Blog a la Cart

Month: May, 2010

Tissue Paper Flowers

It’s that time of year – graduations, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings! It seems like the early summer season brings with it many an occasion for celebration. And with that comes a need for congratulatory gifts. Rather than foot the bill for fresh flowers that will wilt and die in just a week’s time, why don’t you craft up something more lasting, more affordable, and hey, that helps reuse some of the wrappings and trimmings of celebrations past?

Materials:
A variety of tissue paper (or old sewing pattern paper)
Green floral wire
Scissors
Perfume (if you desire)

Directions:
1. For each flower, cut 6-8 seven inch squares of paper.

2. Stack and fold them accordion-style six times to create a thin rectangle

3. Round both edges of the rectangle with scissors.

4. Tightly twist a green floral wire, the length of your choosing, around the center of the rectangle.

5. Fan out the paper, then pull apart each layer, creating the blossom.

6. Spritz with the perfume of your choice and ENJOY! CELEBRATE! CONGRATULATE!

Photo: Courtesy Ashley Weeks Cart

Rx

When I was SO VERY PREGNANT, as opposed to that sorta-kinda-mildly-pregnant…

Um, let’s try this again…

When I was about to burst, at that stage in pregnancy when every woman swears that she will be knocked up for the rest of ETERNITY, the only woman in the history-of-ever to be pregnant for the rest of all time, my doctor began prescribing a lil sumfin sumfin to help “move things along.”

That lil sumfin sumfin being sex. S-E-X.

Because god did I ever feel sexy weighing in at over 200 pounds with a bladder the size of a pea, flatulence a flying, nipples like burned pancakes, and ankles as thick as tree trunks. Sexy was my protruding belly button.

Just imagine my OB, with a very very thick Russian accent a la Robin Williams in Nine Months saying with a straight face, I need you to have sex everyday, as much as possible. The semen will help thin the membranes and the orgasm will help stimulate the contractions.

Orgasms are more than stimulating contractions, lady.

And, please keep in mind that it was not James, but my poor, dear, long-suffering baby sister who was by my side during these conversations.

Kimmy, I apologize.

How very far we have come since that time of forced sexual intercourse.

See, before Addison was born, in those final days of prescribed intimacy, I had some shred of decency. I mean I pooped with the bathroom door closed, and sometimes excused myself before breaking wind.

DECENCY, folks.

Then, after childbirth, and the tearing, and the afterbirth (which btdubs totally looks like whale brains), and the poopin’ the table, and the coaching through my first-post-partum-bowel-movement, and the water faucet boobs, and the lemon-sized blood clots passed on the bathroom floor, somewhere in there, that shred, well it up and disappeared.

Now? Nothing is too shameful or private. Nothing is off limits.

Take for example last week. And our two hour drive to the airport to drop me off for my trip to LA. We stopped at a rest stop because sweet-mother-of-god the Diva Cup was leaking and I was about to board an airplane for six hours and didn’t need to signal all the narco dogs by way of my crotch.

We loaded up in the bathroom family style so that I could change The Cup, and James could change The Diaper.

The bathroom layout proved to be problematic for moi, who was  seated on the porcelain throne, as the sink was located ACROSS the room, which meant that I either needed to waddle on over with my tights down around my knees or hand the bloody Diva Cup off to James for a good rinse.

I think that we all know which route I took.

While James was being the most accommodating husband on the planet, Addison proceeded to crawl all over the public bathroom floor and then, as if in slow motion, lowered her face to the dingy tiles… and… suckled. Like tenderly suckled the public bathroom floor as though it were a teet.

God, Teet is a ridiculous word.

It’s like I’m raising the next Briteny Spears with this kind of public bathroom etiquette.

Horrified, I fell off the toilet seat, bare ass in the breeze, vagina leaking, and nabbed her from the filth. James grabbed Addison and threw The Cup in my general direction. I quickly struck the “Captain’s pose” (a little piece of advice given to me by a successful Diva Cup user), and we scurried on out of there.

Because if we pretend like that didn’t just ACTUALLY happen, then no one is contracting Herpes. And maybe there’s a chance James will one day be able to look me in the eye again.

Maybe.

Although there is no way he’ll look at a bottle of rum the same way ever again.

Why did I just share this post? I DO NOT KNOW.

Happy weekend, y’all. HUGSIES!

Back to life, back to reality

Yesterday was one of those surreal, magical days. A day that left my heart so full I could barely carry the weight of the love love love. There was singing, and eating of cake, and two TWO AND A HALF hour naps, and thirteen straight hours of sleep. Uninterrupted sleep.

It was a vision of what life with a one-year old could be. And it was positively divine.

