At long last, our front yard has a pop of floral color that doesn’t come from a dandelion. This weekend we bought a beautiful hanging plant for our front porch and I am absolutely loving it. Here are a few pictures I took this weekend of our new purple blooms.
Obsessing over: the front yard. This weekend we took out one of the ugly, dying trees bordering the front of the house and filled in with mulch. The plan is to take down at least one of the other trees (maybe two) and then get a couple of big barrel planters and make some container gardens. One for pretty flowers, one possibly for lettuce and herbs at some point like this one at centsational girl and a garden for the kids to plant flowers and / or make a fairy garden. Really anything they want though I’ve seen a lot of cute ideas like this fairy garden at Making Lemonade. We also bought a hanging plant to hang on the porch – some very pretty purple Calibrachoa in the nightshade family that resemble petunias.
Feeling: a bit exhausted partway through our long weekend. Apart from being kind of on the go go go all weekend, I’ve also been getting hit hard with allergies despite the help of Flonase and Claritin – I can’t even imagine how I’d have been doing sans allergy medicines. Plus, my constant back / shoulder / neck pain is beginning to get worse than usual. Luckily my wonderful husband has been giving me some massages to help and I’ve got some yoga plans to try and help loosen up a bit.
Working on: thinking of a fun way to display our Summer Bucket List this year. I have a few ideas but haven’t decided on one yet. I figure with two weeks left in the school year though that I have time to decide.
Thinking about: wh
Reading: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman – our next book club pick. “In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path.” Typically I wait until about two weeks out to start reading our book club books but this month is a pretty long one, so I got started right away after our last meeting. I’m enjoying it so far but haven’t put in a lot of time with it yet. Good thing I’ve given myself a whole month!
Anticipating: a much needed date night this Friday – I think Dan and I are both in need of some Us time so we hired a baby sitter and we’re planning to go see a movie at our favorite theater together.
Listening to: the kids playing Toy Story together in the next room with the Imaginext playset their grammy got them a few months ago for MM’s birthday. It’s kind of fun listening to them chatter together, making up their own stories and adventures.
Drinking: my first glass of water of the day. I lost track of my points yesterday for the first time since joining Weight Watchers. One of my big complaints with WW is that their app won’t work on my phone which means I have to check my points on my computer – if we’re gone most of the day, things get away from me. Still, despite any damage I might have done yesterday (which wasn’t much), I managed to maintain my weight this week and after a long week of me resenting the very idea of dieting (yup, it was that time of the month) maintaining is good enough for me. I’m back on track today and doing the best I can.
Wishing: that it was Friday already! Even after a long weekend, I’m still feeling greedy. :O)
Pinning (The Still Hungry Edition):
I am truly in unchartered territories here. I have often had a favorite contestant make it as far as the Top 5, occasionally the Top 2 (David Archuleta) but I can’t even remember the last time that my favorite Idol contestant has won.
I have been rooting for Phillip Phillips all season – as I’m sure anyone who reads these things has noticed, but on some level I didn’t think he’d win. Sometimes I wasn’t sure I wanted him to. I wonder if the Idol executives would agree with me when I say that Joshua Ledet or Jessica Sanchez might have been a better fit for the American Idol family? I think they are more moldable, more pop and more green. I think they needed Idol more.
Parts of me wanted Jess to win because it’s been so long since a girl has won Idol, but at the same time, Phillip did a better job and… you know I love him. But I also think after this season, that Phillips was going to get a contract with someone either way and I think he is more of a rebel. I think he’ll give them a harder time. Maybe that’s a good thing?
And now he’s won. And now I know he’s going to put out his first album and I know I’m going to buy it. I’m getting everything I wanted in a lot of ways and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m sooooo happy for him and happy for me, but also wondering if his first album with Idol will be everything I want it to be. Will he stay true to himself? Will he bend to their wishes and create something more main stream and polished? Would I like that? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
At least now the poor boy can go and get that kidney surgery that he’s been needing for so long now. I really hope that putting it off to finish the competition (and win!!!) won’t mean more health complications for him and that he will go on to have a long, healthy life and career.
