First, a picture we both saw and agreed illustrated US.
He's all: Well helll-LOOOOO! I'm all: :: side eye:: ::blink blink:: ::side eye again::
Anyhoo, we spent date day playing "tourist" in the Canal Park area of Duluth down by LAke Superior. We saw lots and lots of of expensive stuff, and then we also went into an adorable, quirky toy store that really wasn't all that pricey and an antique store called Father Time's. We didn't end up buying anything but we found lots of fun stuff to take pictures of so let's just go ahead and break a little somethin' off for ya right here.
I love Tractors. nuff said. Who doesn't need a teensy weensy sock monkey? I want to pinch it's teensy cheeks. Cheeky Teensy Monkey.
I used to have a rad "baby" piano almost just like this. It's all of 2 feet high. I can totally see my darlings banging away at those keys and screeching at the top of their lungs. Like adorable little Mozarts. Or Ted Nugents. Why yes, they are talented. Thank you for noticing!
Oh snap! It's Tate and Jayde! Hey dudes! I would totally buy this for your front stoop, ya'll, but I wasn't allowed to spend money that day! But look! I thought it! That still counts, right?
I absolutely fell in love with this piece. I was all, ""Boom Boom! Sqweeee! Can't you just see pictures of Madee and Eden standing on top of that one part of the dresser and looking in the mirror and spinning around like a little jewelry box girl? I can totally picture it! SQWEEEE! THEY WOULD BE SO CUTE!"
Boom Boom was all,"Calm down, lady. THAT'S CRAZY TALK. Is your uterus acting up again? Maybe you need more coffee."
Seriously. I WANT THAT. HARD.
Where does this little Barbie girl's legs go? Something just seems wrong here, no? Is she a Corgi? What gives?
Roll over Paula Deen, or whoever your favorite liscensor of all things kitchy kitchen is, because seriously, how button cute is this? It measures in cups. In increments. It stirs. It's nothing less than pure genius. I want it.
And I want all of this. All of it. I know, you're thinking, that isn't even practical. Who wants a bunch of pitchers and silicone brushes and ramikins. But it is so pretty! I would probably make so many more pitcherable items if I had these. And I would also use the hellout of that gravy boat. But if I could only have 1, I want the red pitcher. Ooh wait, no. Green.
See? I JUST NEED THEM ALL.
Do you know I have a "thing" about dolls? It's part of my "condition". Dolls superfreak me out.
No, not all dolls. But all of these dolls? You betcha. Take a look below. Why is the blonde one on the left so angry looking? Is that appropriate for a child?
Creepy. Also the Native American one that is all sad right next to her. These dolls aren't "cute".
They are like the childhood "friends" of psycho serial killers.
I look at these next couple of pictures, and I'm all, "Who was your newborn photographer and do they like zombie movies?"
I like how Boom Boom showed up in the reflection of the first one.
I was pretty convinced that this one was haunted. Like, what was that, Ghostbusters II or III with the cranky oil painting?
First of all, my little baby Godzilla is sawing logs like a full size man over on the "daybed" which is really just a euphemism for a mattress on the floor in the living room. (I'm Fancy!)
She is SO cute.
She wants food. Like "Hungry Man" sized meals. But she is a baby. And a lot of times I'm all, "No Baby. No you can't eat that." And she is all, "Too Late. Lady." Because she only wants it if we are eating it, and no, tasting her food doesn't count - she doesn't want it unless it is what everybody else is having.
But she also has a sensitive little tummy (Ouch!) that makes her SCREAM ALL NIGHT if she eats anything too jazzy so it is kind of a problem.
So check it.
BAM! I know, right? It's real food. It's all organic!
apple (diced) sweet potato (mashed) rice cereal a little formula or just water and VIOLA!
I usually gobble it down just as fast as she does and I am pretty sure she notices.
Here's another of her faves...
That rice cereal stuff has Iron in it so she needs it. But who wants to eat it? Bleah. Not me. I think she has also noticed that. So I just whirl it around in whatever I am making her. That last picture is vanilla yogurt, rice cereal, REAL banana, peeled and mashed, and some applesauce.
I can't wait to add spices, but right now we are keeping everything as tasty as bland can get so Tummy doesn't get mad. (We love you, Tummy! Don't hurt Eden!) (And let her (and me! (AND DADDY!)) sleep at night!)
