Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I've got, what you might call, a thing for moss. See moss obsession evidence here and here. But I need me some moss on a bigger scale. A little something like this perhaps...

Fairy cottage/evil witch lair also needed. But back to the moss. I've been trying to figure out a way to disguise my hideous front porch. Like it's disgusting. I hate it. It could start a whole "Things I'm Afraid to Show You" viral internet sensation. It's dark, it's discolored, it's always piled with leaves and things that fall from the 15 trees right above it. See?

Yeah. To quote 15 year old Shannon " It's nast". But one day as I walked up and down those stairs 27 times in a row with Gabe, I realized that it had some good features. 

It's dark, it's dank and it's the ideal environment to grow moss. You can see, it's already there. My mind wandered to a post I had seen on Apartment Therapy about moss garden graffiti, which is in iteself, pretty effing cool. So I headed to the artist's website to get the instructions on how to do it. But I wasn't interested in putting pretty designs on my house. My mission was to cover the entire porch base, as well as the step risers with moss. I wanted all that gray covered up. I figured the discolored cement would blend better with the moss and not be such an eyesore. So right after it rained one day last week, I got my supplies gathered:

Can of crap beer, 1/2 tsp sugar and a couple handfuls of live moss, cleaned of dirt and debris.Like I said, I'm lucky to have the moss growing on my property so I just dug it up with a wallpaper scraper. Then I plopped the moss, sugar and the beer in my blender. It smelled nast.

Blend that shit up. The directions say to blend until it becomes smooth and creamy.

I dunno. It was smooth but it sure wasn't creamy. What part of it should have made it creamy, is what I want to know? But I proceeded anyway. I started in this corner since it's already got some growth of something on it.

I grabbed the nearest paint brush and just painted the mixture on.

 The directions say to return every so often over the next few weeks to spritz with water to encourage growth.

So this is what it looked like when I was done spritzing for the first time. The next few days were hot, muggy and stormy, so I either got lucky with more ideal weather or the rain washed all my beer away. We shall see. Hopefully within a few weeks, I'm living in my very own fairy garden. And smelling like Miller Lite.

the saga continues

btw, I apologize for amateur hour over here yesterday when my blog posted like 5 short, random posts. I was playing around on Polyvore and it posted everything I did without me knowing it! The horror!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bow Tie Baby

Whats up dudes?I was going to entertain you today with pictures of little boys in bow ties and bright, fun Mother's Day brunch tablescapes but I got a better offer. My bud Michael asked me over, so I'm sharing it all over there at Inspired by Charm! So please come visit!

Have a great memorial day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

When He Grows Up

I couldn't tell you how many times a week that John and I (and anyone else who will talk to me) discuss what we think Gabe will be when he grows up. Now, of course, when you have a boy, you have to pick a professional sport that, should your child grow to be a superstar, you'd choose for them to play. We're both okay with golf and baseball. John despises soccer. And it'll be ice hockey over my dead body.

Now if I had my druthers, Gabe would be a NFL kicker. He only goes in the game for a few minutes, there's slim chances of him getting hurt and duh, still lots of dough for him to spend on his mama. And you know what, the boy can kick a ball. I hope I'm not being the annoying mom who thinks her kid is a child prodigy but man, he's got some eye-foot coordination like no other. So I don't think I can allow any other position if he decides he wants to play football, although I cringe-ingly admit, he's already resembling a linebacker. But I can definitely picture myself sitting on the bleachers at football games, wearing a hoodie and drinking from a flask. That's what football moms do, right?

Obviously, we have no choice as to what our kids will be when they grow up. We can prod and push and pressure the crap out of them. But in 16 years or so (holy shit), Gabe's gonna have to make that decision on his own. So what if he's not into sports at all? Dude, I'm just fine with that too. He could get John's musical genes or my sentence-diagramming skills and run with those. It is fun to think about though, what this small boy, obsessed with cars and motorcycles at the moment, will do with his life.

Although right now, I'm leaning towards him being the next Jackson Pollock...

Look at that creepy eagle eye bag my mom brought over. That's gonna give me nightmares.

In other news, BlogHer is featuring my Internet School post today on their main page, as well as spotlighting it on the BlogHer Tech page! Aren't I fancy?!?

Friday, May 18, 2012

21 Months Going on 21 Years...but Not Really

I can't take the cuteness of this outfit. Get him on Children with Swag stat. Thanks for the link LB!

Dear Gabe,

Hey bud! You are 21 months today, an awkward-sounding age if there ever was one. It's been a pretty big month for you but I doubt that's going to change anytime soon. I feel like you're just on the edge of becoming your own little person and with that comes all sorts of new milestones and firsts.We've been getting into the swing of all things toddler and this past month, you...

