Friday, April 30, 2010

The Great Bathing Suit Search Part Deuce

Are you sick of me talking about bathing suits yet? I know, I'm sorry, I promise to be more original next week. But I just had to share day 2 of the bathing suit mission.

I know I bought a suit the other day, but when I got home and tried it on again, I wasn't convinced. It didn't help much when I asked D if it was "too booby" and he said, "NO!" and I said, "I think it is, I'm going to return it" and he was like "Nooooooooooo!!!" That's how I knew he was lying and that it was, in fact, too booby.

So I decided to try to find a less booby suit on my lunch yesterday. I forgot to mention one detail about the other day's suit extravaganza. One thing that should always be planned in advance is the footwear. I know of nothing (apart from my actual body) that makes bathing suit shopping more hideous than trying on a suit while you're wearing socks. Particularly brown and pink argyle socks. It makes it really hard to get a realistic idea of how you look because you're so busy trying to mentally erase the socks that all you can focus on are the stupid socks!

So today I was wearing the Holy Grail sandals and was thinking about how perfect it would be to just leave them on while I tried on the bathing suits because not only would they be less distracting than socks, they would actually improve the look of the suits because they would make my legs look longer and more toned. Also, I didn't really feel like stepping in fitting room disease with my bare feet.

I had selected two bathing suits, and got to work trying them on (with my back to the mirror, of course). When I turned around after putting on the first one, I actually wasn't minding what I saw. It was navy blue (which I assume is in right now because I see it everywhere) and a little bit on the mom side, but these days I'm not sure I mind that so much. Really, the only down-side was the price, which was a bit high. So that one was in the running.

On to Suit 2. This one was black, teal and white. Just to let you know, today I discovered that it's a lot harder getting out of things with heels on than it is getting into them. I almost fell on my face 8 times. But the longer legs made it totally worth it. Once I got the black suit on, I checked myself out. Not bad, really. Then I looked at the "outfit" as a whole, including my shoes....and realized I looked exactly like a stripper. Not a movie stripper who is a famous actress in real life and has a smoking hot body. A real stripper, who is down on her luck and has stretch marks because she has kids and is just trying to make a living to give her kids a better life.

I looked at myself in my stripper outfit and just started laughing out loud, right there in the fitting room. And then I got dressed (which includes putting my pants on while still wearing the heels, an accomplishment that I'm quite proud of) and hung the bathing suits back on their hangers. And then I bought the stripper suit.

What? I'm just trying to give my kid a better life.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The great bathing suit search

I've written before that I plan to just get over myself and buy a bathing suit and not worry about my flaws. Easier said than done, folks. When I wrote that, I was happily (and fully) covered by yoga pants and a sweatshirt. Actually putting on a bathing suit is a whole different story.

It's not even really fair because bathing suit season, in my mind, doesn't officially start until June. But L is finally just about old enough to be allowed in the pool at the Rec center and I can't contain myself anymore. So last Saturday, D and I decided to take him to the pool this weekend for the first time and ever since then I've been like a fat kid on a diet who was told he'll get cake that day (literally and figuratively).

But hold on there a second partner. I still need a bathing suit. So today on my lunch hour, the moment of truth. I went to Kohls because my friend and fellow mommy told me they had some cute suits. I printed a 15% off EVERYTHING (excluding clothes, jewelry, shoes, small kitchen appliances, accessories, toys and sports equipment) coupon and went on my way.

I beelined directly for the bathing suits and were happy to see that they were actually on a decent sale. Then I started weeding through the goods to try to find my miracle. Any teenie-bopper brand (Candies, et all) was out, because those were made for girls whose boobies do most of the work to hold themselves up. Mine have long-since ceased to do this. I've thought about firing them, but you know, despite everything I'm pretty attached to them (HA!).

So boob support - an absolute must. Swim skirt? Uh, yes, I think it would be better for everyone that way. (By the way God, thanks again for the fact that I wore a bikini on my honeymoon, even though I thought I was fat back then. It was the last time in my life I'll ever feel like I looked ok in a bikini.) I grabbed three suits and headed to the fitting room.

The first two pieces I tried on were designed to help with "problem areas," both made to trim the tummy. Sweet. I put them on with my back facing the mirror because, if it's one thing I hate, it's watching myself try clothes on, especially bathing suits. It is awful and horrific to watching your body bend and maneuver in that godawful flourescent lighting (which should be outlawed, by the way. Don't stores know that if they installed soft, flattering lights in the fitting rooms, they'd sell WAY more stuff?).

First bathing suit: not so much. The top was so "slimming" that it rolled up in the back. The swim skirt was so long that I almost could have gotten away with wearing it as a real skirt. Well, maybe only if I was Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but still. Too long for a bathing suit skirt.

Second bathing suit. Bright pink. Not my usual choice of colors for a bathing suit, since it generally screams, "LOOK AT ME!" and I'd rather find one that whispers, "please ignore me." But it was cute and had some sort of strappy deal at the top that I thought was a bandeau halter (or whatever it's called - a strap that goes around your neck and meets in the middle of a sweetheart neckline).

Got the swim skirt on... Not too bad, actually. It fit and was an appropriate length. Tried to get the top on, almost strangled myself because I couldn't figure out how to do the straps, got stuck in the bathing suit top, panicked because I couldn't get it off and was afraid I'd have to call someone to help me (wouldn't that be the very definition of humiliation?) then finally was able to yank it off my poor body. Refrained from throwing the stupid top on the ground and stomping on it (you know, to teach it a lesson) and studied it to figure out where I went wrong. Noticed that it was actually not a halter but rather a one-shouldered top where both straps went over one shoulder (come on, that makes no sense) and swore to myself that I'd die before I bought a bathing suit I had to "figure out" before wearing. Took the nicely-fitting bottoms off to hang them up, saw that I had actually grabbed a pair that were a full size larger than what I normally wear, fought back tears of frustration and did my centering breathing.

One last bathing suit to go. At this point, suffice it to say that I was not hopeful. But, these last two pieces were, like the first set, of the problem-area masking variety, so I heaved a big sigh and started to put them on. The hanger billed the bottoms as "hip slimming," which wasn't what I'd call my number one problem area, but after the tummy slimming debacle, I decided to give them a try. The top was proclaimed by the hanger to be "bust enhancing," which made me think of that little chant from Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret that goes, "We must, we must, we must increase our bust." (And yes, I do giggle internally every time I hear or read the word "bust" because of that book.)

Since my bust could definitely use a little enhancing these days, I happily slid into the top and tied the halter neck. I turned around the face the mirror and carefully appraised the final result. Not great. Not horrible, but not great. While I wouldn't exactly call my bust "enhanced," it certainly did look at least supported. A little low-cut, but supported. And then there were the bottoms. A good length, and yes, my hips did look a little slimmer as a matter of fact. Way to go bottoms, you slimmed my hips. Props for a job well done.

I figure that this was as good as it was going to get, so I decided to buy the suit. When I took off the bottoms, I noticed that they were actually a different brand altogether and were not, in fact, "hip slimming" - they had just been placed on the wrong hanger that proclaimed them as such. Never underestimate the power of suggestion, people.

I decided to buy them anyway. As well as $70 in additional items that were not bathing suits, which, by default, made them awesome.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This post is about nothing and will waste 3 minutes of your life

I literally cannot bring myself to post what I had written for today.  It is awful.  I was going to post it for the sake of having something to post, but I just can't do it.  Ugh.  I just got shivers thinking about posting it.  It's that bad.  

I am having some serious writer's block these days!  The problem with the post is not the topic (the fact that I'm addicted to pregnancy tests; I know, doesn't that sound like a good one?).  The problem is that I am somehow managing to take solid gold subject matter and turn it into smelly old trash.  I hate when I do that.  

I think someone stole my funny yesterday.  Or maye it was my perspective?  Either way, whatever makes my posts somewhat enjoyable to read and write is missing.  Maybe it got washed away when I spilled L's full bottle all over both him and myself this morning.  (I love spilling $3.50 all over the floor to start my day.  What's that you say, pants?  Oh yeah, you're right.  You definitely needed that bottle more than L did.)

So I hope you'll forgive me for this post about nothing.  (Perhaps I should rename my blog Seinfeld?  Or maybe I won't do that because that would permanently suck the funny out of this blog.)  I'll try again with tomorrow's post, and hopefully will come up with something awesome.

