Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Oops, I Did It Again.

So I just keep doing that thing where I get on here and complain to you about how I take my kids on trips and I don't think it's worth it waaa waaa blah blah. I won't do that again. Because apparently,
I am a glutton for punishment. Why else would we take our kids on another cruise this year? Because we are crazy. Freakin' weirdos.

Actually, it was our best trip thus far. So I guess practice does make perfect, even traveling practice.

But that's not what I want to talk about today. I told ya the last time we talked that I got a new lens. I really wasn't sure what I thought about it and was thisclose to returning it.

And then I took it on this trip and decided that I cannot live without it/where have you been all my life?.  Oh, also, this picture above is like "Where's Waldo?" in Mandi form. And this is the only picture I have of me on this trip.

That's what happens when I'm the camera wielding nerd. Lots n lots of pictures; none of me. Just the way I like it.


I've been studying photography for about 8 ish years now, and I really feel like I'm stuck in a rut and not improving. Sad face. Get out your teeny violin and play me a little something.

Hopefully I can continue to improve; but in the meantime,

I really wanted to get into videography. With only the equipment I currently have. Can't be spending more cash on equipment, knowwhatI'msayin'?

So a lot of this trip was spent figuring out how to use my camera in video mode, and it went. . . ooookay. I learned a lot. And I still have a long way to go.

But ANYWHO! I threw together a video of our trip. Typically I'm a slideshow nerd; and this time I'm a music video nerd. Emphasis on nerd.

So, there was the camera/video learning curve, annnd the video editing software curve, too. I like a challenge.
In short: we had a great time. Thanks for listening. Gosh, you guys are supportive.

Monday, January 4, 2016

What We've Been Up to.

Happp-py New Year! (said in an obnoxious exaggerated tone).
How was your holidays? Ours were fantastic. Lots of family, lots of food, lots of weight gained (ugg. Swear word, sigh), lots of snow, lots of chaos. . . 

(Watch out. Sledding train. And they want to take your legs out from under ya, ya sucker.)

I'm crying inside that my hubby headed back to work and my kids went back to school. Time really does fly when you're having fun. And eating, whilst having fun.

And now we're back to real life. Early mornings and carrot sticks and homework and Science Fair crap. (clenches fists. Ohhh curse you science fair.).


I typically go in full hibernation mode during winter time. ("She's alive, and in perfect hibernation." Yep. Carbon Freeze.) It's just. . . too DOGGONE cold in the garage to be using power tools. I cannot stand it out there! You could totally cut off a digit and you wouldn't even know for a while because you were already numb. 

But did I mention I got myself a new jig saw? Teehee. Yes ma'am I sure did. It's a Bosch and it's all I ever dreamed of and I actually bought all the correct nice blades for it 'n everything. . .

Since I had that, and I also needed/wanted something wintery to go on the front door, I decided to make Ana's monogrammed snowflake . 'Cause why the heck not. Drown out my sorrows with my jig saw.

Note to self: grabbing a scrap of lumber out in the garage that is 1/8" too small sounds like a great idea, and you think you can adjust for that measly 1/8", but your math skills bite and you can't.

It took me about 30 minutes to measure and do craptastic "adjusting", and probably about 40 minutes to cut it all out, and don't you judge me for my lack of jigsaw skills. I'm getting better, okay? Gosh.

Little bit of metallic spray paint in the frigid garage,

And boom. Huge, heavy snowflake on the door. I expect this bad boy to fall at about 2am tonight and scare the poo out of me.  Side note! I picked up a new, pricey lens for my camera over the Christmas break. I'm. . . I'm not. . . really. . . loving it thus far. These pictures are just so so. Hmm. 
Anyways, I have hee-uge plans for my living room next, but gosh dang it, it's got to raise at least 10 degrees during the day. Waaaaay too many cuts with Jaws to make out there.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I Don't Even Know Who I Am Anymore.

I cannot believe I'm saying this either,

but I have done a complete about-face with painting.

I've whined, complained, gone on and on until someone wants to smack me around a while, 

and. . .I'm like a new woman. I actually like painting! A ROOM, that is. Flat walls, that is. Painting a project with little nooks and crannies that take 5 coats? Nope. Nuh uh. It's like having my gums scraped.

So, check it. 

My boudoir. It's been this color for 6+ years now. There's nothing particularly wrong with this color;

and nothing really right, either. 

I'm telling you, I'd wake up some mornings, and go, 

"Pink. PINK! WHY?"

Pink tones, peeps. 

"Good, 'cause we're racing for pinks."
"Pinks you punk! Pink slips? Ownership papers?"

Name that movie. Grease! I beat ya.

I should have changed this up 5 years ago, but, well, my serious aversion to picking up a paintbrush talked me out of it every.single.time. I'd see myself cutting around all the moulding in this room and I'd just shake my head and walk away.

So why the change of heart, you ask?

I can now accept that painting a room will take me the day, and then. . .

 I turn on a favorite show and listen while I work. 

This project's movies? Thanks for asking. "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels",
("'Scuse me, may I go to the bathroom first?. . . . . . . . .thank you.") 

And "Mannequin". Gah, I love a good 80's movie.

So I took a big chance with a navy wall-- I'm not a big dark wall fan typically, but I do love it. And the other color-- a friend picked it out for me in 5 minutes flat (thank you Tonya!), and it's like this icy gray-blue sitch that I can never figure out and keeps me guessing. I wasn't sure about this color at first but now I love it. It's a mystery. An enigma. 

Annnnnd it's very masculine. Speaking of which, my husband loves the colors (done without permission, cough, while he was away on business), and now the room isn't sooo, estrogenal. Not a word. But it should be.

