Month: February 2014

A Tribute to Grandmothers

Let’s just take a moment to pay tribute to grandmothers. As our mothers, we maybe didn’t like them so much.

The ultimate in grandmothers, the GREAT grandmother and my daughter throwing in the bunny ears

The ultimate in grandmothers, the GREAT grandmother and my daughter throwing in the bunny ears

We argued and disputed and tried real hard to do whatever it was they didn’t want us to do (yes, we knew it then, too but wouldn’t admit it…what?! We get that from YOU) BUT, as grandmothers, these are the women who come through for us.

Who else would go to the store for you for one banana?

Who else would offer to wash baby clothes for you (even though you have a perfectly acceptable washer and dryer)?

Who else would let your children finger paint (certainly not you in your dining room…)?

Who else makes Halloween costumes the day before Halloween?

Who else bakes cakes when you forget?

Who else can show up at a moment’s  notice with a fully cooked pot roast when you lamented to only having frozen pizza because you forgot to plug in the crockpot…again.

Who else makes silly putty from glue and Borax?

Who else can pick up your kid from school early for a doctor’s appointment you forgot about?

And who else will accept an overtired baby for the day when you have to go to work?


Grammas let granddaughters help make perogies.

Grammas let granddaughters help make perogies.

At first, I thought becoming a grandparent made these people who I used to know as my parents a little crazy (ok I still believe that…ahem, mother-in-law feeding granddaughter cereal while she sat ON the potty…) but it also makes them wholly devoted to a new little human in a very special way. My husband often retorts: “this is not the woman who raised me” when he sees his mother allowing her grandchildren to do things HE was NEVER allowed to do as a kid. But becoming a grandparent probably means something went right along the way. You managed to see your own children through enough of their life that they were able to go out and reward you with….more children. It’s a strange cycle. Is it that you get to send them home again? That they love you no matter what and it’s OK if you feed them Happy Meals every day for a week because ultimately it’s not your fault if they’re messed up when they get older?  Is it because you get to see your own children flounder aimless and at times, humorously, through parenthood?

Grammas rock babies like it's their job...wait, it kind of is.

Grammas rock babies like it’s their job…wait, it kind of is.

Regardless of the reason, being a grandparent looks like a pretty awesome gig. I’m sure I will become one, someday. My daughter informed me awhile ago she’d have 6 children, but no husband because “that would be TOO much to take care of, so no husband for me…” I refrained from commenting.

“Want me to get the pliers?”

So, the ultimate daddy threat or joke has to be the “I can get my pliers” threat when a child has a loose tooth. I don’t know how many times I have heard it over the years so of course I was so mad I missed seeing it actually happen,  in my own home.  While putting my son to bed my daughter got out of bed because her loose tooth became a dangler and a fair amount of blood was involved.  According to Dad she twisted and pulled but to no avail. He offered to employ the pliers from his Swiss Army knife and she accepted.Twice! Even after the pliers slipped once she let him go in a second time. “She’s tough” he said later and he admitted he had to not let on it was grossing him out when she was twisting and pulling on it.
I received a text while still upstairs putting my son to bed. I had suspected my daughter had yanked her tooth out but the text (yes we text each other from different rooms of the house) just said “you better check on her.” She was ridiculously excited to tell me about the pliers.
Sometimes it’s just best to let Daddys and Daughters muck about with a Swiss Army knife while Momma’s not looking.



So, I felt the need to make a confession.

I use cloth diapers. Sometimes my baby’s butt is so fluffy it’s ridiculous.

There, I said it. It’s out there now. I use cloth diapers. The long and short of it is, they’re really cute. I figure, if you have to deal with diapers for approximately two years (or longer if you are as horrible at potty training as I am) you might as well have some fun with it, right? I mean look at that cute little baby butt! And the diapers have names this one is “Tour de Pants!”


Tour de Pants!

Tour de Pants!


Hey, you get your kicks where you can, right?

So, do I do it for environmental reasons? Somewhat, but I will be completely honest, that’s kind of lower on the list of “Why?”

