Friday, April 13, 2012

Ordinary Days


Such a good book.  The author interviewed more than a thousand elderly men and women from all walks of life and put together their advice on the big issues-raising children, marriage, career and life in general.  I turned down so many pages and underlined so many enlightening thoughts.

My spring pedicure.  Before you go thinking I'm a pampered diva, I'll let you know that this is about the 5th pedicure of my life and I'm 42.  So there.  
Abbey went to a few dances this year and it seemed like most of the girls were getting their hair and nails professionally done before the dance.  I let Abbey get her hair done for one dance, in the kitchen of a friend.  That was all.  And no my restrictions didn't go over easy, but that's the way it is here.  See this is my theory-if these young girls are getting all these extra special privileges at a young age, I think they never appreciate what that word "EXTRA SPECIAL" means.  I said to my mom-How are they going to learn to live on one salary when they have their babies to take care of and have to scrimp for groceries when they consider manis and pedis something routine?

Anyways, a few days after Abbey and I had this very same discussion, I pulled out my old dusty wedding album and the whole family was looking at the photos.  Abbey said, "Mom, who did your nails, hair and makeup for your wedding?"  I said, (probably a little too loudly?) "I DID for God's sake!"  
Lightbulb moments, dearies, are divine when you get to see them in teenager's faces.

Working in the yard.  More on that below.  When I wear these boots while doing yard chores I feel like I am touring my estate,  instead of pulling weeds while attempting to bend over with my rapidly growing pregnant belly on my overgrown, untidy yard.

Real life. 

4 weeks early this tree bloomed.  There is nothing not to love about an early spring.

There were some guys in a truck roaming the neighborhood offering to trim trees and do yard work.  A few neighbors had hired them.  I hired them also, but I then fired them.  That's always fun.  Actually I am awful at doing this sort of firing thing but I was going to pay them a lot of money and right away they were doing a less than stellar job.  A lazy crappy job that they thought they could get away with, with little old housewifey me, actually.  I could do it better 20 weeks pregnant by myself and when I pay for work, I want it done BETTER than I could do.  I decided my best bet now was to hire my family (for room and board), and work next to them and get it done right.  

And this here is the mulch truck that came the next day.
I have no pictures from Work Day because everyone was way too crabby and would have really been mad at me for snapping pictures.  But we got it finished.

38 comments:

  1. i LOVE this!! on my wedding day i woke up, showered, put on my makeup, and did my hair...like i did EVERY OTHER DAY!!! i had a strict budget for the wedding and it made me really contemplate what was important. you are so wise.

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  2. I adore this post. I hope I can remember your ideas on the hair/make up for a few years until my own daughter gets to be that age. It's such a good point and it's one I probably would have caved too under pressure If I hadn't thought about it thoroughly. It reminds me of all the expensive kids birthday parties these days. I felt like we had to have it hosted at a party place, they wanted $450 just to have it there (no food included), I refused to pay that much for a 5 year olds party. In the end we held it in our backyard and it was a huge success. My son and his friends loved it and I wondered why I had wanted to hold it any place else to begin with. I don't want to teach my kids that these expensive and unnecessary things are standard at such a young age.

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  3. I just love you, Sarah. We think so alike. It makes me laugh that 12-year-olds have bi-monthly mani-pedi appointments when this 41-year-old body does it the way I always have: sitting on the sofa with a good classic movie on in the background, resting my chin on my knee and squinting at my toes. Always a halfway decent job and always free.

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  4. The only mani I ever had I got for my wedding (I did my own hair and make up for that too, I think I shocked my bridesmaids when I told them they had to do their own as well) and the only pedi I had I got a couple months ago for a pick me up. I'd rather splurge on a good book or a nice skein of yarn. Thanks for keeping it real!

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  5. This is a great post! The crabby work day, the lightbulb moment---love it.

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  6. I was just trying to have this conversation with my daughter and a group of her friends the other day! One of their (boy) friends went waaaay over the top to ask a girl to prom....it involved an airplane trailing a message. And..this girl already has a long time boyfriend (these two are just going as friends)!!! How are my boys ever supposed to live up to those kind of expectations??? What are we setting our sons up for? Constantly worrying about making enough money to support these girls and their expectations??? Really worries me...so yes, thank you for this post!!!

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  7. I have NEVER had a manicure or pedicure because I an really good at doing it myself from years of practice doing it when I was a young girl!! I love "real life" pictures and good for you for showing us real life. Your yard is gorgeous and lucky spring...it is still nippy here but spring is in the air.

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  8. I'd love some advice on the mulch front. I am having a hard time swallowing what people are going to charge me to "install" the mulch on my property, and more importantly, the timeline they are giving (three weeks or more until they can do it), especially when I have six able bodied people in my household. However, I am also afraid of a huge pile of mulch sitting in my driveway and not being "dealt with" until it just becomes part of our landscaping :) How did you know how much to get, and what system did you use to put it down, and how did you get past the crabbiness and really get it done?

