Tag Archives: life imitates ridiculous movies

How to Freak Out Your Valentine with Love

As much as I’d like to be too cool for school and totes nonchalant about Valentine’s Day, I’m not. Not even a little. I like holidays. I like excuses to veer from the norm, eat excessive amounts of junk and buy things that would otherwise be deemed unnecessary, e.g. polka dot ribbon. I am not the girl who expects a dozen roses (roses = no thank you) and a $200 steak dinner, but I do want a little pomp and circumstance. I love love, and it’s fun to think of new ways to celebrate it.

This year was Addison’s first year in preschool, so she I got to make valentines for her class. Hippie alert: I didn’t want to use candy. With Addie potty training–and rather successfully might I add–her life has been all manner of hand sanitizer and chocolate treats. The girl pees five times before 11 a.m.; she is her mother’s daughter.

I hopped over to the Dollar Store under vast amounts of pressure from my frugal hubs to keep things within reason. (“They are only two years old!”) I present to you sixteen adorable, “healthy” valentines that I didn’t even hijack from Pinterest.

school vday supplies





school valentine

school valentines bunchI did forget/ultimately decide to forego her teachers and still feel bad about that. (Their Christmas gifts were on point, don’t worry.) They may have a sweet Presidents’ Day gift heading their way if I can come up with an equally adorable Abe Lincoln craft.

I guess my mom blogger status is now official. Womp womp.

Valentine’s morning began with heart-shaped perfection. Doughnuts and pregnancy take the place of pizza and beer for nine months over here, and someone better hide those bad boys until after my glucose test on Monday. There was already one, uh, missing before I took this picture.

doughnuts2We have ambitious, likely-to-end-our-marriage plans for the new nursery, so we went on a research mission to Home Depot. Clayton still has some semblance of trust in our toddler’s capacity to listen to direction and obey commands from a distance, so he didn’t secure her in a cart. Do I need to spell out how enjoyable that trip was between the rows of loose lumber, wood cutting devices and swinging model door displays?

To reward both of us for not throwing tantrums at the tile displays, we stopped at a park to let that energy out. Ladies and gentlemen, my Valentine:

C slide C slide2

C slide3

C slide4

C A slideThey are the cutest.

I had to kick Clayton out for a couple of hours of Super Secret Vday Prepping, so he took A to my parents’ house. While he was gone, my little valentine elves, my brother and dad, got to redecorating the backyard.

Idiotically, I assumed my eagle eye hubs might not notice an open side garage door (with the extension cord trailing out of it) or a big gaping hole where our futon once sat. He did. And he was noticeably freaked out by the whole situation. In retrospect, watching “Gone Girl” the night before trying to pull off an undercover house heist while he was gone wasn’t the best idea for instilling confidence in one’s wife.

Once I let him in on the plan, it eased his little fretting mind. Mostly. He didn’t fully relax until the futon was back in its place on Sunday night.

After Clayton whipped up a delicious steak and shrimp combo, we took ourselves to the movies. In pajamas. With hot chocolate, popcorn and, duh, another doughnut.

movie night2I don’t want to brag is not something you’ll be hearing from me. I absolutely do want to brag about this one. It was the perfect mix of romantic and special—definitely out of the norm–but still comfortable. I was wearing a hoodie for goodness sake. Everything worked out with the technology, which was a major victory by itself. No one spilled hot chocolate on the rented projector, Maya didn’t start a yard fire with the candles and no one’s toes went numb in the chilly temps.

I hope you had someone or something that made you feel loved and celebrated this weekend. Baked goods totally count.

The Birth Story, Part 2

(Part 1 here)

When we arrived at the hospital, I was taken to a room in the Emergency Department so that the on call OB/GYN from my office could make sure my water had broken. It had. Unfortunately I wasn’t dilated at all. She then casually mentioned that I would be taken upstairs to start pitocin. I’m sorry, do what now?

