Sunday, September 26, 2010

Up From The Blue

If you don't ever read another book, let this book be the last. Seriously. I finished reading this book at exactly 1:12 a.m. this morning and I literally can't stop reading it.

This is a book I got through TLC Book Reviews to read and while I was ever so impatiently waiting for it to arrive, I kept hearing such amazing things about this book. I saw video trailers for it, I listened to an online chat about it and the whole time I kept practically attacking my mail lady and demanded that she double check to see if my book came. Anyways.

Tillie Harris's life is in disarray--her husband is away on business, the boxes in her new home aren't unpacked, and the telephone isn't even connected yet. Though she's not due for another month, sudden labor pains force Tillie to reach out to her estranged father for help, a choice that means facing the painful memories she's been running from since she was a little girl. An extraordinary debut from a talented new voice, Up From The Blue untangles the year in Tillie's life that changed everything; 1975, the year her mother disappeared.

Honestly? That give this book no justice. If you are a parent, a child with a parent suffering from depression, or a parent going through depression yourself, this is a MUST READ. I was immediately gripped during the beginning chapters where Tillie begins labor. Because I've been there, I could instantly connect with her, but anyone who hasn't given birth would feel the frantic feelings described in the beginning.

And then it takes you back to Tillie's childhood. You get to see the inner workings of a troubled military family. Phil, the older son who does no wrong because he wants to be the best soldier he can be. Colonel Harris- a high ranking military official who runs a strict household. Mara, the mother, who is so obviously depressed and on the brink of implosion, incapable of mothering the two children and the subject of whispers amongst the perfect military wives/mothers. And then Tillie- an unruly yet lovable, eight year old girl. Tillie adores her mother, she can see the good in her unlike everyone else and defends her mom. She senses she's likely a disappointment to her father and her brother can't be bothered with her. Yet she feels like her mother is hers alone and you can really relate to her feelings for her mom. Because as children- we've all been there. No matter what a mothers (or fathers) faults are it doesn't matter because you are in love with them. They are perfect to you if to nobody else.

The greatness of this story as that even though it's a novel you feel like it's real. You are hoping that the mother can just pull herself together and be the mom she wanted to be. You are hoping that the father could just see that there is something medically wrong with her and that it isn't her fault, she truly isn't capable of pulling it together on her own. And then you feel this immense sadness for the children who don't understand and you just want to assure them that no matter what- their parents love them.

Now, you know I always try to read a story and bring some of my own life experience to it and this one was no different. For years, since Olivia was born, I have struggled with depression. I have felt so awful that I thought I'd be better off dying, and I thought everyone else would be better without me. I've been so happy that I look at those times and wonder what the hell was I thinking. But most days? I'm not in the middle. I'm sad a lot and sometimes when driving alone I wonder what it would be like to just keep driving and never come back. To just start up new somewhere..anywhere..because I can't bear the feeling that I am a terrible mother, a terrible wife, a terrible friend, a terrible daughter, etc. I may not be any of these things but a lot of days I feel this way. And while I can take all the medication I want I know that's the only thing keeping me from dangling too far down. So I could sympathize with Mara through the whole book. She wants to be everything to everyone, she wants to be a good wife and mother but she just isn't able. But she loves her children anyways. And every attempt she makes to do better it was always for them. So no lie, I cried when reading this and found myself nodding and saying, "Yes-- that's really how it is!" There is a part in the book where Mara tells Tillie, "I'm trying. I'm trying for you, ok?" and that? Just made me so sad because I remember saying this to Olivia when she was just a week old. I was alone at home with her, and she never stopped crying. I would rock, crying myself, and tell her I was trying, just for her.

I highly recommend this book. The end for Mara? Made me so sad and I felt awful for everyone. But the end of the book for Tillie? Gave me hope. Because she was a mom and it made me think that maybe, even though it was all awful, it really had a happy ending.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Stuff, Piercing

So I got a ton of stuff done this weekend to put into my Etsy shop, so for the next few posts you are going to see me pimping it out. Last night my set went almost immediately, which is awesome, so one of you needs to buy this:

Aren't these cute???? My local scrapbook store is closing (big sad face here) and so I've been going there every few days to grab up what I can on clearance. So I came across this pear stamp which was cute...but then I saw the pear paper. HAD TO GET IT. And I realize...I may never use this stamp again. But that's better than having virgin stamps. Which I totally have and WILL eventually use. So do you love them? Like really love them? Then go and buy them. You know you want to..

Anyways. For the last two weeks, Olivia has been asking to get her ears pierced. I've asked her before and she's always said absolutely not because I'm honest and I told her it would probably hurt. Apparently- she didn't care because there is another girl in preschool who has her ears pierced. And now it's what the cool kids do and she wanted it done. Matt and I talked to her about it, she knew it was going to hurt, etc and I told her fine, she could get it done.

I didn't think she'd actually do it since we have to hold her down for regular shots.

So on Saturday Matt and I took the kids up to the mall and Olivia was beyond excited. So much so that we had to tell her to stop talking about it otherwise we weren't doing it. It was seriously non-stop. We get to Claire's and when I told the sixteen year old girl about needing to get a piercing done she totally looked petrified. Which didn't help. We had to wait 20 minutes for a manager, which was fine.

