Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Year, New.... AGE!

Happy Birthday to momma..... Big Sis serenaded me with that much (much!) earlier than I would have preferred (especially after that Hawaiian martini... among other things!), but it was sweet anyway. ;)

And this is the cake she picked out. She had Mr. Fix-It take her to get it and everything. I've been told that surprises await me tonight for my birthday party at home with my amazing hubby, my sweet girl and my little bruiser! Here's to 32!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Year, New..... HOUSE!

So, as I celebrate my one year blogging anniversary TODAY..... the Semi-Homemade Family is also celebrating! We got great news this week - we put in an offer on some land and it was accepted! Moving 2010 is officially in motion!

Nope, this isn't OUR house. It's the house across the street! It's beautiful....

THIS is our new lot - woo hoo!! It's the perfect size and totally private in the back...

This is the view from what will be the backyard. Through the trees, down the hill... there's a pretty pond. It's so quiet and peaceful and pretty!

Construction starts soon and we're all really excited! Big Sis is excited about a new bedroom (thank goodness!) and she wants it to be purple. I am planning to use her existing bedding (and possibly switch out the birdies for something else), so I'm not sure how purple will play in, but... got some time to think about it. Just the thought of all the semi-homemade decorating ahead of me this year gets me excited all over again!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Year, New....Semi-Homemade Resolutions

First off, for the record, it's not that I haven't been thinking about my resolutions for 2010 for, oh, the last few wks... I have! It's just that.... well, you know me and my.... timeliness.... (hmmm... perhaps I should have added that to my list? Um, maybe next year!)

I'm hoping that, by sharing my list with y'all, you can share YOUR LIST with me.... because y'all are truly some of the best inspiration! So, with that, and during the week of my one year blog-versary........

This year, I resolve to:

#1. To DREAM more. And then put some work behind those dreams. I have several dreams I'd like to make happen in about 2 years. I need to narrow my focus and work towards those dreams... while managing LIFE in the meantime.

#2. To LOSE weight. Duh, I know... but I want to lose 15 lbs, to be exact. This is one resolution I've actually started... after a month of sporadic jogging, I decided to go back to wk 5 of c25k and start there. By the time we go to Vegas!!! in April, I should be jogging 4+ miles. (This is a few trips to Vegas ago.... when I was thinner AND pregnant with Big Sis!)

#3. To CHERISH old memories. The digital age of photography rocks.... BUT.... I haven't really printed pictures in ages. It's embarrasing, almost... So, twice in the last year, when winkflash was having their $.10 sale on 5x7s... I ordered my fav pics from 2009.... it's a few hundred pics. And now I just need to order (a couple) photo books (that hold 5x7s and preferably have writing space in them) and put it all together. I'd love to be a scrapper, but I'm just not. Don't have the time or patience. But I want to start with 2009 and go fwd with something I CAN do.

#4. To BE THE BEST. Friend, that is. To all friends (new & old, near & far, IRL & cyber) that are supportive. I know that sounds kinda harsh, but hear me out. Y'all know that my life is hectic. In the span of 7 days, I work as much as most people sleep (60+ hrs) and I sleep as much as most people work (40 hrs,if I'm lucky!). For my mental health (and in working towards resolution #1), I need to surround myself by people who are supportive of the big goals I want to reach! And in turn, I want to support those friends. My biggest supporters are other working moms, girls I've never even met in person, busy stay-at-home moms, & my own sister! But those relationships that are causing heartache...those are stealing time and energy
from all the supportive friendships!
#5. To PROTECT the future. Mr. Fix-It and I have had this one on our list since we found out we were pregnant with Big Sis in 2005. And I'm appalled that we haven't done it yet. Build a living will that protects the kiddos in the event that something to happens to us. This is so important.

#6. To TRUST and have FAITH. Our weekends are often full of travel, company, and catching up. I can fill a Sunday faster than you can say Manic Monday - it feels like the only day I have to get ready for the next 5 days of chaos! And in the hustle bustle, it often feels like I don't have time for church (saying that makes me cringe!) I tell myself that just talking to Him on my own is enough. But, getting back in church so far this year has already made me feel more grounded and supported. With so many people in need of prayer (the people of Haiti and the family of a friend who passed away suddenly last week), the urge to be there is even stronger.

