Monday, August 31, 2009

Overcoming my fear of commitment

There is a crafter inside of me just screaming to get out, but then I can usually convince that persona that her project will never turn out the way she pictures it in her mind (and I know this from lots of experience) and that's usually enough to shut her up.

And I admit it. I have a HUGE fear of commitment when it comes to designing and COMPLETING craft projects.

This phobia doesn't manifest itself in any other aspect of my life, including my love life. Jason and I met and were engaged 2 weeks later. 6 months after that we became husband and wife.

True story.

But when it comes to redoing a piece of furniture... That's when I get sweaty palms, an irregular heartbeat and have difficulty breathing.

I just can't make the decision. Something about choosing seems so...terminal. I walk into the craft store, good intentions at the ready. But then I get so overwhelmed by All The Choices that all my intentions become the pavement on the road to hell.

That is, until I discovered the fabulousness of Mod Podge. This stuff is foolproof (coming from one who truly knows). It's genius. I'd like to hug the neck of the person who invented it to show my appreciation for their brilliance.

Although, that might just make things too awkward between us. So maybe a thank you note is more appropriate.

Most recently I decided to redo this fine specimen of a table:

I didn't know I had such mad photography skills. Just look at how I captured that layer of dust on the bottom rungs with such clarity.

That table is the last remnant of furniture from Jason's bachelor days. We still had his old couch and oversized chair until we moved last year and decided that split and stained cushions and caved in arms were just not worth the energy and space it would take to haul them.

I was a little sad because that couch had been really good to me during all three of my pregnancies. I was afraid the couch felt a pang of betrayal after all those years of taking care of me.

Then the new stuff was delivered to our new house. And my heart fluttered with euphoria on the inside. Old couch be darned, the new furniture is wonderful!

Anyway, he tried to convince me the table was an antique, but chances are he probably found next to a dumpster at his old apartment complex or something. I never asked for the full story.

I knew the table was going to have to be sanded first, so I armed myself with fine grain sand paper, plopped myself down on the front porch one day (we're Klassy) and got to work. I thought I had done a pretty decent job of "roughing it up" so that I could spray paint it, but when I cleaned it off, the finish looked just as glossy as it had before I started, so I pulled out the big guns: The Power Sander.

Once I power-sanded the table into submission, I spray painted it off-white. The technical shade is called Heirloom White.

I didn't take pictures of any of the in-between steps because I'm lazy like that. And I really wasn't in the mood to give myself a heat stroke by staying outside any longer than I had to.

Boy, I am really dragging this out. So sorry. Could we just get to the point?

Once it was spray painted, I let it dry for about 2 weeks.

I may not be a crafter, but procrastination is practically my spiritual gift.

I was planning to Mod Podge some paper to the top in a pattern that would coordinate with Missy's room, because her room doubles as the guest room and the big bed was in desperate need of a nightstand. Guests need to have a place to put their miscellaneous crap at night.

Long story entirely too long, I cut the paper into the sizes that I needed, rounded the corners with a paper punch and mod-podged all of it to the top of the table.

I was actually quite pleased that my inner crafter did such a fine job.

Please excuse the blue wall. I'm sure it was a lovely coordinating shade for the nursery decor of the people who lived here before us, but it's rather hideous next to Missy's lavender, black and off-white scheme. We purchased the paint for the room about 6 months ago. Along with a paint sprayer that Jason promised me would help get the job done faster. Clearly.

I've been experimenting with Mod Podge on a few other projects. I find it to be incredibly therapeutic. And I'm not even kidding.

Head on over to Mod Podge Mania to see what other awesomeness people are creating with Mod Podge!

Friday, August 28, 2009

7 Quick Takes: 08.28.09

Because I sometimes usually have difficulty composing slightly-better-than-mediocre posts out of the daily goings on at Sturghaus, and because my brain is so fried from the week that I can't even surf the internets AND watch TV at the same time (My goals. They are lofty.) when I originally saw this blog carnival on my blog friend Kacie's page, I decided to join in. Hang on to your seats, people. You're in for a moderately-paced ride.