I for one am looking forward to seeing what he and Idol do together and also, can I have the CD yet? Seriously, Phillip, I’m waiting.
Just for fun, here are some of my favorite Phillip Phillips moments from Idol this season:
Our days have been yin and yangs lately. From quiet mornings and peaceful outings, embracing a world where strollers are more and more unnecessary, diaper bags are lighter, outings are easier, sippy cups are even beginning to get phased out as you grow so quickly and discover new skills. We smile and laugh together as we walk down the street, stopping to do “hand stands” or walk backwards, smell the flowers and point out all the puppies getting their morning walk.
We walk home leisurely, I make lunch. You eat almost the same lunch every day, but there is a rhythm to it that feels just right. Jelly on one side, peanut butter on the other. Fold. String cheese. Fruit or veggies? A cup of milk. The afternoon floats to a close like the tide coming and going and the moments are like bliss. It’s easy.
Other days, other moments and minutes, there will be irrational tantrums and angry tears. You’ll scream at me in frustration and I’ll beg you to just tell me what’s wrong – explain to me what you need so that I can make you happy again. Are you tired or hurt or just bored? Did I give you the wrong color cup or put on the wrong tv show? Are you just keeping me on my toes? Are you just two?
You nap eventually and wake up a different child. Or you don’t nap the afternoon stumbles by in a blur of give and take and bated breath as I wait for evening and daddy to come home. I make dinner, you help your brother clean up… mostly. You egg each other on with arguments and antics and happy chatter and then frustration over normal sibling battles over who gets what toy and who goes first and who sits where. I bite my lip.
Bedtime comes before I know it but also takes too long. Brush teeth. Change diaper. Choose pajamas. Not those pajamas, mommy, the other ones. No the first pair. Bedtime stories. Maybe just one more. Three stories? Not tonight. Hugs and kisses. I breathe in the scent of you and wish you could stay up all night with me, snuggling. What if I just linger here awhile longer and hold you? You’re such a good girl, so sweet and clever.
By the time you’re falling asleep, the tantrums and struggles and tears seem like lifetimes ago and all I can remember is kissing your cheek, tucking you in and turning off the light. I’m anxious for you to wake up again so I can spend more time with you tomorrow, doing hand stands and walking backwards and stopping to smell every flower.
I hope you know that those moments? They are worth every tantrum.
How is it possible that May is nearly over with June and the summer months just around the corner? I’m not sure if summer will mean more or less reading time for me, but I’m hoping there will be time in my future to lay on the beach with a good book or maybe sit in the backyard to read while the kids play? With a glass of lemonade perhaps? For now, let’s think about what those books might be as I join in with the ladies at 5 Minutes for Books with yet another monthly Nightstand post.
Since we last met, I’ve read three more books from my Spring Reading Thing challenge, two book club picks and one just for me:
Last night I started reading Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich – It’s time to catch up on the world of Stephanie Plum! I love these fun mystery books all about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum: “Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn’t specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck…”
Afterwards, to be honest I’m not sure what I’m going to read but some contenders include:
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman - okay I know I’ll be reading this one, for our book club in June. I bought the kindle edition of this historical fiction novel which has gotten a lot of high praise. “In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path.”
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde – I adore Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and have been waiting to read this for awhile. I have only been putting it off because I know his books tend to be quite dense and take awhile and lately my book club books have been similarly dense, so I’ve been filling in with lighter fluffier stuff. It’s the last book from my Spring Reading Thing challenge so if I don’t read it in time for the challenge, I’d still like to read it soon. “Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.”
Crossed by Allie Condie - the next book in the Matched trilogy, it’s only a matter of time before I break down and devour this book which I’ve already purchased for my kindle, knowing full well that I will want to read it as soon as possible.
After that, I’m not sure… I do have several books that I’m considering but I need to weed through the piles and decide which ones I’m most excited about.
It seems like summer was a lifetime ago. Look at those tiny little people that are my children. He wasn’t even in kindergarten, she was barely talking. Time is flying and another summer is coming fast! MM has three weeks of school left until our Summer Vacation officially begins! To help keep our days fun-filled and intentional and make sure we make the time to do all of the Classic Awesome Summer Stuff we have in mind, I’ve signed up for the Happy Family Movement’s 2012 Summer Bucket List Challenge where participants in the challenge get:
• a Summer Bucket List Challenge guide, complete with sample activities
• eligibility for weekly prize draws
• regular updates on the Happy Family Movement blog (yes, we’ve got our own Summer Bucket List!)
