Thursday, September 29, 2011

When Congratulations Aren't in Order

Recently, I received a lovely piece of junk mail from a formula company that was very specifically marketed to someone expecting a baby.

(Make a big fuss and refuse to give out information about your due date/name/etc at maternity stores, otherwise you WILL get a ton of these things.)

After my initial *twitch twitch* reaction to it, I posted about it on facebook attempting to be all "lookie, wasn't that funny" and not "omg it's my worst nightmare coming true". You know, to show the world that I have a lovely sense of humor about life and not a sneaking suspicion that I'm living proof of Murphey's Law in action or on a poorly written reality tv show that I just don't know about yet.

And then, one of my friends asked "Are congratulations in order?".

I *think* he was kidding.

Irregardless, I'm really starting to believe that "congratulations" is NOT the thing to say to someone in the middle of a divorce living in their parents' basement and unexpectedly expecting to soon have their third child under the age of 5.

I don't know about you and your household, but I try to imagine what bringing home another newborn would entail and all the crazy logistics and my already chronically exhausted state.... and then pretty soon I'm hyperventilating and going at the Costco-sized Nutella jar with a large spoon and muttering all sorts of things about why some species eat their young and being cursed with over-active ovaries.

No no, a pregnancy right now would not be cause for congratulations.

However, I would be greatly touched by any and all sympathy cards that made it my way, as they would be infinitely better than formula samples any time.

And just for the record: Marty is NOT pregnant, and is holding every intention of remaining that way for an indefinable period of time well past the foreseeable future.

You know, just to make sure things are nice and clear(ly not pregnant) here. 

*cough cough* Are you listening formula companies?? *cough cough*

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Pen is Mightier than the Baby

Sorry for the posting gap, I spent the last 48 hours attempting to upload this video and only just now succeeded. Bad internet!

The other day Adrianna discovered a pen.

I am still not sure where, exactly, she found it. It could have fallen unnoticed onto the floor, or been left someplace truly atrocious, such as close enough to the edge of the kitchen counter for her ever lengthening arms to snag.

But irregardless, a pen she had, and write she did.

And this brings us to a moment where I become conflicted as to whether to be disappointed in her sneaky pen apprehension, appalled at my lackadaisical parenting for watching her destruction without stopping it, or immensely proud of her choice of coloring medium, for she did NOT start scribbling on the floor or even on herself, but rather climbed up onto a chair and perched up on the kitchen table while making some excellent commentary to the daily newspaper.
And then she spontaneously fell off the chair.

video

(Don't worry, she was fine, and I was even a good mommy and put down the camera to go pick her up right away.)


Yep, that's my girl.

Apparently I had quite the reputation for spontaneously falling off of chairs when I was younger, although my parents are getting a bit up there in years, so I'm rather hoping I may soon be able to pass off such stories as fables from an Alzheimer's mind. Also, the stories about my feet getting stuck in the dinning room table would be excellent "fading mental capacity/crazy old people" fodder as well. You know, just in case you get to chose which memories go first.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blog Maintenance Stuff

I can't nap now Mom, I'm updating my blog!
As several of you have noticed enough to comment on already, I did change around the color scheme and header for the blog a few days ago (yeah, even *I* was getting burned out on the disgustingly cheerful yellow). The header picture has slightly different dimensions, which the always wonderful (and even for reasons beyond her regularly reading my blog!!) Heather already told me she likes more (and I kinda do too!), but in addition to being shorter so you don't have to scroll down as much just to get past it, it's also just a touch narrower. Which means that when I tweaked the rest of the layout to match it, the sizing messed with the picture/text layout of some of the past posts. Which means some of them now look kinda crappy. So, I'm genuinely sorry about that, but haven't quite felt bad enough to got through and edit a few hundred old posts to make the pictures fit better.

Eh, such is life.

I've been off the one-post-a-day regiment for a bit and it seems to be going pretty well with me continuing to update this crazy thing fairly regularly while still just on my whim. However, I have had a few hiccups recently. I've been publishing more of them in real time (meaning that when I get done writing one, I just hit "publish" instead of scheduling it for noon the next day like I did for the first year+), and would love any feedback you might have as to whether this is something nobody else never even noticed or liked or what not. But it's also caused a couple days of double posting, where I would write one and publish it in the evening, write a second one right then and schedule it for the next day, and then forget that I had scheduled one and write/publish another one that second evening as well.

But hey, it all evens out in the end I'm sure.

I'm also really wanting to get better at responding to comments. I LOVED all the comments on the post where I began by asking how your day was, as it's really kinda cool to get to know who is reading your blog and what their life is and to see why they're here in the first place. So, I've resolved to try and be much better at leaving responses for the comments YOU leave, which I've already done for the last three posts should anybody be interested enough to want to go check that out.

See, you are all so special to me!

Oh, and although it has nothing at all to do with blogging, I spent 20 minutes this evening making sure I could successfully wear my hair in Princess Leia buns for Halloween since I was forbidden from wearing a costume when I asked it's against Target policy for employees to wear costumes of any kind or any dress other than the specified red and khaki uniform. It's really not particularly important, but I thought they came out kinda cool and I'm rather enjoying wearing them right now. And then I wanted to share that excitement with you!

You're all excited now, right?

And last but certainly not least, how was everyone's weekend?? I hope it was a pleasant one :-)


Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Crazy Matching Auntie

During an email conversation with cousin LauraJean about her trip up stateside over Thanksgiving, I mentioned that I had kinda been wanting to dress all the little cousins matchingly again. I mean, just because ALL of them will be there doesn't mean that it is THE photo opt of the year (or even several) for the generation, or anything super important like that. And I totally wouldn't have been planning how I could dress the lot of them since, say, last Thanksgiving.
It could be worse... they could be all mine!

So it was a totally casual insert into the dialogue. No strings attached, or understated desperate plea for her approval of the matter in slightest. And she, being the totally awesome LauraJean she is, said that I can just be the crazy matching Auntie who does this for every big family gathering.

SCORE!!!

I am so ok having that designation, as it's totally a free pass to go shopping for kids clothing en mass every time there's a family visit.

And en mass shopping it is becoming. The count for Thanksgiving is 8, with another one on the way. However, I am not sad to report that the girls are outnumbering the boys 2-1 at this point, which is just fabulous from my heavily-preferring-to-shop-for-little-girls shopping point of view. Plus I'm usually much more on top of what sorts of clothing is available (and cute, and maybe even sorta trendy) for little girls, while boys just kinda exist in this vague undefined world of grey sweatpants and Star Wars t-shirts.

