Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Back to work, baby!


I'm going back to work next week!

I've determined after this almost full month of temporary lay-off, I don't think I'd be a very good SAHM. Heh heh. I think I have less patience WITHOUT having the time away at work. 

Is that horrible?

I seriously thought I'd love being home.  And in some respects, I really did! More time to organize and clean house, do laundry, actually having time to get errands and grocery shopping done in a more leisurely pace, cooking dinner (Big D does waaaaaaay more dinner cooking in this house, than I do) , time to do my crafting--
I LOVE how my bunting/pendant banner came out!
 ---and of course more time to spend with my babies.  AND then on days like yesterday where it was rainy and gloomy and I felt like being lazy and staying in my pjs all day--WE DID.

That was awesome and much needed.

But just like it was on my maternity leave after having Avery, Hunter has turned into a total CLING-ON. This kid is attached to me like a second skin and wanting "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy"!

I feel sorry for MY mom (who watches them) when I go back to work next week...she's probably going to have a couple of whiny days with her sweet little grandson.  And little Miss Avery has been a Mommy's girl from Day 1. And she is (STILL) teething and has been a tad miserable lately.

I seem to seriously have way less patience when I'm home with the kids all day, every day.   And I kinda feel guilty even saying that! I'm sure some people would think, "Hey, get over it. You're lucky to be a mom and enjoy your kids!"

But for those of you reading me right now who ARE moms, I'm sure you've all had these days! Right? Um, right?

And the other postive about going back to work (besides adult conversation that has NOTHING to do with pb&j for lunch and "who has a poopy diaper?"), I get to appreaciate THESE faces all the more when I come home to their beautiful little smiles:

My little flasher!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Photoshop novice at work!

Last Christmas, Daryl got me Photoshop like I asked for. (He's a good listener. Heh heh.)

I am not the best photographer...I wish I had time to take a class or something to learn HOW to take a decent piture, but right now I have no time or money to do that.

So, I figured, with Photoshop I could at the very least  clean up some of my photos to make them look a little neater.

Well, Photoshop is WICKED hard and I've been struggling with it for a bit here and there since Christmas. I would attempt to figure some stuff out, read/watch tutorials, get annoyed and then give up completely.

Yesterday I stumbled upon THIS blog (side note: oh my GOSH, her daughter is A-dorable! And her blog is super fun with great ideas for toddlers and crafts. I'm loving it!) where she posted a tutorial on how to put in a watermark. And while I totally can't figure it out (heh heh...I can't seem to view her video for some reason--maybe cuz it's an older video??-- and I REALLY need visual for these things) it got me inspired to work on a picture.

So I just chose a random picture of one of the kids. Here is the picture of Hunter I decided to use:

I love Hunter's smile as he was getting ready to go down his slide. This was one of the first beautiful spring days we had this year and we were ALL psyched to enjoy it. So I remember snapping a ton of pictures of the kids using my iPhone that afternoon.

Using the instagram app on my phone, I cropped the photo and adjusted the coloring--lightening it up--with one of the available elements (of course I can't remember which element now, sorry!). 

Better, but still not great. I don't like the fact that the background is so crazy-busy with my two neighbor's garages and one of my neighbors boats.

So, totally winging it (no tutorial this time) I started messing around with the ERASER and CLONE functions. (sorry if there is a more technical way to say this. I have no idea!).

After some swearing, and getting annoyed with myself and Photoshop, I finally sorta accomplished what I started out to do. Of course, being my first time actually editing a photo on Photoshop, it is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaar from perfect. The edges where I made my changes are super blurry. And the flowers (with the CLONE tool) got a little bit out of control. Heh. But if I can keep practicing, I think someday I could get it right. ;-)

Here is my "fixed" photo:

Don't look too closely at it or you will see the errors!  I told you, I'm a novice, people!

For all you Photoshop users out there, how did you learn how to use it? Did you read a book? Watch a tutorial? Look at pictures? Have a friend show you? Take a class? Or just wing it and teach yourself?

And what do you suggest I do to learn how to use Photoshop, myself?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Perfection

It was a great day for me to reflect on just how lucky and blessed I am to have this crazy family of mine.

And it helped to have absolutely beautiful weather to boot!

After some Happy Mother's Day kisses from the munchkins, the four of us headed to IHOP for breakfast. Breakfast itself was yummy, but damn was the service terrrrrible. Thankfully I was in too good of a mood to let it get me down!

I love how Avery "colors". She essentially just taps the crayon on the paper, making dots.

And this little goofy ball would not look at me and smile.

Next, we took a longer scenic ride home. While the kids snoozed in their car seats, Daryl and I chatted about anything. One of my FAVORITE weekend activities. 

Then we came back home and played outside! After the crappy weather we've had lately, the kids (especilly Hunter!) were happy to be enjoying the fresh air.

Avery and Daddy playing ball. Avery pronounces it "baw! baw!"

A Mother's Day self-portrait.

We made some calls to our Mommy's and the kids and Daryl gave me my Mother's Day cards. (I'll be getting my gift in a couple of weeks. Big D is getting me a Cricut! WOO HOO!)  And then after hours of playing, I attempted to put Miss Cranky Pants down for a nap. We were unsuccessful.  Heh heh.

Even my fur-kid enjoyed the outdoors!

Big D ran out on an ambulance call so Hunter and I were back outside in the sunshine. I stretched out in a lounge chair and watched him kick off his sandals and run around like a crazy boy.  I also spray painted a couple of picture frames I'm working on.

Once Daddy got back home, and I grabbed Avery (the NON-napper) from her crib, we went to a nearby ice cream stand and enjoyed our cool treats while sitting at a picnic table by the pond, and people-watching.  The kid were a dirty, happy mess and I was feeling so relaxed and happy.

