Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Phone Picture Time Again

Penny Lane has been reading again...

Never mind the million children's books we have around the house.

We have started establishing a "kids' table" when we go out to eat now.

Penny Lane usually sits with us, but she wanted to be a big kid on that night. 

I guess she's not ready.

Christmas tree shopping! Look, the daycare did PL's hair.

That's why it looks kinda cute.

Eden and PL playing in the Christmas tree net.

This picture doesn't look loud, but I assure you the noise level in our living room was deafening with the squeals and furniture rearranging.

You can see Daddy's beer waiting on the side table in the background...his reward if he won the battle with the Christmas tree stand.

Oh and I'm saying goodbye to this:

It's my 'baby' sewing machine I've been using for the past year...
that stayed in its box for two years before it was ever opened.

No intimidating buttons, straightforward super simple sewing...but I'm moving up.

More on that later.

Link your pics at The Lowe Family News!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Tree Done!

Putting up Christmas decorations always sounds like a lot more fun than it actually is. 

People who say otherwise are either childless or in denial.

But a Christmas tree really is nice once it's all done.

And your kids think it's the most
tree they've ever seen.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Phone pic time again!

Here we go again!

Penny Lane has been feeling inspired lately and doing a little light "reading"...

Nevermind that her parents don't dress her until past noon on Saturday. I assure you she at least has on a clean diaper.

The start of all things yummy:

In this case, cheesy chicken spaghetti.

A lot of our Thanksgiving was spent working on this...

The science fair is tomorrow, but as far as I'm concerned, it's OVER!!

This week was the first Sunday of Advent.

Bobby and Jules both got to make wreaths at Sunday School, so our table is extra festive. They are stoked about the candle-lighting at dinner every night, too. I'm really glad they made these.

Penny Lane's hair is....well, difficult.

Add to that the fact that despite my being a mother of three girls, I CANNOT do hair, and on most days you get this:

Which provoked this conversation just this morning:

Jim: What is that?
Me: What is what?
Jim: (pointing at Penny Lane) That.
Me: (Frantically searching for a venomous insect or emerging rash) What?!
Jim: That thing you put on her head.
Me: Oh. yeah. Well, it's not in her eyes anymore.

What's on your phone? Link yours here, too!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Date Night

Discuss if we can afford a night out right at the holidays.
Decide we can't afford NOT to take a night out.
Confirm sitter.
Argue a bit about what cleaning needs to be done.
As sitter arrives, realize there's nothing for the girls to eat and Jim leaves for grocery store.
Wait because grocery store takes longer than expected (of course)
Finally leave.
Debate where to eat...for 20 minutes.
Pull in a sushi place on a whim and thoroughly enjoy it.
Until the end when my stomach begins to rumble.
Shop (score $10 hoodies at Gap for the kids) while we wait for comedy show to start.
Break out in cold sweat and search for restroom.
Land at a bar...with a convenient restroom.
See a friend.
Excuse myself.
Reassure Jim I'll be fine.
Not be fine.

Continue not being fine thinking fineness will overtake at any minute and the night will be back on track and I will be laughing and having fun and drinking a cocktail with my husband and no children and creating one of those times that in the future will make me say, "We should really do that again, you know."

Face that I will not make it through a comedy show and accept defeat at the hands of what had been a delicious bento box...

Tell Jim to take me home

Distract myself by finally setting up my gmail on my phone and wondering what we are listening to...
No, Tim Armstrong. That's why you think it sounds like Rancid.
I don't; I thought it was the Aggrolites but I really don't "know" the Aggrolites so it's still confusing...
Marvel at the power of my brain to make associations without bothering my conscious

Stop for beer and gas

Convince Jim that the only reason he doesn't like to drive the sitter home is because we're high school teachers and have been subject to purposeful, systematic instillation of irrational fears about being alone with a teenager of the opposite sex even in the most mundane of situations but that normal people don't have those fears and really it's all right for him to drive the sitter home since I am feeling very ill.

Continue my illness at home but encourage Jim to order a movie
Watch Along Came Polly instead...meh.

Give eternal thanks that I am married and that, despite everything, there is no such thing as a bad date anymore. and the house is clean.

NOTE: The above picture was taken immediately before Penny Lane was born (extra wide nose explained.), not on a fun date or anything...don't have a picture like that. I think I need one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's on Caroline's phone?

Here's the deal. Every Tuesday lately on The Lowe Family News, Jessica shares the random pics on her phone and invites others to do the same.

It feels kind of like going through someone's purse...

Here's a sample of what's going down on mine right now...

