Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dammit Bill.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
Can someone explain to me why my neighbor Bill's house looks exactly like a Williams-Sonoma Catalog?

Seriously Bill, is this your dining room, or the enchanted ceiling at Hogwarts?

Oh for Christ sake, Bill.

BILL. We get it. We are bad at Christmas. Geez...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mariah Carey Crushes the Competition in Seasonal Holiday Sing-a-thon

The other night Sean and I got into the holiday spirit by watching some seasonal holiday television programming.  It was vile.  Specifically, the Christmas special we watched on PBS was totally vile.  I don't know what it was-- maybe it was the four blonde chicks wearing what appeared to be wedding dresses-- maybe it was the celtic fiddles they were playing, or maybe it was the yuletide themed penny-whistle.  Ok, probably it was the penny-whistle. (The more I think of it, it was definitely the penny-whistle.) At any rate, it was ghastly, and we thankfully changed the channel and watched Mariah Carey instead.

I don't care who you are, Mariah Carey is GOOD. Every other time of year, she may be just a former pop star, but whenever christmas rolls around she instantly becomes MARIAH CAREY, ULTIMATE DIVA AND OWNER OF SEQUIN STRAPLESS DRESSES. That's because Mariah performs "All I want for Christmas," and if you think anybody does it better than her you're wrong.  

Is there any other song that you would choose for the romantic airport montage in Love Actually?  I didn't think so.  Are there any other singers in that christmas tele-thon you are watching that can sing so high only dogs can hear her?  NO.  That's the kind of competition Mariah Carey brings each year, and season after holiday season MARIAH CAREY CRUSHES IT. 

Mariah Carey can sing so high, that she could be shit talking Justin Bieber backstage in a whole different OCTAVE and only his dog would know about it.

In fact, I wish Mariah Carey would come to our house right now and sing a song for The Cricket.  When I opened up the door and saw it was her, I'd probably get all excited and ask her to sing "All I want for Christmas," But she'd just be all like, " Think again sucker! I'm just here to sing to your dog!"

HAHA!  If I were Mariah Carey I would do shit like that ALL THE TIME. 

So, Mariah Carey, if you're reading this, I want you to know that you always have an open invitation to come to Sean and Katie's Place to perform for the humans and non-humans alike.  But, if you're too busy TOTALLY CRUSHING THE COMPETITION at holidays sing-a-thons, we understand.  If you get time, can you head over to PBS though? There are some blonde ladies over there with a penny-whistle that need to be put in their place. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Going Back To Work

Some of you may have already heard that I quit my job a few weeks ago.

It's true, I did.  My boss was a real piece of work.  She expected me to work at ALL HOURS, and to clean up her messes whenever she got herself into a shitty situation.

So, I quit my job as a stay-at-home mom and went back to the 8-5 working world.  Say goodbye to the days when I have puke covered pajamas on at 1:00 in the afternoon--- these days I'll be sporting puke-covered pencil skirts instead!

Now, I may joke about Millie being a tyrannical boss, but as any of you who've returned to work know, it's a pretty heart wrenching situation. And, when I say "heart wrenching" I want you to know I'm not being flippant about that term.  Every morning it feels as if someone LITERALLY  throwing wrenches at my heart.


I would be pretty upset about this if I wasn't so busy packing Millie's bag for the babysitter.  Every morning is now a frenetic race to avoid being late for work.  Sean and I pass Millie back and forth, like the cutest game of hot potato in the world, and in the space of about an hour and a half, we get 2 adults showered, 1 baby fed, all 3 of us dressed, the Cricket potty-ed, and the lunches packed for work. (Oh crap--- we forgot the lunches!) Fortunately, I'm married to a man who has taken graduate level Project Management classes,  and so we accomplish these tasks with the speed and efficiency of a Nascar pit-crew.

If parents had corporate sponsors like Nascar racing teams do, then our mornings would be brought to you by COFFEE (motto: The only thing keeping us awake right now!) and Millie's car-seat would have a gigantic decal for BOUDREAUX'S BUTT PASTE.

Millie has accepted the change gracefully.  She loves going to stay at her cool Uncle Randy's house during the days, and she doesn't cry or throw a fit when I drop her off in the mornings.  Mostly, she has adapted by waking up 4-5 times per night, thoughtfully enabling us to still spend some quality time together.  Thursday night, she woke up around 3am saying "WELL, I FEEL REFRESHED! What shall we do today Mommy?"

Needless to say, Friday morning I was more dependent than ever on our corporate coffee sponsorship.

Sleep loss aside, I really like my new job.  I'm able to do meaningful work with smart and capable colleagues, and it's nice to be around adults for a change.  Even with all this, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss my old boss, Millie sometimes.

Tough and demanding though she was, I don't think I'll ever find a job I love more than taking care of that snotty, wondrous little poop-factory.  Luckily, she's agreed to let me pick up some contract work- mostly in the evenings.  In fact, I'm working tonight, with my first shift brought to you by WINE (motto: I know it's only 8:30, but you'd better go to bed soon because that baby's asleep. Wine!).  My shift starts around 3am.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Why having a baby is harder than having a dog

Before Sean and I had a baby, I often used to think that our dog Cricket was sort of like a kid.

"She's our first born," I would tell people jokingly, indicating her whiskers and adding---"she's really  hairy, just like her dad."  Then I would go about my day, never knowing that the people I had been talking to--you know the ones with actual children in their care, probably wanted to kick me in the teeth.

Looking back on this situation now, I definitely want to kick myself in the teeth, and if I had access to a Delorian, I would travel back in time and do just that.  I would go back a few years, to a point in time before Millie was born, but after we got dental insurance, and wait for myself to say something like "She's really high maintenance.  A few times she's even woken me up at night to go to the bathroom." KAPOWEE!  I would Ninja kick myself  right in my stupid trap.  It wouldn't make much of a difference you know, since my foot was already in my mouth.

