Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stars and Scones

Enough with the success-dress; today I'm slumming it. I wore The Dress with a yellow tank top, cropped red star-covered hoodie (thrifted from Goodwill) and my favorite red tartan sneakers (from Next). I pulled my hair into a ponytail with a stretchy white headband and wore my star earrings handmade by my friend Paula in Scotland (30th birthday present, I think). And no make-up.

Click to enlarge

What? Someone taking a picture of me?
I wasn't aware. Of myself. Taking my own picture.

Standing in a fairy circle

I had a nice, fairly chilled out day. I went to Zumba, ran some errands and made scones for Fiona's Girl Scouts food tasting night. (Each girl had to put on a blindfold and taste a different food provided by each parent. I was amazed that out of all the girls, only two of them - Fiona being one - liked the scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam! How anyone could dislike scones with clotted cream and jam is beyond me.) But anyway, my scones were delicious and fluffy and fun to make.


And when Cailean finally took his nap, I went outside and enjoyed the beautiful crisp, cool weather all by myself.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Precious

The past few days have been rather stressful, but they have all culminated in this...

My new car!

I have been waiting for over a year for this moment. We bought Scott a car first, because he needed something reliable to commute to work in. We bought his car off my mom and stepdad. Getting me a set of wheels was one of those backburner things, especially since my grandpa offered to let me drive his old van for as long as I needed. I have been so grateful for the van, but I also could not wait to finally have something of my own - something with air conditioning, preferably. And something that wouldn't break down on me every couple of months. But we simply had to wait.

Well, the wait is finally over. Today, after three days of working out the details, I finally signed on the dotted line and got the keys to my first ever dealership-purchased vehicle, a 2007 Kia Sportage. I feel like such a grown-up!

Proud purchaser!

I'd like to tell you how awesome I was talking the guy down on the price, but I didn't actually manage to convince him to knock off much. I'd like to believe it wasn't for lack of trying though. So many times I felt like I was being way too ballsy, considering the price did clearly state "No Haggle Price", but in the end, he did knock a bit off and I accepted the offer. (I did the whole, "Well, I guess I'll have to keep looking elsewhere" and start to leave bit - and I really was leaving - and he then agreed to knock a little off the price. So I did good, right?) After all, the offer really was a pretty good one, and the car is in incredible condition considering it's seven years old. The mileage is ridiculously low for such an old car and the interior is spotless. I refused to allow myself to fall in love with the car so that I'd be able to walk away from it, but really, it was too good a deal to walk away from in the end. Now I've let my guard down, and I've fallen in love with it, and I'm just so excited about my new baby! I've named her My Precious, because no one is allowed to touch her, and have already covered the seats with towels and quilts to keep them in pristine condition and kid-proof.

My seats will NOT be destroyed by children!

So after three days of looking at cars, talking to dealers and working out financing and insurance, I haven't had much energy left for blogging. I have, however, been wearing The Dress, so here's a quick run through:


Tired from a long day

This was my "dress for success" car shopping outfit. I know the stereotypes - woman by herself with a toddler shopping for cars, looks like an easy sell, right? So I wanted to at least look put-together. I wore The Dress with a blue sweater, black tights, brown boots, a brown belt and a chunky brown bead necklace. I wanted to look cool, casual and confident. I was proud of myself for not getting bullied into anything that first day. I looked at some cars, but didn't let the guy tell me what I was going to do. I told him I'd get back to him later and left without agreeing to any of the car salesman tricks he was trying. But so as not to seem too uninterested, I had my stepdad, who knows a good bit about cars, go that evening and look at the car I was interested in. And lucky for me, he also found the car that would in a couple of days become MINE.


"Pooped" after a long day of car shopping and a crazy night at work.
(You'll get the "pooped" thing in a minute.)

