that just seems like it would be confusing to her. Cooking with it on the other hand? Oh yea.


P.S. I found it locally at Target.

Books this month

I forgot to mention my last months reads. They are both winners so I am recommending both:


Thank you Wendy for this read. Sorry it took me so long to get around to it. If it makes you feel better, after opening to the intro, I had it devoured within 24 hours. Seriously a comedic masterpiece superior even to the movie.

A gorgeous work, though not an upbeat one by any ones standards. The story seemed weaved together instead of fluid, but I enjoyed that quality. I was warned about a sex scene, but the informant must have been mistaken. Nothing like that in this work.

Monday, July 14, 2008

GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!!!!

Paisley Lane Giveaway is closed! Next time I do a giveaway I will make it last for a week. Two weeks is too long! I loved getting to know so many new people. I will definitely do this again next month.

I entered the entries into Random.org for the most unbiased results. And the winners are:

First place - Sophie who said "You happen to comment on the right blog, because I'm a huge fan of handmade jewelry, particularly earrings. :) These look so pretty!"

Second place - Danielle Christiansen who said "Can you see my little comment way down here at the bottom? Your stuff is darling and I would love to be the possessor of such an extraordinary find. I am about to have a baby and since I do not feel beautiful anyway. i need as much dressing on me as possible! Thanks for the fun giveaway."

Third place - Jennifer who said "I found your site through Melissa at MFD. Your jewelry is beautiful as is your daughter! Great pics and blogs! Definitely one I'll come back to view over and over!"

Now I feel a little bad that Amber, TJ and Kate got both 4th and 5th place - so I will be sending Amber a surprise pair of earrings.

As for Kristi in 6th place. Well, I was going to award you a special prize anyway. 1st, for being the high commenter on my blog the last two weeks and second for being the first to say you wanted to make a trade. Check out the bag she made me!!!!

Other prizes awarded:

All of my sister's will be getting a prize since they had the funniest responses to the giveaway:

Emily said "You are the pretty sister."

Abby said "This is Dave. I want the earrings. I figure after reading the Twilight series, wearing women's jewelry is the next step. You aren't a Mary Kay consultant by chance...Just kidding - Dave didn't write this, I did! Ha ha! He'll kill me!I love you Nat! ."

Molly said "I always brought you a glass of water..." (Inside joke. Check out her blog for funny china footage she brought home)
(Mom - I will send you something so you don't feel left out. )

Also Joy I loved your comment on my bedroom blog, so I will be sending you a pair of earrings.

And lastly, April, I will be sending you the "bad attitude" prize for your crappy comment on the giveaway. April said "I am leaving a comment". Since I know April, I know that she was trying to get in on the winnings without showing any enthusiasm. Nice. So here you go...




I had these random vintage clip earrings that I made pierced and then thought "what do I do with these?" Congrats April :)


All winners make sure to email me your addresses so I can get these mailed out. Sophie let me know what your pick is of the prizes so that I can let the other two winners choose. Check back for another giveaway next month!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Swanky Paper




I know that everyone and their dog knows about Swanky Paper by now. It is where everyone gets their personalised stationary. It is pretty much that simple. When I get a thank you note from someone on their own Swanky Paper note card, I never can seem to throw them away. (They are tucked neatly in a box under my bed.) Well, you can thus imagine why I slightly hyperventilated when Heather (the owner/designer of S.P.) said she would be interested in a Paisley Lane trade. I fully hyperventilated when I got the blessed package of my own cards. How freaking adorable are these?! The only problem... how can I possibly defile them with my hideous handwriting? Thank you Heather!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Girls Night Epiphanies


What I learned last night while out with a friend:

1. Retail therapy should be included on my health insurance plan. It is better than a therapist.

2.Tina Fey is possibly the funniest person alive and is now in my top 5 people I want to hang with.

3. I am totally addicted to three things: Dark rinse jeans (I bought another two pairs last night), any other wardrobe item that is black (new pair of black patent leather shoes) and chocolate. (Thank you Kristi for sneaking them into the theater last night. I am not sure which was better, the chocolate or the movie.)

Cute huh? Ann Taylor Loft is having an awesome sale.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Motherhood Game Plan

Some of you may have read a past post of mine entitled, “Wait– This can be fun?” I discussed the turning point where I discovered that motherhood could move beyond the point of “survival mode” and actually be enjoyable.