#7. To PRACTICE patience.
An old mentor of mine used to tell me... Elaine, slow down to speed up. Meaning, that in slowing down, you can actually do better work and save time... Honestly, I've been working on patience my whole life and probably always will. I'm in a hurry. Constantly. But I will try... to slow down.

I'd love to hear YOUR resolutions!

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Year, New....LOOK

This is me:
I feel like I've had this hair style for a million years! Which is funny, because.... from junior high through college, I changed my hair cut and/or style all.the.time. I had the rachel, a short bob, blonde!!! hair (which I kept until I was 26!), strawberry blonde.... then tried being a brunette (for the first time!) at 26 and kept it.
I either look like the pic above.... or straight and sleek like the pic below (minus the witch hat, of course!)....

I've been ready for a change for awhile (but believe it or not, my hair stylist usually talks me out of it!) I have a square shaped face, so I can't get away with just any cut. So, I google hair styles for me and get this:
The perfect style for the square shaped face? Long, long and long!

Uh, great. ;)
Also good bets..... tapered bobs, long layers and sideswept bangs
What I should avoid? One layer bobs, blunt bangs and pixie cuts.
Oh, and did I mention that I have really thick hair? That's naturally curly and coarse? Yep, it's never simple. Which is why it's taken me forever to change it....
Some styles I found that I like....
This cut is cute.... I just worry about my hair cooperating with the sleekness. (I do own a chi so it's not out of the question....)

I love this touseled look.... not sure I'd have the patience for it on a regular basis, but maybe it would be a second styling option for the cut above....

This is a similar cut... ;)

I've always loved more dramatic cuts.... think Rhianna...... and really carefree looks... like Kate Hudson..... but not a fashion forward teen.... or a bohemian beauty.... I'm a busy, working momma of 2.... with thick hair (did I mention that?!) and not alot of time!
I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow, so I'm off to bed with my InStyle mag, to look for inspiration! What do y'all think?
ETA!!! I'm not thinking I'll go as short as some of these cuts.... more shoulder length.... basically, similar cut that I have now if I got rid of the bottom (long!!!) layer. Make sense? ;)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Year, New.... HOUSE (retitled!)

Formerly: Y'all are impressive (and hey - you still are!!)

Have y'all ever had a day/weekend/month when you've accomplished something that makes you sit back and say..... damn, I even impress myself! ;)

I find myself saying that, after my first productive weekend of 2010 (after the weekend from hell when 3 of us were sick, which was followed by a trip to OK for my grandmother's 90th bday party!) But hey, I work well with a deadline... and there's nothing like putting your house on the market to get ya movin'! Call me the Queen of Closets!

This weekend I cleaned/organized/purged from:

~ the closet under the stairs. Which now houses only the "little kitchen" and a few coats. 20 people will benefit from coats we're donating. I mean, we live in TX... why did we have so many coats?
~ the laundry room. Which was deceptively in need of more work than you'd think. And now does NOT house girls and boys clothes that don't fit or aren't in season.
~ G-man's closet. And drawers. He'll be 18 months on Jan 31st (my birthday!), so why the hell do I still have a boppy, a bouncy chair, a breast pump, and a baby floor gym in his closet?
~ the living room. Aka the playroom. The toybox and the 1800 toys that were invading my space. (If there's one thing I'm most excited about the new house... at this point... it's the downstairs playroom. I want to reclaim my living room! Send me your best playroom organizers - I'll be in the market soon for bookshelves, baskets & bins, you name it!)
~ the office. Even after living in this house for 2 yrs, I'm embarassed to say there are still a handful of boxes in this room that have never been unpacked. And lots of clutter. But no more! I packed 4 boxes to go into the office and lots to throw and donate!
~ my side of the master closet. I've only started in there.... but it's a start!

