Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Don't Know Why They Think Grandma's House is Cooler

When I went to pick up the kids from grandma and grandpa’s yesterday, after they spent the night there with their cousins, there was a full out revolt on going home. There were tears. There was gnashing of teeth. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they set my car on fire and adorned themselves in Mad Max type get-ups. Grandma and grandpa’s house is just so much cooler than mine.

I don’t know why though. Oh, I know that with grandma they do fun things like make chocolate chip cookies, play in the leaves, and eat popsicles on the big rock out front, but at our house? At our house we do exciting things like this:

That is our new washing machine. And if there’s anything that kids love in life it is a new front loading, high efficiency washing machine. They requested snacks while they watched it do its magic on a load of darks. Who needs popcorn and a movie when you have goldfish crackers and a new washing machine?

You would think that the novelty would have worn off after a few minutes when they remembered that there was still largely unpopped bubble wrap laying on the living room floor, but this is a top of the line piece of machinery. Electrolux, baby!

They requested sandwiches. Then they took their sandwiches back to the laundry room and sat. They sat for another half an hour. Unlike a movie, there’s no rewind and you do not want to miss out on the spin cycle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sometimes Inappropriate Laughter is the Best Medicine

I first met Eric’s grandmother shortly after we started dating. Eric lived in a little trailer house that sat on her property. It had housed his uncle, his aunt, and now he was living there rent-free while he went to school. It was her way of helping him through college. I moved in a couple of years later.

When I met Vera she was fiercely independent. She mowed her own lawn, hauled firewood, and generally kicked ass at life. I have pictures of her hauling lumber when we were building a doghouse. She would proudly tell you about the time that her and Eric’s grandfather owned rent houses. The tenants would call about problems and then be surprised to see her there to fix them. They always seemed surprised to have a woman show them up at home repair. It would have been plausible to me if she muttered “pussy” over her shoulder as she walked away while grabbing her nonexistent testicles. Ok, she was a devote Catholic so maybe not that plausible, but she was the kind of woman that could have pulled that off if she was ever so inclined.

We tried to do odd jobs and help out to earn our keep so to speak. I remember the time she asked me to help her paint her bedroom. I arrived bright and early at the crack of 10am. When I arrived in the room she was standing paint bucket and brush in hand with two walls already painted a pale shade of pink.

“We need to move that dresser,” she said matter-of-factly.

It was a heavy oak dresser. I knew this was the moment I was going to redeem myself for arriving late. I knew I would move that dresser much like I knew at 5 years old that I could fly if I just concentrated hard enough. And much like my 5-year-old self lying on the couch willing myself to fly like Superman, that dresser didn’t budge.

“I’ll get it,” she said ramming her 82-year-old hip into the end and muscling it away from the wall. Nothing will make you more ready to lay down some serious cash on a late night infomercial Thigh Master like being bested by a geriatric hip.

These days, she is not quite the brick house I knew her to be.  Vera recently suffered a stroke that has left her left side virtually paralyzed. She is now recovering in a skilled nursing facility. She’s had good days and not so good days.

We’ve been visiting her frequently. Last time we sat with her while she ate dinner. We came straight after karate and the kids were still in the gis. The lady that usually sits to Vera’s right is always quiet and never says a word. This evening, she actually nodded off. Kenzie seemed fascinated by her. She leaned over to me, never taking her eyes off of her.

“Momma,” she said in a stage whisper.
“What, Kenzie?”
“Did she died?”

Thank you Kenzie for coming through with a well-timed and wholly inappropriate laugh during this tough time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

S#@t Gets Weird Around Here Sometimes

Sometimes shit gets weird around here. Real weird.

Let me set the scene. Eric is laying in Kenzie’s bed. Hudson is on one side reading out of his Green Lantern book. Kenzie is snuggled up on the other.

Hudson (reading): “Birrrr…birrr….”
Eric: “That’s a D not a B, buddy. Sound it out.”

Kenzie sits up. She stares at Eric’s chest with a quizzical look on her face.

Kenzie: “What are those pink circle things, Daddy?”
Eric: “Those are nipples. Hudson, don’t just guess. Sound out the word.”
Hudson: “Allll….allll…”

Kenzie stares at her own chest. I know exactly what is going to happen before it happens. She pulls up her shirt.

Kenzie: “These are my nipples.”
Eric: “Yes, they are. Alien. The word is alien.”

The nipple conversation in itself is weird. That fact that my husband was able to have the nipple conversation while simultaneously helping Hudson read, and without ever missing a beat, is telling of how often things get weird around here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Vacation Picture to Top All Vacation Pictures

You may remember the school picture to top all school pictures from last year when a certain someone was a wee bit pissed about not being able to go to kindergarten.

Well, she's at it again. This one was taken this summer on our family vacation with our friends. They were trying to take some family pictures of their kids on the beach. Kenzie was told to get out of the picture.

I'll let you guess how she felt about that.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lists Are Helpful Until They’re Not

Lately, I’ve been into making lists. Like many people, I feel like I live in an endless world of kid demands, kid extra-curicular activities, and looking for shit that my kids have lost. I felt like by the end of the day I was exhausted and had done so much without really doing anything at all. For that reason, before I go to sleep I’ve been making a list of my priorities for the next day. I’ve even taken to getting up earlier so I can have some peace and quiet in the morning to get stuff done without breaking up an argument over who pretend touched who without really touching that person, a grievous offense in the six and under crowd.  This has been working pretty well, except for two things.

One. My kids sense when I get up. I got up at 6:40 the other morning, tip-toed into the living room only to be met by a “Momma?” at the bottom of the stairs. They sense when I need time alone or when I just need to get things done and that shit is unacceptable. Unless that thing I need to get done is looking for that one tiny Lego accessory that they lost 2 months ago but is now imperative that I find right now because nothing, I repeat, nothing will go right today if said Lego accessory is not found before leaving for school.

Two. I keep adding to the list. Not because I keep thinking of things that I need to do. Because I think of things I am about to do and add them to the list for the sole purpose of being able to cross them off therefore feeling more accomplished. They started off making sense. Hudson has picture day this week. I should jot down a reminder to make sure I put the picture payment in his bag that day. Sometimes they’re weak. I need to iron Hudson’s shirt for picture day and I am just about to go iron the shirt so I will write that down so I can immediately rush back to my list and cross it off than gloat about how organized and productive I am.

