Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get on the horn!

A few weeks ago when we took our road trip to southern California, my husband and I were discussing our plans for the evening.  We were driving to meet some relatives, and I told him we'd be having dinner with them,but that we hadn't made specific plans yet.  To which he responded, "Well, get on the horn! Find out what the plan is because I'm starving."

"Aye aye, captain!"  I said, all the while thinking, "really? Who in the heck says something like 'get on the horn?'"

But! I am now giving you the same call to action: get on the horn!  But by horn I mean computer.  I know, I'm not using the phrase correctly at all, but give me a break, huh?

And why should you get on the horn?  To help this girl get to the finale of Blogger Idol, that's why.  I really need your help this week.  Like really really really need your help.  So I'm begging you (because I'm not ashamed to beg), pretty please won't you vote for me (voting has closed. Thanks for your support!)?  I'll walk your dog or mow your lawn or pluck your great aunt's eyebrows...just vote!*  I'd also never say no if you offered to blog about it or ask your facebook/twitter followers/entire office staff to vote either. 

This week, I had to give an election speech of sorts, so if you need more convincing about why you should vote for me, read this.

Don't forget to floss! See, good hygiene starts early. 
Actually, I think he just likes the minty-ness of the floss.
Finally, I'll leave you with a few random thoughts and a cute picture because my nerves are so frazzled right now from worrying about whether or not I'm going to be the next Blogger Idol, I'm lucky I can put together a sentence, no less a paragraph.

-I think it's a bad sign when you order your morning coffee, and the Starbucks chick says, "With an extra shot of espresso, right?"  Is that the nice way of telling me I look like I need a nap?

-Is it just me or is "get on the horn" a really weird expression?  Do you use it?  Do you know where it came from?  I should probably ask my husband...I'm sure he'd have its origin filed away with all the other useless facts he knows.

-I think my son was trying to tell me something this morning: while I was getting ready, he started putting my dirty clothes in the trash can.  Maybe mommy needs a new wardrobe.

-I have this probably insane desire to go buy finger paints for my 17-month old because it seems like he'd have a lot of fun with them.  Can you talk me out of the disaster that will surely come of this if I go through with it?

*Offers only valid if you live within a 30 minute drive from me.  Or if you want to pay for my plane ticket.   Either way.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dear Recession, Go home!

I'm not exactly sure where “home” is for a recession. The 1930s? The Weimar Republic? It doesn't really matter as long as it's anywhere but here.

I don't know if anyone's told you this, but you're not really wanted here. Haven't you heard that saying? Fish and house guests stink after three days. Well, it's been way longer than three days, and you've more than worn out your welcome.

I mean, it might have *seemed* like we were inviting you with all of our out-of-control spending, our insanely inflated housing bubble, and our eternal optimism of perpetual growth. Truth is, your name definitely wasn't on the list for this soiree. And you know what that makes you? A party crasher.

And not the fun kind of party crasher who starts a late-night, drunken karaoke competition, professes his love for everyone at the table, and proceeds to pass out in the bushes. No, you're the kind that shows up, drinks all the free booze leaving everyone else sober, insults the party hostess by calling her a fat cow, and gets the cops called for disorderly behavior.

Speaking of etiquette, didn't anyone ever tell you that if you're going to crash a party, you should at least bring a present? And by present I don't mean pink slips, foreclosure notices, and plummeting 401k valuations. Those kind of presents are about as popular as a savings bond at a five year old's birthday party, but without the promise that “in twenty years this will be worth 50 dollars even though I only paid $25!”

I think it's clear we're all pretty sick and tired of your shenanigans. You can feel free to pack your belongings and get out of town. Or, actually, leave your belongings because I know someone who might need to sell them at a yard sale next week to make the mortgage payment.


How about you; what would you say?  Feel free to add your own p.s.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dr. Seuss Party: Revealed!

First off, I need to say thank you again for your support with Blogger Idol.  I am officially in the top three.  The TOP THREE, people!

I will need all the help and support I can get next week: vote for me, pimp  me out on your blog or Twitter, pass me a bottle of tums as I watch the elimination video on Friday (I swear I'm going to have an ulcer by the time this is over).

I'm so proud to have made it so far, but even more proud of YOU, my awesome readers and friends who have gotten me here.

