Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adorable Sisters and their Slacker Mama

Alright. I'll admit to it. I have been seriously slacking on taking pictures of my children.

Even worse, I've been slacking on the distribution of the few pictures I still manage to take of my children.

I used to send out a mass email (or several) every time I uploaded the camera (at least once a week) to  the long list of assorted relatives and family members who had once upon a time seemed to indicate an interest in liking to see my adorable.

But a big driving force behind that was that my parents would start asking me where their pictures were if it had been more than a few weeks.

Now they don't do that since they get to see the girls every day.

(And none of you other peoples have been so inclined to take up demanding to see pictures.)

And a big part of why I took soooo many pictures was because I just spent all day every day sitting around with them having nothing really to do, and taking pictures provided some tiny amount of personal amusement to the situation.

Now I do this crazy thing called work and don't spend nearly as much time just there with them, and much of the time I do spend with them is filled with goal-oriented tasks like bathtime.

[Side note: I am SO not cut out to be a stay-at-home anything. I was so ridiculously bored and lonely and miserable during it that I didn't even realize how miserable and lonely I was until I started spending all my time at a job interacting with people in a social setting big enough for me not to have to have lots of long and involved conversations over the merits of different cleaning products, and to have that be my only human interaction for the week besides my enthralling polite discussion about the snow and there being a lot of it with the checkout lady at the commissary.]

[I really hate involved conversations about cleaning products. My entire cleaning product philosophy: Oh hey, it's a cleaning product! And check that out, it totally cleans stuff! Yay! Why are we still talking about it??]

Despite all those slacker inducing aspects, there still have been a few especially cute ones taken of Kristina and Adrianna together in the last few months. And I'm even briefly suspending my slackerness long enough to share them with you!

(You should feel special. So very, very special....) 








Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cat Cafe

Shortly after blogging about my fuzzy felines, a friend of mine posted a link on a facebook about the current trend of Cat Cafes in Japan.

And it almost makes me want to be all ambitiously entrepreneurial and start up one here in Boulder. 

Because people in Boulder are just weird eclectic enough to potentially make it something booming.

Now many people here already have animals and are big animal people (and think they can bring their stupid dogs into Target whenever they want), so the idea might need a few tweaks to keep it from just being a glorified Humane Society that serves tea.

(Dear Humane Society, ever thought about serving tea and coffee??)

I was thinking about my kitty Diamond, and how she would be the PERFECT creature for this sort of project as she will happily come find any lap that is unoccupied and start purring up a storm whether you want her to or not.

But as previously discussed, she's still just a standard pet cat. And enough Americans have spent their lives with such pets to make the idea of a cafe with them only a passing slight novelty.

So I think it should be a bar. Even though Americans spend more on coffee each year, the idea of going out to do something is much more directly associated with alcohol on a Friday night.

And I think a friendly kitty or three is just fine to be wondering about, but there should also be a whole bunch of other animals there as well.

Like a talking parrot or a huge python.

Oh wait, you say pythons eat small mammals and birds like cats and parrots?

Well, every plan isn't perfect when first conceived....

How about a kangaroo and an albino otter? Baby crocodiles? A cuddly panda to play with??

Ok, so maybe I should just open up a zoo that allows petting (at your own risk with full disclaimer disclosure up front, of course) and serves beer.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong with this proposal? I even have the perfect name for it!

A Darwin Adventureland

Perhaps there could even be some unsanctioned ride expandability, like a big stack of barrels that were just accidentally left next to the waterfall exhibit.

And then maybe I can convince the guys who write the Darwin Awards books to start a reality tv show using the zoo's security cameras with me to get lots of royalties from it.

Yep, sounds like an excellent plan to me.

Investors? Any at all??

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sparkly Shoes and the Troubles They Bring

I was looking for some sparkly pink shoes for the girls for Easter this year (don't give me that look, it was Grandma's (AWESOME) suggestion in the first place), and I have been having a little bit of trouble with it.

Mostly, sizing trouble.

Not my children's foot size trouble, mind you, as I do know what size shoes they wear, but rather where that would put them on the size charts for the stores.

For example, over at Stride Rite, they list toddlers as 2-5 year olds. As the girls are 2 and 4, both their shoe sizes should be found within this category, right?

WRONG!

Kristina is most definitely in Kids, and Adrianna has at least another year (assuming her present rate of foot growth continues) before she'll be out of Baby.

[Interesting side note, Adrianna is currently wearing Kristina's first pair of tennis shoes right now. You know, only a year and change older than Kristina was when they were gotten for her.]

Stride Rite, why must you torment me so?

However, they DO have the cutest little pair of pink sparkly shoes in the entire size range.... so long as I don't mind spending three times as much as I had kinda been hoping to spend on two pairs of highly impractical (although unquestionably awesome) shoes which my children will undoubtedly only wear a handful of times before destroying. 

But the search did not stop there! I have found several very cute (and cheap! we love cheap!!) sparkly pink shoes that would work for Adrianna from places like Target, and even a close second in adorable flowerd pinkness albeit sans sparkle from Old Navy, but as previously mentioned, Kristina's feet are too big for the toddler sizes and neither of them have the matching big girl equivalents.

So there you have it, my children Bigfoot and Thumbelina and how finding cheap matching pink sparkly shoes for them is harder than it should be.