If I continue on this trend I will end up with a list that looks like this…

1)  Eat Food
2)  Take a nap.
3)  Pee
4)  Watch show about 600lb person on TLC
5)  Look at dog and exclaim for the 10th time today, “What the hell is wrong with your ass? Damn!”
6)  One up #4 by watching show about 1000 lb woman who may or may not have sat on a child.
7)  Edit #1 to read “Eat healthy food”
8)  Do not turn into 1000lb woman that sits on a child.
9)  Watch follow-up show to #6 “One Ton Killer: Transformed”
10) Write angry letter to TLC about how they exploiting the morbidly obese for their own financial gain.
11)  Check guide to see when show about man with 100lb scrotal tumor is playing tomorrow.
12) Make tomorrow’s list

I will leave you now because I need to cross of the last thing on today’s list.

13. Write blog post about list making to avoid doing actual work.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

No Children Were Harmed in the Making of This Post

This weekend my nieces came over. This crew has some serious cousin love and they love spending time together. My mother-in-law and I took them to the pond and the little creek in our neighborhood. They had a blast. They rode in our little red wagon. They looked at ducks and turtles. Here they are with my oldest niece carrying rocks to throw in the water.

And here is Kenzie getting ready to bludgeon her cousin in the head with a large rock.

Ok, so that didn't really happen. She was getting ready to throw that rock in the water when we asked her to turn for a picture and she wasn't just going to set it down. That would be preposterous. When a girl's gotta throw a rock a girl's got to be ready to throw that rock the minute you put your damn iPhone down. Milliseconds count here and that rock is not going to throw itself. Anyhow, let this be a photography lesson to you all. When taking family pictures, make sure that one family member does not look like they are about to murder another family member in an extremely violent fashion. It makes for some serious awkward moments at holiday gatherings.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Little Girl Power

Ninja Princess

Sometimes it's confusing to be a girl. On one hand we tell them they can be anything they want and the next we're watching our favorite celebrities get torn apart for wearing the wrong dress/shoe combo on the red carpet. I have a 3-year old daughter, soon to be four. Like a lot of little girls her age, she is really into princesses and anything that is pink. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with that, but I just want to make sure that she is getting a message that goes beyond the importance of her appearance and how to walk in sparkly shoes. And let's face it, I'm not royalty and she is not going to grow up to be a princess. Unless she grows up to marry Prince George or succeeds in her current career aspirations of becoming a ninja princess. For this reason, I have picked out some of my favorite girl empowering books.

1) Part-Time Princess by Deborah Underwood-This story turns the tables on the tradition princess story. The princess in this story wears pretty dresses and goes to balls but also finds time to rescue the kingdom from a fire, tames dragons, and befriends trolls.

2) My Name is not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry-Isabella uses her imagination to become some of the most  remarkable women throughout history. In the process, she learns a little bit about her own strength and courage.

3) Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis-Lulu's older brother tells her that she is too little for him to play with her.  Lulu uses her imagination and goes on a morning of adventures. She realizes that she is definitely not too little after all.

4) I am Rosa Parks and I am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer-Both of these books are part of a series of biographies about ordinary people that changed the world, but they are told in a fun way that is perfect for young children.

5) Red Knit Cap Girl to the Rescue by Naoko Stoop-Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends rescue a lost polar bear cub and help him return home.

6) Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz-This is a modern twist on the story that you know. Red Riding Hood and Granny use their strength and cunning to defeat the big bad wolf. My kids think this one is hilarious and I will admit that I probably laughed a little to hard. Did I mention that Granny does tai chi?

Some resources that I have found for finding a plethora or confidence building books for girls are A Mightly Girl and PBS.

Let me hear from you. What are your favorite girl empowering books?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's Redhead Days. Nobody Cares.

Redhead Days are Sep. 5th-7th. It is now nearing the end of Redhead Days and I didn’t get a card or nothin’.

I’m disappointed in all of you. Here I am, a ginger right in front of you and I didn’t get a single piece of acknowledgement for how appreciated I am and how much the sheer nature of my hair color has enhanced your lives. And by enhanced your lives, I of course mean that when gingers take over the world as speculated, I will spare you from a life of misery if you know me and have been nice to me. Like by sending me a singing telegram for example. If you send me an e-card that took no thought, I’ll acknowledge it, but just in the sense that I’ll make sure you have a slightly less shitty job in the new ginger world order.

I've learned some fun facts about redheads. Like did you know that redheads don’t go gray? Basically, I’m a vampire. I suggest that if you don’t want to become ginger vampire food, you start paying me proper respect on Redhead Days. I like dark chocolate if you’re looking for suggestions.

Another reason you should care? Redheads can generate their own Vitamin D. You may not be seeing how this affects your life but let me spell it out for you. One day I’m going to go on America’s Got Talent. The judges will be all “Why are you just standing on stage?” and I’ll be all “I’m generating my own Vitamin D in low light conditions, bitches!” They will be shocked and awed. Then I will win the whole thing and take that show to Vegas. And then when I’m a famous millionaire, you all are going to be all, “Damn, I wish I would have been nicer to her and acknowledged her on Redhead Days so she would use her money to buy me an expensive exotic gift like an albino tiger.”

Also, if you pay me my proper respect like I deserve, when you develop osteoporosis and I don’t, I won’t make fun of you as much.

So get to shopping people! This ginger can’t wait all day! Seriously, it’s sunny outside and I burn easily.

The song of my people.

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's Like You Don't Know Me At All

My source of irritation this week is that I got 54% of the “How Hippie Are You?” quiz. It’s bullshit. They only reason I got half-hippie is because I don’t particularly like tie-dye and I like to shower. Apparently the writers of this quiz are only concerned with appearances, which is very non-hippie.

I bought my kids metal lunch trays so they could take lunch to school and produce no trash. I buy compostable trash bags and my husband is afraid to bring plastic bags home. Does that count for nothing, quiz writers?