(By the way, if it's something awesome you're looking to hear, the Wings won last night.  Soundly.  But way to go on a solid series, Phoenix.  I've got mad respect for you.)        

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

We need to talk about something.  Boys, once again I'm going to be oversharing so take this time to scatter if you're uncomfortable. 

We need to talk about post-pregnancy PMS and periods.  (I like to call it AF, short for Aunt Flo, so now you know what my short-hand means.)  We need to talk about the fact that no one warned me that my post-baby PMS and AFs would turn me into a raging B.  We need to talk about the fact that I'm boiling mad over some insignificant little disagreement (not even a fight) that I just got into with someone at work and am now gulping down my Diet Pepsi with shaking hands to stop myself from busting a cap in someone's behind.  (When you read this, the not-even-altercation will have happened yesterday, but I'm writing this right after it happened to capture and bottle the full emotion of everything.)

Ok, let me calm down here.  I need to breathe.  I'm just so sick of being caught off-guard every stinkin month by this horribleness.  But by now, it's my fault.  Fool me once...  I was actually looking forward to my post-baby AFs.  I have endometriosis, and all doctors I've ever talked to have told me that my godawful pre-baby AFs would only get better with pregnancy because pregnancy is the only known "cure" for endo.  I'm not going to get into detail here because the details of my pre-L AFs are so disgusting that even I shudder to recall them.  

So there I was bopping along all bloated and pregnant, actually looking forward to getting AF again post-L.  And then once L made his debut, I was REALLY looking forward to getting AF because that would mean I wasn't pregnant again.  And then AF came and man, I thought I was a jerk before, but she really showed me a thing or two about being mean.  

The cramps were unbearable, and as for my mood....Well, let's just say it was "All pissy all the time."  I was so mean to D that I couldn't even stand myself.  Literally every single thing he did made me want to kick a puppy.  He'd ask, "How was your day?" and I'd be all like, "HOW WAS MY DAY?  WHERE THE HECK DO YOU GET OFF ASKING ME THAT WHEN YOU SHOULD VERY WELL KNOW THAT MY DAY WAS CRAP?"  Picture the Hulk being like, "Don't get me angry.  You won't like me when I'm angry" and then getting all big and green.

I thought it was maybe just the first AF getting the kinks all ironed out, but then it started happening every time.  And now every month it's like a time bomb waiting to go off.  Right now I'm sitting here on Day 3 of AF, and my cramps are still alive and well.  I'm so bloated that I'm using a rubber band to keep my pants together, like I did when I was 8 weeks pregnant.  And don't even think of messing with me because right now, I consider my hands deadly weapons.  Like when I encounter stupid people with their stupid questions or just general stupidness (pretty much every 7 minutes or so), I get really mean.  And my voice gets really evil.  And I turn into a raging B.

So my question is, why did no one warn me about this?  Women currently gestating your first child, take note.  Heed my warning.  Use me as your cautionary tale.  You will want to stock up on Midol big-time.  And even that won't really help the "irritability" (a very mild, nice word for my mood, if you ask me).  But you know what does help an absolutely foul mood?  Drinking with your brother.  I sincerely hope one of these follows the birth of your child at some stage in the game.  (Man, Saturday night was fun.  I should post about it some time.  Let's just say that 3 drinks in 15 minutes = me walking around to my family giggling, "I'm drunk!")               

Ok deep breath.  I guess I should just consider the alternative.  No PMS or AF means that L is expecting a little brother or sister.  And that would knock me on my butt at this stage in the game.  Except that by saying this I've just tempted God to be like "See, don't joke about things like that!"  Except if I was pregnant, I could look forward to 9 months of no AF....An interesting solution to the problem.  Oh man, really?  Am I really sitting here thinking about having another baby?  Don't tell Dan.        

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cleanliness is next to godliness

If you've read just one or two of my blog posts, it's no secret to you that I'm not exactly a neat freak. I like things neat, I just don't like to do the work to get them that way. I laugh now, because before L was born, I always used to say that I didn't clean because "I didn't have time." Now I would love to go visit my past self, kick her in the rear and yell in her face, "SERIOUSLY?!?!"

Let's just be straight: Old Me didn't clean because Old Me didn't want to. And Old Me was sticking it to her upbringing by spending Friday afternoons and evenings lounging, watching tv, hanging out with friends, going out to eat....anything but cleaning. If I was still living at home, that behavior would be unacceptable. Every Friday, my brother and I were expected to do our chores. Or face the wrath. So when I moved into my own house with no parents I would tell myself, "Just this one Friday I will slack off. Next Friday, I'll get it going." Then the next Friday would come, and I'd tell myself, "Who says I have to clean on Fridays? I can clean on Saturday." You get the idea.

Now that I'm New Me (meaning, now that L is here), I really understand what "no time" means. It has a multitude of definitions. "No time" can mean that there are literally not enough minutes in the day to accomplish all you needed to accomplish. "No time" can mean that you have a child who refuses to nap, stop crying, or be put down. "No time" can mean that on the list of 529.2 things you have to do during the week, cleaning ranks somewhere around number 516. Especially when a simple solution to not cleaning is to just not allow anyone to come inside your house.

I'd say that, in general, I have a solid mix of any and all types of "no time." So needless to say, house cleaning doesn't happen much. Last week, our house was literally disgusting. I was disgusted every time I looked around. I was disgusted when I walked in the door. Disgusting.

I had taken the afternoon off work Friday so I could help my mom get things ready for my dad's retirement party on Saturday. I was going to leave L at daycare so I could run around and just get things done more quickly. So Friday morning, I called my mom to ask what she needed. Surprisingly, she released me from any duties because she apparently had everything together.

While I was driving home, I was thinking about what I'd do with my new-found freedom. I could nap, catch up on my depressingly neglected DVR, work out, shower for longer than 3 minutes... But then I got a crazy idea. I was like, "Wow, at least 4 consecutive hours with no D, no L...I could clean." And then I got really excited at the prospect of blasting my music. And then I got really worried because I thought an alien had maybe taken over my body. But I decided to go with it.

So I went with it. I harnessed whatever strange strangeness had possessed me and I cleaned. And I mean cleaned. The type of cleaning where you actually move things that permanently live on the counter (like the cookie jar, the microwave, the knife block) and wipe under them. AKA the cleaning that doesn't often occur in my house. Oh man did I clean.

I jammed to my iTunes library and cleaned my little heart out. I spent almost 4 hours cleaning the downstairs. And. I. LIKED IT! It felt so good to do something so productive with my hands. (Besides pawing through clearance racks, of course.) I scrubbed, vacuumed, dusted, washed, sterilized, antibacterialized... And boy did the house look clean. And it smelled good. And when D stopped home in between lawns, he almost dropped dead. And then he almost cried from joy. I'm not kidding - I think I saw a wee tear streak down the dirt on his face. That night, when we were watching the hockey game in the clean living room in our clean house, he was like, "This makes me want to have someone over."

And craziest of craziness, I am actually committing myself to keeping the house clean. I know, right? Gasp! Novel idea. Did you know (and I know you probably didn't because it's taken me 25 years to come to this genius conclusion) that if you actually straighten things every night and clean a little every day, the house stays clean? Yeah, you're welcome.

So when my son finally decides to stop screaming while he's on his tummy and realizes that he can move himself out of that position and around the room, I won't have to worry about him picking up who-even-knows-what from the floor. Because my floors will be clean. Anyone who knows me (but especially my dear college roommate Barb and my mom) will probably laugh at this and not believe it. But believe it, sisters! Cuz it's happening.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My new and exciting project!

So I realized that like 1/3 of my posts start out with something like "this isn't like my usual posts." This makes me wonder if I have a "usual" style of post? If 33.333333333% of my posts are not like the others, this barely qualifies the other 66.66666666666666% of posts as "usual." But, majority rules, so.....this isn't like my usual post! :-)

Anyway, I'm so excited about a new project I have in the works that I had to share with the blogosphere. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by putting this out there. I'm afraid that by writing this post, I'll totally tempt fate or whatever and then somehow this project will not materialize and then I'll have this post to look back at and be like "Oh remember when I was going to do that? Yeah, not so much anymore I guess." But I'm really motivated to get this going. It's something I really believe in and I just had to let you all know about it.