My doctor explained that because my water broke, I would need to deliver the baby or at least be in hard labor within 12 hours to avoid getting an infection that could pass to the baby. This was vastly different than what I understood from our conversation weeks earlier in her office; I thought I had 12 hours to try and have contractions on my own if my water broke. Nope, 12 hours to get the baby out. Time clock: started. Strike two.

My doctor agreed to give me a couple of hours to see if I started having stronger contractions or progressed at all before beginning pitocin. I didn’t. And what had been one of my greatest reservations had to take place. I got an IV and started on pitocin to induce labor around 10 a.m. With the IV, I could only move around with the bulky cart attached to the drip bag. Strikes three and four. I don’t know what game we were playing, but my birth plan was definitely losing.

The contractions began getting stronger and more noticeable. For several hours I was handling them well. Clayton would rub my back and a birth ball and I became besties. Lying in bed was horrendous, so that was nixed pretty quickly. My parents visited for awhile (another no-no on the original plan). At first, it was a welcome distraction to have other people to talk to and laugh with. They brought lunch for Clayton while I munched on the hospital’s finest ice chips. So cliché.

Unfortunately, their visit stretched into the time the contractions crossed over into the much-harder-to-manage range. I had shown my parents how to see the contractions on the monitor, and every time I was about to have one, my dad would announce it from looking at the monitor before I had felt it yet. “Here comes one,” he’d say, making me unable to relax for any extra seconds I might have had before feeling it myself.

My mom could tell we were entering the no talk, no laugh zone and told my dad it was time to go. It was early afternoon when they left, and after that, things got real. The back rubs no longer felt good and Clayton needed to stay a good three feet away from me during contractions. The birth ball was losing its magic. I’m shuttering a little just thinking about those few hours and feeling perfectly content at the idea of Addison being an only child.

The pain got intense. I was having strong contractions every one and a half to two minutes. Despite how uncomfortable it was, I figured at least things were moving along and I could tell through the strength of the contractions that we had to be progressing. I decided I wanted the epidural around 7:30 p.m. My nurse wanted to check me one last time before she left at 8 and asked if I could hold off on getting the epidural until then. I was at the point in labor when I measured time in contractions. I honestly didn’t know if I had that many epidural-less contractions left in me, but I agreed. But I negotiated a 7:50 check.

One and a half centimeters. Thirteen hours of labor for one and a half centimeters. I was stunned and disheartened and totally discouraged. I wanted the largest cocktail of pain meds this place would serve me. I had just writhed in pain for hours and it was completely useless (according to my less than trustworthy reasoning).

Beyond being completely demoralized, my not progressing also made the C-section conversation relevant. We knew that there was a chance I could be forced to go that route if I didn’t get far enough along in the 12 hour window after my water broke. And now I had hit the time limit and was at a ridiculous one and a half centimeters.

The Birth Story, Part 1

It’s been six months, which is way past the deadline to make any returns or exchanges, so I suppose it’s time to share Addison’s birth story. If things like lady parts and uterine contractions are not your bag, I’d recommend returning when regular programming resumes.


I wrote about Addison’s birth late one night (well, very early one morning) in the darkness of her nursery as she slept a few feet away. I tried to capture the soul-shaking beauty of those moments. But there is also the play-by-play, nitty gritty labor story that needs to be told, mostly because even now, nearly six weeks later, the memories are still tinged with anxiety. Hopefully the retelling will help me put the sharper corners of that day in their final resting place and Mama can move on.

Leading up to labor, Clayton and I were fairly middle ground when it came to our birth plan. For the medical staff, we labeled it our “wish list” to keep those feathers unruffled. I was not adamant about having or not having an epidural and planned to just see how things went. You know, because labor is known for being a very go with the flow sort of experience. Let me just say now: if you go into labor not knowing for sure if you want or don’t want an epidural, you will be getting an epidural.

