Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(not so) tiny dancer

Hello, friends, and welcome to our SIXTH EPISODE of me shamelessly embarrassing myself for your humor   Way Back When-sday. Can you believe I've stuck with it this long? I know, me too. Figured I'd fizzle out after 3 weeks or something, right? Look at me and my stick-to-it-iveness. Don't you think that NOW you can join in? Share a little of your own past? No?? 

Fine, I'll just do it myself.

So you may have noticed a slight theme in some of the pictures over the last few weeks. Costumes. Particularly of the glitter-and-glamor DANCE persuasion. That's because for the first 15 or so years of my life, I was a pretty committed (notice I didn't say talented?) dancer. And then for the next 10 years I was an on-again-off-again dancer. And the first 15 years involved lots of makeup, glitter, and flesh-colored pantyhose. And, in Thanks, Mom! I know those tap shoes didn't just buy themselves every year while my feet grew to their ever-so-dainty maximum capacity (bet she was prayin' for a daughter who maxed out at a size 7, wasn't she? HAHAHA, say my sister GIANTFOOT, and I). 

So this week, let us cast off our inhibitions and put on our glitter eyeshadow and big hair as we waltz leap, twirl, and jazz-hand our way down Memory Lane.

Let me start by apologizing that I do not have any of my REALLY YOUNG dance pictures in my own possession. Mom is pretty tight-fisted with that caliber of cuteness (can you blame her?), so next time I make a trip home I'll see if I can pilfer some, but until then...we're gonna have to start with about age 6 or 7.

Here we can see one instance of what was truly a rarity at this age: a PROFESSIONAL photo. Please compare it to what NORMALLY happened: the home photo:

As you can see, my posing improves exponentially with the cost of said photo being taken. Payin' a dude at a studio?? I turn on the glam. Have me in the front yard? Well, you get what you pay for. Other observation: apparently my mom spent the month's pay on the professional photo. She must have decided to save money by CUTTING MY BANGS TO THE QUICK so that they wouldn't have to be trimmed for 3 more years. Nice.

Also, it is worth noting that I have worn glasses since kindergarten. Big ol' thick ones. I didn't get contacts until the summer before 8th grade, bless my heart. So, you do the math. In all of these dance pictures (and during all dance performances and competitions and photo shoots) that took place prior to 8th grade, I was blind. I wore glasses during class, but never for performances. Maybe I was a better dancer when things were blurry. Or maybe I was vain. Either way...MOVING ON!

Tap picture!! Please notice the fabulousness of those silver shoes. I LOVE tap. Throughout my "career" I did ballet (including pointe), jazz, tap, modern, and lyrical. I'd be lying if I didn't say tap was and is my favorite. Yes, I still have tap shoes that fit me, and yes, I tap in my garage. It's friggin awesome. Unfortunately, no, I do not still fit into the above costume. FAIL!

 In middle school, I changed studios and started dancing with the company (now known as the "competition team," according to their web page) at Martinez-Evans Dance Studio.I loved dancing there, most likely because we got sweet costumes and got to take awesome pictures like the one above. This dance (which was actually pointe, so I'm not sure why we're wearing regular ballet slippers) was called 'The Dollmaker' and as you can see, we are all dolls (except for the one girl in the back who is obvs the Dollmaker). Dances always had to tell stories, you know? So that must explain the deer-in-headlights look on our faces. Me? I'm a smiler. I really don't know what to do when you tell me to make a different face for the camera.

It is probably worth your time to click on that group picture and check out our awesomeness up close. Just sayin'.

Also, I should sidetrack here and say that the studio I FIRST danced at (from ages about 4 to 11)...well, the lady that founded and taught at that studio...her daughter was on So You Think You Can Dance a few seasons ago! So, basically I am almost famous.

Here's one of my tap dances from that same year. I'm the one in the middle (back row). These costumes are significantly lamer than the Dolls ones.

Here's my tap dance from the following years. It was to "Devil in a Blue Dress," obviously. I'm second from the right in the back row.

Although I did some more dancing in high school, college, and even a few years post-college (mostly hip-hop and modern. and salsa.), I don't have many pictures of that...probably because the costumes weren't nearly as awesome. Nor the makeup as glittery. Nor the group poses as cheesy. Basically, life after middle school dance company has been a severe bummer.

