Oh, baby!

Hey peeps!

I really have to get more consistent with this writing and sharing thing. I guess it's kind of true to life: chaotic and random. :)

And just to add more to the chaos: we're expecting #4 in July!

Clockwise from top left: Boy Wonder, Sunshine, and Sparkles. Don't they look thrilled?
Reaction has been varied, but I have to say the well-wishes have outnumbered the shock and laughter. A couple of friends are expecting #3, and one is planning #4 as well, so I don't feel completely alone in the 2+ kids group.

I just hit the 16 week mark, and all is well. I'm back to feeling almost human as far as the exhaustion goes, and aside from a random running-to-the-bathroom-with-my-hands-over-my-mouth experience after lunch today, the "morning" sickness is close to gone. 

The kids are excited... well, as far as I can tell. Sunshine kind of just hits me in the gut whenever I bring up "baby".

Boy Wonder is celebrating his 6th birthday this Saturday. I can't believe I've been a mom that long. It feels like just yesterday I was calling The Hubster at work because Boy Wonder wouldn't stop crying and I didn't know what to do. A lot has changed in that time, and while I know we have a long way to go, I can't help but feel content in our path as a family. It's a fun time here in the mad house!

Looking back, I'm also glad at my growth as a mom, and as a friend... and as a person in general, I suppose. My pregnancies have all been varied, and my kids have developed in varying ways. It's given me a lot of insight to the fact that not all moms are the same, not all pregnancies are the same, and not all kids are the same. I guess I'm calmer now, in realizing I really don't have all the facts, every parent's journey is different (and that's ok) and I don't really know what to expect at every turn.

With that being said, I can't wait to welcome this new little booger to our fam! We're ready for a little more noise and fun, and a lot more love.

xoxo, Rosie


How I lightened my hair with Color Oops


I recently came across a product called Color Oops Hair Color Remover which is supposed to remove dyed pigment from your hair without damaging it. I read a lot of successful reviews online and decided to give it a shot myself. My goal was to lighten my dyed dark brown hair and get to a light brown so I could put some blonde highlights in and journey back to a blonde. The catch: my hair underneath the dark brown dye is not virgin (heh heh). It's a bleached out blonde, and I'm not really expecting a product to remove months of color to get me back to that color. Would my hair turn orange? Would it simply lighten? After a bunch of research, I decided to jump in, and I'm really pleased with the results.

What I started with

You might recall from a previous post that my style icon is Gwen Stefani. For nearly a decade, I've been bleaching my hair to that gorgeous platinum color that she pulls off without looking like a stripper. My hair hasn't been it's natural dirty blonde since. I have gotten the itch to go darker, usually in Fall. (My first time found me with green, then purple hair, all of which broke off and left me with a very, very unflattering, unintentional pixie cut.) Since then, I've gotten better at doing my hair myself. This Fall I went to a red color, which I looooved, and then to my standby dark brown a couple of months ago.

From the left: my beloved platinum blonde, the red I went to this Fall, and my most recent dark brown.
Since it's nearing Spring (not really, but I'm delusional that way), I want to go lighter, but I don't want to make the jump from the picture on the right all the way back to the picture on the left. Somewhere near my natural color would be awesome, so I can add in blonde highlights and get lighter as it gets warmer.

The idea

I wanted to lighten my hair, but didn't want to harshly bleach my hair and end up looking like a ginger scarecrow. I was hoping Color Oops would remove a lot of the dark brown pigment to get me to something lighter that I could work with, sans damage. I knew there was a good chance I could end up with orange-ish undertones, but I decided that I could work with that.