That's a picture of me taking a picture of me next to Frida Kahlo. It's still on the phone from this summer and having it makes me seem sooo interesting, don't you think?

But then, Eden's eccentricities make our family interesting, too...

On the sidewalk waiting for Jim to pick us up after school one day, I made them stand close enough to one another for a picture. You can see the distaste on Bobby's face...

Aww, what a cute family out for nice day at SciPort! One of the only pics I'll probably ever have of Juliet in that dress. I love it. She does not. Wait minute...someone's missing...

Yes! That screaming child in the corner. She should be in there, too. Sometimes I think she times her meltdowns just to have her picture made alone instead of with the rest of the family.

So here's what I know: I quit taking as many random pics once school started. I vow to begin again!

Confession: The most recent pic on my phone is a 'before' picture from my Power 90 venture. I won't be sharing that one any time soon...


Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Break Rocks

Sooooo.... I'm back.

It's break, and I'm breakin'. Check out what I did last night:

A learning experience and getting back into practice session. These were two Goodwill shirts, now they are, well, whatever kind of outfit that is. I actually started with a different top here...

But the Captain thought the vertical stripes on the sleeves with the horizontals on the pants was questionable. (As if this whole orange stripey conception were not questionable on its own.) My insecurity about this birthed the horizontal-stripe-with-the-one-scrap-I-have-left-to-salvage-this-project design you saw above. I further compromised my end product when I sewed that horizontal peice in upside-down. Yikes! That's why there's that "layered look" going on. It turned out a little fussy and not how I imagined. It's a little 80's sweatsuit, I think. But then, Little P looks good in anything.

And today, I finally did some arm warmers/babylegs out of these knee socks I've had lying across my sewing machine for weeks now.

I make mine using this tutorial, but there are a million out there. Eden loves these. 


I have an avacado green dryer that belonged to my grandparents. It is ancient. I painted the cabinets in my laundry room to go with it.

Notice the Rite Aid Sleep Aid peeking out from behind the stripey sleeved number--always handy.

I sewed in a little tag on that one, too. It's because I'm a Dana from Made wannna-be. 

That zebra print? That's for something someone actually asked me to sew for them---to give her daughter for a Christmas gift! She'll probably even want to pay me and I won't want to accept it. We'll see...

These pics taken with my iphone. Apologies. I need to get my hands on a much better camera if I'm going to do this...


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Non-Post

I've been struggling to write for the past month, but have had trouble because school has consumed my life. And, honestly, the most interesting things that happen to me, happen there and I really don't want to write a whiny teacher blog. Besides that, the best material I get from school can not be shared. Something  about confidentiality, professionalism,  other people's kids, and minors, and stuff. Though, on days like today, I think I need protection from the minors more than they need it from me. There's a story there, and it's funny, and I cannot tell you about it because it just would not be right. This kills me.

I will try to be inspired soon. I am overdue.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I ate at Ryan's tonight.

So tonight I had dinner at Ryan's. I love Ryan's. Not the food. In fact, I throw up a little in my mouth when I approach the buffet at which so many hands have loaded their plates. I love the atmosphere. I like being in a room full of people who have as many stains on their clothes as I do at six o'clock. They have unruly children and gluttonous eating habits.

A couple years ago, during a prolific writing kick, I sat in a Ryan's making notes of the bizarre human behavior going on all around me. There are some ripe characters in there. That day, I'm sure I was recognized by others as one of those bizarre characters myself. Those notes are still tucked away waiting for further inspiration to help them reach their potential.

There is an intangible "it" factor that we mega buffet patrons share. I hope I never lose it. Even if eventually I cease to be able to stomach the food, I never want to feel above taking my oversized family to commune with others living lives free of pretense, free to embrace who they are and eat in a public place in exactly the same manner I imagine they dine on their own living room furniture. I get people like that. I am people like that.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Little Directionless...

Have recently become aware that I have apparently, for a long time, been looking for some sort of creative outlet.

Super jealous of husband's conceptual and drawing abilities...but he's so sweet, he says I can draw, too, I just need practice...he says that to everyone, though. Kinda his job.

Lots of clothing design ideas that I need to build my sewing skills to match...

"Writing" in bed all the time when I should be sleeping; brain will not shut down and self-discipline too atrophied at the moment to actually get up or sit up in the bed and scribble down the bits I'm thinking of.

Meg White...I want a tambourine...and some maracas...and a drum kit....not really. Well, maybe a tambourine. (not seriously interested in becoming a percussionist, just think it's cool)

Currently have little respect for my scattered interests, but optimistic that I will eventually make something out of them...or one of them.

