...I'm just going away...TO A NEW BLOG ADDRESS.

Writer Ramblings has moved to http://www.writrams.com/ (that's right, I have my big girl panties on now).

The old postings will remain here (don't worry, they're over at the new site, too), but--after this--no current postings will appear on this site.

What does this mean for you? If you subscribe to this blog and receive updates via email, then you should head over and subscribe to the new blog so you don't miss anything.

Go on.

(Why are you still here? Nothing to see. Move along.)


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

(Subtitled: Why you should teach your toddler rap.)

Cheeseburger on a Plate With tomato Ketchup

Last night we were having a family dinner when my nephew asked, "Do you guys know the Big Mac song?"

All three adults immediately (and simultaneously) launched into the two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun song.

Unimpressed, my nephew said flatly, "That's not it."

After several minutes of (unsuccessful) generational arguing, we gave it to Google.

And? Sure enough. The Big Mac song.

OK. I might be a little out of the loop since this video was posted in 2006, but now I can't get the song out of my head.

I was singing it in the bathroom this morning as my husband and I got ready.
(I know. Lucky guy.)
(AND, I can rap like nobody's business.)

Me: "I want a double cheeseburger, hold the lettuce..."
Me: Heeeeeey, did you notice that this song really isn't about Big Macs?!?
Him: That's not the problem. First of all, there's no lettuce on a double cheeseburger, AND there are CERTAINLY no seeds on the bun.
Me: That's why he says, "...no seeds on the bun."
Him: *SIGH* Why would you need to state the obvious?!?
Me: Uh...It's about the FLOW.
Me: *sigh*
Me: You know NOTHING about rap...

Then I did what any responsible parent would do...I taught the first part to my two year old.

"I need a double cheeseburger, hold the lettuce..."

After she sang it a couple of times she said, "I go school. I tell Miss Jody, 'I need a double cheeseburger, hold the lettuce.'"

I then get "the look" from my husband. "Great. We're going to have THAT kid."
To which I replied?
"We already do."

It's going to be a great day in the Wilson household.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

©Jacqueline WilsonAs many of you know, I am an older *cough*41*cough* mother of a two year old. By the time that you get to this age, there are many things that you've forgotten about the simplicity of life.
It doesn't take long around a toddler to be reminded of those things, and then start appreciating again.

As a mother, I feel like I've learned a lot. Don't get me wrong, I learn a great deal from the older girls, but the toddler serves as a daily reminder to just...relax.

10 Things I've Learned from My Toddler

1. Wake up early. Have you ever noticed how toddlers wake up with the sunrise, most often bounding out of bed with a smile and an immediate purpose? Yeah. Be that way more.

2. Eat only when you're hungry and until you're full. Watch a toddler closely at lunch or dinner. When you can get them to eat, they eat exactly what they want, until they are full, and then they stop. Think how much better our diets would be if we lived by that same principal.

3. Don't be afraid to show emotion. If you're mad, be mad. If you're happy, be happy. E is really into telling me her emotion right now. One day I thought, "Wouldn't it be much easier on relationships if you could just say, 'I sad.' like a two year old?"

4. Hug hard. Hug often. Doesn't it make you feel fantastic how a little person will run at full speed just to fling themselves into your arms and hug you tight? Just think how great your other loved ones would feel if you showed that same intensity.

5. Leave your toys out. I think many of us (especially moms) are so set on making sure that everything looks perfect that we miss out on some key times. If leaving the dishes in the sink overnight means time outside on a summer evening with the family then there's no contest.

6. Don't spend time with people you don't like. Have you ever noticed how a toddler will not only refuse to spend time with someone they don't like, but they'll also tell you? Well, you don't have to go that far, but do realize your time is precious. Don't waste it with people you don't care about (and vice versa).

7. Use "NO!" like you mean it. If you don't want to do something (or can't), just say no. And then mean it.

8. Idolize someone. Toddlers look up to people who are important to them because they are caring and they, in general, teach them something. Who do you idolize?

9. Eat with your hands. As adults, we're so afraid of getting dirty...why? Eat with your hands. Run in the rain. Jump in a pile of leaves. You'll be amazed how liberating these things can be for you.

10. Sing. Often. If there's one thing that I will always remember about my toddler, it's that she sings ALL.THE.TIME. It doesn't matter if we're in the supermarket, walking into church or she is in the classroom at school. You know how much hearing someone sing makes you smile?


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hands holding bubbles from bathwater

I really loathe design flaws that make one item seem like another.

For example, some genius came up with the idea to make Neosporin spray in the same portable, purse-size spray as breath freshener. When you're reaching blindly into your purse while driving, these feel EXACTLY.THE.SAME.

(Trust me, I know.)

I also hate when shampoos and conditioners are in the same shaped bottle. Hello? How else am I supposed to tell them apart when I have a face and head full of soapy bubbles?!?

So this morning, I reach into my makeup drawer to extract what I *think* is a sample size of a favorite lotion--same colors, same writing, same...everything. (Well, almost.)

After rubbing generous amounts on BOTH my arms, I knew something was amiss. This lotion was thick and wasn't soaking into my skin like the regular stuff. I pick up the bottle to discover it was, in fact, BODY WASH.


In case you've never tried rubbing body wash into your dry, non-showery skin (I don't recommend it, BTW...), it does...NOTHING. It just sits on top of your skin in a big, thick, non-lathery way and YOU.CANNOT.WIPE.IT.OFF.

After several minutes of wetting and scrubbing, it finally came off. However, it's supposed to rain later today while I'm out, so we'll see...

(Remember that time on Brady Bunch when Bobby put too much soap in the washer? EXACTLY.)


Monday, May 3, 2010

If you've followed this blog for any period of time, you are probably familiar with
Ninja Cocaine Kitty.

