Friday, December 14, 2012

The Sweetest Thing

Henry, my little bear, I'm about to make it rain with a simile so meaningful that it's going to knock your size 3 diaper off, so get ready:

To me, Henry, parenting is like.. baking a cupcake.

First, you have to bake the cake.

And that cake? If you do it right, it's delicious.

But man. They're easy to mess up. And I do. A lot.

And there are all these recipes on how to bake the best one. And if there are a million recipes, how the heck do you know which one is best?

And sometimes.. I bake the exact recipe twice and one time it's perfectly happy..gregarious, even, and the next time, it's moody.

..You misunderstand..

I'm not saying you're moody.

I'm saying that baby Harper prepared me for moody cake.

I'm saying that she is the cupcake. 

And in the weeks leading up to your birth, I prepared myself.

For a cupcake who didn't sleep..ever, who wanted absolute. constant. contact. For a very, very loud cupcake. For an unpredictable cupcake. For a cupcake only Daddy and I understood. Usually. Hopefully.

A big cupcake? A little cupcake? You never really know until it's time to pull them out.

In my vast baking experience, all I knew is that if I tried really, really hard and I never gave up that the cupcake would turn out great.

You know.. after the colic subsided. And I learned cupcake language. And the cupcake learned to walk. And choose her own clothes.

Now it might sound like I'm talking down on the cupcake, but hear me out:

When you've never made a cupcake? Never even changed a cupcake's..liner? Cupcakes are scary and hard!

Just keep cuddling the cupcake.

Laugh with the cupcake.

Cry with the cupcake.

Read to the cupcake.

Kiss the cupcake.

Chase the cupcake.

Teach the cupcake.

Keep. Cuddling. The. Cupcake.

That was my plan for cupcake #2. In it's entirety. Plus handy acquired knowledge such as the expert wielding of the bulb syringe for snotty cupcakes and immobilizing, yet humane holds for dressing squirmy cupcakes.

That's how to make them great.

Because that's what happened with your sister.

(Your BFF, who, much to my delight, has taken to kissing you and hugging you many times a day. And my Lord.. When you lean your head down for her to kiss it? I die. Right there. Every time.)

But sweet Henry, here I was, preparing for a cupcake for nine whole months. . .

Fretting about the symphony of ingredients and how to measure them perfectly...when to add them.

And how on Earth I was going to bake two cupcakes at once.

I didn't have a double oven and everybody knows you can't just throw them in there together and hope for the best.

I didn't have two recipes and the recipe I have takes so much tweaking.. so much trial and error.

And sleep? That's not an ingredient.


What I never, ever expected, is that 365 days ago, I wouldn't get a cupcake.

At 5:55 p.m. on December 14th, 2011,

I got the icing.

Happy 1st birthday, sweet, sweet, sweet, smart, easy, happy, funny, fearless, excited, loving, cuddly Henry.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to us.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I just swept up more food from the kitchen floor than I've eaten all day.

I delayed the start of the 2 Day diet for a day, because we took Henry to the doctor for shots yesterday morning. And that was just not something I could face with a smile and green tea. Or a smoothie. Who has time for that, btw?

And then I may or may not have had a bowl of Lucky Charms when we got home. ..But Harper changed up the marshmallow to oat ratio for me, so that wasn't as bad for me as usual.

..That girl, always thinking of me..

So this morning, I started.

I waited until 10:30 (because that was the first time I had 5 seconds to myself after feeding Henry and cleaning up after Harper..and finding the Rapunzel dress.. and the glass slippers.. and then "shivery socks.") to make and drink the smoothie.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk,
1 cup ice,
1 cup blueberries,
1 tsp peanut butter (seriously. why bother.)
1 dash of cocoa powder..

I'm happy to report that the immersion blender worked beautifully and didn't even make Henry cry.

I took a sip and gagged.  It was something about the texture and that it looked like black bean soup from Panera. Normally, stuff like that doesn't bother me at all.

Like any good blogger, I took pictures. But they're too gross to show.

I added two Splenda, put it in a cup with a lid and a straw and just.. did the damn thing.

It seemed.. too big. Like.. way too much. (TWSS?...anyone? c'mon!)

but I was hungry 1.5 hours later.

I had my first snack of a cucumber in balsamic vinegar and a cup of green tea. Which was filling and not gross, although the 'no salt' hurdle is..well.. hurdleish.

When Harper asked for her usual - turkey, ham and cheese sandwich on white - around 12:30, I wasn't hungry. Which is weird. B/c dude. I love sandwich time. I was kinda 'bleh' because I knew I had to eat:

raw greens
4 oz lean meat (omg I picked shrimp. WTH was I thinking.)
1 tsp. oil

So I made the salad. And put the shrimp on top. With the oil.. and balsamic vinegar.. and a little lemon juice. and some Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning. And took a bite. And gagged.

But really? Not that awful. Boiled shrimp is just a terrible choice. I could totally do chicken. Totally.

So I took all the shrimp out, ate the salad and then, in my first cheat move of the two day diet, dipped the shrimp in a tiny bit of cocktail sauce.

This afternoon, Mom mercifully bought me an unsweetened black tea from Starbucks, which, so far, has saved me from eating the aforementioned floor food.

