28 April 2012

mission: organize my life: the kitchen

okay, so let me preface this by saying i'm a little bit embarrassed to be posting this. but i have to do it because this - the topic of organization - is really important to me right now. i mean, i am an organized person usually. but lately, i have seriously struggled maintaining it all - working, cooking, cleaning, time for me, time for terence, just everything. i've kind of been frozen with the overwhelmingness of it all. so i've decided to come up with a plan of attack. i'm going to go through each room in our house and finally put them in the order that i've wanted to for months. the state of our house relates directly to my state of mind. for me, i need to have a plan and organization in order to be able to make plans for our future and plans now for our family. (as an aside, this topic is directly connected to my dream of moving to the pacific northwest. more to come about that!)

so, please pardon a post without an adorable one year old and instead admire my newly organized kitchen cabinets. :) i didn't do any "before" pictures. i don't want to remember that. just the good stuff. 

i scored some sweet containers from the dollar store for bulk items - rice, pasta, cereal. a little basket and stacking shelves keep preserved goods together and easier to see. vinegars and oils are all in one place now, too. and up top are small appliances that i use fairly often.

i have a lot of baking and cooking pantry stuff. and before it was just, everywhere. now, these blue bins on the left hold baking products. i keep my sugar and flour in the airtight, clear containers on the middle shelf and cooking oil bottles are next to them. all of the pantry beverages - hot chocolate, tea, ice tea, coffee - are now in their own blue bucket. and another part of our pantry that was totally out of control was all the treats and snacks. not any more - they're all together neatly in a basket.
and lastly, i finally got to put these cute bins i got from target years ago to good, organized use. previously, they held all of ruby's bottles, sippy cups, and dishes, but in a complete mess. and this corner pantry was overloaded before which didn't help. now i've cleaned out all random appliances and dishes, leaving room for the bins. i just stacked up all of ruby's dishes and bottles neatly. same deal for the top two shelves. the key to this area was cleaning out all of the random crap that had piled up in here. once it was all put in its right place, everything else pretty much organized itself.

27 April 2012

flashback friday: soundtrack to my life: 2002

in 2002, i moved into the dorms at the university of wisconsin - milwaukee. i had a freakishly weird roommate situation at first. (as in, i lived with this girl for 4 months, never learned her last name, saw her maybe, 5 times the entire time, and to this day, i can't even remember her first name. weird.) anyway, as a result of the lack of bonding with my actual roommate, i made friends with some of the girls across the common area, on my same floor. "some girls" became my best friends. i lived with hillary and lisa after that year and they became like sisters to me. we experienced all the crazy wonderfulness that is going away to college and having roommates. one such instance of crazy wonderfulness included dancing like total lunatics, hair flying free, jumping on beds, and screaming this song at the top of our lungs in hillary's dorm room on the third floor of south tower. it's a memory that is so clearly engrained in my  brain. and it means so much to me.

this song is the epitome of the be-an-independent-soul-and-live-your-life attitude that i strive for. and it's one that i hope one day ruby picks up on. this song reminds me that life is too short to stress and get in a negative rut about anything. and when i feel that creeping up, i get my car, crank the speakers, and dance in such a way that it makes other drivers stare. i don't care, though, because it is moments like those that i feel the most free and inspired. lost in song. and usually tearing up because well, that's just me.

one day, when ruby comes home and tells me that her day sucked, i will pop this one in and dance it out. and to be completely honest, we've already danced it out more than once when my day has been less than amazing.

best lyrics? the verses are where it's at:

"hey, you know they're all the same.
you know you're doing better on your own, so don't buy in.
live right now.
yeah, just be yourself.
it doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else."

and later,

"hey, don't write yourself off yet.
it's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
just do your best, do everything you can.
and don't you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say."

oh, and? this video is awesome. enjoy! and make sure you get in a solid "woooo!" at 1:37. it feels so good. :)