For the first 18 months of my daughter Lydia’s life I was barely holding on. Everyday I was just trying to make it from one moment to the next. Things got better, and then they got good. That process wasn’t instant, however. For me it took figuring out a game plan: something that would make this new life I was living not only doable, but allow me to be successful at it. I compiled a list of 10 things that work for me:

1. Treat household duties as I would a career. My mom gave me this advice and I love it. Sometimes we think that since running a household isn’t exactly brain surgery, we should be good at it. I have discovered this is not the case. Trying to juggle everything from cleaning, cooking, food storage, finances, etc. – it is much more than a full time job. I’ve started scheduling my weeks just like I did when I was in a career. I even have deadlines. Meals are planned out, F.H.E. is penciled it. When I have a plan and I can see that everything is going to get the attention it needs, it’s much less stressful.
2. Make sure my “work day” ends. When I was first staying home with Lydia I was working until everything that needed to be done was done. As a result I was totally crashing at the end of the day and, of course, I never got everything done. I chose a time when my work day needed to end. For me it is 8:30pm. After that, if it’s possible, I relax, read my scriptures, talk with my husband – whatever I want to do.
3. DATE NIGHT! – I have a belief I hold very close to: I married my husband because I wanted to spend eternity with him. I did not marry him to provide seed so that I could reproduce; that was a secondary thought. I got married so that I could be with this man. I see date nights as totally and absolutely critical to a working marriage. If a marriage is all about the small daily workings of raising children and maintaining a household, it isn’t exactly going to be the passionate relationship we envisioned on our wedding day. (We switch weekends with another couple for free babysitting.)
4. Add some glamour to my life- It’s easy to let things go a little bit when your clothes are constantly covered in ketchup and boogers. My girlfriend recently emailed me a conversation she had with her husband. "Hey honey, I just ate a $100-a-plate dinner and now we’re off to my five-star hotel... how are the kids?" "Oh everyone is fine, I ate hot dogs off the floor, Sadie pooped her pants, and Greta has been crying for three hours straight.” Yeah. Motherhood isn’t the most glamorous profession in the world. On date nights, my husband takes over an hour before the babysitter gets there. I take a long shower and let the “mommy” wash down the drain. I spend lots of time on my hair and makeup and I pick a fantastic outfit (one that I NEVER wear when there’s a sticky-handed toddler on the loose). When I step out for the evening I feel incredible. I guarantee my husband likes it as much as I do. For our date night we usually opt to share an entrée at a fancy restaurant. It costs the same as if we each ordered our own entrée at a run-of-the-mill family restaurant, but is much more romantic.
5. Maintain intimacy in my marriage. I won’t go into major detail here, but I think it’s pretty obvious that if sex isn’t happening, that’s a problem. I recommend (both of you) reading “Mars and Venus in the Bedroom”. It is awesome. And even if you’re good at what you do, a refresher course never hurt anyone.
6. Strengthen bonds with other women – I see other mothers as my co-workers. We just happen to have private offices (our homes). Keeping in touch and getting out together keeps me from feeling so isolated. I love dressing up for a night out with the girls. A few of my friends and I are planning a weekend to Atlanta. We are going to split a hotel room, go to the temple, shop, break our diets and vent. It’s going to fabulous!
7. Enjoy my child – For me, the words I hear more than any others are “Come here Mommy, come here!” My daughter constantly wants me to play, to read to her, to chase her. I do these things throughout the day, but other things have to be done and I sometimes have to tell her “not right now”. I have found that having “Lydia Days” are a fantastic way to focus. Lydia Day is a day I focus totally on doing things that I know Lydia loves to do. Our last Lydia Day was this past Wednesday. My husband went in to work a little late so that he could spend breakfast with Lydia. While they ate, I went outside and set up a little surprise. Lydia has been asking everyday to go pick strawberries like we did a month ago. Unfortunately, strawberry season is over. Instead, I scattered a pint of strawberries throughout our backyard. Lydia was so excited to get to “pick strawberries” and then eat them with mommy on a blanket in the sun. Next we went swimming with friends, then out to hamburgers at her favorite restaurant. I even sat down and watched a new cartoon with her (instead of running off to empty the dishwasher or check my email). She was in heaven. To be honest, so was I. Spending such a concentrated amount of time with her reminds me how fun being a mom can be. A day of no housework isn’t too bad either.
8. Never forget I am a woman, too. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the idea of being a mother and wife, I forget that I have an entire existence that entails neither of these two titles. I love to read, to dance, to study, to travel. I love to be alone and just breathe. Even if I just escape to my car to listen to a James Taylor CD – I need some down time. I need time away. Often. Not just token time. REAL time away.
9. Focus on my own testimony. If I don’t have some sort of spiritual reserve, I forget real fast why I am doing all of this.
10. Know when I have reached full capacity. I don’t know who started the idea of the “Super Mom”, but if that women exists, I have a feeling I wouldn’t like her very much. Motherhood is hard and I like being around other women who get that. I also realize that I have to say no when I just can’t do anymore. I have to have days when things are just not going to get done, when fast-food is the dinner of choice, when I crash on the floor while my daughter watches whatever Princess DVD is closest. I work 100 hour work weeks. I need to maintain some semblance of sanity.

This is my list. What is on yours?.....

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OH NO! WHEN I TRANSFERED THIS POST FROM MY OLD BLOG, I LOST ALL YOUR WONDERFUL COMMENTS! SO SAD BECAUSE THEY WERE LOVELY. 

