Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lest she be denied the truth of her roots.

On our walks, each day, Harper and I talk a lot. We talk flowers & animals (especially dogs and squirrels), we sing songs (ok. gasp and heave air through vocal cords up hills, hoping sound comes out), we count and sometimes, we're just quiet.

Today, after a few minutes of silence, I saw a small index finger declaratively fly out and heard:

Harper: ((points to tree)) Flower!
Me: Yes, it is! It's a Dogwood tree! Funny, it's the state flower of North Carolina, but it's actually a tree. The state tree is the Pine. Can you say Dogwood?
Harper: Woof. Twee.
Me: Yeah. Close enough. Woof.
Harper: ((thinks I said "wolf")) Ouuuuuwwww! (this is a howl)
Me: Ouuuuuww! (obviously..)

..Then, in the littlest voice, that if the timing hadn't been perfect and in which my heart nearly bursts thinking that I might have missed it if a car happened to rumble past, she said, "Go Sate (State)."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Top of the Muffin, to ya! Week 15

Spring has sprung and I'm being so healthy I can barely stand myself.

The weather is beautiful and it's the best kind of beautiful, meaning, the mosquitoes haven't realized it's people-hunting season, yet.

Fresh produce is starting to pop up, albeit in the form of $6.99 watermelons. I buy them anyway, because the opportunity cost of not having it is just too high to bear.

Because our fridge and pantry are filled with fresh tomatoes and corn and greens and berries, I'm not tempted by the Cap't. (Crunch. . . not Morgan).

Thanks to my father-in-law, we have a new elliptical machine. ..Last night, I watched Step Brothers and laughed (ok.. snorted) through an extra workout. Bliss.

Harper and I have been taking two walks per day - she's currently in love with Spring & strawberries to snack on & will willingly go any place the Kelty jogger dares tread ((knocks on wood)).

Because the weather is so beautiful and we're outside all the time and the TV is never on, we sleep great - even Harper ((knocks extra hard on the wood)).

It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  -Mark Twain

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Trust me, I'd rather growl through the door.

Twice today, I've heard the sound that drops me in my tracks, sends me quickly, stealthily crawling through the house to avoid windows, pleading with a toddler to, "Shhh.. Be quiet." to which she replies loudly, "SHHH! I quiet! Thank you!" and with a surgeon's steadiness, pulling back a curtain precisely two millimeters to reveal uninvited, unexpected visitors on the porch.

It's been happening more and more frequently. . . and I'm over it.

Earlier today, it was the creepy neighbor next door who wears no pants. After two knocks and one door bell chime, he placed some of our junk mail in our mailbox and left. You wear no pants and have a criminal record. Junk mail from Verizon isn't your golden ticket, Snackshack.

Just now, it was a teenager with a big cardboard box. He obnoxiously rang the bell 6 times then pounded on the door for good measure.

While I stood just two feet away from him in a cold-sweat panic, begging him to leave and not wake the sick, snotty and coughing baby who I had just watched struggle her way to sleep, I briefly thought of my options:

Come out brandishing a golf club and knock some blooms off the azaleas to demonstrate my seriousness?

Growl menacingly through the door (my bark is not as impressive as my quack these days. . . A duck isn't scary)?

Cock the shotgun and hope he hears it?

Unfortunately, all of these options would, of course, rouse the babe. So I stood. And prayed for him to leave.

Then, when he mercifully relented, slammed our screen door, and indignantly huffed his way through the yard, I knew immediately what I needed.

No. . . not a taser-wired Welcome mat.

Everyone has that jerk or crazy person on their street with the sign. . . depending on their mental status, its either huge and obnoxious or scrawled crazily in a hodgepodge of capital and lowercase letters with excessive punctuation.

Tonight, I join the ranks, although I'm telling myself it's with a little more grace.

