Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa, a donkey and three wise men walk into a bar...

I wasn't sure if Kate would get it this year. You know, the whole Christmas thing. Not quite two, I wasn't sure if this was the year that it would mean something to her. I made sure to buy her some books about the holidays, a few about Santa and then a few about the manager, all sprinkled in together. Which I'm sure confused the hell out of her, and I'm fairly certain that she thinks Santa was born in a manager and the wise men gave him the ability to fly so he could deliver toys to all the good little boys and girls. Oh, and eternal salvation, Santa gives that too.

So, yes, it is kind of convoluted. I never realized how hard it is to reconcile the religious holiday of Christmas with the secular celebration until I tried to explain it to a toddler.

I know at least the Santa message has sunk in. One, because all Dora and Diego can talk about is this Santa character, and two, because without any prompting from me, whenever she sees Santa (dolls, hats, people, etc.) she says "Santa! Ho, Ho, Ho." Which is cute. But then, starting this week, a new word got thrown in the mix. "Santa! Ho, Ho, Ho…. TOYS." Yep, sounds like my little girl has got Christmas ALL FIGURED OUT.

Last time she mentioned Santa, I talked to her about Jesus, to try and maybe straighten out her understanding a little. I told her that Santa came to help us celebrate the birth of Jesus. She solemnly agreed with me. “Yes,” she said. “Jesus…” I mentally high-fived myself for helping her connect the two Christmas characters in a way that she would understand. Watch out mother of the year, here I come. “Jesus…” she repeated. “TOYS.” (Head slap).

Soooooo, where is the parenting manual on Christmas? I obviously need a little help here.

You mean I'm not getting toys from both you AND Jesus??? I don't understand this holiday, Santa...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Christmas, From India

I've been a bad blogger. Seriously, three weeks with no new post? Where are those great holiday anecdotes? Those photos of me burning cookies or mucking up some home project with Kate? WHAT HAPPENED TO CHRISTMAS AT THE EDELBROCK HOUSE?

Well, India happened. Specifically, my husband WENT to India for THREE WHOLE DAMN WEEKS. And I could have posted while he was gone, but every story I started almost immediately veered downhill fast into a rant, and who wants to read me bitch for a good 2,000 words every day?

Also, I was a little afraid of announcing that I was going to be home alone for three weeks, just in case it made me a target for all those tech-saavy criminals that read common housewife blogs. Despite the fact that I am very clearly ready for any and all home invasions (I have an alarm system connected to every door and window in our house, two big (60 lbs. +) dogs that are EXTREMELY misbehaved and a taser that my father-in-law bought me that I'm almost 100 percent sure is not totally legal. I also am armed with the knowledge that a good shot to the nuts can bring a man down to his knees, so imagine my self-defense strategy of taser to nuts and DO NOT MESS WITH ME. Oh, and if you are a lady bad-guy, I just plan on hitting you over the head with my extremely heavy lamp and then tasing you until you wet your pants. Soooo, think on that for just a wee minute) I decided not to share with the world that Ben was out of the country.

But Ben is currently on a plane heading home to us, and tomorrow ends my nearly month-long epic of being a solo parent. I could probably recap how the three weeks alone with Kate went by an itemized list of her injuries. From day one when she knocked her head on a coffee table (hello goose egg), to day five when she fell face-first into my dresser drawers (hello SECOND goose egg) to days 10 and 12 when she left claw marks on her own face in an effort to keep me from picking her nose, we obviously were hanging on to our shit by a THREAD. By the end of the trip, instead of the nice hour-long nighttime ritual we normally do (bath, books, milk, rocking and talking, tuck-in) I was giving Kate a high-five and an air-kiss and that was all I could muster before turning off her light. I only stayed up past 9:30 three nights and I regretted it each time. If my WONDERFUL neighbors hadn't had us over for dinner half of the nights Ben was gone, we would have eaten frozen dinners or pizza at least 15 of the 18 nights. I did laundry because I was out of underwear, but I never got around to folding it so I have been sleeping under a pile of clean clothes on my bed. Currently, my idea of a perfect day is watching movies the entire day without ANY RESPONSIBILITY. And sleeping. Lots.

However, while I may not have done it gracefully, I am proud of how Kate and I made it through three weeks without an integral member of our team. Sure, we had our ups, our downs and plenty of bruises, but it was an experience that I'll always remember.... and hope to never have to repeat!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This mommy's gift list: Edition 3

I ran across this book the other day, and am determined to own it. However, since I only pay money for trashy novels at the local grocery store, I might have to depend on a charitable gift giver to actually go to a REAL BOOKSTORE and BUY IT FOR ME (again, Ben, honey, are you picking up my oh-so-subtle hints here?)

The book is "Soul Pancake," written by Rainn Wilson (The Office) and a collection of his friends who wanted to create something that was a mixture of art, religion, philosophy, creativity, and anything else you care to throw in. It is a little eye candy, a little conversation piece, a little thought starter and a little different, and that is why I'm so intrigued. Reviews on Amazon talk about how engaging the book is, and it seems like something Ben and I could read to generate thoughtful, meaningful conversations. Which lets be honest, can be few and far between in the race of life with a toddler.

You can purchase "Soul Pancake" on Amazon for just $13.18, and it would make a great stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift. At least I think so. Don't blame me if you hate it or it is just plain weird.

Nice to (virtually) meet you

Today's quick post is a little, "Nice to meet you" to anyone who is coming over from Lamidge.com. I'm featured this month on the blog's December Push and am hoping to make some nice (or not nice, whatever) new friends along the way. For my old bloggy friends (yes YOU the one who has been reading since I got all knocked up and stuff), take a second to pop over and check out Lamidge.com -- the author, Brittney, posts great recipes, how-tos, pictures of puppies (seriously, who doesn't love puppies?) and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have as bad of a potty mouth as I do. So it might be a refreshing change.

In the spirit of getting to know one another better, I'm posting links to a few of my high (or low) lights from the edelspot. Such gems like,

You can't get off the crazy train
My baby the drunk ox
Good parenting 101
When Kate met formula
Kate's most important milestone
The spoken word
Ten things you don't care to know about me

Enjoy, and nice to (virtually) meet you all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The parenting learning curve

Last year, my first year being a mother, I was THAT mother. You know, the one who really never had a clue. The one who forgot picture day. The one who forgot to pay for school nearly every month. The one who paid the housekeeper in pennies because I forgot to have cash on hand and OH MY GOD GOING TO THE  BANK FELT LIKE TOOO MUCH WOOOOORK. The one who lived in pajamas and hated mothers that took showers and wore make up (seriously, who do you think you are?!).

You know, I was the one you wanted to pat and tell that things would get better, but you also didn't want to seem condescending, so you just walked past in the grocery store aisle while I begged Kate to quit crying and broke down in my own tears.

Ahhh, memories.

