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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Value of Experience

Growing up, we never had liquid hand soap in our house (or a second bathroom for our family of six or even a shower, for that matter). My mom kept a bar of green soap next to our sinks that we used to get clean--and a bar of that heavy duty Lava soap with sand in it next to the kitchen sink to get the tough stains off of my father's and brothers' hard-working hands.

As a child, I remember going to friends' houses and seeing that they had liquid soap and thinking that they were basically living in a castle. How fancy and extravagant it must be to have such a novelty.

Now that I have my own house, hand soap is one of the little indulgences that I allow myself. I use Seventh Generation because it's purdy, smells good and isn't full of chemical crap. But really, it's just a cheap and easy way to get clean and wax nostalgic. It is also a reminder of the little things that can excite and amaze a child.

The kids get the unscented kind so they don't use the whole damn bottle in one wash because it "smells pretty".

Mama gets the good stuff. Queen of the castle! Queen of the castle!

My nostalgia-induced hand soap addiction makes me wonder what those little memories will be for my kids. Will they think that having canned bread sticks with spaghetti at a friend's house is the most amazing meal ever like I did? Will they take after me and swoon over their best friend's vast collection of toys, not realizing that those toys are parting gifts in place of their parents' affection?

When will my children start to notice things like how some houses are warm and inviting and others are cold and lifeless? That some families value possessions over people and feel that having more is never enough.

Will my children see buying a cheap bottle of hand soap as a frivolity in life or as a necessity? Because it isn't the value of the soap that matters to me. It is that the idea of the soap has value to me. Emotionally. As silly as it sounds, that small indulgence ties me to my past while celebrating my present. When I soap up my children's hands, I remember what it felt like to think that such a thing was an extravagance. But now it is part of our everyday.

What about you? What is your "hand soap"?

This post is sponsored by Seventh Generation, but all opinions, sappy stories and hand soap addictions are my own.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Farewell to Fatty

Diabetes took its toll.
Our family is no longer whole.

I will always miss your penetrating stares.
You glared away without a care.

You liked to puke with reckless abandon.
You and the boy had much in common.

You did not like to go outside.
Though when you did, the critters would hide.

I will miss you forever you fat, furry bitch.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How to make laundry less of a dirty job

Let’s talk dirty today. Real dirty. We’re talking grass stains, ketchup remnants and pit smell. Yep, let’s talk dirty laundry. I fucking hate it. Like, HATE doing laundry. But I have found a few corners to cut that help me hate it a tiny bit less. Like:

I have developed a sorting system that I think is pretty genius. I bought three big laundry bins. A green one for colors, a black one for darks and a white one for, well you get the point. This makes it easy for my three and five year olds to put their own dirty clothes away. Sometimes my husband even puts his dirty socks in there instead of leaving them on the bedroom floor. I know! Crazy, right?!?! Having the three colors just works better visually and the bins are bigger than those crappy laundry organizers you can buy.

Please note the Bruce on the loose...

Stain Removal
I found that having my stain remover in the basement where the laundry was pretty much guaranteed I never used it. Now, I have it upstairs with the dirty laundry so I actually spray the stains before I put the item in the laundry basket. My kids look less and less like filthy hobos every day! Winning!

As for detergent, even when the kids were babies, we never used Dreft. I think it is a total ripoff that preys on new moms’ emotions. I have, however, always used a dye- and fragrance-free soap because my husband is a freak that breaks out in full-body hives if I use anythings else. We are talking ER visit hives. Right now I am using Seventh Generation Free & Clear and liking it. It is tough on the stains my kids create but gentle enough to not make my hubby require an epi pen after wearing clothing washed in it. Their detergent is made of 97% renewable plant-based material, so not only does my family benefit from using it, but the environment does, as well.

But when do you do it? (TWSS)
I tend to tackle all of our laundry on Sunday. I spend the day getting all of it clean, load by load, then I dump it all in the middle of the living room for the kids to sort while watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. Seriously. They even put theirs away when they are done. They don’t fold it, but their clothes are wash-and-wear so they don’t really need folded anyway. They just throw each pile into the drawer it goes in and call it a day. It is a beautiful thing.

