Category Archives: Home

My New Xbox is Sexist

Standard

Alright – you folks haven’t had a good old fashioned Kortney rant in a minute, so here ya go…

Thanks to quite a bit of overtime and a little help from both my mom and Jake’s mom, we were able to get ourselves a shiny new Xbox One the day (night) it came out. It’s perfectly cool with us if you’re in the PlayStation camp, or the Wii camp, or even the PC camp. Heck, if for whatever reason you don’t actually play ANY video games (honestly, think Candy Crush Saga, Farmville, whatever else the new fad may be…), I still think you’re perfectly swell. That’s beside the point, though – the point is that we’ve been Xbox fans since the first generation. Back in 2002 when the original Halo got 8 friends together split-screening on their 4 consoles and 4 TVs set up in 4 different rooms (or 4 different areas of the same room) connected with Ethernet cables in LAN parties – that was Jake and me.

Granted, I was often the cannon fodder for several of our friends, and occasionally you could find my Master Chief standing in a corner, pointing his gun at the ceiling, and spinning around in circles while you heard me cursing and screaming from the next room over that I STILL couldn’t get the first person controls down. But I was new to the genre, I tried, and I had fun. Being a girl didn’t have anything to do with the fact that I wasn’t as good as the guys we played with – I simply didn’t have to same amount of experience playing. I was an absolute beast, however, with games like Ninja Gaiden, Beyond Good and Evil, and Tony Hawk Underground.

Fast forward to 2005, when Jake and I were standing in line at the midnight release awaiting the Xbox 360. People in line were talking to Jake about various video game stuff, and I’d chime in a bit here or there about the games they were looking forward to versus what we were excited for, and no one really acknowledged me as part of the conversation. We even got a snicker of “Man, how did you get your girlfriend to come out here and wait with you for the new Xbox?” We shook it off as nothing – little did they know that I would be the first to play Gun in the wee hours of the morning as we brought our new console home.

Now, with our shiny new Xbox One, it seems it’s a lot more common for girls like me to be playing games. And even for the guys we were hanging out with while we were waiting for the release, it wasn’t that weird of a concept for them that I could keep up with their Zelda and Portal references – or at least they hid it well if it was weird. Heck, there were even a few women there standing in line with us, albeit more than a couple were moms who were likely buying the Xbox as Christmas presents for their teenage boys sleeping soundly at home. But I digress yet again…

The new Xbox One comes standard with a Kinect 2.0, a magical mystery robot that listens to me and sees me at all times. Pretty cool, huh? I say things to it like, “Xbox, on,” and it turns on, or, “Xbox, watch TV,” and it seamlessly switches over to my cable so Doodle can watch a cartoon or we can catch up on some Walking Dead. I can even say, “Xbox, volume down,” and it actually turns the volume down a few notches! Or, at least, that’s the point…

The problem with that is it only listens to me about 25% of the time. Another 10% of the time, it thinks I’ve said a completely different thing: for instance, “Xbox, watch Disney Junior,” has been heard as “Xbox, watch MTV,” or, “Xbox, turn off,” has been heard as, “Xbox, stop,” which would seem like it’s a comparable command, but they’re used very differently. The other 140% or so of the time, it just completely ignores the fact that I’VE GIVEN MY ROBOT A COMMAND AND DESIRE IT TO PERFORM A TASK FOR ME!

They still have to work out some basic kinks, right? I mean, it’s relatively new technology, right? Only, I’ll sit there and say, “Xbox, pause,” over and over and it won’t hear a single word I’ve said, and Jake will chime in, “Xbox, pause,” and it immediately bows to him and does his every command!

So I took to the only source I trust, and I Googled “Xbox One sexist” to see if anyone else is having problems with this darn robot not listening to higher-pitched female voices while fully recognizing deeper-toned male voices – an understandable issue, but a concern nonetheless. What do I find instead? Apparently Microsoft has hurt the feelings of a few people in the world, and everything having to do with the new Xbox and sexism is stemming from a promotion campaign that Xbox put out to boost holiday sales.

This is supposed to be an e-mail template you send to your loved one in attempt to get them to want an Xbox One as well, or at least be comfortable with you bringing one into the house. I guess the green underlined words were meant to be replaced by various other options Microsoft thought you might want to say instead, depending on who you were specifically petitioning to.

APPARENTLY, saying things like, “Hey Honey,” or, “You’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies,” or, “Did I mention how beautiful you are?” imply that the intended receiver of this letter is the anti-fun female counterpart to the football-loving gamer male who wants the new console and is trying to trick the un-fun lady into buying it when they’d never actually play together.

Women, get yourselves!  Men who want to appear inclusive and pro-feminism, get over yourselves!  I don’t care who you are, this is HILARIOUS!  Had we, for whatever reason, not been able to get the new Xbox on opening day, and had Jake sent this to me in a futile attempt to get me to approve of digging ourselves into more debt, I would have LAUGHED MY ASS OFF while I told him, “No, we can’t get it because of this and this reason that we’ve already had reasonable and civil conversations about since we make choices about what we purchase for the household together as a team.”  And honestly, some days I would rather knit than watch him slay zombies, or destroy buildings with tanks as he’s been doing recently, but other days, “Jake, it’s my turn to sail the open seas of the Caribbean!  My pirate fleet needs to be updated so that I can send ships out on new missions, and I’m fairly certain that you’ve progressed further in the story line than I have so don’t you even think about turning on Assassin’s Creed before I get a chance to get ahead of you!”

