Monday, December 30, 2013

Purge, rotate, vomit, organize: Let's prepare for 2014 #tutorial #emailclutter

If you are as blessed as we are, and happen to have a twyn birthday a week before Christmas, you are now overwhelmed with the amount of *stuff* in your house. 

We are starting to recognize the fact that we are on our way to becoming hoarders if we don't reign it in. 
One of our New Years resolutions is to "Get Organized in 2014." 

[Well what year *don't* we promise this.] 

Hubby means business this time. 

Oh, ok. [insert eye roll]

But....if I blog about it....dreams really can come true. 
Here's our plan, and I'll try to keep you motivated along with me.

Priority #1: Toys
The kids, following suit, are loathe to part with baby toys, even though they have been given many new "big kid" toys.
So in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and from now until next Christmas, I'm hoping to get rid of a few things. I'm eyeing you, Green Drop, and Moms of Multiples Sale. You are my guiding light!
The first trick was offered up by our Elf, Toby, when he arrived. He brought empty boxes with him for the kids to put in old toys they no longer wanted or used to be given to other children (He may have gotten this idea from pictures of other Elves he saw on Pinterest.) That was helpful.
I also filled the basement closet with toys I no longer see them playing with, so that if ask for them, they are available between now and the time that I get rid of them or sell them at the sale. If they don't ask for them between now and then, we're golden.
Quick & Dirty rule: If it's broken beyond repair, or lost its matching part, throw it away. If it's for age 2 and below, put it in the giveaway bin regardless of their attachment.

Priority #2: My husband's workspace
Santa brought my husband a table saw. [let's all collectively oooooh and ahhhhh.]
Because this is the key to many projects being finished in the house, the whole workspace is key to our new organizational life. So, first on the list of priorities should be to clean up all the demo-trash [i.e. old wood, sinks, there may even be a toliet in the mix...] that we have in his work area so that he can actually see and access his tools. We purchased a bagster from home depot and will fill it in the driveway over the coming weeks. Then we can start to organize what's currently down there and clear off some work surfaces for him. Then he can build my sewing area built-in's so I can get my fabric out of my closet and then put clothes in my closet and actually be able to open a drawer or two in my dresser as I clear out of it various sizes that no longer fit me even after a half-ironman so clearly will never fit me again and need to go to the needy and skinnier than I...
Oh yeah, and shelving for the kids' toys.
And other various projects he may have in his noggin [I think he wants to do something wine-related? Maybe I should ask him what his priorities are...sometime....]
Quick & Dirty rule: Things we no longer use need to go; they shouldn't be placed in the workspace purgatory. Get to know the Green Drop rules.

Priority #3: Clothes & Fabric
I received a lot of lounge pants and pjs for Christmas from my family. I can't tell if this is because they would like to see me relax more, or that they are tired of seeing me lounge in the same old things. Overall it's a scary situation because I have been asked by my daughter why I'm wearing my pajamas outside the house. But I'll take this opportunity to get rid of ones that have holes in them. We like to put them in the Planet Aid bins and the like in the parking areas around our house.
And, as I mentioned above, my fabric habit has started to take over my clothing areas so I either need to finish up a few sewing projects, start sewing my own clothes and throw out the other clothes, or get. organized.
Quick & Dirty rule: A piece of clothing comes in, a piece of clothing goes out. A piece of fabric comes in, whatever category it's 'entering' needs to be tidied up.

Yes, friends...those are my priorities...
but here's where I'm actually starting....

Priority #4: My electronic life
Don't we always take a few days around New Years to unsubscribe, as we always do, to all those newsletters we never get around to reading? But then, somehow all those websites still find us... and mama has 11,000 unread messages in her inbox (that's after my first go.) So I will be unsubscribing, as usual, but there is now also a new backup:
creating filters through gmail!

Step 1: Open an email from a sender you no longer wish to see.
Access the drop-down menu on the upper right corner and click on "Filter messages like this".

Step 2: Click on "create filter" in the lower right hand corner of the next menu.

Step 3: Choose to archive, or in my case, delete all messages from this sender, and all previous messages from this sender. This requires two 'checked boxes.'

I could use to also consolidate my blog subscriptions to one email address, and one service (bloglovin', wordpress, etc.) But I digress...
Quick & Dirty rule: Never will I ever again spend months on end not deleting items from my Inbox.

