Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Theories of What Might be Happening in the Neighboring Hotel Room

There have been some very loud noises coming from the neighboring hotel room at all hours of the day and night.  Here are some theories I came up with to possibly explain what is going on next door.

   1)   Thor is having sex with a monkey

   2)   The occupant is a professional bowler who practices every 2 hours.  If this is the case, I would like to see him play because he is so good that his spouse/significant other screams out in joy every time he bowls sometimes for several minutes.

   3)   Occupant #1 is rearranging furniture.  Occupant #2 is very pleased with his design choice.

   4)   The Discovery Channel is filming a bit about the mating habits of primates.

   5)   One occupant is giving birth while the other rearranges furniture and/or bowls and/or channels thunder into their hotel room from the gods.

I’ll let you know when I find out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Joe Strummer and David Bowie of the Bathroom

I would like to introduce you to our roommates here at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.

Joe Strummer

David Bowie of the Bathroom

David Bowie hangs over the toilet while Joe Strummer is positioned so he can stare at at me while I'm lying in bed.

Get up.

Me:  I don't want to get up yet.

 Get. Up. Now.

Me:  Fine, I'm getting up.  Happy?

Go see the Bean.

Me:  We were going to go to the Willis Building first.

I said...go see the Bean.

Me:  Ok...Jeez.  Can I at least go to the bathroom first?

I see you pee.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Letter to an Asshole

Dear Asshole,

I would like to thank you for stealing my credit card number and racking up $1000 worth of charges the day before our Chicago trip.  Because of your actions, I have been reunited with my long lost friends at Discover, Automated Voice Guy and Steve from Phoenix. I haven’t talked them since the last time one of you assholes stole my purse out of my car earlier this year.  By the way, are you related or do you just share the same name?  No offense, but all you assholes look the same.  Automated Voice guy is great.  You would love him.  He does this funny bit where he pretends not to care about what you’re saying.  I was like “Hey A.V. man!  It’s been so long since we’ve talked.  Can you believe Kenzie just turned 2 and Hudson is in preschool?” and he was like “I need you to verify some activity on your account.”  He cracks me up with that every time.   Talking with Steve from Phoenix was a  totally different experience though.  I was all like “Steve, are you really from Phoenix?” and he was like “No.”.  Then he caught me up with all the musak music I’ve missed out on since the last time we talked.  He’s so sweet, but I really don’t like musak.  Don’t tell him though.  I don’t want to hurt his feelings.  It would make it awkward the next time we talk when one of you assholes steals from me again.

Much love,

On the bright side though...
Hello, Chicago.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Photo Friday: The One Where We're Zombies

Guest Post from Ann

I think Sabine and I would make a really good undead team in the zombie apocalypse. Because, as you can see, she'd make a weirdly hot zombie. So she could be all, "Yoo hoo, sailor," to the living, batting her red-and-yellow eyes, and I could jump out from behind a Dumpster and claw them.

Anyhow, I'm a fool for Halloween — the costumes, the candy, the excuse to dress up my dogs (yep, I'm one of those people). I'm also a fool for a good free photo-editing program. Luckily, there's, which is quite the Halloweeny thrill. You can make yourself and your loved ones into zombies, witches, vampires or one of those Day of the Dead Skulls. And it's easy. As you've probably guessed by now, that's how I turned a snapshot from a trip to Vegas zombie-riffic (in case you're wondering what I'm actually doing in the picture, I'm trying to tell the person taking it how to use my camera, not actually trying to claw Sabine's cleavage). For example, you can Zombulate your skin and apply bruises, gashes, blood, creepy eyes and eerie effects. If you're not in the mood to be quite so scary, there are some cute Halloween fonts and labels and such under the Trick or Treat menu.

Oh, and the non-holiday parts of the site are super-easy to use, too. It makes creating a collage a snap. And you can try a range of things from cropping to retouching to filters. Just remember, less is more when it comes to this stuff, unless you're doing something intentionally wacky, such as zombifying yourself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Antics at the Pumpkin Patch-A Reenactment

This weekend I went to the pumpkin patch with my family.  Today I, Kenzie, would like to perform a reenactment through pictures of my antics that day.

This is the face that I made when mommy told me not to throw the feed at the animals.

