Thursday, October 28, 2010

A start

At lunch the other day, my mom and I were reminiscing about some of my more ridiculous teenage behavior. She brought up the time that I glued 100 pennies to the windowsill in my room and how I was utterly perplexed at her displeasure.

I laughed and said, "You were very tolerant."

She laughed, but then stopped, looked me in the eyes and said, "Well, so were you, so we are even."

We looked at each order, both of our mouths turning up into slightly awkward smiles and our brains each conjuring up different alcohol infused memories. Although she had apologized when I visited her in rehab over 3 years ago, this was the first time she had ever made a statement like that. In that moment, my heart itched - not comfortable, but not bad either. I guess that's what healing feels like.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 Days Away

{ Elisa Nelissen }

The bell chimes announcing the tram is arriving. It pulls up and the doors slide open on the opposite side, letting the passengers out. Tears prick my eyes because I want to be arriving, not leaving. I only have two more days, but my homesickness is at it's peak and I'm having a hard time keeping it together. The last 5 days were intense; 18 hour days in front of clients, most of those hours on my feet and with a smile plastered on my face. I had to be on at all times- helpful, knowledgeable, "can-do".

I step off the tram onto my terminal and detour into the bathroom. I pick a stall far from the door and pull the breast pump out of my luggage. It's jammed into my carry-on, taking up most of the room, not leaving much space for clothes. I waste time on my phone while sitting on the toilet, pumping. Will is going to be one soon, but I'm desperate to breastfeed exclusively like I did with Finn. I don't get much milk, only 3 ounces and I feel frustrated. So much work and I'm barely keeping up. Such a theme of my life right now. Running nonstop, yet achieving so little beyond the daily tasks. I want to take pictures and make videos and write. But by the time the kids are asleep and the dishes are dry, sleep is the only thing that sounds good.

My pants are slightly wet near the pocket after I leave the bathroom. My fingers rub over the spot again and again. I trace the outline and think about my life. I drag my nail against the denim, and I can see the fibers fray.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I will start doing the things that scare me. I will take the chances that I know I am ready for. I will accept the amazing things that are being offered to me.

I am going to do NaNoWriMo, so excuse me if my next few posts are endlessly random, as I am trying to push myself to write. I have an idea for a book. I've HAD an idea for a book for months now, but have done nothing with it. So, fuck it. I'm going to get it out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

That Feeling

You know when you know it, in your gut? Whatever “it” may be. You just get that feeling.

We go to a home daycare about 10 minutes from my house. She’s an older lady in her early 70’s who shops at the grocery store my husband manages. She filled in during an unexpected daycare crisis, and it became a long term solution. We started 2 years ago.

About 6 months ago, Finn started crying when I told him it was a daycare day. I would ask him why, and he always gave reasons like, “I want to stay home” or “I want to be with mommy and daddy”. At first, it was only a couple of times a month that he would react like that. Then, about 2 months ago, it was daily.

She’s a nice lady. She’s has that funny old lady spunk. She ADORES the kids. When I was laid off, she didn’t try to recruit more kids, just waited patiently until I found another job. She’s flexible. She’s insanely reasonably priced. These were all the reasons I didn’t listen to my gut.
My gut said, “She never really answers your questions completely.” It said “She makes you feel uncomfortable when try to look around the house.” It tried to tell me, “Finn NEVER acts like he wants to stay.” But my brain consoled me. My brain said “What could she have to hide? So the house is a little messy. The kids are LOVED. And he rarely cries when you leave. I’m sure everything is fine. It’s going to be IMPOSSIBLE to find another flexible daycare situation for what you pay.”

6 weeks ago, I picked the boys up, and asked Finn if he had taken a nap that day.
“YES,” he said, with a weird sort of tone in his voice.

Naps were becoming a struggle at my house, hard to keep him in bed even though I could see so badly that he needed the rest. “Why do you always nap at daycare, but you don’t want to nap at home?”

“She gets MAD at me if I don’t nap,” he says in that weird voice again.

ALARMS. Heart in my throat. This feeling of I knew everything wasn’t right. I try to steady my voice and stay normal. “What happens when she gets mad?”

“She slaps me.”


“On my legs. Like this, “he says and slaps his shin, hard. “And like this,” he says, slapping the other leg.