For the time being, I think I may only have time for the tambourine...if I had one...

Frustration, I can tell that we are gonna be friends...

Can you tell I'm watching The White Stripes as I type this?


Monday, August 9, 2010

You know why I can't write?

Because school is starting and I vowed not to write about work. There are other things going on, don't get me wrong. Just not complete things. Things like...

this ruffly onesie waiting for its iron-on tranfer to go on the front...


these fabric flowers waiting for rhinestones and buttons and pins on the back and a slide for an alligator clip or a headband...(this junky picture does not do those Asian print fabrics justice).

And then there's this:

an experiment with microfiche. Just an experiment. We'll see what happens here...I just could not bear to see them be thrown away.

But, unfortunately, it will probably be a couple weeks.


Monday, August 2, 2010

When You Wish Upon a Star

Tonight after dinner I indulged Eden in one of her favorite activities: lying on the trampoline looking at stars. She likes to make wishes on them.


"I wish my room would stay clean.

I wish Juliet wouldn't ever be mean to me.

I wish Penny Lane would stay a baby forever.

I wish my parents were responsible."

Me too, Eden, me too.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Parenting Uphill

Yesterday Bobby and Juliet came home from their six week visit in North Carolina with their father and stepmother.

We've done this every summer now since Jim and I have been married. Before then, I was not required to share. Frankly, most of the time the existence of the other parents is irrelevant to our everyday lives. Phone calls are pathetically but conveniently infrequent and the distance between Louisiana and North Carolina make regular custody-sharing impossible. But every year, for either Thanksgiving or Christmas and for six weeks in the summer, Jim and I get reminded that there are other adults with their own agenda that the kids love (as they should) and that these adults have influence over them. 

You may think, unless you, too, are a divorced parent (then you know better), that the first days of the kids' homecoming are full of nothing but excitement and joy. While I am always excited to see them after such a long time, my initial overwhelming feelings are of relief and then dread of what the next few days will hold. Because next comes the week filled with brief recounts of what has been going on for the past six weeks. Much of it is benign and some of it even reassuring. But then there are those repeated comments that the kids have either not yet learned to keep to themselves, or even worse have realized that they stretch my capacity for humility, forgiveness, and maturity to its limit and they enjoy watching me squirm to retain lady-like composure against raging impulses to dig my fingernails into someone's tender parts late-night-bowling-alley-parking-lot-fight style. 

This is a test I'm determined to pass, and I've been holding it together well for a while now. I gave up yelling on the telephone and composing scathing emails years ago. It's not worth it, and it never changes anything, anyway.

Stupid haircuts, ridicule of our inside jokes, questioning of our decisions, criticisms of holiday traditions, complaints about clothes, personal's just another aspect of child-rearing for us "parents of divorce." And because I know it can work both ways, I try to be very mindful of what I say and how a 10 year old could repeat it when something comes up regarding the other parents. It takes a lot of creativity and self-control to come up with non-emotional responses, but I feel good afterwards.

And, for the record, their other parents aren't necessarily bad people...they're just not my kind of people. Certainly not who I would want if I were forced to choose a couple with whom to co-parent. At least not now...obviously I made a decision to parent with one of them at a period in the past. 

And to those of you who made the same kind of bad decisions that also ironically produced a great kid or two and are living this same song in a different verse, I feel your pain. And sometimes, every blue moon, I even feel it for Bobby and Juliet's other parents who have to deal with circumstances that provide such limited opportunities to spend time with the kids and cause them to miss out on so much...


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Temporary Undeserved Success

So Thursday and Friday I tried to pull off the Herbalife "kickstart" called LaBamba. I did it last summer, only lost 2 1/2 pounds during the two days, but lost a total of 7 for the week. I figured that was just what I needed to remind myself of the success I have had over the past year in losing weight and get me back on track. So on day one, I mixed my concoction of 7 packets of peach mango protein drink mix, tea, and aloe.

The plan is to drink this plus a gallon of water for day one...I did that. But, I had forgotten we had a dinner at church that night, so.... I also had a glass of wine, a buttery cracker with a tad of brie, small spoonfuls of shepherd's pie and pasta salad, some garden salad with no dressing and an unsweetened tea. hmmmm....

Day two is supposed to be five of the Herbalife meal replacement shakes....but we wound up having company for dinner. Jim did an incredible Indian spread with chicken curry, palak paneer, and naan with a cilantro sauce. He did this to be helpful to me because the first and last time I had Indian, I got violently ill and have avoided it since. But it just smelled so yummy. So...three shakes into the day, I broke and decided to eat dinner. I mean, his sister and her boyfriend were over and don't you think it would just be rude to not join in the meal? And it may be socially inexcusable to not have a glass of wine with guests...

