Friday, July 29, 2011

A Letter

Dear Baby Number Two,

You wouldn't believe what a surprise you were to your Mommy. 

The day I found out that you were there, I had pretty much decided you weren't ready for us yet. 

And that we would have to wait longer for you.   

We had been praying and waiting and hoping that you would come along soon to be a good friend and playmate to your big brother.

But God kept us on our toes.

And it was just when we had decided that we were ok with waiting a little longer for you, that you came along.

Changing everything.

From the size of Mommy's bridesmaid's dress in Uncle B's wedding....

To plans for next year's vacation to Jamaica.

Your timing is scary.

It's perfect and wonderful and terrifying all at the same time.

There are so many things that we have to think about now that we know about you.

But that doesn't change the fact that we are excited for you.

I am convinced you are a girl.

Only because my pregnancy test was pink this time around (it was blue, with your brother's).

That's logical right? 

To base my firm beliefs relative to your gender solely upon the color of the cap atop a stick I peed on.

One thing you will learn about your momma is that she ain't always logical.


She doesn't always use proper grammar.

And your Daddy?

Oh, child.

You better hang on to your hat, because he's a crazy man.

And I don't even want to ruin the excitement by spilling the beans about how awesome your big brother is.

Just get here safely.

And quickly.

And try not to make too much of a ruckus on the way out, okay?


Your Mommy

Post-Script: Baby Number 2 is due February 15, 2012.  What can I say, I try to keep my children centered around national holidays.

Helpful How To: Beaching with Toddlers

In case you ever wondered what it would be like to go on vacation with 3 toddlers and 1 infant, I'll tell you.


But it can be done.

Without a nanny, despite what Cindy from Housewives of New York City might tell you.

Wanna know how we did it?

Too bad, I'm on tell ya anyway.

You should really be thankful for me and my ability to tout uselessful information.

And if you recall, last year, I told you about the miracle of a stroller on the beach for the babies.

But this year, we moved on.

To a whole new level of crazy.

Not that the stroller wouldn't have been helpful.

But our toddler is way too independant for the stroller now.

Wanting to climb steps by himself and whatnot....

So we left the stroller in the condo.

And brought out the big guns.

1.  An outdoor rug.

Ours was woven plastic and my sister paid $25 for it.

It was worth every single penny.

It was 4x6 and heavy enough that it wouldn't blow away - and we left it out - all day, every day.

But it was foldable, rollable and light enough that I could still carry it with a beach bag in one hand and a toddler in the other....

2.  A tent.

And here's where we learned something....

My $34.99 lightweight-stores so small you can pack it in your suitcase tent will only last SO LONG.

And set up is PAINFUL when you have to worry about tent stakes and a toddler stuff.

Which is why I would highly recommend investing in something more like that white tent behind us.

Every day we watched as our neighbors unpacked theirs and set it up in 3 minutes without breaking a sweat.

Talk about green with envy.

But at the end of the day, shade is shade is shade.

And shade is PIVOTAL to enjoying the beach with toddlers. 


3.  Blow up pool.

For the first 3 days, we didn't even need to use our blow up pool on the beach. 

We had tide pools within 3 feet of our "camp".

And let me tell you how these kid love some tide pools.

My child especially.

He would walk out onto the dry sand and then take a running leap into the tide pool, landing on flat on his belly and splashing everyone and everything within 10 feet of him.

And then he would belly laugh like Santa Claus at Christmas time.

But by day 4, the tide pools dried up.

Leaving us with a handful of hot children who weren't all too keen on the ocean situation just yet.

Thank GOD for the kiddie pool.

They played.

They threw sand in it.

They threw sand out of it.

They splashed all the water out in 3 minutes.

They sat on the sides and LET the water out when we refilled it.

It kept them busy for hours.

Plotting ways to get the water out of that pool...

And in retrospect, I'd never take my toddler to the beach without one.

4.  The UV beach shirt.

Oh how I love the UV protectant beach shirt for kids.


My kid LIVED in this thing.