But never fear, for I have many evenings still when my time is otherwise unoccupied except through my own diversions, and children's clothing is a much loved diversion I haven't been indulging in much recently, and therefore find the slightest excuse to do so just thrilling.

And I have spent the last week tirelessly scurrying a dozen children's brands to find the right combination of affordability (hey, I work at Target and am trying to come up with outfits for EIGHT kiddos, either cut me some slack for being cheap or start donating to the cause) and cuteness and matching and sizing.

Sizing did start to trouble me this year, since it's ranging from a 7 year old to an infant and very few fashions are the same for that range. Needing to shop from both the boys and girls sections caused some complications as well, since apparently this year designers are refusing to use any nice neutral colors for both.

I considered dressing them all exactly alike, perhaps with one design of dress for the girls and a sweater for the boys, but the closest I could get was some dresses on Gymboree that were very similar in both the big girls and little girls, which then turned out not to match ANYTHING from the boys section in the slightest. And that simply wouldn't do.

Had pricing not been an issue, I would have made a bee line for the Hanna Andersson fair isle sweaters, since they are sweet and the baby rompers are absolutely adorable (and there would even be the possibility for matching adults too! Not that I'd be seeing that as a perfect Christmas card for us or anything... *ahem*). I was also highly disappointed that at least as of yet, the Children's Place isn't carrying the bright stripe sweaters which had been my fall back plan since last year.

But I finally found success with Crazy 8. They are the cheaper brand run by the Gymboree mother ship company, and I haven't ever shopped with them before. But their facebook page was full of people speaking highly about the clothes for the price, and told me that I did in fact have a coupon for them in a magazine that was hanging out on the kitchen table which I'd never managed to read more than the first few pages. So that added to the sale prices made the endeavor look really rather doable, and I just had to create the outfits.....

Oh, create them I did. I shall not tell you just how many hours I have spent selecting and re-selecting the perfect combination of looks for each child, to make for an excellently balanced picture and to suite each child's age and personality as best I could, but it was a lot.

And it was fun!

And the picture of them shall be epic. EPIC, you hear me?? Don't worry, there will be a blog post reviewing for the other family members who will be present the plan of attack for how we shall get this epic (absolutely EPIC, I tell you) picture in the coming weeks, along with threats of what I shall do if we don't and a nice sprinkling of guilt to help ensure cooperation on all fronts.

Because really, it's going to take a small army to get 8 children all under the age of 8 looking at all reasonable for a single photograph.

But it will be worth it.

(I hope......)

Pink Bedding, Target Style

A few of the more dedicated readers may recall my posts about Kristina's request for a pink room and my quest to find the perfect facilitators of such.

Namely, pink bedding. 

Rather disappointingly, it's not looking like that pink room is going to be materializing in our new house nearly as soon as I would like it to, mostly on account of housing being expensive around here and my job just not paying very much.

Never-the-less, I have spent much time eyeballing the children's pink bedding aisle in Target since I started working there, and became very excited the day I was scanning outs (please, somebody who knows what that means, read this and appreciate it) and the computer system told me the collection was discontinued.

Because you know happens after something is discontinued? It goes on CLEARANCE a few weeks later!

Target prices in general are pretty good (read: cheap), and their CLEARANCE can be down right unreal for how little stuff will cost.

So I continued to watch the children's bedding section, and wait.

And then, one glorious morning, the CLEARANCE sign was up!

However, it was not to the super discount level of CLEARANCE yet, and we still had a ton of it coming out of the back (as I personally am responsible for much of the movement of merchandise from the backroom onto the store shelves, I really do often feel as though I have super power knowledge of the products in the store) so I continued to watch and wait.

A few weeks later, another markdown.... that pink bedding was getting very tempting.

In fact, I may have started to think it was pure fate working out just awesomely such that all the delightful aspects of decorating my children's potential future rooms would go on such delightful sale just before the results of the delightful low income housing lottery were posted.

Well, CLEARANCE fate in play or not, I didn't get a lottery slot and despite my best efforts of number crunching and recrunching, either more income HAS to appear from somewhere or there has to be some fairly serious compromises on how much space I think the three of us need to afford independent housing without the highly coveted state assistance.

So.... I looked mournfully at the 50% off pastel quilts, and resigned myself to not needing them just yet.

And then yesterday morning, there was something going on in the bedding section. Why, it was the ever-awesome price change team going through a third time with their CLEARANCE sticker-printer, tagging the very same pink bedding I'd been so captivated by.

Was it really going 75% off already? I had to see, so I did my best to appear focused on my morning task of scanning while bidding my time until I could stealthily sneaked back to the bedding section of the store after they had moved on and took a peak at the new labels.

And yes, they WERE on superduper clearance now!

So after a quick bite to eat later that morning for lunch, I went and did a little impromptu bedding shopping while off the clock and without my red shirt on, and snagged up two ruffley pink quilt sets and two pink birdhouse sheet sets for a grand total of.....

$34.19

Admittedly, this is post employee discount and redcard savings (and tax), but it was still a pretty killer deal with the markdowns if I do say so myself.

(Feel free to go check out the bedding sets that these are knock offs of here, here, and here and then take a glance at their price tags. I'm sure if I lived in a world where money was no object of concern, I'd be happy to pick out full sets from Pottery Barn Kids on my every whim. But sadly, the cost of sheets really does directly affect my ability to obtain them these days (not to mention details like my children will most probably puke and/or shit on them regardless of the quality), and that means that CLEARANCE knock-offs of things hold substantially more value than their price tag merely because of the potential to actually purchase them in this little world of mine.)

And then I had the fun of finding a higher up boss who would let me stash the haul in their office for the rest of the day, because you know, the lockers are teeny tiny and my car is waaaaay on the other side of the parking lot and walking out to it would so take a while and I totally need to be getting back in from lunch, like, right now.....

*puppy dog eyes*

Thanks, management-level-team-member-who-shall-not-be-named-since-I-was-told-I'd-get-in-trouble-for-using-names-on-here who let me do that, I really appreciated it :-)

And now I just need to decide the best way to blow my children's minds with this awesome new pink bedding.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Ponderance of Ponies

I have been pondering doing something for a while now.

It is a grave decision for me, and takes me down a road that, once begun, cannot be undone. Future life happiness of all three of us could be seriously affected by this decision to act, and attempting to moderate potential damage would be difficult, time consuming, and expensive.

