Sunday, August 28, 2011

Am I Pretty?

Who hasn't asked that? Asked their mother, friends, boyfriend, husband? Asked themselves?

And who doesn't try to be prettier?

I do.

Hair color.
Hair style.
Clothes that flatter my body.
Zit cream.

I look in the mirror and in general I am pleased with what I see. I believe I am attractive. I am fairly satisfied with who I have become as a woman and I am not as hard on myself as I was as a teen. (Maybe that's because I am no longer worried about finding a husband.)

Yet there is still a lot of negative self-speak.

"I wish I could get micro-dermabrasion to take care of those awful acne scars."

"If only my nose were a little thinner."

"My braces straightened my teeth, then my wisdom teeth knocked them out of alignment. I wish I had veneers."

"I am not even 30 yet and I can see some sagging. I'm going to need a face lift someday."

"I wish my eyes were greener. I try to pass them off as green, but really, they might be more hazel. How boring."

"Why did I get that receding chin? If I had a stronger chin, I would be more striking. I wonder how a chin implant would look?"

"I don't think these saddle bags will ever go away. How long until I can afford lipo?"

"Life would be so much better if I could get electrolysis and never have to shave ANYTHING ever again."

Considering that I am pretty confident and satisfied with myself, I sure am judgmental and harsh. And who isn't? I don't know a single woman who doesn't think harsh things about herself.

Every day I am learning to be kinder to myself. To love myself unconditionally. For how can I show others that kind of love if I can't even provide it to myself?

Now that doesn't mean I'll be ditching my mascara anytime soon. And it doesn't mean I'll never admire someone else's brilliant green eyes. And I'll certainly fuss over my saddle bags for the rest of my life. I am learning the difference between magnifying what I have (which is ok) and resenting what I don't have (which is unhealthy).

To all the women out there who have ever wondered if you are pretty - even if I don't know you, I can say with the utmost confidence that YOU ARE!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Magnet Giveaway Results

The winners of the magnets are Liz and Becca.

Liz, since you were the first winner, you get your choice between red/black/yellow and yellow/floral/blue. Leave me a comment or email me.

I'll be in touch for mailing addresses. Congrats!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to Make a Birthday Banner Tutorial

For my daughter's 2nd birthday with a duck theme, I made a banner.

First, I traced large circles using a DVD as my guide on white card stock and cut them out. I made enough to spell out "Happy Birthday Joci." Don't forget to count the spaces in between words.

Next, I used a stencil I already had and traced circles a little smaller than the DVD circles on colored paper. Trace on the back of the paper so pen/pencil marks don't show on the front. Cut them out.

Center the colored circles on the white circles and glue with regular Elmer's glue. You now have a bunch of colorful circles framed by white.

I wanted my words to be similar with a white "shadow".

In Microsoft Word, I typed out my message "Happy Birthday Joci" and played with the font and size until I was happy. Then I printed a mirror image of the words on white card stock. Printing in reverse is a little different for each printer, but you should find it under the "properties" button when the print dialogue comes up. There is generally box you can check that says something like "mirror image" or "reverse image."

After I printed my reverse message, I cut out the letters. As you can see, I was low on ink, but that is okay. I cut out all the letters.

I then traced the letters on my yellow paper and cut them out.

After all the letters were cut out, I stacked the white and yellow versions of each letter, then offset them just a bit and glued them together.

Then, I glued the letters onto the circles.

Finally, I used a regular ol' hole punch on each side of the circle, then tied the circles together with ribbon. I had some three dimensional flower stickers that I put on the "space" circles. I don't have a close up of them, but you can see it in this image on the circle before the "J."

I kept the ribbon pretty long on the very edges of the banner give me plenty of allowance to hang it. Voila! So cute! These things go for at least $30 on Etsy and I made mine for about $7 and two hours.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Picture Updates

Joci is such a fun age. It leaves me in awe to see how fast she is learning and see her bright little  imagination develop.

When Grandma Hays was here, they traced chalk silhouettes

Every day when we get home, Joci asks to "Play in the car." She has a blast pretending to drive and it gives me a few minutes to start dinner in peace. I always have to make sure to turn off headlights and close the trunk when she is done. :)

When your kid is stuck in a painful position, what do you do? Grab the camera!

On Pioneer Day, Joci made a corn husk doll at church to experience the kind of toys pioneer children would have played with.

Daddy shaving Joci with a plastic knife.

 Sweet Joci decided to pick flowers for me.

She pretty much picked my entire geranium plant. How sweet!

This kid loves to vacuum.

Grandma Zierke gave Joci this book called Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? Not sure about the hiking boots, but you can see from the picture that they definitely wear snow boots!

We had her booster seat outside to clean it. Joci buckled herself in and walked around.

Joci and I made this cake last week - and she refuses to eat a bite of it. Maybe she is like me and doesn't care for white cake. Justin's happy enough to have the entire cake to himself.

A few more things about Joci...

