Monday, July 30, 2012

Table Saws and Other Exciting Target Finds

So, I was doing these as a sort of 3-part little serious about the amazingness of Target. And then may have forgotten about actually publishing this last segment. Ahem. My bad. You'd think for doing something in my free time for no personal financial or employment benefit that I'd be more on top of my game here. Ah well...

No dinning set would be complete without the Table Saw. I think there should be a new trend of using these at weddings. Except maybe they should be upgraded to the electric chainsaw version to tackle the super large cakes.

This one is for all of you who like to reenact famous movie scenes while baking cupcakes, a shark potholder!

Dun-da. Dun-da. Dun-da dun-da dun-da dun-da....










It certainly is a season for hideous memorable lamps. And just in case the feathers and balloon dog didn't do it for you, there's also the giant tube of lipstick option! I do somewhat question how much light a glowing pink tube could possibly produce, but then again, I doubt people would be buying it for any amount of genuine usefulness. However, these lamps to bring back memories of middle school and my AWESOME lipstick eraser collection. Yep, I sure was a cool 13 year old pretending to put on lipstick. With an eraser.

And just in case you weren't already buying all of these products marketed towards college students for your 5 year old, there's a Mr. & Mrs. Foodface plate set.

But don't worry, Target doesn't discriminate with age. Grandpa will be the hit of the nursing home with a denture ice cube set. This is another one of those pieces that I think would be an exceptionally good seller come Halloween. You know, two months after it's been discontinued and sold out.

You know what's even more fun than cooking? Pretending you're a rockstar while cooking! And with these handy dandy MixStix, you can totally jam out on the pots as you stir them!

Because, you know, it was really hard to just use regular wooden spoon handles as drumsticks.... 

Want to know what's better than a piggiebank? A GORILLA bank!

Actually, I don't really think that. Target has some really cool piggiebanks over by the kids bedding section these days, including one that's covered in chalkboard paint.

But hey, it was on the same endcap as the rest of this exciting stuff.

Like a Buddha Butter Dish! Who wouldn't want one of those? I'm sure people who practice Buddhism really like their god being mockingly used with toast. And nothing says classy like a Buddha on the table for Thanksgiving dinner. Those simple silver dishes have nothing on a chubby naked guy! 

Last, we come to the Ninjabread Men. These are another one of those odd things I'd actually kinda like to have in my kitchen. Because then I'd make gingerbread cookies of serious awesomeness.
Of course, my children might not be very understanding of why we can't just make Santa Clause. Which just means they need to take some Ninja classes of their own.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stitches

On Friday night Adrianna got her very first stitches.

And despite notching just short of a full 5 years of parenthood, it was my first time taking my baby for stitches as well.

(Second children everywhere, rejoice! For you will have at least a faint chance to do something FIRST.) 

Remember those prenatal classes everyone takes? They should totally include a segment about assessing whether your baby needs stitches.

But not just the usual "if it's longer than an inch or so deep it won't stop gaping" stuff that occasionally pops up in parenting magazines.

No no, there should be helpful instruction for how you correctly assess wound depth from an awkwardly located cut as it's spurting blood all over you and your screaming child. And then what do you do with your flesh-wounded child in between determining that said flesh wound really might need professional medical attention and when you actually manage to hand your child over to said medical professional. As they're probably still screaming. And bleeding. And not being real cooperative with the panicked parents shoving them into car seats. 

As it was just after 5 on Friday, the clinic up in here in the mountains was already closed for the day, so I got to take her nearly an hour drive away to the closest Urgent Care place that actually takes the girls' Tricare insurance.

(Tricare is awesome with what it covers, but a real pain in the ass to use in any region not right next to a military base.)

And after a few more hours of hanging out, the doctor finally had a chance to look at her chin.

Yep, it needed stitches.

(Feel free to break into parenting applause at any time.)

First they put on a numbing cream for 15 minutes. As it didn't seem to actually numb a whole lot, I'm not entirely sure why. But maybe it was the thought??

Then they stabbed her open wound with a syringe of something which might have actually numbed it a little a whole bunch of times. I distinctly remember that being the most painful part of getting stitches in lip when I was 7, and I felt REALLY horrible holding her down for it as she screamed.

And then her chin started bleeding profusely again, but at least this time most of it was on hospital bedding.

Next came the actual stitching. We managed to get her sucking on her pacifier for it, and she almost looked like she was about to fall asleep towards the end.

(Why yes, it would be my child to fall asleep in the middle of getting stitches in her chin.) 

10 little stitches later, we were cleared to go home.

Despite it being close to 9pm at this point and her stress filled evening, the little trooper was still awake when we got home and as smiley as ever. 

And has been greatly enjoying her unlimited quantity of chin bandaids since. She sure does love bandaids, and is usually very saddened by being cut off after only getting two or three of them for her imaginary injuries. But no, she gets a new chin bandaid every time she takes the old one off! Or makes a mess with what she's eating! Or puts her face in the sandbox!

[Note to self: buy a few more boxes of bandaids at work tomorrow]


Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Wonderful Idea

I've never gone to a Halloween party in my life.

I've also never done much for a costume since becoming an adult, despite all the time spent in great contemplation about my children. 

However, last year I really wanted to do something, and managed to do pull off Princess Leia buns at work to a very satisfactory level.

See, I wasn't allowed to wear a costume at Target, but there aren't any strict guidelines about hair with the dress code, so as long as I was in red and khaki I was totally ok.

Hence the most recognizable classic hairstyle in modern geek culture ever.

But ever since then I've been pondering how to pull off something even better this year.

And I finally got it.

I can be Wonder Woman, with this target-dress-code-red t-shirt, a gold tiara on big wavy hair, and possibly arm gauntlets if I'm feeling particularly bold right then.

Admittedly, khaki pants aren't quite the same as star spangled hot-shorts, but I think most people will recognize what I'm going for.

OR I'll just make them all read my blog, so they can appreciate how clever I'm being. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sassy Little Things

Sometimes my children are sweet and adorable.

And sometimes  they're not.