And then, BAM! Wednesday hit us like a tank with napalm and a bad attitude towards brick, the brick being me and James.

Right about now, James is curled up in the fetal position, hidden beneath a sheet of white, manically rocking and mumbling, Make the bad man go away, all the while nursing a bottle of whiskey.

Indeed, bad man, GO AWAY.

See, today, was back to life, back to reality.

(And now I’m eerily humming some 80s jam in sync with James’ rocking)

Addison broke out in a fever and rash, all the while teething. This made for some epic, guttural, choking-on-a-cat-eating-a-baby-bunny scream cries.

I’m talking that inconsolable, crazy, out-of-control, I’VE LOST MY MIND, kinda cry. That makes you want to slit your tits. And then scoop out your ear drums. With an ice pick.

I came home post-spin class, waddling much like a year ago, except a year ago I had a pad the size of Texas between my legs layered with packs of ice in medical gloves, held together my mesh underwear because I had recently pushed a 9 lb WATERMELON through the lady parts.

Today, I was just crusted in sweat and saddle sore from having a man bedecked in spandex yelling at me to, Find my inner power.

Look bitch, I think that this here bike has “found my inner power” if you know what I’m saying.

James is more than mildly miffed that the bike got more than he’s had this whole year, and incapacitated my vagina for the next half century.

But, where was I?!

Oh, vicious cow torture and the brawling of hyenas.

I arrived home and James looked a tad shell-shocked so I offered to take Addison, who promptly crapped her pants.

I laid her on the changing table which only escalated the hog-demolishing-a-pack-of-wild-geese-squeals. I attempted to remove her diaper and skillfully wipe her poo-covered ass without coating myself, her, and the changing table in feces. However, she, being less than pleased, flipped over in fury and my instinct? To grab hold of her ankles and dangle her in the air much like one would hold a piece of biscotti above one’s cafe au lait. Only, imagine that the biscotti is coated in baby poop. Nay, dripping with baby poop.

I started yelling for James, while Sunny’s face turned NEON pink from the wails and the upside down man-handling. He came in, wipes, and is all, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH SHIT FOR ONE DAY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. So I scurry the cloth poo diaper into the bathroom to clean at a later time when Addison isn’t reenacting The Exorcist.

While I’m in the nursery trying to sooth her wails and wreaking of stale vagina sweat (God, I NEED A SHOWER), I suddenly hear James scream, NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!

Hanna had pushed her way into the bathroom. And was dragging that wet, gooey, slimy poo covered diaper, DOWN. THE. HALL.

I can’t even make this shit up.

Sorry, James, shit hit the fan. Again.

After getting a handle on the poo-poo hallway and knocking Addison out with a shot of gin, I settled into the bathtub with a glass of champagne, and James saddled up to the computer.

I came out of the bathroom, refreshed, relaxed, ready to curl up with a good book and my man, when I gazed at the bed in which I envisioned such curling up should occur, and there is a flood, I’m talking Noah’s-ark-style, on the bed.

Why? WHY YOU ASK?!

Because Hanna learned how to jump on the bed this morning.

And I think that we all know where this is going…

Ah parenthood, how you keep us humble.

Let’s just remember this happy day, shall we.

12 Months.

To My Precious One-Year Old,

When I was 22 years old I was informed that my ability to have children was limited, at best.

In the mind of an early-20-something that read as, “You are a biological failure and disgrace to the female sex, and you shall never bear children.”

It was a less than awesome.

Daddy and I were just dating at the time. I had known for awhile that we were in it for the long haul, but I’d also known, since about 2 weeks into dating Daddy, that he wanted to be a father more than anything in the world. Having children was an absolute must on his life list. So this news could have been a deal breaker.

I told him what the doctor had discovered. And his response:

There are many ways to have children and be a family. All that matters is that you and I are parents. Together.

And, stick a fork in me, I was done. I would have married him right then and there – although your Momar would have been less than pleased by an elopement in the bowels of that college dorm apartment where I was living/working at the time.

Daddy and I were engaged in the summer of 2007 and had 14-months to plan our wedding, as we wanted the date to fall exactly on our five-year anniversary in September of 2008. We were living in California, and I was taking care of a 4-month old baby boy to help with finances while Kimmy and I started up Green Eyed Monster. After 8-months of becoming a part of this family’s life and caring for baby Cash, it dawned on me one day that I could do this. Yes, I, at age 24, could be a mother. A damn good one.

You see, I had always envisioned having children in my 30s; after graduate school and “establishing my career” (whatever the HELL that means), just like Momar and Doda. Daddy, however, was born when Ghillie and Ranger were in their early 20s, and had always wanted to be a young parent. I never understood the urge, as I was so hung up on the finances, and instability of young parenthood.

