Thursday, December 29, 2011

I am Old. Turns Out, So is My Husband

New Year's Eve is rapidly approaching.  This is a holiday that totally stressed me out in the past.  The hoards of people "out" having a great time have always made me feel pressured to be out having FUN!  My dear friend, Karen, and I created a super-duper White Trash Bash party in 2003 to satisfy the need for FUN! and also our need for dress-up.  It worked.  Until I went and had babies, she moved to Arizona (she's back now) and this year, Karen and her hubby are off being a couple without kids and skiing.

This leaves us plan-less.  I really have no desire to dress up (I love my pajama pants), go out, spend a ton of dolla' that I could use for a million other things, leave my kiddies and be out with crazies.  That was how the whole White Trash Bash got started in the first place.  Chris kept asking me, "What do you want to do for New Year's?"  My response was to avoid eye contact and mutter an "I'm not sure. . ." and walk away.

Chris asked again yesterday, "Have you given any thought to New Year's Eve?"

My response was the norm--"uh. . . no. . ."

Chris responding, "Honestly, I would be perfectly home with us just staying home and hanging out."

For the first time in this discussion, I responded with gusto.  "Really?! I thought you wanted to go out."

I submit this as irrefutable proof that we are, indeed, old.  Old and boring.  Anyone want to join us on our home-drinking, movie-watching, fun-filled, FREE evening?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Really? (When things go awry)

Really, Burger King?

A sign in front of a Burger King near our home reads,
"We are open on Christmas!  All day--7-12.
Assistant Manager Needed."   
Certainly those things aren't related.

Really, Target?
I feel certain that the buyer on this particular flesh-colored mushroom wine stopper had quite a laugh when the store went for the product.  And yes, I took this with my phone--I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Let's Get Real

I'm all for being honest.  Most of the working moms I know talk about how much of a disaster zone their home is--to the point where we won't see each other in our respective homes because of the mess.  I told two of my friends today that if I'm waiting for my house to be perfect, I may never see them again.  I need to get over my mom's voice in my head that a mess makes it unacceptable to have anyone enter my door.  So here's my attempt at transparency.  It's okay.  You can judge.  And let it be known that my house looks this way and I still choose to do things like write a blog post, take a nap (if it's the weekend) and create a huge mess of popcorn and chocolate for little Christmas goodies.  Smart?  Likely no.  I'm just surviving--knowing there are things more important than folding laundry when I get a scant 2 hours per day with my kiddos during the work week and that by the time they are in bed, I am toast.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not one of those perfect moms.  I know I'm not the only one.  I'm definitely not like a co-worker of mine who told me, quite seriously, that she doesn't check her email or have a Facebook account because those things would have her waste time.  So if you're all for wasting time on the interwebs while unfolded laundry takes over your house, CHEERS!  Now be brave and post about your own unfinished chores.  Let's live a little and show that a little mess doesn't matter in the scheme of things.  

And some baby cuteness.  Actually, I can't decide if I like this squenched up face she is making, but the picture makes me smile, so I'll include it.  

And finally, if you were wondering how Chris and I look gussied up, here's a pic from my company Holiday Party that happened to be on my birthday Birthday Bash!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Twinkles in the Death Spiral (or Controlling the Holidays)

The most amazing blog ever, Rants from Mommyland, calls the holidays the Halloween to Christmas Death Spiral.  I have aspirations of over-controlling the holiday to prevent the death spiral. This approach always seems to backfire, but being the determined soul I am, I continue to persevere with the same approach.    I am skidding sideways into the holidays, holding on tight to the sled with my eyes squeezed tight.

Remember the stellar parenting that made up our tree-buying experience?  If not, check it out here.  Well, despite the poor planning in the purchasing (like that alliteration?), our tree is up and is even decorated.  I know, right?  On top of that, I even managed to snap some of those sparkly light pics of the tree while putting off answering the oft=repeated, "What doing, Mommy?" in a quiet moment of serenity (I can pretend, right?).  Fun special-effecty pictures.  Oh, and I finally managed to rearrange our living room.  I'll have to post pics of that after I find a special effect that clears out the piles of folded laundry and various small toys.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I'm not a collector.  Unless you count a collector of clutter.

My husband and his family are collectors.

When we started dating and were getting first gifts for each other, my dear husband kept asking what I collect. I stared at him in puzzlement.  I told him I only had one accidental collection, and that was crosses to hang on the wall.  People just started buying them for me, hence accidental collection.

I was wrong. When I was a child, my mom made sure that we had a dated Christmas ornament for each year.  It's really the only thing I've ever collected with diligence my whole life.  Other collections end up forgotten as I have moved on to the next interest.  I have every ornament in the Frosty Friends series since 1980.  Yep.  That's a freakishly long time.  Last night, Monkey was finally old enough to really investigate.


