Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My curling iron is considered hazardous waste.

Ok, so this story is kinda weird and kinda funny and really long. Sorry.

For Christmas I had asked for a bunch of really basic things that I just needed. Socks, arm holder for my phone while running, hair dryer, curling iron, punching bag...totally need that.

My mother in law got me a curling iron, purchased off of Amazon, and while it wasn't the exact model I had requested was the same brand and pretty close. She included a gift certificate and said that if it wasn't the one I wanted, to exchange it. Well, after a couple days I decided that what I really needed was the hair dryer. There's actually only one hair dryer in the house right now that Ali and I are sharing between the bathrooms and it's not a great one to begin with.

So, yesterday I scanned in the little bar code on the Amazon gift receipt and requested an exchange.

A message popped up that said this item was unavailable for return due to specialized shipping needs.


I thought that couldn't possibly be right and clearly this little app was confused. It's a curling iron. What's so specialized about shipping a curling iron?

There was an option to email customer service, so I did and said that I was trying to exchange a gift I got and wanted to send back the curling iron for the hair dryer, what's up?

I got a response back an hour or so later from a customer service rep who said she was sorry I was unhappy with the product but that it was not eligible for return to Amazon because it was considered hazardous waste but that she would send me a gift certificate for the full amount so I could still get the replacement item, and please do not throw out the item but follow instructions in the included link to properly dispose of it.


It's a curling iron...

I responded back to her saying that I was confused, again, this can't possibly be right. It's a curling iron! What about it makes it hazardous??

I really just wanted to know. It had reached a level of curiosity that couldn't just be left alone. It's a CURLING IRON!

So then, I got a response back from a second customer service rep who said she was sorry for any confusion, that the item was considered hazardous...and that in recompense for the trouble she was crediting back the full amount to the original method of payment...

So, I emailed her back and said, wait a minute, this was a present. I've already been issued a gift certificate, and now you're crediting my mother in law also. I just can't figure out why a curling iron is considered such a big safety concern and really want an explanation, especially why you'd send a gift certificate with an item that is not eligible for return.

A third rep emailed me back and said that it looked like due to Amazon error, this order had been credited twice (duh) but she hoped I would consider it a good will effort on their part given all the confusion and inconvenience and that:

Due to safety reasons, we cannot accept the return of any hazardous materials--these include but are not limited to items that are flammable, gas-powered or use propane or natural gas, have rechargeable batteries or contain powerful magnets--at any of our fulfillment centers. 

At least she gave me some sort of explanation of hazardous material, but still, IT'S A CURLING IRON!!!!

So, at the end of a crazy afternoon full of really weird emails, I have a credit to Amazon to purchase my hair dryer. My mother in law has been refunded her money. And, I still have a brand new but apparently hazardous curling iron.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Holy Moly what happened to December??

I am not sure what happened but it's now December 28th.

And it's 70 degrees outside.


We had wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays filled with lots of family and food.

We also had a terribly sick December and I think I spent about two weeks in a major fog and am probably pretty lucky that we had food and presents in the house before Christmas!

We did have a wonderful time though.

The girls both got bikes. Ali's is a two wheeler with training wheels that she did a fair job on. She's never peddled before. Lizzy's is a big wheel style one that is just a bit too big. Her feet don't quite touch the peddles. :( Oh well, she'll grow into it.

The highlights were definitely the Minnie Mouse dresses that my mom made for them. Hard to see in this shot of Lizzy but they're so cute.

The Frozen Microphone that is technically Ali's but both girls have had a ball with it. (Better shot of the dress)

Mermaid blankets that my mom also made for me and the girls (theirs are pink and purple) which I'd love to use...except the weather's been so crazy warm! I did take a photo though.

And, to top it off, I got my husband a sling shot. It's a pretty heavy duty sling shot. Who knew there was a whole world revolving around sling shots but there is apparently. I got it because he always gets so mad at the deer in our neighborhood who have NO fear of humans and eat all our bushes and plants. So, he now has a sling shot to hit them in the butt and scare them off. Oddly enough it's actually working even though he hasn't managed to hit anything but trees.

With Lizzy supervising.

Totally just turned Ali's clubhouse into a deer stand.

So, that's basically the short of our holiday experience. I do need to point out the beautiful apple pie that my mother in law made. I didn't get a shot of it before we started eating, but it was so pretty!

And, I'm happy to say I have not gained any weight over the holidays. Granted I haven't lost any either, but all in all I'm pretty happy with it. Oh! I forgot to mention what I got for Christmas! I got a Fitbit! And a punching bag!!! I'm so excited for both! I've been wanting my own punching bag since the boxing gym I used to go to closed down and I'm excited for the fitbit too. I may be disappointed to see just how sedentary my working life really is, but I guess that's part of the point. Make me move more! While home with the girls after Christmas though I hit my 'steps per day' goal and my 'stairs per day' goal. I know that's unlikely to happen quite as frequently during the work week unless I really make the effort. Which I'm hoping to do!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

When Elle is not Elle

Isn't it funny how you have things in your head about the way things should be, or how you expect them to be anyway?

When we named our first daughter we planned on calling her Ali, and we sometimes do, although when we do it's typically Ali-pants. Don't ask, I'm not sure I could explain, but mostly we call her by her full name and she frequently corrects anyone who shortens it.

