Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Capture: Shapes

I really love You Capture because it makes me pay attention in ways that I might not otherwise. I love this first shot of my birthday boy in the ball pit, but the main reason I happened to be standing there was because I was thinking, "Hmm...balls are circles....circles are shapes!"


And this one... I love the fun shapes that the pom poms make.

I took this one at my parents' house. I love the shape of the sun flare and the way the tree makes a Y.


And finally, the most delicious shape of all, the shape of a Cadbury Cream Egg. Before taking this picture, I never noticed the shapes the cream eggs have on the side. Mostly because I shove them in my mouth without really looking at them, but thanks to You Capture, this one was taken two seconds before I shoved the rest in my mouth.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I was typing up this post about something cute that Luke does every night, and then I stopped. Not because I don't want to share the cuteness, but because I just couldn't. Not right now.

Instead I want to tell you that three is hard. For most of his twos, we scoffed at the whole terrible two phase. We didn't see any of that. Not even really after his little brother was born. But then he got close to three, and I started hearing the phrase "three-nager," and I GOT IT. Oh, did I get it. Maybe a little too much, because sometimes I hear about other three year olds. About the cute things they do, of course, never the THREE things they do, and I start to think that maybe my child is flawed. Maybe I'm a bad mother. Maybe I'm spoiling him or being too hard on him or maybe I'm just not cut out to be a parent. All of these things go through my head, and you know, maybe they go through yours.

So, I'm going to be real. My child is love and sweet and light. Some times. But then there are times when my child defies me. When he flat out refuses to do what I ask him. When I have to put him in time out to keep from pushing him out the front door and pretending he's not mine. Once he picked up the word "dammit" and decided to scream it over and over. In the middle of a crowded restaurant. He wouldn't stop, until I carried him out of the restaurant with my hand clapped over his mouth. A walk of shame, in which I imagined everyone looking at Tommy and thinking, "Oh my. They bred AGAIN?" And at these times, I look at Tommy and think about how he's sweet all the time, but someday, he'll be THREE.
Sometimes Luke is too rough with Tommy. Often it's unintentional and just the result of a three year old loving too much, but there are times when it is intentional. Once at the park, he pushed Ivy. He gets shy at first in social settings and will try to mask his shyness by doing something crazy, like headbutting me. He doesn't do this all the time, but there are times when Tommy falls asleep in the car, and Luke will raise his voice to try and wake Tommy.

There is so much that he does RIGHT, but when he does wrong, I blame myself. I never think that he's a normal three year old, I wonder what I'm doing wrong. Maybe you have a three year old like mine, and so, I hope you read this and realize that no one has a perfect child. (Or if everyone does have a perfect child, please don't tell me.) And in a few days, I'll share the cute because it is OH SO CUTE, but for right now? I'm feeling good about admitting that sometimes, the cute is seriously lacking and I'm frantically wondering if there are gypsies in Indiana and whether or not they would like to buy my child.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Birthday Bash


Luke's third birthday was wonderful and joyful and oh yeah, did I mention exhausting? In a good way, but oh my goodness, am I tired.

We celebrated here on his actual birthday, and they did an amazing job (with the exception of one very rude employee I encountered at the end of the party). I could not have been happier with how very special they made his special day.
His party started out in the water room, and then moved on to the block room, where Noah totally kicked butt at a game of Red Light, Green Light (while Gray and Ellie built a lego tower in the midst of it all).
My favorite part, though, was in the art room where everyone decorated a page in a birthday book for Luke. Isn't that so special?
After this, we went to the ball room, where the kids all had a loud, sweaty time, followed by Luke's birthday parade to the party room.
Everyone ate pizza and cupcakes, and my birthday boy proved that he eats cupcakes just like his mama.
Luke opened presents, and he was so into that I hardly had time to snap a photo. As you can see, all of the excitement was too much for Tommy.
We stayed and played at Bellaboo's until almost 3, when Luke hit the overtired wall, but what a great day. I'm so thankful and blessed to have so many beautiful friends who helped us to celebrate!

The next morning, we woke up bright and early and went to Shane's parents' house, where Shane's dad had prepared a birthday pancake breakfast for Luke. Luke got to open more gifts, plus play with his cousin Piper. There were so many blessings in my weekend, the biggest of all being my birthday boy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

1094 Days

Dear Luke,

On the eve of your birthday, I can't help but think about your birthday eve three years ago. As you grow older, I'm sure you'll hear about the way your brother was born. Probably more than you'd like, and so I want you to know that your birth is just as special to me. Your birth made me a mom, your birth made us a family.

From the moment my water broke three years ago, I knew my life was going to change. I just didn't know how good it'd be. I didn't know that I'd stare at you for hours, marveling at how I made you.
Watching you sleep... When you were a newborn, I kept a nightlight on all night, and I would lie next to you and watch you sleep, as only a new mother can. I still love to watch you sleep.
And loving the faces you made.
Three years later, I love you more than I ever thought possible. I love the person you've become, and I love being your mommy--even on the difficult days. Sometimes I'm not as patient with you as I should be. I hope you'll forgive me for that. Three is harder than brand new, but we're both learning together.
What I have learned is that you are beautiful and compassionate and so very thoughtful. How you hug your friends goodbye at your sitter's and say, "I wish I could play more, but it's time to go home." How you love the water so much that you must be part fish. How when you're excited, you cannot hide it.
How you love your baby brother so much that we just can't keep you away. How the day he was born, you came charging into the hospital room, brushing right past us, saying, "I want to hold MY baby!"
The way you love him is beautiful. Just like the way we love you. Tomorrow we'll celebrate your birthday with friends and family at your favorite place to play. I can't wait to see what three brings.