This post is sponsored by Seventh Generation, but I proud to be partnering with a company that cares as much about what goes into their products as I do about the ones that I choose to use on my children.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Why I'm Awake

  • 2 am: girl goes to bathroom. Leaves hallway and bathroom lights on.
  • 2:30 am: boy is lonely and climbs into bed with me.
  • 2:30 - 3:30 am: boy proceeds to touch me with his feet for an hour.
  • 3:30 am: cat jumps on chest and proceeds to make nest.
  • 4 am: cat bores of sleep and decides to attack boy's head.
  • 4:30 am: girl comes in inconsolable because she can't find her unicorn (I can't make this shit up).
  • 5 am: girl returns to bathroom and leaves all lights on again.
  • 5:30 am: husband begins snoring so loud he even wakes himself up.
  • 6 am: oh, fuck it. I give up.
If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Being Nice vs Being Kind

As I approach my 36th year on this earth, I have come to the conclusion that I have spent the last 35 years of my life trying to be nice. But I am not nice. And when I try to act as such it comes off as disingenuous. I am not good, or attractive or of good quality. I am loud, brash and often off-putting.

What I actually am is kind. Empathetic. Caring. But not “nice”. Though I may be loud, brash and overly outspoken, at the heart of things, I care deeply about people. About helping them when they are hurting. About putting their needs in front of my own. Sometimes to a fault. That is why I am honest about how broken I am at times. Because if bearing my soul a little too often helps even just one person, it is worth it.

I see niceness as trying to placate others with personality. That is bullshit. Being nice won’t help a person in need. Being kind will. Being nice just projects a rose-colored view on the world. Being kind changes the world.

So stop being nice. Start being kind. Start being the change you wish to see in the world. With kindness. With empathy. With love.

(Drops mic. Steps off soapbox. Opens beer.)

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Living life in color, once again

Lately, I have been struggling with changes that are going on in my life. A new job, my oldest beginning kindergarten and other changes have been hard on me. Not just because there is a different routine, but because it is slowly showing me that I am becoming myself again in many ways. I have come out of the shell of grief that my brother's death created and started to become the person I was before it all.

Unfortunately, I am realizing that the person that I was/am again might be a lot for certain people to handle. I am loud, and brash and honest. A lot of people have become used to the broken me and aren't as accepting of the new/old me. When I was grieving, I was subdued, quiet and did more listening than talking. Because I didn't have words. But the words are back, along with my annoying asshole personality.

So I am at a crossroads of whether I need to tone down who I am or whether I need to get rid of people who I like in my life but aren't excepting of the new me. Which is actually the old me. Dizzy yet? Yeah, me too.

I am just trying to get my bearings so I can start moving forward and decide who I want to be by my side along the way. It has been a painful struggle, but one that I know will help me grow in the long run. I have been blessed with a semi large group of friends. But I can't tell if they are friends that should be in my life or friends who I just keep there because we have history together.

But as I get older, and possibly wiser, I am sometimes finding it painful to go forward staying friends with people who are no longer supportive. So do I keep doing the work to stay friends with people out of loyalty or do I just slowly fade away from them? I'm not sure what the right answer is and it is a very big question to pose.

I struggle daily because I want to be liked. But my personality isn't very likable. I rub a lot of people the wrong way. Some people choose to embrace that as a positive quality. Others are just frustrated by my lack of social couth.

I guess this is all a somewhat apology for being absent here on the blog. I'm not exactly sure who I am or where I am heading so it is hard to give perspective on myself, let alone anything else.
Living life in color, once again.
I will end this post by letting you know that I am happier now than I have been in a long time. Maybe my whole life. I am just trying to make sure that I keep heading in the direction that leads to my own needs and happiness and not others'. That is a very hard path for me to take. But I am working on it.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Diaper-free is the life for me!

Well, it's official: we are now a no diaper household. Yep, I finally bit the bullet and potty trained The Boy.

It may seem like a time for nothing but celebrating, but I feel a bit of sadness at the lack of diapered booties running around my house. (No, I am not getting knocked up again so don't even go there. Not today, Satan!)

Sure, tiny toddler whitey tighties are cute and all, but there was just something about an itty bitty booty in a diaper that I have always loved. A diapered booty is just so sweet and innocent and pure (unless said diaper is overflowing with poo, of course).

