June 28, 2013

Things you'll never hear me say...

"Mmmmm... I could go for a tuna sandwich and some cranberry sauce followed by a cup of Jello topped with Cool Whip."

"Wow. Those Syfy movie actresses are incredibly talented."

"I'd like to be a beekeeper."

"I wish Brody would shed this heavily all year long."

"Excuse me sir, that comb-over is exquisite." 

"I enjoy when children chase each other throughout the aisles of the market screaming, I wouldn't prefer that their parent keeps control of them at all." 

"I'd like to spend the weekend taking down wallpaper... and then putting a border in every room."

"I hope my daughter grows up to be just like those nice Teen Moms... or Amanda Bynes." 

"I believe that people should act superior, shallow and braggy - you know, just like the gems they idolize on those reality television shows."

"I'll just leave this mail on the table and boxes and magazines on the counter and toys all over the floor, I don't mind a mess."

"Ooh! let's go sit under that tree."

"I haven't shaved my legs in two days."

"I don't mind driving down city, all those one-ways are delightful."

"What is the name of that movie where Jack Nicholson tries to kill his family in a hotel? Whatever it is it's terrible."

"Let's invite the neighbors over for a cookout."

"Those wedge high-top sneakers are adorable."

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June 27, 2013

I want these ... immediately

1. A minty vintage telephone. I don't know why I want one, I just do. I always thought it would look so cool just sitting on a bookshelf or cabinet as I anxiously await its tinny, piercing ring. I like the yellow ones too but the mint blue is my favorite. I also love the Princess phones. So very charming and dainty. (Just like me, huh? HA!)

2. This mod dancer wooden brooch. There isn't an outfit in my closet or an occasion I can think of where I would wear this - but it's pretty awesome. I'd probably pin it to a bag or pillow... or make it into a magnet.

3. I absolutely love this typewriter print from Petit Collage. I love pretty much everything on their site but I kinda covet this the mostest. If I ever do set myself up with a little blogging/reading nook I want this print to be the first thing I hang there.

4. Flapperdoodle iPhone case. It is no secret that I am obsessed with all things Flapperdoodle. I gotta have me this case. There are so many of my favorite illustrations to choose from but I think I've settled on this one. Tee hee.

June 26, 2013

scenes from a playroom...

The playroom (which used to be called "the media room" and I always found that super obnoxious but for some reason we just couldn't seem to call it a "den") has become Scarlett's favorite place to play each night before bedtime. Mostly because that's where we take her each night before bedtime. She pretty much has no choice. This playroom has had many a facelift since her birth. In the beginning there were Baby Einstein entertainers in which she would jump and spin, blankets on the floor to protect her (from the carpet?) and various plush toys and play mats. We moved on to lots of rattles and squeaky toys and board books galore. We added a Leapfrog table. And two activity cubes. And a Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Home. And puzzles. And a Cookie Monster kitchen. And a big ole playhouse tent. You get the picture. While I do take the time to send the older toys to the "big closet" when adding new toys it's still a playroom chuck full of playthings.

Each night spent in the playroom is filled with laughter and tears. Fun and drama. Cheers and boo-boos. I have to admit, though, we have at least one good belly laugh each night.

Typical Playroom Scenarios...

Scarlett climbs onto the couch to point out ABC's on our Iwo Jima print and to bounce freely until we decide she has taken things too far and demand her descent.

Figaro (a two inch small Disney cat figure) goes missing. Normally he turns up under the couch (after we belly-crawl underneath the reclining footrest to rescue him) or crammed into the Cookie Monster kitchen food-catching basket. {He is currently M.I.A.}

The ABC puzzle is in high demand. We play with it together, she plays alone and then flings the little letters all over the room out of frustration. The puzzle is then gathered and put away but not without a lesson explained. 

Scarlett stands on anything and everything exclaiming, "I'm TALL!" (I haven't yet told her that she doesn't need to stand on anything, she is in fact very tall).

Wooden blocks are stacked up and demolished. As the tower gets higher with each block I hear, "Mama, I made!" to which I respond, "Oh my goodness, that's such a tall tower, great job!" over and over and over. Smile.

A request for bubbles is enthusiastically made. We give in and blow some bubbles all over the room. Sixty percent of the time Scarlett completely ignores them. The other forty percent is spent begging to "ho-it ho-it ho-it" (hold it - "it" being the bubble wand). She takes control of the wand, gets her hands as wet as possible, licks her fingers and is done.

We are very fortunate to have a spare room that Scarlett can utilize solely for play. Occasionally we watch a DVD, (A Charlie Brown Christmas was in heavy rotation for a few months) or play in her collapsible tunnel. We tumble around and run back and forth down the hall chasing each other. She basically owns the second floor of our house. She even has her own bathroom. I'll be sure to remind her of how grateful she should be for all of these things at every chance I get. She'll be sure to ignore me, figuring it out someday when she's in her thirties.

June 25, 2013


Hazy. Hot. Humid.

