The Tooth Fairy and a Glacier-Climbing Grandma...

Times I don't feel mature enough as a parent: 

-When giving instructions to babysitters (I always think in my head... I barely have a clue what I'm doing, why am I telling you what you should do?).

-When people mistake me as the nanny (The worst was when I was approached to join a teen mom support group after I had Summer. I didn't want to offend the poor girl but I somehow stammered out that I was married and in my twenties, but thank you. I swear my entire pregnancies I would awkwardly rub my belly with my left hand to show my rings and randomly bring up my husband. You have no idea the judgemental stares from people).

-When my oldest daughter LOSES HER FIRST TOOTH!!! I seriously can't get a handle on this, for whatever reason. I just don't feel old enough to have a child losing teeth. I mean, part of it freaks me out because I so distinctly remember losing teeth... which means that Summer remembers everything these days (actually, had no chance with her... she still reminds me of the time I went running around the house searching for the diaper bag when it was on my shoulder the whole time. She had just turned two. Elephant's brain, I tell you). It means that all the times I screw up, get mad, totally fail as a parent... she will actually remember it. And that sucks. You have a cushion for a while, because all those times you think to yourself, "Wow, I'm so glad nobody saw that" are actually okay because they are too little. 

Now I will stop being Negative Nancy, because the plus side to all of this is she will remember memories we make together. I was in complete and utter shock when she showed me one of her bottom teeth was wiggling. I just couldn't accept it. A nice accidental headbutt from Layla a few weeks later moved things along a little quicker. Last Saturday, I was running around the house cleaning and getting ready for my grandma's 89th birthday party I was hosting. Sidenote... while I was cleaning, I discovered something in our receipt drawer that doesn't belong. Hmmm:

Anyways, Summer would stop me every 7 seconds to show me how wiggly her tooth was and she was messing with it all day. In the middle of the party, my sister went downstairs to check on the kids and found them all locked in the bathroom... not usually a great sign. Well, it turns out, my little Summer was doing a show for all the little kids to see... and SHE pulled out her OWN tooth. I mean, who pulls out their own tooth?!?! She came running upstairs with a bloody mouth to show me, and I seriously just couldn't believe it. I saved you the grossness of the bloody mouth, but here she is: 

Obviously the tooth fairy is the first thing on her mind, so she ran to find her special box (given by dear friends Danny and Dawn): 

Since it was her first tooth, it needed to be a little more special. Apparently the going rate is $5 (which is so steep... I swear I got like a dime) and we decided to go with a pretty letter as well. My sister (who is a ridic artist... I will post pics of her work another time) was conveniently still at my house so she could do cute, swirly handwriting. I got her favorite colors to work with and we wrote it (and added glitter. Obvi). Very long sidenote: Summer has a bit of a hard time staying in her own bed (understatement of the year)... aka as a toddler she would make herself vomit from crying so hard when she was by herself. I asked the pediatrician years ago if they had any tricks and they told me to have her sleep on the floor next to our bed and she would get over that really quick and move to her own bed. Welp, after a year of her sleeping on the floor, I decided that didn't work for us. She now always starts in her own bed but usually finds her way to ours super early in the morning. I did the same thing until my brother was born when I was five... I may or may not be still bitter that he booted me. 

I managed to successfully get the tooth out of the box and the $5 in the box without her waking up (I was seriously nervous). The next morning she was THRILLED and even made a comment about how the tooth fairy somehow knew her favorite colors. 

As I said before, I just don't feel mature enough for this. I don't know why this specific life event is hitting me so hard, but it is. I mean, she is starting kindergarten next month, but this freaked me out far more. I don't have a toddler anymore, I have a legit little girl. I have been shopping for school clothes in the girls section (not toddler... which they have ridic cute stuff btw). BUT, the fact that attitudes and teenage years are looming make me nauseous. 

So, I threw my grandma's 89th birthday party this past weekend. Now if you know me on any type of personal level, you have heard about my grandmother. She is quite positively one of the most awesome people on this planet. I grew up with her living a block away, so seeing her multiple times a week was the norm. If I got into a fight with my mom as a teenager, I would just walk over to Ooma's. She took me on a three week Mediterranean cruise from London all the way down to Athens when I was 19 (just the two of us).  She has been to all seven continents (she waded to shore to make it to Antarctica in thigh-high boots just a few years ago). This past Christmas, I bought her waterproof hiking boots because she was climbing a glacier in Patagonia. 