When we named our second daughter, we had the expectation of calling her Elle, but as she grew, that never really fit. We call her by her full name too. Now that she's been in school for a while and talking forever(!) she has managed to develop her own nickname. Whether or not it sticks through into grade school I guess we'll see, but right now all her friends at school call her Lizzy, and some how that seems to suit her so much better.

Elle is a calm, sweet, sophisticated name, in my head. Not that my baby isn't sweet, but, not by a long shot. She is a pistol. Fully loaded. Smart, sassy and full of personality. I guess to me that seems to fit a Lizzy better.

So, my dreams of an Ali and Elle sister partnership is likely not going to happen, but whatever does happen these two red headed little crazies of mine will do it thoroughly, because they are their father's daughters. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Rough Morning

Today was one of those days that I just have no idea where the time went.

I got up early and did a work out, thought my day was starting right and managed to be 20 minutes late.

The worst is having to run back into the house to get what it was I forgot.


The first was Elle's antibiotics which thankfully only has two doses left.

The second, we were already driving away and I had to turn around and go back to the house for my coffee.

We're finally on the road to school and I say "Ali I don't think I"m going to have a very good day today!"

She responds "Yes you will, mama, it's ok."

The best reassurances come from big hearts in little bodies.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Holy Moly what a week!

It's Friday and as it turns out, the only day of the week that I've been able to get into the office at all.

I have been covered up with sick kids all week. I can't even believe how long a week it's been.

Backing up...

Last Friday I actually did manage to find a babysitter and get to have a Mom's Night Out with some of Ali's classmates mothers. It was great. So glad I got to go.

The girls went to a friends house for a play date with their daughter and we all had late nights. I didn't get them to bed until 10:30 and they were, of course, up at their regular 6:30 am.

Saturday we were on our own and I had a bunch of things to do, so I got everyone up, dressed and out the door to run errands. Half way through, Ali started telling me she was cold. I told her not to be silly, it was a beautiful day out. She kept telling me the stores were cold and I just wasn't listening at all. Finally I realized she was practically falling asleep in between the stops and it was only 11:30. I figured she was tired from the night before so said we would go home, have lunch and take a nap. Got home to find Ali was burning up. 102 degree fever, chills, shakes. Awesome.

Totally lost the mom of the year award.

She had it so bad. We were at the doctors office first thing Monday morning and it was just one of those nasty viral infections that you can't do anything about, just wait it out.

On top of that, I took Elle in at the same time and she had an ear infection! She wasn't really acting sick but hadn't been eating well and for her that's a big change.

It was so sad to see my poor Ali not feel good.

And, the cable went out on Monday, still not fixed.

And, the water heater sprung a leak and had to be replaced.

And, I'm supposed to be decorating a car for the schools Truck or Treat party, tonight and have had no chance to get ready for that.

And, I totally fell off the 30 day challenge wagon while I was home with the girls and I have somehow put several pounds back on which I am NOT happy about.

But, I'm trying to focus on the good things and there are a lot of them.

Ali is fine. She was never so sick that we had to run to the ER and is now back to her normal self.

The cable is out, but that just meant that Ali and I spent the mornings playing games and when I needed to get work done, we still had Netflicks!

The water heater bust, but our house was still warm and cozy during this week of cold rainy weather.

I didn't get any workouts in, but I did find an energy supplement that I like.

I've only been taking it for four days but at least this one doesn't gross me out. I actually mix it with hot water and it's just like a green tea, with some extra grit. Those last few sips are a little tough but in general it's actually pretty good. Hopefully a few weeks of this will see some easier mornings and hopefully will help stay healthy as we head into the winter cold season.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Babysitting Woes

This weekend is my husbands annual trip with his 'boys' for a Virginia Tech football game. It's been planned and on the calendar for months. They leave Friday morning and get to the rental house late afternoon and have a whole evening of traditions from where they eat, what they eat, where they go, all of it. It's so cute. ;)

A couple weeks ago I got an invite to go to dinner this Friday night with several moms from Ali's class.

My built in babysitter (i.e. my husband) isn't going to be around. Argh!

My back up babysitter (i.e. my mom) also isn't going to be around. She and my dad are heading to FL this weekend to visit one of my aunts. Argh Argh!

My back up - back up babysitters (i.e. my mother in law and sister in law) both can't make it down due to previous commitments. ARGH!

That pretty much leaves me out of approved babysitters.

And when I say 'approved' babysitters, I mean people that I know Big M isn't going to eat.

He is our major limiting factor when it comes to babysitters. While we are there he is mostly fine, and there are plenty of people who he is happy to see, but I'm not sure he'd feel the same if my husband or I weren't there. Women are better, but he really doesn't like most new men and especially large men. If we have anyone over who is on his 'bad' list, we have to put Big M upstairs where he cries and barks the whole visit but if we don't put him upstairs than we basically have to sit on him the whole time as he stalks our visitor waiting for an opportunity to pounce (I say pounce because it sounds so much less intimidating than 'attack', which is probably more accurate).

It's very frustrating. He is very, very protective of me and the girls. Everyone I tell that to always follows that statement by saying 'that's great, he should be protective of his family'. Yeah,'s easy for you to say when it isn't your dog.

It isn't a terrible thing in theory, but when it really limits your ability to leave your house, go on vacation, have a date night without having a doggie approved babysitter, it gets old.