A few posts ago, I talked about wanting to write a post about something that was very serious and not at all funny. I wanted to write a post about my miscarriage. For a while I've really had it on my heart that I'm supposed to share my story for some reason. So over the last couple weeks, I've been gradually writing my story. But it just wasn't sitting right with me that I was going to post it on my blog. This just didn't seem like the proper forum.

So I started to evaluate and reflect on why I was wanting to put my story out to the masses. (Yes, I'm still under the dilusion that I have "masses" of readers. Whatever, it makes me happy to pretend!) The reasons I came up with were the following.

1) I wanted to let other women experiencing a pregnancy loss know that they are not alone.
2) I wanted to make myself available to women experiencing a loss in case they wanted to ask questions, get support, vent, whatever.
3) I wanted to help people who have loved ones experiencing a loss. This is a big one. So many people don't know what to say or do when someone they love loses a pregnancy, and even though their hearts are in the right place, they end up saying and doing things that magnify the pain of the person suffering the pain of a miscarriage. I genuinely want to help people and give them ways to respond that will comfort their loved one instead of causing more (albeit unintentional) pain.
4) I want to do what I can to make pregnancy loss less taboo. So many women experience it, yet no one talks about it.

After realizing what my reasons are, I decided that a simple blog post is not going to accomplish my mission to the degree I'd like. So I got to thinking and wondering and praying about what I could do to accomplish my goals. And it just seemed clear as can be: I need to start a website.

So I put out a couple posts on some message boards that I frequent and asked women who had experienced pregnancy or infant loss if they would be willing to share their story. I received an overwhelming response. In under 24 hours, I got 40+ offers to participate. So many of these women said to me, "I sure wish I had found something like this when I was going through my loss." So thanks to these wonderful women, it looks like this project is actually going to be a go.

I've bounced some ideas off them, and this website is getting bigger and better all the time. My plans are to have the stories divided up by the type of loss, pictures of the babies these women went on to have (in a different section), a section for friends and family of women experiencing a loss, a section for the daddies who have also been hurt by the loss of a baby...

And so much more. I am so grateful that this website seems to be coming together so easily. We are still very much in the beginning stages, but I just wanted to share with all of you this exciting new piece in my life.

If you are reading this and have also experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, and if you would be willing to share your story, please don't hesitate to email me at - I would be so honored to include your story.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The post that started with no point but ended up being a whine

Well, it's been a week.  And it's not over yet.  So please excuse me if this post sucks because I'm sitting here writing it with literally no clue where this will go.  I almost didn't even write a post for today, but then I decided that I can and should do this.  I'll just have to dig deep for the funny.  And the point. 

I'm sure you can all relate to the kind of week this has been  The kind that won't end.  The kind where you are going from the second you get out of bed in the morning until the second you can fall back into bed at night without feeling guilty that you didn't finish this or forgot to do that.  I have tried to get to bed by 10:30 every night this week and failed miserably.  I told myself on Sunday night that I would go to bed at 10 every night and then I laughed because myself can be so funny sometimes.  

So now that you're here reading this and you can't stop because you want to know where I'm going with this (hey, me too!  Mind sharing?), I'm going to whine about my week.  First of all, D was on his switch week.  Not the good switch where he gets 7 days off.  The bad switch, where he works from 8 p.m. till 8 a.m. Thursday night through Wednesday night.  Strike 1 against the chance of having a good week this week.  Not only is it hard for me to not have him home that many nights in a row, it's hard for me to watch him  get more and more exhausted as the days pass. 

And you can always tell when it's his switch week because we get into way more fights.  Like one evening while L is catnapping he'll try something and I'll look at him with these crazy, exhausted, googly eyes and I'll be like "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR EVERLOVING MIND????"  And then we'll fight because he likes to smack my butt when I walk by.  (Which, wives, I think we can all relate to this because I'm pretty sure they teach this to our husbands in college.  The class is entitled "How to drive your wife totally mental but fool yourself into thinking that you're being affectionate.")  That's just an example that I pulled out of thin air.  Not like this fight just happened in my house or anything.

Add to the fact that not only is it switch, but lawn season has started as well.  Now this is something I hate for purely selfless reasons, no sarcasm whatsoever.  It is SO hard for me to see my poor husband finally finish his switch week, only to come home and beg me to call him at 10 a.m. to wake him up so he can get out to do lawns until 7 at night.  And I hate myself sometimes because in my heart I just want to give him a break but the list of things I've been needing/wanting him to do and the things we need to get done together has been ballooning out of control during those 7 days while he's been working his butt off to provide for our family.  But my heart doesn't always win out, and I'm probably going to explode my to-do list all over him tonight when he gets home.  (Please God help me to wait until tomorrow!)

So there's strike 2.  Strikes 3-29 are the fact that this week has been non-stop for me as well.  I thought things would settle a bit after the event was over last week.  But my dad once said something to me about how space always loves to be filled.  (Like in a house, you can never have empty space because there's always something to put there.  In my house, it's piles of clutter, mail and clothes.)  My schedule is no exception.  Work is crazy and that's all I'm going to say.  CRAZY. 

I have so many errands to do that I squeeze them in on my lunch.  And this weekend, we're throwing my dad a retirement party.  Yeah, my dad is retiring.  And he's young.  Like younger than 52, but older than 50.  So we're going to celebrate his young retirement by giving him a cocktail party.  My mom and I have been working on this together, and it's unfolding in classic fashion.  My mom freaks out and gets stressed about the details during the planning stages, and I play my part by calming her down and trying to keep things in perspective.  Now that we're painfully close to the party, my mom is cool as a cucumber and I'm in full-on panic mode. 

Last night my mom called me and I was like the walking dead.  She asked what's wrong, so I read her a chapter from the book of "My life sucks and no one else's life could possibly suck more than mine because mine sucks so bad and my life sucking automatically takes away the suck from your life so suck it."  And my mom, who is going to be hosting 75+ people IN HER HOME on Saturday genuinely asks me what she can do to make my life easier.  My mom, who works 50+ hours a week and still manages to coordinate the contemporary choir in church, go to her prayer group every Wednesday and mentally support her emotionally unstable daughter, asks what she can do for me.  And then I felt guilty and tried to put my life in perspective.    

Which worked until I went upstairs to get ready for bed.  Connie raced ahead of me up the stairs and stopped midway to make sure I was following him.  Which is sweet, but when you're in a mood like I was, I was so annoyed.  Like "Get up the stairs already!!"  So I went to check on the baby and he was still cute, so all was well in that world.  I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and that's when it usually all comes to a head for me.  

At that point, I'm so close to being in bed that I can taste it.  I literally cannot go into my bedroom before I brush my teeth and wash my face because if I do, I will not be able to control the urge to snuggle under the covers and then I'll regret it even more because then I'll have to talk myself into getting ready for bed twice as hard.  So I looked longingly at my wonderful bed (I finally bought new sheets, by the way) but pasted my toothbrush and started brushing.  Then I washed my face and when I looked into the bathroom mirror (who I'd say bordered on being more of a JM than an MM), I noticed that, in honor of the Icelandic volcanoes who are wreaking havoc on Europe, a little mini volcano had sprung up on my chin.  Sweet!  Welcome to my face, volcano.  I'm glad to have you for what I'm sure will be a very long stay.  Perfect timing, as always.

Then I took my wedding rings off for the night because a minor disease has appeared in the place where the rings sit and I don't know what it is but I don't have time to go to the doctor.  So I just take my rings off at night and put cortisone on my finger and that seems to help.  And then when I went to put the lid back on the cortisone, the lid slipped through my fingers, bounced off my foot and down the stairs.  And that sent me over the edge.  I kicked the door frame out of frustration with my bare foot (idiot) and turned the involuntary pain tears into angry tears of sweet emotional relief.  And then I told the lid "Screw you, I'll find you tomorrow."  (Which the lid and I both know I don't mean.  What I really was saying was, "Screw you lid, you're staying wherever you are unless I happen upon you at some other time in my life."  Which, now that I think of it, is maybe one of the reasons my house is messy.) 

And then I went to bed.  And woke up this morning thinking it was Friday.  (Idiot.)    