Because it's not hot enough when the temperature is in the nineties - no, we need to dump a trillion gallons of swampy moisture into the atmosphere. Awesome.

Who can stand it? Who are these people that thrive in humidity? Oh it doesn't bother me, I like the heat! Yeah? Well I'm just trying to keep my lungs functioning while bent awkwardly into a car that has GOT to be a thousand degrees to buckle Scarlett into her car seat. Immediately trying to cool down and immersed in the Honda AC, I come across handfuls of joggers along my route. REALLY? Hey, joggers, knock it off! I applaud that you are fit and 'live to run' - I truly do - but you make me uncomfortable. I can't help but picture you collapsing into a puddle of your own horror and promptly frying on the broiling concrete like a hairy, tank-top-clad egg. Can't you skip a day? Or use a treadmill? Man alive, you are just asking for trouble... and paramedics.

I love the people who barely show a bead of sweat too. Sure they complain that they are roasting yet there is no physical evidence to back up the claim. I'm one of the lucky girls who sweats primarily on her face. It's pretty awesome that everyone I come in contact with can tell that I'm a second away from dumping a cup of lemonade over my head. First, right around my eyebrows, then my upper lip and hairline. It's all very sophisticated. I'm not self conscious about it at all, honest. Throughout my life I've listened to my friends tell me, "Oh, you're so lucky you don't sweat under your arms! I ruin all my shirts!" Really? I'm lucky? You meet people with a matte face of makeup intact and you're panicking because you can't break out into the Y-M-C-A or someone may notice your pit-stain? You're right. I am lucky. I get to miss most of a conversation because I'm focused so hard on when I can break eye contact and make my next 'spin around and wipe my forehead' move. And while I loathe my upper arms I am forced to wear sleeveless shirts because I have to choose comfort over my own crazy. Yet it never fails, temps can be well into the eighties and I see people wearing hoodies. I understand in some offices it can get very chilly sitting still all day while the boss cranks the AC to frosty levels. BUT I'm talking people waiting for the bus, walking up the avenue - in the hottest direct sun of the day. In skinny jeans and sweatshirts. Huh?? Jeans?? Like full length jeans from hip to ankle. Stuck to your leg as close-fitting as possible. I can't. I just can NOT. Do what you gotta do, people, but you're blowing my mind... and kinda pissing me off.

Anyway, I feel badly for the hard-working, physical laborers on these nastiest of days. My husband included. They run themselves ragged, in and out of hot trucks, sitting in traffic with no air to cool them down and hardly a breeze - at least not one that isn't ninety-eight degrees. And the roofers! Oh, the roofers. You may as well be on the equator. Standing up there all close to the sun. Waves of heat just radiating all around you. Skin the color of brick. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it.

Kudos to all who spend their days out in the triple-H with little relief. Your next Del's is on me. (Just kidding, Ain't nobody got money for that).

June 24, 2013

don't piss me off, Art

I step in Brody's slobbery drool with bare feet and stamp it all over the house until I can get to a towel.

They have coupons in the fliers for every other razor on the planet but the two that Gregg and I use.

My Keurig denies me a full cup of coffee.

Airplanes wake me up at 3am. WE HAD A DEAL!!!!!!

Someone puts a hand or paw through a screen door or window.

People buy their kids those high-pitched whistles at events. You know the ones I'm talking about.

I see Kanye West's face anywhere. I just wanna punch that stupid mouth (and ego).

I buy those select-a-size paper towels by mistake. I loathe them.

Young girls wear ass-revealing shorts and you just know that their parents bought them.

I find cigarette butts on the beach. Even in my heaviest smoking days I had the decency to take my trash home with me.

I forget clothes in the dryer for hours on end.

I see dogs sliding around in the back of a pickup truck.

The song Daylight by Maroon 5 is on - anywhere, anytime.

Drive-thru-ers have a laundry list of shit to buy. GO INSIDE. I need a coffee, ya lazy ass. (ummm I just heard you say, Why don't YOU go inside you lazy ass!? I thought we were cool).

I finally go to use sour cream and it expired like two days prior.

You have to play the stupid driver game at a four way stop.

I obsess over wanting to get bangs cut, finally do and then immediately pin them up until they grow out.

Scarlett falls asleep in the car for two minutes thus ruining her nap for the entire day.

People don't return their carts to the designated spaces - unless they have a good reason like they're carrying two babies or their arms just fell off - but normally I'm somewhat positive it's just laziness.

June 21, 2013

so much for the beach...

See the devilish grin? See the eyes? Those are the eyes of a little beach-loving maniac who is craving independence. Don't be fooled by her seated position. Look closely, you can see the ants in her pants.

