Monday, September 21, 2015

Pinterest: Failure Is An Option

Do you hear that? It's the crinkle of fallen leaves underfoot. Sniff for me. Mmm, that's the smell of pumpkin spice wafting through the air and integrating itself into every edible concoction known to man. Now look down, you see that protruding gut? After 4 months of being "summer time fine," you're finally allowed to eat carbs again and turn into a chic sweater wearing chubster. That's right people, it's the most wonderful time of the year - it's fall! 

Pretty damn poetic, isn't it.
The temps are lowering, those cute cropped leather jackets are on sale again and the kids will start interrogating me about whether or not Santa & Jesus are homeboys. I love this time of year. Contrary to the first few weeks after New Year's, when I'm all spent from overindulging my body and my mind on commercialized merriment and turducken (is that still in?), Fall inspires in me a sense of renewal and excitement for things to come. 

This season also stimulates some latent sense of creativity I usually manage to supress the rest of the year. I don't know what it is about seeing the leaves change color but all of a sudden, I get to feeling like pre-penitiary Martha Stewart. I begin to believe that my frugality is a blessing and not a curse and that with just enough ingenuity I can make anything I set my mind to - potpourri from last night's leftovers? I'm on it. Some $250 Pottery Barn lamp shade lookalikes out of newspaper, chicken wire and scotch tape? Hell yeah. An Emeril's copycat recipe made with Walmart ingredients? I will crush that shit! 

That damn mindset has gotten my feelings hurt more times than I can count.

Recently I got some super sweet comments on the look of Baby P's birthday party that I've shared here on the blog and my other social media sites. It was met with some really positive feedback both from the guests and those kind enough to share comments elsewhere. It actually did quite a bit to boost the ego of this old gal.

But before I got too full of myself, I started going back through my photo albums and remembering when my Pinterest-inspired creativity didn't birth success. I thought it'd be fun if I also shared all the times Pinterest set me up for failure in recent years. You know, in the interest of full disclosure and whatnot. 

So if you're a crafty mama, or an aspiring Do It Yourself-er like moi, you should enjoy the following pictorial of The Top 5 Times Pinterest Pooped on My Party Parade: 


To be fair, my Independence Day Strawberries weren't the worst thing I've ever made in life. I was, however, irritated that my delicacies didn't live up to the smooth professional look of their inspiration berries and instead took on the look of a stumpy penis. (Cmon, I can't be the only one that sees that.)


I'm always looking for holiday decor that doesn't break the bank, so when I find "easy" tutorials that don't require a million expensive components, I'm all for it. How I went wrong rolling yarn around a stick is beyond me though. Even the kids wondered why I was putting "sad apples" with the rest of their Halloween decorations.


This failure can be chalked up to my desire to offer a vegan birthday alternative for my (egg & nut sensitive) 5 year old. But all the good intentions in the world didn't matter since I couldn't find a decent freakin' binding agent for my rainbow cake. 

Note: Though it didn't hold shape, this colorful mess did come in handy as a unconventional ice cream topping later that night when we sprinkled the "mush" over some sugar cones and snuggled in to watch Family Feud (the kids love saying, "Welcome to the Feud!" with Steve - go figure).


What's Christmas without gingerbread men? A much more kid friendly holiday, that's what...that is if the ginger village you're forgoing is the one my family & friends created. 

The army on the top left was created by the kids and I. What was supposed to be a charming little group of happy holiday merry makers took a turn for the worse, when I realized it looks like they've all been kidnapped and tortured at Guatanamo before baking. I have no idea what kind of pent up anger the 3 and 5 year old are holding onto to make such terrified looking cookie people. 

The bottom left pic was done over copious amounts of cognac and/or red wine while my friends and I re-choreographed a bunch of BeyoncĂ© videos. That probably explains a lot. 


[Insert sigh here] I had such high hopes for my popsicle stick Santa. I was Room Mom of the 3 year old's class and looking for a cute trinket to add on to some seasonal gift bags that had been created for everyone. This is what I came up with - Meth Santa. Helluva way to start their holiday break, don't ya think?

