I’m back.. and committed..

 or should be committed.. either way – here I am.

Many times throughout the last few months I have thought – I need to just write about that – and get it off my chest – or tell that funny story. But I haven’t. This is like therapy for me and I have been ignoring it and you. I can talk and share and put it out there – and if no one reads it – it’s ok… but it’s not all bottled up inside me anymore!

So here I am. I have changed the name of my blog. I have updated the look. I have a new commitment to blog weekly and share more of me… in hopes to have people share with me. I may not always be what you want, or who you think I am .. but I promise, I will always just be me – a little silly and slightly clever!


So the biggest thing – is that I had another baby! Thomas Raymond Clarke was born at 5:45pm on March 13th — at eek! 4lbs 15 oz! He was 3 weeks early!! He’s a perfect little tot, and we couldn’t be happier. He’s a good baby too, sleeps ok – eats good.. No complaints from this mama.

That, and I went back to work full-time. I love my company and the people that I work with are super supportive and nurturing. But man, mom guilt is hell! Not being there 100% of the time for the Captain, sucks! It sucks. It’s hard and I am constantly second guessing everything… and I am just waiting to get there with TR as well! Currently TR goes to an amazing lady, who’s an amazing mom (she has amazing kiddos) – I couldn’t be happier – and I don’t get sad when I drip him off.. I know he’s in good hands. But the Captain needs more. He needs attention and love and I feel like although for the first 4 years he got most of mine – he doesn’t get as much now, and that breaks my heart – just a bit.

In my last post – waaaaay back in September, I was excited about quitting my full-time job for a part-time and being able to stay home more with Alex – I don’t think I had even announced my pregnancy yet! I wrote this sometime soon after – The amazing opportunity I had to work part time fizzled faster then it came. It honestly, broke my heart. The excitement over this job was through the moon – I believed in it, and I trusted it and I was more than disappointed by it in the end. I have been dwelling, a little depressed – but it’s time to be over it – it’s time to move on. – I don’t know that I actually really got over it. Thankfully I did move on.


Thomas! Image by Julie Newell Photography, Chicago, IL

Thomas! Image by Julie Newell Photography, Chicago, IL

Thomas

Image by Julie Newell Photography, Chicago, IL

I had these amazing photos of TR done by a friend from Junior High/High School – the wonderful Julie (Anderson) Newell – her studio is in Chicago – but she happened to be in the Kansas City area – and we were able to set something up for a quick shoot. She is a beautiful lady – who has a wonderful talent! I was so happy to get to work with her! And look how gorg these photos are! Are you serious! If you are in the Chicago area – check her out! http://julienewellphotography.com/

That’s all the nuggets I have time for today! Looking forward to the future!

M

So many new things

So I am excited to announce that on August 30th I will officially be unemployed. Well sort of. It’s more like, I will be self-employed! Turns out – there’s a great possibility that I will be busier in my new rolls then I was when I was employed full-time!

I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but I have an amazing life partner. The hubs is not only one of the hardest working people I have ever met, but he has a great passion for his work and his family (and his Tigers). I know that he would be over the moon happy if I was working for someone and happy. It would settle him, if I was… settled. But that’s just not ever happened for me. I am a bit of a dreamer (no, really.. !!), and probably a tad unrealistic about somethings – but when I am happy and feeling challenged and in an environment that is healthy and creative – I am also a hard worker with great passion. The Hubs has noticed how unhappy I have been – and has simply said, “make a plan, and do it… just do it”

So.. 2 years after he started saying that – I am happy to announce that I have done it.

Made a plan.

And did it!

I will get to spend more time with my Captain. He is my world – and watching him discover his world is the most inspiring thing of all time. I have so many plans! I can’t hardly wait.

I have been working with a good friend on a design business, we call it jo&co designs, and hope that our website will up and running in a matter of time! We have been so busy designing lots of pretty things for weddings and baby showers, that we have not had the time to finish our site!

I also have had this amazing opportunity to work with and learn from one of the best photographers in the city. If you don’t know Nicki Griffith and her amazing skill – you need to. I am getting the opportunity to work for her and help her with marketing and selling – and learn a ton! I so so love it!

The best news of all I will have more time to dedicate to you all too!!

“Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don’t know you’re having one until you’re right in the middle of it.”  ― E.A. Bucchianeri

m

Cabin Fever.. not the horror film 1 or 2

This years cabin fever has been especially hard for this mom. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that the Captain is getting older, and has more energy than the sun – but it might just kill me. I have started looking into places we can go to burn some energy at night – and other than the mall “playground,” where I am sure the flu bug sits in hiding waiting to pounce, or a fast food restaurant play area (equally as gross), I am a total loss.

