I'm not going to lie.  I have a really fun life.  I have fun friends and together we do really fun things.
Who gets to spend a day in LA at an American Idol taping?
Cool kids do.

Did we spend hours sitting on the sidewalk in our dorky matching TOMS? (Unplanned, promise!)
Without chairs? (Oops.)
Getting super tan? (a.k.a. sunburned.)
Waiting for the Sprinkles truck to drive by?  (It didn't.)
Did Amy use her mad Cricut skillz to make hilarious signs? (Thanks for all of the ideas!)
Did they confiscate our phones and cameras before we were allowed in the studio? (Hello! I have a blog to write!)
Yes. Yes and yes.  
Every single minute, even the ones where we were totally MELTING, or had to use the port-a-potties, or when I broke down and bought a diet coke from the vending machine, was crazy, silly, giddy, fun. 

But in actuality, the fun hadn't even really started yet.
After the crowd warmer up guy did his thing (we won a free McFlurry for being the rowdiest section) the show started.  Ex to the cit to the ing.

Seriosuly.  How HAWT is J. Lo?
Want to know a secret?
She has a full time hair petter.
Didn't know that was a job did you?
During every single commercial break, (which are four minutes long by the way, I had no idea how much time our DVR save us.  Crazy!) this guy would come out and smooth and pet her hair.  Not kidding.  For four minutes. Can you imagine his resume?

Job Experience
2011-2013  Personal Hair Petter for Jennifer Lopez

How can I get him to come work for me?  Because I have some major FRIZZ to deal with up in this place.
If by chance you were looking for us or our signs in the audience, no such luck.  We were above and behind the stage.  Perfect for a 360ยบ view.  Not so perfect for this shorty girl to get any airtime.
But my arm, one eyeball and forehead had their primetime debut during James Durban's song.
The song where they made us rock out with our fists in the air.  Not kidding.
The stage manager gave us lessons during a commercial.
J Lo got her hair petted and we were taught how to be rockers.
But the best, best, best part of all was the most unexpected.
After leaving the studio, walking all the way to The Grove, looking for someplace to eat, bummed that the Nordstrom's didn't have a cafe (rich people problems), we decided instead to grab something on the way home.
As we exited the Grove I spotted Casey's parent's.
For reals, yo.
I whispered to Amy
"There's Casey's parents." as I stealthily pointed them out.
She answered, "lets give them our signs!"
To which I retorted "NO!!!!!"
To which cooler-than-me Julie said "YES!!!!!"
As they walked over and started talking to them.
I was dying.
Cooler Julie asked if we could get a picture with them.
They kindly obliged.
They were so sweet and excited about the signs.
I offered to take the picture.
Obviously.   Because I was DYING!!!!

But Cooler Julie gave her camera to a random dude and forced me to be in the pic.
Still dying.
Dying that Mr. Abrams is holding a sign that says YUMMY!
Dying that this is really happening.
Dying that I stammered out to his mom "thanks for raising him on Jazz."
Superdork.  Party of one.
But that is why I like them.  Because they are quirky and silly and different.  Because they raised a musician with a passion for MUSIC, not just singing.  Because they raised him on Jazz.  Because they were excited about our silly signs.
My coolest celebrity encounter to date.

How can I get a job where the only qualification is to love fruit?
A job where the only requirement is to eat fruit?  A lot a lot a lot of fruit?

Because I would be AMAZING at that job.  I would even be cool with letting my kids break child labor laws to work.
We would all work seven days a week.  365 days a year.  Without asking for overtime pay.

In fact we wouldn't even ask for wages.  Just free fruit, as much as we could eat, all of the time.

We would be employees of the year.  Of the decade.  Our fruit stained faces would grace the cover of Forbes.

Sign me up.  Just not for bananas.  If it was a banana company I would be fired in thirty seconds.

This week I get to attend a taping of American Idol.

I am heading up with three fun friends and we want to get our Cricut craftiness on and make some silly signs.

Who wants to help us think of what they should say?

One girl is team Steven.  (I don't get it either.) 

Two are in love with Paul.  (How much does he look like Bradley Cooper?  Not to hard on the eyes by the way.  Look at that smile!)