And that, my friends, is why I take so much pleasure in the fact that I can measure how much I've grown as a parent by the things I haven't forgotten in the past few months. In fact, twice in the last month I've wanted to high-five myself for remembering things that, on the surface, aren't that big of a deal. But to me, they just prove that I have finally started to pull my shit together.

Because this year, I was NOT the mommy who had to explain to their kiddo that they had forgotten it was Pajama Day. Because I remembered, and I had Kate in her pajamas, and while I think she is too young to realize that everyone was in their jammies, I KNEW. And I felt like a BAD ASS.

And today, when I took Kate to school, I was NOT the mommy who packed a lunch that she didn't need, because it was their special Thanksgiving Day lunch. No, I was the mommy who not only KNEW it was Thanksgiving Day at school, but I brought the MOTHER F*CKING NUGGETS for said feast (I just gave myself a fist pump.)

Honestly, I know I've talked a lot on this blog about feeling like a failure. It is a running theme in my life as a mother. Because I think that when you care so much about something, when there is a person in your life that means the sun, moon and stars, it is easy to feel that way. Because you can NEVER give, be, or do enough.  Except on those days that you come through. Those days that they look at you like you are a super hero. Or sometimes it is just the days that you can look at YOURSELF like you are a super hero. And those days? Those are the days you can feel good, the days that make it all worth while. Even if its just because you brought the MOTHER F*CKING NUGGETS to school.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This mommy's gift list: Edition 2

Soooo, yeah. I know I said this gift list would be comprised of "affordable" gifts, but maybe I should add "aspirational" gifts as well, because I found the coolest vase/art piece and I just MUST share. It is just a little pricier than, say, a family on one income (cough) might spend for a vase, however, if you look at it as an ART piece, consider it an INVESTMENT (and art, is like, SO much safer to invest in than, say, your Roth this year. ART is forever. Hello? Are you listening Ben? Honey, I'm talking to YOU).

This Candle Wax Vase ($350) is a hand-blown glass vase from Design Within Reach, created by artist Andi Kovel and her partner Justin Parker, one of the top glassblowers in the country. With this glass vase, they have basically created the most beautiful canvas for you -- you simply burn different colors of candles in the vase, allowing the wax to drip and collect, filling the vase like those sand jars you probably made as a kid.

What I like best about this piece is the idea of making it into a beautiful record of time. If I owned this vase, I would tie different colors to a specific experience or memory. For example, I might burn orange candles for every one of Kate's birthdays. And red candles for all our anniversaries. And white candles for romantic evenings together, and purple candles for evenings spent entertaining. And once the jar is totally filled, you can look at it and see those special experiences that you had during the time it took to fill the vase and feel like you have a one-of-a-kind piece of art that reflects the life of your family.

So I'd probably fill it and keep it, as a record of our lives. However, the really cool part is that if you fill it and want to start again, you can actually SEND BACK the filled vase to the artists and they will provide you with a new one to begin again. I LOVE it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A broken heart

You may remember that recently, Kate went back to Mother's Day Out a few times a week, and I began slowly regaining the sanity I lost over summer break. And unlike last year where Kate would scream bloody murder when I handed her over to the nice teacher lady, now Kate wiggles out of my arms as soon as we get in the building and run downs the hall to her classroom in a mad dash to THE FUN. THE FUN AT THE END OF THE HALL!!!

It makes me happy. And it makes me happy to see her when I pick her up. All disheveled and covered in some mystery substance and GLOWING because of all the fun she had during the day. One day I walked up to the door and saw my angel chasing one of the boys around the classroom with her arms outstretched and her little legs pumping and giggles just pouring out of her mouth. Another time I showed up and she was sitting quietly on a carpet square with the rest of the class, in anticipation of snack time (huh, so food bribery DOES work). In those moments, I see her for what she is -- a truly happy little girl and I feel proud and accomplished for my part in that.

Today, in the car as we rode home, I asked her about her day. She babbled on in her secret toddler language for a little bit and I told her I was glad she had fun. Then, I did something I regret -- I asked her a question I really didn't want the answer to.

Me: Kate, you love school. Do you want to go to school MORE?

Kate: (quietly) Yes.

Kate: (louder) Yes.

Kate: (yelling in a happy, joyful, OMG kind of way) YES, YES!!

Me: Do you mean, like, you want to go every day of the week?

Silence.

Kate: (tiny, quiet, reverent whisper) yeeeeeeesssssssssss.

Silence.

(Insert sound of my heart breaking here)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This mommy's gift list: Edition 1

It is that time of year again -- the time you scramble to find moderately priced gifts that you actually want to give someone or actually want to receive. In an effort to make it a little easier this year, I'm doing a holiday gift list of things I see that I think are pretty freaking cool. If you happen to see something you like here or want to buy someone, feel free to throw it on your own holiday wish list. This is NOT, however, an "every mommy will love this gift" type gift guide however, because, well, frankly... I think my taste is a little questionable. Soooo, there you have it.

Also, this is going to be a random assortment of posts rather than one good gift list because I find random things that just make my weird-o-meter go WEEEEEE!! regularly and I can't stand the thought of leaving some magnificent find out just because I already posted. Especially when that flower vase made out of a beaver skull would have been SO PERFECT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM!!!

Today's first selection comes to you thanks to Parents magazine and their fine, FINE reporting. Behold, the Koziol bird salt and pepper shaker (I know, you just whispered "awesome" under your breath. You are right. It IS awesome). This bad boy can be found on Amazon.com for a mere $36, and I just love the idea of having this on my counter. Tacky? Maybe. But I dare you to SAY THAT TO MY FACE.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Early morning pep talk

My morning conversation with my always tactful husband, before heading to my old office to meet with a bunch of co-workers from my past life:

Me: Seriously, I can not believe how big this zit is, how embarrassing.

Ben: Haha, your co-workers will think I beat you.

Silence.

Ben: You know, because it looks like you have a black eye.

Silence.

Me: So my zit is so big it looks like I have a black eye?

Silence.

Ben: Uh, no, its just because its so CLOSE to your eye. And big.

Silence.

Me: You suck.

Ben: Sorry.

Me: You think I'm not already feeling crappy about this huge zit on my face without being told it looks like a BLACK EYE?

Ben: Sorry.

Me: So its so big it looks like a black eye, huh?

Ben: Sorry.

Me: You really know how to make someone feel good about themselves.

Ben: Sorry.

Silence.

Ben: Besides your black eye, you look really pretty.

Silence.

Me: You suck.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shout out to my peeps-in-law

My sister-in-law Nikki crafts and blogs over at Lilybug Designs, and I was inspired (read: GREEN WITH ENVY, the kind of envy that is special to only children) by her new blog look. This was courtesy of my OTHER sister-in-law, who created the fabulous Lilybug Designs logo (Holla Ashley!)

So of course, I waited until the most inopportune moment and BAM! I hit poor Ashley up for my very own EdelSpot (which now, due to rebranding and cool-ness factor is edelspot, all lower case) logo. Okay, actually, she very sweetly offered to make me one because she knew I was hopeless. And check out the fantastic design she created (look to my right, wait, no, your right. Look right that way--->).