Alright, I've talked and talked (and whined) about this party, and now it's over and I don't know what to do with my spare time. So, in an effort to make the glory last a little longer, I bring you at long last: the Dr. Seuss baby shower.

My dear friend is having twins, which is something I can say that I never hope to experience.   But, to help her celebrate (and prepare), I threw a Thing 1 and Thing 2 shower.

Overall, I think it came out really well.  Minus a few mishaps like letting all the cotton candy melt in my car.    It was a fun day, and she looked radiant, as any woman growing two babies should.

We had a photo guest book.  Everyone wrote messages to the mom or babies, then we took their photo with some cool props: an old frame I'd painted to match, a boa, a Cat-in-the-Hat hat.  I'm going to put the pictures all in a book for my friend to have record of all the attendees.

I LOVE decorating with paper lanterns. They make a big impact in any space. And they look pretty Dr. Seuss-y.

Because I was throwing this shower in the home of a person I'd never met four hours from where I live, I didn't want to show up and put nail holes in her walls and ceiling to hang up the lanterns.  So, I filled some big vases with glass beads, and used those as the base to support some garden stakes I picked up from the dollar store. These were the perfect way to hang the lanterns quickly, easily, and without permanent damage.

I hung Thing 1 and Thing 2 onesies with these fun, giant clothespins I found at the craft store at Easter time. I dyed plain ol' white onesies red with Rit dye, then printed out and ironed on the decals.

This is the only picture I managed to get of the custom water bottles I worked so hard on!

I cut red and white circles of various sizes out of craft foam, and used them to decorate all of the tables and flat spaces I could find.

Wow, that's a lot of presents!
We played a few traditional games like Guess How Big The Pregnant Lady's Belly Is.  Isn't she cute?

And we had a few "passive" games, like this one, where people had to guess the number of jelly beans in this jar that I made to look like the Cat-in-the-Hat hat.  How many jelly beans would you guess?

And then, there was the food.  The food was my favorite part of this shower; I had so much fun with it.

Brown bar-ba-loots Truffla Fruits from
The Lorax
Poodles Eating Noodles from Fox in Socks
Macaroni Salad
No Seuss party is complete without Green Eggs and Ham
Green deviled eggs and ham cream cheese roll-ups
Homemade Yertle the Caramel Turtles

Spinach Dip
My favorite shower food:
Swedish fish

Hop on Pop(corn)
Cinnamon and sugar popcorn
Yot in a Pot - saucy pineapple meatballs
from There's a Wocket in my Pocket

Fox in Socks Three Cheese Trees: Colby Jack, Swiss, and Cheddar
Yink Pink Ink Drink (raspberry lemonade)
from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
A crumb that was even too small for a mouse from How the Grinch Stole Christmas
because even baby showers can have a sense of humor
 And the crowning achievement of the party: Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes - red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting, and blue cotton candy hair on top.

And finally, me!  Enjoying myself putting the hair on the cupcakes.  Notice the Dr. Seuss apron.  I made it myself!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mommy Fail #127: Using the English Language

First, I owe you all a HUGE thank you.  You, my dear friends, have kept me in the Blogger Idol competition to the top FOUR.  I really do owe it all to you.  I'm not kidding.  So thank you.

Second, I am going to tell you a story about me failing.  It isn't really a mommy fail, but if you want, I could blame it on sleep deprivation or all my brain energy being taken up by avoiding the Duplo block minefield of my house or simply the fact that I have a child.  That would be lying?  Ok, you're right.  This one was just plain me.

To start this story, I'm going to ask you to vote for me in Blogger Idol because it is actually relevant to what I'm about to tell you (voting has ended; thanks so much for your support!).  This week our task was to post about family, specifically family traditions.  I wrote a post called, "My family traditions may have come from the trash," which should have been followed with, "but that doesn't mean they aren't as good as yours," but it wouldn't fit in the box.

And here's the fail: When I first submitted this post, the title read, "My family jewels may have come from the trash."

I showed my husband the post yesterday, after I'd turned it in.  I was talkin' myself up, telling him how awesome I was, explaining to him that this may very well be the best piece I've ever written (no, not really).  So he agreed to read it.  Upon reading the title he said, "I bet your dad would be pretty insulted that you think his balls came from a dumpster."