I just like them. They present a larger up front investment, but I have already recouped a lot of that by selling the diapers I don’t use anymore, didn’t like that much or that he outgrew. Even with the occasional splurge on a

Known as "fluffy mail"

Known as “fluffy mail”

more expensive diaper that is just really fun and colorful, I still will come out ahead in the diaper dollars game. With my daughter, I was always running out of disposables and I could NEVER remember to get a pack when I knew I would need them. Even when I got the GIANT box at Sam’s Club, I seemed to always run out at terrible times. And WIPES. I felt like all I ever bought at any store was WIPES. More and more and more wipes. WHY does it take 25 wipes to clean up such a small butt? So, I went to cloth wipes for use at home this time and I have to say, they’re awesome. Container, water, cut up wash clothes = SHAZAAM! Best way to clean up a butt with just one or two wipes. Ever. With cloth, even if EVERY SINGLE DIAPER I own is in the wash, I can seriously fold up a receiving blanket and put a cover on it until the wash is done. Old t-shirts or kitchen towels would work, too. And don’t give me the “EEEEWWWW” story. You have a baby? Everything is gross, babies are gross. Think about it, you put poop in the trash when you have a baby, I think that’s gross because I would never dream of putting my own poop in our trash can. I would probably have had to pay for extra trash pick up at our house if we had used disposables full time, so yet another money saving aspect of my cloth adventure.

Did I mention blow outs? If you have ever been charged with caring for an infant for more than a couple hours you have probably experienced THE BLOW OUT phenomenon. Up the back, out the sides…everywhere. Poop. Everywhere. With cloth, you can contain the most nuclear of blowouts. I have had to do an outfit change due to poop explodes maybe 3 times with my son versus a bajillzillion with my daughter.

So, let’s see – save money? Check. (I am not good at this in general, so if buying cute butt covers for my baby means I save money in the long run, I’m game.)

Reduce the number of times I have to wad up a pooped on article of clothing? Check.

Don’t put poop in the trash can. Check.

Save the environment? Check.

But am I “crunchy?” This term is ridiculous. I am quite soft and squishy thank you. I do like granola, I do use cloth diapers but I am just me. I buy things with corn syrup in it sometimes…GASP. I buy things for convenience and better believe I buy Happy Meals for me and my kids (sometimes I just want the toy). I just really like cloth diapers. We justified the purchase of an awesome RV to do family camping trips in because I am breastfeeding and using cloth. The money we are saving on those two things alone really amounts to what we paid for the RV. Think about it!? Crunchy or not, that’s just smart living. AND I work so it’s not just something that stay at home mom’s do successfully.

I won’t preach or push things on people, but I will go on endlessly about stuff that I have found enjoyable, easy to use, fun to use, helpful or awesome…so you may hear from me again about this (You all know how I am about Crabbies Ginger Beer, Cadbury mini eggs and yoga pants). The laundry is not that hard, the folding has a meditative quality to it and they are just ridiculously addictive to purchase. And I don’t judge you for using disposables, let’s make that clear. I keep them on hand, too. I guess that’s why I am making a “confession.” I don’t want to be put in a box because I use cloth – don’t judge me or label me. You know me, I’m just me. I think I lean toward keeping it a secret for that reason and that I also don’t want people to think that I will look down upon them for using disposables. I could care less…other than you’re totally missing out on some seriously stylish poop catchers here!

Who knew something that catches your kid’s excrement would turn into a hobby?

Interested? Feel free to ask me any questions. I’ve guest blogged on an actual cloth diapering web site – I mean, that makes me super legit, right? Diaper changes are just more fun when you get to pick out something other than what Pampers decided to put on their diapers.


Ode to the Hoodie


Without you I am pocketless

I am cold and insecure

You hold my phone and wallet

When a purse I can not procure

I pull out your strings

They only get in the way

Sometimes I alter your neck

But you seem to love me anyway

You are amazing and comforting

Clothing so versatile

Your reputation, timeless

Even Floridians could not defile.

A few of my favorite things

A few of my favorite things

Long sleeve t-shirts come in a very close second – both being trumped by long sleeve HOODED t-shirts, just in case you were wondering the hierarchy during your next round of Mom Like a Boss Clothing Poker.


The Love Expert

My daughter is in first grade. She has been obsessively (like I’m going to cook your rabbit) in love with a little boy in her class since they were in preschool three years previous. Devastated when they were separated in Kindergarten, they have been rejoined in first grade and even were assigned to sit next to each other. I always thought this was one sided, that my daughter was just going to pine for this little boy all her life and he was never to return this affection. Lo and behold, he asked her to be her “Valentime” (my daughter’s version of the holiday). She says her friend Payton “the love expert” says this is a BIG deal, like marriage and stuff. It’s cute, I love it. While we spent all of her boyfriend crazy kindergarten days reminding her that it’s best to just be friends with everyone, I have to admit, I like hearing her stories and I think it’s cute. Tommy’s dad and grandfather are or were police officers so I do often feel the need to apologize in advance for the day she tries to climb a tree and sneak into Tommy’s room because that’s how it will happen, I’m sure of it. But it reminded me of this picture from a couple months ago:

I like this boy, he looks infinitely optimistic about life.

I like this boy, he looks infinitely optimistic about life.