And thanks to her inspiration, I have found myself futzing with the rest of the blog the last few days, hence new colors, photos, etc. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but like life, this blog is a work in progress (seriously, it took me damn near three hours, two glasses of wine and a minor meltdown to get that button posted) so I hope you guys enjoy the new look!

To Ashley -- Thank you so much for taking the time out of your life to create a new edelspot logo and look that I LOVE and am proud to post on my blog!
 
To Nikki -- Thanks for sharing your web designer with me, and helping me figure out how to post that button html without throwing my computer out a window. Ben also thanks you, because he would have to murder me if I destroyed our computer in a fit of rage.

Kisses!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shhhh, they know too much already

I mean, seriously. How. Do. They. Learn. It?

I have never, and I mean NEVER walked around the house, grabbing things in my greedy little hands and yelling, "MINE!!!!"

Not even in my most thrilling Supermarket Sweep fantasy, where anything and everything I can see COULD possibly BE mine, do I verbally stake claim to each item (I'm too busy shoving steaks in my cart, because, COME ON, THE MEAT IS WHERE THE MONEY IS. Strategy, baby. Strategy)

So you can imagine my shock and awe when I realized that not only does my kid know the WORD "mine" but also very heartily grasps its concept. The first time she clutched a toy to her chest and said "mine," I was dumbfounded. And to be fair, that toy WAS hers, so I held a certain amount of pride in her first declaration. But after a few more instances where I had to keep my voice as non-snarky as possible when I told her that she was, in no uncertain terms, INCORRECT when she labeled that television remote as "mine," I realized we might have a situation on our hands. And then, I had to think, where does she LEARN this shit?

And I realized. Our kids are smart folks. They KNOW things. And as they get older, they get SMARTER. I'm fairly certain that I'm going to have to start some in-depth strategizing with Ben by the time Kate is two to keep ahead of her.

In the meantime, I'm buying a label machine and making sure everyone can read that certain items, like the remote or the ice cream in our freezer, belongs to: "Liz THIS IS MINE Edelbrock." Not sure this addresses the root of the "mine" problem with Kate, but it sure as hell makes me feel better having staked claim to all the real goodies in the house. So really? Problem solved.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Breakfast of champions

The spoon just wasn't cutting it.  Luckily, what we lack in manners and finesse, we make up for in enthusiasm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And time marches on... all over my face

Last night, around 4 a.m. when I was on my SECOND potty break of the evening, I realized that someone had stolen my young, cooperative body and replaced it with this old, crotchety one that I'm living in now. And the pisser is, I never got to say goodbye... it was like I was young and carefree one moment, and the next I'm waking up two or three times a night to pee, my metabolism is slowing down to a creepy crawl and my back hurts when it rains. I mean SERIOUSLY. What a bummer.

A few weeks ago, I took Kate to Little Gym for the first time, and when I came home to report on the day, Ben asked me if there were any other moms I thought I could be friends with. (Since I'm a little thin on parent friends, my husband likes to play matchmaker. Like a friendship Yenta). I told him that there were several nice women, but they all seemed a little older than me, like they were in a different stage in life. Ben looked at me with sympathy. Huh, weird. I gasped. "You don't think those OLDER women actually were MY AGE do you?! AM I THAT OLD?!?!" I ran to the mirror to asses. Fine lines, check. A little sun damage here and there, check. A little more weight around the ol' middle, check. Well SHIT. Look at that chick in the mirror. When did I become HER??

When you look in the mirror every day, you don't see it. I knew I was getting older, but it was such a slow progression I didn't really notice the change. Until something made me stop and look, and, well, whoa. I AM those "older" women.

I remember a few years ago I asked my mom when I would feel like an adult. In all her wisdom, she shared with me that I'll never really feel like I have it all together, like I think an adult SHOULD feel. Rather, some day I'll look in the mirror and realize I've gotten older, and I just have to ACT like I've got it all figured out. 

Well, Hell. Better start writing about something intelligent now and then. Wouldn't want you guys to catch on that this old lady doesn't know SHIT about life... still.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gnomes, and witches, and candy, OH MY

So I may have mentioned that my 30th birthday was this past weekend (eye roll, I know. I've mentioned it in, like, my last 15 posts). It was amazing, so don't think that my bloggy silence is because I don't have anything good to say. Rather, there are so many moments, gifts, blessings and surprises that I need time to assimilate it all before I can get it down for consumption.

In the meantime, I have to post my obligatory Halloween post, lest I be the ONLY blogger on the Internet that doesn't have one. So, shall we jump to it?

Kate was a garden gnome. And a candy corn witch. All in one day, not, like, spread out over a week or so. And, you are probably thinking, why TWO costumes  (I know Ben was sure thinking that). And that is simple. Because one costume was AWESOME and one was ADORABLE, and when you have a kiddo who is both awesome AND adorable, how do you choose? You must let them express both aspects of their personality, obviously, and so we had a day full of costume wearing.

Ironically, we spent the morning in our yard, doing a complete overhaul of our flower beds. So it was ONLY appropriate that Kate was a garden gnome during the day. Which. Was. Awesome. She really got into character, especially when she decided to climb down into a hole that we dug for a new shrub and would pop out every so often and giggle. It was like a drunk gnome really did just climb out of our bushes. And yes, in the last picture that is dirt on her nose. Because what self respecting gnome doesn't like to rub their face in dirt?





That evening, Kate was in a fairly foul mood, so the adorable but devilishly evil candy corn witch was an extremely appropriate costume. Luckily, as the night went on and she realized that she got to socialize with strange children and her favorite neighbors, oh, and the whole eating candy thing, she perked right up. Ignore the fact that I wasn't going to allow her any candy. Because this crafty witch is also a genius when it comes to satisfying junk food cravings, and she figured out the unwrapping thing on her own. And she consumed several pieces before she was caught and the jig was up. Just an FYI -- Hershey Kisses are apparently her favorite, and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups are worth licking the chocolate off, but the peanut butter part will be discarded wherever (i.e. the living room carpet, the grass, mommy's hand, etc.)






Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Joyriding is overrated

My 30th birthday is in four days. FOUR. That makes this week my birthday week. Which means I can do what I want without consequence. No? Shit, better put that stranger's car back in the spot I found it...

Anyways, today I planned on a big birthday post where I spent time reflecting on my 20s and how they shaped me as a person. Something meaningful I could look back on years from now and feel proud of. But, yeah... that just sounds like an awful lot of work.