This is what I did when mommy turned around to help Hudson pick out a pumpkin.

This is how I was forcibly removed from the pumpkin patch.

This is what I decided to do in the parking lot on the way back to the car because I no longer felt like walking.

Here is a picture in which I repeatedly said "cheese", but refused to actually look at the camera because I was too busy destroying the feed bag.

All in all, it was a pleasant day and my family was thoroughly entertained by my performance.  My mommy said something about never taking me out in public again, but I know she didn't mean it.

What Do You Do When Asked What Do You Do?

“And what do you do?”  Oh, how I loathe this dreaded question.
Yesterday I attended a fundraiser with my friend Lori, an emergency medicine physician.  When asked this question she could literally answer with “I save lives and teach other people to save lives.  It’s kinda my thing…you know, helping people cheat death and all.”  I, on the other hand, could honestly answer this question with “I spend a lot of time removing poop from my bathtub and going to Target.”  How is a stay at home mom supposed to answer this question?

I feel like my response to this question must somehow prove that I am a contributing member of society.  It must prove that I believe that in equality for women and that I am not a Stepford wife.  It must prove that I have an identity outside of being a mother and a wife.  It is for this reason that I always have to add that I am a physician assistant although I am working part-time now, even though the reality is that I haven’t worked in a few months.  I must stop myself before going into a diatribe of why I am not working.  “I haven’t worked in a while because my husband is an ER physician and it has been too hard to balance our schedule around our children and since my father-in-law went back to work it has been more difficult to arrange for child care….I am educated….I have a master’s degree….”

It would be even more awkward to explain to a stranger over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres,  “I am a physician assistant but haven’t worked for a while and I really want to be a writer, but a I can’t really call myself that because my only claim to being a writer is having a blog that only a handful of people read and I don’t get paid to do it.”

Maybe “what do you do?” is just a polite conversation starter but it always feels like it is really a judgment of your intellect, your character, and your value.  As a stay at home mom it is hard to answer this question in a single sentence while still staying true to who you really are, what you believe in, and what you are capable of.

Maybe next time I’m asked this question I will answer it like this, “I am a wife, a mother, and I used to be employed as a physician assistant.  But I am so much more.  I am a fellow human being.  I am just as important as you.  I have chosen the life that I lead deliberately.  I don’t get paid for what I do.  I am pursuing a dream and I may never get paid for what I do, but at the end of my life I can look back and know that I tried.  What do you do?”


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is a picture of Kenzie's fortune out of her fortune cookie from lunch yesterday.  There are two things disturbing about this.

1.  Blatant disregard for grammar.  What's next?  A watched pot don't never do boil?  Absolute power corrupts most totally?  Absence makes the heart grow more better fonder? The lack of editorial oversight in the fortune cookie industry is troubling.  Also, I'm starting to suspect that fortunes aren't really written by wise old men in China.

2.  That is a bite mark.  There is a bite mark out of the fortune because my daughter didn't have the patience to let me take out the fortune about patience before she bit into her cookie.  I guess in her world,  all good things come not to he who waits, but he who bites the cookie first.  A more appropriate  fortune might have been don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Straight From Satan's Garden

There is a bigger bastard of the produce section than the tiny white onion (see Channeling Julia).  It is called the jalapeno pepper.  If you didn’t know this, jalapeno peppers are delivered to you grocery store straight from Satan’s organic garden.

Like every year on my childrens’ birthdays, I tell myself I will keep it simple.  Every year I end up making appetizers any way.  And this leads to the making of even more food.   Then before you know it I have a whole menu planned and am panicking the night before.  Thankfully, I have an awesome best friend and a kick ass sister-in-law who both came in the night before to help me prepare for Kenzie’s party.  This year the devil himself reminded me that I should have listened to him when he was on my shoulder telling me to take the easy route of put up bouncy castle, order pizza, call it a day.

One of the things I decided to make was jalapeno poppers.  Cut jalapeno in half, scoop out the guts, spread cream cheese, wrap in bacon.  Sounds simple right?  It would have been simple had the jalapenos that we ended up with not been delivered up from the depths of hell where they were injected with the fire before landing in our shopping cart.