And this tidying of electronic dust-bunnies would not be complete without extending this effort to my ginormous collection of PHOTOS. I have beautiful framed photos of the first two years of their lives; but need to update. Those scrapbooks from their baby shower aren't gonna do themselves, either...
And with the calendar project for 2014 looming over its due date (I usually give a photo calendar to the grandparents for Christmas), I should really start to upload more regularly to Shutterfly. Print up a book for each vacay/trip, and have the fave photos loaded by the time I arrive at Calendar time 2015. I even set a reminder years past to do this on the 30th of every month and I snooze snooze snooze.
Quick & Dirty rule: Whenever a pic is facebook-share or text-share worthy, I will also upload it to Shutterfly at the same time in an album called "Share-worthy."

I have at least two other resolutions to improve my (as-of-late) lazy ways! I'll share them in another post. 
What's yours? 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My husband is magic #Christmas

I would be remiss if I called myself a mommy blogger and I did not post something about our Elf on the Shelf, no? 

Well the beauty of our household is that, my husband is actually the one who is super into it. 

Our Elf, Toby, isn't naughty; he doesn't do tricks or ride a zipline from the tree; he doesn't play with Barbies or toliet paper the bathroom. 

But he does leave poems for the children.

So much so, that the children look forward to finding Toby's poems (about once a week) just as much as finding Toby.

And to this, I credit the magic of Santa.

I know that I grew up loving Santa and Christmas, but I had no idea the level of Christmas love in my husband's heart. 

He has specific rules for Santa's gifts: they are not wrapped, they are toys, and they are usually fully functioning and set up when the children thunder downstairs. 

So, for instance, last year when the children received a set of blocks, there was a cool building design, already there, waiting to inspire them. 

So when the township notified us that Santa could actually come around one evening, a week early, in the firetruck, and bring an actual present to each child, we jumped at the chance. My husband missed Santa's arrival by 10 minutes, sadly, but he did get to smell the resulting fresh "we believe" scent that lingered in the air for the next few hours and days. 

I now realize why we all hold dear to Santa: it fuels the imagination of each child, and each child within us. 

And so, I will not plagiarize all of my husband's work today, but I will leave you with his - I mean - Toby's - final poem this year: 

A & C, it's been another great year; 
Your kindness and niceness has filled me with Cheer
How I love watching you, as you laugh and you play; 
But for this Christmas season, today's my last day.

I'll miss you my friends, but please don't be blue;
Santa Claus is coming with toys for you two.
And to give you your chances for that special gift,
I've left you something to give Santa's sleigh a lift.

Reindeer food is magic, it helps them to fly; 
and pull Santa's sleigh through the Christmas Eve sky.
Sprinkle it on your yard and the reindeer will see,
That Santa leaves you extras, under the tree.

Til next year twyns, I bid you farewell;
And I leave you one more gift, this small silver bell.
If you miss me before I return next year, 
Just ring this bell and I'll be sure to hear.

Then tell me if you're happy or angry or blue,
Or if you're just lonely, I can listen to you.
I love you my Family, but my home's far away; 
So keep being good and have a Merry Christmas Day.


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from our home to yours!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The creepy part of homemade gifts/I quilted a piano

I believe that when we create something, a little part of us goes into that creation.


Well, being it is my twyns' fifth birthday today, I'm very in touch with that thought today. I think blogging will help with my emotional mess of a brain this morning.

So. Back to my little idea.

I'm fantasizing that when I die I will be able to watch over people through my creations that may pepper their homes.

I will be a VERY busy lady.

I'm hoping, with my recent success as an ETSY shop owner, this does not apply to things I have sewn for customers whom I don't actually know.

But when I'm quilting for a baby, which is almost always for someone I know, I begin to think about that baby and whom he or she might become.

And then thoughts surround me about that baby's life, and I get an idea of what it might be like.

Yes, I like to think of myself as a little psychic, or at least, in touch with some energies in the universe.

It's a bit of immortality-aspiration, I guess.

I remember quilting for one baby and, knowing the parents, I knew for sure that this child was going to be a child of the world. He would be a traveler, a global walker.

Well, he's only 2 now, so we'll have to wait and see... I've only been quilting since my 30th birthday, after all, so there's no sample size to test any of my theories.

And then, most recently, I had the privilege of attending a baby shower for a couple of musicians. I mean, like, serious musicians, y'all. I met them while they were receiving their doctorates in their respective instruments.