I guess that means no (interesting) post for today, because truly, I got nothing. I'll work up something soon though and hit ya'll on the flip side.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ten things you don't care to know

Hold on to your hats ladies and gentleman, we are about to get really close. Today's post is all about getting to know me. Not like this getting to know Liz post from 2008. No, we've moved past these social niceties. This is it baby. This is the weird, wacky and wild side. And quit rolling your eyes and saying, "Duuuuuude, I don't want to know you I just want to read about you farting and failing as a mother and such." Well, if I'm going to share those moments with you, I want to show you ALL my bumps, bruises, warts and oddities that make me, well, me. It might explain a few things... 
  1. I have a fear of running over bags left on the side of the road because I'm afraid there will be body parts in them. Yep, you read it right. I don't know whether to attribute it to too much CSI and Law & Order, or just being a weird sicko, but whenever I see a black garbage bag on the side of the road, I make sure to give it wide berth. I do NOT want to be the one to find a missing person by driving over parts of them.
  2. I love to read trashy romance novels, but I typically skip the sex scenes. I'm not sure why that is, but when the story moves its way to the bedroom (or the car, or the office desk, or whatever location is deemed sexy enough) I start flipping pages to the part where they are lying together post-coitus having some earth shattering emotional conversation. Its not like I'm a prude or something, its just like, jeez, thats kind of personal, you know? And, I mean, yeah they are fictional characters and all, but, lets give them a little privacy here.
  3. I hate to cry in front of people, but I love to cry. Seriously, if no one is around I will tear up at a Cialis commercial. When Ben travels and I have the house to myself, my favorite thing to do is drink a bottle of wine and watch an emotional movie. Like School of Rock. And yes, if you are in the mood to cry, you can even cry to a movie that features Jack Black. Or I will listen to music and write a post about FEELINGS. And then never publish it. It is cathartic. And a little crazy. That is why I do it when I'm alone.
  4. I have the appetite and likes of a twelve year old boy. If I could design an all-you-can-eat buffet, the items on it would include pizza, turkey sandwiches with avocado, potato chips, ranch dressing, chicken wings, nachos, lasagna or any (every) pasta dish, my husband's gumbo, garlic bread, an assortment of cheeses and those cookies that you get at the grocery store -- you know, the kind worth eating out of the trash?
  5. I'm an only child, but am often told I am not a "typical" only child at all. I find immense pleasure in this. Like, I have risen above my bratty upbringing. And then I have a diva moment at home alone with my husband and I know that it is all a well put on act. I am an only child. Through and through. It is SCARY how only I can be.
  6. I used to love all children until I had my own. Now, I'm extremely selective about which kids I'm into. I mean, there are a few kids that I still think are tops, but they are in the minority. Mostly I look at other kids now and just see germ factories, brats and mis-behaved riff-raff. All of which probably also describe my Kate on any given day, but seriously, sun shines out her ass so who cares? (Note -- obviously, if you are reading this I am NOT talking about your children. I'm sure sun shines out their behinds as well, so no offense. This is more focused to the kids at the playground that you just KNOW aren't going to let your kid play tag with the gang b/c she is too young, and it hurts your feelings more than your toddler's feelings and you want to yell YOU GUYS SUCK, but then, that is kind of abusive to shout at a six year old so you hold your tongue OH MY GOD I'M SO ANGRY AT THOSE LITTLE A-HOLES!!!!)
  7. Ahem. Collecting myself and on to number 8.
  8. I'm running out of interesting stuff to talk about. Maybe I'm not as weird as I thought.
  9. I take baths with the shower running (and... we are back). It makes the hot water last longer, it makes the bathroom steamier and it makes a really soothing white noise. I also like to have the shower (or any water) running when I'm going to the bathroom. There is something about utter silence that bothers me, so whether I'm home alone or have guests, that water gets turned on before I hit the porcelain throne.
  10. I turn 30 in exactly nine days. I don't know whether to feel excited or depressed that life is going by so quickly. I hear 30 is the new 20, but I was a mess in my 20s so I certainly don't want to relive all THOSE years again. I think 30 is going to be great. A whole new chapter where I'm a perfect parent and perfect wife, and I figure out what I want to be when I grow up and I feel like I finally, FINALLY know what the hell I'm doing in life. That is what happens when you are 30. Right? RIGHT?
So there you go. (Almost) ten things you probably didn't know about me. And, I'm extremely interested in you too. Tell me, what is something weird or unique about you? You know we all have something... 

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kaboom

You know when something has been building inside you for quite some time? And then, there is some seemingly innocuous event that sets it off in an explosion so catastrophic no bystander is left untouched? Yeah, I had one of THOSE days yesterday.

I'll start by saying I have a wonderful husband, and we have a wonderful marriage. Just like any lifelong commitment, we are constantly working to grow, change and evolve together. It is a constant work in progress, but we both knew that is what marriage was when we signed up for it.

However, I think one of the hardest things we've gone through to date is the birth of Kate. While she has added unparalleled joy to both of our lives, she also adds a layer of complexity to our relationship as a couple. I've struggled with feelings of inadequacy as a parent, lacking the support and validation that a traditional job provides. Ben has felt more pressure in his new job to be successful and provide for the family. And because of the whirlwind that is life, the discussions and support we should have for one another isn't always there.

This month has been a tough one for us. Ben has brought three distinct things to my attention that made me feel like I was failing in my "job" as a stay at home mother. It would take too much time to go into each item, but needless to say, I felt I was getting a "needs improvement" on my annual review, and that didn't feel good at all.

Going from a competitive and successful professional to a full-time mom has been my greatest challenge. I've always thrived on getting ahead, being good at what I do. I'm used to annual promotions, bonuses and verbal praise from superiors. All things missing in my life at the moment. So when I heard Ben's comments, I heard criticism. I felt defensive, and honestly, devastated. But of course, I said nothing. Our communication had dwindled to surface talks about our days and schedules, and there was no time for talking about feelings or emotions.

So when Ben came home last night with flowers and asked me for a date night, I was ready to bury the hatchet and just have a good time. With Kate sick for the last two weeks, I've been stuck at home and needed some time in the world. We started the drive to our favorite patio and started bantering about random things. At one point, after a particularly bad joke (I admit), Ben said "that wasn't funny." I snapped back that he wasn't funny either. Kind of the "I'm rubber, you are glue" strategy, so obviously not very mature, but I have to admit. I was wounded. Because when you are already raw with negative feelings, it doesn't take much to bring them to the surface.

A few moments later I thought traffic was slowing down and muttered something about hating traffic, and Ben leaned forward and asked, very innocently, "Where is traffic? There isn't any up there."

Kaboom.

I. Lost. My. Shit.

I called him passive aggressive. I told him I didn't appreciate being talked to that way. I told him that he wasn't helpful, he was mean, that he said things just to make me feel bad about myself. All the negativity and emotion from the month just boiled to the surface and I spewed my hurt and anger all over him, like a great, heaving, hormonal Mount Vesuvius (Pompeii reference. Anyone? Anyone? Sigh). Of course, this did not go over well. Instead of an apology (which I didn't really deserve), I was faced with Ben's anger. Because he didn't know what he did. And how could he have? I was angry about something completely unrelated to this moment in time.