Are we really so concerned with being politically correct that people got offended enough for Microsoft to actually issue an apology and switch out the options that were clearly meant to be used as “could have been construed as” gender-specific JOKES that people who know, understand, and love (or ARE) true gamers would only laugh at?  And honestly, how am I supposed to Google legitimate questions about whether or not the new Xbox is sexist when everyone is sitting there whining about how not all gamers are guys and how some girls would rather slay zombies than knit?  OBVIOUSLY it was a joke, OBVIOUSLY it was over your head, and OBVIOUSLY you are far too stuck up to see that truly hilarious things are actually funny.

But seriously, anyone else have problems with the Kinect not listening to women?  I know it’s made by guys for guys so they probably didn’t take into account a tiny little girl voice like mine using it to watch Lifetime or use the Fitness app, but I’d really like to be able to communicate effectively with my little robot.  Maybe I should try asking it what kind of sandwich it wants…

/rant

Feeling Good

Standard

I’ve been working really hard on keeping really good habits, though I’ve realized that I have to do it at my own pace. I figured it out after a few dozen organizational websites or motivational Pinterest thingies that I can’t just follow someone else’s idea of what will work, not even really if I get to adjust things and “make it my own.”

I’m not sure if that made any sense at all, and I’m sorry if it didn’t. My brain is currently working on tangents and run-on sentences. 🙂 I’ll do my best to explain…

You guys may remember my post back in March about how gung-ho I was about following a little printed-out binder full of cutesy reminders of what I should be cleaning each day and then magically at the end of 20 days, my house was supposed to be perfect and I was supposed to have the skills and habits of a swell housewife who probably even took off her husbands shoes as soon as he got home from work everyday to give him a nice foot rub. Yeah, that happened.

Well, I did the first two days, not the foot rubbing part, but then I gave up completely. It was probably something ridiculous like, “But I don’t want to clean the bathroom today, I want to organize my closet!” and then I just decided that the whole thing was stupid.

Since then, I’ve tried a ton of different ideas and “systems” – and I even considered spending a couple buckaroos on the Unfuck Your Habitat app because it just sounded like something that would be right up my alley and it would probably share the same disgruntled views of this housey job that I’ve got. Would that be an Unfuck your Habitapp? Either way, I digress, as I do, and that’s why we’re here anyway… But I didn’t want to waste a valuable dollar and ninety-nine cents on an adorable app that would likely only keep me going for a day and a half.

So last week a good friend of mine (another stay at home mama) said something about putting her shoes on to get ready for cleaning the house earlier that day. Uh, what? So she started talking to me about this Flylady thing that a friend of hers had told her about, and that it was really helping her. Apparently one of the main steps of the day to keep your house feeling happy and clean is to get dressed first thing in the morning, including your shoes, I guess to keep you from completely relaxing. The whole, you wear shoes to “real” work outside of the house, so help your brain associate that with work at home, and only take off your shoes and relax at the end of the workday. Man have I been doing it wrong this whole time! 😉

Well, I tried that for a day, as well as a few other steps that I found on the website, like shining your faucets after every time you use them??? But I still wanted to sit on my couch after I put in a load of laundry and stay there until WAY PAST when the dryer went off. Facebook, blog, all sorts of super important things to do, it didn’t matter that I still had on my knee-high lace-up leather and fur boots on, I was going to relax if I wanted to. I just kicked up my boots onto my cluttered coffee table, and went about my lazy day.

Ok, so screw this, I can figure this out on my own! For the entire past week, since the day after I wore my apocalypse boots all around the house, I’ve managed to keep dirty dishes out of the sink entirely. They go straight to the dishwasher, and the dishwasher gets run (gets ran, is run, I don’t know…) as soon as I can’t fit the next thing in it or as soon as all of one thing (like plates or something) is dirty. Then, as soon as the dishwasher is done, everything gets put away immediately.

Also, all trash is thrown out as soon as it is made. It really helps that Doodle LOVES taking things to the trash, so I’ve gotten him to where he’ll actually call me out on putting a small piece of trash on the coffee table or leaving the mac&cheese box on the counter, then he’ll happily take it to the trash for me.

Our normal, have-to-use-daily clutter now goes into a canvas box basket thingy that we originally got to hold Doodle’s cloth diapers. The box stays on the coffee table, and is a convenient “I don’t know where to put this right now” spot. And every few days, or whenever I notice that it takes more than a few seconds to find something in it, I just clean it out. Mainly, I end up fishing out random toys Doodle hid in there or cleaning out Jake’s work pocket trash that he dumps in there every day after work. Hey – at least he’s not leaving it in there so that it ends up in the washer every time… I’ll take what I can get here. 🙂

Speaking of the washer – I spent a whole day catching up on laundry, and now I’ve got a small basket downstairs in front of the washer and a small basket upstairs in our room. Upstairs laundry goes in upstairs basket, downstairs laundry, downstairs basket. As soon as one of them is full, they’re both dumped in the washer, and they get washed, dried, folded, hung, and put away right then.

