Sunday, March 31, 2013

Relish the Moment

Tonight at Easter dinner:

Me: I don't know why we have the pickles and olives, no one eats those.

Mom: That's not true! Grandpa does. The relish tray is a tradition.

Dad: Relish? That is not relish. Why do you call it relish?

Mom: It is, that's what it's called.

Me: She's right, it is.

Dad: Ashley, relishes are red and they grow in the ground.

Me: ...radishes? You're talking about radishes.

Dad: Relishes. Don't be ridiculous.

Me: ....?

(Remembering that my mom had hoped we wouldn't argue. She was shaking her head behind him.)

Dad, you know how chopped up pickles on a hot dog is called relish?

He shook his head. I know he knows this. I saw a glimmer of recognition right then, like maybe relishes aren't red and don't grow in the ground--but he is not the sort to be wrong.

Dad: (pointing to the tray) That is not relishes. I know what a relish is.

Me: Okay. You're right.

But it's not a radish either, I added quietly under my breath.

And then I let it go.

Because if Jesus can rise from the dead, I can let my dad think he's right when he's wrong. Just this once.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Goodist Famley

Although I don't usually share the names of my boys, I actually do that to protect them from Google more than anything else.

However, I found this on the hard drive of an old laptop little kid uses and it so so heart-meltingly sweet that I had to share:

...and I'm way too lazy to photoshop his name out.

So pretend like he's Beetlejuice and don't use his name anywhere it may result in trouble.

This kid has a promising career as a politician ahead of him--we can't have people knowing he has such a sweet heart.

I also want to point out that what he lacks in spelling skills, he makes up for in font choice. Makes me swoon, the whole thing.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shabby Seat

This is my new chair. See the potential? 

I think Mr. Ashley does too because he's complaining way less now.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fiction Writer

 Yesterday was student-led conferences and it went okay, because there were cupcakes.

But in reviewing little kid's work, I read a story he wrote of when he lost his first tooth. It included how I told him "good for you" and to go away when he tried to show me. Which is fine and all...but it never happened.

"What is this? I didn't tell you to go away!"

 "Uh, yeah, I know. I needed to make it longer."

"So you decided to make something up that makes me look mean?"

"Yes, kind of."

"This is kind of embarrassing for me. It makes me not like the story very much because it's not a real memory--since you made up a whole section about me being mean."

"It's real except for that part."

"Yeah, I like all of the rest of it. That made-up part is kind of the problem."

At that point, the parents at the next desk over were glancing over like I was the mean one (which is not true, he is the mean one) so I had to drop it.

But I do wish I could tell the teacher that I am not the mean one.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


"Mom, Big Kid said A-S-S," said little kid, whose spelling skills are getting impressive.

"You did?" I asked him.

"I was just singing a song! It was on just now!" Big Kid insisted, looking guilty.

"What song?" I asked, mostly out of curiosity.

"Thrift Shop. I said 'Damn, that's a cold-ass honky.'"

It was really hard not to laugh.

"So you said, 'Damn, that's a cold-ass honky'?"

"Yes, I did." He was honest and almost defiant about it.

At this point I couldn't hold back the laughter, and soon we were all laughing really hard, little kid the hardest. "Damn, that's a cold-ass honky!" he added unnecessarily.

That made me laugh even harder but I had to calm down for propriety's sake. "Look you guys, seriously, you cannot go around cursing and you are not allowed to say any of the other bad words in Macklemore's song if you know them! But if you think you can follow those rules--and I will revoke this privilege if there is even one slip-up from either of you!! If you think you can follow those rules, I will allow you to sing along to the line 'Damn, that's a cold-ass honky' but only in that exact context--while singing the Thrift Shop song while it is playing on the radio. Not outside of the family. Ever."

And that was wrong of me and completely ridiculous of me. I will surely regret it, it was a horrible idea.

But it was the best horrible idea I've ever had because that shit is hilarious.

In With the Old

"Will you do me a favor and--oh no, nevermind," I asked Mr. Ashley.

"What? What are you hiding?"


"It seems like you're up to something."