Also, my son has the aim of a drunken sailor so every bathroom in my house smells a whole lot like pee. Seriously, it's like my son thinks that his thing is a damn garden house and every surface in my semi-clean bathroom is a thirsty plant.

Before we made the final call to go full-undies, I made sure to take some pictures of his last day in diapers.

My baby boy.


I especially liked the Seventh Generation diapers in the end because they just looked so simple and clean. No cartoon figures or cutesy patterns, just an earthy tone that harkened simpler times. I wish I had been using Seventh Generation diapers sooner so I could have given more of my photos a timeless feel when I took nakey bakey pics. I also like that they aren't harsh on a baby's skin--in fact they are the ONLY diaper on the market with an unbleached core. Believe it or not, I actually care deeply about what I put on my kids and into the earth.

And the best part? From May through September, for every pack of Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers you purchase at Whole Foods, Seventh Generation will donate a pack of diapers to nonprofit organizations that provide services to families in need across the United States. Win-win!

This post is sponsored by Seventh Generation, but I proud to be partnering with a company that cares as much about what goes into their products as I do about the ones that I choose to use on my children.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fatty has diabeetus

Fatty has been sick lately. Really sick. We thought she had a UTI, but it just wasn't getting better after two rounds of antibiotics, so we took her in for more testing. $300 in blood tests later, we got a diagnosis:

So what does that mean, besides that Fatty is now only one Werther's Original away from officially becoming the curmudgeonly old man from Cocoon? Well, it means that I have to chase her geriatric ass around the house twice a day to dope her up with insulin. YAY! Because I needed one more thing to make getting the kids to school and me to work in the mornings any more difficult. It also means that we now have $200 in insulin, needles and special food to buy a month.

I am sure some of you are asking if all of this expense and hassle is worth it, to which I reply, "Of course it is you heartless fucking douche canoe." Because that cat is a part of my fucking soul and all of this crap is totally worth it to have her glare at me lovingly for however much time we can buy her.

Bitch, I will cut you.

The other morning I literally had to comb through every damn room of the house for 45 minutes trying to give her her damn medicine so she won't DIE!

Damn you, Fatty. You awesome geriatric ball of fat, fur and love.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Father's Day on Fleek

Father’s Day is nearing and I usually try to get the hubs something I think he will actually like. This year, Zazzle sent me a gift card to buy him some goodies and I was totally stoked about what I found.

ADD Daddy loves Ralph Steadman’s art. We actually have a signed print by him in our dining room that I got him for our 5-year anniversary. So when I saw this St. Louis print on Zazzle’s site, it totally reminded me of Steadman’s work and I thought the hubby would like it. So, I ordered it up and put it in a frame I bought on clearance at Marshalls. Boom. Cheap, easy gift.

Damn, this pic makes us look classier than we are.

My husband also, like most people with a penis, likes to grill. So when I saw this tray, I had to have it. It does Sir Mix-a-Lot (and pig butts) proud. I figure the hubs can put his meat on this tray (HA!) and take it out to cook it. Win-win.

Ha. They said butt...

And, since my husband is a daddy to not only two humans but also an overweight and lazy cat, I wanted to be sure Fatty got something for him. He wears this shirt with pride.

To tie it all together, I made him this card from the kids to go with whatever crappy, I mean priceless art they make him for a gift. I love these card because they are so much cooler and more personal than the store-bought variety—usually cheaper too!

Loads of cute.
Gross, I know.

Overall, Zazzle had a great selection of personalized, art-driven and creative gifts to choose from. Plus, they always have great discount codes available so be sure to seek them out before you send your order. You can even apply multiply codes!

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

This post was sponsored by Zazzle but they didn't make me the opinionated, feminist, she-beast that I am. My mama did and I am damn proud of it. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Happy Mothers' May!

I think Mothers' Day is just swell. But I also think that getting just a single day to celebrate the things that we moms do all year to keep our families afloat is kind of a crock. Giving a mere 24 hours to recognize the women that are literally wiping the asses of and shaping the beliefs of our future generation is BS.

