always entertaining

Ladies and gentleman, my children:
Isaiah's drowning, angry face. Coincidentally, this is also his poop face.
The curls at their full capacity. 
Julian, cute.
Obsessed with their junk. Typical men.

And... introducing Julian's newest talent (in addition to shrugging his shoulders and puckering his lips)
Giving Willow Smith a run for her money.

made my week

Say hello to my cute little family:

Courtsey of Chelsey and The Paper Mama Shop or one of my favorite bloggers The Paper Mama.

I'm seriously in loooove. So awesome! And I can totally tell which boy is which, she did SUCH a great job capturing everyone's characteristics. And look at my cute hubby and his lion shirt and chucks. I love the background and the lights! 

This is going to be printed out big and put in our living room.

sweet baby jesus stop the screaming

This is how I feel today. 

Anyone have days like this? And by "like this" I mean, it's 10:30 am and I've laid the boys down for a nap already based solely on the fact that I can't stand the sound of their screaming, whiney voices any more. Two boys, tantrums and crying all morning since they've woken up. Non-stop. Screaming.

Now I will drink my coffee in silence. 

And count down the hours until my 1 1/2 hour massage scheduled as a gift from my hubs on our anniversary. Let's just say this couldn't have come at a better time.

Pray for my sanity.

getting to know you

Let's talk.

I want ya'll to feel like you know me. I'm a really open person. I don't hide much, what you see is what you get with most of my friends. I feel like these blogging relationships should be the same. So today I'm going to share with you some things about me, or about how I see myself. And I want you to share back.
  • I prefer the clouds to the sun. These cool, cloudy, fall mornings in So Cal are my favorite.
  • Most days my hair goes uncombed, my glasses stay on, and my ripped leggings. 
  • Sometimes I stare a little longer at my curves before I get in the shower. I know I'm not a model, I know I'm softer than I used to be. But this motherhood thing, it's changed my body into something less of a girl's and more of a woman's. I don't mind. Most days.
  • I'm a dreamer. I'm semi-organized. Sometimes I have a plan. My house is basically clean. 
  • I'm an extremely patient person. I guess little things like time don't bother me.
  • I've learned to shut off my emotions easily. It's a protective trait I've somehow developed. To some it may seem cold-hearted. If you wrong or hurt me bad enough, I'm done. I don't need anyone in my life who doesn't bring out the best in me. 
  • I'm a country mouse. This life in one of the most crowded places in the country leaves me completely out of my element.
  • I suck at keeping up with friends, something I'm actively working on. 
  • I love to be alone. I could go days without talking to a single soul. I think this is from growing up an only child for 11 years on a farm. This independence is my favorite thing about myself.
  • I like making people laugh. Especially in situations where I'm new to people, I feel like humor best breaks the ice. When I hear people say I'm funny, I take it as SUCH a compliment. 

Now it's your turn to share. Tell me a couple things about yourself. I want to get to know you.

Mondays Are Awesome Vol. 8

That's right. Mondays ARE awesome. I'm determined to start your week off with some crazies. This week we're going to get to know the fun side of Vanessa from Little Gray Pixel

The lady: 
Vanessa / 32 / Los Angeles
The fam:
"H" is my husband, baby girl Alexa is 6 months old. We have a 4-year-old cat named Q. At first we thought we'd have to protect Alexa from his claws, but I think we'll actually have to protect Q from Alexa.

What would be your dream job? 
I would like to get paid to watch dance movies. I could offer detailed comparisons and data analysis. Surely someone somewhere would be interested in this information. I love dance movies. Good. Bad. Mostly bad. Actually, the worse the better.  

Name a secret talent. 
It's not really a secret, but people seem surprised when they find out I can sing. And I can belt, too. I did a lot of summer stock musical theater in high school.

Pet peeves...I know you have them. 
Long lines. Sitting in traffic. Burpy computers. Anything that involves me having to slow down for any reason. Wow, I must be impatient!

What is one of your bad habits?
I scratch the back of my head when I'm stressed. And I mean, I really dig at my head. It's one of the reasons I keep my nails so short, otherwise I might've whittled through my skull by now. Sometimes I go on such a rampage that I have to have H physically stop me from scratching.

What is something bad you did when you were a kid? 
Well, I was old enough to know better, but when I was 13 I snuck out with some friends to meet a boy. We worked on our plan all afternoon, down to crawling out of the basement window and leaving pillow "bodies" and basketball "heads" under blankets. Our plan went off without a hitch until we shimmied back through the window to find all our parents standing there, glaring at us. I guess our decoys weren't too awesome after all. I was grounded for the rest of the summer.

