Monday, October 20, 2014

Guys. Parenting is hard.

God bless these people. But this here; this is a load of BS. Parenting only looks like this maybe 10% of the time. Via
I'm writing this to you from my darkened, blissfully silent living room at nearly 11:00 PM. Let me tell you, the battle for this silence was hard fought. I mean, we're talking borderline Gettysburg here. I don't even know where to begin.

Somehow, I deluded myself over the first few years of my children's lives into the belief that things get easier. Like, "Once we get past the diaper phase, then these kids will just start marching around like little minions, and I can even ask them to do chores, which they will do happily. Oh, and we can hang out and talk about cool stuff, like books and music." This actually kind of happened with my oldest child. The girl is so conscientious and responsible that I only really have to look at her sideways, and she straightens up.

Then, along came Sophie.

I mean, this child refuses to take anything I say at face value. Let's take tonight as an example. I tell her not to throw her brand-new tutu down the laundry shoot because it will end up stuck there, and she just refuses to accept the fact that this advice I am giving (which is actually good advice - I'm not just saying here, "Because I said so!!") is worth taking. Our "conversation" about the tutu then devolves into a shouting match in which she and I both lose our shit, I end up yelling, "Fine! Throw the damn tutu that we just spent $20 on down the laundry shoot and see what happens. I'm only almost 40 and YOU ARE 4!!" This then results in much crying, a tutu stuck in the laundry shoot (I'll leave that for my husband to figure out when he gets home from his fun night of beer and football), more crying, bed with no stories, high blood pressure, and general stress on everyone involved, including the oldest child who just was trying to dodge tutu bullets and stay out of the "conversation."

I seriously have a conversation with Sophie every day that includes, at some point, "I really don't want to argue with you. Arguing with you makes me have a very bad day."


What to do? I mean, really, what do I do? Do others of you have one child that pushes every single one of your buttons? Don't get me wrong. There are many, many wonderful things about Sophie. She's funny, smart, creative, independent - and everyone loves her. But sometimes, sometimes I wish she was just a little more pliable. How do I let her continue to grow and be independent and question things and not go completely insane?

Double sigh. A/J

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our Disney Villain Party

Villains Only: Enter at your own risk!!!
Every story needs a villain.
Think about it. Tell me one compelling story that does not include some horrible (if not horrible, at least skewed) person wreaking havoc on all of the good people involved. I dare you.

For my daughters' birthday party this year (their birthdays are exactly one week apart, so we typically have a joint party - apparently, my husband and I make poor birth-control decisions around the Christmas season;)), we had a Disney Villain party. Every single person attending had to dress as their "favorite" villain from a Disney film. It was such fun, dahling. Let's relive it (you still have time to theme your Halloween party - and if you do a Disney Villain one, please please please please send me pictures/tag me on Instagram at @aliceineastwash. TIA).

I ordered these poisoned apple cupcakes from a friend's home bakery business. I basically told her I wanted apples that resembled the ones in the Snow White film and edible glitter and she ran with it. The kids LOOOOOOOVED them. Out of 48 cupcakes, zero were left.

We dolled up the house, with mums, skeletons, pumpkins, and our black candy pumpkin.

I made my own poisoned apple to carry around, purchasing a fake apple from the dollar store and covering it in glitter glue.

The d├ęcor included typical scary accoutrements and my favorite fairy-tale books, these Camille Rose Garcia ones figuring prominently. ... Gee, I need to post about those books. I don't think I ever have. More to come.

Spider-web cupcake tiers were perfect for displaying the wares.

I think I loved this costume just a little too much. Shoot me.

Poor Maleficent. She really couldn't help smiling. These costumes were borrowed from a friend, who had purchased them from the Disney Store years ago.

Don't tell my Mom I posted this, but they look so cute. Cruellas. In full regalia.

Evil Stepsisters.

Alice in Wonderland represented.

My niece was not so sure of me. Smart girl.

Maleficents go marching one by one. Hurrah. Hurrah. My mother-in-law made these cupcakes from recipes found on Pinterest.

The whole crew. I think my favorite costume was the Big Bad Wolf.

These two have my heart forever. Who says Evil Queens are rotten to the core?
 What party to plan next year???? The wondering is upon me. A/J

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Nest at Halloween

One good thing about my house is that, at Halloween, I really don't have to change all that much to make it creepy/scary;).

That said, here's how we're looking here at the Nest. How are you decorating for Halloween this year? Any new and fun projects? A/J

Special props if you can spot the #hiddenariel. Sophie was intent that she should be included in the picture. For more on our Black Candy Pumpkin, see here.

The rats are back. As is a passed out Ariel. Naughty girl. For more about the rats, see here.

Who doesn't love a #catalier??
I love vintage Halloween cards:)). For more on the candles, see here.

Bats and rats.

The Halloween mantle.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Let's have a chat about yoga pants ...