So if you're ever feeling down in the dumps this season after being Pin-spired to create some epic failure, take heart - you could be a lot worse off, you could be me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My Baby is 1

Dear Parker,

It's already time to say happy 1st birthday to my very last little one and I'm not quite sure how I feel. I look at your face and wonder if you get how unbelievable this year has been for me. 

I keep watching you laugh with your brother and sister and wonder how you've grown so fast so quickly. You're this kid, this little lady and I feel like I've missed months at a time. I see you smile when I come into a room and your happiness gives me such a sense of...fulfillment and relief, really. I'm proud that when you see me, it's a good thing. Maybe that means I'm doing something right. The love from you 3 renews me in that way. How can such little people do so much?

It's only been a year but you've added a wholeness to my heart - my being - to the point I don't know what I'd have been like without you, Parker. All the pieces of me that seem to be constantly shifting...the puzzle I'm never sure if I'm putting together gains shape with you.

But you and I both know I'm not together all the way just yet. PJ, you bring out such strong emotions in me, even from the very moment I found out I was pregnant. Did you feel that? The fear and anxiety, it was all encompassing - what was that like on the inside? I was so shaken up I hated myself during that time. Angry that I couldn't find happiness just because things had deviated from my plan. That anger shamed me. The control I thought I had was slipping through my fingers and I dissolved. 

It was so scary to have the matter decided without first weighing options and drafting schedules...crazy people talk, right? Your mommy was not the embodiment of prenatal pride. Definitely not as picture perfect as the articles make it out to be and I'm sorry to admit that. I wasn't over the moon in love right away, I was afraid...mostly that I wouldn't get my "self" back again.

It seemed like I'd just started my journey - figuring myself out aside from catering to A & R - and now I was already being detoured. Honestly, I struggled with that. Being forced to give my all again, and thinking I had none left. But there's never enough for everyone I guess and time moved on. And I...well, I resigned myself, more than anything, to the change. When I finally got on board with everything though, it seemed like you were ready to pop out. I was playing catch up.

I hoped it would be a breeze when you got here; some type of redemption. Lord knows I had subjected myself to enough already, surely you'd reward me by being my easy baby. 

But easy wasn't in the cards. 

You do things your way; not like your sister, not like your brother. When I thought you'd slipped into a pattern you'd change it up again. Things that I'd remembered being so simple with the others were more challenging than they had to be. You'd scream on car rides relentlessly...and I cried regularly, in turn, unsure of why I couldn't "fix" you. But I was the one broken I think. My head was so cloudy, it took some time for me to get out of the fog. 

But with your every cry and each whine, I heard you more and more. Pay attention to me, it seemed you were saying. Be here with me, I saw in your eyes. 

And even though I felt like I was choking, I knew I owed it to you to be better. I wanted to prove to you that it wasn't a mistake. That you were supposed to be mine and, more importantly, that I was supposed to be yours. 

When I felt like I was failing, you saw me. Your eyes, those beautiful orbs that take up your whole face - they saw more of me than I wanted to share sometimes. Eyes so big and so bright they shine like stars. So when you looked at me, I found my way...even when it was dark, those eyes showed me the way out.

So maybe this is more than happy birthday. Maybe it's thanks for sticking with me, my last little baby.

Because you did, yours will be the scent that comes to mind when I think of snuggling with a squishy newborn after a bath. Your eyes will be the ones I see when I think of nursing at midnight, tired but content in your gaze. The elation I felt at seeing your first steps will stay with me because they're the last firsts I'll have. 

You're not my easy baby. You're demanding and strong willed and a little bit kooky. But that's how I know you belong to me. 

And thank god, even if I didn't realize it at first, I belong to you too...forever. So thanks for being the last, you sure knew how to take us out with a bang. Happy birthday, Parker. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Very Pinterest 1st Birthday

Well the reviews are in and I think Parker's first high society soiree was a hit. Should be the talk of all the babies in town. When I wasn't freaking out about entertaining, I was putting together an Under the Sea theme with some help from my pals over at Pinterest. 

Now, I'm not the craftiest person in the world...but it's amazing what you can accomplish when you forego Girls Night Out for a few weeks and instead  take an obsessive interest in preschool mermaid crafts. Take a look, I've attached links to a few of the items I was most inspired by. I hope something tickles your fancy. 