We rode home in silence and I was able to analyze what I was feeling. Why I had this hot rush of anger when he questioned me about traffic. And I knew. I knew that in my mind, he had been questioning me all month about my decisions, my actions. I realized we had come to this by ignoring our problems, and I felt ashamed.

We skipped dinner and went home. I sat Ben down. I told him what I was feeling. I cried. I laid myself bare. And we really talked. He explained his comments throughout the month, how his personal feelings and stresses led to many of his criticisms. I shared how difficult it was to have no positive reinforcement at home, and how that had led to some of my actions. It was good. We really heard each other, and healed.

And while last night was painful, sometimes its okay to go KABOOM. After the dust settles, things can be better for the explosion.

Friday, October 15, 2010

TGIF

I mean, for reals. And because I'm too whipped to type a post about how big a SUCK this week has been, I leave you with a picture. Because pictures are worth a thousand words. And a thousand words is pretty substantial for a blog post, so consider this a LONG ASS POST. Happy Weekend!

I call this, "These boots are made for walking, oh, and for getting sick and spreading my germs and crabbiness all over this house you poor, poor suckers."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A craft for the totally un-crafty: Blackboard Pumpkins

So I may have mentioned that October is my favorite month (ha). And one of my favorite things about October is pumpkin. Pumpkin patches, pumpkin pancakes (a seasonal treat at our favorite diner) and pumpkin carving. In fact, I used to host an annual pumpkin carving party each year -- a booze-filled shindig that went on hiatus the year I was pregnant, and which I just haven't had the energy to reinstate since (do you know how much work it is to prep for 30 drunk folks to wield KNIVES in your house? Add to that the interior guts of a pumpkin and you get quite a messy party).

So naturally, I've been really excited to share my pumpkin love with Kate. However, I've watched that chick with a fork and there is NO WAY she is touching a carving knife. And all the little stick-on kits I've seen at craft stores are for kiddos three and up. And while pumpkin PAINTING could have been an option, last time we used paint I ended up washing her mouth out with soap.

So, you guys, I swear on everything holy I came up with a craft idea ALL ON MY OWN. Yeah. THIS gal. Who can't bake bread, sew a button or build a spooky cookie house. And I'm pretty proud of it. Below is a tutorial on how to make Blackboard Pumpkins -- a decorating treat for the pre-preschool set.

Head on over to your local craft store and pick up a couple fumpkins (fake pumpkins) and some chalkboard spray paint (maybe the coolest thing ever invented).  You could probably use real pumpkins, but these are so light that Kate has taken to toting her pumpkin everywhere she goes, which is cuter than her dragging a rotting gourd around with her throughout the month. And PS, I have a picture of the spray paint can, but it is ugly, and if you can't figure out what chalkboard spray paint is when it says it RIGHT THERE ON THE CAN... you shouldn't be working with flammable materials anyways.
Prop your pumpkins on something so that you can spray underneath. These mini clay pots I found in my garage worked gangbusters. 
And spray! Make sure to coat them fully and then put on a second coat after 24 hours to ensure chalkboardy goodness.
Let dry for 24 hours and then let the kiddo loose!
I don't have a picture of Kate looking at the camera, because as soon as she saw the pumpkins and chalk she said "OOOOO" and we lost her for a good 20 minutes.
The artist at work.
Deep concentration is needed here. When your toddler has the attention span of a gnat and she focuses on something for more than 2 minutes, I would call it a success. Blackboard Pumpkins? SUCCESS.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Strengths and (stomach) weaknesses

Hello peeps! Sorry I've been MIA this week, but we've been fighting the great stomach bug of death around here. And while you know I have an odd penchant for describing every bodily fluid-filled moment of life with a kiddo, I don't even have the energy to recount the various times I've thrown up or been thrown up on in the last five days.

Okay, wait though. There is this ONE story...

I'll make it brief, but it shows the distinct difference between a dad who DIDN'T spend an entire 24 hours getting puked on by a kiddo last flu season v. a hardened veteran of projectile vomit.

Every night we split bedtime duties. Ben reads to Kate while she drinks a glass of milk, and then I do bath time. Usually during story time, I'll be picking up Kate's toys or some other mundane chore, but this special day, I had decided to lock myself in the study to surf the Internet. Which made it hard to hear when Ben was screaming my name from Kate's nursery at the other end of the house. I thought I heard something so I stopped typing and poked my head out of the study to listen. I then heard my frantic husband yelling while my baby wails. My first thought is that she had seriously hurt herself so I go running through the house and slam open her door. I see her sitting on Ben's lap bawling. He is looking seriously stressed. But I don't see blood or anything, so I'm all "What in the WORLD is wrong?!" to which he gives me a look that says "You have GOT to be shitting me" and says all indignant like "SHE THREW UP ON ME. SEEEEEEEE THROW UUUUUPPPPPP."

Kate throws up and my husband is shocked into inaction. Like, the only thing he could think to do was call ME. Because obviously I am an expert at dealing with puke. Just call me the Vominator. 

So I swoop in and grab Kate to cuddle her and try to make her a little less hysterical and give Ben a moment to collect himself. I feel her little body heave and I'm all, "Here we go ladies and gentleman" and I pull her back just the slightest bit so she would throw up on me instead of over my shoulder onto her rug, crib and other things that would take more than shower to get clean. I immediately head to the bathroom where she again soaks me. Sweeeet, I needed one more for the road. I strip Kate down and climb into the shower with her and finally get her to calm down.

Ben in the meantime, was spurred into action and was cleaning off the chair, the floor and himself. He even did a load of puke laundry. So while I may give him a little grief for just sitting there with a vomit soaked toddler until help arrived, he at least was an awesome hazmat crew.

I guess we all have to be good at something. Ben sweetie, you complete me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best month ever

Did I ever mention that October is my favorite month? Not only is it my birthday month, and, I mean, YAY TO BEING BORN, but it is also just intrinsically rad, with rad activities like dressing up, asking strangers for candy and playing with pumpkins. (And yes, I just said RAD twice in a sentence. Sue me). I mean, it is only October 6 and I've already taken Kate to a pumpkin patch, helped her build a spooky cookie house and started an AWESOME project that includes chalkboard paint, fumpkins (fake pumpkins) and a little bit of HELL YEAH.

I really love October.

But I feel like I'm trying to cram it all in. By November 1, pumpkin patches, spooky decorations, costumes and the excitement that comes with the start of fall will be over. Instead, we have Thanksgiving to look forward to. And yes, I can blab on about how those pesky pilgrims had a festive lunch with the Indians before robbing them blind, and we can make turkeys by tracing our hands and gluing feathers to construction paper, but seriously. BORING.

So we have 24 days left to make this the best month ever. What are YOU going to do to make it count?

Who would have thought that putting a totally edible craft in front of a toddler would be a bad idea? Seriously, who would have known she would want to actually EAT the chocolate cookie house? And the candy corn decorations? And the fondant that tasted like Laffy Taffy? And the black icing/glue? Yeah, probably anyone who gave it 1 second of thought would know this was a disaster waiting to happen.