I also moved my furniture around and was able to vacuum everything that hasn’t been accessible since we moved in two and a half years ago. I didn’t exactly move the furniture around just to vacuum – I’ve been seriously feeling stuck, and rearranging the living room helps me feel like I’m in a new place. That’s the wanderlust gene my loving father passed down to me. Thanks, dad. But the living room is super fun (I can’t wait for Jake to get home tonight to see what he thinks) and the entire floor is super clean – or, you know, as clean as my awful vacuum can make it.

I need to overhaul the bathrooms tomorrow, but it really wasn’t that long ago that I did that anyway, and we’ve actually been doing really good at keeping up on that without even really thinking about it.

Other than that, all I really need to work on is getting in a good method of keeping cooked meat things available for the carnivorous hubby who isn’t home at typical meal times while also providing my vegetarian self and my picky little man with nourishment, all without spending the entire day everyday in the kitchen. I recently realized that I’ve got one of those 3-part crock pot guys in my garage, so I think I’m going to try to figure out how to use those without burning down my house, and I think I’ll be able to do a decent job at just making different versions of whatever I may be cooking all at the same time to appease all of us.

I haven’t touched the coffee cup sweaters, and I’m fairly certain that it’s a completely lost cause to finish them and get them to my friend in time for Christmas shopping. But I’ll keep them sitting here, just in case, you know, I get the intense need to crochet one day after I’ve finished cleaning everything, while my pots are crocking, and I’ve already gone through all of the Facebooking, blogging, and youtubing that I’ve needed to for the day.

This is becoming a long post, sorry, deal with it. Or don’t. Either way. 🙂

Doodle ’bout freaked me out the other day when I got off the phone and found this:

Look mama - I got Link's ears on!

Look mama – I got Link’s ears on!

He had taken it upon himself to use every last drop of spirit gum to get his elf ears on by himself. Nevermind that we used every drop of the spirit gum remover it came with to get off the teeny amount we used on Halloween because THAT SHIT DOESN’T COME OFF! Jake took one look and said, “Oh god, we’re going to have to cut it,” in the most calm and collected (and obviously overcompensating for the incredible surge of emotions going through him) manner with this pale face and deer in headlights look.

A quick and frantic google lead me to a possible solution, so I grabbed the leftover baby oil (that we kept since his baby shower when he was an infant and we never actually used it – see, it pays to keep things forever!) and doused him. It was listed as a “maybe, it might work, you could try it and hope for the best?” kind of solution in the forum I happened upon – but holy goodness that stuff practically DISSOLVES spirit gum. He had giant globs of it on his jeans, I squirted some baby oil on it, rubbed it in a little, and it was GONE – incredibly oily, but gone nonetheless. After a pretty intense hair-brushing session and several baths to get residual oiliness gone, his hair is TOTALLY intact, the spirit gum is gone, and we have learned our lesson of putting prosthetic accessories away and out of reach after we’re done with them.

‘Til next time, folks. It’s been fun. 🙂

So I Got a Little Overzealous… About Everything

Standard

I do this a lot, guys. It’s kind of my MO. I find something I like, I run in head first, and then I burn myself out and give up.

Ok, so I don’t always burn myself out and give up. Mainly if it’s for Doodle, I’ll just grind through the last mile or so of a project while every instinct I have is telling me to just stop. Otherwise, when it’s not directly for Doodle, I go too hard and too fast into something that I really love, and one day out of no where my motivation is completely gone. I set huge goals for myself, realizing that they’re entirely possible and that there’s no real legitimate reason I can’t check them off my list, but then I just can’t keep going. I don’t know though, it almost seems like the fact that they’re on my list, at one point or another it starts to make me not want to do them that much more. It’s almost like an oppositional defiance thing.

Take, for instance, I showed a great friend of mine who owns a coffee shop these completely adorable coffee cup sweaters that I made to see if he wanted to sell them for me at his shop:

Elephant, koala, and owl coffee sweaters with coffee bean buttons.  ^_^

Elephant, koala, and owl coffee sweaters with coffee bean buttons. ^_^

I had sent them to him with the idea of selling them with something kind of like a consignment deal – I make some and send them to him, and he sells them and gives me my cut. I send him more whenever I have more. Perfect, right? I can just make them at my leisure, and we both get a bit of a profit whenever anyone wants to buy a silly coffee cup novelty. Well, he saw them and loved them, and he offered me $200 for 20 of them.

$200! That’s flippin awesome! I mean, sure it takes me a while to make one, but I’m not doing anything else, right? Sure, I keep Doodle alive and make food and wash laundry and kick the dog when she snores and vacuum and keep track of all of Jake’s due dates for school assignments and tests. But I’m not doing anything else that brings home the bacon, and that’s pretty cool that I have the ability to make a few extra buckeroos, right? So I make a whole ton of those coffee bean buttons, get all of my yarns sorted and figured, make all of the main parts of the covers… and then I stop. Literally, all I’ve got left is about 10 faces to make and attach onto the sweaters. That’s it. I’ve been sitting here NOT making $200 for 3 months now.  And I don’t know why I can’t just pick them up and finish them.

If something’s not on my list, however, and I’m sitting there with no direct to-do, I’ll just whip out a pillow:

Doodle loves his owl pillow!

Doodle loves his owl pillow!

