Friday, December 31, 2010

my new year's resolutions

1. Initiate further kickassery.

That is all.

What's yours?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

my favorite things, 2010 edition

Just a list of things I liked in 2010.

1. Accessorizing. Boots, hats, scarves, chunky bracelets, fingerless gloves, and dangly earrings entered my life this year. I also learned to style my own bangs, wear skinny jeans without looking like a moron, and turn lead into gold.

2. Penelope. I just saw this movie for the first time and have a crush on it. I want to put wee James McAvoy in a China closet and knock Christina Ricci over and steal all her coats and dresses.

3. Young Adult books. Honestly, I don't want to read about brave fights against wasting diseases and single mothers and racial struggles. Reading shouldn't stress me out and make me cry. I'll save the whole plumbing-the-depths-of-the-human-soul for when I'm old. Now I want vampires and falling in love and first kisses and basically anything that will eventually become a movie or TV show. It's escapism, pure and simple.

4. Samosas. Brawndo is what plants crave. Samosas are what I crave. And also cupcakes, but that goes without saying. Just like a deaf person's car.

5. Twitter. Granted, I mostly follow writers and editors, so the spelling and grammar are exemplary. But it's a fun challenge, expressing oneself philosophically and wittily in 140 characters or less.

6. Etsy. Anything you want to see in the whole world has either already been made or can be requested via Alchemy. And if you don't believe the "anything" bit, check out Regretsy. If you dare.

7. Writing. I love writing books, and I love writing editorials, and I love freelancing. I love writing so much that I haven't painted in months, because I'm a much better writer than I am a painter. Plus, when writing, the nose is never off.

8. TV shows on DVD. It's been a good year for that sort of thing. New seasons of House, Venture Bros., Scrubs, and True Blood. Season 5 of Futurama. Family Guy's It's a Trap version of Return of the Jedi. And repeat watchings of Frisky Dingo. And now we're getting into Being Human. It's almost like we're real people.

9. My Nook. E-publishing isn't killing paper. It's just making it possible for me to read anything in the world at 11pm on Sunday. RIP, Cap'n Ampersand. Bienvenue, Lft. Interrobang!

10. Getting all oily. With these handy oil slathers. Seriously. Instead of standing around, freezing as you put on lotion after the shower, you slather yourself with oil *in* the shower, rinse off, and go. Brilliant concept. Take that, goosebumps!

Other things I love: Those gigantic white beans in tomato sauce at Trader Joe's, Babo Botanicals hair detangler, The Thinker's Thesaurus, talking to people from high school on Facebook, the mini trampoline my kids got for Christmas, painting clay at one of those strip mall stores specifically for painting clay, peacock feathers, more scarves, fingerless gloves, Sprite Zero, using a French Press, Mumford & Sons, finding all my old ska CDs, Iron & Wine, having my art studio clean, that chair I bought on sale at Ikea, and having a literary agent.

It's been a splendorous year!

I hereby challenge 2011 to stomp it with kickassery.

The gauntlet is thrown. I leave you to it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

parentitis.

I remember a time before kids, when a cold meant sympathy, a trip to Kroger for junk food and magazines, and two days of Paid Sick Time curled up in bed with a bottle of Nyquil and a stack of VHS cassettes.

Believe it or not, I miss those days.

And therefore I present you with:

Top 10 Ways to Know You're Sick With Kids

(...which is different than being sick *of* your kids)

1. You don't just get a cold. You get a weird, crippling, full-body virus that makes you suffer emotionally and physically, ravaging your soul from brain to toenail. But the rest of the world says, "It's just a cold". Even though your stomach is involved.

2. The cold isn't a 4-day affair generally lasting Friday through Monday. It lasts two weeks and leaves you huffing and puffing when you run up the stairs a month later.

3. If it gets bad enough that you go to the doctor, the doctor tells you that you have bronchitis because you didn't "take it easy". He then looks sternly at your maniacal children playing in the sharps box and insists you'll get pneumonia if you don't "take it easy". You laugh.

4. When your daughter says, "Mommy, you've been wearing that shirt since Christmas," you say, "What's your point?"

5. The cold always hits full force on a day when you have great plans or really need a break from being stuck in the house with your kids.

6. You can only eat the McDonalds you crave in the bathroom with the door locked because your kids keep asking what you're eating and if they can have some. The answers are "medicine" and "definitely not".

7. You wake up halfway across the house and realize that the baby isn't crying to nurse-- because the baby is a toddler, he isn't crying, and he weaned in July. You just heard the cat meowing and were on Nyquil.

8. You watch your kids, who share your symptoms, as they jump on the mini-trampoline and play tag and hide and seek and shriek and run around the house like goblins and wonder how they're not curled up in a ball like all reasonable people when their noses are just as green as yours.

9. You can't get to #10 because you are the sort of reasonable person who wants to curl up in a ball and quit blogging during a rare moment of peace. And you keep eyeing the bottle of Dayquil across the room like it's a Five Guys Burger.

Monday, December 27, 2010

dear snow: UNCLE.


Snow Day 1: IT'S A WHITE CHRISTMAS! IT'S MAGICAL! GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!

Snow Day 2: Wow, it's so beautiful outside. Life is peaceful and pleasant. It's so nice to snuggle inside, eat leftovers, and enjoy family while we watch even more snow fall, blanketing the world in wonder.

Snow Day 3: THIS IS MADNESS. GET ME OUT OF HERE. I NEED FRESH FOOD, AND TIME AWAY FROM YOU MONSTROUS PEOPLE. THIS IS GEORGIA. I DID NOT AGREE TO THIS SORT OF THING. I DON'T EVEN OWN GALOSHES. AND MY FEET ARE COLD.

(proposed) Snow Day 4: All work and no play make me a dull girl. Bring on the topiary lions and invisible bartenders. REDRUM REDRUM REDRUM. This is going to be my BEST BOOK YET!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

the true meaning of Christmas.

The true meaning of Christmas is...