Oh sure, I still drive an SUV, but I’m looking at a electric and hybrid cars and am planning on ordering a Ford Fusion Energi which can drive 21 miles fully electric so get off my case, quiz people!

Do you know that I compost quiz writers? Do you even care? Ok, I kind of gave up on that when the compost turned to what could only be described as the contents of a porta-potty, but still…it’s something.

My friend who lives in Portland, raises backyard chickens and wears patchouli oil only got 74%. How dare you deny her her full hippiness, quiz people?

I got half-hippie on the same day that I bought dental floss in cardboard recyclable packaging. Seriously, quiz writers? Hippie dental floss doesn’t even get me to 60%? Not that that even matters to them. They didn’t even bother to ask. It’s all about what I’m wearing and my personal hygiene. And if I like the Grateful Dead enough. I subscribe to both the Indie channel and the Woody Guthrie/Arlo Guthrie channel on Pandora. It’s like you don’t know me at all, quiz makers.

It's 100% vegan. In case anyone was worried about that.

I ate falafel flavored roasted chickpeas that I bought at Whole Foods. I didn’t even know falafel was considered a flavor, but that sounds pretty damn hippie to me.

I guess I’m going to go buy some hemp shoes now so the online quiz people will see me as the hippie that I know I truly am. If you need me, I’ll be eating my feelings along with this flaxseed, non-gluten muffin.

My dad likes to lament the fact that he somehow managed to raise two hippies. We took this especially for him.

Monday, August 18, 2014

We Are More Than a Picture

I want to tell you about my friend, H (I am not going to use his real name here). I’ve know H since I was 9 years old. He was a year older than me. We went to school together in Germany. We’re both military brats. We rode the bus together and we teased each other about being short. This is funny because we’re both short. We had that in common. What we don’t have in common is our skin color. H is black and I am very white, shockingly caucasian as Bill Burr would say.

Recently we got to talking about the Michael Brown case over Facebook and how there is always a picture war after an unarmed black man is shot. You know the one, the pictures of the young black man where he looks like he is in a gang or a criminal to counter the pictures the same black man in a cap and gown or with his family, looking innocent and child-like, like an upstanding citizen. I asked him if he had seen the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag on Twitter. He responded with his own, a picture taken at a Halloween party.

And then I cried.

I cried because I know that I will never have to face that. H and I have know each other since the 3rd grade. We grew up together. We had the same friends. Our parents had the same job. We both grew up overseas. We come from the same background and the only reason that I will never face what he faces is because of the color of my skin.

If they gunned me down, I know what picture they would use. It would be a family picture. It would be a picture of me with my husband and my children. I’m not worried that they would use that picture of me in college drunk with my friends. I’m not worried that they would use one of the pictures of me smoking or that time I dressed up as a pimp for Halloween. I know no one would judge me for a picture or even a questionable choice when I was younger. I would be a mother and a wife and a daughter and a sister and a friend. I know that. But if my friend got gunned down? There is a good chance that to some he would be simply a thug.

That is not okay.

If you asked me to pick one picture that showed who I am I don’t know if I could.  I am all of them. I am the sum of all my experiences and all the pictures. I don’t know if I’m good or bad. I am neither, or both.  But what I do know is that I am a human and I know with certainty that I am no more human than anyone else because of the color of my skin.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's Fight Club Up In Here

Hudson and Kenzie have decided that they would like to go to karate class. Kenzie is pretty sure she could break a board if given the opportunity. God help us.

This all started when Eric showed Hudson a video from Apollo’s Martial Arts. He was super excited, mostly about the belts. He would like a black one. This kid is a sucker for a uniform. We had to tell him he actually had to work for it and they didn’t give those out just because he was wearing black shoes that day. He assured us that he really wanted to do it anyway and would be a black belt in no time. Kenzie came over to watch the video and decided that she would like to be a black belt too.

Since then it has been Fight Club around here. They found a stepladder and decided to do jumps off of it. It was as if WWE merged with Kidz Bop. This has been mixed in with karate gymnastics and kung fu ballet. They’ve also taken to sparing with each other. I thought it had gone to far when Hudson announced that Kenzie had kicked him in the…well, you can guess, but he was laughing so I guess it wasn’t too terrible. Kenzie followed this up with the exclamation; “I AM THE BEST GIRL EVER!” and a crazy face that would make Brad Pitt lose his shit.

Here are some snippets of actual conversations we have had.

Kenzie: “Daddy, come down here and fight me.”
Eric: “I don’t think so.”
Kenzie: “Daddy, come here and hit me.”
Eric: “That’s not happening.”
Kenzie: “Kick me.”
Eric: “Kenzie, I’m not going to kick you.”
Kenzie: “Mommy, you come down here and fight me.”
Me: “No.”
Kenzie: “Why?”
Me: “Because you’re scaring me.”

We’ve also been assured by our children that karate skills will come in quite handy when killing bugs.

So I guess karate class it is. I’m sure I’ll have more to report on this subject, but for now I will sign off with a HIIIIIII-YA!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Five Desks

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Leadership Boot Camp and I want to tell you about all of it. I want to tell you about the amazing moms that I met that are changing this country. I want to tell you about the survivors I met that carry on and stand up to make my children and your children safer. I want to tell you about the mom that I met whose 14-year-old son was shot and killed but she continues to fight every day and is one of the fiercest, bravest ladies I have met. I want to tell you about what it was like to listen to Richard Martinez speak, the father of Christopher who was shot and killed in Isla Vista earlier this year. I want to tell you about all of it, but I can’t. I can’t make you see this incredible experience through my eyes. I do, however, want to share this. This one moment that I know I will never forget. The moment that I will draw on for strength and for bravery when mine is faltering.

During one of our training sessions, I ended up in a small group with one of the teachers from Sandy Hook.  She teaches second grade. Second grade…the grade that comes after the first. I know that seems like a simple thing to point out, but I mention this because in this case it is not necessarily true. Because on December 14, 2012, 20 first-graders were shot and killed in their classroom. Twenty children never got to the second grade. This teacher had in her classroom two students that escaped that day. They got away when the shooter reloaded. They got to see the second grade. Many didn’t get that chance.

