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? :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Single Lady Date Night

The other night, I got my hair all done up, my nails did, threw on a cute pair of shoes, and went out for a night on the town with my date(s). Plural.  Yes, there are two men in my life now. I am quite the hussy. 

When I go on dates with my boyfriends, they are not what you would call typical.  I usually end up paying, my dates don't drink alcohol, table manners are discussed at length, and if I am lucky, my dates don't yell in the middle of dinner, but they may turn around in their seats a bit to check out the establishment. 

You have probably guessed it by now, but Carlo and Eli are my dates for the evening.  I know you are wondering where I went on my hot date with my young ones. Well, basically my boyfriends only love three places: Red Robin, McDonald's, or Teriyaki chicken. Thus, I had to opt for the fancier option out of the three choices and head to the wonderful establishment of Red Robin.

Here is the steamy play by play of the dinner date action.

5:00 Arrive at Red Robin for dinner.  Yes, we eat at 5:00 because Eli goes to bed at 7:00pm and we have to do baths and all of that.

5:01 Get ushered into a part of the restaurant where nobody is present.  I have a feeling this is because one of my dates is one and the other date is four years old.

5:04 Waitress arrives and takes our order immediately.  She works here and understands that there cannot be long pauses or breaks when dining with small ones or chaos will ensue. Carlo decides he wants to get the messiest item available, so we order spaghetti and broccoli.

5:05 The water arrives and Eli wants to eat my lemon.  I give it to him and he proceeds to suck on it, make a crazy puckering lip expression, spit, and then suck on it again.

5:12 Carlo is coloring on his place mat.  Eli is now eating a crayon instead of the lemon.

5:13 Another family is actually seated by us.  They also have a one year old.  Random thought of the night: Does Red Robin group babies in sections of the restaurant on purpose?

5:15 The food arrives. I pass out Carlo and Eli's utensils and food.

5:16 Carlo pretends a noodle is a mustache. I ask him to please use a fork.

5:19 Carlo wants to know what is going on with the people behind him.  I ask him to turn around please.

5:20 Eli decides it is a good idea to dunk his old lemon from earlier on in the meal into the ketchup from the shared fries.

5:23 Eli drops all of the baskets, menus, and napkins on the floor, while mom is taking a bite of burger.


5:25 Carlo uses manner and daintily wipes his mouth with his napkin, and I feel like a proud momma who taught her son some manners.  But then he follows it up with a sleeve wipe.

5:30 Eli finds a fork and bangs it on the table, while I am drinking my water.  I almost spill the water before I can take away the fork.  Phew.  Disaster averted and fork noise only lasted a second.

5:31 I ask for the check, but there is a random hot chocolate on the bill, so the waitress has to redo it.

5:37 We leave the restaurant and walk back to our truck just in time to avoid the rain. Date night was a success because there were no abnormally loud noises coming from my table, the kids ate and so did I, and nobody got hurt. Sweet.

Carlo and Eli, we will have to do this again sometime. 

(Side note: you might think that I really love Red Robin because I write about eating there a lot.  The truth is, I go there because more often than not, there are plenty of screaming kids, loud noises and so on, so a couple of little one aren't going to ruin any one's real romantic night out. I would love to go out to Pasta Bellas in Ballard, but will have to go on a momma's night out excursion.)

Anybody know any other kid friendly restaurants?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Another Type of Therapy: Shoe Therapy

I have been pretty down lately, but to counteract that I have found a remedy.  No, it is not alcohol or the herbal substances now newly legal in Washington (though tempting) but an accessory I wear daily: shoes. Whenever I am sad, a new pair will always brighten my day. It's like a massage for my feet. Well, let's be honest. Most cute shoes are not comfortable, but nevertheless, I cannot resist a pair if I see them.

You see, shoes are always there for me.  They protect a girl from a harmful tack or a rogue nail.  They comfort me in the cold and wrap me in warmth.  They can be sexy or sensible or practical or just fun and crazy.  I am in love with shoes. They can be my next boyfriend.

A heeled pump has the power to make me feel proud, strong, and independent.  A slipper makes me relaxed and at ease. Whereas, a good tennis shoe indicates that I am feeling athletic and fit, even if I haven't hit the gym in a month.  It is in the power of the mind and the power of the foot. 