As I've mentioned before, Ninja Cocaine Kitty (not his real name, but changed here to protect his identity) has an interesting way of communicating with me. It usually involves flinging
himself from across the room in a Freddy Krueger, Ninja-like stance.

But last night he elevated his communication method to a new high.

We're not talking any of that, "But did Timmy fall in the well, boy?" stuff for my pets. Nope. Not my cat. Instead, he actually fashioned a neck sign out of a bag handle and a piece bag.

I'm pretty sure when I caught up with him he was searching for a Sharpie to scratch out his little piece of kitty wisdom to me. Curses to bad timing.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Boy and girl (9-11) playing electric guitars
A few weeks ago, I had my very first parent-teacher conference for my daughter.

She's two.

She goes to school two days a week.


One of the things the teacher said was that "Ella serenades them all at naptime with one or two songs before going to sleep.”

This wasn’t especially surprising because 1) she comes from a long line of musicians (his side, not mine), and 2) she sings and/or plays “instruments” ALL.DAY.LONG. at home.

However, it did send me into fits of giggles in the car wondering exactly what E sings to the classroom each time.

Right now, she’s really into singing Pink’s “
So what? I’m still a rock star. I’ve got my rock moves…” (except the Chippettes version, of course).

Was this her naptime lullaby, or did she choose one of the others in her two-year-old repertoire?

As with any child, E has her own…well…adaptation of songs.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of her favorites is Beyonce’s “All the Single Babies” (known as “All the Single Ladies” to most of you) complete with video-like hand motions. (She hasn’t seen the video, but I might’ve shown her a move or two…)

However, the one that really made me snort thinking of her singing it to the class is a preschool Bible song called, “Rise and Shine.”

The song starts like this, “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory.”

However, E sings, “Rise and shine and give God the Brobee, Brobee.”

(In case you didn’t know, Brobee is character from
Yo Gabba Gabba.)

And these, my friends, make up the songs my daughter is singing to her preschool class.

And now I’m wondering exactly what kind of “conferencing” the teachers are doing about E’s parents?

And then I think, "So what? We're still rock stars. At least we've got our rock moves..."


Monday, April 12, 2010

There's nothing like a sunny, 60-plus degree day at the park to make me realize how lucky I am.

1. I'm grateful for the flexibility in a WAHM schedule where I can take day time to spend doing fun things with the munchkin, and

2. I'm especially grateful for the blessing of another wonderful daughter added to our family.

As we're sitting at the park on a long, bench swing, I tried to hold my toddler's hand. Sad that she pulled away I said, "I would like to hold hands. Some day very soon you won't think it's cool to hang out with me, and even worse, you probably won't even like me very much."

To which she replied in a perfect two year old retort?

"Hahahahaha! I know, mommy, I know..."

And she proceeded to scoot all the way to the end of the swing.

And so it begins...


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Boy on Road Trip
I happen to think there are way worse things than texting and driving...like having a toddler in your back seat.

Before I get all of the you're-insane-texting-is-deadly-I-can't-believe-you're-being-so-irresponsible-to-post-this hate, you might want to get in line.

I suggest starting here.

And consider this, do you really think that statistics are going to show that someone crashed  because she had to lean down to retrieve a kid's meal chicken nugget that rolled under the front seat?

I think not.

I'm not saying texting and driving isn't dangerous. It is very dangerous, as Will Smith proved. And he also proved sitting in a bathtub with a jellyfish was dangerous. See how that works? There can be more than one dangerous thing at a time.

I'm all for apps that download onto new (or young) driver's phones and disable texting while driving. I think that should be part of a parent's choice. However, I'm not so sure if I'm for no texting (or cell phone use) while driving for everyone.

If that's the case, I think they should also outlaw the following while driving:
  • DVD players in cars (hahahahahaha to the "only in the back seat" requirement).
  • Eating fast food (if you've ever tried to eat something from The Bell while driving down the highway, I feel ya).
  • Listening to incendiary talk radio personalities.
  • Taking notes while on a business call.
  • Pets on your lap.
  • Any kind of personal hygiene (including shaving, brushing your hair, make-up application, or staring lovingly at yourself in the mirror).
  • Toddlers in the backseat.
Let me tell you, if you've never had a toddler screaming at the top of her lungs and launching a sippy cup straight at your head while barreling down the highway at 65 miles per hour, you probably don't understand driving distractions.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

I have an admission. I actually own this movie.

OK, in the fairness of full disclosure, I don't own it, but I have it in my possession (and, as you know, that is 9/10).

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

A couple of years ago (B.E., before Ella), my husband, our friend Dennis and I  were watching a documentary on the snakehead fish that invaded the Virginia/Maryland/D.C. area when we lived there.

If you don't know anything about snakehead fish:

1. They're ugly.
2. They can destroy an ecosystem.
3. They can "walk" outside of water. (WAY.)

According to that always reliable (and true!) source, Wikipedia:

Out of the water Snakeheads rhythmically move their fins and muscular bodies back and forth: the fish equivalent of walking.
Yeah. Way.

Anyway, back to the good stuff...

So, in the middle of this very serious documentary, there were multiple scenes from a movie called, Swarm of the Snakehead--Part Fish, Part Snake, Pure Evil.

For your viewing pleasure:

So, we did what any self-respecting, documentary-loving friends would do:
We promptly bought this B horror flick for our friend Dennis as a Christmas present. (It was hard to top the Hula Dashboard dancer, but I think this did the trick.)

And then we watched it with Dennis.
The entire thing.
And every 10 minutes within the movie it flashed the message, "For review purposes only."
I paid $24.95 plus shipping for this movie.
Something didn't *seem* right.