1. Having the annual mugshots taken at the Christmas Family Reunion. Then eating the annual caramel pound cake.




2. Watching the baby's first "real" Christmas, where he actually gets what's going on. Even if he decides most of his toys are "broke".



3. Genuine wonder while wearing footie pajamas. And knowing that even though she changed her mind fifty times, you managed to get the two My Little Ponies that were ultimately her favorites.




4. The fact that the Halloween toy bought at 95% off by the old lady next door is the biggest hit of the day. And that it inspires booty dancing.



5. Getting your first Big Boy Pants. And filling them with filth within 5 minutes.




6. Seeing the kids' faces on their first White Christmas. And cleaning up the puddles of melted snow five minutes later.




7. Eating 3 pounds of pork over breakfast and lunch and regretting it for the rest of the day.





8. Watching your children share Christmas together. Hearing the older one's first words upon seeing the lit-up tree on Christmas morning: "Hey, brudder! You got a IRON MAN!" Seeing them give each other gifts. Watching them spontaneously hug. Ignoring the fact that they'll spend all afternoon playfully fighting over a cardboard box.




9. Not being in a single Christmas picture, but getting to watch your family filled with joy and love.

Friday, December 24, 2010

making things specialer

So we're trying to focus on making the holiday season fun, exciting, and rich in memories. Or, as the biscuit says:
The only thing I want for Christmas besides presents is LOVE.
Here are some things we've done.
1. First Annual Pajama Jammy Jam Portable Picnic and Parade
That's where we put on pajamas at dusk, get grilled cheese sandwiches and apple slices at Sonic, and drive around to look at Christmas lights while gorging.
Outcome: Big success. New family tradition.
2. Christmas Eve Dinner at Our House
Turns out no one else is coming, and I bought a whole bunch of food for nothing. But my family is going to have one hell of a feast tonight and plenty of leftovers.
Outcome: Day-long depression followed by an overwhelming appreciation of my husband and children and the joy of being our own family unit.
3. Visit my grandparents
Um, we visited my grandparents. t.rex treated them to his favorite song, Baby Jesus. It goes a little something like this: BABY CHEEZITS! BABY CHEEZITS! BABY CHEEZITS!

Outcome: Indigestion from eating too much spicy Chex mix and peanut candy.

4. Family Christmas Eve Eve Movie Day
We gathered together in bed to watch Revenge of the Sith, a heartwarming holiday space drama about a guy who went evil and accidentally killed his pregnant wife and ruined the galaxy.

Outcome: Awesome, especially when the biscuit asked if, much like George Michael, Padme had given Anakin her heart, and he had then given it away, and that was why she died.

Further outcome: This year, to save her from tears, Padme should give it to someone who isn't Darth Vader.

5. Eating One-Bowl Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting
Exactly what it sounds like. I apparently still eat my feelings. But here's the recipe, courtesy of Allrecipes and the empty spots in my cabinet.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 pan.


2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, and oil, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pan.

3.
Bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick.

4. Frost. I also made a random frosting by combining about 3T butter, 3T shortening, 2T milk, and a bunch of powdered sugar. Then I boiled 3T butter with 3/4 cup brown sugar and added that in. I frosted it and sprinkled coarse sea salt on top.

Outcome: It's cake, and it's FREAKIN' DELICIOUS.

So from us to you, HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

Also, if you like 1980's holiday TV specials, be sure to check out BetaMaXmas. It's awesome.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

further pretty things

So I'm on this mission.



I want all the moms out there emerging from the Baby Coma to start feeling pretty again. It took me a long time, but I'm there. So here are some links that I think you might like. All unpaid. These people don't know me, and if they did, they'd probably laugh at me.

But still.

For inspiration:

The Sartorialist - This blog goes back to 2005, and it's mesmerizing. Yes, most of these clothes are a kabillion dollars and tailored, and the majority of the people are model thin. But it's been amazing for me to see things that real people wear on the streets in big cities. The tiny details, the pops of color, the unusual silhouettes. The lack of Uggs, Crocs, and oversized jeans and sweatshirts.

This is the website that taught me that fashion isn't about buying the cheapest clothes possible to hide your potbelly.

To actually buy stuff:

(Disclaimer: Don't get me wrong-- much of my wardrobe comes from the sales rack of Target. But I'm learning that it's better to have 2 amazing pairs of well-made shoes than to have 10 pairs of sucky shoes. When I shop these sites, I shop the sales.)

1. Anthropologie: Beautifully curated collections of clothes, shoes, accessories, and jewelry. I go directly to the sale section, which changes daily. My favorite boots are from here, and I just ordered these adorable shoes last night as a Christmas present to myself.

2. ModCloth: Adorable vintage and retro-inspired clothes, shoes, and accessories.

3. Ruche: Another version of the above two. They have a cool Lookbook where they curate amazing outfits and then list all the pieces involved and related. Serious inspiration.

And lastly, you know what makes me feel really great?

A good haircut and having my eyebrows threaded every week.

Feeling put-together has added a new dimension to my life. I feel more confident and happy, being surrounded by things that are beautiful and of good quality. I love getting ready in the morning and smile a lot more. Of course, it takes time to collect things, and I'm being very choosy. But the perfect scarf, a handmade necklace off Etsy, or just a sale cloche hat from TJ Maxx makes me feel special, which can be difficult once you have kids.

Take care of yourself. You're worth it.

Unless you're Hitler.

Also, if you have some Indian food lying around, please send it over. I'm starving to death.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

knock knock

The knock-knock jokes have hit our house--and especially our car. There is nothing as hilarious to a four-year old as a knock-knock joke, and they don't even have to make sense.

It goes like this:

biscuit: Knock-knock!
me: Who's there?
biscuit: Um... uh... BANANA!
me: Banana who?
biscuit: Uh... BANANA EATS A LEMON! BWAHAHAHAHA!

So last night, Dr. Krog got in on it, too. We tried to find the funniest joke in the entire world. And we've hit on the formula.