Well...I suppose you have a point there.  I don't really know why it didn't click, but for some reason "family jewels" to me sounded like "heirlooms."  But even admits that family jewels are, in fact, male genitals.

At least if I get voted off this week, I can blame it on testicles.  But, instead, why don't you go vote for me so I don't have to do that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Once you join my diet plan, you'll never go back

I'm alive!  The Dr. Seuss party is over (with lots of pictures to come, I promise).

In all honesty, I learned a lot this weekend.  And, most of the things I learned were about cotton candy. 

For example, did you know that cotton candy left in a car in 90 degree heat melts?  I didn't. I also never knew how hard it could be to find a place to buy cotton candy at 8 p.m. on a Friday night in a small town when all the cotton candy you brought with you melted in your car. 

The answer: the Subway inside the local Walmart.  Apparently they have a cotton candy machine in the back just for the rare occasions that a desperate party planner comes in begging for as much blue candy fluff as they can make.  I almost kissed the Subway guy.  He looked a little freaked out.

But, the most important thing I learned about cotton candy is that it's my new diet food (or it would be if I was on a diet).  The entire tub of cotton candy has a mere 100 calories.  You're telling me that I can either have a little pouch that contains 9.8 crackers or I can have an entire gallon of cotton candy?  Sure, the tub isn't quite as handy to stick in your pocket as those little 100 calorie packs, but the contents are far more satisfying.

So what about you?  How was your weekend?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dr. Seuss is taking over my life

I think I went to sleep yesterday counting Sneetches instead of sheep.  I was up until the wee hours of the morning writing goofy poems, making custom water bottle labels, and doing other assorted baby shower related tasks.  Despite the fact that I'm going to be totally wiped out come Saturday evening, I'm really looking forward to throwing this shower for my friend.  She's having twins so we're doing a "Thing 1 and Thing 2" theme.

There's two things that this should tell you about me.  First, I LOVE throwing parties.  Because, really, who makes custom water bottles for parties?  Only crazy people like me.  Second, I am a serious procrastinator.  I leave this afternoon (the shower is four hours from where I live), and I hadn't really done anything until last night.

My procrastination also makes me a chronically late person (I know, I hate me too).  My friends know to expect me about seven minutes after I say I'll arrive.  Somehow, I've managed to get so good at being late that I'm always the same amount of late.  Maybe someday I'll fix this annoying little habit.

In the meantime, will you vote for me in this week's Blogger Idol?  Voting has ended; thanks for your help.  If I get through this week, I'll be in the top four.  And I'll owe it all to you guys.  This week's topic was to get on our soap boxes and tell our readers something we care about.  My post is called "Children are not an inconvenience.  They are people."  Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments section of that post!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Warning: This is a "mommy blog" post

It's August.  That's going to be my excuse for why I still haven't gotten my suitcases put away.  Or cleaned my floors.  Or followed up on a single business card from BlogHer.  But you don't really care about that, do you?

Instead, let's talk about boobs.  Specifically, my boobs.  I'm ready to reclaim them.  It's been nearly 17 months since I gave birth to my little, beautiful baby and started nursing him.  It's been crazy and painful and horrible and wonderful.  But now he's a big, beautiful boy, and his mother is desperate for a full night's sleep.  I know it's been a while since I've complained about sleep, but if you want to catch up, read this, this and this.

I think I've finally hit that point that all the mothers I knew told me I would: I'm ready to have my body back. 

We're down to nursing only once in the wee hours of the morning, and that's just because I'm too lazy to actually get up and start my day at 5:00 a.m.  Letting the boy have the ol' boob affords me another two hours of sleep.  Even still, it's gotten to be too much. 

So, tonight is the last night of nursing.  It's bittersweet, and you'll have to hang in there with Mrs. Sappy Mom this week as I admit that my little boy is growing up, but I'll try not to bug you about it too much.  

Wednesday night, the little guy has to stay over at my mom's house (the first night I'll have every spent away from him) because I have to go out of town to throw an awesome baby shower; expect cool pictures next week.  Hey, you might even get a shot of my soon-to-be Dolly Parton-esque cleavage as my milk tries to figure out that it needs to dry up.  I know you're excited about that! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

How to get a husband

My husband and I are celebrating our fourth anniversary.  On the one hand, I can't believe we've been married for four years.  On the other, sometimes it seems like we've done as much in four years as we thought we'd do in ten.