Again, we’re talking about doing something for Doodle, but it was a perfectly spontaneous project that I can only imagine still would have taken me weeks longer to complete had it been something I specifically wanted to make for him. Instead, I was just sitting there with some material I had come across while cleaning, and I thought to myself, “I should make a pillow for Doodle.” Then I promptly got up and grabbed my sewing machine, scissors, and stuffing and got to work. Not 15 minutes later, Doodle was ECSTATIC to take his new pillow to Grandma’s for a sleepover.

Why can’t everything be like that? Even if it is on a list, why can’t I just get a random motivation and actually finish things?

As far as completing things for Doodle, I’ll still stall to the last second most of the time. That birthday party back in June? I was still finishing party favors, snacks, and cake-decorating as guests were arriving. I had been “working” on it for months. Months.

That pillow though – I think (hope) that pillow changed something in me. That same day, after he went off to Grandma’s, Jake and I went out to get almost everything I needed for his Halloween costume. Three full weeks before Halloween! Granted, we needed to know what all we would be able to procure locally or craft out of basic supplies, that way we had enough time to wait for anything we needed to order online. But anyway, I got the supplies super early. You know what the old Kortney would have done? Put those bags in a closet and remembered them on October 29th!

This new and improved pillow-crafting Kortney, however, went out and enjoyed the rest of the evening with her husband celebrating 10 years together. But then the very next morning, this new pillow-crafting Kortney started cutting and sewing fabric, carving foam, and fabricating accessories. I was determined to not have this project on my list stress me out ’til the last minute. I went head first, but I couldn’t give up. It was for Doodle.

Little Link and Navi

Little Link and Navi

I carved and painted the deku shield, sewed and pieced together the kokiri sword scabbard, carved and put together the slingshot, and designed Navi, as well as designed boot covers and created the patterns for and sewed the tunic and hat.

I carved and painted the deku shield, sewed and pieced together the kokiri sword scabbard, carved and put together the slingshot, and designed Navi, as well as designed boot covers and created the patterns for and sewed the tunic and hat.

Anyway – where I was going with this (That’s right folks! – this post was NOT just a clever attempt at sharing my little guy’s AWESOME Halloween costume with you)…

I’ve been absent from here for a while. A long while. I think since Labor Day? Yep, balloons. That was my last post, on August 31. Along with me not being on here, I haven’t been to your pages either. I do follow a few of you on Facebook, and I love reading your blogs that I see, but I don’t get links to all of them, and I never come check on you wonderful friends who aren’t on Facebook (or at least who I haven’t found yet). And that makes me sad. Because I truly loved being in your lives, even just digitally. But I jumped in the deep end without grabbing floaties, guys, and I sank.

If I can randomly make a pillow in 15 minutes and get Doodle’s costume done *for the most part* 3 weeks before Halloween, I think I can get back on my horse around here. I want to make some goals. Put them on my have-to-do list. Something like, post on here weekly. Maybe even once or twice more in the month to just share a fun picture of Doodle or something we did together. One of these days I even want to try something like a daily picture for a month kind of post like I’ve seen around a bit. Something, anything, to get me in the habit of keeping a habit.

Also, and I’m a little early, but I think my blog’s birthday is coming up – November 20. It’s not really that big of a deal, and I think this is only like my 70th post, but it’s still a milestone for me. 🙂 I think, because I love you guys so much, that I want to do some kind of giveaway for that. Reverse birthday presents work, right? I’ll get back to you on details for that. And if you have any suggestions, let me know! 🙂 I can make cookies, and I’m pretty crafty – what do you guys want?

One other habit I want to keep is getting back in touch with all of you. I will be on here more often looking through all of your blogs, that’s a promise. What would really help me, though, is if you have a Facebook page for your blog, I’d love to know about it. I think I’ve only got like 3 or 4 of you on my wall. What’s super easy about that is I’m on Facebook often. I’m not very good at social things, so I don’t really hang out or talk to people in person often, so Facebook is super easy for me to keep in touch with all of the wonderful people in my life who I love while still giving me the ability to pause before responding or scoot out of a conversation without all eyes on me.

So, my have-to-do list:

  • Post full blog posts weekly on here.
  • Post once or twice more per month small updates with pictures.
  • Get something figured out for my blog birthday.
  • Check your blog posts regularly.
  • Finish coffee cup sweaters.

Your if-you-want-to-do list:

  • Tell me what you want for my blog birthday.
  • If you have a blog, tell me if you have a Facebook page for it.

I Need a Shammich.

Standard

Doodle loves shammiches – like, more than most things in the world. Probably more than my cookies, which is really quite incredible, because he ADORES my cookies…

My cookies.

My cookies.

It’s really difficult to get him to accept any meal as an alternative when he has his mind set on a shammich. Jake is a dad more lenient than I am, and will often just make him a shammich whenever it’s requested. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 minutes before night-night – it does not matter, Jake is happy to get in there and whip up Dad’s Special PB&J.

I have nothing specifically against shammiches. They’re super quick and easy, and they fill Doodle right up. I do, however, recognize that they don’t exactly provide Doodle with a varied diet and I don’t want to go through four loaves of bread a day – that just makes for really awkward grocery shopping…

Anyway, so I made us all a green smoothie this morning, and Doodle wanted “food breakfast” after he was done. That’s cool. “What do you want to eat, bud? Cereal? Eggs? Yogurt?”

“Nope. A shammich.”

“Dude, you can’t have a sandwich for breakfast.”

“But I want a shammich breakfast.”