Not long after this, my daughter asked me what states were the ones where you can marry women. I asked her why she wanted to know and she said women are just more interesting and she thinks she would rather marry one of them. She’s right about that, women ARE interesting.

I’m Tired

I’ve read all the books. So many more books than I read with my first child. I believe the number of books read with the first child was exactly zero. I was winging it with the sage wisdom of my mother for back up. Whether I always agreed with her or not, it was nice to have someone willing to tell me what to do when I didn’t want to or could not decide for myself. “Let the baby cry!” OK! Thank you, I needed someone to tell me that.

Now, second time around, my initial confidence and “I’ve done this before, I’m totally gonna nail it this time” attitude has become a whimpering, sniveling, drooling, slobbering pile of tired momma that someone needs to seriously come clean up. Nothing works. None of the books are helping me sleep. None of the books are helping the baby sleep. I call “UNCLE” I give up, it’s over. The baby wins. I am convinced that is what is going on, he laughs, LAUGHS at me in the wee hours when I give in and pick him up. Screams instantly turn to raspberries as we head down stairs to the magical part of the house that he simply can NOT be away from (the living room? Not so interesting during the day when Momma needs to work and Baby should be happily playing….).

I started my daughter on cereal at around 3 months. She was FINE. She was breastfed and to be honest I really don’t remember when we moved to formula but I think at some point she weaned herself and that’s what we did. She was fine. She slept well and was happy and healthy. My son, I have been more vigilant about breastfeeding and he is almost six months old and things are going south. He no longer sleeps 8 to 10 hours at night, he’s trying to cut all his teeth at once, he only rolls at night in his crib then SCREAMS when he can’t get back to his stomach sleeping position and is now refusing to nurse. I’m in momma heaven. A battle of wills with a baby is just not fair. Do you comfort? Do you let them cry? Do you send Daddy in? Do I wean to bottle and pump (no thanks)? And how in the hell did someone get away with writing a whole book about the “shush pat” method? COME ON! Seriously? Can I get a deal for the “Wine and Forget To the Turn the Monitor On” method? Or the “You’re going to go live with Gramma so Momma can Nap” method? MILLIONS, I would sell millions.

The point is, you just want someone to tell you it’s OK to let the baby cry and take a 10 minute shower, that no, the water doesn’t wash away the guilt but your baby will still love you and really, at some point, who would want to nurse from a momma who hasn’t showered or changed her clothes in 3 days? Take comfort in your “village.” I LOVE my village. My village is mostly on Facebook – HI VILLAGE! Mom’s I haven’t talked to in a long time, we have rejoined to keep each other sane. It’s all poop and food and boobs and sleep and naps and teeth on there and it’s great. I have met new mom’s and old mom’s and we can just let it all out. They understand and they don’t judge. You need a village, get yourself a village. It won’t get you any more sleep but it will keep you more sane and your significant other will want to be around you more.

I say skip the books. Get a village. Drink a glass of wine. Cuddle your baby and sleep when you’re sixty.


Use your imagination

Use your imagination

I feel there is an art to swearing. I used to do it a lot more than I do now. A particularly vulgar ex of mine kind of cured me of it. Hearing some of the foulest and unrepeatable things ever in my life a billion times a day sort of makes cussing lose its glamor. But I do believe you can swear with grace and skill. Substitute swear words are the best. I good bellow of “Oh the Pope’s Nose!” when stubbing one’s toe is always good for a belly laugh. But there are a few things that make me really cuss. Cold is one of them. Cold, cold weather. It was -13 (real temp, not windchill) this morning and that made me drop the F-bomb from my car to my office building door. Over and over and over. There is really no other way to deal with the cold than to swear liberally. My husband does not swear and it’s nice. I never worry about the the kids looking at us with astonishment because Daddy said “the s-word” or whatever. And it’s cute when our daughter says “gosh darn it” or “dagnabbit.” But I got to thinking, I am going to have to teach them to swear. It is a necessary skill in life. I have won many conference room arguments with a skillfully placed cuss word. They are powerful, all words are powerful. I am kind of looking forward to the day when I can teach my daughter to swear properly. You can’t over do it and you can’t do it with weakness. You have to know when and how.

And, it is always OK to drop the F-bomb when it’s 13 below zero, real temp, not windchill.

The Work Sweatshirt

I am not a power suit wearing kind of working mom. No, not even close. Definitely more function than form here. I like to be dressed for comfort and fast movements and you just can’t do that in heels, well, at least I can’t do that in heels. I would love to feel confident and Super Womanly in even the stubbiest of heels but it just ain’t happening. I need to be able to kick some ass should the occasion arise and you just can’t do that if you fall over before you get to your target.