I don't see myself starting any new collections, but each year I'm thankful that I bullied convinced my mom to and them over to me when I got my first Christmas tree.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm THAT Mom

I'm that mom.  I gave my baby juice in a bottle today.  Yep.  Totally true.  I need that girl to poop.  I need it so much that I'm that trashy mom.  The juice isn't even diluted, peeps.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Nostalgia

Sunday we went to get our Christmas tree.  Being the fab parents we are, we set out on our mad dash mission in between lunch and naptime.  It's all about timing, don't ya' know.  Half-way to our destination, I realized just how awesome we are--it's raining and we had no stroller, no baby carrier, no umbrella, and no tie down for a tree.  Turn around and go home?  Hell no.  That's for  parents with more spare time weenies.  We carried on like the determined people we are.  Our tree-picking took place in the form of a drive-by through the lot and then me sacrificing Chris to the elements to actually get and pay for the tree.  I'm nice like that.  Try not to be amazed.  Then we crept home with our soggy tree because the lot attendant warned that our precious tree was going to slide off the top of the car.  (It didn't, in case you were wondering.)

This experience of parent-fails family togetherness harkened me back to my childhood.  My family loaded into the cab of my dad's Silverado pick-up truck.  Yep.  That's the model that would burst into flames if in an accident at just the right place. 

This looks pretty much just like my dad's truck minus the bubbly do-it-yourself window tinting, funky smell and random shop rag for snotty noses under the front seat.  Can you imagine four people in the cab of this truck?  What?  Seat belts?  Nope, we didn't use those in the 80s.  You know what we did use? Flocked trees.  Mmmhmm.  Amazingness. This is what our tree doesn't look like this year, but did in my childhood.  

My childhood tree also included rad bubble lights.  Drats that they are fire hazards, because the special effects were mesmerizing.

I guess I'm now realizing all things I loved about my childhood Christmases may have been life-endangering. I'm guess that judging by Sunday, our children will have the same recollection of their childhoods.    

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stoopid Desperation.

Remember when I told you about the coolest friend in the history of ever and how lucky I am to have her?  Yep.  This one.  Sometimes it feels like the proverbial gods are conspiring against us seeing each other--various trips, my job, sickness of the kiddies, sickness of the kiddies and sickness in the kiddies have derailed our plans of late.  When this happens, we get desperate.  Desperate to see each other.  This leads to foolish decisions.

What kind of foolish decisions could two moms in their mid-thirties make?  A night of drunkenness? Nope.  Driving recklessly? No.  Spending ridiculous amounts of money on shopping sprees? Guess again.

Our foolishness was based in the decision that we thought it would be great to put 5 kids under the age of 6 together for some fun.  One of my favorite authors in the history of ever, Laurie Notaro, once told a tale in which she awoke with the word "stoopid" written on her forehead.  To my memory, the word stoopid is reserved for acts beyond mere stupidity.

Our kids had fun.  We got to talk, in between wails of frustration and repeated asking for "Aunt Steph, come to my woom," and we had delish order-in Asian food.  We even got a couple of passably cute snapshots in between head bumps, cheek pinches,  tantrums and squeals of laughter.

Abby loves to mommy the baby.

 Addison is finally convinced Brook-brook isn't a babydoll.  She even likes her a little. . .as long as Mommy isn't holding her.

The boys finally have something in common--a love for "Cars."

Sometimes STOOPID is

Monday, November 28, 2011

On Sharing and Empathy

My Monkey is a sweet one, you know, when he's not being almost three and shouting "No!"  He shared a horrific stomach virus with mommy.  Horrific.  Seriously.  He was vommies for almost 24 hours and then was sicky even after that.  I was praying that the rumbling in my tummy was a foray into hypochondria, but alas, he shared.

As I crouched over the toilet, Monkey kept saying, "You shrow up, Mommy?  You shrow up?"  I grunted an affirmation.  Next I know, he has toddled off and brought back Minnie and Lovie.  "Here go, Mommy.  Minnie make you feel better."  This was the Holy Grail of kindness--anyone spending any time at all with my Monkey knows that these are his most prized possessions.  The boundless sweetness was not lost on my limp, listless body in the throes of nausea.

I was still proud of his sharing, even when 4 minutes later he came and reclaimed Minnie and Lovie.  He needed them.  Mommy had better recover fast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making the Switch

So today I'm waxing poetic on exercising my parental rights.  I mean, seriously, aren't we conditioned to think that the words of a doctor are just to the right of God?  Right?  In my world growing up, doctors were pretty fancy, not people who moved in our social circles or went to church with us.  Heck, there wasn't even a doctor in the nearest 4 towns until sometime around the year 2000.

