Thursday, February 28, 2013


I have been up since 1:30 this morning, when little kid climbed into my bed complaining of an earache. He thrashed around on the bed, moaning loudly, and I thought, "Well, it doesn't get much worse than this."

Within moments of having that thought, he vomited down the side of my bed, on my laptop cord, and on the down comforter.

It pretty much only got worse from there.

I encouraged Mr. Ashley to go to another room and get some sleep around 3am, when I went outside to our detached laundry room in the cold night air in my tank top and underwear to throw a puke towel in the washer. That was a terrible idea, by the way, because now I have a puke washer but frankly, I am beyond caring. I will figure that problem out later. I will throw that towel away. I will get a new washing machine. Well, not really about the washing machine, but I wish. I have learned my lesson about at-home biohazard clean up, I was definitely doing it wrong.

Around 6am I finally began drifting to sleep when little kid said, "Mom? Mama?" in a slightly frantic voice.

I bolted upright to ask what was wrong, already scrambling for the puke bucket.

"I've got an idea for Minecraft."

"Mi--Minecraft? Really?"

"Yes." Something something, "brain" something something "crafting" something "Braincraft. Isn't that a cool idea?"

"It is. Braincraft, haha. That's funny," I said feeling delirious. "Let me put a television show on for you so I can lie down for just a minute right here next to you."

I immediately began to sink back into a haze between awake and asleep when I heard him again. "Mom?"


"Did you like my Minecraft idea?"

I decided to give up and start our day, which mostly included lying on an air mattress in the living room, watching movies together and snuggling. It also involved an all day countdown to the return of his brother from school, which started 10 minutes after he got on the bus. His brother who he fights with and gets grounded over every single day. They love each other like crazy, literally, like crazy. Before he left Big Kid said, "I want to hug you, but I can't risk it," and little kid nodded solemnly in understanding.

I think between his fever, being up all night, and it being rainy and gray, he had no concept of time anymore. He kept setting the timer for 30 minutes so he could track the time until his bubby arrived. It was a very weird day, with no sun and time moving slowly but marked with a harsh buzzer at every 30 minute mark.

30 minutes before the expected arrival he turned on me, belligerent and furious that I had lied to him about what time the bus comes because he wanted his brother right that second.

It was a huge relief when Big Kid finally got home.

At this point I was a zombie, so I put on a movie and tried to doze for just a minute. But I guess I looked extremely snuggly because I had two boys and a dog on me within moments.

Which wasn't really that bad.

He seemed a lot better today and I thought we were in the clear, but soon after falling asleep tonight, I heard him moaning and realized he had a fever. I am ready for him to return to school. I mean, feel better. Or sleep. But we will be hanging out again tomorrow.

But hopefully not tonight.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Murphy Louis

This is Murphy.

If you gave him the choice between me and the sun, we would all be plunged into eternal darkness immediately. He worships me in a way that only a dog can, with big, soulful eyes (one brown, one blue), a constantly waggling tail, and much to the dismay of both of us, by pissing all over the floor whenever I'm too nice to him.

Recently I bought him a new collar and even though I knew not to speak to him as I presented it, especially not in that super exciting baby talk way, just fastening it around his neck made his poor bladder explode. Then he tries to frantically lick it up. It's pretty admirable, sad, and kind of dumb. But, man, is he sweet.

As much as he loved our white German Shepherd, Lily, he has thrived as the only dog in the house, even more so as an only child when the kids are at school. (The cat doesn't consider herself a child). He watches me all day, waiting for some eye contact or, better yet, a treat. He is thrilled beyond measure when we occasionally go back to bed in the morning (yeah, I do that), and I allow him the forbidden pleasure of sleeping in our bed with me. He stands awkwardly to my side as I try to sleep, staring at me with nervous pleasure and confusion as to what he should be doing. He doesn't really relax or snuggle much. Ever.

We joke that he has social anxiety because, well, he does. He is vigilant in his defense of me, though, and he's obviously good too because I have not been hurt or kidnapped even once since we got him. No one is allowed to walk on our property and since he doesn't understand property lines, near our property either. Especially other dogs, he hates those fuckers. He once had a several month long war going on with an orange, wiry doormat thrown over a firepit that looked suspiciously like a neighbor's Golden Retriever. Every dog, real or imagined, is a potential danger, probably scouting things out so they can move in and steal my attention from him. He acts like Cujo in his ferocity when confronting them from the safety of the back porch, unless he accidentally gets loose and has his opportunity to attack--and then it's a little awkward. There's some hanging back while barking, looking at me nervously, like, "I've got this but you're going to break it up, right?" knowing I will scoop him up and take him back in immediately.