We started reminiscing about the beginning of our relationship, and I was trying to convince him that this has all been part of a well-laid plan that began almost 11 years ago.  He didn't buy it.

Either way, I figured I'd share my husband-snagging tips, just in case they're useful to anyone out there.

1. The first date: make sure it's something embarrassing, so that you can both pretend it never happened.  Example: Go to Homecoming at age 15 wearing a faux snakeskin dress paired with the ugliest shoes you can find.  It's also a good idea to get your purse stuck in the seat belt of your date's mom's minivan on the way to the dance forcing you to abandon your emergency lip gloss and other teenage girl essentials.

I'm not even going to make any excuses for this.

2. The second date: don't bother with this one. Just stay "friends."  I'd also recommend getting a job together at, say, a library.  Make sure your mother is your secret crush's boss.  Nothing like a little preview of what life with the in-laws might be like to make a guy stick around, right?

3.  While at this job, try to woo your future spouse with clever techniques like pretending you can't water the houseplants that decorate the bookshelves.  I know pouring water out of a jug into a planted pot sounds like a pretty basic skill, but 16-year old girls are apparently incapable of such things.  Either that or the only way they know how to flirt is by playing the dumb and helpless routine.

4.  Move three thousand miles away from each other to go to college before deciding you actually want to be more than friends.This ensures really good communication so you don't do things like accidentally continue to date other people because you didn't understand that you were actually stepping your relationship up from "just friends" to "100% exclusive" given that you never had a face-to-face conversation about it.

With a foundation like that, how can your relationship be anything but smooth-sailing?

Just a couple years later, we got married.

We got this dog.

We had this baby.

We bought this house.

And, I can tell you with certainty today that I wouldn't change a thing about our life's story.  It's made us who we are, and I'm proud of the life we've built together.  Four years is just a drop in the bucket compared to the 60 that I hope we have to come.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm a bad blogger, but will you love me anyway?

Our 12-day road trip (and recovery from said road trip) is totally kicking my butt.  I'm still swimming in laundry, have a stack of business cards to sort through from the BlogHer conference that's a mile high, and am trying to teach my son that mommy only uses smarties to stop him from screaming when he's in his carseat, not just in everyday life.

So, all I've got for you today is a plea: will you vote for me this week in Blogger Idol?  We're down to the top six and every single vote counts now.  Every one.  Yours too. This week's topic was to write about a day in your life as if you were a vampire.  See what I had to say and vote here.  (Voting runs from noon today 'til midnight tomorrow).  Voting for this week is now closed.  Thanks for your support! Check back next week.

I know I've been a very neglectful blogger.  I promise a real post for tomorrow.   I have been trying to read and keep up with all of you - even if I don't have time to leave comments - but later this week, I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging. Thanks so much for sticking with me!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sometimes my life is like Jeopardy

My husband is a wealth of useless interesting facts. These little bits of trivia often find their way into our every day conversation. The other day, we were in the car, and he said to me, “I was reading an article about American companies that are working on alternative energy and biodiesel. The article said something that I've seen in a lot of news stories lately that really bothers me.”

“Oh yeah? What's that?” I asked him.

“Well, they keep referring to 'companies using canola oil' as an alternative fuel source. But what they really should say is that they are using rapeseed oil,” he explained.

“RAPEseed? Like rape rape?” I said.

“Yeah, rapeseed. There's no such thing as a canola plant,” he said sarcastically.

“There's no such thing as a canola plant, but there is such ting as a rapeseed plant?” I wondered aloud.

“The oil comes from rapeseed. Canola is really just an acronym anyway. It stands for Canadian oil of low acidity. So if they want to be technically correct, they should refer to it as rapeseed oil,” he said.

“Why on earth do you even know that?”

“I don't know!” he said defensively.

“Well, as someone who works in marketing, I can tell you that I wouldn't try to sell something called rapeseed oil if you paid me. Rapeseed oil is a PR disaster waiting to happen,” I told him.

“Oh,” he said, pondering my response briefly. “I just think they could do a little better fact-checking.”