26 April 2012

thirteen month little chica

well, here we are. 13 months and then some. ya know, when ruby turned a year it was such a milestone. i thought it would feel bigger, though, honestly. i thought i would cry at her birthday. i thought i'd choke up singing her "happy birthday" with our friends and families. but none of that happen. on her actual birthday, i was, just... happy. i was reflective and grateful for the year we've had together as a family. i was content.


i'm finding the weeks and month(s) after ruby's first year are actually more emotional for me. there is no missing ruby's personality at this age and the developmental milestones that she's reaching now are almost always specifically related to her becoming more independent. i know, i know, you're thinking i need to relax, take a breath, and stop freaking out. i know that she's not about to jump in the car and drive off to the mall to hang out with her friends. but some days, it is so clear just how quickly time goes by. and every time ruby learns to do something new on her own, something that she used to need me to do for her, i have to admit that a tiny part of me is a little sad.


(and ya know, as an aside, i love when i'm blogging and that happens - something comes out that i haven't actually said out loud. and maybe i didn't even know it, but that i actually needed to say it.)

so, now that i've gotten that out, let's talk about what totally rocks. and that is 13-month-old-rubinski. she is crazy. like, straight-up. she's loud and, as of late, kinda all attitude all the time. she is clearly testing out limits. it's like she hit the year mark and all the sudden ruby has decided she owns this house and all those in it. (and let's be honest, she's probably not that far off.) and actually, it's pretty hilarious. loud and hilarious. she actually yelled at terence this morning. of course, you can't understand much of what she's saying, but trust me, if you were in our house this morning, you'd have known that she was not thinking of something nice while she screeched in his direction.

ya know, as i re-read this, it doesn't sound like 13 months rocks at all. but seriously, ruby acting more like a little person, for the most part, is so much fun! when she tries out hollering at me about something she's mad about and i tell her to pretty much chill out, she totally knows what i'm saying and often times will start laughing as though to say "aww man, that mama. she called my bluff again." i have a good time with her. truth be told, it's probably b/c i see a lot of myself in her. from the stories that my older sisters and my mom's told of me when i was little, it sounds like ruby may be following in her mother's spunky little footprints. and yeah, i'm pretty much a proud mama.

so, verbally, ruby's really growing. she says "mama", "dad", "bye-bye", "ball", "uh-oh", and "whoa" (i'm serious with that last one. it's usually "oh, whoa!" i'm trying to teach her "yeah, baby" too.) oh, and - this is so freaking exciting! - this week, she started signing "more" when she wanted more to eat. i've been signing "more", "eat", and "all done" since she was 6 months and it's pretty sweet to see her starting to pick it up. of course, i just think she's a genius. ha.

she's still not walking, just cruising along furniture and standing up for short periods of time on her own. but this morning, i had put her on the couch to put her shoes on and she flipped on her stomach and slid off the couch, feet first, to get on the floor. T pointed out that she'd done it a couple times before and i was surprised. i actually think it's a small miracle. she's pretty darn good at climbing up on to things, but it's the falling-to-her-death-or-seriously-painful-end part that worries me. now hopefully we can transfer this new found skill of hers to the stairs.

ruby still loves her usual loves - singing, reading, anything involving music. and lately, she's also been loving throwing balls. she totally geeks out everytime she throws one. so it seems she has some athletic ability. loves to read? can throw a ball? this kid has some serious skills. :)

alright, on to some ruby-love in photos...

hey there, not-so-little girl!

these are my feet. aren't they cool?

so this is a little blurry, but this! this is her oh-no-you-didn't face.
i think it's hilarious. which isn't the effect i think she's going for, but ah well.

lovin' up on her purple horsey.