"I want the Diet Dr. Pepper out of the back of my car, but if you do that for me, you will see my new chair."

"Your new chair?" He asked in the tired voice of someone who knows we don't have room for a new chair.

I have a strange passion for chairs. I once had to sell 12 at a garage sale because it had gotten really out of control. I still miss 4 of them. It is extremely hard for me to pass up a single wooden chair...they call to me. We need each other.

"Yeah, I have a new chair."

"From where?" He knew from where.

"Someone was just getting rid of it!"

"Trash? Was it on the curb?"

"It's a really good chair. A really good one. I just have to see if I can fix..."

He began laughing. "It's a really good chair but you have to see if you can fix it?"

"Just the upholstery part."

"Is that all?" He asked sarcastically.

"Yes. It's a really good chair." 

It will be a really good chair.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Student Led Release Day

Tomorrow is an early release day.

Let's ignore the fact that we JUST had spring break, a lot of sick days, they have Friday and Monday off and two more days in April.

Early release days are the most pointless days in the universe. All of the trouble and hassle of a school day but only 3 hours of school? And tomorrow is the worst of the worst--student led conferences after school.

This seems to be the new thing the last few years, and frankly, I'm going to go ahead and call shenanigans and point out this is a way to avoid parent/teacher conferences. I have "student led" conferences every single day after school, they go like this:

Me: How was your day?

Them: Fine.

Me: What happened at school today?

Them: Nothing.

Me: Nothing? You didn't learn anything? Nothing interesting happened at all?

Them: (thinking for a moment) Nope.

Me: Tell me one thing you did today.

Them: Uh...recess?

Then I look at whatever piles of paper they brought home and piece together what's happening.

Student led conferences are a variation of the same process, but I have to go to the school to do it. I'm there a lot anyway.


They will get off the bus, I will put them in the car and take them back to school, where I will go to the stations I help with weekly, and look at his papers like I do every night, and try to get an assessment of my first grader's education from the 6 year old who only remembers recess by the end of the day. 

When we could be at the beach.

Or they could be at school and I could be at the beach. 

Invitation Box Giveaway Winners

Jocelyn and Ami won the self-inking stamps from I will give them your email addresses so they can arrange to send your prize!

You are going to feel so official with your fancy stamps. I hope you stamp ALL the things! A big thank you to Invitation Box for making us all want stamps!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Finder's Keepers

I found a baby at the fair tonight.

For one moment, while I held him on my hip and he snuggled comfortably against me, I kind of wanted to keep him. A finder's keepers kind of thing. I thought, "If this was a puppy, I would keep it!" and wished it worked like that.

After all, I rescued him from certain danger! I saw him emerge from a crowd alone and run around a corner. When I didn't see an adult chase after him, I told Mr. Ashley that I would be right back and followed him. By the time I reached him, he was at the end of the midway and had climbed up a small platform and under a locked safety gate and was climbing up the super tall slide of a closed fun house. No one else was around so I leaned over the gate and grabbed him by his shirt. He had curly hair and big brown eyes and was around 18 months old, if even. His name was Sebastian which was perfect for him, but I wouldn't have known that if I kept him and would have named him Alexander.

As I stood there deciding what to do, a man walked up and he asked if that was my baby, and when I admitted that it wasn't, he said he saw the mother screaming and crying nearby. It took a while, but we eventually found her. She has no idea about the fun house adventure her little guy went on, because she was crying too hard to talk. I'm glad she got her baby back and maybe it's better she doesn't know.

And the last thing I need is the kind of jerk of a kid that escapes at the fair...but he was so cute and sometimes I wish we had one more boy. Very seldom but sometimes. Very, very seldom.

Ten minutes later I found a lost 4-year-old. His mom wasn't as happy to get him back and I didn't consider keeping him not even for one minute.

At this point, Big Kid said, "This is the sort of place there's gonna be a lot of lost kids, maybe you should just worry about your own," because I guess he doesn't want a new surprise adopted sibling.

