Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My family versus the volcano


The headache starts first, followed immediately by an overwhelming urge to snap at anyone who talks to me. I feel irritable and annoyed without knowing why. I am put out if I have to answer even the most simple, basic question. It is all I can do to not throw a giant tantrum at the horror and injustice of having to speak. Then, if enough time passes, I start to actually feel hungry.

I don't know what it is, but I feel the irritation first and the hunger second. Am I alone in that?

My kids have learned to recognize it and McKay will often say, "Mom, do you need to eat something?"

The Husband will warn everyone that, "Mom is hangry. Better watch out."

Usually the word "hangry" prompts them all to either clear out and head for high ground or offer the beast some food.

It's like I'm an insatiable volcano - and they fear for their village if they don't offer some sort of sacrifice. Pretty much anything will work. As long as it's food. Or diet coke. Or both.

The Hangry? It feels sort of like the uncontrollable pregnancy hormones (though, um, no. Not what's causing it. I am not now, nor will I ever be again, thankyouverymuch). But it's like the Hangry is raging a war, and I am the vessel with which it attacks. I can no sooner control it than I can part the Red Sea.

Seriously, girlfriend has tried. (Tried controlling it. Not parting the Red Sea. Though it would be awesome if I could, right?)

Best thing to do is just not be hungry. Snack, drink lots of water, and stay on top of the beast.

Anyone else get the Hangry? Please say I am not alone in this?


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The greatest idea ever invented. Ever.

Last week, I shared with you the Husband's brilliant idea for spring break. Remember how I told you we handed our kids a pile of cash and told them they were in charge of what we did over spring break, and any remaining money at the end of the week was theirs to split three ways? That idea. [For better details, click over to the link.]

Anyway, I am here to report our success. And what a success it was.

The kids set a goal to only spend half the money, leaving the last day of spring break as a shopping day where we would hit the mall and they could buy whatever their little hearts desired with the rest.

Which, thanks to budgeting and prioritizing on their part, they were able to achieve.

For once, I was not the entertainment committee. And I was not stuck home, listening to whiny kids beg for something to do. In fact, they didn't whine or fight once. NOT ONCE. We ate out several times. We saw a movie. We had friends over. We snuggled up together in my big bed and had movie nights. We went bike riding. We (or I should say they) went fishing. And, at the end of it all, they got to shop for something new.

Though, the interesting thing to note was how much less willing they were to buy things when the money was their own. When it's me shopping at the mall with the Husband's my money? They want everything in sight. When the cash has to part out of their own grubby little hands? Not so much.

Here are some highlights of the week --

At the zoo with their BFFs where, clearly, they did not have any fun:




The photographer's son taking approximately 900 pictures in three hours, and all of them animals:


Don't you want to come over and look at slides from his vacations?

We had three days of near 80 degree weather, so we took advantage of that and went on several bike rides (as my very sore heinie can attest to. Yikes. How do people ride bikes? Tour de France? I am thinking Tour de Pain in Your Pants):


Even the Husband got in on the fun with a little basketball at the park:


It was seriously such a great week. So great, in fact, that we are planning on implementing this new idea over summer vacation and on any future trips we take.

I highly recommend it. It just might change your life the way it has changed mine. My children's travel agency is officially closed. Yay!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Putting it off for a week

Do you hear that, internet?

It is the glorious sound of silence. It is the quiet solitude that comes from not having dozens of unanswered emails in my inbox, yelling at me for replies.

I know.

You thought that the voices in my head were merely the product of psychotic delusions. Like the one I have where the phone rings and it is Hugh Jackman on the line. (Hi, Hugh! Call me!)

No, the silent voices you don't hear right now are the peace that comes -- for once -- from having all my loose ends tied up.

At least electronically.

Sure, I have four photo sessions to edit. And dust collecting on the shelves in my bedroom. And a car whose registration expires very soon. And kids' closets just begging to be purged. And books waiting unread on the nightstand.

Crap. Now I feel stressed and panicked again. I HAVE SO MUCH WORK TO DO! Thanks a lot, me. WhatEVER.