She likes to identify shapes. Lately she's obsessed with pointing out triangles
She got 3 stitches last week
Calls any loud noise "scary"
She is now bothered by scary parts in movies and runs and hides until I fast forward them and tell her it's okay
Stopped liking bananas
She's a good eater and often eats more than me
She's going through a separation anxiety phase where she doesn't like going to bed or going to daycare
Everyday when we drive home from work/daycare, she asks if we can go to Grandma's and Grandpa's.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Giveaway!!! Darling Magnets

It's been a long time since I've done a giveaway. Time for another, right?

I made these magnets, and I love how they turned out. I have a craft fair in October that I would like to try to sell them out. I am curious to see the amount of interest in this giveaway as kind of a predictor at how the public might receive them.

This giveaway will have two winners - one will win this set of magnets:

And the other winner will get this set:

If you would like to enter this giveaway, here is what to do:

  • just leave a comment telling me your favorite appetizer
  • include your email address in the comment.
Extra entries available:

...leave an additional comment with your email address for each extra entry.

  • follow my blog
  • subscribe to my blog
  • blog about this giveaway, linking back to this post (leave a link to your post in your comment)
As an example, if you already follow my blog you would write in your comment:
"Already a follower. here's my email:"

Then if you blogged about this contest you would make an additional comment:
"Blogged about it today at Here's my email:"

And you would keep doing that for every chance you have to win.

Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you should you win. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at 11:59 PM MST. Then, through, two winners will be selected and they will get their prize in the mail absolutely free! Winners will be announced Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joci Got Stitches

The first time I had stitches was when I was 18 and had surgery.

To this day, I've never had an injury that required stitches.

Joci made it to 28 months.

Yesterday, I was in my supervisor's office about 20 feet away from my cubicle. I heard my office phone ring, then my cell phone, then both my phones again, then a text message.

I finished my conversation and checked my missed calls. Daycare. Something was wrong. Before, they usually call if she has developed a fever or something. I knew this was different because of the quantity of calls. I was listening to the voice mail from them when a text from my husband came through.

Joci emergency. Call me.

I grabbed my stuff and walked across the parking lot. I love being within one minute's walking distance of her. It's one of the things that puts my mind at ease about her being in daycare.

She had toddled into a low hung mirror on the wall. This mirror has a thick, wooden, rounded frame. You wouldn't think it would cause any damage, but she hit her brow bone on it just right that her skin popped open. And in true Joci form, she didn't cry at all.

Not sure if the cut was big enough to need attention, I took her to the emergency clinic just in case. I was sure I was just being silly, but the PA on duty said that although it was a shallow cut, it was wide enough that it would scar without intervention. It would be a good situation for glue, but young kids often pick the glue off, which will make the cut scar worse. So stitches it was.

A nurse gave me a piece of gauze with some goo on it - topical numbing anesthesia. They normally tape it onto the area to be numbed and leave it for 15 minutes, but the nurse didn't want to tape it to Joci because her cut was so close to her eye. So Mom got the fun job of holding the gauze on Joci's cut for 15 minutes. This was the worst part.

The PA planned on two stitches. He wasn't going to inject anesthesia because it would just be one more poke, and he could get two stitches with about the same amount of drama.

Joci laid on the table. A nurse held her head. I held her hands/torso. The PA draped a thick piece of paper with a hole in it over her face and began stitching.

Joci didn't cry. She didn't wiggle. She did awesome. The PA was so impressed with her disposition, he was able to get a third stitch in, which will be way better for healing. I could tell Joci was a little bored, but she did great. She was thrilled to get a purple Dum-Dum sucker.

I was ready to baby her, but she wouldn't have it. She was happy to have her cousins come over (I watched them for a few hours) and just play like normal.

I am glad she is so unfazed by the whole thing, but I still feel so bad that I couldn't protect her from this. Parental guilt is strong and constant. At moments like this, though, I think about Dori and Marlin from Finding Nemo.

Marlin: I promised that nothing would ever happen to him.

Dori: That's a funny thing to promise. If nothing ever happens to him, then nothing will ever happen to him.

Things happen. Good and bad. And I wouldn't ever want nothing to happen to my Joci. Talk about getting bored!

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Latest Possession (Clue: It Has Four Wheels)

Guess what I bought today?

Yeah, I've been driving it for 3 years, but we paid it off today with our tax return that we FINALLY got on Friday.

One more step towards financial freedom!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Infertility and Birth Control

I haven't been on birth control since 2001.

One of the "perks" of infertility. Birth control just isn't necessary. No weird hormones. No unexplained weight gain.

Last week I was complaining about periods to my sister Stephanie, and how unfair it seems that an infertile woman still goes through ucky, painful periods. Definitely a worthwhile price to pay in exchange for fertility and making babies, but since I can't make babies, I don't think I should have a period either. Makes sense, right?

My sister suggested I get an IUD, which basically eradicates them for years.

Hmmmm...why hadn't I thought of that? When I think of birth control, I usually just think of the pill, because that's all I ever used for a brief time right after I was married. While I may not need birth control for family planning, I could use it to offer myself some period relief.