I looked in to gymnastic classes, but they are super full at the places I have looked – and they are not cheap – somewhere along the lines of $60/month – which is more than a gym membership. He seems to be too young to do karate and indoor soccer has started already.

While searching, I headed over to the KC Parent website, and found a list of activities you could do with your child to help keep them occupied. Some I will try, some I will not based on age or attention span. But it’s a solid list from making paper airplanes and racing them to making volcanoes and window painting. Here’s the list.

What kind of things do you do with your littles to help burn energy?

xoxo

m

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving

Hello Friends. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We hosted as we have done 4 times in the last 5 years. The Hubs and I love to host, and love to cook. We baked a bird and smoked a ham. Everything was delish! I hope yours was too.

We tried taking the Cap to see Batman Live! on Saturday. What a production – the music and lighting was very dramatic, and in all a really top notch production.. but maybe not for a 2.5 almost 3 year old. It totally freaked him out and he kept saying I don’t want this movie, and I go home.. it was sad. We left at intermission.

I am working, working, working, on lots of Christmas cards, Holiday invitations and some stationary.. plus I am getting ready to launch a new project. Please stay tuned as I hope to announce a launch this week!

There is still time to get holiday orders in, shoot me an email or make a comment and I will contact you.

Happy Holiday Season.. it’s upon us, whether we want it here or not.. it’s here. Hope it’s stress free for you!

xoxo –

Toddlers act like little drunk people..or..OH THE HORROR..Pants!

Seriously, I hit an all time low this morning.

I locked myself in my closet!

I wanted to cry, although I knew I didn’t have time too because it was 7:30 and I wasn’t dressed and needed to leave my house to get to work on time… so I just stood there taking deep breaths and counting to 10. When I came out, the Captain had removed his pants (he doesn’t particularly care for pants..), put under ware over his pull-ups and put his rain boots on. This all after I wrestled him to the ground and forced pants and a clean shirt on him. You would think I was force feeding something nasty to him all the while flailing about, screaming NO PANTS..

oh the horror .. PANTS!

So what do you do? The Hubs and I are constantly reminding each other to pick our battles. Today, I picked it – and I’m not sure that I won. Shouldn’t moms win.. I mean, he went to school with pants on .. but no coat – bc he refused, no socks, and his cape. I am at a total loss with my little monster right now. He’s extremely stubborn (so is his dad.. I am not at all… wink wink) and hard headed.. but the sweetest little monkey ever.

I googled “Raising a toddler is hard.” It’s what I was feeling, and wondered if anyone else felt this way – all the while, knowing EVERY parent feels this at some point. I read this article on Parenting.com called Reality Check: Raising a Difficult Toddler – she makes some really good points:

  1. there is nothing funny about the mix of worry, anger, guilt, and frustration you feel as the parent of a difficult child. (But I ask.. Is the Captain truely a difficult child? Who measures that?)
  2. You must realize that he is not doing it to you (Yes, I think I said today – I do everything for him and sacrifice for anything he needs or wants.. and he doesn’t listen, and doesn’t respect.. oh yeah, he’s 2)
  3. He is not out to get you (I’m not sure about this one..I think he’s working on something with the dog)
  4. Step one is to accept that, for better and worse, this is just your son’s personality, steps two and three are to notice which situations set him off (sensory overload, transitions, not being asked what he wants to do) and teach him how to manage his own intensity (by getting lots of exercise, having quiet book times, being given choices).

It all boils down to wanting to do the right thing, wanting the Captain to turn out to be a good person, who loves and lives and has many friends.. who loves his parents and siblings (god willing) and DOES NOT TURN OUT TO BE A SERIAL KILLER. So if there is some magical math problem that can ensure that.. could someone PLEASE clue me in?

Sometimes, I have to go to one of my happy places…

The mall!

Oak Park Mall! Boo Yeah!

Love these fools

The beach early in the morning

This is Mindy Clarke, and I approve this message!

What does your perfect 12 hours look like? An exercise

Have you heard of Danielle LaPorte and her White Hot Truth? Or better yet, The Fire Starter Sessions? I’ve just subscribed to her blog and am currently reading (the actual book) The Fire Starter Sessions. It makes me feel like it’s ok to have my dreams, no matter how silly or unattainable they might be.