Also, I only ALMOST bought a pair of adult sized sparkly pink converse sneakers last week that were on clearance at work. I'm not sure whether this is a good display of maturity, frugality, or just a missed opportunity to personally own shoes of awesomeness, but I thought you dear readers would appreciate the anecdotal nature of it.

PS- Please feel free to bestow anyone in our little family with pink sparkly shoes at any time, as we will most certainly LOVE them. Forever. And you! For doing it.

Correcting Conception Misconceptions

So I've been watching things going in the news lately (ok ok, I just watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report. Don't judge. Normal news is boring and every bit as stupid for content if not stupider) and there are a few little details I wanted to clear up for the world, as we seem to be having some confusion on them at them moment. 

It is a woman's right to have access to and education of birth control in today's medical age. Using religious ideologies to justify denying women that right is pure and simple bullshit.

YOU don't believe in birth control or abortion? Great, don't use it and don't get one! Feel free to instill whatever values and morals you want into your own offspring, as that influence on the next generation is one of the few perks of breeding.

But that is a two way street. Don't force your values on me if I'm not supposed to force mine on you.

I have the right to say I do not want more children, and the right to have the physical ability to act on that decision.

It is my body to grow them. It is my life to raise them. It is my choice whether or not I want (more of) them.

Political and religious boundaries don't matter here.

I matter.

God does not.

Potential republican presidential candidates do not.

Archaically outdated health care policies should not.

Any questions? 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Daddy to the Rescue

This morning proved to be an exciting one.

You know, in that way that being attacked by a man-eating crocodile is exciting.

[Fun side note: Alligators do NOT eat people, while crocodiles do. When I learned that it made me feel rather foolish about every time my roommate in college Cassi and I got into a little game where I smacked her forehead saying "mosquito!" (there totally was one... the first time, at least!) and then she'd retaliate by kicking at my leg saying "man-eating alligator!"]

I had just started driving to work this morning and only gotten a few miles down the dirt road that takes me out of the mountains. There was an oncoming car, and I pulled my car from the middle of the road (everyone drives down the middle of the dirt roads) back over to the right so we could pass each other in a reasonable normal vehicular road-sharing fashion.

But there was a little bit of trouble with this.

The road was a bit icey, and the winds were a bit high, and some combination of those meant that my car went just a touch farther to the right than I had intended.

Which wouldn't be all that much of a problem, except that part of why I had been so much in the middle of the road in the first place was because the blowing wind was making snow drifts all along the sides.

And then, believe it or not, I managed to quickly find myself in one of those drifts and in a rather stuck state of being.

(It hasn't been a good month for me and my car.)

I got out of the car, and determined that it was in fact very securely stuck in the snow bank. I'm sure you find that power of observation on my part impressive. Yep, it sure was stuck in the snow.

I started to try and move enough snow out of the way to get the car out, but the combination of there being a lot of snow, high winds, no shovel, and me only wearing worn tennis shoes made the effort rather futile.

My cell phone did not get reception right where the car was (it's almost like there's this horrible theme every time I get my car stuck.....) so I went back up the road a little ways to find a spot where it almost sorta thought it might have a little reception and gave my parents a call.

However, because it was a spot that only almost sorta thought it might have a little reception, all I got was one ring before reception cut out on me and I couldn't get it back.

(The high winds may or may not have been influencing this.)

So I decided to hope really really hard that the phone had in fact rung on my parents' end as well, and that they would be able to discern some gist of there being a problem between the fact that it was 6:15 in the morning and seeing my cellphone on the caller ID, and be intuitive enough to suspect (and more importantly, inclined enough to act on that suspicion) that I was, say, stuck on the side of the road as a result of some sort of car trouble.

I went back the snowdrifted car to make another pass at getting some of the snow cleared out, and managed to fall flat on my back during the walk thanks to that very same ice and wind that caused some of the problem in the first place.

[Fun side note: Ice covered dirt roads are HARD and kinda pokey.]

I briefly contemplated whether I could just sit in my car until spring melted the snow away at that moment.

Luckily I have lots of stupid willpower, and took a deep breathe and went back to work trying to move the snow.

And after the second attempt at digging out the car failed, I decided it was time for a different approach.

I started walking back up the road again, planning on making friends with whomever happened lived in the house with lights on that I could see a little ways from where I only kinda sorta almost had cell phone reception and inquire if they would at the very least let me use a phone that I could actually make a call on and at the very best feel so inclined to offer to pull my car out of the snow drift, when lo and behold who should come driving around the bend in the road but my most wonderful father in his plow-fronted old pick-up truck. 

(It really was a glorious sight right then.)

Five minutes of crawling underneath my car to get a tow strap hooked up later we had it back on the road, unstuck and no worse for the wear.

And then I got to continue merrily down the mountain to work with no further hindrance and a new found respect for the little seen danger in snow drifts.

I did not stop to take a picture of the getting stuck this time. Apparently blogging wasn't a top thought right then, and I didn't spend enough time standing around to get bored enough to start playing around with whatever was at hand.

In summary:  Yea Daddy!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thank You Cookies

The reason I was inspired to write the Marty Mudding post when I did a week or two back was a direct result of nothing less than experiencing some car trouble.

A flat tire, to be exact.

And let me tell you, it was just the most exciting thing in the world to find coming off of work that evening. There's nothing like being tired and cranky and just wanting to go home to make dealing with car trouble so much more awesome. 

Alright, I'm sure SOME people don't consider a flat tire much car trouble.... and you are the ones I beg to come change flat tires for me.