I have been thinking about it a lot. And those with infertility/gynecological issues often have painful, long, very un-fun periods (opposed to all the fun ones, ha!). An IUD could control that for me. Very, very tempting.


(There's always a "but" isn't there?)

I just can't.

Because my infertility is unexplained.

Because I am still in the height of my fertile years (aside from the infertility).

And if a miracle were to happen, I don't want to prevent it.

I don't plan on a miracle. My heart doesn't feel like it's been trampled by a giant in cleats every month like it used to. I've moved on from that constant yearning.

But I can't move on from the what if.

As lovely as a break from periods sounds, I just can't. Because, what if?

Friday, August 12, 2011

5 Do's for Public Poos

You’re at work. Or possibly school. Somewhere you go everyday and see the same people. Somewhere without a private bathroom. There’s a rumble in your lower intestine. A flush of heat in your bowels. It can only mean one thing.

It’s time to desecrate a toilet.

Clinching your sphincter, you run to the nearest restroom with two concerns on your mind—will you make it in time? And how will you protect your reputation as a sanitary, lovely person who would never do such a thing?

Maintaining anonymity is critical. You share this bathroom with people you see everyday—people who can influence your upward trajectory in life. And though we know everyone has had moments like these, we don’t want to know about them. We live in a world of soft denial where poop doesn’t exist.

With that in mind, here are the steps to unleashing irritable bowels at work/school.

1. Use a Different Bathroom 
If you have time and the mental capacity, pass by the bathroom you normally frequent. Seek out that little-used one by the custodian’s closet, go upstairs, go anywhere…just go out of your way to decrease the likelihood of assaulting the nose of your supervisor.

2. Go in Alone 
If someone else is entering the bathroom at the same time, keep walking. The chances of happening upon an empty bathroom are slim, but that doesn’t matter as long as you protect your identity. If you walk in with someone else, she will know what stall you go into, she will hear where the sound of hellish flatulence is origination, and she’ll smell the direction of the stench. She will also notice that you are not out of your stall and washing your hands around the same time she is. She will know all these things—and she will repeat them at the water cooler.

3. Pick the Right Stall 
Pick an end stall next to a wall. You are guaranteed privacy on one side. And if people have any bathroom manners (and the bathrooms aren’t super busy) they will leave an open stall between you and the one they go in.

4. Play the Waiting Game 
It is important that no one sees your face. If you pass someone who is exiting while you are entering, that’s ok. It’s sometimes unavoidable. But once you are in, and unleashing holy fury on that pot, you need to play the waiting game to make sure no one will ever know who you are. So get comfortable, do your business, and listen. Strategically time your exit. For example, you’re ready, wiped, and good to get outta there. You hear someone flush. Wait. She exits the stall and begins washing her hands. Someone new enters the bathroom and picks a stall. Now is the time. Flush your mess away. Listen to hear the door shut behind the hand-washer. Listen for the latch to clang behind the new pee-er. Wash your hands. Wash them quickly if you must, but after what you just did, for the love of all that is holy, wash them thoroughly. And then get the H-E-double hockey sticks outta there. 

When playing the Waiting Game, be patient. There could be other people playing the waiting game too. Listen for the telltale signs of adhesive being torn from fabric, foreign flatulence, crying, or a sneaking suspicion of a presence in the stall you swear is empty. Be prepared for a long game of chicken, each daring the other to leave first, or just give some signs that you are ready to leave—the toilet paper roll rattling, a flushing toilet—so she knows you are on your way out and she can just continue to wait.

5. Avoid the Walk of Shame
Now we all know smells can clean to fabric. Smokers, anyone? Not sure about poop smell particles, but let’s not risk it. Go for a brisk walk and take a detour to dislodge any clinging smell molecules. Don't act suspicious. Don't hang your head. If there is a lingering odor, a red face and embarrassed posture is a dead give away. Walk proud and tall. After all, you just pooed mightily. Once you are back at your desk, nonchalantly apply scented hand lotion or body spray. Just in case.

Repeat steps 1-5 until your internal plumbing system is completely reset. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Will Be My Next Hair Color?

Trying to decide my next move...

"Bronde" like these ladies:


Auburn like these:

Whatcha think???

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Demands for Heaven

Am I the only one who worries that heaven might be boring?

Just kidding. Sort of.

I am not sure what heaven will be like, but as long as I have a few necessities, I will be happy to spend eternity there:

 My family 

Cinnamon Toast Crunch


Meat of all kinds. Maybe in heaven meat will grow on trees because I don't have much hope for celestial slaughterhouses. But how can it be heaven without filet mignon, roasted turkey, tender corned beef, chicken kiev, charbroiled burgers, salmon filets...

 The ocean...the beach.

Winter's icy beauty, the hope and vigor of spring, summer's hot glory, and the splendour of autumn.

 Ice cream


Massage...maybe our muscles will be different and never get sore or knots, but I can't imagine heaven without the bliss of an amazing massage.


Christmas. Can you imagine a heavenly Christmas? I bet it is a billion times better than our earthly ones. I can't wait!

 What's on your "Heaven's gotta have..." list?


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