I was really really really looking forward to this day. We've had good experiences at the beach so far this season and I felt completely confident that today would be no different. I packed everything up before breakfast. I've got it down to a science. Just one tote bag filled with: snacks, diapers, wipes, sunblock, change of clothes, bags for trash, hand sanitizer, a towel, bottles of water etc. I call it my "to-go" bag and I'm pretty sure every parent has one for a child this age. In the trunk of my car I keep a mesh bag filled with sand toys, a sheet and my beach chair. Ya never know when an impromptu date with the shore will crop up.

Normally we sit and play in the soft sand but today I decided to put Scarlett in her bathing suit so we could sit near the water and she could enjoy splashing around. I brought a couple of swim diapers and chose a two-piece for ultimate diaper changing convenience. We headed out with high expectations on an absolutely beautiful beach day.

We chose a spot right at the water and Scarlett sat in my chair while I dug a little pool for her. I got out her sand toys and changed her into her swim diaper. She sat at the edge of her "pool" with her feet in the water and she was happy. She loved the wet, pebbly sand and of course, the splashing and rushing of the little waves. We shared the beach with one fisherman and a few seagulls. It was just perfect.

And then things took a turn.

After about thirty minutes Scarlett had enough of sitting and playing in her designated spot. She was getting crazy antsy. I took her for a walk being sure to keep her hand in mine. We walked back to our spot and as I let go she bolted. She ran into the sand giggling. Fine. Then she made her way toward the water. I had reminded her often that she is not to set foot in that water without my hand. Oh, toddlers. Silly, funny, defiant, experimental toddlers. She kept inching further into the water until I grabbed her and then came the meltdown. The jelly legs, the screaming, the "no! no! no!"s. Then lying in the wet sand crying. For some ridiculous reason I attempted to get her toweled off and into dry clothes. That went about as smoothly as a plane crash. Trying to get my riled up little scamp to lay flat on a sheet while I pry her wet bathing suit and diaper from her flailing body was not my finest moment. As I'm pulling off clothes she's dumping heaps of sand all over us. I'm trying to wipe the pebbles from her eyes when I notice her sand toys starting to float away. Annnnnnnnnnd here comes the tide. Now I'm demanding that she stay on the sheet while I wade into the sea for her stupid red crab mold. Because a twenty-one month old has no intention of listening to instructions, she clearly rises and runs off in her bathing suit top and drenched diaper covered in little sand stones. I chase her down and we head to the sheet once again. The sheet had seen better days at this point, let's put it that way. I manage to get a dry diaper on her - not without about a thousand pebbles inside it. Enjoy that, honey. Next, I jam a tank top over her head with the promise of a snack at the picnic table. We get her shorts on and with one arm I pack up the nearly sea-swallowed sand toys, the disheveled sheet, the towel filled with rocks, my chair and two bags. With Scarlett on my hip begging to carry her shoes I make my way up the beach, up the hill, onto the grass and to the picnic table. Out of breath and spitting nails I managed to shake everything out, brush the millions of stones from our skin and slip into my flip flops. Needless to say the snack wasn't happening.

We drove away in silence. I felt like I had a teenager in the back seat. She knew I was upset. I asked her if she knew what happened and she told me, "Run away from Mama."  I think she relates the situation to a picture in one of her favorite books, No No Yes Yes. One of the No-No pages shows an open-mouthed boy breaking free from his father's hand and running wild. We have discussed the importance of that page numerous times. I informed her that we can no longer visit the beach without a minimum of twenty five chaperones. I no longer feel confident. Not in such a beautifully dangerous place. I definitely needed a second pair of hands today and I won't even pretend that I had things under control. It was a shit-show... and I was pissed. I wanted to be able to do everything on our own. But toddlers are tough, man. Until she is able to listen and understand fear and danger I think the beach requires friends. Thank God for playgrounds.

June 20, 2013

The Scarlett Letters #15: A letter to Scarlett

Hi Lollipop,

Here's a bit of what's been going on lately, just to get you up to speed...

Sometimes we stay inside all day when it's perfectly nice weather. We play in different rooms with the same toys. We watch Blue's Clues and Super Why and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Sometimes I let you bounce around on the couch too rambunctiously despite my impending heart-attack - just because you love it.

Same goes for taking on the slide head first. You're a roughneck for certain.

I occasionally put you in outfits that are unsuitable for playgrounds because you just look so stinking cute in them.

I decided to put your crib-soother away last night before bedtime because I am convinced that it wakes you up every night when it shuts off. You have used it since you were around four months old and you loved it so much. It kinda broke my heart to see your face when you realized it was missing. That was one of my first lessons in Sometimes you gotta do what's right for your child even if it makes them sad. You got over it within three minutes and slept like a champ.

I love that you love the beach. We were taking a ride this morning and you were chanting, "beach, beach, beach, beach" from the backseat. So we went to the beach even though I wasn't dressed for it. You love to play in the sand and pick up shells and rocks. You also love throwing sand at me and running off toward the water forcing me to sprint from my sheet. Thanks for always keeping me on my toes.

Dinner time has been quite a challenge lately but I've learned that I'm okay with you just having a handful of peas or a piece of wheat bread if it teaches you that you get what I give you and not what you demand.