She is always the last one off the dance floor at EVERY wedding she goes to, including mine: 

She went on an African safari, slept in tents on the ground, played with wild lion cubs and rode an ATV for three hours: 

And of course, she makes friends wherever she goes: 

She recently went through some major, super scary health issues and it was very touch-and-go for a while. The problem with being a nurse when family is sick is that not only does everyone ask you a million questions, but you really just know TOO much and essentially the worst that can happen. I wasn't prepared to face the reality of what all of her labs and numbers were showing... but somehow, against all odds, she bounced back like a champ. All of her doctors can't quite believe it. She is "taking it easy" on her next trip and doing a cruise. Nothing can stop this woman.  Everyone who knows her is amazed by her. I feel fortunate to actually be related to her (most people call her "mom" but I sometimes get territorial). She is truly the person I aspire to be like. 

Happy Wednesday! 



Runaway washing machine and Layla's Birthday...

Welp, I got a new one for you. Last Thursday morning I was making breakfast for the girls, starting on my endless to-do list, getting anxiety over everything I need to accomplish in the next few weeks, etc. I gathered the sheets off my bed and Layla's bed and threw them in the washer. I continued on with my morning when all of a sudden an incredibly loud banging is coming from the laundry room. The girls started screaming and I sprinted in there to see what the heck was going on. It literally sounded like someone was banging on the side of my washing machine with a cast-iron skillet. I went in the laundry room, and lo and behold... THE ENTIRE TOP OF MY WASHING MACHINE HAS COME OFF AND IS SHAKING AND SLAMMING INTO THE DRYER. WHAAAAAAAT?!?!?! Need proof? Here you go: 

I found these little guys on the floor: 

So we bought these the day we moved into this house (less than a year ago... and I'm seriously, we went straight from closing to Best Buy because we were moving just a few days later and I could NOT be without a washing machine for more than a day or two... because obviously whenever I don't have a washing machine, everyone goes into a peeing the bed, spilling all over clothes, destroying everything phase. We bought the extended warranty so my thought process was that there is no way this wouldn't be covered, I will get a brand new washer, whatever... but I was concerned about the fact that I barely get laundry done when I have a functional machine, much less one that wants to eat me during the spin cycle. I tore my house apart looking for the receipt with the warranty info (I am usually super neurotic about keeping that stuff, but conveniently I found stuff for every appliance we have ever bought dating back to the old house EXCEPT this washer and dryer). Couldn't find it, but called the Best Buy customer service line anyways assuming they could look it up. The woman I talked to asked what had happened, so I simply explained that the top part of my washer somehow detached from the rest of it during the spin cycle. The woman actually burst out laughing and said, "What happened?!? That's a new one." She transferred me to the appropriate person while still chuckling to herself. I pretty much got the same reaction from the guy I talked to. He kept explaining that he had never heard of this happening so it had to be extremely rare. My response? "I have a tendency for bizarre/crazy things to happen to me." 

So they told me they would send a repairman out to "assess" it Friday morning, despite the fact that I assured them that the entire machine body had been warped. So at this point I had wet sheets, a mountain of laundry, and no washer in the near future (Not to mention I was working on Friday morning and I felt terrible asking my babysitter to deal with the repairman). I tried to ask when I could possibly expect to get it replaced and he went into the whole, "That depends on the manufacturer, yada yada yada." I stopped listening because the only thing I really heard was "NOT ANYTIME SOON." I truly hoped that would not be the case. 

Now until this point, I have not had a single issue with my washer or dryer. I actually love them. Since there was no washer or dryer when we bought the house, we decided (aka I made a very good argument and won) to go with deluxe, heavy duty, amazeballs ones since we will have them the length of their little appliance lives. One of my favorite features is that both the washer and dryer play a little tune when they are done (instead of the evil MEEEEEEEP that yells at you to fold and put away your clothes). I have enough stress in my life, I really don't need my dryer screaming at me. So the only bad thing I could find in any of the reviews was, "If you are short, the washing machine is so big and deep that you may not be able to reach the clothes at the bottom." I am short, I have this issue, and I go on my tippy toes or I use a stool. No big deal. I have washed huge comforters and GIANT loads of laundry without a snag. I throw in two sets of sheets (which I do weekly the exact same way), put it on the bright whites setting and the spin cycle decides that today of all days, it needs to bump it up a notch and go PSYCHO. 

