Monthly Archive for July, 2009

Who is The Casual Perfectionist?

I’ve decided to re-do my About Page. I love About Pages. Whenever I find a new person online, the first place I go on their blog is to their About Page. About Pages say a lot about people. Go figure.  😉

As much as I love my Original About Page, it represents someone who was more anonymous…and it’s still me, but not really.

So, I’m moving the original About Page to where it all began and posting a new About Page.

Here is a sneak peek!

Welcome to The Casual Perfectionist!

Momma and Claire

Momma and Claire

This is JoAnn. She’s the one without the ponytails. JoAnn goes by Momma in real life and in most places in this blog.  She’s the creator of The Casual Perfectionist.

The Casual Perfectionist was born in 2007, when JoAnn decided to start a blog. She wanted a creative outlet for her writing that would also give her an easy way to chronicle their forays into parenthood and share their adventures with their relatives back in the Midwest. At the time, she was in the midst of juggling a baby while working from a home office, and writing was one of the ways she was able to find some semblance of sanity. In 2008, JoAnn had the opportunity to quit her “real job” and focus on parenting and writing, two of her passions.

JoAnn has combined these two passions here at The Casual Perfectionist. She is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, but doesn’t consider herself to be the stuffy, up-tight kind. She’s more of a casual perfectionist, hence the name of her website. She tries her hardest to focus on the positive, learn from the negative, and laugh at both. In fact, she is a firm believer in the notion that if you haven’t laughed today, you weren’t really paying attention. Her Twitter ID is: @casualperfect.

JoAnn used to be anonymous on The Casual Perfectionist, until she met a lady, one of her readers, at a park and they ran into another lady at another park. That lady just happened to be the Editor of The Denver Post’s parenting blog, Mile High Mamas. One thing led to another, and JoAnn slowly let the veil of anonymity drop. She is a Contributing Writer and the Assistant Editor over at Mile High Mamas.



This is Claire. She is three, going on thirteen, with a little bit of thirty thrown in for good measure. She loves pink, princesses, and playing in the dirt. She is a true Renaissance Woman. You can read all about the day she came into this world by clicking here.


Claire and Daddy

This is Daddy. He’s the one in the hat. He has requested that his image and real name not be used on the website. He’s shy. Or, just elusive and mysterious. But, really, he’s just disappointed that he even shows up on film.

Merlin and Jasper

This is Merlin and Jasper. They are brothers from the same litter but have totally different personalities. They have written some wonderful pieces on the website. They are fun and quirky and rambunctious. Claire couldn’t ask for better big brothers.

The three of us in shadows

The three of us in shadows

We’ve been in Colorado for over 10 years, and we love it! When we aren’t working on our various home-improvement projects, we love to travel and have other adventures. In the midst of all that, we love to do Shadow Portraits. We collect them at different times of year and in different locations. There is something magical about shadow portraits, and you can read all about them here!

Click here for the best way to contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

Have Facebook & other Social Media changed The Rules?

How do you keep in touch with people…and vice versa? In person? Snail Mail? Phone? Email?  If you’re reading this on the Internet, odds are you’ve embraced the wonders of technology when it comes to communication.

But, have The Rules of Communication changed with the advent of Social Media?

That’s what I’m writing about today over at Mile High Mamas, the parenting blog of The Denver Post!

The comments are closed here, but I’d REALLY like to see what you have to say over there! Go! Comment! Don’t be shy… 😉

Now we know why so many people live in California

As you may remember, we took a 12-day Road Trip in May!

In May!?  It’s almost August now? What?! Where did the time go?

Just as a refresher, here is the route we took and our adventures up to this point:

Let’s get on with the next installment of our saga, shall we?

Where did we end off? Oh yes. “It was all we’d hoped it would be…and more.”

And it was!

We drove to California and checked into our first hotel on the 6th of May. We were there for two nights before heading down the coast to stay in another hotel on the beach for a few nights.

A hotel on the beach.

Just typing that out again makes me long for the sand and the soft breezes.

We loved California. Up to this point, there are only three places in the world (so far) that my husband and I have exchanged glances and have said, “We could live here. For real. We could totally live here.”

For those of you keeping track at home:

  • Where we live now, Colorado.

Well, add San Diego, CA to the list. We would move there in a heartbeat.  Granted, I’d cry buckets if I had to leave Colorado, but I think my tears could be dried by the soft ocean breezes.

Yes, it’s expensive. (But, it’s not cheap where we live now.) Yes, there are earthquakes. (Every location has its “thing…”) Yes, there are lots of people. And, now we know why… Because California is incredible!