Tuesday, unfortunately, I wasn't able to look as cool and collected as I had on Monday. My dad, who is a mechanic, offered to come look at the new car I was considering on his way out of town with my stepmom for their anniversary. I had just finished up at the gym when I talked to him, so I had no choice but to go to the dealership in my gym clothes. So a bit of a fail there, but it was worth it to get my dad's stamp of approval on my car of interest.

That afternoon, after spending all day on the phone, I quickly got dressed for work. I put on The Dress over cropped leggings, and topped it with my new Nerds Gone Wild t-shirt I found at Goodwill. I put on some sneakers and wore my hair in a side ponytail with a stretchy headband.

Thrift Store Finds

Then fifteen minutes before I needed to leave for work, my two year old had a poop-explosion and got poop ALL OVER MY DRESS. So I had to throw him in a bath and change my outfit at the same time. I was disappointed to not wear my dress, but I decided to do a sort-of throwback thing by wearing my ODP dress from LAST year instead.

Hence the  "pooped" thing earlier

Wednesday (Today)

If only I'd been wearing a bikini....

Today I wanted to bring back that whole "I'm in control" look (however flimsy it may have actually been), so I wore The Dress with tall brown boots, a green corduroy blazer (only because I couldn't find my gold velour one) and that chunky beaded necklace again. I pulled my hair back into a tidy bun. Yes, The Dress had been washed overnight.

Feeling very happy and excited today.  Already thinking of all the ways I'm going to pimp my ride... personalized plate and eyelashes for the headlights?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Fiona is my photographer today. Naturally she wanted me to pose with Mr Demon. The first picture she took would have been the best, but it was blurry.

I'm wearing The Dress to work this afternoon with the white shrug from yesterday (only wore it a couple hours anyway) with long black beaded necklace, black leg warmers and black and white striped peep-toe wedges. I also wave-curled my hair today, but it's already starting to fall. Next time I'll remember to mousse it before rolling!

Today, in honor of Halloween, I present you with the Ghosts of Halloweens Past. These are the ones I could find anyway, floating around in various corners of the internet.

The Craft with Sarah and Devon

Lara Croft with Paula, Maria, Heather and Elaine

Lara Croft

Tinkerbell with Captain Hook, a mermaid, and Tiger Lily

Dead Little Bo Peep (with TMNT Raphael Sheep) and hippie Amanda

TinyTalk Tooth Fairy

Wicked Witch of the East with Scott and Sarah (executioner and dead school girl?)

The imprints of bricks on my arm. From the house falling on me.

Dead bride with werewolf

Mavis from Hotel Transylvania

Harry Potter Movie extra

Little Kitty

Banana with Little Orphan Annie

Powerpuff Girl with French Kiss

"Mummy" (I was really pregnant)

Pregnant Cleopatra and Company

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Spooky Saturday

I love Halloween!

I'm a little late to the game this October, but finally today we got some decorations out. And by "got some decorations out", I mean I pulled the three items from last year out of the cupboard and that is all we had. So I hit the Dollar Tree, Walmart and Hobby Lobby and bought some cheap decorations to spookify our house.

I'm actually not a big fan of decking out the entire house with holiday decorations. I definitely prefer small, subtle touches. Even for Christmas, all I have is one box. I don't like clutter at the worst of times, but since moving from Scotland and streamlining everything, I've tried even harder to keep the clutter to a minimum. But three Halloween items - a plastic skull, a pumpkin Fiona made in pottery a few years ago and an orange and black cup made by my potter friend Maria - were really not enough.

I started out with the mantel. I put my new window frame up, which I haven't done anything to yet (and anyway the old, battered look totally works for Halloween) and strung cobweb over it. I added a black spider web, a hologram "old fashioned" photo (one angle, two men in sepia smiling, another angle, monster faces) and my three aforementioned items. Simple yet spooky. Makes me smile.

Before I remembered the stuff in the cupboard...

And after.

For my door, I wanted a Halloween, or at least a Fall, wreath, but it turns out that wreaths are ridiculously expensive. I should probably learn to make my own. So I just have a cute wooden sign.