I need to watch more TV

I know that sounds a little odd. A goal to watch more TV? Here's the thing. I really don't watch much TV. I don't watch any reality-TV because most of it is asinine, and the shows that are okay are totally addictive and I don't have time to spend my evenings wondering who is going to be "voted off". I know I would be obsessed, so better to completely refrain. As for daytime TV, I watch 15 minutes of the news while Lydia is eating breakfast and then turn it off. I do that because daytime TV is also asinine, and the shows that are okay are an hour long every day and Lydia would go crazy either trying to get my attention or (worse) would watch them with me (I really try to limit Lydia's TV time).

Now, if you have gone to dinner with me lately you know that this above statement cannot be true because I know every recent (non-reality) show in existence. Well here's the thing: when my friend Jenn asked me to start a jewelry line for her boutique, I deliberated for a while before making my decision. By the time I decided to start Paisley Lane I had 10 days to get over 100 pairs of earrings ready for her store opening. To do this I spent every evening (after Lydia went to bed) sorting beads, making designs and finally making the jewelry. To pass the time I watched ABC.com and NBC.com. I worked for 10 days from 8pm-1am every night. That is a lot of TV.

Then I picked up a second boutique and they wanted necklace/bracelet/earring sets. So back to the beading desk in the evenings and back to ABC.com.
By the time I finally had some inventory in reserve, I thought I was burnt out on TV, except for Thursday nights (during non-strike seasons) when I cozy up with The Office and 30 Rock (and Lost, of course). Other than that, I basically leave the tube alone.

Yesterday I did something totally uncharacteristic. I turned on "The Barefoot Contessa" on Food Network. Oh, Ina. I have missed you. What have I been thinking? "The Barefoot Contessa" is on at noon! That is when Lydia eats lunch and I can turn her away from the TV and have a little me-time while eating my own lunch. I can't believe how excited I am about this. Ina Garten is my idol. I love her house, her parties, her food, her style. I NEED 30 minutes of Ina daily.

Ina: You top my list of people I am dieing to lunch with. Call me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

There seems to be a void in the bedroom.

I am terrified of debt. This probably stems from being the head legal aid to a collection attorney for two years after college. This particular attorney was really just a golfer who had the inconvenience of having to work to pay his mortgage and golf expenses. This was good for me because I got a lot of responsibility. Once a week we would meet at court. I met with the people we were suing while I watched the clock, wondering when said attorney would arrive. Most of the people there assumed I was the attorney. A lot of the time I thought I must be too. My boss would get to court just in time to open the file as he walked up to the judge to plead our case. This of course was nerve racking for me because if I messed up, he would not discover it until he was in front of the courtroom. As such, I was obsessed with knowing everything I could about each defendant, their situation and how they got there.

Debt is scary and all encompassing. Some of the time there were sad stories and I would do what I could to point people in directions for help. Most of the time though, it was just really bad decision making.
My job became even more interesting when I took on Bankruptcies. Bankruptcies are pretty cut and dry. We get the paperwork stating that Bankruptcy has been filled, we make sure our clients have been listed, I fill out the proper paperwork and we are done. However, I found bankruptcies a delicious little morsel to snack on during the boring afternoons. Here in front of me was this individual's entire spending history. I used to love reading the places that were owed money. It was a very personal glimpse into the cascading inevitability of financial ruin. I also had to read that closely per the law. So no voyeuristic tendencies lurking. Just doing my job. :)
This would probably explain why Shane and I have never had bedroom furniture. Ever. I mean we have a bed on a frame, but none of the extras. The rest of the house is furnished, all with furnishings of which we paid for in cash or received as gifts. However, every time we are about to get bedroom furniture, something else comes up that we decide to use the extra cash for. (backyard fence, plane tickets, root canals...) So....why not just get it on credit? No interest for 3 years! The thought of this gives me heart palpitations.

Why? After reading hundreds and hundreds of bankruptcies this one piece of information embedded itself in me. EVERY SINGLE person filling bankruptcy claimed a debt to a furniture company. Every single one.
Now, I really am not judging anyone who buys things on credit. No interest for 3 years is a pretty good deal. I obviously just have some major debt issues. Luckily, Shane and I are on the same page here so no major marital strife. But at the same time our bedroom has sat empty. Until now! Check our newly furnished bedroom..... complements of Craig's List. $400!!! I am so very excited. And at least the bedding is from Pottery Barn.

(Got you will that teasing blog title huh?)
The wood all matches. I was just playing with the color of one of the photos and made it too light. Are you thinking, wow, that armoire is huge? Yes, it is. Shane had to cut it in half to get it into the room. Nice. And that is herbal tea on the tray. No one have an aneurysm saying that I lied in my previous "no coffee for me" blog. I was just trying to "magazine up" the room a tad. 5 minutes after this photo was taken, there were princess books scattered everywhere and a two year old jumping on the bed.
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