I've had a dull aching discomfort behind my left eye all week, and based on sophisticated diagnostic testing (i.e. Google-ing "pain behind eye") I either have a tumor, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma or hysterical hypochondria. I'm going to try a new pair of contacts tomorrow and hope for the best. It's probably just sinuses. At least, I hope it is.

This was the first real week of the school year that I've been responsible for getting myself and the children out the door and to their respective drop-offs so that no one is tardy. Including me. While I'm not the model of self-discipline (please keep the gasping to a minimum), I have made it my goal this year to get up early enough to get myself ready before I rouse my little angels. I started strong, but woke up slightly later each day, which meant every morning teetered closer and closer to complete chaos and breakdown. I'll have to do better next week. If anyone has any great morning tips (besides preparing as much as I can the night before), I'd love to hear them. Especially if it will keep the boys on track with the morning expectations, without nonstop nagging on my part.

I can't WAIT for girls' night tomorrow night! I'm having some friends over for snacks, drinks (probably homemade Sangria, thanks to Lauren's blog), and chick flicks. Maybe we'll even braid each other's hair and play Truth or Dare. But I'm going to draw the line at prank calling the boys down the street. I'm afraid their parents would be most displeased. And we don't need anymore rude neighbors.

I got "The Call" from Micah's teacher this week. You know, the one requisite "positive" call teachers make in order to build a good relationship with the parents so that when the teacher has to be the bearer of bad news, the parent is more receptive. I was a teacher long enough to know that 76% of education is good PR. So now I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I almost had a panic attack today when I THOUGHT I had left my iPhone at my office when I made my Sonic Happy Hour run. How was I going to sit and do NOTHING for LITERALLY MINUTES while I waited for my Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper to be prepared and delivered? Thankfully it was a false alarm and I was back to my newest app addiction, Flood It, in no time. I'm not even going to reveal the embarrassing number of games I've played, but I've won 36% of them. I'm also addicted to free apps. But I will never admit that I'm such an iPhone nerd that I PAUSE iPhone commercials to check out the cool apps on the TV iPhones. There really is an app for everything.

I'm completely desperate for new fall TV, but I'm also thankful for the discovery of previously-unwatched -on-my-part shows this summer. Now I'm watching The Rachel Zoe Project (Thanks to Melanie) and reruns of How I Met Your Mother. Not to mention the countless hours of Phineas and Ferb I've enjoyed with the kids. It's seriously the BEST cartoon ever produced. Try it. You WILL like it.

I never knew how difficult it would be coming up with 7 quick takes until now. Since my memory is 35% better than a goldfish, I may need to make notes for future posts. If I remember.

For more quick-takes, visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary. Write your own quick takes and leave some comment love for others!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The grass isn't always greener. Especially in the middle of a drought.

(Indeed, this is a picture of our actual lawn. I wish I could say I found it on Google Images, but it's just a benefit of living in Central Texas.)

This summer our little neck of the prairie hasn't seen much rain. There's no strolling barefoot through the grass around here. Because who strolls barefoot through straw? Add to that the fact that the pesky heat index reaches unfathomable heights on a daily basis with no relief in sight and you pretty much have Death Valley conditions out there.

In the interest of full disclosure, Jason and I haven't been too concerned about keeping the grass in our yard watered and growing. Partly because the city requires its citizens to water their yards in the dead of night while we prefer to do more important things like sleep. Plus, if you water your yard, there's the unsavory but required mowing that has to be done on a more regular basis than just once per season (which would be our preference). So we just agree that the brown provides lovely contrast to the color of our house and roll with it.

Mainly, we just don't really care that we aren't going to be winning the Greenest Yard in the Universe award this year. We'll keep the money we would spend in water bills and buy our own trophy.

Our neighbors, on the other hand, are diametrically opposed to our laissez-faire lawn care and maintenance philosophy. They choose to water, fertilize, and mow with a religious fervor to rival the Great Awakening.

Unfortunately, some of their good faith efforts end up crossing the invisible boundary that separates the two yards.