Kristina is moving into school-age sassiness. She hasn't started rolling her eyes at me yet, but she likes to make them go cross eyes or keep spazzing off to the side when I'm talking to her. I have little doubt she'll get the whole exasperated sigh and eye roll trick down pact very soon, and she already knows how to get all in a huff over me doing things like asking her to pick up a puzzle she was playing with or telling her that she doesn't get to wear whatever horribly inappropriate for the day/season/activity outfit she wants.

And Adrianna... well, she still may not be talking much, but she sure does manage to be a little imp herself at times.


video

Yep. And that's the quiet cooperative one right there. I'm really hoping that video is HILARIOUS to me in a few years. Perhaps I should try to film Kristina's huffing eye rolling too, I'm sure it'll seem much much cuter in 8 or 10 years. You know, right about the time I'm dealing with a pair of bratty teenagers....

Monday, July 23, 2012

The New PA Position

I have now officially been moved into my new position as a Produce Associate at Target for two days.

It's been a couple long days at work, but overall I've been pleasantly surprised by just how much I've been enjoying it.

(Perhaps I was more bored with Instocks than I thought I was....)

Today I spent almost an hour with Craig, who was the PA last year before getting promoted to a Team Lead position, talking in depth about different aspects of what needs to be addressed over there.

Right now the Market scores suck. Really, they're just terrible all across the board. We're ranked one of the last in every possible evaluated category, except one: QMOS.

QMOS is the stuff that's thrown away. Meat that's past it's expiration date, strawberries that have gone moldy, cupcakes that were knocked over in their packaging and no longer look nice. And we're number one in the district for it.

There's a couple of factors that I can actually address to reduce the pure waste.  Getting the inventory in the back better organized and dated correctly is huge, as is making sure stuff gets out on the floor to sell BEFORE it expires. With better inventory maintenance, ordering should be more accurate and easier to do, and result in better orders being placed. And then being really aggressive with sales and markdowns, as it is better to sell it at a major discount than to throw it away, should also result in less food just being trashed. 

But interestingly enough, that isn't what people think is wrong over there. What management levels in the store thinks is wrong over in market is guest service, mostly from our guest survey and the horrible marks we've been getting. This one is harder to address directly, but I have some ideas.

The biggest one is creating and keeping a core Market Team. The Instocks Team is a very set 6-9 people (four of them that are there now were there when I started a year ago) who spend 40 hours a week doing Instocks and practically nothing else in the store.

I want to see the Market Team become that. Not only will it allow for better training and for the individual people to be better at their jobs, but it will create a better sense of ownership. If the people working in Market are actually on the Market Team and work there every day, there will be more of a sense of personal responsibility and feeling invested in what is being done, and then they are more likely to just care more about their job which will transfer into more personal motivation to do it well without needing constant babysitting or other external motivators. 

Today I started talking to Craig in the office. He wanted to show me some stuff out on the sales floor as our conversation continued, and within moments the other PA and the two salesfloor people who were scheduled in produce that day were also there, listening intently to what he was saying.

It's not that people don't care, it's that nobody has taken the time to create the TEAM that needs to be in that section of the store, and then worked with them as a unit about how to make things better.

I do not control the scheduling. However, I suspect I can influence it, and I know I can help the people who I get be better with all aspects of their job. And that will indirectly lead to providing better guest service.

Or so I hope.

The store manager, along with many other people there, maintain that I consistently provide outstanding guest service. But see, I don't actually TRY to do guest service. I try do my job, the tasks that need to be done right then, and I simply help people as I go along as it's needed. So I don't know what the difference is. I'm happy most of the time (and good at faking it even when I'm not)? I make eye contact and smile? When there is something someone needs, I genuinely try to help them with it?

So, I don't really know what I do that is so awesome. I'm hoping by focusing on getting everything else that I can physically control where it should be and just being me that the guest service component will fall into place with everybody over there.

Tomorrow is a truck day, which are always a little crazy, but of particular interest for me since I placed the order for it on Sunday. And in addition to really seeing how I did on said order, I also get to learn how to lead the truck team for unloading, pushing to the floor, and backstocking. 

It's going to a few more long days, but I think they will be very good days for me as well.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Fine Line of Being Sexy

This past Friday I went out with some friends of mine.

It was Grace's birthday, and she was on a mission to have a memorable night.

However, the boys weren't playing into her game plan as she had wanted them to, and after a few rounds of tequila and a few poorly received advances, she became frustrated by things.

So us girls headed out of the bar for a little fresh air and a birthday girl pep-talk.

Grace is an extremely shapely and well endowed young woman. And she knows it. That night she was dressed to show it off.

And therefor she was genuinely baffled by why the menfolk weren't biting.

She gestured at herself as she started to cry, and asked "what am I missing??"

We crooned over her until she felt a little better, telling her how sexy and smart she is and how guys are stupid jerks.

But see, I actually know the answer to her drunken question.

What was she missing? Subtlety. Patience. Self-confidence.

It is really hard to walk the line of subtlety with things like sex when you're the experienced sort and you know what you want (namely, to "do" the him of the moment), as often being very much 'oh yes, do me know please' doesn't come off as attractive as one might think it would.

There are different theories as to why being too forward scares most menfolk off. Seeming desperate or overly clinging/dependent are two of the most negative often cited, but I would also say there's still the ingrained (and outdated) unspoken societal understanding that the women just aren't supposed to sleep around as much as the men, and if she's that willing to put out for you she probably already put out for everyone else too. 

However, I've also managed to pick up on the detail that the vast majority of say, menfolk in their mid-twenties who enjoy somewhat casual relations with the fairer gender, actually prefer those who know what they're doing.

And the only way to really know what you're doing in sex is to do it.

So then the question comes back, if they're not actually overly put off by you being experienced with such things, why aren't they jumping at the chance as you throw yourself at them in a bar?

I've pondered whether some of it has to do with the imagination. The most attractive clothes are not, in fact, always the most revealing (see: 50s fashion, lingerie, Anne Hathaway). Similarly, the most attractive woman to try and get is not always the one most intent on getting laid. Yep, subtlety. It's hard to understand, harder to explain, but can make a world of difference.