So, animal lovers--- let's clear one thing up:  Your dog is NOT like your kid.  I know you love your dog, I love mine too.  I would spend every last penny I own to save her life, but it's not about that.  It's about how much time and energy your dog requires.

Cat Owners--- don't even get me started with you.  Your pet is self cleaning.  YOUR PET LITERALLY CLEANS ITS OWN ASSHOLE.  It's not like your kid.

In case you are curious as to whether or not your pet is actually like a kid, I've made this handy reference chart:

As you can see, babies are higher maintenance than your pet, especially in the areas of vomit, feeding, and having to listen to horrible boy-band music.  The good news is, they also offer a pretty good return on investment, since you can guilt them into paying for your nursing home one day.  Also, they don't go through many toys-shaped-like-waterfowl, and they usually don't vomit in your shoes. *

*That was a lie. The truth is, babies are in-discriminatory vomiters and will frequently vomit in your shoes, but--unlike your cat-- they don't do it out of spite. 

So, Pet owners, the next time you find yourself telling a new parent that your pet is just like a baby, really,  I want you to picture this face:

Dr. Emmett Brown, noted time-traveler and recycling aficionado

If the face of the person you are talking to bears a striking resemblance to Back to the Future's Dr. Emmett Brown, chances are they are a new parent dealing with some major sleep depravation. Do yourself a favor and go back in time to stop yourself from making that comment.  While you're there, you also might want to put down a deposit on some nursing homes, because your Cat is certainly not going to make that a priority-- it's too busy cleaning it's own asshole. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The scariest thing I've seen this Halloween comes from my fridge!

Happy Halloween Everyone! 
Today I celebrated Halloween by doing the scariest thing I could think of--- cleaning out the disgusting thing in my refrigerator.  Don't pretend like you don't have a disgusting thing in your refrigerator.  I'm pretty sure everyone has one-- lurking in the crisper and waiting for one of your neighbors to unexpectedly stop by and need to keep their lettuce cool.  I live in fear of someone casually dropping in on me and my refrigerator and seeing my disgusting thing, whatever it may be at the time. 

This morning, it seemed fitting with the holiday to face my fears and clean out my current disgusting thing, which used to be a cucumber.  It was so old and moldy that is was only vaguely still recognizable as a cucumber, and if I had to put a date on it, I'd place its time of purchase sometime during the Nixon Administration. This cucumber was so old, that if it had been married to Newt Gingrich, he would have left it for a younger woman by now.  If this cucumber were an NFL quarterback, then its team would have replaced it with a young, promising draft pick only to have it become a free agent and smash all sorts of records with the Denver Broncos.  At any rate, it was definitely the oldest and wisest member of my refrigerator community, and it was difficult to part with it-- mostly because it was oozing all over my crisper. 

I considered putting the remnants of the disgusting thing on my front stoop to scare trick-or-treaters, but I decided it wouldn't fit with my Halloween theme this year, which is "unspeakable cuteness."  That's because Millie is going as the Lorax.  

Here is a peek at the costume I made for her! 

You can find the knitting pattern for this hat here

I also made Sean a Once-ler costume:

Now that I think of it, there are a lot of similarities between the character of the Once-ler and the disgusting cucumber from my fridge.  Both represent overconsumption and waste, both were lurking in a tall, industrial tower, and both are definitely old and green.  The main differences that I see are that my cucumber is probably not as fast at knitting Thneeds as the Once-ler was, and it's unlikely to inspire any bad-assed cautionary tales of industrialism.  

Right now my little baby Lorax is napping in her room-- soon to awake for her first ever Halloween experience.  I hope lots of trick or treaters are planning on stopping by our place tonight, because I've got tons of candy for them.  Parents-- feel free to bring by some healthy snacks if you want me to hand those out as well.  I've got plenty of room in my crisper and for once it's totally clean. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

What to do when your baby calls the UPS man Daddy

Sean and I used to work as field reps for a large publishing company. This was a job that required a great deal of travel, and the frequent delivery of boxes of books to our home offices.  The running joke among the older reps that we worked with was that their kids called the UPS man "Daddy." (Motto: what can brown do for you?!)

This joke was brought home yesterday when our baby ACTUALLY DID CALL THE UPS MAN DADDY. Here's what I think happened.

All babies come equipped with standard sensory equipment-- ears, nose, mouth, and two eyes.  But, especially during the first 8 months, your baby's sense of vision is so underdeveloped that they can't distinguish between you, their parent, and an oval-shaped piece of fruit such as your typical melon or kumquat.

As Millie's vision develops, she is sort of like a cyborg with some of those computerized goggles to analyze what she is seeing. You know, like in the TERMINATOR movies. Here is my estimation of what she sees as she looks around our house.

item: disgusting piece of floor trash
color: brownish
edible: almost certainly
action: put in mouth

item: homemade peach baby food
color: orange
edible: no
action: grimace and/or scream

Lately, she is able to recognize her Daddy as a man with dark hair and a beard. Naturally, she sees him wherever we go.

item: man
location: home
hair color: brown
beard: yes
daddy? yes

item: man
location: large brown truck
hair color: brown
beard: yes
daddy? definitely

item: man
location: check out line in grocery store 
hair color: brown
beard: yes
daddy? probably

That's why yesterday, when she saw "Daddy" at the door to make a delivery, she decided to give him a real treat and say her first words. "Da-tah" She told him lovingly. pointing and waving.  "please sign here ma'am," he replied, looking embarrassed.

