Friday, February 29, 2008

Photography & Family Time Friday

Well, I tried with Family time Friday, I really did.

Big Kid was a MESS from the time he got home from school. Tired, whiney, tearful, argumentative. Yeah, no thanks.

He lost campfire privileges.
He lost video game privileges (but earned those back by picking up trash outside).
He spent lots of time in Time Out.

Finally I decided to take pity on him and let him join in on a game of towel bullfighting (where I am the matador and a towel is my cape and little kid is the bull) and he started crying and jerking the towel away. When he started whining that little kid hit him, I told him I didn't blame him and went back to my computer.

We're trying again tomorrow.

Photography time, I did okay, but I could've done more. But that is the beauty of New Life's a rough draft. Besides, couldn't I always do more? Probably.

Those pictures that I took last week that I was sure had been a waste of time due to behavioral challenges? Not to toot my own horn, but I will because if I don't no one else will, but I got several breathtaking shots. I wish I could show you, but you'll have to take my word for it. I know at least one will definitely be used in future advertising.

So I owe you all some sort of photography lesson or tips and it is 11:36pm and I'm tired. So I am just going to give you some random tidbits.

-Which camera should you buy? I don't know. Of course I started on a Nikon film camera, so I'd say Nikon, but whatever. I'm sure they're all great.

Ken Rockwell would probably be the guy to see about a question like that. That is where I have gotten a lot of information.

-How do you use your camera's light meter? I don't know, read your manual. You won't feel much better after reading it, but you will figure it all out eventually though. Ken Rockwell apparently says not to, but I learned A LOT about exposure and overexposing by studying my histogram. I think it's one of the things I learned that finally made it click with me. Exposure always seemed like this abstract, foreign, mathematical sort of concept and it really isn't. Especially in today's digital age. Once you commit to learning (study your manual, take camera off auto), the pieces will fall into place. Eventually.

-And if not, there is always image editing software.

Sweet Jesus, how I love thee Adobe. If you are at all serious about photography, run, don't walk, RUN somewhere and get Adobe Lightroom. It's just amazing.

Regardless, if you can't do anything else, sharpen, brighten a little and add contrast. Your pictures will pop, the colors will be vibrant and they will be sharp and clear. Don't overdo it though. You will want to at first. Don't.

That's all I have right now, although I have lots more to say. I want to do a big long post about portraiture clothing as well. It is always asked and it makes such a huDge difference.

I have 6 tutus to make for a shot I have in mind for an ad, so you'll probably have to hear all about that as well.

AND I have a newborn shoot on Monday!! I'll probaby feel comfortable sharing those pics too, since all newborns look alike and the parents are cool. We'll see.

I'm going to bed....tomorrow is SUDS IT UP SATURDAY!! Beer, my friends! Beer and cleaning!!

Things You Can Buy Me...

for our bloggiversary!

I saw these Shiny shoes in the Real Simple mag my mom so thoughtfully dropped off with the groceries and I really love them. Gold is not usually my thing, but I'd rock these. The magazine photo was cuter because it showed how cute and round the toes were, but you get the idea.

I'll have to take a picture and post it when you buy them for me.

I've been looking for a (nother) big hobo bag. Mine is a shiny blue and I do love it, but this Lucky Bag would be better for every day and I really, really love it. It would give me more social confidence and a motivation to be organized. I swear.

I have fake Bling-y hoops just like these...but they're fake. They look really good on me though. I will give you a blowjob be your BFF, and I mean forever, even forsaking all other friends (sorry guys) if you buy me these earrings.

I know, without even trying it on, that I would look H-O-T in this LOOK AT ME Dress. I will wear it while I blog for you. Size 8 please.

(I'll have it altered when I lose the rest of the "baby" weight aka get liposuction.)

I really love this Tripod lamp. My mom bought me awesome surveyor style tripod table lamps last Christmas and this would look fabulous in my family room. And provide valuable light while blogging.

I have been fantasizing about this blue and brown rug for a year now. A really, really big one.

10 x 14 please

I once went into a house where the guy had a map table that used to belong to the original railroad company somewhere and had seriously old traintrack maps in those little flat drawers you pulled out. Ohhhhh, I was JEALOUS. Old? Historically significant? Character worn? Functional? Looked cool? Had a story? If I could have flipped it onto my back and slipped out invisibly...that thing would be sitting in my family room right now. Just another piece of it's history...."yeah, I stole that."

So maybe you could buy me this one from Pottery Barn to prevent any future theft and jail time (with no internet connection, from what I understand).

I also really like those pillows. Just while you're there.

Another antique that I long to apothecary chest. Ohhhh the little drawers, the history, the smells. I freak out with delight whenever I encounter one at one of my antique extravaganzas.

This one would work though. It would satisfy the craving. For sure.

(Can you tell I got the new PotteryBarn catalog?)

and the boys just want the entire boys collection at Mini Boden.

That's all.

If for some reason you can not buy me these things, I guess you could go vote for me for the awards in my sidebar instead.

And save up your money for next year. I have a feeling that a lot of this stuff will still be on the list.

Jedi Mind Tricks for Dealing with E-bull

I decided to try something new yesterday, since E-bull is even E-bull when he's still not feeling well and since every other discipline technique on Earth has failed so far (and hell yeah I spanked his little butt when he destroyed my computer that first time, call 911, call CPS, bring in the National Guard...after 2 hours they'd be returning him to me with full apologies and their condolences...and I could use the 2 hour break.)

So yesterday I turned every possible waking moment into a "Big boy! High five!" moment and actively recruited Big Kid (The Idol) to do the same.

"Can you help mommy get the knife back in the sink? I need your help Big Boy!" froze him in his tracks as he was fishing around for trouble. "That's right, help mama, like your bubba would."

He'd drop it back into the sink, a skeptical look on his face, and look at me expectantly.

"GOOD BOY! BIG BOY! Mama's helper, what a big boy! Give me high five!"

"GOOD BOY! Look how kind he's being to animals, bubba! He's petting kitty like a big boy! Give me five! Help me get kitty to have quiet time, let's leave her alone." as he was raising his hand to pound the cat.

"Are you moving the chair like a Big Boy? Will you help mama and move it back? Give me five!" as he was headed to test out the deadbolt.

"What a good boy not to pick up the croquet mallet and slam it into the sliding glass door! That's so big of you! Give me five! Help me put it back." as he was dragging the croquet set around the lanai.

Now today, he is TESTING this one. Everything requires a big response. Every questionable activity is being tested. Every chore needs a helper.

We had to unload the dishes together. Let me tell you how much longer it takes to do dishes when you have to make an ordeal of each item and high five after it finds it's home.

There was some fighting about being done with the sink when we were done with the dishes, but then it was 1-2-3 Magic time and he relented by 2.

I'm not declaring victory just yet and it is ANNOYING AS ALL GET OUT to cheer someone for not stabbing the dog in the eye with a spoon, but ground is being gained.

I'm not sure if I'm ready to concede on the 1 nap a day thing. Even if he gets a 3 hour nap out of it...I am really sick of him by 11am and 4pm, so that doesn't really help me any. I'd rather 2 1 hour naps. Or 1 hour nap and some yelling we'll call quiet time.

Anyway, it's Photography & Family time Friday...what are you doing with your family tonight?

I'm doing work related stuff but learning about Adobe Lightroom at the same time (because it is supposed to be a "furthering myself" kind of thing and not a "getting work that should've been done 2 weeks ago thing") and there was some talk of having a fire tonight because it's a tiny bit chilly out (sunny and gorgeous and brisk) and because we love marshmallows!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


I'm going to take these wonderful spacebar filled minutes to explain that I made it so comments go to my email address and they each go there twice, so my inbox quickly filled up and got way overwhelming and I couldn't even look at it, so I went back to checking the comments on the site...and I know heaps of personal emails were lost in that mess.