I got up early in the morning to start on them.  I cut the tops off, sliced them in half, and scooped out the seeds.  My ring finger started to get a slight burn.    I finish the first batch of peppers and my finger now feels like it has been dipped in hot tar.  I curse my eczema thinking it has just flared up again and go to put on more steroid cream.  When I come back to the kitchen I scoop the jalapeno guts into the garbage disposal and turn it on.  This is a bad idea.  Now the fumes have permeated the kitchen and my eyes are burning and tearing.

Enter my sister-in –law, Kristin aka victim #2.  She makes it through half a batch before her nose is on fire and her eyes have teared so bad she can’t see.  Victim #3, Ann, finishes the batch with the same results. 

At this point we all decide to shower to cleanse ourselves of the potent jalapeno oil.  I carefully wash my face with my palms to avoid touching my eyes with my fingertips.  The devil, however, is crafty and has made sure that his homegrown vegetable has oil with the ability to migrate.  I know this because despite my careful attempts, it feels like someone has poured acid directly into my eyeballs.  As I am scrambling for a towel, I somehow must have managed to touch my lips as they now feel like they have suckled from a dragon’s teet.

I desperation, I use my medical background to do a google search for “how to remove the searing pain caused by jalapenos”.  The answer: lemon juice.  I go upstairs to relay this information to my fellow victims.  Ann comes out of the bathroom wearing glasses, one eye bright red and tearing as the jalapeno has poisoned her contact lens.    Kristin just briskly walks downstairs as I am talking to head towards the kitchen.  We then stand at the kitchen sink pouring lemon juice over each others’ hands and in my face rubbing it directly onto my lips.  I’m sure chefs do this all the time.  It did help though.

Now thinking about it some more, it is possible that this was a stern sign from God instead.  In our family, Kenzie’s nickname is Tasmanian devil because of her propensity for constant motion and ability to completely destroy whatever room she inhabits.  Maybe this is God’s way of telling me that referring to my daughter as a devil is just not cool.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Great Retelling of the Wood Glue Incident of 2011

Today is Kenzie's second birthday.  I could tell her birth story, but nothing really sums up what it like to be the mother of this child than the wood glue story.  November 4th will be the one year anniversary of the wood glue debacle so it seems fitting that I retell the story today.  On that night nearly a year ago I sat at my kitchen counter with a glass of wine nearly in tears.  Then I realized that what just happened really was funny and needed to be posted to Facebook.  Here is my Facebook status from that day...yes, the whole thing...

    Today we had hardwood flooring installed in our living room.  To set the scene, there is one mobile 1-year old, a distracted mom, and an open bucket of wood glue.  Can you guess what happened next?  I turn around and Kenzie is up to her elbows in wood glue.  I grab her and run for the bathroom all the while trying to keep her from touching her face, hair, etc. and failing miserable.  My poor unsuspecting husband is in the shower and says “Hand her to me and I’ll get her cleaned up.”  You may not know this but wood glue is really hard to clean off, so now not only is Kenzie completely covered, but Eric as well.  Our next plan is to ask the experts.  I go outside to where the workers are eating and interrupt their lunch to ask the more experienced installer on how best to remove wood glue off of a person.  His first suggestion is mineral spirits “but it will burn” or water “as hot as she can stand it”.  I go back to relay this information, we try it and now have two people still covered in wood glue and one screaming hysterically.  Back to the experts who now suggest dishwashing soap and anything oil based.  I come back to the bathroom armed with Joy and vegetable oil.  Eric is trying to leave for work so I take Kenzie and put her in the tub and am now washing my daughter with vegetable oil and dishwashing soap and pouring out the same for my husband.  Eric is now mostly glue free except for one nipple because apparently wood glue adheres rather well to this area.  He has called into work to tell them he is going to be late.  I’m sure they’ve heard the old wood glue to the nipple excuse a million times.  Eric is off, Kenzie is out of the tub and still covered in glue but it is as good as I can get.  I rather hesitatingly put clothes on her, as she is still quite sticky, and get her settled for a nap.  The traumatized toddler sleeps two hours and wakes up with Nick Nolte mug shot style hair.  I can’t tell if this is glue or the remnants of vegetable oil so again we go to the tub, this time with Hudson, who is also due for a bath.  Kenzie is now washed for the second time and happily splashing when what to my horror appears in the tub…yep, that’s right….poop.  Poop, which she is trying to grab.  Hudson is freaking out about being in the tub with Kenzie poop and about his bath being cut short and I am trying to keep my daughter from playing with her own feces.  I hand Hudson a towel and dry off Kenzie and put her on the changing table.  I go to put a diaper on her and now notice that her entire groin area is also covered in wood glue.  I now do what so many moms before me have done and begin peeling dried wood glue from my daughter’s crotch.  You will not find advice for this in any parenting manual.  That finished, I put her in pajamas, brush her matted hair as well as I can and start the water in our tub for Hudson’s bath.  Now Hudson is in the bath tub which has been completely filled and says “I have to go to the potty”.  He jumps out of the bath and goes to the toilet (I am now on the phone with my father-in law—this will come into play later).   He tells me he’s finished and then gets back in the tub.   As I said, I am on the phone and yet again distracted (you think I would learn) and hear splashing coming from the toilet.  I turn to find Kenzie splashing in toilet water.  Toilet water, which also has in it, you guessed it, more poop.  Now I am trying to hang up the phone and yet again keep her from touching her face, hair, etc.  Thankfully, I still have the dish soap handy from when we went through this routine earlier today and manage to wash her sticky glue covered and now poop covered hand off in the sink.   Soooo that’s how I spent my day…hope yours was better.