- Had your first weekend away from your mom and dad. You stayed with your Gigi and although she propped you up at the window with a pathetic puppy dog face as we pulled out of the driveway, you were off and running the whole time, forgetting about us. You are absolutely obsessed with your Gigi and I knwo the feeling's mutual.

- Got to show off in front of your mama's whole entire family on Mother's Day. A lot of them hadn't seen you since Christmas and even last summer, so you totally stole the cuteness show. Ahem, your snazzy outfit didn't hurt.

- Have started putting together sentences! Most times, it's "more please", if that qualifies as a sentence. And it's always when you want more banana chips, goldfish, craisins, etc... Never green beans or broccoli. 

Your new favorite word/noise is "unh uh". As in "no". Do you want to play trains? "unh uh" Do you want to lie down and have a second nap with mommy? "unh uh" Do you want to go outside? Shakes head yes...vigorously

- You're still keeping up with the strict diet. Your current fave is "nudies" (noodles) which can get weird if we're out at a restaurant. Not that we can go to restaurants anymore, you've put the kabosh on that.

You're just so so cute Gabe, it's hard to stand. Your laugh is awesome and it makes me smile all day long. Well at least until about 4 pm when I'm ready for your daddy to come home and take over. Mama can't be a human choo-choo track all day long, ya know. We love you bud.


Thursday, May 17, 2012


Mother's Day was perfect this year. Aside from my trip the weekend before, we kept it low key. Lots of alone time yet lots of family time.

This sums up motherhood lately...for me anyway. I squeezed in some shopping alone plus a haircut. Could I want for anything more? Pretty sure I could come up with something but for fear of looking completely bratty, I'll answer "no".

Late Sunday afternoon, we headed to my aunt and uncle's where we got to see all of the family that I haven't seen for months. It was good. I handed Gabe over to his Gigi (we all know this is my mom, right?) and he stayed with her most of the day. He made a quick stop to say meh to my Nan.

I did such a weird job of taking pics that day. There was maybe one of me in it. I really need to do a better job of handing John the camera and making him use it. I had a cute skirt on and everything. But I did catch a cute one of my moms.Of course this means that I can wear the skirt again since it doesn't exist in photographs, only reality, and obviously that doesn't count, right?
I don't know where I saw it online, but someone somewhere said something about taking more pictures of your kids with your parents & grandparents. For obvious reasons. But I think I take it for granted because Gabe sees them all the time. So I made sure to get at least those. I think what prompted me is that this BBQ came together not because my huge family thought it'd be nice to spend Mother's day together with our family matriarch. It was prompted by my grandmom thinking it would be her last one. And pretty much guilting everyone in to showing up. Now, I would have shown up anyway because we always do (annnnnd I'm the golden child). But not all of them do. They need that guilt trip to make it happen. Hey, we are Catholic after all, I shouldn't be surprised.

So while her reasoning might be sort of morbid (but at age 88, not completely crazy), I'm really glad she did it. I forget that we're adults now and I can chat with my cousins instead of thinking they're annoying tweens or something, ya know? I forget that my aunts are actually hysterical and sitting down with them over a few (many) drinks is *such* a good time. I forget that I need to bring more wine with me than planned. Always.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Internet School is in Session

You know what my problem is? I always assume that everyone already knows how to do the things I do.  But if that were true then none of us would learn anything new, ever. Does that make sense? So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna tell you about some things that I use all the time that, in the past, I assumed everyone knew about. I use them on a daily basis for everything from Bottle Pop paperwork to picture editing to fonts...basically all things that make life on the computer easier. If it helps one person, then the time I spent doing screenshots of this crap was worth it.  So welcome to...

That's 3 month old Gabe. Dying here.

First up is Zamzar. I use this free site ALL the time to convert files. Unfortch for me, my laptop has Vista, so I have to save all my files from bullshit Vista format to a normal one, then I can convert them to pdf's in no time. The site is super user friendly. You upload your file, pick your desired format, enter your email address and press a button. A few minutes later, you'll get an email with a link to your download. Fuuuuuh-ree! So go crazy converting your bmps to tiffs or whatever rocks your socks.

Next up is Pixlr. Pixlr is basically a free, online Photoshop. A lot of the commands are the same and you can do all your basic photoshop stuff right there. Now, I don't know my way out of a paper bag but I can do some basics in Pixlr. You know what else I'll do? I'll google, how do I do whatever in Photoshop, then try to follow the directions in Pixlr. It's not always the same, but you pretty much get the gist of it. Did I mention that this shizz is Fuuuuuuh-ree!?! It's free. And awesome.
Ok last up is something I know most of you already know the ins and outs of but I know for a fact that there are some of you out there that don't have the font-installing knowledge that I'm about to drop on you. So this one's for you guys.