I know my sister was annoyed that they were so hard to find for her girls...

She had all the cute frilly suits in the world, but every 30 minutes, she would have to reapply sunscreen for fear of getting 3rd degree burns.

Note to self: I could make millions by marketing pink uv shirts. 

(dear readers, if you have seen these in toddler sizes, tell me where.  Because my sister deserves a bag of them!!!)

And yes, I'm a lazy mommy when it comes to sunscreen....

All that sand....

And lotion...

Blech.  What a mess.

Which brings me to my next point.

5.  Spray on Sunscreen.

Buy the stuff by the gallon.

Because it goes fast.

But with toddlers?

There is no other way to reapply.


Don't get me wrong, we used the lotions, alot.

But only BEFORE we went out.

And once we were out there, it was so much easier to spray them down than to rub them down.

I seriously don't know how our parents did it.

6. The Puddle Jumper.

If you are the parent of a toddler and you don't have one of these...  (I found them at

Stop what you are doing, right this very second.

And go get one.

My nephew loves his.

My neice loves her.

My child loves his.

Heck, I LOVE this thing.


It's magical.

And I swear my child is learning to swim with it.

Prodigy that he is.

But my fear of him being around the pool is practically erased with this thing!

I love it.

7.  A Big Shovel.

If all else fails and your child still hates the beach, buy a big shovel.

But buy one for your hubby, too.

Because, otherwise you may have a fight on your hands.

And be prepared.

Once a big shovel is introduced to the beach experience, no beach experience will ever be the same!

Gosh, I miss it....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Honest Opinion: "The Help"

So, I finished "The Help" last night.

And a book this compelling deserves to be talked about.

While the memories are still fresh and the characters are still my friends.

Which is why I am totally skipping a Helpful How-To today.

For those of you with OCD, I am sincerely apologetic that I would throw your week of this way.

For those of you who don't know or care that it's Wednesday and not Thursday, bless your little hearts....


The Help.

I loved it.

Every minute of it.

Until the last 5 minutes of it.

When I cried and cried and cried and cried.

Because it was over.

Because it wasn't what I expected at all.

And because in a way, it was better than what I expected.

And worse.


And honest.

Let me back up a bit.

Let me start by saying, if you have deep Southern roots, you are going to LOVE/HATE this book.

The depiction of Southern-ness - at its very best and worst - is coated in every line of this book.

Kathryn Stockett very poignantly points out the flaws in a privileged, white-ruled society while portraying a beautiful fighting strength that these women - ALL OF THESE WOMEN - carried within them.

All the major players in this book believed in something - right or wrong - and was willing to fight for it. 

Good, Bad, or Ugly.

I can think of no better way to describe Southern women than as that right there - fighter's.

But I digress.

Most importantly, the book portrays a beautiful friendship that develops between 3 very unlikely women - separated by age, and lifestyle, and most importantly - color.

If you want to laugh, this book will do it. A-PLENTY.

If you want to fall in love, that will probably happen too.

If you want to cry, bank on that happening.  ALOT.

If you want a happy ending, you are going to have to look beyond the forest for the trees.

My initial knee-jerk reaction was, "What a terrible way to end!"

Until my girlfriend said, "Um, what were you expecting?  Things to stay the SAME???"

And she's right. 

The worst thing that could ever happen in this book would have been for things to stay the SAME.

All in all, it's worth your time.

But be prepared for a drastic change in perspective. 

And a deep-seated desire to get out of your bubble and DO SOMETHING.

“The greatest waste in the world is the difference between what we are and what we could become.”
-Ben Herbster

Gee whiz.

I can't wait to see how the movie plays out....

Now get to reading!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Airport Mommy

I'm on let you in on a little secret.

(I'm reading The Help, and yes, Aibilene speak has taken over my brain.  Sorry fo' that.)

When I prep to fly, I don't think, "what is the cutest thing for me to wear on the plane?"

I think, "what items do I NOT want to make room for in my suitcase, but I most definitely want on vacation?"