Then there's patience. It's tied into the subtlety thing to some extent, and is an absolutely crucial component for pulling most of it off. A sultry smile and a wink is MUCH more subtle than just trying to make out with someone, and the results of such minimal gestures may not be felt at all that night.

But that doesn't mean they're not impactful or that they won't lead where you want to go in the future. Which is why you need patience, as well as self-confidence.

Self-confidence is more than thinking your body is attractive and wearing revealing clothing. Self-confidence is knowing you're an amazing and wonderful person, even when no one else seems to see it. 

And self-confidence is sexy in of itself.

That's why the assholes are attractive, it's easy to confuse self-confidence with being-a-jerk from minimal observation.

Grace didn't have self-confidence. Sure, she thought she looked good and certainly wore a shirt to get noticed, but she was completely dependent on the constant positive attention of others to feel good about herself. When it wasn't there, she immediately doubted herself instead of doubting them.

Which is why our girly pep-talk included lots of profane (and probably unfair) judgements of men. Because she needed to hear it, to hear that she was attractive and they were stupid for not seeing it.

But see, she also needs to hear it when she's not actively trying to pick up guys. She needs to hear it enough to think it herself. She needs to think it enough to believe it. And then she won't feel so desperate, clinging to any scrap of affection or attention that might be thrown out there while wondering why she's not getting the more that she wants.

So there you have it. You can dress sexy without being overly exposed, you can take your time to sow the crops you actually want to harvest later instead of just grabbing up whatever is laying about, and you can do it all while personally knowing how fabulous you really are.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Don't Drool On the Baby and Other Sage Advice

For every half-finished piece of cake and happy meal you get to amicably polish off, there will be a half-eaten sucker and melty granola bar you also end up eating because your child handed it to you and there's no-where to throw it away.

Never assume it's the baby that smells like peanut butter just because she put it in her hair at lunch, as it's probably on your shirt/neck/hair as well. And lunch was eaten before you went out.

Only make threats you're willing and able to follow through with. If you said you would put them in time-out if they didn't stop it right then, you sure as hell better be willing to put them in time-out right there in the middle of the grocery store when they don't stop it.

The crying baby always sounds louder to you than everyone else. Unless of course your child really is that loud, in which case your best bet is to always have a package of earplugs in the diaper bag and offer to share when necessary. 

The best toys you will ever buy won't actually be toys at all. See: iphone, small rocks, pennies, laundry hamper of dirty underclothes.

Fashion sense is relative. Just perhaps not related to yours.

They will always remember your offhand comment about "sure you can have ice cream on Saturday" but will have no idea where they left their shoes 10 minutes ago.

Preschoolers dislike you falling asleep while putting them to bed and drooling on them and/or their pillow. Just remind them of how many of THEIR bodily fluids have been on you and/or your pillow from those first few years, and explain that karma is a bitch sometimes.

Don't use terms like "karma is a bitch" with your children until they're at least old enough to cuss correctly. Otherwise you'll spend years correcting their poorly executed fucking interjections.

Scold the teenager for saying fuck first, THEN correct their grammatical usage of the term.

Pick your battles, and fight to win. However, actually out-willing a 2 year old is still a hypothetical outcome. 

Attach as much importance to your child's lovey as they do. This will decrease the likelihood of  forgetting it at the bank. Small children do not understand "banker's hours" and that you CANNOT simply go get their lovey right then at bedtime when they noticed it was gone. But don't worry, you still have those earplugs in the diaper bag.

Never trust a toddler. Their brains are small, and possibly suicidal.

Try to wear shoes with good treads. You could need to sprint after a suicidal toddler or defiant preschooler at any time. Even if you're wearing heels.

Do not wear heels to the playground. You may not ever make it out of the gravel alive. Or at least not without a broken ankle.

Snot is nasty, but not as nasty as some of the other stuff that will end up on your shirt over the years. Therefore, don't stress over the need to use an edge of it to take care of that runny nose in a pinch.

However, it is still preferable to use their shirt for said snot wiping task whenever possible.

Just keep telling yourself that everything will be different in 6 months. Not necessarily better, but definitely different.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cherubs and Imps and Tutus, Oh My!

This year I really want to make Kristina and Adrianna an angel and a devil for Halloween.

Or as my friend Cassi suggested, a cherub and an imp.

This was a good idea. It t makes one of my children sound slightly less demonic (although really, have you seen a two year old??), and allows for both of them to wear wings.

After Adrianna's staunch refusal to wear a costume beyond a tutu and wings last year, I'm thinking that this is an especially good plan, and subsequently I've been pondering whether I could make tutus for them myself.

I feel ever-so-slightly guilty over my extreme lack of parent-crafting for their costumes (or like, anything else...) in the past, and figure that a year of home-made tutus ought to absolve me a guilt at least until Adrianna is in school. If I managed to bibbity bobbity some wings too, I'd be set until they're practically teenagers!

Plus it does allow for me to make them as equal as possible. It would never do for Adrianna to get a tutu and Kristina to get a simple nightgown dress (like what I ended up with when I was a 4-year-old angel).

However, there are moments where I still hesitate to be fully on board with it.

I used to be crafty. I used to love going to Hobby Lobby and Micheal's, and did all sorts of amazing things with a hot glue gun. I made teeny tiny hats for ponies, I made holiday cards to send people, I made chocolate flowers, I made picture frames.

And then, I had a baby.

And suddenly, my ability to do any of it was gone.

I'm still not sure what exactly happened. If it was the lack of undisturbed time, or the general lack of sleep. If it was the inability to leave partially completed projects out for a few days, or the constant holding of a nursing baby.

But I haven't successfully MADE anything crafty since a week before Kristina was born.

A few projects have been started, but always abandoned long before they were completed.

I worry that I will fail to complete proper tutus for my children, and that then they won't have Halloween costumes.

But... that wouldn't actually happen. Either I'd buckle down and get it done as the very firm deadline approached, or I'd panic about not having done so and rush out and spend far too much money on back-up costumes for them.

So then there's only the part about learning how to make tutus to tackle.

Thanks to the ever-handy internet, I have just discovered that making a tutu sounds remarkably easy. And even better, can be done entirely without sewing if I so choose!

(Sewing: not Marty's favorite.) 