He's lucky we love him so much.

Meanwhile, I'll be home this Friday night. With the girls and my very protective dog.

Monday, October 19, 2015

30 Day Challenge - Day 16

I am officially more than half way through!

This is the longest I have managed to stick to one of these 30 day challenges.

I am rather proud of myself.

This is the first time post-pregnancy that I've really concentrated on toning my body and things are definitely feeling it. My abs are sore, my thighs are sore, my rear end is sore, all good pain though.

In addition, I have consistently exercised (run, cardio, yoga) for at least 5 days each week for the last two weeks. Ok, to be fair I'm counting Saturday's trip to the corn maze as a workout since I carried Elle in a pack on my back through the thing. Totally counts as a workout, 25 lb monkey.

AND while at the corn maze on Saturday, I wore pre-Ali SKINNY JEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They weren't perfect, but they buttoned and were comfortable enough to wear and even sit in, so take that muffin top!

I've had those pants in a bin under my bed since I found out I was pregnant with Ali. That's my 'wishful' bin. There's still a pair of jeans in there that I refuse to part with but aren't anywhere close to being worn again.

My weight hasn't changed all that much, which is a little frustrating but I know it takes more time than two weeks to really start seeing the results.

I've got my running clothes with me today and will head out of work a bit early to get a run in before picking up the girls.

Yummy chicken enchilada soup for dinner tonight.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Texas Superfood update

As it turns out the Texas Superfood supplement is not for me. After four or five days of attempting it, I could not find a method of consuming it that did not make me want to vomit from the smell, flavor or texture. It was not pretty.

So, back to square one I guess.

I have been feeling better lately, still tired but not as run down. I have also been exercising regularly for almost two weeks and watching my diet/alcohol there's that.

Definitely supports the idea that lack of exercise and excess of alcohol disrupts your body's ability to deal. Which I knew. It always seems like I forget that fact when I'm in the middle of the blues.

Yesterday I went for a run after work, before getting the girls, and did 2.34 miles in just over 30 minutes. Which is pretty cool for me these days. My second mile was even faster than the first and I'm not all that sore today, which is even better.

I am on day 12 of my 30 day Beach Body Challenge and am feeling pretty good about that too. The exercises are getting a little easier and I'm feeling stronger. Which is probably all in my head since 12 days really isn't enough time to start feeling anything other than annoyed that I've been good for 12 days and still have a roll around my middle. :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 9

I am nine days into my 30 day challenge and doing well. I did not get my second cardio work out in last week, I managed to oversleep by an hour the morning I was supposed to do that and never actually recovered from the late start.

I did walk this weekend with the girls, which may or may not count as an actual workout since it involves a lot of stopping to watch the geese, or the plane, or pick up the stick/flower/rock/trash/thing on the ground that should probably be left there. Although I do have to give Ali a lot of credit for her cleanliness fixation, she picks up all the litter from the picnic table area whenever we walk down to that part of the neighborhood.

I've done my Beach Body Challenge and my Arm Challenge every day and have managed to drop the vacation weight, which isn't usually too hard to do, a week back on a normal diet and most times I can get back to pre-vacation weight.

Today's plan is to run before picking up the girls. Their dinner is done, I'll have to cook something for us adults in the house but that can be done later.

Feeling pretty good.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

(another) 30 Day Challenge

I have not done well at these things so far and while I've started several, have never finished one.

Come to find out 30 days is a long time!

However, while on vacation last week on our way home from a wonderful seafood dinner, my precious little sanity sucker reached her beautiful little hand up, patted my very full and satisfied belly, and asked "Mama, is there a baby in your belly?"

She's so sweet.

She's four, she doesn't know. I know.

"Um, no honey, that's just the fried flounder I had for dinner."
And the calamari.
And the crab dip.
And the wine.

Good lord the wine.

That's always my gateway drug.

Anyway. That finally spurred me into a new round of commitment and this time I've taken on some accountability. I have a coworker doing one of the 30 Day Challenges with me (I'm doing two actually) and every day when I complete a challenge I post it online for several friends and family members to harass me about if it doesn't show up one day.

I'm doing the 30 day Beach Body Challenge, which I realize is just a little late as I have just left the beach, but my anniversary is on Nov 1st so maybe I'll have a hot beach body in time for a nice evening out with my husband. I'm also doing the arm challenge. Out of hte two, the Beach Body one might actually kill me before I finish. It is ROUGH! I had to do 50 burpees yesterday which was only day three of the challenge! I can't tell you the last time I did one, much less 50. If you don't know, look it up, they suck.

I've also been back on MyFitnessPal logging my food and I've cut out wine for three days a week, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I will have one glass on Wednesdays (tonight!!!!!) after the girls are in bed and my weekend drinking will be significantly cut back. I honestly don't want to share what that 'normal' is. It's not good. Or normal.

So, this is all nice big talk right now, four days into a program, but I'm making this one work. I REFUSE to gain weight this Holiday season and to make it through I need to have the foundation in place now.

I'm also running three days a week and doing a cardio workout two mornings a week.

So, that's the new deal. And this time, I will lose the pooch.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Vacation run down

What a great trip. I feel guilty that I was so hesitant to take the girls to the beach this year. I cannot describe to you the level of fun these two silly little things had.