That's right, I've been seriously considering giving my My Little Pony Celebration Castle to Adrianna for Christmas.

I was a deprived child and did not have the My Little Pony Dream Castle of the '80s (nor the Barbie Dream House, for that matter, but we shan't get into my lacking childhood today), and therefore felt overwhelmingly compelled to purchase the new generation's version during my collecting phase (which probably would have continued much longer had I not gotten slammed into the motherhood phase of life when I did, as I'm still maintaining that My Little Ponies are AWESOME) when it came out.

The castle was truly magnificent, if only because it played the original My Little Pony theme song when one of the magnetic pony hoofs stepped on the magic button. And it was an excellent cornerstone of my pony display during the few months I had the collection up in full.

(That would be during the post-dorm-living-and-before-baby-while-Peter-was-deployed-and-the-space-was-all-MINE period.)

But sadly, it has been residing boxed up in the pony corner of my parents garage for the last 3 years along with most of the rest of the pieces. There are a few ponies floating around that didn't make the pack-up, and a large plush Pinkie Pie that Kristina had already adopted and the girls' love dearly, but the vast entirety of ponies are merely accumulating dust at this point.

And that makes me sad.

They shouldn't be sitting out there collecting dust! I have two little girls who would love to play with them and would create beautiful memories of childhood with those beautiful pastel equestrians! Adrianna in particular has a strong love for the ponies we have out, as well as most any toy that has hair on it. In fact, she constantly sits there and plays with the fake plasticy hair of whichever lovies she's taken to that day.... which is why they all have hair that looks absolutely terrible....... and she'd probably do that to any new ponies that came into her possession...........

*twitch*

But I can't just pull out the castle and NOT a reasonable assortment of ponies to play in it, that's just stupid. And it seems silly to go to great lengths to hunt down an assortment of G3 ponies on eBay just so they'd have some with the magnet in their hoofs to operate the fabulous My Little Pony theme song (no really, it is just EPIC).

And if I pull out the castle, it seems as though I should also pull out the other play-sets for them. There's the amusement park, with a flying pony ride... I bet Kristina would really like that one.... and several cute little shops, with all the little accessories they came with.... which would never again be fully accounted for much less properly sorted and stored with the correct play-set should I give them over to my children.

*twinge*

Not to mention details like the fact that I could pretty much furnish an entire AWESOME Christmas morning for them just with those boxes sitting out in the garage (assuming they don't start hating the color pink before then) and therefore wouldn't have quite the same stress with finances for the season, much less the need to go shopping.

*sigh*

It's a good thing December is still a while away, and my inner Mommy guilt can battle my inner love of my pony collection some more.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baby Passports

The ever awesome cousins LauraJean and Tim welcomed little baby Maya into the world just over a week ago (YAY!), but because they are US citizens presently living in Nicaragua one of the very first things they need to do is get little newborn her a passport.

Plus they already have plane tickets to be stateside this fall for both Halloween and Thanksgiving, because really, trick-or-treating, turkey and pumpkin pie are SO worth it. Oh, and there might be some "family time" thing sneaked in there too, but I really think they planned the trip just for the plethora of pie the last week (mmmm... pie.....). And a chance to remember what cold weather is. And indoor plumbing that includes hot water, as I'm sure it's easy to forget what that's like when living without it in the tropics.

LauraJean's commenting about needing to get the baby passport for Maya made me think of the girls' baby (albeit not nearly as tiny of a baby as Maya) passports. They both have them, although they have yet to travel internationally (which I'm kinda hoping to change with a trip to someplace tropical come, oh say, February....)

However, there is one aspect of their passport baby photos which is especially cool: I personally took both of them!!

Admittedly, Kristina's came out a little better as it was taken with professional equipment and lighting during my (very) brief tenure as a photographer at the Sears Portrait Studio (also, it was my first non-practice passport photo), while Adrianna's was done balanced in the poorly lit stairwell (which ultimately caused the flash to over-expose) since it was the only plain white wall in the house.

And you know what? Taking passport photos is EASY!

The only challenge is needing to make sure all the requirements are met, which might take a try or two for the novice, but if you're feeling frugal (or really just trying to save a little cost when you have to get, say, a family of 4 all done at once) it's really not hard to do as long as you have a camera and marginally-photo-quality printer on hand.

So I have a challenge for any exceptionally bored or otherwise unoccupied readers out there. I want to see if the untrained and unpracticed you really can successfully get a passport worthy photo with minimal time and personal aggravation like I think you can. Go grab that nearest small squirmy child (or like, cat....), and lets get clickin'!  

The requirements for taking US passport photos are as follows:

Front profile with both ears showing.

The background must be solid white.

The total size of the picture must be 2 inches square, with the head being between 1" and 1 3/8" long (and yes, they check that with a ruler when you turn in the application).

And you must have two of them.

Yep, that's it. I told you it wasn't all that hard! Now go get 'em (and let me know the results)!!

A few child specific tips: if the baby is too small to hold their head up comfortably, take the picture while standing over them laying on a white sheet or blanket on the floor. Also, if you're sitting a small child up on a stool like many places who take passport photos due, make sure someone holding onto them, kids spontaneously fall off of stools like nobody's business.

How NOT to Pose for Pictures

A few days ago, Kristina wanted to take a picture of Adrianna and me.

Adrianna was less than humoring of her, and in a valiant attempt to simultaneously keep both children happy, I started holding Adrianna upside down. She always giggles like crazy at this antic, and will usually keep asking to do it again and again, and therefore also be staying with me while giving Kristina an opportunity to work the camera.

Well.... it was a little more complicated than anticipated. Mostly because Adrianna is getting bigger and very good at her go-go-gadget extendy arms complete with death grip once her object of desire is attained.

So it yielded such amazing photogenic gems as this one, where I'm attempting to extract the doll stroller from the upside down baby's crampons.

Yep, we'll just file that one under "model parenting" and call it good.

On the upside, Kristina has REALLY been improving with her framing of photos, as this one wasn't cropped at all so that good centering was all her AND she even included great artistic details like my head.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Come My Family Doesn't Have a Victorian?

I recently came across this article HERE through the interwebs (thanks Rachel!) about a family discovering a forgotten Victorian-era kitchen in their basement, which ended up being an exceptionally well-preserved relic from the bygone time.

And although I've always been a bit fascinated by older houses and enchanted by the history people find in them (and potential secret passage ways and lost treasures and hidden rooms and forgotten gardens), this particular story caught my interest for other reasons.