When he got home from work, Sean took the news in stride. "At least I know why Cricket always barks at the UPS man," he told me jokingly.  For my part, I think that Millie's cyborg computer must be malfunctioning, which is why I've ordered her a new one.  I hope her Daddy gets here soon to deliver it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

MY Jehovah's witness, and the Honorable Reverend Guy Clark

I got a visit from my Jehovah's Witness yesterday.  She's been coming to see me pretty often lately, especially when I'm in the shower. I wonder if she even knows what my hair looks like dry, or if she envisions that I just hang out in my house in a perpetual state of dripping wet partial dress?  That may explain why she wants so badly to save me!

Now, I know some of my friends dread getting visits from religious evangelists, but the Jehovah's Witness that comes to see me is actually really sweet.  Lets be clear-- I have NO INTENTION of converting to her religion, but--being raised in the South-- I also have no intention of being rude to sweet old ladies who come to my door. Besides, I've worked enough sales jobs to know that cold-calling on people SUCKS BALLS, even if you don't have to confront them about Satan.

When I worked in sales, sometimes people were downright rude.  I was always grateful to have a few customers who I knew I could rely on to be friendly and polite, even if internally they thought of me as a trampy little time-burgler wearing outlandish high heels. (I was usually a trampy little time-burglar who brought brownies with me, which I think must have been some consolation.)  That's why my Jehovah's witness and I have an unspoken agreement.   She never pushes me or asks to come inside, and I politely take her newest magazine ("This one has some great information about Satan!") and warmly thank her.

This last visit, my Jehovah's Witness brought me a new pamphlet called "Three Things that Money Can't Buy."  I don't want to criticize other people's religions, but Sean was quick to point out that nowhere on this list was mentioned "True Love, or Homegrown Tomatoes."

I wish I knew where my Jehovahs witness lived.  If I did, some weekday morning as she was getting out of the shower, she'd get a knock on her front door.  She would run to the door, dripping wet, and when she opened it there would be me, with my guitar.

I'd give her a huge smile, and then tell her I was there, spreading the word of the Honorable Rev. Guy Clark.  Then I'd play her this song, and if I know my Jehovah's Witness, I think she'd really dig it. If nothing else, she'd at least politely listen while she ate her brownie.

"Theres only two things that money can't buy, and that's true love and homegrown tomatoes..."
- Guy Clark

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

MOM- The Cricket Needs a Ride Home.

I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that Cricket got hurt.

The good news is that I am learning to use a graphics tablet and can tell you about it via crude illustrations.

Our dog Cricket loves going to the grocery store. She doesn't get to go inside the building, but she bravely fortifies herself against this hardship by licking her genitals and smelling the rotisserie chickens while we shop.

A few days ago as we walked back from such an excursion, Cricket suddenly began to hobble.


I looked back and saw something like this:

Cricket was hobbling along on three legs. She couldn't make it all the way home, so I had to go back and get her in the car.

For the rest of the day, she milked her injury for all it was worth. Here is an approximation of her behavior as I chopped food for dinner:

Hey! Oh heeey.....

(not that you care....)


And when we fed the baby dinner, Cricket was VERY BAD INDEED.

From Cricket's perspective, here is what her interaction with the baby looked like:

From my perspective, her interaction with the baby looked more like this:

Another unfortunate side effect to her injury was that-- what with her newfound immobility and all-- Cricket finally got a chance to catch up on some deep cleaning she's been meaning to get done.  And yes, by "deep cleaning" I mean "HER RECTUM," which now sparkles like a teenage vampire.

Once this task was completed, Cricket became suddenly affectionate.



Don't ask me how--- but somehow we survived the night without throttling The Cricket.  The next day we took her to the vet and were shocked to discover that she actually is pretty hurt.  She tore her cruciate ligament (doggy ACL,) and may have to have surgery.  In the meantime, she's supposed to stay off her leg and take it easy for 3-4 weeks.  She's been killing the time by eating a lot of green beans and licking her asshole  (not that you care...).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Five Years of Marriage and We Still Don't Fight About the Toothpaste.

Tomorrow Sean and I will celebrate our five year wedding anniversary. Unless of course, Sean decides to leave me tonight--but I find that highly unlikely since between the two of us, I'm the only one who knows how to make my famous "Double Meat Lasagna."

Photo by Anthony Sinagoga
Naturally,  this week I've been doing a lot of reflecting on our marriage. How are we different now? How are we the same? How come my ass got so much bigger and Sean's ass didn't?  But most of all, I'm reflecting on how we came together to produce a new life.  A beautiful, perfect, hilarious life, that fills us with redonkulous amounts of joy, despite her production of horrific bodily fluids in quantities that would intimidate most municipal sewage utilities.

When Sean and I got married, lots of people told us ominously how much our lives would change.  “You’ll learn things about each other that you never knew before” they assured us, “little things, like, how they roll the tube-of-toothpaste will drive you crazy.” 

I’m happy to report that, despite our post nuptial tooth-paste merger, Sean and I found that getting married really didn’t change our lives that much.  In fact, it only made things easier, funner, and more convenient.  We felt victorious—we didn’t have to slow down, we could still party, play in a band, and drink as much PBR as we wanted. We didn't start bickering or fighting, and we certainly didn’t give a second thought to the rolling of the toothpaste, except to say “why the fuck is everyone in America so obsessed with the toothpaste? Is this really an insurmountable obstacle for some couples?”

So understandably, when we announced that we were pregnant we listened to the same dire warnings with a small degree of skepticism. Sure, sure our lives will change, but how much?  Certainly not as much as everyone is predicting. The baby won’t even have teeth for the first year, so we know we won’t be fighting about the toothpaste.  What else is there?

