Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Before and After of My Kitchen Table

The Before Table:

Okay, everyone, brace yourselves.  I have embarked on a DIY fiasco courtesy of Ikea, which just so happens to be a short fifteen minute car ride from my house.

 Now if you know me and Do-It-Yourself projects, then you can picture me wrestling around on my kitchen floor with boxes, screw drivers, bolts that look like flowers, and screwy things that you need to bite in order to fit them in the tiny holes.  Yes friends, I was attempting to put together my new and improved Docksta Table.

I will show you the steps I took to put this incredible table together three times.  Yes, I took it apart and redid it three times, and it is still wobbly wobbly.

Step 1.  Drag your children to Ikea and attempt to lug huge boxes around the store.  Get exasperated when Eli throws his pacifier on the floor twenty times and then screams for it.

Step 2. Unload the huge boxes at home and drag them into the kitchen.

Step 3. Try to comprehend the wordless instructions on how to put the dang thing together.

Step 4. Call Gerardo and ask if I have a tool for the flowery looking bolt that I need to tighten.

Step 5.  Call Gerardo again and ask if I have a wrench somewhere in the house.

Step 6.  Place tube looking thingy into other long white section. Perfection.

Step 7.  Tighten everything with the squiggly line tool.  Bite the white plastic things so they go in the little holes.

Step 8. Flip super heavy thing over to examine my handwork.

Step 9. Realize the thing is wobbly wobbly.

Step 10.  Take apart and redo.

Step 11. Redo again. It is still wobbly wobbly.

Step 12. Figure it is as good as it is going to get and ask someone (aka Gerardo) to look at it next time he comes over. Stick flowers on it in the mean time, and add the mint chairs that were painted with toddlers.

Step 13. Wonder why the kids have been so quiet the whole time. Oh yes, they were throwing all the folded laundry all over the family room.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Makeover Session

Do you ever have one of those days when the alarm goes off (or your toddler is poking your face) and all you want to do is roll over and pull the covers on top of your head and never emerge? Well, I had one of those days this morning.  I could not muster the strength to greet the day.  But then I remembered... today was makeover day! Hollar!

My wonderful neighbor Kim is an official makeup seller/kindest person alive connoisseur.  She sells Younique Makeup because she fell in love with her skin after using the moisturizer and loves the natural feel of it.  Kim offered to show me her wonderful stash of makeup for my "night on the town" (okay, really Safeway) and I quickly took her up on the opportunity. Now I am hot to trot, or really I just drink that wine; I am not sure which.

Any way, we took some awesome (scary beyond all possible reason) pictures of me sans make up first. Then she used  cleansers that made my face squeaky clean, and it looked like silver fun.  Finally, we applied the best two products of my life.

Product 1: Magical Mascara from God (AKA Younique 3D Fiber Lashes) 
Okay, brace yourself and look at my lashes in the before pics.  I know. You can't see them, because I pretty much don't have any.  I inherited the gene from my dad who got them from Grandma.  Anyhow, my lashes are not great. But the tricky thing is, if you look at the after pics, you will notice that I actually have eye lashes. They grew, but not really.  The Magical Mascara from God (Younique 3D fiber lashes) actually made them appear to be longer but I didn't have to stick cruddy false eyelashes on me.  Super exciting for me and super amazing.  This is totally my favorite product ever.

Product 2: Sexy Eye Shadow
Yes, it is actually called Sexy. Who wouldn't want sexy eyes? I know I like them, but the color "Sexy" looks amazing in the dark or light. (We were doing this at dusk, so I got to experience all lighting scenarios in case you were interested.)  Anyway, I love Sexy.  Enough said.

Okay, I will stop rambling and show you the before and after pics now.



If you are interested in buying the best mascara known to man, or selling this product too for some extra cash, then you can go to Kim's website: .

Okay, at the end of my photo shoot, I felt the need to take some glamour shots and hideous selfies. Enjoy making fun of me for eternity.

Monday, July 14, 2014

You Know You're A Momma of A Toddler When....

1.)  You know you're a momma of a toddler when you pull diapers, pacifiers, and toy cars out of your purse before your keys, lip gloss, and wallet.

2.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when your car has become the endless pit of no return for toys to go and die.

3.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you can't remember the last time you peed alone.

4.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you listened to the book I Stink or the "Caspar Babypants" CD so many times in the car that you know all of the words, and you have never even heard the new Beyonce song called "Drunken Love" or something like that. (See, I don't even know the title because I have not yet heard it.)