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  9. I loved this post and found myself nodding in agreement with each word. I did my hair, nails, makeup on my wedding day and my girls did their own for homecoming and proms as well. (and not being braggy, but my daughter was prom queen and on the homecoming court!)

    When I pay for something, I too, want it BETTER than what I could do. Otherwise, it's a waste of my precious resources.

    You are the best!

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  10. I totally agree with you on the manicure/pedicure (as well as getting your hair colored etc.) as a luxury! I think many people don't realize how much money that adds up to.

    The more children and teens get 'pampered', it puts that much more pressure on their future husbands to be able to provide those things that are really just a bonus!

    -Rachel

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  11. I'm not sure I agree with you on the not getting your hair and nails done thing. I was one of those girls in high school who got her hair and nails done before dances - not every dance, but once or twice a year for something like prom, my parents allowed it. Now, I'm just out of college and living on my own in a small apartment far away from my family. I have to scrimp and save quite a bit - for example, I haven't had a hair cut in over a year and the last time I bought new shoes was in August (and those were ones I needed for work). I'm able to save money now when I need to, knowing that this is a temporary stage of my life and that my financial situation will improve as I move up in my profession. So I wouldn't discount those girls who get their hair and nails done for dances. I think the trick is making sure your kids aren't spoiled and that they understand the difference between a luxury and a necessity. Even though my parents let me get my hair and nails done for prom, they said "no" to me on a lot of other things and raised me to understand that those things are very much extras and not necessary to having a good life. They always taught us that the most important thing in life is to be kind, honest and a good person and they discouraged us from being vain or superficial. Now, it's not hard for me to say no to buying things I don't need. I know those things are luxuries. Coincidentally, I just gave myself an at-home mani-pedi last week because I couldn't afford to pay for a professional one. I don't think it's wrong for kids to enjoy little luxuries like the ones you mentioned if their parents can afford it, as long as those kids also learn that those things are extras that they won't always have, and that all of that stuff is a whole lot less important than being a good person.

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  12. I feel much the same as you about hiring work out. If I'm paying someone, they had best do a better job than I could ever do, otherwise it's not worth it! It reminds me of the quote from Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, 'If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself!!' :o)

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  13. I'm 37 and just had my first pedicure. :) I'm hoping to get at least 4 more in before I'm 42. (No judging from me! They're wonderful!)

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  14. my parents have very similar opinions about extra special treats. we never get pop at restaurants, go to movies, or get nails done. and i am so thankful for it because when we do it is SUCH a treat. sometimes its hard because a lot of my friends are handed everything on a golden platter and i forget that i appreciate what my parents have done. but i always seem to come around and realize they are so much wiser! and the thrill of the treat is so much greater when it was worked for and waited for.

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  15. While I agree with everything you wrote, I think there is no harm in a pedi if it can be afforded. It shouldn't be a standing bi-monthly appointment for a 12 year old, but there isn't anything wrong with getting special treatment on a special day, if it is affordable and indeed, SPECIAL, and not expected.

    I think girls (and their moms) can look just as pretty when they do all of the beauty themselves, no pro's needed.

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  16. Amen on the making something EXTRA SPECIAL! The expectations of what we "NEED" these days is unreal. I know a girl who at age 9 started getting her hair colored. Another girl I know gets mani's and pedi's on a monthly basis....she is 8. Blows my mind.

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  17. I'm not gonna lie, seeing your living room scattered with toys makes me happy. Currently my living room is scattered with toys, books, and other kids stuff. So many blogs show perfectly organized closets and spotless living spaces and I think how can that be legit?

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  18. When I was pregnant with my second child I received a gift certificate for a pedicure for my birthday...one of maybe 10 pedicures I've had. It was lovely! HOWEVER, the teenager listening to her ipod while getting her toes painted in the chair next to me just kinda put a damper on things. I hate to judge...but I tend to be very judgmental :( ....but she truly did not seem to appreciate it as much as I did. I am sure her parents could afford it etc. etc. but I am not sure if just because you can afford something you should be doing it at such a young age.

    My seven year old daughter asked me the other day if she could color her hair...after seeing me color mine to hide the gray (in the bathroom with an at home kit). I told her you have to be 40 to color your hair :)

    I have been thinking though that when my daughters are old enough to start wearing makeup, I would like them for a special birthday to have a makeup application lesson...a luxury that I think would help them learn how to use makeup appropriately and so they don't end up with blue eyeshadow like I used to wear in high school!

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  19. Amber, I am totally with you on that -- I breathed deeply and felt much better about my family -- but I am also SO inspired by this blog to pick up at the end of (most) days, because I think that your home is so refreshing and uncluttered when you show us the "after" pictures. So, keep keeping it real!

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  20. this is what i love about your blog...reality

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  21. You are always so beautiful..please do not take this the wrong way...but your toes are crazy..like awesome crazy. You have very very long toes and then a tinyteeny toe at the end#

    My toes are huge. Just huge huge huge.

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  22. I agree! What IS this world coming to? My husband and oldest son just went on his first college tours and my husband told me one of the moms raised her hand and asked if there was maid service for the dorms?!?!? And another college offers 121 cable channels AND HBO in the dorm rooms!!! I am horrified!!