I vote that from now on, May is Mothers' Month. I mean, come on, even jazz and zombies get a month. And let's face it, mommies are pretty much zombies most times, I mean, minus the whole surviving on human brains and all. I want all the moms of the world to have a whole month to embrace their awesomeness and be honored for the sometimes shitty job that they do 365 days a year.

Does that mean that Moms need to be worshiped and groveled at the feet of for the entire month of May? Fuck no. It just means that during May, maybe people can be a little kinder to Moms, give them a few kudos for a job well done, forgive them for their absentmindedness or just watch their damn kids for 10 minutes so they can play Dots and poop in peace for once this year. Just sayin'...

And while I'm at it, let's make June Fathers' Month. Because dads are just as damn important and deserve a month to honor all of the incredible work they do through the year, as well.

In honor of the first annual Mothers' Month, I let myself be a little selfish this week. I did things solely for me for once in the last 5 years. I bought girly wallpaper to redo our hallway because it made me happy. I went to a girls wine night and let the hubs hall the kids to his school play by himself. I took the entire giftcard Zazzle sent me as a Mothers' Day gift and spent it on my damn self.

I bought this custom cutting board that makes me smile.

And this tray that suits my type-A.

And this canvas that kills me.

So let's get this Mothers' Month started, shall we. What are you going to do to make May all about Mama? Get a mani/pedi instead of shopping the Target clearance aisles for next year's school clothes? Call your mom to tell her you are sorry for watching her poop for the first few years of your life? Cook a dinner that you want to eat, not that the kids will tolerate? Buy the fancy $6.99 wine instead of the 30 dime? Share your ideas with me in the comments section or on social media with the hashtag #happymothersmay. And happy Mothers' May!

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

This post was sponsored by Zazzle but they didn't make me the opinionated, feminist, she-beast that I am. My mama did and I am damn proud of it. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Flying your freak flag.

When I was younger, I was awkward. OK, even more awkward than I am today. I was tall and skinny, but not in a supermodel way. More like in a newborn-giraffe-on-water skis kind of way. I was all knees, elbows and a bouffant of home-permed hair.

I was also a weird fish in a very traditional fish pond. I didn't understand why I was different from all of the people around me, I just knew that I was. I also understood that if I showed my true colors to anyone, things would be difficult. Even more difficult than the hell of being a weird kid in a town full of non-weird kids.

I recently reached out to someone from high school to catch up. I wondered if she had changed and thought to myself, "It is kind of embarrassing how little I have changed." But then I realized that I have changed in a huge way: that little girl who was afraid to show her true colors now lets her freak flag fly on the daily. I have grown into my oddities and grown to love them. My diarrhea of the mouth and flamboyant style are no longer things I try to hide, they are things that I wear with pride.

I hope to instill this willingness to embrace your weird into my children. I hope they don't end up hiding their quirks like I did and being paralyzed with fear over being different. I hope the wave their freak flags with wild abandon and use them to attract like-minded beings that love what makes them different.

I wish the world promoted individuality instead of imitation. I wish we could all try less to conform and more to be unique. Because how boring is a world filled with beige carbon copies of one another?

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Soaking it all in.

I have been pausing a lot in life lately. Giving myself a chance to soak in all of the goodness that I am surrounded by. Giving myself a minute to focus on the good instead of dwelling on the bad. Letting myself feel OK with just being in the moment and breathing. 

So I don't miss all of the special little moments that surround me. Or overlook the wonder of the experiences that we have the privilege of being part of on a daily basis.

Like instead of focusing on being in the hospital and all that recovery will entail when we leave, I focused on my son getting the awesome opportunity to meet Yadi the touch therapy dog. 

Or instead of being annoyed by all of the work that it took to make it, I stopped to enjoy the beauty of the home-cooked meal that I had created.

Instead of asking my kids to get off the kitchen floor and out of my way, I stopped to notice that they looked like cats chasing the sun.

Instead of rushing off to do one thing or another when my son was finally asleep, I sat and stared at his perfect little face while he quietly slumbered.

Instead of fearing for my ankles and the ankles of all of the other unlucky shoppers my son was about to maim, I took the time to see how happy he was to be in charge of the grocery shopping.

I soaked in the beauty of a day out with my son with no interruptions.

I realized how small my daughter still is even though she is the "big girl".