Namely, how the family came into possession of the house in the first place, as the estate had been in the family for generations, just being passed down every 40 years or so.

How come my family hasn't been passing down an old Victorian mansion for the last few hundred years??

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Delightful Day at Work

How was your day today?

I know people often say this as a matter of route generic greeting while not actually caring about the response itself (happens to me constantly at work with people who are half an aisle away before I could even get a muttered "fine" out of my mouth), but I really would like to hear about it.

Because I'm a comment whore weird like that lonely a considerate and thoughtful person.

But first, as you cannot possibly tell me about your day until I have made this into a blog post asking you how your day was, let me tell you about mine.

Mine was just delightful.

It started with the 4th day of opening in a row, and although I'm sure many people have to get up at 5:30am for a whole 5 days a week, I... well, I just don't like waking up that early, and find repetitively doing so to be painful. Also, I don't do it quite enough to actually get into the good habit of going to bed at a decent time. And I find my alarm clock to be slowly killing my soul each time it goes off.

But enough about all that, my day started early and with me tired, and therefore just had total success written all over it.

Work really did go rather smoothly for the morning, in stark contrast to several of those other past mornings that involved lots of panic and running around the store like I was being chased by eating-post-midnight gremlins.

And then there was lunch time. And let me tell you, spending my half hour off battling midday traffic to drop what turned out to be partially incorrect paperwork off at the courthouse was just *such* an improvement to my normal routine of hiding somewhere quiet with a large book. Really now, it made me wonder why I don't hop into my car to do a semi-futile task for EVERY lunch break. Oh, and it only cost me 45 minutes of work time to pay for those french fries I inhaled during it.

My economics instructor would be so proud of that cost/benefits analysis right there. Heck, I'm pretty sure my middle school math teacher would be pretty proud of that amazing mathelogical process too!

Mathelogical is a word, right? It totally should be, as it's an excellent description of what I do to math.

Oh wait, I'm getting off subject.

So, the next highlight of my day would be stealing a chocolate cupcake out of the produce section's trashcans that had been forgotten about before being dumped into the big trash compactor in the back room next to the box baler to eat on my break. It was only a day past it's expiration date, and completely enclosed in it's plastic little container while surrounded by other similar cupcakes and packages of cookies and a few very sorry looking containers of green beans. I was also totally planning on helping myself to some pink frosted cookies to bring home to the girls, but it got dumped before I was ending my work shift. Since I'm not entirely sure whether this is an ok thing to be doing as an employee, I haven't gotten around to asking whether it's ok for me to take the stuff being trashed as I'd rather be able to plead ignorance than straight up defiance should somebody ever question me on it.

I do kinda fear that if it's truly "ok" for me to help myself to all that goes through there, I would quickly become a hoarder with all sorts of only slightly damaged goods piled high around me. And there might be some ethical compulsions from actually selecting food from the trash can to bring home to my children on a regular basis, although I'm pretty sure cupcakes and pink frosted cookies are excluded from this clause on account of them being cupcakes and pink frosted cookies. My chocolate cupcake really was delicious. 

So there I was with my deliciously free and only slightly morally compromising chocolate cupcake and big book on break, when I checked the just posted low-income housing voucher lottery results online to find out the thrilling news that I did not, in fact, get a slot. It's really not a big deal, as I feel like nothing but success from being 26 and living with my parents and certainly had not picked out the townhouse I wanted to live in much less thought through things like how I was going to convince my coworkers to help me move my furniture in from it's storage units. And I would have never figured out the entire floor plan with furniture and decorated the girls' rooms with all the amazing (pink) wonders I see on a daily basis at Target, because really now, doing stuff like that is just not a productive use of time. Especially when one is at work, and instead of stocking shelves gazing longingly at the pink fluffy bedspreads. Yep, not productive in the slightest, so it's a really good thing I'm not an easily distracted or browsy sort of worker like that.

But my day was going to hold out on unexpected delightful perks all the way through an entire otherwise uneventful workday by me getting called into the office to discuss my clocking in with 2 minutes of overtime last week. Woot! For 0.03 of an hour they have to pay me unauthorized time and a half!! Yep, I'm single handedly trying to bankrupt Target by stealing cupcakes from the trash and getting overtime for the second time this month.

Damn I'm good.

Lucky for them my supervisors realized my evil plot and have taken drastic steps to correct the situation before I managed to take over the world. And now I have an excellent topic of conversation to bring up at the next huddle when they're whining about people not showing up for their shifts! See, don't just not show up OR be over your 40 hour allotment by 2 minutes, because they're both like so equally bad and you'll get the same scolding for doing it!

But shhhhhh, don't tell them about the chocolate-cupcake-from-the-trash incident.... I've still gotten away with that one! Bwahahahaha!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quandaries of Stupidity

Many years ago when I was young and impressionable and still discovering all the wonderments of late night cable, I quite accidentally came across a scene on tv of guys sitting around in a circle wearing nothing but jock straps with bulls-eyes painted on them forcibly chucking a dog bone at each others' crotches.

I have since learned that this amazing and painful display of stupidity is called Jackass, and it was a fairly successful tv show for the few years it lasted and went on to make several reasonably grossing big screen movies. 

We'll be moving right past the question of how a group of guys doing incredibly stupid things on purpose with a video crew along could possibly be so successful, to the original point of this post for which that was merely a little background and context setting.

Some of my coworkers were entertaining themselves during an exceptionally slow afternoon today by chucking a baseball-sized semi-squishy bouncy ball at each others' crotches when no shoppers or management-level fellow employees were around.

Because they are male, and therefore highly amused by doing incredibly stupid things. Apparently.

However, as I contemplate this strange masculine bonding ritual of trying to hit your friends in the crotch with a projectile, I'm beginning to think that perhaps the shared experience of pain (even when inflicted in such a questionable manner) does truly serve some small purpose in deepening social relationships.

Take for example birth stories. Everyone whose done it has to chime in with theirs when it's the topic of conversation (and sometimes you even get the people who haven't personally given birth, but love regaling of their sister's/cousin's/best friend's/this-one-time-on-reality-tv when given the chance).

Similarly, from what I've seen soldiers greatly enjoying bantering stories of everything from what they did in basic training to the battlefield and everything in between.

The shared pains and hardships gone through and overcome give people a common ground of understanding what has shaped their lives, and how people dealt with the extreme physical stress shares quite a bit about their character.

