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Thursday, March 31, 2011

awesome jankericiousness.

do you love awesome things in life?
do you love awesome FREE things in life?

{oh, thank me later.}
  these suckers are awesome and need you to download them YESTERDAY

check out this free printable bunting.
simply go go the link and click on any of the letters linked under the second photo.

mega-watt thanks to Ruffled because this jankericiousness is off the chain. 
the free-and-awesome-gotta-tell-yo-momma-sing-it-like-the-chain-gang-chain.

but this may be my favorite new blog of my day.
great inspiration for things.
you can't put a price on that {even if it IS free!}

i love me some awesomeness, especially when it's free and easy to do.  i figured you would too.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

new favorite.

i found a new favorite party design.
and it is AWESOME.

do you likey like me-e?

head on over to Kara's Party Ideas quick-ly.
{ok so that was a pathetic reach for verbal awesomeness that i don't think i actually reached.}

Wendy Updegraff was not only the host, but the amazing photog for the job.
and i also believe this was the day she turned into a superhero.


head on over to either Kara or Wendy's sites to check-check-check-it-check-it-out...

you just gotta.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

funny or not funny or fun or not fun?

a few years ago i had the pleasure of working with two guys from sweden.  they were awesome and i miss them both dearly.  the first guy from sweden was huge.  about seven foot tall and unbelievably just large.  he spoke pretty good english but had a very difficult time understanding one concept:

what is the difference between "fun" and "funny"?

i gave him examples using personalities around the office.  dave is fun, but never funny.  bob is funny, but never fun.  erica is fun AND funny twenty-fo' seven!

he totally got it.

with one of my guys just getting back from sweden this weekend, i thought over what has been fun and funny lately.  or.... neither fun nor funny...

funny: ethan learning the difference between being fortunate and unfortunate.  for example, telling me he was fortunate because i "borned" him then telling me he was unfortunate because i also "borned" him some sisters.  ethan then saying "fortunately i drank a glass of water today.  unfortunately it was empty." 

not funny: having to wake up my daughter in the morning and take her on an hour drive to richmond for dental work.  also not funny is ignoring her pleas for both food and liquid in the morning the entire way down there

fun: watching my son consume eight pieces of pizza, two pieces of stromboli, four brownies, two apple strudels, and two large pieces of monkey bread, chased by an full bowl of chicken noodle soup. {just like his uncle cliffy would do back in the day}

not fun: coming home to your son telling you he's going to barf. {seriously.}

funny: mom's face.

not funny:  said barf.  or the gigantic toot he let out in an effort to make him feel better.

there really is a difference between fun and funny and they don't always go hand-in-hand.  don't you agree?  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

schnikes. shower schnikes.

oh muggles.  i'm screwed.  my friend jer returned today to try one last {un}magical thing with my shower.  total fail.  *ugh*

the good news is that my friend jer is going to be sending me an email soon with a cost estimate on totally removing my shower and replacing it with a tiled stall.  and honestly, i'm totally being a smartass with my introductory tone of this paragraph.  sweet baby j.  this will be a lot more money than the quick-fix i was hoping for.   in the end, i know i'll be happy with the result, but to get there... we're taking money... more than i was hoping to spend on fixing this janky old shower.

but such is life, no?  we go with the flow because otherwise i fear internal combustion.  not worth it.  see?  that was me growing.  learning to not worry, not to stress over things that i cannot control.  it's called... LIFE.  kind of like the outfit sophie wore to school the other day.  i get to not care that she has mixed up patterns on and she gets to exert her inner design diva.  it's a total win-win.  i'm not saying she can get away with wearing a tube top and booty shorts, but if the girl loves her some striped leggings with a plaid skirt, who am i to say it is a horrible look?  she works it so confidently.  i can't diss on that!

my name is erica and i am relinquishing ridiculous over-the-top constraints on my children.  it's unbelievably liberating and mornings are way less chaotic.  if sophie can work a crazy ass outfit into something that builds her self-esteem, MORE POWER TO HER!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

sunny without luke warm showers.

home on a lunch break.  what a novel concept.  {and wonderful day to do so}.  only problem is that i am loathing the time when i have to return to the office.  it's 65 degrees today and sunny.  it is heavenly.