I used to own maybe two or three pairs of shoes.  Lately, I have been buying many shoes.  I have a shoe for every occasion, and decided a collection might be in order. See below for the shoes I have purchased within the last month...

I bought these at Payless Shoes for $12, and yes, two eight year old girls in my class have the exact same shoes.  Awesome. Perhaps, this was not my best purchase.

These were a DSW purchase along with the others to follow.  I liked how they reminded me of my salsa dancing days ten years ago.

I fell in love with this pair because of the pretty feminine flowers on the top.  Cute, but yet, the gold makes them a little sassy.  I gotta have some sassy in my life.

Please notice the sparkly crystals on this turquoise pair.  I am an almost 32 year old who is still obsessed with glitter.

This pair is designed by Jessica Simpson.  I know, I know.  You all wish you had shoes that were designed by such an awesome diva. 

Which pair should I wear tomorrow?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Life on Another Planet

Well, crap.  I am getting old.  I just went to my ten year college reunion and pretended I was 21 again.  However, this proves difficult to do when you have a four year old and a one year old in tow. So I did not end up doing a keg stand at the random house party, or tandem biking it from one house to another. (Our 1983 tandem bike got stolen in Tacoma 10 years ago anyway.)  But it was still amazingly great to catch up with old friends, relive college memories, and of course, hang off the docks.

For those of you who are not biology majors, but attended UPS, there is a little known world of insane coolness at the Point Defiance Park docks.  If you hang your head over the side, as shown above, and look down at the dock itself, you will see a world you didn't know existed.  There are sea urchins, anemones, kelp crabs, barnacles, sea lettuce, kelp ropes, sea stars, and the most amazing tube worms.  (The tube worms are my favorite, because if you touch their flowery looking ends, they suck in super fast and it is fun to mess with them.) 

I first discovered this wonderland of fun and beauty in my Bio112 class with Peter Wimberger.  It pretty much convinced me on the spot to become a bio nerd for life.  After that lab, these docks became a place to take friends, contemplate life, and just take a break from the world.  I could have looked down into that world for hours, or until a boat came by and almost chopped my head off.

If you have never hung off the docks before, I suggest you try it because your life will never be the same.  You will look at the little things differently, and maybe you will consider hunting sun stars at midnight with a head lamp on and a lab partner by your side. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Indulging My Addiction

Some people are addicted to alcohol, and some people are addicted to heroine or meth, but my drug of choice definitely has to be carbs and chocolate.  Thanks to my great friend and neighbor Kim, I was introduced to the best bakery I have ever been to.  It is located in Renton and is brand new.  It is called Flour, Sugar, and More Bakery and it is a hidden gem, and I got to enjoy it on a Mama's Night Out.

Luckily, this amazing bakery was introduced to me on a day where I needed chocolate more than anything; earlier that day I had dressed up as a pioneer school teacher, and whipped my ruler around like a crazy lady.  The kids had a spelling bee, a hoe down, recited their pioneer poems, and were treated to a day of good ol' fashioned pioneer fun, but it was ex-haust-ing to say the least. 

Anyway, when I walked in the door of Flour, Sugar, and More, all of that was forgotten; I was smacked with the delicious aroma of chocolate.  Get this; it was real homemade chocolate too. Mariana, the kindest and most talented owner and baker, makes all of her own chocolate from various cacao powders. From scratch.  Who makes their own chocolate from scratch?  Pretty much nobody. But Mariana does and you can tell.

Once inside, a sweet tooth could find macaroons, cakes, Mexican breads, the best hot chocolate you will ever have in your life- hands down, and delicious tarts with exotic flavors like passion fruit or guava.  They were to die for, inexpensive, and perfect.

Have you ever watched that movie Chocolate with Johny Depp?  Well, I kind of felt like Johny Depp was going to walk through the door as I sat there sipping my hot chocolate. I am not gonna lie.  See, here is walking through the door now...

I love exploring new places, and finding hidden restaurants, which are not overcrowded and compact, but cute, clean, and fun, and this place had it all.  It has only been open for 18 days, but it feels like its been around for a while.  You definitely have to check out the facebook page, and visit Flour, Sugar, and More when you get a chance.  I promise.  It will be worth the hunt and the experience.