My eyes well up with tears, and I stare straight again, my eyes darting between the road and the rearview mirror. “Anywhere else?”

He slaps various spots on his legs and feet. He slaps himself in the face, and I say with panic “She slaps you in the face?!” and he quickly says, “No, just on my legs.” I try to calm myself down again, hoping that will encourage him to be honest.

“Do you cry when she does it?” I ask.

“No,” he says, very matter-of-fact.

I’m quiet for a moment. “Does she do anything else?”

“She says, ‘Shut up, Finn!’”.

“How does it make you feel when she says that?”



The kids have been at their new daycare for 6 weeks. Finn gets excited in the morning when I tell him it’s a daycare day. I’ll never ignore that feeling again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm right 'cause you're wrong

In one blogger's quest to get more than 3 hours sleep at night, she turned to the internet for ideas on sleep solutions and came across this article. In it, the author details the 10 reasons that you should not utilize the cry it out method. This portion of her argument has me particularly disturbed:

I worry that if I leave my children to cry it out, then they will not see the point in reaching out to us if they have problems later in life and could try to deal with serious issues like bullying, drug addictions, teenage pregnancy, gambling problems, or flunking out of school on their own or turn to peers. Unfortunately, those problems are often too big for a teenager to be left to deal with alone or with peers and it can have disastrous results ranging from making poor decisions all the way to committing suicide out of a feeling of hopelessness.

Whaaaaaat? Seriously, what? Wow.

The author has every right as a mother to choose the technique that works best for her children. But this tactic of proving she is right by detailing how others are wrong has me seriously peeved. What is it about making someone feel terrible about their choices that make you feel better about yours? If you would rather get up with your kids every night as many times as they get up, good for you! Make a list of all the reasons that this is fabulous parenting and how studies show your kids will be little geniuses. But don't make a list of how I'm ruining my child because I choose to take a different path. This self righteous and completely arrogant way of thinking serves no purpose. Why can't moms just put their arms over another mom's shoulder and assure her that she's making the best choices for her kids. Parents are forever second guessing their decisions - should I keep breastfeeding, should I put them in daycare, should I vaccinate, should I only feed organic, should I put them in special classes, should I force them to stop using their pacifier - why not make lists about the benefits of the reasons you made your choice, not a list of reasons that woman who don't agree with you totally suck. Can't we just agree that what may be working for my kid most likely won't work for yours? Why do you think there are a hundred different books on baby sleep solutions? There is no one size fits all with kids. If you encounter a solution for any part of your life that's working for you - for your children, for your diet, for organizing your wallet, whatever! - I want to see the list about all the reasons it rocks. But a list about all the reasons I am making the wrong decision if I don't agree with you? No thanks.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Going green

So I read this post by this amazing girl. In it, she gives the recipe and a weird compelling argument for making a smoothie with spinach in it. Waitwaitwait, don't leave. I know, spinach. I'm not really in to it either. But here goes nothing:

Honest Fare Green Smoothie
Original recipe here.

2 big handfuls of fresh, raw spinach
½ pink lady apple, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 coin fresh ginger root, minced
1 c vanilla soy milk
4 strawberries, frozen
½ banana, frozen
½ peach, frozen
¼ c plain low-fat yogurt (optional)

Blend all ingredients. Serve chilled.

But see, there's nothing like a seemingly simple recipe to freak me the fuck out. There are 4 items on that list I've never bought, and the idea of putting parsley in the blender was seriously wigging me out. But hey, I love a challenge:

Challenge 1: Find all the items in my grocery store. This wasn't too complex, except for the parsley and the ginger root. The produce dude pointed me in the general direction of a bunch of green leafy items, and when he noticed that I was still staring at everything 5 minutes later, he came up and handed me the parsley. Also, I couldn't find any pink lady apples, so I got the most pinkish apples I could find, I think they were Galas. I also opted for vanilla yogurt, because I've never had a tasty experience with plain yogurt, and I can only be SO experimental in one day.

Can you really trust a vegetable that looks like a weapon? Or wait, is it a fruit?

Challenge #2/3: What the fuck is a coin of ginger? And how do you mince? Okay, so I used my common sense with a coin, although the fact that some of the circles were dime shaped and some were half dollar shaped kinda threw me. And then I realized I was supposed to have taken the skin off before I started cutting. I trudged on.