i came home today to meet a contractor that is attempting to fix my shower.  for five weeks i have been showering in the kids' bathroom.  for some reason that shower doesn't get above luke warm.  the bath does, but.... ew.  baths in little bath tubs are not my thing.  do you know what luke warm showers in the morning do to you?  they make you cold.  i hate being cold when i get out of the shower in the mornings.  i prefer being practically sweaty.  i mean seriously.  i want to cool DOWN after a shower, not have to warm up.

cross your fingers for me --- i'm heading back to work and my friend Jer is going to continue his heroic attempts at getting me back into MY shower.  he also said he'd fix the temp prob on the kids' shower.  i mean, he knows i'd still like to prevent SCALDING my children- but totally knows the importance of taking a great quality shower.  *phew*

Monday, March 21, 2011

biz-zay bee.

busy times around here.  not only is ethan playing on a flag team, but chris is coaching both his AND another team.  we had to split the tackle team into 2 teams for flag.  we get to see both teams and try to make the tiny mite games whenever we can which is fantastic.  bottom line, it makes for a busy schedule.  twenty five minute drive there.  thirty minutes of warm-ups. forty minutes of game time.  three times this weekend.  but we're totally diggin life.  {so much so that i spent 4 hours compiling a fancy football video highlight real for this week's game and then another 3 physically watching it upload to facebook so that my computer didn't time out on it.}

in between all the sports i've also been busy prepping for sophie's party that's taking place in six weeks.  the weather has been great which has helped my motivation.  i finally reupholstered our dining room bench.  while it's not impermeable to liquid this time around {last time i used a very cool pottery barn shower curtain -- totally rocked my socks off until some little fingers managed to dig a hole into the middle of the bench and then picked to their hearts content} it is much less of an eye sore for chris.  i mean, his opinion counts.  sometimesi threw him a bone, what more do you want from me???

i also was busy putting together some colorful beaded bracelets with special charms to go into the party favor "bags."  i love them - LOVE them - but i had no idea it would take me 4 hours to complete 14 bracelets.  i mean, i totally put a knot between each bead {because you know what it's like to have one of those suckers explode all over the place and i soooooo wasn't going to leave my fellow mommas hanging} - and i think that made a huge difference in my timeline.  call me crazy.


beyond that i did a lot of avoiding.  avoiding grocery shopping.  avoiding weeding.  avoiding laundry.  avoiding starting that exercise regime.  but somehow the kids had full bellies all weekend long...  and let's face it, that is the most important thing i listed so somehow i pulled off some life-saving sustaining measures in there, too.

this will be another incredibly busy week where i'm virtually a single mom in the evenings.  my man is finishing his first draft of his senior thesis - i feel for him.  i really do.  thirty pages.  considering the most i've written in the last ten years consists of infrequent blog entries and daily emails - i would totally not be able to swing college all over again.  i mean of course i could, but really, i would completely loathe life.  props to my man for figuring this jank out and making things happen!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


i can't believe what is happening in japan.  i try not to look.  i try not to feel.  i try to just...

it's overwhelming.  the pain.  the fear.  could you do it?  could you be one of those 50 workers facing imminent death.  i just don't think i could.  but how could i not?  of course i could.  

i think.

i have family there.  a lot of it.  some that i have known intimately, others that i only know by reference.  but all of my Japanese ancestors are there and i worry about their graves.  i worry because it is such a big deal to take care of those graves.  

i currently have no relationship with my father.  after his antics a year and a half ago, i still can't bring myself to reach out to him.  even during this most horrible time.  if it's this bad for me, what's it like for him?

in 2005 my father took my siblings on a trip to japan.  i was at home with two small children, unable to commit to taking them to a land requiring me to flip their entire inner-clock by 12 hours for ten days.  i just couldn't do it.  my husband was at the point in his life where work was first and trips to japan just didn't fit into his mindset.  it was unfortunate and i only have myself to blame for not going on my own without my man or my small kids.  but i just couldn't do it.  to this very day i regret that decision.


i didn't realize i looked asian until high school.  {i swear.}  i thought i was white.  i was technically half white, and i just thought i looked white.  and then i turned 15 and moved to a small town in connecticut where the first thing i remember being asked when i moved there was, "how do you feel about being the only asian in school?"  i thought... is it that obvious?

i was different and people knew it.  for the first time, i knew it too.