Best concert you've been to. 
Tom Petty with The Strokes in 2006 at the Hollywood Bowl. I bought tickets in a presale, so I had no idea where our seats were. Imagine our surprise when we were escorted to the second row! Stevie Nicks joined Tom Petty at one point, and I think my head nearly exploded. It was fantastic. Oh, and we were able to fully enjoy every sip of beer because we were not driving. It's like the stars aligned for the perfect concert experience.

What is the best thing about you? 
Generally I am not self-aware. I do not worry about what others think of me. This has allowed me to do lots of foolish things in public, such as perfect the art of the Axl Rose dance and sing "D'yer Mak'er" on karaoke night.

Have you met anybody famous? If not, who would you like to meet? 
I've met members of The Strokes at a bar after one of their shows. I met Britt Daniel from Spoon. It's really too bad John Lennon isn't alive for me to stalk (in a good way, not a Mark David Chapman way). 

Name something you love and something you absolutely despise. 
I love guilty pleasures and I hate that they're even called that. Pleasures should be pleasures, no matter how silly, know what I mean? Among the alleged guilty pleasures: "Teen Mom," Rachael Ray's talk show (I KNOW). I still own the fact that I was a rabid NKOTB fan back in the day. I heart Jordan forever, yo (at least I did till he made an ass of himself on "The Surreal Life," which yes, I watched, too).

Your drink of choice. (...but if you don't drink that's cool, too). 
Corona with a lime. It's just not the same without a lime.

Do YOU want to be awesome on a Monday? 
(Duh, obviously) 
Email me at mamamandolin {at} gmail {dot} com to participate. 

Party on, friends.

idiots in love

Happy Anniversary, husband...'s to AT LEAST another 60 years of idiocracy. 

A to Z

I saw this on Sometimes Sweet last week and wanted to copy. So I wrote this last weekend and then this week, scheduled it for today...and then saw everyone and their dog post it over the week. Whatever. This is some groundbreaking information, folks. Truly may change your life.

A. Age: 26.. but 27 on Oct. 17! 

B. Bed size: Queen. But I want a California King. I'm a diagonal stomach sleeper. And I like to sprawl my legs out to the cold parts of the bed. I want more cold parts.

C. Chore that you hate: Folding laundry. I have no problems washing it, but folding and hanging and putting away is just a pain in my ass. Plus, most of our stuff is hanging so I have to HANG everything up. Whining. 

D. Dogs: When the boys are old enough to pick one out and help take care of it, I'd like to get one. And only if we live somewhere with a big yard. 

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee and breakfast. I'm not one who can skip breakfast. I feel weak and tired and STARVING.

F. Favorite color: It's Hawkeye football BLACK AND GOLD!!

G. Gold or Silver: Silver, I guess.

H. Height: 5'9" 

I. Instruments you play: I started piano lessons in 1st grade-9th grade and still play (when I find a piano). I played in jr high/high school jazz band, too. I even won an outstanding soloist award at a jazz band competition! 

  • I've also played flute (5th & 6th grade)
  • French horn (7-9th)
  • mellophone and xylophone in marching band over the years
  • trumpet (when they needed me to in high school) 
  • vibes, which is essentially piano, in jr high jazz band

J. Job title: stay at home mama. Before this I was a re-enrollment counselor for a college.  And I was a high school volleyball coach.

K. Kids: the dudes! 

L. Live: Southern California

M. Mother’s name: Ba-ba-ba Ba-Barbara Ann

N. Nicknames: Mama (my friends called me this even before I was a mama) and Mandolin.

O. Overnight hospital stays: When I was in kindergarden I had pneumonia and was in the hospital for a few days before Easter. And then when I had the boys.

P. Pet peeves: lazy people leaving their shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot. 

Q. Quote from a movie: "You had two pairs of gloves the WHOLE TIME??" "Uh, yeah, we're in the Rockies. Duh."--Dumb and Dumber

R. Right or left handed: right handed. But in volleyball I can hit pretty good with my left, too.

S. Siblings: Josh, Kristen and Bryce...all 15.

U. Underwear: none of yo business.

V. Vegetable you hate: Asparagus. PUKE.

W. What makes you run late: whatever I can find an excuse for.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: wrist, knees, ankle, elbow, dental. I have what the doctors called "over-flexible joints" so I had a lot of injuries in sports. 

