Monday, May 22, 2017

Music Monday

Welcome to Music Monday, a new (hopefully) weekly thing I'm giving a try.  I've been toying with this idea for a very long time of starting a weekly music-themed post.  I used to be really into music of many genres, but have really fallen out of the loop since having kids.  I used to love to turn on DMX (called something else now, but those music channels in the 900s on Comcast) or browse iTunes on Saturday mornings in search of new music but I just don't get the chance that often anymore.  The only music I hear nowadays is the same 3 or 4 songs over and over on my way to work everyday.  Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" and Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" are great, but I get tired of hearing them multiple times a day.  Sometimes I'll change the station to a rock station that plays all the 80s hair band music I loved in high school, but other than that it's the same songs over and over.

Then every once in a while I manage to find something new.  This weekend at the dance rehearsal/recital I was introduced to two songs I had never heard before and absolutely loved.  One was a song that the hip hop class that Kayley had been in but quit performed to, and the other was the song Olivia's modern dance class performed to.

The first is a song called "Wait for it" from the musical Hamilton by Leslie Odom Jr.

The second is "This Time for Africa" by Shakira.  I know who she is and some of her songs, but had never heard of that one.  I guess it was the official 2010 FIFA World Cup song or something.  Really fun.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dance Recital

Olivia has been taking a dance class, beginning modern, for the last 4 months or so and yesterday was the big recital (for all the dance classes, not just hers.  Ballet, tap, jazz, modern and dance theater). I was helping out backstage so I missed a lot of it but I got to go stand on the side to watch her performance as well as a few others after hers.  She has several friends that have been dancing for years so they were all performing in the various disciplines.  It was fun to watch.  But it was really hard to get any decent pictures.  I got a few at the rehearsal the night before, though, plus they had a professional photo shoot last weekend so I get those in a few weeks.

I'm just glad it's over and we can have our Monday nights back.  We were spread pretty thin these last few months, having dance on Mondays, gymnastics for Olivia and piano for Kayley on Tuesdays and violin for Olivia on Wednesdays.  As I've mentioned before, Olivia will now have to decide if she wants to continue with dance or gymnastics, but we're not doing both any more. It's too much!

Olivia is left of the tall girl in the middle

Olivia, far left

Olivia, middle with leg up

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fun Anniversary Story

Today is our 11th anniversary, and this is the first time since we got married that it has fallen on a Saturday.  For the last several years I've been determined to go away somewhere for this anniversary but it just didn't work out.  Olivia has a dance recital photo shoot this afternoon (the actual recital is next weekend) and then there's Mother's Day tomorrow and I didn't want to mess up anyone's Mother's Day plans by having them babysit.  Getting married on Mother's Day weekend was probably not the best choice.  I get kind of tired of having them grouped together most years.  Oh well, totally not a big deal. 

So anyway, in honor of our anniversary, I am sharing a fun back story around when Paul and I met and started dating.

Back in 2002,  I had been attending the same church for about 7 years and decided to start trying out a few different churches in an effort to find one with a bigger and better dating pool :) .  But on October 27 of that year I went back to my former church for the first time in a few months.  I also attended an adult bible fellowship class (Sunday School for grownups, basically a Bible study but at church on Sundays instead of someone’s home during the week) and there was a new guy there that week.  He was cute, and I was interested.  But right after class got over, instead of going up and introducing myself, I, like usual, had to pee really bad from having had coffee so I instead made a beeline to the bathroom.  I was so bummed, but figured I’d get a chance to meet him eventually.  Then, after my bathroom trip I went back to the foyer where people were milling around between services and he was there and came up to ME and introduced HIMself!  Yay!  We chatted for a bit and then it was time to go into the sanctuary for the main service and as we parted ways I thought to myself, “I just met the man I’m going to marry.”  His name was Stephen.

Over the next several months Stephen and I hung out in groups and got to know each other a bit and started developing a friendship.  As much as I wanted to date him I figured it would never happen.  In January of 2003 I found out he had a girlfriend.  So instead of going to our church’s singles’ Valentine’s party and seeing them together (turns out she wasn’t there--she lived pretty far away-- but I wasn’t taking any chances), I decided to go to a dance at a different church instead (the one Paul attended, but obviously I didn’t know him yet).  I found out later that Paul was there, and we actually danced together (at one point we formed a big circle and everybody danced with everybody, so even though we don't remember, we know we danced with each other).

