Thursday, July 28, 2011

it takes two

The other night after a delicious dinner at home the Mr. and I started in on two very cumbersome household tasks. The first, to change out a broken toilet seat (don’t ask) and the second programming a super old universal remote we recently found in storage and wanted to put to good use. We each set out on our individual tasks. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr….. I hate this thing………..what the heck?!?!?! We each were having an increasingly difficult time with what we wanted to accomplish. Was this toilet seat bolted on with super duper glue?!?! Why oh why would the stupid red program light on the remote not flash as it was supposed to?!?!?!

Halfway through, as we were both getting more and more frustrated, the Mr. suggested we switch tasks. We passed each other in the hall as we took our new positions with a smirky smile… good luck buddy, it is not so easy. A few minutes passed. No grunts, cries, swearing or frustrations this time around. Wouldn’t you know it… we quickly had a reprogrammed universal remote and replaced toilet seat! Success! What it really took was a fresh set of eyes, our own individual strengths when it comes to problem solving, and a little teamwork.

The great thing about a partnership I have learned over the years is you always have someone to help you out with the little things you just can’t quite figure out. Being open to someone else’s problem solving method will often times help you greatly. I bet you won’t guess who figured out which problem, but it may be the opposite of what you may think ;)

Friday, July 15, 2011

lessons from my father : caveman edition

Some of my most memorable lessons from growing up come directly from my Dad. The lessons he taught always seemed to have a visual component and I am quite sure he had not read about them in any modern parenting how-to book.

Growing up I was tall. Very, very tall. I currently stand somewhere in the neighborhood of a bit over 5’9”. This is not an absurd height for a girl, I have met some* people taller in my life, but I have been this tall since I was 11. That is a very long time to be very tall. Especially when all the other girls are all petite and small. I was taller than all the boys up until the end of high school when they finally grew. When I was in the 5th grade, I was the tallest person in the entire school. The WHOLE school. That includes the kids, the teachers, the principals, the librarian and perhaps even the custodial staff. As you may imagine being tall (taller than everyone in the whole world it felt like at the time) doesn't exactly make you self assured and confident. Looking back I realize I was also gangly and awkward. Oh my goodness, I was awkward. A quick shuffle through old pictures reminds me my awkward phase stuck along quite a bit longer than I care to let my husband know. I have an image to uphold after all! I also dressed like a boy. I don't know why I did this. My guess is boy pants came in lengths so I could get them long enough though they were inevitably always too loose and baggy. I was a vision in ill fitting khakis and a boyish shirt I hoped and prayed I would someday fill out with the lovely lady lumps I wished for each day.

*I should note, for accuracy sake, there are many people in the world taller than me. For example, my whole life my Dad has always been taller than me.

Sometime in my early teen years (I assume when I was awkward, because let's face it, that was most of the time) I would try and slouch to make myself seem shorter. I thought no one would realize I was standing like Quasimodo or suffering in a permanent squat-plie position. They would simply think to themselves… "My, my that Jessica is a perfectly average height girl. Though, she does dress like a boy". Standing with this absurd posture would make me “normal” sized and thus as popular as the sisters from Sweet Valley High and I would have endless date invites to the dances. This didn't really work as planned. While my peers never mentioned my odd way of standing (though I am sure they thought I suffered from some sort of muscular disorder) my family did and let me know it was not very becoming or attractive.

When you are a teenager you feel everyone is looking at you and judging you at all times. Later in life you learn that this is simply not true. Everyone is too concerned with their own pimples, what is happening with the Sweet Valley High sisters, what *NSYNC video is going to be playing on TRL that afternoon and other various teenage maladies to really pay much attention to you. Around this time my dad took the time to share with me, his oldest daughter and pride and joy that he had a growing concern I walked like a caveman.

You may think that my walking like a caveman had something to do with my attempts to shrink myself through terrible posture. Nope, this caveman walk was a completely separate disorder I suffered from and a whole new can of worms. As it turns out, unbeknownst to me, when I would walk to and fro (presumably dreaming about ponies, how to become BFFs with Britney Spears, and how awesome my life would be when I finally grew boobies) I would swing my arms in such a way that the back of my hand and thus my knuckles would point forward.

Have you ever taken into consideration how you swing your hands when you walk? You may not have until this point, perhaps walking like a regular human comes naturally to you. Consider yourself lucky. However, now you will most likely become acutely aware of how you and others' swing their extremities while walking. Here is the short version of the lesson for those growing impatient… knuckles forward = caveman, thumbs facing forward = walking like a lady. Ask Kate Middleton, she's obviously got this all figure out.

