Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chop Chop!

In late May/early June, I started finding myself getting quite restless with my hair.  It was taking me upwards of fifteen minutes just to wash it, adding quite a lot of time to my morning routine.  I was so very sick of finding super long hair all over the place.  And, beyond all that, I basically looked the same every day, and that look was starting to get a little ... hippy-ish.  (Not that that's necessarily a bad thing ... it's just not what I was going for.)  So I called my hair stylist Aja at Hotel Venus and booked an appointment just after my parents and sister left for Maine.

The big day soon arrived.  Aja decided to take before and after pictures to document the major chop.  So here's my before ...

... and here's the after!

I was a little surprised at how much hair had come off, but I was thrilled to have all that weight off me.

I figured if I was going to be getting rid of all that hair, I might as well donate it to a good cause.

The real tell-tale sign of a good hair cut is if it looks good when you actually get to style it yourself, and this one certainly did.  Whether it was straight ...

(Yes, I know this is basically identical to the one above it, but check out my complexion ... I looked at the picture above that I took first and thought I looked a little shiny and uneven.  Not wanting to take the time to apply makeup, I used a little 5 Second Blur and voila!  Seriously, that stuff is amazing.  I digress.*)

... or wavy, every day was a good hair day.

Needless to say, my mom, dad, and sister were shocked to see my hair when we met them in Florida a few days later, but they all seemed to like the change.  I was even more thrilled with the cut after spending even a couple seconds in the Floridian heat and humidity, remembering how it felt to have a virtual mane of hair clinging to my back.

I've gotten it trimmed and reshaped a couple times since then, and I still love it!

Thank you, Aja and the lovely folks at Hotel Venus Salon, for making this all happen and being so enthusiastic about my momentous hair change!

*I was not paid to review this product or make complementary statements about it.  I happened upon this product on my own and wanted to share its awesome results.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

That's What They Said: Misunderstandings and Sweetness

(upon first seeing him in the morning ...)
Baylor:  Mommy, is it okay if we have harmless, infrared beams in our house?
Me:  (smiling)  What, buddy?
Baylor:  (hopeful)  Is it okay if we have harmless, infrared beams in our house?  It was in the catalog in one of those spy things.
Me:  (smiling)  I suppose that would be okay.
(a few minutes later)
Me:  Baylor, you should ask Daddy the question you asked me.  About if it'd be okay if we had that in our house.
Baylor:  Daddy, is it okay if we have harmless, infrared beams in our house?
Bryson:  (incredibly confused)  What, buddy?
Baylor:  Is it okay if we have harmless, infrared beams in our house?  (grabs the catalog)  Look, see.
Bryson:  Ah, okay, let's read this again ...
Baylor:  (reading)  Harmless, infrared beams of light!  Is it okay if we have harmless, infrared beams of light in our house?
Bryson:  Well, I don't know, buddy.
Baylor:  I want all this spy stuff for my birthday.
Bryson:  Baylor, do you think Mommy and Daddy can afford to get you all this spy stuff for your birthday?
Baylor:  Hm, no.  (looks around the page)  Maybe you could get me something that doesn't take batteries.  Look at this one, "Twenty-seven, ninety-five," and it doesn't take batteries.  (hopeful)  Do you think that one would be okay?

(While pretend playing "Wild Kratts" ...)
Baylor:  (whispering in her ear)  Jimmy, your controller is lost in Central America.
Amalia:  Ahhhhhh!
Baylor:  Now you.
Amalia:  (whispering in his ear)  Jimmy, your controller is lost in Central America.
Baylor:  I like the name Baylor better.  And you can use a different continent, like Asia.
Amalia:  (whispering in his ear)  Asia, your controller is lost in Central America.

(While talking about her afternoon at zoo school ...)
Amalia:  Mommy, my teacher, Miss Bethany, saw you when we went to go see the tigers!
Me:  Hmmm, I don't think so.
Amalia: (with absolute certainty)  Yeah, she did.
(silence as my mom, my sister, and I looked at each other amused but confused)
Christine:  Why do you think your teacher saw Mommy?
Amalia:  Oh, because she said, "Hi, Nicole!"
Christine:  Did you see who she was talking to?
Amalia:  Nope.
Oma, Aunt Christine, Me:  Ahhhhhh.