You love to gulp a ton of milk and make yourself burp. I love to hear you say Excuuuu Meeees. 

I love how you giggle when you find the little mouse on each page of Goodnight Moon.

Sometimes you yell at Brody to MOVE! which teaches me an instant lesson.

You are very fond of stop signs these days, pointing them out wherever we go.

You can recognize every letter of the alphabet. You were hung up on J and G for a bit but you've got 'em down now. Your pronunciation is coming along too, God bless that sweet brain.

As far as counting goes sometimes you rattle off 1 to 10 but usually it's 1,2,3,6,7,8,9.

Sometimes I just watch you play with your little figures. You put them in their car and say that they are going to "Gee-Gee's house" and it makes me so excited for the days of dollhouses and pretend play.

Your nap is normally forty five minutes to an hour each afternoon. If you want to sleep a little longer than that every now and then I would be just fine with it.

You love the part in Coraline where the 'other Father' plays the piano and sings a little song. I love the way you say Coraline.

When we take your pigtails out you look hysterical. Daddy calls you Frank Barone and I say you look like Gary Busey. Regardless, it makes for a good time.


Blankie and Bunnie
Baby Pluto figure
Keys - we made you your own special set that you promptly lost in the car and I spent fifteen minutes searching for only to find them jammed under the cushion lining of the car seat. They are no longer "traveling keys"
ABC puzzle
Bubbles - you really just want us to get the bubbles open so you can repeat, "ho it, ho it, ho it" (hold it) until we give you the wand and you stick your finger through the opening


Frozen grapes
Cereal with bananas

Your personality is really starting to blossom these days. You are funny, silly, smart, a little impatient, and mostly happy. You throw a little tantrum now and then but we just walk away and you realize how foolish it seems to be laying on the floor crying and you get up and get over it. You are showing signs of empathy and you are good about sharing so far. I love you to pieces even in those moments where you are testing the hell out of me. I like a good challenge - I'm gonna keep you around for as long as I'm allowed. XO Mama

(21 months)



June 19, 2013

pregnancies and miscarriages

Oh, mamas. I am writing this post for my beloved friends - a few who are pregnant for the first time and a few who have recently suffered miscarriages. I love you all.

I remember the feeling of reading my very first positive pregnancy test. There was just nothing to compare it to. After a year and a half of disappointment it had finally happened. The excitement, the expectations, the plans... just a mind spinning out of control with happiness and hopefulness. I imagine that is what most women pregnant for the first time feel. The ones who really want a baby anyhow and especially the ones who have been trying like hell to have one.

So, as I find out that my friends are about to become first time mothers I have so many thoughts rushing my mind. First, ultimate joy. So happy that they will get to experience the things that are most wonderful, picturing them holding their sweet baby for the first time, the baby names, the nursery - all that fun stuff. Next, hope. Wishing them the very best, no sickness, no complications - just a really amazing journey that they will enjoy and remember fondly for the rest of their lives. Lastly, fear. Fear that they could potentially endure a loss. A loss that so many experience, a loss that Gregg and I experienced.   

For my dearest loves who have recently suffered a loss: I am so very sorry. There's hardly a sentence I can conjure up that will make you feel any better. There aren't many things that you can do - you can cry and grieve, you can get pissed and ask WHY ME? and when you are ready you can move on. You can find that strength that has gotten you through everything else in your life and use it once again. I urge you to keep your faith. A positive attitude and sunny outlook really do make all the difference in the world. Don't give up, we are all praying for you and love you very much - you will make it through.

To the pregnant gals, I hope you are feeling well, I hope you are making the most of each day as best you can. I realize nausea and headaches and bloating and swelling can take the wind out of your sails but I assure you when you hold your precious baby in your arms you'll forget allllllll about those ailments. That was the old you. Your new life begins when you see your baby's beautiful face. Everything prior to that moment becomes blurred and semi-insignificant. You'll see what I mean soon enough and I can't wait 'til you do!

Thinking of you all, sending my love and prayers. Best wishes and many, many blessings!


June 18, 2013

a bullhorn. REALLY??

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Yup. Stephanie Tanner said it best -- and she was merely an adorable albeit annoying child. Was she wise beyond her years? Or did her writers have homes on my street? I'll never be sure because I'm too lazy to do the research.

I'm saddened yet possibly proud to say that I've started to lose touch with this generation. The days of being out all hours of the night and sleeping til eleven are long gone. Thank you, Scarlett. I'm now the one that peers out behind my curtain and shade to see/hear what is going on far too close to my driveway. I'm the lady that glances at the clock that reads 9:58 pm and finds it bewildering and maddening that parents aren't wrangling their teens and advising them to lower their voices because people on the street have small children. The one who kinda hates those teens and wishes them driver's licenses so they'll get the hell out of here. I'll take my chances on their erratic new-driver behavior - I'm used to it since their parents have shown nothing better.