[Side note: when I first wrote that last sentence I had "bed" instead of "beg" and almost published this with that typo still there.]

You see, car maintance is one of those areas where I'm totally happy just being... um... well, a wimpy ditzy girl.

I know I know, I *shouldn't* be so disregarding of basic car maintenance, especially not with how many miles I rack up driving by myself, but I just don't really care....

So, on that list which is floating around here somewhere, future life partner requirements will also include: ALL family car maintenance and willingness to come rescue me every time I have car trouble.

And until then, I'll keep going with the wimpy girl cop-out (yes I feel you looking at me with shock and disappointment because I don't know how to (or particularly want to know how to) change a flat tire) and then the equally girly post-helping me homemade cookies as a thank you approach.


Which, I would just like to point out, worked very, very well.

PS- Thank you (again) Craig!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Letter to the Colbert Report

Stephen Colbert has done several recent sketches on the Colbert Report about his Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor Americone Dream lagging in sales compared to Jimmy Fallon's Late Night Snack.

I was doing inventory counts in the ice cream coolers at work the other day, and noticed something that just might be actually influencing the sales of the two flavors, at least from Target.

However, as the ONLY online contact I could find was a generic form through the main Comedy Central website, I was unable to attach the photograph proof I painstakingly took.

Luckily I keep a blog, and have the power to totally put whatever I want HERE.


Due note the placement difference of Late Night Snack vs. Americone Dream.

Annnnd, just for your amusement, here is a copy of the exact letter I sent about the grievous matter at hand.

Dearest Colbert Report,

I made an amazing discovery the other day regarding a possible reason for Ben & Jerry ice cream sales favoring Jimmy Fallon over Stephen Colbert, which has been a hot topic of discussion on recent episodes. I work at Target you see, and while I was busy taking inventory counts of the frozen goods I noticed that Late Night Snack is prominently displayed front and center right at eye level in the Ben & Jerry's cooler, while Americone Dream is near the bottom and tucked away to the side in a much less conspicuous location. Thus, the average ice cream browser would be much more likely to notice and grab (people are lazy and just HATE to bend over, even for ice cream) Jimmy's flavor.

I know my Target store sets all the shelves according Planogram, which are product and shelf placement designs created by the corporation in Minneapolis and distributed to stores nation wide. Although I have not had a chance to look into this matter further and confirm this for certainty, there is a high probability that all Targets of the same designation (we are not a full super Target with complete grocery selection, but rather dubbed a P-Fresh store because we carry bananas and ice cream) have the exact same ice cream cooler layout, and therefore have been giving noticeable (if possibly unknown) preference to Late Night Snack, hence driving Fallon's sales and decreasing Colbert's.

I took a picture of the case, to help illustrate the flavor placement inequity with the intent of sending it to you, but as this online form was the only email contact for the show I could find you will have to get in touch with me if you would like the attachment.

Thank you for your time, I hope you find this information useful.

Sincerely,

Marty

Friday, February 17, 2012

Just Step Away

Step away from the houses and nobody gets hurt!

My name is Marty, and I have a problem.

An MLS listing problem.

Dearest cousin Holly (who visited us for Christmas a few years back which was absolute overwhelming fun the whole time) recently commented on my dreamy house post about how she wants to convince her hubby Eric to move out to Colorado and then we could all get a house together.

Which sounds like an EXCELLENT plan!

So I promptly had to go find us just the most perfect house for us all to live in.

And I totally nailed it with this beauty that has since ceased to exist in the MLS listing world which I found out when I went to finish up this post with a few pictures that aren't at the link anymore, but let me tell you, it was just gorgeous and big and eternally perfect in every way. 

5 minute drive to the always awesome Denver Zoo? 5 minute walk to a very respectable elementary school? Beautiful older architecture in a stately and well maintained home?

I think YES.

And it's in one of those price ranges where I simply couldn't realistically afford it on my own up in the $300k+ amount (you know, assuming I don't find that amazing career with kick-ass salary in the next two months), but if you consider, say, splitting it in half it suddenly becomes much more realistic on my modest because-I'm-not-actually-trained-to-do-anything-thus-only-have-crappy-jobs budget.

And I am not dumb about these things. Holly actually enjoys gardening, which is just fantastic as I am a fan of green growing things on general principle while having no motivation to actually do any work to maintain them as such. And Eric is skilled at lifting heavy things. I really like living with a person who is good at lifting heavy things. Just sayin'.

Not to mention details like how both of them care waaaaaaaaay more about food than I do, so dinners would actually be cooked in that simply beautiful kitchen and I would have a double dossing of disapproving looks every time I handed my children a happy meal.

(This would be good for reducing my reliance on happy meals.)

AND as Holly *is* a vegetarian and Eric has spent significant portions of his life eating as such, they just might even manage to teach my children how to eat love vegetables.

Maybe. 

(Not to self: feed children more vegetables. Then blog about it, to counter-act the blogging where you disclose sometimes questionable children's diet choices. Like happy meals.)

(Note to self: stop letting yourself eat like crap, it's negatively influencing how you feed your offspring and cultivating more bad french-fry loving habits.)

(Note to self: meh.... I love french fries more than many other things in this world, perhaps a little indulgence is ok.)

But then, the whole part about needing a job in Denver made me think I should do some more job looking, and I even managed to apply to a few that actually sounded enjoyable to have!