He also hates dancing as much as the kids do, often grabbing my pant leg with his teeth and trying to tug me away from the riled up children and the risks of a broken hip, I suppose. I must really suck at dancing.

Pearl, the cat, tolerates him but asserts her dominance all day long, which must be stressful to someone trying so valiantly to appear as second in command. And she doesn't pee all over herself every time I look at her or bark all damn day, so that's automatic bonus points there. He realizes his inferiority as a dog, tucking his comically pointy snout down when she passes and avoiding eye contact. Every time he comes in from the backyard, she waits on the back porch to jump on his back and herd him into the house which is completely unnecessary and probably demoralizing. But what are you going to do? She's a cat. She's pretty much the boss of everyone here.

As a lover of super soft things, I bought Pearl a lovely minky cat bed for Christmas. She found it in its bag before Christmas and tried to drag it out, choosing to just lay on top of the bag instead. After some hesitation, I finally just gave it to her--and she never looked at it again. In fact, she moved into the dog bed, which he really loved, and his treats and treasures are tucked beneath its cushion. Recently he's resorted to sleeping in a laundry basket with a comforter in it, and I've noticed that in the last two days, she's taken up part-time residence there now, too. What a jerk.

When I took the above photo, I was trying to take a photo of Pearl who was happily lying on the rug until I wanted a picture. Since Murphy was sitting beside me, sweet and compliant, as she paced around frantically trying to avoid the camera, I refocused on him. It made him extremely nervous--he felt like it was his time to shine but as not the smartest dog, he had no idea what was expected of him but was certain it was something. He yawned nervously, and then the cat launched herself onto his face, attacking him before inserting herself as unphotogenically as possible into every photo I tried to take.

It was ridiculous.

I finally swatted her away and coaxed his sad little nose back up for that one shot before his 15 seconds were up and she returned to steal the spotlight and refuse to have her photo taken.

Poor Murphy. Not the smartest dog and not really the boss of anything.

But I love him anyway.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Parenting Tip

I just created an interpretive dance using my body to shape the letters of each of my children's names.

They are PISSED.

little kid's was easy to do and is a pretty catchy little routine, if I do say so myself.

Big Kid's, not so easy, and involved a squatting straddle move that he seemed to particularly hate.

Their hatred of this dance made them stop arguing with each other and unite against me, trying to force me to go into my room and close the door.

Every time they would peek in and check on me, I would be on the other side of the door, practicing my new dance moves.

I got a good amount of time alone in there. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bizzy Babee Winner

The winner of the Bizzy Babee nursing cover is Middea. So the world won't get to sneak a peek at her boobs or bare midriff, sorry world. Middea, please send your mailing address to me at ashleyquitefrankly (at) gmaildotcom

Thanks to Bizzy Babee for offering it and thanks to so many of you for entering.

(So, you ARE out there.)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

First Memory

One of Big Kid's most interesting attributes is his memory. He remembers everything--he can tell you the exact date he got each of his stuffed animals, he can recall almost any fact he's ever heard, he memorizes song lyrics the first time, he is a fantastic speller because he remembers every word he's ever read, and he remembers things that happened before he was old enough to remember these things.

This is usually just an amusing and impressive quirk, and something that should serve him well in life. But one memory is very bizarre, and it is the one he has held onto the longest.

Big Kid swears he remembers life before birth.

Practically from the time he could talk, he would talk about being a baby and how before that it was light and then dark. At first I wrote this off as a young child trying to remember what it must have been like in someone's stomach or major timeline confusion. He also had some speech issues that made everything more interesting and confusing.

But as he grew, this story more or less stayed the same. Once he got a little older I pointed out that it would have been dark and then light, and he corrected me and said, "No, I'm talking about before that. It was light before I got into you and then it was dark. I remember the light. Then it was light again but a cold, crazy light. Then I don't remember after that."

That weirded me out but he was still young at the time, maybe 4 or 5.

I told him it is very unlikely he remembers being in the womb and he insisted, insulted, that he absolutely did and remembers the time before that, too. It always comes up briefly, usually apropos of nothing, and then is just as quickly dropped. 