I didn't get crazy with the haircolor. I seriously considered black and purple ish but I didn't want to look like some old grunge girl.
This isn't about reclaiming my youth, just getting some spring back into my my ever dragging step.
Anyhoo, I picked a color that was just a richer tone of my natch. Loreal, of course. And halfway through applying it I got very nervous.
And after it was done?
Well, I would love to tell you that I walked out of that bathroom and into a world of peace and serenity and mojitos and that the living room was transformed into a pristine jamaican beach land and the kids and the hubs and the dogs had magically turned into hot latino pool boys who couldn't live another second if I didn't have every toe massaged. HEY POOL BOY! FEED MAMA MORE GRAPES!
But, in actuality, none of that happened, but they were all asleep by the time my hair was rinsed, and that was almost as vacation-ey.
And although I would also like to tell you that when I woke up the next morning, the hubs had breakfast made and the kids were quietly playing together, sharing and exchanging with voices that are appropriate for inside, but it was just the same old chaos.
What I CAN tell you, is I spent $9.99 on haircolor, $5.67 on some Mabelline Lash Stiletto, and these glasses? Well I picked them off of the $9 rack at Walmart, and since I already had my prescription, just not my glasses, they cost me a cool $38.45. Topped it all off with some luxurious Maybelline SHINEsensation lipgloss in Cranberry Crave.
The bang trim was free. I did it myself. And the results? Ta-DA!
Just not looking at my stupid gray hairs is a huge improvement for my self esteem. Now I just need some new clothes (I am thinking sundresses and cardigans) and I could probably stand to shave my legs. And paint my toes.
But no time for that now, I am too busy swatting Boom Boom's grabby hands off my badunkadunk.
I used to have some style. I think. I mean, it is possible that "crazy redhead" was my style, and even that part of me has become pretty nondescript.
I wasn't the kind of girl who liked to look overdone, but I used to spend a lot on myself.
Time, money, attention, you got it, I just really liked make up and hair and clothes and accessories and SHOES. OH DID I LOVE SHOES. I did my own nails, I had "home spa" days all the time. I had a killer closet filled with stuff I could play dress up in, and also an rack of shorty short skirts and funky tees and tanks and lots of earrings and beady things I wore every day. AND DIDN'T FALL OUT OF
I was funky and original and fun. And cute. And except for an episode or two in my 20's, a wee bit smaller and lighter.
When I found out I was pregnant with Madee, I stopped coloring my hair. I just went all hippie and chemical free, and by the time I had Eden, it was all natch.
Don't get me wrong, my hair color is pretty. (especially the grays:)) I get polite compliments on it all the time, but not the kind of compliments I used to get.
I get, "You look good" as in, "considering your circumstances", and it makes me miss the days that random black guys would turn and say rude stuff to me when I walked by.
When I found out I was pregnant with Eden, I sent all my cute surfer chic teeny skirt little t-shirt clothes to my sisters. Because they were still in college and in Florida, and even still they are cute and teeny and surfer chic so it just made sense.
I had funky glasses and a sweet ass bike. I really miss my old bike. And my short skirts. They kinda went together.
I feel like living in Tahoe just really sucked the style out of me. It looks weird if you show up somewhere in make up unless you are the liquor promo girl. So, for a while, when I had that job, at least I could still get away with it.
But Jack Daniels didn't think the prego belly was good advertising, so that didn't last long either.
Who IS that girl, and WHERE DID SHE GO?
I mean, I don't want to dress single, or age inappropriate, or overly sexy, but I need some kind of groove back. I feel OLD. When I start getting ready for date night, it seems the more I try to put on make up or find something slightly hot to wear, the more discouraged I become.
I am too tired to be cute.
I don't want to look middle aged or worse - like I have a realtor haircut and need to start stuffing the excess cooter chub into Mom jeans.
Every time I get my hair cut, somebody effs it up - so I haven't had a trim since last JULY.
When I go shopping for new clothes, I just end up buying stuff for the girls, and I don't mean my boobs. Kids clothes are so cute and so easy to put together. THEY CAN PULL OFF ANYTHING.
I just stopped looking in the mirror, because I don't want to deal with it anymore.
Mama needs some BOO-YAH!
And although as I have been trying to peck this frustration with myself out of my head and onto a screen my kids have aged me 10 more years. The pulling, the whining, the messes they stamp my tired old yoga pants with, and TODAY I REVOLT.