My Dad took the time as a caring and concerned father to show me the way I walked (like a caveman with knuckles dragging) versus the desired lady-like or modern human way to walk (back straight and erect, thumbs naturally facing forward). At the time I was humiliated. No wonder all of my life long dreams hadn't come true yet at the ripe age of 15! I had no idea how to walk! From there on out I would consciously (and I am quite sure pretty obviously) make an effort to walk properly.

Right, left, right, left… thumbs forward, thumbs forward… should my thumbs be sticking out independent of my hand? Make a fist and have thumb face forward? Is that like hitch hiking? I like glitter. I wonder what’s for dinner. How can I make my hair more shiny? Keep walking! Thumbs forward!

I am sure this was a hard thing to approach me about. How do you tell your awkward, overly emotional daughter she walks like a caveman? Though it was a difficult lesson to swallow, I am very thankful for it. I am proud to say I no longer walk like a caveman. At least I don’t believe I do. Thumbs forward, thumbs forward, thumbs forward is part of my daily mantra along with don’t trip.

I am quite certain my lady-like walk helped me progress from my teenage years, make friends, become a fairly successful adult and eventually get a husband. I am pretty sure when my husband sees me walk through Target throwing stuff in our cart we don’t need on one of our adventures he thinks…”wow, I am the luckiest man in the world. I married a girl who walks like a lady, not a caveman”. Lesson learned Dad, lesson learned.

it's almost that time of the week....

...for our favorite ridiculous way to spend an hour.

We have a weekly ritual of going to my dad's house to eat a great dinner and watch this treasure. Vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches, shape shifters, shirtless men... what more could you want? This show will defintely make you blush if you watch it with your parents.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

thankful thursday : mi madre

Themes can really help spice things up. I get excited when I see great ideas for themed parties. Cupcakes? Shabby Chic? Peacock feathers and colors? Tapas? Milk and Cookies? I LOVE them all! I for one, have a file of themed party ideas just waiting to be used! What fun it will be to have themed out child's birthday, baby shower, graduation, Valentines dinner or special party. Who doesn't love that? Of course, as it is right now, the only themed parties I have thrown have been tea parties for our bulldogs, but a girl can dream:)

I have seen on various blogs where they dedicate certain days of the week to reoccurring themes. "Triple Tangent Tuesday", "What I ate Wednesday", "Wordless Wednesday", "What I am loving Wednesday" (I guess a lot happens on Wednesdays!) "Flashback Friday"... just to name a few. I have also seen "Thankful" either Tuesdays or Thursdays. I really like this idea. What a fun way to keep track of people, places, or things you are thankful for. In the spirit of trying new things and embracing a theme, I wanted to express how I am thankful for my mother.

This past holiday weekend I was asked to bring a pasta salad to a bbq. I love pasta salad. When I was a teenager my mom would always have a pasta or taco salad in the fridge in the summer. During the winter months, it was always a big pot of veggie stew. These treats were always available for a quick and healthy meal. That being said, I have never actually made a pasta salad. With my assignment to provide a tasty pasta salad, I of course, turned to my mom. A few fast and furious text messages later and I had some great ideas to use to incorporate in my own creation that was inspired by my mom's pasta salad expertise. That is one of the best things about my mom, she always helps me by providing her ideas and experiences, but lets me decide on the final product.

I can always count on my mom to listen, provide support and encouragement, tell me she loves me and to spoil me just enough. I am proud to say, even as an adult, I still receive a thoughtful and sweet Easter basket. My mother is an amazing cook, very creative, loves animals, and takes great care of anyone who comes her way who needs help. My mom is great at making those around her feel special and loved. I am so very thankful to have a great mom :)

***I just realized I am in serious short supply of photos of my mom on my computer! She is very elusive when it comes to photos, that and I need a better photo organization system! We must remedy that soon with a lot of fun photos to update this post with***

we're going to kentucky, we're going to the fair

Ah, weddings. This time last year I was deep in full fledged wedding planning mode for our October nuptials. Wedding planning can be fun, inspiring, exciting and it can also be stressful. We truly lucked out and had a wonderful day. We couldn't have asked for better weather, had limited issues arise, family all surrounded us to celebrate and it was an amazing day. I am so glad I can say I had the best day at my wedding. I danced, laughed, ate great food, and spent time with people I love. That being said, I am so glad our wedding planning days are all done. Now when friends talk about their wedding planning headaches I smile, remember our wonderful day, but am thankful to be on the other side!