Today at the beach, he suddenly said, "I know there is a heaven."


We are barely religious. Big Kid went to a Jewish preschool, little kid went Lutheran, they've been to a few Methodist and Baptist churches but not even a Sunday school class. We all believe in a higher power but don't get into the logistics too often, other than helping others and appreciating life.

"Yes." he said with a certainty I both envy and respect. "I remember the light before the darkness."

So simple. So sure. So insanely profound.

"You've talked about that for a long time," I said, getting goose bumps in the sun.

"I can't forget."

I don't know what's going on with this, after roughly 6 years of discussing it, but I am starting to believe him. Or maybe I just really hope there is light before (and after) the darkness.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Yoga Uprising

I skipped yoga yesterday and went to the beach. It was worth it.

Since my yoga studio membership is only a 30 day Living Social deal, I feel tremendous pressure to go as often as possible--which is difficult for someone as lazy as me. I like yoga, and I love the studio (mostly because it's 2 minutes from the house), and I was trying to find ways to continue the membership...but sometimes I feel secretly relieved that it will end one day.

I could barter work hours at the studio for yoga. But then I'd have to work. So I'm torn on that one.

No recent sightings of the yoga goblin but there is a new guy who breathes like Cookie Monster. It's like a loud, deep growl on every exhale. Good for him and all, but it's annoying as hell. We also have another guy who speaks of himself in the third person frequently and tries to argue against opening the outside door for fresh air. I pretty much shout over him that the door needs to be opened when asked. If he wants to be hot, he can do it later.

Even though we're not taking hot yoga, they like to keep it hot in there. They try to chalk it up to some scientific yoga nonsense, but I think living in Florida is enough. There is nothing scientific about not turning the air on. I guess some people like to sweat?

At the last class there was a mini mutiny afterwards about the temperature. The teacher said the air was on and a few people grouped together to insist that it wasn't, or it wasn't low enough, and that it was unacceptable since we hadn't signed up for hot yoga. The instructor was a bit flustered over the uprising of her formerly zen students, and I'm hoping it means we have some cool air today because if I wanted to sweat a lot, I'd go back to jogging. Which I'm considering anyway since it gives me an excuse to go to the beach, and at the beach I do a lot of walking/wandering/sitting/non-aerobic activity that isn't really jogging at all.

I don't know. I just don't like exercise. I'm in a wedding this June and I'm 10 years older than all of the other bridesmaids, so that's where my motivation lies. Not an actual interest in a healthy lifestyle. God, no.

Let's hope the other students are quiet today and the air conditioning is booming.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Favorite Things: Eyelashes and Silence

Well, we're two days late on our weekly favorite things post but I have nothing to give you this time anyway--EXCEPT THE GIFT OF LONG EYELASHES AND QUIET CHILDREN. Seriously. But you have to use your own money. Sorry.

Did you sign up for the Bizzy Babee nursing cover giveaway yet, though? We've determined you could use it to sneak things into the movies and/or just have a fashionable, wearable blanket if you're against sneaking things in, so you don't even need to be nursing. Or have a baby. That's not an approved use by Bizzy Babee, by the way, but it is brilliant.

Anyway, I was briefly considering eyelash extensions for my short, stubby, blonde eyelashes but then I remembered that I am broke and lazy and that it seemed kind of silly. I had all but given up on the idea when I noticed my hairdresser's eyelashes were suddenly insane. I asked her about it and she recommended Nutra LUXE LASH MD. I was skeptical because it wasn't that super fancy Latisse stuff but having nothing better to do, I ordered some on December 31st and told myself I'd give it until March (because I like to quit things that don't offer immediate results, so I needed an end date).

I was starting to think that applying it just made you pay more attention to your eyelashes, and probably perceive them as longer. It's easier to put on than eyeliner though and doesn't itch or burn so I continued using it. Just last week while applying mascara, I noticed my eyelashes are starting to get unruly; they are so long.  The tips are almost touching my eyebrows. Mr. Ashley even noticed with no prompting. I truly can't believe the difference in so short a time and I'm a little worried about where it goes from here. Do people trim eyelashes? I don't know but I hope to have that problem. I can't believe it works.