If you want one, too, it's from this Etsy shop!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Possibly Unpopular Opinion of the Week

There is no feeling so helpless as being in the middle of a solo road trip when an unreachable Styrofoam cooler in the back seat begins making the squeaky squeaky Styrofoam cooler sound.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Top of the Muffin, to ya! Week 14

Let's talk about

It's free!

For the past 7 days, I've been tracking everything I eat. I get that this is an old concept, but MFP allows me to track exercise (I defy you to do an exercise or eat a food that isn't in their database) and it incorporates the calories burned into my daily calorie allotment.

My daily calorie goal is based on how much weight I want to lose and how quickly I want to lose it. Genius.

My very favorite part is when, at the end of the day and I'm done entering all of my food and exercise, I click a big green "Complete This Entry" bar.

This, my friends, is when MFP lowers the boom. It calculates that, based on what I ate & if I ate that way every single day, how much I'll weigh in 5 weeks. It's either an almost tangible motivator or a huge kick in the pants.

Especially when I've been too lenient with myself. . . "Oh self, going over your daily calorie goal by 200 calories isn't THAT bad. You exercised and the things you ate were very healthy!"

Well, it is THAT bad. Because even though I got my burn on and didn't eat doughnuts, in 5 weeks, I will be exactly the same weight. Hello, hamster on a wheel.

Also, a muffin top is not required for entry.

Even if you don't want to lose weight, you can enter fitness goals and track your food to ensure your diet is balanced with the proper percentages of carbs, protein, fat and calories. Who doesn't need balance?

Go forth and track!

*Obviously I received no compensation for this endorsement as I'm a terrible marketer of myself and choose to endorse products that are, in fact, free.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cupcake of the Week

Place: Georgetown Cupcake, Bethesda
Time: 10:34 a.m.
Mission: Get fatter. Procure Chocolate Lava Fudge Cupcake.

They offer a gluten free version of the Chocolate Lava Fudge.  Not interested.

They say: "Valrhona chocolate cupcake with a rich fudge core topped with a vanilla icing with a fudge star drizzle."
I say, "If that's lava, I'll gladly jump in the Waponi Wu volcano."

Huge hunk of vanilla icing - just plain vanilla, not the signature cream cheese vanilla, which makes it eat less like a steak and more like...sticking your head in a bag of refined sugar and inhaling. Also, that fudge in the middle? It has a mind of it's own. Fork recommended, lest you elect to assume "messy chili-dog stance" on a street in Bethesda. Fenway Park, it is not.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Letter to Me

No one tells it like it is when it comes to having babies. Not even other moms.  Maybe it's because it's not as hard for other moms as it was for me.  Maybe they've blocked it out.  Maybe they didn't want to scare me. I don't know. ..but no one managed to get it through my perfectly colored, washed, dried and curled hair.

True story: My cousin tried to tell me at my baby shower after presumably spending the entire morning prepping, packing things and driving to said shower. As everyone crowded around to admire her beautiful and new pink bundle, I met my cousin's gaze.  Her eyes were kind & tired. She looked beautiful, but worried. Put together, but pulled in a million directions. She only said one thing, "It is really, really hard."

At that point, I nonchalantly told myself the lie that all expectant parents tell themselves in order to procreate: "Yikes. ..But my baby will be easier."

"Ha!" says my current self.

Doesn't everyone wish they could write a letter to themselves to snap our former selves into reality?

To the well-rested, naive, slightly swollen lass of 24, I would have said..

Hey you.

Swing by Cookout on your way back to Maryland and grab a milkshake, because it's the only dairy you'll have for a year. Harper's gonna have a milk sensitivity that will take you from hero to zero if a piece of cheese crosses your lips.

Enjoy that extra hair. It's going to fall out after the baby is born and that is.. strange.

You will know when you're in labor. Don't waste four Post-Its charting non-painful contractions at your desk.

When you can't breathe, talk or smile, that's when to call the doctor.  NOT after four Post-Its full of non-painful contractions.