However, there is one BIG discrepancy I noticed in my 5 minutes of glancing through interwebs, and that is the amount of tulle needed for creating said tutu.

This one says 20 yards, this one says 4, and this one says 2-8. And those were only the first few results that popped up in google, I didn't even get to reading any beyond that!

Besides a still-present need to examine the tutus we have around closely for size dimensions and a do a little further review from online sources, I just might be ready and able to pull off a pair of tutus for this Halloween.

But what about the rest of it? Halos and horns? Wings? Tiny pitchfork and.... harp? Wand?? What do angels and/or cherubs hold anyways?

And is there any chance of Adrianna not using the tiny pitchfork to stab her sister?

Yep, it's a good thing I think about these things in July. There just wouldn't be enough to time to pull it all together in the month of October.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Eye-balled Ketchup and Other Exciting Target Finds

Remember my most recent post like this, and how I told you I had to split it between two because of how many pictures there were? Well, I totally lied, it's going to be three!

Installment numero dos begins with eye-balled ketchup and mustard bottles. A good friend of mine in high school staunchly maintained that dolls were a little creepy with their eyes. I didn't really understand her. After seeing these, I'm starting to. Also, those mouths........ *shudder*

This was THE lamp that caught my attention when they first set this rotation. It's a metallic balloon dog with a lamp shade head! Or, maybe that's supposed to be a balloon pony, it's kinda hard to tell. Regardless, it is the most bizarre lamp I have ever seen. And I work at Target, where selling bizarre lamps is one of our specialties! It also comes in a very noticeable shade of metallic purple, but ours got broken (yeah, how sad is that) and no-one has actually purchased any of these to create new deliveries coming in.

Ah yes, I do so love that refreshing taste of pepper pants and salty stomach on my eggs early in the morning. Every home should have a set or three.


And speaking of fun at breakfast, I do so love pretending I have a gigantic diamond ring on when I drink my morning coffee. It makes me feel so validated in my existence, knowing that what one should truly strive for in life is just landing that big rock. And you know what they say, the bigger the ring the bigger the catch. Therefore it's not just a statement of commitment, but a status symbol as well. A small ring simply means a less inferior man.

I actually kinda want this. It's a dinosaur pasta scoop. When I first saw it, I had to run around the store being a dinasaur puppet for all my coworkers.

RAWR!




And when I'm making those awesome salt&pepper pant eggs, I can totally use the guitar spatula and then rock it out in between egging.

Or something like that. 

I can also use my Russian stacking doll timer to make sure I don't over-cook those precious guitar scrambled and pants salted eggs. It's almost kid friendly enough to make me think I should use it for something like timing time-outs, or when I give five minute warnings before bedtime. But then I'd have to actually spend exactly five minutes after saying that, instead of however long I want like it is now. A coworker of mine criticized me for that, when I told Kristina "5 more minutes" in the toy department of Target one time, and then said her 5 minutes were up after only three had actually passed. I still say it's one of those parent prerogatives until they can tell time.

This overly cliche cliche brings a high level of meaning to the term "brain freeze". Ha ha. Ha.

Ha.....

I'm a little sad the brain freeze ice cube trays be long gone by Halloween rolls around though, they'd be HUGE sellers that week.

And then we come to more mustaches. I told you, I don't really understand why they're SO STUPIDLY FUNNY in the last post, and nobody has come along to enlighten me yet.

So... they are still a "thing", I still don't understand what that "thing" really is, and they're still really weird to me. But, just in case you really do find it as amusing as the rest of the internets (even if you haven't chosen to enlighten me about why it is so amusing in the first place), Target has your mustache needs covered with this lovely set of mustache chip clips.

Also, as a fun note about chip clips, Target uses very similar looking clips to the standard non-mustache chip clip with magnets on them to label carts and tubs in the back room (such as pull to work to the floor, backstock, items for price change (ie-unlabeled clearance) etc.), and I have heard that they work quite well re-purposed as actual chip clips.

You borrow the pens and paperclips from come companies, and from others it's the label clips.

This last item (for now... remember, I said there would be three from this photoshoot) is another kitchen timer that I actually think is REALLY cute. Normally I'm not much for owls or gigantic eyes or gimmicky overpriced appliances, but these are just adorable. And, after I thought up the great idea of how I could use the Matryoshka timers for my kids, these just might be almost worth getting for that purpose even!

Or so I keep telling myself, since I'm really growing quite fond of that adorable looking little owl and think he really might need to become a permanent feature in my future-kitchen. I'll probably never actually use him to time anything, but instead end up holding involved conversations about the inner meanings of life while scrubbing pans and other similarly unsavory tasks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Significant Articulation Delay

I finally got around to taking Adrianna to Child Find to have her evaluated for language, and their assessment says she presents with a significant articulation delay.

A significant delay.

I knew she was behind.

She always seemed to be just a little bit behind, and I kept assuming that one day she'd open her mouth and paragraphs would flow out of it.

But she never did. And she only seemed to fall farther and farther behind the other kids.

And I knew that. And I should have made her an appointment a year ago, and didn't. Because I kept thinking she'd just start doing it on her own. Because I kept being busy with everything else in life. Because I didn't want there to be something actually wrong with my baby.

But now she's labeled. Significantly delayed. My little sweetheart who has always done everything early and always tried to keep up with her big sister, is delayed.

The Child Find program will cover services until she is three, providing an hour a week one-on-one speech therapy at her school. After her birthday, she changes programs with them and would need to attend preschool at the elementary school to continue to receive services through the state. They're evaluating her again in October, 90 days before she turns 3, so she can get placed into the program immediately if it's still needed. 


The video is from the end of May, 6 weeks before Adrianna hit the official 2 and a half age mark.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Feathered Lamps and Other Exciting Target Finds

Target is gearing up for the Back to College set, and you know what that means: large quantities of exceptionally odd, unique, strange, and down right ugly home decor!

In fact, there was SO MUCH contained on two little endcaps that I had to split it between two posts. Yeah. There was that much. And let me reiterate, this is NOT from across the entire store or including regular merchandise (like the singing Justin Beiber toothbrush), this is just from a short term set that changes out every 6 weeks or so at the grocery end of the domestics section.