I have claimed my own office space in the house.
I have picked up some new glasses.
And I think it is the start of a revolution, ya'll.
I am rousing the rabble. Starting some trouble. RECLAIMING SOME OF MY FUNK - (and I am not talking about the smell of baby poop and old milk.)
I am going to shock the crap out of my kids and Boom Boom. And myself.
It isn't easy to pry this camera out of her tiny little kung fu grip, but I managed to reason with her for a few minutes.
Yes, reason with (bribe) her. She has all these words and knows how to use them and she is actually starting to listen and wait and consider.
As long as she isn't hungry or tired or feeling smothered by Eden. Because she has taken to biting in those instances if stress happens.
Despite her Bite? bite? bite? NO! NO! NO! training.
Not to mention that is THE LAST THING she needs to be teaching her sharp little puppy toothed sister. Seriously, that one is trying to eat all of us, I don't need her using those things as weapons on purpose.
Without further ado, Madee's world. Pictures taken by Madelyn Van Derven, 2 years and 2 1/2 months old. Some of them have possibly been jacked in the contrast direction by me with my seriously hacky editing skills. IN IRFANVIEW. Surprise surprise. I AM NOT THAT FANCY.
Have more coffee Mom.
Faster than the speed of Mom on too much coffee.
Mom poses with cups (for Auntie Em and Mom's BEST FRIEND LISA.
The Artist. In a hat. Yes, just the hat. Taken by Mom. But with Madee's camera.
I am really loving the new show "Parenthood" on Tuesday nights. It is thoughtful, and seems real, and shows parents dealing with the kinds of issues that any parent may be dealing with.
I won't get into the characters or story lines, and I can't say I fully relate to any actual couple or mom on the show, but I do enjoy the writing and the acting and find myself looking forward to it every week.
I think it is on like episode 3 or 4, and every week I see a commercial during the show, plugging the show, and in it, a random microphone asks people what "parenthood" means to them.
And this lady actually says, "Parenthood is (pause) (gritted teeth) (fake smile) the most fun I have ever had."
And she REALLY bothers me.
Maybe it is because it is 11:13 and I can't get the baby to stop crying and take a freaking nap already. Maybe it is because I cannot cross the living room without one of them sucking to my leg like a leech and dragging them about the room howling at me for some reason or another. Maybe it is because I can't see 8 the eff AM without having already separated, time outed and raised my voice.
Is it rewarding? YES life changing? you betcha meaningful and profound in ways I just can't put words to? OF COURSE.
It is also alot of being followed and complained to, being needed and pulled at and groped. It is drying tears and negotiating toy handling. It is fighting my own urge to bite them when they bite each other. It is fighting my want to yell when they yell, freak when they get hurt, cry when they won't stop crying.
It is fighting tears and my own freak out because I HAVE TO BE AN EXAMPLE, and I know myself well enough to know that my natural examples suck. So a lot of it is also emulating the mother I want my kids to have until I somehow, by faith or practice or some act of GOD to turn into this lady. This patient, mommy who has diplomacy and communication and her right mind to wield her thoughts in every once in a while.
I hate crying it out. I hate being awoken several times in the night. I hate that last night was the first time I have slept in the same bed with my husband for over a year, and it still wasn't just us all night long.
I hate that when I wake up most mornings, I don't want to get up and take my Prozac and handle the conflict that is rousing in my living room.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY KIDS. HARD.
But the fact of the matter is that "parenthood" is not the most fun I have ever had. I mean, I have been to Disney and Universal unlimited times and I have followed the Grateful Dead and I have had a full life FULL OF FUN, with all sorts of other crappy stuff thrown in there, and I am just saying that although we DO have fun here, and we DO enjoy each other often, I just wouldn't say that the "parenthood" part of this is the most fun I have had to date.
It's hard. It hurts. I am constantly doing and redoing what they undo. I am always afraid I might lose them one day, either mentally or emotionally or physically, that I might mess up in some huge way, that I might fail them, or Boom Boom, or myself. Perfection is my arch enemy.
Being "Mom" is bigger than anything I could have imagined, read or learned without having my own children, and although I get better at parts of it, I also often finding myself just on the line of losing it or falling apart from all the pressure.
I was coloring with Madee, and I drew a cloud. I added a blue sky around it and I said, "Madee, do you know what this is? It is a cloud."