But for the first time in months, my email inbox is neat and tidy. So neat, in fact, that there are only TWO emails sitting there. TWO! (Both online shopping confirmations that will be deleted as soon as the products show up. Yay!) I feel as though I have accomplished a huge feat.

But tragically, since I chose to tackle that task tonight, it leaves me without any time whatsoever to do a How-To Tuesday post.

I know. Somewhere in the world, a lone soul just cried into his cheerios with sorrow and defeat. (Poor Dan. Whatever will he do to console himself?)

But if by some small miracle, you were powered up and ready to participate - keep that post in your drafts folder and we'll get to it next week, I promise. If, like me, you felt as though you were treading water for the past five days, consider this your lucky day and take a breather.

Yeah. You're welcome.

My twin in the back yard


It is the Monday after spring break, and I feel a bit like our snowman there. Head hanging, body dragging, I pull myself out of bed and glare at the alarm clock. Being up this early is as wrong as the freak snowstorm that invaded our city over the weekend. The cruelty of the early hour hangs over my heart like the snow that hangs on the newly-sprouted blossoms in my yard.

My hair is as tangled as the matted sticks adorning the snowman's head.

My bottom is equally, ahem, proportionate thanks to a week of eating treats with my kids.

I feel soggy, out of place, and long to just melt back into bed.

When, oh when is summer vacation?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How-To Tuesday: How to Survive Spring Break

Today's How-To Tuesday comes to you courtesy of a genius idea the Husband had this weekend while we were on our little stay-cation. (No, it is not his How To Ignore Your Children While They Are Vomiting In The Night Idea. It's one I actually liked.)

As I mentioned yesterday, it is spring break around here. Which is really just school jargon for a week where the kids whine because they're bored, fight because they're annoyed, and end up costing me a small fortune in entertainment (which, nine times out of ten, they are bored by, fight at, and in general, annoy me as a result of).

The Husband's brilliant idea was this: We estimated the amount of money we would likely be spending for entertainment during spring break. Between movies, eating out, various museums/bowling/skating/jumping and whatever else they conned me into doing, there is always a big chunk of change. We took this amount and presented it to the kids in a large pile of cash. We told them the rules were this:

1. Whatever we did this week is going to be completely up to them (and they all have to agree amongst themselves about the activities). They can spend the money however they want on whatever activities they feel like.

2. Whatever money is left over, they can keep and split three ways.

3. Since THEY are choosing the activities, there will be no whining/fighting/teasing allowed. If any such behavior ensues, money will be subtracted from the pot. This rule automatically forfeits their right to complain about pretty much anything this week. I think it's my new favorite rule ever.

4. If they choose to pocket the money and forgo fun activities/eating out - they are responsible for finding their own entertainment for the week. If anyone were to come to me stating their boredom or unhappiness with the situation, money would again be withdrawn from the pot. It removes the burden of playing cruise director from me, and puts the responsibility of that right in their own little hands.

How did they take to the proposal?


First, they spent an hour and a half in a meeting of the minds, discussing, prioritizing, and debating happily -- all without my involvement.

Second, once they had lists of everything they wanted to do during the week, we started pricing it all out. Yes, the zoo is free. But parking is ten dollars. And the like.

Having all the information changed their initial budgeting quite drastically. I could hear them deciding whether or not it was worth it to go out to eat. I heard them lament at the exorbitant cost of restaurant eating. I mean, drinks are like three whole dollars!?

It was music to my mama ears.

We will see how it plays out, but so far today it's been amazing, and our plans for the week look better than anything I could have come up with. Plus, it provides a little lesson in budgeting for them with tangible, actual dollars. It gives them the freedom of choice, and the responsibility for their own happiness. I think the Husband may have stumbled upon his most genius idea yet.

Your turn. What can you teach me to do today?

Money image via.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Why he'll never win an academy award

This past weekend, we decided to celebrate the start of spring break with a little stay-cation and booked a few nights in a hotel downtown.

Pretty much the Husband's dream come true.