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Magic mirrors and the pants I'm unsure about

One of my best friends in the whole world is the full-length mirror in what is now L's room. It used to be the "guest room" but if we're being honest, it was really my dressing room. It was also the room where I'd go to hide from D for a bit so I could read. I don't know what it is about me reading, but it triggers memories of all the conversations D has ever wanted to have with me but forgot. The minute I crack the spine of a book or magazine, D suddenly wants to have a million conversations with me. So I used to go to that room to escape.

Now the only place I can go and escape to read for a bit is the bathroom. When L was a couple months old and I was still on leave, I would pretend that I had to go to the bathroom and go upstairs and lock myself in the bathroom with a book. Sometimes I'm certain that those random respites were what got me through the first rough three months of new baby-hood.

But back to my best friend. The mirror that hangs in L's room is amazing. We're.....involved. I call him the Magic Mirror and he calls me Dahling. He is so kind and complimentary. Whenever I go visit him, he tells me I lost 10 lbs.

"Dahhhhling, you look fahb-u-lous!!" he coos.

"Oh, go on," I blush.

"No, no dahling. Have you been working out? You did not just have a baby 5 months ago! Work it girl!" (I can't figure out where he's from. He starts out sounding like a sophisticated Frenchman and ends up sounding like my gay husband from the Bronx.)

But it all seriousness, this mirror is awesome. I always look amazing in it. I don't know what it is. Even when I was like 5 seconds post-partum and had to try to look decent at L's baptism. That whole thing was an unfortunate event. Magic Mirror told me I looked 10 lbs lighter, but the pictures from that day told me I looked 10 lbs heavier so I figure that on the actual day I appeared 20 lbs total heavier than I originally thought. But I don't mind if MM lies to me. He gives me that shot of confidence I need to get out the door and hold my head up high.

Unfortunately, I think he steered me wrong recently. I'm always trying to force myself to branch out when I go shopping. Usually I fail. Shirts and sweaters and stuff, I'm not too bad about. I'm not opposed to most colors (except yellow, which even MM won't pretend to love on me), and I don't have a hard time branching out to different patterns or styles.

It's the pants that get me. I'm sooooo boring when it comes to pants. For work pants I prefer black, occasionally grey. Jeans I prefer medium to dark washes, bootcut or trouser style. I do own a pair of skinny jeans, and probably a flared leg in there somewhere. But for the most part, I don't branch out. I like khakis and brown pants, but I don't really care for any of the brown shoes I own and never want to buy brown shoes when I'm shopping. It's a vicious cycle. I never buy brown pants because I don't have brown shoes and I never buy brown shoes because I don't have brown pants. My college girls will tell you how horrible I think it is to mix brown pants with black shoes or vice versa. Horrible. If you do this or have done this, please stop.

Anyway, I was at The Gap (one of my faves) and I stumbled across a pair of straight-leg off-white cords. They were the fancy line of Gap pants (1979 or something) and were on clearance for $13.97. Plus I had an additional 20% off. I didn't try them on because I didn't have time (I know, I know. Big mistake).

So I got home and tried them on. They actually fit, but were a little tight. I put them away for when I lost a couple more pounds and forgot about them. Fast forward to Monday night and a few more lost pounds later. I was in crisis mode because the hem of one leg on my go-to work pants (basically the only work pants that even remotely fit me at the moment) had come undone in the wash. I wore fancy jeans yesterday, and didn't want to wear jeans two days in a row. I went upstairs to try to find a pair of non-jean pants that would work and stumbled across the cords.

I put them on (slightly more comfortable now) and went to visit MM.

"DAHLING! So good to see you! Smoochies! MMM girl you lookin' fine in those cords! Look at you all branchin' out and workin' the different color! Look at those legs all skinny and long-lookin'!"

"Do you really think so, MM? I'm not so sure.... But now that you mention it, my legs do look rather long and skinny..."

"Dahling would I ever lie to you? Don't answer that, just look at how a-MA-zing you're lookin'!"

So it was decided. I'd wear the cords to work. I paired them with a light green button-down tunic-type shirt thingy that adequately covered my butt (with a body like mine, I have to wear longer, looser shirts over skinny pants because if I don't I end up looking like a Bob Evans sausage in a fabric casing). I ignored the fact that the tunic tends to make me look pregnant and resigned myself to knowing that it was the only shirt that both matched and concealed the junk in my trunk.

Of course, I had to check myself in the bathroom mirror when I got to work this morning. This mirror is MM's evil fraternal twin. His name is Jerkface Mirror. Jerkface Mirror hangs out in ugly fluorescent lighting and makes me look awful. He is gruff and mean and says things not suitable for posting. This morning was no exception. He basically told me I looked fat, awful and that my shirt was not cool enough. He teased me about the way the corduroy made swish-swish sounds when I walked down the hall. He made me deeply regret the pants.

So now I have these pants. I'm not really sure about them. Despite JM trying to make me rip the pants off my body the second I arrived home and throw them in the fireplace, I still kind-of like them. But I kind-of hate them, too. I don't know. Maybe if I had the right shirt.

I do know, however, that Magic Mirror is a great friend to have. So if I ever decide to wear the pants again, I'll check with him to see what he thinks and then I'll avoid mirrors for the rest of the day. Especially Jerkface Mirror. Because Magic Mirror's is the only opinion that really matters to me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am so not an interior decorator

I've been trying to figure out Twitter for a couple weeks now, and I still can't bring myself to get into it. I don't have a ton of followers, which I can't say I'm too broken up about. So if I have something witty or pithy to say about what I'm doing, I really don't feel like wasting it on Twitter. So I just post it on facebook where everyone knows my name and loves me and appreciates my humor. That's right, everyone.

This is only minorly related, but one time when I was in college there was this girl who I thought was really cool. I told my real friends that I wanted to be her best friend, even though one time me and the cool girl did some errand or something together and it was total Awkwardsville. So after that announcement, my friends and I always joked about her being my best friend even though in real life, we had the kind of relationship where you avert your eyes when you see the other walking towards you on campus and pretend you don't see each other. Not to be mean, but just because you can't stomach the thought of having the painful experience of forcing small talk or a bubbly "Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!" I think what I really liked about her was her clothes and her hair. I know, I'm a total loser.

But whenever one of my real friends would see her, they'd always come back to me later and be like "I saw your best friend today!" and we'd make unnecessarily long jokes about what me and my best friend had been up to. It really was funny, I promise.

So the reason for that blast from the past is that there are some Twitter ladies that I think are really cool and I mentally joke with myself that they are my best friends. I refuse to name them because on the off-chance they read this blog, they will never even be e-friends with me because I'm such a nerd that I have an inside joke with myself. But what I'm about to reveal will identify them anyway so I'm just going to do it.

Some of these girls are doing a Twitter house party (or something) where they give a picture tour of their homes. I would never participate in this for many reasons.

1) The last time I ever felt truly 100% comfortable with having people in my house was last summer when D and I had a house warming party (2+ years after actually purchasing the house, but whatever). D and I straightened like mad people and then had his aunt come to do a deep cleaning. She was there when I left for work in the morning, and when I came home she was still there. Her face was bright red and she was sweating. That is how dirty my house was, not even kidding.

2) I have painter's remorse. I thought the color we painted our bedroom was totally contemporary and awesome. We did two walls bright white and two walls green. Asparagus. But if I'm being honest, it's lime. At first I loved it. My mom bought us a comforter from Crate and Barrel the Christmas after we painted, and I found curtains that matched pretty well. I was so pumped. The unfortunate thing is that the comforter and curtains are attractive while the walls are not. So not. Dan teases me because he is awesome at picking paint and the one room in our house that is a puke color is the room that I picked the paint for. And our downstairs bathroom, but that's only because it's the same paint job as when we moved in (purple, grey and white sponge paint; it's even uglier than it sounds). The only reason we haven't painted that bathroom is because it needs a complete overhaul and a new paint job would only expose the other abominable flaws that exist in there.

3) Nowhere in our house do we have matching furniture except in L's nursery. And that's only because my dad is awesome and made us the crib, changing table/dresser and side table. My parents also gave me the rocker that my dad bought for my mom while they were stationed overseas and my mom was pregnant with me. So almost every single piece of furniture in L's room has deep meaning for me. Oddly enough, L's room is one of the only ones I feel good about showing people.