5.)  You know you're a momma of a toddler when your lunch consists of left over baby carrots, bits of turkey, and Carpi Suns.

6.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you can name every character on Sesame Street and wonder why they changed Elmo's World to Elmo the Musical?

7.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you wake up at 6:30am on a Sunday to a small person poking your face and asking for donuts downstairs.

8.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you say things like, "Please make a good choice" to the grumpy person in line at the grocery store who is holding up the line for ten minutes because a single egg is broken out of the dozen she purchased last week.

9.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you have to do your hair in five minute chunks in order to referee fights between siblings and restore order to the household.

10.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you cannot leave the house without bits of food and random smears across your clothing.

11.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you see the mini carts in Bartells Drugs and know they are the kiss of crazy toddler grab-and-go mania death, rather than a cute play toy for kids.

12.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you pick up the up 10,000 times a day even though your toddler picked them up 10,000 times too.

13.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you wake up and a little head (or two) is sleeping soundly next to you, but you have no idea when or how he/they got into your bed.

14.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when the mall is synonymous with "fun indoor play thing/fun place to play hide and seek or tag" rather than a fun shopping experience.

15.) You know you're a momma of a toddler when you wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Putting Our Art Skills to Work

I was raised in a very artistic family.  It goes way back to my Grandma Nickels. I blame her for my "creativity." You see, my Grandma Nickels took art classes at the local studio when she was younger.  She often brought her family a beautiful still life complete with organic flowers, landscaped scenes with sunsets and running water, and the occasional nude portrait (which is another story).  But the point is, Grandma could paint and did so with a flourish.

Then she taught my mom about art.  Mom has bright and vibrant paintings hanging all over her lake house.  They are all  fun, whimsical, and  interesting to look at.

So, it was only natural that I would be interested in taking a class or two in college, which brings me to the Payne family Saturday evening at the lake.  What did we do you ask? We spent the evening exercising our artistic skills.

Our medium of choice was not acrylic or oil. Oh no. It was bic; as in bic pens.  Yes,  hours and hours of prep were spent to get our artwork in order. Our subject of choice was portraits. But not just any portraits. We drew each other.

Please scroll down to see our wonderful finished products showcased on this blog.

 Here is Ben posing for his masterpiece to be completed.

Please note the random tooth protruding from Ben's lips in his picture by Laura.

This is a portrait of "Man in Trench Coat," who happened to join Twitter last night with the help of sister Laura.  Don't worry he took notes, so he knows how to operate his Twitter handle.  If you would like to follow him, click here:

This is the family portrait that "Man in Trench Coat" completed.  Can you guess who is who?

I decided to do this interpretation of Laura in a Napoleon Dynamite style.  Note the wonderful nose on Laura 

Here is Ben's picture of mom.  Yes, she is still recovering from nose surgery. Hence, the glasses taped to her forehead.What? You thought a night with the Paynes would be "normal?" 

Laura drew this pic of me.  I guess I need to start using eye opening eye shadow.

I would also like the readers to take note of the artistic choices of varied line usage and the positive and negative space on all of the portraits above.  We all really thought about proportion and used the rule of threes quite regularly in each picture.  They will be selling for $500 a piece and you can make a bid on each via my new Twitter account at:

I would just like to put a shout out to Ole here because he was my 5th follower.  I now have 15 followers, which is kind of exciting.  If you would like to also follow me on Twitter, you will find live action thoughts and pics of my life in real time.  I know you cannot even comprehend the entertainment that awaits.

Thank you. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Inner monologue of a mom at the splash park

 My failed attempt at a pre-splash park pic of the boys.

Arrive at the splash park, unloading the car:

Shit. Why did I bring all of these bags for a morning at the park? Did I pack enough snacks?  I hope Eli doesn't poop.  I am glad Kim has sunblock.  I haven't had time to buy any yet this summer.

"Carlo please sit down until I unload everything.  Don't turn any dials in the car."

 Remember when I had that sun rash when I didn't put any sunscreen on? I don't want that to... Eli is sleeping. Damn.  Why does he always fall asleep five minutes before we arrive at the park? Should I wake him?

"Carlo will you get the towels?"

"Eli, wake up buddy.  We are here at the park."

Crap. Now I need to figure out how I am going to carry all this stuff to our area. Should we sit in the shade? That would be cooler. The shade is too close to the road. The kids could get hit by a car and end up in the ER. I don't want to end up in the ER.  We need to sit on the grass.  Where is Carlo? Did he run into the parking lot. Parents drive fast.

