Thankful Thursday: May 2nd

I know I’m about two months behind on these. Life really has gotten in the way, and I do plan on catching them up, even if I have to write two or three a week.

Since today is our second birthday here at Notes From the Backseat, I thought I’d go back to just how this blog got started. I don’t think I’ve ever really gone over that other than to say it’s all my husband’s fault lol

Let me take you back in time about two and half years or so. I’m sitting in the passenger seat of our Honda CR-V as my husband drives along the interstate. In the backseat, Sissy sits behind daddy, Little Brother behind me and the cat, in her carrier, wedged between the car seats. Strewn about the floor board in both the back and front are duffel bags, diaper bags, crafting bags, supplies for the kids (such as snacks and DVDs). In the very back, a stadium stroller, a dog in a crate, two large suitcases and a bunch of pillows and blankets. On top of the vehicle was a large black bag, securely strapped down full of more travel supplies and all the Christmas presents, already wrapped and hiding from the kids so as not to ruin Santa just yet.

You see, this was Christmas 2010 and we were in the middle of a PCS from beautiful, sunny Southern California to bitter, cold, dreary Central Virginia. From forecasts like “78 and sunny” to “23 with a wind chill of 10”, we drove through snow, ice, rain, sunshine, warm and cold. Ten states in Five days. Not a trip I’d want to make in such a short time ever again.

During our trip, things would come up between the kids, or between us that just made us laugh. I used these to update my status on Facebook with the title “Notes from the Backseat #__” and had a great time with it. After a while, my husband decided that “Notes from the Backseat” would be a good blog title, though it would be a few more months before I actually started the blog, shortly before our last PCS to Middle Tennessee (which is actually on the Kentucky boarder, not sure how that works).

So in honor of our second birthday, and in being thankful for all this blog has done for my sanity over the past two years, I present:

THE BEGINNING

#1: “i can’t wait to tell people to look at my tooth hole”
#2: “ok mommy, go back to your seat please! Go!”
(This was while I was leaning over in my seat making sure her movie was playing in the right language lol)
#3: “can I get out of the car?”
“like now? Can’t you wait til we get to Albuquerque?”
“well, okay mommy”
#4: “mommy, you can close the wind”
(She meant the sunroof)
#5: “look mommy! Cows! Moo Moo Moo!” -then she proceeds to giggle for 3 minutes.
#6: “i see snow! The holidays are here!
#7: “no no no!”
“what?”
“you cannot drive in the snow!”
#8: “oops! It’s not working!”
#9: “look at all the snow! It’s turning white!”
#10: “a birthday! Is it my birthday? I love parties!”
#11: “op! You’re out! Op! You’re out! Op! Everyone’s out!”
(we think she’s playing tag by herself)
#12: “mommy, my tooth is growing up”
(I’m just glad its not growing upside down)
#12 (ish): “ok, kiddo, let’s look for some boots for you”
“And Dora too!”
“ok let’s look for some shoes instead.”
#14: “you rescued the marble! you’re my hero mommy!”
#15: “Did you steal my pizza?!”
“MMMmmmMMM” (courtesy of Little Brother, he ate it all)
#16: “mommy, I think I know why its upset.”
“why is it upset?”
“cuz its dark outside. Can I have a hug?”
(she misses her daddy already)
#17: “mommy, when the movie’s over, I can have poptarts”
(no she cant, but it was a nice try, wasn’t it?)
#18: “thank you so much, SuperHero Mommy!”
(after putting the post-it over the sensor on an automatic flusher)
#19: “mommy, the tv is big so now we can play ping pong!”
(daddy said when the tv got here she could play Kinect sports ping pong lol. It’s here and she wants to play)
#20: Daddy: “honey, do u want subway or should we try Bo Jangles?”
Sissy: “jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in adkfirnuch eeeeeeh!”
Daddy: “i said Bo Jangles not Jingles Bells”
(she’s not quite sure what the words are LOL)

So there it is. The 20 status messages that got this blog started. My kids have always been a source of joy to me. Sure there are days that are long. There are days that are difficult. But all too often, the days are just days. Reflections of who we will be tomorrow and who we were yesterday. Today, while walking home from school, Sissy remembered about a trip she and daddy took to the beach during block leave last summer. Just the two of them, for an afternoon, went to the beach and made sand castles “and I got to knock them down!”