I almost stopped here. This kinda gives me the creeps to look at even now. I mean, hairy? REALLY? Plus, the smell of it reminds me of the first trimester of my last pregnancy when everyone tried to shove ginger-flavored shit down my throat to ease my nausea. I trudged forward.

I'm not sure if this is a good mince or not, but my knives suck, so this was the best I was gonna do.

I took all the stems off the parsley before I chopped it. Nope, I don't eat the stalks of broccoli, either.

Then, at the genius suggestion of Laurie, I portioned the servings of ginger and parsley in an ice cube tray.

Added a little water, then stuck it in the freezer. After it froze, I popped out one cube for each serving of smoothie.

Cut up and froze all the bananas and peaches.

I chopped up the apples tiny too, because my blender suckkkkkkks and I wanted to make it as painless as possible.

I really went for it with the handfuls of spinach - go green or go home, right?

I threw everything in, making sure to add the soy milk and yogurt in first so it was closest to the blades for my finicky blender.

I doubled the recipe, and it made a HUGE amount - not pictured: another HUGE cup of this stuff

The verdict: A serious and surprising success. In the words of Laurie, "This recipe isn't 'good for a green smoothie'. It isn't 'ok except for the spinach'. It is delightful, addictive, ohmygod delicious. It tastes like heaven." I couldn't have said it better myself. It's gritty, yet perfectly smooth. Sweet, but perfectly flavored. Earthy, but insanely delicious. My husband LICKED THE GLASS. My 3 year old begged for more.
Make it. Now.

p.s....for those who are conscious of price, all the ingredients cost me about $15, and I was able to make around 7 (BIG) servings before I ran out of some of the ingredients. I still have more than half the parsley/ginger cubes and half a carton of the soy milk. At around $2 a serving, that's pretty awesome.

p.p.s....seriously, make it now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reason #476

We had friends over for dinner tonight and they brought pie for dessert. Can you guess which plate is my husband's? Hint: He doesn't believe in crumbs.

Yet another reason that I love him.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quick takes from 30

So, I'm 30. Just like that. The highlights:

- My husband took me to a SUPER swanky hotel while my parents watched the boys. How swanky, you ask? This place has an entire collection of REALLY WEIRD art. You know a place is posh when their art makes no sense. Example 1:
No wonder that lady looks like she is in great distress. There is a tree growing out of her body. That is a serious bummer. And then there is the pesky problem of that piece of sod not staying on her head and so she has to keep it on with a shoelace.

And check this chick out! She's obviously annoyed because someone stole a great big piece of her prize winning watermelon, so she is not sitting here to make sure no one takes any more and then a damn bird built a nest right on her head. That is serious dedication to watermelon watching.

Also, our room had an entire wall that is cork. It's that kind of unnecessary attention to detail that makes it so you feel somehow okay to have to spent a ridiculous amount to sleep somewhere 20 miles from your house. Oh, and the remote control had it's own little cradle. And the bathroom had q-tips and sea salt. So, obviously, this place was fancy.

- I got my nose pierced.

I've been wanting to do it for a long time, but my last boss said "no!" when I casually brought it up and then I tried to get it while I was pregnant on my 29th birthday, but apparently you can't get anything pierced while you are pregnant. The reactions have been mixed. The mom and mom-in-law were both like "oh. look at that." and then quickly changed the subject so as not to say anything rude. Most of my friends have loved it. Two different coworkers asked me if it was some kind of pre-midlife crisis act.
Nose ring blue steel! Yeah, these pictures aren't that great, but that won't be a problem much longer because...