A few weeks later, Stephen had broken up with his girlfriend and he and I were at a coffee shop/book store just hanging out as friends.  Then.  THEN, he said something to the effect of, “So, I was wondering if maybe you’d want to start hanging out a little more”.  I can’t remember the exact words, but something along those lines.  I was ECSTATIC!  I didn’t show it, of course.  I was just like, “yeah, I’d love to” or whatever, but inside I was jumping up and down screaming.  We dated very briefly but ultimately he wanted to just be friends.  I was devastated.  So I kind of started going back to the other (Paul's) church off and on, and several months later he (Stephen) followed me there (not to be where I was, but just to meet new people and be part of a bigger and better singles group).  He started making friends with people there, including Paul and his good friend Bela (Bay-la).  I still hadn’t met Paul officially, because we both attended somewhat sporadically (especially me, because for awhile I was recovering from surgery, then I was still going to the other church off and on, or just skipping J), but we definitely crossed paths a time or two.  Once in the summer of 2004 when Stephen’s mom and sister were visiting from Atlanta a big bunch of us went out to lunch with them after church.  Paul was there, and remembers me coming in late (I had trouble finding the place), but still we never officially met and I don’t remember him.  In the fall of 2004, Stephen, unbeknownst to me, made several attempts to set me up with Bela.  It was always kind of last minute, and I always had plans.  I was actually dating someone at the time but it wasn’t serious.  Anyway, a bunch of them (including Paul sometimes) would be going to a movie or something and Stephen would try to invite me to introduce me to Bela but it never worked out, although I did finally meet him at a party at Stephen's in November 2004 but it wasn't like a blind date or anything, we just both happened to be there.

Then in January of 2005 I signed up for Eharmony.  Paul was one of the first people I was matched with and we started communicating back and forth.  One night about a week or two later, I was out with Stephen and two other friends (Sarah, a new acquaintance from the new church, who also knew Paul, unbeknownst to me, and my friend Erica) watching a football play-off game (Stephen's team the Atlanta Falcons and I forget who else, but NOT the Seahawks).  Somehow the subject of dating and marriage came up and I made a comment about how I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I was probably never going to get married (I wanted to, I just was convinced I was never going to find anyone).  Here I was, communicating with Paul on Eharmony and hanging out with 2 people that knew him pretty well, but I had no clue, and they had no clue I was communicating with him.  I went to church the next day but he wasn't there because he had gone to Whistler for the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.  I remember chatting with Bela, having no clue that he was good friends with this guy I was communicating with on Eharmony!

About a week later on Saturday the 22nd, a bunch of us, including Stephen, went out for my birthday.  I skipped church the next day, having been out late and all, but had I gone we probably would have met there.  But we finally met on the following Saturday, the 29th for our first date.

We met at the Greenlake Starbucks.  The plan was to have coffee and then walk around the lake after.  By now we knew that we both went to the same church and knew some of the same people and he says I looked vaguely familiar but probably wouldn’t have been able to place me if he hadn’t already known and I didn’t really recognize him.  We had our coffee then walked the 3-mile loop around the lake and when he suggested lunch after I agreed.  We saw each other in church the next day, and then went to lunch after and then went out again the following weekend and were soon exclusively dating.  On December 3rd, 2005 we got engaged (you can read about that here) and on May 13th, 2006, we got married.  Bela was his best man and Stephen, though invited, had moved back to Atlanta and did not attend.  The end J

 (I snapped these with my phone straight out of our wedding album as I don't have any digital wedding photos)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Recent Happenings

Much to my frustration we have been extra busy lately.  Every weekend it's something else.  There were two weekends in March that had two Girl Scout cookie booths each, plus birthday parties and what-not.  Then Easter and a Girl Scout trip and more birthdays...