What? What do you MEAN I'm not supposed to eat this? You mean to tell me that we are spreading all this yummy icing all over these fantastic chocolate cookies so that we can build an EDIBLE house that we will put up on the counter and NEVER ACTUALLY EAT?

DUMB.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Falling into the GAP

Okay, its not like I'm about to get all Toddlers and Tiaras up in here, but OH MY GOD KATE IS GOING TO BE A GAP MODEL!!! Sorry, wait. Need to slow my roll there. Maybe I should relax, regroup and rephrase. Ahem. Okay, so I'm THINKING about entering Kate in the babyGap model search. Because isn't it every toddler's dream (read: stage parent) to be in a Gap advertisement? I mean, J.C. Penney's -- eh. But GAP... I mean, come on. It is GAP people.

Its okay, I hate myself just a little bit right now too. In fact, as I hear the school bus bump down the street, I'm VERY close to throwing myself in front of it. But if I can't be honest with you guys, who CAN I share my very black soul with? 

But seriously, here is the honest truth -- I think my baby girl is the most stunning, hilarious, endearing thing on the face of the planet. Her personality just SHINES through. So of course, when I saw a Tweet about the babyGap model search, I nearly lost my shizz. Because it is SO OBVIOUS, they are desperately seeking Kate. They just don't know it yet. 

Oh crap. This is how Lindsay Lohan got HER start, isn't it? I may have to reconsider all this nonsense. But if I DO enter her, I have the perfect picture. Because, who can resist black teeth and crossed eyes? Yep, its official. This is the winner -- RIGHT HERE.

Monday, October 4, 2010

When the bad mom comes out to play

Today is Monday, and I'm feeling like a big, wretched crank. It started last night, and has swiftly gone down hill into "You don't deserve to be a parent, you poor excuse for a mother" territory.

 It started last night when little Miss Sunshine decided to wake up between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., and the only thing that could soothe the beast was watching repeated episodes of Diego (GOUGE EYES OUT NOW).

Flash forward to this morning, and Kate and I were at odds over everything. A lack of sleep was definitely a factor, and it made us both a little crazy. She dropped a little person -- scream crying. She wasn't being held while I made coffee -- scream crying. She stubbed her toe -- scream crying. I wanted her to eat breakfast instead of watching any more TV (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) -- scream crying. I finally stomped out of the room like a toddler myself just to make sure I wouldn't start scream crying myself, which led to a full-on hissy fit (her, not me). Which then led to ANOTHER full-on hissy fit (me this time). From the other room, I yelled "Why can't you JUST STOP CRYING?!?!" Which, yes, you are right, is REAL mature of me. And of course, worked gang busters if my goal was to make my sobbing little girl sob just a TEENY TINY BIT HARDER.

Hell.

I had to give myself a quick pep talk, including a promise that there was a new pair of shoes waiting for me if I could just make it through the day without giving my kid something to tell her therapist 20 years from now. And its amazing. As soon as I picked up Kate to soothe her, all was forgiven -- I was suddenly the word's best mom, at least in her eyes. Talk about unconditional and uncomplicated love. I felt like a jerk. So for the next hour I caved on the TV front and we watched some Nick JR. snuggled up in the couch together.

What happened in the first three hours of YOUR day today?

Friday, October 1, 2010

On my mind

I remember when I was a teenager everything seemed so very real, so very intense. The moments we were in meant everything. When your heart was broken, or your friends had betrayed you, or your parents didn't understand you, it felt like your whole world was ending. Those moments felt life defining, so much so that our futures seemed too distant, too unreal, too hard to see.


This week there have been several high-profile stories about children committing suicide. From ages twelve to eighteen, these lives were ended before they truly even began. These kids felt different, misunderstood, bullied and alone. They were told by peers over and over that they were not worthy. And they believed it.

Bullying. Hate. Fear. As adults we struggle to deal with these kinds of emotional and physical attacks, but a child shouldn't have to face them. Children, teenagers, they only see and feel the right now. They only know the pain and the embarrassment and they don't see the bigger picture. They turn in and isolate instead of seeking help and support. They choose death, because in their young, young minds they see it as the only option. It breaks my heart.

As much as I fear for Kate and pray that she is never the victim of hate, anger or fear I equally pray that she is never the person who inflicts that kind of pain on another person. I pray we raise her to live in love, to practice tolerance and acceptance, to celebrate life as a gift and to value each precious individual as unique and special.

Just something that has been on my mind today. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Betty Crocker I ain't

I think I've mentioned before that I'm not very domestic. Not that I don't want to be, rather it doesn't come naturally. I can't sew (not even a hem, my mother-in-law thought I was kidding about that one), I am a garden killer and I don't craft, knit, scrapbook or bake. I know what you are thinking... I mean, seriously. What the hell DO I do? Well, I pour a mean glass of Merlot, I love reading and writing, and I like THINKING about being domestic.

So the other day when my in-laws came to town, I felt the need to show my value around the house -- i.e. I baked. Banana bread. For the VERY FIRST TIME. And, it didn't suck. Color me surprised honestly. I did it while chatting with my mother-in-law in the kitchen and truly the only "duh" moment happened when she asked me if I was just going to stir all that dough by hand, or maybe use the actual mixer sitting next to me on the counter. Huh. No shit, THAT is what that's for? I thought it was for Ben to make cookies and mashed potatoes in. So I even used my mixer for the first time, and that bread turned out just, well, like it was supposed to. I mean, I kept saying "Hey, this is pretty good, right? I mean, RIGHT?" and everyone was like, "Liz, it tastes great, but I mean, its BANANA bread. I think they do this for a learning activity in like, KINDERGARTEN" and I'm all, yeah, yeah, I hear you, but it tastes like REAL banana bread, I mean, RIGHT?!!?

So of course I get all high and mighty on my domesticity and decide to anoint myself #1 mommy and baker extraordinaire. And while high on all this power, this AWESOMENESS that is me, I decided to combine these two titles into one amazing afternoon for Kate and I. We went shopping and got all set up in the kitchen to make pumpkin bread, you know, to celebrate fall with a little orange yumminess.

Well, the story just goes downhill from there. Because my banana bread experience was a fluke, and of course the REAL me decided to show up to this little pumpkin party. First off, I forgot butter. A kind of necessity for bread. But did that stop me? Nope, I just threw in some cream cheese, because, um, same consistency kind of. Right? And then Kate "helped" by stirring the flour so vigorously that half of it flew out of the bowl, but instead of re-measuring I just tossed in a handful of flour and THERE. That looks about right. Throw in a little extra pumpkin to make up for skimping on the cream cheese (I didn't have much left), and I had myself some fairly good-tasting dough. I didn't exactly follow the recipe per say, but, eh, I'm sure it will bake fine.