The process


What you'll need
  • A box of Color Oops. If you have a lot of hair, or are messy when applying this stuff, you might want to buy two boxes. I used ALL of one bottle and my hair isn't that thick, although it is long. I've read CVS sells it, and I know that Walgreen's does as well. Our Walgreen's was completely out, and I've heard that others ran into the same problem (I get this image of people wearing baseball caps running into Walgreen's and snatching up a bottle, haha). Luckily, our K-Mart had it as well - I bought the last box for $14. Our Walmart does NOT carry it. Don't buy L'Oreal's Color Remover - it is NOT, NOT, NOT the same product.
  • An old shirt and pair of pants. The product is reallllly runny and doesn't stay on the gloves very well. Wear a shirt and pair of pants you don't mind ruining in case something happens. 
  • A follow-up color. You will want to do the strand test (See below) beforehand so you get an idea of what Color Oops will do to you hair. This way you can decide if you'll follow up with a new color or not. Developlus (the makers of Color Oops) also recommend a color filler since your hair will be porous after the process, but I didn't use one.
  • A timer and somewhere to rinse your hair.
The strand test

I read sooo many reviews about people who were mad about their results because Color Oops left them with orange hair. My advice is to do the strand test before you put it on your entire head. It takes all of a half-hour, and then you know how it's going to react to your hair. No surprises. There are instructions in the package, but I'll briefly describe it.
  • Cut a small section of hair from an inconspicuous area of your hair. Less than the size of an eraser... no giant chunks here. Just enough to make a swatch, but not so much that you're going to leave yourself with a crazy random short piece in back.
  • I taped mine together at the "roots" so it would stay together.
  • Mix equal parts of the two components.
  • Spread mixture on the hair - I placed mine on a couple of paper towels while it processed.
  • After 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly.
  • Let dry.
Now you'll see how Color Oops is going to react to your hair. Some of you might notice it took all of the artificial pigment out, and some of you will notice something else. Mine turned lighter, but also had an verrrry slight orange tint to it. I decided to buy a box of dark ash blonde in case I wanted to try to counteract the orange once I saw how my entire head looked. I tried the dye on my test strand and decided to keep the box around just in case. Since you've done the strand test, you can anticipate what you're going to do. The biggest mistake I've run into while doing my own hair is screwing up, panicking, trying to fix it, and screwing up more. You can screw up your test strand all  you want, at least it's not your whole head.

Putting it on your head

One of the biggest things I read was how horrible this stuff smelled. I think someone compared it to a dying whale's ass? It's not a pleasant smell, but I guess it wasn't that bad. All noses are different. If you've ever been in a hair salon in the 90's and remember what it smelled like when someone got a perm, it's kinda like that. Only not as intense. 

I also read about people have trouble with blotchiness. My guess would be these people applied it incorrectly and missed spots as they were going. As I mentioned before, it's super runny. You really need to section your hair off and saturate small parts of your hair before moving on. If  you have a lot of hair, you really want to have two boxes. You might lose some solution due to it running off of your gloves. I watched this video by BeautyByElsa before I applied it. The application part of the video is sped up, but you can see how she sections her hair and makes sure she gets everything. I did it her way and had no blotchiness.



Finally - rinse, rinse, rinse. As mentioned before - it's stinky, so you want to make sure you get as much of the solution out of your hair as you can. I used the kitchen sink and changed positions... top, bottom, sides, etc. I shampooed a couple of times using Tresemme's Deep Cleaning Shampoo.

Results

My hair ended up exactly like my test strands. Who knew? ;) So I was not in the least bit surprised to see that my hair was lighter, and slightly orangey. Truthfully though, it was so close to what I was going for, that I could almost ignore the orange tint. And you couldn't really notice it except in a certain light. Since I was going to put in blonde highlights, I almost left it as it was. But, I knew I might regret the top of my head looking like some sort of summer treat rather than natural-ish looking, so I decided to go with the ash blonde after all. Developus warns that your hair will be super porous after using color oops (meaning it will grab color really quickly), so that dye should not be left on for more than five minutes. They're not kidding. According to my test strand, two minutes was more than enough to take out the orange. It even went a little darker than I intended, but I'm ok with that.

What I started with, again on the left, and what Color Oops left me with, (pre ash blonde dye). 

Conclusion

As someone who has gone the route of doing my hair at home many times, I would recommend Color Oops for lightening hair. I have never successfully gone to an intermediate color from my dark brown, and always just ended up bleaching my hair back to the platinum. Color Oops left me with something lighter, although slightly orange, so that I could work from there. And the best part - it did NOT DAMAGE MY HAIR! Even if I didn't have any results, I would feel like I was basically out nothing, except maybe $14. (I've ruined my hair for a lot more than that) I'll more than likely be going back to platinum once Summer hits (I can't resist it... I know), but I know I'll be right back to "I miss my dark hair!!" again next Fall. When it's time to go lighter again, I'll be going this route for sure. It's the closest I've been to my natural hair color in ages.