After the movie, our friend Dennis *forgot* his amazing gift at our house.
That was two years ago.

Which brings me to present day.

I ran across the DVD the other day and wondered, "What happened to Swarm of the Snakehead?" Hard to believe that it didn't make it to the movie theater. It would be FAB-U-LOUS as an IMAX 3-D presentation.

So...where is Swarm?
I had to do research.
I went to the website where I purchased the movie and here's what I got.


I knew I should've bought a Tshirt when I had the chance.

Luckily, some refrigerator magnets are still available.
In the U.K.

Trust me, this isn't the last you've heard.
I will find out what happened.
And, I will post it here.
Because I know that's what you'd want.

P.S. Here's how the Chinese like their Snakehead fish...stuffed with Thai herbs...
(heh heh)

*Names have been changed in this posting to protect the (not so) innocent person who shunned our nice gift.
**OK, I lied. There were NO NAME CHANGES. It really was DENNIS.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lest you think that mommy bloggers do not spend enough time with their kids...BAM! Living proof:

(This was a quality 6 minutes of face-to-foot time, let me tell you...)
Take that, MomBlaters!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Girl with Tape over Mouth

Apparently, mommy + blogging now = hate.

That's funny, because for me, mommy+blogging always meant "be at home for your child while doing something you love."

How silly of me to be out of the know.

Unless you're a blogger or heavy into the social networking thing, you may not know about the recent New York Times article that cast a negative light on mommy bloggers and stirred up a whole bunch of...well, you know.

So imagine my surprise when yesterday I found myself smack dab in the middle of all the mommy blogger hating, which was as much of a surprise as being in a Detroit Free Press article called World of sex, lies and mommy blogs.

When I spoke to Georgea Kovanis (the author of the article) a few weeks ago for an interview, I had no idea the slant of the article (she hadn't figured it out yet, she said).

After speaking with Kovanis at length about blogging and the need for women to lift each other up, I was shocked to be included in an article that perpetuated such negativity about mommy blogging. I felt that was only a very small part of what I was trying to convey about blogging, being a mom and being a woman.

And then the comments began.

There was an onslaught--mostly negative (go figure)--of comments about how "we" (especially those of us interviewed in the article) needed to (in no particular order):
  • Get a real job.
  • Lose weight.
  • Enjoy parenting.
  • Pay more attention to our kids.
  • Get a life.

And then it started to get really nasty. So I did what any self-preserving blogger would do: I stopped reading.

Look, everyone is entitled to their opinion (and mostly I don't care about them), but people, you just made my whole point about women not really supporting each other.

Each time I write a blog post, do I need to run through my qualifications--being college-educated, a director at a hospital at 25, a college instructor and academically published--and then list the number of hours I spend face time with my child before being worthy of blogging?

Did you know that, for many moms, blogs are their business (or an avenue to drive clients to their business)? Or, that many moms make major sacrifices and use blogging as a business so that they can be home with their children, as I covered in my recent Understanding the WAHM Evolution post. Or, that many WAHM and mom bloggers do spend most of their day with their kids and do the majority of their writing during nap times, school time, or at night, after everyone has gone to bed (and in lieu of any sort of social life)?

More importantly? Why do you even care?

And, why do we have to rip each other apart just to feel better about ourselves?

Thankfully, the awesome Melissa Ford had enough sense to realize that a well-rounded piece needed to follow negative campaigns. She promptly interviewed several of us and posted here and here.

It all boils down to this:

Mommy blogging is way more positive than negative. Yes, there are those who leave nasty comments and make a big stink to tell us we're not good moms whenever we post that we have a bad day and wish little Johnny would visit grandma until...college age. However, there are amazing moms blogging their every day lives...some to make money, some just to share their journey.

Many of us mom bloggers say things that others may not. If it gets a laugh, great. If it helps others realize they're not alone, even better.

What's wrong with that?

As I said to Melissa Ford yesterday:

I would like to live in a mommy world where we could discuss things reasonably and see other points of view instead of reverting to high school and going straight for the proverbial jugular. But I guess that only exists in the world of marshmallows, unicorns and rainbows. It sounds nice, though. I'd like to visit there sometime.


Tuesday, April 5, 2010

OK, we're really not, but it's been an interesting past 24 hours of press for the Wilson household.

First, my darling two-year-old daughter was pictured in the paper with the Easter Bunny at the marshmallow drop. (If she looks all sweaty, it's because she had to stalk the Easter Bunny a half-mile and then throw-down some one year olds to get to him all while trying to keep her bunny ears straight.)

And then Dawn featured our 'tie-dyed' Easter eggs on her fabulous PartyBluPrints entertaining ideas blog.

Then, I was quoted in a *controversial* mommy blog article in the Detroit Free Press called (SURPRISE!) World of sex, lies and mommy blogs, which then led to a nicely balanced follow-up interview and blog post with Melissa Ford over at BlogHer.

(I'll SO being doing a post about the whole mommy-blogging-hater-thing later, but first I probably need to ignore my child and then eat some more ice cream while watching DWTS...)

Anyway, like I said, we're kind of a big deal.

In our own minds.

(And in case you didn't know, the 'I'm kind of a big deal' is really a movie quote.)
(And now you do know.)


Friday, April 2,2010

I recently saw an intriguing tweet from @DawnSandomeno on Twitter. (She and Elizabeth have a fantastic blog with great ideas and info on a variety of topics for home entertaining.)

The tweet that I saw from Dawn involved using silk neckties to "tie dye" Easter eggs.


After scrounging in my husband's tie drawer and then making a trip to the thrift store for 100% silk ties, we finally got around to making them tonight. And I have to tell you:

It was a huge hit!

It was so great that I had to stay up and blog about it tonight so you can try it by Easter!