Isn’t that crazy, I have dreams that I KNOW are unattainable – but have never been able to let go of. I know I have spoken of this dream before. Unattainable based on our current financial situation, or risk taking tendencies. If you know me well enough my dream, professionally, has always been to own my own… Sometimes it’s a coffee shop, a store, a design business, a bookstore.

But honestly, my dream has always been, and will always be to own a store with a lovely window, that’s decorated seasonally, that when you come in you instantly feel like you’ve come home. There’s coffee brewing, lovely things to purchase for your home, and in the back a little area to sit and plan a party or wedding or design fantasical pieces of stationary. With wood shelves, and nooks to sit and look at a book or two. A whole wall of candles, and lovely napkin rings and bird dishes. Random, I know! This unnamed store is my elusive diamond.

My ambition is not be extremely wealthy, but to be able to provide for my family financially, creatively and spiritually, and honestly, I don’t feel like I’m doing any of these very well right now. So I read a review of this book, The Fire Starter Sessions, and it started a fire back up of wanting this perfect store, to go along with my lovely husband and generally perfect, terrifying, hilarious little Captain.

So, I decided to sit, in a quiet room for a little bit, and think about what my perfect 12 hours would be. Ms. LaPorte askes that you think about 12 hours at home (or realistic) and 12 hours away (or fantasy). I immediately began wondering what other peoples ideas were.. But I resisted .. So here we go. 

Realistic (part fantasy.. Yes I’ve already started cheating..) My morning would start off with everyone home and waking up in good moods. Making coffee, feeding the pup, making breakfast – waffles and turkey sausage for Hubs and the Cap, oatmeal and turkey saus for me. It’s fall. Showering, getting ready, and heading into the store (that’s what I’d call it, the store.. As in, going to my store, or oh.. Yeah – come by the store..), opening it up- turning on the star that hangs in the corner, flipping on the coffee pot and turning the sign that says open. I’d work and dust and tulle around  while ringing customers, having some creative sessions with a bride and mom, or helping to plan a 1st birthday for a friend (my customers are friends, sure!). Lunch would be lovely with PB&J in the back with Hubs and the Cap. Home for dinner, something cooked perfectly in the crock pot and Hubs loved it. Served with Red wine (or white.. Or rum & diets, whatever). Bath time for Alex, and bedtime was EASY.PEASY.. (this never happens.. Fantasy)… the day would end with Hubs and me on the deck talking about nothing but something all at the same time, laughing, listening to the Scarlet Pimpernel or Wicked or something broadway. I picture us on our old deck – I think because some of my favorite nights happened on that deck.. And bc we need speakers on our “new” deck.

So the realistic part that’s not fantasy based (owning my store). My morning would start off with everyone home and waking up in good moods. Making coffee, feeding the pup, making breakfast – waffles and turkey sausage for Hubs and the Cap, oatmeal and turkey saus for me. It’s fall. Showering, getting ready, and heading to Columbia for football with everyone! The St. Louis and Indy Clarke’s all come, we tailgate, eat dinner at Murray’s and all stay at a hotel where the Cap is up super late and we all are sitting around watching the kids play.. Lovely!

Fantasy. Breakfast on a beach with eggs and fresh oj. Taking Alex to the Beach. Some spa time. Lunch somewhere yummy. Playing at the pool with Alex, nap time for everyone! Reading Alex books and snuggle time. Babysitter comes. The Hubs and I go to dinner dressed to the nines – drink wine, have apps, perfectly cooked scallops or salmon, dessert.. Yum chocolate! Stroll on the beach. Kissing.

Home to Alex.

So what do your Perfect 12 hours look like? Do you have dreams that you can’t let go of??

xoxo,

Mindy’s cause..

Ray and Mindy ClarkeWe recently had our family pictures taken.. and although I totally hated my hair in them – I loved the pictures so much. This one, of the hubs and I makes me smile, ear to ear.

If you are needing someone to take pics of you or your littles, you should check out Nicki Griffith. She’s a doll. Seriously, coolest lady, coolest job, mega talent!  There are LOTS of amazing ladies (and some gents) right here in KC that do amazing work… we are so fortunate to have so much talent in our little cow town.

I have really started trying to make more of an effort to support local businesses. I feel like it’s so important to help our community thrive. I pledged to help our community by eating local as much as possible this holiday season. There is a great website, Eat Local KC, that can lead you in the direction of great local Farmer’s Markets, Grocery and Healthy Food Stores, Meat Purveyors, and my personal favorite – Kansas City Restaurants! 2 of my favorite restaurants in KC are listed, Aixios and Blue Bird Bistro.. but sooo many are not…  Do you have favorite local hangouts? Beers? Wines? Meats? We would love to hear what your favorite businesses and restaurants in Kansas City are.