Nearly all of the reviews I read online had comments: "What is this going to do to my hair??!" My answer would be, read about other's experiences and then do a test strand for yourself. I've had professionals mess my hair up because they didn't anticipate the results. It happens. If you do a test strand you'll know what will happen and can decide what you're going to do from there. 

Good luck and happy lightening!

xoxo Rosie





The quest for non-spoiled kids

Ah... Monday. Either it kicks you when you're down, or you get that crazy urge to be productive. Considering that I'm writing a blog post, you can guess whether or not I'm procrastinating... ;)

Since we've been recovering from 4 epic colds in one month, our 2013 hasn't gotten off to a super productive start, either. In the past week or so I regained some of my long-lost energy and got to work on a couple of projects, though. And I started implementing a few changes around the house as well.

One of my biggest pet peeves in life are the complainers. I'm sure you know the type: the ones that confront a problem by calling up and complaining. The ones that can't take into consideration that very often mistakes are honest, and it really isn't life trying to con them into getting a short hand. The ones who pick up the phone and nag until their problem is resolved, or they've received a free gift card for their inconvenience. (If you're one of these people, you might want to stop reading now... just a head's up).

I've worked my fair share of crappy jobs throughout my young adult life. I've made the mistake here and there and had to deal with the wrath of the uber-mom - the one who feels the need to control the forces of the universe with her voice, all the while not lifting a finger of her own. I've been on the receiving end of the berating, condescending demands, all while apologizing profusely for something that was often out of my control and assuring the hell-bent diva that all of her problems in life will be solved in time for her to get her kids to tennis on time.

Oh man, those kids. Somehow Draco Malfoy comes to mind when I think about the spawn of these professional complainers. "Wait until my father hears about this." 

The Hubster and I have to deal with these women a lot. (And I'm not being sexist; I have yet to encounter a man who sees complaining as a form of problem solving). We try extra hard to be level-headed and understanding whenever something comes up. Crappy service isn't always the result of personal persecution - sometimes it's because someone had an off day, or it's our own fault for choosing a cheap place in the first place. Regardless, we try not to put others down in order to get our own way.

It's been our mission to raise our children in the same manner. How do you raise a person to be self-sufficient and grateful instead of rude and demanding?


Well, for us, it seems to come down first to gratitude. Being thankful for what you have, and understanding that someone, somewhere had to work hard for you to have that, is a great start to being a satisfied person in life. What better way than to teach kids that it sometimes takes your own hard work in order for you to get what you want?

In a world that is full of instant gratification and extra presents at Christmas "just so the kids have something to open", that might be easier said than done. While my kids have never demanded something, or thrown a fit after not being able to get something, they're still products of a generation that has lost the sight of hard work.

So, I've come up with a very meager and maybe even underdeveloped plan to get the kids in a mindset of gratitude. It's simple, but I figure that sometimes simple is best. After all, this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.

1. Remove the excess
I've purged the kids' toy supply. I've always thought the kids had far too many toys, and while I purged here and there, I've never fully removed the things that didn't fit in. There were toys that we were given as gifts and just created noise. They had to go if they didn't fit these simple criteria:
  • They didn't teach a specific skill. Shouting "PURPLE!!" in a sing-song voice doesn't count. I'm talking about reading, math, gross and fine motor skills. I chose to keep blocks over battery-operated button games. I chose books over battery operated alphabet tablets.
  • They weren't used for more than 5 minutes at a time. This was a little harder since the kids are all at different levels of development. But if the kids got bored of hearing the same animated voice shouting at them as quickly as I did, it had to go.
  • They weren't used in other ways by the kids. I'm not going to lie, some of the toys are seemingly useless, but the kids came up with new, weird ways to use them. If they had a specific use for the toy in creative play, I kept it.
All in all, I removed about 1/3 of the kids' toys. The kids have the toys they need to learn and grow and play, and nothing that just gets in the way. In a small way, I hope this drives home the idea of not having more than you need, just for the sake of having it.