That's all I've got for WBW this week. Gotta go get my tap on in the garage...peace!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

just relax- it's not really a disease!

Myth 1: Infertility isn't a disease.

Myth 2: If you just relax, you will get pregnant.

Did you know it was National Infertility Awareness Week? If not, you can thank me later for letting you in on it. I think it's funny that there are so many "awareness weeks" for different diseases/causes. Funny slash sad. I have a hunch that if you are the person affected by whatever disease/cause people are having a "week" don't really need reminding. You never really forget.
Welcome to my world, where it's always Infertility Awareness Week Month Year Life! It's not the kind of thing that slips my mind. But I guess if you're lucky enough to not be in my club, maybe you need some reminding. Just like I need reminding about National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, National Work Zone Awareness Week, National Sleep Awareness Week, and National Asbestos Awareness Week. Strangely, I did not make up any of those weeks. Thank you, Google, for making my day a little bit more magical.

So this week the idea is to Bust a Myth relating to infertility. This naturally appeals to me, since I am a) a fan of Mythbusters, b) pretty knowledgeable about many things related to infertility, c) pretty irritated about most of the "myths" out there surrounding infertility, and d) always looking for someone to tell me what to blog about. However, being the indecisive person I am, I couldn't choose just one myth. I went with two, since they seem to go pretty well hand-in-hand.

Myth 1: Infertility isn't a disease.

Actually, it is. Infertility is directly caused by a malfunctioning hormonal or structural system in the body, thus meeting the dictionary criteria of disease. Infertility is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), amongst other organizations, as a disease. About two thirds of couples dealing with infertility will be able to pinpoint the specific cause (or causes) of their infertility. Matt and I are amongst those "lucky" 2/3s. We know exactly why we can't conceive. For that, I am often thankful. It was horrible, all those months of trying and hoping and not knowing why we couldn't get pregnant while everyone we knew popped out baby after baby. Finding out the cause of our infertility, while extremely disappointing (and incurable, by the way), at least gave us the sense that it wasn't just something we were doing wrong. It wasn't just bad timing...for fifteen months. We have a disease, and it has a name, and it has no cure. Except-- wait!! What's this?? average, fertile, non-reproductive endocrinologist acquaintance of mine...YOU know something doctors don't know?? You know the cure?? I should....relax?

Myth 2: If you just relax, you will get pregnant.

"Hey, Sally. I'm really sorry to hear about your cancer/heart disease/diabetes/arthritis/pneumonia/hangnail/athlete's foot (pick your favorite malady here) diagnosis. That really sucks. But hey-- one time, my sister's cousin was diagnosed with that, and she just went on vacation to Hawaii for a week and BAM! her cancer went away. It was crazy. So why don't you just relax? I'm sure you will get better in no time."

Sound ridiculous? Yeah, I thought so too. Does it sound just that ridiculous when I hear people suggesting that my husband and I just relax and we'll probably get pregnant, too? Yup. Sure does.

There's nothing wrong with relaxation. If you've known me for any amount of time, you'd know I'm a pretty huge fan of all things relaxing. And relaxing (or rather, not being wound up in stress) is bound to be beneficial for your health, whether you are battling infertility, the flu, or testicular cancer. It is not, however, a cure for any of those things. 

To me, Myths 1 and 2 go hand-in-hand. Infertility is a disease. So unless you are a doctor (or a fellow infertile, or someone I am specifically asking advice from), please do not offer unsolicited 'cures.' When you got diagnosed with liver disease, something I know nothing about, I did not attempt to minimize your pain, give you some hear-say 'medical advice,' or console you by reminding you that "you're young! You'll get well someday!"...because that would have been ridiculous. And I'm anything but ridiculous. Well, about this stuff, anyway.

So...did I bust the myths? I feel like I could have blabbed on for longer, but I don't want to feel like I'm lecturing, because...we're friends here. And to be honest, I rarely encounter any of the above scenarios anymore. You guys are awesome. My real life friends and family are awesome. It's usually only the occasional random acquaintance that commits any of these faux pas, and I am usually quick to forgive them (after I burst into tears) because they are totally clueless...but just in case any Totally Clueless People dropped by my blog today, I figured this could be my Public Service Announcement.