Who wouldn't love getting home from an exhausting week-long business trip to stay in a hotel in their own hometown, then leave again Monday morning for another hotel out of town?

What can I say? I married a good man.

We ended up having a fantastic time. We toured around St. Louis, visiting restaurants and sites we've never been to before. The weather was beautiful - we walked all over our fair city with sunshine on our shoulders and smiles on our faces. We slept in. We swam in the hotel pool. We had adjoining suites overlooking the polluted beautiful Mississippi River. We watched movies and ate fabulous food.

And last night, as I was sleeping peacefully, I awoke to the sound of coughing from the kids' room. Only, it didn't sound quite right.

Mama-sense tingling, I tiptoed into their room and was assaulted by the unmistakable smell mothers everywhere fear with dread. Someone had thrown up.

And most definitely not in the bathroom.

I stepped gingerly towards the foul stench and tripped over a body on the floor. Cursing and grumbling, I found that Chase had climbed out of his bed and was asleep in a nest on the floor. I made my way to the bedside lamp and switched it on.

The light revealed poor Hannah, asleep, and lying in a pool of vomit. Completely unaware of the evil she had just done, she was soundly sleeping. Horrified, I wondered for a moment what to do.

Realizing there was no way to avoid the embarrassment, I made the call of shame down to housekeeping. I snapped into mom mode and put Hannah into the bathtub. I pulled the soiled bedding and bundled it up. I started wiping down the walls and the carpet (because, yes, it was one of THOSE times where it went everywhere). I met the poor soul from housekeeping at the door and apologized profusely. He smiled and said they just been through mardi gras. They were used to this.

A hefty tip for housekeeping, clean sheets on the bed, and a bottle of air deodorizer later, I was ready to fall back asleep. As I climbed wearily into bed, the Husband rolled over and in a voice so fakely groggy it was pathetic, he said, "Hey, what's going on? Did something happen?"

Um, yeah. Not fooling anyone here, Husband. There is no way on earth you slept through the vomiting, cursing, bed changing, bath taking, and room spraying.

Not even if you were dead.

Which for pretending to sleep until it was all cleaned up last night, you just might be.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ewww Factor

One day last week, after a busy morning of shopping for myself running errands for my family, I popped through the drive-thru of the local St. Louis Bread Co.

Also known as Panera.

Also known as Delicious.

I have found myself frequently enjoying their salads as of late, and treated myself to the bar-b-que chicken chopped salad. It is full of all kinds of tasty things that blend together to make a most delicious party in your mouth.

The only complaint I have with Panera/Bread Co (besides their affinity with Pepsi products. Ewww.) is that you can't really place a 'made-to-order' order. Everything is kind of already made for you, and they are unable to leave off bits and pieces from your salad that are offending.

Like the onions.

And the peppers.


But I know this about Bread Co and I choose to somewhat accept it. On this particular day, I picked the yuckies out as I found them, and left them in a large rejected pile on the side of my plate. (It reminded me for a moment of those days gone by when I would leave a pile of offensive food on my plate as a child and be forced to eat it all in one bite at the end. Major ewww.)

I've decided what I need is this: I need the Jessica Seinfeld con job for adults. Because if I can't see the onions, peppers, or tomatoes? I will gladly eat them and possibly proclaim the flavor combination to be the most delicious thing I've ever eaten. But if I get a glance at the raw, fleshy look of a chopped onion? GAG. I will not eat it. I know it makes no sense to like the flavor of a food, but not the actual food. And as an adult, I should be rationally able to convince myself that quite possibly I DO like onions and peppers.


[Just writing that made me throw up a little bit in my mouth.]

Do you think Ms. Seinfeld could talk to the fine folks at Panera/Bread Co for me? Maybe they could puree the nasties and slip them into my dressing where I won't notice them?

Anyone else have this issue or am I alone in my crazy?

(Daniel, don't answer that.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Inquiring minds want to know

I have two quick questions for you today:

1. Do you think there is enough protein in a piece of cake to justify it as a snack after a session with the trainer? I'm going to say yes. But only because I already ate it.