Then today I:

~ jogged - yea!!
~ took the whole fam grocery shopping
~ went to church
~ cooked 3 dinners! This week is going to be crazy - Mr. Fix-It and I both have deadlines! - so I had to prepare. I made 3 of my fav semi-homemade recipes: BBQ sloppy joes, Silver Dollar City skillet... and a new one, chicken broccoli linguine. I promise I'll get the recipes up this week!

So..... SHARE YOUR IMPRESSIVE FEATS! Tell me about the time you ran a 5k when you were 8 months pregnant.... or threw a huge party at a momen't notice..... or impressed in a presentation that led to your promotion.... or moved across the country to follow a dream...

And.... in exciting (yet totally unrelated) CELEBRITY NEWS.... my brother, who has this great job (courtesy of yours truly, who hooked him up with an old contact!) Anyway, tonight he's at the Saints game... in a suite.... and he just texted me a picture of himself with Kim Kardashian! How crazy is that?!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Small Treats for the Big Game!

If I had my way (translation, if I didn't have an intense career and wasn't paying off holiday bills)..... I'd throw a Super Bowl party every year. So fun! (Plus, it's always around my birthday... we last threw one for my 30th birthday a couple yrs ago.... which was also when we told all our friends I was pregnant with G-man!)
Why is it so fun? The food, of course! Party food is my fav.... and you can do so many cute things with it. Like these cupcakes! Aren't they adorable? I'm thinking I could actually pull off this one:

It's alot like the wrappers I did for the cupcakes at the baby shower I threw for Mrs. Everything.... Recipe: cupcakes at Sam's + wrapper from Etsy store paper & cake (they actually have a super bowl party set) + a whistle on top!

Want more info on these (and other!) cute super bowl snacks? Check it out here!

Long week, big meeting at work is over.... off to happy hour! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wishful Wednesday: Gowns

'I wish' .... I could have worn the gown that Sandra Bullock wore at the 67th Annual Golden Globes Award!

I love, love to 'gown watch' at the awards shows. I don't have much time for tv OR movies, so I usually haven't seen 95% of what's up for awards - but that doesn't matter! I know what dresses I like!
And I have to say.... I didn't love the dresses at the Golden Globes this year. Not for me. I'm not sayin' the women didn't look just absolutely gorgeous.... they did! (And that acceptance speach by Mo'nique... one of the few parts I actually watched... so heartfelt, I loved it!)
But this wishful Wednesday is the gown I wish I had worn.... and with all the neutrals and washed out colors.... light greys and everythng so beige..... I'd never wear that. I couldn't pull it off! So, I chose some of the only color I could find. (The dress isn't my fav fit, but...) I'm loving the purple.... it's going to stick around, even through next fall (that's what the trend experts at work are tellin' me!) and it's going to get even better! The plums will be plummier.... more royal, more rich.... love it!

A Quick Pick-Me-Up

Because it seems like we could all use a little break....

OMG, I LOVE these!!!

First off, I'm a heels girl..... I know flats are all the rage, and I've really tried to get into that. I even bought a cute pair and wore them (a little) this fall. But... I'm a tall girl in a short girl's body. ;)

Secondly, these are metallic. As in, goes-with-anything, a neutral!

Thirdly, wedges are my fav. It's so easy to walk in them, to me, it's LIKE wearing a flat - that easy!

Then it doesn't hurt that they're Coach. I have a pair of Coach slides that I've had since right after Big Sis was born and I STILL love 'em! Hmmm, I just wish I could find a slightly dressier black version of this!

All the cute sandals are coming out, so you'll probably hear more from me on this topic. But I've got a HUGE meeting tomorrow (Coach just happened to email these to me - so sweet, dontcha think?).... so now back to work!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In memory of Anna

It's hard to explain to those who have never experienced it themselves.... the bond, the true and absolute friendship, the sisterhood... that you can form with a group of girls, most of which you've never met in real life. Throw pregnancy and first-time-mommyhood in the mix... lots of fears, lots of joys, lots and lots of firsts.... and you create a family of mommys that have a pure respect and love of each other. A family that has been together almost 5 years....