2. Learn to earn
A lot of kids have chore charts. After seeing some of them, I decided I was going to go with a different style. No points for brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or eating meals. I'm sorry, but nobody ever paid the Hubster and me just for taking care of ourselves. While there isn't a whole lot kids can do when they're under 6, there is more than one would think. I started out small with the intent of building on to it as the kids get used to doing work. Two-and-a-half year-old Sparkles is in charge of putting her laundry in the correct basket every night, picking up her toys every night, and dusting our living room once a week. I'll be walking her through it int he beginning, but since she's helped out with these things in the past, I'm pretty sure she'll get the hang of it. Boy Wonder will be six in two weeks, and he's in charge of picking up his LEGO every night (big task since he builds a mini-city every evening after school), picking up his toys every night, sorting his laundry every night, and dusting our woodwork every week (we live in a 100 year-old Crafstman house... loooots of woodwork). We're keeping the pay small - $0.10 here and there. The kids will be paid nightly for their tasks, until they get the idea of weekly pay (we weren't sure the "idea" of getting paid at the end of the week would be enough motivation in the beginning). I plan on adding more age-appropriate chores as time goes on, and things like picking up their clothes and toys will be expected of them without pay. I didn't want to overwhelm them in the beginning and make this a marathon of work, rather, the introduction of what it feels like to do something in order to get something in return. The idea is that they'll learn to earn. They'll know that things don't come to them in life just because they exist. 

3. Giving instead of taking
It's hard to teach little ones that there is a value in giving to others instead of taking. I plan on teaching them this gradually, just like everything else. I'll be looking for volunteer work that we can do as a family, and showing our appreciation for the people in our lives who do things for us and often go unnoticed (think: the garbage collectors and letter carriers). More "thank-you's", more thinking for others and their trials rather than how it effects US when and if they ever mess up. 


Hopefully the world will be filled with more doers and less complainers once the kids get around to being in charge. I'd like to think it will also help the Hubster and I in remembering what it means to be thankful and satisfied to have what we earn. Man, wouldn't it be nice if society as a whole could get closer to this truth? It's not an easy one to learn, but maybe it's the simple things that make the most difference. For us, I'm following the three ideas listed above and hoping for the best. If all I can do is raise my kids to be non-spoiled, then I'll be happy.

Please feel free to add your ideas - I'd love some feedback!

xoxo Rosie

Confidence to look like crap

I thought I'd share a picture of myself after I spent a little time with sweet little Sunshine, who is battling her third cold in three weeks.

Not actually me. But what little girl hasn't dreamed of being Dr. Peter Venkman?
I love her, and I'm convinced she's the cutest little cherub to ever grace the planet. But I'll be damned if she's not the slimiest, grossest little booger as well.

Has this winter been harsh on everyone else? I'm sure it has. Everyone I know has turned into a paranoid germaphobe, shooting eye daggers at anyone who sneezes, sniffles or coughs. So it's no wonder I've spent the better part of 2013 covered in boogers.

It's not like I planned on being a constant soggy Kleenex to my three kids this year. I had really good intentions of making this a year of being better groomed and more bombshell like. Moms know that at some point in time, after many years of fetching meals, homework, late night glasses of water, and whatever else your children could possibly need, ever, there's that inevitable moment when you walk ahead of a mirror. 

It happened. I was turned into a zombie without even knowing it.

Tangled hair up on the top of my head. My favorite track sweatpants from high school that I refused to get rid of, despite the fact that they met their demise with melted crayons in the dryer, complete with one leg hitched up all LL Cool J style. T-shirt covered in boogers and food remnants, even though I haven't eaten a meal yet today myself. Circles under my eyes... pale skin. You name it. 

Don't get me wrong, I clean up nicely. But those occasions are saved for holidays and special events. In other words, roughly 10% of the calendar year. You wouldn't know it by looking at any pictures of me from the last 4 years or so, but Gwen Stefani is my style icon. Athletic, sexy, cool, and glamorous. Gorgeous beyond logic considering she's in her 40s and has two little boys.