I'm now realizing I should have picked related things for the favorite things because this is an awkward transition, but whatever. Something else I am really loving right now is Snap Circuits . My boys got them for Christmas the year before last and I'm embarrassed to say that they sat around for way too long before being opened. I assumed it would be a lot of work for me and potentially boring. The truth is that I enjoy playing with these as much or more than the kids do and it's extremely educational in a really fun way. My kids love building the suggested projects but even more they like "tinkering" (that's what they call it, which cracks me up) and seeing if they can create something with the pieces. I think this is one of the best toys we own--it's hands on, educational, encourages a love of building and science, and is easy to put together. It's also the perfect gift idea for anyone ages 6 to 60. Well, not anyone. But people who might like that sort of thing. Don't buy any for me because I already have some.

So this was a little random, but I guess my favorite things are. When I'm Oprah-rich, I will buy all of you all of these things. I swear.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Not Too Manly

Big Kid has always appreciated cleanliness. As a toddler he would watch Baby Einstein and when the goat puppet got paint on himself while painting, he would cry, "OH NO! GOAT MESSY!" with genuine dismay.

As a preschooler, his hands were usually cleaner than a surgeon's. He was a fastidious hand washer, using hot water, sudsy soap and slowly singing the alphabet before finishing. They would do an activity in preschool where they covered the tables in shaving cream and write in it and the very sight of those messy tables would make him turn pale and put his hands behind his back; his teacher sent him into the hallway to learn French with the Canadian assistant instead.

One time we had a poop incident that resulted in him willfully deciding not to poop anymore. It was a big problem.

It used to make me nervous. It was like living with a little Niles Crane and seemed a symptom of something. But he's grown out of it, into a slightly more clean version of your average child. little kid pretty much counterbalances any benefit of this, but it's still nice.

He loves a good shower and is often showered and dressed by the time I get up on the weekends.  So to be nice, I offered to buy him some manly soap and he seemed excited about the idea. Against my better judgment, I went with Axe body wash, deciding it was a rite of passage of some sort. I brought it home, he took one whiff and said, "Why did you think I'd wash in toxic waste?" and set it back down, forgotten. I was relieved, even if I did waste $4.

Soon after that he came home and said that another 4th grade teacher must be mean because she makes everyone in her class wear deodorant.

"Well, it's probably not so much that she's being mean, but around your age sometimes kids start to go through puberty and that can make your sweat smell really bad. It's probably easier to ask everyone to smell good than to point it out to the individuals who may not notice. I have not noticed any sign of you smelling different, though, so you don't need any."

He thought about that for a minute.

"If you want deodorant, for whatever reason, I could get you some. It smells nice. Then you would be ready. But if not, no biggie, you don't need it." I offered.

"Yes. I would like some deodorant," he decided.

I promised we would go to the store to pick some out. I felt a little conflicted--happy that body odor wouldn't be sneaking up on me and that we were able to discuss it easily and sad that we're already picking out deodorant. Although it seems small and silly, it is a minor rite of passage.

This morning, Mr. Ashley found a sample stick of deodorant and offered it up. Big Kid smelled it. "Too manly," he declared.

And again I felt sweet relief that we weren't quite there yet. Not to Axe body wash and smelling manly.

He ended up choosing something that smelled clean, and I can live with that.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nipple Ninjas

I don't quite understand why, but the words, "Leave your brother's nipples alone," leave my mouth every single day at some point, usually multiple times a day.

Some days I truly worry about where I failed as a parent or what exactly happened to create this nipple fixation they have. I would say it is their go to torture method. It's bizarre.

Thanks to our miserable experiences with team sports, I have been trying to convince Big Kid to get into martial arts lately. He's indifferent to the idea, only considering it to keep up with little kid's attacks.

"I want to do boxing," he said one day.

"Oh. Boxing?" I asked.


"Do you'll get punched in the head? While boxing?"

"Yes," he answered, shifty eyed, like he didn't really know. "Do they wear head gear?"

"They do. You might want to do something like MMA--I think it's like boxing with kicking too. But I'd start with regular old Karate," I answered, kind of worried about all of the above, to be honest.

"Are you allowed to pinch people's nipples in Karate?" he asked with complete seriousness.

"No. Not at all. You might even learn to defend against nipple pinching, I guess."

"Okay, I'll do it!" He said with excitement. "little kid, there is no nipple pinching in martial arts!" He announced.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling it won't solve our problem.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ashley's Favorite Things: Bizzy Babee Giveaway

We have another giveaway this week, from Bizzy Babee nursing covers! To be honest, when this one landed in my inbox, I only gave it a cursory glance at first. I'm not that into baby stuff now that I don't have babies and don't want to be giving away a ton of baby stuff, mostly because there is so dang much of it and a lot of it is completely pointless.