This one as a the City of Broomfield Records Technician sounded right up my ally, as apparently I'm actually really great at guest service (or so they tell me at Target), and a big fan of skilled with things like keeping track of complex paperwork processes (it makes my brain happy hum as I fill out intricate forms, as long as they don't use lots of math).

But the commute would be less than ideal to that big house in Denver that no longer is listed for sale. Hrmm...

I know, I'll just go find a nice little pink house (Kristina expanded her pink bedroom request to a pink house a little while back) conveniently located less than a 10 minute drive away!

Now this particular one is the sort I *almost* think I could totally handle maintaining on my own. However, as it does have that nice basement just begging for a cousin or two to live in, Holly and Eric would still be more than able to come along.

It's what they call a patio home (a new term for me, I must not be watching enough House Hunters on HGTV), where the HOA takes care of all the yard work for you. Initially this sounded so totally me (as I am not a fan of lawn mowers, which is a nice way of saying I failed horribly every time I've tried to use one), but then I started to really wonder about the lack of any pictures of a backyard and THEN I noticed the monthly fee of $148.

You know, for $148 I could most definitely be hiring a service to take care of a much larger yard for me.

But that's ok, because the job I really REALLY wanted was as a Court Clerk all the way down in Centennial (see, I'm teaching you Colorado geography by making you wonder about the placement of all these places enough to go check out googlemaps), and I had already picked out this lovely home to go along with that position.

I really like the older trees in the yard, although the sloping hill aspect *might* cause a few concerns about trampoline placement. It has an even bigger basement than the pink one for random relatives to live in, and a LOT of main living area space (which is handy to have for things like toys and bouncy children running around).

So there you have it, my MLS finding skills for perfect houses in any situation.

Of course, we don't really need to go into details like how I did this with our moving to upstate New York a few years back and had even FOUND the perfectest of perfect house for us up there, which then ended up having already been sold before we could go see it, and my extreme levels of resulting disappointment and angst over that.

Or how I keep getting disappointed when the reality of how I'm just not in the place to seriously go house shopping right now keeps creeping back into these flights of housing fancy. 

Nope, nothing can be learned from such situations.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to see whether any single family properties in Boulder proper have come up for sale for under half a million.

(Haha. Ha. Ha.... See, that was a little joke for the locals. The city of Boulder is RIDICULOUSLY expensive to live in compared to almost anywhere else besides regions like Manhattan and Washington DC.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Smartass

One of the girls' favorite and very coveted things to play with is a jar of change my mom keeps on her dresser.

Presumably, the filling of the jar began many years ago simply as a place to empty full pockets of spare change into and to dig quarters out of should you happen to need $0.50 for something.

However, it has since became a toy, and has gotten more value for the few dollars in pennies it contains than it would have being used to buy almost anything else from the toy department (although I still strongly suspect you might have been able to buy, say, a jar of buttons that would be equally choking hazards appealing to small hands).

As Adrianna was certainly far to young to be playing with coins when we arrived to my parents' house over a year ago, she has had MANY reminders about how she isn't allowed to put the coins into her mouth.

And now has gotten rather sassy about it. 





Scold me for throwing pennies? Fine, I'll just roll in them. 

Tell me not to put it in my mouth? Ok, I'll just lick it instead.

Yeah, she may not talk much yet, but she is a total little smartass about the whole thing.

Interestingly enough, this seems to be one of those traits that makes her ever more my child.

I remember my very own mother calling me a smartass at some impressionable age or another, when I was still young enough to find the term very vulgar and shocking.

And then yesterday morning my boss's boss called me that.

It may or may not have been fully deserved at the time.

*ahem*

So my sweetheart Adrianna, I suppose I can't be too annoyed by your sassy ways, as apparently they are a hereditary trait along with your endearing brown eyes and adorably mischievous smile.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dear Boobs

Pictures are forever. Little babies aren't.
Dear Breasts, Boobs, Bossom, et al,

You have proven to be a truly amazing part of my anatomy. I was very impressed by your eagerness to produce milk in large quantities. In fact, I'm quite convinced I could have very successfully nursed triplets had life been that cruel as to bestow me with them.

However.

The nursing time is done.

DONE.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not chopping you off or swearing on my death bed that I'll never use you for your intended purpose of sustaining children (vs. the conventional one of attracting male attention) ever again. But for the time being, there are no more babies to be breastfeed.

Yes yes, some people certainly do allow their children to continue nursing until they're 7 or 8, and that is totally up to them and the life style they choose to have. I am not one of those people. And Adrianna has been weaned for a year now!

A whole year!!

So why are you still leaking?

Colostrum squirting really isn't that exciting anymore, and I could definitely do without that achy feeling you still get every time I hear a small baby crying while working at Target.

Sure, it is kinda cool to know that if a newborn showed up my door step tomorrow I  could totally just whip you out and we'd be good to go. But the odds of that happening are really quite slim, and I wouldn't exactly be morally horrified to just go buy a container of formula powder and a few bottles if I ever was in a situation that required it.

And even though if Kristina was suddenly diagnosed with cancer and somebody told me breastmilk would help I would most certainly would be pulling out the old pump and returning to my lactating production factory state without a second thought, I could still be ok with the milk supply not being *right there* for the rest of my life.

Really.

It was fun. You were amazing. Now stop it.

Please. 