i hated being asian.  in fact, i resented it.  i resented my heritage and denied it in my heart.  it made me different and i was all of the sudden uncomfortable in my own skin.  and it was obvious.  it makes me so sad to think about it - i didn't have a soul i felt i could talk to about it. 

flash forward to september 11, 1999... my beautiful niece, Teagan, was born to my older sister, Naomi.  I met my brother out in California for a week that October.  There is one thing i remember the most from that trip -- it was how much i loved that baby regardless of  what she looked like.  her amazing asian eyes, or her head full of dark, rich hair.  i loved that baby.  LOVED that baby.  i sat there one night alone, watching her in her swing.  she was a mere 7 weeks old.  i couldn't breathe enough of her into my  heart.  i was in total awe and in total love.  and suddenly, i became so ashamed of myself.  if i hated myself for being Japanese, that would mean i would hate this child for being Japanese - but i LOVED this child... how could i love this little asian peanut so much without also loving myself? 

from that moment, i loved myself just a little more.  it was then that i chose to embrace who i was.

flash forward to now... march 17, 2011.  my family in japan is suffering while i sit here and drink my chai tea.  what can i do to help?  how can i do my part?

i started here.  for the next 17 hours and some odd minutes LivingSocial is offering to match your $5 donation.  and they'll continue matching up until $1,000,000.  YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT!  They are currently at $594,190.  

you can also donate straight through the American Red Cross.  Your gift to the American Red Cross will support their disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters.

or if you're as rich and generous as others,  please feel free to send your donation to wherever rich and generous people like yourself usually send those large donations.

or if you're really into texting, you can text any of the following numbers:
• The American Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.

• Convoy for Hope: Text TSUNAMI to 50555 to give $10.

• GlobalGiving: Text JAPAN to 50555 to give $10.

if you're interested in seeing some pictures of my family, check out my sister's blog here

i will continue to pray for my people in japan.  for their continued bravery, for their continued healing, for their strength and perseverance.  if there was ever a country that could pull together, it is japan.  they are awesome people.  please help if you can.  even if it's simply saying a prayer for them. i sure would appreciate it.

***Three minutes after posting, Living Social is already up to $605,480!!

****My calculations put Living Social at raising about $80/second.  PER SECOND!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

love good finds.

i love me some Girls Day Out.
i'm lucky enough to have a mom with a store that sells some of this awesomey goodness.

a couple of years ago i did a very informal little shoot with my babes.
they were in hog heaven.

cute right?

come to find out...

she has since added jewelry to her line.

Amy's work is awesome {and i totally don't get paid to say that.}
follow her blog here.

and check out her shop here.

and oh my.... how could i forget the other shoot i did of my little nieces...

run to GDO on etsy and blogspot.
good, good stuff.
{and i don't get paid to say that.}

Monday, March 7, 2011

i am less chaotic than the day before. and the day before that.

some of you know how chaotic i have felt internally over the last few months.  {by few i mean at least six.}  it has been quite a difficult and confusing ride to experience.  i never went crazy {luckily} but inside, i always felt like i was on the brink.  ever have so much to juggle and not enough time to do it, yet, believing that you do?  that is a harsh reality to awaken to.  as simple and easy a concept as it seems to be, sometimes being a believer really makes for an awkward awakening.  it leaves behind a trail of chaos unfamiliar to the likes of me, for i like lists, and calendars, and lists...

i currently have a list on my refrigerator {one that is typed with several bullets and sub-bullets, and sub-bullets to the sub-bullets} with approximately twenty tasks deemed "spring chores."  it was so exciting to put together and i was so amped up about crossing things off, but so far, i've done two things and haven't had the energy to cross them off.  i have mental notes that they're done which are far less rewarding, i might add.  but things are coming off of there, little bits at a time.

sunday i met up with a friend {a best friend} for the first time in about six months.  unreal.  we were people that talked at least twice a week for the last thirteen years.  we went six months without uttering a word.  that is how far i let this chaos into my life.  it's embarrassing to think about.  i just lost control of my life because it suddenly controlled me.  i was so overwhelmed that i just rode the wave and luckily, made it to shore without serious harm.