But just in case you're wondering...what can you do/say when you meet an infertile person/couple? Because I hate to write a whole long thing about what NOT to do and then you're all lost without any idea of what to do.

You can/should:
-Tell them you're sorry, that you can't imagine what they're going through, and that you're praying for them (and do it).
-Ask if they have any new funny/ridiculous/awkward stories from one of their many doctor's appointments...they probably do.
-Ask what their favorite side effects from fertility drugs are
-Avoid announcing your own pregnancy (unless you have been TTC for over a year yourself) (or, strangely, if it is completely unplanned/"oops"...for some reason, that also comforts me, to know I'm not the ONLY one not in control of her body!)
 -Follow their lead: if they're talking baby-making (or lack thereof), you talk baby-making. If they're avoiding the topic, you should avoid it, too, in order to avoid awkward cry-fests or fits of anger.
-Avoid talking exclusively about your own child/children/pregnancy. Mix it up with something they can happily relate to.
-Get excited about whatever good things are going on in their lives. I can tell you from experience that it takes some effort to think about/do ANYTHING but obsess about my plight. I have to make a concerted effort to find hobbies and activities to pull me out of myself. Let's talk about that instead.
-Pray. I may have already said it, but genuine prayer is always appreciated. Infertility is a disease like so many others, and like so many others, God CAN AND DOES HEAL IT!!!! I absolutely believe in that, cling to that, and place all my hope in that fact. 

And finally, I feel obligated to say on behalf of all infertile women/couples everywhere (bold, but I'm willing to go there):
If you are still of the mindset that relaxation will cure me, then by all us relax. Donate us your frequent flier miles so we can go on vacation! Treat me to a day at the spa! How about an in-house couple's massage?  Perhaps a weekly maid service. The sky's the limit!! Never feel like you should hold back on your generous offers of relaxation! You just never know which one might cure us, right?...

Want more information about National Infertility Awareness Week and/or infertility in general? Check out:
or go here to read other Myth-Busting Blogs.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

hitched (steve & jess)

It ended up being a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding.

Not so, yesterday. Yesterday, when we were supposed to have the (outdoor) rehearsal and (outdoor) rehearsal dinner it was 50something degrees and drizzly/misty all day. AKA cold and wet. Awful. We kept hearing it "might clear up," but it never did and eventually we had to make last-minute changes in order to have the rehearsal dinner indoors. Everything was fine, of course-- I guess we all just got reminded that despite our greatest plans, we aren't really in control! Despite the weather and changes, it was a wonderful night...just not weather-wise.

Today started out looking like yesterday. Cloudy, drizzly, and chilly. Come on, weather, I repeated all morning. I know you can do better than this. Matt and I actually had a pretty chill, normal morning-- a few yard sales, working in the yard. I kept a constant eye on and the sky and reminded God that we could really use some help with the weather here. Sure enough, around 2:00 the sun started peeking through. The temperatures climbed up nicely, and by the time we started getting dressed I was once again feeling confident in my choice of sundress. 

The wedding was fabulous. The venue was beautiful. It was warm and sunny, but not overly hot or humid. Jessica was drop-dead, slap-your-mama gorgeous. Stephen cleaned up okay. :) Let's skip this monologue and move on to the pictures, eh?

Here's Matt and I with the flower girl who also happened to be our houseguest for the weekend! She's a master flower girl and also one of the funniest and smartest kids I've ever met. She's six, right? And as we were driving around last night, me next to her in the back seat, here's what she says. "Erika, we're related!" "We are?" "Well....yes, I think. See...[lots of pauses here as she thinks it all through]...your...broth--no, husband...yeah, your husband is my uncle's brother. My uncle Jo-Jo was married to my mommy's sister. mommy...had me! So...we are related!!!!!" Well, when you put it like that, Kirsten, I guess we are! Too bad there's no easy term to describe our relatedness, though.  So we'll just take a picture here where you look like you could be our daughter and call it a day.

Here I am with my sister-in-law, Amy, and my mother-in-law. Can you even tell Amy is 25 weeks pregnant?

And the requisite picture of myself with my own groom.

And here's the Reason You Came to the Wedding: the bride. Beautiful doesn't even begin to describe her.
And here was my job: handing out programs. Needless to say, I'm pretty awesome at that job.