Baylor:  (looking at me sweetly)  Mommy, I never want to live away from you.  I always want to be with you.
Me:  Awww, buddy, that's so sweet.  I want to be with you, too.
Baylor:  And I don't want to have a job.
Me:  Oh.  Why, sweetie?
Baylor: (sweetly explaining)  Because then I would have to be away from you!
Me:  Ah, I see.  Well, what if I have a job?
Baylor:  (excitedly)  Well ... we could work at the same place!
(Side note: Honestly, I'd be worried if I didn't know that some day he'll not want to hang around me much at all.  I have to store all these sweet things up now to fortify me in the years to come.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Tiger Cub

Today was Baylor's first outing as a Tiger Cub Scout!  He got all dressed up in his new scout uniform and proclaimed to me in the car, "I am excited to make some new friends!"  In that instant, I am not sure I could have been more proud of him.

Mollie came along for the outing, a nature walk, as well, and she enjoyed hanging out with her big brother like she always does.  She is also now longing for the day when she gets to join the Girl Scouts.  But for now ...

After such a special outing, one must enjoy some Custard by the Dam.  (Well, Mollie didn't enjoy hers; turns out our little lady doesn't like chocolate.)

It was a great introduction to scouting, and Baylor is certainly looking forward to more scouting events in the future.

On a side note, remember when we used to refer to Mollie, when she was still in utero, as "Paco".  Well this little picture set itself up for me today, and I couldn't resist.  

 So that's it.  Wonderful day.  Lovely kids.  Great first experience.  Win, win, win.

Friday, July 18, 2014

That's What They Said: Honesty

(While putting together one of Bryson's old castle Lego sets ...)
Baylor:  (stops and looks at Bryson)  Wow!  You are covered in freckles!

(While driving past an enormous cemetery ...)
Baylor:  What is that?
Me:  It is a cemetery.
Amalia:  I bet it is where you try to get as many flags as you can.  And the one who has the most wins.
Bryson:  Actually, a cemetery is a place where ... okay, when someone passes away, we bury them in a cemetery.
Baylor:  That is gross.

Amalia:  Mommy, who does Anna sing "Love is an Open Door" with?  (from the movie Frozen)
Me:  She sings it with Hans.
Amalia:  Ohhh, that's right.  And it goes like ... (hums a little bit of it while thinking) ... I can't remember.
Me:  That's okay.
Amalia:  And Anna, she sings it really well.  (smiles)
Me:  Yes, she does.
Amalia:  But Hans, he does not.  He interrupts her.  That is not good.  He needs to have a talk with her parents.  (waits a moment)  But they are dead.

Me:  So, Baylor, do you think I should wear my hair straight or wavy today?
Baylor:  Straight.
Me:  Straight?  Okay.  Do you not like it wavy?
Baylor:  (matter-of-factly)  Nope.
Me:  (unable to hide my disappointment)  Oh.
Baylor:  (concerned)  I mean, I only don't like it on Fridays.  You should have straight hair on Fridays.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

May 2014 Happenings

May was full of all sorts of fun.  We celebrated my mom's birthday twice, once with my dad on the weekend and once on her actual birthday.  Mollie grabbed my camera while we were enjoying dessert and snapped a couple pictures for me.

Then Aunt Christine turned the tables and snapped a picture of Mollie with my mom and me.

My sister made these delicious mini bundt cakes for the occasion, and we all enjoyed them thoroughly.

With the weather warming up, Mollie and I were actually able to get outside a bit while Baylor was at school.  One day in particular, Mollie wanted to take her sleepytime pals for a bike ride.  So each one, and there are three of them, got their own ride around our neighborhood.  Needless to say, she was pretty tuckered out that afternoon.

May also included Mother's Day, and with Baylor being in school I had a sneaking suspicion that I might get a school-made gift.  And I was right.  My little man wrote me a poem entitled "My Mom" and brought me a cup with a sunflower seed planted inside.  It was so sweet!  He couldn't even wait to give it to me on Mother's Day, though, and yanked it out of its paper bag wrapping on our way home from school.

We celebrated Mother's Day with my mom the day before the actual holiday, but first Mollie had her swim lesson in the morning.  Baylor kept himself busy with an activity book while his sister swam her heart out.

Afterwards, we went to my parents' house to celebrate.  Mollie chatted with her Aunt Christine, and watching them reminded me just how alike they are.

Then Mollie got a special treat; to let me have a little "down" time, Bryson got to be the one to play Barbies with the little lady!  I think he was a bit disturbed that Aladdin was going to be marrying all these ladies, but the numbers are really skewed in Aladdin's favor so it shouldn't have been a surprise.

Christine, amazing baker that she is, made a cheesecake for the occasion.  It was beyond delicious!

Then it was time to open cards and presents.

Once the kids' cards to Oma were opened they predictably lost interest in what was going on, so Dad kept Baylor busy by helping him make some sort of contraption.

