Wednesday, April 16, 2014

THE Dress & #iPPP

I couldn't believe it when I saw it.  It being the dress that I always wanted.  The dress I imagined myself wearing as a grown up.  There it was hidden in the racks at a thrift store, stuffed in between a boring black polyester dress and a hideous floral muumuu.  It took my breath away.  It was a sea foam blue, satin/silk blend vision of everything I thought was glamorous and sophisticated about being a grown up(when I was seven-years-old).  It was the type of dress that Julie would have worn on her night off on The Love Boat.  And Julie was the coolest.  

I stared at the dress for a few minutes and then took a picture of it and posted it to Instagram.  Friends encouraged me to buy it.  At first, I listened to the voice in my head that said "it probably won't fit, don't buy it."  But then a friend of mine that I grew up with but haven't seen in over 20 years made this comment on my Instagram feed-- "Buy it Angie--even if you wear it around the house, check it off that bucket list!"

So I shelled out the five dollars and I bought my dream dress.
And it made/makes me so happy.  

My inner child is flipping out with joy. 
I plan on wearing this dress to church on Easter, a charity event and/or wedding reception that has a dance floor (so I can pretend it's Studio 54!), parent-teacher conferences, the grocery store and maybe even to my kids' baseball games.  

It's funny how much joy this dress brings me.  It's silly even.  But I dont' care.  It's the best five dollars I've spent, possibly ever.
My look may be more Jennifer Lawrence from American Hustle than Julie from The Love Boat, and I love that too.

pleated poppy It's been a long time since I linked up with what i wore wednesday.  So happy to be back. WIWW link up was started by blogger/business woman extraordinaire, Lindsey, as a "fun way for us to encourage each other to simply get dressed each day, and get out of our pj’s or yoga pants." 

All the pictures in this post were taken on my iPhone.  Come play with me on Instagram.

Now link up for the #iPPP 
Angela Amman (my LTYM co-producer and #iPPP co-hoster) and I want to see your funny, yummy, heartfelt,  favorite phone photos from the week!  Your post can be about anything, as long as it contains one picture from your phone.  Link up below and don't forget to visit some of the others!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Safe & Happy

When we first became parents, Tim and I really didn't know what we were doing.   The day we took our firstborn home from the hospital, we had no idea how to put him in the car seat to actually take him home.  Tim oh-so-gently guided Peyton's tiny little body under the buckles which I held up so they wouldn't touch his new baby skin.  It took a good 25 minutes.  Neither one of us thought about unbuckling the buckles to put Peyton in the car seat.  We simply thought "wow, people weren't kidding when they say babies are a lot of work and now we understand why it takes so long to go anywhere."

A few days later, as we attempted to leave the house and take Peyton to his first doctor's appointment, a friend watched as we once again tried to gently ease our new baby into his car seat without unbuckling buckles.  That friend, an experienced parent herself, tried not to laugh as she reached over to unbuckle the buckles and suggest that might make things a little easier.

Well, 13 years and three more kids later we have unbuckled and buckled car seats a million times.  We know so much more than we ever thought we'd know about kids and car seats.  

We know weight limits, height requirements, what buckles work and what buckles Houdini-like children can wiggle out from under. We understand and respect that getting to the booster stage is a rite of passage that kids really look forward to, much like the coveted front-seat, shot-gun seat that our firstborn is now old enough and tall enough to call his own most of the time.

Our baby, Wade, has reached the booster stage.  He's not a baby anymore, he's four and more than ready for a booster.  But not just any flimsy, old booster that has been passed down and beaten up by his older brothers and sister.  No, Wade got a pretty sweet seat--the Evenflo Symphony™ DLX car seat.  

"I can see the whole wo-wld!," Wade exclaimed when he sat in his new luxury liner of booster seats feeling like a king.

Wade loves the height the seat gives him and the cup holders.  Those are really great, but this seat is about more than fancy bells and whistles.  It is safe. Evenflo has taken safety and comfort to the next level with the introduction of the Platinum Protection Series of car seats, which feature NASA-developed Outlast® technology, a temperature regulating fabric that keeps babies and toddlers comfortable during hot and cold weather.  Yeah, NASA.