I even decided to sport the red lip look for Christmas this year. My husband looked at me like he'd never seen me before. Never mind that I defended myself like a ninja every time someone came anywhere near my face, I looked put together for the first time in months.

My friend, who is constantly glamorous, style-conscious and also childless, commented on a picture she saw of me from that night. "You should rock the red lips all the time!" I told her I did it for special things, like Halloween, because otherwise there wasn't really a point. She emphasized that there is always a time for it, and I'm worth it. We only live once, and we should have the confidence in ourselves to go ahead and dress ourselves up.

I feel like this is a common misconception of women who take care of children. That we've somehow lost confidence over the years, and have succumbed to getting hit full force with the "tired train". But here is my theory: we have gotten more confident in our looks over time. 


That's right. We're not losing some battle against inevitability letting ourselves go. We've changed our perspective and have the confidence to let ourselves go. Makeup? Don't need it unless we're afraid of offending or scaring someone. Going to pick up our kids from school? Clean pants are all that's needed. Seriously, we're in the school for all of 5 minutes... who cares? Red lipstick? Only on Halloween or Christmas. 

Here's the thing: we'd all love to look nice. Humans are drawn to beautiful things. I'd love to put on the same cute clothes I did when I was 21 and spend a full freaking hour on my hair like I used to. But these days I'm lucky to get all of my kids dressed in time to head out the door. And if you haven't noticed - even the people with time to spend on their looks aren't getting more and more beautiful everyday. We age. It's ok.

So for now I'm content and even proud of the fact that I can go to the supermarket barefaced and smiling. I'll  get that chance to get dolled up again. Granted, it will be a couple of months from now, but when that time comes, you better believe I'll rock it. 

Another plus side to only getting primped every once in awhile - you look extra great because you look like a tired pile of crap the rest of the time ;)

Hoping everyone has had a great start to the New Year, and that you'll be ok with that snot covered zombie staring back at you the next time you pass a mirror. Not that it would be your reflection - cuz you look great. Very refreshed and full of energy. But just in case it is you, smile back at her - she's not all that scary.

xoxo Rosie




Thinking positively doesn't mean being the bad mood police

Every now and again you'll hear people use a word or phrase to describe something completely different than what the phrase actually means. Such as, "I was literally dying I was laughing so hard." (Read this if you're unclear about why that's wrong. ) Or, "I could care less where we go to eat." (If you "could care less", that means you still care a little about where you go to eat. If you "couldn't care less", that means you care the least amount possible and it doesn't matter to you where you go to eat, which is probably what you meant to say. Seriously, people.)

Before this turns into a grammar lesson and everyone closes their browsers, let me start talking about what I sat down to talk about. The seemingly growing trend of people making New Year's resolutions that involve "thinking positively", and then going around and trying to pick out something positive about every situation. Like there is some sparkly fairy going around farting goodness on every crappy turn life throws your way. Since we know that doesn't happen, people are resorting to the next level: comparing some god-awful event to the current situation and saying "At least this horrible thing didn't happen!"

Ahhh yes, now I feel so much better.

Or not. Let's say a friend dropped her 3-year-old on accident, and feels horrible about it. He's fine, a little bruised, but she can't stop replaying the whole thing over and over again in her head. Any mom who has had something bad happen, or almost happen to their kid, feels for her. They tell her their story, and let her know she'll stop thinking about it.... sometime. Meanwhile they try to distract themselves from replaying their own cringe-worthy events in their own head. Then, some adorably chipper friends attempt to cheer the mom up by saying, "At least it wasn't your two-week-old!"

Stop. Stop it now. Giving someone a worse scenario does NOT make them feel better about their own situation. There will always be something worse than what is going on with anyone on this planet. Any horror writer could come up with something in no time flat. Probably with aliens and zombies. Does this mean nobody is allowed a little time to be miserable just because it could always be worse?

It's frightening that people are losing sight of what thinking positively means. It doesn't mean pretending that bad things don't exist, or sugar coating everything. It means knowing that bad times aren't permanent. It means that you're not the root of all evil. It means knowing that everything you touch won't turn to crap.