We had a great time celebrating with my parents and sister, but it was weird to not see my mom on Mother's Day.  With that said, I did have a nice Mother's Day the next day.  The kids were quiet in the morning and kept themselves occupied.  Baylor even read to Mollie, something he ordinarily doesn't like to do.

Then I got my cards from the kids.  Baylor made me an ... interesting card.  That's me on the front saying, "PU!" because inside ...

... he's spraying a fart gun at me.  (That's what the green blob is ... a giant fart.)  Then he had me fill in the blanks on the card with it eventually reading, "Hope your Mother's Day isn't stinky.  Baylor".  I'll give him credit, it was a cute card with a cohesive message.  And I was glad to see that, though we looked like giant snowmen, it actually had pictures of people on it.

Then he gave me a brief activity sheet with math problems on it.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I despise math (and guns), so I worked my way through the problems and thanked him for his efforts.

Mollie made me a more artsy card with a convoluted maze on the front, which I was not intended to solve.

On the back she wrote out names she knew how to spell without help, "Amalia", "Mom", and "Oma".

Then on the inside she drew pictures of all of us, except "Daddy because he was at work".  I'm the one farthest to the right with the gigantic smile that goes several inches beyond my head in both directions.

We saw my in-laws later in the day on Mother's Day, and overall it was a really good day.

Every year since we've been "grown up", my sister and I have gotten my mom hanging baskets for her Mother's Day gift, part of the gift being that we go with her to help pick them out.  The kids have gotten to join in the fun since they came along, and this year was no exception.  We went to a few greenhouses this year, and the kids had a lot of fun at Koetsiers' in particular.

It helped that the store had a kids play area with a gigantic play house!  Oh, and lots of chalk!

Mollie must have been moved by the spring spirit because, days later, she jumped at the chance to help Bryson spread mulch.  Well, the spring spirit and her intense desire to use her gardening gloves for the first time.

Baylor didn't want to help with the mulch, but he did pick me some flowers!

What a little sweetheart!

Springtime is just perfect for blowing bubbles, and the kids were happy to finally be outside making all sorts of bubbles in the breeze.

My dad bought a bubble blower for the kids to try out, and Baylor loved it.

The next day we spontaneously took in a local baseball game.  The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold, and wonderfully sunny.  We got lawn seats, a first for me and the kids, and it worked out really well as Mollie is in a squirmy sort of stage.

I brought tons of activities for the kids to do in case they realized baseball can be a bit boring to watch at times - and they realized this quickly - and they enjoyed coloring and writing in the spring sunshine.

The kids got a free hot dog meal, including chips and a fountain drink, and at first I thought they wouldn't eat it because they had JUST eaten lunch before we left.  But I was wrong.  They scarfed it down like little champs.

Baylor even ate the chips, a big deal as he usually hates chips with a passion because of their natural crunchiness.  I was mostly thrilled to see him branching out his "likes", but I was a little bummed because I thought those chips were going to be mine.  I was a smidge on the hungry side of things, I guess.

After lunch it was back to the activities.

Then Mollie found out her cousins were also at the game sitting on the outfield deck, so she spent a bit of time looking for them.

After the game, Mollie ran the bases with her cousins and uncle and rolled down the hill with the kids a bit before it was time to leave.  All that fun really tuckered her out, though, and she fell asleep in the car not long after we were out of the stadium parking lot.

Baylor didn't fall asleep, but by the looks of his face I could tell he'd gotten a bit warm at the game.

The weather eventually warmed up to the point that the kids wanted to go swimming in my parents' pool, so we slathered them with sunscreen and sent them in with Grandpa E who was willing to brave the not-so-warm water for them.

Mollie even let Grandpa E throw her around a little bit like he used to do to my sister and I when we were kids.  Just look at that form!

Once the swimming was over, Mollie's hair needed to be brushed, but she wasn't too keen on that, so Aunt Christine proposed a compromise that Mollie was okay with.

For a few days during the latter part of May, Mollie decided that she needed to up her style game, so she wore nearly every piece of jewelry she owns everywhere she went.  It was awesome, but occasionally she would want to shed all the jewelry and it was up to me not to lose a single piece of it.  Finally I started requesting that she bring one of her small purses with her in case she needed a place to store her many jewels, and that ended up working pretty well.

The month ended with a sweet surprise in my parents' backyard.  The kids and I were over having lunch with my mom and sister one day when someone noticed a deer way out in the weeds.  A few seconds later, we realized she wasn't alone.

Her little fawns were so little, so new, in fact, that they still hadn't quite figured out how to walk yet.  Their little legs were wobbly and she seemed very protective of them, and we guessed that they had just been born either that morning or the day before.

It was a wonder to witness and a great way to end the month.