Like I start cussing a lot during drug-free-not-really-by-choice child birth, and although I'm not entirely sure what exactly that's depicting of my inner being, I'm still gonna go with it's a reasonable reaction which I'm ok having. After all, childbirth is a bit on the painful side. And I'm a bit on the cranky-when-they-won't-give-me-the-wonderful-drugs-I-really-wanted side. And I tend to use the word fuck excessively when I'm cranky. 

But in today's world of adrenaline-lacking Target jobs, some of those bonding experiences may need to be artificially created.

Apparently by trying to hit each other in the crotch with a large bouncy ball.

Now if only I could think of an equivalent way to manufacture some bonding time with my female coworkers....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Poison is for Bad Guys

In this enlightening segment of captured Kristina Wisdom, she explains what poison is for (making bad guys dead, just in case you were wondering) and why we don't pick up hitchhikers (there are a lot around here (damn hippies), so it's a common topic during car rides).

Oh, and Adrianna chimes in a few times too. I'm sure the discussions will be even better once she adds more than the occasional emphasis.


video

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Missoni Mishap

Target Corporation occasionally features various specialty lines, the most recent of which would be the Italian designer Missoni for Target fall collection.

[Side note about the link: At the end of the pictures there is a bike that is NOT the same as the bike we had in the store, as the one we had was black and white (much like the shower curtain in the commercial), I'm not sure whether the stock was changed post creating the "look book" or whether there were two styles ultimately released.]

It was anticipated to be a big seller, and there were conversations about it at huddle (like a staff meeting, but often with treats and done standing around in a big blood clot conglomerate somewhere on the sales floor) in the weeks beforehand.

Admittedly, much of the conversation revolved around various Team Members thinking the collection was ugly as sin a little lacking aesthetically, but personal opinions like that don't really matter to management.

(Especially when it's people in the management level voicing them the loudest....)

We also repeatedly talked about how the collection was not to be out on the floor in ANY circumstance before it's release date this past Tuesday, and that there had been a near disaster two weeks prior when a zebra-on-LSD looking bike and a pair of groovy rainboots somehow ended up briefly on the sales floor.

(But don't worry, you couldn't have bought them anyways since they were locked out on the register system.)

And then, the much anticipated Tuesday September 13th rolled around.

And the entire collection pretty much sold out instantaneously across the nation.

Or so I heard. As Tuesday is one of my regular days off, I never even SAW any of the collection beyond the tv commercial for it, a few pairs of shoes and rainboots that were still in the store as of yesterday, and that stupid zebra-on-LSD bike that had been hanging up on the bike rack in the backroom for the weeks prior.

The popularity of it was astounding, as the demand also temporarily crashed the Target website in people's insane rush to buy it.

And the Mossimo collection is  G-O-N-E. That's right, we're not supposed to be getting another shipment of stock in. Period.

So, I'm rather sorry if you still wanted something from it, I think most people are going to have to be looking at paying double on eBay for it at this point.

Good luck.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Still Faking It

Although I'm sure there's some law of nature in existence somewhere that says if you fake it long enough you just sorta become it, I still feel like I'm just faking it for most of my life.

I know I'm totally faking it on the self confidence part on a daily basis, through a delightful combination of just being too tired to give a crap anymore and a very well practiced outward projection of an inner calm that doesn't exist inside me.

I'm pretty sure I'm faking it on any lofty philosophical idea of life being ok by simply being in denial about as much of it as I can be as much as time allows.

I still sorta think I'm faking it on being a pretty good parent, but this is definitely one of those where doing the actions without the conviction somehow becomes the conviction itself.

For example, I keep my children fairly neat and clean because the world judges your parenting based on whether there's chocolate milk spilled down the front of their shirts and noses crusted over with big green boogers. But whether I personally valued keeping them in clean(ish) clothes with combed hair becomes irrelevant as I care enough about keeping up a respectable parenting image to DO so.

Fulfilling the role of a decent parent requires reading to the girls and working on teaching them their letters. But simply by doing it because it's one of those things I should do creates the good parenting because I am reading to them and working on their letters.

Feeling like I ought to occasionally throw vegetables and other strange foods at them and expect them to eat means that I occasionally I actually give them vegetables and other strange foods to eat, therefore meeting whatever notions society holds about children needing to be offered such things and hence being a good parent.

Or, dress as the person you want to be,  not the person you are. 


And you see, this is where I start to wonder about the future application of this concept. If I have become a good parent merely by doing what the general populace seems to think I should do, what else could I become by allusion alone?

If I keep faking having self confidence, will I eventually ACTUALLY BE self confident? If I never stop pretending that of course life is just fine, then one day will it really be so? If I dress myself like a responsible adult for long enough, will I stop feeling like I'm just wearing a costume? If I keep acting like I know what I'm doing at work, will I start honestly knowing what I am doing?

And, if I really have this sort of control over shaping who I will become, how do I decide what person I want to be?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Backyard Visitors

After reading about Rachel's precious little backyard bunny over at Grasping for Objectivity, I decided that I needed to write about our backyard visitors.

Now you see, we don't live in suburbia at the moment, but rather in a land only accessed by unpaved mountain roads that doesn't even have pizza delivery (much less cell phone service).

And although there ARE the assorted small chipmunks and mice and bunnies and pika (it's like a mouse cross mated with a chipmunk) around, they are not particularly noteworthy (nor complacent for me photographing their babies) compared to some of our other visitors.

A few years back there was a particularly memorable incident that only my father was around to witness (and he did not properly photograph this event, failing to grasp the awesome blogging opportunity that was awaiting), where a black bear was helping themselves to a particularly lush wild raspberry bush growing next to the house and Diamond, my cat, was vehemently hissing at it from the other side of a screen door.

The bear thought the berries were far more interesting than a little kitty, and eventually went on his happy way after cleaning out the bush. The cat was lucky to still be in one piece, and the bushes growing up right next to the house were removed.

So I was all set to personally capture the awesomness that nature delivers into our backyard on a regular basis for you wonderful viewers.

And then, I waited for the perfect photo opportunity.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

I missed some elk running up the driveway from a lack of camera one time, and my father was not supportive of my idea of leaving some bear-attracting goodies (aka, garbage can) conveniently placed right in front of the window outside.

But I preserved, and finally got the perfect (well, at least a photogenic herbivore) backyard visitor!

A male deer, also helping himself to the ripe raspberries with a few of his less photogenically positioned buds.

Yep, I totally could have brought home the bacon venison from the living room window.