I also had deep fried Reese's cups, Big Kid rode a mechanical bull, and both kids zip-lined. But that wasn't nearly as exciting as almost getting a new baby.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Thing About the Hair


This is a little awkward, but in my site statistics I see that I get a lot of google traffic on a post I did about having curly hair. Specifically, a lot of people are searching to avoid triangle head, and I think it is hilarious that term shows up in the results so often. I have a head full of naturally curly hair and wrote a very popular post encouraging my curly-headed friends to embrace it and that curly hair is awesome!

And then I straightened it with Keratin treatments. I know. I'm a traitor. For the record, I wouldn't have gone out of my way to do that, I barter copywriting and marketing for salon services and it was a "Well, hey, why not?" kind of thing after too many humid days and uncontrollable hair.

I will admit that I love, love, love it with all of my heart and soul. My hair is straight and sleek and shiny and soft and manageable. It dries quickly and mostly straight. I am no longer phobic about hair cuts. Good hair days are no longer up to the weather, it is really nice. At any hint of a curl, I march back into the salon and have them chemically treat it right out.

I do get a little tired of it just lying there limply though and now that curls are optional, I like to curl it with one of those big curling wand things. One like this but I lost the glove because I'm a rebel without a cause:

And when I say I curl it, I mean make a few haphazard waves and then burn the crap out of my neck. I recently burned myself pretty badly before going to a hockey game, so I had a head full of big, sexy curls and a neck that looked like rotting flesh, and I sat there in agony all night.

When I pointed it out to my mom a few days later she said, "I saw it but didn't want to say anything in case it was a wart." A wart?!? For the love of God, if I have a bloody, scabby, purple, 2 inch wart on my neck, please do mention it! What the hell? I felt no better about it at that point.

I still have a scar on my neck.

I am no quitter, though, because I feel fancy with Kardashian-like curls, I just lack the coordination. My hair stylist has tried to teach me twice and I have watched lots of videos on my own behalf and while writing articles for the salon, but it still never goes well.

I just saw the following video where she uses a regular curling iron instead of a wand, and the way she clamps it doesn't involve wrapping the hair around a 400 degree bar of burning metal with your hand, and I'm wondering if a new curling iron would magically solve all of my hair problems:

I'm definitely not ready for step 2 though, which involved lots of teasing and hair spray. I actually laughed out loud a little at the thought--knowing me, I'd be walking around with 2 combs, a brush and 46 bobby pins stuck in my hair. I can barely blow dry it without it getting so tangled in the round brush that I consider cutting it off.

So I don't know, maybe you shouldn't be taking hair advice from me at all, people from Google.

Blogher is having a giveaway of $100 or $250 VISA gift cards related to watching these beauty videos, so go do that if you are feeling lucky and/or like money and/or need hair advice. Official rules.

Also,  Clemson Girl and the Coach is pretty good at hair, go ask her.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Big Kid Comics

These are the latest two installments of the comics Big Kid has drawn for the school paper.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Writing Reaction Cycle

I am writing a parenting column and articles for a newspaper again. This is the response I get from almost all of my family and friends when I tell them:

"You're writing for the paper?! Oh my gosh! Wow! How exciting! That is really great, good for you," with a big smile and genuine happiness.

I usually indicate that yes, I am very excited and this is very good news.

"So what...what exactly do you write about?" They always ask curiously.

I tell them I write about local parenting-related stuff and that the column is about our lives or my perspective on parenting.

"YOUR lives? You guys?" Great confusion begins to set in here. "Your perspective? Hmm. Well. That is really...nice. Wow. Hm."

Yes, it is kind of interesting and crazy, I say here with a nervous laugh. I try to write about funny stuff, I clarify.

"So, how did they find you for this? What background do YOU have for this?" At this point they are barely even hiding their disbelief and are almost aggressive in figuring out what the heck is happening here.

Well, I used to work there, I remind them. My old editor recommended me.

Which amazingly clears up nothing, because the confused looks or "But still" or "But why" line of questioning continues. 

So I guess this is proof that I am not funny or entertaining in real life. 

Don't really care though because I've got a cool job again! As little kid would write, "Hatters gonna hat."