But getting right to the good stuff, first is one of my personal favorites with the feathered lamp. Actually, I was a big fan of the horriblness of ALL the lamps with this set, but you'll have to wait to the next post to see what could have possible come close to matching lighting decor a la chicken. Also, I keep looking at it and thinking there has to be some way to make it better. Like, make it those crazy neon glow colors. Then you wouldn't even have to turn it on it light up a room. Or make people run away. That's almost the same thing, right?

 Magic wand salt and pepper shakers. Because that's just what we need, more encouragement to college students to live in a delusional world of make believe.

And now, I shall sprinkle my magic touch on this bowl of ramen, and it shall be transformed into gourmet dining.

How do you improve upon using animal heads for living room decor? Make them inflatable, of course!

But don't worry, the inflatable moose head will go fabulously with the grass and log throw pillows over on the couch. Really now, nothing says cuddle up and relax with me like log screen printing.

Except perhaps, a singing fish. 

(I was kidding about that last part. Really, I was. Please, don't bring back that stupid singing fish. PLEASE. It lived it's far too long cheesy novelty life, now let it spend it's golden years collecting dust in the attic with the knitted Santa tea cozys in peace.) 
I found the spoon and fork clock colorful, if somewhat useless. However, I looked at it closely, those utensils are just plastic ones, you could TOTALLY make something like that way cheaper. And then you would have the pride of adorning your kitchen wall with an ugly unique piece of art you personally made instead of a unique piece of art that was mass produced in China.

Although there might be a problem when you start telling time by "yellow spoon just past blue fork". Just sayin'.

The tetris pillow was actually somewhat refreshing from much of what was on the endcaps. However, the part where I'm saying the video game inspired throw pillows were some of the best stuff there is disturbing in of itself.

But it would so clash with the Super Mario Brothers wall decals.

You know what doesn't clash with anything? The horribly gaudy oversized fake diamond ring pot holder! Damn is that classy looking right there or what??

Also, why is it on the right hand? I spent 5 minutes staring at that thing thinking I was loosing my mind by thinking it was on the wrong hand, and thinking no no, that can't possibly be. But it totally is. Proof that whomever is designing this shit is both probably blind and a little lacking of attention to details.

Despite my recent exposure to antics such as Mustache Friday, I'm still not entirely understanding the cultural obsession with mustaches. Especially on products like wine openers. Do you get the humor in it and why it's such a thing? Can you explain it to me please? Because like, there's another 3 mustache items to go in that next post, and I understand them even less than this one. Soon I'm just going to be rambling about the general inaccessibility and illogicality of memes applied to life outside the internet, and then nobody is going to understand any of it either. 

The solar queen. So, I know us Americans don't have royalty, and therefore are simultaneously in awe of the royal family while being completely clueless about the ingrained laws of etiquette the British seem to have regarding their popular figureheads. But somehow, I don't think a sun activated waving figurine is really what they want us valuing from the monarchy.

Or, I could be wrong, and maybe it's like the dash-board hula girls in Hawaii, everyone in England has a waving Queen mounted on the wrong side of their motor-coach.


Now this is an alcohol accessory I would actually get a big kick out of. I don't know if I've ever really had much confusion keeping track of my beer in the party situation, but I would totally put one of these on my beverage while sitting alone in my house just because I felt like I needed some purple "confused" status. Also, I think these would be a fun housewarming gift (with a 12 pack, of course) for those not classy enough to appreciate the handlebar mustache wine opener By which I pretty much just mean me. Feel free to pick up on that less than subtle hint, and get me some beer bands any time. Then I can put them on various bottles to represent friends, and have an imaginary drinking party that would put the Mad Hatter and his tea cups to shame.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Double Grandma Whammy

This past week my (former) mother-in-law Oma Ann was in town visiting her sister, the always awesome Great Aunt Barbie, who oh-so-conveniently lives right here in Boulder. And the girls had a grand old time with their double dose of grandmas and sprinkling of great aunt thrown in for good measure.

Because really, the only thing better than having one attentive doting grandmother to play with is having two. 

The girls were extremely well behaved for it, at least for the parts I was present for and from what I was told about the behavior I didn't personally witness.

Adrianna did have an ear infection, but all that really ended up meaning was that while I was busy taking her to the doctor and running by the pharmacy on Tuesday Kristina got a few hours of completely unshared Oma and Aunt Barbie time.

(Kristina is a bit of a fan of undivided adult attention.)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mustache Friday

Some of the guys at Target got together and decided to have Mustache Friday this week. 

Or as I thought of it, See Who Can Look The Creepiest From Changing Their Facial Hair Day.

(For some reason, their title of it had a better ring to it.)

The picture isn't even all of them that did it. It was almost an epidemic. Of creepy looking mustaches. In Target. 

(Also, turns out my previous "I like facial hair" statement needs some serious modification.)

The girls of Target feel like we need our own awesome equivalent to do. 

But we can't think of anything. And most of us have a serious lack of ability to grow mustaches even if we tried.

Afro Day was suggested, but nobody really wants to MAKE their hair look like that on purpose.

(Also, we may have a few more qualms about freaking out the poor shoppers of Target than the males obviously do.)

So now I'm hoping some of you will have some awesome suggestions in the matter.

Because really, it's just not fair for the boys to have all the fun.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Self-Rescuing Princess

I got Kristina and myself self-rescuing princess shirts a few years back.

She has long since outgrown hers (although Adrianna may be getting into it soon....), and I think I may need to get her another one.

[Note to self: determine whether you still have Kristina's xsmall shirt around somewhere, or if you need to order new ones for both of your little princesses.]

When I was wearing mine the other day, she spelled out the letters and asked what it said.

I told her "self-rescuing princess" and she quickly responded "but the prince rescues the princess".

I hid my moment of horror by quickly quoting moments from favorite (by which I mean ones I have personally watched so many times I could give you a complete narration of the entire 90 minutes of animated dialogue, with sound effects) movies.

Remember in Shrek when the Robin Hood outlaws tried to kidnap Fiona, and she totally defeated all of them?

Remember how Rapunzel saved Flynn Rider when he was in trouble in Tangled? Multiple times?? 