ANIMAL + FUNNY ADJECTIVE + BODILY FUNCTION

For example, some punchlines include:

TIGER DOES A STINKY BURP!
TINKERBELL TOOTS ON A TIGER!
MARMOSET MUCUS MUNCHER!
BABOON BUBBLE BOTTOM!

But the funniest one of all:

me: Knock-knock!
biscuit: Who's there?
me: Hippopotamus!
biscuit: Hippopotamus who?
me: HIPPOPOTAMUS POOKY-TOOT!

Seriously. That's the height of hilarity. The biscuit still laughs if you mention a hippopotamus. And, to be truthful, Dr. Krog and I laughed a good bit, too.

I guess my point is... um...

I don't have one.

Just try HIPPOPOTAMUS POOKY-TOOT on your kid and see if it works. I've never been very good at telling jokes, since I start laughing long before I forget the punchline, but I've finally found my metier in random nonsensical knock-knock jokes.

Having kids is great for that sort of thing-- someone finally appreciates your most pathetic talents. She even told me (once) that she likes it when I sing.

That's magic, folks.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

pre-holiday haikus


tree fell down again.
needles gone, lights broken, looks
like it lost a fight.

*


nothing says homemade
like germ infested cookies
covered in green slime.

*


the newest Cullen
likes his deer blood on cookies.
or straight from Rudolph.

*


handmade presents done.
hopefully everyone likes
...whatever those are.

*


holiday cheer rocks.
but the greatest gift of all
is my new teal hat.

*

oh. and my new coat.
but i'm too tired and cozy
to take a picture.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

in which holiday cheer can suck it.

So tonight was pretty much the opposite of a Christmas miracle.

We were supposed to go shop for the kids, but the roads got all icy and everyone in Georgia went insane and starting crashing into each other. For no good reason.

Then t.rex woke up crying and continued crying for an hour until everyone had a headache, including the cat. For no good reason.

Then the phone rang, and I was upstairs coloring Grumpy Bear orange just to torture my daughter, so Dr. Krog hobbled over to get the phone, and he knocked down the Christmas tree, and the water spilled on all the presents and ruined them, and the lights and ornaments broke, and there was glitter and glass and pine needles all over the front hallway, and I very nearly cried, because I already felt like I was going to barf, and now I keep getting poked in tender places by rogue pine daggers. For no good reason.

So here's my message to the holidays:









Kurt Vonnegut was right.

It doesn't really matter in the long run, does it?

Monday, December 13, 2010

pretty things

For the first... oh... 32 years of my life, I spent most of my time in jeans and t-shirts. Not baggy ones, at least not after high school. Okay, after college, because that's when they started putting stretchy stuff in jeans. But nothing fancy, and almost no accessories.

And then, all of a sudden, I took an interest.

I started noticing awesome shoes, statement necklaces, and interesting bracelets. I started wanting to shop. I started gazing longingly at Etsy shops.

And now I'm full-on obsessed. I'm actually daydreaming about this coat I tried on at Target yesterday, counting down to the day it will go on sale.

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ME?

Today, for example, I was in Harry's Farmers Market to get some vitamin D drops for the kids and smell the winter selection by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumery.

And then I saw THE SCARF.

Even surrounded by other beautiful scarves, it spoke to me.

I touched it. It felt LIKE BUTTER. Like butter made out of soft string spun from rainbow-colored lambs cavorting across a meadow of Turkish carpets.

I had to have the scarf. I was already wearing a perfectly nice scarf, one I knitted in 2003 of gorgeous Noro yarn. But it itched. IT DID NOT FEEL LIKE BUTTER.

I expected THE SCARF to cost about $30. After all, it was Harry's. Everything there is expensive.

But lo, THE SCARF was only $13.

And there was a 20% off sign.

So now, we are frolicking.


That picture honestly doesn't do it justice. For $10.49, I have something beautiful, hand-crafted, and lovely that will match most of what I own. And it feels?

Like butter.

My main point here is that it's important to surround yourself with beautiful things that make you happy on a daily basis. Try a hat. Put on your scarf. Buy some new eyeshadow. Get out of your comfort zone.

Because every time I wear THE BOOTS, I feel great.


The last time I felt special wearing a piece of clothing was my wedding dress, and before that, my prom dress. But when I put on my favorite things, I feel awesome.

You should go buy something awesome, too.

Pretty things are good for your soul.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

our day in pictures

Our day went all cattywampus, about halfway through.

It started out good. But then it went bad.

So instead of showing you all the smily posed photos of meeting Santa on a fire truck and decorating my grandparents' tree, I'm going to show you all the weird photos that make no sense.

Why?

BECAUSE I'M FEELING OFF AND MISANTHROPIC, THAT'S WHY.


Something weird with the flash there. Little jerk won't hold still.





Yup, that's a fence.



Yes, I gave the ornament an eyeball. SO SUE ME.



When fairies attack.

And lastly, my favorite. The one of my lad with Zuul, Hound of Hell.



Oh, wait. I'll show you one good one. Since we never actually have pictures of us together because we're always chasing our riled-up spawn, here's a good one of me and my beloved Dr. Krog.


He stole my pea coat from high school. And he looks better in it than I do.

He's a jerk, too.

I'm going to go off and be grouchy now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MEATY CHRISTMAS

tDr. Krog: C'mon, family. Who wants to see my incision wound?

the biscuit: I do!

Dr. Krog: (shows 2 week old incision wound from arthroscopic surgery)

the biscuit: IT LOOKS LIKE HAM!

Dr. Krog: Yeah, it kinda does. That's because people are made of meat.

the biscuit: OF MEAT?!?

Dr. Krog: Yep.

the biscuit: No, Daddy. That's turkey. Turkey is made of ham.

me: No, dude. Ham and turkey are both meat.

Dr. Krog: And people is meat. And soylent green.

the biscuit: NO. WAY.

me: And reindeer. Don't forget people eat reindeer.