Love. Always.

Monday, February 8, 2010

An Open Letter To The Fine People At International Delight

I am a huge fan of your products. In fact, your coffee creamer is all I buy. I don't drink my coffee with sugar, but there is nothing better than coffee with flavored creamer, in my esteemed opinion. Now, I believe that variety is the spice of life, so when I run out of one flavor of creamer, I usually buy a different flavor the next time.

You should also know that I'm a huge fan of cupcakes. So when I went to the grocery store and saw your new Sweet Buttercream creamer, I couldn't get it in my cart fast enough. I was so excited that I actually came home, opened it up, and tasted some without coffee. It was beautiful. And then I added it to my coffee, and well, as you can see, it was love at first sip.


Until I noticed that pesky gold label. You know, the one that says Limited Edition. I went to your website, and it says that LE flavors are usually around for two months. Two months! International Delight, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? It scared me so much that next time I was at the store, I bought three bottles because I am crazyobsessiveawesome like that. These last few weeks, I've fallen deeply, madly in love with Sweet Buttercream. Sometimes when I really love a food (like cupcakes), I imagine a scenario in which I am trapped inside a room full of that food and have no chocie but to eat my way out. My latest scenario involves swimming in a sea of Sweet Buttercream, and I swoon with love at the thought of this. And the feeling is mutual. The other day I came home from work to find Sweet Buttercream waiting with a very important question.
I said yes, OF COURSE, and now Sweet Buttercream and I are happily planning our upcoming nuptials, and I've promised it that I will never cheat and buy another flavor again. Except for the whole thing where it's going to be gone in TWO MONTHS. Maybe even less. International Delight, you cannot do this to me. It will be tragic on a Romeo and Juliet level. So please, I beg you to reconsider. For the sake of the love between myself and Sweet Buttercream. And because, look: Tommy's already bonded with his new daddy.

This is not a paid review. International Delight has no idea that I'm even writing this and will probably take out a restraining order if they ever do read it. But I would gratefully accept payment in the form of a warehouse full of Sweet Buttercream.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fast Paced Face

Since returning to work, I've perfected my makeup application to a slapped on job that looks like I spent the time. (My hair, however, is another story and basically reflects the lack of time spent.)
I own so much makeup and love to play with it, but I also have a really hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I set out my clothes the night before. I shower the night before. I do everything to make it so I can essentially roll out of bed and out the door within a ten minute time span.

In the week of returning to work, I've whittled down my routine so that I use a very limited number of products, yet allow for a little color variation depending on what I'm wearing. This is also great for traveling because it means packing a minimal amount of items, yet still having on a full face of makeup. And while I admire those of you don't wear any makeup, I'm just not that person.
Now I should add that when it comes to makeup, I do feel that costlier products do a better job--for a lot of reasons. I'm all for buying generic just about everything, but when it comes to something I'm going to put on my face... I've found that brands sold at cosmetic counters or at Sephora really DO work better than brands sold at Walgreen's. Because they are better quality, you do not have to use as much during an application, nor do they require much touch up during the day, so there is a balance. Also, BRUSHES ARE YOUR FRIENDS. Sponges are inferior for applying both eyeshadow and foundation. Not interested in spending a small fortune on brushes? Sonia Kashuk brand at Target is pretty good for the price. (Interested in spending a small fortune on brushes? Talk to me.) Also, for those of you who don't know, I have done a fair amount of wedding makeup, and if you go here, and click on the slideshow that says C'est Moi Salon, I did all the makeup for that shoot. So while I'm not formally trained, I do have a tiny bit of experience on which to fall back.

For my easy full face, I gather the following items:
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (I used Pink Quartz for this look, but any of them will suffice)
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge
Chocolate Gel Eyeliner
Also, a foundation brush, a cheek brush, two eyeshadow brushes, and a liner brush.

And start with a bare face, which I have decorated with hearts in an attempt to distract you from the bags under my eyes.
Just for fun, I timed myself. From start to finish, it takes three minutes to go from scary face... to a much more polished look. I like polished. So do my students, who would recoil in shock and horror if I walked in looking like that first photo. UNLESS I carry a frame of candy hearts around my head. Oh, and I really do not like full on face shots and so it was hard for me to not put a candy heart frame on this one, too. And actually, I think that this picture is a better representation of how my makeup looked because it's not such a harsh shot, but also it's only half my face because I'm not really good at taking photos of myself.

The best part of this is that so many of the items are multi-use. I used the shimmer brick for my cheeks and my eyes, using the darker brown strips for the lashline and the pink for a browbone highlight. The pot rouge was applied to both my lips and cheeks. I use a moisturizing foundation so I don't need to apply moisturizer. Bobbi Brown is great about making a lot of products that can fulfill two or more uses. Bobbi Brown did not pay me or give me anything for this, I just really like her products. But if she'd like to pay me and/or give me free products, I wouldn't turn that down.

I hope you learned something, if not just "Wow, Erin spends a lot of money on makeup." What are your makeup tips and secrets?