- My new iPhone will have a flash :) Between the hotel and the phone, my husband really hit it out of the park this year in the gift and surprise department. This was a welcome change because...well...haha, remember honey that year before last when we were really broke and I told you not to get me anything, so you didn't get me a card or even say happy birthday until the afternoon because 'don't get me a present' was somehow translated to mean 'don't acknowledge my birthday at all'? Haha, wow, reminiscing is fun.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bring on the heat

If I'm lucky, this is where I'll be spending a great deal of my summer:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Then and now in a wordcloud

13 months ago, I used Wordle to create a word cloud from my tweets. (The bigger a word is, the more often it's been written). Here's what it looked like:

And today, here's what it looks like:

Predictably, "baby" has replaced "pregnancy" as the biggest word. And "think" is now the same size as "nausea" was. That's progress, people.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quick Takes from Target

1. There is only one time when I am sad that I don't have girls - when I'm clothes shopping. I've been told it only gets worse as you go from toddler sizes to boy sizes. That's why I was thrilled to find this shirt at Target the other day that my kid could wear to something nice-ish. Great color, simple, but a little more interesting and stylish than the typical polo shirt.

Then, I turned it around.


2. The other day I accidentally wore khakis and a red shirt while I was shopping at Target. Someone asked me where dog food was, and I told them it was in the toy section, on the Barbie aisle. They actually thanked me and headed that direction. The power of the red shirt.

3. This absolutely did not happen, I completely made it up. But I'm telling you, it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

4. I found coupons for paper towels and toilet paper after I had JUST bought them at Target the day before. I brought them in with the receipt and asked the lady if I could use them. She looked at me like I was a fucking loon, but guess who is $1.25 richer?

5. Does anyone actually put their kids in those super gross looking built-in baby seat carrier things that are attached to some of the carts? I think I got ebola just from looking at one the other day.

6. I want to like Target shoes. I really really really really do. But I don't.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

198 Days

Dear Will,

I have written letters to you in my head about a hundred times, but I’m finally sitting down to do it. You’ll learn about me that I have the best of intentions, but not the infinite time I need to get it all done. This hasn’t gotten any better since you’ve come around. I mean this in the best possible way, as I’d way rather stare at you with your crazy blue eyes and the wide smile than do about anything else. Oh, Will – your smile. It’s like your entire face emits pure sunshine, shining into every single crevice of my heart. And best of all, you give them with reckless abandon.

The first few weeks were challenging. So many changes, and not just with you coming into our family. When you were barely 2 weeks old, I lost my job. Be happy that you are too young to understand me right now, because I really won’t shut up about this happening, and believe me when I tell you that people are sick of me talking about it. It rocked me pretty hard and made the beginning days with you unfairly tough. But you knew nothing of this struggle and carried on as any newborn does – waking up 4-5 times during the night, nonstop feedings, lots of rocking, and nearly constant holding. Slowly (slowly!) we both came out smiling. You got easier and started sleeping better. I found a job. Life continued….

As you are nearing your 200th day in our lives, I can only count my lucky stars that I’ve been given the opportunity to be the mom in our little family, the four dubs. You are becoming this insanely awesome little dude. You are eating like a champ, and I have a feeling you are going to tip the scales at your next doctor appointment. You just started sleeping through the night, which is downright blissful for me and your dad. You are a rolling phenomenon. If you see something across the room that you want, you’ll roll over 16 times to get to it. You are starting to squeal and babble and you’d better start talking soon so you can keep up with your smarty-pants brother. And hey, do me a favor and say “mama” first, because Finn said “dada” and I think it’s my turn, don’t you agree?

I have to be honest when I tell you that when I was pregnant and I envisioned you in our lives, I wondered if I’d get a little….bored. It’s just that Finn was doing so much, talking and entertaining us on a level I never knew a 3 year old could. But you have proved me wrong. Everything you do is just totally magical. I look at you and I could bust into tears at any moment at the sheer level of luckiness I feel that we get to be your parents. Will, you are so happy. It’s not just your smile….it’s like your soul is just made of love. It’s clear to me that you are here in the world to do something very important. I’m so excited to watch it happen.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why would I want to do the dishes?

I finally realize that if I want my husband to unload the dishwasher, I have to ask. Mike will never get excited about unloading it, knowing how happy it will make me. This is an unrealistic expectation that many women have - it's like that awesome scene in The Break Up when Jennifer Aniston gets so pissed at Vince Vaughn because he should "want to do the dishes". "Why would I want to do the dishes???" he asks, perplexed.

Mike and I are lucky that we don't disagree much. Over the last 11 years, I can tell you that our fights have centered around basically one thing: I want him to see things that need to be done and do them. Turns out it doesn't work that way with dudes. Guys are happy to do what you want them to do, you just have to ask for it. It's the asking that's tough, though.