Fifteen people will be in the room when Harper is born. At least half of them will be watching the process and it won't be with a bird's eye view. ..and, assuming you've had an epidural, you'll still be aware of it. And it will be very, very awkward.

Which brings me to...

An epidural is your friend. Sure, your "birth plan" can be to go as long as possible without it, but.. why the crap would you do that? 

When Harper finally arrives, banged up from your hip bone and she's gray and not pink and she doesn't breathe or cry for the first two minutes, you will feel like you're dying but don't die. She'll be fine...and loud. She will be the loudest baby born that whole week.

After three days of doctors and nurses telling you what to do, you'll feel like you can't do it on your own. You can. If you have any sense at all, you know best because you're the mom.

It's OK to holler into a pillow or cry while you're feeding your child. It hurts that bad, but it'll get better.

Harper will only sleep while she's being walked or bounced. Could you, like.. start some kind of pregnant cross-training program. . .nowish-ly?

And when, two weeks postpartum, you have to walk around with Harper for two hours at a time, you will feel like your insides are being turned inside out and that your butt will fall off. They won't, and it won't.

You'll think you'll never be normal again, but you will.

It will be worth it. Better than you ever dreamed.




Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Possibly Unpopular Opinion of the Week

Dear Professional Wielders of the Chainsaw - Shrubbery Division,

Please, please quit with the creepy people shapes. What's so bad about another round tree or a

Monday, April 11, 2011

Top of the Muffin, to ya! Week 13

A Monday morning rant, of sorts:

Going out to eat is fun. Being fat is not fun.

Please, join me for a tutorial.

This is how you get fat:

1. Don't look at the nutritional information before you go to a restaurant.
2. Choose what you think might be semi-sensible (we all know it really isn't..) and plan to eat half, then box the rest. (550)
3. It's so darn good that you eat more than half. (100)
4. Is that a glass of healthy red wine in your hand?! (150)
5. Wait.  There's bread and butter! It's whole grain. It's cool. (200)
6. And then, because you ate a semi-sensible dinner & you're at a restaurant known for their dessert & you're a little bit drunk, you order one, but plan to only eat half. (360)
7. Repeat step 3.(100)
8. Have two bites of your husband's dessert. (100)
9. What you do take home, you eat the next day. (650 + 460 = 1100)
10. Collapse into a carby salt bomb of a coma on the couch. Exercise? Hush... I'm napping.

11. Enjoy supple 2660 calorie addition to muffin top.

True story: We went to Cheesecake Factory this weekend for takeout.  My mom ordered the pasta marinara (1210 calories). From one serving, she ate dinner, I ate dinner and so did Harper.  Then, there was enough left over for Harper & me the next day. We didn't eat that delicious brown bread, we had no alcohol and we didn't order cheesecake.

That's over 1000 calories.. for noodles. Had I cooked dinner, it would have been more balanced, less salty and I would have known exactly what was in it, instead of giving a side-eye to the nutritional information that only lists 3 grams of fat. Uhh.. No. 3 grams does not a super greasy plate make.

Not sure it's worth it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cupcake of the Week

How does one live in the burbs of DC and not purchase at least one boutique cupcake per week?

It's perfect for those with a tendency to overindulge. . . unless, as you're waiting in line, you do the math and discover that a dozen is cheaper.. But I don't like math, so. .

I buy one each week - Sunday - which purposely coincides with the only non-fasting day of the week during Lent.

Georgetown Cupcake is my favorite haunt, but there are so many unique and ridiculously expensive cupcakes in DC, I'll branch out. ..once in a while.

Today, though, we'll start with a seasonal GC. 

..I stood in line for 15 minutes this morning and endured the stink eye from many a lycra-clad fitness buff as they sauntered past to get their gym on. Worth it.

Without further adieu, I bring you the Cherry Blossom cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake.

Enjoy the cringe-worthy auto focus amateur photography.

They say, "classic madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with fresh cherries and topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and a fondant cherry blossom."