4) D and I are not good at decorating walls. When I was home on leave, I got really into it and ordered pictures and bought frames but then when I went to do one of the collages I opened the frame to see that it was broken. I returned the frame to Kohls, got a store credit, wandered to the baby clothes and it ended there. If I ever get to stay at home, that will be one of my projects. In addition to finally ordering pictures from our wedding.

5) There are some things that exist in our house from when the house was built in the 60's that we are not able to fix at this point. Like the entire kitchen. It is truly awful. The walls are paneled in a nasty white-blonde panel that I hate with every fiber of my being. The floors are a laminate stone pattern that hides dirt well (the only good thing about it) but is so hideous. The counters are ok but not my style. The cabinets are cheap and white. Our entire kitchen is so washed out that sometimes I have a hard time locating it. But then I just look for the kitchen table with the stacks of mail on it and that helps.
So needless to say, I don't plan on showing my house to anyone at this point in time, let alone virtual strangers. (Like my play on words? That's the kind of literary device that I would never waste on Twitter.) D and I do have plans to clean. Rather, I have plans for us to clean this Friday. And then D promised that once we got things straightened up, we could call his aunt to come back here. And after that I have a very strict plan to keep the house clean. I promise.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Losing myself

One of the things I was most afraid of when I was pregnant was that I would lose myself in the process of becoming a mom. Though, if you would have asked me during my pregnancy, I wouldn't have been able to articulate that nearly as concisely. When I was pregnant, I couldn't see the forest through the trees and would have listed a litany of small fears if you asked what I was afraid of.
I was afraid I'd never sleep again. I was afraid I'd never get time to myself again. I was afraid I could never go out with friends again. I was afraid D and I would never be the same again. And on and on and on.

But Friday night I had an epiphany. And you know where I was when I had this flash of clarity? Cleaning the bathroom. And that's what made me realize: you do kind-of lose "yourself" when you become a mom. I know it sounds harsh, but all the people who say they do this or that to make sure they don't lose themselves after baby makes three are fooling themselves. Having a baby DOES change "yourself." It does change who you are, if you're any kind of mom at all.

This bathroom enlightenment happened all because of my nails. I organized and coordinated an awards banquet at work last week (which, by the way, was intensely stressful, crazy, difficult, rewarding and fun. I swear I was born to run events.). The old me adored having "done" nails. But the old me and the new me have in common a hatred for spending a lot of money on things that will go away in the span of a week. (Exempted from this hatred is any food which I do not have to prepare myself. I consider Olive Garden, Chili's and Jets all wise investments.)

To sidestep the cost of getting a full set of acrylics done at Le Expensif Salon, I always bought the $6 glue-on nails at the drugstore. Any time I had any sort of event or anything coming up, I'd go to CVS and pick up a box or Broadway nails. I had the application down to a science, and was eventually able to get a solid week's wear out of them. When I used to be really into poker, I would always do my nails before a game because I liked to imagine that I was a professional poker player who would have a video camera on my nails for most of the night. Nothing says Card Shark like a good french mani.

The best thing about these nails was that no one knew I did them myself. Except they did because whenever they complimented or even mentioned my nails, I practically shouted "I DID THEM MYSELF!" And people were like, "Those are your real nails?" And I'd be like "No but they're glue-ons." And then I would be all like, "You should totally buy some and come over and I'll do them for you." It was a form of bonding, really.

So anyway, I loved having my nails done pre-baby. And I got a plain old manicure for Easter, and I loved it. My nails looked great and lasted a week. And I loved it. So with this event at work, I wanted to impress people because I'm younger than almost everyone I come into contact with at my job. I don't know why "done" nails would impress them, but it could at least make me look more put-together. Or something. That's not the point. The point is that I wanted to do my nails. So I was absolutely crazy and stressed at work trying to put the event together. The by-product of this was that I had no time or energy to get another manicure. So I decided to go with the usual stand-by of my good old Broadway nails.

I did them the night before the event to have maximum freshness and minimal chance of a nail popping off my finger and into the face of one of my bosses. (Side note: One time I was in church and I was wearing Broadway's. One of them popped off and flew into the lap of the stranger sitting next to me. And it landed near her zipper and I actually went to grab it without thinking of it. And then I recoiled right before I molested her and froze. Luckily, she laughed, but I wanted to melt into the pew.) They looked nice as usual, and I went to bed happy.

The next day I proceeded to try to go about my normal goings-on and realized that the fake nails were a pain in my not-so-new-mommy butt. I couldn't shove my finger into L's mouth to see if that tooth bud had FINALLY resulted in a tooth. I continuously and accidentally scratched L all over his poor little body, but he kindly took pity on me and only cried a couple times. And then Friday, only two nights post-application, I had to clean the bathrooms because Friday night has gone from "unwind and bask in the fact that work doesn't exist until Monday" to "hurry up and clean as much as I can so I can be done and still try to eek out a little bit of weekend before it becomes necessary to fall into bed and pass out."

So I was scrubbing the sink and toilet and felt one of the nails snap off. The pre-baby me would have been annoyed, but post-baby me was kind-of relieved. And then as I kept scubbing another nail snapped off. And that's when it hit me. Having a baby did change me. But I didn't lose myself in becoming a mom. I just became a new self. I still love to sleep and have time for myself. Seeing D become an amazing father to L and hearing him talk to him and play with L has made me love him more than I ever thought was possible.

And just last weekend I got all dressed up and went out with my girls. To a bar. Where they wouldn't let me in without seeing my I.D. Yeah, that's right. I can still hang.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Giveaway Winner

Well, I'm very happy and excited to announce that the winner of the amazing giveaway from Erin at Elm Studios on etsy is my very own cousin Allison! I promise there was no family bias here, did the picking for me! Congrats Al, I'll talk to you soon about how to claim your winnings.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The post that sets the record for the usage of the word "suck" and its derivatives

Whenever I use Listerine, I always think about how much it sucks.  If there are any wounds in my mouth (which there usually are because I somehow always manage to bite my lip while I'm eating something delicious, therefore decreasing the over-all enjoyment of the delicious something), the Listerine exacerbates the pain by a margin of 20.  And since I use Listerine only when it's time for me to go to the dentist or when D goes to the dentist and inspires me by association, my mouth is generally not used to the pain inflicted by this good-for-you habit.  But after it's over, my mouth feels awesome - invigorated, clean and minty-fresh. 

Since D was recently at the dentist, I recently re-started my use of Listerine.  My general M.O. is to vow to use it forever but last maybe a week if I'm lucky.  So the other night while I was enduring this unpleasant bedtime routine, I got to thinking about how much some things suck while you're doing them but how good they feel after.  And I started to mentally compile a list of the many things of this nature.  So of course, I decided to share them with you.  Because pretty much everything that enters my mind is subject to the question, "Is this thought substantial enough to warrant a blog post?"  And the answer to this one was yes.

Exercising - Level of suck (1 being a spa day and 10 being dear God I can't believe I survived): 4-8, depending on your fitness level and the time of the month.  I am proud to say that the level of suck has been slowly decreasing for me wit this particular activity.  But in the interest of total disclosure, it's not like I'm doing the Insanity workout or anything.  Because if I were, I'm pretty sure the suckitude would increase exponentially.    

Work - Level of suck: 5-10.  Sometimes the only thing that gets you through the total despair of knowing that you're nowhere near retirement age or ability is the paycheck.  And sometimes the paycheck is what causes your despair.  (And if you generally enjoy your job, well....color you lucky.) 

Child Birth - Level of suck: 762.  Labor is one of the most difficult experiences I can imagine.  The only reason women keep doing it year after year, generation after generation is the pay-off.  This sucky thing by far has the highest return on investment.  But that doesn't take away the suckiness of the process.  

Fiscal Responsibility - Level of suck: I'll let you know.  D and I have officially started Financial Peace University and I'm pretty sure it's going to be the awesomest sucky experience ever.  We will be greatly rewarded in that we will learn how to manage our finances better and pass down good money habits to our kids, but I'm thinking that it's going to be a very painful process.