For me, this leads to a bigger issue. I've been slowly realizing over the last several years that the quickest way to live a fulfilled and happy life is to stop waiting for other people to fill your holes. I can't tell you how many years I wasted waiting for my mom to get better so I could be better. Turns out, I had the power the whole time.

If you want your life to be better, you have to be better. If you want change, you have to change.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things I'm Crazy About

My husband, who will let our toddler chase him with the sprinkler
My sweet baby, who obviously got his cheeks from his mom
Long shadows on long spring days

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Slowing down

I was driving with the boys in the car from Target to the grocery store, trying to fit all my errands into the morning before Finn's nap. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of color.

"Look!" I said to Finn. "They are blowing up a hot air balloon!" I stopped at a red light and Finn craned his neck around to try to catch a glimpse. Will was sleeping in the back, and so I thought....hey, why not just pull over for a couple of minutes and watch this.
I merged into the turn lane suddenly. "What are you doing, mama?" Finn asked, confused.

"Let's watch the balloon!" I said, pulling onto the side of the road.

Finn watched, wide eyed. We rolled down the windows and we listened to the roar of the fan blowing air into the balloon. The guys were running around, pulling ropes and doing some kind of well-choreographed dance as the balloon grew bigger and bigger.

My little budding photographer pulled out his camera and began snapping pictures....

...and admiring his work...

And as the balloon rose up in the air, I put the car in drive and said to Finn, "Let's get even closer!" I pulled up right behind the action and scooped Finn out of the car so we could get really close.

The flame was LOUD and he covered his ears, but he did it with a smile on his face.

Sometimes it pays to slow down.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blog muse: She Likes Purple

Jennie from She Likes Purple (an amazing writer who I highly recommend that you add to your feed, like NOW) wrote a pretty fantastic blog post last month - and she was actually inspired by Leah from A Girl and a Boy - about women helping women and particularly, mothers helping mothers. She gave a helpful "do" and "don't" list of things to say to new moms.

Among the dos:
I am thinking of you. I am here for you. Go take a nap, I've got this covered. Where's your laundry detergent so I can do this load of whites? You look fantastic. You are the perfect mom for him/her. What's your favorite restaurant so I can pick up dinner? It gets so much better and it'll change from hard to easier like that. You're doing everything right. Your son/daughter is beautiful. It's hard for all of us, in so many ways. I'll be in the kitchen, doing the dishes. Eat this cupcake.

And the don't that literally brought tears to my eyes:
Call me if you need anything! (she won't, you call her)

How many times have we said that to a new mom? We throw it out there "Call me! I'm happy to help! If you ever need a babysitter, just call me!" Do we mean it? Maybe. But do they call? No. Never. They NEVER do. I never did.

After Will was born and I was laid off shortly thereafter, I was lost. I wasn't sleeping much with having a newborn and a toddler at the same time. All those books that say "sleep when the baby sleeps" are useless once you have another kiddo around, as there is rarely a moment when both kids are asleep at the same time. Every free moment was devoted to searching for a job. I felt like no one would really let me mourn the loss of my job because everyone wanted me to "look at the bright side! A long maternity leave!" I felt tossed aside from a company that I devoted many years of my life to and incredibly resentful that I was forced to spend my leave searching for a new job. It was a time in which I felt entirely worthless. Unfortunately, I didn't really reach out. I talked to my friends about my feelings, but I never really told them how sad I felt, how much I longed someone to tell me that I was needed and wanted. And not just wanted to make lunch or get up in the middle of night to feed the baby. But that me, as a woman, was valuable. Combine all of this mental whirlwind with serious exhaustion and zero time to myself, I think I was flirting with a little good old fashioned postpartum depression.

When you have your second baby, people just aren't as excited. People say "Oh, I can't wait to meet him" but they don't come over. They don't bring dinners. They don't call. And even worse, when they did call and offer to help, I said "No, no, I don't want to put you out." And they believed me! The nerve!