“Maybe you can have a sandwich for lunch, but what do you want for breakfast?”

“I want lunch.”

Touché.  Ok – so I had to figure out how to stop this and give him something he’d actually eat.  I decided, well, I suppose a sandwich doesn’t necessarily need to involve bread, and behold, my latest and greatest invention…

Pancake Shammiches!

Pancake shammich with peanut butter and bananas

Ok, so I’m sure pancake sandwiches have been around for a while. In fact, I’m fully aware that at the very least McDonald’s had it before me. But, at least Doodle got his shammich and I got him to eat breakfast food for breakfast…

So then, at 10:30 this morning, he stubbed his toe (or stepped on something, or the dog stepped on him, or somehow the end of the world was occurring on his foot) and he ran hobbled over to me to kiss it. Well, my kiss wasn’t enough so he ran hobbled over to Jake for some “Daddy Magic.” Apparently that wasn’t good enough either, because he continued sobbing for a few more minutes. That’s when it happened…

“Mommy, I need to rest.”

“Ok, go lay on the couch and rest.”

“No, I need to rest my bed.”

“Uh… Ok? Go upstairs and rest.” (Mind you, Doodle does NOT appreciate naptime, not even a little, and has NEVER initiated the naptime sequence.)

“I need you put blanket on me?”

Baffled, I followed him upstairs, turned on his nightlight and fan, covered him up, and closed his door. 3 hours before naptime. And he went to sleep. What in the world was that about???

So then, Doodle woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (his foot was “feeling much better, thanks”) and was all sorts of energetic. He’s a big fan of instruments and music…

Yep, that’s an elephant costume. Yep, he’s playing it like a French horn. No, he’s never actually played (or even seen in person) a French horn, but from what we can tell so far it is his very favorite instrument in the entire world.

I Swear I’m Still Alive

Standard

I didn’t mean to disappear for so long. I’ve been super busy being super lazy, and that’s a terrible excuse, and for that I’m sorry. 🙂

To make up for it, I’ll share some wonderful videos. Mainly because every once in a while I go back and look at old videos of Doodle, and I figure – if I adore them, so will you, right?

So here’s Doodle when he was just a month old or so when he had the hiccups. Turn the volume up and listen intently at about the 6-second mark – he seriously sounds like a flippin’ squeaky toy:

Then there’s our first (and only) episode of “Learning to Sign with Doodle” – here he is teaching you pig, boy, girl, eat, more, please, and sorry. This was about a year and a half ago. Crazy how much he’s changed:

And now, just a few weeks ago, singing one of our all-time favorite songs around here. (Also, this one’s kind of for “ABC”):

It is absolutely incredible watching the progression of a life from a tiny random-noise-making lump of baby into a real little person singing a song with mostly the right lyrics.

In other news, I’m fairly certain I’ve developed the most absolutely perfect cookies ever. Peanut butter and devil’s food pudding with peanut butter and chocolate chips. Seriously, heaven. Or hell, you know, with the whole “devil” bit… Hmmm… Either way, amazing!

Also, I’ve been working a little. It’s all part time and from home, but it’s been interesting trying to throw some structure into my very unstructured life as a stay at home mama. Especially since Jake’s transfer at his work finally pulled through, and that has meant a good four weeks or so of no idea what his schedule will be more than a few days in advance…

And we quit smoking. Go us. As I was posting it on facebook (because, you know, that’s what we do in this age, we post everything on facebook), I kind of giggled a bit, wondering how many of my friends would be shocked to know that we were even smoking. We never really hid the fact that we smoked, but we kind of kept to a smoke around smokers, don’t smoke around non-smokers kind of habit for the past 2 1/2 years or so that we started smoking again.

And I started trying to be healthy – aside from the whole best cookies ever bit. Healthy like green smoothies every morning, fresh fruit and veggie snacks all day kind of healthy. Baking the cookies has really helped occupy me whenever I’m sitting around bored and would normally just step outside and smoke, snacking on the cookies and the fresh fruits and veggies has made for really easy replacement of hand-to-mouth goodness when I’ve wanted to smoke, and the green smoothies are really helping me wake up with a really good feeling that I don’t want to screw up by smoking throughout the day. And I’ve got so much more energy now! It seriously doesn’t feel like a crazy chore anymore to just get up and do the dishes or throw a load of laundry in. I really feel good, and I can actually do my job. It’s nice. 🙂

Happy Father’s Day!

Standard

Happy day to all of you awesome dads out there!

Jake is an amazing dad. He works full time, often times pulling overtime shifts to help a little further with extra expenses. He’s also taking full-time college classes, not taking breaks in the summer so as to finish his degree faster with which he will work even longer and harder hours. He rarely goes out with friends on evenings he can find a few spare minutes. He doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of video game time he was always used to, nor the funds for the newest of games or the best of technology that we had when that was the only thing we cared to spend our extra cash on.

When he is home (and not working on school assignments or reading), he’s tossing Doodle around, making him one of his favorite sandwiches, or giving him a bath, brushing his teeth, and taking him to bed. He fully takes on our constant-education approach by talking about various letters and sounds in words we say, counting anything they’re looking at that can be counted, or teaching him new words or different ways to use existing words. Even when he’s tired, he’ll still sit with Doodle on his lap playing games with him on the tablet or making sure he’s interacting with Little Einsteins or Word World when the cartoon asks him questions.