Last weekend was blissfully plan-free and I was finally able to work on some projects but then this weekend was back to super busy and being gone a lot.  Yesterday we went up to Mount Vernon for the whole day, visited my mom, went to my great nephew's first birthday party and then to my best friend's house for dinner, then today we went to a graduation party for a family friend who just earned her doctorate in physical therapy.  We have a bunch of stuff the next few weekends too and then Memorial Day weekend is wide open at this point.  Can't wait.

Here's a rundown of recent happenings.

Paul turned the big 5-0 on March 28th.  We went to dinner with some friends at the Melting Pot.  The girls really had fun with the fondue.

We spent Easter at the in-laws  and went to an egg hunt at a friend of their's place.  Back at the in-laws, we got a few photos in their yard, and I finally got a decent picture of Kayley not acting all weird.
Best picture of Kayley in YEARS! 

Our neighborhood usually has their own egg hunt/potluck brunch at the park the Saturday before Easter so we went to that as well.

Getting ready to hunt for eggs

A few weekends ago the girls had their annual Girl Scout trip--the one they earn and pay for with their cookie sale money.  It was at Seabrook, a tiny little community on the Washington coast.  I went as a chaperone even though I would have much preferred to stay home and have a kid-less weekend with hubby but Olivia didn't want to go without me.  She will stay at friends' houses but not go on far away overnight trips without me.  But I'm glad I went because it was a fun trip and a fun little town that I didn't even know existing before.

The girls made "gnome houses" on the Gnome Trail.

They all got $7.00 to spend at the candy store.

Yesterday was our trip up to Mount Vernon for my great nephew's 1st birthday.  He already has his own pony, so the kids all got pony rides.

Carter, another great nephew, looking for chickens

After the party, we had a little time to kill before going to my childhood friend's home for dinner, so we went downtown and checked out the River Walk.

Mount Vernon is famous for tulips and has an annual Tulip Festival

 Several weeks ago a few friends and I went to a local winery for a wine releases party that another friend of ours was catering.  It is actually a residence that doubles as a winery that, again, I didn't even know existed until I heard about this event on Facebook.  It was a fun little girls' night.

That sums up the last few months.  We're looking forward to school ending and our cruise!

Saturday, March 25, 2017


It may seem like I don't blog that often, but I actually blog a few times per week, I just never get around to finishing and publishing my posts.  I always have tons of drafts sitting around, most of which eventually get deleted.  Today I thought I would just combine a bunch of those into one post and call it good.

On our upcoming anniversary

On May 13th, 2006, Paul and I got married.  It was a Saturday (as most wedding days are).  And in the 11 years since, this will be the first time our anniversary will fall on a Saturday.  It has fallen on a Friday a few times but not Saturday until this year.  I've known pretty much the whole time that it wouldn't fall on a Saturday until this year and I have been wanting all this time to go away somewhere overnight for this anniversary.  But now Olivia has a dress rehearsal for her dance recital that day.  We could still go somewhere overnight, leaving right after the rehearsal and coming back Sunday evening, but it also happens to be Mother's Day that Sunday, so I'm reluctant to ask any relatives to watch the girls that weekend because I wouldn't want to interfere with their MD plans.  So again we wait.  I think our 17th will fall on a Saturday again, or maybe we can do something special for our 15th even if it doesn't fall on a weekend.

A Perfect Day

Seattle has a reputation for being rainy but the reality is that it isn't as bad as most people think.  Except for this year.  It's been every bit as bad and maybe worse.  But a week ago Thursday was a beautiful sunny day and people lost their minds.  The streets were filled with kids playing and people out walking.  The girls went to a friend's house for a playdate and Paul and I went for a nice walk, just the two of us.  Then on Sunday is was sunny again.  At one point during the afternoon Paul and the girls rode their bikes to the frozen yogurt shop and I sat outside sipping a glass of wine, painted my nails and read a book.  It was heaven.  And it has rained every day since.

Ha ha.  I had already finished my wine (or almost) when I snapped this picture.

Kool-Aid Hair

The girls had been bugging me about getting their hair dyed.  Just the ends, or streaks.  There is something called dip dying where you just dye the ends of hair and apparently it's a thing to use Kool-Aid.  So, since it's a ton cheaper than going to a salon we decided to give it a try. It's supper easy, you just add 2 packs (except with Olivia I only did 1 because I didn't know you were supposed to use 2 when I was at the store buying it.  I just used less water and it still worked fine) of whatever color Kool-Aid you want to hot water and then put the ends of the hair in however far you want and leave it for 3-5 minutes.