One of my favorite things to do when I am bored or just wanting to walk down memory lane is to review some of our wedding pictures. We have a great collection of posed and candid photos of all of the activities from the day. Looking through today I am smiling looking through these photos. In these pictures I am dancing with one of my sisters and my flower girl who really is like family. We are dancing a funny little dance where one girl would stand in the center and do various things called out to them while the others circle around them dancing with hands joined.

This song and dance is something my two sisters and I have done forever. I am not sure where we learned it. Surely it was at summer camp, the girl scouts, or maybe an older neighbor girl who taught it to us. It's funny the little rhymes and songs that get passed down through childhood. As a child it was so fun to be the one to dance around in the center and at the end pick the next person to dance. As an adult, I think the lyrics are pretty funny, though may not be as innocent as I once thought. There is a bit about "shake it like a milkshake" while dancing, but I think it is still can be adorably PG.

Thinking of this dance gives me another memory flashback (aren't those a fun way to spend an afternoon). When I was first in college my sisters and I went to the east coast for the summer to spend time with our father and step mom. During this summer we traveled from our east coast home outside of Boston to New York, New Jersey, Maine, Virginia, and Washington DC. We had a lot of laughs and new experiences. While in Washington DC we took a late night walk in the hot summer evening to see the monuments lit up. The walk wasn't as exciting as we had anticipated. We were hot. There were bugs (actually there were cicadas. EVERYWHERE. Super noisy the whole trip). Looking back, there were probably also several unsavory characters all about. We decided to use this opportunity to sing this familiar song and take turns being the person in the center and dance. I think this helped reset the tone for the evening and we all had a ton of fun. I wish I had some photos of us during that evening, but today, I am happy to remember my families' smiling singing faces.

Are there any rhymes or songs you remember from your childhood? I wish I could remember all of those "miss mary mac" type rhymes.....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

long weekend

First day back to work after an extended weekend is tricky! We enjoyed a beautiful weekend full of fun, family, friends, sun, and great food. The weather in our area was absolutely perfect for 4th of July. Due to our opposing work schedules, the Mr. and I don't usually get days off together, so having 2 days off was pure bliss. We spent time at the pool, were introduced to an amazing taco truck with homemade everything, practiced photography, worked out, watched movies, caught up with old college friends, devoured delicious stuffed burgers, played with sparklers, drove around, scored some great deals during holiday sales and practiced our baking skills. I hope we get another weekend very soon :)

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 1, 2011

red, white, and blue

Counting down to 4th of July. So many pretty ideas out there to celebrate the upcoming holiday. A perfect summer weekend celebrating the 4th would include watermelon, juicy grilled burgers (hopefully with some caramelized onions - yum), s'mores, lemonade (gee... can you tell we are really into food??), sparklers, and warm weather. This year we will be fortunate enough to spend some time with friends on the 4th, hopefully in upcoming years we can plan our own celebration and open our home to our friends and family for lots of fun.

you are never fully dressed without a smile

I am a very lucky lady. I am married to a wonderful man. My husband truly is my very best friend. There are many reasons to list why I think he is the best, many of which I will save to share another day. He helps and encourages me to be the best version of myself. Sometimes, that includes being the best-dressed version of myself. Most of my favorite or best pieces I wear, my husband has picked for me. He has great taste! I can, on occasion, dress myself, but it is always nice to receive a surprise someone has picked especially for you. Recently, he surprised me with this beautiful navy and white suckered mini-gingham shirt from JCrew.
I had been lusting over this shirt for as long as I can remember. I adore how this shirt is slightly masculine, yet undoubtedly feminine. The night I received this shirt, we were heading out on one of the few summer type days we have had so far here in the Northwest to enjoy the Starlight Parade. The weather was beautifully warm, the sun was shining, it was a perfect summer night! We would like to see a few more of those days! We rarely head into downtown these days, so it was a real treat, and now I had something special to wear! We enjoyed a delicious happy hour meal at Oba! as well as a fun evening of wandering around the city. Since receiving this shirt I have been wearing it in any way I can combine it with the different accessories I have and love to wear on the daily. I am currently scheming ways to get this shirt in more colors without breaking my piggy bank ... maybe a visit to JCrew Factory store? It is a great shirt and every time I see it in my closet, begging to be worn, I can't help but smile.

Below are two different ways I have been wearing my beloved shirt, depending on the event and our weather. My watch, earrings, and locket were also items selected for me by my handsome husband. I wear them everyday and love them. My exact gold locket I could not find. It came from a wonderful seller on Etsy. I hopefully will find the details to share soon :)

jcrew perfect shirt