Which means I end up dressed like this:

Because one never knows when I may need those jeans, flannel shirt and a pair of combat boots on my trip.

Did I mention, I tend to not fix my hair to fly, either?

Ponytails are my flight 'DO.  PERIOD.


It's inevitable.

I'm running around the airport dressed in the oldest hoodie and sneaks I own, and I pass HER.

You know who I mean, right?


The Jackie O of airport mommies.

Hair perfectly groomed.

Clothes perfectly starched.

And fresh as a dew kissed lily on an Easter morning.

Her perfectly groomed children don't hang on her hip.

They don't cry.

They barely make a sound.

They hold her hand and walk next to her as though the airport, full of hustle and bustle, is their second home.

And there I stand, with pizza stains on my hoodie, my once neat ponytail now frizzed to the max, with a fussy and extremely clingy toddler wailing that he doesn't want his diaper changed, he wants to play with "CAR, MOMMY!"

And inside, I cry a little.

Because despite the fact that I want to be HER....

There's no way I'm ever going to make room in my suitcase for my combat boots, when I could just as easily wear them on the plane.

And there's no way I'm ever going to talk myself out of the fact that I could possibly remotely need or want them on my trip.

Just don't make good sense.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Saga of the Sand and Surf...TO BE CONTINUED.

Feel like you have waited FOREVER to hear about my vaca???

Unfortunately, you'll have to keep waiting....

Because the first day back to work doesn't allow for plenty of blog time.

What it does allow for???

A quick photographic recap....

Thanks to my cell phone...

Real pics to follow. (Hopefully - you know how things go with me...)

And if we're friends on FB, you've probably seen ALL OF THESE.

But for the sake of the 4 of you who haven't....

Little Man at 4 am, perky as ever waiting for our flight.

An hour later when we were cruising above the clouds....

The vacation pineapple....

Because to Techy, it isn't vacation unless there is sand, an ocean, and a pineapple involved.

Our first glimpse of "home" for the week...forget about the indoor portion - this is where we LIVED!

Or where we would have LIVED, had it not been for someone getting sick.

The first 4-5 days were made up of fever free mornings followed by soaring afternoon temperatures....

And I am not talking about the weather....

Little Man spent almost every evening laying on the floor with his blanket - a rare occurence, when this is his norm:

But we took advantage of as much of those good times as possible.

And nap times....

When there was nothing better to do than hang out pool side with the baby monitor reading a book.

(No, he was not alone in the condo - my aunt stayed in there with him.  I just wanted to hear him if he cried...come on now.  What kind of mother did you think I was???)

And let's not forget the morning workouts...

Where I watched dolphins frolic in the waves from my treadmill.

And have I mentioned the food???

'Cause there was plenty of it.

And once Little Man started feeling better, he started eating.  LOTS.

Whole slices of Sbarro Pizza-Lots.

Um, yeah....

So all in all, a good time was had by all.

After all, everything's better when this is your point of view....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Honest Opinion: Knock Off Hero's

Let's talk, shall we?

My topic today will be about this...

Or actually, about how every month when it comes in the mail, I spent 2 solid days drooling over the furniture and then crying over the prices.

Hydration is very important during those 2 days every month. 


I crack myself up.

But seriously,

How many of us covet the furniture in Pottery Barn catalogs?

And how few of us can afford it?

Enter Ana White....

And her Knock-Off Wood stuffs.

Talk about LOVE.

The girl is a GENIUS.

She just posted a GORGEOUS bathroom makeover that has me weeping.... 

And tell me I'm not the only one coveting her wooden swing??? 

And, don't tell Techy, but as soon as I can figure out how to do this with King sized dimensions, this is totally going to be my new bed....

And as if that isn't bad enough, a few months ago, I had to watch DIYDiva build a knock-off Pottery Barn vanity for her bathroom...

For PENNIES on the dollar.

Which leads me to my honest opinion...

I really need to get a grip on my power tool skills soon.

My house is missing out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Helpful How To: Greening the Place Up

I have a girlfriend who was complaining whining talking to me about her yard.