Last year we rented a condo in St Augustine and had a nice time. We left there knowing it was unlikely we'd return. The beach was beautiful, pristine and very private. Gated access, not a huge crowd. The condo was ok. Not the cleanest, the furniture wasn't great and while it was ocean view, it was not the most comfortable of places. Overall it was very commercial, very overgrown, kind of overrated.

This year we went to Hilton Head Island and can't wait to go back, even to the same unit. It was not ocean view but it was spotless, comfortable and the prefect mix of proximity to ocean and to amenities (i.e. grocery store and restaurants) without being at all commercial. Hilton Head apparently has some pretty serious regulations on building size and style.

It was a public stretch of beach and surprisingly full for 'off season' but not terrible and we had a ton of fun.

We arrived on Saturday and after checking out the house and unloading, we headed down to the beach to go for a walk...and walked straight into a frat party...yep. Complete with police officers who had apparently been called recently to tone down the festivities. That was a little strange, and I have to say it's a little odd having a slightly drunk college frat boy tell you how beautiful your daughters are....'umm, thanks.'

Elle dove in.

Literally. Just jumped in the ocean. Fully clothed and loved it.

Walking out to the beach.

And straight into the water.

This grin could not get any bigger!

The next day was our only tough morning. It was raining and we kept putting off going to the beach and finally gave up at 10 and went out even though it was still drizzling. We walked straight into a Susan G Komen race for the cure 10k.  Yep, no such thing as a quiet beach around here apparently. It ended up being highly entertaining for everyone. Elle sat in her little beach chair waving at everyone and they all waved back!

Playing in the sand.

We quickly discovered that the tides were against us and at high tide, there was no beach so the next morning we went for a walk instead.

Great side walks just outside our community.

Picking 'flowers' from the side of the road.

I love this girls hair!!! 

We did end up back on the beach and I have to apologize because I really only have pictures of Elle. My husband and I did the 'divide and conquer' approach to vacation parenting and he and Ali were frequently walking up and down the beach chasing birds and looking for shells. Elle and I sat in the water or sand and played.
We like the mud.

And the surf.

I love this one.

We had a few playground trips and did a little island touring including stopping at the lighthouse.

But mostly we spent as much time at the beach as possible. By Wednesday afternoon Ali looked at me and said 'I'm ready to go home,' which was well timed as we were leaving Thursday morning. My husband really would have like to stay the extra day, but as it turned out, Thursday was the start to the rain that has managed to leave most of SC under water. We escaped right in time.

It was a wonderful trip and I can't wait to do it again next year.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Vacation part 1

The townhouse we rented is great.

I may not survive a week with my kids.

Elle is in love with the beach. She threw herself in fully clothed in a regular diaper (I.e. not a swim one) and we didn't have a camera.

That's just day one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ready for Vacation!

So, we are going on vacation next week. Leaving Saturday and coming back next Thursday. Not a full week, but that's actually because our dog sitter (my mom) wasn't available after Thursday. My Big M has some aggression issues so we can't just board him or have a doggie sitting service.

I am mostly excited for this trip. A little anxious too but after the long weekend with Ali for the wedding I'm feeling a little more confident in my ability to hold on to sanity outside the normal schedule.

Elle might be a whole other set of complications but this year for our beach trip she's at least over the morning nap phase and we can head out all together at first light for some serious beach play.

I'm hoping the weather holds, it's looking a little rainy but really, this far out, there's no way it's accurate right now.

Right now I'm trying to come up with a meal plan that will fit a vacation lifestyle and make it all an easy experience. I'd like to try and keep it healthy too, with lots of veggies for my poor Ali's sensitive digestion. Trip like this mess her up when we're eating too much take out or comfort food.

Right now I'm leaning towards a chili, a big pile of marinated chicken, an even bigger pile of steamed broccoli, green beans and peas/carrots and then a few things that will cross into breakfast/lunch too; zucchini bread, blueberry muffins, muffin tin mini quiches.

Ah, fun, family vacation planning. Not stressful at all.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Two many cooks in the kitchen

I love, love this recipe that I found on for mini lasagna cups.

It is easy. It is good. My hsuband loves it and Ali can basically make it by herself which is just awesome.

So Sunday night was 'Dinner by Ali' and it turned into quite the family affair.

Elle's basic take on anything is 'If she can do it, I can too'.

Sometimes this gets us into trouble, like Sunday after lunch while I was attempting to unclog my bathroom sink (insert gross visual here) Ali decided to start jumping on my bed.

At four years old, she's pretty stable.

Elle climbed up to join her.

At 20 months old she is not so stable. Elle promptly fell off the bed and hit her head. I had to wash the yuck off my heads real fast and run out to make sure she was ok.


However, sometimes, this 'me too, me too' attitude goes fairly well.

Here's my Ali in the kitchen making dinner by herself Sunday evening. I did sautee the beef for her but that was it.

Picking the basil leaves off the stem.

Slicing basil

The pretty pink paring knife she got for her birthday.
(yes, I got my four year old a knife for her birthday!)

Making Lasagna cups

About halfway through the process Elle decided she wanted to cook too. So she did.

She stuffed the little wonton wrappers in the tin.

Loaded them with cheese and basil.