Ugh. I didn't plan to be an old witch in my mid-thirties but what the frigging hell!!??? The percentage of increasingly irresponsible, inconsiderate and disrespectful youth that I've encountered over the past few years is startling. Don't get me wrong - I know a bunch of really great kids too and they can thank their parents and families for that, the proof is truly in the pudding on that one. But these bastards that live on my street are absolutely rotten. Their parents couldn't give a smaller shit. I've seen it with my own eyes. I've written this exact story before - and -as I've just re-read that post- I see it was nearly word for word at times. Funny how years later I am still feeling the same as these kids have gotten older and should've become less arrogant. Yeah no.

Sure I remember being their age. I was immature. I didn't want to listen to my parents. I wanted to be myself and do what I wanted to do. Normal teen angst. The difference was what I wanted versus what I was allowed to do. Another difference is that these kids have zero respect... because their parents don't enforce good manners or rules. They have no law. They fear no consequence. The other night a group of about eight kids stood in front of our house from 8pm - 10pm yelling, swearing, screaming into a bullhorn and playing siren sounds. Yes, you read that right. Would your parents have allowed you to yell into a bullhorn in front of your neighbors homes period? Let alone at night? My mother would have told me once to put it away and then she would've shuffled out in her slippers and smashed that thing in front of me and my friends. We respected our neighbors. We had consideration. Our parents made sure of that.

It may seem that I am just super uptight; maybe you are more lenient with situations like this. But I get angry. I shouldn't have to close my windows on a beautiful night because the end of my driveway is the place to be. They all have bedrooms, backyards and even front yards. Why walk three houses down to congregate here? I often wonder what the other neighbors are thinking. The couple with the two small girls for instance. Are they enjoying their movie night, cozied up in pajamas eating ice cream sundaes listening to young Zachy dropping F bombs into a megaphone? I can't imagine that's the case.

I wonder will it ever change? At first I most dreaded hearing the lady at the end of the cul-de-sac screaming at her children daily. Then I became more obsessed with the infuriating sounds of bass banging from the kid's car stereo in the driveway of the house next to her. Months later, and two houses down from them, the little blonde bastard became my worst nightmare with his fresh mouth and his desire to taunt my dog. Now it's your classic triple combo that drives me insane. The douchebag hat trick if you will.

This is a case of What You See Is NOT Always What You Get. These people mow their lawns, wash their cars and put wreaths on their doors. It appears to be a great little street. Sadly, good parenting has forsaken this area. I don't want to fit in by any means - if anything I want to get the hell out and find a place that is good for Scarlett. Do those places even exist anymore? If they do, my mission is to find one - next address:  Respectville, USA. Or maybe New Zealand.

June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Wishing all the dads out there a very happy Father's Day!! Children look up to their father. They see his work ethic, his patience, his strong hands and warm smile. They hear his kind words. They follow in his footsteps - wishing to be just like him. 

Dads, be that strong and gentle man. Do good. Be courteous and gracious. Be present. Let the babies of today become the adults that we wish them to be. They all start out as good human beings and what they become has everything to do with what they are taught. Continue to be wonderful.

To all the wonderful fathers out there - we love you, we are proud of you and we wish you the happiest day today and every day. Happy Father's Day!

* Dedicated to: My husband- the loving father of my little darling - we love you, Dada! And to my own father- who served our country, finished college and worked hard to support our family. Thank you. 

June 15, 2013

hot air balloons

I've recently rekindled my love affair with hot air balloons. I was just three or four years old when I had my first glimpse of them. I had woken early and from my bedroom window I could see huge, colorful balloons sailing across the sky. I remember running outside to admire them with jaw-dropping awe.

I created this print to remind myself of that very morning. It sounds a little corny but it makes me happy every time I see it.

June 14, 2013

who falls asleep THAT quickly??

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It's 9pm in the Leach home. The baby is (on average) still yappin away in her crib, playing with Minnie and Blue, Blankie and Bunny. Gregg is working feverishly at his pre-bed routine of brushing his teeth, getting his clothes and work things ready for 4am and taking the dog outside for his last whiz. What am I doing you ask? Easy. I'm capping off the night with an episode of Roseanne to lull me to sleep with its dreamy harmonica theme and her angelic cackle. Seriously, I watch Roseanne nearly every night.

I arrange my three pillows (none of them worth a damn) in the most beneficial way for Roseanne-viewing. I set my phone to vibrate, throw on some chapstick, slather on some lotion and hit that sack. Gregg follows suit shortly, grumbling about how the dog is an asshole and was too preoccupied with the rabbit in the yard to pee and how he better not wake him up at 3am. I giggle as I throw the queen of spades in a rousing game of Crazy Eights on my phone. Take THAT computer competitor. 

Roseanne and her family do their job - making me laugh and forget my troubles. I rotate four seasons on DVD so I don't get too bored but yes, there are episodes that even the most die-hard of fans has to pass on. Like the Broadway style fantasy episode. Ugh, just a horrible idea.