So if you emailed me any time in the last 6 weeks or so, I am planning an excavation and new system for the blog email inbox and I hope to uncover some things that I know are missing.

I'm (probably) not just avoiding you or being a jerk, I just have no spacebar and an inbox with thousands of unread emails in it.

Don't forget my three month turn around time. This is all pretty typical behavior.

To rectify the situation, I plan on responding more in the comments (because my new system will make this easier for me), actually remembering to answer questions that people ask and being better about some of the blogger etiquette/online friend situations (baby steps though, let's not expect anything huDge.)

Like New Year's Resolutions to celebrate my first year. Things are just going to get better around here.

Edited to add: I think it is safe to say that no big improvement should be expected in any of my online relations as long as I have no spacebar, which will hopefully be taken care of soon.

Oh Yeah!!

personalized greetings

I can't believe I almost forgot!! Damn!

Today is my one year bloggiversary!! YAY US!

Once again, as with almost all good things in life, I have to thank my friends the Chaws who gave me the idea in the first place. Who knew how much fun this would be?

What should we do to celebrate? Question & answer day? Everyone who hasn't voted go vote day? Introduce Ashley to a friend day? Ashley appreciation day? All of the above?!?!?

Well I guess we could. Does anyone have a better idea?

One that involves strippers, questionable substances and no kids in a 3 block radius?

Let's take that Ashley's Closet cruise!!! Who's buying?

Quiet Time

I told you all a while ago (months ago?) that I have been battling with little kid about taking 2 naps a day and how he thought he only needed 1, if even that, already.

Well, I don't remember the last time he willingly has taken his late afternoon nap since.

Every day at4pm, I lie him down, he cries, moans and yells for an hour...sometimes a little more.

I pretend I can't hear him and we call it quiet time.

*I* need 2 breaks a day. Period. Non-negotiable.

I just wish he'd stop fighting it and disturbing the peace. It totally puts a damper on quiet time.

(I have to win this war, I really do.)

Dear Catfish,

I have no idea what the bai in k?thxbai means (I *will* be 30 this year)...I think it is text message speak for bye. I know, same number of letters, phonetically makes no sense...I don't claim to understand it. This generation wasn't taught phonics and that's why so many of them *are* how they *are*, iykwim (that's internet talk for "if you know what I mean"...that one took me forever to get.)

You've also been confused by *this*...and have expressed a concern of embarrassing yourself by using it inappropriately, like Joey in Friends with the "air quotes"...once again, not sure why people do that or how it began or even if it is secret code for something I don't understand, but I like it and think you can get away with *these* anytime you want to make a point but don't feel like it necessitates italics.

I give you permission to use *these* whenever you want, I trust your judgment (no e people, I know, it doesn't make sense, it just is what it is.)


Social Dilemmas

Big Kid: I need to know all da woads to get to school to our house.
Ashley: Why?
Big Kid: I'm makin' a map on dis paper.
Ashley: Oh, okay. I'm a little tired of spelling things though, so just draw the roads without street names.
Big Kid: Um, dat won't work. Den Vivian's mom can't dwive her to our house in her car because she won't know how to get here.
Ashley: Mmmmm, yeah. (not really listening)
Big Kid: Vivian's mom doesn't know da way to our house, I already askded Vivi and she said her mom doesn't and dat's why she doesn't come to my house to pway.
Ashley: Ohh...what? You want Vivian to come over? To our house?
Big Kid: Yes. Weally bad. So I'm dest makin' her dis map for so she can give it to her mom. Now what is da name of da woads?
Ashley: Oh. Wow. That is sweet. Maybe we can meet her at a park one day?
Big Kid: Or maybe she could just come over to my pawk and we can dest pway here?

Hmm. You see, the problem is, Vivian's mom is nice and all...but not nice enough to clean the house for and sit here uncomfortably with for hours.

I haven't even gone there for Girl Crush yet. (it's on the list of the lists)

She's seems nice and I kind of think she'd like to hang with me, I get that vibe from her when we're in a room together. But she's older and European and dresses to the nines and carries purses that cost more than my mortgage (and that ain't no small thing) and has an accent and a house in a ritzy neighborhood and I always have to carry the conversation.

She tried to give me the double cheek air kiss at the V-day playdate and it got awkward.

She just has meet at the park for an hour if I must kind of potential, more so than a come chill at my house for as long as you want sort of thing going.

I wish I wasn't so socially retarded sometimes...I have excellent hostess potential...I just dread it with my heart and soul and can only muster it for big occasions.

Oh well, sucks to be Big Kid.

In all fairness, I have provided an option of 3 stunning 4 year old girls...all with moms I do have a desire to lounge on my couches with.

Poor Vivi.

(no one tell Emmers about any of this because she would be whupping some mother effing ass over some shit like this...)

Second social dilemma...a long time ago one of the chaws had pics on a facebook account and you had to register to see...or something like that. Basically, somehow I got a Facebook account, even though I don't do Myspace or Facebook or anything and I didn't mean to get one.

Well, I've started getting emails saying "so and so" has added you as a friend. All cool people from my mom's group, but I don't want a Facebook account, I'm not even sure what the deal is with that or how to access it and don't really love being able to be tracked down so easily.

Also, I don't love unsolicited requests to be friends on Yahoo Messenger. Some of Mr. Ashley's relatives recently invited me, once again, great people...but do I need them to know how much time I spend online? Thank God (or Yahoo) for stealth settings, but that makes me feel bad.

Who needs the guilt??

Basically, I just need everyone except for a select chosen few to leave me alone and I'll choose the avenue of communication. k?thxbai

Do you even know

how hard it is to be stifled with no spacebar?

It is way harder to post my opinions...I've had so much to say to you all but and searching out the teeny spacebar censor and digging into it with my fingertip takes me forever.

Let's hope my keyboard gets here soon.

I'm working on some stuff for you all today.

You know it is Trash Terminating Thursday...I'm dealing with little kid's den o'puke and my bathroom.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Harlow Wins!

I knew it! Harlow's the cutest.

Plus, surprisingly enough, Nicole is winning the better mom award:
1. She didn't opt for the elective c-section.
2. She wasn't the first out with the baby pics.
3. She is obviously too busy being a mom to brush her hair.
4. Her baby is cuter.

Plus, Perez says Xtina is having a fit that her rugrat didn't get more magazine sales. tee-hee





So.we' (

Tuesday, February 26, 2008



Daddy'sGirlArticle:*SCANDALOUS* (read sequel)

Blogger Suicide:*Bizarre*










Monday, February 25, 2008

I Quit

I used to think that babies and children that drank cleaning supplies and ate pennies were obviously a

Isn't it basic human instinct not to drink stuff that tastes like poison? Isn't it more difficult than it is worth to try to swallow a metal disc?

Then I had little kid.

With little kid these sort of tasks are not exploration gone wrong by a little adventurer....they are hourly fucking occurrences.

He looks at those safety latches that stop me from getting into my own cabinets every time I try, as a mere suggestion, and not one worth following.

Everything that could possibly be choked on...goes straight in the mouth.

I was up at 7am (yes 7 A.M., as in morning time) with the little punks because Mr. Ashley was up last night puking.

I don't know, I don't want to come right out and say it, but I think he made himself barf to get out of dealing with these kids for one more day.