And never fear, a guard cat was on duty for the whole incident!
However, the guard cat on duty was Whispey, and as he's a little more... um..... "laid back" than Diamond, there was no territorial hissing at the invaders.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Most Wonderful Place

There is one particular aspect of work that I have been enjoying the most.

No, it's not the employ discount and inside scoop on all things Target.

No, it's not spending 40 hours a week interacting with other adults instead of hanging out with my children.

No, it's not even having a paycheck and a very faint feeling of somewhat getting my life back together.

No no, my FAVORITE part about work is my lunch break.

But you see, it's not for the usual cliche reasons of the rest of my day being crummy or hating my bosses or whatever.

(I've actually been enjoying my job quite a bit most days.)

My lunch break is my favorite time of the day because according to Colorado law I WILL get 30 minutes (unpaid) time off between my 4th and 5th working hours.

Irregardless of what is going on inside of that building, I MUST clock out on lunch and must NOT do any work during that time.

If I'm going to be in the store, it's highly encouraged that I either wear another shirt underneath my signature red or bring a hoodie to pull on over it, because I should NOT be answering people's questions or dealing with any work related tasks during my lunch break.

Do you know how incredibly awesome it is to be forced to go take a break in the middle of the day?!?

(Do you know how much BETTER motherhood would be if you got a guaranteed 30  minute lunch break every day??)

And at the moment I have the most wonderful break place to hide out in! Target does provide a reasonable break room for employees (and during the back to school chaos they even regularly stocked it with all sorts of food-like goodies) with a couple fridges and microwaves and an assortment of tables and chairs.

But the TV is always on (and in recent times it's been without cable, so it's nearly always tuned to infomercials in the morning and cheesy soaps around noon since apparently those are the only things on the three or so free channels one can get these days) and there's usually lots of people around talking loudly about things I don't really care about at all.

It may not look like much, but I think it's just wonderful.
And then they like to start talking to me........

So I have taken to hiding out to fully enjoy my respite from dealing with life (yeah, that includes making polite conversation since I get to do that with strangers most of the day already, no offense friendly fellow workers). There is this most delightful space behind some stone half walls out in front of the building that they use to store shopping carts overnight where no-one can see me if I'm sitting down. And despite being next to the parking lot, it's surprisingly quiet back there. There are a couple little decorative trees planted on the other side which lend good shade in the afternoon, along with the very slight allusion of being somewhere other than in a concrete box. The only other people who wander out there are smokers, and most of them would prefer to be left to themselves even more than I would as best I can judge. Admittedly, they are also the main cause of the ground being a bit on the dirty side, but I've noticed them now often tossing their butts on the other side of the wall since I started taking up residence sitting back there (and I'm quite certain I've touched much more disgusting things in relation to my children with my bare hands than what my panted ass might find on that ground, so it really doesn't bother me as much as perhaps it should).

And you know what else?

I get two (count them, TWO) other 15 minute (paid!) breaks during an 8 hour shift, where I also find much solace and personal respite back behind the wall with a good book and perhaps a cookie.

(Ok, so needing to walk by the check lanes on my way out of the building every break is not the most ideal situation, as the check lane goodies are often so appealing....)

My only fear is what I will do come wintertime, as I'm kinda wussy about sitting out in the cold and snow, and uncertain about my ability to convince the manager level people to let my use their hardly ever used offices as a private reading nook.

Even if it's just to get the few minutes of needed solitude from the world of noise of chaos.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Too Young To Remember

Many blogs (and newspapers and magazines and radio shows and tv programs....) have been focusing on the 10th anniversary of September 11th the past week, and I'm sure most media at least on the US side will be thoroughly inundated with it today.

(Sorry about adding to it.)

And although I've rather been avoiding the topic in it's entirety to the best of my ability, I did stumble across across a post done by Jill, Benevolent Dictator when I was checking out who this obviously cool person was, since anyone who has "benevolent dictator" as part of her signature just has to be badass along with her awesomeness from her entertaining take on the reason behind the departure of the pumpkin hat.

And her post reflecting on the event itself and how it has affected her family's life since made me realize that I have no memories as an adult (much less as a parent) of the world before 9/11.

My mother mentioned a year or two ago that she was really hit by the freshman students coming into her community college class having no real personal memories of the destruction of the twin towers, and I had condescendingly declared that of course I have memories of the event.

But it wasn't until yesterday that I fully realized my memories are nothing more than images completely lacking any sort of a larger context.

I was 16.

I have no adult memories or view of the world other than the state it's been in for the last decade. 

I vaguely remember that air travel used to be different, that there was a time before constant amber alerts and long security lines and when jokes were made about bad airplane food (you know, before they stopped feeding you entirely).

But I don't remember what it was like not to be a country at war, nor what it's like to have a military force not be in a constant deployment cycle.

I never formed the idea that the world today is a particularly unsafe place, because it is simply how the world has been to me.

(For that matter, I also never really formed an opinion about the economy or job market beyond them existing in varying degrees of sucking.)

It never occurred to me that there might be a need for a family emergency plan, despite living surrounded by the nation's emergency plan.

By the time I came of age the world had already changed, and at the rate things are going it doesn't look like to change back any time soon. An interesting time to become an adult, to say the least.

Now if only I could remember if "May you live in interesting times" was a blessing or a curse.......

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Stuff I'm Learning at Work

I REALLY tried to make this into something coherent and more focused than random thoughts dealing with the subject of working at Target that I've been jotting down for the last week. And then I just sorta decided to go to bed instead. Bad me. I feel appropriately shamed about it, and all the other things and people I'm kinda avoiding because I'm just super lame and tired these days. Sorry world.

It's been a good while since I've been in a formal work environment in general, and I have never worked for a big corporation (or for that matter, with any notable quantity of male coworkers) before in my life.

And it's been an interesting experience.

"Living the nightmare" is occasionally bantered around as a joke, along with stats over which upper management level people (who, of course, have spiffy team Target titles, but I don't happen to be any good at actually keeping inane acronyms straight and therefore cannot tell you what, exactly, they are, which is probably for the better with keeping me out of trouble for writing all this) rank the highest on the micro managing control freak score.

(Dear Target personal who eventually figure out that I've been writing this stuff about the corporation, instead of getting mad at me for this, could you just give me a raise and possibly a promotion to something like "social media and public image boss-like person who gets an office and personal supply of pastel post-it notes" instead? That'd be pretty awesome. Thanks.)

Although I'm still pretty happy just to have a job at all, and most of the time genuinely enjoy being at Target (really, who doesn't?), I do see how having the common negative view of a singular source can help make you feel included in the masses and add a nice topic to polite conversation with people you don't know very well besides the weather.

