I surely gave you all the wrong idea about my cute laundry pile. The title said that there were piles like that all over the house because there were, there were like forty piles like that, all over my house. Also-- those clothes were CLEAN. Not dirty. Clean. Not folded. Cold. Wrinkled. Wadded up. And clean.

I am very sad to admit that they were never put away and have now found their way onto the floor and have mingled with the dirty clothes. So I am breaking my rule about not washing clean clothes and will probably accidentally wash some of them again. But after this, I am starting fresh and I am NOT doing this anymore. Ragh. I am not going to let laundry control me anymore.

(Speaking of letting laundry control me, I recently spent four days feeling horribly sick, tired, dizzy, etc., and finally realized there were moldy/mildewy towels in my laundry room sink. I tied them up in a bag, threw them away, and two hours later felt totally normal. Seriously. I have a horrible mold allergy that almost killed me in 8th grade. Geez, the responsibility I demonstrate.)

I know a few of you were wondering if the cutesy shoes were really there or if they were staged and the answer is yes, they were really there, but I did move them a few inches for the photo.

They were my mother's day present.
They make me happy.
They make me feel like I am on my way to an audition to be a chorus girl or something.

I think I am going to go put them on now.
Nevermind that I am still in my pajamas.


the greatest spectacle in racing FTW!

First of all, THANK YOU ALL so much for your laundry comments! I wish I could respond to each one of you personally. You are all very smart about this and gave me wonderful suggestions. I plan to delve into it deeper in the coming weeks.

I have to confess, I had a really bad attitude for much of this weekend. On Saturday I was stewing because I felt like I should be doing something fun and flingy and fantastic but was instead cleaning the same messes and doing the same things without a break that I always do without a break and even though I love doing these things for my family and I love my life I don't really love doing them without a break and it was a bright cheery sunny holiday weekend. So anyway. I wasn't being mean or anything, but I wasn't being my nicest sing-songiest self.

Sunday morning we woke up at 7, as usual, and began preparing for our day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Before this year, we had not attended the Indy 500 since 2002. I was only 19 the last time I went. I sort of remembered it being loud and crowded. Based on that memory, I had low expectations for Sunday. I was also honestly quite nervy about leaving Alice for the first time and being gone for six full hours.

But whatever. I went along for the ride because my husband? He is a sports crazy guy. And he is into this. And I am into him. So, um, whatever.

Sunday morning was bad.
I was mad because I couldn't find the $100 in cash I was supposed to have. (It had disappeared in the laundry, go figure.)
I was mad because we couldn't find Clark's shoes and we destroyed the house looking for them on the way out the door. (They were in between his bed and the wall, go figure.)
I was mad because we were taking my baby brothers, Ethan and Kai, who are 9 and 10 years old with us to the race.
Although I love them as if they were my own children, I was sure they would be hungry/tired/bored/hot the whole time and I would feel like I was parenting during the one break I was finally finally finally going to have.

I did not expect to have a total blast.
I had a total blast!
Oh my goodness Indy 500!
You are so much fun!
And my darling baby brothers were actually the cherry on top of the whole thing.
They were radiant the entire time. They were so into it. They made what was super fun into something even cooler.

Kai kept asking me during the warm-up laps, "Did it start yet? Are they racing? Is this how fast they go?" and I just told him to wait and see.

I'm pretty sure the look on his sweet little face when the cars went full speed on Lap 1 is permanently ingrained my memory. My brothers were so good, so sweet, so impressed, so thrilled. And I kind of was too. I didn't remember the whole thing being quite so... amazing.

Do you know how many people attend the Indy 500? Somewhere around 300,000.


Do you know what it's like to sit in stands that create a 2.5 mile oval with three hundred thousand other people?
It is a fascinating and overwhelming shared experience.

Other fun facts!

Do you know how fast the cars go?
Like 220 miles per hour.
It's so. freaking. fast.

As soon as you've focused your eyes on a car it has flown away again.
And almost as soon as it has flown away again, you hear it coming back. Because when you're going 220 miles per hour, 2.5 miles really isn't very far.


I love this photo.
I took it as Helio (the little bit of a car you can see) was completing his 199th lap around the track, about to cross the finish line to win the 2009 Indianapolis 500, the greatest spectacle in racing. And they are so not joking around with that nickname.


There are piles like this all over.

Still taking suggestions.

PS. This is the first time in six years that we have not gone out of town for Memorial Day weekend. We are leaving both of our kids with my mom tomorrow (for the first time) and attending the Indy 500. It should be... interesting.