Now, I don't begrudge the people their watering. They have every right to run their water bill through the roof in order to have the greenest yard on the block. Even though the statement their grass makes is that they obviously they don't give a flip about the fact that we are experiencing drought-like conditions. Water shortage, shmater shortage.

And what about the children all across the world who don't even have access to clean water? The neighbors are just throwing that precious commodity away to save their grass. So, who's really being green, huh?

OK, maybe I do begrudge them a little. Especially when I come home and see this:

The left side of the photo is our yard. It's a charming shade of brownish-grayish-dryish. We haven't mowed since I-don't-even-know-when.

The right side is our neighbors' freshly mowed lush green lawn. Made so by the water they stole from the thirsty kids.

The middle? Apparently, it would have taken our neighbors too much time and energy to make one more pass with their mower. It appears they took the liberty to deem the no-man's land in between our respective properties as our yard. But the reason it's overgrown is by no fault of our own. THEY are the ones who have been watering, thereby causing the grass to grow and need mowing. But I suppose they were plum wore out from watering the yard to who exert the force of labor to MOW THE REST OF THE YARD THEY WATERED.

I have one word for this type of petty behavior.


This incident comes on the heels of another in which our former neighbors (who built the fence around their backyard so we wouldn't commit the sin of jealousy in our hearts at seeing them frolic in their crystalline in-ground pool while we soaked our feet in a plastic kiddie pool) called the city on us because the grass was too high. At a house in which WE HAVE NOT LIVED FOR OVER ONE YEAR.

We had renters occupying the property for awhile and they kept up the yard. But since they moved out and we've really been trying to sell long distance, we haven't given much thought to the fact that the yard might be getting a bit unruly.

Funny thing, these neighbors were there when we moved out. They knew we hadn't been living there and that the house was vacant. They even went over and took our front porch swing one day after we moved because they said it had really belonged to them and they just loaned it to the previous owners of the house (a fact which, though debatable, is difficult to disprove). Nevermind that we lived there for 5 years with nary a word about the swing.

I suppose I understand they did what they had to do. It would be just too much trouble to give us a call and ask when and/or if we were going to have the place mowed. It's much simpler to just turn people in to the city so they get a weighty fine for lack of proper maintenance.

Who knew grass could be so controversial?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sometimes less is more...



(Clearly he's broken up about the whole ordeal. And he needs a higher dose of personality.)


...And sometimes less is just....well it just is.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The glamorous life of a mom

There's nothing quite like a full afternoon/evening of plans being thwarted by a virulent stomach bug. Today, my friend an I had an elaborate plan to get our children together for swimming and dinner.

That might not sound elaborate, but when my part involves getting 3 children rested, dressed, and packed for an early evening swim PLUS preparing my part of the dinner, things can spiral out of control very quickly.

We headed out to our friend's house, but when we were about 10 minutes away, she called me and told me her daughter was experiencing severe gastrointestinal distress.

To put it mildly.

We decided that I would go ahead and bring my kiddos for a swim and quick dinner because the chips, carrots and dip I "prepared" for my half of the deal weren't really going to cut it for a well-balanced dinner.

We drove a bit further and just before we reached their house, Piper decided it was her turn to vomit. Because I was ill-prepared to clean breakfast reruns off of her carseat, I continued to my friend's house to at least get some paper towels before we turned around and drove back home. Which was now the inevitable choice.

We had no more walked in the door at home when Cade rushed to the toilet.


Micah appears to be fine for now. I suspect the germ culprit was something the children picked up while swimming at our local YMCA yesterday. The common denominator between all the illnesses.

Since we've been home I've had to wash Piper's hair 3 times. Currently she's just playing in the bathtub. Mainly because she insisted and I didn't argue because I thought I might save some water in the long run.

I've also made PB&J for the children, which went mostly uneaten except for Micah whose appetite actually seems to increase with every bite he takes. I made myself a BLT, but held the L and the T and added some cheese. Because if anything is going to see me through this evening, copious amounts of fried pork can do the trick. Coupled with a strong drink. And probably lots of chocolate.