• access to a great community on Facebook
Sounds like fun right? We’re planning to write up our full bucket list tonight, I’ll share all the details soon. I know you want to join us in having The Best Summer Ever so be sure to sign up soon. Topping off our Summer List of Fun is definitely camping trips, s’mores and a vacation to visit family!
Before you sign up, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment with the one thing you and your family are looking forward to most this summer.
Obsessing over: the fact that MM has only 3 weeks left of school! Summer is going to be here before I know it and frankly I’m not sure how I feel about that but I’m trying to get excited and start planning some fun outings.
Feeling: proud of myself for losing 2 pounds this week, a total loss of 5 pounds since joining Weight Watchers last month. I think I’ve finally figured out how to start making real progress, i.e. how many weekly points to eat and how to start exercising more to lose more.
Working on: laundry – just like every other Monday except this week I’m much more caught up than usual with just mine and Dan’s clothes and towels to contend with. Riveting, I know.
Thinking about: our first sabbatical vacation coming up in two years. We were originally thinking a trip to Europe sans kids but are currently considering a family road trip and saving Europe until next time. Hmm…
Reading: Matched by Allie Condie for book club this week and I only have a couple chapters to go. I nearly stayed up to finish the whole book last night but made myself go to bed, knowing I needed the sleep badly.
Anticipating: a date night coming up in a couple of weeks. It has been too long and I’m looking forward to some one on one time with my favorite guy.
Listening to: sweet silence. The girl is napping, the boy is quietly watching tv in the next room. Monday has panned out pretty well with a walk at the botanical gardens this morning, lunch with friends, home to get MM from the bus stop and then naptime. Not bad.
Drinking: a glass of water and nearly ready for a refill.
Wishing: everyday could be as beautiful as the weather we’ve been having lately. Warm and sunny, with a slight breeze and a little rain. It’s my favorite time of the year.
Pinning (The Crafty Edition):
MM with face paint and green hair after his school’s Fun Fair this weekend.
Clearly I don’t have enough time on my hands.
I decided to start a new blog. I know. Actually I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, thinking about what I want to do when the kids start school and ways in which I’d like to improve myself blogging-wise and writing-wise.
One of the ideas I had was that I wanted to write more book reviews. That at some point I would love to do it professionally in some capacity. For awhile I was reviewing books and products at Mommas Review and I gave it up when it all started to feel like an awful lot of work for no good reason.
So what makes this blog different? For starters, for the time being, my reviews are going to be of the things I’m already doing and loving – the books I’m reading, the tv shows I’m watching (like my Idol Thoughts posts – they’ll be over there now), CD’s I’m buying, movies I’m seeing and more. I’m not going to do a lot of product soliciting for the most part because I do still have a kid at home and my time is limited. Though I’m sure there will be exceptions.
But I think that if I want to take things to a higher level at some point, that I’m going to need a portfolio of sorts – a blog that I can point to and say, “I’m already doing this. I’ve got samples and a following.” Hopefully I’ll have a following. At the very least I’ll have writing samples and a way for people to gauge the kinds of reviews that interest me.
So the blog is called Things Momma Loves - I wanted the title to feel relevant to my Momma empire. I do have an empire, right?
You can go there for reviews of all the types of things I just described – books, tv shows, movies, music, maybe cellphone apps or Facebook games. Any of the things I’m digging and enjoying while the little miss naps or we’re out and about, basically. You can head over and check out some of my old reviews that I copied over and a new review of Adele’s album 21 – a Mothers Day present from the hubby.
Last night the final three Idol contestants performed three songs each – one picked by the judges, one picked by Jimmy Iovine and one picked by the contestant themselves. For the most part, I think all three contestants did a great job, per usual. They all got to the top 3 by delivering consistently stellar performances in their own unique ways. The judges gave a lot of high praise last night and for the most part, I agreed.