Jake does everything he does 100%: full-time work, full-time school, full-time dad, full-time husband. He doesn’t have much left to be full-time Jake outside of any of that, yet he takes it all on with complete dedication and love. For that, I’m continually amazed and overwhelmingly grateful.

What’s really wonderful about this year’s Father’s Day is that he’s FINALLY almost in his new position at work (which he’s been waiting patiently for since February) where he’ll have his own office WITH HIS OWN DESK! He’s NEVER had this before, always working in places where a desk is shared with other coworkers, and where it’s rarely been able to be sat down at and used. He’s very excited about this, as now he can have his own coffee cup sitting on it that he uses each day and he can place pictures and knick-knacks on it that he can look at throughout a rough day to remind him why he works so hard.

With that in mind, Doodle and I set out to make him something that he can be excited to place on his desk – something that clearly says how much Doodle and I care about him. Doodle loves dragons, I love plants – let’s put the two together… but let’s also make sure that if Jake’s super busy at work for a few days, that it will do just fine with a little bit of neglect. 😉

Doodle picked a red and green succulent for our present.

Doodle picked a red and green succulent for our present.

He then picked out one of the dragons we got him for his birthday.  He was SO excited that we'd be giving it to Daddy!

He then picked out one of the dragons we got him for his birthday. He was SO excited that we’d be giving it to Daddy!

I cut a hole in his back, and Doodle had to inspect it to make sure it would work.

I cut a hole in his back, and Doodle had to inspect it to make sure it would work.

We shoved some dirt into the hole...

We shoved some dirt into the hole…

Then we stuffed the plant into our little dragon pot.

Then we stuffed the plant into our little dragon pot.

Doodle watered it to clean off the excess dirt.

Doodle watered it to clean off the excess dirt.

Then he showed off his creation.

Then he showed off his creation.

There it is! A dragon plant for dad!

So I Went a Little Overboard… Happy Birthday Doodle!

Standard

Doodle turned 3 last Wednesday. Where in the world did the time go? I swear, this parenting stuff gets harder and harder as time goes and you realize how much is already over. Gone. Done. No more of my darling 2-year-old saying “wuv” and “hopadoctor.” No more of my 1-year-old boy wobbling around learning his new walking skills. No more of my 3-month-old passed out on my chest and drooling down my shirt… Ok, that one had some cons so I’m not terribly missing it!  But newborn baby cuddles are the best, and they’re gone.

But seriously, I have a 3-year-old now! I have an independent, strong-willed, and fearless Doodle-monster now. Safety is of minimal concern to him, new discipline tactics need to be tried regularly as old ones have lost their umph, and opinions are expressed very vocally regardless of my level of exhaustion or headache. But honestly, the fun doesn’t stop, and it seems to just keep getting better! New wonders are discovered daily, and his growing motor skills make for much cooler playtime. It’s really the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced, no matter how done with being a mama I may get every few days. I look forward to watching him learn and grow every single day.

So anyway – along with a 3rd birthday, Doodle just had his 3rd birthday party. And as many of you have probably learned, I threw myself into a pretty good anxiety attack a few weeks ago, neglected household duties the past month or so, and had an outrageous amount of work I had to get done. I’m sure you’ve all been hanging off the edge of your chairs to see the fruits of my labor, so here you go…

All-in-all, we had 16 kiddos and 16 adults. Not quite as many as I was anticipating, but it was an absolute blast!

Dragon head pears.

Dragon head pears.

See those ADORABLE dragons hanging from the umbrella?!

See those ADORABLE dragons hanging from the umbrella?!

Doodle totally diggin' his dragon party.

Doodle totally diggin’ his dragon party.

Goodies!

Goodies!

So I’ll stop here and let you know what all’s on that table: coffee/dirt dough dragon eggs, teeny tiny adorable crocheted dragons, gold bars filled with candy, gold and jewels, sticky dragons, and clothespin dragons with fruit snack wings.

Passing out the dragon eggs.

Passing out the dragon eggs.

Helping Ling and Doodle open up their eggs.

Helping Ling and Doodle open up their eggs.

How fun those eggs look when you open 'em up!  The kids were crazy excited to hatch baby dragons.

How fun those eggs look when you open ’em up! The kids were crazy excited to hatch baby dragons.

So there was also a slip and slide, little dragon pool (ok, so it was actually an alligator – but we can pretend!), sandbox filled with dragons, gold and jewels (you know, because dragons horde treasure), and the swingset, of course. We also did a dragon piñata!

Ling having a BLAST on the slip and slide!

Ling having a BLAST on the slip and slide!

Doodle whacking his piñata!

Doodle whacking his piñata! See how I made the stick a sword? 🙂

CANDY!!!

CANDY!!! (Sidenote – after most every kid got at least two turns of whacking this thing a good three or four times each, Jake had to come over and break it open!)

And Doodle really didn't care about any of the candy that spilled out once he found a sucker.  Sat here for 10 minutes munching on this while all of the other kids nabbed all the candy!

And Doodle really didn’t care about any of the candy that spilled out once he found a sucker. Sat here for a good 10 minutes munching on this while all of the other kids nabbed the rest of the candy!

So, you guys ready for the cake? I don’t know, I was kinda trying to push this off as long as I could… Ok, how’s this?  I’ll just walk you through making it. We started here:

Just some lumps of cake, right?