Hope everyone else has had a fab weekend! Now I've got to disinfect.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Pictorial Tribute to The Hair

Wednesday will be a monumental day here in the House of Sturg. Micah has lived to see 1st grade and Cade starts Kindergarten. Oh glorious day!

It will mark the end of the boys' Summer Justice League Training Camp, which is really just a ruse for the disobedience that is them climbing over, under and on top of the furniture for the sake of improving their super hero powers. My non-stop gentle reminders that "We DON'T CLIMB OR JUMP ON THE FURNITURE," may also cease. We'll all be much happier.

And let's be honest- the boys are no closer to meeting the admission requirements of the Justice League now than they were when summer began. But it's good for children to have realistic aspirations.

Cade is absolutely beside himself with delight over the start of school. He's been asking me daily since May if it's the day for him to begin school. And just this morning he informed me that "tomorrow will be the best day of [his] life!" Bless his heart. I just pray his teachers are ready. May my angels not cause their respective sweet-spirited teachers to lose their religion. At least not on the first day.

So our summer is officially drawing to a close today. Although it's not like the real season of summer is going anywhere soon. This IS Texas, where the only seasons we have are Warm and Hotter then Hell.

Last night J, the boys, and I had the opportunity to Meet the Teacher(s) at the school. On the way home from the school I asked Cade what he thought of his teacher.

"Well, she's beautiful is all I know," he said genuinely.

I think they'll get along just fine.

Unfortunately, just moments before the car ride home, as we were leaving the school, we ran into the Head of School. Innocently, she said to me (regarding Cade), "He's going to be getting a hair cut, right?

Uh, wha-, 'scuse me???

Cade has long-ish hair. Amazing, gorgeous, and TOTALLY AWESOME long-ish hair. It's part of him and his personality. And I'm very particular about cutting it because most people don't have the skills it takes to style it properly. He's received the "Lloyd Christmas" look one too many times for me to let just anyone take the scissors to his locks.

But now, Cade's hair and the previously-unbeknownst-to-me school regulations are at irreconcilable odds. If he's going to go to school at the institution to which we've already paid a boatload of money, his hair cannot touch his collar, can be no longer than the middle of his ears, and must be above his eyebrows.

When I heard this news, I rent my garment, shaved my head and fell to the ground. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, right?

I can't think about it. I can't even consider it. I'm not sure I can even call and make The Appointment, much less actually drive him there, put him in the seat and WATCH as his gorgeous hair is stripped away.

The date for the shearing is yet to be determined. For the first time, I'm actually quite grateful that our regular stylist is generally booked weeks in advance. But inevitably the day will come. And after that day, all I will have left of his hair will be in pictures.

Thus, the following tribute. To Cade. And his beautiful hair.

Please pause for a moment of silence.


Monday, August 10, 2009

There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.

My husband is a hero today. Not unlike Chuck Norris, except without the mad martial arts skills. And the TV show. And all the tough Norris jokes.

So pretty much the only similarity is the reddish beard.

J's latest Chuck-Norris-super-feat was busting a dude who was shoplifting magazines out of a local bookstore.

Let's all pretend that the offender was NOT wheelchair-bound, shall we? Yes, he was actually stacking magazines on the seat of his chair, sitting on them and then smuggling them out of the store.

You have to give the guy props for style.

And Jason didn't round-house kick the guy in the face either. J just chased him out of the store and managed to get his license plate number. Then he left the rest up to our fishing buddies, the local authorities.

In honor of J's heroism and bravery, I post the following video. One of my favorite SNL Digital Shorts of all time- it makes me so happy! Kind of like my own hero. Love you, baby!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

On the lookout for smokies in plain brown wrappers

(Name that movie. Hint: It's obscure.)

When Jason and I moved last year, we didn't relocate with the notion that our new city would be crime-free. But we also did not imagine that we would have to call the local PD so frequently that we're starting to consider ourselves fishing/shopping buddies with Our City's Finest.

Late one evening a couple of weeks ago, J and I heard helicopters circling. At first I thought it was possibly CareFlight, but by concentrating on the sound pattern of the chopper(s), and the fact that we could hear them flying for several minutes, indicating that if it WAS INDEED CareFlight, the intended recipient of Care had quite possibly passed on, it didn't take up too long to realize they were circling our area. So I called the police station to get the scoop.