But when I was told that my chances of biologically having my own children were better the younger I tried, that changed things. A lot.

While I have been and will always be completely open to adoption, part of what made womanhood and being female so profound and amazing to me was the opportunity to be pregnant. To conceive and bear life. That was an experience I did not want to miss.

Especially if what was holding me back were immature and silly excuses.

I came home one day and told Daddy that I didn’t want to risk NOT being a mother because I was scared. And that taking care of Cash had proved that I could do this. I was ready.

We agreed to not stress or “try” to have children (as *they* say that that kind of pressure can actually work against a couple). We were going to see what happened, and if by the time I was done with my Master’s degree I had not become pregnant, we would talk to a fertility specialist.

Five days after our wedding in the Berkshires, I peed on a stick. And you entered our lives.

Talk about the most intense, emotional, unbelievable week-to-date.

You had been with Mommy and Daddy as we said our vows on top of that mountain, you, my little three week old peanut.

There is nothing that could have made that day more magical and incredible than that news.

People thought we were crazy to have a baby during our 1st year of marriage. Didn’t we want to *enjoy* married life?!

See, the thing is, YOU have made every moment of every day since that blue line on a stick more enjoyable. More meaningful. And more worth living.

The first time her laughter unfurled its wings in the wind, we knew that the world would never be the same.

Daddy and I were let in on a secret when you entered the world – a secret that all parents share. I cannot put it to words – that palpable shift I feel in my gut – but you changed everything. My whole perspective re-focused the moment you entered the frame. I can barely imagine my life before you. It seems distant. And vapid. And well, boring.

There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same laughter & noise.

You have turned our worlds upside down and brought us more joy than I could have ever imagined. Daddy and I have grown closer by your presence. By seeing each other reflected in you and your beaming personality. I feel no yearning or nostalgia for my former life, as you and your constant and rapid growth keep my head turned forward. In one year, you have made all the difference. You have made a family.

Happy Birthday, little girl. We love you more than could ever be put to words.

I sometimes wake in the early morning & listen to the soft breathing of my child & I think to myself, this is one thing I will never regret & I carry that quiet with me all day long.

143 Mama

I come from a long line of German bakers

Seriously.

And by long line, I mean my dad’s great-grandfather, Ferdinand Eberhard Ulmer (EPIC! I am naming my first son after this brilliant man. DO NOT TEST ME UNIVERSE!), immigrated here from Germany, opened up a bakery in New York City, and that accounts for my madd-baking skillz… GENETICS!

Only not.

Tonight was comparable to this evening in December.

James and I got a tad overzealous. We flew too high with our wings of wax, and by wax, I mean icing. I am totally Icarus.  A frosted Icarus.

But we get an A+ for parental enthusiasm. These are to be enjoyed tomorrow in honor of the Bug’s 1st Birthday.

Then my pop, who actually DID inherit some baking talent (because HE’S the geneticist – which totally makes sense), is responsible for the ladybug cake that shall be brought to the Bug’s birthday party this weekend.

Now I’m going to go pass out in a sugar coma, because let’s be honest, I ate half the container while icing the cakes.

Twenty Months

Twenty months ago I was planning my September 2008 wedding.

Twenty months ago I was living in a beach bungalow in Ventura, California.

Twenty months ago I was mother to one furry black dog.

Twenty months ago I was babysitting, blending smoothies, and starting up Green Eyed Monster.

Twenty months ago I spent my days cruising on my beach bike, surfing poorly, and consuming appalling amounts of carne asada and Tecate at a place aptly named Tacos & Beer.

Things have happened in twenty months.

Today, I am married.

Today, I am mother to a near-1-year old baby girl, and TWO furry black dogs.

Today, I am employed in the standard 9-5 sense, with the title “Director” proceeding my job description.

Today, I live in the mountains of Massachusetts.

Today, I am a Master. Whatever the hell that means.

What I do know is that it felt good, cathartic, and damn redemptive to walk that stage in Los Angeles on Friday to receive my degree.

I wrote my thesis about Feminist Maternal Performance Art – for obvious reasons – and I believe that walking across that stage was indeed an act of feminist maternal performance art. Despite all the pressure, and commentary, and negative energy that I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t be a mother and receive my degree, I proved *them* wrong, and then some.

During my time in Southern California I lived in fear of “The Big One.” The Sunday evening of May 17, 2009, a year ago today, the earth literally shook as I braced myself through a contraction. While it was just a mere blip on the Richter Scale, for me that night in fact marked The Big One; that life altering, ground shifting, world changing crack in my life’s core when Addison fought and tussled her way into our lives. This past Friday evening, the night following my graduation ceremony, the earth moved again,  another marker of the momentous series of events that have taken place in just a twenty month span.