No need to narrate these pics...

The ceremony was fairly short and completely wonderful. I only cried the whole a few times-- success! We also counted it a big success that a train didn't come by the whole time. There are train tracks running RIGHT next to the Thompson House...during pictures, etc, before the wedding, trains were coming by (LOUDLY) every 20 or 30 minutes. 

Amy and Tom (my SIL and BIL) departing from the ceremony. I have loved getting to spend time with them this weekend! (PS- If you are from Vermont and you are awesome, let me know and you can be friends with Tom and Amy.)

 Here I am with my two sisters-in-law! (Or is it sister-in-laws? Tricky s.)

And Matt with his dad and Tom.

And I stuck around to help haul Jess's dress around while they had a little lovey-dovey photo shoot. And then I stood behind the photographer and mooched off her shots. Hahaha.

Then there was the reception, and I didn't get many pics there (let's face it, all the curl had fallen out of my hair by then, so what would be the point??), except of the cake table. Not only was the cake delicious...have you ever SEEN such a beautiful and decorative and unusual and fashionable cake table set-up?? I mean, it was like a little forest with all the plant and birdcage and bird decorations!! It was amazing!!

And then it was over. And they zoomed off into the night and I took off my (cute but painful) shoes and called it a night, too.

It was such a good day. And tomorrow is Easter!! I admit I have had absolutely no time to think about Easter or prepare for it...there will be no Easter Bunny visiting our house tonight...but we will go to church in the morning and then spend the afternoon with the family. And hopefully, God help us, go to the gym. It has been far too long since I've darkened their doors with my ever-expanding shadow.

Oh, but there has been an Easter Miracle already!! And you have seen it! All these pictures?? Taken with my OWN CAMERA! Yup. One of them just decided to up and work today. Who knows how or why these things happen...I will just be thankful for it and not at all surprised if it once again won't work tomorrow. At least it worked today. Amen? Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Required background music for today’s post: Boys II Men, Blink 182, Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, N*Sync, and above all: Ricky Martin, ‘Shake Your Bon-Bon’

Today’s Way Back When-sday theme should really be ‘Rushed’. And no, not rushed in the sorority sense—I think we’ve already established that I’m not girly—CERTAINLY not girly enough to have rushed in college. I just mean a regular old I’m-in-a-big-hurry rushed.

You guys had tons of great suggestions for topics for today, but then it occurred to me that it’s almost Easter. Visions of Easter dresses and pantyhose and Sam & Libby flats and white hats filled my head. I knew I had to dig up some old Easter pics (the three kids in age order, in front of the tree and azaleas in our front yard. Same pose ALWAYS.) for you to feast your eyes upon.

But then it turned into this week. This is like the busiest week EVER. Matt’s brother’s wedding is on Saturday, so already Thursday through Sunday is absorbed with wedding activities…which pushed back our normal Thursday plans to Wednesday…and then we opted to hang out with our family last night instead of having our normal Tuesday…and anyway, the week’s shot as far as time for blogging/digging through pictures in the attic is concerned. So this morning I rushed through my breakfast and dashed to the attic in hopes those beautiful Easter pics would be SOMEWHERE near the top of the boxes of pictures and I could find them and scan them before I was late to work.

I couldn’t. Sadsies.

I did, however, find another seasonally appropriate stash of pictures. Therefore, today we will be waltzing (more like grinding) back through time and enjoying Prom 2000—my junior year of high school.

Ah, prom. What can I say about you? You’re a glorious tradition, and I’m glad I partook of you. And now I’m done talking like prom is an actual person.

I had a pretty solid core group of friends in high school, known to ourselves as the Spectacular Seven (not sure anyone else truly recognized how spectacular we were…). Since we were a 4-3 split of boys-girls, it usually worked out pretty well that we just mix-and-matched amongst ourselves when it came time for formal dances and what-not. Also, at any given time members of the group might be dating each other, or occasionally dating some Outsider…so the odd numbers were never really a problem. That’s how I ended up going to my junior prom as Michael’s date.

Michael was an excellent date, despite the fact that we were the same height and I had to pose for all pictures barefoot so that I wouldn’t tower over him in heels.