Sincerly,
Me

Why Every Parent Needs a Flashligh: A Valentine Story

Every family with small children needs a reasonable supply of flashlights on hand.

Not only do they provide nearly limitless entertainment for the youngfolk, they also keep them quietly amused in small dark spaces like cupboards and bathrooms and let you spend 30 minutes pretending you don't have children. Or folding laundry, whichever you're more inclined to do.

Additionally those same youngfolk are much less likely to set your house on fire during a power outage if handed a flashlight instead of a candle, and you had better believe if they normally insist on sleeping with a nightlight on that they'll doubly insist on sleeping with a flashlight on.

So keep lots of batteries on hand too.

However, none of that has anything to do with this story beyond a few additional reasons for why I like flashlights to be in abundance. The most often reason for me using a flashlight is doing stuff in their bedroom after they've gone to sleep, like sitting out clothes for them for the morning which I do most evenings.

Or like last night, when I needed to grab our copy of "Where the Wild Things Are" from the bookcase in there.

Because I was posting a fairly inappropriate (but ridiculously funny if you a) get fap jokes and b) aren't offended by them) link on facebook and wanted to make sure I was quoting about rumpusing correctly, and was quickly getting frustrated by the internets arguing over whether the last word in the sentence was "start" or "begin".

(Turns out the original publication of "Where the Wild Things Are" used 'start', as is in the slightly vintage copy of the book from my own childhood which I'm still reading to the girls, while supposedly later reprints changed it to 'begin', but then the movie (which I haven't seen) is said to have used the original dialogue which confused and annoyed those who didn't have the older publications.)

((I'm sure you wanted to know all that. You're welcome.))

After all, there's no better way to make a fairly inappropriate funny even more inappropriate and glaringly obvious that you are only familiar with and thus capable of referencing cultural icons marketed to the under 7 crowd than by tying it directly to children's literature.

So, in honor of the holiday that will always suck regardless of relationship status, I give you my enlightenedly brilliant literary spoof of the far more complicated than I would have realized Maurice Sendak quote:

Let the sexy rumpus start!

[Disclaimer: I TOLD you it was mildly offensive, don't click the links if you don't want to know!]

See: The Oatmel: The worst thing about Valentine's day

Also, on a completely unrelated to this story besides the fact that it references the author (well, and we're getting a great look at my personally preferred level of humor in the world), did you see the interview Stephen Colbert did with Maurice Sendak a few weeks ago?? I don't know the last time I laughed so hard over children's books. Go check out part 1 and part 2 if you're so inclined.

And, just in case anyone had any doubts about what this day was, I hope you have a happy Valentine's day, or at least have the opportunity eat enough chocolate to make up for everything else.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fuzzy Wuzzy Kittycats

There are two members of our little family whom I have sadly neglected quite a bit thus far in blogging, so I wanted to take a moment to show off Diamond and Whispey to you.


Aren't they fuzzy looking? Very cuddly too.

And um....

Well....... see, they're cats, right? And cats aren't exactly renowned for actually doing a whole lot in general.

Diamond's favorite hobby is to lay in the middle of the kitchen floor when people are trying to do crazy stuff like cook dinner, followed by her close second of sneaking onto Kristina's bed during bedtime and hoping I won't notice her amongst the pile of stuffed animals and therefore allow her to remain in the girls' room when I leave for the night.


Whispey likes to sleep, particularly on warm and generally undisturbed by children places like my bed. Or my mother. My mother isn't quite as thrilled about his like for her as he would like. 

Overall they're good kitties, pretty chill, not much for destroying things, and friendly enough to visitors and family alike. Whispey, for all that he isn't especially keen on being Adrianna's stand-in doll, is still remarkably tolerant of all the "love" the children bestow upon him.

And now I've (re)realized why I don't blog about them much. They're cats. They sit there. Their hair covers all surfaces. They eat. They poop. They purr.

They don't DO much.

But they're very, very fuzzy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Strength

Strength comes in many forms.

And it's something I have a lot of.

I like to think I'm physically strong for a young woman, but there are other measures of strength that are much more important.

How strong am I under stress? How strong am I when faced with adversity? How strong am I when life comes crashing down?

How strong are you?

Occasionally, thinking through my brief life so far, I have a moment of awe of myself, of these things that I have done without giving a second thought that somehow sound much more impressive in retrospect.

But at the time they were merely my coping with life.

It turns out I can be very, very strong when the situation requires it. Strong for myself, strong for my children, and strong for doing what needs to be done.

And I see that inner strength in my children. That inner resolve, that inner determination, that inner passion. They are strong little girls, who I sincerely hope grow into strong adults and have the understanding of just what an amazing aspect of character that really is.

However, it is a good thing that I too am strong as their parent, for otherwise these children would almost undoubtedly be my undoing.

So don't forget to find your own strength, you own inner resolve, and to look the challenges of life in the eye and stand.

Stand strong for yourself.

It's all anyone can really do in this world when all is said and done, so do it well.



Rascal Flatts, Stand

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I might be dying (or I have a cold, it's hard to tell)

I have been remarkably unsick during my time working at Target.

Apparently, I DO have a functioning immune system when it's not being bowled over by creating a parasite fetus or sustaining an infant and can manage to be exposed to I-don't-even-want-to-think-about-how-much-germy-nastiness each day without falling horribly ill. 

However, as of a few days ago, I am officially sick.