You cut up silk ties, wrap them around uncooked eggs, and then cover that with another piece of cloth--like a cut-up pillow case or sheet. After boiling the eggs (in the cloth), you take off the cloth and TA-DA, you have some of the most beautifully and uniquely colored eggs you'll ever see. (Head over to Party Blu Prints Blog for the full instructions.)

Our tie-dyeing session turned into an impromptu friend/pizza/egg coloring party. Everyone not only enjoyed the process, but they were also extremely excited with the results. We're already planning another tie-dyeing session! We've determined that these will be great for summer parties and barbecues, too.

Here are our eggs all together:

Looking for tips? Here are some things that we'll do again, or differently, next time:

  • The blog was right, the uglier the tie, the better. Something you think no one would (or should) wear will make the best eggs.

  • In places where the material doesn't stay against the egg, the egg will be white. Next time, we are going to try cutting 4 slits into the tie material (one cut in the middle of each side of the square) so that it folds more smoothly over the egg. (One of our friends said, "Think upholstery.")

  • Consider the time. The 20-25 minutes of simmering time is after the eggs come to a boil. With the eggs and the cloth, the water took quite some time to come to a boil. (We got a late start and found ourselves with sleepy kids waiting for their eggs.)

  • Stick with ties that say 100% silk. We had one tie that claimed "all silk" -- none of the color transferred to the egg.
  • We had multiple adults and children participating, so we wrote our names on the outer edge of the white (outside) cloth with a permanent marker prior to boiling. Then, we took turns going around and "unveiling" ours. This was definitely part of the fun.

  • DEFINITELY use the blog tip about "shining" the eggs after. We used vegetable oil and it made the colors even more vibrant.

  • The boiled egg smell along with cooking fabric isn't pleasant. Open a window or two before you start.

HAVE FUN! Come back and post a link to pictures of your eggs so we can see how they turn out!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Do you ever consider how much information you put online about your kids, yourself, your friends and your job?

Close up of a computer monitor with keyboard and hard-drive tied together with a chain and pad-lock
I've put a great deal of thought into information on posts and social networks lately. Especially when someone I social network with commented on my "ad nauseam" postings about my toddler.

She wasn't being offensive, and I wasn't offended.

It is true.

I post A LOT of stuff about my daughter--especially on Facebook--so that my parents can feel active in her life.

But is it safe?

I think because we are forced to accept 'friends' on Facebook before they can see our posts, it leads us to some false sense of security. I post information and pictures about my daughter on Facebook that I would never post here...because it's more secure.


You may have already heard, but a Kentucky woman reported that a Facebook 'friend' broke into her house after posting she was going out for the evening.

NewsAndTribune.com reports,"Keri McMullen...said she posted a message on the popular social networking Web site stating that she and her fiancee would be watching a band play at Louisville’s Phoenix Hill Tavern."

She reports that she and her sister both connected with the thief, someone they knew from their past, about six months ago.
“I haven’t seen him in over 20 years,” McMullen
said. “He grew up across the street from us, so I wouldn’t have recognized him. I never would have put two and two together.”
I can't say I'm surprised. It was only a matter of time, and has probably happened more than has been reported.

I think about the security and privacy issue often when I see friends post about their vacation plans or related information online.

I'm guilty of it, too.

There's another Social Networking tool called "Foursquare" that lists TMI (IMHO).

The Foursquare concept is interesting--it allows you to share your real-time location through your cellphone in order to meet up with others, earn points, and, in some cases, discounts, products and services.

And when I say it shares your info, I mean IT.SHARES.YOUR.INFO.

For example, if I check in on Foursquare at a McDonald's, it lists, "Jackie has just checked in at McDonald's, XXX Main Street" and provides a map. The posts can be linked to Twitter and Facebook.

That's a lot of information to put out there in the deep and wide Web world.

Look, I'm not a big, "OOOH! Don't list anything online because the big bad social networking boogeyman is going to get you!" But, I do believe in being safe or, at least safer.

A recent New York Times article discussed online privacy, or lack of, in an unsettling article called "How Privacy Vanishes Online.
“Technology has rendered the conventional definition of personally identifiable information obsolete,” said Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the Federal Trade Commission’s privacy division. “You can find out who an individual is without it.”
So, what can we do? If people are going to find out who we are anyway, no matter what we post on social networks, what should we do?

Just be a little more careful.
It's that simple.

Need help? Check out some of these posts:
Well, I need to jump off. I'm going out tonight. The key is under the mat, right next to the file marked "LOGINS AND PASSWORDS."


Friday, March 19, 2010

If you haven't noticed lately, there are a great deal of moms who work at home, but are also the primary caretaker of their children. You know, the WAHPCTSAHM (Work at Home, Primary Caretaker, Stay at Home Mom).

Mother on Cell Phone Holding Baby
We stay at home. We work from home. We take care of our kids.

They're easy to spot, they have their Blackberry in one hand and their baby in the other.

They're probably not the ones wearing Christian Louboutin shoes (anymore), and they may be in dire need of an updated hair highlight.

They may have a tall coffee stashed somewhere, but probably aren't sitting next to a friend in a coffee shop enjoying it.

You'll have a confusing conversation with them like this:

You: Do you work?
You: Do you have kids?
You: Oh, where do they attend daycare?
WAHPCTSAHM: They don't. They're with me all day.
You: *confused look*

And believe me, from all of us WAHPCTSAHMs: WE GET YOUR CONFUSION.

We live it every day when trying to explain it to our friends, family, and sometimes even our husbands.

It's hard for others to understand that when we steal a few moments away in our home office during the day or at nap time, it's generally not to shop Bloomingdales.