On our California leg of the trip, we visited LegoLand. This was a specific request by Daddy. He said he Claire would love it. Well, he was right! My sister and brother-in-law joined us in our LegoLand adventures, and we all had a fantastic time!!

In addition to LegoLand, we visited the San Diego Zoo. What a great Zoo! When we first arrived, one of the greeters saw us looking at the posted map and suggested we take the bus tour around the Zoo (it would show us 75% of the zoo, and then we could decide where to focus our energies). At the end of the day, we took the Skyfari (gondola ride) back down across the Zoo, surveying the park from the sky, and it was an awesome end to a lovely visit.

Claire’s favorite excursion, in California and the entire trip, was “picking shells” at the beach. We could do that for hours, and did! It was so much fun to just stroll along the beach and explore. It’s a good thing we don’t live near the beach, or you might never see us again!

The memories we created and the adventures we had in California will last a lifetime. It seems rather insufficient to mention them in a few paragraphs and go on to the next stop, but that’s how it goes. Claire still raves about “picking shells” at the beach, to anyone and everyone that will listen, and it was months ago. This has really made an impression, and I love that the memories are still alive for her. The more she mentions it, the more it just seems like yesterday…and that’s a wonderful thing.

Next stop on our tour? Flagstaff, AZ. Stay tuned!

…and then I waved my Wand of Positivity.

This weekend, we went on an overnight camping trip. How did it go? Well, the short and sweet answer: Awesome!


You’ll probably wonder what’s wrong with me after you read the long answer…

It all started out innocently enough. We’d planned a weekend getaway with another family, and we couldn’t wait! We were in the midst of out-of-state visitors, but they were scheduled to leave our house on Saturday morning, and we’d head out right after them.

And then my hubby looked at the weather report.


It did not look good, but it didn’t look as bad as it could. Typically, we snub our noses and laugh at anything lower than a 60% chance of rain…and this was hovering around the 40% mark.

Weather people.
What do they know?
Most of them argue about what is happening outside right now, let alone what will happen in the future.

No offense to any weather people…

After discussing the options with the other family, we decided to go. We’d go, and if it got bad, we’d just bail.

Bail water?
Hopefully not.

Does anyone else hear that ominous music?

We did, but we chose to dance along to it, ignoring what could lie ahead.

Anyway, we get our visitors out the door, get our vehicle all packed and made it to the park-and-ride on time. We followed the other family to the pass we wanted.

I laughed out loud when I saw the name of the road.

“Breakneck Pass Road!?” I laughed. “Ehhh…how bad can it be?”

How bad was it? I’m sorry. I can’t hear you over all the screaming in my head.

But, for the record, it wasn’t the worse road I’d seen. Still…

At one point, we switched places with our friends and had them follow us, because our car was the lowest denominator. Unlike their car, ours didn’t have a higher clearance and wasn’t a 4-wheel drive. If our car could make it, both cars could make it.

Luckily, I had a handle to hold onto for dear life. We told Claire to hold on tight, and away we went.

“Daddy! Be careful or you’ll spill the car!”

Truer words have never been spoken…and she’s only three!

But, we made it. We didn’t break the car, and the camping spot we found had an established fire ring and an awesome view.

Just as we were getting set up, it started raining. It was so polite of it to wait until we had our rain fly adjusted. We set up some tarps and had some snacks. We could see blue skies up ahead, so we knew it wouldn’t last.

And, yes…40% may as well be 100% when it’s happening to you, and 0% if it’s not.

The rain stopped, and we went about camplife. The kids and the adults all had a blast. We ended up dodging the rain (and the mosquitoes!) off and on throughout the evening, but it all worked out perfectly.

Finally, after stuffing ourselves with campfire food, the fire glowing brighter as the night got darker, it started raining again, and we all called it a night. Because this was car camping, we’d splurged and brought our queen size air mattress. We had a smaller tent this time, so Claire had to sleep with us, but that was okay.

By the glow of Glenda, Daddy and Claire fell asleep and I surfed the ‘net for a bit. Yes, I got a signal there. Yes, I could play online from my campsite. No, this wasn’t really roughin’ it.


That stupid music started again, and I ignored the fact that the mattress seemed a little squishier than normal. Another hour went by and I realized that the pain in my hip wasn’t being caused by my existence as the center of a Claire and Daddy sandwich…it was caused by the hard ground.

It was barely midnight, and our air mattress had gone completely flat.