"Carlo, please hold my hand buddy.  Let's walk to the park."

At the splash park:

Man, I really packed too much stuff.  I can't believe I am in a bathing suit. Super uncomfortable.  How does that mom over there look so hot? She has three kids. I need to lay off the carbs.  Even the pregnant mom looks awesome.  Note to self: hit the gym tomorrow. Buy wine tonight.

"Carlo and Eli, do you guys want a fruit snack?"

These have tons of sugar. Maybe I should give the kids fruit instead. It might ruin their lunch. I am probably "that mom" who feeds her kids crap.  Where is Eli? He's right by my leg. Should we go to the park part first or the water part first? Did I leave the towels in the car? Here they are. Kim looks so calm and put together. I have lost my marbles. Where is Carlo?  Do they have enough sunblock on? I wish I had a margarita right about now.  What am I going to make for dinner? I have a ton of laundry to do again.  I am sweating. Did I put on enough deodorant?

"Eli, do you want to go to the squirting whale? Carlo are you going to get wet? Fun!  Yeah!"

There's the hot mom again. I hope she stands somewhere else, and not next to me. Gym tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow. Eli is now crying. Why are they going back and forth from one park to another? How can I watch them both at once? Where is Carlo? How did I lose my kids at the splash park? There he is, right behind the turtle. I am having a heart attack.  Too many people. Too many kids here. This is bonkers. Why is Eli crying?  I have to go pee again.

"Come on boys. It's time to go.  Let's all go potty.  Wasn't that fun?"

We made it.  Done with the splash park.  It was fun to see Kim and the girls. I wish I could have talked more to them.  We will have to come back here again. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Art of the Payne Family Selfie with Dutch Bros

This weekend my family piled into our cars and headed to the beach house in Olympia.  We were excited to celebrate some wonderful birthdays, enjoy each other's company by doing awesome cat puzzles, drink martinis, and hang out in the sun.  (I know, you are unbelievably jealous of our super cool activities, but wait. It gets cooler.)

Unfortunately, the sun did not shine today and no boat rides were to be had; thus, our Sunday plans were temporarily foiled.  However, sister Laura came up with the perfect activity to pass the time on a cloudy day at the beach house: take weird and creative selfies with Dutch Bros coffee.

You see, Dutch Bros is offering a year's supply of free drinks if you take the best selfie with a Dutch Bros cup.  You tweet the pic and #dbselfie, and you're entered.  Laura somehow heard of this campaign and knew that she had to enter the contest. She explained that Dutch Bros has the best coffee on the planet and we needed to consume it immediately.

Also, Laura needed coffee.  Laura is my sister and my mother's daughter as well; therefore she is a coffee addict too.  It runs in the Payne family blood.  In fact, if we get a cut, coffee pours out instead of blood. True Story.

Anyway, we spent the better half of the afternoon thinking of creative and wonderful selfies with coffee cups.  I know it was time well spent. (Yes, we are super nerds but also super fun!)  Cheers to Dutch Bros!

Which selfie do you like the best?


The first two in the series are titled "Chillaxin' With Our Bros 1" and "Chillaxin' With Our Bros 2."

This piece is called, "I love you a Dutch Bros latte."

"Chill Bro-Baggins"

                                                         "The One and Only Dutch Bro-fessional fisherman"

"No better way to Bro-crastinate than fishin' off the dock"

Well crap.  The cup fell in the water.  We had to get it out. You know what they say, "mo' money, mo'

Dutch Bros before hoes.

Do you think we will win the contest?  This mamma could use free coffee this year.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sending My Third Baby to God

On March 21st, I found out I was pregnant.  I had an IUD and the chances of a baby were 0.02% but I beat the odds and a baby was made.  Five hours after I found out I was pregnant, I learned it was ectopic, and seven hours later I was in surgery.

Dear Baby That Will Never Be,

Hi baby.  This is your mommy.  We never officially met.  I am writing you this letter to let you know that I am sorry. I never got to see your eyes. cute nose, or ringlet curls of dark brown hair.  There were no chubby cheeks, midnight feedings, or first smiles.  Mommy never got to cuddle with you on the couch or sing you an off-key lullaby.

I only knew you existed for twelve hours before you had to go see Him.  You see Baby, you never finished your journey to safety in my womb.  You stayed where you started, in my ovary, and did not move.  You were making mommy very sick and you had no more room to grow. The doctors said that it was time for you to leave this world or you and mommy would need to leave together.