If we post a funny comment on Facebook, it doesn't mean we're not working. Instead, it probably means we popped over to social network about business, saw something unrelated and commented on it while we were there.

Want to understand more about your WAHPCTSAHM?

1. Don't be offended by our incessant Blackberry checking.
When I check my Blackberry during a baby gym class or while I'm at your house, it's probably because I'm waiting for a comment from my editor that needs to be clarified quickly or some other work-related issue. I have my Blackberry so I can work AND ensure that my toddler is able to participate in activities during the day.

2. Social networking isn't just 'social' for us.
When we're blogging or on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site at 3 a.m., it probably isn't to play Farmville. Yes, we may chat about mundane things with others on them. However, our ultimate goal is one thing: to network with others in our business-related area. Which leads me to...

3. If we're blocking you on IM, it doesn't mean we aren't friends.
I use my instant messenger for two things: email alerts and to talk to someone while we're doing business together. Other than that? My IM is 'Off' to (most) others.

4. No, we cannot have drinks, go to a movie, enjoy dinner, attend a Pampered Chef party [or any other socially-related event] with you at night or on the weekend.
For many WAHPCTSAHMs, our 'work day' begins at night or on the weekend after the kids go to bed or our spouse can take the next shift. This means that we will almost always say no to your social event. (Unless you're hosting a party with Colin Farrell. Then I'm SO THERE). But don't be offended. It's us, not you.

5. If we seem distracted during gossip time, we probably are.
We may be at little Jimmy's soccer practice in body, but maybe not in mind. Our brains are running at warp* speed and we're probably constructing an RFP in our head during the mom sideline gathering.

6. We usually can't do play dates at the last minute.
WAHPCTSAHM plan their days (and nights) around their work and child's activity schedule. If we say no to a last minute play date addition, it's probably because we're working.

7. Don't go away mad, just go away.
When we're done at our children's activity, WE'RE DONE. We're probably the first ones to rush out the door (or maybe even rush you out). Don't be offended. We probably have a deadline or want to squeeze in lunch before work...or maybe even a bathroom break.

8. Yes, our house is always a mess.
No, you can't come over.

9. No, we aren't better than you. We're just different.
Look, WAHPCTSAHMs aren't superwomen. There are days we cry. There are days we wonder what the heck we're doing. Yes, there are even days we fantasize about a 'real office' job. However, we chose to make sacrifices in order to raise our child ourselves AND be able to work. Which leads me to...

10. No, we don't like looking like this.
Let's be honest, when you're taking care of a toddler during the day and working at nights and on weekends into the wee hours, something will give. It may be the WAHPCTSAHM's appearance (see shoes and highlights comment above). No, I don't like not getting regular highlights, being 'ponytail girl' all the time, not having trendy clothes or being too exhausted to work out. But that's the way it is...for now. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's called preschool.

You might also like: But, I don't want to share my chocolate chip cookie.

(*I first typed "warped." Coincidence? I think not...)


Monday, March 15, 2010

Have you been watching the new series, "Who do you think you are?" (Fridays, NBC)

Well, I have.
Check that--I've watched ONE and that was enough to give me the bug.

So, I'm tracing my history.
Well, my maternal grandmother's side, to be exact. My great grandmother, Elsie.

I declared my intention to my mother over the weekend by saying, "I'm going to do it! Isn't it EXCITING?!? Haven't you always been CURIOUS?!?"

Her reply?
"Not really. What's Ella doing?"

I can see I'm on my own.

It's really not something that my schedule can permit right now between a toddler and writing, but it is something I can do in those wee hours of the morning when my insomnia usually has me channel surfing infomercials on the 468 cable channels I pay for so they can show, um, stuff they get paid to show.

(I totally almost bought the 6 week body makeover the other day...)


This whole genealogy stuff?
It's really addicting.

You've been forewarned.

In a few short hours over the weekend on Ancestory.com (not a paid endorsement, just where I started), I traced part of my family back to the early 1700s. (*waves at my German ancestors*)

There's something about holding a copy of the handwritten census from 1880 that makes you giddy.
And amused.
For example, the 1880 U.S. Federal Census categories included:

Cannot read
Blind, Deaf
Otherwise disabled

(I won't even comment on the last category in relation to my family. You can probably figure it out own your own...)

I'll blog regularly about my findings. I've already uncovered some juicy stuff--alternate identities, adoptions, intertwining families, possible relation to a Civil War colonial and Senator and more. For now I'll just say, "Oh my darling, Clementine. You are lost and gone forever..."

Wonder where she'll turn up?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Close-up of chocolate chip cookies stacked high on top of each other
Motherhood is a weird thing.

It is, by far, my best 'accomplishment' in life. However, it is also the hardest thing I've ever done.

I've alluded to it before--that strange, secret code of motherhood perfection that prohibits us from really talking about what is going on with us, our kids and our life since Us + Kids = Someone Else's Life

Well, I'm going to break that code, and I'm just going to say it right up front:

I don't like sharing my chocolate chip cookies with my toddler.

And while we're at it? I don't like

...giving up my television shows for the same episode of Elmo OVER&OVER&OVER again, or

...sticky fingers inside my Diet Coke glass to fish out pieces of ice, or

...listening to the same children's CD EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. in the car, or

...not having a good night's rest in two years because my 'mom ear' is in the permanent ON position, or

...meltdowns at grocery stores, or

...hearing "MINE!" 4,372 times per day (even when it doesn't apply).

There's more, but you get the point.

Does this mean that I don't cherish motherhood as the amazing blessing that is? Of course I cherish it. Heck, I even enjoy it.

Does it mean that I'm human? I'm guessing so, and here's how I know:

You email me to tell me that you agree.