Cleaning - Level of suck: Tough to say, but it must be pretty high considering I never do it.  I don't know why I hate cleaning so much.  I certainly love things to be clean.  What is it about cleaning that is just repulsive, anyway?  Who even knows.  One of life's great mysteries.  Right up there with why some people are so lacking in the smarts department:

So those are just a few things that suck while you're doing them but yield good results.  I'm sure I'll think of more.  In the meantime, does anyone have any of their own?         

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Super Exciting Giveaway!

Guess what guys? I got a sponsor to do a giveaway with my blog!

Erin from Elm Studios on Etsy kindly agreed to give one of her beautiful creations away to a reader of mine! I know all bloggers say this about sponsors that do giveaways on their blogs, but I am genuinely jealous of whoever wins this one. I am so, so super excited about this.

I stumbled across her store because I was looking for something unique

but affordable, and Elm Studios more than fit the bill. My problem is
that I am in love with all the mommy jewelry and gifts but most of them seem to be personalized. Since I'm not done having kids yet, I don't want to get a necklace or art or something with just L's name on it since it could very well cause jealousy issues with my future kiddos. Erin's shop is perfect because I found some really beautiful mommy pieces that I can get regardless of how many kids I have! It's also great if you have a bff or family member getting married because she makes gorgeous wedding creations as well!

The extremely lucky winner of this giveaway will receive a personalized bowl of their choice costing $18 or less. The amazing thing about this is that almost everything in her shop is $18 or less! You will have an incredibly difficult time choosing!

Here's the low-down:
1. Mandatory Entry - visit Erin's shop at and tell me what you love! I know it will be hard, but try to keep it under 15 items just for the sake of brevity. :)
2. Follow my blog (or tell me if you already follow)!
3. Tweet about this giveaway. (I still suck at twitter so you'll have to script your own tweet. You can tweet each day, but make sure you leave a comment each day.)
4. Tell me something weird or quirky about yourself. (For example, I always sleep in full bedtime attire because I don't want to have to run out of the house half-dressed if there's a fire. True story.) You can do this each day, but it has to be a different quirk! This is mainly for my own amusement. :)
5. If you can get Top Mommy Blogs to work, vote for me. In fact, since TMB has been so crappy lately, you will get two entries if you successfully vote for me. Just leave two different comments each time.

Make sure you leave each action in a separate comment! Like, if you tell me what you love at Erin's shop and also that you tweeted this giveaway in the same comment, I can only count it as one entry. So make sure you comment each thing in a different comment!

ALSO, this is for anyone and everyone! Even if I know you in real life, even if we're related, whatever! Just enter because I'm so excited for someone to get one of these gorgeous bowls!

Winner will be drawn on Friday whenever I get home from work. PLEASE make sure you leave your email address or have it somewhere visible in your profile so I can contact you! Good luck!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Blogging Game

Yesterday was crazy. For starters, it was a Monday, which is hardly ever an indicator that my day is going to be awesome. Lawn season has started which means life in my family is much more complicated than usual. This is the first year we're embarking on lawn season with baby in the mix, and I sense that it will be challenging. Work has been so busy and stressful, and I kept thinking last night that today was actually Wednesday or Thursday because I felt like I've been putting two days worth of work into every day.

So yesterday, I had to work, as usual. D had to get out to do lawns and a clean up. The clean up was so large that he needed his dad and nephew's help; his dad works full time and his nephew is in high school, so D had to wait for his nephew to get out of school to even get started. (Now that I've said it three times, isn't "nephew" a funny word?) So D picked L up from daycare and took him to his mom's house to bridge the gap between him going to do the clean up and me getting home from work.

I went to pick L up from the in-laws' house and got there around 5. Went home and scarfed down a pb&j. Tried to calm my tired, teething baby (oh yeah, did I mention? We're in teething hell.) and finally got him to sleep. Waited for D to get home because I had my mom's group at 7. Needed him to get home by 6:30. He got home at 6:35 and needed to shower. By some miracle I made it to group on time, and had a really great time with a group of moms who I ordinarily probably wouldn't have met or befriended but to whom I feel a pretty awesome bond because of this group (and I'm not just saying that because I know some of them will probably be reading this!). Got home around 9:30 and fell in the computer chair, willing myself to write the blog post that I promised myself I'd write.

Which brings me to my point. (Don't you love how it takes me three paragraphs to get to the point? My journalism professor would be very disappointed that my lead-in has taken so long.) I had decided that I would blog every day of the working week. I would write the post the evening before, then post it in the morning. I would not blog on Friday or Saturday nights because I did not want my life to be taken over by this blog and I didn't want to become obsessed.

So last night, I was just fried. I had no really good ideas, and even if I did have one I didn't want to waste it on whatever garbage I'd be able to put out in the mental state I was in. And the fact that I was not going to have a blog post for today filled me with anxiety. I worried about how I was going to continue my upward-climb in the blog world if I couldn't post on a regular schedule.

Since starting this blog, my facebook fan page, my twitter page, listing my blog on Top Mommy Blogs, etc. my life has been about this blog. I obsessively check to see who commented, how many followers I have, how many unique page hits I have, etc. I'd go to other blogs and compare myself to them. How do they have 2,000+ followers? Why did a bazillion people comment on their post about how they wore a pink shirt today but hardly anyone commented on my carefully crafted post about me in a bathing suit? Why did I drop from #13 to #17 on Top Mommy Blogs?

But I think the most important question to ask is, "Why do I care?" I had something of a revelation last night when I was lying in bed fretting about my stupid blog. I was trying to write a "sorry for not posting" post in my head as I fought to keep my eyes open. But then I realized that I was getting away from the purpose of this blog at an insane speed.

I wrote a bit about it in my Mushy Gushy post a little ways down. I am writing this for me and for my friends and family whom I love. I don't want to get to a point where I feel like this blog is controlling me rather than vice versa. I don't want to feel like I have to apologize if I write a serious or even sad post one day because I'm worried that my fans are expecting funny and that I'll disappoint them. I want to write what I want to write, and I'm pretty sure that's what a blog is for!

I want to make sure I give my fans and readers quality posts that are mine. I don't want to try to copy another blog's style or feel disappointed when I read another blog that's funnier or whatever. Because if I'm just writing what other people write, I'm pretty sure that's a quicker way to lose readers. If my style is copying another blog, why wouldn't everyone just go read that other blog?

So I will still try to post regularly and it will probably be mostly funny stuff because that's just what I like to write! (By the way, I'm happy that so many people seem to share my sense of humor! I thought the only other people who did were related to me.) But I've been chewing on a post that's a lot more serious in nature than any other post I've ever written, and I think it's important to put it out there. And I was agonizing over whether or not to write it. It's not written yet, but I've decided that I'm going to do it. So be prepared for that coming down the pike.

And whether I get famous and hugely popular or not, it doesn't really matter. Because as long as my Aunt Shelly brings up something specific I posted that made her laugh, as long as my biggest fan Jessie texts me about how much she loved a certain thing I said, as long as D looks at me with horror in his face about how much I've over-shared on a certain topic - that is how I'll know my blog is a success.

And if you don't really like it, that's ok, you can move on. But if you like what I'm throwing out, then pull up a chair, make yourself comfy, and let's see where this thing goes!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

I'm proud to announce that my first giveaway has officially ended with a winner! I used to make it fair and square, and the winner is comment #4, Nicole! Congrats girl, and thanks for supporting my blog! Email me your address at and tell me where you want your gift card from!

To all you non-winners who support my blog, stay tuned because I'm thinking I have another cool giveaway in the works. Stay tuned!


I consider myself a relatively nice person.  I try to be friendly and polite, especially to strangers and employees I come  into contact with when I'm out trying to get things done.  In the past, you might have been able to accurately refer to me as a pushover.  But in the last few years, I've been able to better draw the line between friendly and doormat.

Yesterday, that line was pushed around a bit.  There are a few things we have to get straight before I tell this story.  First of all, formula is expensive.  Especially when your kid eats like someone is going to tell him that in the next 5 minutes all formula everywhere is going to be discontinued and he is never going to get to eat again until he can eat big people food.  Second of all, formula coupons are called "checks" and are supposed to be rung up as vouchers or something - whatever they are, they are not supposed to be rung up as coupons.  Third of all, our preferred brand of formula is one of the stingiest companies with formula checks.  The other brands seem to be more generous, and I regularly get checks from them.  Our brand, however, is not as reliable.  Even though I've signed myself (both home and work addresses), my mom and mother-in-law up to receive checks, we never seem to get as many as we do from the other companies.  I signed myself up when L was born, and my mom/mother-in-law up when we started formula feeding at around 8 weeks.  We've received maybe 4 checks at our house, my mother-in-law has received one and my mom has received none.  