Reading Jennie's post, I wondered why we don't insist on helping. Well, I can tell you that this mama won't let my offers go unfulfilled. I will bring dinner. I will fold laundry. I will listen. I will rock her baby while she takes a bath or a nap or just gets the fuck out of the house for an hour and stares at a wall in a coffee shop. Whatever she wants. I will insist.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog muse: Mommy Nani Booboo

I wish I had like 2 hours to read nothing but blogs every day, because there are so many talented writers out there. There are some that I never miss because the content is good every.single.time. These are usually the ones that I think about days, weeks, even months after I've read them. It's usually when they are able to write exactly the words that are in my brain, but generally way better than I could say or write them. So for the next couple of days, I'm going to use some talented ladies as my blog muse.

First up: This genius post at Mommy Nani Booboo, titled "How to Get Into My Pants" Okay, first of all, this lady is funny as shit. Secondly, she encapsulated the difference that men and women have about getting in the mood. For men, it's a 30 second process....for women, foreplay begins 3 days prior. He washes the parts to my breastpump....mmm, I'm getting hot.....he unloads the dishwasher...ohhh now you're talkin.....he tells me to sleep in....uhhh huh, take my clothes off now. I shouldn't talk for all women, but I think it's pretty universal that it's pretty hot when a man can show you that he appreciates you and that he's part of your team. My husband works wacky hours (including weekends) AND goes to school full time, so we'll go several days in a row without really having a conversation. My guess is that in his mind, he's thinking "I want to connect with you, so I'm gonna make a move" but in my mind I'm like "We have barely talked in 4 days, I couldn't be less turned on right now".

And if I can just fully plagiarize for a moment, let me copy and paste this genius line from her blog:

Do something just for me. – Just a little something. Not something for the both of us, or for the family, or for the house… just me. I know you’re very busy, and there probably isn’t a lot of room on your list of “things to do” for me. But if there is no room for me on your list- there is probably no room for your penis in my vagina.

*Not to steal any thunder from another gal talking about married sex this week, Kit at Her post today includes the joke: "Why is the bride smiling?" ... "Because she knows she'll never have to give another blow job."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Exciting New Product!

I have a very exciting product announcement for you.  You actually already have it, although perhaps you don't realize it.  It's conviently located to the left of your steering wheel in your car, and it looks much like the lever for your windshield washer function.  This lever is called your TURN SIGNAL.  This clever little device (also known as your blinker) activates a light on your car which is meant to alert other drivers on the road if you intend to change lanes or make a turn onto an adjacent road.  Seems unncessary, you say?  Yes, I realize you think that, which is why I thought we should discuss it.  Let's explore this tool, shall we!

The basics:  Pushing this contraption UP indicates that you are going to the right.  Pushing it down means you are going to the left.  Simple, eh?!

Helpful hints:
  • Don't assume that just because you have your blinker on, that you are entitled to come into the lane.  Plan ahead.  For instance, if you know you need to turn left in a mile, don't wait until the very last second to get into the left lane - i.e., don't be lame.  
  • Your turn signal can be very handy when you want to merge into one of the lanes next to you.  There is no need to get annoyed at other drivers when they won't let you in, when you haven't communicated that you want to do so, even if you believe that your passive aggressive swerving is getting your point across.
  • If you are going to merge into the turn lane, go ahead and turn on your blinker on prior to getting into that lane.  If you turn it on WHILE you are ALREADY in the turn lane, you are just being a lazy, annoying fuck.
  • If you intend on turning right into a side street or strip mall of sorts, be sure not to turn it on your blinker and then pass three or four possible places that you could have turned right.  This defeats the point of the turn signal, as you are LYING about your turning intentions.  
Although we are just covering turn signal basics, this is a perfect time to bring up the concept of the 'thank you wave'.  The purpose of this is to acknowledge someone for allowing you to merge into their lane, especially when the other person has slowed down in order for you to do so.  You simply raise your hand in the air, and move it slightly from side to side.  This very small amount of effort makes you a courteous, friendly driver.  And alternatively, if you decide to garishly pull in front of someone without thanking them for making them slam on their brakes to accommodate your vehicle 2 feet from their front bumper, you are a rude idiot asshole.

I'm so glad that I could enlighten you about these new products and concepts.  Now go forth, and use with reckless abandon.  I think that once you start using it, you'll find yourself turning on your signal when you pull into your driveway, and giving a thank you wave to the tree in your front yard.  You can never be too safe or nice!