Here is a short list of some of my favorites!

That’s all she wrote folks. I know I have often shared my favorites with you. But I would LOVE to hear some of yours. Won’t you please share them with me!
One place, I’d really love to go is up to Smithville to The Justice Drugstore, I have heard it’s so good.

Here’s a little picture that Nicki let Alex take of his mom and dad.. it’s not the best picture of me.. but I think it’s so cute. I am having one printed and put on a shelf in his room!
Mommy and Daddy by Alex

Gettin’ it done

Sometimes I write when I am happy or sad or feeling creative. When I don’t write, it’s because I have a lot on my plate or am not sure how to put into words what I need to say.

I started a new job. I really like it. It’s giving me the opportunity to be creative and analytical all at once. I believe it’s what I have been looking for, and for that, I am thankful.  I have been unhappy for so long in my career choices, and disappointed in myself for decisions I made when I was too young to make life decisions. .. Coming to terms with that and figuring out a path was a chore all in itself.. But I do believe I found something that will help move me along what until now has been a very stagnant path.  Regret is a funny thing. It’s not something you want to have, I can regret leaving Russell Stovers, but ultimately I formed relationships and had experiences that I wouldn’t have if I would have stayed. When it comes down to it. What makes life good, are the relationships and experiences whether good or bad. I have a good life, one filled with lots of relationships and LOTS of experiences, and that’s really all I can ask for. I also have one heck of a husband and kiddo.. Seriously, if I would have changed one thing from the time I left high school, I may not have met the hubs — just goes to show that everything happens for a reason.

At the beginning of the year – I made a list for myself. A list of Mindy wants, of Mindy needs… not a list to share or to talk about – but a list for me to keep track of my dreams and my desires. I wanted to read more (done.. I have now read more “books” (on my nook) than I have in years past..), I have wanted to make an effort to be more frugal (not done, but still working), I wanted to go back to work full-time (done.. And although I like what I am doing now, I miss my Fridays. Fridays were MY day, now I don’t have that time.. So there’s a struggle in how to have some time for me, and time to clean and cook and all that jazz).  I still very much want to be pregnant again, I took a break for a few months to get myself back in a happy, positive mode, so moving forward I wouldn’t be a crazy nut bag while trying.. I think it worked – I mean sure, there’s a level of crazy.. But that’s only normal!

Have you guys read a blog called, Hey Amber Rae? She’s awesome and her site is a really good read. I subscribe to her feeds, and generally speaking find them inspiring and uplifting.. and extremely thought provoking. My favorite are her Ambergrams… check her out..

We’ve had some fun adventures this summer.. here are some pics!

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You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar…

But what can you clean more with.. Vinegar! Why am I just now discovering the many wonderful uses of vinegar. It amazes me. I am buying this stuff in bulk lately, honestly. The other day, I added a cup of vinegar to a cup of water in a glass measuring cup, and microwaved it.. MY MICROWAVE HAS NEVER BEEN CLEANER! I swear. So this prompted me to make a list of all the wonderful things you can do with Vinegar.. this is what I have come up with..

  1. Adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water when poaching eggs helps the whites stay formed. Add a few tablespoons to the water when boiling eggs, and if any shells crack, the whites won’t leak out.
  2. If your leafy veggies are wilted, soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar can perk them right up.
  3. After chopping an onion, you can eliminate the odor from your hands by rubbing them with a bit of white vinegar.
  4. When cooking any vegetables from the cabbage family (like broccoli or cauliflower), adding a little vinegar to the water will perk up the taste and reduce the gassiness.
  5. Clean and deodorize the garbage disposal by mixing equal parts vinegar and baking soda and putting it down the drain. After letting this fizzing mixture sit for a few minutes, flush out the drain with warm water for a clean and stink-free sink.
  6. One of my favorite vinegar remedies and my personal weapon against fruit flies is to set out a small dish of white vinegar and some smashed fruit, covered with plastic wrap with some holes in it–the flies crawl into the trap, but can’t get out.
  7. If your stemware is cloudy from the dishwasher, wrap the glasses in paper towels soaked in vinegar, let them sit, and the cloudy deposits will rinse right off.
  8. There’s no need to use bleach on tile grouting when you can let vinegar soak on it and then scrub with a toothbrush.
  9. Bring lightly scuffed or dirty DVDs back to life by wiping them down with some vinegar on a soft cloth
  10. If you have water condensation marks on your wood, just rub the piece of furniture with equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil to remove them. Make sure to rub with the grain, and then invest in a set of coasters.
  11. If a child has an “accident” on a mattress, clean it with a solution of vinegar and water. Afterwards, pour some baking soda onto the mattress, and brush or vacuum the residue once it’s dry.
  12. Spraying vinegar onto deodorant-stained shirts before the wash can remove the discoloration. It’s also great for fighting mustard, tomato sauce, or ketchup stains.
  13. Adding a cupful of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine can freshen up bright colors and give you cleaner laundry. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer, and a mildew-inhibitor.Vinegar will also loosen chewing gum stuck to car upholstery, rugs, and carpeting