I say, "Huge ole hunk of vanilla cream cheese frosting that's so rich it will make you gag by the last bite. In a good way."

With big pieces of real cherries in the batter.  Like.. real ones. Not dried hippie cherries, not canned, and they're sweet but tart.

It's muffiny and light, which is a wonderful excuse to eat it before noon.

And if you go after 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday, bless your heart, you'll be waiting until noon to get your cupcake, so seize the morning.

And just for the heck of it, this is my husband and our friends at the Cherry Blossom Festival, last year.  To protect their anonymity, I'll call them Indy and Mandy. And this is funny because I only look about four feet tall. And I can't believe Harper was ever so baby-like.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Possibly Unpopular Opinion of the Week

If you care enough to ask an expectant parent what they're naming their child, care enough to fake a polite response. And whatever you do, don't suggest an alternate. . . .or you may get your eye swole. Rightfully.

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

Monday, April 4, 2011

Top of the Muffin to ya! Week 12

I've always heard that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit and form a new habit in its place, so I thought I'd give it a shot regarding the muffin and its top.  After consulting Dr. Google, I find that this 21 day thing is quite empirical, but. . . I've never liked controlled experiments, anyway. So. . .

For a few days now, I've been doing things differently:

1. Eating a scheduled breakfast, lunch & dinner.  Since Harper was born, this has been the biggest change in how I approach eating.  She eats everything on time, but I tend to graze on the types of food I'm feeding her. ..perhaps, because for so many months, I couldn't eat lunch and dodge pureed prunes at the same time.

This week, instead of chugging coffee until 11:00 a.m. and realizing that if I don't eat, the caffeine jitters may well be responsible for puncturing an artery whilst coupon clipping, I had a cup of coffee and had some oatmeal with my girl. Fun... and less dangerous. And surprise... I haven't been ravenous at lunch and am actually hungry at dinner.

2. Around 3 p.m., things fall apart, Chinua Achebe-style. . . .but I usually don't snack on a yam.  Someone tell me they had to read that book in 10th grade and still remember it in vivid detail. Oh, just me? Anyway...I make poor choices.

Now, Harper and I go down to Brandon's weight room.  I lift light weights, do squats and crunches while she rolls and falls all over exercise balls. If we do that for 45 minutes, it's almost 4:00 and time to leave to pick up Brandon. Crisis averted.

3. Immediately brush teeth after dinner. It totally takes away the temptation to have seconds or snack on errant leftovers while I'm cleaning the kitchen.

4. Fold laundry after Harper goes to bed instead of eyeballing the fridge.  When the days get super long, I'll probably drop this in favor of a walk outside or gardening.. but for now, baby steps.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Is a pocketbook, by any other name, as mysterious?

"God! Why does my purse smell like bananas?!" ((less annoyed, more Napoleon Dynamite))

Husband has just been rhetorically wifed. He shrugs.

"I mean, there was a banana in there, but I took it out yesterday! Why on earth can I still smell it?"

((inserts whole head into purse, takes long, disgusted drag. removes head. shakes head in defeat))

Am I wrong to assume that most moms of toddlers have a banana (or two) in their purse 83% of the time? or that we smell things that shouldn't be smelled without reservation or pause?

A few days later...

Scene: Grocery Store Check-Out.

"Omg! Why are my credit cards stuck in my wallet?  What did I spill in there? It's brown and.. creamy. What did Harper put in there?"

At this point, it is safe to assume that I no longer carry an expensive bag. Or have an expensive wallet. Or have failed to annoy a single grocery store check-out girl.

"Oh GOD! Is it poop?!" Did Harper go rogue?!

<<horrified gasp from cashier>>

"No. It can't be.. It smells like.. bananas."

But I took that banana out three days ago and I didn't notice that it had even been split open.  It wasn't even brown.  In fact, I ate it.

I suppose a Type A would have done it right away, but. . .