I love the Buckle Pockets, they protect from hot buckle burns and eliminate digging under your kid's legs for lost buckles.  I only wish I would have had this car seat years ago.  This All-In-One seat accommodates kids ranging from 5-110 lbs, making it the only car seat you would need forever.  It is hands-down the easiest car seat we ever adjusted to a booster seat, ever.

Now that I finally found the perfect way to keep them safe and securely buckled in tightly, I can't even believe I'm only a few years away from my firstborn actually driving.  I can't even go there yet, so I won't.  I am just going to focus on being so happy that Wade is happy and safe and excited to see the whole "wo-wld" outside his window.

Click here for more information about the Evenflo Symphony™ DLX car seat.

I participated in this sponsored campaign on behalf of One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Listen To Your Mother Metro Detroit is less than three weeks away.  When I first started this journey of co-producing a live storytelling show, I hoped it would be an opportunity to connect with other storytellers in my community.  But so far, the journey has been so much more.  Connecting with storytellers is just part of this journey.  The other part is all about discovering.

Discovering places that I now love but had never had been to in Detroit.

Discovering that I have a rusty skill-set (do they still call it that in resume speak?) in marketing that that works and fun to use again.

Discovering that it's pretty amazing to have this little idea of bringing a really cool show to an area full of rich, meaningful stories, and that you can make it happen in a big way.

Discovering that people you thought you have nothing in common with, you actually do.

Discovering that going outside comfort zones is crazy scary, but beyond rewarding.

Discovering that you aren't too old to start new dreams, new ideas, new stories.

Discovering that everyone has a story and when they tell it, compassion grows, love grows, understanding grows.

Discovering that um, I kind of love being on stage.

Watch what happened behind the scenes at our final Listen To Your Mother rehearsal (and where I discoverd that I love the stage!).

I hope we fill the theater on May 4, so more people will make their own connections and their own discoveries.  Click here for more information about the show.  Click here to buy tickets.
Click here to find out if a Listen To Your Mother show is happening in your city.

Read more about Listen To Your Mother Metro Detroit in this Detroit Free Press article. Click here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

T-I-M-E & What I Know For Sure

Last Sunday, we got out an old poster board and divided up the days and asked the kids "What do you want to do? The week is wide open."

Spring Break is coming to a close and I'm sad.  Even though I miss a little of my routine, I love having everyone home.  And the end of spring break means our life gets busier than normal.  Spring concerts, baseball tournaments all over the place, end-of-the-school-year mania and more.  It makes my heart race just thinking about it all.  Maybe that's why I  enjoyed this wide-open week we just had.  

Our poster board/calendar-of-fun included activities like riding bikes, nature hikes, bowling, Belle Isle, jumping rope and more.  Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.  

We did something this spring break that we've never done before, we had a Mom/Dad/Kid date with each child.  Since we didn't have much of a budget and we didn't want to hire a babysitter four times this week, we offered the kids alone time with us at home and a chance to stay up late. Each child had a "My Night"--they got to pick what we all had for dinner, choose an activity to do or a movie to watch together and enjoy staying up late.  

Lucy chose to watch The Book Thief with us after the other kids went to bed.  She recently finished the book and wanted to see the movie.  We got treats and snuggled on the couch, just the three of us.  (The movie was incredibly sad, but moving and well done.)  JT chose to play a few video games and card games with us.  Peyton wanted to watch a few episodes of The Simpsons (a show we just started letting him watch with Tim on special occasions) and eat cake.  Wade was the only one that got something a little different, he wanted alone time with Tim at the baseball field.  We thought that was a good idea since staying up late to a 4-year-old sort of wrecks them.  

We also had fun all together.  Like cheering each other on when we went bowling.

I love how they were rooting for Wade and hoping he got a spare.

Oh man, the agony of a split. Bowling, grrrrr.

I love this picture.  Peyton is trying not to laugh and look like he's having fun with us, because duh, what pre-teen has fun with their goof-ball family?  His expression is the perfect mixture of smile and eye roll, like he's saying oh-my-gosh-you-guys-are-so-annoying-but-funny-and-I-love-you.
At least that's the way I see it.

You've heard the expression how does a child spell love?  T-I-M-E.  Well, it rings true in our house.  Without spending a crazy amount of money or planning anything extravagant, our kids, our family, felt the love I know that for sure.  