After work on Friday I called Matt to find out what they said and to see when my new washer would be coming. He stalled for a second, and was like, "The guy fixed it. He said it was our fault and we can't mix loads." First of all, WHAAAAAT? I'm sorry, that machine could and should not be fixed. Second of all, THERE WAS NO MIXING!!! IT WAS TWO SETS OF SHEETS!! NOTHING ELSE!! Can you tell I am a little irritated about this? I will take  full responsibility if I screwed something up, but I literally put my sheets and Layla's sheets in like I do EVERY week, without a single issue. One time (a very long time ago) I had a load of towels (JUST towels) and I guess I had put essentially all the towels on the left side of the washer. It stopped and started beeping saying it was an uneven load. I redistributed the weight and it was no problem. I expect even if I did put all of the sheets on one side (which I didn't), it should have stopped and told me it was uneven. I have not had a chance to call Best Buy back and say "No. Sorry. This was a really expensive washer that is less than a year old and "fixing it" is just not acceptable." You saw the pics. Now I am always slightly nervous to do laundry, which does not help when I barely have the motivation to do it anyways. Ahhh oh well. Just another day.

On to happier things: Layla's birthday.  

It was a Sunday and she requested homemade waffles for breakfast and to go to the pool for the day. We obviously complied with her requests. Here is the birthday girl in the morning (I seriously cannot believe this little nugget is three): 

Then it was present time... a new Dora Bike! 

(And helmet... safety first, obvi). 

She was totally thrilled. After a quick ride around the neighborhood (and becoming totally soaked because it was disgustingly hot), we packed up and made our way over to the pool. It was a GORG day (if you are just sitting in the water of course). We ate there, had a few bevs, some neighbors came to hang out, we relaxed, and then left just before the crazy storm hit. 

Other than my crazy frizzball hair (I guess it is obvious where Layla gets it), 
I love this pic of me and my girls. 

All in all, it was just a really NICE, relaxing family day which seems SO long ago at this point (I mean... it was one runaway-washer-and-a-few-panic-attacks-over-work-and-childcare ago). 

Happy Wednesday! 


Dining Room Transformation and a Picnic-Themed Shower...

These past few weeks have been pretty busy and eventful, per usual. We went to the beach for the last week in June, celebrated the 4th down in Chesapeake Beach, had an immediate family get-together on July 6 for Layla 3rd and my nephew Tyler's 4th birthdays (actually the same day a year apart... and they are total besties), partied for Layla's actual birthday on July 7, had my whole family over on July 8 for my dad's dinner, and then I hosted my best friend's bridal shower at my house on July 13. Next up: Matt has a softball tournament this entire weekend, I'm hosting an 89th birthday party for my grandma at my house on July 27, throwing a bachelorette party the weekend of August 2-4, we are going to a wedding on August 10, then I am hosting another best friend's baby shower at my house the very next day. Exhausted does not quite explain it... but it is all fun things that are important to me, and I refuse to not put my all into everything. I'm going to do July 4th, Layla's birthday, and the beach in a separate post, but here is one dedicated to decor and showers and cuteness. 

So I have always had a really hard time with decorating and creativity. Both of my sisters are home decorating queens as well as amazing artist/creativity freaks. I just have never been like that. I have always wanted to, but I just have never felt confident in any of those areas. When I moved into this big house, I was semi/amazingly overwhelmed with the thought of decorating everything myself. I am terrible at making decisions like this, but I feel like my style has evolved a lot and I wanted to make it my own. In the beginning when I went back and forth between a million little things a million different times, one of my sisters said to me, "If you love it, then do it. You are the one who is living here. No one else matters." That completely changed my view on decorating. I no longer think of it as a stressful burden that I am going to screw up. I look at it as... okay if I really love it then I am going to enjoy looking at it and being around it in my home. Get over your insecurities. Get what you love. So that is what I am doing. I stopped the constant questioning of, "Is this weird or cute?" I just went with it. It is definitely a work in progress but I am really figuring myself out in the meantime. I always say that I'm not creative but my friend corrected me the other day. I have decided that I AM creative. But I am NOT artistic. There. 

Dining Room Transformation

Now if you remember a while back,  I posted a picture of my dining room in progress... I decided to randomly paint stripes on one of the walls one night, which turned out into a significantly larger project than I was anticipating. I thought, "Oh I just want two stripes, no big deal." Obvi I was WAY wrong. 

First I measured the space between my ceiling and molding (is it called sideboard?? See this is how home-decorating-illiterate I actually am) and divided by five (to keep the original paint color next to the trim and only make me have to paint two stripes). I borrowed a laser level from a neighbor and measured/taped away.

Mistake- apparently there is something called Froggy Tape that is the best for these kinds of situations. I used normal painter's tape. Bad idea. 