Later that night..
Intent on discovering the source, I began removing items from my purse with the eventual intent of throwing it in the washing machine.. b/c I'm a Mom and have a washable purse ((blushes in recognition of the travesty)).

. . . paci. . .toothbrush. . .1/2 eaten cookie. . . gooey wallet. . . receipts. . .coupons. . . paci. . . paci. . .small blanket. . .sippy cup. . . . .freeze-dried strawberries. . . applesauce. . .diapers. . . .wipes. . .paci wipes. . . make up. . .keys. . . .loose change. . . hand sanitizer. . . screwdriver(?). . .scotch tape. . .board book. . .

"What is the source of the stench that plagues me so?!" I didn't really say that.

In a defeated huff, I walked to the laundry room with an empty, black winter banana purse in tow.

Spring needs to be sprung and I'll tell you why.

In anticipation of its bath, I carefully checked each inner pocket one last time, wincing at the thought of unexpectedly plunging my hand into the source. ..Coming up empty, I tossed aside the bottom board shaper and lining.

I audibly squealed in shock as a long, skinny, slimy, wet, completely black object loosed itself from the innards, became airborne, did slow motion flips and landed on my beflipflopped foot with limp clap. 

Paralyzed with fear and disbelief, I stared:

A dead black FISH!?


OMG. It's a snake.

..but dead snakes don't smell like three week old bananas..

Saturday, April 2, 2011

We be hatin.

A survey was published a few days ago polling 400 women, who indicated that they hate 83% of their Facebook girl "friends."

Guys, go ahead and update your status every 10 minutes.
Go ahead and tell us that you're getting your GTL on.
..That you're so hungover.
..That you're "at work."
..That you're poised to do man things and since you can't be bothered to write a whole sentence, you're doing things like "grill" or "wash truck" or "shower."

Don't worry, this doesn't bother the womenfolk.

Well, we hold our sisters in status, our girl "friends" to a different standard.  

If you do these things, apparently, we're annoyed:

Complain all the time (63% are annoyed by this) Oh my gaaahh, I'm sooo tired.

Share unsolicited political views (42% are annoyed by this) FYI: After the first flamingly angry rant, we know how you feel.

Bragging about seemingly perfect lives (32% are annoyed by this) Lol.  Only 32% are annoyed? Apparently the braggers are doing it wrong.  Because sometimes "I love my life!" "I love my husband!" and "I love my smart child!" so much that I annoy myself.

We also classify each other. I'm not going quotation mark crazy, these are just the survey's words:

65% of women hate the "documentarian." With bated breath, I will continually refresh my updates page  until you tell everyone that you just got back from the grocery store.  So pull out that iPhone as soon as the wheels of your oversized SUV crest the pavement of your driveway.

61% hate the "drama queen." Please tell me that the ambiguous "I just can't take it anymore." "I'm so tired of all the BS" updates count.. I will gladly contribute to this 61%.

57% hate the "proud mama." Alienate my audience? No, thanks.

46% hate the "incessant liker."  This is weak.  If "liking" a deodorant brand gets you a free sample, I tip my hat, sir ma'am, and I will likely follow suit.

40% hate the "poser."  Lol. Did you really just take a picture of your $70.00 receipt from Carabbas, title it "Baller status," and post it on your newsfeed?"

40% hate the "slactivist." Slacker + Activist. I keep trying to write something here to be funny, but I just come off looking like a huge tool.
Well, girls don't defriend girls.  We don't even "hide" each other.  We'll just hate*.

*I swear, I don't hate 83%.  In fact, only a few of these get on my nerves.  ..But should I be the oddball, the skewed sample, or should 83% of my "friends" hate me, I'll go ahead and seal the deal:

I am always so darn tired because my Republican husband lets me to go to the mall every day and shop for our genius daughter who plans to cure world hunger when she grows up. Donations welcome. And if you're not too busy tonight, please join me at the Playa Haters' Ball.