Other important requests I made were to labor at home for as much as I could, to not be induced with pitocin unless it became necessary, to be able to move around as long as I had not received an epidural (trying to take a walk while my legs were numb would certainly make for a hilarious birth story but do little to actually help the process), and to be allowed to labor at my own pace without an unnecessary time clock being held over my head.

Looking back, I can now confirm what every labor and delivery nurse and obstetrician knows but doesn’t say: birth plans are a crock. You can practice that breathing, attend prenatal yoga religiously, avoid sushi and alcohol like the plague and Kegel your heart out, but after a certain point, your baby and your body are calling the shots. You’re just a passenger on the ride.

My ride began at 5:50 a.m. July 14. I woke up needing to pee and was lying in bed trying to muster up the motivation to get up. And then my water broke. One of the questions I asked my doctor was if I would know for sure if my water broke. I was able to answer my own question. I knew instantly what had happened and sat straight up, blinking in disbelief. I went to the bathroom to “confirm” what I already knew.

The jumble of thoughts and words and questions fumbling around my brain can best be described as one of those word puzzles that take the letters from each word and scramble them up so nothing makes sense or looks normal. I didn’t know what to do first. I stumbled out of the bathroom and woke Clayton up.

“Um. My water broke.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m sure. What should I do?”
“Then we need to go to the hospital.”

Such the level headed husband, that one. I continued my internal massive freak out while I got a shower and packed the last few things in my havin’-a-baby bag. Clayton called my doctor’s office and started packing his bag (that I told him to have ready weeks before, cough cough).

So…laboring at home wasn’t happening. Strike one.

I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over at the hands of a 14 year old.

Wait a minute. So you’re telling me that just because I up and had an adorable, sweet baby that in 15 years I have to take care of a teenager?

Well then I quit.

Yesterday my friend and I decided to grab subs at a nearby Publix for a late lunch. We strolled (literally, we had two strollers) around the corner to sit at the tables outside a frozen yogurt shop, across the street from a high school. Ten minutes after we got comfy in our almost-but-not-technically pajama’s, the floodgates of adolescent awkwardness burst forth with innumerable teenage miscreants.

It was like Showtime’s version of Dawson’s Creek. And it was terrifying. I felt like they were closing in from all angles and were going to attack us and our sleeping babies at any moment. Not for flesh, like zombies, which would be entirely more comforting, but to devour any hope that we had of raising decent, fully adjusted children. You know, children that are NOT planning late night secret brawls with the distinct goal of “busting that bitch up.”

Profanity. Cleavage. Sombreros. It was a really weird half hour.

We tried to pick out—if we could find them in the lot—kids that might resemble our future high schoolers. To our right sat the 98 pound hoodlum adorned with a beanie and skinny jeans that was ring-leading the aforementioned chick fight and defending that one time she cracked a girl’s head on a vending machine. She was out of the running (but would later appear in my nightmares knocking down my door and beating me to death with Baked Lays). To our left sat a greasy haired clan of sophomore boys eager to dig into a pack of cigs they stole from some neglectful parent, older sibling or the unsuspecting Circle K owner. They were out.

Then a beam of heavenly light shown through the yogurt shop windows and there she was. Straight blonde hair, a headband no less, sitting perfectly contentedly with her mother AND GRANDMOTHER daintily snacking on a low calorie after-school treat. “Dibs,” I thought. “That’s the one I want!” Girlfriend was even wearing a cardigan. The symbol of all who are studious, chaste and shop at The Gap rather than Abercrombie and Fitch.

I know this is sounding creepy, but we were really desperate for some sort of redemption at this point. Otherwise we were handing our kids over to the smokers who were too young to hold a driver’s license and getting the heck out of there. Game over on the whole parenting thing.