I am team Casey, who is my favorite Idol contestant ever.  Yes he is weird, quirky, even looks like a psycho killer at times. But there has never been anyone more uniquely talented to grace that neon blue stage.
America is LAME for almost sending him home.

Give me your best ideas.  Wacky or serious.  Then look for us on TV Wednesday night.  

Go Casey!

Brownies.  I've got nothing against them. I just have nothing for them.  I appreciate them.  I like them.  But I don't loooooove them.  Doctor them up?  Perhaps wrap them around an Oreo?  Now we can talk.

Blondies are entirely different.  I'm not sure why, but they deserve my love.  Fast four ingredient ones?  True love forever and ever.  Especially since I am fairly certain that you have all four lazing in your kitchen this very moment.  Preheat your oven.  It is ON!
Part cookie.  Part cake.  All awesome.  Just like the evil Two Ingredient Fudge, you are only limited by the combinations that you come up with.  Or the choices in your pantry.  All I had was white cake mix and semi-sweet chips.  So perhaps these are a bit more platnium than blonde, but the taste was hardly different. Next in the queue are the teeny tiny Reese's Cups.  Can you just imagine?

Feel free to attack the pan immediately after removing it from the oven.  Not like I did or anything.  But my most favorite thing to pair them with?  Ice cream.  Messily smashed up in a big bowl of ice cream.  Dreamy, soft, and oh so cookie dough-esque.

Enjoy and tell me what combinations you try.

A week went by.
I started but didn't finish this month's Ten on Ten.
I actually didn't do much at all. How does that happen?

So how about some random instead?
I like them.  They make me laugh.  A lot a lot a lot.

She likes Bubble Guppies.  A lot a lot a lot a lot.
No matter how cold the water is, putting your feet in the ocean is always a really good idea.

Want to know what else sounds like a really good idea?  A strawberry-cranberry-lime slush from Sonic.
Meet Rebecca, our newest family member, as chosen by my ladybug tattooed five year old on her birthday.
Four hours on the freeway, thirty minutes in the store.  Still totally worth it.

Want to know what else she asked for her birthday?
A keychain of a squirrel hugging Jesus.
Ya.  That kid has a creative brain.  Anyone want to whittle me one?  
I have been alternating between these two colors.  I have never been a red or pink girl.  Not sure why.

Thanks to this girl I am now a total earring addict.  I don't think that I have consistently worn them since junior high.  But with cuteness like that, who can resist?
Leslie came over for spray painting school, in which she excelled and made the honor roll.  Then she went home and proceeded to find many, many new lives for old items.  The stuff is magical and addicting I tell you.

Her kitchen is making me want to paint one of our rooms.  What I once thought was a great color (melted chocolate) now makes me feel like I am trapped inside a UPS truck.  I need a little sunshine up in this place.
Have you checked out Sew Sweet Patterns?
You simply must.  They are my FAVORITE in all of the world.  I have bought way too many bad patterns before, and that all stopped when Sew Sweet came along.  I cannot say enough good things about them, and now they have matching doll dress patterns.  Be still this doesn't-want-to-spend-more-on-American-Girl-outfits-than-human-outfits heart.

This beautiful and clever post makes me so very happy.  So happy.
I found this beauty at the flea market and was promised that it was in perfect working order.  Sadly it isn't, but it sure is pretty.  Looks like it will be a decor item instead of a useful one, but that is just fine with me.

I am trying to figure out a legal and God glorifying way to steal this bed from Shauna.  It's just way, way too cute.
Sadly we are selling our trusty old 4Runner.  I will miss it.  I will miss the memories.  I will miss what it feels like to drive a stick shift.  A dying art.  Sigh.

I am convinced that the people on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant are total liars.  Or I want some of what they are having.  Because it sounds amazing to think I ate a bad burrito and then suddenly have a baby.
Is there few things better than the crazy writing of a pre-k kid?  I could eat it up.

Fall and Winter & Spring and Summer by Jon Foreman have been on constant rotation in this house lately.  It is mellow and smart and rich and challenging.  With just a little of the Switchfoot vibe that I adore.
We entertained a furry house guest for the weekend.  Our floors have never been cleaner.  He is even more thorough than our trusty Dyson.