If you've never experienced this, you probably think I've lost my mind. I used to be one of those people...

Yesterday we lost one of the sweetest, down-to-earth mommas. She was a friend, a listener, a supporter, and a mother of 4. I'd love for y'all to keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Beth has written a sweet tribute to her here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What is it about baby names?

Okay, first off.... let's settle one question. I am, most definitely, NOT pregnant.

Why are baby names so fascinating? Why do I know a couple dozen girlfriends who will happily discuss their fav names, regardless of status - pregnant momma-to-be, hopeful future momma, single crazy gal, newly married bride, or mom of many kiddos?

My inspiration to talk baby names? ivillage must know of our obsession and has published the Top 10 Baby Name Trends of 2010 (but you know I'm just gonna pick my favorites to share with you!) They say that after a year of over-the-top baby names, "tradition will become the trend." So.... come chat with me and share YOUR fav names!

1. Virtue names. These names are a comfort after a year filled with scandal (think Tiger Woods!) and recession (boo!).

~~Trendy names: Hope, Grace, Honor, True
~~My take: I've always loved names like Hope (I started watching Days of Our Lives when I was 6!), Faith and Grace!

2. Olympic names. So many cool ways to go with this - have you always loved Russian names? Pay attention to the athletes from that country. Have a favorite vacation spot, honeymoon location or dream destination? There will be cool & exotic names everywhere!

~~Trendy names: Apolo, Tucker
~~My take: The 2008 summer games started 8 days after G-man was born and I used to joke that I'd seen more olympics than anyone (they'd air the most obscure olympian sports between 1-6am!) And Tucker was on MY list with G-man...

3. Bird Names. The cutesy bedroom decor theme has crossed over to baby names!

~~Trendy names: Lark, Sparrow, Wren
~~My take: While I love owls and birdies (I mean, you've seen Big Sis's room, right?), but I'm not sure I'm so 'wild' about this trend. Except Arden - what a cute name!

4. Vampire Mania Names.Or obsession. Seriously, as the wife of a True Blood fan, I can tell you that this vampire stuff is everywhere.

~~Trendy names: Bella, Edward, Rosalie, Sookie
~~My take: Seriously? Sookie? Um.... I probably stand alone on this one, but I draw the line here and say the vampire stuff is out.of.control.

5. Trade Names. Also known as: my favorite category of names for boys. Ever. Love them. (Love these and 'last names as first names!')

~~Trendy names: Cooper, Jagger, Mason, Sawyer, Porter, Gardener, Carter
~~My take: Most these names were on my list with G-man. Okay, except Gardener. I had to be talked out of naming G-man Fisher. And Baker. But don't think I won't try to sneak a few of these names on our list next time around....

What are your kids' names? Future kiddo's names? Fav new trendy names? Family names? I'm always adding to my list.... for the distant, distant future. ;)

And tonight I pause in memory of Anna.... truly an inspirational momma... part of a family of moms I've known for almost 5 yrs....who helped me thru my first pregnancy (and second!) and the trials of being a new mommy. She is gone too soon and will always be remembered....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wishful Wednesday