Speaking of pictures…I’m going to spare you a little this week. Rushed and all. I only had time to scan a few, and anyway—they aren’t that exciting that I need to inundate you. I found a few pictures of my friends, and since several of them are fellow bloggers and/or requested I feature pictures of them/their spouses during WBW, I wanted to take a chance to embarrass showcase them.

Here we are actually at the prom, and amidst this crowd of dapper folks you will find James and Kristina! Prom dates in 2000, “life dates” (married, you could say) in 2007. What foreshadowing! (Other interesting fact: James was MY prom date senior year. Maybe we’ll feature that one sometime!)

After prom (and most weekend nights, for that matter) we went over to Jessica’s house. This year, it appears that Jess and Christopher were dates. Somehow we also seemed to end up with some of the prom decorations (?? What else would those big white gate things be?? Any other Seven member, feel free to jog my memory)…

Patrick was thinking outside the box (HAHAHAHAHAHA…funny pun if you’re in the know.) (and if you’re not, I’ll let you in: his last name is Box) and took this girl who I can’t remember her name because she didn’t go to our school. I like her dress though. And I also like how if you look really close, you can see the Shrine to Jessica on the mantle behind the white gates. Jess is an only child. If you think First Kids get lots of photos…wow, that just pales in comparison to the Shrine that an Only Child can get. Especially Jessica. 

That’s all I’ve got for you now. Like I said…there are way more pics, but not way more time. But one more quick tale before I go—

Unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess it depends) for you, I went to Evans High. Had I gone to Greenbrier High, our rival high school, I would have had Christina Aguilera at my prom that year. I know, crazy, right?? Some kid at Greenbrier won a contest that year and the prize was having Christina come as your “date” and perform at your prom. It was pretty much the biggest thing to ever happen in suburbia. And also, according to most of the people I knew that were at the prom that night, one of the most frustrating/lamest things ever. Wish I could tell more, but…ya know, I wasn’t there. Sorry!

Monday, April 18, 2011

girly-girl chronicles

I don't normally consider myself much of a girly-girl. I'm not sure why. I think that on the outside, I probably look like I'm about an average amount of girly-- I wear make-up and dresses, and I have a pretty decent jewelry collection and a rather substantial shoe collection (to put it mildly...). But despite the outward appearances, I don't really "identify" myself as a girly-girl. In my mind, girly-girls spend their time like...watching chick flicks. Meeting up with the girls for wine and pedicures. Actually having "the girls." (And no, I'm not talking about anatomy, thanks. I'm talking about having a group of fellow ladies you hang out with regularly enough to refer to them as simply 'the girls'). Girly-girls probably all dated lots of boys in high school, and spent hours on the phone with their girlfriends discussing the minutiae of their relationships. They probably fix their hair more than twice a week.

These could all be misconceptions. Feel free to correct me. These are just the things that comprise my "girly-girl" schema. 

Anyway, with all that said-- this weekend, I embraced my inner girly-girl. As you know, I was on my own-- but not, since Catherine came to stay for the weekend. It was just like the old days (we lived together for several years in and post-college)-- we stayed up late talking about baby names, slept in late (well, late for me-- 8:30!! I had the decency to wait until 9:30 to wake Catherine up), and had Waffle Saturday. The we spent the rest of the day fully embracing our girly-girlness. There was the shopping (both yard sales and real stores). There were chick flicks. There were naps (hey, a girl needs her beauty sleep). Then we got dolled up and met a friend for dinner.

After dinner, things got decidedly girlier. (PS- the red-underline-of-death aka Spell Check is going NUTS with all this 'girly' talk. Apparently 'girly,' 'girlier,' and 'girlness' are not actually words. Who knew?) We headed to Target to peruse their wares.

After perusing for ever quite some time, we happened upon the Nail Polish Aisle. Be still my heart: fun nail polish has really grown on me in the last year or so. Usually Mattie has no patience for me in the nail polish department-- he doesn't seem nearly as enthusiastic as he could be to watch me try on every single shade and debate the various merits and demerits of each hue. Luckily, Catherine was up to the task. So we took it upon ourselves to try out pretty much every single shade that was worth looking at in pursuit of the Perfect Polish for Spring  April 16, 2011. Don't believe me? Check out our hands (and take note that my other hand is holding the phone to take the pic. There was more polish there!):

Yes, my hand is the gargantuan one on the bottom right. Don't hate.