No mention of the ogre who pays the bills though... sorry, Scott!

For some time I've been wanting a little graveyard for my garden, the kind with skeleton bones coming up out of the ground. So today, the girls and I set up our spooky graveyard. I wanted the bones to look more haphazard and disheveled, but they insisted on them being orderly. I let them win.

I later found them outside, reading a book to the skeleton, whom they named Mr Demon... Apparently Mr Demon has a whole backstory and has died three times in three different ways. First, from old age, since he was 100 and "had run out of life". Second, from sunbathing in the street and getting hit by a car. Third, from amnesia. As you do. I'm not sure if I should be amused by this or disconcerted. As my friend Kate said tonight, as long as they don't start telling me that it was actually Mr Demon who told them these stories, it's probably okay...

And I've gotten myself kind of Halloweeny too. I painted my nails black and orange. And today for the October Dress Project I wore The Dress (which is black) with orange shoes, necklace and bracelet. (For the interested: I picked up the shoes at a cancer research charity shop in Greenock, the necklace was a gift from one of my mom's friends and I bought the bracelet at a Craft Fair at the Old Gourock and Ashton Parish. I think it was made by either Lynda or Sylvia.) The Dress was worn as one of those asymmetrical shirts, the kind that are short in the front and long in the back. I wore a white long-sleeved shrug over it. And my hair pulled into a messy, not-fixed bun and no make-up. Scary!

Yes, that's my senior class ring. I still wear it occasionally. 

Fellow ODPer, Kate wearing her dress as a shirt too!

And while not Halloweeny, I went to a craft night tonight at said Kate's house, where I worked on some Christmas cards. I should have worked on Halloween cards I guess, but there you go. Kate was making Halloween - or rather, Harvest - decorations for their church Harvest Fest (cute bats and green monsters), and Lindsay was making her daughter's Halloween costume (Elsa out of many miles of tulle). So there was some Halloween fun going on there,. despite my Christmas season highjacking. Laura, the quilter of the bunch, brought a delicious pumpkin dip for us to enjoy, so all in all, it was a fairly good Halloweeny way to end a Halloweeny day.

I love Halloween!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In the Immortal Words of Ice Cube...

Today Was a Good Day.

Well, except for the very beginning. Cailean woke me up at 4am, and I spent the next two hours putting him back into his bed over and over. Eventually I had to lay in bed with him and hold him in my arms until we both finally drifted off to sleep around 6am. I know it was around 6, because just as I was finally dozing off, Isla came into Cailean's room to announce (loudly) that my alarm was going off. I told her to be quiet and go tell Daddy to deal with it. I then went off to sleep, and no one in the house woke up again until 7. Scott and the kids leave the house at 7.30, so we basically all overslept. Or rather, THEY overslept, I barely got any!

So the morning was rushed, getting kids fed, dressed and out the door on time, but then Cailean and I chilled until we left the house at 9 to go to our first ever MOPS meeting. I knew very little about MOPS except that the kids go into a nursery while the mums go do... mum stuff, I guess. And I knew it was Christian-based. My new friend Victoria wanted to try it out, and I've thought about it in the past, so we decided yesterday we'd try it out today. I arrived at the church at the same time as Victoria, but we were parked in two different parking lots, so I took Cailean inside by myself, unsure of what I was supposed to do or where we were supposed to go. I followed some girls with kids and found the nursery rooms. Cailean took one look inside the 2-year old room and darted right past me to start playing. When I tried to say goodbye, he never even turned to look at me, just kept playing with the toy kitchen he'd found.  (When I came to pick him up, I peeked through the window, and he saw me. He pointed me out to his teacher, saying, "Mama!" but didn't run to the door or anything - he just kept playing!)