Attempted the marinara sauce but

soon realized that eating the sauce was more fun.
Sorry the picture is blurry. I was laughing while trying take the photo.
Literally just shoveling it in.

Overall we spent quite a lot of time hanging out in the kitchen together. Everyone was happy, productive and at the end of it we had a wonderful dinner that Ali was so proud of herself for making.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Texas Superfood

To say I've been dragging lately doesn't quite cut it.

I've been sleeping fairly well but am waking up sluggish and not at all rested. I spend my whole day in a fog, feeling like I just can't get moving.

I've been wanting for a while to add some supplement to my diet to help give me a little bit of energy and a boost but have not had a good experience with most of these products in the past. Typically they either make me nauseated or give me such severe gas, bloating and discomfort that it's just not worth any actual benefit.

One of my friends on facebook recently posted a picture of her morning smoothie saying that the kids had been sick and she was 'getting her health on'.

Someone else immediately asked what the supplement was and I started doing my research too.

It looks pretty ideal. No chemical names. No added sugars for taste.

I guess it's one of those things where you have to try to and see what happens, but I've been so tired for months now and I just have to try something. If it works, great, if I end up gassy and bloated, oh well.

I ordered my first month and we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Weekend travels

Well, we all survived the weekend, which is fairly impressive all things considered.

We even survived without too much stress or general crankiness.

Last Wednesday Ali woke up with a 102 degree fever. Elle had the same cold the week before so I knew how it was going to go.

Day 1 is fever and misery.

Day 2 is low fever and feeling fairly good while medicated.

Day 3 is 100% back to normal.

Thankfully, this whole process started on Wednesday since 'day 3' was the day Ali and I were scheduled to fly to DC for a wedding. We just squeaked in under the illness radar.

So we spend Wednesday snuggled up together watching Mickey. Thursday running errands and packing. When Friday comes, Ali is thrilled to be going on an airplane and so excited about all the other pieces of the adventure. We load up and head to the airport.

She LOVED the flight. LOVED IT!

The whole weekend was wonderful. She got a little cranky Saturday afternoon before the reception but she ended up not napping at all that day and really was a trooper through the whole thing.

She loved seeing my cousin in her wedding dress. He jaw literally dropped when the bride came down the aisle.

She loved dancing at the reception. We both danced and danced. It was so much fun. I love dancing and she was such a great little sidekick for the night.

The next day we enjoyed a beautiful walk outside.

And then Ali crashed on the way home. HARD.

We sat in our seats on the plane and had a snack while others were boarding. Before the plane was half full, she laid her head down on my lap and was asleep.

She slept the whole flight home. Take off. Turbulence. Landing. All of it.

I had to wake her at the gate when we arrived back in Atlanta.

It was a great weekend and some wonderful quality time with my girl.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Sometimes it's been more of an effort than others. But I have not yelled at the girls since my last post. That's not to say we haven't had arguments and that no one has been in trouble, but I have not lost my temper or felt out of control.

This weekend, with the holiday weekend my husband and I took Friday off as well and had planned a quiet kid free day, which didn't last long when Elle woke up at might night Thursday night vomiting and running a fever. So I spent Friday snuggled with my baby girl. We had a nice day together and as long as she was on Tylenol she was ok.

Saturday my husband woke up not feeling well. Two sick 'babies'. I put them both down for naps after lunch and took Ali to the pool.

Somehow we managed a four day weekend mostly 'stuck at home' days without too many tantrums, from them or me.

This coming weekend Ali and I are flying to my cousin's wedding and I'm half excited and half nervous for the trip. My parents are driving up (they don't fly) so technically I won't be on my own at the hotel/wedding with my four year old. I am not concerned about managing Ali on the flight, she'll be ok for that part. It's only two hours. However, I am a little worried about keeping her occupied during the non wedding time we'll have over the weekend.

We're going to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia and it looks like a fantastic little artsy place to spend a weekend... if you're an adult who likes lounging on patios with a drink and walking through art fairs without touching every single thing you see...

For a four year old, this could be tough. Thankfully she likes walks, and I'm planning on bringing a few art supplies for some crafting. Between that and the games on her tablet I'm hoping we can keep her occupied.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


There's something wrong with me.

I have been losing my temper with my kids every night.

Every night.

Pretty much after about 6 pm I lose my ability to be a rational parent/person.

I hit my limit. It's all I can take from the day and I'm done.

Every whine. Every 'mama'. Every tear. Every tantrum magnifies in my head.

The skin wants to crawl of the back of my neck.

I can't handle it.

I can't handle anything.

All of it makes my blood boil.

Last night I was desperately trying to do a class homework project with Ali and I couldn't. I flat out could not even communicate with her without getting so frustrated and annoyed that I had to scream.

My husband had to come and take my place. He sent me into the kitchen to finish up cleaning from dinner (normally something he does each evening).

I couldn't even do that. Elle was under my feet wanting to color or paint or sit on my feet, I don't even know what. I didn't care. I just needed her to stop whining at me. I kept pushing her away telling her to go play in the other room. I had set out crayons and paper. There were toys out, I needed her away from me and she wouldn't stop whining.

I finally grabbed her up (picked is too light a word) and practically flung her into bed.

I screamed at her to stop.

I couldn't stop.

My husband came to the stairs to see me fleeing Elle's room and told me to calm down. I said I couldn't.