It was a very tough decision. There were eliminations and brackets and all manner of debates taking place. In the end, Catherine ended up buying a robin's egg-blue (I think it's the one on her left thumb in the pic above) and I went with a purplish-pink (ring finger above).

We stopped for hot fudge sundaes on the way home, then went into spa-mode. Manis, pedis, and facials (well, green face masks) all around! That is girly. And we did take pictures, but they're on Catherine's camera and I don't have them yet...I'll add them in later if I get them. 

All in all, I very much enjoyed the girly-ness of the weekend. Maybe it's good to embrace your inner girly-girl every now and then. In fact, I did a little extra today, buying a Dealmobs deal for a haircut and highlights at a new salon--watch out, world! 

But I balanced myself out by spending all day yesterday afternoon washing and cleaning out my car. And then today by mowing and weedeating the lawn AND (helping) put down ant killer and weed-n-feed AND watering. Whew. THAT was a lot of work. Manly work. Like I'm used to. :)'s Monday. That means it's almost Way Back When-sday and I have no topic in mind! Suggestions?

Friday, April 15, 2011

on my own

To truly get the flavor of this post, I'm going to need you to bust out your Les Miserables CD (because I know you have one, right?) and sing along to On My Own a few times...really try to feel the depth of poor Eponine's plight, will you? Thanks.

Well, my plight this weekend really isn't anything like Eponine's, but I am still, in fact, on my own.

Yup. The world record is being broken. Mattie's left me for a dude camping weekend (bachelor party for his brother) and I am ALONE. For the first time in (check the Daisy Path counter thingy) 3 years, 9 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days, I am sleeping without my Mattie. And I am NOT a happy camper about it. I tried every manipulative wife trick in the book to convince him he should not go, and none of them worked. I even had this dangerous-storm-bringing cold front shipped in, complete with tornado warnings and hail, just to convince him he'd rather stay in our house than in a tent...and he didn't fall for it! Lame.

Since I am 100% sure I am not capable of sleeping in a house by myself (not entirely sure I have EVER done that, actually...I always had roommates), I arranged babysitting for my sister-friend Catherine to stay here for the weekend. Hopefully when she arrives I will manage to stop crying and feeling pitiful and worrying about rabid bears and/or tornadoes rampaging Matt's camping trip.

In the meantime, I have:

--Watched every episode of Say Yes to the Dress that has aired in the last few hours. Love this show. Love it more when I have someone to watch it with. WOE IS ME, I AM ALL ALONE!

--washed/dried/folded one load of laundry. Yawn.

--visited 40 random new blogs from today's Blog Carnival at Kelly's Korner.Today's topic is "What Are You Reading?", which is right up my alley. From a blog I visited, I made the amazing discovery that Francine Pascal wrote a new Sweet Valley book for grown-ups, featuring Jessica and Elizabeth as grown-ups, too! Um, hello-- AMAZING! Unfortunately, the girl reviewing the book was pretty disappointed...but I will probably need to read it anyway. I foresee a nice long sit at a B&N somewhere in my future this weekend!

--Baked this pizza, which I will eat as soon as I finish this blog:
And yes, I did just have cheese pizza (from a restaurant) last night...and no, I don't care. I have come to the realization/conclusion that my diet is comprised of 40% Mexican food, 40% pizza, and 40% fruit...and if these numbers add up to more than 100%, that's because I eat way more than any person should. I eat 120% of what you eat. So there!

--Mollyanne and I are planning a brunch party to celebrate and watch the Royal Wedding on April 30th. Since I was pretty sure I was going to marry Prince William and all...well, this is pretty much the nail in the coffin of that idea. (As though my own wedding was not...) So we may as well join in the merriment with festive brunch foods and beverages and the company of a bunch of girls, right? Our thoughts exactly. Anyway, I'm really excited, especially cause some girls suggested folks bring their own wedding gowns, wedding albums, and the like...I am all ABOUT that! Now if only people would RSVP to our facebook invitation... 