So whenever I get checks for the other brands, I go online and try to barter a trade with people who have checks for my brand.  This has worked out well for me so far, and I often have multiple checks to use on any given purchase.  A lot of stores hassle me when I try to use more than one check on formula, and most won't let me do it.  This really grinds my gears because NOWHERE on the check does it say that using more than one check per purchase is not allowed.  I'm telling you, I have broken out my magnifying glass and scrutinized the fine print and there is not one single word that says multiple checks are not allowed.  

The only store that has always let me use more than one check has been Target.  So Target is our preferred formula retailer, since these checks can often score us a large can of formula for half-price.

Well, we needed wipes and formula yesterday, so I packed up L and off to Target we went.  Which was fun, because I love Target.  I loved Target even more when I saw that our brand of formula was on sale for $3 off.  I had $12 in checks, so I figured it was shaping up to be a good day for  formula.  As I walked to the checkout, I tried to scope out the registers to see which cashiers looked the most experienced and the least interested in giving me any sort of trouble.  When that failed, I just went for the nicest-looking cashier.

She ooh'ed and aah'ed over L as I placed my assorted baby items on the checkout, and I set my coupons (for the wipes) and checks on the little counter next to the credit card swiper.  When she told me the total, I slid my coupons her way and she went through them.  As soon as she saw that I had more than one check, she started hemming and hawing, saying things like, "Ohh.....I don't think I can use more than one..."  As I was already prepared for this (having been put through this fun little game every. single. time.), so I immediately (but politely) said, "Well, I've been allowed to multiple times, at Target in particular."

She again expressed her doubts that I could use more than one check.  The old me would have backed off and said "Oh ok, sorry to be such a pain!" and then I would have apologized probably 3 more times and then begged her forgiveness for living.  But the new me realizes that there's a time to stand up for yourself and be a little assertive, and paying the ridiculously high cost of formula is one of those times.

So I politely said, "Well, I've used multiple checks many times, and nowhere on the check does it say that you can't use more than one."  She again told me that she couldn't use more than one, so I sweetly requested that she please check  with someone else.  As I've  expressed in a previous post, conflict makes me uncomfortable.  But I was determined to stand my ground, and I warmly apologized to the irritated man behind me as the cashier went off to get someone else.  She found some other lady (not the manager) who came up to me.  Here is the conversation that followed.

Cashier:  "Sorry, honey, you can only use one."
Me:  "Well, I've been able to use more than one in the past, particularly at this store."
C:  "Oh no, I'm certain that if you'll look on the check, it says right there that you can only use one....Yes, right here it says."  (Points to the line that reads, Only good on the purchase of any X brand product.)
M:  "I'm not sure I understand.  How does that say I can only use one per purchase?"
C:  "Well right here, it says 'any pro-DUCT.'"
M:  (Looking on expectantly for her to illuminate how the h she is getting "only one per purchase" out of the word "product.")  "Yes...And I'm buying one product."
C:  "No, no, no.  See, it says, 'any pro-DUCT.'"
M:  "Yes, and I'm buying a pro-DUCT."  (Have you ever seen the Blue Collar Comedy Tour?  This whole "pro-DUCT" exchange reminded me of the whole Ron White bit where he talks about being "drunk in pubLICK.")
C:  (Getting exasperated that we seem to have learned a different version of English and that her English dictates that "pro-DUCT" means "only one check per purchase")  "Well, I can check with the manager..."
M:  "Yes please, I'd appreciate it."
So she goes to get the manager, whom I think I'll have the opportunity to speak with.  But she comes back alone.
C:  "Sorry, manager says only one per purchase."
M:  "Well that must be your store policy then because nowhere on the check does it say I can only use one per purchase."
C:  "Oh, ok, sure."  And she scurried off.

So then my cashier, who was just kind-of awkwardly standing there watching this ridiculous conversation looks at me with her sweet, sympathetic face and goes, "So do you still want it?"

And I had been really polite up to this point.  I was not rude, I was not snotty, I was not sassy.  My voice was not exasperated nor angry.  But when she asked this, it took every ounce of my self-control to not say, "Oh no thanks.  My son just heard how expensive it will be and he told me he doesn't need to eat for a while.  Isn't he considerate?"

Instead, I just said in a friendly but duh tone, "Yep, I need it."

She apologized and told me she'd love to let me use all the checks but that they would ask her why she used more than one and she'd get into trouble.  I told her I understood and that I knew it wasn't her fault.  But you better believe I'm going to be writing and/or calling the store manager of that Target and asking him (or her) what the problem is when they will get reimbursed for every cent the checks were worth and why they won't let me use more than one WHEN IT DOESN'T SAY ANYWHERE ON THE CHECK THAT THAT'S NOT PERMITTED!

This whole incident just reinforced the realization that I'll probably be feeding my future children breast milk until they are old enough to say, "Mommy, I want McDonalds."

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Party Post - Ultimate Blog Party 2010

To all my usual readers, this post is for something called The Ultimate Blog Party. It's a way for mommy bloggers to connect and network. To participate, I have to write a "Party Post" to introduce myself to other mommy bloggers who will see my blog through this networking opportunity. I also have to put a sticky link at the top of my blog so people can find my "Party Post" easily. So this is what this is all about!

Since this is my first year doing the Ultimate Blog Party, I'm not really sure what to write! But, I'll give it a shot. My husband Dan (D) and I have been married for 2.5 years. We are miscarriage survivors and have since been blessed with our son Lucas (L), who is 5 months old. He is the cutest baby in the world, so if you've been looking for him you can stop your search.

I work full-time but wish I could stay at home part-time. I am a new blogger but have fallen hard and am now obsessed! I try to put a humorous perspective on my posts because if I don't laugh at myself then I get really grumpy and no one likes a Mrs. Grumpy Pants. D thinks I tend to over-share on here, so if you don't like talk of boobs, stretch marks, etc. then you might want to keep moving. I am pretty sarcastic but am also really sensitive to how what I say might make other people feel, so I almost never say anything snarky about people I know (especially people I know who read this blog!).

I'm really excited to meet other mommy bloggers and find new blogs to fall in love with! Thanks for checking out my Party Post.

My husband cuts lawns on the side and loves it. I love this picture and call it "Learning the family business."

The Mushy Gushy Post

Ok, I need to take a quick departure from the norm for a sec. I am having a lot of feelings that I really need to express. ("She doesn't even go to this school!" "Do you even go here?" "No, I just have a lot of feelings." Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? [Two movie references in one set of parenthesis. And two sets of parenthesis. How is it possible to be that awesome?])

What I want to say is thank you. I really want to genuinely thank every person who has ever read this blog, joined my FB fan page, left comments, pimped my blog to their friends, followed my blog's twitter, etc. You guys are really awesome. I never imagined my blog would take off this much. I honestly thought I would remain just an "inner-circle" type blog where some friends and family read my stuff and commented now and then whenever something nudged their funny bone.

Now don't think I am thinking that I'm the next Dooce or Heir to Blair (for those familiar with the blogging world...and if you're not, I recommend you check those blogs out, they are great. In fact, I could start throwing out a lot of props to a lot of women I aspire to be like, but I don't want them to be like, " a little something on your nose there, pal.") I'll say two more - LawMomma and Rants From Mommyland. Those four blogs are on my must-read list every morning. I log on and get bummed if I don't see a post from them. And if I forget to check them for a day, I'll go back and get all excited if I see more than one post. It's like someone just told me that Mint Oreos have no calories and I can eat as many as I want.

Anyway, even in what I intended to be a brief post, I still manage to get off-topic and ramble on and on. The point of this post is to let you all know that I'm flattered by the fact that so many people seem to be enjoying my writing. It can be incredibly nerve-wracking to put my stuff out there like this. I always said that I wanted strangers to follow me, but now that it's a reality that people I don't know are reading my blog, I've had some serious bouts of insecurity. My friends and family know me and will still love me if I put out a bad post now and then. But strangers can judge me and think I'm a crappy writer and never want to read my stuff again, all from one post. I know that's going to happen no matter how awesome my stuff is. I think Heather Armstrong (of Dooce fame) is hilarious - I laugh out loud at most of her stuff. But some people hate her just because it's easy to cyber-hate. So if I'm going to continue to blog and go anywhere with this, I'm going to have to get used to the fact that some people aren't going to like my writing).