I followed a girl with no kids to the grown-up area and walked into a huge room full of unfamiliar faces. I'm not usually one to be shy or lacking in confidence, but I will admit something welled up in my chest that was akin to terror. I guess I've become so out of practice with meeting new people in large groups that I almost felt like crying, the way I used to feel in Junior High when it was nearing my turn to give a presentation to the whole class. I spoke to one of the girls with an official-looking t-shirt while I waited for my friend. Finally she arrived, and I was relieved. She knew a few people (it is based in her church), so she found us a table to sit at, saving me the awkwardness of having to ask a total stranger, "Is this seat taken?" (and having them say "Yes"). The project today was - get this - window decorating! Everyone had brought all kinds of amazing craft materials with which to decorate their windows - scrapbook paper, paint, stencils, chicken wire, burlap, wreaths, ribbons, wooden letters, even MOSS - and everyone had a paned window frame to work with. I've never felt so un-crafty in my life, seeing the amazing ideas all these girls had. Victoria and I, it being our first time and therefore not having reserved a window, discussed excitedly what we'd do with a window if we had one. Lucky for us, there were several spare, so we both got one! (I felt bad that we hadn't paid for one, surely we were supposed to? But no one said anything about it...)

Anyway, we walked around looking at everyone's work, gathering ideas for our own windows, and having just a really good time. Another friend, Monique, was there, one of the moms from Isla's soccer team, so I got to chat with her too. I was surprised by how much fun I had; I guess I hadn't really expected to. I think today may have been a special day; I think usually it's more a discussion time rather than a craft time, and my guess is that it'll be Christian-based discussion, but I'm really excited about trying it again next time again anyway. Even if it's fairly religious, I'm Down For Whatever.

(The little treats on the tables. How freaking cute are these?!)

Before I move on, today, I wore The Dress very half-heartedly... it's that mid-month lull where I'm running out of ideas, before a new wave of ideas crashes over me. I wore The Dress tied up on the side underneath a white sweatshirt with a very cheesy gold, sparkly skull screenprinted on the front and a pair of jeans. I wore my favorite red tartan sneakers and some amber drop-shaped earrings that were, once again, a gift from Rebekkah. (I've noticed my sister-in-law has given me a lot of accessories that I love!) I felt the outfit was a little blah, though, so I threw on a black pinstriped hat too. I have a wonderful selection of hats; it's one of the perks of having been in the Brethren church all those years! I'll have to pull more out for the remainder of the month.

So after MOPS, I went to finish the grocery shopping that I never finished yesterday. Victoria told me that - get this - a local supermarket sells Pataks Indian curry sauces! I didn't believe her and had to see for myself. Sure enough, the local Harps sells Pataks! You cannot KNOW how thrilled this has made me. I have been driving thirty-five minutes into town to go to the one Kroger that sells Indian curry sauce, when they've been five minutes away all this time! I bought one or two to tide us over for a couple of weeks. (They also had naan bread!)

After having saved myself a trip into town, I finished my grocery shopping at the local Kroger. I got everything I needed (except frozen cauliflower, why no frozen cauliflower, Kroger?) and when I checked out, I was still under budget! I Got a $100 Dollar Bill Ya'll. Well, in the bank.

Cailean and I came home, put away all the groceries, cleaned out the refrigerator, watched some Gilmore Girls and put some Indian curry in the Crockpot. The girls came home from school, and a couple of hours later I took them back to the school for our Parent-Teacher conferences.

*BRAGGING ALERT* If you don't want to read full-on Mummy Boasting, skip on down, because I am just going to brag here for a minute or two, because my girls totally deserve it. We got absolutely glowing reports on both girls. Isla's teacher told us how well-behaved, smart, helpful, obedient, social, well-liked and artistic she is. She told us how Isla is a delight to have in the classroom and never gets into trouble. I kept smiling, because I could hardly believe it! I told her how I was a little worried about her starting school, worried about her focus and her following instructions. The teacher was surprised. She said Isla is perfect in class and such a relief, a model student. She told me she knew this conference would be an easy one, because she had no concerns whatsoever about Isla. I left that conference beaming. I was so proud of my little hooligan. Who'd have thought that our little bohemian wild child would be so well-behaved in school?! The teacher thinks the structure has been exactly what she needed, which is what Scott had been saying to me all along. Seems he was right. So proud.