Gregg hits the pillow with one eye on the TV. After a little of our goofball-slapstick comedy he says "G'nite!" He turns toward me and shuts his eyes. I glance at the clock. Within two minutes I hear him breathing heavier. His nose-breath is basically punching me in the face. I flip my pillow up higher to block it. He is asleep already!! How on earth can anyone fall asleep so quickly??? I bring this up to him on a regular basis. YES, of course I realize how physically exhausting his job is and further recognize the fact that I couldn't do that work for five minutes. But ohhhhh how nice it would be to rest my mind and fall asleep in just a couple of minutes. The minute I hit my pillow it's like my mind drinks a pot of black coffee and gets on the treadmill...

...Ugh, I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer. And what the hell are we going to have with it anyway? Sweet potatoes I guess. If they aren't covered in sawdust from the broken track on that stupid drawer above. Gotta get that frigging drawer fixed! Can I do it myself? I don't know how to replace a track. Forget it. I'll just move the potatoes. Did I write down my dentist appointment? Is that next week or THIS week? I love my new toothbrush. And those floss pick things. My teeth are in great shape, the dentist is gonna have to admit it. Shit, I didn't get so-and-so's birthday gift yet maybe I can find something at Target I think I have wrapping paper but I should get some anyway so I don't run out. And a bow. I have to call Cox. I have to call Allstate. I have to call MetLife. I need to mail so-and-so's card tomorrow. Did I take my plants in? It's pouring out. My plants are dead. Great. Well they never stood a chance anyway. I should make eggs for the baby in the morning she hasn't had them in a while. Nah, she doesn't even eat them anymore she just throws them to the dog. She can have a waffle and yogurt. We need waffles, I have to write that on the list. Should I go to the market in the morning or wait until the weekend? Oh my God Hannibal is on tonight! She needs to take at least a 45 minute nap tomorrow so I can watch it. 

And on and on and on and on and on ... 

So, kudos to you, Gregg Leach, and all who are like you. Sleep on with your powerful nostril breath and your quick REM achievement, you lucky bastards.

June 13, 2013

favorite books...

I recently read a post from a great blogger at From Tracie that has left me daydreaming. It was about her beautiful, book-loving soon-to-be-ten year old daughter and her most favorite page-turners.You can read the post here.

Since reading that post I have been thinking about my own early years and how I would lay across my bed for hours reading chapter after chapter. I think my first real literary infatuation was with the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. I read those books over and over. A few years ago I ordered them on e-bay with hopes that I would someday have a daughter to give them to. (Smile). Then I graduated to The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High series'. I remember trading those books with my friends and getting so excited to read a new one. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton became another one of my most treasured books. I was semi-obsessed with its boy-heavy cast in the then-popular movie so it was only natural that I read the book.

It wasn't long before I developed my passion for mystery and horror. I started with Lois Duncan. Two of my favorites were Down A Dark Hall and Summer Of Fear. In fact, I found Down A Dark Hall in a box a few years ago and re-read it. While I am nearly twenty-five years older than I was when I first read it I loved it still.

High School summer reading lists brought about some of the best works I've ever read- The Catcher In The Rye and Go Ask Alice to name a couple. Soon, though, I would fall deeply in love with the words of Stephen King... and I hardly ever strayed. The Shining and Different Seasons were my top two at the time followed by It and Carrie. 

Nowadays I don't read very many books. I've become more of a Real Simple magazine kinda gal. Last week, however, I bought and read Stephen King's Joyland and it was phenomenal. I loved it so, so, so, so much! I loved the characters, the setting and mostly King's ability to almost hide the ghost story in the background yet maintain my interest. He is the master!

I've enjoyed tripping down my adolescent book-adoring memory lane and I urge you to do the same. I can still see myself on that pretty pink twin bed, curtains blowing, summer breezes, lazy days. A mind filled with my own little Joyland of imagined characters and places all brought about by a stranger's words on a printed page. A reminder to keep reading and to keep our little ones reading... they deserve pleasant memories too.

What were some of your favorite books as a young adult?

June 12, 2013

What do YOU think?

A few thoughts that have been rattling around in my head lately...

Allstate's slogan should be changed to, "Allstate. We are the absolute worst!"

For someone who claims to be obsessed with The Wizard of Oz, it's not like I read all the books or even saw the new movie. Maybe I should just start saying, Yeah, I like The Wizard of Oz. 

"Never turn your back on the ocean" is the equivalent of "Never turn your back on a toddler who's recently learned they can cram things up their nose."

I probably should've gone to school for Meteorology.

Dinner doesn't have to be fancy. It can consist of random pantry and freezer ingredients and although it may look unappealing it won't kill you. I'm pretty sure anyway.

I really and truly am just super horrible at growing something green. A Pot. Soil. Water. Sunlight. WHAT is the problem??? 