If you are a new parent reading this, you are probably snorting derisively into your coffee right about now.  I know you are drinking coffee, because I'm betting that you were also awake at 5 am, promising your husband 100 blow jobs if he would just go get the baby this time, and receiving in return his counter-offer of a stable of 25 miniature ponies named Thunder, if you would go.

I feel your pain comrade, I really do.  That's why I have created these new wedding vows, ones that more accurately reflect the commitment that couples make to each other when they decide to have kids.

Marriage Vows For New Parents

I ______ take you, _______, to have a baby with and hold that baby with when she is screaming at 5 am. I promise to love you, and laugh with you, and never nag you about stupid shit like how you roll your toothpaste tube--seriously America, get it together. For richer, or for way, WAY poorer. In sickness and in health. You, me, and all of our ponies named Thunder, and even if your ass gets fat.  

Happy Anniversary Sean.  I love you now more than ever, and I wouldn't want to be on this crazy adventure with anyone else. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My sick baby, Lethal Weapon, and the Blue Snot Sucker Cartel

I'm at home with a sick baby today.  I thought she was sick a few months ago, but I realize now that I was wrong.  In my arrogance and naivety, I mistook a few sniffles and coughs 4 months ago for the "sick baby" that is so feared by parents around the world. My current self looks back at my 4 months ago self with the level of disdain Lethal Weapon's Sergeant Murtaugh may show to a wet-behind-the-ears, rookie cop wanting to swap war stories at his retirement party.

For one thing, I never realized how much snot Millie has.  Until recently, I assumed that her little baby folds, chubby thighs, and plump cheeks just contained extra "baby fat."  I assumed wrong.  These folds contain her strategic snot reserves, which are saved up for times of emergency, when they gush forth from her nostrils in flows sufficient for generating hydro-electric energy.

"Not to worry" you may think-- "this must be why all parents come equipped with one of these devices:" 

I foolishly thought the same thing. It is impossible to deliver a baby in today's modern society without being given at least five of these snot suckers by the time your baby is born.  In fact, some women are given a new snot sucker at each of her monthly OB visits, just as a precaution.  It is only after your baby is born that you will realize how utterly useless they are.  Millie thinks of these devices as the BLUE SNOT SUCKERS OF DEATH, and (if anything) they only increase the amount of snot she is producing, due to her excessive crying with each torture session use.

An assortment of BLUE SNOT SUCKERS OF DEATH, selected at random from Millie's medicine drawer.
The only way I can account for the powerful hold these devices seem to have on our nation's obstetricians, is by assuming that our medical community has been infiltrated by the seedy and ruthless Blue Snot-Sucker Cartel, a powerful organization with an uncanny knack for obtaining incriminating photos of your obstetrician or mid-wife.

This is why I have an ingenious idea for a new Lethal Weapon Movie. In "Lethal Weapon 5: Beat to Snot,"  Sergeant Riggs and Sergeant Murtaugh have to thwart the powerful Blue Snot Sucker Cartel, which has an evil plan to torture the babies in daycare centers across Los Angeles and capture their snot for use in hydro-electric energy production.  The Cartel's sophisticated and brutal leader will be played by Jane Lynch from Glee, and the young rookie cop that goes undercover in the daycare center will be played by the e-trade baby.  The trailer will just be Murtaugh looking at one of the snot-sucking devices and muttering, "I'm too Old for this Shit."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

10 Reasons Why Your Baby Loves Church

We've recently decided to stop being heathens and take our baby to church.  We figured since Millie is almost seven months old we really don't have any excuses for not taking her, and besides, we'll need THE LORD on our side in our upcoming battle against Dora the Explorer, Tracy the Teenage Prostitute, and whatever other mass marketed toddler Cover Girl that will soon penetrate our otherwise peaceful existence.

The good news is that Millie LOVES church.  Odds are, your baby loves church too, and I think I know why:

1. Church Clothes-  All babies love getting dressed in fancy clothes for church!  In fact, Millie loves it so much that she projectile vomits all over herself immediately after being dressed, just so that she can do it over again! She also projectile vomits on me, and (once) directly inside her chest-of-drawers! Our baby believes in being thorough.

2. Hymnals- Hymnals are very baby friendly, but only if your congregation uses their hymnals primarily to produce small, finely shredded paper for lighting campfires or--potentially--for use as hamster bedding.  If your congregation uses their hymnals primarily for singing, it's best not to let your baby touch them.

3.  Call and Response-  We were amazed to see how our baby intuitively understood the concept of call and response! For example, whenever the priest says the words "let us pray" or "lets take a moment of silence" Millie INTUITIVELY understands that she is supposed to respond, and loudly announces "DaDAHaBadGah!" to the stunned congregation (*Literal translation: "I've made you some Hamster Bedding!"*)

4. Organ Music-  Let's face it, Organs are kind of like giant xylophones.

5.  Jingle Cow-  Millie has a favorite toy named Jingle Cow, which hangs from her carseat.  I have no idea how parents who do not own this toy make their babies behave in public.

toy cow
Jingle Cow
6. Praying-- It's hard to tell if Millie is praying or not, but if she is, I can guarantee her prayer goes something like this:

Dear Lord,

Please bless Mommy, Daddy, Jingle Cow, and Cricket. Protect me from the horrible homemade peach baby food, and from wearing any outfit with SLEEVES, which are the absolute worst.   Please give me the strength to eat this entire page of hymnal before Mommy notices. 


7. The Narthex-  Every church has one-- the room just outside of the sanctuary where the Preacher stands and greets people after the service.  This is also a convenient place to take a screaming baby when she is throwing a tantrum because you will not let her eat today's scripture readings.