Find yourself a nice free font. My personal fave is
After you pick one, click Download.

When the box pops up, click Open.

Click Extract All Files.

Save it to wherever you save your things...Click Extract.

Boom, there's your files. Usually some terms and conditions of using the font, maybe a different version of it. You can click on each one to figure out which one is the actual font you want to install. I circled the right one below.
Ok, here's the (slightly but not really) tricky part. Keep that window open but go to your Control Panel and find your Fonts folder.

Open your Fonts folder, then go back to your new fonts window. Click on the circled font and drag it into your Fonts folder.  My computer then gives me a pop-up, asking permission to let it happen. Obvs. I say yes. So after that, the font is now installed. See, it's right there with the rest of your fonts.

So yeah, there you go. Now go download all sorts of fancy fonts. I recommend these. If I did a terrible job explaining things, I'd rather not hear about it. Only praise please. And thank you.

Interweb Nerd OUT!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Back in the Fire

You know how when you’re pregnant, people always tell you to sleep as much as possible before the baby arrives? I’ve even caught myself saying that to friends, even though I cringe as the words come out of my mouth. We all know there’s no such thing as storing up on sleep and relaxation before your world is upended by your first born spawn.  So it sounds kind of dumb to suggest that someone do that. But I suppose, in my defense, it’s one of the least offensive things you could blurt out to an expecting mother, right? Anyway, even though we all know you can’t stockpile zzzzz’s, I think we all have some hope that it will actually work when we get a few extra hours of uninterrupted sleep after burning the candle at both ends for awhile.
So when I learned that John would be taking me away this past weekend, it was my saving grace many a long day leading up to it. Well that and booze. But the thought of maybe, just maybe, getting away & catching a midday nap was enough to make me plaster that smile on my face when Gabe just had to have my attention every day while trying to make dinner. So this weekend came and went. I slept decently and even got a nap in one day. But there was no sleep to be saved up and brought home. I got home and was back on duty right away. And of course, Gabe has been battling a cold/allergy combination which has caused crankiness, sleeplessness and general meh-ness. Meh-ness is totally a word, go with it. So even if there was an ounce of patience/restfulness/energy that I tucked away this weekend, it was used up right away.
I’ve just been exhausted lately in a way that reminds me of the early days. Except these days, most nights I’m getting a full 7 or 8 hours, unlike being up several times a night nursing. It’s the daytime that is draining me. Gabe is on from 6:45 am to 7:45 pm, with a too short nap somewhere in between. He wants to be outside but not just content in our driveaway. No, he wants to roam the neighborhood. And we don’t have the most child-friendly neighborhood, seeing as how we have no sidewalks and people will speed through our area as a back-road to avoid the main drag. I have to be on full alert for this kid who just wants to take off. And preferably find the largest mud puddle possible to stomp his new sneakers in. It’s hard work and I’m just tired. So even though John was probably counting on my weekend away to lessen my exhaustion at 8pm &  lessen the “I’m just going to bed’s”, it probably won’t. That’s not to say it wasn’t awesome and totally appreciated, it’s just that it won’t save me from future fatigue. A week in the Caribbean might to the trick though, babe.
Yet somehow, I’m finding myself letting the thoughts of a possible Gabe 2.0 float around the house. John and I have even been talking names because I realized that it took me years to get him on board with Gabe and Avery. So if I need to get what I want, I better start the mind manipulation now, eh? So while this motherhood thing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I think I’m pretty good at it. Maybe I can handle another one? Maybe.  Please let me reiterate that this is in no way a baby announcement. I’d be a hell of a lot more creative than that.
I hope all you moms out there, of inside and outside babies, have a stellar Mother’s day and that all your babies and baby daddies spoil the crap out of you. Trips to the Caribbean for everybody!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weekending with the Wellingtons

So like I mentioned last week, John whisked me away this past weekend to celebrate Mother's days past and future. Up until this weekend, I had no idea where we'd end up. Honestly, I didn't care where we went either. I was promised sleeping in, relaxing, napping, you know, generally non-toddler-toting activities. My mom came to spend the weekend with Gabe and off we went...

Luckily my husband knows me better than anyone...and brought me here. Here being about 4 hours away from us, in central Pennsylvania, at Old Charm Bed & Breakfast. What was that? Sounds familiar? Well it should because it's where Michael lives!!!