When it came time, Olivia hopped up into the chair, totally bouncing when she got her ears cleaned, they put the dot on, and I'm filling out paperwork.
She made it clear to the lady she wanted to hold the bear- so there she is, clutching the bear.

We told them we wanted both ears done at the same time, which was just fine. (Thank you to everyone on FB who suggested this- you are wise and awesome) She picked out silver balls and they got everything ready. So you see the two ladies getting ready to pierce her while Matt holds her hand. And then they did it. At first...nothing. As soon as the ladies moved away...

Totally understandable. Tell me that face doesn't break your heart??

But then I kept telling her we were all done and that she needs to look in the mirror...and she was THRILLED. Seriously. Tears instantly stopped and she kept looking from side to side. So while Matt went to pay for them I took her over to the earring carousel and explained to her that if we take good care of them she could get big girl earrings.

She immediately tells me she wants the big balls (the size of quarters) and the huge feathers. Um... fashion diva?? *sigh* She is not wearing those. I couldn't have "dangly" earrings until I was 13 for god sakes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yes, I actually do stuff.

Guess what? I actually DO stuff with my crafty bits. (I bet you thought I'd talk about my lady bits, huh?) (Perverts.)

I'm so freaking close to finishing a birthday present for Krysten. I have Sam's all made. Then I have to put the finishing touches on a package o' birthday lovin' for both of them. So obviously- craftiness will happen there.

Over the weekend I got a few scrapbook pages done and so I'm going to show you. Just so you can see that the huge new stash of stuff I got will not go to waste. Oh no. AND I just got a few more pictures printed because I'm really far behind and I'm getting to be a bit...overwhelmed. Yup- that's the word I should use here.

This page is obviously all about Jackson. One minute he was happy, chillin on his homemade throne reading books. The next minute (after I moved the strategically placed pillow leaning against him) he burst into tears. It's rough being two, folks.
OOh--- some of my favorite pictures of my kids being nice to each other. Here's a fun fact- I have a LOT of stamps...yet I hardly use them on pages. I don't know why. I can't explain my crazy yall.
Hey- blogger is being a whore and won't put this the right way. But this? Is a super creepy bunny that comes during Easter. This year both of my kids have whacked out eyes. It's like all three of them are possessed.
Part one of two pages- Look at this face and tell me you wouldn't eat him up???

Part two of two.

And as a testament to how far behind I am....these pictures are from 2007. Seriously. Olivia is only 2 in these pictures- wow. The other two girls are my cousins who live in Florida and are adorable.
Anyways. So I got that stuff done, and two more pages done tonight. I have a long ways to go and Matt is picking up pictures for me right now. As well as putting gas in my van AND putting air in my tire.

Don't laugh- I tried to put air in my tire today except that it was SO loud and I freaked out. Mostly because I had visions of a tire blowing up in my face and I'd end up like that girl on that one Law & Order episode that had no face. Well that was because someone threw acid on her face but I bet the effects would be the same and yah. All of that flashes in my head in the span of 2 seconds. It kind of makes me psychic, right?

Of course I'm right. I'm always right.

Oh- and before I forget. Buy stuff from my Etsy shop. My kids need winter jackets, hats, boots, mittens, and snowsuits. Mommy be broke. ;) I'm taking orders on holiday cards and invitations like right now. Hurry up and get your request in so I can fit you in before I lock myself up working on our family cards. :)

Question of the night: Do you have any hobbies? What kind of stuff do you do?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

These are my confessions.

I have no snazzy way to introduce my latest confession. And honestly? This is really the first time that I'm admitting it to myself because guess what? It's really hard to deal with on your own.

I? Am a shop-a-holic.

And by that I don't mean that I buy super expensive things and own a bunch of fabulous stuff. That's actually not the case at all. Pretty much the only difference between normal shopping sprees and a real shopping addiction is the fact that finances be damned- you are still out there shopping. And that is definitely me. If I feel bummed out or sad, I shop. If I'm ever bored (which really isn't often), I shop.

Let's say I'm making my weekly trip to Target for house stuff. I'm loaded with coupons and I'm doing really well. If I see something I want (a book, a cd, a shirt, a necklace, a purse, or some other random thing I don't need in my house) I put it in my cart. Then I roll around for awhile, take it out. I should know better- I don't have the extra money. Then I have the ability to talk myself into it and leave the store before I change my mind. I will literally hold something in my hands and pace until I no longer feel guilty about the purchase. If I have an extra $100 in my paycheck? It is gone within hours of my paycheck being deposited. It's like I can't help it.

But usually when I get home and start looking at the things I've bought- I get sick. I'm seriously sick knowing that all the money I just spent I could have used on house stuff. My savings. Whatever.

I can spread $50 over two weeks for necessities like you wouldn't believe. But give me $50 for two weeks of fun stuff? And I feel like Lindsay Lohan being taunted with a crack bowl.