(Apparently some people don't necessarily like me sharing the exploding poop stories as much as you all do.)

And last week I overheard an interesting conversation between some of the lower to mid management people (they are called Team Leaders, and I could potentially be one if I'm willing to work at Target for the next 5 years and manage to stop single-handedly crashing my team's scores), where from what I gathered through eves dropping as I am still far too lowly on the chain to be personal briefed on these matters, there had been a dramatic dispute over some of the store staging between a few of the uppers, and a team leader said "It's like when mommy and daddy fight, and somehow it's all your fault". I find this intriguing, and makes me wish I had more gossip-prone friends (or even like, non-gossip-prone friends that just happened to be well informed) to give me the 411 on what actually happened.

(Also, I'd really like to know whether my hunch that the micro managing control freak manager was one of the parties involved is correct.)

The scores are VERY important, apparently, and when they start talking lots of slight decimal shifts in numbers I start to feel like I'm in calculus again. I don't know where these numbers come from, exactly, or why they matter beyond the inherent "going down is bad" aspect. I kinda thought they were from the surveys people fill out online, but then I somehow managed to seriously screw my teams' scores over (all by myself, even!) a couple weeks back, so now I really have no idea where these mystical-but-still-all-important numbers come from. I didn't understand the reason for anything going on in advanced math class either. 

Despite more than half the employees being male, gossip still flies fairly rampant through the store, which adds to my occasional feeling that working at Target isn't substantially different than being back in high school.

(I'm sure the calculus class flashbacks also add to this, along with the occasional seriously questionable nutrition lunch choice.)

This is also the first job I've ever had for both a big bureaucratic system (since apparently "military wife" doesn't actually count as a job) AND that wasn't at least 98% female employees, so there has been a few learning curves on navigating the system which I haven't encountered before. Like, learning that what I do isn't actually important. Sure, they want me to show up when I'm scheduled and to be doing my job while I'm there, but you had better believe they want me G-O-N-E if I'm about to hit overtime for the week and that daily call ins are simply accepted as part of the deal.

And then there's the whole sexual harassment in the workplace thing, where I've actually had male coworkers who were chatting it up stop mid-story/joke when I came by because telling (the female) me would qualify for it. Then they feel bad and say to me "sorry, it's not personal, it's just against Target policy to tell you while we're at work." Damn. They do take all that stuff in the orientation video seriously around here. Which, I suppose is ultimately preferable to the alternative, but still makes for some awkwardness I'm not used to experiencing in a co-ed group of people in their 20s.

Yep, it's definitely been a new experience, full of all sorts of learning (I think they even trained me on some formal "job" stuff too!) and useful life lessons.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pumpkin Hats

Kristina has had a Gymboree pumpkin hat to wear each fall, with the exception of her newborn year.

One year, it was the only hat she would wear. Period.

Another year was her orange favorite color phase, and it was much beloved for that aspect.

And I have to admit, I'm quite fond of them as well.

In addition to being the cutest little things ever, they're also a remarkably excellent weight for fall days. They wash well, and allowed for easy I-can-do-it-myself putting on even with clumsy toddler fingers.

And last year, I got to have TWO little pumpkin heads, which somehow managed to compound the cuteness ten-fold.


Needless to say, I was looking forward to the Gymboree fall clothing line nearly as much as the Halloween costumes so I could scoop up another pair of pumpkin hats.

(Despite having purchased 3 in as many years, none of them are going to be easily findable any time soon thanks to moving and storage, and even if they were to be found whether we would have the needed sizes is always a question for the ages.)

But wait... what is this? An ugly pumpkin head band instead of the previously always stocked absolutely perfect cotton cable knit pumpkin hat??

*TWITCH*

*TWITCH TWITCH TWITCH TWITCH TWITCH TWITCH*

*sigh*

*STABITY*

*sigh*

*twitch*

BUT WAIT! I shall not despair, for I am armed with the powers of an eBay account and the knowledge that Gymboree outlet stores always care the previous year's lines, which would INCLUDE the pumpkin hats from last year!!

Alrighty then, lets go compare the nearest outlet mall to the going cost on eBay and see which is the.... whaddaya mean $14.95 a piece on eBay?? Damn inflation and crazy parents doing anything for a stupid pumpkin hat.

But man, it would take a whole day to go to the outlet mall, with the kids in tow....... gas getting there, lunch/ice cream/quarter rides, gas getting back..... and I don't even know what they'd be selling them for either. Or if they'd even be there at all!

*twitchy twitch twitch*

*sigh*

Monday, September 5, 2011

Perspective

There is an older Dilbert comic with two panels, one which reads "How you see your performance at work" and shows an angelic scene with much praise and worshiping going on as the worker walks through, and the other which reads "How your boss sees your performance at work" and shows Dilbert stapled to his desk screaming "stapler misfire!"

I often feel as though that is how my world is, except that instead of it just being my boss, it's EVERYBODY.

Where I see myself as seriously rockin' at work most of the time, everyone else sees me as marginally competent on the good days. (And we won't even linger on how they see me on the bad days, when I do things like screw up signing one morning and seriously crash the entire teams' scores for the week. Or get 9 minutes of overtime, they REALLY don't like me when I do that.)

Where I see myself as being personally satisfied through using blogging as means of personal expression, everyone else sees me as narcissistic and often shallow. 

Where I see myself as accomplished for staying on top of it and getting three loads of laundry run through in an afternoon, everyone else sees me as sloppy for having three baskets of (now clean) laundry just piled there.

Where I see myself as achieving something by having paperwork done ahead of time, everyone else sees me as an idiot for not doing it right.

Where I see myself as an excellent parent with wonderfully spirited children, everyone else sees me as delusional for not realizing what little hellions they actually are and oppressive for trying to control their behavior.

Where I see myself as independent and capable, everyone else sees me as foolish and idiotic for not seeking the opinions of others in everything I do.

Where I see myself as energy conserving through selective cleaning tactics, everyone else just sees me as lazy for not picking up the girls' toys every night. 

Where I see myself as doing my damnedest not to drown in the hurricane of life, everyone else sees me splashing around worthlessly in a small puddle.


Unfortunately, each facet of the world judges me (and everyone else, for that matter) through it's own perspective, and my opinion matters little in tallying the grand equation of life.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Patiently Impatient

The dear and wonderful cousin LauraJean is presently sitting at 39 weeks and 1 day of her second pregnancy.