Come on Bus

Ahhhhhhh, it's Monday, spring break is over, the children are in the driveway arguing while waiting for the bus to arrive and all I can think is, "About to not be my problem, can't wait for the bus to come," (I sing this) and I will be climbing back into my delicious bed and enjoying silence for the first time in two weeks.


Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Invitation Box Giveaway

Ironically, despite being almost phobic about sending or receiving mail (it's just a lot of pressure and usually not fun), I love stationery. I have boxes full of note cards, I am a paper snob, I drool over good design on Pinterest boards and frequently pin wedding invitations despite having no reason to believe I will ever be having another wedding. All of my parties start with creative invitations and when I actually get my shit together enough to send out Christmas cards, they are nice ones. It is definitely one of my things.

Invitation Box contacted me to see about doing a giveaway for you all and I really liked what I saw, especially their wedding invitation collection and even more specifically their bridal shower selection. So cute and they have a lot of variety. I might throw a bridal shower again one day for someone else, there's hope for that! I just really like weddings, okay?

But anyway, they are offering up two self-inking stamps for two of you. You don't even have to be getting married to use them. A lot more practical than address labels (and more fun, who doesn't feel all official when stamping stuff?) and they have a big selection to choose from.

The contest is open until Monday the 25th and we're using rafflecopter so I can find the two winners easily! 

Enter to win

(Disclosure: I was offered a coupon code for my personal use for doing this post, but not until after I agreed to do it. It didn't influence my opinion on how very official I'd feel with a return address stamp, that's just a fact, stamping stuff makes people feel important.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Social Network

I propose a new social network that tracks your usage and can warn people when they're probably annoying their friends. It would have pie charts and bar graphs and disclaimers like:

WARNING: You are up to 62% political posts.

WARNING: This is the 14th post you've shared today, for a total of 197 this month. Continue with share?

WARNING: 33% of your text is not recognizable as language or grammar. Spell check commencing.

WARNING: Photo appears to be poorly lit, self-taken, and at an odd angle. Continue? You're sure?

WARNING: The link you are attempting to share does not pass the filter. Please try again.

WARNING: You have exceeded the limit for self-promotion today. Try again later.

WARNING: Your status updates have been hidden by 73% of your friends and family. Upgrade to Pro Anti-Annoying Filter?

I mean, seriously, people. I need a social network where I can actually like the people I like, you know?

Someone get to writing some code or whatever magic shit people do to build websites and call me when it's time to collect my check. I'm telling you this would be the next big thing!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

War Zone

For fear of going fully insane and possibly cannibalizing each other after weeks of not leaving the house, constant togetherness, and running out of groceries, I took the kids out to lunch at Panera today.

Shout out to the counter guy for pointing out that we must have a sweet tooth--it's exactly what someone who just ordered their body weight in pastries wants announced to the long line behind them. "Clap, clap, clap", as Big Kid would say, since he is too worn down to actually clap this week.

I ordered soup in a bread bowl and apparently it was the first time little kid had seen such a thing. His mind was blown when they set it in front of me.

"That looks like a bowl made out of bread! With soup in it!" He said with wonder and delight.

"That is exactly what it is!"

"It's soup in a bowl made of bread? That's--crazy. Is that piece of bread there the top?"


"You know what would be awesome? To get a whole bunch of them, put the tops back on, and throw them at people."

In hindsight, I recognize that my first reaction should have been--what? Disappointment? Concern that this was his first thought upon introduction of a bread bowl? I don't know, because my initial reaction was, "That is freaking brilliant, how have I never thought of that?"

Can you even imagine how much fun it would be to throw a bread bomb full of soup at someone? I mean, I know it's wrong, I completely understand that--but it's also innovative and greatly appealing.

Don't worry, I told him not to do it.

But I did do the math on how much a soup bombing would cost and who may be a good candidate for one.

Despite my good intentions and a nice lunch out, we still had a massive emotional meltdown today. I believe we have had enough of each other. Or at least some of us have had enough of some of the rest of us. And puke, some of us have had e-fucking-nough of puke--both kids also puke up their medicine so I am under great duress here, and I might just throw away half of our laundry because who even cares? Not me. That's who.