And it’s winter. While it might be technically OK for the undergrads bopping around my office to wear black leggings and boots with the shortest of shirts, someone needs to explain the terms opaque, sheer and translucent to a few of them. No, I require pants of a sturdy fabric and preferably stain resistant  (this more often than not equals jeans) and boots. Because for three months out of the year, I give up and put my super trendy (only to me) hiking sandals away.

The point? The point is I still have not grown accustomed to my post-second-baby body. It’s not extra weight, I have disgustingly lost more than I gained and while I would love to gloat and flaunt this fact, I am just not comfortable. My chest is still large with lactation and any of you who have done this will know that nursing bras wouldn’t support a cotton ball if the world depended on it. So on the days I go to work, I employ the cover as much of me as I can style of attire. This morning in my sleep deprived state I ignored the single digit temps and left home with a t-shirt on (and

My heart belongs to you, O breathable footwear

My heart belongs to you, O breathable footwear

pants, I did manage clean pants) and only realized the consequences of my mistake when it was too late to go back home and put on something warmer. My car contains many things, I could definitely survive in it for a long time should the need arise but on this particular morning it only contained one warmer article of clothing and that happened to be a safety orange hooded sweatshirt. In the hopes of keeping my flexible employment situation, I felt that this might be pushing the envelope of professionalism a tad. BUT – huzzah! I work for a university so university apparel is always acceptable workplace attire, right? Right. SO a quick buzz through the bookstore and I was set, I now had a “work sweatshirt.” It had a collar and everything. I realized only late in the day I looked like I was dressed to coach a women’s basketball game. Meh.

And now for a bit of feminist musings: What’s wrong with a “work sweatshirt?” Nothing I say to you and all the men in my department who can don nice looking but very comfortable tops supporting the university while I still feel that women are expected to dress in uncomfortably nice clothes and that my (nice and clean) pants and sweat shirt are not seen as dressy on me as they would on my male counterparts. So – that’s all I am going to say about that.

Two things happened during the purchase of this sweat shirt that made me smile. One, the book store manager deemed me mature enough to confide a “kids these days!!!” comment in me AND tried to convince me that my size medium fancy sweatshirt would be too large for me. Thank you book store manager lady, thank you. I have no problem being taken out of the “kids these days” column and put in to the petite and mature adult column. Thank you. Little did she know I was hiding my ginormous and now leaking (reason number two for needing to purchase a shirt on the way to work) milk jugs under a skillfully arranged scarf. My husband later referred to this as “jug smuggling” while chatting online while at work and I nearly peed which would have required me to then go purchase fresh trousers to get through the rest of the work day. This would have just been too much.

So what have we learned here, today?

  1. Hiking sandals go with anything, yes even power suits. (do not question this, just be confident, no one will ask why).
  2. You too can have a “work sweat shirt”  – just be confident
  3. Jug smuggling – ‘nuff said
  4. Be confident.

Why don’t I know how to cook meatloaf?

I know a lot of things, but I cannot remember how to make meatloaf, or mac and cheese (yes out of a box) or that really yummy rice and cream of mushroom soup or anything simple and of the comfort food variety. Ok, I can make spaghetti without looking up a recipe, but that’s about it. Why? Why can I not remember how to make meatloaf? I mean it’s meat, in a loaf, that’s about it. EVERY. TIME. I have to look up the recipe, every time. It’s the same with

Not THAT Meat Loaf

making hardboiled eggs. I am convinced things like everyday recipes, social security numbers, children’s birthdays (yes, don’t judge) and the time you scheduled for parent teacher conferences are never going to be remembered or stored conveniently for recall because at least for me, I know the words to every song every played on the radio. This amazingly useful skill (if you happen to be a bar singer), I’m convinced is why I cannot remember anything actually useful in life. I have to text my mother every time I want to cook meatloaf, or chili (it’s just a bunch of cans, dump in crock pot, viola! Seriously, WHY?) or the cornbread she makes with her chili. Yes, I’ve written them down but while recalling the awesome lyrics to an obscure Fleetwood Mac song, I have forgotten where I put the damn recipes. I cannot download these lyrics, I can’t seem to file them in archives in the back where I can forget about them for awhile…just hasn’t happened. Someday, someday it will be useful. I am convinced someday I will get on that show with Wayne Brady, which is probably not on anymore (we don’t have cable) and I’ll totally win. I always won at home. The kicker? I can’t sing for beans. I can’t even sing in the key of Me. It’s bad. My sister-in-law actually threw up in her mouth a little while on a road trip with me and my daughter as I croooooned away to our awesome road trip playlist. I still haven’t forgiven her, everyone in her family is grotesquely musically gifted. I married in, it didn’t transfer. My husband now at least allows me to sing at church, as politely as he can. He weakly claims I am “getting a little better..”