Little Nick Nolte
Happy birthday, my sweet Tasmanian devil.  Please don't ever do this to me again.

In honor of the almost one year anniversary of the Great Wood Glue Incident, I have one wish for all of you.  May your days be filled with love and laughter and may your nipples and your crotch always be adhesive free.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo Friday: Have someone take your picture

Guest Post from Ann

I was wearing a bathrobe because none of my clothes fit. My daughter had been born three days before and I was happy and tired and I looked like a stranger to myself. A puffy-faced, scraggly-haired, pot-bellied stranger who I might avoid if I ran into her in public, especially if she were wearing that bathrobe and weeping when she attempted to read On the Night You Were Born. The last thing I wanted was for someone to take my picture, but I'm glad my husband did. It just captures that time perfectly. 
I thought about that photo when I read this great essay with the headline "The Mom Stays in the Picture" on the Huffington Post. You should read it. Even when I'm not worried about how I look (and, if you know me, you know that that's not usually one of my particular hangups), I need to remind myself to actually get into some photos. When you like taking photos, you find yourself behind the camera a lot. Just be sure to have some with you in there. Or offer to take some of your photo-crazy friend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Suburban Cowboy

Yesterday was Western Day at Hudson’s preschool.  Hudson was properly dressed in a pearl snap button up shirt, cowboy hat, and Stride-Rite shoes.  I’m still getting chastised for my failure to provide actual cowboy boots.  Seriously, if your kid asks you for cowboy boots, for the love of God, just buy some.  Trust me, you will never hear the end of it.

I also dressed for the occasion.  I wore my newly purchased Lucchese cowboy boots.  I know what you’re thinking-I have boots and Hudson doesn’t, but I had to get them.  I’ve lived in Oklahoma for 14 years now.  If I didn’t get a pair of cowboy boots, I think I would have been deported out of the state.  Plus, they look good with skinny jeans.  In an effort to look chic, I paired my boots with an Antonio Melani handbag.  Even a cowgirl’s got to be properly accessorized.   All the other suburbanite cowgirl moms had the same idea.  Everyone was a little bit country, a little bit In Style magazine.

We sat on a picnic blanket and had cowboy fare of hot dogs and in my case, a QuikTrip sandwich.  The kids made stick horses using cardboard rolls and Hudson very sweetly gave his a drink of water out of his hat.  The rest of the day Hudson told everyone that he met that cowboys use their hat to hold water.  Everyone.

After school, I picked up my little buckaroo and we saddled up in the SUV and headed out for our weekly trip to Starbucks.  Nothing draws attention to how ridiculous you look in western wear like walking into a Starbucks.  I’m pretty sure no self-respecting cowboy ever ordered a cafĂ© mocha.  I tried to take Hudson’s picture but apparently real cowboys don’t let their moms take their picture at Starbuck’s with their iPhone.  Thankfully, living the suburban cowboy life is tiring…

Sweet dreams, buckaroo.