Also known as her "desert".

For which I have a remedy....
Because a long, long time ago (or maybe just 3 years ago...) we moved into this joint.

And we loved it.


It was our sanctuary.

Our abode.

Our home.

But it wasn't without it's trials.

No house is.

But in particular, we had a rock garden.

As seen here:

And here:

Apparently, a previous owner had had a relatively large above ground pool that was set on that rock bed. 

And after a couple months of watching the rocks grow weeds, we decided it was time to take some action.

So we relocated the rocks, thanks to a giant wheel barrow...

And when everything was said and done we were left with a dust patch....

And the weeds.

The same weeds, I might add, that you see here.


Now, I'll just tell you right now, we are chemical people.

I know, right?

Killing the world....

*hanging head in shame*

I really have no right to blog, considering my unclean-chemical-ness....

All that to say, that yes, we used some chemical lawn treatment to kill everything in that 10' by 8' patch of lawn.

Which, by the way, is bigger than some rooms in my house.

Are you thinking what I am thinking???

How big WAS this pool???

Apparently bigger than full bedrooms INSIDE the house....

But whatever....

Kill the weeds.

It's entirely necessary.

And you can choose to use chemicals if you want.  I won't judge you.

At this point, we were left with a 10 x 8 patch of deadness.

Step 2. Buy this stuff.

Apparently, it's powdered gold.

But it's worth every penny.

Because it's like high heels for your yard -

The transformation is almost immediate.

Within 2-3 days, we had grass growing.

Within a week, we had to mow.

Within 2 weeks, you could barely tell there had ever been a stone garden.

And today???

Well today, it looks like this....

Lush, green, annoyingly tall....

And it needs to be mowed again....

Any takers?!

I Don't Wanna Brag or Anything

(that's a lie...)

But someone just got her parents to read all three books in the Hunger Games series.

And then got the feedback....

They both loved it.

As in couldn't walk away from the books until they were done.

And neither of them can wait until the movie comes out.

Apparently, this movie is going to be a family AND friends event.

The long and short of this post is...

If you haven't read the books...

You are missing out.

As seen here.  And here.  And now here.

The End.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Me and Multitasking

If you know me, you probably know that I am always doing 2 things at once.

I am never just watching tv, I am watching tv and playing words with friends.

Or cooking dinner and reading a book.

Or writing a blog while talking on the phone.

My point being, I thrive on multitasking.

I LOVE it.

I multitask without even being aware that I am multitasking.

I chalk it up to my years working in the court system...

When to not multitask would be equivalent to drowning.

You may ask what brought this up....

Which would be right on cue...cause that's where I'm going with this....

Today, during my lunch break, I got the rare opportunity to experience the high that is PERSONAL MULTITASKING.

Meaning, stuff I PERSONALLY need to get done, but never have time to do.

And I had 40 minutes to do it all in.

Now, I don't like to toot my own horn...(that's a lie...)

But considering the fact my first stop was Kohl's (and we all know how much I love Kohl's) and I actually made it to other stores during my 40 minutes of freedom, I think some horn-tooting is well deserved.


TOOT. TOOT. How I love Kohl's.

I love Kohl's almost as much as Charlie Sheen loves tiger blood and winning.

But yes, I started there.  With $20 in Kohl's cash, which quickly turned into new shoes and shorts - both for Little Man.

Then on to the grocery store, where diapers and frozen burritoes were calling my name.

Don't judge me for my food choices.

Frozen burritos are LOADED with protein and fiber.

We don't have to talk about the calories.

Or how tiny they are.

And actually, let's just leave my current weight situation out of this, ok?

I would feel much better if we didn't talk about it today.


Moving on....

After the grocery store, I was off to the Dollar Tree....

Where for the low, low price of $12 even, I picked up 12 pairs of sunglasses. 

Including, but not limited to, 2 kiddie pairs, for the Little Man in my life.

And then 10 pairs for the Big Man in my life.

I know.

It's ridiculous.