So I spent a feverish, sweat soaked, sleepless, ice cream free night...I am still EXHAUSTED, unable to eat, light headed, dizzy, queasy and only able to imbibe the smallest, most watered down sips of anything...and I've been up since 7 in the morning, wiping asses, fishing dimes from people's mouths and eyeballing the contents of various cleaning solutions to try to get a good guesstimate on whether or not enough has been ingested to call Poison Control.

It is so, so utterly unfair that I want to scream, but that would only worsen my headache.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mr. Ashley

won't go get me ice cream. Can you even imagine? I haven't eaten for 2 days and he can't go up to the corner and get me some ice cream?

The general store closes in one hour. He'd better get his act together before then or he is losing his Human Being of the Week award. Unlike the Bloggies, you have to have integrity to win that award and no one with integrity would refuse a weak, sick, starving person some ice cream.


funny pictures


(and now I'm switching to Mr. Ashley's computer because do I really need to be reminded of my lack of a goddamn space bar after every freaking word? No. No, I do not.)

My method results in tears, drama, praying, and cursing like a sailor.

little kid thinks if you run fast enough, you might just get away.

This is, in my experience, THE LEAST effective way of dealing with vomiting. Not only does it not work AT ALL, but you widen the path of destruction in a major way.

So yeah. Fun weekend around here. Mr. Ashley wins #1 Human Being of the Week award, which is pretty impressive since he wasn't even in the top 50 as of Friday. God bless that man and all of the puke sodden sheets, towels and clothing that he has washed.

I was so, so, so sick. I woke up at one point cradling a bucket of bile in bed beside me. Around 4am I remember falling asleep between heaves and wearily deciding that I was just going to roll over on to my tummy and go to sleep and we could always just get a new mattress if I puke on this one.

The next lucid thought I had was around 4:30pm, when Mr. Ashley gingerly peeled the acrid, sweat soaked down comforter off of my head and asked if I was alive. I was surprised to find that I was and even more surprised to find myself soaking wet, covered in hot wetness and lying in a puddle of sweat. I requested a new top blanket, rolled to a dry corner and lied there exhausted, watching the true crime network as I drifted in and out of consciousness.

A few hours later I ventured out to find a gray but recovering Big Kid, a puking while running little kid and a very tired Mr. Ashley. I still feel like crap and I cannot eat and can barely drink but I am just so so so glad not to be hanging over a toilet in some fashion, that anything feels good at this point.

Also, can I admit that while lying on my cold, filthy bathroom floor (which was ironically to be the big and much needed focus of Suds it Up Saturday) that I was making up LOL catz for you all? My crazy ass wanted to get up, with my shivering and sweating and puking and pooping, and post a LOL cat for you all. THAT IS DEDICATION.

If you haven't taken the time to vote for me for the awards in my sidebar after hearing that, you have No Heart. No Heart At All.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Post Below This One

took me all day long. Notice that it wasn't even technically published on Friday. I stillhavemajorspacebarissues andI'm getting tired oftrying sohard.

Big Kid woke up barfing around midnight and juststopped. I have been onbucketandsheetwashingduty.

You know what really sucks about being a mom?

Motherhood doesn't automatically come with the knowledge of how to clean up vomit. You lookand think "Damn,thatisareallybigmess" andrealizethatyouaretheonlypersonwhoisgoingtocleanitup andyoudon'tevenknowwheretobegin.



The First Photography Friday

I love all things old.

Well, almost all things old, some old people do suck. In the comments some of you mentioned The Villages in Florida...I've been there!! It is freaky. A bunch of old people pretty much built their own little town in the middle of nowhere, with a town square, a cathedral, movie theater, boutiques and restaurants, antique car shows in the square every Saturday, a golf is like Old People Heaven. I cannot IMAGINE being under 65 and having to work there or be there on a regular basis, that many old people would surely drive me crazy (like I'm not crazy already.) All right, that was off topic big time, but I've been meaning to comment on that.

As I was saying, I like old things. I love things with a history. Mr. Ashley hates going to an antique store with me because I like to look at everything, talk about everything, think about everything, and smell everything (which is a whole nother weird issue). I love getting an idea of people's past lives through this stuff. And then I have to buy the stuff, but yet again, that is another topic entirely.

I am fascinated with antique portraits and pictures and they always make me feel kind of sad. How did they end up in some dusty old booth? They are magnificent, sometimes on tin, often hand colored, people who are interestingly dressed, someone who had a real life, who sat there solemnly or shyly smiling for a camera, nervous or curious about how they'll look, like we all are. I'm always sad that they are dispossessed and wonder how they made that leap from a family heirloom to stacked up in a dark corner with a price tag on them, but I also always think it is neat that here I am all these years later, getting a little peek of their life. That here is an example of one of the footprints this person left on history.

I also love looking at old family albums, the ones that were my grandparents, and seeing parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and anonymous family friends and cousins posing in front of old motorcycles, first cars, in prom gowns and leisure suits, holding babies or basketballs, swimming in lakes, eating wedding cake, wearing totally ridiculous outfits and sporting haircuts that should make them want to kill themselves.

You get a glimpse of who people were and how life was and get a glimpse into the important moments that make up a family history.

Pictures are a BIG DEAL. What better way to capture time? You are literally capturing a moment, a memory. I have some pictures, especially of my newborns, that I can smell and feel them and remember exactly how I felt that moment--that exhausted, proud, satisfaction that comes with a new baby.

I have snapshots I took of Big Kid's nursery and whenever I look at them, I remember taking them, 8.5 months pregnant, and lying on that new carpet in that perfect, sage green Classic Pooh room that already smelled like baby powder because of the itsy bitsy diapers neatly stacked in the diaper stacker and feeling excited and anxious and ready and terrified. Would I have that memory without those photos? Maybe. But would I be as likely to remember it? Probably not.

In 20 years, would I remember how teeny tiny little kid's sweet toes were before they became encrusted with dirt, funky toenails, ant bites and splinters without this:

Not as easily. Especially if he ends up in the penitentiary. I'm just saying.

(I'm getting ahead of myself but note the lighting in the baby toes picture...backlighting is beautiful on baby parts. The soles of his feet are facing the window and my camera flash is off)

So by taking photographs of our kids we are preserving their life histories and leaving them an amazing legacy.

IF we print the photos out, that is, but that is another post entirely. Frankly, it is another one of those toxic clouds on my to do list, so we're not even going there today.

So, I'm going to give you some tips on getting pictures you will be proud of. We're going to start off super basic because I don't know where else to start.

1. This seems obvious...but you have to bring your camera. Sometimes it is a pain in the ass and you're afraid that you'll lose it or it will get broken, but if you don't bring it, you are definitely not going to get any pictures at all. Duh.

You don't need a fancy camera to start with. Your point and shoot will work for now. I have a Nikon D50. The Nikon D40 is a great entry level DSLR.

2. Once again, it seems like a no-brainer...but what you see in the viewfinder is what you are going to get. If The Laundry Couch is in the background or the Fisher Price Ghetto is filling the frame, it will be like that in the photograph itself as well. This is always a huDge bummer. Also, boogers/food/dirt, will show up too. And it is not cute, no matter how cute you think your kid is.

So take one moment and really think about what you're about to get, if you need to, move yourself, or better yet (and if you don't learn anything else, please learn this) ZOOM IN. Fill your frame with your subject. Also, take more vertical close up shots. So many pictures are better suited for them.

3. There is truly no excuse not to do this in today's digital age...but TAKE MORE PICTURES. Take an obscene amount. Take too many of every occasion and in every cute outfit. It is so easy to delete, but so hard to get one cute face out of these children sometimes.