She picks up the sky blue crayon and says, "Hmmmm. NO cloud. I hep you, Mom." She scribbled the blue all over my drawing and when she was finished she said to me, "They go Mom. Cloud. PERFECT!"
She was so proud.
What does parenthood mean to me? Holding back the comment, "Well it isn't quite perfect, sweetie."
Because it is the imperfection that keeps it amazing. And the lack of perfection that makes it perfect. She makes it perfect. enough. for. me. And she doesn't deserve to always hear me in her head tell her it isn't perfect. She deserves my undying a love and my never-ending support.
Because it will never be quite perfect. And yet it already is.
You know, I tell people their kids are cute all the time, but with a standard like the ones my kids have set, I often mean it in a "well, all kids are beautiful" kind of way.
But I don't mean it that way with little Eamon Van Quig.
He really is so cute. And with the adorableness between he and Eden, he really could be a Van Quig someday. In fact he is SO cute that I barely have any pictures of my own kids from this weekend. whataterriblemomiam!
We love Tate and Jayde so much we never want to leave their house. In fact, legend has it that Boom Boom dropped in to stay for 2 weeks and ended up squatting for several months, so I think Jayde gets nervous on Sunday mornings when it doesn't look like we are packing up to go home.
I don't have a picture of Tate and Jayde, but if I could find anything in my house to represent them, it would be my favorite little figurine which is approximately 1 inch tall. notice the break on Tate's little face? That is probably where Jayde bitch slapped him.
Jayde and I haven't had a lot of time to hang out (in this life), and I may not have mentioned but I AM TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH HER and possibly come on a little strong. And awkward. Lucky for me, Jayde has a natural disapproving look, but a HUGE heart - a combination that works together quite nicely. I would even venture to say that this visit she got enough of me to actually gain a slight appreciation.
I guess she is into clutzy forgetful people who yell at other people who are constantly laughing/reminding/rubbing in how clutzy and forgetful they are.
SHUT UP TATE!
So the Quigleys live in Minneapolis, and other than the bitter cold and stuff, it seems like a pretty cool town. Or at least a town with some cool factor. In some places.
These horses look happy.
The carriage rides remind me of Orlando.
Horse poop definitely stinks more than baby poop. It's the little things that make me consider myself lucky;)
I like this whimsical picture of Tate and Eamon. I especially like how Eamon's head is showing up the same way other lights in the background do. Angel.
Tate's butt and a weird car.
The girls bunked up in the double bike car stroller. Nope. That didn't last very long.
A random wedding near the ruins. I love how hubs is holding her dress.
Tate. GAWD I WISH HE WOULD BLOG! Funnier stuff from no one else's mouth has fallen. He kills me. He also takes a lot of pictures. Down his pants. Priceless.
Jayde, on the other hand, takes a little time to do such things. She was also kind enough to put about the most attractive picture of me to grace the internet, ever. Thanks Jayde! All that hiding behind the good pictures I find of myself is for naught.
She also just joined me on Twitter, an enormous Christmas gift, quite a bit early. And boy is it nice to have a direct line to communicate our snarky outlooks on the daily grind to each other. Thanks JAYDE! (But I mean that one!)
I am sure her Christmas gift will include these pictures of her pretty little baby boy.
The neighbors at Tate and Jayde's have several RVs on their property, and as Boom Boom and I throw around the ideas of where we want to settle, I will admit that parking the Tioga in their driveway and putting the Wii in it for the guys to live out their video game playing, rum drinking, bad word using bachelor alter egos while the women and children seek refuge inside the Teeny Tiny House has crossed my mind.
If I were to start a commune, it would be a Family Sized Fun - Teeny Tiny House fusion that would blow your little minds. 800 square feet 4 adults, 3 babies, 3 dogs and 3 cats.
I can see the logo now.
(An Aside: check out these ruins in Minneapolis. CRAZY. I mean what is that? History, I tell you!) Little girl walking on a BIG BRIDGE. So I guess this post may also fit my "Bridge Picture of the Week" requirement. There are LOTS of bridges in Minnesota. Maybe it is all those lakes or something.
This one was built in 1887.
Under a bridge downtown...
Sadly, we had to leave. But hopefully they will come occupy our own 800 square feet (or less) soon!
And if the E's get married one day, I really do think they should both change their name to Van Quigley.