i don't know if i take on more than i can handle, but i take on more than i realize.  i don't admit failure because i don't settle for it, but i also think that is why i lived in such a confused state of mind for the last few {six} months.  the time is now, and i choose it, to admit i can live a great life at a slower pace with less pressure on myself.  i don't have to be perfect.  i just have to be mom.  wife.  sister.  friend.  worker.  but without being perfect.

i am not perfect. i can do this.  i can live comfortably without aiming for perfection each and every time.  i can learn to let things roll off my back instead of dwelling on things i was unable to do.  i can do this.  i can do this.  i can do this.

my calendars are up to date.  i split sports nights with my hubster so that i have time to get other things done.  i got both dogs groomed so i don't have that staring me down every day {a visual reminder of the chaos that reached every aspect of my life},  and my lists are full and thorough.  there is a sense of accountability and constant reminder just by having them on my fridge.  it feels so good - like i am in control of my life again.  

i'm not saying i have to control life ... i just have to feel like i'm not being controlled by life.  i think i'm on my way.  *fingers crossed*

Saturday, March 5, 2011


it's that time of year.
the time i start thinking of party themes.

sophie will be five in just under two months.

last year we threw an amazing kai-lan themed birthday party.  i didn't get hardly any pictures of it because it was a madhouse keeping everything moving along while i dealt with a shy/scared/dramatic four year old that didn't want to be around anyone.  it was a doozy.

i had the honor of passing along all of my party details to my friend for her daughter's birthday in july this year, and am so excited to be able to help her put it all together.  what's not to love about a Chinese themed party?

it left me wondering what i was going to do for sophie's birthday this year.  with the older two children uninterested in big parties (they opt for slumber parties with friends now), i get one shot a year to exert my creativity and plan something awesome.

actually, last year was really the only year i got super crafty with my party.  it breaks my heart that i didn't get my creative photo shots i wanted to make sure i got. total fail on my part.

so color me giddy when i ran across One Charming Party's entry this morning with an Ice Cream themed party being showcased.  what's twice as nice?  the fact that she has posted free printables.  aaaaaaand even an ice cream hat tutorial.

this allows so much flexibility - the colors are great, it's not based on a disney character (cha-ching!), and i really could do this in the middle of the afternoon and NOT have to provide a meal.  

did you SEE those party favors?  i'm dying.  DYING from the anticipation of it all!

best of all...
polka dots are a perfect addition.
i.     love.     polka dots.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

i can't figure her out.

my four year old is a piece of work.
i just can't figure her out.

for instance, one minute she likes her cereal with milk.
the next?

the drama.

so color me nervous the other day when i offered to take a friend's four year old for the night.

i'm just going to start by saying this...
anytime sophie would hear izzy's name, she would always ask why i was talking about her.

anytime i would say that izzy was coming over, sophie would gasp with shock and say, "WHY DOES SHE HAVE TO?"

sophie was an anti-izzite.

poor izzy.

but not so poor izzy because that girl is also miss diva.
like sophie.
which is why i was so nervous.

did i mention i was nervous?
worried for days about how the girls would get along?
and, starting that night out, i was right to be so nervous.

we were eating tacos.
tacos break, right?
like, when you bite into one it HAS TO BREAK.
you cannot swallow a taco whole.
{or can you?}
to a self-conscious 4 year old that doesn't happen.


when sophie bit into the taco and it broke, our guest of honor let out a large belly laugh sending my self-conscious 4 year old through the mother freaking roof.  that large belly laugh was hysterical to hear and sent the two big kids and their mama {errrrr, that would be me} into outward laughter.

color sophie even angrier.

i took off with sophie over my shoulder.

the screams just got louder.
more full of extreme shrill cries of hysteria.
it was gawd-awful.

it took a good twenty minutes of sophie screaming in her room over her embarrassment, but eventually she came back out and was able to finish dinner sans the other kids.

{thank heavens}

after dinner, i thought about my next move.
it took about a nano-second before i honed in on my Glee Justin Bieber playlist.

oh yeah baby.
that's right.

do you know what happened next?

Bieber fever.

these girls are self-declared best friends forever {even IF sophie couldn't remember izzy's name this morning} and are sleeping over at izzy's this weekend.

i owe it all to a boy named justin.

i was scared, but you made it ok.  you made everything ok.
and you didn't even step foot in the house to experience the hysteria.
you are amazing and i thank you.

the damn boy performed miracles.
i am erica and i am a belieber.