And I've always rolled my eyes a bit at other nursing covers. No offense, other nursing covers.

But my childhood best friend, Katy, had a baby not long ago and asked me for a refresher course on how to tuck a baby blanket into your bra to create an impromptu nursing cover. Both of us were of the opinion that regular nursing covers were practically a billboard advertising your activity and not worth the trouble or diaper bag space, and although the blanket trick doesn't look good (at all), it is effective enough. 

I've got to say though, I think Bizzy Babee nursing covers have finally gotten it right. I was hopeful when I clicked on the link and it looked discreet, comfortable, and easy to use. They sent one to Katy for review and we met for lunch to check it out. The color was a really pretty deep plum, the fabric was light, breathable and of nice quality and workmanship, and the cut was fantastic. Katy was wearing a long sleeved white shirt that day and when she put the Bizzy Babee nursing cover on, it looked like a normal fashion accessory. I know that seems highly unlikely, and I would hesitate to believe it if I hadn't seen it myself, but even Katy agreed that it looked nice on and she's a fashion designer. (Shoes, but same difference. She knows what looks good).

Plum Nursing Cover
See? That looks good.
And then, of course, came the actual nursing with it which was easy to do. No fumbling with bra strap tucking, no stomach exposure, plenty of cover to adjust your nursing bra without creating a scene, and the neck line was wide enough that she could easily peek inside at baby. She just looked like a regular person sitting and eating her lunch, you wouldn't have given her a second glance unless you were wishing you had a nice, comfy poncho like that.

Man, it turns out I had a surprising amount to write about it, but the Bizzy Babee nursing cover really is wonderful in its simple sophistication. I guess I'm just overly excited that there is an option for nursing moms that isn't total dork city. And maybe I kind of miss nursing sometimes. Not all of the blanket/bra strap tucking and leaking and all of that, but you know, the rest of it, and I would have felt slightly more glamorous in one of these. Maybe I need one anyway, I could sneak candy into the movies and snuggle up in my seat! Like a cool person's Snuggie!

But anyway, one of you can win one. How nice is that? US friends only, sorry, especially for you Canadians who are among my favorite people in the universe. Leave a comment below through the end of February 23rd, 2013 to be entered to win one Bizzy Babee nursing cover and I will choose one winner via random number generator.

Disclaimer: A product was provided by the company for review and giveaway, and that in no way influenced my opinion. If it wasn't that great, I would tell you it wasn't that great. Lucky for everyone, this one was that great. Do you have a product you would like to giveaway? One that is relevant to our interests and that you already know is great? Email me at ashleyquitefrankly at gmail dot com.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Time Travel

Last night I was sitting on the couch and had a fleeting thought about how fast my boys were growing up, and how quickly it will go (a thought that always saddens me) and for just one second, I had the briefest glimpse in my head of little kid and I dancing, with him as a grown up, at what I assume was his wedding.

It was so real, so crystal clear, so easy to see his adult face and know that I got his adult self right, that I welled up with emotion and sat overwhelmed with tears of joy and sorrow. Just typing about it now has big, fat, involuntary tears rolling off of my face and dripping onto my chest, even though that mental picture of him as a grown-up is already dimming in my head.

Man, motherhood is so damn hard. Forget the day to day drudgery--creating these people and dedicating my very existence to them, knowing that one day that I will have to release them into the world is both beautiful and torturous. I am so incredibly lucky to have them but the passing time feels so unfair and unfortunate.

Why can't it just slow down? Just a bit. I just had these babies.

By the time I actually figure out what I'm doing, it will be over.

I know I have said it about other ages (pretty much everything after 3) and will say it again in the future, but I would keep 6 and 9 forever in a heartbeat. I wouldn't even need a moment to think about it.

Hissed Off

I am a little apprehensive about going to yoga today.

I mean, yeah, the yoga goblin is all fun and games once you've experienced it...but knowing you may experience it again is a whole 'nother story.

little kid does this weird thing where he hisses at you if he's displeased. It actually works really well, feels good to do, and easily conveys the message that you're not into whatever is going on--I wonder if it would work at yoga? They're all so cool they might just disregard the hissing and feel me up anyway.

Ugh, it's a tough call. Every day I'm re-reminded about why I hate exercise.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


And the winners of the HSN giveaway are:

#9--Ann aka Asnell
#14--Lisa L.