--um, my blogging just got hijacked when my mom texted me a picture of their NEW DOG and I almost died from the cuteness and also the fact that she STOLE MY NAME. The name I am giving our future daughter, that is. Or actually just a very close derivative of the name. Of all the people I didn't know I'd need to worry about them stealing "my" name...anyway, now I am dying of jealousy that my parents have this adorable new dog and it is fueling my ever-present desire to fill my house with cute puppies (since I can't seem to fill it with babies)...trying to resist the urge to rush to the nearest dog adoption fair tomorrow and adopt the cutest, tiniest baby there is...I bet Matt will never leave town again if I do that, though!! Mwah ha ha.

Well, that brings us about up to date on this super exciting evening thus far. Tomorrow I hope to enjoy all of my typical favorite Saturday activities...gardening, getting a new puppy, laying out, getting a puppy, yard sales...and spending lots of quality time with girlfriend(s). 

What do YOU do when your significant other leaves town? Any ideas for me? Think I should get a puppy? Think my mom should BACK UP and re-name the dog (who has only had this name for a few weeks)? So many things to weigh in on...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


 Well it's time for another Way Back When-sday, and I know I'm still recovering from the humiliation of last week, so we're taking things a little slower this time. I'm also taking my friend Brooke's suggestion for a topic for this week, so thanks for the idea, Brooke!

I've mentioned before that I'm the oldest child (and therefore practically perfect in every way) and you probably already know that I'm one of three siblings. That's why you're probably super excited to see some old relics of pictures I dug up of the three of us as kids, right? Right! I know I was excited.

And in case you are wondering or contemplating or thinking of how many kids you would like to have for yourself one day, may I be the first to suggest that three kids is a great number? Seriously, it is. Especially if it's a 2/1 split on gender. Being the oldest AND a member of the majority gender worked out swimmingly. I was NEVER teamed up against. It was either me and Jake against Sarah (because we were oldest and-- let's face it-- smartest), or me and Sarah against Jake (because we are girls and-- seriously-- angels, compared to Jake). Now, personally, I'm still hoping to have four kids of my own someday (and making excellent progress in that endeavor, as you know...), but I would be happy to settle for three. Except for when you're at an amusement park. That was the only bummer, when someone had to ride alone (Dad, sorry). Anyway...on to the picture! And just in case you're not sure of our age differences, I'm about 2.5 years older than Jake, and then he's about 2.5 years older than Sarah.

 Let's kick things off with Halloween of 1986. Unfortunately, Sarah didn't have the privilege of being born yet, but Jake and I seem to be handling things just fine without her. See how my mom was trying to distract the eye from my disgusting bowl cut by really slathering on that blue eyeshadow? Yeah, I don't think it worked, but nice try.

  Now we'll jump a few years into the future to about 1991. Here we are in a totally natural-looking Olan Mills portrait of us in our "favorite hobby" outfits. As you can see, Sarah and I tended towards dancing, and Jake broke tons of bones played football. Also, please note that even at this young age, when I'm not remotely overweight or anything, I STILL HAVE CHILDBEARING HIPS. God, please take note of this natural inclination towards childbirth and GIVE ME A FRIGGIN CHILD as a reward for having curvalicious hips my whole life. Thanks.

 Alright, this next one is another costumed shot (catching a theme here? Do we ever wear normal clothes?)...this was right before our church's centennial celebration, wherein we all wore clothing from 100 years ago, when our church was founded. Hence a prairie girl and cowboy...???

Requisite Christmas shot in pajamas!! Yes, Sarah and I DID open those boxes to find some amazing(ly creepy in retrospect) porcelain dolls!

 Well, now we're fast-forwarding a lot of years to's a picture we took and framed for my parents, so that they could feel good about the thousands of dollars they spent on our orthodontic treatments.

And here's evidence that despite the years of questionable haircuts and costumes, we all turned out alright. My wedding (well, arguably we are still wearing costumes here...) in 2007:

And Sarah's wedding last December.

Jake is getting married in June, so we will have at least one more opportunity for a great sibling photo shoot. Unfortunately, we are rarely all three together anymore, so we don't have many chances to dress up in strange costumes and take pictures, but we do try to take advantage of what time we have!