I am trying hard to rationalize this experience and remind myself this was a skewed sample. These were the handfuls of kids who had no pre-planned, free time-stealing activities awaiting them after school…or a ride home, for that matter. We eventually saw the sprightly track team running through the school’s parking lot, which represented the athletes who would be stuck at practice just long enough to miss an invitation to bust any bitches up. And then there were the adorable geeks who were all worked up in a discussion about school supplies. With a glow appearing on her face and no doubt the vision of her future pubescent little boy in her mind, my friend said hopefully, “And it’s not even August!” We loved the nerds.

If I thought my job as a parent was difficult before, this afternoon added to that by pounds and pounds of mascara, low cut tank tops and iPods. I have my work cut out for me, especially with a stunning little lady on my hands.

And if all else fails, Pinterest better have some tips on the kitchen-as-classroom situation because Mama’s little hoodlum is getting homeschooled.

Addie dress1

“The Meatloaf!”

About 10 days ago, after staring blankly into our bare freezer until I felt a hint of frostbite, I finally grabbed a pound of ground beef to thaw. I never have any idea what I’m going to do with raw meat once it’s thawed, I just feel like taking meat out of the freezer and putting it on the counter gets me some sort of Wife Points. Once it was mostly thawed, it went back in the refrigerator. Again, this shows at least a shred of preparation and forethought. Even if my entire preparation plan consists of “Thaw meat.”

Clayton came home a little early, then proceeded to fall asleep on the couch. Don’t worry, I’m not about to nitpick about naps. This pot’s just a little too black for all that kettle name-calling. But I did sneak out to go to the gym while he was snoozing. At the gym, I remembered we only ever make two meals involving a pound of ground beef, and we had none of the ingredients for tacos. Meatloaf it was.

To my surprise, or because I had already affixed a “Cook Me!” post-it note to the ground beef—I can’t really remember the details from that long ago—my husband was already working away at that meatloaf when I got home. This allows me the opportunity to still earn a few WP’s without actually cooking by saying, “Hey, I was going to do that!” And then quickly getting out of earshot in case the husband wants to let me follow through on that.

I showered and fixed us two massive salads. The meatloaf was already cooked when we sat down to eat our salads but, seriously, they were like entrée-sized portions, so Clayton put it back in the oven so it wouldn’t get cold. And then the enchanting world of fall television premiers locked us in. Clayton scoffs at oven timers, trusting his laser sharp memory and keen relationship with red meat to sense when food is ready.

So this happened.


Let’s rewind back to the previous night. The husband wanted to run, and I suggested he try a long run because, now that I can say it, he had decided to run the half marathon. By “long,” I meant 6-8 miles. He doesn’t really ever run unless I con him into it, and then he tops out at about three miles. A bit of the ADD in him. He wanders back in, about a half hour after I’d expected him, and starts to stretch.

“So, how did it go?” I ask, curious as to why he’s not really talking about his big deal run.

“It went good.” Conspicuous pause. “I did 10 miles.”

Of course he did. Of course he runs a handful of times in the past two weeks, heads out one random Tuesday evening and busts out 10 miles. Congratu-freaking-lations. It’s not like other people around here have to train for five months to do something like that. Totally rad for you, dude. Totally. F’ing. Rad.

After this little incident, I’m not going to say I gloated over the meatloaf charring. But I’m not going to say I didn’t gloat, either.

A girl needs to have the upper hand once in awhile. And sweet and sour chicken made for an absolutely delicious upper hand.

chinese food

Save me from myself.

I promise I’ll stop referencing our vacation just as soon as our regular life becomes any form of exciting. Tomboy’s honor.

When Clayton and I ventured out on that mortifying-for-me kayak adventure, it was exactly like everything else we jump into: we were about 30% prepared for it. I’m beginning to think that whole “sun causes skin cancer” storyline could have some merit beyond skyrocketing the Banana Boat stock, so I’ve started using sunscreen for selected activities.