8. Today's Scripture Readings- Today's scripture readings are delicious, and pair nicely with the Liturgical Response.

9.  Napping-  Hahaha! I'm just joshing with you.  The only time your baby will sleep during church is at the very first service she attends.  You (her parents) will likely announce to everyone that you would have taken her to church sooner, but she's been colicky and you didn't want to disrupt the service, and it's not like you are heathens or something, it's just that this baby screams-all-the-time.  Your baby will then sleep angelically for the next two solid hours, because even God enjoys a good joke.

10.  Anxiety Attacks-  If you are taking your baby to church for the first time, you are probably having a major anxiety attack, which your baby thinks is hilarious.  That's why I recommend that you parents take a deep breath, relax, and join me in a quick prayer.

Dear Lord,

Please bless my baby and help her not to scream in church.  But if she screamed a little, that would be ok too, cause then everyone would know that I'm not a heathen, and I've just been avoiding church to be considerate.

Thank you for all of your creations, but especially for Jingle Cow, who is surely proof that you are a benevolent and loving God.  Shield me Oh Lord, from Tracy the Teenage Prostitute, and the years of trials before us. And give us this day, a hamster, so that we will have a use for all this hamster bedding. 

In your name,

Friday, September 6, 2013

Can I wear jeggings now that I'm a Mom?

This is embarrassing to admit, but I want to wear jeggings SO BAD.

You can't tell me that jeggings aren't stylish, because I know they are.  I see the cool kids wearing them downtown all the time. But everytime I put on a pair, there's a little voice in the back of my head that says "you can't go grocery shopping in these-- you look ridiculous, now go and change!"

For those of you reading this, saying WTF are "jeggings?"  I'm referring to a combination of "jeans," and "leggings."  My sister Kelly wears her jeggings with stompy little Cowboy Boots and looks FABULOUS. So my question is this:  Can I still wear jeggings now that I'm a Mom?

I know the answer is yes. It should be yes.  I want it to be yes. And yet-- I'm not sure. It's not like I normally care what other people think, but, when it comes to fashion, I've always found it hard to be courageous. And, if I wore jeggings before I had the baby, I think it would be a non-issue, but I'm finding it hard to transition to new fashions now that she's here. For one thing, all of my parts have sort of shifted around. For another, I have a new 15 lb accessory that is constantly puking on, drooling on, and motorboating me whenever I go into public.   Basically, I've just been wearing what I feel good and comfortable in, is that so wrong?

Have I reached the point where my sense of fashion, along with my musical taste has just been frozen in time?  Is this the reason my friend's fathers still wear sweaters that look like they are straight out of The Cosby Show?

Oh sweet Jesus.

I tried to ask Sean about the jeggings but he wisely did not have an opinion.  Cricket was equally worthless, having nothing constructive to add to the jegging conversation.  Millie responded by throwing up on my normal jeans-- which I'm choosing to interpret as her encouraging me to be fashion forward.

Today I've decided that I really need to overcome my jegg-phobia.  I want you all to know that I'm wearing the jeggings RIGHT NOW as I'm typing this.  Any minute now, Millie will wake up from her nap, and I'm going to walk to the grocery store in them, not caring who might see me.  So, for those of you who are locals, when you see me coming towards you in the linguine isle in my sassy, jegging-driven ensemble, I want you to high-five the shit out of me.  Because, the truth of the matter is that I CAN wear jeggings now that I'm a mom.  You bet your ass I can.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How to Make Homemade Baby Food Which Your Child Will Refuse to Eat

If you're a new mom like me, you are probably really concerned about the integrity of the solid foods you are feeding your baby.  I took a jar of sweet potatoes and did a little research. Here are the hard-hitting areas my study focused on:

  • What is the nutritional value of this jar of sweet potatoes? 
  • What is their carbon footprint? 
  • What about pesticides?
  • Does your product come with a complimentary stain remover?  
  • Theoretically, if the entire jar of your product was poured on top of a mother's head, and then the mother did not have time to shower that night, how orange would it turn her hair? 
  • Are we talking sexy strawberry highlights, or the full Carrot Top?
  • Do you think this gob of sweet potato in my hair is noticeable?

Not a single baby food manufacturer was able to answer these questions, leaving me boggled with the lack of accountability in the baby food industry. That is why most moms agree that it is best to make your baby's food at home using fresh, local, and organic ingredients.  This solution is a no-brainer, in the sense that if you think you are actually going to have time to make baby food from scratch, you have no brain.

The other day, I made some baby food from scratch---using peaches I bought at the Farmers Market. (That's right, other moms- suck it!)  This process was a huge pain in the ass, but I knew Millie loved them, so I did it anyways.  I stock-piled so many servings of frozen pureed peaches, that I could have been filming an episode of Doomsday Preppers. After it was over I felt like I deserved a medal or something.  That's why I made this medal for myself.  If you are a mom out there making her own baby food, feel free to print yourself out a copy!

medal of motherhood

Here is the method I used for preparing the food, in case any of you are experiencing a similar lapse in your ability to distinguish a "good idea" from a "life-sucking waste of time!"

baked peaches for babyfood
Fresh Peaches, halved, pitted, and sitting in baking dishes about 1/2 full of water

peaches, slip off skins
After the Peaches have been baked at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, the skins are ready to slip off

how to make peach baby food
Skins Slipped off and into the Food Processor

Pureed Peaches
Into a large pitcher for ease of pouring

freezing peach baby food
Into these handy little bags designed for freezing breast milk, so I can have individual portions of Peaches ready to go for Millie all winter!

I know you all must be impressed! I know I was!  I know Sean was! You know who wasn't impressed? Millie.  That's right.  Millie watched me carefully processing a milk crate full of raw peaches, and made a solemn vow to herself, "I will never eat one those again. Ever.