Today, I’m thankful for this blog.
For the people my words have touched.
For the enlightenment it has brought to others.
For the piece of mind it has brought to me.

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Happy Anniversary, and 30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 6-8

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!

Or should I say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NOTES FROM THE BACKSEAT!”

My blog is two years old today.

Here, have a cupcake:

Ain't she cute!?! Just the sweetest little cupcake in the whole wide world!

Ain’t she cute!?! Just the sweetest little cupcake in the whole wide world!

Now, on to the drawing challenge, and yes, I’m really behind, but I will finish this. I will!

Day 6: Favorite Drink

Honestly, I don’t have a favorite, so long as it’s cold.

Day6

Day 7: Favorite Bird

I really wish these lists included less “favorites” and more random things to draw. I don’t have a favorite _____. Most of the time, I’m lucky just to have a favorite color. I really was at a loss, so I drew the first bird that came to mind while staring mindlessly at the calendar above the kitchen table.

Day7

Day 8: Amusement Park

Well that’s vague, isn’t it? Technically any park that brings joy, amazement, and fun is an “amusement park”, but I went with the good old stand by. When in doubt, go back to where it all began…

Day8

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 2-5

Okay, so yea… I got hit hard this month. Now, as the month is winding down, we are preparing the house and our hearts to have my husband come home sometime within the next 6 weeks, though we don’t know exactly when yet. It’s gonna be a lot of change and my blog is no doubt suffering for the changes that have happened and for those yet to come. My “29 Things to do Before 29” list seems to be a flop, but is still salvageable and I will just have to adjust some of the times on some of the items. With a little shift here and there, and having my husband home with the kids, it should be a lot easier to fit it into my schedule… I take on too much and then come down hard on myself when I can’t get everything done. This is always an issue. But I have drawing, so for the next few days I will make a mad dash to the finish (which seems to be my M.O. anyway 😛 )

So, on with the show

Day 2: Favorite Sport
To be honest, I meant to draw swimming and forgot, so I drew a football. I don’t really like football. I like to sit beside my husband and read a book while he watches football. People who know me would be shocked to learn that I really enjoy swimming. I enjoy the feel of the water gliding across my skin and I enjoy the focus. It’s one of the few times I really relax, when I’m in the water. I’m not a strong swimmer by any means. I don’t like to be splashed and I prefer to be by myself or with a small group when I swim. It takes me a long time to get used to the water temperature. I mean, like, ridiculously long. It comes to the annoyance of everyone I swim with. I know it drives my husband crazy because he likes to splash me as I’m “acclimating” to the water step by step. I cannot just jump into the pool. It is physically painful when I do this. But swimming is my favorite sport… Enjoy the football.

Day2

Day 3: First Car

1983 Datsun Nissan Pulsar NX This was my first car. Go ahead, click the link, I can wait.

Done now? That car reminds me of an uncool Delorean from the Back to the Future movies. But really, my drawing is the most accurate depiction I could come up with. Nothing like having dad try to teach you a three-point turn in a car with no brakes… I almost hit a dresser my mom was painting in the driveway… Good times.

Day3

Day 4: A Secret About Yourself

I’ll let you sort this one out on your own.