I am guest posting over at Life:Rearranged as part of the Infant Loss and Miscarriage series.  It is an invaluable series to follow, to help heal your heart or those in your life who have faced similar pain.

With that I bid you adieu.

She just turned five.
Which I have decided is the best age in the world.
Old enough to do most everything unassisted, 
yet small enough that not much is expected of you.
No bills.
No job.
No taxes.
No laundry.
No homework.
Daily naps.
Personal chauffeur.
In house cook and cleaning service.

Pretty much all play, no worries.

I am so figuring out a way to switch places with her.

Being a grown up is overrated.

I am halfway through my ninth pregnancy.
Ninth.  I hate having to write that number.  I hate even more having to list each and every one to a new doctor, and watching him have to turn the paper over to make room for my tragic saga.

Sadly with that number, I am much more acquainted with loss than I am with happy outcomes.  The only good thing that comes with my hideous maternal history, is now I get to see a perinatologist as my full time OB, and I get to see him ALL THE TIME.  Because he understands my crazy.  His goal is to keep me off the precipice of panic that I teeter along for the entirety of nine months.

What is pregnancy like after multiple losses?  For me it is a grueling and torturous marathon of physical and mental health.  I have the lovely honor of being a card carrying member of the hyperemesis gravidarum club.  Us HG mama's have the lucky privilege of losing our guts on a daily basis, often up until the day that the baby is born.  We also, if given a chance would most likely kiss the maker of Zofran on the mouth.  Passionately.

In any given moment, you can find me in one of two places: either violently and dramatically losing my cookies, or tearfully and dramatically wondering if this little baby is still alive.  You have no idea how much fun I am to be around.  Or how much my family suffers and sacrifices during this season.

I had the gift of one blissful, easy, textbook pregnancy.  In which I was never sick, read all the books, had lovely and wonderful baby showers, and prepared the nursery. My biggest worry was whether or not I could have blue cheese with my favorite salad, or how many milligrams of caffeine I could safely consume.  How I wish I could go back to those days and enjoy every single one of them again.  In a strange way, that pregnancy was a gift.  A beautiful gift.  Because when it all came crashing down, I had those 39 1/2 happy weeks to remember.  The only 39 1/2 weeks that I had here on earth with our sweet Joy.  They were some of the best weeks of my life.  Oh, to be naive again...

I look through pregnancy with a dark and shattered lens now.  One that I wish I never knew.  I am much older, much sicker and much more fearful than I was nine years ago.  But somehow, I carry on.  Through the crazy.  Through the trials.  Through the uncertainty.  Because each time my heart has shattered, God has lovingly put it back together.  Each time He puts it back together it is stronger and has the capacity to love more fully, deeply and authentically.
{The moment we told the girls about the new baby.}
These three little girls are worth the fight that they had getting here.  They are worth the tears.  The panic.  The struggle.  The fear.  The prayers.

This baby will be worth it too.  So very worth it.  If only I could find a way to hibernate until the end of July.

What you won't see or hear from me:
Much pregnancy talk.  People want you to be happy.  To skip through fields of flowers in a flowing dress.  I am in survival mode.  Survival mode is very scary.  Ugly even. So I keep the scary to myself.
Baby bump pics and updates.  Again, this is a journey that I struggle to get through.  Celebrating and documenting it? I just don't have it in me.
Nursery and layette prep.  I had a decorated and stocked nursery once.  It was dreamy and sweet and beautiful.  Coming home to it empty, was just too, too painful.  Now, I don't so much as buy a pack of diapers until after we bring the little one home.  Healthy?  Doubtful.  But it is my irrational way of protecting and controlling what little I can.

If I could ask for your prayers, for peace, for strength, for endurance, for grace that fills in the cracks where I am falling short, but most of all for faith that will see me through the next twenty weeks.

They would mean more to me than you could ever possibly know.

How was your weekend?
Mine was just lovely.
Time with good friends, shopping, crafting, bunco-ing, eating, movie watching, flea marketing, and spray painting.
So good and so needed.