Me: What should I wear to the race?
Luke: Do you have a checkered bikini top? Cause that's traditional wear. But it's really your call.


sustainable normality

I told a friend in an email yesterday that I feel like donating everything we own to Goodwill and living in a clean empty house. This isn't entirely true, but it is about 40% true.
I just want my house to be... normal. Not spotless. Not perfect. Not magazine ready. Just not psycho. I don't understand how it is possible to work as hard as I do at maintaining normalness around here and still have things go crazy during the 30 seconds I am not focusing all of my energy on house stuff.

I don't want to clean my house. I want to be the best mom and best wife I can. This means balancing. I do think a clean house helps everyone, though. My two year whines less and plays more imaginatively when things are tidy. (I think he is like me-- my brain works better without all of the visual distraction). I also don't think it does my husband any favors when he comes home from a mentally stressful job and steps knee deep into a different kind of crazy.

So I've decided to start blogging about the little things I am finding helpful, both to help other people (if my "tips" happen to work for you) and to document it for myself so I remember.

During the two weeks that our internet was out, I spent every second trying to "Summer ready" my house. I just wanted to make large scale improvements that would actually make the amount of time my house is clean last longer. I cleaned out the toy box and put half of them in the attic. Luke built shelves for our laundry room. I cleaned out my crazy closet. My house was super clean and just when I was feeling smug, it will fell apart and went back to nutso.

So I am considering a total reevaluation and rethinking of my cleaning routine.

Today I am going to ask for help with LAUNDRY.

Here's the problem:

1) We have way too many clothes.

2) We sometimes wash our clothes when they don't need to be washed.

3) We need better storage for the clothes that do need to be washed.

I am going to attempt to put some of our clothes away. I only actually wear a few things. Do you ever notice something you don't think you've worn in a really long time has come out of the dryer? This happens to me a lot. It could just be my crazy family, but I really think random things get washed way too much. I also think my clothes could be spot cleaned instead of thrown in a washing machine. Not only does it waste water, time, energy (both physical and electrical), and detergent, it also takes a toll on the clothes and they end up looking ratty way too fast. OH! And I also need to stop washing clothes when I don't actually have time to wash, dry, and fold them. I often throw them in the washer just so they don't stain and then I get called away and they end up mildewy or put in the dryer and getting cold and wrinkled and all around gross.

So I am going to try to 1) pick a small wardrobe of clothes that make me happy, 2) spot clean them when I can, and 3) be conscious of what I am putting in my washing machine. I will also 4) not do laundry unless I have the time to fold it, too.

I know this all sounds obvious, but hey! I am stretched pretty thin and I sometimes have a two year old helping me put stuff in the washer. Do you have any other tips?

Okay, I just realized it is Memorial Day weekend and I am blogging about LAUNDRY.

I cleaned one room today and all my family could say is "Mama you so crazy."


virtual insanity

So apparently just because my computer works, doesn't mean I have time to type my blog posts. Maybe I should start vlogging or podcasting. I could just ramble on and never type! I think I'm going to type tonight.

Right now, however, there is a Darth Vader toy flying on my head (Clark thinks Darth Vader can fly because he has a cape) and a whole bag of natural cheese puff things dumped on the floor and both of my kids have green snot in their noses and there are several sacks of groceries I got yesterday that have still not been put away and a sweet sweet baby girl on my lap and oh yeah this is why I don't open my computer until Clark is in bed at night.

(That last paragraph was one sentence. I am a very talented writer.)


I wrote that at like 11am. I never had time to edit it so it just sat open in a window on my computer as I dashed off to run an errand.

I try very hard to be an organized person but now? I am having a hard enough time organizing my house, and now I have to organize my technology too. Between emails, facebook wall posts, tweets, blog comments I want to respond to, blogs I want to comment on and OH YEAH REAL LIFE I am (hold on... my iPod touch just made a dinging noise alerting me that it has received an email message and now I checked my email and it looks like Marie just commented on a photo I posted on my Facebook wall which means she is online right now and I want to Facebook chat her and SEE WHERE I AM GOING WITH ALL OF THIS? Out of control right?) just not sure how to keep it all simplified.

Any suggestions?

And on a sidenote, now that I am "organizing my technology" I know for sure I am, in fact, living in the creepo future.


I'm Back (I think)

Okay, so ya'll (Hm, when did I start saying "ya'll"? Madeline I think you are rubbing off of on me!) didn't know I was gone because I fooled you by stealing wifi from an unsuspecting non-password protecting neighbor. But I was gone. Our cable and internet had been broken for over two weeks. The stolen internet thing was okay, but it was a rather inconvenient set-up because my laptop had to be in just the right spot, and it did not wield all that strong of a signal. (I meant to type "yield" there but "wield" works in that sentence too and I think the imagery in my head of my "set-up" "wielding" a signal like it's sword or something is just more fun.)