So...I quilted a piano, of course!

Because we know that music will surround that baby's world. And, in fact, his/her mama is trying to fit in two more concerts before the upcoming birth! So it already does.

I found the beginning of the pattern in the November/December 2013 issue of McCall's Quilting and it was designed by a mother/daughter team called Stitched Together Studios.

Basically I used the keyboard part of the pattern, which entails 'white' keys that are 2 1/2 inch strips (eventually cut to 4 1/2 inches each), and 'black' keys that are 1 1/2 inch strips (eventually cut to 4 1/2 inches each.) You have to remember to have a grouping of two-black-keys in between each 3-black-key grouping.
You want to sew the strips in sets of 'three black keys' or 'two black keys' and their side keys. Then, attach the lower half, which is all 2 1/2 inch strip white keys.
After you finish the top sections and bottom sections, you can sew each 'grouping' together

I surrounded two 'groupings' with 1 1/2 inch borders, then added some flannel "I love mommy/daddy" 6 inch strips.
I then surrounded the whole thing with white 6 inch strips.
Before adding the minky backing, I quilted wavy lines on the keys to highlight the piano pattern with only the top & batting.
Next step: spray baste the minky backing (I didn't want to quilt with the backing because minky is so fussy.)
I used the 'self-binding' method of folding over the backing onto the front to make it simple.
Because you know how I struggle with minky! But I couldn't resist this color combo, and the softness of minky for a newborn.
Finished size was about 46" x 34".
This mama-to-be received a lot of handmade gifts that day, so I think her baby will be surrounded by love (and music) for life.

Happy soon-to-be-birthday little music baby! 

Happy 5th Birthday my loves! 

And happy last-minute-gift-making-and-shopping to all of you! 
Are you busy with a last minute Christmas project?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Your baby's looking for you #funforFriday

Snow Day this week with our little snow lovers
I had this weird idea when we were trying to conceive. It got me through some dark times, so please take it with a grain of salt. Those of you still struggling with infertility, maybe it will find you and help you as well.

I thought all babies were angels up in the sky watching us, looking down and trying to figure out the best parents for them. 

Some babies were not quite so picky. They saw a potential match and swooped on down right away. They could iron out the details later.

But then, there were the discerning children. Taking their time, sorting through all the backgrounds, the paperwork, the psych profiles...

They studied. They watched.

They made their mommies and daddies wait.

Couples who begged for the right baby to find them.

For a match, literally, made in heaven. 

And, in our case, on our lucky day, I'm pretty sure our feisty little daughter grabbed hold of her best bud's hand and said,

"There they are!! Those two are perfect for us!!" 
And we are so grateful. Blessed. And  FLABBERGASTED that it has been five years. [as of next week.]

I'm an emotional wreck!!  You know this time of year gets to me!!

Yesterday we celebrated their birthday at school 

and I got to stay around for their "Supersack Game." A child brings in something special, and the other kids have to guess what it is.

We put in their Christmas bears - the first present my husband and I ever bought them - and photos of them as preemies - when the bears were bigger than they were!!


Could not *quite* get them to understand I wanted them to pose for a comparison pic.
 It still blows my mind. 

I'm not going to make it through this birthday!!

Forgive me my lack of posts because of: my only children's birthday is a *week* before Christmas (thank goodness we got them to agree to having a party instead of presents), snow days, hosting all the holidays this year, playing Santa, losing my address book during holiday-card-season, and, to top it off, fulfilling spiderman-panties wishes for little superheroes around this world...literally!



Friday, December 6, 2013

10 Best Gifts for Your Favorite Twin Mommy #funforFriday

A countdown, just cuz...

10. A photo of her with the twyns where she does not look like an awkward gargoyle while she tries to stabilize one and make the other one smile at the same time.

9. Room-by-room organizational systems and the strength to maintain them. Check with this lady.

8. A time machine that allows her to fast forward through potty training, and rewind to baby coos whenever she needs them.

7. Elf-on-the-Shelf moving service.

6. A right-hand-diamond ring. I mean, you can't blame a mama for trying...

5. The dishes. DO. THE. DISHES.

4. Silence. When the credit card bill arrives.

3. Coffee IV-drip.

2. In-law translator.

1. Just one day in a magical place where conflict does not exist, everyone dresses themselves, brushes their own teeth, wipes their own asses, puts themselves to sleep and settles in for TWELVE. HOURS. OF UNINTERRUPTED. SLEEP.