My ballet loving, biggest girl lost her very first tooth.  An exciting and slightly terrifying milestone.  Then she proceeded to lose the little tooth that she lost.
Tears ensued.  Lots of tears.  Even from me.  I wanted to keep that cute and creepy little tooth.
But I concocted an extravagant tale and reassured her that the tooth fairy knew where it was, even if we didn't, and that she was still sure to come.
Come she did, leaving a trail of sparkly glitter all over the pillow and sweet face of my beautiful girl.

In other happy, sweet news, registration opens today for the lovely that is sure to be Blog Sugar.
Come join us and be encouraged, affirmed, inspired, while soaking in the sweetness that can be had in this strange and beautiful world of blogging.

The speaker line up is crazy amazing.  Did I mention that there will be cupcakes?  Or that insecurity is not invited, so kick it to the curb.  If I can, anyone can.  Promise!

So grab your ticket quick!  They are limited and going fast.
I'd love to meet you.

Hope you have a lovely and sweet day!

Some days it takes just one little accomplishment to make you forget about the thirty billion things that you didn't accomplish.
Things I love about this house?  A walk in pantry.  Things I don't?  The state of said walk in pantry.  Which currently is really, really hard to walk in to.
That overhaul would take a good long day.  A day that I don't have in me right now.  Someday.  Maybe even I will have a pantry like this pretty one.  But not today.  Probably not tomorrow either.

But I did have five minutes.  With that goal in mind I finally broke down and bought this tiered organizer thing that I have wanted, since I don't know, like forever.
Suddenly the spices aren't all jumbled and impossible, and 1% of the pantry is organized.

Why did I not do this thirteen years ago?  Why is often the most simple tasks, with the biggest payouts, the ones that never ever get done?  Such is the way it goes.  Now I can see and find everything I need to make this yummy soup for tonight's dinner.  Tonight's dinner that will involve 3/3 of my children crying.  But I won't.  I will smile and gladly keep their portions for my lunch tomorrow.  Mwahahahahahaha.

While at Target buying the shelf stacker thing I totally had a Teerget Lady moment.  It was as if she had never seen one in all of her life.  At that very moment it took everything in her to not run off and grab one of her very own.  I even was interrogated as to which specific row I found it in.  Spice organization is life changing business, apparently.

Who doesn't love a little JT with their Teerget Lady?


I am very Irish.
I am very not Italian.
This is for those days when you want to make a meal and take a nap.
This is not a legit baked ziti.  This is not the kind that I am sure some people have gotten married, not for love, but for the hopes that one day they will be taught how to make it by their husband's grandmother.

But it feeds a hungry crowd and makes them very happy.  All the while you are very happy, because instead of slaving over the stove, you snuck in a nap.  I won't tell if you don't.  Us Irish girls are good at keeping secrets.

 The ground beef isn't pictured because A.  Everyone knows what it looks like. and B.  Everyone knows that it looks really, really, really gross.  Also, disregard the minced garlic.  While it is amazing for making your own germ fighting garlic cream cheese, it is not awesome for this recipe.  Use standard garlic powder instead.  As for the Parmesan, if you are Jeannett, don't judge.  Just keep freshening your carpets.
 While I am still a little (a lot) bitter about the double oven situation, I am so very happy that I stayed strong with the desire for a big old stove top.  I have yet to use all five simultaneously, but I am waiting for that day.  It will be glorious.  Now I just need a few more Caribbean Le Creusets to make it a sea of simmering happiness.
 The half & half is a tip from my (really needs to start a food blog) friend Richelle.  It adds just the right amount of richness and creaminess to a standard jar of red sauce.
 Just think, you are mere minutes away from nap time.  Just minutes.
 I didn't measure the mozzarella, but cover it like you have never covered anything in your life.  Is it not one of the most delightful of cheeses?  I mean, I can't think of a single cheese variety that isn't delightful. But mozzarella is certainly up there.
Just like that.  Nap time is over.  Your house smells amazing.  You didn't have to marry a creeper to get this recipe.  Now it is time to dig in.  Who ever said that cheaters never prosper?