But back to my point again. Thanks for reading. Thanks for the supportive comments, both on here and on FB. Thanks for giving me the props I need to keep on writing. Thanks for letting me know that I'm not writing into a black internet hole where only my parents read my stuff (not to diminish the value of your readership, Mom and Dad! It all started with you anyway, and I owe you more than I could ever put in this post).

I love you guys. I love that people I don't even know like my writing so much that they fanned me on FB. And really, I love to write, which is what this blog is all about. I do this because it is cathartic and I do it because it helps me put things into perspective and laugh at the crazy stuff in my life. I do it because this is an amazing way to document my life so that one day I can look back with my child(ren) and be like, "Oh yeah sweetie, I remember when you finally started sleeping through the night, took your first step, said your first word, etc. etc." I do it because if I actually worked in journalism, I'd have to write in AP style and I don't have to do that here!

So thank you so much for reading my stuff. I will try to do you all proud with every post I write, and I promise to try to make you laugh. You guys are the best and you warm the frozen cockles of my heart. Smooches!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Finally, the giveaway!

Well, I'm going to try this.  Even with only 17 followers.  I have 104 fans on facebook, thank you very much, so hopefully some of you strong but silent lovers of my blog will come forth to win a little giveaway goodness. 

I'm going to try to make this easy, and give you as many ways as possible to win.  But first, the juicy details.  This giveaway is simple.  While I'm still relatively unknown in the blogosphere, I'm buying the goods so they're staying cheap!  The winner of this giveaway gets a $20 gift card to the store of their choice.  That's it!  If you're like me, this $20 gift card means you have $20 less of explaining to do to your husband when the credit card bill comes.  So come join in the fun!

Here's how you can enter:

1.  Leave a comment to tell me where you'd most love to go on a shopping spree.  (You don't have to choose this store if you win.)
2.  Follow my blog and leave a comment telling me you followed.  If you already follow, comment to let me know.
3.  Vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs and comment telling me you did.  (One entry for each day you vote, make sure to comment each day you vote!  It would really make my life if I could get in the top 25 - we're so close!)       

Sorry, but I'm going to force you guys to leave comments on my blog instead of FB.  I'm going to be using to select the winner, so I can't include any FB comments in the mix.     

You can do any or all of the above things to get an entry.  I'll select the winner this Monday, the 12th.  Good luck!   

P.S.  Thanks so much for reading my blog, you guys.  It really means a lot to me and I appreciate you!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the day

After L was born, D and I really started to hate nighttime. We started calling it dread-time (or going to dread) instead of going to bed because of how much we hated it.

It would have been one thing if we would be able to go to bed knowing that L would wake up at X time. At least then we'd be able to play the whole, "If I go to sleep now I'll get 3 hours of sleep" game. I contest that that situation would be easier to tolerate than what it's actually like to have a newborn. Instead, you're in a constant state of ready, always wondering when they'll wake up.

And L, he liked to keep us on our toes - me in particular. It got worse once D returned to work. My hand to God, L *knew* when D was working and would sleep worse when I was alone at night. L would fall asleep around 9:30, then would wake up at around 10 or 10:30 without fail. And he'd want to be awake for at least an hour, so going to bed before 10 was not possible. I'd fall into bed at around midnight, willing my body to HURRY UP AND SLEEP WHILE YOU STILL CAN. If I fell asleep at 12:30, L would wake up at 12:50. If I stayed up until 1:30, L would wake up at 2.

Yes, those were the good old days. The days of no routine, no rhyme or reason to L's sleep patterns and habits. But then came the golden age - four months old; the age at which it is possible and acceptable to sleep train your baby. I owe my sanity to Dr. Richard Ferber. (If you're ever trying to sleep train your baby, I highly recommend you get his book. The title is slipping my name at the moment.) I'm not going to get into the whole debate of cry-it-out is-a-Godsend vs. cry-it-out-is-evil-and-you-and-Ferber-deserve-to-have-child-protective-services-called-on-your-baby-abusing-behind. But subtly speaking, you can put me on Team Ferber.

At first, implementing the Ferber Method was miserable. The first night, D and I got 3 hours sleep total. But then it started to work. And work. And work. Now, L consistently sleeps a delicious 10 hours each night. I'm so in love with nighttime these days that I thought I'd share our basic night schedule with you.

7:00 p.m. - Turn on Wheel of Fortune and put L in his bouncy seat to feed him solids. Likes: carrots, applesauce, sweet potatoes, bananas. Dislikes: pears, peas, peaches and getting the majority of the food in his mouth.

7:25 p.m. - Start L's bath and gather pj's and a diaper for after the bath.

7:30 p.m. - Put L in the bath and watch as he enjoys the crap out of kicking and splashing in the water. Favorite bath-time activities: Cracking up when I say "Kick kick kick!"; Cracking up when I applaud his kicks; Cracking up when I make up verses to Wheels on the Bus; Cracking up when I tickle his feet; Cracking up as he pees all over himself.

7:40 p.m. - Take L out of the bath and try to distract him so he doesn't scream. Tried-and-true method: half-sing, half-yell "You're a baby burrito!!!!" as I wrap him in his towel.

7:41 p.m. - Apply cortisone cream to L's poor face and head as he screams his "lolly little head off" as D calls it.

7:43 p.m. - Put on the soothing sounds c.d. (thanks Grandma Carol!) in L's nursery and rock him as he drinks his "nightcap" bottle.

7:55 p.m. - Put L down in his crib, turn on his Fisher Price seahorse, pop the paci in his mouth and leave the room as L drifts peacefully and quietly off to sleep (thanks again, Ferber!).

8:00 p.m. to anywhere between 10:00 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. - Blissfully watch some of my crammed-full DVR and chow down on any remaining WW points for the day (and often, even those that don't remain).

10:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. - Let Connie (the dog; Conner, actually, but we started calling him Connie as a joke like 2 years ago and it kind-of stuck) out for the zillionth time so he can ensure that any and all squirrels have had their final night barking-at. Say, "Let's get to bed Connie!" and follow him up the stairs. Feel my heart fill with love as my furbaby goes to my human baby's door so I can let him in to do the nightly check. Walk into L's room, turn to Connie and put my finger to my lips so he knows the be quiet (I swear he understands what I mean when I do that) and tip-toe to L's crib to check on him. Heart fills even more with love as I observe L sleeping so peacefully. Mentally tell my arms to restrain themselves, don't touch him, you'll regret it if he wakes up, I MEAN IT! Sometimes control my urge to touch his arm or tummy, sometimes don't. Sometimes wake him, sometimes don't. L either stays sleeping or falls back asleep immediately (really, THANK YOU Ferber).

Then, if D is home we commence with our own nighttime routines (don't worry, you can click it - it's not dirty). Then we go to bed and sleep the blissful slumber of a parent who is 90% sure they will not be woken during the night because a paci has fallen out or a tummy needs filling. D and I have taken nighttime back and we are yelling it loud and proud.

I don't know what it is, but there's something about getting a full night's sleep and having a couple hours to yourself in the evening to unwind and do whatever you want - it just makes you feel human. On the weekends when D works, I feel like a woman unleashed. It's like someone's handed me the whole world and I'm can't quite believe it. You mean, I have a sleeping baby, the remote all to myself and this delicious Smirnoff Mango? PLUS I can put L back to sleep when he wakes at 6 and sleep until 8??? What is it, my birthday?

And on weekend nights when D is off work, look out! Because that means that we can go somewhere with friends or family. I know, try to contain your excitement. Really, it's just too much. Because it's about to get a little crazier up in here. Now brace yourself for what I'm about to tell you. Sometimes.....we even get someone to watch L and we GO OUT BY OURSELVES. I'll wait for a minute so you can pick yourself up off the floor.

So now that we have our nights back, if you ever want or need someone to go out and be crazy with on the weekends, we are your people. Sometimes we even stay out till 11.