Friday, April 29, 2011

Everyone's talking about it

The royal wedding!! Most of what I've heard had centered on the hats (mostly outrageous, but so are the ones worn at the Kentucky Derby), and Kate's dress (stunning!).

I'm not going to reiterate all that. What I wanted to talk about was the way this couple just GLOWS when they look at each other. I don't follow news at all, I rarely get to watch tv outside of the Disney channel or shows on Netflix, so current events often pass me by unless they're huge.Even these huge ones have to be pretty big to get me to pay attention, and this wedding just piqued my curiosity, since SO MANY people are gushing about it.

I love all the fluff and fun surrounding weddings, so while the details aren't interesting to me, I spent a while paging through pictures of the event on various sites. Something that strikes me in every single picture of Will and Kate is their eyes, the way they look at each other. It's strikingly obvious to me how in love they are. It beams off my computer screen - the smiles on their faces reach their eyes, the body language in how they clasp hands, leaning into each other. It's so heartwarming to see these two so happy on their wedding day, and to see the love shining from their faces.
Look at how he looks at her <3

Even though they're keeping hands to themselves, the leans, the shoulders touching, etc make me think these two have an easy, comfortable relationship

I truly hope it lasts for them, and that they have a long, happy life together.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My 8 year old is PERFECT

When I look at my daughter, I wonder what goes on in her mind. I'm sure most parents wonder the same thing, but parents of girls in particular have extra bits to watch out for. We have to watch out for self-hating talk and behaviors, attitudes that can demean or undermine themselves or other girls, weight issues or perceptions, and more. I ran into this last night, and Matt and I are attacking this issue ASAP so we ensure kiddo continues to have the healthy self-image she's had up until recently.

I'm fairly certain her self-confidence is still strong (she's the most stubborn person I know next to Matt), but I worry. She comes home and tells me that people at school (specifically a certain friend) judges her lunch. She's told that certain things we give her aren't healthy, bad for her, that if she keeps eating them she'll get fat (?!?!?!?!?!?), and more. As a result, we've had to start policing her lunchbox when she comes home, because she'll just not eat food, or throw it away instead of eat things this friend tells her are bad in some form.

A rare picture of kiddo for you:

This precious, active, stubborn, amazing worried about getting FAT. SHE'S EIGHT.
I've tried to teach her balance, that exercise is good, certain foods are essential to be strong and healthy - never ONCE do we say anything about worrying about being fat, that being fat is bad, nothing on these levels at all. Peers are so influential, and it scares me how much sway peers can seemingly have over her. Thankfully, she's also transparently honest with us, and will tell us that someone told her something, so she did this.

Kiddo - "I didn't eat my pretzels because they tasted like deviled eggs."
Me - "OK, but I just tried them, and they just tasted normal to me. I wonder why they tasted off to you..."
Kiddo - " Oh, well (friend) told me that if they taste like deviled eggs that means they're old, so I didn't eat them."

Those pretzels are a) brand new and b) untainted by random deviled egg drive-bys. We talked about this, and explained that if this friend continues to cause kiddo to choose not to eat, we will talk to the school and ensure that they are not to sit together at lunch anymore. I will NOT stand for my daughter to develop eating disorders, much less due to distorted self-image from her peers.

*puts on angry Mama Bear face*

It's rare that I feel the urge to go after anyone, much less give them a piece of my mind. This particular friend of kiddo's just riles me, and while she's an inherently good kid, the fact that she does things like this, along with a very passive-aggressive love/hate friendship with my daughter, makes me have less than friendly feelings for her.

Now that kiddo is entering the pre-puberty time of life, it is VITALLY important that we build her inner strength even stronger, her walls of self-protection higher, and her sense of right and wrong even more clear. Theoretically, it's highly tempting to run off somewhere with her for the next 5 years and insulate her in a bubble of love, acceptance and learning to stand up for yourself without harming others. Realistically, I know that's a terrible idea and wouldn't work in Real Life.