Just some lumps of cake, right?

Then I blended up all of those pieces that I shaved off to get my lumps-o-cake along with a little bit of extra frosting, ended up with what was essentially pre-chewed cake mush, and did this:

Do you kinda see where this is going?

Do you kinda see where this is going?

I made me some fondant (powdered sugar, marshmallows and dye), and started decorating.

Wait a second, Kortney - what are you doing with all of those circles???

Wait a second, Kortney – what are you doing with all of those circles???

I got all those (and what seemed like 500 more) circles all placed just so, added a few other colors of fondant for various features, and ended with this:

Yeah, that's right, people.  I made an effing dragon!  Scales and all!

Yeah, that’s right, people. I made an EFFING DRAGON! Scales and all!

LOOK-IT-MUH-CAKE!!!  Made it 100% by myself!  I'm little bit proud, if you can't tell.  :)

LOOK-IT-MUH-CAKE!!! Made it 100% by myself! I’m a little bit proud, if you couldn’t tell. 🙂

Doodle ADORED his cake!  Notice how the candles are coming out of his mouth?  He's breathing fire, guys!!!  :)

Doodle ADORED his cake! Notice how the candles are coming out of his mouth? He’s breathing fire, guys!!! 🙂

Doodle got the whole head all to himself.  It's literally half a sheet of cake.  I was a little nervous...

Doodle got the whole head all to himself. It’s literally half a sheet of cake. I was a little nervous…

Luckily he just demolished it.  Got a few good bites in, but mainly just tore the head apart in a fit of dragon birthday excitement!

Luckily he just demolished it. Got a few good bites in, but mainly just tore the head apart in a fit of dragon birthday excitement!

All in all, it was an absolutely amazing day! The weather was perfect, our friends and family are great, and the kids had a blast! I’d like to think that next May I won’t dig myself into an anxiety attack over whatever ridiculous theme we’ve come up with by then, but that’s just not likely. Depending on what he’s crazy into next year, I may just end up thinking it’d be a good idea to build a pirate ship in the backyard or build a dinosaur dig site in our gorgeous lawn. Please, help convince me next year not to do those things. 🙂

By the way, Jake’s curious – at what age would it be appropriate to have a zombie birthday party? We’re talking, like, brain and limbs being eaten by zombie head and torso red velvet cake, gooey-bloody-decaying goodness everywhere, crocheted bloody body parts in the goodie bags… I say 7, what are your thoughts?

I Just Need To Breathe…

Standard

Totally anxiety attack is starting to boil up.  I’ve still got SO MUCH to do for Doodle’s birthday party in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS – crochet dragons, buy foods, make cake, put together goody bags…  And I’ve got so much housework that’s been terribly neglected – laundry, vacuum, dishes, general cleaning, organizing closets that have been overflowing for months…  Bills that JUST KEEP COMING every month no matter how many times I pay them!  (I know – that last one’s just a fact of life)

And then I’m sitting here trying to make Jake’s summer semester a little easier for him by consolidating his schedules for all three of his online classes…  And all it’s doing is making me completely exhausted for him.  I mean, they say summer semesters are crammed pretty tight because they’re so much shorter than regular semesters, but seriously!  I’m going to be tired just looking at him as he looks at this ridiculous schedule he’s going to have to start keeping when he comes home from work tonight.  And I’m going to want to do nothing more than take on as much extra weight from him as I can to help ease his busy world…

Which would just add to my busy world.  Anyone want to take some of my extra weight?  I’ve got three completely clean baskets of laundry that need folded, hung, and put away, then another 3 or 4 loads worth just chillin’ in random piles that need washed, dried, folded, hung, and put away…  I’ve got clean dishes in the dishwasher just waiting for someone to put them away so that the half-a-load of dirty dishes in the sink could be put in the dishwasher.  I’ve got an entire house worth of carpet that could use some good vacuuming action, some couches that wouldn’t mind a nice cleaning, a kitchen counter that’s tired of being a catch-all, and some bathrooms that would like to be scrubbed down…

And on top of that, I’m fairly certain that what I thought was Doodle-allergies this morning is actually Doodle-sick this evening…  Which sucks for three reasons.  One, Doodle doesn’t feel good.  Two, Doodle’s an absolute punk when he doesn’t feel good and I have to figure out how to keep him following certain non-negotiables while also understanding his need to relax on a few rules until he feels better.  And three, Jake and I were supposed to cash in our Doodle/Ling sleepover card for a nice night out either tomorrow or Thursday night, and that’s probably not going to happen because I don’t want Ling to get sick and I don’t want Hippie Mama to have to deal with cranky sick Doodle when all he wants is me helping him feel better. (Bonus reason!  Four, what if Jake or I get sick from him?!?!)

And I need to crochet SO MANY MORE little bitty dragons.  And I have to get plates and cups and napkins and a tablecloth and ice cream and cake mix and snacks and drinks.

Luckily, my GODSEND of a friend is coming down for a few days this weekend to help with the dragons.  She’ll likely help with the getting of the things as well.  But none of it is actually done yet, so it’s totally stressing me out – as you could probably already tell without me having mentioned it…

I know – I need to breathe.  I recognize that I could make my life a little easier by NOT constantly trying to be a super-mom.  And I totally get that sometimes the laundry just has to wait.