Now I don't actually know, for sure, whether I have a killer awesome immune system at this point (when it's not being sucked dry by other dependent lifeforms) or whether I'm just very stoic in my ability to ignore minor ailments to the point of not actually noticing them at all.

Regardless, right now I have succumbed to some evil massive snot producing infection that makes my head on the verge of exploding at any second.

(Talk about feeling sexy!)

But it also means I have re-discovered pseudoephedrin. Remember that part about having parasites much of the last 5 years? Yeah, you can't take pseudoephedrin when pregnant or breastfeeding.

And oh my goodness it really is the best drug ever.

Well, at least the best drug ever when one's own sinus cavity is trying to kill them through an invasion of mucus to degrees previously undocumented by modern science.

Or so I'm thinking... but if you happen to know of a better one, by all means, do share!

And I mean the sharing part both in the figurative "leave me a comment telling me all about its wonderfulness" and in the "please show up at my house in the next 20 minutes and give me some" senses. Just in case you were in the neighborhood and felt like dropping by to dope me up on cold medicine. Please, please do.

However, the magical powers of the magic of pseudoephedrin has been short lived, and I'm still having this "uggghh I think I'm dying" feeling.

A lot.

So if you need me, I'll be under the pile of snot filled Kleenex attempting to remember how to breathe and reminding myself how this is NOT worse than giving birth and thus a cold will NOT kill me.

Even if it kinda feels like it just might.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Night with Lea at Johnny's

A few Fridays past I had the opportunity to go see a performance at Johnny's Cigar Bar (no, I didn't have a cigar, merely a beer) by the girlfriend of one of my coworkers.

And she was truly impressive.

Playing the guitar or piano and singing at the same time is not nearly as simple as one might think. Preforming 3 hours worth of music that is 90% your own compositions is also not a particularly easy thing to do. And pulling both off at a professional level for your hobby is very impressive.

Sadly, I did not get a particularly outstanding video clip from the evening, between the lighting just being too dim for my camera and the ever increasing background noise as the bar filled up.

(Apparently  bars aren't really the best concert venue in the world when you're a music geek, believe it or not)

But the audio still came out ok on this one (well, until the guys sitting next to me started to talk at the end of it...), and you all just get to extrapolate the total awesomeness of the evening from that.

Ready... GO!

video

Lea Holz, January 27th 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Parenting Fail: Box Cutters

A BIG part of my specific job at Target involves opening boxes.

And opening boxes is much easier with the assistance of a handy dandy little box cutter.

However, as I'm about as good at keeping track of them as keeping track of anything else, I've certainly ended up with more than a few passing through my possession during the past 6 months of working at Target.

From the beginning I really tried to make sure I don't leave them around my children.

By which I mean I usually leave them in the car and/or my purse (and then I leave my purse in super child-safe places like sitting on the floor next to my shoes...... ahem............), to at least avoid leaving them in random places all over the house so I both have a better chance of having one on hand to use while at work and to keep them away from my children.

See, I know small children shouldn't be allowed to play with sharp cutting instruments! Awesome parenting skills at work right there. I also keep things like swords stashed places like the back of my closet and not, say, sitting on my coffee table. Go mommy-me!

Unfortunately, even the best intentions aren't always worth a whole lot, and one day last week a box cutter made it into my bedroom in a pants pocket. When I noticed it poking at me, I took it out (as much to preserve my pants as anything else) and set it down on the nearest available surface.

Which just so happened to be my very-accessible-to-children-height nightstand.

And then I kinda forgot about it.

Which was exceptionally bad, as this particular box cutter also happened to be a brand new one and those suckers are SHARP. Nine times out of 10 the days I come home with my hands covered in blue bandaids it was a day I got a new box cutter.

However, it being a brand new box cutter also meant it was exceptionally shiny in addition to being exceptionally sharp.

So a few days later when I found Adrianna with it, she had been so distracted by admiring her reflection in the polished surface that she hadn't even noticed that it could open (and subsequently cut off her tiny baby fingers) and I managed to snatch it back up in time to narrowly avoid any true potential catastrophe.

And a trip to the ER for stitching tiny baby fingers back on.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When Marty Went Mudding

Back in the day (by which I mean in my pre-Mommy years), I had a few exceptionally memorable incidents.

See, the storage pods in the Target parking lot story wasn't the first time I've managed to do something incredibly stupid that, somehow, didn't seem all that bad when I was getting myself into the messy muck.

[See also: my entire life]

And the time I'm going to tell you about right now actually involved MUCK, and a lot of it at that!

It was my Junior year. I was living in the dorms, while constantly traveling the 40 minute drive between the college in Mount Vernon and the Jade Tiger Dojo in North Liberty to do all the training and social functions down there.

And one day, after a morning of special Aikido camp, I had the inspiration to take a short cut home.

The route between the college and the dojo required me to go across and then up, or up and then across. And I wanted to cut through the middle on a diagonal to save time.

I had noticed that there was a dirt road at the bottom end of the across in the first route and at the top end of the up in the other. So it sure appeared that the road would just make that lovely diagonal line I wanted.

Now being from Colorado, I was quite accustomed to driving on dirt roads and didn't see them as threatening in the slightest.

That was a mistake.

You see, Iowa has something that Colorado doesn't.

Class B roads.

And rain.

Which results in mud.

This sign I didn't pay any attention to going in, assuming it just meant that it was a dirt road.


Turns out it means it's really not much of a road at all, and they're totally not kidding about the "Enter at your own risk" part.