Now, keep in mind. This mattress takes up nearly the entire footprint of our tent. The pump we need to use is loud enough to wake the dead let alone our friends sleeping in the tent next to us. And, Claire is out like a log.

So, with no way to breathe life back into the situation, I laid there, trying to will myself to sleep.

And, then it started raining, hard…and the wind started blowing, hard. At one point, I was afraid the tent would upend and we’d end up in a pine tree, but it stayed fastened to the ground. I kept checking the seams and window for water, but the tent held fast! Our tent didn’t leak!

I think I got about two hour’s worth of sleep, maybe three…patch-worked together in 15 or 20 minute increments.


The kids slept in, so none of us stirred from the tents until after 8am, which was perfect. We made breakfast and broke camp. We navigated Breakneck Pass Road (without breaking anything, actually) back down to the highway, and headed home.

So, even though it rained, and even though a Mack Truck ran over our tent in the middle of the night, popping our air mattress and then crushing our bodies, we still had a fabulous time. Even though we look as though we’ve been attacked by an army of mosquitoes (and we were!), we still had a fabulous time.

It just goes to show that when you’re with the right people, you can laugh at the rain. You can hobble around and laugh at the kinks in your back. You can laugh at the mosquitoes that rival those in the Midwest. You can laugh hysterically (so you don’t cry) as you try to point out the best way around or over the boulders in your breakable car.

You could look at what happened on our trip and think that it sounded horrible! What terrible luck! But, that’s just not the case.

Of course, remembering to pack my Wand of Positivity made all the difference. 🙂


Well, today is the first day back to “normalcy” (…with heavy emphasis on the quotation marks!) in over a week!

The Thursday before last, we had out-of-state friends stay with us, and we took a short road trip with them on Friday. That evening, Grandma and PaPa arrived for the week. That next Saturday morning, they headed home, and we headed to the mountains with another family for an overnight camping trip.

I loved having an extra pair of hands last week, and Claire loved spending time with her grandparents (and vice versa). Now, I’m back to parenting with two hands while typing with a third. (You do the math on that, and you’ll see why I have a crazy look in my eye sometimes…)

But you know what? I love every minute of it.

Stay tuned this week for more updates on our camping trip, the continuing saga of our 12-day Road Trip, and more!

Where’s the cake?

I can’t let this week slip by without mentioning a milestone of sorts…

July 22nd was The Casual Perfectionist’s 2-year birthday! Can you believe it? So far, we’ve survived the last few days without many tantrums, but the week isn’t over yet. 😉

Now, if you look in the archives, you’ll see things written back in May of 2007, but as I mention there, those were all post-dated with things I’d written offline. The official go-live date of the blog was July 22, 2007.

So, here we are two years and 936 posts later (937 if you count this one), and the story has only just begun.

Thank you for following along with me! I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

I have a secret!

Okay, I don’t have a secret.  Claire told me she had a secret.

I was looking through some things I’d written down a few months ago, and this is what I found. (Yes, she’s been telling me “secrets” for a while now…)

Claire told me she had a secret, and this is what she said:

I have a secret! I have a secret to tell your ear. I love you more than butterflies. I love you more than the Sleeping Beauty Book you wouldn’t let me get at King Sooper’s.

And if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is… 🙂

Black Raspberries

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

If that’s the case, I wonder what this one is saying?

Needless to say, the trip to the Berry Patch Farm yesterday was a huge success, as you can see by the photo I took yesterday. We handpicked a large supply of black raspberries and got our daily dose of fun…along with a side of mud.

It doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂

These will go into smoothies and on ice cream, but if you want a great recipe for cobbler, click here!

In the Denver area and want to find this farm? Check out this list at Mile High Mamas!

An Accidental Deep Thought, brought to you by a 3-yr old

“It’s a good thing she’s a duck,” said Claire. “Because she can’t stop quacking!”

She was playing with one of her stuffed animals, and the little duck was just quacking away.  (…in a voice that sounded an awful lot like Claire’s…)  😉

When she said this, I was struck by the profundity of it.  It’s so true.

I love it when such deep thoughts come from unexpected places.

Anyone need a slightly used veil of anonymity?

You may recognize someone over on the Mile High Mamas’ site today. I’m the Featured Blogger of the week in the Mama Tech Talk section!

Does anyone know how much I could get for a slightly used veil of anonymity? I cleaned it up, and it looks as good as new. I may even have the original packaging and receipt. For some reason, I don’t think I’ll be needing it anymore… 😉