But I'm on a roll, y'all.  Granted, the roll is moving at a snail's pace, but I've moved on from 3 different doctors in less than 3 years since I've been a parent and I feel like a rebel.  (You can laugh, I know I'm not really a rebel.)  I made the call and cut the ties with the third doc today. . . I write that like I marched into his office and gave him what-for and fired him.  Yeah.  That didn't happen.  I just followed my instincts and called another ENT for my Monkey.  Old ENT none-the-wiser, but mama feels a whole lot better.

I guess the point of this post is to say, do it. If something doesn't feel right, don't swallow it and think that maybe you are blowing things out of proportion or are being too sensitive or expecting too much.  What I've forced myself to think?  The doctors once so infallible?  I realize now that they work for us.

The "You Should Switch Doctors IF _____" list 
(in the vein of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if. . .")

  1. You tell the pediatrician that your child might have reflux because there is spit up on every.single.item. in your home.  About 50x per day and the doctor responds, "Oh, that's NOTHING!  My sons were way worse than that!"  Not. Helpful.
  2. You get into the car after an appointment and burst into tears because the doctor made you feel worse instead of better about something.
  3. The doctor is in the examination room for less than 8 minutes while discussing a surgical procedure (albeit small) on your CHILD.
  4. Questions feel like an imposition.  You know, like if you ask questions you are somehow implying they don't know anything when really you just want to make sure every possibility has been explored because, I don't know, it's your CHILD?
  5. Diagnoses don't come with a discussion.  Like when the specialist looks at the notes and says, matter of factly, "Oh, so we have a purple-horned unicorn disease here" with no respect or concern that purple-horned unicorn implies that there is something seriously going on with your child that perhaps you've missed until now.  
  6. Even though you explain that you actually have experience in child development, the answer is "hmm" and then they move on to the next topic.
  7. If you call because the plan suggested by the doctor is leading to a side effect, say stopping up of 'pipes,' suggesting a small explosive to clear the clog might be failing to individualize care.  
  8. Not to say appearances are everything, they aren't, BUT there comes the realization that every doctor is getting the same reimbursement from insurances.  So when you are a factory for small surgical procedures,say, removing purple horns from unicorns, and your office hasn't been updated since 1986, I wonder where the money is going.  I'm guessing it isn't being invested in state-of-the-art equipment. . . or even state-of-the-decade equipment.
  9. The office staff is rude.  If you forget your insurance card, yet everything on file is current and they still threaten to cancel your appointment, then chances are they hate their job.  
  10. You feel rushed.  Last time I checked, doctors are still part of the helping professions.  Helping takes at least two people to be involved.  Every family is different.  Every body is different.  Of all people, a doctor should know that.  Minimizing my child's difficulties because there are kids much worse off doesn't make me feel anything but neurotic and pushed aside.  I am there because I'm worried about my kid and health and well-being, how this will affect them later-- and on and on.  And the thing is?  I want the doctor to be worried about my kid, above all else, in that moment, too.  
I'm confident and brave enough to say that if my needs aren't met, I'm out.  Sionara.  Check ya.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dinner, Anyone?

Monkey is in full-on pretend mode.  I love it.  I know it's closely linked with language development, so the speech pathologist in me is thrilled with his ability.  Tonight while I was getting Little Bit ready for bed and playing a bit, he set up a dinner with his favorite friends:  Puppy Dog, Minnie, Bunny and Olivia.  And take note, just because he pretends well doesn't mean any of it lasts very long.  Ah, the mind of a two-year old.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Asses, Asses

I'm aware that this video is shaky.  I'm also aware that it's hilarity and shows off my (questionable) sense of humor:

Is Being Strong a Weakness?

Back in 2001 scene of my first 'real' job, my first performance review was an unmitigated disaster.  I was blind-sided.  I had thought that I was an asset to the team, outspoken and respected.  Yeah.  Well, the review blindsided me with reflections that I was too outspoken, too passionate, too. . .everything.  I was devastated.  How does there exist such huge problems for a YEAR without telling the employee, who also happens to be a friend?  It was a craptastic day, to be sure.

In the ensuing years, I have received criticism feedback that I have a "strong personality" several times.  Each of those times, I have worked determine what this means.  The truth is I felt all defensive and sad inside because surely this feedback was only meant to be negative.  I also was at a loss for how to censor myself, to turn off what is so offensive about me.  I beat myself up, asking "why can't I be easier?," "why do I say things the wrong way?," "why do I push too hard?" Bleh.  Well-trodden territory, comfortably uncomfortable.  