How many times have I blogged about our internet going out? Multiply that number by like five, and that's how many times it has actually gone out.

We have had so many repairs that they now refer to our house as "a chronic" and I know most of the technicians and have started to have repeats.

Does God not want us to use the internet or something? No really. Why does my house hate technology while I, on the other hand, love it a lot?

I actually said something like that out loud to the guy who was rewiring everything today and he looked at me like I had three heads. Not two, three. He was already looking at me like I had two heads because he got to observe what it is a stay-at-home mom does with a two-year-old and a nine-month-old and it is a little-bit-loud and a little-bit-chaotic.

(Did you like how that paragraph had the theme of using-lots-of-dashes? Didn't you miss these special fancy tricks I do when I was not blogging and was sick with the Bad Broken Internet disease for two weeks? Didn't you?)

What I actually said to him was, "If this doesn't work I am going to think God doesn't want me watching cable TV." I was only sort of joking.

I need to catch up on reading all the blogs I like to read (ALL of yours, I love you all) and leaving comments and all that, but I am so behind. Please don't be offended if I don't get to you. Just leave me a new comment and I will come say hi. Cause really, 'yall, I am back! I am back in my bed using my laptop with a set-up that wields four bars of signal energy in the signal picture icon thing! And Alice is sleeping without even my foot touching her! This is a great evening. I think I am going to have some chocolate milk now. Right now. At 12am.

(This is when my husband who is at least as goofy as I am would make up a song and sing it really dramatically like, "Ohhh googlenet, I'm so happy you're back in my life to staaay! How I need you in my heart! Ohhhh googlenet!"


You Capture: Color

Beth's challenge this week was color. The most colorful room in my house belongs to Alice.

poladroid room

I decided to do these in Poladroid. All the shots looked kind of vintagey and the light when I took them was super rainstormy and gray (seriously folks, it was like taking pictures at night) so at least they look fun now instead of just way too dark. They might not have bright vivid color, but they do have interesting color. (Right? This is what I'm telling myself.)

poladroid portrait

Oh, and remember my grandma's table?

Here it is. I love how you can see Alice's parasol light in the mirror.


take it from an expert

My friend Colleen works for our local public radio station and today she interviewed me for a short little piece she is doing about moms and internet usage/addiction. Of course the moment she pulled out her cool little microphone I froze up and couldn't think for a moment of what I wanted to say.

I have a lot to say about this! This, my friends, is something I know something about!

There were several points I meant to make, but I have no clue what actually came out of my mouth.

I found the online parenting universe (is this what it's called? does it have a name?) back in 2006. I was 22 and pregnant and I wanted information. I spent the first half of my pregnancy soaking in a tub reading every book I could get my hands on, but eventually found that reading books wasn't enough. I wanted a certain kind of information.

I wanted to know what it was really going to be like to have a kid.
I wanted to know how to breastfeed.
I wanted to know every last detail about the mechanics of labor and delivery.
I wanted to know about all the tough decisions I was going to have to make.
And I wanted more than one perspective.

Through a combination of blogging and reading online forums, the fog lifted from around my head and it all started to make sense. I learned how to cloth diaper and cloth diapered my baby from birth. I learned how to breastfeed and had an entire brain full of knowledge about breastfeeding before I had ever even tried it. I felt totally confident about my ability to care for my son and I even had opinions and gut feelings about what was going to work for us, like, the day I came home from the hospital. I was armed with knowledge. Without the internet I would have been somewhat clueless.

But why else do so many moms use the internet now? Isn't there something deeper?

Well. If you want my opinion...
We are all desperate for social interaction, yes, but not just to have friends and sanity, though certainly those things are needed. We gravitate towards each other online because mingling with other mothers on Twitter is simply an extension of connecting the way women have always connected.

Never before have women all lived in isolated little bubbles, trying to do it all, and all on their own. Why should we now? Women actually used to be empowered (I used to hate the word "empowered" especially in rants like this one but it is, in fact, the right word) simply by possessing knowledge about childbirth, breastfeeding, swaddling, soothing, and cleaning toddler poop out of clothes. They were the experts. It was good, true, first-hand information, and the act of sharing it bonded them together. Something happened along the way, and a lot of that power was taken away, but I think we're getting back to it, kind of. In the weirdest and most futuristic of ways. Sitting in our isolated houses all strung up with electricity, Googling ourselves some community.

Breastfeeding, carseat safety, circumcision, food allergies, nutrition, colic, vaccines, potty training, how to swaddle, how to soothe, how to use a breast pump--these are so much more than hot button issues. These are the things that mothers Google.