Remember how Snow White.... um....... well, there was Belle, she sorta helped the Beast right at the end... and.... um........ Jasmine... no, Cinderella.......... kinda did... stuff...... god dammit classic Disney, the kids still love you but you rather suck for empowering little girl role models.

I quickly moved on to literature.

Remember how Elizabeth rescued her prince in The Paper Bag Princess? And then decided he was a jerk and she didn't want to marry him anyways? 


Remember how Princess Smartypants tricked all those silly princes so they would leave her alone? 

But unfortunately, all my best examples are contained in books more advanced than the standard preschool library.

And now I'm wondering whether we can wait until Christmas to buy Brave on DVD (I have not seen it, but the previews make it look just awesome and all my friends who have seen it (you know, the ones without children) said it was pretty good), or whether I'll have to go ahead and shell out the extra money to take her to it in the theater this summer

Because if there is one thing I'm going to teach my children, it's that the princess CAN (and should) rescue themselves.


as always, click to enlarge

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Misc

I spent several hours picking up last night.

This is my default cleaning methodology once I get tired, and I have actually packed boxes for moving labeled "misc". There are probably some labeled "misc" sitting in my parents' garage right now, and I have no idea what would be in them.

That is all.


XKCD: Home Organization

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For Now They Sleep

The thing about parenthood is that no matter how crazy the day was, how wild your children were, how exhausted you are, they will (eventually......) go to sleep.

And when they do, they look so sweet, so innocent..... so completely not the screaming hordes you were trying unsuccessfully to wrangle all day long.

They snuggle into the lovies, which you've become nearly as attached to as they are over the years, as you can't imagine a life where you're not extra careful to pack monkey blankie for all trips or dare to leave the house without stuffing an emergency pacifier in your pocket first.

In that moment where they're sleeping but before you go crack open that beer (or bottle of wine, if your the classy sort of parent), you look at them.

You wonder what they're dreaming about. You wonder whether they'll remember you yelling at them for dumping water all over the bathroom floor that evening or how you spent all morning chasing them around laughing and pushing them on the swings at the park. You wonder if they're having a good childhood, if you're doing a good job as a parent, and if everything really will turn out ok.

You wonder whether tomorrow will be as long and exhausting as today was. You wonder whether there will be another meltdown over which cartoon to watch in the morning, another lunch uneaten because you didn't cut the sandwich right, another moment where you sound just like your mother as you tell them to knock it off for the hundredth time. You wonder whether you'll survive another 16 years of it.

And you wonder if you'll miss it when it's gone.

But for that moment, they are sleeping peacefully in their beds, and you can feel accomplished for surviving another day as you let down your guard, your worry, your constant watching of them.

For now they sleep.



Monday, July 9, 2012

27 Reasons Why My Parents Are Awesome

A few months before my third birthday, one of the women at my daycare center received a delivery of roses for her birthday.

I was more than a little taken by the arrival of the bouquet, and immediately informed my mother that I wanted flowers with roses for my upcoming birthday.

My mother was indulgent enough to say "sure sweetie" at the time, and went along with her life without giving it much of a second thought.

A few weeks prior to my birthday itself we were in a Toys-R-Us shopping for a friend's birthday present, and she asked me what I wanted for mine.

I got as indignantly outraged as a any nearly-three-year-old can possibly be, and firmly stated (probably with my hands on my hips and while stomping my little pink sneakered foot) that I had already TOLD HER what I wanted for my birthday, flowers with roses.

(I can't imagine why my mother thinks my own children's moments of especially opinionated sassyness are hilarious.... *ahem*)

And then lo and behold, my birthday rolled around and I had a very special delivery of flowers complete with three pink roses to my very own preschool, which made me the most unusual ecstatic three-year-old of the day.

The next year, I got 4 yellow roses nestled together in a tall vase. Or was that for my 5th birthday? My 6th was pink again, and they came in a little basket delivered to our house where I promptly dropped it and snapped off a rose and was very distraught over the whole thing.

Every year was another bouquet with another rose, each was unique, and every year I would count the roses to make extra sure there were the right number. 

When I turned 17 and had my very first part time job, they showed up at my work. When I was 21, they arrived at my condo in Iowa. 

And then they stopped for a few years.

Peter remembered that he was supposed to do this for me now the first year we were married. I reminded him of it the second. And then.... then we started to fall apart, and flowers for a birthday just didn't seem very important any more.

Except that they were important, I just didn't remember until there were the birthdays that came and went without roses, without cake, without anyone really bothering to make them special for me.

And then last month I turned 27.

I wasn't particularly excited about the prospect, as it was moving me from my mid-twenties to my late-twenties and I'm still a little discombobulated by the idea that I'm not just a dumb punk kid anymore.

(Did I really become an adult? When the hell did that happen, and how did I miss it? I must have been too busy having babies and moving across the country and getting a divorce to notice......)

But then I came home from work.

Kristina had wanted to surprise me, so everyone was crouched down behind the half wall that separates the kitchen from the dinning room, and there was a brief but true moment of puzzlement when I walked in the door and didn't have have my usual small person mauling (heck, they usually meet me at the garage door, before I even get inside!) until I heard Kristina whispering and I broke into a smile guessing what they were up to.

And then she and Adrianna VERY enthusiastically jumped up saying "surprise surprise!" and ran over to give me my customary hugs.

On the kitchen table was a very chocolately cake, some brightly wrapped packages, and a vase holding 27 yellow roses.

The blue-ray player my parents got for me is just great, and my dad had even hooked it up for me before I got home so I wouldn't have to fuss with it while my mom still wrapped up the empty box so it would be a real present for me. The girls had each picked out a pretty hair clip and colored cards, and the cake was delightfully chocolate (and I didn't even drop it!).

And the 27 roses (I counted them) meant the world to me that day.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bananas and Bronies

I interact with hundreds of people every day at Target.

Some days a few of those people are particularly note worthy.

Today was one of those days.

First, I met the banana lady.

I was walking down a main aisle talking to another coworker when I saw her pick up a banana, pull the peel off of it, stick the peel back into the banana pile and continue on her merry shopping way eating her fruit.