Thanks, Santa!

Did I miss something? Tell me what's on your list!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Audition Report #3

I am not very traditional looking, traditional acting, nor traditional sounding, so I was rather intrigued when I read a posting asking for submissions for a new workshop production in town centering around women's body issues. The song they sent us for the callback, should we receive a callback, because it would have been the next day and they were being kind enough to give us more than 24 hours with the song, used the refrain "Healthy and Fat."

Yep. Seems like my kind of part!

But alas, it was not to be. I did not get the callback. And, in fact, when I read the monologue, and started to play through the song, I realized I would not be getting the callback before I even walked in the door of the audition room.

Let me start at the beginning, sorry...

Exceptionally strong singer-actors and actor-singers, Equity or Non-Equity.

As singers they must be versatile and able to sing a rangy, contemporary

musical theater score. Actors must be versatile: they will need to play a

variety of characters that span a wide range of dramatic and comic.

Seeking creative actors who bring ideas to the table and are willing to

experiment with the material.


Woman #1: Late 30’s to early 40’s, carries some weight, any ethnicity.
So I submitted and got an appointment.

Later that week, the casting director emailed us a monologue & song that would be used for the callbacks, should we get called.

The monologue was spoken word. Not my forte. I mean, I am totally down with contemporary's my jam! But I don't think I can do spoken word. People that can pull that off do not necessarily say "it's my jam" about anything. They are on a cooler level than I.

The song was...also a bit of spoken word, I believe. I meticulously spent about two hours entering every single note into my composition software just so my beautiful computer could 'play' it for me. It was a cute song, but then it gets very sprechstimme at the end [the original spoken word - dialogue written to music, like in an opera.] So, it's a rant on top of a melody.

So, I just had a feeling it was not for me. My friend had actually got a "oh we were going to call you!' when she submitted for an audition, and that made me think I was not on the short list. [cuz I wasn't.]

Anywho...I really like this casting director so I wanted to get a head start on this audition season with some hot new material and show her that I'm not just TwynMawrMom circa 1998. I am totally 2010. Well, at least 2008....

They asked for two songs [32 bars each], one that was contemporary and showed range, and one that was comedic, and a 1-2 minute monologue. I prepared two new pieces and was half-thinking of rehearsing a new monologue but throughout the busy weekend I quickly realized I would be dredging up one of my old tired monologues and on the drive to the city I changed my mind about the new comedic piece. It was not funny! This may or may not have been aided by my parents in the car who were trapped and listening to me rehearse and warm up, and their reactions. So I drove the 10 minutes back to my house and picked up my old stand by, The Last Five Years [never will I ever leave the house without Jason Robert Brown again], and speedily got back on course.

Perhaps not so speedy, because I was five minutes late, had to pee, and was completely flustered when I entered the audition room in the Walnut rehearsal spaces and approximately 10 people looked like they had been waiting for me for hours.

I ended up singing a new piece, "Woman" from Pirate Queen, and the high notes were not so pretty at 10 am. It fell flat. It could have roused the whole joint, but alas, they did not hear me roar.

I fell back in love with "Summer in Ohio" from The Last Five Years after it got a few laughs out of the panel.

Then I brought it home with my silly pieced together monologue from Company. It is a dialogue of sorts, but it totally makes sense if you just say one character's lines, because the character of Marta does not listen to a single word any one else has to say in the play. It worked for the room.

No words. Not so much as a 'thank you.' Just the same look on all of their faces as when I walked in; as if to say,
"We're waiting."
I ran to Starbucks [you're shocked] and texted my friend that there was about 40 people in the room. She texted me 'come back' because she had her appointment right at that time. So I walked back over to hear her audition [through the doors] and offer moral support. She, and the girl before her, sounded good and were asked to re-sing one of their pieces with some new direction from the panel.

More attention than I got.

I quickly realized, they were not 'waiting' for me at all this morning...they were waiting for girls who may have been a little bit 'healthily fatter' than I.

Um...did you not see how much leftover pumpkin pie I ate last night?

Have y'all gotten the egg nog out yet?! 
Oh my...I love it so...with a little bourbon...MMMM!

In conclusion: 
I'm going to keep working through "Woman" and bring it up to speed for January-March auditions. 

Perhaps work on that new monologue I picked out.

Hope 2014 is a good year to hire some twyn mommy singahs 'round here...

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