But anyway, at one point this afternoon Big Kid screamed, "HE IS SNAPPING TO THE BEAT OF MY SOBS!" and I thought it so beautifully summed up our current circumstances. Poetically angsty. I had to ground them from each other for the rest of the night, but they banded together to defy my ruling about 20 minutes later when I guess it became acceptable to hang out with your "worst enemy on the whole freakin' planet" again.

At this point, it's probably a good thing we don't have soup bombs lying around or I'd have an even bigger mess to clean up.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Break

My little overachiever passed both the Strep and Influenza B tests, so we'll be spending Spring Break Ashley-style--in bed and begging for drugs.

Just kidding.

(No, I'm not.)

It's not fun at all though. These people frequently barf up their drugs and there are no drugs for me, and I probably deserve them most of all.

little kid is also feverish again and they are both in my bed right now, all hot and sweaty, and lying sprawled out like crazy people, wrapped up in the blankets I like to wrap up in, leaving no space or stuff for me.

I'll be asleep on the couch, blanketless and smelling vaguely of puke, just like the good old days.

But less fun.


Poor Big Kid is really miserable and now I'm glad I'm home with him, even if the timing of his illness sucks. Big Kid never naps, not ever, not since he was 3 and gave up naps forever, but his poor, sick self is napping today.

I was using talk-to-text to text message Mr. Ashley and said, "He's napping, little guy is so sick," into the phone. I glanced down at the transcription before hitting send and realized it typed, "He's napping, little guy is so sexy."

Can you even imagine the confusion if I hadn't double checked before hitting send?

Once I talk-to-texted a friend something about cupcakes but "Just give him the freaking napkin" was added to the end as I screamed at the kids while hitting submit. Luckily it was someone who understood.

Just a reminder not to ever trust talk-to-text. My day could have only gotten worse from there.

There are no sexy little guys here, just sick ones. 

Coughing Fit

I was supposed to start working at the yoga studio today in exchange for classes. I was pretty excited about it, more so after being locked in the house with sick children for going on 3 weeks.

Big Kid has had a cough, I wasn't too worried about it but he woke up miserable this morning and begged me to take him to the doctor. The line at the walk-in was so long that we turned around and went home with a promise to return later because it was going to make me late for work...and then he came home and threw up everywhere. So I had to call my super cool, beautiful new boss on my very first day two hours before beginning to tell her that I couldn't make it after all.

Can I just point out (in spite of my sympathy for Big Kid and I do feel awful for him--this is not his fault, this is just a side effect of motherhood), how much this sucks?

That the one time in years I have put myself out there, to do something I might not like in the hopes of growing as a person and taking some risks that may pay off in my personal life, I have to embarrass myself by looking unreliable right out of the gate?

That I have heard coughing in stereo for weeks now, starting when I woke up this morning to people coughing in my face at 7am, and that I am denied this two hours of escape?

That I was already anxious due to my dull social skills formed by years of parenting, and that I get to be extra anxious next time because I'm the jerk who called in on her first day with hardly any notice?

WHY DO I BOTHER? (This is why I usually don't!)

I should just call her back and tell her maybe I'll be available in 12 years. Maybe.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


This morning my alarm clock screamed, "MOOOOOOOOOM, I HAVE DIARRHEA!" way too early.

Happy Sunday, everyone. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Future Dictator

"I'm gonna be president one day and enslave you," little kid told his brother.

Big Kid laughed. "Yeah right, you would never be elected president, bro."

"I would too. I'm good at everything."

"You know how everyone found out that Mitt Romney strapped his dog to the roof of the car, like a long time before he even wanted to be president? That will be you. People will find out that you harass and abuse me and they will never vote for you for president. People will know. Besides, slavery is illegal. Have you heard of the land of the free?"

"The president can do what he wants. I'll be the president. What will they do if I have a slave? Kill me? No."

"You are being ridiculous. Does Obama have slaves? Does he?"

"No, because he is a nice person. I am not nice, I like the idea of slaves and I will enslave you. Know what? I will enslave everyone with your first name. All of them."

"See? That's even worse. Everyone with my name will hear that you've said this and you will NEVER get elected, bro. That's even worse than the dog thing, just admitting you're planning to enslave people for fun. It will never happen. I'm not even worried."

"It will happen. I'm pretty tricky. Mom, can they fire the president?"

"Yes. It's called impeachment. I imagine trying to enslave everyone with your brother's name would probably get you impeached."

"Dang it. I'll figure out something though. How about other countries? Can they have slaves?"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Secret Message Revealed

 Everyone's home sick from school today, which seems particularly unfair (to me) the week before spring break. 

little kid just approached me and said, "You know that song, the one song where's she's like 'I kissed a girl and I liked it' and then talks about cherry Chapstick?"


"That's messed up."

"Yeah. Rock stars are always singing about messed up things though, it's all about the shock value, you know? She probably didn't even do that."

"She says she hopes her boyfriend don't mind it--so it's like a girl and a boy, not even just like a girl who loves another girl. Totally messed up. I am disgusted."

"Right. Me too."

"I bet she thought no one would even notice that, but I noticed. That song would NOT be so popular if everybody knew what it was about. Nothin' gets past me though. I know her secret," he said with a sense of smugness.

Nothing does get past him. Sorry about your luck, Katy Perry.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Middea, are you out there? You won the nursing cover but didn't email me your address, and now I'm worried that you're out there all exposed to the world.

I have more stuff I like for you all, though. A friend recommended The Boring Life of Jacqueline, a digital HBO series, which apparently means they don't market it and hide it so well on their website that you have to use the search bar to locate it. I only meant to watch one episode but it was one of the most entertaining, endearing shows I've seen in a while and I ended up watching the whole season yesterday. They are short episodes, slightly under 15 minutes, about a girl living alone in NYC and trying to become an actress; a totally cliche scenario but the show itself was awkward, hilarious, and kind of sweet. Michael Cera shows up eventually and you know you love him. You have to be an HBO subscriber and then you have to be able to watch HBO Go, so good luck ever seeing it. I'm hoping and praying that HBO will love it like I do, so go watch it if you can so I can hopefully see a second season. I love Jacqueline and I'm addicted to the end credits song, which is the same but different each time.

My other favorite thing for this week is probably something everyone but me has seen before. I was formerly resistant to internet video since my old laptop sucked, and I don't like cheesy, emotional things like wedding proposals or group dancing. But this made me laugh and cry and then maniacally laugh and cry at the same time. I want to marry this guy now, the collaborative effort here was impressive:
 Don't you wish you had friends and family like that?

There are people in my inbox wanting to give you all things but I've gotten a bit unorganized, which I'm sure is a total surprise to you all. Or not. But let's watch webisodes and flash mob proposals and get to the rest of life later.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Not My Turn

The last 4 times I have tried to go take a bath, someone has gotten to the shower before I did.

That means one of my family members has done it to me twice. I have been attempting this maneuver since yesterday afternoon.

I need to shower too, people. It's time to change out of these pajamas into some clean ones and to do that, I need a bath.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bringing in the Trash

The new rug I ordered on sale finally arrived.

As I struggled to get it into the front door, all rolled and wrapped up, I said, "MY RUG IS HERE!" with great joy.

"Someone threw that away?" little kid asked in disbelief.

"Threw this away? No, I bought this."

"You bought that? Wow. You get most of your treasures from the trash, so I thought it was someone's garbage."

"Come on now. I don't get that much stuff out of the trash."

"Yes, you do."

 I guess he just doesn't realize how much shopping I do, since I usually have to sneak it into the house and hide it among our surroundings.

Just an FYI, if you commend your UPS guy on Twitter for his ninja-like skills, UPS may or may not contact you via Twitter to try to get you to email them and rat him out because UPS guys aren't trained to be ninjas, I guess. I told them in all caps that I won't betray him. That dude is on the top 5 list of most important men in my life--he's cute, he's quiet, and he brings me stuff. He might be top 2. I commend their attention to customer service (and want the job of whoever gets to patrol Twitter) but it's more important not to have to deal with putting on a bra and wrestling the barking dog away from the door every other day. He understands me. I will protect him. We will continue our love affair without seeing each other or speaking.