It's Coming True

The other night, my wonderful in-laws watched the kids so we could regain our sanity.  We went to Red Lobster, which is oh so romantic, but sometimes, you just need some crab legs and some cheddar biscuits.  While we were waiting on our table we noticed, while peering over the edge of our iPhones, another couple, not speaking, both on their iPhones. It was a totally different situation from ours though.  It was imperative that Eric check on Oktoberfest tickets right then and there and that I look at Facebook pictures of what other people had for dinner while I’m sure the other couple were on their phones because they just didn’t love each other any more and had nothing left to talk about.

On the way home it was even more noticeable how many people are on their phones because in the dark you could see the glow from all the cell phone screens in the surrounding cars.  The couple next to us were both on theirs’.  Someone in the SUV in front of us.  I think the vision of the world portrayed in WALL-E is starting to come true.

Eric asked me if I thought anything good came of smartphones and I said something about keeping in touch with friends, easy access to information…

“I’m sorry.  I wasn’t listening.  I was on my phone.  What did you say?”
“I just don’t think they should be a replacement for actual human interaction.”
“I’m sorry could you text me this conversation.”

He’s a funny guy, my husband.

We stopped at a car dealership on the way home.  I stayed in the car and checked Pinterest for kid’s craft ideas that I will buy the supplies for but never actually make.  Eric promised to text me pictures of him by trucks that he liked.

The cell phone has even begun to replace physical exertion of any kind like when Eric texts me from the bedroom to turn down the T.V. or the time I texted him at work to find out if he had taken the trash out so I wouldn’t have to leave the comfort of my bed.  I’m telling you we are one step away from abandoning walking all together and just zooming around on Hoverounds.

Now, if you would, please leave some comments on this post so I have something to read during our family dinner.  If anyone wants to get coffee and text other people together, holler at me.  I could use the company.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I tend to get onto my son for tattling a lot.  Right now I constantly feel like the referee between him and my daughter when my daughter commits such heinous crimes against him such as taking his toys, hitting, talking too loud, looking at him or just generally existing in the same space.  I should probably ease up though, because after today’s Target trip, I know where he gets it from-me.

I was walking behind a mom with her two children going to pick up some diapers and heard the boy say “Mom!  She keeps pushing me and slapping my butt!”  Right as he was saying this, the girl walked up behind him, went for the wind up, and slapped him right on the ass.

“MOM!  She just did it AGAIN!”
“No, I DIDN’T!”

The mom turned around and I saw her assessing the situation since she didn’t actually see it happen.  As a fellow mom, I know this can be a tough one.  My son recently told me that he knows for a fact that it never rains in China so I don’t take him as a credible source when he tells me his sister took his car.

It took everything inside me to not to jump up and say, “Your daughter is a liar!  She totally did just smack his ass!  I saw it!”

So I get it.  It’s hard to sit by quietly and witness an injustice being done.  I guess I just hope that if he ever gets smacked on the butt that he’ll be able to handle the situation on his own.  I also hope that he has ruled out gangbanger or member of the mob as viable career options.  Not so much for my moral objections or lack of health insurance and 401k, but because he would totally be the snitch and get himself killed.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tales of Poo

Poop.  If you are not parent you may want to stop reading now because a) I will gross you out b)I will shortly prove how uncool I have become.  Moms, why is this now not only an acceptable conversation to have, but one that gets every parent animated like no other topic?  I am amazed as to the detail we can get into while casually discussing our children’s bowel habits over a nice meal.  Anything from weird places our kids poop (mine prefers the tub), how brocolli and blueberries affects color and consistency, how corn can be of any nutritional value as it seems to not be digested at all to how well our children wipe if at all.

I also realize how big of a hypocrite this makes me.  I will listen to elderly ladies trade stool softener and laxative tips like their trading cookie recipes and turn to my husband to say in a snarky manner “at what age do we become obsessed with our own bowel movements?”  For some reason, bowel habits of the young, however, is completely acceptable.  We recently had dinner with a group of our good friends.  This group included two doctors, a lawyer, a successful business man, and a teacher.  You would think this group could tackle out nations economic, healthcare and education problems all over appetizers, but what gets us all going-completely disgusting stories about where and how our kids have taken a shit.  (It was hilarious.  You should have been there.)