And the worst part was she must have been about 50. See, I still somewhat have the (clearly wrong) misconception that doing shit like that is something only stupid college kids do, and that people who are middle age are responsible adults full of self-awareness and self-actualization.

I'm pretty sure this artificial impression is left over from when I was a stupid youth myself as I see things every day to prove it wrong, and just haven't been able to override that inner conviction of adults being better people solely because they're adults (adults: more than 10 years older than me), much like thinking off-season snow is special (so special it breaks my car even) and that working hard might actually make a difference in life. Intellectually I know these are not necessarily true or at all factually supported, but some part of my soul still clings to the delusional allusion. 

I really wanted to stop her, and ask her what she was doing with the banana. Monetarily, the Target corporation doesn't give a shit. The bananas are $0.24 apiece, and we already just throw away all the ones that get spotty. The Assets Protection team care about people walking out with unpaid-for tvs and tucking two dozen playstation games into their backpacks, not someone who ate a piece of produce probably without paying for it (she *could* have told her cashier to ring her up for it.... in that hypothetical world of people not being complete immoral scumbags.....).

But I didn't. I just watched her walk away, too dumbstruck to even know how to handle something as brazenly void of personal integrity as putting the peel back into the big bunch of bananas while eating the fruit itself.

A little while later I was in the middle of coping with a slight meat fiasco (some packages of pork ribs were damaged, and I found this out by getting delightfully sticky pork juice all over me when I picked one up), when a guy asked me how much the reusable shopping bags cost.

This was a totally unremarkable interaction (beyond the part where right then I was holding a leaking package of bacteria ridden nastiness), except that he kept talking. He asked me if food stamps would pay for it, and I told him probably not as the computerized system they have now is pretty high tech and will automatically sort out your food from your light bulbs when you swipe the food stamp credit card despite it all being on one order.

And then he complimented my mane.

I'm assuming it was in reference to the pink streak in my hair, but feel free to draw your own conclusions from this one.

I was a little thrown off by it, but as a few people (like those whom I actually know) have made comments about my hair's MyLittlePony-ness before, it wasn't completely unreasonable in my mind and therefore I just did my twitchy polite smiled and thanked him with a little nod.

And then he came back a few minutes later.

And babbled a lot about how he was sorry he called it a mane and he just couldn't remember the word for hair since he didn't have any (the twitchy polite Marty smile was on in FULL force at this point). And then he asked if I wanted to go out some time.....

I did my best to politely decline, and then he finally left the store (or at least wandered far, far away from me), and I thought that was (finally) the end of that.

Except then when I mentioned the incident to some other coworkers up in the office later, their response was along the lines of hoping he doesn't come back now that he knows where I work, totally assuming he's a creepy stalker about to be incarnate.

Which made me have the (slightly terrifying) quandary about whether I just got myself a bronie stalker.

I want someone who doesn't tease me excessively about the boxes of pastel equestrians in my parents' garage and who can sit through the My Little Pony Movie with me and the kids one time without making constant commentary of how stupid it is. The bronie level of My Little Pony love is way beyond even me. And just a little weird.

As is the asking someone out who you don't know in any way shape or form. I'm pretty sure I have some moral rule about at least knowing someone's name before giving them personal contact information, much less going out on a date with them.

(And if I didn't before, I sure do now.)

The back-to-college Target chaos (where our average daily sales start doubling and tripling from what they are now) starts up in full swing in three weeks.

I'm feeling that it's going to be a long few months of inwardly hating humanity with a polite twitchy smile frozen on my face.

Rock and Roll

Kristina finally settled on a pink rock-and-roll pegasus birthday party theme, which is totally cool except for the part where THERE ARE NO TRUE PEGASUS THEMED PARTY SUPPLIES IN EXISTENCE.

Kristina *also* liked the balloon
So, I'm hoping the gigantic My Little Pony balloon making a repeat birthday appearance will satisfy the pegasus part.

The pink rock-and-roll part is much easier, as they actually make that as a party theme and I can just shell over cash for overpriced pink guitar plates.

A very critical part of her rock-and-roll party vision is having music to rock out to, and being the totally awesome mommy I am, I just ordered a set of inflatable guitars to help in this process. 

Now if I was super rich mommy, I'd just have the people who put on School of Rock come by for a few hours and teach the kids how to actually play a rock song.

(Sorry sweetheart, you can put "childhood do-over with rich parents" on your list.)

But getting back to the birthday my child is actually going to have....

To have appropriate rock music on hand for her jamming out with an inflatable guitar, I've been doing a LOT (and oh do I mean a LOT) of looking through various compilation albums on Amazon to see if there just so happened to be a perfect awesome CD just ready to go to save me the slight annoyance of actually thinking up all these songs myself.

(Feel free to start shouting out suggestions at any time.)

And I have a confession to make.

I *almost* considered buying a Kidsbop CD.

But luckily my personal integrity quickly slapped some sense into me and pointed out that I wasn't allowed to compromise my entire parenting philosophy (mainly centering around how child sung vocal CDs are the most irritating and makes-me-want-to-stab-my-ears-just-to-make-it-stop things in existence) merely because I was being lazy and slightly unsure about exactly how much normal human behavior I can actually get away while remaining within the good parenting sphere.

So then the mission became simple: track down 20 or 30 songs that don't have actual cussing or particularly unsuble lyrics while also being kinda sorta rock-and-roll.

But damn is that a harder quota to fill than I would have thought, because then I start having deep metaphorical contemplations as to whether I can have AC/DC's Highway to Hell featured at a 5 year old's birthday party, as then all the preschoolers will start chanting "I'm on a highway to hell" [see: Yellow Submarine] en mass and some parents might not appreciate the hilarious adorableness of that as much as I would.

Also, do you KNOW how many songs talk about sex, booze, and killing people??

At least the oldies are safe (if a little less true rock and roll).... you know, unless you actually know the lyrics to Cecelia. Or like, anything from the Beach Boys. And I don't even get The Hand Jive, but I don't think it's good.

Well, there's always country.... Toby Keith? He has 3 decades of stuff, and a lot of it is pretty upbeat/rocking. Oh wait, do ALL of his songs include sex?