Here's what else I know for sure this week:

  • VEDA is hard ya'll, but fun.  VEDA stands for Vlog Every Day April.  A new vlog every day.  I have only missed one day so far.  Here's one from last week where I reveal my biggest fear about Listen  To Your Mother Metro Detroit (hint, it has something to do with Cindy Brady).

If you want to spend your weekend catching up on all my VEDA videos head on over to my YouTube channel.  Subscribe if you like.  I have some fun videos from last week, like our trip to Belle Isle, Lucy's book review and of course, a kitchen dance.

  • Tulips are blooming in Holland.  When I was in elementary school, we sang this song that went a little something like this: "Tulips are blooming in Holland...Michigan.  Tulips are pretty and gay."  I don't know if every elementary school kid sang that or only kids that lived in the lower western part of the state of Michigan.  We had tulip pride.  But man, look at this gorgeous tulip pride in the Netherlands.

Click here to read more about the rainbow fields of tulips.

  • I am not over my phobia of frogs.  I was able to pose for a silly picture at the nature center, but it is blurry because I could only sit still for a few seconds.  This phobia is crazy, but it's real, people.  I skipped the frog exhibit.

  • I love what Pharrell has to say about women.  And I just love Ellen so much.

  • I can't help myself.  I didn't want to, but I did, I watched the Lindsay Lohan reality docu-series and I sort of like it.  Ugh.  I know, but I am rooting for her.  

What do you know for sure (this week)? How was your spring break? C'mon, we're friends, share what you know. 

Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

I love getting to know everyone through pictures.  Please come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Detroit/Belle Isle Love

Spring break in Detroit.  Yes, Detroit.  I have lived thirty minutes north of the city for almost 16 years and have just discovered some very interesting, important and beautiful places to visit in Detroit.  I'm so happy to be sharing these places with my kids.  So, yes, we are spending parts of our spring break in Detroit.

Detroit is complicated, complex and confusing.  Especially to people that did not grow up here.  I have heard stories of pain and loss from all different sides--people who left the city, people who never left, people who wish for things to be different, people who are working to make things different.  I have also heard stories from people who live in or around Detroit who love the city and believe in the city.

I am a little baffled why everyone isn't rooting for our city harder.  And when I say our, I mean OURS, all of us. This city is as Americana as it comes--industry, rivers, ports, cars, music, assembly lines, racial tension, reinvention, trailblazers, history makers.  It's Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper, Eminem and my god so many others.  It's injustice, corruption, bankruptcy and fires burning.  It's also new ideas, art everywhere, families, tradition and beauty.

Many places you go in Detroit feel like a history lesson.  Abandoned buildings or vacant spaces are left where there used to be so much life.  We took the kids to Belle Isle.  Tim's mother told us stories about ice skating there when she was a kid and how they had family picnics and parties there.  Belle Isle used to have a casino, a zoo and more.  But, like many places in and around Detroit it changed.  Some of the old buildings are there.  You can see where the zoo used to be.  You can also see signs of a lot of life--new life, new playgrounds and new ideas.  Just like the spring thaw, the older buildings and trails are coming back to life too.

The aquarium, which was closed and reopened recently, happened to not be open when we were there. But the conservatory was and it was magic.

My lens fogged up when I took this picture, which actually adds to the dreaminess of the room and the flowers.

A few steps away from the conservatory is a wonderful, big playground that all my kids enjoyed.  Two bus loads of children from a Detroit charter school arrived shortly after we got there.  The playground was buzzing with activity and laughter and "bet you can't catch me's" and kids asking teachers and parents to "watch this."  It sounded just like it might have 30 years earlier.  

Lucy's confident pirate-in-charge pose.

In case you are wondering where Belle Isle is in relation to Detroit and Canada, this handy playground park can help.

A little further along on the isle, is a nature center.  A free nature center--with speakers, nature tours, exhibits and more.

Spring Break in Detroit has been full of wonderful surprises, opportunities to connect and learn and be inspired.

I am so proud to be from what we call the Metro Detroit area.  I want to be a part of the renewal and recovery of Detroit.  Everyone should.  This is OUR city, OUR history, OUR legacy, OUR future.

Belle Isle is a 985-acre island park that the state of Michigan took control of recently.   To find out more about Belle Isle click here.  To get involved in helping Belle Isle come back to life, check out the Belle Isle Conservancy click here.

Here's the video of our visit to Belle Isle: