Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bullet Points

I don't really have any one thing to talk about today, but there have been several things I've been meaning to mention to you all that never quite make it into a post of their own. So I'm just going to collect a bunch of them below:
  • Although I fantasize about it, I know in reality I probably wouldn't have loved to live in the times of King Henry VIII and the castles and the big dresses and all of that. It would have been too hot or cold, I would hate all of the drama, and a lot of it would be uncomfortable/awkward/tedious. I just like all of the flirting and the dresses and the fancy banquets and stuff. It would be fun to be a cast member of the Tudors so you could enjoy all of that without having to live back then.
  • Lately I've been using Pantene for curls on my hair. Because I can't afford Wen anymore. I was using Garnier Fructisse but the Pantene is even cheaper and it's awesome. I use that and then their leave-in conditioner on the ends when I get out of the shower. I hardly ever have to use anything else now. I highly recommend it for curly or frizzy hair, it's moisturizing without being too heavy. A black friend recommended it to me and said it was awesome on her hair too.
  • For self tanner, L'Oreal's Sublime Bronzing is inexpensive, doesn't smell bad and goes on easily without streaking. I haven't used it recently because I've been lazy and unsocial, but in the past I'd use it two nights in a row after a shower but before bed, and got lots of compliments on my tan. I am normally the first to do semi-permanent damage when trying new beauty treatments, and I've never had an issue with this stuff so it must be foolproof.
  • I'm totally in love with Netflix and could live without t.v. (no one else in the house could, but I could). I looooooooove documentaries, and recently watched "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" (brilliant, amazing, genius, well-produced) and a documentary called "Girlhood" about troubled teen girls that they keep track of for several years. Both were great. I watched a true story called "An American Crime" with Ellen Page (love her!) and it was the saddest shit ever and you shouldn't see it. Really, don't. Read the book if you must.
  • I'm reading the 19th Wife and it is SO GOOD. Wow! Amazingly well-written. The characters are rich, the history is interesting, the story line is compelling, I love it. THAT'S the type of writer I want to be when I grow up. I have so much admiration (and envy) for authors who write good fiction. I read an article the other day that said something like 1 in 4 adults didn't read one book last year. I always feel bad for people who aren't readers, it is such a great escape from life. If you haven't read a book lately, you should try again.
  • We've been having Hobo Packs for dinner sometimes because they are cheap, easy and fun! We crumble a handful of hamburger with A-1 mixed in, some chopped carrot, potato and celery and some salt and pepper into a foil square that we fold up. I make one for each of us and broil them on 500 for 45 minutes. They would be great for camping (which we hope to do soon, although I am admittedly not much of a camper).
  • Reggie is getting ginormously fat. His leg is still gimpy, but I've ordered him a wheel to run on. I really can't imagine him running on it because he doesn't really like to do anything other than snuggle and sleep.
  • I used my birthday money on curtains for the living room. I'm disappointed by how practical that decision was.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Dress

I'm going through a phase right now where I've decided to only wear dresses. This naturally involves some initial expenditure and a lot of dress shopping, but I've got a list of good, practical reasons that dresses are better and have been making my case to Mr. Ashley (who likes the dresses, just not the cost).

I got a cute new dress to wear to my birthday celebration and was finishing my make up when Big Kid approached the bathroom door and gasped.

"What?" I asked, applying mascara.

"Oh my...I can't even believe it."


"Your dress! Mom, you look so beautiful dat it makes me feel like I'm gonna cry!"

I lowered the mascara wand to look at him and laugh at his tendency for drama and HE HAD REAL TEARS IN HIS EYES. That he was quickly wiping away with the back of his hand while giving me a sheepish grin.

I've never, ever felt prettier in my whole life.


Little Pimp

So, on my birthday (thanks, btw, to the 29 of you who voted--the other 900+ of you suck) we took the boys to Party City to get little kid's Batman costume. Big Kid was set on being an astronaut and I wasn't sure we'd find his costume there, but I thought little kid's would be easy. Turns out he wants to be the gray/blue cartoon version of Batman with muscles, not the Dark Knight version or anything without muscles, and they didn't have that in his size.

But suddenly Big Kid piped up, "I found what I want to be! Mom, come look, come look! I'm gonna be a magic guy! Come see, it's so cool!"

"I thought you were going to be an astronaut? I already ordered an astronaut helmet."

"Mom, please look, please! I've got to be dis! It's da greatest costume I ever seen!"

So I came to the wall and scanned the pictures he was looking at. "What magic costume? I don't see a magician. You mean the vampire?"


"A...mack daddy...?" It was a pimp suit. Big Kid wanted a pimp suit! "This is not a magician, sorry. We could make the coolest magician costume though! I'll get you a top hat and you have your Webkinz bunny and we'll get a cape..."

"Mom, no! I want to wear dis outfit! Please, please let me get this one. Pleeeeeeeeease," he begged.

"Um...this one isn't appropriate. Pick anything else, I'll even buy all of the accessories of anything else."

"Not appropriate?! What're you talkin' 'bout? It's a guy in a cool suit? How is dat not appropriate?"

"I think...he's a bad guy. Maybe he did bad things to get that nice suit and the money he's holding and that big $ sign necklace..."

"Dat is crazy! What kind of bad fings would he do? It's dest a guy in a cool outfit wif some money and jewry! Look at his hat! I want it so bad, mom. I would look so good. I'll use my own money, please mom. I won't be him, I'll be me in dat fancy suit!"

"Eh. Hmmm. Maybe it's not in your size?"

"I'll try it on. Please let me! Please! I'll love it so much."

And you Big Kid it is just an awesome suit with leopard print lapels and a fancy hat. I could either attempt to explain pimps, gangsters and drug dealers to my innocent 6 year old, be the Halloween grinch, or get weird looks from my neighbors. He looked at me hopefully.

"Let's get the suit, Mack Daddy. But I think you'll need a mustache."

And Mr. Ashley and I will need full face masks...because our 6-year-old is dressing up LIKE A PIMP for Halloween, and I'm pretty sure good parents wouldn't allow that.

But he is so excited to wear that snazzy suit!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reggie's Big Adventure

One minute and six seconds of pure cuteness:

My 31st Birthday

Today is my birthday!

All I want for my birthday is a full time, live in nanny, but if you're unable to provide that, I'd be very happy if you'd vote for me in Divine Caroline's Love this Blog contest. I could win $250, which I would consider letting you all help me choose how to spend. Wouldn't it be fun for all of us if I won $250? Yes, I think it would be. You have to register, but they just ask for your email and a password. Super easy. Way less typing than I do for you all.

Then there's that Hottest Mommy Blogger award I've been coveting. I don't really love the whole contests-not-for-cash-prizes thing, mostly because I try not to bug you all for a bunch of stuff, but it's good for the closet for us to do this sort of thing. Maybe one day I'll get rich and famous and can drink boxes of wine and blog for you all day. You would love more drunken blogging, you know you would. You can get to the other bloggers choice awards I'm nominated for from there, and you may as well vote for those. I'm up for most obnoxious blogger too, but I don't think I could win it because there are way more obnoxious bloggers out there. I'll take it if I could get it though, so feel free. Bloggers Choice Awards is slightly more of a pain because you have to register (quickly!) but then click a confirmation link in your email. So, nothing that would kill you or anything. Think of it as penance for all of the comments you didn't leave this year.

Drinking more is actually a big part of my 31st year plan, so you may get more drunken blogging regardless but I'd still love it if you voted!

Store Manager

I had to return Big Kid's rented violin on Friday. No big deal because a replacement is on the way, but it is a big deal to Big Kid because he wants everything to be EXACTLY THE SAME. Even if I could buy an identical violin, it wouldn't make him feel better because it wouldn't be THAT violin.

I took it back when he was at school to spare myself the drama, and when he figured it out after getting home, he started crying. Then he was furious.

"You need to go back dere and buy my violin! My exact same one, go back and get it!"

"I can't buy it, babe. It was a rental. That means you pay to borrow it. That's why your new one will be better--you won't have to give it back. Your old one is not for sale."

He got an intense look on his face and was vibrating with anger and said, "I'm gonna invent a machine and blow up dat shop!"

"Wh-WHAT?!? Are you kidding me? You can't say stuff like that! You would never commit violence against a person or place, Big Kid. Never!"

"Well, renting stuff is a dumb idea. What a dumb idea for a shop."

Thank God he's the self-appointed safety patrol, or I could see him becoming some sort of crazy shooter because Lord have mercy when he feels scorned. He won't even play with imaginary guns though, so we're probably safe.

Several hours later, he said, "Mom? You know what I'm gonna be when I grow up?"


"A store manager."


"Yep. I'm gonna manage a store and my store will RENT STUFF. I'll make everybody give da stuff back 'cuz it'll be rented. Ha!" he declared, with some odd sense of vengeance.

So, violin lessons have led to aspirations of managing a rental store. That's not what I meant to happen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Today I caught little kid with a (real) wrench and his motorcycle in 2 pieces. When I took away the wrench, he pulled a toy hammer from behind him and continued working:

I'm a little alarmed he was able to take it apart.

He was not able to put it back together.

(but in all fairness, I did take away his wrench.)

*editor's note: don't be concerned about his hair. I have talked him into cutting it. He was reluctant until I told him we'd get it cut just like a cowboy's hair. Big Kid also seems to be coming to terms with the fact that little kid will be getting a hair cut, so it just might happen this time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

School Rocks

Today Big Kid came home with a thank you note for the necklace. I asked if she had worn it that day and he said, "Yeah, and you know what?"


"She was wearin' a pink shirt wif a silver heart on it and a really cute skirt, and I fink she wore dat outfit on purpose to match da necklace, but she said she didn't. But I kinda fink she was lyin' because I gave her a cute pink and silver necklace and she wore a cute pink and silver outfit, you know?"

"Yeah. Who knows? Maybe you just picked out a really great necklace that goes with a lot of her outfits."

I think she probably did pick out the perfect outfit on purpose though.

Speaking of school, it's fundraiser time for the PTA and guess what? They decided that since everyone hates buying $8 wrapping paper and $13 cookie dough, and then trying to market this crap to our friends, coworkers and neighbors, that we should all just donate $20 or more per student, if possible.

Hell to the motherfucking yeah that's possible. How awesome does this PTA sound? It makes me want to give more than I would have ended up purchasing, just because I am so grateful that they acknowledge that fundraising is a pain in the ass for all and sucks to do. Yes, I will chip in for the family picnic and the Thanksgiving banquet and field trips or whatever. No, I don't want to have my kid use guilt to solicit our loved ones for the money.

Big Kid told me today that you can't have the word "community" without "unity" and learned in music class that the vibrations from the strings of a violin travel throughout the instrument to create the sound. So they do seem to be learning cool stuff, it's just not as traditional or boot-camp style as as far as pace goes. I'm thinking since the teachers and class stay together for 2 years at a time, maybe they don't feel as rushed in how they teach? I also appreciate the good citizen, community-oriented, be friends and love one another lessons. The world could use more than that.

(says she who is still engaged in a passive-aggressive battle with the poop-bomb throwing neighbors...)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hollywood PSA

Homework Awesomeness

So Big Kid's new innovative school has a weird grouping system instead of individual grade levels. There are 2 grades mixed together, 40 students divided into 2 rooms, and 2 teachers. Then the kids switch rooms with different groups depending on ability, or something. I don't really even know--I've had at least 4 people explain it to me and it seems confusing, but everyone really loves it. They always stick with the same "family" of kids and have each set of teachers for 2 years.

So far it seemed like they really hadn't been doing much learning. There was a lot of working on social skills and playing, which is actually awesome for Big Kid because he needs to learn that more than anything academic, but it did have me little nervous. Tonight is the first night he came home with a homework folder, every night up until now they have sent books home for him to read (they have an endless supply of beautiful, age-appropriate books right in the classroom and send home 3 different ones each night).

The "other" teacher (who is actually a neighbor of mine--not a suspect in the poop-bomb throwing incident, thankfully) sent home a 3-ring-binder with his homework assignments, which I was relieved to notice were challenging and resembled actual work. Then I noticed that Wednesday's home work is making your bed and Thursday's home work includes GOING TO BED 10 MINUTES EARLY! I'm not even kidding.

Big Kid is Pissed, but Mr. Ashley and I are ready to kiss this woman on the lips. That's just plain fucking awesomeness right there. I don't even care if they spend half their time playing if she's going to get him to clean the house and go to bed early. Damn. I'm nominating her for the local teacher-of-the-year award, not even joking.

Big Kid also came home with a family portrait he drew. Again, I'm wearing the shirt that says "Squeeze me" (and I pretty much abandoned that shirt after it was featured in the Kindergarten family portrait--I'll never live that one down) but this time I'm also holding a hedgehog. Mr. Ashley is wearing a baseball cap and little kid has jeans on. Pretty accurate as a family portrait other than that damn Squeeze Me shirt. I tried to point out to Big Kid that I no longer wear that shirt and he says that it doesn't matter, it's still his favorite. I'm hoping his teacher couldn't read it, his writing is pretty sloppy.

She Liked It

I picked Big Kid up from the bus stop and asked how it went with the necklace.

"She thought it was beautiful. Now she says we can be best friends forever, even when we're not togetter."

"Awwww, that's nice."

"It's a good fing, too. Alicia's tryin' to steal her away from me and I am pretty sure da necklace helped."

"What do you mean?"

"She has dis friend, A-li-cia, who tries to keep her away from me. She's a mean girl."

"Uh-oh! Have you tried to be friends with Alicia?"

"Yep, but she's so mean. She just wants to keep Emily all to herself, but I'm hoping dat won't be a problem anymore."

"Yeah...let's hope not. I'd go out of my way to include Alicia if I were you, maybe she'll come around."

"Prob'ly not. She's not really like dat--nice, or nuttin'."

So, Miss Amazing comes with an annoying best friend. Doesn't that figure?

At least she liked the necklace.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Necklace

So, I know we were all googly-eyed over Big Kid's insistence on buying his girl friend nice jewelry for no good reason.

"I am raising a man unlike any other man," I thought proudly,"One in a million."

Yesterday I picked him up from the bus stop and told him I would take him to the store.

"I'm finkin' I need to make somefin' now. I decided I want to give her a silver necklace wif a red heart. What if da jewry store doesn't have dat?"

I told him we'd look.

He walked in and marched around, glancing at the different tables. Finally he stopped. "Dat," he said, pointing.

There was a silver necklace with a pink heart that said Best Friend and had an outline of a girl and a horse. It was $6. It was also ugly, and I mean that in the sweetest way possible.

I showed him a lovely set of fake pearls. Pointed out an adorable, colorful bracelet with heart shaped beads. He was dead set on the horse heart necklace. "Does she even like horses?" I asked.

"Probably. Girls usually like horses," he answered. He might be right, maybe she'll love it.

But, I also might be raising the guy that buys ugly jewelry.

This morning when I put it in his pocket, I asked if he was nervous about giving it to her.

"No, mostly just happy. She's da most amazin' girl I ever met, and I met a lot of girls."

Now I'm dying to pick him up from the bus stop and hear how it all went down. I also really want to meet her and see this amazingness she possesses.

And she better not think the necklace is ugly.

Just Why

I just caught little kid with a pair of scissors and a fruit roll-up. (This would've been his 3rd fruit roll-up today, had he been successful.)

"What are you doing? Why do you have scissors and a fruit roll-up?"

"Iz an axident, mumum."

"An accident? So you accidentally drug a chair from the table to the pantry, got a box of fruit roll-ups off of the top shelf, took one out, dragged the chair to another counter and got the scissors out of a cabinet and you were starting to cut the top off of the fruit roll-up with the scissors--accidentally?"

"Um, yes. Was just a axident, don't be mad."

"Why do you do stuff like this??"

"Just why."

That's the answer for everything he doesn't want to answer. Just why. How great would it be to be able to pull that off as an adult?

"Is there a reason you were you going 65 in a 45 mph zone, ma'am?"

"Just why."

I just had to interrupt my typing to chase him through the house and tackle him because he had a can of Diet Dr. Pepper and a screw driver, just why. It's been a really long day so far today.


So we went to take Big Kid to get his girl's jewelry gift yesterday and the store was unexpectedly closed. He was so mad at me, he looked like he was going to cry.

"We're going to Target, we can get something for her there. I feel bad, they are usually open on Sunday!"

"I don't want to get her somefing from Target, mom. Target's jewry isn't as beautiful. I want to get her somefin' from da jewry store!"

I finally convinced him that I'd take him right after school so he can give it to her on Tuesday. He was still disappointed and barely wanted to go to school, but I'm looking forward to taking him today and seeing what he picks out.

Speaking of gifts, Mr. Ashley bought me a Wii Fit over the weekend! It's awesome! Except that it said I had the body of a can kiss my ass with that bullshit. I really don't see why it thinks that, I did pretty well balancing and am within the right weight range for my height. Fuckers. I was almost turned off by that but ended up playing for over an hour last night and had a great time. I want the EActive (or EA Active? I don't know) game and the Sports Resort game to go with it. Wii fit is way more fun than Jillian Michaels' mean ass. (Not saying I won't do The Shred anymore, just that I think Jillian Michaels might be mean.)

Well, this post is destined to end awkwardly since I sort of shoved 2 too-short topics into one post. I'll update you on our jewelry store trip later.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lucky Girl

Today when I picked up Big Kid from school, he said that he needed me to take him to the jewelry store down the street from where we live.

"Why? Because you want to play in their playroom?" (it's a pretty neat store)

"No! I need to get Emily, my school friend, a prize and I want to go dere to get it for her."

"Oh. Huh. Why does Emily-your-school-friend get a prize?"

"Dest for bein' such a great friend. She's nice and she's pretty and we play on the playground togetter. I like her."

"Oh. Hmmm. That's sweet. Could we make her a prize instead?"


"No, it would be just as good! Even better! You could make her a friendship bracelet, we could go to the store and get some beads and..."

"Mom--please. I want to get her real jewry, not some beads and strings and stuff. You know?"

I was just discussing it with Mr. Ashley on the phone, and how it might weird her parents out if their kid comes home with jewelry, and Big Kid interrupted me to say, "I fink I'm gonna frow up! I feel like you're not gonna let me. I already promised her and I dest need a ride to da jewry store, please."


They do have items under $5 and he does have an allowance and we did just get a birthday invitation for her party. The invite says "no gifts" (which I love) but he could give it to her beforehand with a card saying it's for being a good friend.

Honestly, I don't want to interfere with the awesomeness that is a guy who wants to buy a new girl friend a decent piece of jewelry. One day my future daughter in law will thank me for it.

Big Kid's Version

Big Kid's homework last night was to make a collage of his family. It was mostly my homework because I got the photos copied, did the majority of the cutting and gluing and am the only one in the house that truly understands what a collage is, but we attempted a collaborative effort. He picked the photos (and I'm not looking as hot as I'd like in the ones of me, but whatever.)

So today I asked, "Did your teacher like your collage?"

"Yes, she did! She saw Reggie and said 'YOU have a Hedgehog? Dat is so cool!'."

"Cool! What did you say?"

"Dat me and him were friends and he was cool. I also tode her dat I didn't like getting him, but now dat we've got him, I like him very much."

"What do you mean you didn't like getting him? What does that even mean?"

"I tode her how you wouldn't let little kid and I get out of da car to help pick him out, so we waited all alone in da hot car for a long time while you and daddy played wif all da hedgehogs and picked one and how it took such a long time and was so lonely and boring wif dest little kid and me, wantin' out to play wif all da hedgehogs. But when we got him home, I liked him!"


Such a sad story, isn't it? Halfway convincing too, if you only hear half. OF COURSE he left out the part where we met a breeder in a gas station parking lot, peeked in a box, immediately chose one hedgehog, gave her cash, chatted for 2 minutes next to our parked car and then rejoined our children who were safely and comfortably 3 feet from us the whole time.

Instead he painted this tale of being left alone in a parking lot while his parents were frolicking inside for hours with hordes of hedgehogs, oblivious to his boredom, the heat and his curiosity about hedgehogs.

Luckily, at the beginning of the year she mentioned that he was a lot of fun and I agreed and then warned her that he can also be quite dramatic and to take anything he says with a grain of salt and I'll do the same for her. I was hoping to outwit him before he could even start concocting the tale of his negligent mother who is too lazy to pack him a jacket, sends empty lunchboxes to school and leaves him in the parking lot while she goes and has fun.

Now it all comes down to who she believes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hedgehog Pics

I'm feeling pretty craptastic tonight, so you're getting more pictures of Reggie the Hedgie (with every day objects so you can tell his size, as requested) instead of a real blog post:

Pearl is reluctantly coming around. I don't see a big friendship in their future, but as long as they can both still love me, that's fine.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Big Kid's home from school again today sick and these kids are making me nuts. I have a hair appointment at 3pm and I'm wondering if my hairdresser would let me move in with her--I could just pack Pearl and Reggie up and bring them with me, and we could all live together happily and quietly ever after.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reggie Update

Reggie the Hedgie never got a bath yesterday because he's pretty much the boss of the whole house and he didn't seem like he was in the mood for it. He likes to squeeze himself between my body and the couch and lay there, or sprawl out on my lap with his legs splayed in all directions so I can pet his tummy and feet. He's quite the snuggler. That's all he was really in the mood for yesterday and it went on all day.

I still freak out a little when he gets pissy and huffs and puffs up and he uses that fear of mine to control us all. I've been trying to ignore him when he does it and do whatever I want so he knows who is boss, but like everything else in this house, he's resistant to the idea of me being in charge. So, he still smells kind of like a goat. I wonder if I could pass a baby wipe over him while he rests? That's going to be plan B.

We believe our Reggie is handicapable. He's got one foot and leg that are a little weird, I can't tell if it is deformed or broke and didn't heal, but he sometimes walks on the top of his foot or drags it. Doesn't seem to bother anyone but Mr. Ashley, who is also so in love with him that he'd never give him back anyway. I think he's perfect (other than the goat scent), even if he is differently-abled.

Pearl still hates him and I'm afraid she hates me too. She didn't sleep with me last night and when she went to jump in my lap and found him there again, she tensed up and walked away all pissed off. I try to make sure to give her plenty of attention and have tried to have them share the area, but she's not down with that. Even when I pet her when he's not around, she just sits there rigidly. I'll have to find a way to win her back somehow.

edited to add a picture of Reggie and his weird foot. He'll stand on it if I set it up the right way and sometimes he walks on it correctly, but there's clearly something wrong there.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Links

Assemblyman broadcasts kinky affair with lobbyist--doesn't want gays ruining the sanctity of marriage though.

Why parents should be banned from Facebook--I'm amazed our parents understand Facebook. I'm still confused about a lot of it.

Dow Jones closed at 9605
on September 11, 2001 and again on September 11, 2009--Creepy. We're all fucked.

Disney's Desperate Housewives--Cute idea.

Recognizing yourself in an iconic photograph--how cool is that? I want this to happen to me. I would settle for having a song written about me. (A nice one though.)

Women like real women--I think she's gorgeous. Awesome photo.

Fun art game--big time waster.

Memento Mori--I've shared links like this before, but this is a new one. I'm way fascinated with this stuff.

Pumba and Timon--They're real. I knew it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Here's Reggie the Hedgie.

She said she saved the cutest one for me because she could tell Mr. Ashley was nice (so it's a good thing he called and I didn't) and as you can see, Reggie Stuart might be the cutest hedgehog on the entire planet.

Here he is doing his sea urchin impression. Isn't that clever?

Here is Pearl meeting Reggie. Pearl is my truest love ever. She loves me consistently, persistently, unflinchingly--demanding only a warm lap to sit on and barely anything else ever. Every night once the kids have gone to bed, she likes to sit in my lap. If I wave her away, she'll make a bitchy noise and just find a way to make room for herself on or around me. She won't take no for an answer. She purrs whenever she is near me. She likes to sleep on my chest at night and if I rebel and sleep on my side, she'll perch awkwardly on my hip. I fantasize about a deserted island with internet access, a library and Pearl and I. Unfortunately, her little kitty nose is all out of joint about Reggie. She was fine when he was in the box, but once she went to get in my lap and encountered him there, she sniffed him cautiously, recoiled in horror and looked at me like, "WTF?" before stalking off to another room.

She'll have to get over it though because I love him. Big time. Mr. Ashley does too and he was all anti-hedgehog up until yesterday. He made him a man cave out of a Heineken box and has held him a lot. I really do think he may be one of the cutest, funniest animals ever.

P.S. Reggie smells like a goat because he spent the day riding around Florida in an SUV full of hamsters, other hedgehogs, and 2 dogs, with a goat in the back. Goat smell permeates in an enclosed space, I guess. So, I'll be attempting a hedgehog bath tomorrow.

Maybe Names

My hedgehog should be here around 4ish. I am anxiously waiting. These are the names on my maybe list right now:












I was considering Atlas but it doesn't have any cute nicknames associated with it really (Reggie the Hedgie? Freaking cute). Also, I hold out hope that if I ever have a 3rd boy I could at least use Atlas as a bargaining chip in the name game. Like if there was a name I liked and Mr. Ashley didn't, I could say, "How about 'nameAshleylikes' or Atlas?" and he'd agree to whatever name I listed first because he thinks Atlas is ridiculous (and it kind of is, but if I ever end up married to Matthew McConaughey or David Beckham or a celebrity where you can get away with a name like that, I'm using it. Atlas Clooney sounds pretty good.)

Volunteer Slave Labor

Remember how a few days ago we were all laughing about the mom who thought her child's teacher was a sadist? (Her name's Ginny and if you scroll down it is down there somewhere). It was so especially funny because I could relate, while feeling relief that Big Kid's teacher seems super cool this year. I couldn't find all of the supplies on her list (because I suck and waited until the night before--very typical) and when I told her I would bring the rest by the end of the week, she waved her hand and said she wished they wouldn't even print the lists because she has so much of everything that she already needs and not to sweat it.

Cool. Not a sadist.

Remember how last year I made the mistake of volunteering, and spent every Monday morning with the little germ carriers then I wasn't appreciative of the idea of a "volunteer appreciation breakfast" at 7:30 a.m.?

Yeah. I learned from that.

So this year, NOT wanting to get roped into some big volunteer ordeal, I casually mentioned that if the teacher had anything that I could help with from home, that I would love to help and that I was sorry I couldn't volunteer in the classroom (which I blamed on little kid).

Perfect solution, right?

Until she sent home ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY fucking stars for me to cut out. 150 is an approximate number, but there are 2 to a sheet and it is a big-ass folder full of stars.

1. I think this is too big of a job for one mom.
2. I think this is too big of a job for a first-time volunteer project.
3. I would just rather purchase already-cut out stars.
4. I fucking hate cutting and I suck at it.

She included a note--"No rush, in a week or so is fine." Well, we're at a week now and with "or so" approaching, I'm going to have to do it this weekend.

The moral of this story is: NEVER VOLUNTEER.

Friday, September 11, 2009



Now that it's a reality, I'm a little nervous. Getting a new family member is a big deal. I was pretty much over the obsession, then there was an ad in the paper that got me started up again but that guy was all out of hedgehogs. Mr. Ashley had already given the okay on an early birthday hedgehog so he felt bad for me that the hedgehogs were gone.

Then I found some on Craigslist. They live in Miami but the lady is delivering hedgehogs all over the S. Florida area tomorrow and is putting me on her route. They are 3 months old, all boys. She asked if I wanted a blond or a regular and I told her to save the tiniest, sweetest one for me (actually Mr. Ashley told her that, but I told him to tell her that. He handled the calling part which was way nice of him). I don't really care which color, as long as it doesn't have red eyes.

So what shall we name it??

Big Kid Bowling Interview

As promised, footage of Big Kid. Again his quirkiness shines through in this video and I feel the need to explain that he's not half this weird in real life. He doesn't do the strange eye blinking in real life either, I think that's a nervous tic for the camera.

He is that awesome though.

Future Jackass

little kid just asked me to get a charger for his motorcycle ride-on and to find him a dirt hill. When I asked about the dirt hill, he said, "I'm gonna do dat!" and pointed to the television, which had turned itself to Nitro Circus on MTV and was featuring a bunch of dumb asses riding and wrecking motorcycles off of a steep hill.

"You cannot watch this! You cannot do that! You're a baby!"

"I'm a baby on a motorcycle 'n I'm gonna crash it. Yeah! Yeah, baby! Break stuff!"

I'd say he saw about 20 minutes of this show (yeah, I wasn't paying good attention) and I'm guessing the damage was irreversible.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good & Evils of Effexor

Sooooooo, I'm weaning myself off of Effexor.

I had planned on not telling you all, because I was trying to maintain the illusion of not being crazy--and then I remembered that if anyone knows I'm a little crazy, it's you all.

(Way to go, Ash, broadcasting your craziness to the internets was an A++ idea).

Remember how I got on Effexor around 2 years ago and made this huge heartfelt, shame-ridden confession post and everyone was like..."So? That's all?" Then I started getting emails from others realizing they could use a little prescription help who thanked me for talking about it and I felt good about sharing and making other people feel normal (or less alone in their craziness). So, I've decided to use my Google Page Rank for good instead of evil and share my experiences with Effexor with you all.

First off, even in light of all of the negative effects, I still believe Effexor was exactly what I needed and I might even go so far as to say it was life-saving. I wasn't suicidal, but my anxiety was driving me so crazy that I could have ended up there eventually. I had a lot of real-life stress going on and was just torturing myself about everything on a minute-by-minute basis. It got to the point where I slept with a notebook and pen by the bed so I could make lists in the dark of things to remember to worry about tomorrow. I was so worried I couldn't think straight. Then I would get depressed because I couldn't accomplish anything. Then I would be even more anxious about all of the stuff I couldn't/wasn't getting done. My poor brain was a jumbled mess. My heart would pound and my thoughts would race and I would feel like I couldn't breathe. I was also irritable and yelling at everyone all of the time because I was tired and crabby. Man, it seriously fucking sucked.

So, my doctor prescribed 75mg of Effexor and after a few weeks, it worked! I didn't worry about anything. Ever. Anything. At all. Ever. Nothing. Never.

No worries.

For anyone that spoke to me during the 6-8 months I was on that dosage, I apologize because I spent that time trying to stare at your eye/forehead region in some semblance of interest while waiting for you to be quiet. I dreaded when Mr. Ashley came home because I knew it would involve at least 30 minutes of pretending to listen. Didn't care about anything, anyone, any problems. I didn't mind anything either, making me fairly pleasant to be around, and I rarely had opinions which also makes me easier to be around, I suspect.

I remember during this time feeling very separate from everyone and everything. I felt like I was watching the world from underwater or through a thick sheet of glass. I often found that I had no idea what day of the week it was, only a vague idea if it was the beginning or end of the week based on the weekend days Mr. Ashley didn't go to work. I noticed this mental fogginess, but it didn't bother me. It rarely mattered what day of the week it was anyway.

Blogging during this time S-U-C-K-E-D. It would be interesting to go back and read (or maybe not). Dealing with you all was a chore that I dreaded daily and every once in a while I would think that I should just admit I had run out of things to say and wish you all well, logging off and being done with it. Nothing was funny. Nothing riled me up. Nothing felt worth mentioning.
I knew I was in my own little self-made bubble of isolation...but it was nice. It was calm and quiet. There were no problems (other than other people trying to get into the bubble and talk to me, disturbing the peace with their chatter). I liked me and found myself easy to be around, it was a pleasant change from being my own worst enemy.

A mini-mental breakdown happened around the time my dog Heidi Louise died. Despite my detachment from the world, I was so sad (understatement of the decade). I ran out of medicine right then and couldn't rouse myself to get more. Two days later, Mr. Ashley and I had the fight of a life time, I disowned my toxic mother-in-law in an all-too-honest email to her, and broke up with my group of best friends a day or two after that. It was quite a week of bridge burnings. I felt again, and felt nothing but mad and sad. I was also physically sick from not having my medicine, throwing up, having vivid nightmares and sweating. Despite all of the feelings I was feeling again being miserable ones, I realized how zombified I had been and wanted off of the medicine. I was too sick to be without it but too broke to go to the doctor and find a way to get off of it safely.

A friend (and I love you forever for doing it for me, M. if you're out there) sent me generic 37.5 mg from an old prescription of hers until I could get to the doctor. I realized that the lower dosage was way more appropriate for me. I wasn't worried, but I could still feel amusement and communicate and watch movies and read books again (didn't want to when I was zombified because I didn't care what happened to the characters and thought it was all boring and pointless). I could also think very logically and clearly, with less emotion and anxiety. I went to the doctor for a lower dosage and stayed on it for another year or so. I'm so grateful I was on it during this time because I realized that the only solution to our housing problem was to move. My emotional self would have never been able to calmly come to that conclusion and get us here without full-on hysteria. I was able to take some major steps up in life because it helped me focus and re-prioritize.

Even on the lower dosage though, I still feel more like I'm watching the world than participating. I love that I can consider a problem rationally and come up with a solution or write it off as something I can't do anything about and go about my floaty-headed merry way. But I miss feeling curious, I miss some of my racing thoughts, I miss having opinions and the need to express them, I miss cracking up laughing or feeling funny, I miss getting teary-eyed at diaper, dog food and greeting card commercials, I miss feeling overcome with emotion, I miss wasting tons of time on creative endeavours, I miss feeling sexy or romantic, I miss caring about people, I miss having so many thoughts to share with you all that they pile up in my head. I miss me. I also miss the $100 a month I spend on this shit and the days I feel sick for forgetting to take it.

For about a week now, I've been taking 1/2 of a pill every 2nd day. The first day I was so dizzy I could barely stand up and my ears were ringing. The second day I threw up right after taking it and napped a lot. The third day I slept for 17 hours and then took a nap. The fourth day I felt better, but sleepy and dizzy. The fifth day I still felt dizzy, but more energetic. Today is the 6th day. Every day so far I've had what I call the "swooshy-head thing". I think I've heard other people call it brain zaps. It feels like my eyes and my brain aren't connected--like my eyes move and then my brain catches up and the delay makes me feel dizzy or swooshy. I also see things out of the corner of my eye, shadows, movements or shapes that aren't there.

So that all sucks, but I also feel again. And it rocks. Even the feelings that suck. And I know the novelty of emotion may wear off again and the anxiety or sadness could creep back up at any time, but I'm hoping I can remember that "Can you solve this or do anything about it?" detachment that came with medication and find some other coping techniques, because feeling and being is what life's all about.

It's embarrassing to share with you all because life would be easier without people observing my return to unzombification. I could've pulled it off as one of my many mood swings without this announcement but now you'll all be watching, so I blew that. But I do want people to realize that although the medicine can be a godsend and an absolute life saver when you are having difficulty coping, it is serious stuff. It's also easy to get so comfortable in your own world that you never bother coming up with an exit strategy to get off, or even easier, to find yourself unable to afford the time to suffer through sickness to do so--I never realized the extent of how addictive it is.

So there it is, another not-so-pretty chapter in the life of Ashley. And a warning that the old me is on her way back.

I did not intend for this to turn into a freaking novel. "Don't make it a big deal" was my whole goal and then I write a War and Peace-esque blog post about it. LOL. Sorry so long, I'll reward you with a Big Kid video later for reading it! This is also a good reminder that I'm a lot more talkative off of the meds...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Book Beginnings

I got 2 new books in the mail today--In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe and The 19th Wife.

I'm excited and don't know which one to start first. One involves dwarfs and the Holocaust--it's bound to be interesting. The other one is historical fiction and involves polygamy, so I bet I'll like it. I love starting a new book.

I finished Outlander and it was good. It was an enjoyable, leisurely read. It was also sexy and romantic. I was sort of meh about the ending, but I am glad I read it. It felt a little cheap and dirty at parts but sometimes that's a good thing.

I noticed the 19th Wife has about 30 pages of type setting error in it, where the bottom margin is completely screwed up. It doesn't affect the words any, but it still annoys me a lot. I noticed those pages while flipping through and have felt a little cheated ever since.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Assignment Completed

So, Big Kid and I just finished his assignment. He did a great job. The picture he drew is a little strange because it's him and Obama picking up trash and he used a brown crayon for Obama, with a beige crayon for Obama's arms and hands. I wanted to ask him about it but didn't because he was proud of what he had drawn, but I'm going to have to find a way to subtly point out that people's arms generally match the rest of their skin. I'm also thinking of putting a "Sorry your arms are white, kids are weird," note in with it.

While Big Kid was drawing, little kid ran around frantically looking for jeans, his Hog's Breath saloon t-shirt, his baseball cap and cowboy boots. He got dressed and paced back and forth, asking me if he looked good. I said yes and asked what the occasion was, and he said, "I'm 'cited President Obama's comin' over. I got to look good." He was disappointed to hear the president wasn't stopping by but he was happy to get additional confirmation that he really did look good.

Big Kid's note says, "Dear President Obama, I can help you make America a better place by being green, throwing away trash and saving water. Your Friend, Big Kid, first grade." His original transcription was longer, but once he had to rewrite it himself, he began liberally editing it down.

He hasn't shown any signs of brainwashing since seeing the speech or answering the question, but he is excited to put his package in the mailbox and he thinks the prez will be impressed with his handwriting.

Sick Day Home Work--UPDATE

Big Kid is home sick from school today. He's got a sniffly nose, a headache and a cough and says he was up all night. This means my morning is not going so great because little kid is much more difficult to deal with when Big Kid is home. He just loves to antagonize him (and me and the pets).

Since he's home, Big Kid will get to watch Obama's speech live. Then he's going to write one page stating how he can help our president improve our country, draw a picture of himself and Obama doing whatever it is they would do, and together we will mail it to the White House to show our support and to teach Big Kid that democracy means that you have a voice in your government and a desire to be involved, and that we're fortunate to have that privilege.

So take that, "it's not educational enough" Superintendent of Schools who is now on my shit list. Our sick day will probably end up smarter than your school day.

EDITED: Awesome that some of you are also going to do the home work with your kids. If you're able to, let's mail the home work unfolded in manila envelopes, have your child address it (if possible) and write AMERICA'S HOME WORK somewhere on the front, so maybe our small effort will be noticed and Obama will get the message that many parents understood and appreciated his message.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lunch Date

little kid and I went and had lunch with Big Kid on Friday. Like the kick ass mom that I am, I brought McDonalds. This drew crowds of envious kids who came by one by one to say, "So Big Kid, is this your mom?" and shuffle their feet awkwardly as they coveted Big Kid's Happy Meal.

He sat tall and proud, introducing me to those who came over and pointing out those who didn't. I saw Hot Sally. She sat at a table across from us, blond ponytail flipped up at the end, blue satin headband resting behind her bangs, white colored button up shirt with a pink v-neck cardigan over it with her lunch items set out prissily in front of her.

"Oh, she's cute!" I said when Big Kid pointed her out.

"She's always cute, mom. Ebery single day she's cute like dat. She has a pink and purple skirt dat is her favorite and I fink she looks beautiful in it."

She's the perfect Sally. If central casting needed a first grader for a character named Sally, they would be delighted to find this Sally.

Lunch was at the alarming time of 10:50 a.m. On the weekends, we eat breakfast around 10-10:30. I realized that Big Kid eats at 7:30, 10:50, school snack at 2, hungry for a snack after school around 4:30 and dinner around 6:30. We've got these kids trained to eat every 3 hours, often giving them no more than 15 minutes to do so. And we wonder why most of society grows up to be fat adults with weird eating habits? Lunch time is 15 minutes long--the kids who don't bring their lunch have about 8 minutes to eat. Kindergartners and first graders cannot eat a full meal in 8 minutes, especially if they are free to talk to friends and dawdle around. I was on the whole table's ass to eat, eat, eat--you have 4 minutes left, were you planning on eating anything?

I am fascinated by the differences between Big Kid's old school and new school. Old school is older and has more lower-income students. The new school is a couple of years old and has a high tax base.

The new school has an organic co-op as a fundraiser, an organic garden for their lunch room, serves heaping lunch serving sizes, is very fun/play-oriented, relaxed about parents being on school grounds/picking up their child, kids have 2 recesses a day, no uniform policy, teacher wants me to call her by her first name, no chanting of sayings or boot-camp style mind control techniques, and has a buttload of books in each class room and top quality supplies that weren't on our supply lists, plays classical music instead of bells or alarms.

When I pointed out how nice the music was, Big Kid said, "I heard Four Seasons and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 before. I tried to tell da udder kids da song names but dey kept sayin', 'No dat's just da lunch bell' or 'No, dat means it is time to go home.' I'm finkin' it's 'cuz dey have never been in a school dat has bells. Dey fink da music is a bell! I do try to tell 'em."

I also find it interesting that several kids in Big Kid's class have gluten allergies. No allergies in the entire Kindergarten of the old school. That could be a coincidence, but it is one of the many differences between the poor school/rich school, old school/new school.

I like the new school way better, although according to Big Kid, they spend all day playing and having fun. I'm slightly concerned about this, but it's only been 2 weeks and as we all know, he has a way of twisting the facts so maybe that's just his interpretation.

Cost of Baby Fights

Turns out baby fighting lessons (aka Karate) are a little pricey.

There's a big karate studio across from the community I live in, so I went to get a price sheet from them. There's a $100 enrollment fee (don't get me started on enrollment fees--such a bunch of crap.), $50 uniform fee, $125 a month for 6 months for classes (for 3 half-hour classes per week) and then $60 testing fee when it's time to move up a belt (every 8 weeks).

Is this normal? It was all originally more, but the lady in charge must have seen my skeptical look because she started reducing prices and offering different payment solutions. Of course, little kid sobbed and cried and screamed, "I WANT TO FIGHT BABIES TODAY!" when he realized we weren't signing up on the spot.

They offer a free 30 day trial (IF you buy the $50 uniform) so we're considering that. I briefly looked into other studios but I do like the proximity to home and this was one of the few places that takes 3 year olds. Maybe the liability that comes with hosting baby fights is expensive?

So tell me karate-experienced parents, is this normal? Maybe I should just put him in some Gymboree-like baby class and let him fight those babies?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Taking Orders

I told Big Kid that I wanted to go out to dinner, so he offered to make our house a restaurant and act as our server. (This is not at all what I had in mind, but it's the thought that counts or whatever).

He went and dressed in a "server umiform" consisting of a navy blue polo shirt, a light blue tie, khaki pants and his black converse. He set the table and went from place to place asking, "May I take your order?"