I ran to the garage and cried. Sobbed.

I was so frustrated. So angry. So overwhelmed.

And I was taking it out on my girls.

I cried myself out and then went back inside to see my husband and Ali about done with the school project.

I went upstairs and got Elle out of her crib and sat on the floor with her for 10 minutes or so and played with her before calmly putting her back to bed.

I went downstairs to get Ali and apologized.

We went through our normal bedtime routine.

A couple times I started to get worked up again and forcefully had to continue to maintain the calm.

It was hard.

When I kissed her goodnight I apologized again for having a bad evening. And she said that I needed to not yell so much.

That hurt. So much.

She's right.

Today, I saw that terrible photo of the boy who drowned. He was three.

I have to get control of myself.

I have to look at my children and appreciate them.

I have to know that they are little.

They are learning.

They are learning what I show them.

I have to not yell, but instead hug.

Do not yell, hug.

I even made myself a reminder.

I don't think this is going to change what it wrong with me. I really think there is something off balance. I don't know what to do about it though.

But I have to stop turning that on my girls.

I have to be a better parent. A better me.

Monday, August 24, 2015


I don't even know where to start. I feel as if we've all be running full tilt all summer and we're not done yet. Weekends have been full. Week nights have been full. Work has been busy, everything has just been as packed full as possible. Here's our summer in no particular order:

My husband has several large projects at work and has been working late most nights and a lot of weekends.

Ali has had birthday parties all summer.

Elle is just growing and changing every day, I can't keep up with her at all.

Ali started Pre K last week and is loving the new class and new teachers. I was worried the transition would be hard on her.

We managed to bring a foster dog in a month or so ago and so we've had Vincent Grady (we just call him Grady) with us for all of this too.

Ali turns four on Wednesday and we have a party planned for Saturday at the local park.

I can't get over it. She's going to be four. She's beyond excited.

I'm taking cupcakes to school on Wednesday and then taking Ali to the pool for the afternoon (she has no idea).

We have family coming down on Friday.

I have to order the food and the cake and wrap presents and plan decorations and buy/assemble goodie bags, get drinks and coolers situated.

Meanwhile, our dog, Big M picked a fight with the foster dog Friday afternoon and I walked in to a hellish scene of blood and fur. No one was seriously hurt, there were just a couple of ear wounds that bled all over the place. Both dogs needed to go to the vet. Big M had his ear stapled back together and stitches in his mouth from where he lost a tooth (and he's the one who won the fight) and then by Friday evening,  the two were completely over it, fine and acting like nothing had happened.

My in laws are bringing their dog, Molly, like they always do and I"m stressed about the third dog in the house after having a traumatic Friday afternoon.

I have presents for Elle to take care of too because we're doing a little mini party with family for her too because her birthday is Dec 27 and it's too crazy at the holidays to try and plan something.

In the first two weeks of having Grady at the house I lost the last 2 1/2 lbs from the extra dog walking (our old man Big M doesn't walk much anymore) and am officially at Pre-Ali weight although still have some annoying saggy skin that I don't know how to get rid of without scheduling a nip/tuck.

I haven't been cooking well.

I haven't been eating well.

I haven't been exercising outside of the walks with Grady.

This weekend is busy with the party.

Early Sept Ali and I are flying to Virginia for a wedding.

End of Sept we're taking a beach vacation.

And I'm already stressed about all of it!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dinner Done

It really has been a whirlwind summer and I feel like I've spent a lot of the last month fighting to stay above water.

I did finally get my act together enough last weekend to do some cooking for the week and get a little more organized.

Yay me!

Here's my post for this week's meals. I am LOVING the chili cheese corn dog muffins and while they're clearly not the healthiest option, it's some pretty solid comfort food. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

One year ago today

Today is the day.

One year ago today we lost Max.

Ali has been very patient with me so far. It's been a morning full of extra hugs and kisses and I love you's.

These little lives are so precious and so fragile.

Hug your babies.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Morning surprises

This morning while I was getting ready for work I heard Ali get up and go to the bathroom.

Fairly typical.

A few minutes later I hear her sobbing.

Not typical.

I walk out of my room and meet her in the hallway where she proceeds to hand me her little stuffed Minnie Mouse toy.

Me (holding Minnie in my hand): What's the matter honey??

Ali (sobbing): I dropped Minnie in the potty.

Me: ...........

I guess it's one of those days that can only go up when you start it holding a pee soaked Minnie Mouse in your hand.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A better day today

My heart is still heavy but I'm not quite as overwhelmed as I was yesterday.

I texted with Max's mom and spoke with Mama T, who called me out of the blue. She knew I needed her.

My mom sent me several supportive emails.

My husband called to check on me in the middle of the afternoon.

And when I got home yesterday I just sat in the rocking chair and held my Ali. I held her and rocked her long enough that she finally said 'mama, I'm all done cuddling...'


As I sat with her though I thought back over the last year and how different she is now as a 'not quite four year old', from the 'not quite three year old' that she was at the time of the accident.

If she saw something like that now, she would know to tell someone.

If she saw something like that now, she would remember.

It's a terrible feeling to be at the same time relieved that she was small enough to never remember it, but know that had she been a little older, she would have known that Max was in trouble and spoken up and maybe we wouldn't be in this situation.