Sounds simple. And yet there are people out there who insist on making life some forsaken garden of unicorns and rainbows where everyone loves mornings and nobody gets bent out of shape over things like that one annoying woman who cuts you off EVERY afternoon at the school.

But it's not. Shit hits the fan. People get upset with that. It's normal. Who wants to pretend they don't notice the crap flying everywhere? Being miserable for a little while is allowed. It doesn't make someone a negative person. It doesn't mean they're not trying hard enough to be "positive". It's more of a "Hey, bad day/week/month... I see you're here. Let's just hang out for a little while, because I know you're going to leave sooner or later. Don't mind me, I'll just sit here silently hating every last piece of you."

So, if you're New Year's resolution is to start thinking more positively, by all means, go ahead. Stop dwelling on bad situations, and stop talking down to yourself. It makes for better mental and physical health.

But if your New Year's resolution is to start thinking more positively, and you think this means correcting everyone else when they're in a bad mood, stop. Walk away. No matter how much  you want to, you really don't need to bring up the one time your aunt went through the same thing, only much, much worse.

And if you're that person that's telling me I need to just bring back the kid in me and start loving winter again. You really need to stop. I freaking hate winter.

Let's take back the real idea behind thinking positively. If only so we can all have our crabby days in peace.

xoxo Rosie

At home workouts that are awesome and FREE

Quick - what is the most common New Year's resolution?

Ding ding ding!! You got it! Lose weight, get in shape, fit in those damn jeans without looking like some sort of deli item, be that smokin' hot babe you always knew you could be!

No, I didn't look that up to see if it's actually the most common, but let's move on.

A couple of months after baby #3 I came across a couple of fitness sites on Pinterest. A lot of them were the same bullshit: drink lots of water, do lunges, do stretches. I passed them up. But this caught my interest right away.

Click here to go to bodyrock.tv

Ok, clearly, they have a lot of risque snapshots that make you think, "I want to be that hot!"

Yes, they're all hot. But they're also fun, and motivational. And! And, and and...

You can do these workouts at home... for free.

For free! At home! My socially awkward flabby ass rejoiced at that.

I'm not going to lie - these people are insanely fit. The workouts move fast. They take more than a couple of minutes to learn. My favorite workout took me a good three days to actually get down. You know why I don't care? Because it took 12 freaking minutes to do from start to end. And I was sweating like I had just run for 45 minutes. 12 minutes! At home! For free!

It was enough for me to lose 30 lbs in a month or two. Better than the weight loss was I felt like a freaking champ. I was in shape, not just thin. 

This is my favorite workout. It was the first one I stumbled across: The Feel Good Workout. And you do feel good afterwards. I didn't buy any of the extra equipment they mentioned, but I'm sure it would be a good idea to have. At any rate, I made it work, and it's still my go-to workout when I only have 15 minutes to squeeze in a hardcore session.

So, if you're like me, and you just don't have that hour a day to bust your ass, and you hate the idea of going to a gym and waiting to use any of the machines, and you don't want to blow money on all those Insanity/PS3/whatever workout videos everyone is doing, go to this site. You will not be disappointed. And the gratuitous body shots of all the instructors are certainly motivation.

You're welcome.

xoxo Rosie


Kids party hard - moms blog hard

Despite being woken up at midnight to join in on the festivities (namely extremely scary firecrackers Hubster wired together), the kids decided they would wake up at the crack of dawn. This didn't bother us, since they're pretty good about going downstairs quietly and putting in a movie until we can drag our groggy butts out of bed and feed them.

Two minutes later, "Party Rock Anthem" comes blasting up the stairs, and Sparkle's voice is heard saying, "Shake that!"

Nothing like small kids continuing the party at 7 am. 

I partied like a rock star today and got my blog up and running. Maybe I'll spend some more time on it, and maybe I'll work on getting some followers so I'm not sitting here talking to myself.

Which really isn't different than the norm... except that typing it out on a polished interface feels somewhat more crazy.

Happy 2013!

xoxo Rosie