I heard your heart beat.  I saw a picture of you on an ultrasound. You were grey and black and white and squiggly and lumpy.  A blur.   But you were here with me. I saw you on the screen and I heard you via a machine.  A mark remains on my belly; a scar that will forever remind me of you and what could have been.

Baby, you have two brothers who are full of laughter and smiles, life and joy.  Carlo and Eli are their names. I could not leave them at this time and walk with you, so you had to walk alone. I wish you could have met them.  They are full of mischief and giggles.  Eli loves to pull every book off of his bookshelf and every article of clothing out of his drawers.  Carlo is enamored with any vehicle that exists and would have taught you some made up game with cars and soccer balls.  You should have been by their side, but you will not know them.

I will miss your first smile and your first steps.  You were a part of me for six short weeks, but you will always be in my family and in my heart. I love you Baby. Take care.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Preschooler's Summer "To Do" List

Last week, I was planning my summer and thinking about all the fun things that I would work on this vacation with Carlo and Eli in tow.  I came up with a list of possibilities and fun and crazy ideas that I could work on.

Here is what my To Do List entailed:

1.) A road trip across the country and ending up in Kennebunkport, ME. (This was quickly ruled out after I took an hour long car ride to the lake house and Carlo and Eli were already starting to go a little bonkers.)

2.) A trip to Michigan. (I am still trying to figure out the logistics of this and see if it is plausible.) 

3.) Stroller Strides (Not sure if Carlo could last in the stroller for an hour without going crazy.)

4.) Hanging out at the lake house for extended amounts of time.

5.) Painting my living room a neutral color.  The blue is pretty but it is starting to wear on me.

6.) Working on summer reading strategies with Carlo and Grace.

7.) Go on boat rides at the lake.

All of these ideas left me in a swirl and blur so I turned to Carlo and asked what we should do this summer.   He said he had a very important list with lots of good ideas. 

Here is the To Do List that Carlo outlined for me.  He asked if we could complete it at once, so I obliged.

1.) Ride the McQueen car around the circle (AKA cul-de-sac).

2.) Play on the porch.

3.) Drink water.

4.) Go to the park.

We completed Carlo's to do list very promptly and efficiently.  I wish mine was as easy to complete as his. What summer plans do you have?  What do I need to add to my "To Do" list?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Story of a Girl with Big Hair

Ever since I was little, I have had big hair.  Kids never wanted to sit behind me in class because they could not see the board because of the luscious locks of frizz that protruded from my head.  I remember that some students even asked to change seats because of my hair.  Even as a girl the age of four, my curls were a bit crazy.

Notice how my hair does not stay in my Rainbow Brite ponytail.

Throughout the years, I had many different hair styles to try to combat the bigness that is my hair.  I tried tying it back, layers, haircuts, etc. Nothing really worked but I just ignored my hair and continued about life as usual.  I had more important things to worry about like Chinese jump rope, Barbies, forts, and making grass soup under Monika and Deepeka's deck.

In high school, my hair was so big that it even became a topic of gossip and discussion; one of my boyfriend's sisters talked about the large size of my head and hair. Additionally, I always needed the largest batting helmet to fit my hair and exceptionally large head in softball.  (By the way, both of my children's heads are greater than the 97th percentile.  Maybe we all need room for our exceptionally large brains.) 

This is my senior picture from high school.  Note how my hair is so big, that it did not even fit in the picture frame.

In college, I discovered the hair straightener and used it daily.  Back in the day, they were pretty crappy though and I tended to break the straighteners readily. Additionally, the rain in the Pacific Northwest derailed my hair straightener dreams as each drop that fell from the sky increased the volume ten-fold.

Then the Chi was invented.  I kind of love it and use it all of the time.  Its ceramic plates help tame my crazy big hair and use it to this day.  Please watch as I turn my hair disaster into something worthy of wearing in public.

Hair after washing and blow drying.  There is no product in it now. 

No, I am not a girl who can run out of the house quickly after a shower. Here are my children's reactions to my hair

 Eli freezes and stares.

Carlo says, "Your hair is HUMONGOUS!"

But now I have discovered the best product ever for my humongous hair.  It is called Kerastase and I am fairly confident it has been around a while, but I have only recently found it.  This Kerastase can turn my "before" frizz into a much more normal and public worthy "after." 

I found it at Nordstrom Rack but unfortunately it costs a pretty penny; to the tune of $35 for a little bottle.  The good news is that you only need about a dime's worth per application (or nickle if you have my hair.) 

What do you think?  Should I just wash, dry, and run out the door? :)