And here is the image that will stay with me. It’s what I have thought about constantly since she shared it. While preparing for the school year, she said, they had to pull five desks out of one of their classrooms.

Five desks. I can’t keep that image out of my head. Five desks. A hole in this classroom that was robbed of five second-graders. Five desks being pushed in a storage closet. And for every desk there is a family, a family that is grieving. Families that should be going into second grade classrooms for parent-teacher conferences, looking at homework, and going to holiday parties, but instead face a lifetime of grief.

Look, I get it. It’s hard to talk about gun violence. It’s not pleasant. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary to have those conversations with people. It’s scary to speak up for what you believe in, but we have a choice to make. We can either be brave and fight for what’s right or we can keep pulling desks out of classrooms. I choose the former.

Not one more empty desk.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How to Entertain Your Kids This Summer

Hey, parents! Are you tired of coming up with novel ways to entertain your kids this summer? Do you want to choke the next person posting pictures to Facebook of the creative art project they are doing with their children while yours are in the middle of a 5 hour SpongeBob marathon losing brain cells by the minute? Do you feel like there are just not enough popsicle sticks in the world to actually complete that kid's craft you saw on Pinterest? I know I answer with an emphatic yes to all of the above. I’ve even tried to make the mundane tasks of cleaning and grocery shopping fun, but it turns out kids see right through that shit knowing good and well that I am no Mary Poppins. (And while we’re at it, screw you Mary Poppins for making it all seem so easy. I’d be a hit with the kids too if I had dancing penguins to follow me around, but it’s Oklahoma and penguins are hard to come by, dancing or otherwise.)

But I digress. I have come up with one way to deal with hyper children over the summer. I call this game “Put the kids in the closet”. They’re quiet, they’re contained. Hell, I read a whole book chapter while my kids were safely stored in the closet.

Ok, so I can’t claim credit for this game. What really happened was that Hudson yelled at me from upstairs and asked me come upstairs and look at something. I was less than enthused since he asked me this several times today, sometimes with only a minute or two between requests, but when he added “I taught Kenzie something” I knew this would be interesting. I opened the bathroom closet door to find this.

Although I am not the kind of parent who actually stores her kids in a closet, I am the kind of person who first grabbed her cell phone to take a picture before I told them to never ever do this again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Civil War Had Pirates

In Italy, their version of the American Civil War is a bit...different. I found this in a toy store in Florence.

I believe that there's a pirate, the little know third contender in the Civil War. Obviously, the pirates got involved in the Civil War when the federal government wanted to tax their booty.  The pirates felt that this was unfair and told the government, "Hands off of our booty!". They really felt this was federal overreach, groping if you will. 

Fun fact about the pirates in the civil war. When they ran into battle they would do so with a loud war cry. This was called the "booty call".

Sadly, their fight came to a quick end due to an unfortunate uniform choice.  See, you would assume that buckle says US for United States, but really it just said us. When the other side's uniforms didn't say "them" on them, they got confused forcing them to quickly back that thang up and retreat.

According to the box, this figure is one of four. We can only hope that one of the other three is something equally awesome like a Jedi.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Italians Don't Do Luggage

Some random thoughts about our trip to Italy, specifically getting there.

Those travel pillows are goofy and essential.

Swiss Air is my new favorite airline.  I’m adding air travel to the list of things that the Swiss do well along with chocolate, watches and army knives.

I’m adding getting people their luggage to the list of things that the Italians do poorly.

Let me rewind to the time I went to Rome in 2009. You may remember that was the time that I met two Fonzies. My friend Kelly lost her luggage on that trip. When she asked the representative at the airport when she could expect it, she was told with the shrug of the shoulders, “Maybe one or two days.” Thinking this could not be right, she asked the hotel concierge the same question. The answer was another shrug of the shoulders, “Maybe one or two days.”

On our trip to Florence, Eric was the one who lost his luggage along with about 10 other people on our flight. Any where else if that many people from one flight lost their luggage there would be explanations, apologies, vouchers, and perhaps some self flogging. In Italy it’s more of a “oh well, shit happens” situation.  We got in line with our 10 fellow luggageless Americans and filled out the claim form. “When can I expect my suitcase?” asked Eric. “Mmmm…maybe tomorrow.” This was not terribly reassuring, but thankfully she gave us a number that we could call to check on it.  Except…

Fast forward to the next morning. Eric received a text around 8:00 saying his luggage had been picked up and was it’s way by courier. By 9:30 when we still hadn’t received the suitcase, Eric decided to call and check on it. When no one answered we took a closer look at the paper we received at the airport. 8:00am-9:00am and 3:00pm-4:00pm. Those were the opening hours. Two hours a day. They answer the phones two hours a day.

At 1:30 that afternoon we received the suitcase meaning it took 6 hours to get from the airport to our apartment. I’m guessing this is because one courier was delivering to the 10 other people that lost their suitcase.  Either that or the same person that makes the deliveries is in charge of answering the phones two hours a day.

They may not do luggage well, but I'll forgive them because well, their city looks like this.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Return of Ninja Squirrel

It's been about a year since we last saw ninja squirrel. I wrote about him twice, here and here. When I last left him, he had effectively infiltrated my poor husband's mind and left him defeated. Then mercifully he went away never to be seen again. We thought.

Ninja squirrel has returned and his skills are better than ever. It appears he has been on an obscure mountain top training with the best ninja masters to learn moves such as this.

Just look at that control. Look at that leg strength. Look at that grip. Listen to the way he is yelling at Eric to kiss his furry squirrel ass.

Squirrel season 2014 has begun. Ninja squirrel 1: Eric 0.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

If You Tell a 3-Year Old to Clean Her Room

If you tell a 3-year old to clean her room, she will pretend not to hear you.

When she pretends not to hear you, you will ask her again. This time louder.

When you ask her again, she will pretend she’s a dog and therefore unable to clean her room.

When she pretends to be a dog and therefore unable to clean her room, you will threaten to put her in time out.

When you threaten to put her in time out she will pick up one toy just to tease you and then immediately put it down again.

When she picks up a toy just to tease you and then puts it down again, you will lose your mind and you will yell.

When you lose your mind and yell, she will pout and cry and make you feel like a horrible person.