So, now I have a stockpile of pureed peaches in my freezer, which I'm hoping to unload in some creative and lucrative way. (Note- if any of you reading this happen to write for a health and beauty magazine, I could really use an article on the restorative and anti-aging properties of organic peach puree!) In the meantime, I'll be at my house, cleaning up the shrapnel of rejected peach baby food, and  polishing my Congressional Medal of Motherhood, which is a little sticky at the moment. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

College Move-In Week

Sean and I love living in a college town. There's plenty of art, culture, and smart people around, and there's always something to do. There's also the long, lazy summers, and the feeling of "having the place to ourselves" when the students are gone.

Now that school is starting back, there's an awesome feeling of excitement in the air.  Every college town needs this kind of energy-- the energy that comes from the new freshmen moving in, getting ready to make friends, reinvent themselves, and-- if given the opportunity--hit on their roommate's serendipitously hot older brother.

In all this excitement, it's easy to overlook the parents.  At least, it was easy to overlook them before we had a baby.  Earlier this week, Millie and I decided to increase Sean's love for us by bringing him a burrito at work (see also this article.) As we stood in line at the burrito place I noticed some eyes on us. Lots of eyes.  Eyes filling up with tears.

Ohhhhh! I get it.  It's the baby.  YOUR baby is going off to college, and you remember when he/she was the size of MY baby.  And now, you are so moved by that memory you are tearing up in the build-your-own burrito line. (Or, alternatively, you could be so moved by my Davinci-esque ability to dress a burrito with chipotle cream sauce that you are crying.) Either way, I understand.

Parents, I am so sorry to have caused you pain.  If it makes you feel any better, one day I too will be in your situation, and my heart will be ripped out by the sight of little babies too.  Then, it will be further ripped out over the next four years as I see my daughter only intermittently as her dirty laundry dictates, or when she needs to introduce me to some simpering young man whose name starts with a B-- like Blaine, or Blake, or Brett or something.... who I will loathe.

So, in preparation, I have decided to write a Millie a letter for when we move her off to College. Here's how it goes.

Dear Millie,

Your father and I are exhausted! How many more trips to do we need to make up these stairs?! Honestly, How many pairs of shoes can you possibly require?? In other news, we are SO STINKING PROUD OF YOU.  We know you are going to learn so much, and have so much fun at College.  Please don't tell us about the latter.  Seriously, the less we know the better. Incidentally, I saw you staring at your roommate's serendipitously hot older brother. He is way too old for you young lady! What did you say his name was? Brent...Brad...Brett? Wait a minute. Shit. 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Beer totally ruins slug parties

When I was little I had two pet slugs named Beauty and Spot.  We were pretty poor back then-- too poor to afford a pony-- but Beauty and Spot were always there for me, waiting underneath the cinder block in my back yard.  I remember thinking how pretty they looked in the sunshine-- all spotted and multi-colored-- like two miniature (and very sticky) rainbow trouts.

A lot of time has passed since then, and you might say that my views on the slug issue are EVOLVING.  That's because I've recently become interested in growing hostas, which apparently fill the same dietary role for slugs that Queso Dip fills for humans.  The slugs in my backyard have been gorging themselves each night while I'm asleep, in what appears to be an all night movie binge and hosta snack-a-thon.  As I look at the decimated, hole-filled remnants of my former hostas, my only consolation is the knowledge that my slugs are probably filled with self-loathing when they consider how much they ate the night before.  I know it's vindictive, but I hope my slugs are no longer able to fit into their cute jeans, and are lurking underneath my stone-work right now with their give-ups on.

slug damaged hosta
Here's what my Hostas look like now :(
It must be upsetting to think about my beautiful shade garden getting eaten, but don't worry-- I have a plan!  You know how, at a normal party (that is to say a party among humans,) when someone shows up with beer, the party only gets better? Well, I happen to know that beer has the exact opposite effect on slug parties.  Beer totally ruins slug parties!  At first it makes things pretty exciting, when one of the slugs first notices the beer.

"Hey guys! What's this over here? I think it's a buried tunafish can filled with beer!" the slug exclaims.
"AWESOME!!!!" The other slugs chorus.
And then, somebody yells "CANNONBALL!!!" And all the slugs pile in, having the most fun of their slug lives.

Then, when the first slug decides that he's swam enough and he wants to get out and eat some more hostas, he realizes that he's TRAPPED IN THE BEER.  That's when the party gets ruined.

In essence, that's what I have planned for the slugs in my shade garden. You may think it's cruel, but I actually think it's a pretty humane death.  In all honesty, if we were allowed to pick our own death's I think Sean would likely choose DEATH BY BEER. My only hang-up is the loving memory I have of Beauty and Spot. They would be so appalled if they knew what a monster I have become. So, in remembrance of them, I have decided to dedicate a small corner of my garden as a slug sanctuary, which I vow never to contaminate with slug bait and beer.  RIP Beauty and Spot.  You will be missed. As for the rest of you, I know how much you are missing your fallen brethren.  It would mean so much to me if you would join me for a drink in their honor.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Zucchini Hash Browns

zucchini hash browns
Zucchini Hash Browns with Yogurt Dipping Sauce
If you're like me, this time of year you are probably up to your ears in surplus zucchini.  Let's say, hypothetically, you forgot to harvest your garden for about a week because you were too busy cleaning up baby vomit and reading terrible baby books.  I mean-- still hypothetically speaking-- these books were so terrible that you can only assume that they were written by a drunk chimpanzee, or possibly a robot programed to mimic a drunk chimpanzee, in some sort of algorithmic formula based on black and white farm cows.