(Make no mistake. This was not the first, second, or third call I've made to Our City's Finest in the last 12 months.)

The phone screener informed me that we most certainly were not in an impromptu war zone. But there had been an "incident earlier" and if we needed to know anything further, an officer would come to our door. In other words I was on a need-to-know basis and apparently I didn't need to know.

When I hung up the phone I felt like I was on an SNL episode of "REALLY?!?! With Seth and Amy."

REALLY?!?! The incident was "earlier" and they were still flying helicopters? REALLY? An officer is going to come to my door? REALLY? Because wouldn't it be more efficient for them to be out, I don't know...chasing the bad guys?!?!

Not 30 minutes later we saw flashlights (yes, plural) shining in the back of our house. Wanting to avoid the helpful phone screener, I went straight for the big guns...911. This time they told me that they had reports of a suspicious vehicle in the area.

REALLY?!?! A suspicious vehicle? And they think it's in MY backyard?!? Whatever happened to just running the plates and finding out who the vehicle belongs to and running the plates? Wouldn't that be easier than scaring the mess out of me when I'm ALREADY A LITTLE ON EDGE FROM THE HELICOPTERS?

J and I pretty much didn't sleep that evening with what we imagined to be a maniacal murderer on the loose, possibly hiding in our bushes. When the next day dawned, we kept a lookout in all the media outlets to get more information on our local terrorist. But there was NADA. Not a single word.

So fast forward to Saturday. I woke up with the knowledge that the contents of our pantry was paltry. I had no milk, no bread, and no cereal.

Basically, that means that I had no fixings for breakfast.

My plan was to take the children to enjoy a nutritious breakfast at McD's and then head to do some grocery shopping at The Store.

As I was loading them into their carseats through the passenger side door, I noticed the driver's side window looked oddly mottled in the corner of it. When I looked closer, I realized I was not looking at the window at all, but the SHATTERED REMAINS of the glass that once protected the insides of my vehicle from outside elements AND THIEVES.

Major fail.

Glass shards covered the driver's seat as well as the ground under the window. Exposed wires hung loosely where our stereo/DVD combo once existed.

Our Garmin GPS was also stolen, meaning that until we can afford to purchase a new one I may as well embrace the feeling of pretty much never knowing how to find my way out of a paper bag. My marriage may not survive.

I ushered the kiddos back inside where I fed them a hearty breakfast of chocolate chip cookies (graham crackers for Piper) and coke.

I wish I was kidding.

But I REALLY needed them to just be happy and BE QUIET so that I could regain some semblance of a normal thought process to figure out the next steps. I decided to call Jason, the police, and the insurance company, in that order.

When the friendly officer made it to the house, he took my statement and offered no platitudes that the thief might be apprehended and our things located and returned.

Because I can't stand missing out on a good story, I tried questioning him about the "incident" and the "vehicle" from previous week, but he told me he had no knowledge of the situation. Whether he was playing dumb or being completely truthful, I'll never know.

But I wisely let it drop.

I did make an off-hand comment that our neighborhood seems to be keeping them busy lately, and he casually responded that it's the entire town that's keeping them busy.


(I know that sentence is awkward. Consider it stream of consciousness. It doesn't always make sense. Thanks.)

For the time being we've decided the best we can do is to be diligent about setting our security system each evening before bed.

By "security system" I mean that we're letting our previously-kenneled-at-night miniature dachsund roam free about the house whilst we sleep because she will surely bark and awaken us should any stranger make the mistake of even looking in our home's direction.

She also frequently barks at the cat who lives on our porch, so that may wake us, too, but we aren't really sleeping well anyway, so what's the difference?

She also barks at absolutely nothing, so I fully expect to be jolted out of a dead sleep into an immediate panic at least once per night for no reason, but have I mentioned I'M NOT SLEEPING?

Let me just say, burglar beware of our attack dog. Oh, and Jason's rifle. What can I say? It helps me sleep.