The birthday girl!
Somehow in all of my planning details I forgot to find an outfit for the guest of honor. I took for granted I'd be able to find a tiny mermaid ensemble but didn't have much luck. I did, however, have just enough time to grab this adorable crown from Kichiqueen on Etsy. I paired it with the first gold flecked skirt I found at Babies R Us and made a 'ONE' top using some gold fabric paint and a plain onesie.

Sweets for my sweetie pie - pay no attention to the family portrait from 1985 in the background...
I was still perfecting my "look."

Octopus delicacies: I couldn't pinpoint an initial source for these but there were tons of pics floating around, so I used those for inspiration and for the others, we had Swedish Fish leftover that I needed to do something with so...voila.
These cupcakes were interesting and one of the most talked about edibles at the event. Those with white frosting are vegan. Both girls - the 5 year old and 1 year old - have allergies and/or food sensitivities so I had to have an alternative available for them. I used a recipe from Kitchen Grrls and it seemed to go over pretty well. Those with blue icing and topped with Swedish Fish are red velvet gems from a family friend. Those also didn't last long at all!

I can't decide if the candy eyes on my starfish men ended up looking like boobs or not...but the kids didn't mind. 
Again, there was no original source for these under the sea treats but there are tons of similar pics floating around Pinterest. I specifically used the standard Rice Krispie Treats recipe and then a star shaped cookie cutter after they'd cooled. The candy eyes I found at Walmart and I used a dab of icing (from the cupcakes) to secure them in place. 

Is it a bird, a plane, a superhero? Nope, just an incredibly bruised (by day's end) banana dolphin.
My poor little banana dolphin had a tough day. When the kids realized what he was, they tried to take him out and "feed" him some of the other treats on the table. I had to save his life several times, so I'm not entirely sure he wasn't plotting my demise by the end of the day. I settled on him the day before the party though, when I realized I might not have time to make the watermelon shark I had my eyes on.

Our living room decor is beach inspired, so both sandy vases we'd already had lying around. But I added shells from Michaels and gussied them up a bit when I saw the super cute version Hostess with the Mostess posted on her blog.


The seaweed and glitter fish were made with crepe paper and sparkly card stock. I got the seaweed idea after looking at Growing Kids Ministry. And since I thought the balloon fish would be too tempting for little hands not to pop, and I also wanted to add some pizzazz I used some fancy card stock we had lying around that I'd previously purchased from Michael's. 

This DIY high chair decor was inspired by The Chickabug Blog. My lighting here is horrible, but the letters are made from the same sparkle paper as the fish on the walls.

We'd been taking pics of Parker monthly to add to a birthday picture frame of hers. But I saw a way to use all the pics (and some starfish) to complete her party theme over at Chicabug's blog.

To make the entrance to each room a bit more festive, I added super simple tissue paper poms in our theme colors and some crepe paper from the doorway. I then hung fish shapes from twine. It was a last minute addition, but I think it looked really nice as the guests stepped inside.

And I could never decide if I liked the crepe streamers draped or hanging, so in the more narrow doorways, I did this low hanging vertical version (with the same twine fish) with alternating colors. When people walked past it rippled like waves. Pretty cool. 

I fell in love with these paper lantern octopi (octopuses?) I saw on the Paperblog. I took some creative liberty with them and added eyes and streamers instead of the ribbon they used though.

My big guys wanted to assist with the decor so we found a painless craft on Daisy Cottage Designs and modified it to use the construction paper and Cheerios we had available at home. 

She was 1 happy mermaid!

Everyone had a really good time and most importantly my littlest baby got to be princess for a day, so it's definitely one for the books!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Life of a Hermit Crab

Confession time: I have this really bad habit where I lament about not doing more, surrounding myself with new friends or exploring new activities more often.Then I try those things, like, I genuinely make an effort and give it the old college try.

That's right, just keep letting her punk ass pull the ball out from in front of you. You're a dumb ass, Chuck.

The result? Never fails, I end up kicking myself in the ass for thinking there's anything better than sitting on the couch in yoga pants and watching Property Brothers reruns. How can I consistently be this dense...I mean, they're the Property Brothers, it's entertainment and eye candy in a 60 minute block. C'mon son - can't get no betta!