Then, you realize that you haven't harvested your garden in a week, and you suddenly have a zucchini roughly the size of a whiffle ball bat! Your brain has two immediate reactions:

Reaction number 1:  I am a master gardener.  I should take this zucchini to the county fair, because it is surely the grandest zucchini in all the land, and I will be showered with blue ribbons. All the farmers will want to know about my innovative agricultural techniques of severe neglect, which allowed me to produce this prize zucchini.

Reaction number 2:  Oh Shit Balls! How on earth am I going to consume all this zucchini? I mean, how much zucchini bread can I honestly expect us to consume? Do I even really like zucchini that much?  Does anyone?  How can I con my neighbors into taking some of this zucchini?

This is the horrible state of zuchinni-ness I found myself in this summer.  I immediately went on the offensive, and spent an entire morning chopping, shredding, and otherwise dismembering my zucchini, which I named GORGOTH THE ZUCCHINI.  Then I took some of the remains of Gorgoth, which I scattered among my garden as a warning to any other zucchinis who were developing aspirations of grandeur.  Finally, I was ready to begin cooking.

I did the all of the usual zucchini tricks.  I made Zucchini Bread.  I made Zucchini muffins. I chopped, seasoned and sautéed zucchini, then froze it for consumption later in the year. And--after an entire day of cooking-- I still hadn't made a dent.  I still had two enormous ziplock bags of shredded GORGOTH zucchini.  Undaunted, I rashly invented this recipe for ZUCCHINI HASH BROWNS--- which sounds fancy, but it's really not.

Zucchini Hash Browns:

10 cups shredded zucchini (patted dry with a paper towel)
1 cup flour
1 small white onion
2 cloves garlic
2 eggs
vegatable oil

Here's what I did:

Start with 10 cups of shredded zucchini (use a cheese grater to easily shred your raw zucchini)
Chop up 1 small white onion
Chop up 2 cloves of garlic

In a small pan, sauté the onions and garlic with a little bit of vegetable oil for about two minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the raw shredded zucchini with the onions and garlic you just sauteed,  and then add:
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt

Stir together vigorously.  Your batter is complete.

From here on out it's a good old fashion fry up.  I used vegetable oil to pan-fry mine.
Using your fingers, grab a glob of batter and form it until it's about the size of a biscuit, and about an inch thick. Throw it in the hot oil until it's browned on one side.  Then flip. Once the hash browns are browned on both sides, set them on a paper towel to soak up excess grease. When ready, throw them on a platter and voila!

I served mine with a yogurt sauce (just mix greek yogurt, lime juice, cumin, and paprika,) and fresh heirloom tomatoes.   The result was pretty delicious.  I took them to a neighborhood party (yes, another one-- my neighborhood LIKES TO PARTY,) and even Tammy, Queen of the Confectionary Arts was impressed.

Hopefully, next year I'll remember to harvest my zucchinis before things get out of hand.  But, if not, at least I'll be ready---butcher knife in hand--to battle the GORGOTH and serve some delicious zucchini hash browns.  Perhaps the drunk chimpanzee who writes my daughters children's books will be enticed to try a few.

add to bowl of shreeded zuchinii, then add flour and eggs.  Stir.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Little Goat, Happy Cow, and Co-Worker Kitty

Our daughter is a great consumer of literature. I say that literally, because she tries to physically INGEST the books we are reading to her.  One time, I was reading "Goodnight Moon" to Millie, and she insisted on licking each page before we could move on to the next one.  I figured, what the hell, at least she's participating. 

Millie's favorite book by far is  called "Hide and Seek on the Farm," but we just call it "Little Goat." It's the kind of book you expect to find in the bargain bin of the Big Lots in Johnson City, TN.*  Even though it is a story about the adventures of a little GOAT, the cover of the book is just a giant drawing of a COW. That's because babies prefer cows to all other two dimensional farm animals, (it's the contrast!) a fact which the publishers of "Little Goat" knew quite well. The character of Happy Cow appears on every page, and delivers what Millie considers a show stealing performance.

Children's book, Cow
Happy Cow, oh how I loathe you.
*Our friend Emily works near the Johnson City Big Lots, and likes to impulse shop on her lunch break.

I am not exaggerating when I say that we read this book to Millie at least 20 times a day.  She is a mess without it, which is why, on a recent family road trip, I made sure to pack little goat and happy cow along in our bag.

After the first leg of our journey, we arrived at my sister's house in West Virginia at 1:00 am.  Surprising no one, Millie  awoke feeling refreshed and ready to play at 6:30 the following morning.  In order to prevent her from rousing the rest of the household, I took her downstairs and placated her by reading Little Goat continuously for several hours. Millie sat in my lap, pointing at/joyfully drooling on the pictures of Happy Cow.  It was on our 5th or 6th reading of the horrible book when Millie became distracted by something.  Nay, DELIGHTED by something.  I lowered the book, and saw what had gotten her attention.  We were face to face with my sister's curious, soft, and BLACK AND WHITE kitty.  Millie looked at me with pure ecstasy on her face as if to say "Mom, HAPPY COW IS REAL!"

Co-Worker Kitty, AKA "Baby Monster," helpfully sleeping on some documents.
Now, one thing you should know about this situation is that my sister works from home. Her cat considers herself Kelly's coworker, and diligently sleeps on, bites, or snuggles with any book, paper, or excel spreadsheet Kelly may be working on at the time. When she saw us reading a book, she knew it was her duty to get closer and see if she could nap on it.

The result was a perfect storm of cuteness.  Millie reached out and stroked the kitty's head.  The kitty accepted this snuggling serenely, knowing that anyone who was petting her would be wholly unable to file her expense reports. "Gah!" Millie said to the kitty. "Bow before me, pitiful human!", the kitty replied.  This adorable interaction continued for several minutes, until my coffee kicked in, and enough of my brain awoke to try and videotape it.  This of course put an abrupt end to their playfulness. Millie went back to reading eating her book, and Baby Monster went back to washing the spot where her testicles would have been, if she had testicles.