Especially not if there has been recent rain turning everything to mud.....

So, believe it or not, I got stuck a few miles in.


Really stuck.


I was TRYING to drive around the large puddle in the middle of the "road". Which worked fine. Until the car got stuck on the undercarriage because the ruts were too deep for it.

Go figure, right? 

What makes this story even better is I wasn't even driving my car that day. I was driving Peter's car, while he was off doing something for the Marines (training? Iraq?? I'd really have to do some digging with dates to find out exactly what, beyond the general "not in the same state as me" right then).

And Peter's parents were stopping by for a visit. In two days. And had every intention of using this very car during their short stay in Iowa.

So the car being both very stuck and very muddy wasn't exactly a good situation to be in.

I did make a valiant attempt to get the car unstuck by putting old cornstalks under the tires to get grip, and then to dig out the part of mud that the bottom was stuck on once I realized it wasn't the tires lack of gripping causing the mobility problem.

And only managed to get myself (and subsequently the inside of the car) covered in mud for all my futile effort.

It was at that point I started to get really stressed out about the whole thing, but did manage to get the most badass picture of me ever as a result of said stress.

(Thank you, handy fence post that served to hold the camera on auto-timer, you would have been my Wilson had I spent another year or two out there in amongst the sea of cornfields.) 


I don't even remember where the cigarettes were from or why I had them, only that I was seriously pissed that I didn't have any chocolate and had to make do with crappy nicotine instead.


(But damn, I looked badass right then! Also, I was a little proud of my getting mud all over the roof of the car. That took some talent.)

My cellphone didn't get reception where I was with the car, but I did manage to walk back down the "road" far enough to where I could get a call to go out to AAA.

Except that I didn't know EXACTLY where I was. Because I was an idiot taking a shortcut, and hadn't paid overly good attention to road signs and sucked at giving directions to where I was.

So the tow truck guy promised to do his best to try to find me. And I waited. And the tornado sirens went off. And it started to hail. And then lightening. And then downpour.

And then that puddle on the driver's side of the car rose until it was over the bottom of the door, so I had to do more climbing across the car (and coating everything in mud) just to get out again. 

And then, finally, as I was starting to see my life being made into one of those cheesy movies of unexplained disappearances, the tow truck found me and dragged the car out of the mud and back to the regular road.

And I managed to drive the rest of the way home a mere 6 hours later than expected.

The next morning I got the VERY muddy car into the local autoshop to get the mud cleaned off (and paid more for the inside and out cleaning than I had to pay for the tow truck), but two hours later had a sparkling clean car to present to Peter's parents when they arrived.

But then, there was a problem.... after I passed off the car, the engine was making lots of axillary noise, and they (by chance) brought the car back to that very same autoshop. Where they found a few more pounds of mud caked up above the engine block that needed to be knocked out.

And then they were nice enough not to charge his parents after explaining that the car had been in yesterday to be cleaned.

Oops.

So much for my keeping the unintentional mudding incident under wraps with my future in-laws.

But hey, it sure makes for some great blogging material 6 years later!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Monster Formally Known as Adrianna

Warning: Child is louder than she appears.
Kristina, at times, tells me I shouldn't call Adrianna "a little monster".

But in my defense, I always do it with an affectionate voice (Who's Mommy's little monster? That's right, Adriannabookins is Mommy's little monster!) and, usually, monster is a big improvement over the word I was actually thinking at the time.

See, I had almost forgot why parenting a two year old is so often  referred to as "The Terrible Twos".

Almost.

And then Adrianna turned two.

And reminded me how they suddenly go from sweet adorable little babies into these possessed writhing cretins whose sole purpose in life is to make you miserable.

Woot.

First comes the perfection of the floppy noodle technique. Sporadically your child will go from complaisantly walking along holding onto your hand to being completely limp and refusing to do anything but lay on the floor. Your choices for handling the situation are to either pick them up and carry them the rest of the way (not fun when very pregnant, holding an armful of groceries, or also wrangling other children) or drag them along to wherever you were going in the first place (and ignore judgmental stares at your horrible parenting skills). I suppose some might be inclined to try the talking approach, and run the gamut between begging, bribing, and threatening to try and get the stubborn little demon to move on her own accord again. All I can say is, good luck, and hopefully they picked a convenient place to hang out for a while and not, say, in the middle of the Walmart parking lot during a pouring rainstorm. 

Warning: Child is floppier than she appears.
Next, the tantrums. These can accompany the floppy noodle technique, so your child is refusing to move themselves up off of the ground while ALSO screaming and flailing (oh yes, it so improves the situation, let me tell you....), or happen independently and (always) at top volume. You see, your child is trying to assert themselves as their own independent person now with their own independent opinions, and just because your child's opinion is that they should NOT be wearing a coat to go outside means that they're going to like bending to your (very rational and good parenting) will of "it's 12 degrees and snowing, you're wearing that coat whether you like it or not."

Then comes defiance. Adrianna has taken to spitting at you if you tell her no about something. And it's the sort of tactic that really makes me want to smack her sassy little self. I distinctly remember it being an equally big problem when Kristina was two as well (now that Adrianna's doing it, somehow I had forgotten about it before.....), and take some slight comfort knowing that one child already did (eventually) outgrow it.

