Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Tweenager

I know this will come as a big surprise to my readers, but this post is more than a week overdue. Apparently I have issues managing my time.

Last weekend, on June 22nd, Zoe Bug turned 12. So she is now officially a Tween. I'd like to say I'm thrilled, but we are now entering the Dark Years, and honestly the last couple years have been sufficiently full of eye rolling and attitude already, so I'm a little bit scared about what's to come.

I'm usually such an optimist too.

As a side note, June 22nd is also my 5th Blogiversary. Five years ago I sat down at my computer after cleaning up from Zoe's 7th Birthday party, and I started my blog. Since that day, I haven't looked back. I've slowed my posting pace to a crawl, but I haven't ever thought about stopping. So here I am, chugging along at my snail's pace, writing drivel on the internet.

My mom must be so proud.

Changing subject. I'd like to take this time to reflect on my cute little Zoe Bug and all of her endearing personality quirks. Although I promise not to repost that picture, but to just leave it be in my archives.

Anything for you, Zoe Zoe.

This picture of Zoe Bug remains our all time favorite picture of her. I still maintain that Zoe Bug has not changed a bit since this picture was taken. She has gotten bigger, yes, but her face is unmistakably the same.

Zoe is my compliant child. My sweet little grasshopper. My smiling, sweet baby. My responsible child.

She believes that Stinkerbell was sent to our home solely to make her life miserable. "She's so mean! Why does she hate me?" she is laments daily.

"It isn't that she hates you, Zoe Bug. She doesn't. She loves you more than you know. Pushing your buttons is fun for her." is my standard reply. "Stop reacting and she'll stop taunting."

Zoe has a tender heart and a tendency toward the dramatic. We call her our little Drama Llama.

Zoe is also very easily influenced by others. From preschool through second grade brown was her favorite color. I just recently learned that it was her favorite color because it was her preschool teacher's favorite color, Mrs. Moeller.

And here I thought it was because chocolate is brown.

I must learn not to project my own passions onto my children.

Her favorite color only changed to green when she went to third grade and idolized her then teacher, Mrs. Ransom.

Zoe loves water and can spend hours in the pool. This year when Zoe wanted to try swimming on the local swim team, we discovered that swimming is her sport. I couldn't believe it the first time I saw her race. She's a natural.

Unlike her mother who is not graceful in the water but floats most excellently on account of built in floating body parts.


Anyway, I'm excited to see what she does with her new sport as she matures.

This sport, this horsey pursuit, I really wish she would tire of. She is relentless in her horsey interests though, and I believe it likely will not fade.

I have nothing against horses, mind you. It's just that they aren't cheap.

Since meeting my cousin, Dede, all Zoe can talk about is going to college in Montana because there's a college there with a horsey degree.

This girl has a memory too, so I believe she'll pursue it. I should start saving now.

Zoe will be starting middle school this year as a 7th grader at the school where I teach. I'm looking forward to having her close to me for these awkward years. Maybe I can help ease her through them.

When I see her in the halls during passing period I can call out "How's your day going, Sweet Chunks?" I just know she'll love that.

Don't worry, Zoe Bug, I've got your back.

Happy Birthday my Little Sugar Digger. I love you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pinterest Inspired Project #1

Yes, I totally numbered this post. I feel a need to justify the amount of time I spend on that cursed website, and I'm going to do that by keeping track of the things I actually do that are inspired by Pinterest Eye Candy.

And I have to ask, are there others like myself who pin and never go back to look at their Pin boards? When I'm pinning, my goal is to get to the bottom of the Pinterest page, and I cannot be distracted by following pins because then how would I ever find my place again? I might miss something.

Pinterest has become another compulsive obsession for me, because I needed another one.

Anyway, the picture you see above is something I made from a pin I found that I could not stop thinking about, and I had to put together immediately, before it got buried in my pin boards never to be looked at again. 

Actually it did get lost. Ironically, it was lost on my Organizing pin board. Like I couldn't even find the ding dang Organizing board. I must organize my Pin Boards.

These squirrells in my head must get their shots. I struggle to complete a cohesive thought. 

Anyway, again, FOCUS. This is the original pin, from Simply Organized, and it solves a problem that I've been ignoring for a long time.

You see, I like to pull recipes out of foodie magazines, and my method of organizing those recipes awaiting their turn in the kitchen was an unattractive mess.

I suppose I've seen worse, but this system wasn't inspiring me to try recipes.

I tweaked the original idea slightly to accommodate my own freakish need for symmetry.

Let me explain. The original idea uses only the left and middle tabbed folders since the right tab cannot be seen in the magazine file.

It makes perfect sense, but OMG, what will I do when I have all those right tabbed folders that cannot be used because I must use them left, middle, right, left, middle, right?!!

It was giving me heart palpitations, I'm telling you. No to worry though, because I had this hanging file looking thing, just laying around, not being used.

Is is laying or lying? I used to know when I had to teach grammar, but it's all so pointless, I can't be bothered to remember the rule. Something about setting and placing I think. Pretend I used it right, okay Grammar Police? I know you're watching.

Anyway, it's not really a hanging file, it's a Medium Multi-Purpose Bin from the Container Store, and it really wasn't being used, so this project was basically free. Well, except for the cute file folders that I did have to buy. I didn't have a complete set of folders that went left, middle, right, and I couldn't deal with that. My psyche is so fragile.

By using this bin, I was able to use the left, middle, and right tabbed folders, thereby keeping my Symmetry Twitch from rearing its ugly head. And I could buy cute folders too.


And here's my Dirty Secret. Yes, I know I have lots, but this is the Secret of the Day. It's my magazines yet to be read pile. As in I haven't even begun to pull recipes out of them yet.

Gasp! I know.