I had so, so much fun with Kelly's Where You Live Friday tours.... and now I've found something else I think I can really get into. Kelsey at The Seattle Smiths is a "true Texan".... I love that. Mr. Fix-It and I feel like true Texans, too! And she's the host of the weekly wishful wednesday (that I'll undoubtedly never have done on an actual wednesday!)
This week's topic is:
'I wish' .... I had the startup funds to build that company I have always dreamt about, and it would be _____!
Wow...... how much have I thought about this for the last several years! I have several.....several business ideas that I'd love to carry out! I dream (pretty much daily) of having the flexibility that some of these businesses would give me... not being chained to a desk for 60-70 hrs a week... the freedom to be creative and love what I'm doing, be passionate about it! Lately, I'm actually praying very hard about this..... what the perfect mix of work and life is and how to get there. My most important resolution for 2010 is to make progress on this!
So... I'll share with you just one of my (many!) start up ideas!
Have you ever been disappointed when hunting for the right venue for a big party, shower, kids' party or family get together? Everything is too expensive, too inflexible..... That's where my business comes in!
I'd have Mr. Fix-It build me a big building on the outskirts of Our Town. The building would be simple, but the facade would be gorgeous (and Mr. Fix-It could make all that happen on a relatively tight budget!) Inside, I'd have a room big enough to be a ballroom, fit for a wedding reception (but that could be divided into 2 rooms, if needed). Along the side, would be a row of smaller rooms, perfect for a bridal shower, little girls' tea party birthday, baby shower, family get together. I'd decorate each room - there would be different themes or color schemes (nothing over-the-top... think a traditional room that would be decorated alot like my house.... a modern room, maybe black and white damask.... maybe a girly room, something shabby chic!) And we'd provide the basics in the small rooms (tables, chairs, a bar maybe....) I would build contacts with other small business owners (my fav!! people!) so that I could recommend any service they'd ever need - from food to photography to flowers.... I'd love to offer anything from a total do-it-yourself for the customer looking to save a complete package where I take care of all the details.
Still not sure what I'd call the venue/service.... but I'm guessing y'all will have some great ideas! I wish I had time to do some searches and show you pics of what I'm thinking in my head.... maybe I'll get to that and share sometime soon. Ahhh, I love dreamin'.....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ahh, the happier times...

Since January has sucked (the life right out of me, almost literally!), I've been thinking back to December. I'm not sure how we loaded all this in.... but hang on for a quick (or quick as I can!) pictorial recap! (This should more than make up for the LACK of pics in the last couple rants!)
1. Mom's Weekend - the kick off to December! This was our 8th annual mom's weekend of shopping, eating and fun! This year we added something new: Pei Wei and Polar Express! We ordered some takeout one night... headed up to the movie room... and watched The Polar Express! (Most of mom's weekend is centered just around the moms and Mr. Fix-It and I... since there weren't any kids in the picture 8 yrs ago! So this part... was for them!)

2. Dec' the halls! I never got around to one of my big, semi-homemade recaps of all my fun decorating ideas... Big Sis's party took all my creative time and energy this year, so I'm saving a semi-homemade Christmas recap for next year, in the new house! ;)

Big Sis, decorating the Kids' Tree upstairs....

And our family tree... (shut up... yes, this picture is POST-Christmas... when I realize I never took a pic during the season!) And wander over here, if you want to weigh in on next year's decs...

3. Big Sister's Ballet Recital - you already know the details! (Or you can read them here.)

4. Big Sister's Nutcracker 'Sweet' Birthday Party - seriously, the upside to a December birthday? That you celebrate it 100 times. (I still wouldn't recommend it. Would highly discourage it. Have I shared my views on Dec children enough?) ;)

If you haven't been bored to death of the details yet, you're invited to check out her party!

5. Christmas Lights & Hot Chocolate - Mr. Fix-It and I have had this tradition since before we had kids... We make hot choc and load into the car to listen to Christmas music and enjoy everyone's Christmas decroations. We have a nearby neighborhood where every house has different wooden Disney cutouts in the yards... EVERY movie ever made, it's so cool!

We modified the tradition when Big Sis could participate and added Hot Choc in Sippys.... (yes, I still insist on sippys for 4yos... in my beautiful car....)

Last year, I modified my hot choc because I was nursing G-man (remember all that dairy-free ranting I did when I first started blogging?) I had soy hot choc that year... This year....

..... I had coconut rum hot chocolate.... yummmm.... ;)

6. Elfing! Our Elf first made his appearance in 2008 and he was quite busy this year... here, he's having tea with Frosty and Rudolph...

... and here, he's gone to the bathroom.... at least that's what Big Sis explained to us... it's 'green elf pee'...... hmmm....

7. All Aboard the Polar Express! This one is a new tradition... that instead of buying gifts for the Everything children... and them for us.... we'd just DO something instead! (This is probably the 17th Semi-Homemade/Everything family tradition, they just keep coming!)

We headed to a nearby suburb and boarded the Polar Express!

This way to the North Pole! It was even snowing!