Dr. Krog: Mommy, we agreed we weren't going to discuss eating Santa's reindeer again.

the biscuit: So people and turkey are made of THE SAME THING??

me: Yes, all animals are made of meat.

Dr. Krog: And I'm a turkey! GOBBLE GOBBLE!! (dances around kitchen on bum leg)

the biscuit: DADDY, YOU ARE NOT A TURKEY! Your leg just looks like ham, is all.

Dr. Krog: And after my next surgery, it'll look EVEN HAMMIER.

the bicuit: Oh, Daddy. You are such ham. I mean a turkey. A FAT TURKEY.

Dr. Krog: I'm not fat. I'm lean.

the biscuit: No. All turkeys are fat.

Dr. Krog: There most certainly are skinny turkeys.

the biscuit: You are wrong.

Dr. Krog: So what do turkeys eat?

the biscuit: Uh, turkey sandwiches.

Dr. Krog: THEY EAT THEMSELVES?

the biscuit: No, they eat chickens. 101 chickens!

Dr. Krog: You are being a big sillybones.

the biscuit: Yes, and I can say OODLE *or* POODLE.

...and that's how family dinner works around here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

sorry

Partially true reasons I haven't blogged in over a week:

1. Aliens ransacked my room.

2. I decided to give the house a good cleaning and bake some scones.

3. My children are insane and suck the life out of me.

4. I have a draft of my second manuscript due to my agent and couldn't rest until it was completed, at least without Unisom, and the stuff I write on Unisom makes no sense.

5. I have the idea for the next book and am cogitating all the time.

6. The title is awesome, by the way.

7. I just keep buying hats. I'm trapped in a gigantic pile of hats, floundering in felt, choking on feathers. I almost suffocated last week, but I didn't. That was a cloche one!

8. My daughter and I are constantly fighting for the position of alpha female, and I can only glare so much. She's not saying cute stuff right now. Mostly growling.

9. My son keeps taking off his diaper and pooking on things. Honestly, that's what he calls it. POOK. I have been scrubbing pook for hours, and I never want to see pook again.

10. I've got a whole bunch of Christmas magic to fabricate.

11. I'm slogging through a YA book on my new Nook, and even though I want to edit it instead of enjoy it, I keep going back to it.

12. I'm writing for a local paper and a web site and some Etsy artists and don't really have time to think, much less think about being funny.


I'm pretty sure two of those are actually lies.

More later.

Monday, November 29, 2010

now with more HAT

I don't want to be one of those people who only puts up their very best photos after airbrushing out the inconvenient bits. I never want to take myself that seriously.

Plus, when you tell people that most of your photos turned out maniacal, I think you need to back that up.

Therefore, in the interest of full disclosure, here are some of the outtakes from yesterday's attempt to take a decent picture of my new hat.

And no, I wasn't trying out for the part of Mr. Ed.


I just get really, really excited about hats.



And then, sometimes, I sneeze.

I don't see how that's a problem.



And, yeah, I can be a little witchy.

But there's nothing wrong with liking flying monkeys.



I also go into mad scientist mode.

Although I've always been bad at the scientific method. I did win 3rd place in my high school science fair one year, but I think that's because the artwork was so striking. All I did was compare the ages of animals in zoos to the life spans stated in encyclopedias.

But the paintings of the animals were incredible.

I assure you that it was very strategic.

Encyclopedias and handwritten letters and the Dewey Decimal System.

The 1990's were a powerfully magical time.

Anyway. Hats.


I have no idea what I was going for there. Honestly.

That's a bit deranged, even for me.

But there's good news, guys.

Really good news.



Sunday, November 28, 2010

mad hattering

I have seriously taken, like, 2o pictures of my new hat.

In each one, I either look totally dull or totally insane.

This is the closest I got to looking normal.

Well, normal for me.



Also, I keep thinking it's purple, and then when I see it, I'm very confused.

I think that's a sign from the gods that I need to buy a purple hat.

In fact, that's my New Year's Resolution: WEAR MORE HATS.

Friday, November 26, 2010

my week in pictures

It's been quite a week.

First, my dear Krog got carved on again.

He's still alive, possibly because he's too surly to die.

I brought him home on Thanksgiving, just in time for a marvelous feast.

I didn't cook a bit of it. That's why we planned his surgery at such a highly inconvenient time-- so I could get some work done at the hospital and then stuff my belly.


And then today, to surprise the guy who can barely hobble out of bed, I took the kids out in the rain to buy an enormous Christmas tree.

Yeah, I didn't totally think that one through.

But I managed to wrestle the monster off the car, inside the house, and into the tree stand, all while wearing jeggings and high-heeled pirate boots. And then I decorated it with my kids, which is a little like giving some trained rats a jewelry box and a bag of chewed up bubble gum and just throwing crap until it sticks.


This year's tree theme is "Red, White, and Crap", by the way.

So after all that, I gathered up the wee scamps and took pictures that we'll treasure forever, mostly of t.rex getting annoyed and throwing little gold apples at The Biscuit because she kept calling him Bumblebee Baby Bear and he kept saying COOKIE, but all I heard was DOOKY.

And then I went to upload the photos of all these wonderful things onto my laptop, and guess what happened?

A whole lotta nothing.

My laptop and camera are apparently having some sort of 13-year-old girl fight where they stand there, touching each other, refusing to admit that the other exists.

In between the post-holiday children, the tree, the camera, and the requests for club sandwiches, my head almost blew up this afternoon. I swear.

But I did take one last picture for you.

Because I care.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2 years ago today


Two years ago, I was 177 pounds of waddlemonster, pendulous with Baby Shmoo. We didn't know much about him, other than the fact that he had a peeper and caused me to crave nothing but Lucky Charms and Cap'n Crunch for the two weeks before his birth.

Right about this time, I was sitting on my computer, blogging about how crazy the Biscuit was making me. Little did I know my hormones were doing the Electric Slide and my water would break in the middle of the night, just like it always does.

That's why I sleep on grocery bags and towels, you see.