While my family in the east stayed on their respective coast, I am exceedingly grateful to my west coast family for being with me to experience the tremor.

Babble.

I just can’t get enough of her sounds. She imitates, EVERYTHING!

A born orator, no doubt. Kind of like James, in this clip: Babbling Baby

Not nearly as awesome as Addison and I giving tongue. And Addison’s Pebbles hair.

Crafting, thy name is Sickness. Or is it Sickness, thy name is Crafting? Beats me!

I have a sickness.

And it manifests itself in the form of scarves, and sweaters, and scrapbooks, and door stops (yes, needlepointed doorstops circa like 1910), and DIY Wednesdays, and now, my child’s birthday invitations.

The bug turns ONE in ONE week. And Auntie Kimmy is hosting a birthday bash on Cape Cod. And by bash, I mean we have zero friends with children, so it’s an excuse to get together with fellow adults and watch Addison shove cake in her face – LADY BUG-themed cake (picking up on a theme?). Despite the absence of fellow small children, we have to mark the occasion with a party. And cake. Lots of cake.

I could not be more proud of these invitations. More proud than I am of the fact that I graduate from USC this Friday with Master’s degree in hand. I admit, I am probably most excited about the Master’s hood (because lord knows I’m never doing a PhD) that will wind up in the costume trunk so that one day Sunny can reenact Harry Potter.

Yes, I have a costume trunk.

And I hope she’ll be a Hufflepuff. And YES it’s because I swoon for Cedric Diggory.

And, for the record, I totally swooned before R. Patz. His involvement was just the nail in the coffin.

Just need to finish the brown paper bag envelopes bedazzled in sparkly Lady Bug scrapbook stickers. Obviously.

Many thanks to dear Anna and James, for helping complete this madness.

Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day more than snow in May

Um, why did I leave Southern California?

Oh yeah, for them.

Tropical Storm Hanna

James and I met in Williamstown. Our junior year of college. Highly intoxicated. At a college dorm party.

God, it is so damn romantic it hurts.

Nearly 7 years later we’re still kicking, so I’d say that PERHAPS there’s something to this whole college romance thing – or maybe we’re still drunk. Possibly.

James proposed in July of 2007 and I knew instantly that I wanted to be married in the town where we met, among those rolling mountains (a term I use loosely – HILLS is perhaps more apt) where our relationship began.

Go ahead, vomit in a corner. I sure did.

James’s parents met here. My dad went here when it was just one giant sausage fest, so he road tripped to the local women’s college where my mom attended school, and she in turn spent many happy times on this campus. Ask her about that time she snuck wine into the Homecoming game under her poncho.

My lil sis had just begun her freshmen year the weekend James and I met. And she was present for said drunken encounter. And has been by our side the following six years plus.

We have grandfathers, cousins, aunts and uncles who called this Purple Valley their stomping grounds.

So, it was inevitable. We were to be wed in the Berkshires.

More vomit.

We planned a stunning ceremony on the crest of a mountain top with breathtaking views of the area. We were to say our vows with the echoes of the valley.

It was going to be fucking magic.

Then a lil ol’ Hurricane decided to stir up along the eastern seaboard and travel inland as the hours counted down to our big moment.

At 5pm on September 6th, 2008, (now) Tropical Storm Hanna opened the floodgates across Williamstown, exactly thirty minutes prior to the OUTDOOR wedding ceremony.

There was a mad scrambling for umbrellas, and people were soaked and sweaty and 200+ bodies were packed into a tiny living room of the house atop the mountain to witness our rain-drenched vows. It was an “intimate” affair – B.O. and all.

But I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

NO ONE will forget that wedding, if not for the vows and the love and the magic of the mountains than for the sweat and the stink. Ah East Coast humidity.

I am grateful every damn day that we decided to hold the reception inside an art museum rather than under a tent among the storm.

Getting down the muddy, rainy mountain in a Vintage Rolls Royce was a bit of a challenge (read: manual, as in our hands, wiping down the windshield). But we survived and danced our brains out and then swum drunk and married and half-nude in the hotel pool among the drops of Hanna.

Everyone said that we had to name our first child after this momentous occasion – but given that James and I have planned out our children’s names for a Baker’s Dozen, we decided Hanna would fit lovingly among the canine pack we hoped to make a part of our family.

Twenty months since that rain-filled, glorious day, we welcome Hanna.

Prepare thy heart lil pup, this house is full of the love and the crazy!