Every once in a while, take a minute to put them in something cute and take them outside and take some photos of them. If they start acting like little miniature jackasses, like they will almost always do, just let them run around and play and get some close ups of them. Candids are usually the stuff that ends up taking your breath away later down the road. Plus, at some point you get the "cheese face phase":

That was Big Kid's version of a smile for about 4 months or so...we're slowly coming out of it now. Needless to say, we have 4 months of a lot of candids. That's a face that a mother can barely even love.

4. Look for the light!! This is a huDge one. Just start to notice how light hits things. This is when things start to get artistic (and what I'm learning more about all the time). Light gives things dimension and shadow gives things drama. Just start to pay attention and you will see examples of this.

Turn off your flash, drag someone over to a window and experiment with catching the light how it falls.

Think of Rembrandt and his art:

Once again, probably getting a little ahead of myself, but for the non-beginners:

For the beginners, just put your subject sideways to a window, turn your flash off and forget about the reflector for now, zoom in, focus on the eyes and experiment some.

Once you get this, it will change the way you see the world.

And then you'll need a fancy new camera and you'll have to learn to use your camera's light meter and shoot on manual mode, but that's all for another day.

For beginners, I recommend Nick Kelsh's Photograph Your Baby. For people moving on up in the photography world, I recommend Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

In the meantime, get your camera out and use it! Your kids will thank you one day.

Okay, maybe not, but your feeble memory will.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Baby Bootcamp: Day One

and last, but definitely not least...his crowning achievement...once again...this timeon Mr. Ashley's watch:

My alt keyis gone,probably forever and my spacebar will never ever be the same again and is driving mefucking crazy. It took him less than oneminute this time and he got no reaction, just an immediate timeout, which didn't bother him one bit.

I can'tlive with my spacebar like this.

I think it is safe to saythat he does not regret yesterday's actions.

Family Time Friday: Baby Bootcamp

I have a whole great photography post planned but little kid is really challenging Baby Boot Camp: Day 1.

I've decided that although he is young, he is obviously advanced in terrorism skills. He also seems to have Britneyitis aka not giving a shit whether or not people love you or hate you as long as they are looking at you (strangely, I can relate to this). Therefore, I am going to try 1-2-3 Magic again.

123 Magic is a book that recommends giving no reaction at all. The first time they act up, you say "That's 1"...let them get to three and they get an instant time out. No discussion, no "why did you do that", no lecture, just time out.

We tried it with Big Kid when he was in his public humiliation tantrum phase, but unfortunately he did not give a rat's ass about any 1-2-3 bullshit when he was in the midst of one of his dramatic meltdowns.

I started first thing this morning and he caught on immediately. As soon as I say "That's 1" he starts stomping his feet and whining and he can not resist checking out what will happen for 2 and 3 at that point. So he has been in time out 47 times so far this morning. Fun, fun. Baby bootcamp should be a blast.

He has written on himself with a pen, poured caramel on the dog, rolled the office chair to the door in an escape attempt, chewed the end of the hose and bit me over an M&M, but all in all, I think I'm seeing some improvement. A slight improvement.

At least in myself. I do kind of enjoy the time outs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


this is the 98th post for February.


That's either dedication or obsession.

200,250 Page Views

As of right now, since the time I started this blog (February 28, 2007)!

Paradise Hotel 2: Update

I know a lot of you are hooked on this show. I was just getting ready to do a post about the guys on this show and the guys on Make Me a Supermodel and came across this article that says that Nate killed himself (eta: actually THIS article says it) October 12. The show wrapped up in late September.

I really like him in the show, although he does seem quiet and withdrawn and a little moody. I hadn't heard anything about this, so just thought I'd pass it along. I figured it probably wouldn't be appropriate in a "hot or not" sort of context, because I'm sensitive and tactful like that, so it gets it's own post.

That's some crazy shit. I'll definitely watch the show in a different way now that I know.

ETA: PH2 is on Mondays at 1am Eastern on Fox Reality Television, which works for me because I'm always up, but totally ticks Mr. Ashley off because he never catches it. I think he's figured out to tivo it for next week but he has just recently admitted to wanting to watch it (really bad...especially once I mentioned that it was a little porn-ish....hmmmm)


TTT: Update

Well, Laptop Destruction 2008 disrupted Trash Terminating Thursday in a major way.

Which is unfortunate because I was feeling majorly good about things and I don't want to blame little kid but there is no one else to blame. He took the wind right out of my sails.

But I am forgiving him, because that is what mothers do, even when they are still wondering what the hell that was all about and would like to see some proper remorse or guilt or SOMETHING. Whatever.

I did do a ton more to Big Kid's room, including re-arranging his furniture, hanging up 2 storage things, doing the top of his closet and assembling an Ikea box (major confidence builder right there, I was feeling very certain that power tools were within my very near future once I had accomplished that so easily).

I also did some general around the house stuff. So all in all, a success. Especially considering "the circumstances".

Tomorrow is Photography & Family Time Friday. Now, I was thinking that on Fridays I would teach you all something photography related (as well as doing my assignment) but maybe you should assign something else to yourselves too.

Like maybe For Me & Family Time Friday? You could make sure you read a magazine, paint your toe nails, take a bath, do a craft...something off of the "you" to do list.

Or Friendship & Family Time Friday? Catch up on your emails, friend calls, make a play date?

I don't know, we'll need to brainstorm on that one. But I think Fridays are going to rock. I'm pretty excited about Suds It Up Saturday too. Due to popular demand, I'm thinking it probably should include beer. Or wine (that ruins the 'suds' thing, but oh well.) Cleaning a bathroom is way more enjoyable if there is drinking involved.

Okay, tomorrow I'll deal with my client's shoot from Monday (haven't even looked at it...haven't quite recovered) and order the pics from the V-day play date to give to the moms. Bonus points for watching my Adobe Lightroom DVD.

Also, I'll take the boys outside and play Jenga with Big Kid. That won't be so bad. That's all very do-able. Barring any disasters.

But there will be no disasters because starting tomorrow, I'm in charge around here. I am. I really, really am.

Baby Bootcamp starts tomorrow.


It took hours, but Mr. Ashley was able to fix my computer.

I guess I can begin speaking to little kid again tomorrow, but we're having a whole new set of rules.

And it will be REAL easy to let him cry it out when he starts screaming "MUUUUUM" tonight. If his fat leg is stuck in the crib or if his jammies are wet with pee...too bad. We'll learn the story of the boy who cried wolf one too many times.


Edited to add: My eyeball is still deflating but at a very, very slow, almost unnoticeable rate. I only notice because it hurts and Mr. Ashley only notices because I remind him every 45 seconds. I'll be worrying about that tomorrow though.

Mr. Ashley is Home

and he let little kid out for dinner and an early bed time and little kid has NO REMORSE. He's walking around perfectly pleased with himself, he doesn't care that everyone is mad at him, he thinks any mention of the computer or of him being a bad boy is very funny.

Right now we're all ignoring him and he's combating that by throwing things at me and snatching Big Kid's dinner off of his plate.

Obviously he can never be left unwatched for even one minute. This does not mean I won't be going to the bathroom by myself (which I consider a basic human right), this means he will be spending A LOT more time in his crib.

Most kids would be happy to pretend to type or to turn the computer off, but no, little kid manages to pry half the keys up, throw them around the family room and crush some of their plastic supports in a matter of minutes.

Mr. Ashley is trying to see what can be salvaged and is keeping the E-bull one away from me.

As far as my eye goes, something was in it and I was doing some warm water flushes and trying to remove whatever it was from my eye with my finger. At one point I got frustrated and rubbed it really hard and got that Jello-ish, heebie jeebie feeling that I got once before when I scratched my eyeball, and I think it looks misshapen but Mr. Ashley thinks it just looks red and irritated (he is not a doctor though).