Anyway, I'll get all maudlin and such tomorrow. For now, enjoy the amazing technology of my friend Heidi's phone that allows awesome pics to be turned even awesomer by making them look like it's 1979.

Blow out the candles, dude. You're almost 2.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the imaginary mom

You know those Facebook statuses that people copy and post until they spread like viruses on tiny, pudgy hands? "A real mom knows..." "Life isn't about..." etc.

I don't like them.

For one thing, what's the opposite of 'a real mom'? I mean, if I don't agree with you, does that mean I'm not a mom? Or I'm a bad mom? Or I'm imaginary?

I know it feels good to declare a stand, to assertively say how you feel before you have to get defensive. I know I do it, too. But I see negative things being desperately shouted as wonderful, and it bothers me.

Sure, right after having a baby-- and for a year or more afterward-- you're not yourself. Your body isn't your body. Your life isn't your life. Your house is a mess. Your sleep doesn't exist. Relationships change and hormones fluctuate and you basically have to dig in your fingernails and claw your way to daylight, until you feel like a person again.

But that doesn't mean that you have to revel in sacrifice. You don't have to put yourself down or deny yourself happiness in order to be a good mom. You just have to hang in there for a while, until you have control again. That's when you get to decide who and what you really are.

I know the "mom uniform" is jeans or yoga pants, oversized shirt, sensible shoes, ponytail, no makeup. And you know what? Dressing like that made me feel like crap. It takes me just as long to put on fitted jeans, cute shoes, a sweater or jacket, jewelry, eyeshadow, and brush my hair. My kids are 2 and 4, and I put them in the bubble bath together and have plenty of time to get myself ready.

So I feel great now, when I'm out in the world. I feel pretty and vibrant. But you know what?

My house is still a wreck.

I'm not proud of it. I'm not going to post that super long poem about how it's better to spend time rocking your children than cleaning up after them. Because that's not me, either. I'm just a bad housekeeper, and keeping things tidy around toddlers and preschoolers is a lot like shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard. It's a losing bet, and it can make you crazy and take over your life, if you let it.

In fact, the only way I can get any writing or reading done is to go somewhere else-- usually a favorite cafe. Because if I sit down to work, I can see the dishes waiting, the crumbs on the floor, the piles of crap on the island where our entire family unloads. And then I start to feel guilty, and I seriously hate feeling guilty.

So I'm letting go of the guilt.

Just as I had my years of feeling frumpy and unkempt while I toted messy little babies around, so I've realized that there are quite simply going to be a few years where I can't keep the house nice. I'm just not willing to waste my spare pockets of quiet on trying to maintain something that's not maintainable. If I have spare time, I want to spend it being happy and bettering myself and creating things that last.

I don't want to feel guilty any more.

I don't want to feel bad for not reaching some celebrity-set level of beauty in body or home. I don't want to feel bad for taking time for myself instead of slaving for some impossible goal of tidiness. And I don't think other women should be forced to feel guilty for the things they can't do, so guilty that they jump at the chance to copy someone's copied Facebook status as a defense for the fact that life is never perfect.

Because life is never perfect.

Sacrifice of self doesn't make you a better mother. Children mean change and choices, but nothing is permanent. It doesn't define who you are-- it defines who you have to be right now.

*

If I were going to post that kind of Facebook status, it would be something like:

Right now, the house is messy, but the children are happy. I'm in love with my husband, and I am totally rocking these new boots. Being interesting is better than being perfect. If you agree, go write your own damn status.

*

Sorry, guys. Had to get that off my chest.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

3 reasons to laugh

1. This is the ugliest cake I've ever made in my entire life. It tasted like heaven, though, so DON'T JUDGE ME AND MY UGLY DEAD-WHALE CAKE.


Or, as my mom put it on Facebook, "a beautiful brown steak with wings".

Maybe you were expecting a last minute save like last year's Farbie, but you are sorely mistaken. It was ugly, we ate it, the end. When I fail, I do so SPECTACULARLY.

2.
t.rex: WAAAAH! MAMA!

biscuit: I didn't do it. He hit himself in the face.

me: Sure. Let's try the Socratic method here. What's today?

biscuit: Flursday?

me: No, it's Saturday. Why is today special?

biscuit: Because I got lots of presents for no reason?

me: Why else?

biscuit: We had cake?

me: Yes, and why did we have cake?

biscuit: Because it's t.rex's 2nd birthday?

me: Exactly So what don't we want to do to him today?

biscuit: Um... torture him?


3. This guy is 2. Or he will be on Tuesday. Absolutely amazing.


And not just his mohawk.

My girl is more serious, like her daddy. But that guy right there? Everything he does is comedy gold. I went in to check on him today when he was "napping". He had removed his diaper and pants, tied a dinosaur shirt around his waist, put on Darth Vader socks with his sister's running shoes, and was singing a song while he tried to do a headstand on a stuffed green parrot.

I can't make stuff like that up.

You rock, t.rex. I look forward to the day you can actually explain yourself instead of just saying "shoes sit my Gluck".

Friday, November 19, 2010

culture-- we haz it.




I'm sure the spirits of my great-great-great-great-great grandparents would be thrilled to see my boy enjoying our Native American culture in realistic garb.

I'm half charmed, half insulted, and mostly amused. As usual.

At least he's not being a pelican.

p.s. His sister, Little Wolf, wears the traditional "hearts and rainbow" shirt of her people with matching purple macaroni necklace and, as she calls them, "French Indian braid pigtails".

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

you're bearly getting my goat



So I haven't blogged for one reason:

I really like seeing that picture in the previous post of myself dangling from a rope.

But that's just ridiculous. You can't let little things like that hold you back from life. Or blogging. Little things like vanity and pride and getting to say, HOLY CRAP, I CLIMBED A ROPE.

OR IS IT CLUMB?

I THINK IT'S CLIMBED.

So here's a picture of a bear riding a goat to break the cycle.