After little kid screamed "NOOOOOO" and lunged at him to grab his paper and pencil for the 5th or 6th time, I went ahead and ordered a grill cheese sandwich for him. Then little kid ran off to his bedroom and closed the door, screaming and crying. Big Kid went to inquire as to what the problem was and little kid keeps yelling, "GIVE ME MY ORDER BACK. GIVE IT BACK NOW, BUBBY. YOU WILL NOT TAKE MY ORDER, MISTER!"

That was 5 minutes ago and they are still fighting over whether or not he should get his order back.

This was not what I had in mind when I said I wanted to go out to eat, at all.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh Please

I just read that some parents are mad that Obama is giving a speech about the importance of education and doing well in school. (Read here)

If you're concerned about your child seeing such a thing--you're an asshole. Period.

Where on Earth is the harm in someone encouraging kids to see the value of their education? If you'll let your political leanings get in the way of your kids hearing a motivational, non-political message from our President in Chief, then I fear for the type of people you're raising.

I personally believe George W. is a war criminal and quite possibly the worst president in the history of our country, but wouldn't have dared protest something like this while he was in office. Hell, I took my kids to stand and wave at him as he drove through our city (and I behaved the entire time).

If something like this is even a blip on your parenting problems radar, I think you're doing something wrong. Also, please quit comparing Obama to Hitler. Doing so only proves that you are significantly undereducated and lack any true understanding of even basic history.

If you don't want to like him, that's fine. Just don't look like such an idiot while exercising that right.

Baby Fights

Today at breakfast little kid was standing on his chair thrashing about.

"What are you doing?" I asked. "Sit down and eat breakfast."


"Well, stop fighting and eat breakfast."

"You know what I want to do, mumum?"


"Fight babies!"

"Fight--babies? You want to fight babies?"

"Yeah! Babies like me. I'll fight 'em. Can you take me somewhere 'at babies fight?"

" about Karate? You want to start Karate classes? You really can't be fighting people, but they would teach you how to hit and kick and stuff."

"Yeah! Take me today. We go today, K mumum?"

I don't know if him taking Karate is a wonderful idea or a horrible idea, but it's the only place I could think of that lets babies fight. He's talked about it all day long, so I'm pretty much committed to signing him up for some baby fighting classes now.

I guess by default Big Kid will need self-defense classes now too.

I Can Relate

Just came across this and was laughing my ass off.

A Letter to My Child's Teacher Whom I Suspect is a Sadist

P.S. don't go reading her blog and liking her more than me. That's why I don't recommend other mommy bloggers to you, so don't make me regret passing this along.

Hot Sally

On the way to school this morning I asked Big Kid, "So, any girls in your class have girlfriend potential?" thinking he'd get mad at me for teasing him.

"Well....Sally's hot," he answered matter-of-factly, after a moment of consideration.

"Uh, hot?" I asked, feeling uncomfortable.

"Yeah, you know, she looks good and stuff."

"So, she's pretty?"

"Yep, she's lookin' pretty hot."

It's hard to pinpoint what sounds so inappropriate about describing a first grader as "hot", even if it's another first grader doing it. We were pulling up to the school and I wasn't in the mood to end our morning arguing semantics, so I said that she sounded nice and allowed Sally to continue being hot to Big Kid.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bus Update

Big Kid made it off of the bus fine.

little kid and I were waiting there anxiously when he hopped off the bus, walked up to us and turned for home, walking quickly and chattering about something they did at school.

"So, how was your bus ride?" I asked, excited for him.

"Fine," he replied before going back to his previous topic, totally nonplussed about his bus riding adventure.

Soooo, I guess this means I'm done with the car rider line!

Going to the Movies

I think movie studios are producing everything in 3D right now because they're beginning to realize we no longer want to pay $50+ dollars to sit in an uncomfortable seat and listen to the pig next to us crunch their popcorn if we can get the same movie from Redbox or Netflix in a couple of months at a minimal cost with no annoying strangers to view it with.

So by making movies 3D, they're trying to throw in some added value or an actual reason you should really see it on the big screen. Then they charge you extra because of the 3D glasses and then they have the nerve to ask for the glasses back.

I really, really, really want to see Inglorious Basterds (or however the hell it's incorrectly spelled) in a theater but it just seems insane to pay so much when I know I'm going to want to beat a stranger over the head with their cell phone before it's over. I get irritable. The movie is not 3D or anything, so the only benefit to seeing it at the theater is the drama of the oversized screen and the sound system, I guess.

I'll probably just wait until it comes out on DVD and sit closer to my own television with the volume up loud.

Big Kid Rides the Bus

Big Kid will be riding the bus home from school today.

I just had it with the car rider line, I couldn't do that any more. The bus drops him off near our home at about the same time I get him home after waiting in the parking lot for an hour. He'll be on the bus for 20 minutes, I have told his teacher not to lose him and to please tell the bus driver not to lose him.

I have drilled him on his bus number and the stop. I even turned around this morning halfway to school to physically show it to him, although he knows where the corner near our house is. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with my brain screaming, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?!? This is a child who can't put his own underwear on the right way." God love him, I think he's a genius, but when it comes to street smarts he has N-O-N-E.

The teacher puts him on the bus, the bus driver gets him off of the bus, and I will meet him at the stop, but it still seems like there's a lot of potential for something to go wrong.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mrs. Duggar Does it Again

I was going to do a whole long rant about how Michelle Duggar is clearly mentally ill for being pregnant with her 19th child (she's like a crazier version of a crazy cat lady) when it suddenly hit me--this woman is a freaking genius.

She has her own little workforce. She's got those kids trained--they take care of each other, cook, clean, work. Yeah, it took some initial investment, she has a lot of management duties, and her uterus must look like a wet paper bag at this point, but she probably doesn't have to do much other than play with the new baby and boss everyone else around. Sure it sucks to be pregnant but you do get a lot of attention, it's exciting, and it's a great excuse to nap and indulge mood swings.

She will have to come up with another J name and that's no easy task. I bet they began regretting that dumb move about halfway through. Their daughter Jinger probably wishes they had just broken tradition and spelled her name correctly.

Again, my theory of more kids = less work (see Octomom and K8 rants) proves true here. With her "buddy system" the more kids she has, the more people are around to help her take care of them. She lives in a nice-ass house, too.

Anyway, congrats to Mrs. Duggar, I guess. Maybe we're all just jealous we didn't think of it first.

(This was quite a few kids ago)