I just want to barf AND I'm pretty sure I've scratched my cornea and I'm almost positive that my eyeball is probably deflating *right now* and I'm so busy sitting here freaking out about my computer and about little kid (who has the nerve to be calling for me....THE NERVE) that I'll probably only have one eye by the end of the night, just like Heidi Louise.

E-bull Strikes Again

little kid is locked in his room, probably until he is 18.

I am on Mr. Ashley's computer, researching The Safe Haven know, the one that lets mothers drop babies off at fire stations and hospitals, no questions asked?

I guess 18 month olds don't qualify...and that is why he will be in his room until he is 18.

For his own safety.

Because today while I was in the bathroom, doing surgery on my own eyeball, which took me less than 2 minutes, he was doing this:

I am practically speechless. Past the screams of devastation upon first discovery, done with the sobbing, wrapping up the muttered threats and hissed curse words, and onto speechlessness.

Trash Terminating Thursday

Okay, we've made it to day 2.

On Trash Terminating Thursday, we focus on some purging/organization. It can be your purse, one drawer, your pantry, cupboards, your car, whatever.

My WIOW task has rolled over into Trash Terminating Thursday, which is fine since they are connected. I'm on a roll with Big Kid's room and it just wasn't practical to think I'd get the closet and bins and drawers and everything totally clean and organized. I've got a plan and I'm on the right track though.

I also need to do my sink duty and do some general clean up out here in the living area aka land of destruction.

Make sure to tell me what you are going to do and when you accomplish it. It was fun yesterday to get everyone's updates and I actually have some responses to some of the comments yesterday, but first I must accomplish some things.

Day One Update

Well, I had planned a big post last night, detailing my awesomeness. However, around 5pm-ish I felt achey/feverish and decided to lie down for some Dr. Phil.

I woke back up at 1am. So technically, I missed half of Work It Out Wednesday, but I guess I did work out a nap, so I will still consider it a success.

You know what I cannot consider a success? Operation: WE ARE NOT CO-SLEEPERS. Yep, around 3:30am I heard little kid in there screaming, "MAAAAMAAAA. AAAAAAHHHH. MUUUUUUUUUM. MUUUUUUUUM. MAAAAAA. AAAAAAAAHHH. WAAAAAAHHHHH. NOOOOOOO. MAAAAAAAAAAM."

I thought it might be a trick, so I stayed still and quiet at first but then I started to worry that he might have one of his fat little legs stuck in the crib bars, or he may be in pee saturated jammies or something, and he might really need my help.

I finally walked in his room to see him standing there, smiling behind his pacifier. I gave him a hug and stroked his hair for a moment and went to lie him back down. "NOOO MOOOOOOOOM. DOOOOON'T. NOOOO. NOOOOO. WAAAAH. MUUUUUUMMMMMUUUUH. NOOOOOO."

He was obviously totally awake and more prepared for battle than I was. I decided it "wouldn't really count" since it would only be a few hours (Him and I both know that this counted though, and that he won).

So we ended up in my room watching "Make Me a Supermodel". We have some opinions on the contestants of this show that we hope to share later. We also ended up arguing over whether or not it was cool to twist Mr. Ashley's ears and exactly what constitutes "lying down". I say you have to be fully touching the mattress, he thinks a slight incline/permanent crunch counts. There was also some discussion about searching around under the covers in order to jam your fingers into unsuspecting victims' belly buttons and whether this would qualify as molestation or typical snuggling.

So all in all, a really fun night! (not) I don't know how I'll ever catch up with all of the posting I want to do AND Trash Terminating Thursday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Thanks I Get

Big Kid marched into his room and looked around with an irritated look on his face:

Big Kid: What happened?

Ashley: I'm cleaning your room.

Big Kid: (looks around in disapproval) It doesn't wook cwean.

Ashley: I'm organizing, that takes a while and things look messier at first. I've done a lot though. See all the books nicely lined up on your bookcase?

Big Kid: Dey go down dere (pointing to a big basket on the floor)

Ashley: They were everywhere, now they are nicely lined up and you can find them.

Big Kid: Yeah (unenthusiastically) How come dese pitchur fwames are on my bed? Dey don't go dere.

Ashley: I'm going to put them back on top of your dresser.

Big Kid: Do.

(at this point I didn't know whether to laugh or slap him)

Ashley: Hey I worked hard on this. I labeled all of your puzzles and puzzle pieces and put them in Ziplocs with a corresponding label so it will be easier to keep them together and put them away!

Big Kid: Dat is owganizeded?

Ashley: Yes, I think so.

Big Kid: To me, it dest wooks wike you messeded up my woom.

Ashley: Well then you'll just have to wait until I'm done. It's going to be great.

Big Kid: Okay. But I don't want you to wet wittle kid in here and don't be throwin' my stuffs away.

Ashley: Aye, aye captain.

Next Time

I should pick something a little easier than cleaning Big Kid's room.

Like solving the crisis in Darfur.

Holy cow, this task could roll right into Trash Terminating Thursday.

So Far

little kid has been asleep for 20 minutes and I have done the following:

-Wandered around family room.
-Went to kitchen and ate some gummy candies.
-Went to bathroom and put on bra (sort of like Fly Lady's "put on your shoes" theory)
-Went into Big Kid's room, panicked, left.
-Back to bathroom to brush teeth.
-Back to Big Kid's room to assess situation.
-Into office to complain to Mr. Ashley about said situation.
-Out to garage to collect some empty bins.
-Out to back deck to look around for a second.
-Here to update you.

So it isn't going well so far.

Day One

Today is the day. Day one of The New Life Plan: Rough Draft.

Some of you are super excited, like my dear Holly who was up at 4am ready for Work It Out Wednesday (baby steps, Holly, slow down) and like The Renee, who is always up for a New Life Plan and who insists that this will shoot me straight to Oprah Super stardom (remember my fear of her stopping by my house unannounced??).

Some of you are concerned that things will be too organized and proactive around here (I wouldn't be too concerned) and some of you are already making excuses.

People--the excuses aren't going to cut it. We CAN start on a Wednesday, even with very little notice. We CAN do it if we're not feeling good and our family has been sick for a week. We CAN do it if we're in Norway and living in a completely different day than Ashley herself. We CAN do it if we're going on vacation (not while on vacation, but you can do it before and after).

That's the beauty of New Life Plan: Rough Draft (which will eventually have to be called NLP:RD because I just can't be typing all of that out all the time). You can jump in any time, you can do the smallest task that fits under the day's category and still be a winner.

Person with the sick could "work it out" by washing everyone's germy bedding today. Done. Vacation goer...surely you need to pack, gather or do laundry. Done. Our Norwegian friend...the whole time zone thing gives me a headache but from what I can figure, you will either need to completely change your wake/sleep schedule or just be a day ahead of us or behind us, whichever you please.

My two dilemmas for today are big ones. Taxes and Big Kid's room.

1. Taxes. Good! you all say. Good girl, not even waiting til the very last minute. WRONG. I need to do 2006 taxes. I know. Turns out, when you own your own business, and have to pay taxes and keep track of all kinds of shit, you're not in a huDge rush to get your taxes done like all of you who get the fat rebate checks. A-holes.

Well, you say, that *is* a big, overwhelming thing. That will take major concentration and knowledge and time, you have to be very careful when doing your taxes. WRONG. I have a CPA. I pay this guy a bajillion dollars a year (really, a bajillion) but apparently he "can't go to your house, go through your drawers, shoe boxes and miscellaneous folders and gather this information" himself and I have to "get it all together" and "bring it to him".