The little bits of tape were to remind me that I was NOT painting those areas (because that is something I would so do). 

I then took the leftover paint of the color that was already on the wall (and is in all of the other open areas of my house-- Techno grey. Duron. Love), and mixed it with some white I had on hand until it was a big enough difference between the current color and what I wanted my stripes to be. Major thing if you are doing this... you MUST make enough paint, because you will never be able to match what color you created ever again. Thankfully this was not a mistake I made. WHEW. So for whatever reason it took me THREE coats to make it even enough to my liking. Annoying. I then waited a while and started to take the tape off... along with chunks of the wall... in two different major places... 

My irritation could not be described, because I just wanted to FINISH a project. But no. So I sanded it down and repainted the areas. 

I also took a TEENY brush and touched up the lines because they did bleed a little (froggy tape, I'm telling you, use froggy tape) and I knew it would drive me insane. 

Finally done and you could barely tell where I patched it: 

I realized that the room is completely square, so when deciding on furniture I decided to go with a round table (it has a leaf as well) and fabric chairs. I ordered my furniture (wayfair.com, great deal). 

And then I agonized over my colors... and agonized... and agonized some more. I have a very distinct fabric on my kitchen bench that I was planning on going with the robin's egg blue in it, but I couldn't find anything that really went or that I loved. I ended up finding a new fabric that I am going to re-cover my kitchen bench in that has yellow, navy, turquoise and lime. So my big decision for the dining room colors were: navy with pops of lime. If you have been to my house, you may notice that I am awkwardly obsessed with all things printed, moroccan, etc. I found a perfect 7' square rug (again, ridiculously hard to find) originally on rugsusa.com but ordered it from amazon.com for under $200. I got a knock-off Pottery Barn chandelier from Lowes for under $200, a few random accessories from Home Goods and.... 

At night, the crystals on the chandelier make a pattern all over the walls and it creates such a cozy gorgeousness, I loveeee it. 

I still need to find the perfect curtains, but I have something in my head and I am not going to stop until it is exactly what I want. I am just super happy with the results so far... and it is exciting to not have a totally empty room anymore. YAY. 

Picnic-Themed Bridal Shower

So one of my best friends (Liz) is getting married in September, and yours truly is the matron of honor. I wanted to go with "upscale picnic" shower theme... and here are some pictures from the event (no offense, I cut out all of the personal info from the invitation). 

Bevs: Drunken Palmer (Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade) in mason jars, white wine, lemonade, water. 

I am awkwardly obsessed with having specific glassware for events... I ordered these mason jars with handles from webstaurantstore.com. (For her engagement party I previously sprayed the bottom part of ikea wine glasses with chalkboard paint--you can see them in the top bevs pic to the right--to have stemware everyone can write their names on and not lose constantly. Gotta love pinterest. I'll do a post on it). I am accumulating quite the collection of party glassware and I LOVE it. 

Food: cucumber sandwiches, orzo/feta salad, veggies in individual hummus cups, mini chicken salads in pastry cups, fruit skewers, deviled eggs (all food courtesy of Caitlin, the future sister-in-law). Deeeelish.  

Desserts: Key Lime Pie, Cherry Pie, Triple Berry Tart, Apple Pie, Peach Tart (all pies courtesy of MY sister-in-law Karli). Seriously melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. 

Decor: Karli did all the flowers (most of which were from her own yard. Out of control). We did hydrangeas, sunflowers, daisies, red checkered tableclothes, white tablecloths with burlap runners, twine. I also found (courtesy of my childhood of hoarding) two vintage wooden boxes (one coke and and one pepsi) in my basement that I flipped over on the food table. 

Favors: The groom's mom got different flavored jams and wrapped them up with little tags. So cute. 

 It was an awesome event for an amazing friend. Here is a pic of me and the bride-to-be (her hair looks amazeballs and I am a soggy, frizzy, sweaty mess... but I still love her): 

Can't wait for September!!! 

Happy Wednesday!! 



So. Today is a weird day. Today, it will have been 10 years since my dad passed away. Ten years. That is a LONG time. It is such a bizarre concept, because in some ways it feels like it has been 10 years, but in other ways I remember the emotion like it was yesterday. It isn't a day I really like to dwell on, but it always looms before me and I am uber-aware that it somehow needs to be recognized. Three years ago I was 10324 months pregnant with Layla in the hottest week of the summer, and I went to my appointment on July 6 and actually broke down sobbing to my doctor that I couldn't have this baby on July 8. I just couldn't. (Thankfully I was induced later that day and had my little Layla on 7/7). I didn't want a joyous event to be in any way tainted by the actual worst day of my life so far. I always just feel strange all day, like I should be thinking more about him (I think about him everyday so that is just silly). It is just a weird day. 