You know, I never really understood what people meant when they said:
being a parent will break your heart
Now, I know, and it is such a deep pain I can't even describe it. This song by Pink encompasses everything I want for kiddo, everything I want for all of us, men and women alike.

WARNING: This video will make you cry. This video made my DAD cry. There's some graphic scenes - probably not appropriate for anyone under 13ish.

**TRIGGER WARNING** There is a self-injury scene.

I would love to hear any tips or suggestions from moms who have gone through this with their daughters, or if you personally have been in my daughter's place and wished someone had done or said X for you - please, please share.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Get me on a plane! Part 3

Read part 1 here and part 2 here

This here is the story of how one shy, gawky teenage girl ended up in a foreign country. She didn't speak the language, didn't have any international travel experience, and was only 14.

My heart pounding, sweating and trembling with anxious excitement and a large dollop of "what if they don't like me?!", I stepped off the plane, gathered my bags and moved with my group to meet my Russian host "sister". I had the initial disappointment of her being unable to come to the airport, and only her father was there. He spoke NO English, and we made our way out to the car in silence, him with a soft smile on his face, and me panicking inside because I can't communicate with this strange man that I'm being sent off with. My group leader assured me that he was a good man, and Olya would be waiting for me when I arrived at the flat (apartment).

Ghena (Olya's father) is very chivalrous, and carried my bags for me, opened the car door for me, etc. As we careened along the long winding roads back into the city (the Minsk airport is on the outskirts of the city...pretty much in what feels like nowhere), I surreptitiously held onto the seat below me for dear life. The front seat had no seat belts, and it felt like we were going about 80 mph!

I felt like this poor kid

After about 20 minutes (or more, my perception was really skewed and I really just didn't want him to realize how badly I was freaking out), we pulled into an apartment row. It's like a complex, but bigger, cement buildings in a row (surprise!) and no main office crap like we have here. The buildings themselves are dreary gray and not exciting looking at all, but hey, they're apartments. The buildings look kind of like this, minus the markets on the bottom floor:

After going in through the secure door at the ground floor, we walked up a few small flights of stairs, and I LOVED what I saw. Each flat (apartment) has a door directly into the stairwell, and everyone has decorated around their dwelling. There's color everywhere, and some people have bright red doors, flowers, flags, etc.

We reach Olya's flat, with a lovely red and gold leather door, and Ghena opens it for me, ushering me in. That door is both a security door and a noise barrier, so there's a tiny (about 4 foot) hallway, then the door to the flat itself. Ghena opened the door, and a GIANT dog that looks like a German Shephard on steroids, jumps up, puts his massive paws on each of my shoulders, and kissed me hello.

An auspicious start to a fabulous turn in my life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Portland Timbers First Home Game

We stood in line for about 1 1/2 hours

We finally get in, and follow the chanting to find our perfect seats

wonderfully remodeled Jeld-Wen stadium and impeccable pitch for the night's game

Timbers Ninja showed up!

The stadium was vibrating with all the noise

Look how full it is!!

Even behind us it's crowded

Just a few minutes before the official opening of the game

Impressive flags!

The Timbers Army sang the National Anthem, and it was BEAUTIFUL

Rockets red glare...!

The crowd goes wild!

Portland takes the field

Waving the flag!

We are pity-less

It was insanity!

We ruled the pitch

Matt is so handsome

Awesome game schedule they gave out at the end

and finally...

What a way to kick off the season!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Impressive marriage

Kiddo quip of the day (yesterday)

We're walking along in the Party Store, her favorite shop, waiting for her turn to get her hair cut. We meander through the wedding stuffs, and she asks what "anniversary" means. After I explained, Kiddo asks how long Matt and I have been married.

Me: "oh, this year will be our 9th anniversary!" thinking she might be impressed with this. But she's 8, so 9 just doesn't seem all that big to her.

Kiddo: "Well, that's not very long." *makes unimpressed face*

Me: "Ok, well if you count the SEVEN YEARS Dad and I dated, we've been together 16 years now."