Next editionBumper Stickers:  Which ones are totally inappropriate for your vehicle and therefore alert everyone that you are a douche canoe? 

Future editions: Avoid parking like an asshole AND The Left Lane: Not for you, Grandpa. 

*This post is brought to you by "Basic Manners" magazine.  If the subject matter contained within this post is confusing or new information to you in any way, you should subscribe immediately.  You can subscribe by visiting our website: or calling us toll free at 1-800-ASS-CAKE now! 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Being open

The day after I wrote the post about becoming a blog writing machine, I posted a video that I made for Finn's third birthday.  It had his full name in the beginning of the video, but I decided to post it anyway.  The next day, I got a comment on my family blog where I post nonstop pictures and videos and commentary about the boys.  Someone left an anonymous comment on a very old post of Finn that shows him naked from behind.  The comment was nasty.  It called us disgusting parents for "tarting" out our son to the internet, and then alluded to what they would like to do with my boy.  I did some investigating with my stat tracker and found that someone from Sweden left the comment, after doing a Google search for "naked boy".  Because that was the name of the actual picture that I had saved on my computer, it somehow led them to that post.

The first thing I did after reading that comment was to take down the video on this blog.  Even though it was "just" a comment, I felt somehow violated and scared that I was opening up my kid to risk.  I'm generally pretty trusting of the internet and world in general.  I pay my bills online, I don't shred every piece of paper I throw away, I do social media.  So perhaps I'm just naive.  Or maybe I'm just a wimp, and if I'm going to put my life out there online, I have to be prepared for everything.

Well, I'll tell you that although I did poke my head in a hole for a couple of days, I won't retreat indefinitely. 

But where is the line?  How much can I be open without opening myself to risk?  Is this an impossible task?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good enough

I've never wanted to be a writer. In middle school, I was given high marks and my teachers loved me, but I think it was because I actually cared about school, unlike my boy crazy peers.  Don't get me wrong - I was boy crazy too, but the reality that I would lose every privilege for low grades was a huge motivator (Damn you, parents who give a shit!)

In college, I took a creative writing class with 20 other students.   You had to print a copy of your writing for every person in the class and everyone had to review your work.  Then, in class, everyone got a turn to be critiqued.  This may sound like your worst nightmare, but I actually loved it.  Well, I loved the idea of it - but every single time it came around to my turn to be reviewed, the feedback was ALWAYS the same:  "The piece was good." "Nice story."  "No suggestions."
:: Crickets chirping :: 
I found this maddening - no one hated it, but no one LOVED it either.  Although it would have been hard to hear a bunch of criticism, at least I would have stirred people up.  But mediocre?  Gah. 

I think this is why my blog goes weeks without a post.  I am inspired to write constantly.  But when I sit down and write it, I just don't think it's good enough, funny enough, engaging enough.  Why do I care about a blog that's probably read by about 12 people?  Who knows.

So, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone.  I'm going to try to post with reckless abandon over the next month.  I'm not going to do that weird NoBloJoDolo thing, but I want to just start saying what's on my mind without wondering if it's good enough.  Here I go....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


 If I shower, pack my lunch and all my bags the night before, I only have to get up one hour before I have to leave.  Between the time my fingers find the off button on my alarm to when they turn the ignition of my car, it’s a battle: me vs. willful toddler vs. unpredictable baby vs. time.  Nurse, pump, pack, dress, console, urge, force.  Rush, rush, rush.  Everyone in the car, driving too fast, kids to daycare, then me to work.  Work work work, lunch, work work work.  I will the clock to move faster.  “I want to see my kids!  I want to pick them up!” So I race out of the office and scoop up the boys.  Race them home.  Rush, rush, rush.  Dinner as soon as we walk in the door, and then straight into bath and then bedtime for the kids.  Gotta get them to bed so I can get some things done.  Gotta get ready for the next day!  Rush, rush, rush.

This is my formula.  Gotta get through it so I can get to the Next! Better! Thing!  If we can just get to ______, everything will be better.  Once Mike graduates and gets a new job, we’ll have more time and I’ll have more help and everything will be better.  Once Will starts sleeping through the night, I will be able to think clearly and stay up later and everything will be better.  Once I learn my new job, I won’t be so stressed out and everything will be better.