Why does that back corner in CVS always smell like shit?? I am officially unable to buy face wash or moisturizer there, I just can't hold my breath for that long.

At some point people become elderly and stop getting very much attention and probably very few compliments. And that breaks my heart.

Materialistic and braggy people are some of my least favorite. It matters less about your car and more about what comes out of your mouth.

I still think thunder is awesome... when it's not 2 am.

Does anyone besides my mother and myself still balance their checkbook? 

I hate balancing the checkbook.

I love when mornings feel like Fall in mid-June.

I wish Brody had the ability to recognize that the landscapers cutting the neighbor's lawn come every week and have done so for years and they aren't there to piss him off and he needn't alert me for twenty-five minutes every single time.

I also wish the world would stop making morons famous. 


June 11, 2013

Richmond: the early years

I've been doing some reminiscing lately. Thinking back on my childhood. The long, lazy days of summer when the sun seemed to shine for twenty hours each day. The chilly months filled with the smell of burning wood and simmering soup. Long before I had any sort of real responsibility... or that pesky crippling bug phobia.

Between the ages of two and six I lived in Richmond, RI. On a winding, wooded road called Gardiner. My parents had built a ranch home on a nice sized lot complete with a blueberry patch and plenty of poison ivy. My first crush was on a man named Pete who built the stone retaining wall out back. That very wall would become my kitchen counter where I made mom many a tasty lunch out of plastic raspberries. My father kept the yard nice and even painted the large rock that adorned our front lawn. We made lots of snowmen in that front yard and headed out Trick-or-Treating down the gravel driveway.

Not far up the road was Shady Acres nursing home. I remember at Christmastime we would spend a few hours there cheering up the residents by singing Christmas carols alongside our neighbors. I know, it sounds incredibly corny now but it was so sweet. Something right out of the movie Funny Farm. We had wonderful neighbors. Sure, there were a couple of oddballs who ran a jewelry ring and made moonshine in the basement, and that lady who would spray her diaper-clad toddler with the garden hose - but mostly really kind and generous people that you could depend on. Many families with young children. My brother had lots of friends on our street and, while I was younger than most, I always managed to fit in with the crew.

There was a large campground up the road from our house and in front was a small candy store. My brother and I walked there often - sometimes with mom or with our beloved Paul. No matter the wide variety I always chose my favorite - the five flavor Chuckles. To this very day I can't taste a Chuckle without being transported back to those wonderfully innocent times. Awesome when that happens, huh?

My brother and I were always playing games. I remember Mister Mouth was very popular, I loved that game. We also enjoyed Lite Brite, Simon, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land and Hungry, Hungry Hippos. I remain a huge fan of the game Memory and even now I can picture the little strawberry card. We rode our Big Wheels alllllllll the time. We called them "Hot Cycles". We would ride them around and around in our musty basement - I can still smell that must. On nice days we stayed outside all day long. There was a construction site close by and we used to play in the huge dirt mounds, climbing and jumping. I could really hang with the roughnecks back then. Nowadays God forbid I get dirt under a fingernail. What happened to that messy little girl???

During the colder months I would help dad bring in wood for the wood stove. Wheelbarrow-ing heaps from the woods behind our house through the bulkhead into the cellar. Dad was clad in flannel and I in my plaid pants and gigantic coat. Mom would have my favorite noodle soup ready on the stove and together we would catch a bit of The Price is Right while lunching. I remember sitting in front of that television with my multicolored wooden blocks and a metal lunchbox. I was only three or four and wanted to pack a lunch like my school-aged brother. The red square was my sandwich, the yellow triangle was cheese and the purple cylinder was my grape soda of course. Mom stayed at home with me while my brother was in school and my dad, a Navy Veteran, split time between his full time job at the V.A. Hospital, Johnson & Wales University and the National Guard. I loved those days with mom. We often took trips to the local library for story time or visited the Bookmobile - a mobile library filled with all the books a kid could dream of.


I look back on my years living in Richmond as though they were a weird dream. Sadly, I haven't seen or felt that sense of community kindness since. Our time there was short-lived as my parents decided to move to a more convenient area. While I was very sad to leave I don't know that I would have the same fondness for those years if we had stayed any longer. I quickly made friends in our new neighborhood, one that remains my very best. And although our new neighbors were perfectly nice - it just wasn't the same living in the city. The things that I thought were so very normal and fun now seemed lame and I learned a new way of living and being... one that was never true to my soul.

I think about Richmond often. I even have a playlist on my iPod with songs from my early childhood years. They bring back vivid memories for me and it is always a place I love to visit in my mind

*** I would love to hear about YOUR favorite childhood memories, the days you wish you could revisit and your most sacred toys and games. Feel free to share it all in a comment ...

June 4, 2013

color kick...