Of course I still have and love my vanity! And of course that's extremely feminine (you need one. Seriously this is in my top 3 fave house projects), but having this wall color took the space down a notch. In a good way.

And here we have the wall with the faux random fireplace mantel. Bwahahaha I put that "J" back up there backwards again, didn't I? Not my first time, and def not my last.

So? Boom. It's like a whole new room.

Who'd have thought I'd ever come to terms with painting? And guess what? I'm even learning to love winter, too. Nope, no head injuries, either. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Old School.

This crazy kid turned 8.

Just letting that sink in. My youngest son is 8 years old. . sniffle. . .

I can't get over this picture. He was like, what? 4? It tugs at my heart strings.

And here he is at the actual age of 8, in all his crazy browed glory. I had to say it before someone else did.  Always wanted him to be Jareth from Labyrinth for Halloween, but he won't have it. You're half way there, buddy! Be the Goblin King!


I think crazy brows are better than angry brows. Crazy is interesting, but angry is just angry. Well, I suppose that could be interesting, too.


So all this little kid wanted was a desk. No idea why; but he's begged for one for almost two years now, and I figured this birthday was as good as any.

And I was all geared up to build him an old school type desk. Had the Daddy-o on it to draw me up some simple desk plans, because I don't do math.  Well. . . if I can help it.

And then instead of just drawing me up some plans, the Daddy-o was awesome enough to just build one for my little dude.

And he made this totally awesome creation. We have to talk about this bad boy-- because I think you should make one for your crazy browed son, too. You wish you had a ceramic milk carton like I do, huh. I know. You're jealous.

It opens up for some fan freakin tastic storage. And the beauty of this desk? Super cheap, and ultra light weight. I mean, it's amazing how easy it is to move around. My kids can pick it up and hoist it over their heads for crying out loud.

And I got to thinkin'-- I was all, "self, what if someone else wants to build this fabulous cheap ultra light desk?"

Well looky what we have here. The Daddy-o's pictures as he worked, and his plans, complete with a parts list that he was kind enough to scan in for moi. And for you, too. He says you're welcome.

Now, I totes recognize that these plans don't hold your hand. But if you've followed even a couple other plans to build a little something something this shouldn't be too much of a step up. Totally doable, peeps. You know how to get the job done. Fist pound.

Can you see what's going on all up in here? You're cutting the angled pieces to give it that neat-o 1950's school desk look,

with a simple butt joint to the back piece. Heh. I said butt.

Lotsa wood glue. Lotsa clamping.

Take a look-see -- Johnny- the-8-year-old-crazy-browed-one loved his desk so much that my other kids were kinda jealous. And thus the school desk conveyer belt began.

Poor grandpa.

See how he used piano hinges for the lid? He actually bought the long ones and cut them in half.

This picture shows the top pencil holder that's so nifty. He used a router to do that. And that's all I have to say about that because I'm not really quite sure how he did it either.

A quick coat of shellac,

And all my spoiled little butt munches got their own desk (the original one being already upstairs in it's designated spot).

With an adorable little note inside and out for each child. Awe. That Daddy-o. Everyone needs one.

So we love them! You could paint it, you could stain it, but we're going au naturel. It's who we are.  Wood purists of a sort. Make one. Or more. Your kids'll love you for it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Don't Know Why I Go Anywhere With You People.

My sister in law says to me,

"I thought you swore you wouldn't take your kids anywhere again for a long time?"

Oh, right. I did say that. What the heck is wrong with me? 

So, check it.

We just finished an upstate New York trip. And it was wonderful.

Wonderfully amazing that my children weren't grounded for a month when we got home.

Actually, it really was wonderful, despite my children.

They were really really good in a lot of ways. Nothing to complain about with their behavior on an airplane or in the car. Great behavior at restaurants-- 

but plenty to complain about whilst sightseeing. I like to think of it as sightseeing with a bunch of poo flinging monkeys who keep egging each other on. Poking each other and pulling hair and picking each other's noses.

And on a side note, for the love, don't go to Niagara without your passports-- the American side leaves so much to be desired and the Canadians were partying like it was 1999 and it was like we had our faces pressed against the glass watching the party from the outside. So sad.


I can't believe that this was all in 2015; in my head 2015 has been over several years but at the same time it's November but the year is compressed into a month-- (how in the world is it November already?)

but my kids are spoiled, dang it. And I have no one to blame but me.

 They've done San Fran.

And everything the area has to offer. (Many thanks to my bro-chacho and his sweet wife for allowing us to tag along.)

They went on a cruise. Again. (Many thanks to our traveling companions, my sweet sister in law and bro in law for still talking to us afterward.)

Side note, you should hear my thoughts on those of us who are sitting poolside in a shirt and shorts trying to cover up our imperfections whilst the other adults are letting it allll hang out, leaving nothing to the imagination all around us, and the irony of it all.

But some other time.

 And then there was the chance to see Charleston and the Carolinas a bit, and of course several trips around the great state of Utah blah blah blah yak yak yak etcetera.

We went places, mkay. We did a lot of stuff this year.

And in my parental head, I was telling myself that it makes memories, right? 

My kids will appreciate this all.  Later. Perhaps much, much later.


Or at the very least, I'm training my children to be good travelers. Appreciative sightseers, if you will.

Because right now, I'm scratching my head wondering why I emptied my hubby's skymiles and used his hotel points and spent tons of money eating out and gained five pounds and tortured myself with an entire day's worth of packing for 6,  and then the hades of all that laundry when we got back.

Only to have my kids poo fling and wet willy and whine and pout in public places for the whole world to see.  'Cause we can stay home. It's much simpler to stay put 'n stuff.

So, it's character building, right? Sigh.