But Techy forgets about his sunglasses like Lindsey Lohan forgets about her priors and her ankle bracelet.

After the first year of marriage, I determined that Dollar Tree is the only place that I can afford for Techy to be losing sunglasses from.

And now, 10 pairs richer, I have at least another week and a half before I have to hear the question, "Honey, do you know where my shades are?"

And in a week and a half, I'll be on vacation....

Tuning out stupid questions about lost sunglasses while reading books to the sound of ocean waves....

(Or chasing a crying, screaming toddler down the beach....)

And Techy will have permanent racoon eyes from the goggles that he is sure to have been wearing all week.

And will probably not be in need of his sunglasses....

Hey, a girl can wish can't she????

But my final stop of the day....

A trip to the drug store to pick up some much needed thyroid medication....

And some jolly ranchers.

Because they were on sale.

Also, because they are delicious.

And because I don't have to see my dentist for another 5 months....


All that...

4 stores (one of them being KOHL'S!!!!) in less than 40 minutes.

It's a high that poor Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen haven't experienced in YEARS.

Do you think I should tell them that multitasking is the trick???

Monday, July 11, 2011

Countdown to Liftoff

Thank you guys for taking the time to explain Southwest Airlines seating process to me last week! 

I feel so prepared now.

Completely ready to get up at 5 am on Thursday morning and check in to my flight as soon as possible.

My hope is that our 5 am flight won't be too overcrowded and thus the 5 am check-in shouldn't be too difficult.

But hopes and wishes....

We only have a few {very hectic} days this week before we head out of town on an actual (and hopefully very relaxing) vacation.

But {surprise, surprise} you won't hear me complain!

Because there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

And a beach on the other end of a plane trip awaiting me.

In the meantime, I am doing laundry, washing dishes, working out and packing.

Which usually means that I won't have any interesting blogging material.

But I just got my new phone...

Which means one thing...



Including some that may or may not have been taken using all the gadgets my new phone has to offer. 

Like distortion.

And then some just-for-fun pics of some young/old friends....

I think we can all tell how happy I am to have welcomed myself back into the ranks of society with a phone that actually works, right?

But now it's time to get moving and conquer some of these tasks on my list!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Flight Club

Remember when I was all braggy braggy about how amazing Southwest Airlines was for refunding my airfare?

Well, now I'm a week away from actually flying Southwest and I am totally panicking about the no seat assignment thing.

Can someone (preferably those who have flown SW recently) explain it to me?

Thank you very much!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Helpful How-To: Cutting a Watermelon - The LESS Messy Way

THIS came in an email to me this morning.

Now, I don't wanna be all weird about this.... 

And I realize I don't have exclusive rights to "Helpful How-To's", but I was totally going to do a "Helpful How To" about cutting a watermelon like you would cut a pineapple....

Big Brother?  Is that you? 

That mindreading thing you do is scary....

But yeah.

Initially, I was all, REFERENCE, w00t!

But then I watched the video.

And her way is nothing like my way.

At All.

So her example - using a pineapple - is irrelevant for my melon cutting post.

So I guess I'll just explain it using words.

And word pictures.

And maybe free internet pictures.

Note to self (and to you): Next time, do not Google Image Search "melons".

Take the extra 3 seconds to type out WATERmelons.

Especially if you are on your work computer.

You can thank me later.

So yeah.

Back to the WATERmelons.

And the cutting of them.

I don't know if you know this about me, but I am a fickle neat freak.

My house may not reflect it, but...

Watch me get something sticky on my hands, and you'll see the neat freak come out.

I look like Michael Scott when he gets near the compactor...I get all twitchy and can't keep my hands under control.

Which is why I like to cut my watermelon into neat little cubes that easily fit on the end of a fork.

Which is pretty much how this post came to be.

Because I'm OCD.

Maybe I should rename the title of this post to "How the OCD's cut WATERmelons"

But I'm feeling lazy.

Like Bruno Mars.

Who was pretty much the first person in the world to alert me of the "Dougie Dance"

Yes.  I live under a rock.