When am I going to learn to enjoy what’s here?  Life can’t always be a rushing towards something better.  At some point, I have to stop and just be where I am.  Who cut my brake lines?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I recently “came out”.  I started using my real name on my blog.  I even started going back and replacing all my fake names in my earlier posts, just to avoid confusion.  Of course, it ended up being a much bigger job then I thought, so it’s only sporadically done, thus causing more confusion than it would have originally.  Ah well, welcome to my life of half-assed good intentions.

I decided to do this for a couple of reasons.  First, as I said in this post, I just didn’t want to come up for a made up name for my new little boy.  I’m not sure why it didn’t bother me to create a pseudonym for Finn.  Maybe because I was just getting to know Will?  Who knows.   The second reason was because I wrote a guest post on Stefanie Wilder Taylor’s site, Baby on Bored about what it was like growing up as a child of a alcoholic.  My family has been fiercely concerned about keeping the secrets of our past regarding the alcohol and drug abuse.  Although my mom is sober today, it is clear that we are not allowed to talk about it.  I was concerned that maybe if I posted on Stef’s site with my real name that somehow, someway she would find it.  Then, she would find my blog.  And then, my family would be furious at me for sharing our dark secrets. 

Then, I saw this, and it all just clicked into place for me.  This is my life and the repercussions of keeping secrets can be devastating.  She can keep her secrets.  But I’m telling mine.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh hey, that grass over there is WAY greener

My first week and a half of work can be accurately summed up into one word:  Exhausting.  I’m not one for summing up, so it was more like “oh my god, what was I thinking, hanging out in my pjs and watching cartoons was actually awesome, I feel like I’m going to fall asleep at any moment, please don’t fire me on my second day.” 

The number one most painful thing is waking up to an alarm.  I have the insane luck that Finn likes a solid 12 hours of sleep, so while I was unemployed, he was waking up at 8am.  In order to get myself dressed, nurse Will, pump, get the boys dressed, eat breakfast, pack my lunch and pack the daycare bag for both kids, I have to wake up at 6.  With the exception of one blissful night, Will has been waking up 4 times per night.  FOUR TIMES.  So, my brain is all “yeaaaaaah, I’m gonna need to stare at the wall for at least 2 hours today” and I’m like “No, actually, you are going to need to meet new people, remember their names, learn new skills, write coherent emails all while NOT falling asleep on your desk.”  Needless to say, my brain and I are not getting along.

And the whining is in full force.  This is hard.  I’m tired.  I miss my boys.  I miss my husband. 

I can honestly say that this is one of the hardest times of my life.  Having 2 kids (and did I mention that one of them wakes up FOUR TIMES a night?), a husband who is working full time at a job where he works evenings and weekend WHILE going to school full time and then starting a new job where I have to like…think and stuff.  From 6am until 8pm I am go go going nonstop…and then at 8pm I look around the dirty house and the piles of laundry and the bills to pay and the emails to return….and I choose sleep instead.  And I ask myself….why was I so anxious to find a job?

Oh yeah, I like my house, eating food and having heat.  Right.  That.  Okay, so there’s no going back.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Magic tricks

My husband thinks that our house is magical.  Well, I'm guessing this is what he thinks.  I can't think of any other reason he would leave things around the house that he wants to disappear.  

Example A:  Finn still wears a diaper to bed and when he wakes up, he comes up to our room with his undies and my husband switches them out.  Then, he puts it on the chest.  Every morning. 

Example B: This one is slightly more annoying.  When he changes Will's diaper, he puts it on these shelves.  You see the space on the right?  On the floor is where the diaper genie is.  Yeah. 

Example C: Also, in Will's room, he throws his PJs on the foot rest.  You see the closet door behind it?  That's where the hamper is. 

Example D:  My husband thinks that Good Will does a pick up inside our closet, because every time he wants to donate his clothes, he folds them and put them on the floor.  How convenient. 

Example E: When I complained that he got hair all over the counter when he trimmed his facial hair, he started to trim over the sink.  Thank goodness we got that worked out. 

Example F:  I am an obsessive recycler.  So I guess I should be thankful he puts it on the counter rather than in the trashcan.  He's always thinking about me. 

Example G: He's always leaving these all over the house for me.  What an ass.