2. Is anyone else as obsessed with Les Miserables as I am right now? After Annie's post, a frantic text from my brother about the 25th Anniversary concert on PBS, and a phone call from a sister-in-law in Idaho who gets better broadway right now than I do, I just can't get enough of it. I have it on constantly in the car, I am losing hours watching videos on You Tube, and I finally just gave up and ordered my own copy of the concert from Amazon. I love it. It still makes me cry, even after all these years.

It also makes me feel old. I remember when it first came out. TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO. Yikes.

And someday if when I get to heaven, I am going to demand that my voice sound JUST. LIKE. THIS.

That is all. Happy Wednesday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How-To Tuesday: How to Make Chicken Noodle Soup

Alternate title: How to make your husband go absolutely weak in the knees.


What's that? Your husband's love language isn't homemade chicken noodle soup?


Make this, and it will be. I guarantee it. That sofa you've had your eye on? A girlfriend's trip to Paris? Make this soup for him, then casually drop into the conversation what you're wanting, and he will be powerless to resist you.

[Not that I'd know anything about that, ahem.]

This is an ancient family recipe, going back generations. It was a staple in the Husband's childhood home, and has become one in ours. It could not be any easier, and I feel it a sin if you waste your life on soup any less worthy.

Step one: Take a whole chicken and throw it in a large stock pot. We love to make this with leftover turkey at Thanksgiving the best. Second in line would be the pre-cooked chickens they sell at Sam's Club. But even just a regular, boring, everyday whole chicken will cook up nicely.


Add: A few whole carrots (unpeeled), a large onion (quartered, and with the skin left on), a few celery stocks (leaves still attached), a bay leaf, and some salt and pepper. I used a red onion here because it's what I had, but red, yellow, or white - any of them will work.


Pour in enough water to cover the chicken by a good inch or two. Then plop it on the stove and bring to a boil, lowering the heat and letting it simmer for a few hours at a soft boil.


During this part of the process, your house will smell divine. Your children will salivate. Text messaged photos sent to your husband's phone will result in meetings being canceled and him walking through the door MUCH earlier than normal. I'm telling you, this soup is like a magnet that pulls your loved ones home.

Once it's simmered, boiled, and married all the lovely flavors together, pour everything through a colander to a large bowl. Notice the splash and spillage of broth out the sides? Tragic is what that is.


(It's also wise to do this step in the sink. Unless you like the feel of hot boiling lava on your bare feet.)

I like to then re-strain my broth through a very fine colander or cheese cloth to remove any remnant chicken bits. Your broth will have a lovely yellow color and smell positively delicious. At this point, you could freeze your broth and save it for another day or even another cooking purpose. But since our hearts beat to the drum of chicken noodle soup, that is where we'll be headed.


If I can, I make the broth a day ahead and refrigerate it, bringing all that lovely fat to the surface. It makes it so easy to scrape it up and out - keeping your inner thighs free for other fatty treats. But with this batch I was in a hurry, and we wanted to eat right away, so I poured the broth into two containers and froze them both.


Splitting it like this made it so that the broth could cool/freeze faster, resulting in a lovely layer of fat just waiting to be removed.


Pour the now-fatless broth back into your stock pot and put it over medium heat on the stove. By this time, your chicken should be cooled enough to remove all the meat from the carcass. Probably the worst job in this whole process, but a necessary one. Discard the bones and vegetables once all the meat is removed.

Chop your chicken finely. Add it to your broth on the stove.


Recruit a minion or two with the promise of knife usage and you will find help abundant in the kitchen. Have the minion peel and chop 5-6 carrots. Or ten if you like. Whatever suits your fancy. Then add them to the pot.


Next comes the step that MUST NOT be skipped. Don't be tempted to throw a few handfuls of rice or (heaven help you) store-bought noodles. The whole point of this soup is the homemade noodles.

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg. beaten
1/2 egg shell full of milk or cream

Mix all ingredients together, adding more flour or milk to make a pliable dough. Also? We typically double or triple this for a big batch of soup.