I was recently turned away from a promotion because I'm "too passionate."  Isn't this saying "strong personality" in different clothing?  I am trying to cling to the cliff, refusing to slip into the valley of self-hate.  In my new-found maturity (?), I am trying to simultaneously accept the truth and maintain my sense of self.  Not so easy a task.  I am trying to feel the defensiveness, observe it, accept it and move on--not to assume that I'm one of the more annoying people on the planet.

I know that I can be too emotional.  I cry when I'm angry--this isn't quite productive in a business situation.  I also know that when I'm told that this can be perceived as "being manipulative," that is more about the other person looking at me through their lenses than it is truth.  I know that I can be pushy when I believe an injustice has been meted out.  I also know that it has more to do with the confidence of the other person that they cannot push back with equal gusto.  I know that "picking my battles" is not my strength and something I seem to only find success with my preschooler.  Heck, I'm still working on that with children with behavior problems in therapy.  I know that the people who (supposedly) said that they can't work with me have never really tried. 

I am strong.  I have personality.  I am passionate.  I cry.  I push.  I resist change, but eventually come around.  I am self-aware.  I am intelligent.  I am a quick study.  I am intuitive.  I am honest, to a fault.  No really, it's a fault.  I have recently realized or accepted that to some people I can be intimidating. . .or at least I'm working on accepting that concept.  The truly irritating thing is that the people who are stuck in their perceptions of me are also mired in their own crippling self-confidence issues.  I am still trying to reconcile the fact that to succeed, I have to modulate me.  I know this is life; I just can't figure out why my strength is a threat, why someone else's weakness must be catered to?  

All of this leads me to this:  my acceptance of this feedback makes it up to me to be successful.  To find a way to still fight for a cause, to retain my passion, but in a way that is more palatable to others.  Now the real work begins.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Our house has no privacy.  None.  It's a good thing that my husband still loves me after witnessing me birthing two darling children, because there are horrific moments when he's seen me pee.  On the toilet.  Which makes me think our marriage is doomed just like Janene Garafolo's character proclaims her parents' to be in the ultimate 90s movie, Reality Bites.

All of this is to say that my. . . ahem. . .you know. . .my period is back.  Shh.  This makes me blush like an 8th grader.  I promise that I only share this news for the purpose of humor.  My child is the epitome of curiosity.  For the first time in what I am sure will be a long, long tradition--I stumbled over the answers to his questions.  Stuttered.  Sputtered.

"What dat, Mommy?  What dat?  Dat for me?"

"Uh. . . it's for mommies.  It's just. . .a. . .thing."

"What for, Mommy?"


"What for, Mommy?"

Now I know why my mom used to say things like, "I just want to poop in peace."  No 2 1/2 year old BOY is ready for the truth about tampons.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Courtney. I'm a Geek. An Educated Geek.

I have spent the past two days in 'leadership training,' which might be more accurately entitled 'Personal Relationship Building.'  Often people dread this sort of learning experience, for good reason, right?  Well this was something I had been looking forward to for awhile.  The material was so captivating that i only got drowsy once and checked Facebook one time.  Unheard of.

This kind of personality-analyzing, introspective thinking totally spins my wheels.  Geeks.Me.Out.  The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory has long been my go-to for analyzing myself.  After one particularly stimulating workshop years ago, I even bought the book "Please Understand Me," which is entirely based on the MBTI.  I thought I was well-informed on this front.  Enter our facilitator, who wrote his thesis on the MBTI.  That makes me all hand-flappy and giddy.

I could create volumes on what I learned, personal applications, how I'm going to modify my relating, how to understand the communication of others, how to ask for what I need. . . but i'm fairly sure I'll get tired before I could adequately explain everything AND that most people's attention would wane long before I had reached my conclusion.  I try to assimilate information as I learn, making the most by applying to specific situations--that means I spent a ton of time thinking about my husband, my parents and my office colleagues.

Important notes:
1.  There is a theory called "Falsification of Type."  This means that assuming a different type of relating from your personality leads to depression and anxiety.  I have long-heard that I'm too practical, too literal, too schedule-oriented, not spontaneous, not out-going enough.  I've tried.  I've TRIED, people.  The source of my anxiety and depression?  Me thinks this deserves a closer look.

2.  Shame scripts.  Taking time to observe situations that cause a sense of dismay/shame, feel the emotion and then be aware of my use of the coping strategies on the Compass of Shame.

3.  If I ever feel like I'm winning an argument, I should immediately apologize and start over.  Debating a feeling or situation inherently creates a winner and a loser.