Yep, my buddy Michael, who was up until this weekend, just my online blog bff. But, now we're totes real life bff's too. Isn't he adorable? More on him later...

So anyway, John did good...real good. He somehow managed to combine romantic getaway with blog buddy meet-up. And guys, if you follow Michael anywhere on the internet (and I bet you do), you'll know that his bed and breakfast is oozing charm. It's literally spilling out of every corner. I spazzed out big time for about an hour, walking around, taking in every corner of his house that is so amazingly decorated. And ya know what? Pictures just don't do it justice. I knew it looked good online, but man, in person that place is so freaking happy. It just makes you happy being there.

He put us up in this charmer, complete with a little balcony and it's own sitting room. And best part (ok maybe not best part but really good part)? Each guest room has its own bathroom. I had never stayed in a B&B before, mostly because people are weird and you don't always get your own loo. Here, people are awesome and you get your own loo. Amazingness.

So once I stopped squealing and most likely making Michael uncomfortable, we decided to head out into St. Marys and see what she had to offer. I had been out in this general area of the state before so I knew how these little towns worked. No Targets aka Slightly Depressing. Well St Marys isn't that way. Sure, they've got no Target. But they do have a nice Walmart (srsly, it's been remodeled) and when we stopped in, there were girls in zebra print prom dresses snapping pictures of each other while their limo waited outside by the fresh bait machine. I literally had my camera primed and ready to catch their photo but even I have some semblance of shame. Just a sliver though. So you'll just have to believe me.

We grabbed some dinner and delightfully strong margaritas at a local joint and headed back to Michael's. Now, dont go expecting that he does this with everybody, but he made promises of sangria on the porch for us when we got home. And it totally happened. We stayed up late, drinking sangria through stripey straws on the cutest covered porch ever. Once again, with most of my blog friends, we jumped right into the chit chat without any "we're basically strangers" awkwardness. Sangria helps with that.

The next morning, we slept in as only parents of young kids can do...until 8am. But we wouldn't have been able to sleep much longer because the smells drifting upstairs were enough to make you cry. You just knew without even seeing it that there were pastries baking and bacon sizzling.

Here's the part where I direct you to Michael's blog to go look at the breakfasts he makes. I was too overwhelmed with the masterpiece that was sitting in front of me (not John, although he's a looker with his bed head) but the carrot cake waffles with cream cheese icing. What the what? Yeah, add some apple turnovers, scrambled eggs, some sausage, why not? I wasn't planning on buttoning my pants today.

So yeah, if you follow Michael, you see the rooms in his house quite a bit, but after much consideration, I think his dining room is my fave. And lucky me, I got a sneak peek at his new arrangement...the one that's going to be in a magazine. So keep it on the dl, would ya?

 So here's the best part. No, no, Michael's the best part. Have I made that clear? Next best part, Michael's gift shop. I literally wandered this shop for about an hour every day I was there. Then I made a huge pile of stuff to buy. Then added more. This place is just inspiration overload. Amazing vignettes everywhere you look. Gorgeous little things you have to have. I told Michael to just pack up the whole green and yellow section. Including the cloches. Every single cloche. Put a cloche on it.

His ability to style not only his home, but this shop, is just awe inspiring. He's just so effing talented, I can't stand it. I pumped him for all the design advice I could before he gets completely famous on us and charges for that kind of thing...which I'm pretty sure will be happening any second.  Oh and speaking of famous, while we were there, guess who hit and surpassed one million Pinterest followers?

 This guy. Isn't that crazy? And why does he look like a model when I literally snuck around the corner and yelled "Smile!". Famousness is coming, I know it.

So anyway, after another night of hysterics and sangria on the porch, we woke to another amazing breakfast. This time, it was eggs in a hole, potatoes, brown sugared bacon (I can now die happy) and his famous Nutella rolls. Yeah, he knows what he's doing. Afterwards, we headed out to do some antiquing. For a small town, there's a good selection of stuff! I scored some blue mason jars from a dude that had hundreds. I may be sending Michael back for more. They're hard to come by round these parts.

All in all, the weather was gorgeous, the company was stupendous and the weekend was one of the best. High fives to John for making it happen.

Oh and the last pictures I took as we left Old Charm...isn't this place just too much?

Many many drunken hugs and thank yous to Michael, who made our stay just incredible. Besides us leaving our plates on the table when we were done eating (I didn't really want to), I felt like we were staying with friends. And I can't wait to do it again. Anybody coming with me?

p.s. Michael, print this out and put it in your guest book.


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