So basically he makes a bajillion dollars a year to give me advice I don't follow? And fill out some papers every quarter? Or something? He *could* come to my house and gather this stuff himself, I think he just can't be *bothered* to.

So that was going to be my major dilemma solved for the day, since it has been hanging over my head like a toxic dark cloud since April 15, 2007. However, I informed Mr. Ashley about my plan for Work It Out Wednesday and he got nervous looking and said he has to call some people to get copies of some hospital bills. (insert not surprised at all smiley here) I'm still going to get started on the rest of it though, so that's a step in the right direction.

2. Big Kid's room. Whoa. It's unorganized, cluttered, scary and smells like pee. Toys need to be cleaned out, closet needs to be gone through 3,456,789.5 pieces of crap need to be reunited with the pieces of crap they go with, stuff needs to be wiped down.

This is a two punch challenge because little kid CAN NOT be assisting, and the allure of being in bubba's room while bubba isn't there is one he cannot resist, so I'll have to do it while he naps and I need to get it done before Big Kid gets home from school and starts thinking his opinion matters. So I'll be doing it during prime ME time, which sucks, but at the end of the day it will be worth it. I swear. It will.

So those are my things. They S-U-C-K to even think about but will feel really good to get done.

Oh, I'm also going to shine my sink ala Fly Lady. She has a theory that if you make an effort to keep your sink empty and shiny that it will affect your day positively and motivate you to do other little things that help, sort of a ripple effect.

(Please note my correct usage of affect/effect, knowledge that I am proud of. Affect is a verb, effect is a noun.)

Really, I think it is a Jedi mind trick to get you to stay on top of the dishes, but whatever. It does work and it's kind of fun to get out the comet and the sponge and the old toothbrush and fill the sink with super hot water and make it OCD clean and then see it sparkle every time you walk by.

Alright, what are you doing for Work It Out Wednesday? You can do *SOMETHING* people. Any little thing that needs to get checked off of "The List".

The Space Program

is a total and complete waste of money, in my opinion.

Why the hell do we care what is in space? I mean yeah, if we weren't spending an OBSCENE amount of money on this stupid war and if we had more than enough money to buy markers for art class and if people weren't ending up completely destitute because of medical bills and becoming homeless because of the housing crisis...then heck yeah, let's go see what's up there.

Otherwise, we have no business gallavanting around exploring the universe. Sometimes, when you can't afford to do things, you just can't do them. It took me a while to learn this valuable piece of advice and now I pass it on to our U.S. government with nothing but hope in my heart.

Don't worry, I'm working on something for Work It Out Wednesday, but I heard the sonic boom from Atlantis re-entering the atmosphere and it scared the shit out of me and reminded me that millions of my tax dollars went towards that sonic boom and we could probably all live without it.

Just wanted to share.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Yael Naim

So, every time the new Macbook commercial comes on, my ears perk up at the song in it.

Being the researcher that I am, (have I done a post about the crazy shit I research? I know some really weird stuff...from the architecture of ancient cathedrals to trepanation) any time I hear of something interesting I hop online and learn all about it.

The chick who sings that song is named Yael Naim (I have no idea how to say it) and the song is called New Soul. She speaks four languages and is Israeli and maybe something else, I forget already. BUT, she does have a phenomenal voice and Apple has probably just launched the American portion of her career with that commercial because many people have taken notice.

So here is the song:

and here is Yael Naim covering "She who will not be named on this blog because we are not contributing to the madness that is her life"'s song Toxic:

I think she's got a gorgeous voice and that first song makes me want to sing along, so just thought I'd share and save you from wondering every time the commercial came on like I was.

Edited to add: She's a French born Israeli. I knew you all couldn't stand not knowing.

Big Kid Wants A Pet

Big Kid: Do you memember dat one time we were at da mall, at da pet store in da mall, where all da aminals wiv?

Ashley: Yes.

Big Kid: I dest want to have one of dose aminals for a pet of my own.

Mr. Ashley: No way.

Ashley: What kind of pet were you thinking about?

Big Kid: Maybe one of dose wittle tuwtles in da tank?

Ashley: No, those are gross. They smell bad and they have special germs and if you touch them and then the germs get in your mouth, they'll make you sick. So no way on the turtles.

Big Kid: Maybe a kitten? (looking around, spotting one of our cats) Tangewine wants a kitten.

Ashley: Um, no, she really doesn't. She has Pearl and she barely even lives here anymore now that she's discovered the outdoors. No more cats.

Big Kid: You know what I would weally wike to have? Weally weally a whole whole wot?

Ashley: What?

Mr. Ashley: No!

Big Kid: A guinea pig. Dey have wots of dem at da pet store. Dey are cuuuuuuute....

Ashley: How about a gold fish? You can get your own tank and keep it in your room and everything!

Big Kid: OKAY! Hey, where is Fish? I will go feed him now.

Mr. Ashley: Time for bed, go get your pajamas on.

Big Kid: Awwww, man!

I believe I mentioned it, but Fish died months ago. We have managed to distract Big Kid whenever he has brought it up and hope to continue doing so.

We used to have a fish named Mr. Noodle and when he died we told Big Kid that he was away on Sabbatical in Japan (he was a Japanese Fighting Fish). That worked out well because you say the word "sabbatical" to a 2 year old and their eyes just glaze over. Eventually he totally forgot about it and we're hoping he does the same with Fish.

Can I thank Wonder Pets for introducing the idea of a Guinea Pig? You know those rodents are totally worthless and nothing like Lenny on Wonder Pets. It's false advertising and I don't want a fucking Guinea Pig. Rodents gross me out and reptiles are an ABSOLUTELY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN sort of thing.

I really still want a goat. That's way cooler than a fish PLUS it would help out with the yard work. Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring a baby goat. He's a wild and crazy guy, that Easter Bunny. Also, once the goat gets on the property, it's pretty much a done deal. Kids see it, DONE. No turning back. You're the proud owner of a baby goat right then and there.

I can't control the Easter Bunny.

New Life Plan: Rough Draft FAQ

Some good questions regarding the New Life Plan: Rough Draft:

-Can I adopt this life plan as my own? Yes. Please do. Thus the "Feel free to follow along" tag. This could work even better if we all did it and the New Life Plan: Rough Draft is easily altered to fit any life. Also, you could leave comments telling me what you accomplished and how proud you are of me for accomplishing what I accomplished and we'd all be so, so happy. It's brilliant, really.

-What supplies will we need? Will I need a label maker? The beauty of the New Life Plan: Rough Draft is that we don't really need a whole to-do to get started. If you are itching to steal some office supplies from work, I think a legal pad and a nice black ink pen would be helpful. Then you could make lists of ways you could Market Yourself, your Meal Plan, Shopping List, Dilemmas To Be Solved, Solution Ideas For Said Dilemmas, Organizational Ideas, Assignment Ideas, Family Fun Ideas, Cleaning Schedule, Stuff to Nag About.

So yeah, I guess you definitely need a notebook and an ink pen. I'm sure we'll come across other things too. We will definitely need stuff when we finalize things into New Life Plan: Final Copy. We're a pretty long ways off from that right now though, if we're going to be absolutely honest with ourselves here.

Oh and you definitely need a label maker. Are you kidding me? How have you lived this long? It must be total chaos. Yes, do go get a label maker. ASAP. I hope that was a joke and you're not living without one.