4.  Never lose empathy.  As a leader and a parent, I strive to use Restorative Leadership practices that marry empathy and accountability.

And there I will stop.  Basically, Charles Gaby provided insights and thoughts that will have me chewing on them for weeks, if not months or years to come.

I love to learn.  Seriously.  I'm a HUGE geek when it comes to this stuff.  I'm the kid raising her hand all the time.  Talking to the facilitator on breaks.  Yep.  My over-achieving roots totally show up when in a learning environment that speaks to my natural curiosity.  Whew.  Just the refreshing challenge of thought that I needed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Obligatory Halloween Cuteness

Halloween was so much fun this year.  As soon as we said Halloween was coming up, Monkey yelled, "Canneeeeee!"  I think he has his dad's sweet tooth.  We squeezed in two Halloween celebrations--Trunk or Treat at a dear friend's church with part of our 'village' and then trick or treating with Glammy on Halloween.  Poppy had to stay home because of some questionable tummy feelings.  We had a great time, ate a (more than) sufficient amount of canneeeee!, Monkey got to hand-out cannneeee! and we made it to bed just a smidge later than normal.  Best news of all?  Little Bit slept all.night.  All. Night.  I awoke with a start at 6:30am disoriented and confused.  I  thought perhaps I had forgotten and had been up with her?  Nope.  Sleep.  Glorious sleep.

On to the cuteness:
 Daddy and the ladybug.

 First time in the big-kid stroller for trick or treating.

With our favorite Ninja Turtle.

The bravest, toughest Mr. T. I've ever seen.  True story.  

More candy please, says Mickey.

Hanging with the original bug lady, LJ.

 Not a fan of the ears.  No matter how mommy tried to bribe and cajole.

I am in love with this pic.  For some reason the color version has a very strong blue tint.  Odd.  

One last shot before bed.  Mommy is practicing taking pics in manual mode.

All in all, Halloween 2011 was a success, despite Monkey declaring pumpkin stinky and refusing to scoop out innards.  Truth be told, I was taking one for the team and carving so he could have that rite of passage. . .turns out that our thoughts on the matter are the same.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

No 'Poo, No More

Pretty sure my hippie-no-shampoo experiment has come to an end. . . or at least on pause.  I just couldn't handle the gummy feeling of my hair.  That and I felt self-conscious and wondered everyday if people were looking at my hair and wondering why I hadn't washed it.  Hm.  I'm still interested in reducing/finding an alternative to shampoo, I just am not sure this was the right combination for me.  Plus, I've hit the massive hair-shed of the post-partum period.  Ridic.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sometimes My Husband Surprises Me

Last night we decided to order in so that we could watch the World Series game. . . that was postponed.   Being that we didn't have anything thawed and we received a coupon for Mooyah Burgers, off we went for a little family dinner.  Driving down our street, this happened:

Chris:  Look, it's the Steak People behind us.
Me:  The Steak People?
Chris:  You know, the people who knock on the door saying they have just a few steaks left and would we like to buy some?
Me:  (quizzical look)
Chris:  Oh that's right, you always make me answer the door.
Me:  (distracted) Mmmhmm.
Chris:  I always just tell them we're vegan.  They don't have anything to say to that.

Good thing the Steak People didn't see the meat lovers pizza box in the trash bin.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Click it Up a Notch Photo Share

Pintrest at work again. . . I found a fab site called Click It Up a Notch that offers all kinds of photography advice.  Well we're supposed to turn in our favorite picture of the month and I'm leaping out there to include this one.  I know you've seen it before, but I still lurve it.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Child Might be Smarter Than Me

I am typically not comfortable discussing issues of my intellect.  I'm reasonably smart, but I am fairly certain it is all a result of my freakish, savant-like memory.  It's ridic.  I have no idea why some of the things that stick in my head are there. . . like the start date of a therapist that works for me and has since 2008.  Weird.  I could give you a million more examples, but suffice it to say that anyone who engages in an argument with me has a serious amount of loathing for the memory.

So back to Monkey. He has a good memory.  I mostly attribute that to 1. genetics and 2. a speech pathologist for a mom.  Reasonable, right?

Well tonight he seriously put that theory to the test and has convinced me that I have, indeed, given birth to a wee one smarter than me.  This happened twice.  In one night.  Not. Normal.

1.  Chris and I were again questioning if Monkey's ear hurt.  Double ear infections last week have left us paranoid, especially with the random dramatic hand to the ear and statement, "My ear hurt."  We delicately explained to him that we want to make sure his ear doesn't hurt again and he calmly stated, "You need call Dr. Palmer."  Let's get this straight.  Dr. Palmer is the ENT we have seen exactly 4 times, the most recent being in May.