Mrs. Everything, Baby Priss and G-man (looking like such a big boy!) are on the train!

Mr. Fix-It and Big Sis (and Mr. Everything and Miss Priss) sat in front of us, keeping their eye out....

.... for the big man in red!! I love it, so magical!

8. CHRISTMAS! We were snowed in for days in a teeny, tiny town in OK (where Mr. Fix-It happens to be from!)

"Twas the Night before Christmas...."

Have y'all seen these books from Hallmark? A grandparent/aunt/whoever records the story and each page reads back to your kiddos. AMAZING! I hadn't heard of it, but both our moms bought them for our kids (which is totally lucky because they sold out across the country!) I think it's special they'll have the story from both sides of the family!

Big Sis and Mr. Fix-It's mom always, always decorate sugar cookies together (for pretty much any holiday or any regular ol' weekend!) They were perfect to leave for Santa..

G-man's favorite gift? a box. That wasn't even from one of his gifts. (Haven't all of us parents been there?!)

Big Sis's fav gift.... a bike from Santa!

Then another bday celebration for Big Sis... complete with her wearing a big sombrero and being sereneded to at the local Mexican restaurant!

9. Christmas, part 2. We don't typically do Christmas twice, with both families (in fact, I don't think we ever have!) We trade off... But this year, I decided I just couldn't handle a house full of out-of-state guests and the 12+ 4yos for Big Sis's party, so... we planned to see everyone in OK so they could help us celebrate her big day. Thus... 2 Christmases, while we were at it.

G-man went nuts for his new 'man cave chair.' ;)

And now we can get rid of our tivo version Wizard of Oz... that's over a year old... By her choice of Halloween costumes and the look on her face in the pic to the left, I'm sure you can guess how important this movie is to Big Sis...

Then on to Big Sis's birthday, version 81. The theme this time? Hannah Montana... don't even know how she knows who she is, but that's what she wants to be when she grows up....

10. We Squeak-ueled! We took advantage of being back home... and free babysitting grandparents.... and left G-man with them while we took our soon-to-be-4-yr-old to see the new Chipmunk movie. So fun! Date night with the parents! ;)

11. Big Sister's ACTUAL birthday! By the time it actually came... we had celebrated 100 times and maybe even Big Sis was ready to move on. Okay, maybe not... but...only because that girl loves chocolate cake!

We told her we'd take her to dinner ANYWHERE, her choice....

..... so she picked the "Buffalo Princess Place"..... aka Buffalo Wild Wings!

12. Big Sister's first trip to the dentist (or reason 49 why I should be mom of the year)! Okay, in the picture above... or any of the other 80oo pics of her on this blog... have you ever noticed anything about her smile? Because I'm her own momma, see her, and I didn't notice. Mrs. Everything is the daughter of a hygenist and a self-proclaimed 'teeth person,' and she didn't notice.... That Big Sis has an underbite that's unbelievable. She's going to have to visit an orthodontist in 6 months!! So that they can catch her next growth spurt and get her jaw to grow correctly..... WTH?! I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed... and I couldn't believe how sad that made me.
But on the bright cavities and her actual TEETH are perfect.

13. NYE! We switched up the tradition and celebrated with "champagne in Joe's cups" in the Everythings' new house. It's one of those crazy stories... but at some point, years ago, we ended up drinking champagne on a random night... out of cups from 1 of Mr. Fix-It and I's fav college spots, Eskimo Joe's.

Uh, not sure where the Joe's cups were at this point..... ;)

14. New Year's Day Yumminess! We used to always, always make chili and queso on New Year's Day.... nurse our hangovers.... and watch football all day, without ever moving.

Those exact days are over, obviously (although I still nursed a surprising hangover this year, ouch!)..... we're grown up, so this year we decided on a more 'grown up' meal... Mr. Fix-It made THE perfect prime rib and I combined 3 recipes and made 'fancy steakhouse-style' mushrooms.... I'll share both recipes soon!

Hmmmm..... reading thru this, maybe I can see what led to all the illness we had this weekend! We were worn out!!! But.... I already can't wait for next year!

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