The Renee mentioned Fly Lady and how miserably we have failed on that in the past. I think I've mentioned before that I can't deal with all of her emails and nagging so I cannot participate in her email program. The Renee used to be The FlyChaw and would give us our assignments Cliff notes style and whatnot, but I guess she got tired of responses like, "Tell Fly Lady she can kiss my fucking ass and that I've got more going on in my life than my dirty sink and I think she's a freak with this whole 'put your shoes on in the morning' bullshit. Nothing personal FlyChaw." I don't know, maybe not, but we don't do FlyChaw anymore and no one even asks about it.

HOWEVER, I do have one of her books and I do think that all in all she's got a good idea. So maybe I'll throw in some Fly Lady nuggets of wisdom to help us along the way.

And all of you who are dreading the New Life Plan: Rough Draft because you think it will take away from the fun stuff, you are wrong, this will be "in addition to" and not "instead of" (and who knows how long it will last anyway. I'm hoping for the best, but we'll see.)

I'm pretty sure together we can do it. Those of you who have this shit mastered (Clemsongirl, aren't you an expert?) you can be our Closet Organizers and share your infinite knowledge with us.

--When are we starting? You are absolutely correct that I hardly ever start anything on any day other than Monday. It just doesn't seem right. HOWEVER, I think we can start a rough draft on a Wednesday. If this was New Life Plan: Final Copy, no way would be starting any day other than Monday. But I think we need to utilize this current bout of momentum and Work It Out Wednesday will be our first day of New Life Plan: Rough Draft.

Tomorrow we will choose some sort of dilemma, phone call, issue, mess that is hanging over our heads and we will deal with it. We will meet back here tomorrow evening (or whenever you end up back here, feel free to comment on anything anytime, no time limits) and share what we accomplished.

I've got two things I'm going to try to tackle tomorrow. I'll tell you tomorrow because I don't want to be stressed out about them tonight. I can't even think about one of them because I'm dreading it so and the other seems overwhelming. It would be awesome if I conquered BOTH things tomorrow, but as long as I get one done and the other started, I'm doing great.

So by tomorrow morning we will face whatever issue needs to be addressed and by tomorrow night we will have it checked off the list, no longer to be worried about. It will feel good, I promise.

New Life Plan: Rough Draft

So, you may have all noticed that there has been no talk of the New Life Plan since I realized that I would need to go to an office supply store for New Life Plan planning and organizing supplies. Turns out I totally forgot about the NewLife Plan and just remembered it again today, upon realizing that I am accomplishing little to nothing lately.

Unless I have a specific plan for the day, it seems to get away from me. One would think that a SAHM would have more than enough time, but one would be wrong about that. Me time takes up a lot of my time and us SAHM are all about our Me time.

So here is the informal outline for the New Life Plan. I think assigned days with catchy names will certainly be motivating. The idea is also to force you all to see/hear about what I accomplished that day and hopefully this will provide more accountability and motivation than when I shared my Master Cleanse experiment and realized it would be even funnier if I failed.

You're all enablers to my slothful lifestyle. The least you could do is help me get some things in order around here (since so many of you are incapable of commenting and all).

Here's the plan (until my office supply expedition, the whole plan will be reworked when I have supplies that will help me make the best plan ever):

Market Yourself & Meal Plan Monday--Brave, business related endeavors and meal planning.

Tidy up Tuesday--General clean up, including laundry.

Work it Out Wednesday--Solving big problems like organizational dilemmas and annoying shit like taxes and important phone calls.

Trash Terminating Thursday--More clean up with a focus on organizing and purging.

Photography & Family time Friday--Either giving myself photography assignments and/or studying photography related stuff and doing something with these people I live with.

Suds it up Saturday--Mr. Ashley was strangely excited by this one. Turns out he thought it related to beer. Yeah, drinking beer all day on Saturday is being written into the life plan. No, this one relates to deeper cleaning (not lots of it though, like one bathroom or something).

Serenity Now Sunday--A day of rest and nagging Mr. Ashley to accomplish things that will "enhance my sanctuary" (read: he WILL be putting up all of the pictures and cool things I've been nagging him to hang forever now).

It seems very do-able. Simple but beautiful. Baby steps. If I just accomplish ONE thing that goes with my "schedule" then I've succeeded. It's a win win situation. A situation that you will be hearing all about. Should be hearing all about, if not, then I'm probably not doing it and you should ask me about it. And at some point, surely you'll wonder "Why the hell am I reading this chick's to do list?" and you'll realize that it is because you love me.

(don't worry, they won't be long lists)


So the E-bull one made a pretty interesting discovery last night.

He discovered that if you decide to wake up right around the time your mom is going to bed (2am-ish) and just refuse to go back to get to go in her room and sit on her bed and watch Paradise Hotel 2 while she strokes your hair.

Waaaaaaaaay more fun than sleeping. Especially for the only living creature in the house who isn't allowed in that bedroom.

Also, turns out he really does enjoy television. He just prefers soft core porn reality shows to Noggin. And really, can you blame him?

Every time I'd begin to doze off I'd feel him creeping away, or leaning over Mr. Ashley to remove his blankets and stare at him.

Finally Mr. Ashley pinned him down with an arm around 4am, but unfortunately the location of confinement allowed me only 4 inches of sleeping space. So I slept on my side, on those 4 inches, having nightmares and getting up to pee twice for a whopping 3 hours before Mr. Ashley jumped up swearing he was going to be late for work.

Then we discovered that the clock was an hour off. So I *could* have had 4 hours of sleep.

I AM TIRED, PEOPLE. Really, really tired and pretty crabby. Big Kid is a major WHI-NER today and is protecting his stuff from little kid with a fierceness and burst into tears when I told him I wasn't setting the Wii up.

little kid is taking advantage of my exhaustion by dragging a small folding chair around. He thinks that I don't know that he has figured out how to unfold it and that he is in the office right now, probably writing on shit with a Sharpie, but I caught onto him last time I walked into the office and saw him quickly dismount from and fold the chair back up, dropping it back on the ground like, "What chair?"

I think the rule for today is going to be "If I can't see or hear you, what you are doing is okay."

My bigger concern is that I broke my very smart rule about not letting kids in bed with us. Big Kid has done it a few times, I can probably count on one hand, but it has never even been an annoyance little less an issue.

In my opinion, it is not co-sleeping if it isn't a baby, it's one more sign that your kid is in charge and totally rules your ass. I always thought I was SO SMART not to get that started...I can promise you that little kid learned an important lesson last night and I will HAVE TO fight this battle to remain in a child free bed.

Never again. I prefer to watch Paradise Hotel 2 by my lonesome and I prefer more than 4 inches of bed space. We all know he controls me every waking moment...we are NOT getting this shit started during sleep time. Can not. Will not.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Kind of Gal

Checking Stuff Off the List

I just ordered LK's birthday gift! Yay for me and yay for her!

Her birthday was in September, so I'm a little bit behind (even with my 3 month turn around time) but I did it and she'll love it.

It looks like there's a chance that Catfish will get her wedding gift before her first anniversary. I might actually make the three month deadline on that one...if you don't count the month of December, which I don't, because I can't accomplish anything other than Christmas in December and sometimes barely even that. So I'd say by April maybe, at the rate I'm going.

Doing pretty good. Checking stuff off the list.

There was some confusion on the last post. The one lady didn't star in both incidents, the clearance aisle thing is an issue I encounter often.