What can I say? Girlfriend likes herself some noodles. So do her peeps.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough flat and slice it into strips with a knife or pizza cutter. Don't be worried about getting them all even and perfect. Homemade noodles should be of every height, width, size, and breadth.

Just like people.


When your broth is at a medium boil, drop your noodles in, one at a time. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.


Then, ladle up a big bowl. If you are really awesome, serve some warm bread and butter on the side. Then sit back and watch your husband's face carefully. With the first bite, and its earthy, homemade goodness, you will see precisely just how much he loves you. He will be unable to hide it. You will be delighted.


Now it's your turn. What can you teach us today? Leave the link to your own how-to post in our Mr. Linky below. Then be sure to copy the html code (under the blue button on my sidebar) into your post. Sit back, and wait for the internet to bow at the throne that is your genius.

I'm waiting. Anyone?

Oh well. Next time.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Not seeing the boy

He walks through the door, dropping his jacket and backpack in a large heap behind him. I trip over his shoes as I bend down to grab the wrapper from his after-school snack off the floor.

"Do you have any homework?" I ask, wearily.

He launches into a tirade of all the projects he is working on. I groan, knowing just how much time all those things will take.

Grabbing a paper towel, I wipe up the milk he has just spilled. I snap at him for his carelessness. Reaching for another towel, I stumble over his trumpet case.

In an instant, all the petty annoyance bubbles up and spills over. I chew him out for not practicing often enough, making threats about canceling his trumpet lessons. I move to the projects he has coming up, and remind him angrily that he better get them done before scouts. I grit my teeth and spew venom about the mess he has made on the counter.

I turn around to continue my rant, and notice his blue eyes fill with tears. He hangs his head and apologizes softly. He promises he will practice more. He reaches for his backpack to start on homework, as the tears spill over his lightly freckled cheeks.

Guilt and regret instantly turn my irrational rage into compassion.

I move across the room and take him into my arms. I apologize for snapping at him, and tell him that I love him. He sobs quietly, as he tells me how overwhelmed he is feeling today. How the projects at school seem insurmountable, and he doesn't know if he'll be able to find the time to get it all done.

I wonder then how I didn't notice the sagging shoulders and somber expression when he walked in the door.

How could I only see the mess and the shoes, and miss the boy completely?

I curse myself, wishing I could take it all back and start again. Today was a total mom fail. Doesn't matter that I am right. He does need to practice more. Those projects have to get done before he runs off to play. He should have been more careful with the milk.

But he's only a kid.

And he's my kid.

And today, instead of noticing that he needed to be picked up, I knocked him down. Instead of being that safe, warm place to come home to, I hit him with anger and annoyance the minute he walked through the door.

I need to remember when I'm tired and cranky, that I have no right to take it out on him. I need to look first, and yell later (or not at all). I need to be grateful that I have such a good kid. A kid who gets straight A's, is friends with everyone, and always tries to help those around him. I need to tell him how much I love him, and how proud I am of who he is.

Because at the end of the day, the trumpet, the milk, and the homework do not matter one bit. What matters is that he knows just how much his mama loves him.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

a quick thanks

How awesome was our first ever How-To Tuesday?

It was so awesome. Seriously. Made my day.

You need to click through and read every post. (Except for my idiot brother who thought it would be funny to link back to me. Whatevs.) They were fantastic! I am so happy you all decided to play along. If you missed it this week, start thinking of ideas and join in next Tuesday. Really, anything will work. How to make cookies. How to get marker off a wall. How to successfully carry on a telephone conversation with children nearby. How to eat cookies and not get fat.

Anyone? Anyone have the answer to that one? I'll pay. Really, I will.

Anyway, heading out the door to run about nine billion errands today. Sheesh. The people around here seem to think that having food is important. Oh, the nerve...

Monday, March 7, 2011

How-To Tuesday: How to tailor a shirt

Welcome to the very first installment of what I hope will be a long series of highly informative, entertaining, or just plain silly posts on our How-To Tuesdays.

[I know it's Monday. I wanted to get it up early to give you all a chance to link up. And make sure I did Mr. Linky right.]