Musicals?? Musicals are little kid friendly and fun! .....except for The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And Hair. And 2/3rds of Grease. And... crap. 

Um.. ok, I could just get the stupid kids' albums with all the edited lyrics.... and *sob* children's voices destroying whatever ounce of actual music was there in the first place that hadn't already been mauled by the lyric changes.

*twitch*
*twitch*
*twitch*

Maybe I'll just put Purple People Eater on repeat. If I don't even understand it, it can't be dirty, right? Oh I know, La Bamba! It's in SPANISH!! They don't even speak Spanish!! How awesome is that?!

On second thought, I'm pretty sure the kids will have already heard all of it assuming the parents ever listen to the radio in the car (ohmygodwhathavemychildrenheard???), and therefore I shouldn't worry excessively about the alluded meaning of song lyrics and PG language being overly corrupting to the preschool stock of Nederland.

Or, at least I should be prepared to take full credit for the awesomeness of the Kindergarten class serenading the teacher with "We're not gonna take it"  complete with air guitar and drums on the first day of school after Kristina answers "what do you want to do when you grow up?" with "I wanna rock!"

Go class of 2026!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Bacon

Working at Target has expanded my bacon experiences substantially.

There was the pizza day, where a whole bunch of one-topping pizza's showed up from Dominoes, and one of them was bacon, and I learned that bacon is the best pizza topping of all time. 

And there was this time I attempted to make bacon sandwiches for some of my coworkers, and failed because I (apparently) was mistaken on how to make a bacon sandwich.

You see, I had been under the (wrong) impression that a bacon sandwich could be much like a regular sandwich, with things like turkey and cheese and lettuce on it, but then transformed from a normal sandwich to a (far superior) bacon sandwich with a few pieces of bacon thrown on top.

Although this makes a very edible sandwich, it is not (or so I've been informed) a true BACON sandwich, as a bacon sandwich must have copious amounts of (go figure) bacon upon it.

Also, vegetables are to be scorned on said bacon sandwich, and preferably avoided entirely.

I have to admit, I almost feel as though I've found my element through this idea of the bacon sandwich.

I eat lettuce when it's the socially correct thing to do, but I've never thought much of the stuff, and am all for this new idea of scrapping the stupid lettuce leaf entirely.

(Marty = not a big fan of salads)

And I've been playing with the idea of making a bacon bouquet for a while now. Those who were at my wedding remember how much I enjoyed making floral centerpieces out of chocolate, and this looks nearly as good. You know, for that special bacon-loving someone.... who I totally don't have........... on those crappy holidays like Valentine's Day...................

*pity face*

But then I stumbled across the most amazing idea ever: BACON TURTLES.

Handmade ground beef patties, topped with sharp cheddar cheese, wrapped in a bacon weave....
then the next step, add hot-dogs as the heads and legs with slits for toes and tail.
Next step. Place on an oven rack, covered loosely with foil and baked for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees.
A little crispy, not too crunchy...just how a turtle should be, no?



Fuck making pasta salad for potlucks, I am all over crafting adorable small animals out of bacon.



And like, they're turtles! That means they're "kid friendly" and I'd be "super awesome mommy" for serving them at, say, Kristina's birthday party! And then I could sit there and eat bacon wrapped burgers while making small talk with all the old people other parents! Total win!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Little Sister Strikes Again

I am an only child, and therefore did not have the experience of being the big sister being annoyed by the younger one, or of being the younger sister annoying the bigger one.

But I do find their interactions more than a little hilarious.

video


My favorite part is when Adrianna covers her ears in response to Kristina's enthusiastic rendition of the ABCs. 




Yeah yeah, it's a bit of a filler post, but see, it's been a fairly crazy busy couple of weeks for me and this is definitely one of those times where I just want to publish something because I'm very... um... me like that, and want to maintain my blog more than I do. But I'm also really tired because I just got home from a preschool board meeting after working all day at Target and want nothing more than go to bed and get a few hours of sleep before getting up and continuing with the busy craziness of tomorrow, and therefore simply do not have the time (or functioning neurons at this point) to throw anything better together. Also, I'm out of awesome previously written posts that are ready to go. So I hope you find videos of my children VERY adorable, as you may be seeing a lot of them over the next few days. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Parenting Influence: Zombies

While I was giving the girls their evening bath tonight, Kristina asked me what bazombies are.

I'm assuming she heard someone saying "the zombies" and simply misunderstood the pronunciation. But in addition to the clear need to fix that detail, I also have to decide how best to educate her on zombies now.

At the time I attempted to explain to her that they're the living dead, and did my best bathroom zombie walk impression for the children while saying "braaaaaaains" in what was far more comedy than serious zombie analysis.

But what can I say, I haven't made much of a study of zombies (much less perfected the zombie imitation technique), and the bathroom was rather cramped for a true undead stagger. Also, "dead" is still a bit of a difficult concept for her, making it "undead" doesn't exactly simplify things.

(For the record, I'm very sorry if we go to your funeral and she turns to me and asks far to loudly "I don't want _____ to be dead dead, can they be a zombie now??" and you really should find the sentiment touching!)

Then Kristina asked me what the bazombies looked like.

I told her I'd show her pictures on the computer later.

But which pictures do I show her??

I want to make sure her zombie education is reasonably accurate and true, while still not being overly scary to the easily scared little 4 year old she is.

If I'm going to be teaching her these thing, I gotta teach them right!

[See also: How my child became THAT child telling the other kids THAT stuff]

However, I think I may have a plan, and it has to do with smelly socks.

See, she finds the idea of smelly socks and stinky feet HILARIOUS, which means she has that wonderful predisposition to slightly off color humor somewhere down inside of that cute little blond head (I just don't know whether I should take personal credit or blame her father for it). That means I just need to channel it in such away that large crowds of partially decomposed brain eaters chasing you is funny.

So, all you zombie fans out there, how do I do this? I'm not much of a zombie girl myself, finding the whole premise slightly distasteful (although whether I dislike them or vampires more is still up for debate), and therefore do not have a nice stock of not-too-gory zombie pictures and movie clips to pull out for answering my child's bazombied inquire.