And we don't want to hear about them from Good Morning America. We want to hear about them from each other.

There may be a part two to this someday. I have even more to say, if you can believe it.

Out of curiosity, how did you find the online mom blogging community? And how do you use it? I am very interested in other perspectives!

(Also, it is late and I typed this very fast. If it you notice entire paragraphs have been edited out in the morning, do not be surprised.)


out of the bubble

I did something totally unlike me yesterday.

I met up with A Stranger From The Internet.

Amy, a twitter and blog friend, happened to tweet that she was in Indy all week for a business trip. She is a computer programmer and what she does looks insanely complicated to me, but she does it! Anyway, she happened to be staying on my side of town, right by the high school I graduated from. I decided to meet her at the Steak N Shake to chat for a bit. Last night was National Mom's Night Out, and Indy apparently didn't get the memo, so I thought this was an appropriate way to celebrate. When I left the house Luke said, "You can go, but she's probably gonna be a dude and you're probably gonna get abducted."

Uhh...er... thanks.

She was not a dude at all, but rather lovely, and she bought me a chocolate malt.
Thanks for meeting up Amy. (Sidenote: she was worried about the abducting thing too and brought a co-worker to protect her. We laughed about this after it was clear we were both normal.)

I think I am encouraged to do stuff like this more often.
Cause guess what?
I LIKE PEOPLE. I like talking to people. All of this "staying inside the house in my own little bubble" stuff is not super healthy or really my style.

So if you want to meet me and you are not an abducting-type dude but rather a lovely-chatty-type lady (and dude, I am smart, I can tell the difference) drop me a line.


someone older and wiser

Winter is gone. Really gone. I am no longer asking myself, "Is Winter finally gone? Is this Spring?" And that is how I know it is Spring. For real.

My 26th birthday is in four weeks.

For some reason turning 25 felt novel and exciting. After years of struggling with insecurity over feeling like a young young married girl and then a young young mom, I hoped 25 would be the year it ended. I hoped I wouldn't wonder if I was a grown-up anymore.

I am kind of a child-like person. Not childish, but definitely child-like. You are likely to find me curtseying and singing in public or wrinkling my nose and talking to myself as I pick out vegetables at the supermarket.

When I was six, my favorite movie was 'The Sound of Music' (of course) and I still remember the day I gleefully swore to my mom that when I was finally 16 I would sing "I am 16 going on 17" ALL THE TIME. I pictured myself as a glamorous teenager singing it just like Liesl and possibly dancing in a gazebo. My mom laughed a little and informed me that when I was actually 16 I probably wouldn't be interested in singing just like Liesl anymore.

But... I was.
And I did.
And I felt so much the same at 16-going-on-17 as I did at 6.
And I feel so much at 25 as I did at 16-going-on-17.

My life has changed, yes, quite a lot. I have lots of responsibilities and manage to look after two small people and a husband and a house and I do, I do it. I do it like a lady, like a mom, like a grown-up.

But how oh how can I be a grown-up when I remember exactly what it feels like to have my grandma rock me to sleep?

I think I am sort of accepting that adulthood feels different than I imagined it would. Your memories don't fade as much as I thought they would. And I can't believe I am a whole year older than my mom was when she was doing this with me. Now SHE? My mother? SHE was a grown-up. A mom. A lady. I never wanted to cross her or disappoint her. And while I knew she knew almost everything, I didn't realize that she knew what it was like to be a little girl. That she WAS a little girl. A little girl who got a little older and had a little baby.

Maybe next year when I turn 27 I will realize I have not asked myself if I am "really" a grown-up in a long long time. And then I guess I will know I am. For real.



I have a crush.

Maybe more than a crush.

I think maybe I love Studio Violet in the depths of my heart.

Studio Violet is run by two women, Elisabeth and Camilla who also have gorgeous inspiring blogs. Elisabeth's is a daily read for me.

I have the "Friends of Violet" print hanging in my living room, and now...

thump thump

...they have introduced Circus Violet. On reused porcelain. <---- {please click this link ---- it will make your brain flip flop}

I am smitten.

Please go check out their shop-- everything is just lovely.

Oh, and did I mention? My birthday is in a month. Ahem.

"Alice" ryhmes with "palace"

All blogging/emailing/twittering/asking Google about truffling pigs/playing Pathwords on Facebook, etc., is currently being done only with permission from Alice Vivian aka babywhoonlysleepsifIamtouchingher aka Queen of the castle and my lap.

She is generally either:

A) Sleeping on me. Pro: I am sitting down. Con: See the laptop there? Juuuuuust out of reach.

Or B) Looking at me like this.

And she is so cute and squishy that I let her boss me around.

For now.