And I also know this is all temporary.  In two weeks, Doodle’s birthday party will be done and over with, and things on my end will get back to “normal”.  In two months, Jake will be done with his summer semester, have 22 college credits under his belt, and get an entire month off between semesters.  And then in about three years, he’ll be done with school completely and hopefully switch over to one of those fancy 9-5 kinda jobs everyone’s always talking about.  Then we can have our picket fence and I can stop freaking out about everything, right?

But until then, I need to consciously tell myself to breathe.  And then I need to remind myself that after I recover from my anxiety attack, I’ll feel better if I just get up and actually knock something off my list of things to do.

I think I’m going to go fold some laundry now.

Ah hell, I forgot to feed the dog today!  K, I’ll fold laundry after I feed the dog…

Synonym

Standard

A typical conversation between Jake and Doodle

“Doodle, eat your cereal.”

“Eat my Cimmanon Crunch?”

“No, Doodle.  Remember, we worked on this yesterday?  Say ‘Cinna’”

“Cinna”

“Mon”

“Mon”

“Now say ‘cinnamon’”

“Crunch”

“No, say cinnamon”

“Synonym?”

“Cinnamon”

“Cimmanon”

“That’s ok, I’m pretty sure those are synonymous.”

“No, you’re nonymous!”

It’ll Only Take Two Hours

Standard

Jake and I love building things.

I mean, we’ve really only ever totally “built” one thing – but it was an amazing cart that folded up to be able to perfectly fit into the trunk of our old Kia Rio (seriously tiny car) that we used for a Rainbow Gathering (hippie camping love). It barely took up any room, so we could still pack everything we needed on top of it! And we made the plan 100% ourselves, and we did all of the figuring and measuring and cutting and screwing and finagling together as an amazing wood-stuffs-making team.

l

And that’s it. That’s why we *love* building things. We VERY successfully built the first thing we ever tried building. I mean, sure, we had played with legos and put together little wooden and plastic models of things before. I’m sure Jake built a birdhouse in cub scouts or something. We’ve assembled furniture and things. But we BUILT this cart, see.

That was almost four years ago, however. (Fun fact – we made it a year, to the day, before Doodle came into our lives.) And we haven’t really had the resources or motivation to build anything since. Until I found the coolest thing in the world that we absolutely had to make!

It was one of the first things I saw when I started using Pinterest about a year and a half ago. A sandbox with benches that unfolds into a cover. Or a sandbox with a cover that folds into benches. Whichever works best for you. But we were broker than broke – had just been through three different moves in four months. I originally just wanted to but it for him whenever funds got back to a good place, but then we found plans to build it. We had a project! We had the motivation, but we were still missing the resources.

Skip ahead to the present – preparing for a 3rd birthday. We needed to figure out something we could get/make for Doodle. It had to be big. It had to be awesome. I skimmed through my “Crafty Stuffs” board on Pinterest. There at the very bottom was the plan for the sandbox! We could do it. We had to!

Jake took off some (much needed) time from work between his Spring and Summer semesters of school, and we knew that this was the only time we’d really be able to devote the time and energy into it. I looked at the plans, read all of the comments on it, got a list of materials we’d need, and let Jake know how easy this thing would be and how fast it would go.

“It’ll only take two hours!”

He laughed at my estimate, I laughed at his disbelief.

Two hours and another trip to the hardware store later, he had grown tired of sanding the 24 boards needed to complete the assembly, so he moved on to staining the first half of the boards. I have no positive experiences with power tools, and he used to be a professional painter, so most of the beginning stuff was all his job. (I mean, I did clear out the 4 foot by 4 foot square in the rock bed while he was working…)  Another hour or so and we were done for the night. The next day, the rest of the wood was sanded and stained in the first two hours of working.  (We are totally aware of the fact that at this point you should really wait until the stain has had plenty of time to cure, but we’re impatient and it was already pressure-treated wood anyway, so we weren’t too terribly concerned about it.  Mainly just wanted the wood to be a little prettier.)

Ok, so we’re a little over my estimate at this point, but this is where the fun really begins! (And, in all honesty, this is where my estimate actually started anyway!)

We got the base put together, and Doodle was crazy excited. He knew that we were making a sandbox, but when we put the base on its side, he darted into it and started dancing.

SAM_4106

I briefly considered just stopping here, maybe making a few braces for the bottom to keep it standing up, and giving Doodle a stage for his birthday. But we needed to press forward – we were SO CLOSE! Plus, what would we do with the other 20 sanded and stained 2×4’s that were perfectly measured to fit on his new stage?

We continued working, stopping again for one more quick trip to the hardware store because APPARENTLY I can’t count and we needed more screws. We got the pieces hinged together, put some handles on, threw in a few hundred pounds of sand, and gave Doodle his early birthday present.

SAM_4112

Happy it’s almost your birthday, Doodle! Now, if you don’t mind, just stay in that sandbox for the next three weeks while mommy frantically tries to make as many dragon-related things as she possibly can for the 20+ chitlins that will be invading our backyard for your special day and daddy returns to work, picks up a few double shifts to help pay for your shenanigans, and starts up his summer semester.

Total time spent buying, prepping, and building – probably close to 9 hours. Total time spent “building” – 2. Sure, I was right, but Jake was absolutely right to laugh at me.