And I have been having great trouble being patient about the whole affair.

Now, part of this is a result of not knowing the baby's gender prior to the birth (something I never could have personally managed to do) and my great pondering as to whether I can start sending off awesome things like the sweet and adorable Sisters book that Kristina and Adrianna like so much, or whether I'll have to content myself with digging up big sister/baby brother shirts (since all children really should be properly labeled).

And the other parts.... well, those are just me being impatient.

The only thing that kept me from being horribly impatient about Kristina's arrival was the need to get through out wedding first (contractions started on our little sugarmoon, so she came right on schedule for me), and I started eating pineapple in large quantities at 36 weeks with Adrianna after I happened to read it can induce labor.

Oh, and both my girls showed up just past 38 weeks, so I'm really not sure whether I even could have made it past the 40 mark without going a little crazy.

Yep, I am not a patient person when it comes to pregnancy, undoubtedly for fairly obvious reasons for anyone who has ever been pregnant.

But I am surprised by how I'm still so impatient when it comes to others being pregnant. After all, LauraJean is in another country from me, it's not like her giving birth (or not) impacts my (non-existent) holiday weekend plans in the slightest. And she's already announced her US "showing off the baby" tour coming in the fall, irregardless of whether they're 12 weeks or merely 11 come Thanksgiving.

And yet, impatient I am.... So much so, in fact, that LauraJean directly ASKED ME why I was being so impatient about her pregnancy.

*ahem*

Sorry LauraJean. My bad. I shall now sit her contentedly and patiently await the arrival of your little bundle whenever they so chose to enter the world, as I'm sure you are managing it with far my grace and poise than I have been.

Also, much love! 


Friday, September 2, 2011

Dayglow Bras and Other Exciting Finds at Target

One of the parts of working at Target that I enjoy the most is getting to see all the amazing things that come into that store.

The down side to this is the urge to buy lots of things, but luckily work burn out has usually set in by the time I'm done with my shift to the point that all I want to do is get out of the store and therefore bypass the always bad for a budget leisurely shopping strolls that seemed so enticing 8 hours earlier.

But I also get to see all sorts of... interesting.... merchandise just doing my job.

Like these dayglow bras. Aren't they just fascinating? Now, from what I've managed to descern from seeing lots of people walking through the store, THE trend these days IS to wear shirts that are so revealing that your bra is a key part of the fashion statement, so I suppose one might as well embrace that fad in neon. They even come in regular AND sports versions!

And just in case you are a fan of matching, Target also carries coordinating neon dayglow socks!



Then we have this delightfully large and gilded snake print Hello Kitty bag. There was an equally amazing sequin silver version as well, but it sold out before I could get a picture. I'm not sure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, since it either means we received ridiculously limited stock or people were actually buying them. Have YOU seen people carrying around a huge silver sequined Hello Kitty bag??


Watching people try these on and teeter around the shoe section has been truly awesome entertainment. I'm going to be sad when they go away in favor of Ugg knock offs. My favorite was a back-to-college family with two teenage daughters trying them on giggling and the dad just saying "NO". Haven't seen very many of them bought though.... and they even come in black too! Also, they'll probably be going on clearance in the next few weeks, just in case anyone wants cheap footwear to compliment their hooker "sexy" Halloween costumes.

*wink wink*

But lets not forget the kids in all these amazing shopping finds. This particular diversion I actually saw back before I ever started working there, and am still blown away that there is a marketed game of Beer Pong directed towards children.


Incidentally, Target also sells bags of plastic cups and ping pong balls at excellent prices. In fact, for fifteen bucks you could throw in a package of Sharpies to add your own mediocre graphics and a six back of low-alcohol beer. Or twelve pack of Mountain Dew, if you're, like, the age these appear to be marketed towards.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

For the Love of a Stomach

As I have grown older and grown up, I have come to a profound realization about something.

A VERY key factor in attractiveness is not bosom size or muscle tone, but rather the confidence in oneself.

I would say that the vast majority of people have bodies no better or worse than anyone else, especially once personal tastes of those one might be trying to attract are taken into consideration. But the differences between those who stand out as attractive and those that don't is the radiating level of self confidence.

Someone who walks into a room fully assured of their awesomeness (competency, sexiness, etc.) is seen as awesome while the one who walks into a room wanting to hide just isn't.

I have been self conscience of my stomach since I was in 4th grade and several other girls were comparing stomachs and, being overly concerned of possibly still having some semblance of that cute little Buda belly I saw on my toddler pictures, I did my best to suck mine in while also leaning over to see what it looked like since I hadn't spent much (like, any) time examining my mid section previously.

The combination of bending over and sucking in made my tummy fold up with a big crease across the middle, and the other girls started laughing over it and talking to each other about what a weird stomach I had.

(Incidentally, this would also be the first time I ever had the sentiment of "girls really are total bitches sometimes", and it was before I even had the vocabulary for it.)

I didn't wear a bikini again until this spring.

Yep, it took almost 20 years and carrying two children to gain the self confidence back in my stomach enough to have the general populous see it.

I'm in the lovely Adrianna sized pink hat on the left.
I did make a faint attempt at it on a class trip to Florida over Thanksgiving break one year in high school, but I spent most of the brief time in that swimsuit doing my best to cover my behind and my stomach with a towel while seriously regretting whatever flight of fancy had made me buy it in the first place, so I certainly wasn't strutting around in the damn thing.

I got my belly button pierced in college, which was a huge step in learning to personally see my body as sexy, but I was still remarkably uncomfortable pulling up my shirt to show people. In fact, I probably would have been more comfortable just showing off my breasts to my friends, a sentiment quickly confirmed by my fairly prompt pregnancy-then-nursing-year after getting the piercing.

Unfortunately, that led to a whole new set of core self confidence issues, with the baby pooch and stretch marks and learning to reclaim my body as mine and not as a hijacked vessel for this cute little parasite.

But reclaim it I did, and got my belly button re-pierced shortly after Kristina's first birthday. You know, to then promptly get pregnant again a few months later.

So.... it took gaining and loosing a total of 120 pounds, accepting permanent stretch marks as merely a part of life, and an unfortunate loss of defined ab muscles to really make me actually get over the insensitive sneers of a few mean spirited pre-pubescent punk kids.

Why is the world like that? That's a crummy way to be. My stomach was fine when I was 9. My stomach was fine when I was 16. My stomach was fine when I was 21.

And my stomach looks just fine now.

Note to self: Remember to get belly button re-pierced some time soon, it looked really rather awesome.