To know that the last year at her new school has brought about more change and growth in Ali than I think would have been possible at Mama T's.

But to also know that my baby Elle did not have that same background in a small loving home environment which I loved so much for Ali.

But, they're such different kids. Ali needed that quiet place to grow and learn at her slow pace. Elle was on the speed track from day one and loves all the activity and action at school.

Right now I just have to accept that we are where we are supposed to be and that time heals all wounds.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Those days where you're not as strong as you think you should be

It's been a very busy summer so far and some how today snuck up, smacked me in the heart and laid me out pretty flat.

It's not actually the anniversary of Max's accident. That's the 8th. But it feels like today.

Last year we had just come back from our traditional Fourth of July extravaganza long weekend with my husband's family, as we do every year. It was actually Tuesday last year that I went back to work, having dropped my girls off  for a normal day at daycare.

Just like I did today.

We got back last night from our family weekend and I was ok.

I got up this morning and my heart hurt a bit and I had a couple moments when I had to stop and control myself but I had to get everyone up and out for the day, I didn't have time to stop long.

I dropped the girls off at school and I was ok.

I got to work, sat at my desk and remembered the phone call from Mama T last year, only a couple hours into the day. And started shaking.

How panicked she was.

How panicked I was.

How hard I prayed as I broke most major driving laws to get there in 5 minutes instead of 10.

How hard I hugged my girls as I sat on Mama T's couch and listened to the questions the police officers were asking Mama T's 21 year old son who was the only one left at the house with the kids while Mama T and her husband went to the hospital.

The calls I made to the other families to come pick up their babies.

The exhausting mix of  fear and relief.

I knew it was going to be a hard week, for everyone.

But I wasn't prepared for it to hit me this hard.

I keep thinking I should be stronger than this, but then have to remind myself that some things I don't have control over and that fighting this pull, like I did a year ago, will not make it better.

I don't have to be strong when faced with this tidal wave of emotion. I do have to make sure the people around me know I'm sinking right now. And I have to trust that they'll keep me floating for a few days while I get through it.

That's all I can do.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How to feed a crowd (or two athletes) on short notice

I'm not sure how many of you are accustomed to feeding athletes but there is a significant difference in what a normal person eats and what an athlete eats.

When I say athlete, I mean someone who runs marathons, competes in triathlons, and tends to consider a 60+ mile cycling day as part of the normal routine.

Put more than one of those in a room, and you go through a lot of food.

A lot.

So when you get a text at 8 am from your athlete husband saying that his athlete friend is coming for dinner that night, it is normal to start to panic a little.

So, here was our menu for Monday night, which was basically our menu for the week, condensed.

Baked BBQ Chicken
Corn on the Cobb
Roasted Red Potatoes
Zucchini Casserole
Brownies (Thank you Betty Crocker)

And, I made it all in about an hour. Just over actually since the zucchini takes an hour to cook, but holy moly was that worth it! Really good casserole.

And, I made all of that while feeding dinner to the girls (leftovers from the weekend). Bathing Ali and putting Elle to bed before company arrived.


Take that!

(PS, my knee is better. I've been eating lighter. Feeling less bloated. Down two of the four nasty lbs and not feeling as low as I had been. Better week this week.)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Weight gain, backslide, injury and frustration

I'm definitely fighting a few internal battles right now and a lot of the time am feeling a bit down. Which I'm not sure I actually realized until I started that sentence but now makes a lot more sense.

I'm wobbling up and down through these odd four pounds which is making me a little crazy. At the bottom of those four pounds, my clothes fit and I feel good. At the top, my clothes don't fit and I feel bloated and annoyed.

Four pounds. Four. Really? Why do they have to make that big a difference??

Some how they do and that's really annoying.

Meanwhile between a weather conspiracy and an inability to drag myself out of bed, I haven't been working out much.

Meanwhile, again, while not working out much, I did manage to get a nice long yoga workout in on Sunday morning while my mom had the girls, only to find myself the next day with a limp. And not a 'wow that was a good workout limp' - more like a 'WTF did I just do to myself limp'.

For some reason I thought that since I had a nice quiet morning, my very non stretched out self would benefit from a rather rigorous and advanced yoga routine.

For some reason, my body did not agree...

I'm already on a daily anti inflammatory routine for the pain in my knee, which is better, but that's not even touching this issue, which is awesome, and it's steadily gotten worse all week.

At this point I kind of just want to crawl under the couch and have another glass of wine.

This is me.

Monday, June 1, 2015

18 Month injuries

Maybe it's just a stage in development that these girls need to go through but I really don't appreciate this particular one.

Ali at 18 months took a header into the base of a pack n play and broke her two front teeth.

That was a scary trip to the dentist and, while I'm used to it now, I do still see it when I really look at her.

Elle was playing at my mom's house yesterday and was under the dining room table when she decided to quickly stand up and put a rather impressive hole in her head.

I didn't get a picture (yet) but it's a pretty decent hole and apparently bled quite a lot. We may actually end up at the urgent care center if it continues to ooze but this morning it seemed ok. It's bandaged up and it doesn't seem to bother her much although she has very quickly learned the word 'boo-boo' and tends to jab herself in the forehead while she says it. Which required several bandaid changes yesterday as she kept making it bleed again.

Meanwhile Ali has a bandaid on her head too. When I dropped her off at school today I had to assure her teachers that there was nothing wrong with her head, and that it was a sympathy bandaid.