Then she will ask you to do her hair.

When she asks you to do her hair, you will do it to prove that you are not actually a horrible person.

After you do her hair and prove you are not a horrible person, you will kindly ask her to clean her room.

This will remind her that it’s time to jump off of the couch.

When you see her jumping off of the couch instead of cleaning her room, you will threaten to start throwing away toys that are not put up.  You will pick up a toy horse and ask her if it is going in her room or in the trash.

When you threaten to throw her toys in the trash, she will call your bluff and tell you to throw her toy horse in the trash.

You will walk to the trash and say, “I’m serious!”.  She will say simply, “Trash.”

When she tells you to throw her toy horse in the trash, you will cave and set it on the lid of the trashcan because you will be reminded that you waited in line one hour at Toys ‘R’ Us at Christmas time to buy the toy horse.

Thinking of this will make you realize that Santa got all the credit for that one and you’re not even appreciated.  Then you will be broken.

When your 3-year old sees that you are broken, she will show mercy and go upstairs to clean her room. She will come down and tell you proudly that she cleaned her room and ask if you want to see it.  You will go upstairs.  She will hold your hand, soothing your frazzled mind and your battered soul.

And when you see her room you will realize that you have just been schooled by a 3-year old.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Things I Said Out Loud Part Deux

Things I have said within a 1-hour window.

"Stop drinking the shower water from the floor."

"Stop licking the shower door."

"Please stop brushing my eyebrows with your toothbrush."

"Stop brushing your toes with your toothbrush."

"No, you may not brush my eye."

"No, you can't touch my eyeball."

"No, I don't think it is good for your eyebrows to brush them with your toothbrush."

"The toothbrush is for brushing your teeth...only."

"No, you can't brush my teeth."

"Get my hair out of your mouth."

"I think I've told you once already to get the toothbrush off of your eyebrow and your toes."

What's the strangest thing you've said out loud today?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Don't Do This

If you decide to make steak for your husband's birthday, that is a good idea.  If you also decide to make a baked potato with it and absolutely no other green vegetables because he really isn't a fan of vegetables and only eats them out of necessity, that is a good idea. If you decide to make him two steaks because he often jokes that he just wants a second steak for dessert, that is a good idea. If you pick out the best steaks you can find, research the best way to cook them and slather them in butter, that is a good idea.  If you then cut a hole in each one of those steaks and put in birthday candles so you can claim you made him birthday steaks which you think is a hilarious pun cause get it, it rhymes with birthday cake? Don't do that. That's not going to turn out the way you thought.

You see, it turns out that steak that you just got out of a 425 degree oven is hot actually.  So unless you are wanting to give your husband a steak that will have a blue wax speckled center, don't do this.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bedtime Hulk

I’m not going to lie. Tonight was tough.  It was one of those nights that tried my patience.  It was one of those nights where I developed a deep understanding of what Bruce Banner feels like right before he morphs into the Hulk.

Bedtime is the kryptonite to my parenting mojo.  I could be Mary Poppins all day but when 7:00 hits you can find me yelling, “Just brush your teeth! Your teeth! Brush them!  For the love of God why can’t you just brush your teeth.”

Bedtime is not one of my finer moments.  I feel like I have a finite amount of parenting peace and tranquility and it runs out around 7:00.  This does not gel well with my children’s energy level with spikes around 7:00.  Around 7:00 they remind me of the meth heads that I used to take care of in the ER.  The ones that wouldn’t stop talking or moving or yelling or talking or moving.  Around 7:00 they turn into pint-sized ravers hopped up on Pixie sticks with a sprinkle of crack.

I just don’t understand why the children who have been fiercely independent the rest of the day are now requiring instructions like, “Put the toothpaste on your toothbrush.  Now brush your teeth.  Brush, don’t just hold the toothbrush in your mouth.  You have to move your toothbrush!”

I’ve tried it all.  I’ve left the room to calm myself when I can hear myself start yelling.  I’ve tried some yoga breaths.  I’ve tried to practice some mindfulness, but all that new age shit ain’t got nothing on my kids who at one point were jumping around the living room wearing only underwear and cowboy hats.  I bet if Buddha had kids around while seeking enlightment, his path to awakening would have involved a lot less meditation and a lot more drinking.

I wish I could end this post with a “and then I figured out what the secret to a calm bedtime routine was”.  I can’t.  I will tell you that I apologized to Hudson for sometimes loosing my temper.  I promised him I would work on it if he would work on listening.  He gave me his hand to shake on it.  That was nice, but I have a feeling we’ll be in the same place tomorrow.

I guess I just wrote this for anyone else reading this that feels like they may blow an aneurysm every night.  You are not alone and I raise my glass to you, frazzled parent, cause that was a rough one.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I Just Don't Appreciate Bird Poop

I’m all about enjoying the little things in life. Take nothing for granted. There are some things though, that are beyond my appreciation. Like bird poop. I’m not thankful for bird poop. My son though? He has a whole other Dali Lama zen master appreciation for the often overlooked aspects of life.

 “Guess what happened today?  While we were doing something, I saw bird poop.”

Must have been a slow day in the school yard.

I didn’t really know where to go from here.  I can normally feign some enthusiasm, but even for me this was a stretch.  “Really!!  What kind?  Was is runny? What color was it?” Nope. Not happening. Thankfully Kenzie stepped up to the plate with her observations on the bird poop topic.

“A bird can’t just poop a second time the first time.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” replied Hudson.

We're going to start our own talk show called "You'll Have No Idea What We're Talking About".  It will be wildly successful and we'll tell you if you should vaccinate your kids or not and why you're the worst parent ever.

So I’m still not sure what he was doing that led to the bird poop discovery at school and I’m not sure what led to the discussion of a bird’s bowel habits. I do know this though.  I will never be that excited about bird poop and I’d say about 75% I am completely clueless as to the conversations that happen around here.  Seriously, won't stop me from telling you about why you're a horrible parent.

This I can appreciate.  What is sure to happen after this, not so much.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Things That Did, Did Not, and Will Happen

I did pack two outfits and two pairs of shoes because as of that morning, I still didn’t know what I was wearing.