Day4

Day 5: Favorite Movie

This one was hard because I love so many movies. I chose a movie that I felt represented a multitude of great things and storylines that have lent themselves well to other stories and other mediums. Whether it’s “Oz: the Great and Powerful”, “Wicked: the Musical”, or the Gregory Maguire novels, it all started in one place, with one pair of silver slippers (yes, in canon they were silver, not ruby. Ruby filmed better, for those who don’t believe me, open a book). I think on some level, we are all captivated by the land of Oz, the magic of the “horse of a different color”, and the characters we meet along the way. From the fearfully coward to the heartless metal man to the ignorant brilliance of a man made of straw, we understand these characters and their quest. Secretly, we all wish we could go “somewhere over the rainbow”.

Day5

Slacker Blogging

I seem to have become depressed over the past week. I’ve been taking the death of the cat very hard…

As a result, my blog is suffering. Sorry guys.

I promise to get back with it this week. More Autism Awareness blogs and the 30 Day Drawing Challenge posts are coming this week. I will get caught up and finish on time. I promise.

I’ve sent my husband an email to help me stay on task and focus. I need things to keep me moving…

On a side note, I will be updating on my 29 Things list soon… I’m failing myself already, and it’s only April…

30 Day Drawing Challenge: part 2: Day 1

I don’t really have a good build up to this one… I’m seriously at a loss for words, and I think that part of this is a result of the events of yesterday and the exhaustion I am still feeling today.

Believe it or not, there are four parts of these drawing challenges, or at least I have four separate versions downloaded onto my computer right now. I was invited to participate in Part Two, and I accepted. I need something to focus my brain for a bit, and I’m totally being a slacker on my list of things to do this year…

Part Two.

Part Two.

Day One: Muppet

Well that’s pretty vague, isn’t it? Many people have chosen to focus squarely on The Muppets. The pride of joy of the Jim Henson legacy. Too many people forget that Jim Henson and his muppets had their hands in a few different cookie jars over the years. From Yoda to Ludo, Jim Henson has worked on Star Wars, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Sesame Street, The Muppets (and all it’s “spin offs”, including Muppet Babies), Fraggle Rock and much more. So instead of focusing on one specific muppet, I chose to go with a few. Jim Henson was a man with a vision, and the “muppet” in all it’s forms is something to be celebrated.

Red from Fraggle Rock, Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street and Baby Animal from Muppet Babies.

Red from Fraggle Rock, Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street and Baby Animal from Muppet Babies.

DIY: 10 Minute Storage Idea

This is my first tutorial, so if you have any questions please feel free to ask. I tried to take lots of pictures so that it would be easier to follow along.

So let’s get this started:

If you guys are like me, you have lots of random little boxes around your house. From shoe boxes to the half carton the juice box flats come in, I save boxes. Last fall, I took my kids to Build-A-Bear to make gifts for Daddy. He got a “Tinker Bear” and a “Spiderman Puppy” (both totally adorable but for some reason I didn’t take pictures) and the kids had a blast. And at the time, I thought to myself “I could use these boxes for …”, but a week later, I still had the boxes and no clue what I had intended to do with them (a common occurrence at our house, I assure you). Well, I decided to use them for storing yarn, but let’s face it, those boxes just aren’t pretty. So I prettied them up.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Wrapping paper to suit your style and needs
  • Empty box (or two or three)

Step 1
Remove the top flaps from the box (if your box has them). This may seem obviousbut those flaps will not stay down unless you staple them that way and it’s just easier to remove them. You can tear them off or cut them. Just try to keep the line across the top as even as possible.

"Look mom, I'm topless!"

“Look mom, I’m topless!”

Step 2
Begin wrapping the sides as you normally would any box, starting with the sides. Make sure to leave paper hanging over both ends. You don’t want your box to show through around that top edge. You may or may not want the paper to completely cover the inside of your box. If you do want to paper the inside of your box, I find it easier to do this with scraps AFTER the rest of the box is done.

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Step 3
Fold the paper over the open edge of the box. This allows you to wrap the bottom of the box as flat as possible with worrying too much about messing up the paper. Trim off any excessive paper at the bottom of the box.