Then I went to Fiona's class. Her teacher said many of the same things, how she loves having Fiona in her class, how she's so smart, well-behaved, helpful, obedient, kind and studious. Other than the fact that Fiona talks too much (wonder who she gets that from?) and whistles while she works (that's all her dad), she had no complaints. She praised her for being such a fantastic reader and commented on how she always finishes her work early and immediately pulls out a book to pass the rest of the time. She also said Fiona was a relief to have in class. By this time I was beaming from ear to ear. Such glowing reports from both teachers. I am so incredibly proud of my little girls.

I also loved the artwork on the walls outside the classrooms. This was what Fiona had written for Grandparents' Day a couple of weeks ago. They had to write about a grandparent, and Fiona chose my dad, her "Musha". Could my kid be any cooler?

My Mushou [Musha] is fit and thin. Mushou is warm and frendly. Mushou talk's nicely and sweetly. Me and Mushou ador bikeing. I love when we bake cookies for nena [Neena]. Me and Moshou love to read long nonficshin book's together are faverit is world war book's. Are faverit bit is the end becase nena make's treat's!

And before I finish bragging, I was also really proud of myself and Scott. We don't get everything right as parents, but after those two meetings, I felt justified in thinking we've obviously done pretty well. Still grinning. *BRAGGING COMPLETE* For now.

We came home from the school and met Scott. He hadn't gotten home from work in time for the conferences, so I sent him out with Isla to get some celebration ice cream, while I finished up the dinner. We had chicken Tikka Masala with tumeric rice and naan, and Diet Irn Bru, followed by cookie dough ice cream. We were all on cloud nine. Cailean went to bed no problem after dinner, and I'm soon on my way to bed too. Going into work at 5am tomorrow, so I can't afford a late night!

Seriously, I had a really great day today, one of the best I've had in ages, and with the kids and Scott off work tomorrow, tomorrow's going to be great too, Fool, 'Cause It's Friday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Errands Day

Today's photos are courtesy of my husband Scott. He set the stage and took the shots. They make me smile. He's fun to be around.

Today I wore The Dress tucked into my skinny pink cords with my oxblood belt and my gold velour jacket and brown flats. It was a little too warm all day for the jacket, but I persevered anyway for the sake of the outfit. I'm also wearing my ribbon-and-beads necklace my college BFF Amanda made me one Christmas. That necklace has lasted a long, long time, considering it's made of ribbon. It's at least ten years old!

I spent most of my day today running errands: paying bills, buying groceries, signing Isla up for swim lessons. The highlights of my day were lunch and dinner. For lunch, I met up with a couple of new friends, Victoria and Yuki, for lunch at the British cafe. We all had full Irish breakfasts (though I think we all forewent the black pudding), and the kids had sausage rolls and trifle. Victoria bought a pack of Tunnocks tea cakes, which she graciously shared amongst us. There's nothing quite like a Tunnocks tea cake to go with your cuppa tea!

Cailean's new buddy

Ladies who lunch

For dinner, Scott, the kids and I went to Zaxby's (kids eat free on Wednesdays!) and it was nice just spending time with my family. But somewhere along the way to dinner, I started to develop a headache, which didn't go away. By the time I got home, I was feeling fairly poor. Scott made me take a painkiller while he put the kids to bed. Then he put the fire on for me and took these adorable pictures. (By the way, the whisky tumbler is empty. Shhh. Don't ruin it. We are sadly whisky deficient right now, but it makes for a good picture!)

By jeeves, I say, old chap, indubitably, pip pip, and what ho?