You don't post it on my blog in the public comments (lest someone see what a 'horrible' mom you are), and you certainly don't say it to my face.
But you do use that lovely anonymity of the Internet as a shield.
And that's OK with me. I'll take a hit for the team because there are those who 'unsubscribe' whenever I do a post like this, and those of you who 'whisper' at groups and play dates.

But you're not fooling anyone.

In a recent post, I revealed how I secretly wished the school would just handle potty training so I wouldn't have to do it. A potty training expert commented, "I read potty training stuff for a living and this might be the most awesomely honest thing I've ever read. Good for you."

If this blog is nothing else, it's honest.

So, I know you're out there.
And I know you don't like sharing your chocolate chip cookies, either.
Even if you don't want to admit it.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I have to say, not much surprises me these days. However, I did receive a nice little jolt while I was performing some insomniac channel surfing in the wee hours a few days ago:

Jimmy Johnson is now the spokesperson for ExtenZe--that hokey "male enhancement" drug.


I know.
I thought I would give it a few minutes to sink in for you, too.

Now I'll repeat:

Jimmy Johnson--football coach, Superbowl winner, sports commentator--is THE.SPOKESPERSON.FOR.EXTENZE.

Don't believe me? Check it out:

"Go long with ExtenZe. I do."
TMI, Jimmy.

Also, don't you wonder EXACTLY what they're all going to talk about at the Jimmy Johnson ExtenZe dinner?

This begs another question: Couldn't he just sell his Superbowl ring if he needed money?!?

Dignity, man, DIG.NI.TY.

I just hope my Texas-born husband doesn't find out...
(Sorry honey.)

I think my brain is overloading...


Sunday, February 28, 2010

If you grew up during a certain time (also known as the 80s), you may remember Doug and Wendy Whiner from Saturday Night Live.

Doug (played by Joe Piscopo) and Wendy (played by Robin Duke) were a couple that WHINED about everything, especially their diverticulitis.

("But I've got diiiiiiiiivvvvvvvvverrrrticuliiiiiiiiitiiiiissss.")

For some reason, this stuck with me and I carried it into adulthood and right into medical terminology class in college.

We had this awful med term instructor who didn't really teach us, but instead made us go around the class and read the terms and definitions out of the book. One day, when it came to me, my word to read aloud was...yep, you guessed it...DIVERTICULITIS.

Because I'm the funniest person I know, I decided to channel Wendy Whiner and read diverticulitis and the definition like Wendy Whiner would. It got a good laugh from the class, but the instructor wasn't impressed. I was promptly asked to leave the class.

[Way. I KNOW. This is probably why I grew up to teach health care courses, including medical terminology. I not only joke around with my college students, I also let them joke around with me. *gaaasssp* I digress...]

Anyway, fast forward *many* years where my husband and I have shared a few good Doug and Wendy Whiner diverticulitis laughs.

This past Friday night yet another one of us spent the evening in the ER. This time it was my husband.

I stayed home with a sleeping baby and my husband was texting me updates. After a few hours I get the following text:

"I have diverticulitis."

At which point, I did what any supportive wife would do...I cackled.

(To my credit, I did refrain from texting him my amusement. I just laughed to his face when he got home.)

I do miss the good old SNL days...


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Something was proven to me this weekend that I (and some of my closest friends) have suspected for quite some time:

I'm not really a girl.

If you've been around me for any length of time, this fact quickly becomes clear. I just don't like to do any of the stereotypically women (or woman-bonding) things.

I don't like spa days where you get facials and massages ("Please don't touch me. Thanks.")

Manis and pedis? *gasp*

Sitting in a salon for 2 hours getting my hair highlighted and cut?
A fate worse than death.

I don't like chocolate truffles, candy at Valentines Day, talking on the telephone, shopping (yes I said it, "I.DON'T.LIKE.SHOPPING!"), soap operas, Tupperware parties, changing handbags with every outfit, books and movies about vampire romances, gossiping or drama. (Seriously people, this is a NO.DRAMA.ZONE.)

I don't even really like jewelry.

I wear my wedding rings, a necklace from my husband, and the same hoop earrings--a gift to celebrate Ella's birth--daily.

That's it.

Which brings me back to this weekend's concrete proof.

My friends hosted a jewelry party--a fantastic company that will be a great side business for them.

As I walked into a room full of OOO-ing and Ahhh-ing women, I immediately realized something I already suspected:

This just isn't for me.

I was overwhelmed by the tables full of hundreds of pieces of jewelry. I didn't understand the need to fondle and try pieces of jewelry like the other women. I was even more perplexed at the need to discuss where you would wear it and with what outfit ad nauseum.

Don't get me wrong, it was a completely fantastic party with absolutely beautiful pieces of jewelry.

It's totally me.

I'm obviously missing that notch in an X chromosome that makes me giddy with joy over girly things.

I divulged this personal information to another mom over lunch this week when I said, "I don't like to talk on the phone, and I really don't like to shop."

At which point she said?
"We can no longer be friends."

See? I told you...


Friday, February 19, 2010

If you're like us, you'll take every chance you can to save money in this economy.

This even means shopping after-holiday sales for upcoming gifts.

For a brief time, stores will still have clearanced Valentine Day gifts available--many listed at 50 to 90% off the retail price.

I can just hear you asking, "What am I supposed to do with clearanced Valentine items?"

Did you forget that Easter is right around the corner?

Believe it or not, you can find plenty of Valentine items for your upcoming Easter basket at a fraction of the cost.

Shop Valentine clearance aisles not for the candy, but for the other items--cute cards, cups, games and stuffed animals.

Today, I shopped for my toddler and found a pre-packaged gift tin with a cute leopard (trust me, she won't even care that it's not a bunny).

I also found some peel-and-stick "make-a-face" Valentine cards (that really didn't look like Valentine cards, just stickers).