Y. Yummy food that you make: everything I make is yummy. duh.

Z. Zoo animal: Baby everythings. And giraffes.

the story that started it all

This weekend (on Sunday), Chikezie and I are celebrating our 2 year anniversary. And we're also approaching the anniversary of the day we met, and the days we started dating and falling for each other...6 years ago. So in honor of all of that, I thought I'd share with you a little piece of our love story...a little flashback of love for your Friday :)

Once upon a time, this college girl used to stalk a hottie bouncer at the Sports Column.  His strong jaw line, broad shoulders, and oh lordy those lips! She was outgoing but not brave enough to talk to a guy as gorgeous as him.  But one night, on October 15, 2005 she finally had enough liquid courage to talk to him.
On one of her many visits to stalk see him while he was working.

As he was passing by her through the bar, she grabbed his hand. She made her best seductive eyes and introduced herself. He was intrigued and they exchanged numbers right then and there, in their 1 minute encounter. (She found out later that he'd actually had a concussion this night, from a rugby game he'd played earlier that day. He clearly wasn't in his right mind!) They stalked each other on facebook and texted each other back and forth for a week or two after that. His first text to her was "the pen is blue!" and she knew what it meant.

They had the hots for each other, and like most college relationships, their pairing was based in physical attraction. Until one day they laid around her room, talking for an entire day, quoting stupid movies, laughing, learning it was a lot more than physical attraction that was drawing them together.

A few days later, on a warm fall afternoon, he asked her to be his girlfriend. They'd only known each other for 2 weeks but this was something she'd never heard a guy ask her before. Most guys let it linger forever, to that awkward stage where you didn't know what you were. But not him. He asked her. And how could she say no? 

They went on their first date to the Atlas and for drinks that night. He wanted to introduce her to his friends right away. He thought she was different than other girls. 
It was a Tuesday.

They were inseperable. She went out with her friends at night and visited him while he worked late hours at the bar. She could keep her independence and see her friends and still see him all the time. She didn't want to be caged or trapped. It was perfect.

They went on long walks together until the sun went down and their fingers were stinging with the cold air of late fall evenings. She brought her disposable camera, he brought his sketch pad. He didn't let her hold his hand, he preferred her arm in his. 

She made cookies at his crappy apartment. He drew things for her. She could be herself with him. He opened up to her. Being with him was easy. It just somehow worked, easier than any of the brief relationships she'd had before. 

One month and 20 days after they first met, on this night, on his birthday, she told him something she'd never told any boy before.

She told him she loved him.

And he said he loved her back. 

Happy Anniversary, husband

challenges with two

I've been trying to get the boys outside more often. This seems like, duh, why wouldn't you take your kids outside more? But you guys, it's tricky. I like taking them for walks in the stroller but I want them to get outside and run. They LOVE being outside. They turn into different kids when they're outside. But I have a few problems. 

Number 1, it's a HUGE production to go anywhere. We live on the 2nd floor of our apartment and the boys can't go down stairs yet. So going out in the stroller requires at least 4 trips up and down stairs. And if the boys are awake, there's usually a lot of crying involved when I leave them upstairs on our patio to carry the stroller/everything else down to the bottom of the stairs. I have to shut the front door because I obviously don't trust them by the stairs and then I can hear them crying upstairs. I tried using a baby gate at the front door the other day which seemed to work. Then they could at least see me going down the stairs. They didn't much. 

So there's that. 

Once we get where we're going (usually the complex playground) the main challenge is keeping up with both boys. It's not like we live somewhere with a fence and a yard. Everything is open here. With one kid, you can just follow him around and it's no big deal to go out for walks. With the boys, often times they walk in two different directions. And that's a challenge.

If I can get them focused on one thing they'll stay in the same area. If one boy starts to walk off, I'll ask him to find his brother, which sometimes works. I really just need to work on my own confidence in these situations. I'm still learning to get comfortable with this being super-mobile stage. They're little explorers and are so curious about everything outdoors. Luckily they're at a stage where they're in awe of everything and will just stand frozen, looking at everything.

It's a work in progress. Something that doesn't seem like a big deal but kind of is when you have two.

I managed to get some pics while we were out yesterday:
Isaiah eating, furrowed brows. 

Checking out how this thing works.

And now a photoshoot of Julian:

Isaiah playing with the wood chips:

and looking like a 17 year old:
What the hell? I seriously see a teenager face here. 

September Swap Friends Round 1

Check out all of these cool chicks! They were awesome enough to participate in a September Swap with Mama and the Dudes and they all deserve a little love!

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weekly cuteness

To get a picture of two busy boys at one time is quite the challenge. I've developed a formula. I can get them to stay fairly still if I rush at them like I'm going to "get" them. As long as they're sitting somewhere that they can't get up and run (which is what happens otherwise). I snap continuously and although most of the pictures are blurry, weirdly focused or cut off...I get a few semi-decent shots.