It's gotten to the point where I can't even hide it anymore. I measured it because a picture is not always worth 1,000 words. It measures 18 inches, and as you can see, it was starting to slide because it's so monstrous.

I need help.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Best Trips are Unplanned

Whew! Our summer kicked off with a bang. We went on a weeklong camping trip (I survived!) and we were back two days before we took off again for an unplanned trip to Wyoming.

It was the best kind of unplanned trip though because nobody died in order for us to be spontaneous. I was at the gym, huffing and puffing on the elliptical, determined to start my summer off right by reacquainting myself with regular exercise, when my Dad called me. He was heading to Greybull, Wyoming, to visit his brother and he wanted to know if we wanted to meet up. We had hoped to meet up on our camping trip, and since that didn't happen this was the perfect opportunity to do that and see some cousins that I haven't seen in probably 35 years. Crazy that it's been that long.

And mathematically impossible since I'm not that old.

Anyway, my Dad drove to Greybull from Boulder, Colorado, and we drove in from Idaho. We stopped for a late lunch at Buffalo Bill's Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming.

What a cool place, let me tell you. It was built in 1902 and it is just amazing. This is a picture of the bar which we were told is made out of Cherry wood and was commissioned by Queen Victoria. The detail is exquisite. Now that is a fancy word that I seldom get the opportunity to use. Okay, never. I can't even imagine how I could work it into a conversation in my life with its abundance of chicken poop.

Check out the stamped tin ceiling. I want it.

Here is a sampling of the menu. Okay, not a sampling. I want you to focus on this one thing. It made me giggle and I had to inquire if it was for real.

Our waitress, I'm going to call her Velma to put you at ease for this uncomfortable topic. Anyway, Velma stepped up to our table and I inquired, "Okay, for real. Do people really order these things?"

"Oh yes!" Velma exclaimed. "In fact, Kids, cover your ears, Tuesday nights the ladies gather here for Testical Tuesday and they devour them. The gentlemen, not so much. They're a little squeamish about the whole thing, but the ladies love them."

Hmmm. Good to know.

No, I did not order them. I'm a little squeamish. 

After lunch, we had a little less than an hour's drive to Greybull, Wyoming, population 1,800 and something. Love, love that town. I could live there if Peanut Head and I could get our jobs to move.

Anyway, our first stop was my cousin Dede's house because horses.

Dede has horses and she is the girls' new hero. Super Hero, Horse Girl Goddess. In fact, Dede is a barrel racer. So much cooler than myself. I drive a mini van and my house is not zoned for horses. I suck.

The horse is Popcorn and that's my Uncle Gary sticking his finger in Popcorn's mouth.

In order to make her smile. And she has such a pretty, horsey smile.

Dede offered the girls a chance to ride Popcorn bare back. Gasp!

Apparently sitting on Popcorn's back is like sitting on a couch on account of she's so wide, so anyone that falls off Popcorn has more serious problems than being able to stay on a horse.

Stinkerbell had to mention that Zoe once fell off the couch. She's such a sister.

Dede demonstrated for us how to get atop a horse without stirrups. It was most impressive.

Stinkerbell does not possess the finesse required to get atop a horse without stirrups. 

Nor does Zoe. Nevertheless, they did make it with some help. Popcorn was forcing herself to stay awake for the whole ordeal. She has to be the sleepiest horse I've ever met.

And I know so many horses.

Dede has a day job wherein she is a Physician Assistant and runs this clinic. That's her on the right. I'm so proud.

Like if I were her parent and actually had a right to be proud.

But I don't.

But I still am.

These two clowns are my Dad and his brother, Fred and Gary Anders.

Dede calls them the Creepy Twins, although they're not twins. 

After visiting Dede, we went to the Rodeo, whoo ha! Dede met up with us here, and it took her 20 minutes to wrangle herself past her public, those wanting free medical advice. People accost her wherever she goes, pulling up their shirts and sharing way too personal information in hopes of extracting a diagnosis in public.

Sigh. A not so good part about living in a small town where everyone knows you and all about your fabulous skillz.

This is my cousin, Danny, and his wife, Gretchen. Also, super awesome people. Danny hasn't changed a bit and is just a big kid who is super fun to be around. I didn't get to talk to Gretchen a lot because she is a veterinarian and was pretty busy saving the Animal Kingdom during our short visit. 

This is their veterinary clinic in Greybull. We were given the grand tour and I was doubly impressed.

We were able to visit them at their home and we got to see a couple of the strays that Gretchen has saved. They have two three-legged cats! I wanted to bring one of them home with us, but Peanut Head wouldn't let me.

Check it out.

It's a horse.

Not a zebra.

That's Jess you see up there with the horse. She's the Groomer Extraordinaire at the clinic.

I'm not sure if Zebra Horse here is as impressed as I am.

Jess spent an entire day on this horse.

She is amazing.

Before the parade, Popcorn gave the girls another ride. Dede's boyfriend, Warren, is driving. He's a super nice guy.

The girls fell in love with Danny's donkey, Molly. She's so fluffy!

I think she's the cutest donkey I've ever seen. Now Stinkerbell says that I can get her a donkey if I can't swing the horse.

Maybe a donkey would fit a little better in my minivan?

I could go on and on about our short trip to Wyoming, but I think I'll stop here. Before you fall asleep.

After all that traveling, it's good to be home. I went to school Monday to find my paint waiting for me. Over the past two days I banged out three walls and I love it.

I'm going to leave you with this little peek for now. In August Glitter Man is going to do another photo shoot for me for my classroom tour. I'm making some changes that I'm pretty excited about. 

I'd say I can't wait, but I don't want to wish my summer away. I still can barely believe that I survived this school year and that it's SUMMER right now. Sweet, sweet summertime.