2.  Tonight we indulged Monkey's request to "go to walk."  Along with cooler temps (finally), it is semi-dark at this time.  Monkey looked up at me as we moseyed down the sidewalk and said, "We see noo-nick (music) and Santa."  I stopped in awe and looked back at Chris.  You see, he was referring to the home, three doors down, opposite side of the street, that had one of those fascinating and slightly tacky blow-up Christmas decorations synced to music last year.  Each evening in December, we would walk down to see the "pip--eee" lights.  He wasn't. even. two.  Not two!  Weird.

And that is how, in the course of one night, I became convinced, finally, that my son is smarter than me.  Imagine what his wife/husband/domestic partner will suffer in arguments?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Almost a Hippie. . . (Or Pintrest Strikes Again)

I am only a pseudo-hippie.  Recently, I have made up for my lack of cloth diapering with making formula from raw goat milk.  The other side of this is that I bought hair color from Target that was full of chemicals.  See?  pseudo-hippie.

My latest?  I'm forgoing shampoo and conditioner.  My greaseball-self.  I am substituting a baking soda & water combination, followed by an apple cider vinegar combination for the two.  It makes total sense to me that this concoction restores scalp health and by not stripping the scalp of oil, leads to an actual reduction in oil production.  Then there's the obvious benefit of saving money.  The inspiration post for me was this:  Simple Mom--No 'Poo.  Of course there are many similar sites and recipes on the interwebs, but this one was posted by my friend, Stephanie.

Several years ago, I moved to make most of my personal toiletry products organic/all natural, so this is just one brave step forward.  I tried it for the first time today and so far, so good.  The instructions say that it may lead to an increase in oil production initially and that makes me nervous.  I don't think going to work looking like I combed my hair with a pork chop is a good choice for me.

So this is how I'm an almost hippie. . . living in conservy, Republican, surburbia and wearing store-bought clinical strength deodorant.  Yeah.  That one product totally ruins my hippie-cred.  Turns out I can't handle my stank that occurs without it.  Aluminum exposure be damned.  The other product that damns me?  Glammy's Agua.  It's the devil.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pintrest at Work (aka, Eyes!)

I think I mentioned that Pintrest is totally changing my life?  If you don't remember, you can look here and here.  Well, found a fun pointer list about how to photograph eyes in a way that is fetching and stands out.  I love to play with photography, but really know very little.  I hope one day to take a formal course. . . or two.

Anywho, we went to the pumpkin patch yesterday and when I went to change Little Bit's diaper in the back of our rented Jeep Patriot, the light. was. perfect.  So then when I had to take Monkey to the car to get his agua, you guessed it--I put him in the back to snap his picture, too.  I am really thrilled with the results.

And yes, some of these are copies--I couldn't decide if I liked them better in black and white or color.  Of course, my favorite feature of my children is their eyes and I'm always trying to capture the amazingness in pics.  Of course I'm not biased a bit.  Right?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Dirty Little Secret

Turns out my dirty little secret isn't dirty and it isn't all that little:  Piles of clean laundry are taking over our home.  Slowly encroaching on ever surface available.  We leave the house dressed, kids well fed, homemade formula in tow but our house is a ginormous mess.  The kind of mess that would make me want to slam the door in a friend's face should someone drop by unannounced.  Playroom strewn with toys, all my maternity clothes laid out on the playroom couch left over from my failed attempt to sell them on eBay, hallway full of dirty clothes, laundry room with a substantial pile of clean laundry wedged into a corner so that the garage door may be opened, master bath unable to enter the closet due to the sorted dirty clothes and, finally, the living room with two full laundry baskets and another pile of clean clothes.  My current mantra is: "This stage won't last forever and my kids and taking time to rest are far more important than a perfect house."

I think the house is just a symptom of juggling everything required to be a working mom.  This week has left me longing for days with my kids, uninterrupted by duties and errands and work.  I am fairly vigilant about making sure we keep to some kind of sleep schedule for my wee people and committed to performing my work duties with competence.  These certainly don't always mesh.  Especially when my wee-est wee one goes to bed between 6:30 and 7:00, leaving me only an hour of time with her each evening.  Suckety-suck-suck.  The amount of "The Guilt," as the ladies from Rants from Mommyland call it,  is rampant on this front.    I could keep going on this train of thought, but in hopes of preserving my sanity and the need to finish my glass o' wine are making me stop.  Stop.  No really, Courtney, STOP.

Say it with me now:  "This stage won't last forever and my kids and taking time to rest are far more important than a perfect house."