“The more you know...” I said, picturing the yellow star drawing a rainbow across a black screen.

So there you have it. Did you know the origin of canola oil?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

If you scratch my back...

It's that time again: voting is open for Blogger Idol.  This week is a DOUBLE elimination,so your votes will earn you a double appreciation from me. Voting is over for this week; thank you for your support!   So - please! - vote now.  This week's topic was "What do you want to be when you grow up."  Here is what I had to say about it

I can't tell you how much your support means to me.  If you vote for me, please let me know if there's any way I can help you in return.  Follow your blog?  You got it!  Like you on Facebook? No problem!  Buy you a brand new Lexus?  Probably not.  But give you a shout out on Twitter?  I'll even give you two. Or if you just want to vote out of the kindness of your heart, I will think you're super awesome.

And, because I'm supposed to be on vacation, I'll stop typing and just leave you with a picture.  And with what I've learned so far on Little Spaghetti's first vacation:  Vacations make babies tired.  Which makes vacations more vacation-y for parents.  Who knew?

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm having an affair...

...with sub sandwiches.

What were you expecting? Racy details of my secret trysts with the sexy mailman? Come on, if I was having that kind of affair, do you think I would post it on the world wide web for all to read? (For the record, my mailman isn't sexy. Actually, she isn't even a man.)

Back to the sandwiches. I think some people call them hoagies, but I'll stick with subs. Mouth-watering turkey, delicious Swiss cheese sliced fresh before you eyes. Mustard and mayonnaise mixed together into a savory concoction that's like crack on a bun. A perfect combination of crispy lettuce and spicy onion. Sometimes there's nothing better than a good sub.

True story: I am so in love with sub sandwiches that I almost named this blog “Olives and Pickles.” I decided against it because I worried I'd end up weighing 400 pounds as a result of craving a sub sandwich every time I sat down to blog.

My sub sandwiches and I were living in bliss until a few weeks ago. My husband came home and saw a drink cup from one of the local sub places on the counter.

“How many days a week do you eat sandwiches?” he asked innocently.

I got flustered and broke into a cold sweat. I could feel my cheeks and neck turning red. I swallowed a lump in my throat and took a deep breath. My heart was racing. “I don't know,” I finally managed to say. “Maybe like twice or something.”

Six or seven times a week would have been more like it. But some part of me didn't want to admit it. It's not that my husband even would have cared, but I was like some kind of addict, clinging to denial that I did not have a sandwich problem.

The next day, I went to the king of sandwich shops: Delitowne USA. (Note the extra “e” on towne, which makes it just that much classier.) It's deceiving, this sandwich shop. Its mascot is a dancing pickle in a tux, and the restaurant itself is located inside a gas station, but – I kid you not – this is THE place to get sandwiches. The kicker is the bread. They make the bread daily, and bake premium sandwich ingredients into the crust for an out-of-this-world sandwich experience. Jalapeno cheddar, three cheese pepperoncini, and – my favorite – Swiss onion. It's perfection.

I took the sandwich home and savored each bite. But when I was done, I got this nervous feeling. I didn't want my husband to come home, see the sandwich wrappers, and call me out on my “twice a week” answer. So I wrapped all the trash neatly into the sandwich paper and tossed it in the trash can outside.

As luck would have it, that would be the one day a month my husband decided to take out the trash without me nagging.

“How much do you think you spend each year on sandwiches?” he asked with a sneaky smile.

“What?!?” I said, “It's not that bad. I was in a hurry today and just had to grab something to eat while I was out.”

After that, it got worse. I'd crush up the trash, throw it away inside the house, and then cover it with dirty diapers just to make sure he wouldn't find it. I'd get cash back at the grocery store so I could have a sandwich fund that wouldn't show up on our debit statement. I'd scrub my hands and brush my teeth after lunch to make sure none of the delicious scent of sub sandwich lingered.

Finally, it got to be too much, and one night, I broke down. “I eat sandwiches pretty much every day,” I blurted out as we were watching The Bachelorette. “I'm sorry.”

“Yeah,” he said, “I know. Lucky for you, I'll probably never make you choose between me and sub sandwiches.”

Darn right because the only thing that might sway that ultimatum in his favor would be our wedding vows.

Kidding...I like him more than sub sandwiches. Most days.