A quick stop at the grocery store with the kiddos to pick up the stuff for dinner...

 ....and then we were heading back home for Big D to put in the dock.  Even in his wet suit, the water was cooooooold.

So we enjoyed our yummy grilled dinner (cheeseburgers/hot dogs, corn on the cob and a grilled Vidalia onion....mmmmmm) and a bath for PigPen 1 and PigPen 2. By the time the kids were in bed I was EXHAUSTED and ready myself. Tried to read and watch tv and literally fell asleep will sitting upright on the couch so an early bedtime it was for me!

Definitely a beautiful, relaxing and enjoyable day. I couldn't stop looking at Hunter, Avery and Big D and feeling that my life has turned out pretty DAMN great.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Turning MY unexpected lemon into lemonade

Life often throws some unexpected "gifts" at you.

 I say "gifts" with a tad bit of sarcasm.

Last Thursday morning my boss informed me she had to issue me (and the other office woman) a temporary pink slip.  Due to unforeseen circumstances for my boss, we were told we could be out of work anywhere from one week to one MONTH (and hopefully no longer than that)!

While I sort of knew this was coming, it was still a shock for it to actually HAPPEN.

Big D and I have absolutely NO financial cushion to fall back on in a time such as this. As a mater of fact, we had just been talking about really getting on the ball and starting up a savings account for emergencies.  Great timing, eh?

We won't starve obviously, but things are definitely going to be tight. When you really come to rely on BOTH incomes, losing one (even if it's a part time income) is a huge slap in the face. 

So, no unnecessary spending this month, no splurges, no treats for the kids, no random Joann's or Michaels' runs for me, or thrifting at Goodwill.

I've been wanting to get into couponing for a while now but was just never motivated enough (nor did I know where to begin). Well this has been a kick in the pants so I think it's time to get started. I've been checking out coupon sites and other bloggers who make a habit of getting crazy deals on a weekly basis.

Also, since last Friday, I've been an absolute cleaning MACHINE. Between being a full-time Mommy and part-time worker, I admit to letting the house work slide sometimes. Not becuz I didn't want to do it, just becuz there never seemed to be enough TIME to do it all. Laundry had piled up to the extreme and we couldn't see the bathroom floor anymore in front of the washer, and half the couch was completely swamped with clean laundry waiting to be folded.

Did you think I was kidding? Check out the floor behind Aves, and the clean stuff on top of the washer. *SIGH*

Tucker has been shedding like a bear so doggie-dust bunnies were rolling all over the house.  There was piles of clutter EVERYWHERE stressing me out on a daily basis.

So.....starting last Friday I've been on a mission...get this house really CLEAN and ORGANIZED.  And I'm happy to say, I'm making great progress! Even though being unemployed right now sucks from a financial aspect, it is awesome to be able to have ample time to get this messy house in order!

Also, I ran to Walmart on Sunday and bought a 10-pack of new undies for Hunter, to go along with the 6 pair we already have. I think I'm finally ready to get serious about potty-training! I still haven't fully decided if we will be signing Hunter up for preschool for this August (when he turns 3) but if we DO, he needs to be potty trained. And now we have 16 pairs of cute little boy undies to get us started.

Good lord, my baby boy is getting so big!

Anyway, I'm also excited to get to spend some fun quality time with the kiddos. While we can't spend extra moola to KidCity (really cool local kids museum) like I've been dying to do, what we CAN do is play outside (weather permitting...so far it's been CRAPPY) or do some fun crafty projects inside...and I have a free family four pass to the Beardsley Zoo that we got for Christmas, so I'm looking forward to bringing them to the zoo one day soon!   And conveniently, Daryl was given a free four pack of tix to a Red Sox game coming up at the end of the month so we've already asked another couple to go with us for a fun (and MUCH needed) date night out! Those are almost non-existent for us with Daryls' schedule and now with lack of funds!

I'm going to do what I can to make the best of an otherwise crappy situation!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Weekend and a haircut...two bits!

Had a great weekend...and I CHOPPED OFF my HAIR!

I've been feeling so blah lately. I turned 35 in December and while I know it's still considered "young" by some standards...I'm feeling old and just frumpy lately. 

I have lost about 6-7 lbs now so that has been a little boost. I'm finally starting to fit better into my clothes. I mean, Avery's only one year old so that's not bad, right? (<------insert sarcasm here). Even though I looooong ago lost all my baby weight from her pregnancy, and was less than my starting PG weight by a couple of pounds (but still overweight), my body is SO different.

While I tell people that Hunter's pregnancy for sure changed my body, Avery's pregnancy WRECKED my body. Ha ha. Thank God these little munchkins are WELL worth it!

So back to my  hair. I've been just in that blah-state lately and since I don't have a ton of money, it's not like I could go out and buy a new, flattering wardrobe or anything.  And I was overdue for getting my hair done.  I had all intentions of getting my normal cut and maybe lightening up with some blond highlights (which I do every spring/summer).  And I randomly stumbled across a couple of hairstyle pics  on Pinterest, literally the DAY before my appt.

I liked how both styles had choppy layers, and I fantasized about having to spend waaaay less time blow drying.  I shower and do my hair while Avery is taking her morning nap, and sometimes it's a short nap! I wanted something easy but cute and FUNKY.

So here is my normal 'do, my "Before" look:

Granted, this is bed head. Probably not the best "before" shot.

And now here is my "After" look, my new 'do:

I love it! I was afraid I'd panic when I saw how much hair was gone (this is the SHORTEST I've ever gone) but I actually felt so much freer, and lighter...and SASSY!

I feel like I'm getting some of my "spunk" back. Next on the agenda, STOP BITING MY DAMN NAILS so I can finally use the gift card I've had for two years for a manicure!