I stopped to see joy and happiness in my children's faces, instead of hurrying on to the next attraction.

I let myself actually feel pretty and happy with who I am. No waiting until I changed this or that. Just being happy with the now.

I realized that the relationship my children share is special. And amazing.

I stopped to see how absolutely beautiful this face was when it is deep in concentration.

I let loose and let llama.

I took a moment to breathe in the deep love that my children have for each other. Even when they are fighting.

I even stopped to smell the clydesdales on a run (maybe a bit of a mistake...).

These small moments have been life-changing for me. None of them are newsworthy, but they have shaped who I have become over the few months: mindful. Of who I am and all that I have. Of the ability I have to change things for the better. How smalls changes can have big impacts. They are reminders that even when it seems like nothing is good in this world anymore, that maybe all you have to do is dig a little deeper. Or be a little more still.

What about you? What small things have been big moments for you lately?

If you want to keep up on my small moments, follow me on Instagram.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin'.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tonsils, and adenoids, and tubes...oh my!

So the Cool Cucumber finally had his tonsils and adenoids removed and a second set of tubes put back in. Overall, it was a great experience and I am so happy that we went through with it. I am also glad that we waited until he was 3 to have it done. Here is a little photo rundown of how everything went.

Playing at the hospital before getting admitted.

The big weigh in.

Getting measured.

Blood pressured checked: check.

Pulse ox monitoring was one of his least faves.

Then it was time to play until we got called up to the big room.

Again, I asked to take him back for surgery so I had to suit up.

Then he was in surgery and we waited. I was so worried I didn't notice I forgot to take a bootie off for over an hour.

Once he got out, we has sort of a mess. This is very usual. He was upset and cry/coughing a lot. He was still very out of it but in a lot of pain. They don't give them pain meds until after surgery so when they wake up, they still haven't really taken effect. That sucks, but it is just the way it goes. After about 20 minutes we were wheeled up to our room.

There he finally fell asleep...for about 10 minutes.

Then he was up and not doing too bad, mostly thanks to Netflix.
Thank the sweet lord baby Jesus for free wifi and Netflix streaming.

Next it was time for popsicles. He ate three. Then downed two waffles, jello and juice... 

That evening he was ready for laps around the hospital wing and rides on his IV pole.

And some goofing off with mom.

Then, he slept. Like the dead.

Let me give you a little info on sleeping in a hospital: you won't. At all. Between his pulse ox monitor going off every 10 minutes and our roommate's going off every five, I think I got about 3 hours of sleep that night. But the boy slept like a champ, and that was all that mattered.

Me when the cute, young Dr. woke me up. HOT!

The next morning our Dr. woke me up RIGHT as I had just fallen asleep to tell me we were getting released for good behavior. Of the five kids on the floor that had had the same surgery, the Cucumber was the youngest and still had the best overnight oxygen saturation and had drank the most. They were amazed at his recovery. So were we. He was literally dancing a jig around the wing that morning making all of the nurses swoon.

Before we left we got to meet Yadi the touch therapy dog. I may have tried to sneak him into my suitcase.

Yadi love.

The hardest part of recovery is making sure you stay on top of the pain meds after. The hospital doesn't give you any prescriptions to take, just orders for alternating acetaminophen and ibuprofen. We stayed on it like a hawk for a week. Every time it came time where both meds were given at the same time and they both got close to wearing off, the boy would lose it. I felt horrible for him. We even set alarms to be up to give them to him in the middle of the night. Very important! Also, if you can, steal the hospital syringes with the caps. Not that I did that or anything...

Over the week, the boy was a bit down, but not out.

He enjoyed cuddle time with his sister.

But would get in pain when the meds were close to wearing off.

But he was a cart boss at Trader Joe's.

And enjoyed a trip the the botanical garden.

And time with mommy even when he felt pukey.

And a trip to the zoo.

And time at the park.

Soon he was back to his superhero self.

That face.

These two.

I die.


Now we are all back to our happy place.

Overall, the surgery was way easier than we thought and has helped a ton already. The other night I listened to the boy sleep for an hour, mostly because there was nothing to listen to. He went from Darth Vader to a silent little mouse. And it is a wonderful silence.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.
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