Enjoy.


p.s. THAT MARGARITA WAS WHOA.

p.p.s. That's right. It only takes one.

p.p.p.s. Did you see the goatbear? Or beargoat? Or manbearpig?

p.p.p.p.s. You don't see something like that every day.

p.p.p.p.p.s. The bear on the goat, I mean.

p.p.p.p.p.p.s. But you knew that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

the best $21 I ever spent

Guys.

GUYS.

Ignoring the shininess of my ass there, I need you to know that I CAN CLIMB A ROPE 15 feet off the ground and do, like, dangerous stuff.

I most definitely was not supposed to let go, but you know what? I DID ANYWAY, FOR I AM UNRULY.

IT IS THE FUNNEST THING EVAR.

That thingy up there is called the Spanish Web, and you climb it and then wrap yourself up in it and spin around. Reminds me a bit of my babywearing days, actually.


And that's the actual trapeze. Yeah, it's only 5 feet off the ground. But I still had an awesome time being D-easy D on the Trapezey. Or something. Whatever they called me on Facebook.

If you're in the Atlanta area and love adventure and playing around, please check out the Circus Arts Institute. Wonderful people, cool facility, amazing teachers, and the most fun I think I've ever had for $21, because horses cost a lot of money.

I'm not sure how much the actual classes cost, since I bought my class using Living Social Deals, one of those "send me an email every day with a huge sale on something, and one day I might actually buy one if it involves sharks".

They also had some cool music playing by Caravan Palace, and now WE WANTS IT.

Here's a video by them. It's like Moulin Rouge on Red Bull and vodka with a clown doing the Charleston in back.






And now, if you'll pardon me, I'm going to finish this tea and go dream about running away to the circus.

Beaux reves, mes amis!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the truth about children and holidays

Just as Hollywood wants you to believe that normal women can be 6'2'' and 95 pounds without a single wrinkle, there are many businesses hellbent on convincing you that children are adorable darlings who make every holiday moment special.

I mean, yeah. They're magical and all, but you never get to see the dark side of parenthood unless you're watching one of those movies where a bodybuilder on steroids has to go undercover as a babysitter and ends up with a diaper on his head.

So I present to you a comparison of the holiday lies told to us by movies and toymakers vs. the reality of life with two children.

*
Holiday Meals

lie: The family sits down to a candlelit dinner, and the little one lisps, "God bleth uth, every one!"

truth: The family sits down to an oatmeal-crusted table, and mom is sitting on a stool because one of the chairs is broken, and the baby knocks over someone's milk, and the older child says, "My bottom itches."

*
Santa

lie: The child makes a Christmas list in adorable handwriting with backwards S's, and then she smiles cherubically in a velvet dress when you visit the mall Santa for pictures. When she opens her gifts on Christmas morning, she says, "This is exactly what I wanted!"

truth: Your child becomes like an addict who sees signs for crack everywhere. At the grocery store, in the mail, driving down the road, all you will hear about are the toys that she will die without. She insists on wearing a bathing suit, last year's corduroy skort, cowboy boots, and bug antennae for her photo with Santa, during which she will either cry or try to tug his beard off while muttering that he smells like fish sticks. When she opens her last gift on Christmas morning, she will say, "Can I have more?"

*
Christmas Breakfast

lie: When your family has a big Sunday breakfast, there will be stimulating conversation while everyone enjoys their delicious repast. Mom and Dad will read the paper while the little tykes giggle over the comics and gasp over the holiday toys advertisements.

truth: Crayons will be thrown. Everyone will be covered in an odd combination of syrup and grits. The waitress will somehow manage to give the adults decaf coffee and the kids extra sugary juice. There will never be enough pancakes, but there will inevitably be an abundance of hash browns, which are really fun to throw. When dad sees the bill, he will try to explain that breakfast costs as much as three new Transformers. The child will then say, "I wish you were a waiter so I could have three new Transformers."

*
Decorating

lie: Mom and the kids will string up popcorn and cranberries to make garlands. They will poke oranges with cloves and simmer cinnamon sticks on the stove, making the house smell delicious. Together, they will lovingly unwrap the family's heirloom ornaments and fondly recall days gone by as they decorate the beautiful live tree that they cut down at an organic Christmas tree farm.

truth: The children will cry when told they can't have a fake white tree covered in Elmo and Dora ornaments. The family will wait too long and end up buying a scraggly Scotch pine that leans at a 75 degree angle and must be wired to the ceiling. Half of the ornaments from last year will inexplicably be broken, and since the lights no longer work, they'll use the orange ones from Halloween. Last year's pomanders and cookie dough ornaments will be covered in maggot husks, and moths have chewed up the stockings. They will settle for draping 1/4 of the tree in whatever they can untangle, and the decorations will start at waist level to keep the baby from eating lead-based paint.

*

The True Meaning of Christmas

lie: Christmas will be ever better than it was when you were a kid.

truth: CHRISTMAS WILL BE EVER BETTER THAN IT WAS WHEN YOU WERE A KID.

No, seriously.

Once you have kids, you will actually enjoy listening to Christmas carols. You'll smile when your child spots the mall Santa or sees an old man with a white beard walking around Kroger. You'll spend two months watching sales and buying things that you know will make your kid totally happy. Picking out a tree and decorating it and watching your kid's face the first morning they wake up to lights will be the most exciting thing ever. You'll giggle when making cookies for Santa, and you'll love eating said cookies and leaving a thank you note.

In short, it will be the best Christmas since that time you got two Ewoks and a Nintendo.

Every. Year.

No matter what anyone tells you, I'm telling you now. Reinvigorating holidays is one of the best bonuses of having kids. Even the Scrooges among us are rendered jolly.

That "magic of the holidays" they're always talking about? Totally real.

No lie.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bo don't do diddly

The Biscuit had an extra bag slung over her shoulder when she got into the car during yesterday's carpool line.

"Mommy, I GOT BO!!" she shrieked.