Kiddo: *strikes a movie star pose, hand on hip and tilted chin* "Now THAT, I can deal with." *flounce*

Good thing too, she doesn't have a choice!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Latest WIP

It's not done yet...but here's what I've been working on lately!!
So shiny!! The pictures really can't capture it, it sparkles every moment. I can't wait to finish it and never have to worry whether I've grabbed my phone or Matt's :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bling, babies and boobs

Prepare yourselves, this is a long one!
First (and probably most important, at least to me) is bling!! I went shopping on Tuesday, having a hankering for some shiny stuff. I still want more, but I'm trying to pace myself so I don't drown in piles of rhinestones.
ohhh shiny
I stopped by the Guess outlet by my house, which has THREE walls of bags!! In the middle of that is super trendy jewelry, sunglasses, watches and shoes. Sexy, sexy shoes. *drools a little* I'm on a mission for the perfect bag, and so pored over the walls of bags, and found a few cute ones, but nothing that said TAKE ME HOME TODAY! so I left empty handed. I got the impression that the counter chick was judging me and finding me lacking as well, from the way I was treated when I asked a simple question. In an empty store, no less! I'd understand being a bit snippy if she was helping someone else or was swamped...but she was organizing hangers, and barely had time to wave her hand in the general direction of the possibility of a few more bags.
Oh well, maybe it's in my head, it just seemed rude.
oh shiny
After that, I sauntered over to Claire's, harbinger of all things tween, sparkly and spectacularly ostentatious and awesome. Finding a full wall of bling, I kind of stopped and stared, trying to take it all in. My ONLY complaint with Claire's is the headband should never cost $14 just because there's some rhinestones on it. However, I scored this awesome bracelet that I've been wearing since I left the store!
My new shiny bracelet
Isn't it awesome? This picture actually includes one I got at another shop, called Rue 21, Etc. I think it's a Forever21 outlet, but I'm not sure. LOVE that shop, and found a BIG gemstone cuff bracelet there, that I'm wearing with the smaller Claire's bracelet here.
While checking out the clearance rack at Claire's, I discovered this great find for TWO DOLLARS:
My new teal fedora
Can't wait to wear it with one of my 40's dresses...there's a bow on the other side with studs guessed it! Sparkly rhinestones. I'm such a magpie.
To counter the bling...
pink underthings
pink and lace :)

Over the weekend my sis in law, her hubby, and the adorable nephew Logan came over. gotta have baby pictures!!
baby logan
Look at those lashes!! This boy is going to be a heartbreaker.
Oh wait, more shopping!
knit picks lace yarn in teal
Isn't is just yummy? I bought 5 skeins to make a lightweight summer cardigan, and spent less than $25. For once, I can make a sweater for about the same as they go for in the store!! If I'd gone with any other yarn company, it would have been $50+, and I'm not willing or able to do that. This yarn is destined to be a Barb Wire cardigan (it's on Ravelry). So cute!!
I'm sure you're curious why boobs are in the title. Besides the amazing Google search hits that will result from this (I'm interested to see if the numerous "bling" references will tie in with "boobs" at some point), there's a legitmate reason for it.
I want to take this opportunity to warn my relatives - THIS INVOLVES MY BOOBS, SO YOU MIGHT WANT TO STOP READING. CONSIDER THIS FAIR WARNING.
Ok, now that it's just you and me, I'll let you in on a little secret...
I've lost a little weight. Not a ton, but enough to make me happy with my progress. The best part?
My boobs haven't shrunk!! They're still at a size I'm happy with, though I'm sure they'll shrink along this weight loss journey. See that cute shirt? It's a size small, and has sat in my closet for at least two years. When I last tried it on after Matt brought it home for me, I couldn't get it over my boobs/armpit area. Now I can comfortably wear it, but it'll be more comfy as I lose more inches.
I recently learned how to play around with a few new to me Photoshop tools..and here's the "new" me:
photoshop version of me
Totally changed my face with a few nudges, and gave myself some big hair to go with it. It makes me a little creeped out to look at myself like this...