I believe the dramatic poop story is one that every parent has to have to truly be accepted into the club.  Your badge of honor is earned with a good “poo-tastrophe” (I must credit my friend Lindsey for this brilliant term).  It is a sight to see a group of educated adults try to one up each other in the poo department.  “You got poop on your arm.  That ain’t nothin’.  Let me tell you about the time my daughter shat on the wall…”

I’m not suggesting we abandon this topic.  The well-told narration of a dramatic poop story is an art form.  As long as you are with other parents of course.  If you tell these stories to your friends without kids, you will quickly loose that friend.  But next time you listen to your grandma tell you how she hasn’t pooped in a week.  Don’t judge.  You’re no better.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Growing Up Brat

I was talking with my Dad the other night and was reminded of just how different my childhood was.  It makes me a little sad that my kids won’t have that same experience.  For those of you that don’t know me, my father was Air Force and I grew up in Germany.  The story we were talking about in particular, that best illustrates the uniqueness of my childhood was the time I was in Odyssey of the Mind and got to go to Baltimore for a competition.

Odyssey of the Mind is a competition centered on creative problem solving.  Our problem was we had to build a vehicle from scratch that would be able to make a few laps around track.  We won our local competition and therefore got to go to the finals in Baltimore.  Don’t be too impressed.   The thing about Department of Defense schools is that they are generally pretty small so there’s never a lot of competition.  We were one of two teams and the other team’s vehicle fell apart before it could complete a lap.

While we were in Baltimore, we got to go to Washington D.C. and we toured the White House.  While we were waiting in line, a lady in front of me struck up a conversation.
“Where are you from?”
“Really!  You don’t have an accent.”
“I’m half American.  My dad’s in the Air Force.”
“Wow, that’s neat.  So you go to a German school?”
“No, I go to school in the Netherlands.”
“But you live in Germany?”
“So…you fly to school?”
“No, I take a bus.”
“Like a regular school bus?”
“It’s more like a city bus.   Our buses are Mercedes.”
Ok, I admit it.  At this point I was just being an asshole.  They actually were made my Mercedes, but they were just regular looking buses.  I just thought this sounded pretty cool.

There were things about growing up overseas that were pretty damn cool though.  Like my best friend Ann lived in the gatehouse of a castle.  Seriously.  When they moved in they still had the original enormous skeleton keys.  At her sixteenth birthday she actually said the words, “Oh no! I just dropped my glasses in the moat.”

When we first got the Internet, we once went into a chat room and told everyone that she lived in a castle.  The response was “yeah right, and I have a flying car.”
Incidentally, I’m starting to wonder if the term military brat refers, in part, about our tendency to brag about our experiences.

I am thankful for the experience though.  I got to live a stone’s throw away from some of the most amazing cities.  I was driving distance from Brussels, Paris, and Amsterdam just to name a few.  I could get to three different countries within 30 minutes.   The only down side to this is if you have a bad sense of direction it is quite possible to start the day in Germany, try to get to a town in the Netherlands to go shopping, and accidentally end up in Belgium…almost out of gas…with the wrong currency.  For French class, I got to go to France.  For History, I got to go to the beaches of Normandy.  Oh, and I got to buy beer for the first time when I was 16.

Even more than these, the best thing about being a military brat is that it taught me the beauty of diversity and acceptance.  My friends were from all different nationalities, religions, and skin colors but to us it didn’t matter.  We were a group that were used to feeling like the outsider.  In Europe I felt American.  In America I was European.  The disgusted Arby’s clerk that watched me eat my fries with mayonnaise shortly after I moved to the states for college would agree with that last statement. (The poor Wal-mart clerk that I tried to show my ID to every time for that first year would think I was schizophrenic.)  Ask a military brat their hometown and you will be met with a confused stare.  So for a group used to not belonging, we made each other feel like we belonged.  And for that I will be eternally grateful to my fellow military brats.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photo Friday: Notice that you noticed, a.k.a. it's all in the details

Guest Post from Ann

Sometimes I get so focused on getting the perfect photo of something like the birthday girl with her face smeared with cake (come on, that’s classic) that I forget it might be nice to take a photo of the cake before it gets smashed into oblivion. Noticing details and capturing them gives your work variety. It also provides a record that’s pretty unbeatable. For example, someday when the kid in the photo is grown up, she would know that her first birthday cake had orange flowers on it or that she wore purple shoes.