At least with Ali once she loses her baby teeth there will be no sign of the damage from her fall. Elle will most likely have a scar on her head now, which hurts my heart. I know it is complete vanity for me to be bothered by it, but really it's less of a permanent 'scar' and more of a permanent mark for 'failure as a parent'.

At least it feels that way!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Joey had it right...

Does anyone remember the episode of Friends where Joey puts the book in the freezer because it was scary.

I had to look it up to remember it was the Shining, but, yeah, 'joey book in freezer', you can google that!

I can relate to that so much and I don't know why it's taken me so long to make that connection and while I don't necessarily put the book in the freezer (I listen to audio books on my phone and I think that might do a little damage should I put my phone in there) I do stop listening for a little while when things get tense. I have to work up to it before I can go back and continue reading.

Right now I'm in the middle of book four of the Outlander series which I absolutely adore! The whole thing is just fantastic! It's a good story and good story telling.

In my head I know it's silly of me to get so worried about the situation since I know there are a bazillion of these books in the series...

(notice I didn't say 'since I know it's only a book')...

so, clearly it will be ok in the end...

(It's never 'only a book'.)

but I do get terribly stressed out about some of the situations these characters find themselves in.

(I think only a reader will understand that.)

(I don't know why I'm having side conversations in my own blog post).

So right now my book is "in the freezer" i.e. phone in purse, until I can work up to turning it back on and finding out what happens and if everything is ok or if I have to be upset about something.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sweet moments

My girls are getting so big it's hard to believe.

They are both very busy girls and Elle especially rarely ever sits. If I sit on the floor, she'll sit in my lap and play, but not snuggle.

Ali does love to snuggle now that she's a little older, but at Elle's age was the same way.

Busy, busy girls.

Elle's been a little cranky the last few days, either teething or growing, one of which seems to be perpetually in process, and Sunday she was definitely out of sorts after church. It wasn't time for a nap but she was just not a content girl.

So I went and got her blanket out of her bed, and snuggled with her into a rocking chair in the living room where Ali was watching something on tv.

Elle snuggled right in with me and didn't really sleep, but was comfortably drowsy and sweet.

Ali saw us and came over too, crawling up on the other side of the chair and sitting on the edge where I could rub her back and play with her long hair.

Both my girls, snuggled in with me on a Sunday afternoon.

It was so sweet I didn't want it to end.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

I have so many great stories from this weekend that I don't know where to start.

First, the Friday lunch play date with Max's mom was wonderful. I'm so glad we were able to plan that. Ali didn't really remember her and there were no questions or awkward statements from her. The babies had so much fun and everyone was worn out after playing on the playground for a couple hours.

On Saturday morning we went with some friends to a Strawberry Festival and had a BLAST!! Ali loved it and Elle ate so many strawberries I'm surprised she wasn't sick. It was a beautiful day and with all the activity and craziness the girls were so well behaved.

The true highlight though was that Anna and Elsa from Frozen were there. Ali and our little friend Audrey were like teenagers at a Justin Beiber concert. It was so funny I was in tears, I was laughing so hard. The girls were screeching in excitement, but then Ali completely froze up (no pun intended) when it was time to actually meet them. She did hug Anna but then basically stood like this the whole rest of the time.

Completely overwhelmed. Probably a good thing we're not planning a (very expensive) trip to Disney World anytime soon. I think she needs a little more time.

After that we ran around and played in the bounce houses and then went back to the car to cool off and have a snack.

Then Ali had a defining educational moment, one every girl must learn at some point.

How to pee behind a tree...

Yep, we had to park so far our from the strawberry farm and there were no port-a-potties anywhere near us, plus having the two girls on my own at this point (our friends had left just a few minutes earlier) meant that it just wasn't going to happen. So, we had our first lesson on how to answer the call of nature while you're in nature. Thankfully the parking area we were in was next to a little wooded area and there were a few discreet options. She thought it was hysterical. Thankfully I also keep a change of little girl panties in the car, as they were needed, although for her first time she did really well.

Both girls crashed on the drive home and our actual afternoon nap time got a little off schedule, but it was worth it to have had such a fun time.

Speaking of little girl panties...because that's a normal topic of conversation...

Ali is officially 100% potty trained at night. Last week she requested to wear panties to bed instead of a pull up and hasn't looked back since. Saturday morning was a full week of staying dry all night and so I told her she could have anything she wanted for breakfast since she had done such a good job and was such a big girl.

So...we had ice cream sandwiches for breakfast...not quite what I had in mind, but I didn't clarify my offer at all, so we just went with it. Ice cream for breakfast.

Mother's Day was nice. Quiet day at home. I made a quick dessert for some of the strawberries, although I didn't use nearly as many as I had hoped.

Puff pastry, vanilla pudding, cool whip and sliced strawberries. Really good!

I also got the sweetest presents from the girls that they made at daycare.

I also got a massage gift certificate from my husband which I am very, very excited to use. Although I have no idea when that will be since I have to work next weekend and then it's Memorial Day Weekend and we usually got to TN. Oh well, it will not go to waste, trust me on that!

All in all it was a very fun weekend. Very busy but full of fun outside times and lots of friends and family.

I hope all the mothers out there had a wonderful day too.