Also, there were some questions on what one would be getting frantic about in the V-day clearance section. I'm not sure what the hell was wrong with the behaviorally challenged, but my photography studio name is super cutesy and a lot of V-day themed stuff works for it. Today I picked up funky leggings and tights (so cute with tutus and petticoats), artificial flowers, gift bags, dish towels, plates, heart shaped molds, stationary, photo frames and even some stuff for a future Valentine play date since this one went so well and the stuff was so cheap. Mr. Ashley wasn't impressed, but what does he know? (answer: nothing)

But yeah, the shoot today was pretty nuts. And I know you all are picturing some cheap ass point and shoot camera that she whipped, she had a really nice camera. We're talking about an uber wealthy family here.

Every time she'd pick hers up, I'd set mine down and stare at her and the 3rd time she did it, I said that it didn't appear that I was going to be able to do anything with them that she couldn't, so we may as well call it a day. Not a good sign that my worst two shoots ever were with the same kids.

I still need to give you photography tips (and I'd like to talk about what you should and should not dress your kids in for portraits) and I've been meaning to upload the pics of Em's party for a while now. I dread doing the photo posts but it is way too cute not to share. I'm telling you all now to remind myself and for some accountability.

So look forward to that in the next 3 months or so.

You get an X, Not a Check

Let's talk behavior for a moment here, people.

1. Every kid has a bad day. Sometimes both of them even end up having the same bad day. Let's say this day happens to fall on the same day you're getting professional portraits taken of them. Every parent's nightmare right? Yeah, but it happens. Kids have bad days.


Let's say the photographer totally rocks and feels for you, even though there were more than enough decent shots to choose from. Let's say the photographer offers to re-shoot, just for fun (eh, fun, heh heh). Awesome, right?


At this point though, your kids better not have another bad day. For both kids to be having the same bad day again...I don't know. It might be a good indicator that it happens more than you realize.

Also, if your kids start having a bad day again and the photographer has already utilized every trick she knows and is looking at you expectantly, it might be time to start pinching people and hissing threats. The photographer will not only pretend not to notice, she'll respect you for it.

I think it's also a given that you should NOT, I repeat, should NOT bring your own camera and photograph alongside the photographer.

And after you have spent an hour with someone in the early morning sun listening to your kids whine and watching as they hit each other with wouldn't be cool to have forgotten your checkbook. Not cool at all, as a matter of fact.

Moving right along...

2. Let's talk about clearance aisles.

Let's say we encounter each other in the Valentine's clearance section at Target. Do NOT, let me repeat, do NOT let me sense you getting aggressive with me. Just calm down, don't make any attempts to block me or my view, be respectful with your cart and maintain normal personal space barriers.

If I feel that you're about to freak out or that you are blatantly disregarding these rules, I will probably take every item that I suspect you may be interested in, load them up in my cart and take them on a ride around the store.

I know 75% off is an awesome deal, but there's no reason to act like a fucking psycho.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Canceling Our Coffee Date

I have a photo shoot tomorrow with some kids that I have worked with before. Some kids that have a record of should I say it...behaviorally challenged.

So I unfortunately won't be around to enjoy my morning coffee with you all.

Just wanted to make sure you all don't send out a search party or anything. I know it would be alarming to wake up and not see me until the afternoon with no explanation.

I'll be thinking of you all.

Actually, I'll probably be thinking about wine, but you will be a close second.

Random Updates

1. I found my camera lens wrapped up in a tote bag, in the bottom of the EMFLTB (extra mother fucking large tote bag), in our garage. I have looked everywhere and have been physically ill over it's absence.

I prayed to St. Anthony (and I'm not even Catholic), posted a request for the Babycenter psychics, summonsed my Spirit Guide (his name is David. Not kidding), meditated on it Ghandi style and had a heart to heart with Jesus about my lack of organizational skills and the fact that I have learned my lesson. Really and truly.

I finally decided that it was gone, that it had been thrown in the trash and that the nicest gift anyone has ever given me was gone forever. I sank into my bed in despair, determined to not get back up for at least 2 days, and thought of how St. Anthony, the Bargain Board, David, Buddha and Jesus had all let me down.

All of a sudden I could see the EMFLTB, clear as a bell. I remembered taking it from the dining room table to the garage at some point. I ran out to the garage, with Mr. Ashley trailing behind me telling me he had already checked the EMFLTB, and picked it up triumphantly.

And then I shit a rainbow. It was a beautiful moment, my friends.

2. The Valentine's Day party. Someone asked what was in the goodie bags. They had a pencil, a stamp ring, a lollipop, some gummy treats and a "Friends of Ashley's Photography Studio" card with Big Kid's picture on it (the one in the top hat, I think I showed you all) and a credit for 1 free 8 x 10.

And yeah, I know that the Bargain Board would say that putting the card in there is tacky, but the Bargain Board doesn't have to come to my fun playdates and play my games and eat my cookies.

The drama was between Emmers and Vivi. Em has never really been in a situation where Big Kid wasn't focused 100% on her and there was some definite jealousy, especially once the dancing and hand holding started. Although the pictures are funny, I went to bed a little sad that Emmy was all dressed up pretty for her boyfriend on Valentine's Day and had to watch him friending it up with some other girl. Of course, Big Kid was, and is, totally oblivious. To him your girl friends are the same as your boy friends except they make you hold hands and say I love you.

He does get stars in his eyes over Ruby, Girl Crush's Ralph Lauren model look-a-like daughter, but she wasn't impressed with his most recent attempt at conversation. I guess talking about the size of one's turds isn't her thing. Her loss.

For everyone uber impressed with the party and thinking that it is proof that I'm not lazy, you're wrong. The invites took more time than anything, but that is because I couldn't make up my mind. Otherwise, one trip to Walmart and Target and a call into Publix for some of their delicious sugar cookies was all it took. Chawentrepreneur Amy helped me find most of the goody bag stuff and those cute foam conversation hearts attached to the tags. I was going to glue them to the mailbox but decided not to, felt guilty about not using them, and used them for that. They ended up so cute! I was up until 3am the night before (but really, I usually am anyway) but a non-procrastinator could have done this easily and inexpensively.

Let me give you the key to a fun, painless for guests party: a strict schedule. Have a plan. Get the important stuff done and out of the way ASAP and do hanging out later, so the non-fun people can leave.

So if the party starts at 1, do a craft or activity as people arrive, you do cake at 1:30-1:45 or so, if you do presents (we don't) do it while people eat their cake, do any remaining games right after cake. Then it is play time, talk time, relax time for the grown ups.

And once again, I know it's a hot topic on the Bargain Board, but if you're somewhere that you can get away with it...a little alcoholic punch or Sangria goes a long way at any party. Not even for the buzz factor, I'm talking watered down punch that looks pretty, do it so your adult guests feel like it is a party for them too. It is done all of the time around here, but bring it up on Babycenter and people act like you're leaving out lines of coke on mirrors for your guests. Obviously at public parks this is a no go (unless you are serving alcoholic snow cones, as I did, because alcoholic beverages were prohibited), but at a house party, especially a BBQ....please.

Also, don't run around cleaning up. You're the hostess, you chat with people who aren't having an easy time mingling until you're ready for the party to be done and then you begin cleaning up (if nice guests haven't started already, they usually have, these are the best guests).

3. ChawAlissa pointed out that little kid was wearing Crocs at the party. If you are over 10 and you are wearing Crocs, you had better be a boater, a gardener or a lesbian.

HOWEVER, on children, they're just too convenient not to let their hideousness slide. little kid puts them on himself. Sand and mulch pour right out of them. I can hose them down.

So yeah, my kids wear Lesbo Shoes. I cannot tell a lie.

Was there anything else I was supposed to update you all on? I had a mental list going there for a while because it feels like I have a lot I've been meaning to update you on, but now I can't remember. If you have any unanswered questions, feel free to ask and I'll update this and make the people who use Google reader crazy.