Warning: Child is sassier than she appears.
And finally, the night time clingy-ness. Adrianna has started climbing into bed with me in the middle of the night (big time), and she'll keep coming back after each time I return her to her own bed. Kristina did it too back in the day, and at the time I was really worried that it was because Peter was deployed to Iraq and that she was getting a little sister and she just couldn't handle all this unrest in her little life. But this time around nothing at all has changed in Adrianna's life for the last year besides her starting to attend a pre-preschool program 6 months ago, so I am totally absolved from mommy guilt about her seemingly overwhelming sudden new need for night time cuddles somehow being a result from disruption to her little world. So I have slightly less guilt about returning her to her bed half a dozen times each night, and am now simply going with it being a normal backlash effect from taking overwhelming independence during the day and needing to know that they're still mommy's little baby in some capacity.

I know some people (mostly the really crazy ones, like my old roommate Cassi who just got a job at a daycare and has been gushing about how much she adores 2 year olds) really enjoy this age. Personally, I'm greatly looking forward to that mythical time in a few years when Adrianna will be where Kristina is and Kristina will be practically ready to move out (or like, 7) and we will be well past the end of the babyhood.

However sad passing the last of the baby milestones may be, I think the independent restroom skills and ability to have rational conversations about things just might be worth it.

(Potty training here we come!!)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Walk with Aunt Barbie

A few weekends past, the girls' Great Aunt Barbie (and her slightly-less-adored-by-small-children husband, Great Uncle Scott) stopped by the house for a visit.

And at some point during the afternoon, Aunt Barbie and I took the girls outside to play.

(I can't imagine what they possibly would have being doing indoors to make us think they needed to be outdoors..... perhaps you readers would like to venture a few guesses?)


There was a game of snowball catch. Notice Adrianna's prized naked man which she insisted on bringing outside to play and then giggled gleefully at the whole time.


There was some snow pile climbing, which Kristina is much more adept at to Adrianna's sorrow. 

And then, a walk was suggested.


A sled pulling walk to be exact.


But after making it to the end of the driveway, Kristina said she needed Aunt Barbie's help to pull Adrianna. 

You know, about 30 seconds before she decided that Aunt Barbie really should just pull both of them in the sled.


And that is how the rest of the walk went. Very full of exercise, no doubt, for at least one person involved....



PS- Aunt Barbie, I have your hat! It has spent a week sitting at our house and another week sitting in my car, but I promise one of these days I WILL make it by your house before/after work to drop it off for you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

An Unexpected Ponderance from an Unexpected Compliment

My direct boss is an interesting individual.

I didn't meet him until I'd been working at Target for nearly two weeks as a result of him being on vacation, and my first reaction was to think he was a bit of an ass.

(Sorry.)

But as I've worked with him more, I've come to the conclusion that he's not really an ass, but rather just doesn't always manage to have the best people skills.

(Some other coworkers have not formed that opinion of him. But I still like my version that they just don't know him very well and he just sometimes accidentally rubs people the wrong way at first.)

However, there is one thing that is unquestionable about his personality and leadership style. He doesn't give out much praise.

He expects you to do your job at an acceptably competent level, and will certainly let you hear about it if you don't, but he also doesn't stop and say you're doing well for merely meeting those basic expectations.

And that's ok.

Admittedly, I'm a total sucker for positive reinforcement, but I understand and respect the position he holds and it makes the praise he does give matter that much more, as it's unexpected and genuine.

And a few days ago he said something to me that simply left me floored.

He and I were put to the task of moving the daily candy delivery (it comes in it's own special refrigerated truck every day or three so the chocolate doesn't melt) out onto the shelves, which really can be quite the chore depending on the delivery size, and is one of the few duties I occasionally have that also allows for me to talk with my coworkers.

My specific job is really cool in the part where I get to go all over the store and say hi to everybody, but sometimes lacking in that I don't actually have the ability carry on a conversation of any length because I'm always moving onto the next thing so quickly. 

However, while we were pushing candy my boss took the conversational opportunity to ask me what my plan was for life.

As I don't have one, I just said something ill-conceived and blabbering about liking working at Target.

And he told me I was too smart for here.

In addition to it being surprisingly high praise, it also made me a bit troubled.

You see, part of why I enjoy working at Target is exactly because nobody there expects me to be particularly smart and any indications of higher than sub-average intelligence are seen as something completely out of the ordinary.

So much of my academic life was spent feeling like I was just pretending to be smart and being surrounded by people ever so much smarter than me.

I did the International Baccalaureate program in high school, but I never felt like I was actually as smart as any of the other students in it.

Each time I apply for a (real career) job, I feel like I'm ranging from just making stuff up to seriously exaggerating my capabilities with my cover letter.

Because I don't actually feel like I'm truly capable of much of anything. Certainly not these things I say I can do because I kinda sorta did them 6 years ago, much less things I tried and failed to do 6 years ago. 

I'm marginally capable of many things, and have enough stubborn determination to usually winkle my way through complicated tasks people assign me to do, but I still don't feel like I ever actually know what I'm doing or that the success is earned in any way beyond being for a demonstration of problem solving willpower.

And so, my boss (who I feel like a fool referring to merely as such, but as I have mentioned before, I was told no names....) thinking I'm this truly smart person is a problem. Because someday he just might expect me to be able to do something smart. And then I'll go right back to feeling like I'm about to fail at any moment.

So, my physical self-confidence is doing great these days. My intelligence self-confidence, not so much.

Perhaps I should work on that one of these days.