"This stage won't last forever and my kids and taking time to rest are far more important than a perfect house."

"This stage won't last forever and my kids and taking time to rest are far more important than a perfect house."

Did it help?  I know.  We need practice.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I don't do product endorsements. . .

typically, but today, I will.  Gladly and with gusto.  There was a tiny fender bender in our family last week, and per manufacturer's instructions, we knew B's infant carrier carseat would have to be replaced.  I scoured the website of The First Years to determine the fate of Elliott's two hundo carseat.  Nothing.  I suspected this meant the worst.

Today I put my proactive panties on and called the company to find out the damage.  I listened to the typical recorded message, pushed the right number to speak to a human and then waited for my turn while the reps were busy taking care of other callers.  Katie came on the line and I described my issue.  I expected her to quickly say that the seat had to be replaced, too bad, so sad.  Or something along those lines.  And I was right--the seat need to be replaced.  Sigh.  She then asked me to complete a report about the accident and I did--going on to give the site of the crash, who was present, my boy's birthdate, our address, etc.  She then asked what color our seat was.  Easy enough.  Then Katie politely informed me that she would be sending out a new carseat and that we would ship ours back to the company.  She even went so far as to ask what color I wanted.  I sucked in my breath and asked the dreaded question.  "How do I pay for this?"

Her response?  "Oh no ma'am, we'll ship you a new seat FREE.OF.CHARGE."  My immediate response? "You have a customer for life with our family."

Was she kidding?!  I thought maybe, especially as she called me back to ask if tan would be okay, as she didn't have a blue one that matched our model in stock.  Evidently not.  I am so beyond impressed.  This is customer service for the ages, and that kind of service will sway me anytime.

Moral of the story:  If you need a new carseat,  The First Years True Fit Premier is worth your money and your business.  Even better?  It's got the highest ratings of carseats on the market for both rear and forward facing and for ease of installation.

*I was not compensated or encouraged in anyway to write this post.  I only speak what I know and in this case, I know good service.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Like Mama? Disturbingly so. . .

I'm clumsy.  Disturbingly so.  I hoped, oh how I hoped, that my children would inherit Aunt Manny's athletic prowess.  After attending two gymnastics classes, I can say assuredly that Ell did not inherit those skillz.  Anyone I've told this to says, "He's just two!"  or "I'm sure everyone is like that."  Chris attended yesterday and looked at me and said, "I get it."  This is certainly a good use of our dollars each month, because we now know that he's more like mommy than just in looks and having the memory of an elephant.  Further proof:

I'm a Crafty Beeyotch. Fo' reals.

My mom is a crafty genius.  In my stupid rebellious younger years, I decided to eschew my crafty tendencies for the most part.  This, of course, was excepting rock painting at camp.  Pintrest, while helping me discover I have no style, has also helped me find my inner crafty gene.  Proof you ask?  Sit back and watch, bitches.

French Memo board for the Monkey's room.  Made from a rockin' 80s bulletin board purchased at Goodwill on half-price day for $1.50.  Covered in broadcloth ($2.99), ribbon ($2.50 a piece at half-price spool sale) and cute scrapbooking buttons ($2.99).

Halloween wreath for my door.  Spray-painted grapevine wreath ($3.99 for the wreath, spray paint was $3.00), rolled pieces of felt, hot-glued together ($.25/sheet of felt) and "Spooky" door hanger with ribbon cut off ($1.99).

And finally, I added the fringey-balls to the bottom of this lamp for Monkey's room.  I think it's super-cute and took a plain ol' lamp up a notch.  

You might notice all the shizz in the background of each picture.  Dang if it isn't the constant state of my house.  Don't worry, I just kept on crafting.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rebellion and Baby Formula.

I am not a rebel.  I'm not.  Until I am.  My guess is that it depends on who you talk to on if I fit into the rebel category.  My guess is that I am a conventional rebel, but not a risk-taker.  Is that enough qualifying and justification?

When I choose to be a rebel, I tend to start by being very quiet and then end up telling on myself.  I think it's my people-pleasing tendencies.

You might or might not know that my sweet baby girl has had difficulty gaining weight.  As any mommy would do, I questioned if this was because my breastmilk wasn't right, the formula wasn't right, that it was the glass(es) of wine I had while pregnant--blah, blah.  This has led to about a million weight checks only to come to the conclusion that she has a high metabolism.  High. Metabolism.  Clearly, she did not inherit this from her mother.  The treatment?  Give her more calories by adding extra scoops of formula to her bottles.

The good news is that this is working.  My baby girl is visibly filling out.  And pooping more.  This is a good thing.  Really.