The list can LITERALLY go on and on.. It’s an amazing substance. Recently I mixed it with a little Dawn dish soap and some warm water and cleaned the Captains crib.. it cleaned it, deodorized it and didn’t leave a film behind. AWESOME!

When I googled sayings about vinegar – the first one that came up was Full of piss and vinegar.. and although it made me laugh out loud, I didn’t find it terribly appropriate for the title of my post. However, when I went back to see what it exactly meant – I thought it sounded a bit like me: Rowdy, boisterous, full of youthful energy. And because I am a big ol nerd.. here’s the history of the term, Full of piss and vinegar:

Origin

The earliest citation I’ve found is from 1938 in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath:

Grampa walked up and slapped Tom on the chest, and his eyes grinned with affection and pride. “How are ya, Tommy?”
“O.K.,” said Tom. “How ya keepin’ yaself?”
“Full a piss an’ vinegar,” said Grampa.

There are other similar phrases that came before that which may be the source.

In 1922 Joyce has this in Ulysses – “All wind and piss like a tanyard cat.”

As far back as 1602, in Return from Parnassas – “They are pestilent fellowes, they speake nothing but bodkins, and pisse vinegar.”

Those earlier citations appear to indicate a more negative meaning to the phrase. ‘Wind and piss’, or as it is more often given ‘piss and wind’ is usually taken to mean empty talk, full of bombast. Vinegar is associated with sourness and acidity in many other citations. Peter B. Kyne’s 1922 novel They Also Serve includes what seems to be a straightforward polite alternative to ‘piss and vinegar’:

“He’s full of pep and vinegar and wild for exercise.”

Vinegar has been in the language as the name of the familiar liquid since the 12th century. During the 1920s vinegar was used to mean vitality and energy and that’s the meaning in ‘piss and vinegar’ and ‘pep and vinegar’. At that time many phrases indicating a general perkiness and vitality entered the language, often for no other reason than linguistic exuberance. It’s most likely that the phrase originated around then, possibly as an adaptation of the existing ‘vig and vigour’, which means much the same.

man, I am a nerd.

xoxox

It’s Big Boy Bed Day!!

oh me oh my.. it’s big boy bed day!

I have been stressing about this for months. Since the day that the Captain crawled out of his crib, TWICE! And although he has not done it again, it stresses me out every night. I will admit that I realize that there are a whole lot of new stresses that will come with this new bed – but I think in the long run it will be best (oh I hope!!).

So the bed will be delivered today at 4 and when we get home, mommy will make the bed, and make a HUGE deal about sleeping in the big boy bed. There are a couple of books that I came across and wondered if I should buy them.. maybe I will put one on the nook – and start there. I so badly want this transition to go smoothly and him be excited about it. I’m pretty excited about it, although I am not totally sure why!

The Captain is at such a fun age right now. He remembers everything, repeats EVERYTHING, and loves his doggie (he’s sweet, Cole sweet), and outside. It’s so fun to watch him explore. His favorite toy you ask?? A stick. He likes to beat the tree with it. Just one tree. The one on the left – doesn’t pay attention to the other identical trees a foot away to his right..

In other fun news. Some changes are a brewin’.. and I am starting to get real excited. I will fill you in when everything is official. And no.. I am not pregnant!

Also, I am going to start exploring some DIY items featured on Pinterest. I am really interested in the cost comparison and length of time it takes to make some of this stuff. The thing I am having trouble doing is determining how much my time is worth. Meaning I will need to take into account – how much time it takes me to go to the store to purchase the laundry detergent vs. how much time it takes me to make it, plus the cost of everything. Any ideas?

I am going to start with some fun stuff. I really want to try one of the Lemoncello recipes, and the laundry detergent recipes. Is there anything you would like to see me try? I will review everything in detail, and if you suggest one – I will send you a sample!

I am feeling crafty again… more to come!

xoxo