So after watching a show about shopping addiction about two months ago I decided that I had to be done. While I'm not able to completely cut myself off I've given myself an allowance. The rest of what I would have spent needs to go back into the savings. I won't lie- it is AWFUL. I have to avoid some stores because I just can't do it. My next problem is that almost all of my clothes are too big for me. Which is a really nice problem except that I know that I have to gradually buy new pieces. One at a time and for as cheaply as possible.

The one thing I have had a REALLY hard time cutting back on is my scrapbooking stuff. Especially now that my only scrapbook store (we have a Michaels, but it's not as awesome) is closing at the end of this month so that will make that problem a bit easier. But until then? The clearance sales??? Is killing me knowing I could be buying that stuff.

I will admit- seeing my savings account having a positive balance that is steadily climbing DOES help. It is nice having the extra $20 to take the kids for happy meal dates on Fridays. It is really nice to be able to buy a movie and not freak out if I'll have enough gas money for the next week.

But it's hard. It's probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

Fortunately, one of my super awesome and wonderful and fabulous blog readers, Amber, surprised me with an entire box of goodies. I almost cried when I opened the box up. She had no idea of what a struggle I've been having since I'm running out of stuff for the kids' scrapbooks so the fact she literally loaded me down with awesome stuff is amazing. I won't lie- my panties were totally wet going through it all.
I mean, seriously. It took me forever to put it all away because I just don't have a huge space to begin with!

So Amber- you rock my world in more ways than one. You are one of my favorite blog readers (and commenter!), I love our back and forth emails AND I think we'd be kick ass real life friends. I'm way cooler than the churchy ladies you hang out with. ;)

But with that- do you struggle with a shopping addiction? How do you manage it?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The time a bunch of tomatoes kicked my ass. True Story.

Once in awhile, I get all Betty Crocker/Martha Stewart/Susie Homemaker/with a dash of Mommy Dearest. I'm lucky enough that Matt can just take my random whims and go with it, only assisting when something gets critical and even then- he doesn't complain.

A lot.

This weekend was no different. See, Finny told me that you can make a chocolate cake with zucchini and you don't taste the vegetables. I have yet to try this because hey--I have a life all of a sudden-- but I? Am one step closer. Behold! This is what I managed to do with 10 zucchini thingies!
What? I should have had more than six cups of grated zucchini from 10 of those bastards? I would agree as well. I probably will the next time now that I realized I should grate into a fucking bowl thus preventing at least four cups of grated zucchini which is now plastered to various places in my kitchen. But these are frozen in my stand alone freezer ready to go. (Side note: I already feel more home-maker-y by having a stand alone freezer. And I would be lying if I said I'm not freezing things for no reason just so I can fill the bitch up.)

Another project that I decided to take on was home made tomato sauce. Because we have pasta? Seriously every weekend. I'm going through cans like you wouldn't believe. And I hate tomatoes so basically sauce is all I can think of for using the 6 pounds of tomatoes we had left over.

(and by "left over" I mean from the huge amounts of produce my inlaws brought us on Saturday. Pretty much everyone left our party with fresh produce because I just don't have that kind of time)

So after a few minutes of research I figured no asshole could possibly fuck up tomato sauce. SUPER easy. So I got started with skinning of them here 'maters.
Tell me these don't look kind of like testicles. Seriously- this is what I think a testicle would look like if it were all exposed.

Then I began the ridiculously long process of boiling them down to sauce. NOWHERE in all 17 tutorials that I read AND watched did it tell me exactly how much of my lifetime would be wasted on boiling these things down to sauce. Seriously. Once it got to the point where they were almost done you were supposed to blend them.

And I hate blending. I hate it. I have such a wonky blender that does it's own thing when it damn well pleases that I seriously should just throw it away. But I also have a food processor I've never used because I can't figure out how to hook it all up without food going everywhere. (Confession: I only asked for one because I was way into Food Network and felt like a loser without one.) So I transferred my sauce to the blender to blend.

And both kids were standing there watching mommy. Of course, I'm talking to them like they are a TV audience and I'm pretending I'm a food show host.

And then out of NOWHERE one of the kids bumps my leg. And then it happened.
Sauce went EVERYWHERE. I started screaming for Matt to help because for about 4 seconds I had sauce shooting to the ceiling, both kids were screaming, I was burned by hot sauce, but somehow I managed to turn off the blender.
Matt was really nice and cleaned the worst up while I laughed hysterically. You know- I do what I do. But then I got super angry. See?? I had my jars READY for sauce. And I spent the better part of my afternoon playing with look alike testicles and boiling these bastards down and all I have to show? Is a mess. Sauce in all of my cupboards (upper and lower), in my mixer, in my utensils holders, on the floor, on the ceiling, on the stove, and on me.

Fucking Betty Crocker fail.

I got my ass kicked by tomatoes. Which was bad enough. And then I saw this:

by my back door. Are you serious???????? *cry*

And I want it known that I still have a ton of zucchini, corn and yes, tomatoes in my front porch. *cry*

So folks--- do you know how to freeze corn niblets? Provide me instructions. (Preferably some I can't fuck up)

Do you have any recipes for zucchini that involved baked goods where I won't taste the zucchini?