Today I am going to share with you a little secret that tailors everywhere do not want you to know: How to tailor your own shirt.

You see, last year, the Husband decided one morning that he wanted to get in shape. All he pretty much had to do was decide that and 20 pounds fell off his body.

I tried really hard not to hate him for it.

Being the frugal man that he is, he did not want to run out and buy all new shirts. We figured we could tailor the ones he wanted to keep, and buy some new ones, as well. So we researched how to do it, purchased a sewing machine, and made the greatest discovery ever. This is so easy, it's ridiculous.

Start with the shirt you want to take in. Put it on inside-out.


Pull the fabric to your desired fit, and start pinning. You need to pin both seams on the sides - going all the way up the length of the shirt.


In order to avoid any bunching, you need to make a continuous seam from the sides to the sleeves. If you are not taking in the sleeves at all, just sew up around the armpit and taper off until you meet the existing arm seam. If you are taking your sleeves in, keep pinning to the end of the sleeve.


Carefully remove the inside-out/newly pinned shirt from your model, being careful to not scratch his face with the pins.

Because when you do that? He doesn't like it. At all. And WILL complain loudly.


Then sew a straight line from the bottom of the shirt up to the sleeves, again, tapering off as necessary. Because he didn't want to take the sleeves in (you know, to accomodate those large, manly biceps), I simply tapered my seam until it met the existing arm seam.


Before cutting off the excess fabric, try the shirt on (right side out this time) to make sure it is a good fit. If you need to take it in a little more, you can. If you took it in too much, you can unpick the seams and start again.


Then carefully, OH SO CAREFULLY, cut off your excess fabric.

Be sure your shirt is not bunched up underneath, or you will cut a large hole in the shirt. And it might happen to be the expensive dress shirt that was your husband's favorite. The one he loved more than all the other shirts. And there will be no repairing it. And you will feel terribly guilty. And he will feel terribly sad.

Not that I'd know anything about that, ahem.



And that's it! Takes less than 10 minutes to do, and saves you oodles of money at the tailor. Which then leaves more money for shoes. Yay!

It works great for women's shirts, too.

Especially if you happen to be smaller-waisted and larger-chested like me. In order to find shirts to fit me in the chest, they are often baggy and big at the waist. Drives me insane.

Enter the self-tailoring.

I bought this tank top at Ann Taylor Loft and fell in love with the ruffly flowers and beading. See? Look how adorable:


Only problem was, all they had left on the rack was a size L, which was too big for me. Rather than walking away from the store in despair, I bought it, knowing how easy it would be to tailor the shirt myself.

Here is the before:


Notice how baggy the fabric is at the waist (and chest). Not a good fit. Made me look larger than I actually am - something I avoid like the plague.

And here is the after:


So much better, right?

I do this now to any shirt that doesn't fit well. If I find something I love on the rack in a store, that maybe is too big in some spots, I buy it anyway, take it home, and fix it right up. Works like a charm.

Now it's your turn. What can you teach me how to do? Type the link to your post in our Mr. Linky here, grab a button from my sidebar, and play along. We all have something we can do. Let's share it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How-To Tuesday: The launch party begins in two days

While pondering life thoughtfully doing the dishes this weekend, I was struck with a genius idea.

So great in my mind was this idea, that had I been a cartoon, there would have been an actual light bulb in the air above my head.

And it would have definitely been switched on.

Besides my plans for world domination, peace in the middle east, and creating the pill that magically burns fat, this might have been one of my greatest ideas.

What was my genius inspiration, you ask?


It's our new project: How-to Tuesday.

(And by our, I do mean yours and mine.)

What I propose is this: Every Tuesday, we all write a how-to post. It doesn't have to be complicated or long. It doesn't have to take hours of your time or include award-winning photography (but certainly could, if that's your thing).

Some possible topics could be: How to travel on a plane with a toddler. How to make your own curtains. How to host a party. How to decorate on a budget. How to teach your children to eat without leaving a large pile of crumbs on the floor.

(Anyone? Anyone have an answer for that one? No? Crap.)