Of course kayaking for four hours in July qualified as a “selected activity.” But, per usual, my well-meaning intentions resulted in horribly unfortunate consequences. No research beforehand and not glancing 13 feet in front of me to see the actual kayaks informed my assumption that my knees would be bent at 90 degrees during the trip. Like in a canoe, a watercraft that makes much more sense to me (hello, space for coolers full of hard pear cider) and with which I have tons more experience.

The pressure of that one guide waiting to drive the jam-packed group of me and my husband to the drop-off point in his personal mini-van really kicked me into high gear. I had to make some tough decisions crouched behind Clayton’s car, including whether or not to change out of my underwear into bathing suit bottoms. One glance and one sniff at the port-a-potty situation made that decision for me. With the kayaks safely secured with a few hundred shoestrings atop the mini-van, it was down to the wire. Rather than slathering on the SPF from head to toe, I opted for a more conservative approach. Conservative for the sunscreen, I mean, not for my chances of catching The Melanoma.

I calculated the angle of the expected knee bend, our anticipated hours in the sun, the placement of the life jacket, the speed of the river during the summer months, rain fall over the past seven days, cloud cover, carry the two, take the square root and easy peasy, I figured out where I needed to apply the sunscreen. Thighs? Check. Ear lobes? Done. Love handles? Double layer. Shins? Eh, pass.

Funnily and painfully obviously enough, YOUR SHINS ARE DIRECTLY IN THE SUN EVERY SECOND YOU SIT IN A KAYAK. I don’t care if it’s midnight, your shins are going to take a UV beating in those too-skinny, ill-fitting boats. Clayton and I had our glistening, pasty white shins propped up without barrier for a good four hours in July during one of the hottest summers in the Northeast.

Those babies were scorched like that one time I tried to make homemade spaghetti sauce and burnt the insanely expensive, wedding-gifted pot beyond repair. Instead of heading to Bed Bath & Beyond the next morning to pick out a new pair of lower legs, we had to walk around with lobster red shins for the next week. Both of us. Super sexy, like always.

To make it even worse, Clayton hadn’t put on any sunscreen . I know, I know. Send me your lectures via email, but I can guarantee you he’s heard those arguments from me already, and I probably used more profanity and a better developed guilt trip. He knows for a fact that our children will look up at me with large, doe eyes and ask, “Mommy, why did Daddy love the sun more than us?” And I will say, “Brysona and Natalie, Jr., I wish I knew. But all he said was that he would rather have his skin sizzle off his body than raise a bunch of girls.”

The immediate impact of this sun-tastrophe was that any irritation on our shins felt like being lit up with a blow torch. Unpleasantness ensued, especially during showers.

Even more mentally and hygienically painful are the unforeseen consequences, which we are currently battling. In a word: skin. Skin, skin everywhere! My shins are peeling like I got a thousand dollar chemical peel to remove all those pesky shin wrinkles, and Clayton is shedding the old winter skin from every surface of his body that was not covered by his shorts or life jacket. He is sporting a fresh, baby pink complexion just in time for summer.

I would show you pictures, but I’m desperately hoping in the back of your mind you believe I’m embellishing.

Theoretically, we could just scoop up those nasty flakes and toss them in the trash. In real life, our burnt skin is flying off our bodies every other second, scraped by furniture, a blast of cold air, a skin flake from the other spouse, Bryson’s obvious scorn—anything and everything causes an exodus of peeling epidermis.

I’m not going to list the places we’ve found these escaping skin flakes. But it would be long. And incompatible with any sort of simultaneous food consumption.

It’s embarrassing to wear shorts, but it’s also dangerous to my well-being to wear pants in a heat wave, so passers-by just have to deal with wondering what communicable disease I’m flitting around one skin flake at a time. It’s been quite the nuisance trying to vacuum up the piles every day. And maybe on some of those days it was more like shoving them in between couch cushions and under rugs. Don’t worry, I’ll get to them. Eventually.

It seems like such a waste to expend all that effort and then wake up to Clayton’s side of the bed and wonder when a King Cobra slipped in to shed its skin.