Joshua Ledet opened the show with Randy’s pick, I’d Rather Be Blind by Etta James. Throughout the competition, Joshua has made a name for himself delivering throwback performances of classic R&B / gospel stars. The judges adore this kid and America seems to as well. His first performance was pretty classic Joshua – which means good, but not my thing. And as much as I think he is amazing, I do have to still wonder where his place is in the current music scene. Because it seems to me he’s going to have to define his place by himself. Much like Michael Buble, what he’s doing isn’t being done right now for better or worse.
That said, in round two he really slayed me with his performance of Imagine – a song that everyone loves, myself included. His performance was, of course, amazing, because the boy can sing. With the right guidance he can go far. Jimmy Iovine chose Mary J. Blige’s No More Drama, clearly trying to present him in a more current song. The judges seemed to love it, but truthfully I wasn’t crazy about it up until the ending which he nailed the way he always does. In some ways, I want Joshua to win the competition. He is a good, sweet kid with a lot of talent but with potentially the toughest road ahead because he isn’t very current. I think with Idol behind him, he could go far and that he would be a great face of the American Idol brand. So even though he’s not my favorite of the three contestants, I would simply be happy for him if he manages to win and I look forward to seeing where his career goes.
Jessica Sanchez began round two with Mariah Carey’s My All. J Lo stated up front that this is a tough song and she was right. This might be the first song I’ve seen Jessica struggle with. Which is not to say she did a bad job, just that it was the first time I really noticed her out of her comfort zone with all those high, breathy notes that Mariah excels with. In my opinion, Jessica seems more comfortable with a deeper, but still high note and that was evident in her performance though it was beautiful nonetheless.
In round two she chose Aerosmith’s I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – a bold move, that really paid off. The song fit her like a glove and Steven Tyler sang her high praises for the performance which according to the judges he doesn’t often pay when people sing his songs. Then in round three she did a terrific job with Iovine’s pick of Jackson 5′s I’ll Be There which he hoped would show her in a more youthful light. I think that each of the three contestants deliver something very different in this show. Joshua delivers showmanship in spades where Jessica humbly offers up THAT VOICE. The voice of an angel as Steven Tyler would say and America can’t help but agree. At just sixteen years old, she has the strongest voice in the competition and oozes star appeal at such a young age. Who would be disappointed if Miss Sanchez wins this thing? No one (except perhaps the other two contestants).
Phillip Phillips, my favorite from the beginning, closed each round last night, beginning with Steven’s pick, Beggin by MadCon. It was a good fit for Phillip and a touch rowdy which we know Steven loves. In my opinion Phillip had the best performance in round one – and certainly the longest applause from the audience. Phillip has the most unique voice in the competition and possibly the biggest fan base, comprising of mostly us ladies and our daughters.
In round two he chose Matchbox 20′s Disease which I personally adored but the judges seemed to disagree, criticizing him for playing it too safe at a bad time in the competition for doing so. I have to disagree – I think he was giving his fans a healthy dose of Classic Phillip Phillips – in between two bigger performances, he slowed down and delivered the kind of song he’s known for and that his fans adore by now. It’s the reason I turn on Idol each week, frankly. In round two, with the help of Jimmy, he delivered the kind of song the judges were probably waiting for, with Bob Seger’s We’ve Got Tonight. Each week the judges and Iovine have hoped for a bit more melody from Phillip and in his last performance of the night he delivered it in spades, saying, “Yes I can sing melody.” Was it the best melody of the night? No, but that’s not his thing. It was however, his best melodic performance to date and I really enjoyed the change of pace.
I think it’s evident that Phillip Phillips is still and always my favorite of the bunch, with Jessica Sanchez being a strong number two since the beginning. I’d be thrilled to see either win and I’m anxious to see a first album from both now, but I can honestly say I’ll be happy for whoever wins at this point. I think Phillip deserves it and has the most fans so he stands a good chance of winning – but I wouldn’t be surprised if Idol is hoping for a win from the other two – Jessica who offers a more mainstream market and Joshua who is mold-able and throwback in a cool way. Phillips will give them a run for their money with his nonconformist personality but he’ll bring them a lot of fans, so really, they can’t go wrong.