I remember the actual day like it was in slow motion. I remember when I woke up. I remember what I was wearing. I remember being at a dive meet (coaching) and my mom called and all she said was, "Come home now." I turned to my parent rep with tears already flowing and said, "I have to go." She hugged me and I ran out of the pool. I remember the entire drive home. I'm not quite sure how I made it, because I was basically blind from crying. I remember rushing in the door being met with everyone standing around quietly sobbing. I remember Matt coming over later that night to be with our family (we have been family friends since I was five), having no idea that he would someday be my husband. I remember everything as if it were a movie.  

Now, I know that I am very fortunate because although I was only 19 when my dad died, I spent a lot more time with him than most. My dad was able to retire early from the World Bank (he worked there for like 10293808 years. I know you all love my exaggeration in numbers), so he was home with us since I was pretty young. As a little girl, everyone at ballet class always wondered how I would start to gather my things and then all of a sudden he would appear 30 seconds later... it was because I knew the sound of his cracking knees SO well coming down the hall. I can still hear it in my sleep. He would always have an orange or grape soda waiting for me in the back seat after he picked me up. He drove me to dive practice every day after high school. He taught me to drive. During those car rides every day, we wouldn't just sit in silence... We would actually talk. If there ever was the random silence, he would scare me to death by randomly breaking out into a "tribal song" (we are part Seminole Indian. Yet another fun fact). I was allowed to listen to my favorite radio station only until "Mambo #5" came on (which was every 12 seconds), then we had to switch to his favorite smooth jazz station. He drove me hours and hours to dive meets, whether it be Buffalo, NY (we went to Niagara Falls together), Kentucky, Florida, anywhere. He would have to sit super far away to watch all of my meets (his place at Robin Hood was the bench at the top of the hill) because he got stressed out and wouldn't want to get mad at the judges if I got crappy scores (obviously always deserved). He was SO proud when I got a diving scholarship to University of Richmond. He drove me to my recruiting trip and chatted excitedly the entire time despite the Friday evening traffic on 95. 

His jokes were both corny and witty (the more I think about it, the more I believe I just didn't understand a lot of them). He actually was the funniest person I have ever known. He bought himself Christmas presents, then would have my friends write the tag so that no one would recognize the handwriting. Everyone was shocked and confused when we would end up buying him the same thing... and this happened two years in a row. He wore track suits and Sperry's (if that doesn't spell awesome, I really don't know what does). He could fix or build anything (which is where I think I get my strange drive to install fans and do plumbing by myself). He loved his Miller Lite. He loved to cook and create random dishes. No matter where we went or what we did, question number one when we walked through the door was "What'd ya eat?" 

During my fall semester at Richmond was the whole sniper thing. I was home one weekend (this was before he got sick), and I left my house at around 7pm to do the two hour drive. The sniper shot someone at 7:15ish right off 95 South. I sat in traffic all night and didn't pull into the parking lot at my dorm until 5am. My dad stayed up and talked to me all night long so I wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel. I definitely received the gene of the over-reacting gasp whenever something falls or tips over (which usually makes the situation far worse). If I ever had lip gloss on, it was known as "greasy chicken lips." 

I don't really like thinking about when he was sick. I came home every single weekend my second semester at Richmond, which is why I transferred to UMD. We didn't know how long he was going to live, and I knew I couldn't do another semester like I had just done. He hung on for eight weeks after they told us it could be any day. We had hospice come to the house, and my mom was by his side every other minute of the day. 

My biggest heartbreak over all of this is not how much I miss him (which is a ridiculous amount)... it is that my girls won't ever get the opportunity to know the most important man in my life for 19 short years. I would die to see his reaction to just one Summerism. I guarantee he would call her a 35 year old midget (what he called me). Layla would be "Squirt Jr" (I was the first Squirt. I did fit into the same bathing suit for seven years). And Olivia... he would be obsessed with how much she eats anything and everything, and how she will just dominate people if they get in her way. They would have absolutely adored him and would have had him wrapped around each of their little fingers. I don't think I talk about him enough to them, because it's hard... and I hate crying. I know I need to, because that is the only way that they will ever be able to understand how awesome he truly was. 

So. Today will always be a weird day. But life keeps going... and I know how fortunate I was to have had him at all.