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Fold the paper into the open end.

Trimming the excess.

Trimming the excess.

 

 

Step 4
Flip the box so that the open end is on your workspace (for me this was the floor in the hallway because my kids were playing Kinectimals in the living room). Begin wrapping the bottom of the box as you would any other box. Keep in mind that if your box will be standing upright (as opposed to lying on its side), you will want to wrap the bottom as tightly and as flat as possible. This minimizes the risk that the box will lean or fall when you’re finished.

Stand up on open end.

Stand up on open end.

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Wrap up the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planned for my boxes to lie on their sides, so I didn’t care what the bottom looked like. My motto with DIY projects is “As long as people will see it, make it pretty. If they don’t, just get it done.”

Step 5
Stand the box back up on it’s newly wrapped end and begin working on the inside of the box. My best advice, is start in a corner. My preferred corner is the one with the lower paper closest to it (when you initially wrapped the sides of your box, the paper overlapped, I use the lower part of the overlapping section to start). Using two pieces of tape in each corner (one on each adjoining wall), tape the paper down to lie as flat as possible. It’s okay if the paper bunches a little, as long as it’s bunching in the corners and NOT along the flat side. I like to put a piece of tape in the middle of the wall as well, this helps to keep the center flat and forces excess paper to the corners where the bunching is okay.

Stank on newly wrapped end.

Stank on newly wrapped end.

Tape into the corners.

Tape into the corners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE & AFTER

Yarn storage!

Yarn storage!

Before and After

Before and After

 

 

This one I completely lined the inside because it would be standing upright. I filled it with all my headbands.

This one I completely lined the inside because it would be standing upright. I filled it with all my headbands.

Once you are satisfied with the look of your box, you’re done. This really couldn’t be more simple than it is. If you’re looking for something a bit more “formal” and involved, here’s a great tutorial using fabric instead of wrapping paper by Maven of the House.

I’ve done some other DIY projects lately, that I think you all would enjoy:

This was so easy, even for me. I used a hammer and large nail for the anchor holes and just added a second towel rack, hanging the plastic baskets from shower curtain hangers. Instantly cleared the counter top in the front bathroom and now I have a place to put the hand towels and wash clothes.

This was so easy, even for me. I used a hammer and large nail for the anchor holes and just added a second towel rack, hanging the plastic baskets from shower curtain hangers. Instantly cleared the counter top in the front bathroom and now I have a place to put the hand towels and wash clothes.

I added storage to my bathroom courtesy of a great tutorial found at Simply DIY 2

This was SO easy. And I've since doubled (or more) the number of necklaces on the display and it's still hanging well. This is attached to the wall above my craft table in my closet. Side Note: My craft table is the changing table I used when my kids were still in diapers. I needed a use for it and I found a good one.

This was SO easy. And I’ve since doubled (or more) the number of necklaces on the display and it’s still hanging well. (I find it mildly entertaining that I created most of the pieces hanging on the display in the photo.) This is attached to the wall above my craft table in my closet. Side Note: My craft table is the changing table I used when my kids were still in diapers. I needed a use for it and I found a good one.

I also used a canvas, some spare fabric, nail polish and some mug hooks and small nails to create a necklace display after finding inspiration here courtesy of The Classy It Girl.

Happy Birthday to Me (you? Mommy?)

When you plan your own birthday “party” and the only people in attendance are you, your two kids, your best friend and her infant son, singing “Happy Birthday” gets a bit dodgy in the middle. I have to admit, the whole thing made me laugh, and for that I was grateful. I really needed to laugh on my birthday of all days. Being near Christmas, my birthday has rarely been the best thing I do all year. Having my husband half a world away makes the whole month of December that much more lonely.

