back in the spokes-saddle

Phil is unveiling the fruits of his entrepreneurial endeavors and hard, relentless work in 2 weeks at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Nashville and I'll be joining the team as the face of the product. This is all very exciting for all kinds of reasons but I must get ahold of myself... there's a lot to be done. Script writing and memorization on the 'product' end, sprucing up on the 'face' end. (If you notice my mid-winter tan or catch a glimpse of me awkwardly teetering around in heels again you will know it's all part of the preparation... I'm not having a 1/3 life crisis.)

It seems like only yesterday that I said goodbye to the spokesmodel days and hello to Babyland, but it's actually been 4 years since I was hocking those Dodge gas guzzlers. The travel and erratic schedules, it turns out, would not be conducive to breastfeeding, and the dangerous combination of stiletto heels and turntables were certainly not compatible with a pregnant belly.

But I'm no longer pregnant, I have a husband who needs a product specialist and my mother-in-law is brave enough to take my children for a few days. So it looks like I'm back in the game, folks.

Wish me luck, and a speedy tan.

xmas recap

Oh my, what a fun Christmas we had this year. Ocean is finally at the age where Christmas is exciting and magical and he had a grand time opening his gifts. Iris fed off of his enthusiasm and the two of them were just hilarious. The holiday drama I anticipated was non-existent and, all things considered, the kids were fantastic for all the strange travel-related sleeping arrangements and lack of decent naps.

As for the gift assessment, Ocean loved everything, especially the Go Fishing game which I scored at Meijer for about 5 bucks. Iris loved the bows on the presents, so I know what she's getting next year. In retrospect, I should have anticipated the increase in my workload by purchasing a dollhouse. If it wasn't bad enough trying to keep one house clean, I now have a mini-version to keep tidy as well. I wonder if my cleaning lady does dollhouses...? Or Becky, if your elf is currently unemployed and looking for work I may have a sweet gig for him. Room and board included.


ho ho ho

As I was wrapping presents the other night, half-watching Glamour's Fashion Dos and Don'ts (besides the blatantly obvious no-nos such as not letting your undergarments be seen and never over-plucking or drawing on your eyebrows, I learned a little bit... like it's okay to wear white after labor day, and- praise the Lord- panty hose are OUT!) I had this brief moment of thinking that it was nice not feeling stressed out about the holidays. I'm very excited to watch my kids' faces light up on Christmas morning, and to make 'birthday muffins' for baby Jesus, and to spend time with family members whom we don't get to see very often.

Then suddenly tonight I found myself tossing and turning in bed with visions of potential snowstorms and incessant narcissism dancing in my head and I had to come downstairs to take a homeopathic sleep aid (I won't call it a sleeping pill because the FDA won't either). So now here I sit on the couch, continuing to stress about stupid things that aren't even a big deal and certainly aren't in my control anyway. I appreciate the perspective of my almost-3 year-old. The kid knows nothing of holiday stress. Each night at bedtime he excitedly cuts a ring off of his Christmas Chain, we belt out Christmas Carols in the car, we draw pictures of Christmas Trees for his friends... and just tonight he was running in circles yelling, "2 more days until Christmas! Jesus is coming!" (He's certainly right about the former; I just might need a little more time to prepare for the latter.)

So in order to end today on a good note before I end up passing out on the floor from this sleep aid that is seriously no joke, here is my attempt at positive self-talk in order to induce a pleasant slumber: Tomorrow is a new day. I will avoid the crowded insanity of the mall and I will finish wrapping these gifts that were thoughtfully purchased and I will not concern myself with weather problems or poorly timed Big Announcements. I will use caffeine and/or alcohol if necessary. Come hell, high water or Rudolph, I am vowing to be of good cheer, dammit.

And to all a good night.


snow day

We woke up to many, many inches of snow on the ground, and it was still coming down. There was no way any of us were going anywhere and two of us are bootless (ridiculous, I know) so I decided to make the most out of it and have an indoor snow day with the kiddos.

First, we did this:

I filled the kitchen sink with snow, Ocean and I put on our gloves and built tiny snowmen. When our fingers got cold, we did this:

A snow fort under the comforter. After a snack of "snowflakes" (popcorn), we made our own, and hung them in the window of the playroom:

We watched Backyardigans "Snow Fort" while we ate lunch, and the kids went down for a nap. Then Phil had his own snow fun:

We kept watching people get stuck on our street and after a few minutes of watching this guy and realizing he wasn't going to make it without some assistance Phil went out to help. After about 15 minutes, 2 carpet squares, a huge cardboard box and lots of muscle he was liberated.

Soup for dinner, warm baths and tea before bed and lots of wintery christmas carols rounded out our super-fun snow day. I think tomorrow we'll have a beach party... the novelty of all this cold, white stuff will have worn off by the morning.


wednesday beef of the meatless variety

1. Meijer U-Scan Cashier, I realize that it's late and you are almost at a shift change. I myself have worked a 14-hour day and am clearly still working, as I can think of about ten other places I'd rather be than standing in this U-scan line. I know I have a bazillion coupons, eleven of which need to be manually entered in for whatever reason. But really, it's not my fault that I'm getting 21 cents overage on each package of the frozen vegetables. If it's that big of a "problem" for you, oh rogue vigilante cashier, why don't you manually enter in the correct amount instead of getting sassy with the customer? I didn't report you to customer service, by the way, I was just buying stamps. Happy Holidays. Be nicer next time.

2. Underwear Model, if you would like to be taken seriously while quoting Gandhi on your social networking page, it may help if your profile shot isn't a bikini one. And also if you spell Gandhi correctly.