I did choose the tall red ones because I was worried about not being able to see over the podium.  I did not think looking like Kilroy would be a good look.

I did alternate between zen calm and complete ohmygoddwhatdidIgetmyselfinto freakout.

I got to the theater and I did alternate between zen calm and ohmygodwhatdidwegetourselvesinto with my castmates.

I did take this selfie with my friend and cast mate Stephanie from Hugs, Kisses, and Snot before the show.

I did pee several times beforehand secondary to nervous bladder.

I did not pee myself on stage.

I did worry about tripping on stage.

I did briefly consider smuggling one of those stylish comfy chairs from the set home.

I did not engage in criminal activity and left the chairs as they were.

I did combat my cotton mouth with about a gallon of water and Altoids by the handful.

I did not trip on my way to the podium.

I worried about losing my place, talking too loud, too quiet, and/or passing out.

I did not do any of those things.  I was able to see over the podium.  I did applaud my shoe choice.

I cried, laughed, cringed, and cheered at the stories even though I have heard them before because they were that good. I did feel honored to be there.

I did make new friends and I will not forget them.

I will never forget their stories.

I will encourage you, you reading this right now, to write down your own story. You have one and it will be uniquely yours yet the story of someone else all at the same time.

I will encourage you to go to a Listen To Your Mother show near you next year.

You will not regret it.

Photo Credit: Hugs, Kisses, and Snot.

Monday, April 28, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: My life is interesting.

I’ve decided while watching CNN that my life would be a lot more exciting if I reported it like them. So here it goes…

BREAKING NEWS: Brown object found in my backyard. Is it a dog turd or a piece of Malaysian Flight 370 and is there anyway we’ll ever know?

BREAKING NEWS: Brown object is a turd. Turns out it’s actually quite easy to confirm.

BREAKING NEWS: About to eat a hard-boiled egg for breakfast. Will I choke and die?

BREAKING NEWS: No. I did not die, but does that mean I won’t choke and die tomorrow?

BREAKING NEWS: Experts confirm there is a possibility I could choke on a hard-boiled egg tomorrow! Tune in tomorrow for Breaking News to follow up on today’s Breaking News.

BREAKING NEWS: Backyard now covered in brown objects. Did Flight 370 end in my backyard?

BREAKING NEWS: Tune in for hour-long special report on turd/Flight 370 pieces mystery. We’ll ask the hard questions like is that a turd?

BREAKING NEWS: Nobody picked up poop this week. Can confirm backyard covered in turds and not pieces of Malaysian Flight 370. Who is responsible and does it have anything to do with Benghazi?

BREAKING NEWS: In death defying feat, I ate a hard-boiled egg two days in a row and did not choke and die. I’ll sit down with Wolf Blitzer and talk about my experience.

BREAKING NEWS:  Both of my children asked for white bread for their sandwich.  Is that racist and am I racist for asking that question?


BREAKING NEWS: Sanjay Gupta weighs in on how many people have the ability to eat on a daily basis without choking. The answer may surprise you.

BREAKING NEWS: Going to take a nap. We are only 30 minutes away from knowing if my intended 30 minute nap was indeed 30 minutes. If it’s a 40 minute nap, is that because of Obamacare?

BREAKING NEWS: Is my life Breaking News worthy? The results of our

Exclusive picture of near death eggs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Was Lied To For 9 Months. Twice.

Turns out that twice in my life I’ve been lied to. Both for 9-month stretches. I was perusing through Facebook today when I noticed several weight loss sites pitching their plans supposedly used by Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian. Each before picture was of one of them pregnant.  Look at any magazine cover in the grocery store check-out lane and you'll know what I'm talking about.

It's like she lost a whole person.  Oh, wait...
This is where my anger comes in. Not because they are making child-bearing look like it’s something ugly, but because when everyone was referring to me as pregnant they really meant fat.

I have two kids. That means I wasted 18 months in a blissful pregnancy glow when I what I should have been doing was feeling like a fat cow. Well, it wasn’t all blissful. There was the vomiting, but if I would have known I was just fat I would have been happy about purging all those corn dogs.

If you look at all these pregnant “before” pictures paired with the slimmed down not pregnant after pictures, it appears I could have substituted a dietary supplement for my OB/GYN. How much time did I waste in the waiting room every month, when I could have just paid a visit to Weight Watchers? Or I could have had Dr. Oz as my obstetrician since I’m kinda weird about alternative medicine and feel better with an actual doctor.  Plus, he could have delivered my babies and my belly fat.

Everything just feels like a lie now. Maternity clothes? Let’s just call them what they are-clothes that cover up your beer gut so you can pretend you’re “growing a child” clothes. Seriously, we are enabling people and it’s sick.

See? Kourtney Kardashian got thin fast!  Me too. I got thin in eight hours. I was on the brilliant weight loss plan called push an actual human being out of your vagina. It’s so fucking easy!

Seriously, I can’t understand why anyone is fat anymore.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thoughts From the Starbuck's Line

Today I made my usual Starbuck’s stop before picking Hudson up from school. I pulled up the window to pick up my tall Chai Tea Latte when the car in front of me suddenly stopped. A woman got out and visibly angry walked up to the window.

“You forgot my second cookie so you can go ahead and give me an extra one,” she said and stormed back to her car.

The confused clerk stuck his head out the window. “Excuse me?” Back she came to the window, this time slamming her hand on the windowsill to make her point.

“You forgot my second cookie. And since I had to get out of my car you can go ahead and give me an extra one.”

The clerk looked stunned. He went and got the cookies. She grabbed them and huffed back to her car.

By the time I rolled up to pick up my tea, he looked shaken. He handed me the wrong order. I could see his hands shaking.

“I think this is the wrong order.  It’s not a big deal, but I don’t want to take someone else’s drink,” I said with a smile on my face.  I didn’t want to add to his distress and really, it’s a Starbuck’s order.  It’s not like he amputated the wrong limb or something.

“I’m so sorry. I skipped an order on the computer. I’m sorry…”
“It’s ok. No problem.”
He handed me the correct order, this times his hands shaking worse than before.
“That was ridiculous back there.  I hope the rest of your customers treat you nicer today.”
“Thank you. I’m so sorry you had to listen to me…”
“It’s ok. That wasn’t your fault. Have a wonderful day!”