And at first I was a little bit excited, because we've been wondering when the class's traveling bear would come to stay with us. But then I sighed deeply and started grinding my teeth, because when you're pretty much the last kid in class to get Bo, it's a little more complicated.

The first kid has one page, printed on a home computer with mom's handwriting, with pictures of him and Bo at a local pizza joint and watching a Little League game. No biggie.

The second kid has two pages, printed on a home computer with some clip-art, with pictures of her and Bo at a lacrosse game, visiting grandparents, and making cupcakes.

From then on, each mother had to out-do the previous weeks in order to keep her child from being forever known as "that kid that didn't do anything with Bo". The weeks right before ours are professionally scrapbooked with glitter, 3D, trips to the State Fair, and purchasing a fairy outfit for Bo at Build-a-Bear.

And now we've got Bo, and I'm caught between rebelling and just showing a quiet weekend at home and going completely gonzo on this project to utterly decimate all other moms.

My ideas thus far include:

1. Photoshopping Bo into the moon landing

2. Photoshopping Bo with President Obama

3. Taking Bo to Yellow River Game Ranch and throwing him in with the real bears so he can meet his cousins up close

4. Taking Bo to the PDK airport and letting him eat an overly priced meal on an old plane

5. Flying Bo to NYC for Fashion Week

6. Taking Bo out for a mani-pedi and some shopping at Phipps

7. Tie-dyeing Bo and saying he ran away to follow Widespread Panic

8. Getting a sitter and taking Bo out for a night of cocktails and art gallery openings. But he'd need some really good shoes first.

9. Sending Bo out with a brush to clean my chimney

10. Taking Bo to see the Dresden Dolls in downtown ATL tonight

We'll probably settle for a few fun interactions combined with some absolutely ridiculous Photshopping to show that we're totally punk rock.

Any ideas for what we can do with Bo the bear this weekend?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

there will be no escape planning at O'Malleys.

I was listening to that song by Rupert Holmes about pina coladas.

And I have several problems.

My main problem is that this song has come to represent an ancient method of telling fun and attractive mates apart from stick-in-the mud fishwives.

But I protest.

I do not like pina coladas. I don't think coconuts should be drunken.

I do not like getting caught in the rain. I like playing in the rain on purpose.

I actually kind of like yoga, but the bikram kind that involves 104 degrees.

I don't have half a brain. I have a whole brain, thankyouverymuch.

I can't imagine doing anything naughty in the dunes of the Cape, because for one thing, I've never been to the Cape, and for another thing, sand? In certain places? SO MUCH NO.

And then she, the personal ad authoress, assumes that anyone who agrees with all her wild assertions will be the perfect person with whom to escape. I mean, a serial killer might very well enjoy all those things. Or an 83-year old hobo. Or Andrew Dice Clay. And then she's stuck with him for at least a trip to Six Flags.

Well, until she gets bored and pens her next personal ad masterpiece without first having a simple conversation with her significant other, that is.

And you get to the guy's answer, and he just agrees with all of it, also citing that he's not into health food. So she's going to meet Triple Bypass at the bar and just trust that he's not an 83-year old serial killing hobo, and they're going to run off? I mean, did they pack first? Or were they going to take two trips? And are they vehemently against umbrellas and galoshes? And what if she's an uggo, and he's not into uggos?

Plus, of course, the fact that they're cheating on each other with each other and therefore can't be trusted. That's the killer bit.

That, and the pina colada thing.

And speaking of which, how have these people been together long enough to get bored with each other and start trolling the personal ads, and yet they've never learned that they are both confessed pina colada addicts?

All I can assume is that they are both imbeciles. If they each have only half a brain, that further proves my theory.

*

So, just out of curiosity, what would you say if you were rewriting this song to not suck?

And apologies to Rupert, who has an awesome name and arguably originally wrote the first line, "If you like Humphrey Bogart", which I can mostly get behind.

Monday, November 8, 2010

further jesse issues

me: (watching the biscuit get some major air on a trampoline) t.rex, Are you having fun getting your insanity out at this indoor play space, sweetheart?

t.rex: NO, JESSE! NO!

me: Dude, you've got to get over this Jesse thing. He's a sweet kid, and he's your friend, and I know he likes to yoink your juice boxes and fire trucks, but seriously. Let it go.

t.rex: NO, JESSE! GO 'WAY!

me: You are going to have some sort of complex if you keep this up.

t.rex: NO, JESSE! MY SHOES!

me: Good Lord, son. Jesse is not some evil specter lurking behind every...

(Turns, sees Jesse trying to pull t.rex's shoes off the shelf, because Jesse's mom's kids are off Monday like my kids, and she's apparently as desperate as I am to run some of the energy out of them.)

Jesse: (holding t.rex's shoe) Hi!*

t.rex: Hi, Jesse!

me: I will never doubt you again.

*

the biscuit: Mommy, I had a dream that there was a box, and I didn't want it.

me: Anything else?

the biscuit: (sighs sadly) No. Just that box I didn't want.

*

me: So what do you want to do for your big 2nd birthday party, t.rex?

t.rex: Cracker.

me: Yeah, well, most of the people we know are crackers. But what do you want for your birthday party?

t.rex: Cracker. Chicken nugget. Juice box.

me: Okay, so the food's gonna be stellar. Do you want cake?

t.rex: Cake. Juice box. Gooey gum.

me: Whuh?

the biscuit: I taught t.rex how G stands for Mr. Gooey Gum!!

me: Yeah, there will never be gum in this house. Ever. What else would you like for your birthday?

t.rex: CRACKER. CHICKEN NUGGET. JUICE BOX. NO, JESSE! MY JUICE BOX!

me: Okay, I've got the menu. And you apparently want to invite Jesse even though he apparently does nothing but plague you. What about Ben?

t.rex: Ben. Big Ben. Nina. Mimi. Papa. Mommy. Daddy. Sister. Kiki. Miss Ericka. Miss Heidi. Teachers. School. MY SCHOOL. NO, JESSE! NO! MY SCHOOL!

me: Wow, dude. Just... wow.

the biscuit: Jesse is the girl on Toy Story.

me: I don't think that's who he's talking about, honey. t.rex, what do you like better: trains, helicopters, or dinosaurs?

t.rex: Choo choo train helicopter dinosaur pony plane Prime.

me: Okay, so all of the above, then? This is going to be one heck of a party.

t.rex: Mama?

me: Yes, son?

t.rex: JUICE BOX.