And really, I left off my favorite picture of all time. Not because I don't want to share, but because I'm not entirely sure I even have a copy (it was a portrait and it's framed in like LIFE SIZE at my parents' house), and I wasn't feeling brave enough to chance the attic stairs tonight. But it's a great picture in that a) we are all THREE wearing matching/coordinating outfits (thanks, Nana!), b) questionable hairstyles all around (pigtails for the girls, cowlicks for my brother), and c)...that picture has been hanging in my parents' house my WHOLE LIFE. I never thought anything of it, except that we look cute, right? And then, come college time or something, like EVERY FRIEND who ever goes to the house and sees that picture makes fun of it! Apparently it's a riot to everyone except me, who thinks it is a totally normal picture. Wish I had it here so yall could weigh in...maybe I'll snap a pic of it next time I'm home.

Well, there's Way Back When-sday for ya. Remember: I'm not the only one who needs to be sharing old pics...sharing is caring, friends! Join in! And thanks as always to Allison, the real Nelson twin behind the WBW phenomenon. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to every week!

Monday, April 11, 2011


 So when we last chatted, I mentioned I was on my way out for an afternoon of crafting. Although I can't be certain anyone actually noticed this (except Brooke--Hi Brooke!)...I think the rest of you were too busy reading and re-reading and rolling on the floor laughing at my vulnerable and heart-wrenching post of last Wednesday...and while I appreciate all the support and promises that I wasn't the only one rocking such awesome fashions in the mid-90s...I would really feel better if at least one other person would post some equally embarrassing photos of themselves. Also, how on EARTH am I going to be able to follow that one up this Wednesday? Suggestions welcome.

Anyway, back to my impending crafting. Diana and I decided to attempt the aptly-named "Painted Wall Art for Non-Artists" from the Two Girls Being Crafty blog. And seriously. If you didn't go investigate that blog the last time I mentioned it, you really need to now. It is AWESOME! I feel like a better, more creative person just for reading it. Anyway, if you want a preview of the awesome art I'm about to recreate in front of your very eyes, you could go check it out on their blog. But really, let me suggest that you don't. Because if you do, you will know how easy it was, and I would really rather you see only the finished product and think amazing!! how on EARTH did she do that?? I must have one, at any cost! and then you will ask me to make you one and I will say sure, but it'll be a thousand bucks, and you'll whip out your checkbook, and I will quit my job and spend my days lounging by a pool and painting circles for people.

Or something like that.

So, I started by doing a very advanced artist thing called Painting a White Canvas a Different Shade of White.

 I know, it was almost as difficult as it looks. There were a few touch-and-go moments, but for the most part I successfully transformed that canvas into more of an eggshell shade. Point: Erika!

 Some of these photos are posed, some are not. I'll let you be the judge.

Then I lightly sketched out a few of my "branches." Don't worry, I'd already done this 800 times on a regular piece of paper. Even though Diana assured me there was no way I could mess up drawing branches with a paint pen, I know the depths of my own un-artisticness, and I am confident I could butcher it. Please note that I am copying the one on the computer EXACTLY.

 Then we ditched the pencils and just went at it free-hand. Diana was right. My branches were fine. You will also note that Diana made the bold move of painting her canvas blue. She's much braver than I.

The next step is to start throwing circles around. I spent 20 minutes trying to mix this shade to be the EXACT SAME COLOR as the walls in my bedroom (from memory, of course, since I wasn't actually at home). I came really close!!

And then you paint more and more and more circles and you mix lots of paint because that makes you feel like a True Artist and Awesome Human Being.

And...apparently I paint with a hand on my hip! Who knew? 

Am I done yet? Should I do more circles? Are there too many circles? Is this the best art EVER? (Yes, no, no, and YES.)
And we're done!! We both stuck with less circles and colors overall than the original, because we have an eye for things like that. I liked mine a little less busy and a little more this-will-match-every-room-in-my-house.

And I do love it!! It matches perfectly and makes me feel happy to look at it, so...mission accomplished! 

This project definitely put a few new notches in my crafty belt. And new art on my wall. And barely a dent in my wallet. Success!!

So...who wants to be my next craft partner?? Check out that blog and let me know which project you will fearlessly lead me through. And also...what should the Way Back When-sday theme be this week?? And also, major First World Problem: I need to redeem a gift certificate that can be used for either a 1-hr massage or facial. What should I do?? Massage or facial?? I'm tortured by indecision...