On that note, I think shoes and feet make marvelous subjects for photos. When we were taking a walk recently, I noticed how cute my baby’s little feet looked poking out of her green stroller. I love the resulting image.

So go ahead and let people wonder what you’re taking a picture of THAT for (I’ve taken some of my favorites while people asked me that very question). You know, and that’s all that matters.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Droppin' Some Beats

If a days’ worth of car rides were compiled into an album, this is what it might sound like:

Track 1:  I have to pee.


Track 3:    Get your feet off the seat.
            Get your feet off the seat.
            Get your feet off the seat.
            Get your feet off the seat.
            Get. Your. Feet. Off. The. Seat.
            FEET!  OFF!

Track 4:     Is this car really old?
             How old does it have to be to be really old?
             I don’t know.
             It’s two years old.
             So is it really new or old?

Track 5:  This one is just 2 minutes of silence while I try to wrap my head around track 4.

Track 6:  The Birds are Falling from the Sky like Leaves-written and performed by Hudson Brown.  I initially thought this was a sad ballad, but after he told me this, he laughed and then said, “silly birds”.

Track 7:  No, I not.  Yes, you are.  No, I not.  Yes, you are.

Track 8:  Yes. No. Yes! No!  YES! NOOOOOO!

Track 9:  Aerosmith  “Train Kept A-Rollin’” because this what was playing when I turned on the radio to drown out Track 8.

Track 10:  Winkle, Winkle, Wittle Star…Wonder….Are - performed by Kenzie Brown

Track 11:  WhooooOOOOOP…..whooooOOOOP - performed by Hudson Brown

Track 12:  Yes. No. Yes. No. (Remix)

Track 13:  I have to pee (Dance version)

If you like this one, my sophomore album, “The Sounds of Me Trying to Make Dinner”, including hits such as “If You Want the Bow in your Hair, Stop Pulling the Bow out of Your Hair”, will be dropping next summer.

Jive Talk

Kenzie has taken to calling Eric and I “Mommy-o” and “Daddy-o”.  I’m not sure where she got this from, but it kind of makes her sound like a little hipster.  I’m expecting her to turn into the jive translator from Airplane (“Oh Stewardess! I speak jive”).  If you haven’t seen Airplane, stop reading now and go watch it.  It is only one of the dumbest and funniest movies ever made.  Anyway, I imagine in the future, we may have a conversation like this:

“Hey Mommy-o! This thirst be layin’ me to da’ bone! Jackin’ me up tight.
“I don’t understand, Kenzie.”
“Mommy-o, you gotta dig what I’m puttin’ down.  I be needin’ some moo juice.”
“Oh, you want milk.  Ok, give me just a minute.”
“What it is big mama!  Mama no raise no dummies!”

I think it would be pretty awesome to have a jive talking kid.  I think it would make the explanations for all those disputes between her and her brother more entertaining.  Instead of the usual crying, maybe instead I would get “I was just minding my own business, sitting in my groovy little stash and Hudson took my toy. I solid blew my top.”

I always wanted to raise my children to be bilingual with English and German, but I think English and Jive would be way cooler.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

False Advertising

I just found hard-boiled egg all over my stairs and almost came unglued.  I wanted to cry the day I found freeze-dried parsley on the couch…and the floor… and on the bookcase.  It is in this spirit that I call bullshit on the paper towel commercial where the kids are making a complete mess in the kitchen and the mom gives a slight smile and shake of the head as if to say “You silly, free spirited kids.  It's so cute how your nonconformist ways are destroying my kitchen.”.   Ditto to the Subaru commercial were the kids are washing the inside of the car with soapy water and toothpaste and the dad catches them in the act and cheerfully says, “You missed a spot.”  What dose of benzodiazepines do you have to be on to garner that response?  I can’t watch my daughter dump her bowl of Cheerios on the floor for the tenth time without feeling like my eyeballs might come shooting out of head as I loose my ever lovin’ mind.