*Note: Jesse is an attractive and winsome child. I have never seen Jesse do anything other than be friendly and adorable. I can only assume that as soon as my back is turned, the wee scamp sprouts devil horns and starts breathing fire.

Friday, November 5, 2010

further new boot goofin'

I wanted to show you guys my new boots.

But there's a problem, see.

Much like the dreaded Ogopogo, my new boots defy photography.

First, I gave my camera to the Biscuit.


So there's me, mostly out of focus, sticking my butt out, with a big red blur over the boots.

And, yeah, I continue to blame the Ogopogo, mostly because he threatened to eat me on Twitter.

So I gave the camera to Dr. Krog.




So there's the boots, my jeans, the boxes stacked up for the recycling bin on the dining room table, and the enormous sun spot we keep on the front of the fridge for no good reason. But where's my head? That could be ANYBODY, right there.

That could even be the Ogopogo, *pretending* to be me, wearing my new booties, getting its sloppy plesiosaurus slime all over the buttery cognac leather and adorable, cone-shaped heels.

Plus, you can't see the three ruffles on back, and those ruffles are IMPORTANT.

So I finally tried to get a picture myself.



And there's my boot, playing chameleon against the boot-colored floor.

Sigh.

So what did we learn today?

1. These boots are awesome.

2. I'm the only one in the family with a flair for photography.

3. IT IS ALL THE OGOPOGO'S FAULT.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

god loves sostleriches

me: What did you do at school today?

biscuit: We pretended to be goony birds, and I was a baby goony bird, and I was a lot of trouble, and the mama goony bird had a hard time taking care of me.

me: What's a goony bird?

biscuit: It's this thing and we sang a song about it and there's only one mama goony but she has all these baby goonies that cause problems. And also, did you know that Jesus gets to decide if I'm a boy or a girl?

me: That's incorrect, sweetheart. Jesus doesn't get to do any such thing. If you consider that God is just another name for the life force that binds all things, then maybe it's true that God is the influence behind gender in that life is random. But it's not like Jesus presses a pink button and BAM, you're a girl.

biscuit: Jesus loves you, too, mom.

me: Awesome.

biscuit: Um... what's God?

me: Well, daddy and I like to think of God as what makes life special. God is everything. But when you hug your brother or wake up and smile or sing songs with your friends, that's God, too.

biscuit: So when daddy goes to work to make money to buy me toys, THAT'S GOD?!?

me: Yeah, if you want to be vulgar about it. More like-- when daddy works so hard to take care of us because he loves us so much, that's God at work.

biscuit: I want God to tell daddy to go to work so I can have some more Decepticons.

me: (choking) Well, that's definitely something to pray for. Ahem. Tell me more about these goony birds. What do they look like?

biscuit: They're birds, mom. (eye roll)

me: Yeah, but are they teeny like hummingbirds, or middle-sized like parrots and crows, or gigantic like ostriches?

biscuit: Gosh, mom! I don't know! They eat worms! All worms eat birds! I mean, all BIRDS eat WORMS. Heh heh. Worms can't eat birds. Unless they die.

me: That's deep.

biscuit: Yeah, but what's a sostletrich?

me: An ostrich?

biscuit: Yeah, a sostlerich.

me: An OSTRICH is a large flightless bird in Africa that has a long neck, a feathery body, and long, strong legs. It runs really fast and can kick stuff.

biscuit: Why would a sostlerich kick stuff?

me: Like if a lion saw a tasty sostle... OSTRICH... and wanted to eat it, the ostrich could kick him, and the lion would find something better to do.

biscuit: Well, if *I* saw a hungry lion, and he wanted to eat a sostlerich, and then I found a dead sostlerich that had died all by hisself but still had bones and brains and was juicy, then I would give that sostlerich to the lion, so that he could eat him. And then I would be LIKE GOD!

me: Uh.... yeah. Kinda.

biscuit: And also, did you know the pelicans came over on the Thanksgiving boat?

me: Pilgrims. The Pilgrims came over on a boat called the Mayflower, and that's why we have Thanksgiving.

biscuit: Um, no. My teacher told me. Peligrams came over on the Thanksgiving, and then we have a FEAST, and I need to bring JUICE BOXES like the INDIANS. And that was also GOD.

me: Wow, dude. Maybe public education won't be so bad.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

rexversations

What's got two thumbs and is already stealing hearts?




me: So how was your Halloween Party?

t.rex: Party.

me: Was it fun?

t.rex: Pun.

me: What happened?

t.rex: Crackers. Juice box. MY juice box. NO. NO, JESSE, NO. MY JUICE BOX.

me: Sounds like a great party. Were your friends there?

t.rex: Fends.

me: Who are your fends?

t.rex: NO, JESSE. MY COOBUSSY.

me: So Jesse wants your juice box *and* your school bus? Sounds like you guys had fun. Do you have any other friends?

t.rex: (looks down, bats eyelashes, whispers) Eeba.

me: Ava?

t.rex: Eeba.

me: Do you like Ava?

t.rex: (looks down, chuckles, whispers) No.....

me: Yes you do! You like Ava!

t.rex: Naw. Nooooo. Nope.

me: Is Ava pretty?

t.rex: NO. (kicks his feet, stares out the window, waits, twiddles thumbs, chuckles, whispers) Eeba pitty. Eeba hair pitty.

me: Ava has pretty hair, huh?

t. rex: (chuckles, bats eyelashes, looks down, whispers) Eeba.

*

My boy's not even two, and he's already got an eye for the ladies.

Heaven help us all.