I'll start with the simplest question. Why is it so frigging hard to find yoga pants that actually do their job? I mean, almost every pair of yoga pants I've ever had an intimate relationship with have been out-and-out failures. I can't even count how many times I have had to stop what I'm doing in my yoga class because my yoga pants have let me down. After two gigantic kids and two less-than-forgiving pregnancies, my cute-little-foldover, Pink-yoga-pant days are long gone. Yes, I love those pants. But they do not love me. Wonk wonk. Hence the vast number of break-ups that have landed many a pair of yoga pants in my trash can.

So, when Victoria's Secret sent me the Knockout Tight from the VSX Sport line from Influenster, I've gotta say I was decidedly skeptical. To test them out, I decided to wear them in each of my most trying of classes - Zumba, PiYo, and straight-out yoga.

Here's the deal. These pants DO NOT MOVE. I mean, they don't budge. They hold you tight, suck in your gut, and are supportive in the way that many husbands and boyfriends fail to be. The hidden drawstring waist is awesome, especially if, like me, your hips are larger than your waist. The "Body-Wick" fabric is also great. Let's just say that, like me, you need to run to the grocery store after your super-sweaty Zumba class. Do you want to go with sweat stains in all the wrong spots?

Plus, they just look super-cute.

I swear my behind looks better in these pants. Props to the "nylon performance fabric."

I love the higher waist on these.
The Incredible by Victoria's Secret Sport Bra is also a win-win. To be honest, it looks like quite the contraption (with the cups, the back closure, etc.). But it held me in place, stayed in place, and is very flattering.

Disregard the mess behind me. Ugh.
I don't spend money lightly. Anyone who knows me knows that this is an absolute fact, especially when it comes to clothing. But I would splurge on these yoga pants. They are the bomb. A/J

PS. Thanks to the Pittsburgh radio station WDVE, this is the only song I hear when I think about yoga pants. Those guys are jerks.

 *** I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Last Five Books

In honor of Banned Books Week, I've been thinking about the last five books I would want to squirrel away and read and reread if all of the other books in the world suddenly disappeared. Here's my list. What would be on yours??

Both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I could read these books a million times and they would never get old. Also, preferably these Ruben Toledo Penguin editions, because I love looking at them as objects.
Charles Dickens' Bleak House, because it has the best opening passage in all of literature (in my opinion, anyway). Plus it is super long, so it would keep me entertained for a while.
Grimm's Fairy Tales. Come now, are you really surprised?
Bram Stoker's Dracula. Again, long. Windy. Wrought.
Ok, I'm going to cheat. One more. James Joyce's Ulysses. Because maybe, if it were one of the last six books in my possession, I would actually read it.
 What would your favorite five be? A/J

Monday, September 22, 2014

Where I've Been....

What a beautiful, blessed week this was. Here's a taste of it while I try to deal with all of the stuff I've put off dealing with while basking in its glow.

Say hello to my sleepy little niece, Lily Marie, born last Thursday.

She's just so sweet. I have to share a few more.

Hello, little one. How does the world look?

Got my hair did. Red to blonde ombre. I like it, but it takes some getting used to. I've never been red before.

Oh yeah. Except this part. If I ever, EVER say I am going to work another fundraising event, just shoot me. I mean it. Not worth it. At all.  

Out walking on Seven Creeks Road. Puppy-sitting. I am not a dog person (figured that out fast). This road is cool though; you literally have to drive through seven creeks to get to the other end of it. Hence the fact that there is zero traffic.

Hunting for minnows in Gump Tommy's creek.

Date night with the husband. Which happens once in a blue moon.

The flannel pjs, dark nail polish, and black cats are back. Which makes me very happy.

Sophie is super-excited about dance tonight.

The weather is definitely changing too. I love fall so much.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Spooky Old Tree (or the Power in Pictures)...

The little one, learning to read. She has discovered the power of the exclamation point!!
Sharing an old post today, because it came back to mind while teaching the little one to read before bedtime last night ....

Several months ago, while shopping in the Black Rose, I picked up this old book, the images on the cover recalled from my childhood.

The memory of the book I had in my mind was some really great story about the little Berenstain Bears embarking from home on a journey to a mythic old tree, a veritable fun-house chock full of knights in armor, trick stairs, and a great sleeping bear that you most definitely don't want to wake up.

Here, instead, is a sample of how this Bright and Early reader reads: "Three little bears. / One with a light. One with a stick. One with a rope. / A spooky old tree. / Do they dare go into the spooky old tree? / Yes. They dare." How exciting.

The power of this book lies in its pictures, which are at once frightening and invigorating. My memory of the fun of this book is deeply rooted in the bears' visual journey.

There's a good lesson here for us busy parents. We shouldn't speed through the book so fast that the enjoyment of it is lost on our children. Let your kids get lost in the images on the page. Let them run with the bears. Let them climb into the portal of that spooky old tree. Let them run their little fingers over the paper, dig their nose into the book's spine. Those who love books love them because they developed, early on, a sensory relationship with them. Tactile.  Go on. Let them get their hands dirty. ~Alice