The total after the clearance discount for both?

For Easter, we'll fill the tin with a few pieces of Easter candy, some fun eggs and I'll wrap it in Easter cellophane.

When all is said and done, she'll have a cool Easter gift that cost us less than $10.

Worried that this won't work for the older ones on your Easter list? I also saw some cute mugs (that were love-related, but didn't look like Valentines), and some cool drink shakers--both of which would be lots of fun filled with Easter candy.

Use your imagination and don't be fooled into thinking that you can't use an item for another holiday just because it has a heart or the word "love" on it.

Now, go on. You won't have much longer until these deals are gone.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

If you have a toddler that goes to school, daycare or play groups, you probably have an entire bag of Valentine cards scattered around your home.

Us, too.
Have you ever thought of using them for "mail time" play?

Mail time play allows you not only to teach toddlers about mail, but also provides an opportunity for them to practice coordination and motor skills (along with a little strategy).

Mail time play is easy, especially since tots love to put things in and take things out.

All you need to do is create a mailbox, and the construction is pretty simple.

Toddler Mailbox

  • A shoebox (or a box with a removable lid)
  • Wrapping or craft paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Old Valentine cards (works just as well with leftover birthday cards, Christmas cards, or just plain envelopes)


1. Cut two slots of varying sizes into the shoebox top. (The two sizes helps with coordination and motor skills as the child will need to figure out that the big ones only fit in the big slot, etc.)

2. Cover the top and the bottom of the box with wrapping or craft paper.

3. Cut through the paper on the box top to expose the slots. Tape the edges down on the inside of the slots to make a smooth surface through the slot.

4. Write on or decorate the "mailbox."

Helpful Hints:
  • Be sure to use a shoebox or other box with a removable lid. The toddler needs an easy way to get the "mail" out so they can start over again!
  • Test that the cards fit into the slots before wrapping the lid. You don't want to have a frustrated toddler when they can't get the cards into the slots.
  • Toddlers love to color and work with stickers. This project is easy enough that the toddler can help with the entire process, but especially the decorating!

When you are finished, not only do you have a new "mailbox" game, but you also have a place to house those cards and "mail" when they're not being played with (sneaky, huh?).

My two-year-old spends time throughout the day putting her "mail" into the slots, taking them out and then starting all over again.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

I have a little secret:

I'm not really interested in potty training our toddler.

If I were a better mom, I would've taken hold of the poopy reigns when she showed an interest two months ago at school. The teachers were telling me things like, "Ella asked to poop on the potty and then she did it!"

Even worse, they were writing things on her daily progress report like "Sat on potty three times!"

Instead, I was just *secretly* hoping that they would take care of it at school and she would *magically* come home one day and be potty trained.

When that didn't happen, we I decided it was time.

Now, one week before her second birthday --the same week we transitioned her to a "big girl" bed and the same week we took away most of her bottle privileges -- it's time to poop on the big potty!

(Because, hey, why not take away all comfort items and force milestones all at once?!? Tomorrow I'm making her get a job...).

Of course, I did some research and settled on the "Three Day" potty training method (for obvious reasons, er, see above), with some modifications (because the entire world is better with Jackie modifications).

We sat on the potty at least 3.4 million times today, with no results.

The big loser ZERO.

She went once in her pull-ups, hid in the corner once and peed in her pants and then peed in the kitchen chair.

This is the same girl that has to go around the house flushing all the toilets 3,762 times per day.

So after being tucked away in bed tonight (where she's sure to poop in the diaper we put on her any minute now), hubby says, "Maybe it's too early?"

To which I replied?
"On the contrary. I think it's too late."

Oh well, maybe she'll show an interest again when she starts dating...


Friday, January 29, 2010

Today I dropped Ella off at school -- back for the first time since THE EVENT.

Although she was a little shy at first, she was happy to be back. I was equally happy to have her back (for several reasons).

As I was leaving, one of the teachers said, "We're SO HAPPY to have you back! You had us really scared!"

And then it happened.

Tears sprang to the corners of my eyes.

I made my way out of the classroom and down the hall with my hand pressed to my mouth, suppressing a wave of emotions.

In the parking lot, I sat in the car and sobbed for 10 minutes.
I sobbed for my baby.
I sobbed for my baby's life.
I sobbed for the possibility of her untimely death.
I sobbed because for 15 days (15!) I hadn't let myself absorb what had really happened.

That's the weird thing about being the strong one, sometimes you forget to let yourself sob.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As many of you know, we recently had a traumatic event with our soon-to-be two year old toddler, Ella. Because of all the emails, texts, and calls, I just wanted to take a moment to update everyone.

After (what will now be dubbed forever as) THE EVENT, we made it home from the emergency room around 1 a.m. on Friday, January 15. Ella had no more seizure episodes and her fever was lower.

Friday, as well as Saturday, she was O.K. Not well, but as O.K. as a sick little baby could act.

Sunday her fever started to spike again. Late afternoon, she started to become extremely lethargic, as she was before her seizure on Thursday. Not taking any chances, we loaded up and headed back to the E.R. (our pediatrician is on vaca for 10 days and it was a holiday weekend, anyway).

Turns out? Ella has RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. You may (or may not) know, but RSV is an extremely contagious virus that can be potentially life-threatening to infants and toddlers. You can read more about it at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but I won't bore you here.

In a nutshell, we were transferred to another hospital (yep, that's two ambulance rides and two hospitals in three days for those of you keeping score) where they kept Ella overnight. Her fever stayed very high until Monday morning. After that, she started to run around the room and play and eat. We were were released late afternoon.

She still has a cough, but no more fever, and thankfully, no more seizures.

She feels much, much better than her parents, who are now both sick from her germiness.