As I was putting my car in drive, I heard someone tell him that he had to have manager approval to give away an extra cookie. You could see the stress on his face building again.

I got angry. Angry that in about 20 seconds this thoughtless person ruined this poor man’s day. I’m sure as she drove off her goddamn free cookie she had no idea what she left behind. The shaking hands, the shaken confidence, the shit he was now taking for giving away a cookie just to make her happy.

I think in her mind she was probably just standing up for herself, but sometimes we get so caught up in standing up for ourselves that we miss the bigger picture. Outrage is great when it really matters.  But over a cookie?  That just makes you an asshole.

There are days that I wish I could change the world. I want to make it gentler and kinder. I wish there wasn’t so much violence. I wish there was more tolerance. I wish we took better care of the Earth. It’s frustrating to the things as you wish they could be and not be able to do anything about it. But this reminded me that we can. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change my environment, my community and the people I run into on a day-to-day basis. In a way, this lady at Starbuck’s reminded me of that.  She showed me far-reaching effects of a harsh word, but in that proved that I, we, could do the opposite with a kind one. The echo of a mean word is loud, but an act of compassion? I have to imagine that’s like yelling into the Grand Canyon.

The world grows what we put out into it.  I choose to grow kindness.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Safe Sex and Mass Murderers Go Hand In Hand

Oh, small town Oklahoma how I love you.

Taken in a gas station bathroom in Atoka…

Atoka, you’ve got it all figured out. What better way to get our young people to practice safe sex as well as enhancing good self-esteem and body image? Nothing says “I am confident in my manhood” like Bin Laden on your pecker. It also says “I’m not really right in the head, but I’ve got a good sense of humor…did I mention that I have Bin Laden on my pecker.”

Yes, the ladies will not be able to resist. That’s why it is so amazing that Bin Laden is only one of twelve! Who else could there be? Sadam Hussein? Hitler? William Howard Taft for the well-endowed? This condom machine offers hours of laughs and absolutely no sex.

Trust me on this one, guys. Listen, I know you’re already thinking of all the great pick-up lines to go with your politically incorrect condoms.

“President Johnson is in my pants and he’s dying to meet President Bush.”

“Speaker Boner is taking a vote. House Bill Let’s Get Freaky is expected to pass with bipartisan support.”

Just don’t. Look, I know it’s awfully tempting to run in the bedroom yelling, “Abraham Lincoln really IS the tallest president!” but you would be doing yourselves a disservice.

Women don’t want all that. Women just want things simple-a little romance and glow in the dark condoms like normal people.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

All the Shades of Gray

I call this series of photographs, "All the Shades of Gray" a study in indecision, in the medium of every gray paint sample found at Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Lowe's.

I call this last one "Just picked one already before the divorce papers read irreconcilable differences in the argument of whether or not the gray is too blue".

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Celebrity Salad Gone Wild

My neighbor is better than your neighbor. I know you’re asking yourself why I would say such an obnoxious thing. My neighbor is a chef. She is a chef who frequently gives me food and the occasional cocktail. Once she made us cocktails in the middle of the afternoon, so unless your neighbor is handing out bags of money mine is better, end of story.

Yesterday she filmed a segment for News 6. She made kale and quinoa salad. I watched her kids while she was filming the segment and she gave me some of the salad in return.

My husband eats neither kale nor quinoa. I tried to convince him he should try it because this salad was famous and had been on TV, but he wasn’t having it. This brings me to my next point.

My salad is getting a bit out of hand. I think its celebrity status is getting to it.  Yesterday afternoon it started an Instagram account.

By the end of the day it was posting selfies to Facebook.

Seriously it’s out of hand. It’s in the front yard right now throwing red onion pieces at TMZ yelling, “I am a super food!” The whole thing started over a mispronunciation of the word quinoa. “It’s pronounced KEEN-WAH, assholes!” The whole thing is made even more awkward by the fact that it has taken to speaking in an affected British accent. We’re not even going to talk about the horribly derogatory remarks made about rainbow chard.

Oh damn. I have to go. My salad is yelling at me. Something about being in a plastic container and how it doesn’t “do plastic”.

I’m gonna have to eat this son of a bitch before things truly get ugly.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Make Sure You're Not The Asshole

This morning I woke up at 5:00 am.  Not because I wanted to, but because a damn dog in my neighborhood was barking. I was sleeping so well up until that point. I was sleeping like a baby that just took Nyquil and got a visit from that Lunesta butterfly.

I tried to will the dog to shut up with my mind. It did not work. I laid there for a few minutes thinking surely the owner would realize that their f-ing dog was waking up the neighborhood. Five minutes later, still nothing.

I cursed under my breath. What is wrong with people?  If my kids wake up, I’m sending them to that douche bags house and letting him watch my kids for the next few hours. What kind of asshole lets their dog bark at butt-crack-of-dawn o’clock for this long?

Then it hit me.


Did I let Cooper in last night?

I got up to check the dog bed. No dog. I checked the living room. No dog. I opened the back door.

“Cooper?” I half whispered. And there he came prancing around the corner from the side yard looking mighty pleased with himself.

Well. Turns out, I’m the asshole.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Hope You Are Wrong

This was the fortune of the girl who just moments before rubbed a forkful of noodles on her face. This was the fortune of the girl who prompted me to say, "Hang on! You've got a noodle on your elbow." This was the fortune of the girl who about 5 minutes before prompted me to say, "Seriously, you don't have to take off your shoes to pee...or all of your clothes."

I hope you're wrong, fortune cookie.  For the sake of parents everywhere, I hope you are wrong.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

About That Day I Talked To The FBI

“A Special Agent with the FBI is trying to get a hold of you,” said my father-in-law over the phone.

Damn it!  I knew I shouldn’t have recorded that VHS of Batteries Not Included! They were not kidding with those warnings. I should have known it was only a matter of time before the law caught up with me.

“He said it was in regards to your purse that was stolen 2 years ago.”

Oh. Guess the slammer will have to wait.