I had such a fantastic day today! From the moment I opened the windows and felt that breeze I knew it was going to be a good one. {I've already had it with humidity and we've barely dipped our toe into June so I'm thrilled to be able to keep the windows open and let the curtains fly!}

Anyway, today was a "free" day for me. Free meaning that I didn't have much that NEEDED to be done and my mom was taking Scarlett for the day. I planned out a few errands a couple of fun projects. First up was a trip to the store to buy Stephen King's latest, Joyland.

Come 9 pm I will be engrossed.

I'm big into COLOR lately and I've been updating areas in the home to reflect my phase. I'll give you a peek of a few small changes I've made.

Here is a ten minute update that I made over the weekend...

That delightful wooden tree used to be plain old brown. During the winter I painted it bright pink and orange on a whim. I didn't LOVE it but it made me feel a little cheerier than the brown did. This past weekend I decided that I had spent too long not loving it and needed it to be blue and yellow immediately. I've been adoring it ever since. I love that I can paint it any color I want whenever I feel like it and I even left the backside brown in case I want to switch it up.

My friend Kim is having a birthday party for her youngest son and I offered to make the cupcake toppers. The theme is Super Mario Brothers and while I'm not used to using primary colors I think they came out pretty cute!

For Mother's Day I received one of those hand print cards from Scarlett... (thanks Dada). I've been wanting to do something with it but wasn't sure what. Well, after scoring two super-bright colored picture frames at Kohl's for zip my next move was clear ...

Cute, right?

When I bought my book today I also picked up some bright yellow spray paint. There's a hanging tea-light candle holder in my dining room that I've been itching to spruce up and I decided today was the day...


Yeah, I am NOT feelin' the yellow. (Although I love the yellow picture frame on the table - the second of the two free frames from Kohl's). The candle holder just looks weird. You can't really even see it! It needs to be red... or orange. But I have to admit I didn't love spray painting it... it was kind of a huge pain in the ass. Haha.

So, there you have it - my little projects. I really, really enjoyed my day today. Nobody pissed me off. People in stores were friendly. I found sales. I returned things I knew I wouldn't wear. I listened to awesome music all day. The house is filled with fresh air ... actually Scarlett and Daddy just got home and Scarlett just filled the dining room with the scent of I just crapped sooooo ... there goes that! Gotta put the Mama hat back on. I hope you all enjoy your night and I'll be sure to let you know if Brody is mysteriously bright aqua tomorrow.

P.S. Daddy just went to change the diaper!! He's a peach.

June 2, 2013

The Scarlett Letters #14: the switch-flipper

When you began scratching and hitting my face when it was time for a diaper change. 

When you ripped out my hair as I carried you routinely toward bedtime. 

When you glared directly at me whilst dropping unwanted food onto the floor.

When you screamed and flung yourself to the ground when told to pick up your blocks.

When you decided to skip dinner. Twice in three days.

When all of these things cropped up in rapid succession I knew.

The times... they are a- changin'.

Apparently we have entered the newest phase of raising a person and it is by far the trickiest and most challenging. Some say it's an early start of the ole "terrible twos", others say, it's just a phase and it'll pass. My own assumption is that it's just the beginning of a constant battle for power and independence. A strong desire to become an independent little girl. You want what you want. Hey, who can blame you? I still want a Mac - but it's not gonna happen anytime soon. Much like you getting to play on the stairs with the potential of smashing your skull on the slate landing. Sorry, honey, I know you love to proudly exclaim, "I'M TALL!" (rub it in why don't you) but you can be tall by standing on a piece of cardboard on the rug just the same.

It's amazing to see this sweet, little girl - you know, the one who could do no wrong for a solid year - flip her switch and monsterize herself. I swear, it's like the ponytails come out, the smile fades and here comes Crankenstein. I almost ran for cover the other day. Well, for fear of being hit with a xylophone - that thing's no feather.

But in all fairness there are so many moments of extreme sweetness too. Like last night when you wanted to play with your ABC Puzzle. I told you that the floor was too messy and told you to pick up your animals and put them in the little barn first. I lost myself in a blog for a minute and then heard you say, "OK, ABC puzzle!" I turned around and the floor was clear. But where did she put everything? Where's the barn? I looked over at the couch and the barn was sitting on the couch, closed. I opened it up and sure enough there was the whole crew: cowie, horsey, sheep, farmer guy etc. I was SO impressed. I excitedly praised you and we high-fived through toothy grins. I love seeing that pride on your face. Right then I realized it's up to me to set goals for you to reach so you can always feel that pride. Challenge accepted.

You're a little spitfire these days but man, do I love you. I've learned a lot from these past few weeks too. I've learned how to easily handle most of your tantrums. Simply, by the most passive reaction. When you start throwing your crayons - coloring time is over. We pack it all up and put it out of sight for a few days. When you drop food on the floor because you don't want it - the dish is taken away, you are cleaned up and meal time is over. There is no yelling, just explaining. Don't get me wrong, I do yell some of the time out of frustration but I educate you in every situation. And I know you're listening - it's just up to YOU whether you comply or file the reasoning away under Tough Shit, Mama. 

(20 Months)