Thank you, everyone, for your concern, thoughts and prayers. It was so overwhelmingly supportive that I'll be writing a blog post about it when I can wrap my thoughts around the enormity of it.

By the way, do you know how long it takes to feel like you've showered all the germs off of two ambulance rides and two hospitals?!?


Friday, January 15, 2010

Life is not meant for a mother to experience giving her child CPR. But what are you to do when your 23-month-old child is not breathing, lying lifeless and blue on the kitchen floor?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday wasn't abnormal, for the most part. Ella awoke with a cough and runny nose, but little more. We went out, she ate some french fries, she sang in the supermarket -- all things that she would do on any random day.

After waking from a nap later, she had a croupy cough and her fever started to rise. We are not new to the baby fever thing, having fought fevers as high as 105 with her, so I wasn't panicked. As the evening wore on, it wasn't getter better. The doctor suggested we dose her with the normal kid drugs and if her fever didn't go down before bed we take her to the emergency room.

Her fever started to go down, even if just a little. A little while later, a sudden spike and some lethargy had us worried. As I held her in my arms, she started to -- for lack of better description -- go out of it. Her eyes weren't focusing, she couldn't keep her eyelids open, her body was going limp.

And then suddenly something strange happened. She opened her eyes and looked up, not eyes rolling back, but actually looking up and focusing on something on the ceiling. When I stood up, she turned her head so she could see the same spot on the ceiling. For some reason, my actual thought was, "She's staring at Jesus." The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

I yelled for Todd to start the car to take her to the emergency room. Moments later, she clenched her teeth, she stared away, unfocused. She was obviously having a seizure. As I ran through the house with her in my arms she went totally limp.

She was unresponsive.
She was unconscious.
She wasn't breathing.
And she was turning completely blue.

It's true what people say, things start to happen in slow motion like you're in a movie. I remember screaming in a voice I didn't even know I had, "NO GOD! PLEASE NO!" as I placed her on the kitchen floor. Her face was completely blue, her lips even bluer. There were dark, bluish-black circles under her closed eyes.

My health care training took over and I went into auto-pilot mode, alternately barking orders to Todd on the phone with 911, giving my 23-month-old daughter CPR and screaming at her to come back.

I don't know how much time elapsed, I suspect a minute or so, but it seemed like an eternity. She started breathing and the scary blue went away, but she was still out of it. I started doing things to trigger her memory. I sang Jingle Bells. I asked her about her favorite teacher at school. I used stern voice to tell her to stop it. Things that all seem ridiculous now seemed perfectly reasonable then.

We spent four hours with her in the emergency room, doing tests, keeping watch. She had a seizure. She has a sore throat. She has a cough that they're treating like croup.

Concrete evidence I can handle. A blue dying baby on my floor I cannot.

I slept in her room for the few hours that we did sleep this morning. I checked on her throughout the night and then awoke in a panic during the times I drifted off.

I was never happier than hearing, "Mama, hold you?" as she lifted her little toddler arms for me to pick her up this morning.

Things were back to normal for her, but they will never be the same for me.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Today I'm proclaiming something that my friends and family have probably known for a long time:
I'm the queen of bad "fun" ideas.
Take the time I planned a trip for "the best jerk chicken" while we were in Jamaica and we came back with 2 chicken sandwiches with feathers, 2 pork sandwiches with skin and pig hair still attached and $56 lighter.
Or, the time that I made everyone create Christmas eggs during the holiday because "Why should Easter be the only holiday that gets cute eggs?"
What about the time I piled 7 people into an SUV to go look at Christmas lights ("It will be SO FUN!") and then had to claw my way out of the backseat when I had a total claustrophobia-induced panic attack?
Anyway, I think you get the point.
So today, I thought it would be fun to get the 23 month old out in the snow.
And the 14 degrees.
"We'll make a snowman!" I said.
She was gung ho.
We bundle up, go out, make a snowman and then realize that we had forgotten the face accoutrements.
On the way back in, I lift Ella onto the porch, lose my footing, and in an attempt to NOT crush my baby, sidestep, crush her anyway, fall, and smash my head - face first - into the wrought iron chair on the porch.

Baby cries.
I bleed.
But, darn it, we still got that snowman face on.
Mission Accomplished.

This is the snowman:

This is the baby on snowman making:

(That was an hour ago. She's still curled into a fetal position.)

Wasn't that FUN, honey?!?


Sunday, January 3, 2010

You know about the complaining.
You've read about the cake.
Now here's the carnage...


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Today is the 13th anniversary of my 28th year of life.

If you didn't know about my obsession with Barbie birthday cakes, then you haven't been following along (and now you must leave my blog).

Still here?
Ok then, but pay attention this time.

In case you didn't get it, today is my birthday. I'm really not a make-a-big-deal-out-of-my-birthday kinda girl, so when asked what I wanted to do for the big day I said, "Exchange my coat and eat at Five Guys hamburgers."

(I know, I dream big.)
So after our interesting day out (who knew that the day after New Year's was a HUGE HUGE HUGE shopping day?!?), we return to a note on our door:

We didn't have a cake for my birthday, so I asked hubby if he ordered a cake.
He shrugged, shook his head "no."
(Never mind that I occasionally and randomly buy birthday cakes throughout the year and then proclaim, "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY TODAY!" That's another story...)
When the cake finally arrives, my husband goes to the door and turns, with a cake box and a HUGE grin on his face.
It's none other than a BARBIE CAKE.

I squealed.
I jumped around like a 4 year old.
I took pictures.
I squealed some more.

A friend from college, who I haven't seen for 20 years, sent me a Barbie Cake.
So, here's to you, Paul!
It only took 41 years, but thanks for making Barbie Cake my homegirl...finally!