25 April 2012

24 April 2012

it's time to play catch-up for a bit...

so, i'm going to go waaaay back. over a month, exactly. the last month has been a whirlwind of events from ruby's first birthday party to doctors appointments to vacation to more doctors appointments and finally (i think. i hope!) dwindling down to our entire household getting over some crazy flu-cold-kill-me-now bug. it's all been nuts, but most parts of it have been seriously awesome.
and it all started out with ruby's rainbow-filled party. and let me tell you. it was glorious. it was colorful. and full of family and friends. and food. and one happy little birthday girl. (take a moment to prepare yourself for the photo bomb that is to come) and then check it out!

i decided to do a build-your-own-sandwich bar since i could incorporate pretty much every color of the rainbow that way and we wouldn't have to worry about cooking or keeping anything warm.
it worked out great and it looked awesome!

i made the "happy birthday, ruby" banner. i found these pendants pre-cut in the scrapbooking section of our JoAnn's, then just cut out white card stock, free-handed the letters, glued them on the pendants, and strung white yard through each. easy-peasy. nothing fancy but it looked cute.

the rainbows continue... i can't recall where i saw this (someone on pinterest, of course!) but i loved the idea of putting all the natural sodas and drinks in rainbow order. and (again from pinterest. obviously.) the rainbow fruit kabobs. one of my moms had the brilliant idea of dipping the marshmallow on the end (for the cloud, of course!) in white chocolate and then cover in rainbow sprinkles. it's all in the details, ya know? and we did go a little overboard with the details. well, I did. everyone just kindly obliged by wishes. :)

one of my favorite decorations was the wreath i made. which, you can't see very well here. ah well. anyway, it was white yarn wrapped around the wreath with felt flowers and sparkly buttons as the flower centers. then i glued on "happy birthday". it looked adorable. i'm in the process now of ripping off the "happy birthday" and putting on "ruby harper" so we can keep it hung up in her room. it was kinda a pain in the bum to wrap all that yarn,
but it turned out great so that's okay.

and then i got candy, candy, candy. in every color of the rainbow. and believe you me. we had loads! i just finally got rid of the last of it by bringing a little to work with me every day until it the pile was gone. although, i gotta say - starburst jelly beans are kinda the bomb.

more shots of candy. and the cake. of course. you can probably guess what the big surprise is there. more to come...

and lastly, for decorations, i strung up on rainbow ribbon each of her monthly pics from birth to 11 months. and yeah, i kinda definitely got all kinds of emotional putting this together.
oy. my girl is getting so big.
i feel like there should be music playing when you get to this picture. pardon the cake-covered fork messing up this picture. that being said, can i just tell you - this cake was every single bit (probably even more) as good as it looks. our friend, sarah, makes cakes as a side business and her recipes are to. die. for. the girl's got some serious skill. i mean, the color was perfect and the taste fantastic. i will not even attempt to lie - i ate this cake for breakfast for about a week after the party.
yup. i have no shame.
and speaking of no shame, here's ruby stuffing her face with the glorious goodness that is cake. actually, she mostly just grabbed it in huge handfulls, rubbed her hands together and all over everything, and then repeated this process until it looked like this...
so, i think she had fun. :)
had to get in some pictures with the fam...

ruby with her aunties candice and rhonda

with all of her grandparents! from the left, T's dad and mom, my mom, and my other mom, and dad
(ruby's the one in the middle, for those of you still in awe of the cake) ;)

family photo time. ruby seems to be enjoying herself. oh, and in case you're wondering, those are two balloons, one tied to each of ruby's wrists. it was pretty funny during the party, if you weren't sure where she was, just looked for the balloons floating around as she crawled. i'll have to remember this trick when she's older and we're at amusement parks and such. or the mall.
although, that probaby wouldn't go over to well with her. but i digress.

my absolute favorite.
this isn't the most exciting picture but we were opening presents here. i had suggested books for ruby. mostly because she has a bunch of toys that she doesn't really even play with but she loves to read. (and yes, that is a giant giraffe in the background. ruby's aunties went all out.) all together, ruby ended up with around 30 books, which she's been tearing through. (not literally, thank goodness). we've loved all the new choices we have. and i'm psyched we have some of the classics now - a bunch of dr. seuss, where the wild things are, courdoroy, to name a few.

and let's just say, you know it was a good party when...