Two years ago we were in the middle of selling our house. I got a call for a last minute showing.  I loaded up the kids and dog and we went to the park for about 30 minutes. Sometime in that 30 minutes someone broke the window and stole my purse out of the car. I reported it to the police but nothing ever came of it. They did try to cash a check using my identity. I was told that there had been several reports of this type of activity and they suspected a gang of some sort.

Fast forward to this week. I was thinking they were going to tell me they caught the perp. (That’s how they talk.  I know…I watch Law & Order.) I was thinking they were going to ask me to testify. I had it all planned. I would bring down the house with a “You can’t handle the truth” speech that I would deliver with emotion and tears that did not smear my make-up.

I called and was ready to do whatever was asked of me. Go undercover, wear a wire, get my cousin Vinny to…wait, I think I’m getting confused. Anyway, I was psyched.

“Hi!  This is Sabine Brown. You were trying to get a hold of me in regards to my purse that was stolen 2 years ago?”
“Yeah, do you remember where you filed that police report?”
I told him.  I waited for the ask that would require great bravery but be necessary for the good of mankind.
“Well…that was all I really needed…thanks.”

No witness protection or nothin’. Well that was anti-climactic. I guess I’ll save my Jack Nicholson moment for when they finally catch up to me for that illegal copy of Batteries Not Included.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Break 2014, Y'all!

I’ve been a bit quiet again because I was out of town…again. This time it was crazy. We went on a 3-day trip with our good friends. Spring Break 2014 ya’ll!

It wasn’t Cancun. That’s weak. It wasn’t Padre. Padre ain’t got nothin’ on this insane spring break. Nope. Great Wolf Lodge and Legoland, bitches! And that ain’t even all…the aquarium (boom!) and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (BOOM!).

It was a wild ride.

This Spring Break had everything…giant legos, tiny legos, Princess karaoke, lazy rivers, and tiny people in wet swimsuits that needed to pee. There were serenades of Let It Go. There were 3-year olds telling knock-knock jokes. There were creepy and slightly offensive animatronics of Native Americans and forest animals.

The parties went well into the wee hours past 9:00 and the Capri-Suns were flowing.

I know all you college kids thinks you party the hardest, but this is Spring Break 2014 Great Wolf Lodge style and you can’t hang.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wonderfully Weird Portland

Portland has been on my dream destination list.  My BFF Ann and I have talked about going for a while now. We like to eat, our husbands are picky eaters, and Portland seems like a dream for anyone with working taste buds. When we remembered our good friend Sara from high school lived there it became a must. Plus Sara just had an adorable baby and who can turn down adorable babies, food, and friends?

We booked a flight and last week we were off. First sign that Portland is a different kind of town?  The airport has a bike assembly area.  I love my city of Tulsa but if our airport had an assembly area for something it would be for guns or novelty fart toys.

We hopped on the MAX to meet our friend Sara at her work.  The man sitting behind us on the train was also from out of town.  He gave himself away with his southern drawl and his uncontained excitement when we passed a Panda Express.

Ann and I found the correct address only walking about 50 feet in the wrong direction.  If you know Ann and I you will know that that is quite an accomplishment for us.  Sara took off of work and her and her partner, Lena spent the next four days showing us their city.

Some of my favorite things about Portland…

Shopping. Portland takes “shop local” to a whole new level.  Sara took us to a boutique the first day.  She knew the owner and all about the owner.  The owner knew all the designers of the clothes she sold personally.  It is not uncommon for the shopkeepers to introduce themselves and in one instance, their dog.

The Green Bean bookstore is a children's bookstore that has both a finger puppet and fake mustache vending machine.  Ann modeling some of the fine finger puppet selections.

And speaking of pets-miniature goats. People have them as pets. They walk them on leashes.  How do you not love a city with miniature goats?  You don’t.  That is the answer.  You don’t.

The food.  Oh glorious Portland food!  Name a diet, any diet, and you can find a restaurant to accommodate you.  Vegetarian, vegan, carnivore, whatever…you name it, they got it.  I ate at a restaurant with nothing but pies, savory and sweet, and another that specialized in biscuits.  All those trendy places that specialize in one very particular food or have taken normal food and miniaturized it and made it handheld, it’s people like me that keep those places in business. At one of my favorite restaurants they even allowed dogs (actually not uncommon there) and had a menu for them.  I’m not sure about the goats though.  I think they’re still stuck with grass.

Voodoo Donuts
Picture by Ann Pinson

Powell’s bookstore.  It’s a bookstore that takes up almost an entire city block.  Nuff said.

It's so big it requires a map.  A very large map.
Picture by Ann Pinson

It’s weirdness.  I mean this in the best possible way.  I had always heard of the “Keep Portland Weird” bumper stickers, but now I have a whole new understanding of it.  You really have no idea what you may run into.  Man with a music stand in an open field playing the accordion? Check.  Man with a beak mask with a clothespin on it? Check.  Woman with a helmet and goggles, clown driving a van and singing over a loudspeaker?  Check and check.  Portland embraces humanity in all of its wacky forms and it’s beautiful.

Portland Japanese Garden
Photo by Ann Pinson

I could go on and on.  I could talk about the Japanese garden, the public parks, the colorful houses, the trees, etc. but I will end with this… the friendship.  I know, I know…I’m being sappy, but I got to hang out with my best friend for forever, my other friend who I have so wonderfully reconnected with, and I met my friends partner and made a new friend. In addition, Sara’s daughter thinks I’m hilarious when I do fake sneezing and pretend she has stinky feet, so I’m going to count her as a pint-sized new friend as well.   So really, what’s better than that?  Nothing.  The answer is nothing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Maybe You Touched Your Genitals

This week has been a wee bit nutty for various reasons, so I haven't yet put together a blog post about my recent trip to Portland. FYI-Portland rocks. Why? Two words-miniature goats. Two more words-pie restaurant. Two more words...well, you get the point. So as I gather my thoughts on the awesomeness that was Portland into an actual post I will leave you with this picture from my trip. Because...well...maybe you touched your genitals?

Portland has a strong history of supporting local businesses and producers so I feel confident that this bottle of Maybe You Touched Your Genitals was made and packaged in Oregon and intended for Oregonian genital-touchers.