The hold up is that I kind of hate giving her processed formula that smells and tastes foul.  Seriously.  It has a metallic, iron-y smell.  Blech.  Compared to breastmilk, which has only a light sweet smell, the difference is startling.  Well, after much thought and consideration and internet reading, I am rebelling against conventional wisdom.  Going against conventional wisdom is hard for me, but after researching and agonizing, I feel really good about my decision.  The decision?  Whew.  Here goes:  we are feeding Brook-Brook homemade raw goat milk formula.

This may not seem huge to many.  But to me, it's out there enough that I'm nervous to tell her pediatrician.  The truth is, I think we are so entrenched in Western Culture that we can't see that anything else could possibly be right.  For babies, this means that if not breastfeeding, feed your child highly processed formula.  Processed food is the norm.  Just like nasty rice cereal as a first food.  When our chiropractor suggested goat milk formula, as it more closely resembles human breastmilk I was intrigued.  This intrigue was furthered by some reading I have done about "real foods" with as little processing as possible to preserve naturally occurring nutrients.

So our new plan is to make homemade formula and hopefully she will thrive.  It's a lot of mixing.  It's a lot of buying of special ingredients.  It's driving to purchase the raw goat milk from a local farm.  BUT it feels so. right.  A relief.  If I cannot pump enough milk with enough fat for my baby girl, then this makes the most sense.  I know many babies thrive on regular ol' formula.  I'm one of them who had it as a child and I'm okay.  I'm not condemning anyone who chooses that route; heck, we fed Ell regular ol' formula exclusively from 8-12 months.  I just know that buying the least expensive formula from Costco has never sat particularly well with me and the smell just furthered that feeling.

I know there are many who may not agree with the choice.  I can live with that.  Because this feels like the right choice for our girl.  I have a feeling she is going to thrive.  So with that in mind, I am thumbing my nose in the face of convention.. .  and even discussing it openly on a blog.  Who knew?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Most Eligible Dallas?

Confession:  I love me some trashy tv.  Love it.

My latest exploration?  Most Eligible Dallas on Bravo.  I have a love-hate relationship with this insipid show.  I stare at the people and wonder how they became to be so shallow and yet I can't move away from the screen. I stare and wonder, where do these people work?  when do they have time to sleep? do all children of wealthy parents end up as not-so-hard-working socialites? do people across the nation assume that all Dallas-ites are that shallow?

Now Dallas is way different from Fort Worth.  Wayyyy different.  I typically turn up my nose at Dallas-ites, my husband is known to assert that he would NEVER live in Dallas.  Before my sister up and decided to attend college in Dallas, I was certain of the same thing.  But then something happened.. .  I realized there's some great neighborhoods in Dallas.  Great people.  Great restaurants.  Great shopping.  Now, to be honest, I also realize that there's the plastic, shiny side of Dallas that makes me tired just to contemplate.  This is the side featured in my trashy tv show.  Inherited money, girls constantly shopping for husbands, big hair, big make-up, all-designer, all the time.  Even a local radio host has fallen into the trap.  Listening to him hosting shows on stations featuring oldies from the 60s, 70s and 80s, I assumed he was a fun-loving, family man.  Fun-loving? Yeah.  Family man?  Yes, in so far as he has 4 ex-wives and numerous children.  That's a lot of family time.

I digress.  My point is that I can't stop watching because I have to know if Matt and Courtney finally kiss.  Pathetic, but true.  So if you are watching this out in trashy-tv-land, please know there are darn nice people in Dallas.  We aren't all on the plastic, seen-to-be-seen scene. 

Now back to America's Next Top Model, my original trashy tv addiction.  All Stars?  Even better.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The perfect day?

Gymnastics for toddlers?  Yep.  That makes for a pretty major work-out for mama.  For mama holding an infant=double work out.  That's what I learned on Saturday.  That and the fact that my child has inherited my motor-planning, discomfort with new situations and initial compliance with rules and then a bit of defiance.  So it just solidified the fact that he desperately needs this class.

Saturday was one of those perfect days.  Or almost perfect.  Beautiful day with my kids, farmer's market, shopping by myself, a nap, and dinner with my parents at a loverly restaurant with delicious food, perfect patio and amazing drinks.  Oh and some live music.  Dreamy.  I even completed a crafty project.  I'm telling ya' it was almost perfect.  Even Minnie agreed.  Beware of the cuteness overload.

So excited to see Glammy.

Loving the live music.  Seriously.  He was mesmerized.

Making sure Minnie enjoyed the music, too.

Chocolate chip cookie?  Oh, even yesser.

Minnie was pretty much wiped out by the end of the night. . .