Will you please email me your full names and addresses at ashleyquitefrankly at gmail dot com within the next week?

Thank you and enjoy your shopping, and of course, thanks to HSN for making it possible.

We have a new giveaway on Tuesday that you pregnant and/or nursing people will love, so check back for that.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Opposite of Inner Peace

My desire to do yoga has intensified tremendously. I want to do yoga everywhere, in every studio, in every city, in every country of the world! I want to go to yoga workshops! Not because I am enjoying the actual process of yoga so much (in fact, at some point in every class I think, "Why the hell am I here? How did I forget that I don't like this that much?"), but because yoga people are amazing(ly weird.)
And I do like the meditation at the end. As long as there's no Shania Twain or incense (and thankfully, there hasn't been).

There was an assistant teacher at today's class. She was tall and very slender and otherwise plain, and had the clean natural look a lot of yoga people prefer.

During the warm up she came around and massaged my neck and shoulders and lightly played with my hair. I'm a little weird about physical contact with strangers but it felt good so I just tried to let go of my awkwardness and enjoy it.

So then she walked around and helped us hold our poses. Okay, I thought, two teachers for the price of one. I will really be learning yoga now!

Oh, and did I.

Now keep in mind that I have done yoga 4 days this week. Before this, I literally barely left my couch for the entire month of January due to a fractured toe (which is 300 times more painful than it sounds). So I am very sore and not at my strongest. I'm also still kind of new so I do need some gentle guidance.

What I absolutely did not need was her mounting me. During a series of Warrior poses (standing, legs spread and bent, arms outstretched) she got so close to me that her knees fit into the hollows of mine, I could feel her pubic mound on my back, and her breath in the little hairs on the back of my neck. She was gently cradling me so we were doing the pose together (against my will). Add to this that I am covered in sweat and trembling uncontrollably from muscle fatigue. I was freaking out at the weirdness, in pain from the pose, unable to disengage, and really scared I was going to fall and bring both of  us down. And did I mention that I was shaking like crazy while being humped by this stranger? It was awkward, to put it lightly. To put it oh so very lightly.

During a Goddess pose, she went to put her hands on my trembling inner thighs and I just went ahead and plopped to the floor, reaching for my water, while she waited there at the end of my mat because apparently she thought I was getting back up. I wasn't.

At the end of the class, we were sitting indian style (or whatever politically correct and/or actual yoga thing they are calling it now) and we were leaning forward into the stretch, trying to touch our foreheads to the floor. I really was concentrating on the stretch but something in the row ahead of me caught my eye...

The assistant was perched upon someone's rounded back, her feet not touching the floor, her body curled around theirs, pressing them forward into the ground with her own weight--like a little yoga goblin. I just stared. The teacher reminded me to relax my neck and I ignored her. I glanced around for my yoga bag, desperately wanting my cell phone for a photo even though I'd most likely get caught and kicked out of the studio forever. The teacher said something about letting gravity pull our heads down toward the earth and I ignored her. She then said we should close our eyes, clearly talking to me at this point, and I wanted to say, "No! I won't! We've got a yoga gargoyle making its rounds, I'm not missing this!" but I bowed my head and stared warily at the yoga goblin through my parted eyelashes. Lucky for me, she stayed at her post on the prone back of my helpless classmate, smiling with a delighted inner peace that I may never feel.

People, I'm going to have to find a way to continue membership at this yoga studio. Forget exercise and tranquility, $175 a month is a bargain for this kind of blogging inspiration. We need this.

You do not get a yoga goblin for the cheap gym yoga price of $10, you just don't. So I'm going to have to be a yoga person.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Just Watch

little kid has really lucked out again this year as far as teachers go.

Last year his teacher was a prettier, more emotional version of Mary Poppins and I was positive no one could ever compare.

Shockingly, this year's teacher does. She is the sweetest, most patient, soft spoken person I have ever met. You can tell she is naturally better with the kids than she is with adults and that she truly enjoys their company. The other day I was volunteering and she nudged me and told me to look at Gage and Cooper. I did. Their hands were in the fish tank.

She smiled with a closed mouth, holding back a giggle. And just watched them, quietly pleased.

"Sometimes I just like to see what they will do. You know? I just like to wonder what they are thinking."

I wondered what the fish were thinking.

"They're so funny. They're my friends and I just like to watch them and let them be who they are. If I ever stopped enjoying them, I would quit this job. I really do like to be with them."

And she does. I've never seen her raise her voice or lose control. Interestingly, she doesn't really try to maintain any control. The kids are pretty much free to wander around as they need to, move to another area if they'd like more space, remain at their table during floor time if they want, and make their own choices...and this works 98% of the time and the other 2% she happily chalks up as a learning experience. It never feels as chaotic as you would think such loosely enforced guidelines would in a first grade classroom.

She will let them each choose a treat from a huge bag of mixed candy and she will stand there patiently smiling while they take the decision as seriously as choosing a life partner. "Friends? I know choosing can be hard, but let's remember that our friends are waiting to make their choice too," she says in her hypnotic, sing song voice.

"I'm surprised you don't time and get one type of candy." I mentioned one day.

"They do a really great job. You'd be surprised. I'm really proud of their ability to make a decision."

One day I came in to find their desks in what I would call complete disarray and she proudly told me that they had rearranged the room that day, and that she had let the children decide on the layout and where they would sit. I gave her an incredulous look and she said the vice principal had given her the exact same look. She then went on to tell me how seriously they took the decision--little kid and his love interest even decided not to sit at the same table, when the love interest declared she would get no work done if she was staring at him all day long.

"They all did a great job, I was so proud. I think the room looks wonderful." She beamed and they beamed back at her.

And suddenly that crazy room did look wonderful. Could you ask for anything more than a calm, reasonable adult who respects the intelligence, ability, and free spirit of your child? While still teaching them everything from which way to write their numbers to multiplication?

But I did notice that room layout didn't last for long.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ashley's Favorite Nerdy Things

It's time for our weekly installment of Ashley's Favorite Things! Yay! I have a migraine so this is all fake enthusiasm! But I think the punctuation makes it fairly convincing! *Applause*

First, though, have you entered the HSN gift card giveaway? There's only 30 comments and there's 2 gift cards so your odds are good (do your own math!). Unless you hate free money, you should just go leave a comment. If you do hate free money, I'd be happy to take any unwanted free money you happen to encounter in life off of your hands. 

This week isn't a sponsored favorite things, just stuff I like that you would like too. Maybe. No promises. It's not free money or anything, but it makes me happy.

Right now my favorite thing in the whole wide world is Louis Theroux. A nerdy journalist from BBC. I'm dead serious. If you gave me the chance to be unmarried and locked in a room with either him or Channing Tatum, I'd be knocking Channing down to get to Louis. I don't know if this makes me an old lady, or a total dork, or some kind of nerd predator but it is the truth. I watch his shows and documentaries on YouTube every night before bed and sigh and say, "He's so brave and funny and good with people," and Mr. Ashley rolls his eyes. Physically he's not my type, but that brain is sexy and I love his personality. I highly recommend the episodes about the Nazis, Westboro Baptist Church, and medicated children.

I'm now so caught up in thoughts of Louis' ability to hold an uncomfortable silence that I can't remember my other favorite things.

Oh right, no, it may have been a mental block. I am hesitant to share one of my other favorite things with you because I swear to God every time I recommend it to someone, the next time I listen they have said something that makes me cringe for having admitted to loving them. It's happened three times, you think I'd learn to keep this dirty little secret. One time I was a bit apprehensive after telling a more straight-laced friend about them and then felt hugely relieved when the next episode was a Christmas special that they were keeping clean. Then they did a serious 10 minute spiel about what would happen if you drank the puddle Frosty melted into--I literally put my head into my hands at the thought of my very normal friend thinking I loved these idiots. And I do love these idiots, I love the heck out of them. So much so that sometimes I think, "I'd be really happy if my sons turned out like this," (since they are brothers) and then I realize what shockingly low aspirations I have for my children. I think it's their closeness, confidence, ability to have fun, and quick wit that gets me. But don't hold me accountable or judge me for any stupid stuff they say.

It's the My Brother, My Brother and Me podcast, an advicecast for the modern era, and if you still want to listen to it after that glowing review...we should get together. And listen to podcasts and drool over nerdy BBC journalists. It sounds amazing doesn't it? You'll have to get in line, I have as many friend requests as you'd think for being that cool.

So it's a pretty short line.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Hot" Yoga

Ever since my decision to become a yoga person, I have been highly coveting a membership to the fanciest yoga studio in town where all of the cool moms go. But it's $175 a month. I am simply not cool enough to make that happen.

But at those prices it pretty much has to be the most magical yoga place on earth, right? And how would I become a "real" yoga person without a "real" yoga studio? It's also 2 minutes from my house and I drive by every day, watching all of the beautiful people in the parking lot. The yoga classes at my gym suddenly became borderline unacceptable, despite the fact that I felt strong, graceful, and athletic each time I went (even though I am none of those things).

God obviously agreed because on Jesus' birthday there was a gift for me--a Living Social deal for 30 unlimited days at the swanky studio for a very affordable price. I was delighted. Even more so when I got a ton of cute, fancy yoga stuff for Christmas. I was going to fit right in! Plus, if I'm already so awesome at the gym's yoga, can you even imagine my abilities after 30 unlimited days at the local mecca for yoga? I'd probably be teaching the classes by then. Maybe.

Today I squashed any doubts I had and chose a class to take. A "power" class but whatever, it said for all levels, and it's just yoga so it can't be too hard. I was feeling all Sporty Spice and confident in my new yoga pants, particularly when I noticed it was mostly older people in my class. I so had this.

As I entered the actual studio, I was met with a wave of heat. I know this is a yoga thing but I disagree with it. I live in Florida, I'm hot all of the time. I avoid Bikram or Hot Yoga like the plague, because that sounds like no fun at all since it involves exercise and extreme heat, two things I routinely avoid.

Then I noticed there was only one spot left available. And it was front and center, practically nose to nose with the teacher. I didn't like that one bit, my timing was bad. But I was going to make the best of it, yoga people make the best of it. Right?

There was incense burning and I was trying not to choke on the heat and the heavy smell. But I'm not complaining because yoga people don't complain!

The rest is too much of a blur to narrate for you but it was intense. It turns out that I am not qualified for power yoga, not even with my fancy yoga pants. Those old people? They were doing head stands and back bends and little flips. My focus point to find my center of balance was the growing puddle of sweat under my neighbor. I was so slippery I looked more like Bambi on ice than the strong ballerina I envision myself to be while doing yoga.

There was one point where I knew with certainty that if I was closer to the door, I would have snuck out, too embarrassed to ever return again.

I truly thought I was going to faint during a head stand attempt and then I just laid there for a while, dripping, sealed to my mat with my own sweat, half-heartedly watching the agile old people who I'm secretly convinced were a troupe of acrobats there to trick me.

Finally, it was time for Savasana (meditation) which, if we're being honest here, is the only damn reason I do yoga. I love lying there after a job well done, clearing my mind and thinking of nothing but my breathing,  along with a room full of others all together but in our own individual head space. It is almost spiritual, hearing the chorus of our breath, feeling nothing but the pleasant sensation of my lungs and rib cage expanding with each inhalation, just being.

She lit the incense again and I channeled my inner Dalai Lama to get over it. She likes the incense, just try to embrace it, I told myself; breathing a little less deeply.

And then she turned on some Shania Twain. Really loud Shania Twain.

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Shania Twain? During savasana at a "true blue" yoga place?

Maybe I'm just not cool enough to get it?

My gym with its air conditioning, its Def Leppard music blaring just behind the glass doors of the fitness room, and its normal, inflexible old people might be where I belong after all.

And it's $10 a month.

I'll try again tomorrow, with a different instructor and class. But this may have cured my envy of the cool moms. I didn't realize they were all so sweaty and reeked of Patchouli.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


I had a moment of parenting weakness and decided Bob's Burgers wasn't that bad, no worse than Futurama or Simpsons, and allowed the kids to watch it.

Two minutes in, there was a vibrator joke. The word vibrator was repeated a few times and was too difficult to ignore. I realized I had made a huge mistake.

"Uh, this is not going to work. Sorry guys."

There was a collective groan of disappointment as I turned it off.

"What's a vibolater anyway?" Big Kid asked.

"Uh, nothing. None of your business. Don't ask me. Seriously, don't."

"You're not even going to tell us?" Big Kid asked.

"No, I'm not! I said I wasn't! And if you google it, I will never let you on the computer ever again and I will know."

"Then we'll just ask our teachers, right, bro?" little kid said.

I laughed so hard at the thought that I began choking. This was ENTIRELY the wrong way to handle this whole situation. They will never forget the word "vibolater" now.

When I calmed down I said, "If you do that, I will never let you leave our home again."

And I meant it.