Saturday morning weigh-in? Lost 5 pounds! I didn't need this kind of reward for such weak behavior. Maybe this is the beginning of a new charmed life. That would rock.

The Indian still made me sick.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Avoid Contact with the Eyes

and other warnings about various subjects that may or may not affect your enjoyment of this blog.

On Punctuation and Style:

I like words. I like precise words. I'm years out of good writing practice, but think I may have missed a calling in technical writing. I'm dry.

I believe punctuation is an art. I compulsively substitute "furthermore" for semicolons and "and here it/they is/are" for colons to judge appropriate use thanks to those crazy Canadian Standard Deviants. I have a dangerous relationship with ellipses. Because they indicate the exclusion of extraneous material, I tend to (over)use them to portray breaks in thought. Sorry. I even tire myself with this... but I cannot stop...see?

You may have already noticed this, but I also have what could be considered an annoying appreciation and affinity for alliteration.

Oh yeah, and parallel structure makes my heart flutter.

On Writing about my Family:

I love them, but I don't gush. Don't think that I don't absolutely think that husband and kids are not the most special people inhabiting this planet. However, I know that you do not share that opinion, and I am a realist in some respects to a fault. I always feel like the mom who doesn't SEEM to love her kids as much as other moms. I like to think I have a decent grasp on what is special/meaningful/funny to just me, and when something they do or say would be damn funny to anyone. I always try to talk only about the latter. It's ok if you are one of those other moms. I don't judge.

On Politics:

Don't plan to write about this much...ever. But if you're curious, I'm easy: If you're conservative, you may think I'm liberal. If you're liberal, you would laugh at anyone who labeled me one. That's good. I hate labels, anyway.

On Religion:

Another topic I plan to avoid, but, like politics, it interests people. I love my church, St. John's Episcopal, and this joke will tell you as much as you need to know about how I feel:

A Baptist, a Catholic, and an Episcopalian meet Jesus at the gates of heaven.
Jesus asks the Baptist, "Who do you say that I am?"
Baptist replies, "Well, the Bible says..."
Jesus says, "I didn't ask what the Bible said," and poses the same question to the Catholic.
Catholic replies, "Well, the church says..."
Jesus cuts him off saying, "I didn't ask what the church said. Episcopalian, who do you say that I am?"
Episcopaian replies, "You are the Christ, the Son of God."
Jesus replies, "Very good. You are absolutely..."
Episcopalian interrupts, "But, on the other hand,..."

On the weight-loss front, I'm in the midst of a little 2-day experiment. Will report more and if it was worth it when I'm done.

Geez, I hope I never write anything with so many sentences beginning with "I" as long as I much for my technical writing career.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Exercise in egocentrism?

I hope not. That is the farthest thing from what I want this blog to be. That being said, I suppose one cannot blog without a tad of it. What else to talk about? How to justify putting it out there if not at least partially for one's self?

I have been following some awesome blogs for some time now that have been great for ideas and inspiration for sewing/clothing design, parenting, and health and fitness. In thinking about my relationship with these areas and reading the journies of others, I have arrived at my area of expertise, my niche, the market that I own outright, and it is......imperfection. So this blog will include accounts of my attempts to sew, accessorize, parent, and not get fatter....and will hopefully exclude topics directly related to my profession. Of course, that's easy for me to say while it is still summer, while I am still reveling in excused laziness in the form of "vacation recovery" and "quality time with children." Come August, when the alien re-invades my body, takes over my household, and begins its inevitable mind-control schemes that rob me of sleep, peace, and my good nature, I may inadvertently mention the "s" word BUT if I vow now that this blog will be about my life outside of work, maybe it will force me to have one. A tall order for a year that will bring so much change and so much more responsibility...all the more reason to get a life, right?

Blogs I love (so you should, too):

Blue Cricket Design
V and Co.
Crap I've Made
Little Miss Momma
Rage Against the Minivan
Made by Lex
Lil Blue Boo
A Beautiful Mess
Darcy's Health and Fitness Journey
Getting Back to Me...
Geaux Healthy

Ok, there are more, but I think this is enough for your first assignment...


Had my body scanned to find out I need to lose at least 16.8 pounds of body fat to be in a healthy range

Received a creepy smile from a man at the gas station wearing too much cologne

Retrieved the silicone Big Top Cupcake from a high shelf to avoid a Penny Lane meltdown; she believes it is her hat...

Cried over spilled was a full glass!!