3. Bag Borrow or Steal, you are a bunch of dirty thieves. Dirty. Thieves. That is all.

4. Anonymous Blog Commenters, make sure you read a post c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y before hitting the 'send' button on your snarky response. You might have completely misread my post, and you just might make yourself look like a total jerk who is slightly illiterate if you write what you did. You also may want to "re-evalutate" your "excessive use" of "quotation marks".

5. Marijuana-Smoking Teenagers Outside the Mall, the 40-something professional woman in the kick-ass Charles David boots was right: we really can smell your blunt.

6. Hershey's Bliss Milk Chocolate, I love you but you are terrible for my complexion. I am getting a pimple. A PIMPLE, for Pete's sake. I feel like a 7th grader. I just wish I could quit you...



a christmas cleaning song

It's been a long time since I've written any music, but as I was cleaning up the playroom tonight I couldn't help but make a mental note of all I was picking up. Soon this little ditty was running through my head and I couldn't stop myself. To the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas", starring actual items in actual quantities that were in our playroom.

We'll start at the last verse and work backward... otherwise it will become entirely too cumbersome.

While cleaning up the playroom the last thing I did see
Twelve Megablocks
Eleven scraps of paper
Ten cups-a-molding
Nine DVDs
Eight books-a-laying
Seven snacks half-eaten
Six teddy bears
Fiiiiiiiive Wonderbras!
Four dirty towels
Three boxes
Two remote controls
and a dirty diaper (it was just pee!)

(No syke. Try not to judge me.)

cindy lou to the rescue!

My wonderful mother-in-law is coming to Ann Arbor tomorrow to save my toddler's life.

It was either Grandma come here or send him to live with her. Which he actually said he wanted to do at the suggestion, and immediately began gathering his things. I can't say I blame the kid... mommy has been grouchy. But in my defense, my brain seems to short-circuit after a week's worth of nonstop whining and crying (no exaggeration- NON. STOP.) from someone who is generally fairly effective at communicating by "using his words." Yesterday was one long time-out. Today hasn't been much better. I'm being broken down slowly and I can't take it anymore. It's like this. Except I'd trade the whining for a little Rage Against the Machine any day.


ocean thinks iris is a boy.

There's just no clever way to state it. For 12 months we have been trying to convince Ocean, to no avail, that he has a sister and not a brother. Finally we decided to just give up the effort and videotape the evidence. Enjoy.


nap lack

Today, for the first time in the history of my kids' lives, we forewent naps. If you know me, or my kids for that matter, you know what a stretch (and also how insane) this is.

However, our house is on the market and we had two showings back-to-back today, so we had to be out of the house from the time our cleaning lady got there at 11:00 until the end of the last appointment at 4:00. Iris refused her morning snooze by pooping 5 minutes after I laid her down so I pretty much knew I was screwed.

We grabbed lunch and then killed some time at the germ pit at the mall before heading to my parents' house; I was hoping against all hope that the littles would lay down for at least 45 minutes but it was a no-go. Mimi is just too much fun. Plus there were presents under the tree and Dragon Tales was on so you know sleep was not going to be any sort of reasonable option.

Shockingly, my little angels hung in there like troopers until we got in the car to head home. Iris was completely zoned, her pacifier hanging halfway out of her mouth, and she was gripping the string of the balloon that she scored at the mall. Ocean, on the other hand, was screaming, "I don't want food! I don't like food! I hit food!" I hadn't said anything about food, so I assumed he was just hungry and tired and a toddler. So I took a cue from Iris, zoned out, and ignored him. When he started crying, "Mommy, mommy... MOMMMMMYYYYYYY!" I thought he might actually need something so I said, "Yes, Ocean?" He wailed, "I DON'T WANT FOOOOOOD!" I increased the volume of the silly pop station in the speakers which in turn caused Ocean to yell, "I don't like music!"

"This isn't music, Ocean. It's Fergie," I said.

Silence. Followed by, "Ooooohhhhhhh..." He was quiet the rest of the way home, presumably contemplating the limits and parameters within which art is defined.

We got home and they ate the fastest dinner ever and were in bed by 6:12. I thought I was home free until 8:07 when they both woke up thinking they had just had a nap. Ocean was very confused as to why it was dark outside and Iris was just mad that I wouldn't pick her up. A stuffed puppy settled her down and a brand new pair of Thomas the Train big boy underpants over his pajamas lured Ocean back into sweet slumber.

This may have been the longest day of my life. As Fergie is my witness, I will never go napless again.


accidental awesomeness

We recently had a childless friend ask us how you learn to be a parent. It was an intriguing and loaded question but Phil and I both answered the same way: you totally make it up as you go along. I fail a lot. Occasionally though, a seemingly dumb idea ends up hitting the jackpot with my kids. Case in point...

Last week I bought gift cards at Whole Foods. They gave me these little mini-paper bags to put the cards in. Normally I wouldn't have taken them since I planned to use the gift cards myself, but they were just so cute and I thought we could do an art project with them.

This evening Phil had a meeting and I needed to go to the store. After dinner I packed up my very exhausted kids and started to head out. As I pulled my keys out of my purse I saw the little bags. I gave one to each kid and told them that they were our special shopping bags, and they could keep their coupons in them. Instantly the crankiness was gone and they were so excited. I stuck a coupon in each bag and they both held onto them the entire shopping trip. It was a stroke of genius (or desperation) that just happened to stave off a couple of emotional breakdowns. The shopping trip was successful... we got home and I put their shopping bags with our other reusable bags for next time. But first I took this picture:

Now if anyone has any ideas on how to get my child out of this "pockey shirt" that he's been wearing for 4 days, I'm all ears.