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  23. I agree! What IS this world coming to? My husband and oldest son just went on his first college tours and my husband told me one of the moms raised her hand and asked if there was maid service for the dorms?!?!? And another college offers 121 cable channels AND HBO in the dorm rooms!!! I am horrified!!

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  24. I enjoy your honest posts (real life) and your book recommendations! Thank you for sharing!

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  25. Great post and I just LOVE new bark mulch day :)

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  26. I would love to know where you 'yard boots' are from. I keep ruining my running shoes by using them for yard work.

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  27. Hey congratulations on a new addition for your family. I guess it has been a while since I checked in on your family. Slightly jealous. Now I want another baby. Wishing you a very easy birth.

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  28. And it's not just the hair and make-up; it's the dress (which can cost hundreds of dollars)...ugh.

    But I worry about what these girls are missing out on by doing stuff like that. Definitely for weddings...it's supposed to be the start of a marriage, the bringing together of families--not a pageant or a show. But even for younger girls and dances, its just another way of emphasizing the way you look rather than the experience itself. And I think that American society already gives young girls the impression that their looks are more important than their interior qualities, so it's a slippery slope.

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  29. I LOVED this post! Sweet & sassy--she's baaaaack! ;) I agree 100% about the "special occasion" thing. I honestly almost choked when I opened up facebook one day and saw a picture of a friend & her TWO YEAR OLD getting pedicures. Now, I totally understand the antsy feeling of "I can't wait until I can do such-and-such" with your kids. I have four girls, and believe me, that list is LONG (I can't wait to visit good old PEI with all of them! ;) ). I just feel like the specialness is lost if we rush to do all these things, EVEN when they're easily affordable. (I recall your post deriding "Disneyland before it's too late" and have reminded myself of that when I just don't feel up to trekking around the happiest place on earth with the grumpiest sleep-deprived kids on earth.)

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  30. Love the picture of your living room, glad to see that it's messy sometimes. Actually, I am sure it's messy more than you'd like-it just makes me feel better to see mom bloggers blog and take pictures about the "real stuff."

    It really is tough raising girls in this day and age when they think they're entitled to things like mani/pedis and highlights in their hair when they're 12. You're right, it wont seem special if it becomes routine! I get a pedicure on my birthday every year. Other than that...it's a home pedi.

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  31. I so agree! Kids would come to our middle school socials in a limo for goodness sake! What are these parents thinking! Love your down-to-earth approach!

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  32. I want to say how much I admire your home and you always inspire me to clean out and box up! I did, and my linen closet and candle area is purged! On the mani and pedi thing, I agree. I make my daughters pay for their own if they want it. I am not indulging in that. My sister in law has introduced them and spoiled them in that aspect but unless they have a gift cert or their own cash, they are not getting it. I did have my hair done for my wedding but that was it! They have gotten their hair done for homecoming and been disappointed. I think a better job is done by them!

    Going to clean out something:)

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  33. I laughed so hard at this post! While trying to think of something special to do for our daughter's birthday (no friend party this year) my husband said "I'm half-tempted to send you two to a spa and get your nails done or something." I said "not yet, she's still too little", and then pulled up your blog, haha! The only manicure I had was for my wedding, but I did my own hair and everything else. I'm sure one day I'll have the same conversation with my daughter. :)

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  34. Oh I've been thinking SO much about that very stuff at the beginning of this post. I was wondering if it's just my neck of the woods or if everywhere teenagers get to get highlights in their hair and have pedicures. That's great, but sometimes it just makes me feel like the meanest mom around here, and I am actually a total pushover. Tonight I gave my girls pedicures and we had so much fun. And yes, I just pulled my hair up in a clip on my wedding day too and plopped a little comb veil on...but I did splurge and get a manicure :)

    I love your "ordinary days" and your wisdom.

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  35. I LOVE your blog! My daughter introduced it to me and we both enjoy it very much. I have 6 grown children and she is on #4 of 6 she intends to have. It is not easy to be a stay-at-home mom but so worth it! Even though my days of the intense, in-your-face mothering are over, mothering adults is a whole new ball game. I appreciate your wisdom and your down to earth style. Thanks especially for the blog on Hyperemesis Gravidarum. One of my daughters-in-law is suffering from it and my other daughter is on her third pregnancy with it and we never knew. It is such a relief to know what this is all about. Good luck with your current pregnancy.

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  36. I'm so with you on these "extra special" things. I learned them well when I was young. It's something I hope to know how to do with my daughter. Appreciating the "extra special" things for exactly what they are.

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  37. Yup, I did my own hair and makeup (with help from my best friend/maid of honor) at my wedding too. But... I did get a pedicure every 2 weeks during each of my pregnancies (except the last two when I was on bed rest at the end) and it was SO worth it. Like I would have skipped eating to pay for it if needed - getting those leg massages that relieved the swelling in my feet and having a tiny part of me feel pretty when I was so big I couldn't even CUT my own toenails, worth it. But no, my teens won't be getting pedicures.

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