Through all of the itching and flaking, I can’t help but think of my favorite skin-licking villain. And yes, the big ones go in the skin box. (Source)

"This is a keeper."


Good Will Doppelganging

I shouldn’t be telling you this. I should be closing down my web browser, shutting off my computer, and taking Bryson for a long walk in the snow-turned-sludge. But we just got our internet hooked up at Casa Noa and I cannot pull myself away from its back-lit, one-click-away deliciousness.

So apparently there are these things called doppelgangers. And somehow they slept with somebody that makes really important decisions and they got their own Doppelganger Week. At least that’s what Facebook tells me. And if my FB tells me something, you can rest assured I’m believing it because I’m going to guess that about two weeks before it happens, there will be an “I’m Totally Stoked for the Impending Apocalypse” Facebook event with the exact date because those people are about 3 “likes” away from taking over the world. You know it’s true. So anyway, I’m seeing all these profile pictures that look kind of like my “friends” except, wait a sec, that’s not you, girl I had one class with my freshman year, that’s a total celebrity! And at first I thought, how lame. Why would you want someone who looks kind of like you only a million times hotter on your profile so that everyone can see what you might look like if you had an entire team of professionals getting you ready every day and not what you actually look like, which is perfectly attractive until you compare it to a celebrity? And then I thought, I want one!!!

I ran a half-hearted google search, and I’m pretty sure the site I landed on will sell my email address to dozens of C-list porn sites and debt consolidators and maybe Ask Gary, but that’s a small price to pay for one’s true celebrity doppelganger. OMG, what if my real doppelganger is Gary?! Score. Anyway, I uploaded the prettiest picture of myself I could find, one that clearly showed I was not a chubbo or a man. Here were my results in order of “Like, you two could totally be twinsies-ness”:

 Yes, that is Judge Freaking Judy. And I thought all those sunscreen ads were mere propaganda.

*All images came from IMDB. Except Condy. She was a gift from wikipedia.

The Difference Between Suma and Magna

The Super Bowl was here. Celeb-Watch ’09 turned out to be a big fat bust. I didn’t see one person who was even remotely famous. I was tempted to walk around Saturday night with my hood over my head and big sunglasses on and just see if heads would turn. Maybe they’d think I was Winona Ryder (after giving up cigs and consequently gaining 40 pounds). Or if I cocked my head just so maybe I could be mistaken for Katie Holmes (is it Cruise now? Holmes-Cruise? Like she was so famous from Dawson’s Creek she needed to keep the Holmes. As if.), except that Clayton is like 9 feet taller than Tom Cruise and I’m like 9 feet shorter than Mrs. Cruise. Oh, and obviously uglier, but that could get handled with the “she’s so much prettier in the magazines” angle. That night was the only time we specifically went on the search to find someone who might have ever appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Or, to find the mother load and actually see Conan O’Brien. Unfortunately, we didn’t even see the guy that walks Conan O’Brien’s driver’s mother’s dog. That we know of. It was still kind of exciting just being in the middle of something so big and famous. I’ve seen enough black and gold for about three lifetimes, but there was definitely an energy around this weekend that Tampa doesn’t often experience. I mean, Meredith and Al were here for goodness sake. So, my grade for Tampa’s Super Bowl XLIII hosting capacities is a solid B+. It would have been an A-, but after all the curse words I’ve used to argue how completely unfair it is to use A- on one’s academic record when there is, in fact, no way to earn extra GPA points with an A+ to balance out that 0.04 deduction, I wouldn’t even dare.

i hate to wake you up to say goodbye

clayton leaves for tallahassee today and i don’t know what i am going to do with myself. three short months, that’s nothing. lots of visits. reacquaint the boy with email. and we will be just fine.

i’m getting more and more apprehensive about living back in tampa. i left for a reason, or for several reasons. being in this house has a funny way of making me feel sixteen again. and that’s not a good thing. i just don’t want to move backwards.