So I poured that lumpy (LUMPY!?!) goodness into a bread pan and popped it into my toaster oven (don't ask).  It puffed up on one side, then started to burn in the little tinderbox of death (my new sweet nickname for our toaster oven). I panicked, and despite a full HALF HOUR left on the timer, I took the bread out and did the old stick a toothpick in to see if it is done trick. Came out fine. So that other half hour of baking was, like, optional -- right?

But fast forward to bread-breaking time, and guess what turned out to be raw in the middle? I mean, yeah, I ate some around the edges because it was like a pumpkin brownie that hadn't cooked all the way yet and YUM, but it certainly wasn't bread. And it certainly wasn't edible after that first gooey bite.

Luckily, Kate didn't know that our afternoon adventure had a disastrous ending, she was just stoked to be making a huge, mother-approved mess. And that was fine by me.


Kate wasn't sure what we were about to do, but she had a banana, her Dora cup and
my approval to STAND ON A CHAIR. So, we were pretty pumped. 

Notice how clean her face is? This did not last long. 
Raw flour is a fine accompaniment to a fresh banana. Yummy.

Kate not only ate raw flour, she decided it was a good look to wear as well.
Such a trend setter, for Fall 2010 flour white is the new black.
We love, love, LOVE making a mother-approved mess.
Although we do it with a death grip on our banana.
After drenching ourselves in flour, we decided to take a turn on the catwalk.
With a weird hippie headband. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

You are joking me!?!?!

I was just in the middle of an extremely interesting, witty, poignant post about what I don't know as a parent. It was maybe the best thing I've ever written. Nobel prize worthy possibly. You would have LOVED it.

That is why I'm so freaking pissed that I apparently hit a weird key and it deleted half my post. And frankly, I'm spent. I have no energy left to write anything or rewrite the post because OH MY FREAKING GOD I ALREADY SPENT HALF AN HOUR AND HALF KATE'S NAP WRITING SOMETHING AND IT IS GONE ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

With that, I'm going to call it a day and go drink my coffee while staring angrily at nothing at all. Maybe by the time Kate wakes up I'll be over it.

Doubtful.

Grammy, Kate and I in happier times.
You know, before the computer had to go and act like such a bitch.

Friday, September 24, 2010

At my table

This morning at breakfast, as we both enjoyed our first cup of coffee and Kate threw her pineapple to the dogs, Ben casually said, "So, I measured my tongue the other day..."

Which in most NORMAL households would elicit a rather dumbfounded response. But in our household? At our breakfast table? I simply asked how he measured it. Like, with a ruler? And from where, like, did you stick the ruler as far back in your mouth as you could? I'd think that would make you gag.... I was assured that the proper measurement of a tongue is from your lips to the tip as far as you can stick it out, NOT from the back of your throat as one my think.

Hm. I nodded as I finished my coffee. Made sense to me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Family planning, the Edelbrock way

As a child of the 80s, I didn't grow up with technology being an integral part of life -- I mean, I actually DID learn the Dewey Decimal system (at least I learned what it was) and did research in the library with an actual CARD CATALOG, you know, with actual cards. Like... get this... noooooooooo computers. Well, I mean, we used them for Oregon Trail naturally, but that was about it.

But now, I use technology every day, and sometimes it amazes me at the sheer panic I would feel without it. Seriously, as a new mom, I researched damn near everything, from "What is that weird smell" to "If the baby won't stop crying, when should I call the doctor?" and my favorite "What does sort of white-like poop mean?" How comforting to know that a click away there are a million and one resources for moments of stupidity, laziness and tackling the unknown.

So obviously, when I found myself looking at infant clothing last time I went to the mall, instead of talking to my husband about our family planning, I asked the Internet. Did you know (DID YOU!?!?!) that if you want life advice, Google will spit out the answer like a very detailed Magic 8 Ball? And if you don't like the answer you first clicked on, you can just shake that bad boy again and soon enough an answer you like will pop out -- source very likely not credible, but still. Tada!

So obviously, when I Googled "When to have a second child" I was all set to be given the Magic 8 Ball treatment, you know, clear answers like, "Now, In Two Years, Future Unclear, Try Again Later." Instead I was forced to sog through a million forums where people blabbed on about their decisions, why their timing worked for them, how lucky they are about their family, blah, blah, blah. I mean, nice anecdotes, but I needed ANSWERS not FEELINGS. Not a single medical professional weighed in on the discussion, other than to suggest that to have a second baby nearly on top of the first might be a bad idea because, um, you know, you might lose your F-ing mind. (This is a paraphrase. I must say that a medical professional did NOT say F-ing in their article. Although I'd be more likely to take their advice if they did. In actuality, I think the reason is your body needs time to heal or something but we all know its because if I had two children a year apart I would go for a long drive while Ben watched the kids and would never, EVER come back).


Anyways, a long story to tell you that for the first time in my life, the Internet failed me. It took my breath away. Instead of giving me a concrete answer, the Internet is FORCING ME to have an actual grown up discussion with my husband. Which will likely (if I know my husband at all) lead to an excel document, some spreadsheets about budgets and other mumbo jumbo, followed by a nervous breakdown and potentially a vasectomy. 


F-You Internet. F-You.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Regrets

My life has been blessed. I think that underneath all my imperfections (and there are a lot of them!), I am a good person. Well, most of the time. After I've had my coffee.

However, once in awhile a regret from my life pops up and and I find myself working it over and over in my mind. These things that I can't let go of, even years later, because they should have turned out differently. I think of friends lost, relationships damaged, words that can't be taken back. I think of people I let take advantage of me, and of people I've taken advantage of. I think of how things could have been handled differently if I had been older, wiser, more mature or just more comfortable in my own skin.

As Kate gets older, I've started worrying about the future regrets she will have. I think about the life lessons I will  share with her and how I will try to help her heal the emotional wounds she will inevitably suffer. Sometimes, like today, I think about what an enormous job we've been given as parents. To raise someone to be good, and kind. To have fewer regrets. To cause less hurt, and to hurt less. When I look at Kate, I think of her future and I pray that she ends up a happier person, a better person.

But no pressure.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mommy must-have: Sorrisi Tooth Fairy pillows

One of the benefits of writing a blog is that I'm made aware of really cool products I might not otherwise find. The good folks from Sorrisi Decor recently shared with me their pretty fantastic Tooth Fairy pillows, which I love, love, LOVE.

Not only are their designs too cute to stand, the company has an amazing philanthropic angle too. Sorrisi (which means "smile" in Italian) donates 50 percent of their profits to send dental professionals to Liberia and Mali to address children's dental needs. 

Check out Sorrisi Decor yourself to find a design that you just can't live without. 
Sorrisi Bird's Nest Pillow is beyond cute.
And perfect for Kate's room. I. MUST. HAVE.

Friday, September 3, 2010

An open letter

Dear Sir,

I do not know you. I do not know your background. I don't know the color of your skin, or your eyes, or your hair. I don't know if you are left-handed or right. I don't know if you are married, divorced or maybe just in one of those "its complicated" situations (eye roll).