Whatever your skills, ideas, or know-how, this is the place to share them. I will put up a Mr. Linky and we can all pop around the web and read each other's how-to posts. And, if the tutorials on the internet have led me correctly, I might even have a button for you to grab and put on your own blog.

I know. I'm the gift that keeps on giving.

And at the end of the day, we will have learned something we didn't know before. We will have shared with a stranger our wisest ideas. We will have visited a new blog or two, and maybe even made a friend. It will be almost as good as the fat-burning pill I long for daily.

So let's start it this Tuesday, shall we? Be thinking of your post, get it on your blog Tuesday sometime, and link up with our very first inaugural How-To Tuesday party.

I can't wait. I need your mad skillz in my life.

Please play along, won't you?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All she needs now is juicy shorts and a tramp stamp

As I whined about mentioned last week, the Husband was gone on a six-day ski bender. Two states, countless runs down the mountains, and a couple of very sore legs later, he staggered in the door with a smile on his newly-scruffled face.

Once the children had let go of their manic death grip on his legs, he pulled out the souvenirs. Tee-shirts for everyone (myself included). The boys snatched theirs up and ran to try them on.

For us girls, he had two shirts - both the same size - and said that Hannah and I could decide between us which one we wanted.

[Pause for interjection: Obviously, I am not a child size 7, nor will I attempt to squeeze myself into one. The shirt for Hannah will be a little big. Just clarifying in case you had me confused with Kate Moss. Or Hugh Hefner's girlfriend(s). Now back to our story.]

Hannah, whose favorite color this week happens to be blue, took the blue one. Not really caring which one I got, I happily agreed.

And then I read the shirts.

Here is the black one (rejected by Hannah on the basis of color alone):


Aaaaand, the blue one. Her shirt of choice:


Seriously. I tried to tell her what a cute pajama shirt it will make, and her eyes welled up with tears. "Why? Why can't I wear it to school?"

Why, indeed.

I know she doesn't get it, but her teachers certainly will.


And once again, I have become THAT mother. Yay me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stie has gone global. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Hello, peeps. Can I just say thanks? Thanks to all of you who played along in our little mapping game. It was so fun for the kids and I all weekend. They rushed over to the computer every time it made the little 'ping' letting us know there was a new comment. Made the days go by so much faster.

And, hello? Some of you get to live in just about the best places ever. I am highly jealous. I would love to live in a little fishing town in Scotland. Or Denmark. Or Australia.

Heck, on this cold day, I'd happily take California.

I am highly intrigued by the reader living in Qatar, however. In my ignorance, it sounds positively terrifying. And the reader in Singapore! Sounds very exotic.

But maybe the grass isn't greener. Maybe you wake up in your respective cities, bored, tired, hungry, and head off to work. Or you grit your teeth and clean up spilled milk, wishing desperately to be somewhere else. Somewhere really exciting like Missouri.

Nah. Pretty sure your lives are awesome.

Anyway, here is the rundown, with the states highlighted in white having no commentors. Clearly, I am not loved in the Dakotas. Or that big chunk that runs down through Arkansas.


As you can see, I am represented by you fine people elsewhere though. I am highly adored by the good people of Utah, with California a close second. Ironically, no one from my own state of Missouri commented, though theoretically I have friends and peeps here. I'm pretty sure a few of my real-life friends read. But maybe not? Maybe I'm not as cool as I think I am.

Oh well. At least I'm loved in Australia. And maybe one of the readers down there knows Hugh Jackman? If you see him, tell him to call me.


Anyway, thanks for keeping us busy and entertained on what could have been an otherwise hard weekend. You are the best.

And if any of you have guest rooms and would like me to visit, just say the word. I'm just generous enough to impose myself upon you for weeks at a time.

Except Qatar. I'm slightly scared of things over in that neck of the woods right now. Matter of fact, Qatar, shall I ready my guest room for YOU?

**Updated to add: I misappropriated my Netherlands reader! So sorry - you mentioned being from Minnesota, and I put the tally there by mistake. I have people in the Netherlands! Woo!