I would love to be that jovial mom from that commercial that is able to have a food fight in her kitchen without a care, but I can’t.  I’m half German.  It goes against my genes.  In my version of the this commercial, it ends with me sitting in my kitchen, crying into a glass of wine, and begging a Merry Maid to move into my house.  I wish the mess didn’t bother me, but it does.  And the fact that I can’t keep up drives me batty.  If you know some good meditation techniques to deal with the anxiety caused by a mess I will never be ahead of, let me know.  Meanwhile, I’ll be looking for a bright engineering student that can preprogram a Roomba to follow my kids around the house.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What d'ya know?

Hudson asked me one morning, “Do police vans have sirens?”
“I don’t know, buddy.”
“Don’t you know everything?”
“No, there are lots of things I don’t know.”
“Well, daddy says you know everything.”
I may not know everything, but I know that my husband is a smart man and my son is going to make someone very happy one day.

Later that day, we saw an airplane while we were driving home from the grocery store.  Hudson wanted to know if it carried 2 or 5 people.  Why only these two options, I don’t know, but I said, “You know who knows a lot about airplanes? Opi.  You should ask him.” (Opi is my father, it means grandpa in German)
“What does Omi know a lot about?”
I told him that she knew a lot about computers, cooking, and gardening.  I asked him, “What do you know a lot about?” expecting an answer of cars or trains.  Instead he said this, “I know a lot about why potties need to be clean and sparkly.”  He went on to tell me that you have to wipe the dirty away so people can potty in them.  I’m not sure if he’s trying to tell me something about the state of our bathrooms or if I should just be happy that he knows that toilets, ideally, should be clean.

So to sum up the day, my family thought I knew everything, now know I know nothing and my son knows a lot about toilets.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Notes from the Fair

Wednesday we went to the fair.  Here are my random observations about the fair.

Fanny packs have resurfaced as a fashion statement. One lady wore hers with a T-shirt that read, “This is what a cool grandma looks like”.  I am going to respectfully disagree.  I have no doubt, dear lady, that you are probably a good grandma, a kind grandma, and a loving grandma, but the fact that you have chosen to pair your T-shirt with a fanny pack makes the cool part quite implausible.  Another lady used hers as a cup holder for her enormous drink which is if not stylish at least functional.

I think I got peed on by a sheep.  We walked by a family leading two freshly shorn sheep through the crowd.  I then suddenly felt mystery wetness on my ankle.  A logical person can only deduce that the offending fluid was sheep urine.

Mullets.  They are the silent killer of good taste everywhere.  I saw a tragic case of a mullet in its most severe form: the buzz cut mullet.  Let us spread awareness so this does not happen to you or a loved one.

All food is better either with cheese, bacon, deep-fried, or on a stick.  I am therefore wondering why there is not a single vendor selling cheese dip deep-fried bacon on a stick.

If you are a redneck couple and feel the need to make out in public, I will try to be ok with that.  If you could, however, make it look less like two people high on bath salts trying to eat each other’s face off it would be greatly appreciated.

I am wondering if the Native American gentleman we saw with the swastika tattoo got into the White Supremacists thanks to their affirmative action program.

Lastly, kids loose their goddamn mind at the fair.  I have nothing else to say on this topic.  It’s just fact.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo Friday: iPiccy for Easy Editing

Guest Post from Ann

Photo editing can have some truly creepy results. I’m thinking of one over-edited picture in particular of a toddler I know in which the child appears to have eyes and skin more befitting a member of the Cullen clan than a cute little cherub. I’m a big believer in trying to get things right the first time when I’m photographing something. And, yeah, yeah, Yoda said, “Try not. Do.” That said, sometimes your photos could use a crop. Or you want to put some text on them to make an invitation. Or you want to make a Warhol-esque photo collage of an incredibly cute baby.
You can do all those things in iPiccy, and it’s free and pretty darn easy. You go to, upload your photo and get to playing. The menu that pops up first includes a some things that are super-handy, including a cropping tool and a place to resize your images easily for, say, Facebook. Across the top, there are little symbols, including a magic wand for photo effects (that’s where you’ll find the pop art tool that I used for the photo above), a retouching tool and more.
My tips: Save your original, save your new version frequently as you edit, use a light hand with the tools (seriously, nobody’s skin should look like Barbie’s) and have fun.