What I do know is that you are a complete ass bag.

Because my daughter got this close... THIS CLOSE... to grabbing your used condom from where you left it... you know, right there on the PLAYGROUND. Where children PLAY.

I swear to everything holy, you are one lucky guy. Because if she had touched it, if she had been so unlucky as to come into contact with your filth, I would have spent as much money, time and resources as it took to TRACK YOU DOWN like a dog. And while I'd like to wring your neck, I would probably just sue you. And recommend to the judge that you be castrated. And then kicked in the groin every time you even THOUGHT about a playground.

Now THAT would be justice.

Sincerely,
A Really, Really Angry Mother

PS -- If I ever actually catch you doing the nasty on a playground, I WILL run you over with my car. Okay, I won't, because I'm not some crazed lunatic, but I will call the cops and maybe tase you for the fun of it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Summer sabbatical


Hi there. Happy back to school. Or as I like to call it, OH THANK YOU LORD JESUS FOR BRINGING BACK MY SANITY AND HELPING ME NOT JUMP OFF A BUILDING DURING SUMMER BREAK AMEN.

Yeah... so it was kind of like that this summer. Which explains, and with good reason, why this is my first post in two months. Some people take a summer vacation. I took a summer blogging sabbatical. Because when you live in Texas where it is 100 degrees on a cool day, and you don't have Mother's Day Out to give you a few hours of sanity a week, and you only have two TWO friends with kids and they are all, like, traveling and busy and stuff, you will very nearly lose your mind. Where did it go? I don't know, I think Dora or Elmo or those damn Backyardigans ate it. Yum, yum, yum, yum. Muy Delicioso!

But with joy, happiness and just a bit of desperation, I formally announce summer is over. And in celebration, I am posting a summer recap/update so we can all catch up and be friends again. I hope you enjoy my "Suck it Summer" photo album.

Kate is 17 months old. SEVENTEEN! She will be driving, like, next week. She is amazing, wonderful and hilarious. Her favorite foods are plums, tuna and green beans. She will stick a crayon in your coffee, throw a toy in your face and then hug you so hard you forget what it was that she did wrong just a second ago. And check it out, she is so responsible she already has her first job as a gas attendant. Atta girl!
I went to Las Vegas. Without a baby. I stayed up until 2 a.m. I am a rockstar AND a mommy. Holla.
For everyone waiting with baited breath to find out how my public humiliation diet has been going, well, um, yeah. Its going. My goal was to lose 18 pounds and that hasn't happened. Because when you are slowly descending into the hot, sauna like hell of Texas summer, there is nothing that can save you but a cold beer and some nachos. But I HAVE lost 12 pounds in three months, so I'm not going to crab about it. We are eating much healthier than previously, and while I cheat weekly (it keeps me going, don't judge!) We kind of feel like we've made a lifestyle change, not been on a three month diet. So, yay me.


My brother-in-law got married in July (so happy for you guys!) and Kate was a flower girl with her older cousin Lily. They were pretty fantastic, although Kate was slightly confused about her role. She was more a flower picker upper than a flower tosser. Maybe it was because she couldn't stop hugging her cousin to pay attention during rehearsals. Amateur. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Family is my kryptonite



Well, suck. I all up and gave myself a great big pat on the back last week for my stellar dieting, and then disaster struck.

A family get-together.

This week, we had family in town one night, and then traveled to Houston for a big family weekend with the in-laws (shout-out to Oakley for his baptism this week from a proud Aunt and godmother). That is a total of FOUR out of seven days spent with people who aren't dieting -- and for anyone who has ever counted calories or something similar, you KNOW that spells F.A.I.L.

I did the best I could, but there were definitely cheat days. Nearly as many cheat days as good days. The good news however is that I STILL was able to maintain my new weight. The bad news, I am no closer to my goal.

On a happy note, I had a great time with my family. I also discovered and cooked some pretty amazing meals over the last two weeks that are going to be regulars around my house. A to-die for low-fat crustless quiche, baked pesto chicken, cauliflower "mashed potatoes" and no tortilla fajitas with black beans. Yum!

My family, my kryptonite. We are one good-looking bunch, no? 

Monday, June 14, 2010

The spoken word

When Kate was  younger, I read somewhere that to help your infant's verbal development, you should talk to your baby. Like, all the time. Which wasn't natural to me. I mean, I'm not an extremely talkative person to begin with (no, seriously) but to talk without hope of response? Not really my cup of tea.

However, since I was staying home with Kate, and there weren't any caretakers trained in early childhood education around to make up for my short comings, I decided that I needed to leap outside my comfort zone, and begin a very lonely monologue during the day.

So I started talking to Kate about washing dishes. Doing laundry. How Top Chef Masters is never as good as the real thing (I don't want to watch a bunch of master chefs cook awesome things -- I want to watch hopefuls create food disasters of EPIC PROPORTIONS). Politics. The disaster in the gulf. How jeans go with anything, and a woman can never have too many shoes, no matter her age.

Over the last fourteen months it has become something of a second nature. I don't really realize I'm doing it anymore.Which is all fine and dandy, except that I realized recently that I DON'T STOP DOING IT WHEN KATE ISN'T AROUND. It has become such a subconscious practice that I do it even when I'm alone, like some stark raving lunatic who forgot her meds or escaped some high-security sanitarium a la "Shutter Island" (great movie, but I digress).

I realized this at the most inopportune time, i.e. while doing it in public. I was grocery shopping by myself (a rare occasion) and while picking out fresh produce I chatted merrily about the ripeness of this, the limited selection of that, new produce for the season, and so on. It wasn't until I caught a few people giving me sidelong glances (DON'T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE LOONEY!) that I realized I was having a very inspired and detailed conversation. With MYSELF.

I froze like a deer in the headlights. My brain was scrambling about how to get out of this one with at least a shred of pride. I had a few options -- make a joke about my invisible friend, take the time to explain to random people that I was used to having my baby around or maybe just start throwing fruit to create a distraction and run for it. And in that instant, for some UNGODLY reason, my brain made the rational decision to just act like I MEANT to carry on a conversation with myself. So I just KEPT TALKING as I made a fairly leisurely getaway to the canned goods section.

It was like farting in public and then blaming it on the dog that isn't there. It was fooling NOBODY.

I walked away from the grocery store without an ounce of pride. A sensation that I am starting to become familiar with and believe intrinsically accompanies motherhood. Straight from the mortification that arises with screaming babies, bodily fluids in public and now, acts of insanity.

But its okay. Because every time Kate says a new word, points to something when I say it out loud or makes a connection between an object and a spoken word, it pays off. And once in awhile, like last week when a gentleman stopped me mid-sentence with Kate and told me I was being a "wonderful mom" for talking to her, it feels good to hear other people agree that what I do matters. And though I constantly feel like I'm bumbling around, trying to figure out this whole parenting thing... sometimes I know I'm not doing half bad.