I admit, I did not handle December very well. But 2012 is behind us and 2013 is three days in the making. I have been 28 for a whole four days, and I’ve taken that time to write a list. A bucket list of sorts, but these are all the things I want to do in the next year. Twenty-nine things to do before I turn twenty-nine next December. But first, some birthday cake:

" “The angels have the phonebox”. That's my favorite. I've got that on a t-shirt. " -'Blink', Doctor Who, Episode 3.10

” “The angels have the phone box”. That’s my favorite. I’ve got that on a t-shirt. ” -‘Blink’, Doctor Who, Episode 3.10

Now to my list. Some of these will be silly, some of them very serious. Some will be well within my comfort zone (hence the time constraints placed on some of them), and some are so far beyond anything I’ve ever done that I’m pretty sure they wont get done until after my husband returns from Afghanistan this summer. Wow, this summer… He sounds so close and yet, he’s still so far away.

Yes, the list, sorry about that.

29 Things to do Before 29

1. Complete a book of Sudoku Puzzles in the month of February, cover to cover in order, no cheating.

2. Get shot with a paintball gun. Of course, this means I have to go paint-balling with my husband, but what better way to bond after a deployment then to fire balls of paint at each other, right?

3. Go zip-lining. This one requires me to overcome my severe aversion to heights and falling.

4. Climb a rock wall. No doubt this is a precursor to #3.

5. Read 29 books. This averages 2.5-3 books a month. I got this one.

6. Kiss my husband on the lips.

7. Do Zumba three times a week for at 3 consecutive months. I got the game disk for Xbox Kinect from the husband for my birthday, I will use it to tone the rest of the baby pudge let over from giving birth to children weighing the same as the standard bag of sugar.

8. Finish my first novel: in March and April.

9. Complete my figure drawing sketchbook.

10. Have portraits taken of myself (whether I post them here or just write about the experience I’m not sure yet). This one is an exercise in learning to appreciate my own beauty.

11. Wear three pieces of refashioned clothing in the month of June. (I should have plenty of options by then.)

12. Take one photo of myself everyday for a month (can’t be February, it’s too short)

13. Get another tattoo (I already know what and wear, just need to get on with it)

14. Complete my blog series: 30 Days with Autism that I started in 2010.

15. Blog every Friday  Thursday about something I am grateful for that has occurred in the past week. Let’s keep the gratitude fresh.

16. Write one short story a month, no minimum word count.

17. Pay off my truck.

18. Craft 31 piece of jewelry in the month of August.

19. Give up Soda (once I finish what’s left from my birthday party.)

20. Give up my hair for Lent. Headscarves all day, every day from Feb 13- March 30.

21. Learn to play guitar. Hubby plays guitar… Another one of those re-bonding activities… Maybe while I’m recovering from being shot with a paintball gun?

22. Stop biting my nails (again). To be successful, I have to have real nail growth on a continuous basis during the 12 weeks leading up to and including my next birthday.

23. Lay under the stars with my husband (possible sleep on the back deck, that counts as camping, right?)

24. Blog a video of myself reading a children’s book like I do to my kids.

25. Fire a gun. Another one of those “Let’s celebrate your homecoming” activities.

26. Buy “embarrassing” lingerie and actually wear it. Wear it again in front of the husband. (There will be no pictures on the wearing, there may be pictures of the buying. FYI, almost all lingerie is embarrassing, we really only wear it because we think our husbands will like it.)

27. Take my husband to an archery range. He has yet to see me in my element. Archery was the only sport I was good at in middle school and after the gun range, and a paintball course, archery is a nice change of pace.

28. Fully potty train my son, no more diapers. We are slowly venturing into the world of pooping in the potty. This will save me $60 a month once we get this down.

29. Solve a Rubik’s Cube. (This may take a while)

So there you have it. my list of 29 things. These are all realistic and completely doable. That’s why I chose them. I wanted a list that I could actually finish and say “I did that”. So, I’m a few days behind on some of these already, but I will be updating this list with other blog posts as I complete each number. My goal is to have the list completed by December 30, 2013.