Fleeting though it was, this experience has taught me several valuable lessons about parenting:
1. God Help us when Millie discovers PANDA BEARS.
2. Get the video camera out before you start the pot of coffee.
3. "Coworker kitty" would make for a very interesting children's book.
4. "Coworker Kitty" would make for an even better internet meme.

lol cat meme, I can haz confurence call?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Introducing Solids, "HYPNOTOAD," and the pit of the ALMIGHTY SARLACC

We gave Millie her first solid foods yesterday!  Actually, she's been eating solid food for months now if you count dog hair.*  So, I guess I should clarify that yesterday was the first time she tried solid foods apart from dog hair.

Anyways, she was pretty psyched about it, and graciously overlooked the fact that she had to eat rice cereal, while the rest of us had spicy thai bisque.

This momentous event has been a long time coming.  At about 3 and a half months old, Millie started showing an extreme interest in our food, specifically the portion of it that was contained in Sean's coffee mug.  The effect this coffee mug had on our baby can only be compared to the effects of the character, "hypno-toad" from the TV show Futurama. Next, she began gnawing on Sean's coffee mug, and--to a lesser degree---all other coffee mugs.  Now she is in full-blown consumption mode, leaving no vessel of liquid unassailed, and snatching at our forks as we transfer food from our plates to our mouths.  It has been many weeks since Sean's coffee mug was safe at all.  

Much like THE ALMIGHTY SARLACC,  the pit-dwelling monster featured in Star Wars, Return of the Jedi,  our baby features a lightning fast, almost octopine reflex which enables her to reach out and grab any unwitting food that comes across her path.   The ALMIGHTY SARLACC used this technique in Return of the Jedi to  to capture Boba Fett and slowly digest him over a period of 1,000 years.  Similarly, Millie used this technique to capture our plate of Asian Pot-Stitckers two nights ago, before being thwarted by her sleep deprived yet street-wise parents. 

Nesting place of the Almighty Sarlacc
In the end, she consumed her rice cereal with every indication of enjoyment, despite the fact that we did not serve it to her out of Sean's coffee mug.   

At least so far, the introduction of solid foods hasn't disrupted our lives too much. Of course we've been warned that this introduction will result in the nastification of her baby poop, but we're not worried about that.  She's already been processing the dog hair without any significant fecal shift.  It's a mystery where this dog hair goes after she's eaten it---we've never seen any in her poop---but if I had to venture a guess, I would assume that it's still in her belly, being slowly digested over 1,000 years. 

* No matter how many times we lint-roll her activity mat, the ubiquitous dog hair prevails!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm becoming my mom.

Oh my God.  I'm becoming my mom.

My mother used to come into our rooms each night to check that we were still breathing.  She did this our entire childhood, and by "childhood" I mean "the period of time in which we were her children." One time, I was home from COLLEGE, and I heard a rustling in my room at 2:00 am. I naturally assumed that it was an intruder coming to ravage me, and prepared to attack him with a rack of decorative porcelain figurines that hung near my bed. (These were a relic of my youth, a time in which collecting porcelin figurines seemed like a good investment, and after many trips to THE DOLLAR TREE with my indulgent grandmother, I was now the curator of an impressive collection.  It would be a shame to break them all, but it was undoubtedly preferable to being ravaged.)  I reached out into the darkness to grab the rack.  At the same time, a hand groped in the darkness towards my face....

....and stuck its finger underneath  my nose.  A familiar finger.  My mother's finger.  "What the hell are you doing?" I asked her-- still clutching the porcelain figurine rack.  "Oh, you know, just checking that you are still breathing," she said casually, as if this were a completely normal behavior.  Obviously, without her constant vigilance, her healthy 20 year old daughter with no known diseases or illnesses would perish in the night.

We used to tease my mother about this all the time. "Wait until you have children," she would tell us, "then you'll see."  "Whatever." We replied, like the insolent little assholes that we were.

My mother also used to confuse our names, especially when yelling at us.  "Dammit Kelly! I mean Tori! I mean Brandi--Katie-- whoever you are!" She would yellWe would laugh at this especially because Brandi was the dog.  Silly Mommy! Why was it so hard to tell us apart from the DOG?  Surely we would never be so foolish as to make that mistake.

Fast forward 20 years.  Now I have a daughter, and what do I do? "Millie sit down!" I tell her, "Stop licking the baby!"  Then I add, "Cricket, do you want to read a book with Mommy?" Oh my God. I'm becoming my mom.

Oh my God. Oh my God.

And I think owe her an apology.


I am so sorry that I teased you about confusing my name with the dog.  You were right, it was harder than it looked, and I was being kind of a bitch.  Also, thanks for checking on me so many times to make sure I was still alive.  Do you think Millie's still alive?  Hang on, I'd better go check on her....

Ok. I'm back.  Anyway, please accept my collection of decorative porcelain figurines as a token of my appreciation.  I see now that I was being an ungrateful little twat. 

With love,

I'm so lucky that my mom is still with us, but I know it wont always be that way.  Now that I'm a mother too, I'm 100% certain about what will happen to my mom when she goes. She will DEFINITELY turn into a ghost, that way she can haunt me and my sisters. She will sneak into our bedrooms and night and wail sage advice as us in a ghostly voice such as, "don't sleep in your bathing suit, it will give you crotch rot!" Then, as we lay dreaming, an eldritch hand will reach out from beyond the pale towards our faces.... and she'll check that we're still breathing.