I didn't get a picture of Kayley's but she did a reddish purple (we mixed cherry and fruit punch).  It actually looks really good with her medium brown hair, and you can still see it 3 weeks later, whereas Olivia's had totally faded.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Work Life Balance

I'm late, but today I'm linking up with Shay and Erika for their Workin' it Wednesdays series (which, this time, was on Monday, hence my lateness).  It's a topic that I really struggle with and want to blog about, Work/Life Balance.  I can't wait to read what others have to say on the topic because I need all the help I can get!

Work/life balance is something I’ve been actively seeking and striving for ever since I went back to work 3 years ago.  But sadly, I have only discovered that, at least for me, it simply does not exist.  Some simple math will prove it.

My work week starts when I get up around 6:30 AM on Monday and ends on Fridays at 6:30 PM when I get home, give or take.  That is a total of 108 hours.  Of that 108, 60 are spent working, getting ready for work or commuting to and from work.  Another 28ish are spent sleeping.  That leaves 20 hours for “life”, and 14-16 of those are spent cooking, cleaning, chores, making lunches, helping with homework, etc.  So, “life” pretty much consists of 4-6 hours (1-1.5/day) in the evening, watching a show, reading or playing on the computer after everyone else has gone to bed or is at least in bed reading (Kayley).  60 versus 4-6.  Ehhhhh…not exactly balanced.  I get that "work-life balance" is not meant to be 50/50 and it's more about making the most of the free time you do have and managing your time in such a way as to maximize the amount of time you have for what's important to you, but still.  I am never "off duty" until AT LEAST 9:00, sometimes 10:00, and it's very frustrating.  Most of this post was typed up at work on a break, because otherwise I'd never have time.

Of course, there are weekends, but as you know, those are mostly consumed with running errands, cooking, laundry and other household stuff.

Having a housekeeper has been a lifesaver.  Before that I literally did nothing but all of the above AND clean.  It was awful.

I try to menu plan and make meals ahead but it's hard because the girls won't eat most things I make/want to make and I don't want what they will eat, and most nights they have to just eat something quick before rushing off to dance/gymnastics/violin, so we eat a lot of pre-made things from Costco like stuffed peppers, shepherds pie and rotisserie chicken.  And I know the importance of not overscheduling them but Kayley is only in one thing (piano, and she comes to us) and Olivia is in 3 (dance, gymnastics and violin) but the dance is just to try it out and see if she likes it and if she wants to keep going she will have to chose between that and gymnastics.

So, for me, there is no balance.  I'm working at it and as the girls get older and can do more for themselves and help more around the house, it will get better. Meanwhile, I will check out the link up for some great ideas.

Friday, March 3, 2017

9th Birthday Party

The girls' 9th birthday was Tuesday (February 28th) and we had their party last Saturday (February 25th) at an ice arena.  They skated for an hour and a half, and then we had a party room for an hour.  It was a fun party, not horribly expensive and not much work on our part.

This was supposed to be them posing with their cake, but you can't even see the cake because it's so bright.  I'm pretty sure the flash wasn't on but my phone camera has a mind of it's own.

Kayley in the middle

Kayley being Kayley

Sweet freinds

Staying close to the rail!

The whole gang

When I ordered the cake, I asked for anything ice skating related.  A friend had recently had an ice skating party and had a cake from the same place with ice skates on it.  But when Paul went to pick it up, they said they didn't have ice skates and he ended up getting horses instead.  I thought they could just draw on some skates with icing or whatever but I guess not.  So we put all the horse stuff on (2 horses, trees and a fence) but then I decided I would try to draw on some skates myself, so I did.  But I decided to leave one horse and the trees.

The in-laws were coming over for dinner after the party, and I wasn't sure if there would be enough cake left over (there wasn't), so I made an extra with a Minecraft theme.  I made a creeper face with black gel and then just put on a bunch of little figurines the girls had.