And I still don't know what the Dougie Dance looks like.

Even though I tried to YouTube it. 

Did you know that if you YouTube the Dougie Dance, you don't get videos of people actually doing the dance?

You only get videos of people teaching other people how to do the Dougie Dance.

NOTE TO SELF: next week's HHT could be quick and easy if you want to teach people how to do the Dougie Dance.


Back to the topic.  Before I lose anyone else.

I saw 4 people yawn about 6 lines ago.

Sorry for that.

Cutting WATERmelons.

Engaging serious face.

And trying to stop wondering about the Dougie Dance....

Step 1.  Cut off the top and bottom. 

Kind of like in the pineapple video.

Only without the sprig of palm tree coming out of the top.

Your WATERmelon should look like this while you are cutting the ends off.

Don't get all bent out of shape if you should realize that your WATERmelon isn't this long.

They don't come that long these days.

(That's what she said....  I know.  Sorry.  Couldn't resist.)

Step 2.  Stand your WATERmelon up on one of its now-flat ends and cut the rind away.

You know.

Like most people do with a pineapple.

No.  I'm not bitter.  Why do you ask?

It'll look a little like this... (NOTHING like what she did in that video.  Ugh)

At this point,  you will have a bare WATERmelon that looks something like a brain.

Or so my houseguest of the week says.

It really freaked him out that I cut my WATERmelons this way. 

Don't ask me why....

Step 3. Slice and chop your WATERmelon insides.

Like this: 

And this:

Step 4. Stick a fork in it.  You're done!

Unless, of course, you wanna store it all. 

In which case, you would need to put your little chopped up pieces in tupperware or rubbermaid or pampered chef or whatever it is that you use at your house. 

Then stick it in the fridge.

But my guess is that it won't make it that far.

I know mine never does.

Because I enjoy it. 

And more than that, I enjoy the fact that I don't have to have stickiness all over my hands.

You can thank me later.

Post-Script: All photos in this post came from here - where you could've gotten the instructions without all my distractions.  Sorry about that. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Wedding in Fuzzy iPhone Pics

Since I know you've been wondering about the festivities from last week...

I thought I'd share what I could.

Take into account the fact that since we were all in the wedding, no one had real camera's.

Also take into account the fact that even if we did have camera's, the photographer had a strict "don't interrupt my work with your flash*" rule. 

So we were left with Cousin Amy's iPhone pictures.

Which are fabulous.

For cell phone pics.

I'm certainly not complaining.

So, without further ado...

The Cousins - 20 minutes till go time

The Fleet Girls...including the soon-to-be one

In another life, we were super models.

Mini Meltdown - Over Chapstick.  She takes after me.

The ceremony

The Kiss

And finally: The FAM

I wish we had more to show, and I'm sure in a few weeks we will**.... 

But for now...this is what we got.

I'd also love to give you all the gory details to make it as realistic as possible for you.

Like the fact that the nearest hotel to the church was at least 40 minutes away.

And the boys had to pick up their tuxes in Grand Rapids, which was 1.5 hours away from our hotel.

Not to mention a late night baseball game followed by an all-nighter when the slide show that just wouldn't run took every bit of a full night's sleep to fix.

Not to mention a very stressed out bride and enough christmas lights to don the Griswold's house 8 times.

Oh, and did I mention, the midnight drive across the PA Turnpike that we thought would never end....

But I think I will leave out all the dirty details and let you enjoy the pretty - if fuzzy - stuff.

Because I'm uber positive like that. 

At the end of the day, they were married, it was beautiful, and you'd have never known anything ever went wrong! 

And, after all, I gained a new sister!

So all in all.  It was a success.

*She literally barked at my 75 year old grandfather about him taking pictures.  Boy, did that go over well.  Let this be a lesson to you photog's...flashes may be annoying, but there are NICE ways to take care of that situation. 

**If you want to see the photog's sneak peek, you can check those here.  And then come back to tell me how gorgeous my new SIL is.