A bit of motivation, though - my black leggings are far less constricting than when I began the day.

..Clearly, I need to begin searching for a permanent solution, as I doubt I will be able to pull off a flannel shirt and leggings come April or May.

Next up, a treat of 10 stalks of blanched asparagus and the same dinner as lunch.

If I make it through that.. I'll update tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

too jolly.

Tis the season for holiday parties ---> holiday dresses ---> Spanx. But y'all.


They don't even make me look better.

They just.. squeeze the wobbly bits into a different space. So I still look fat, but.. more smooth and round.

And forget having more than one cocktail. It won't fit in.

Is this really preferable? Is that worth a night of near asphyxiation?


All this time and fret-eration I spend on an outfit that doesn't make me look fat (I love this. Like something actually makes you look fat when you are not.), undergarments which do not holler across my butt and shoes which do not accentuate anything unfortunate.. well. I could have lost weight by then. It's so.. simple.

As it were, I only have a few days until the first party.

Ironically, as I was perusing Pinterest for some cupcake ideas, I stumbled upon a two day diet (Lord, if I cannot do a 2 day diet in the middle of the week..) that'll shed a little water weight.

Please no one actually think that this is going to be any sort of permanent solution.

It's called the Look Better Naked Two Day Cleanse.

Which is funny, because really.. I'm just trying not to bust out of my dress on Friday night.

What I like is that this is not some expensive ridiculous diet for which you must purchase innumerable 'supplies.'

Ok ok.

So the diet.

I perceive three problems:

1. I broke our super nice blender making margaritas a mere month into marriage and, a few years back, I broke another doing the same. Which I don't get, but.. alas, I am the greatest common factor and I will admit that it probably had something to do with tequila.

So. I hope an immersion blender will do. That, I have in working order. And has only been spared as it is not ideal for margarita-making.

2. It's clearly under 1,000 calories per day and looks to be specifically designed to help shed water weight. Heads up (or down between your legs and breathing into a paper bag): This is a recipe for fainting during daily rounds of toy pick-up. Leave the blocks. Just leave them. Pick them up on Friday.

3. I'm concerned that there are no details. I need details! Like.. how much water do I drink? Can I add spices (gag.. plain chicken)? Can I have coffee (after 11 months with a babe who likes to check on me a few times every night to make sure all is right with the world, I do not know what will happen if I don't have at least 1 cup of coffee in the morning. The result would be worse than death by Spanx or the low-cal spins.)?

I'll report back tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Catch Up.

Hank the Tank AKA Felix Baumgartner AKA Henry is napping. 

And now that he's decided to do that a little more regularly, I might have a minute or two to blog occasionally. Until he decides he wants to jump out of the crib. It won't be long.

Harper hightailed it out the door when Brandon said he was going to Gander Mountain. 

She likes to worship the taxidermy from afar.

He thinks he's also going to lure her into the car wash with a blue raspberry Dum-Dum. HA. 

This is the sound of silence. 

So, a random catch up.

Henry is 1 year old in 2 weeks exactly. I can not believe it. I'm going to try to post something sweet about him, but I can't do him justice. Thank goodness he's the best baby in history, because...

Harper is a threenager. OMG. Much like Feist, she feels it all.

I had laryngitis for the first time last week. There were two days when I could not make a single sound. This is scary when you have kids in Wal-Mart. For the life of me, I do not know what I would have done if I needed to yell. I do not know. I carried around a three-foot glittery plastic candy cane in the hopes that I could rap it against the floor or wave it like a crazy old lady if I had to.

Yesterday, I had to yell at Harper because she had a time-out that resembled a WWF wrestling match. Sometimes, a measured cool-as-a-cuke chat just won't get the job done. Especially after she turned over her bookcase in a fit of rage related to a Christmas tree lot she didn't get to visit because she was acting the fool on the way there. Whew. I used to judge parents by the behavior of their children. If this were true, I'm probably.. an axe murderer or something.

Oh Lord am I good at driving a manual transmission, now. (See? Random.) I've posted before that I had some misgivings about it. ..but. Now, I could..fry an egg over easy in the passenger seat at the same time I change gears. I am excellent. Sometimes, when I switch from first to second, Brandon's fuzzy dice don't even move. 

Something that really needs sharing and is unrelated, except for the fact that when I drive Brandon's car, I have to beat the guys off with a 3 foot plastic candy cane: I've known some women in the past who were perfectly nice, attractive, smart and all-around great catches. And damn, did they complain incessantly about not being able to find a suitable boyfriend or husband. Well, here's what they need to do: Move to a military town. Seriously, it appears to be like shooting fish in a barrel. I saw a girl get hit on in Wal-Mart by a perfectly nice looking guy and she had on sweatpants with peep toe flats and no make-up with an un-brushed ponytail.

Harper doesn't give a hoot about that Elf on a Shelf. I brought him out among all the hoopla. She named him.  Owie (Oh-wee). Which she names everything. I have yet to identify the origin. And then? She was over it. She's all, "He sat there all day and didn't move. He's not real." And I'll be damned if I'm moving him more than once a day. So he's now hugging the Firefly bottle on the bar, where he'll probably stay until Christmas...or until the vodka is gone. I don't blame him. 

I have a moderate chevron obsession, which has manifested itself in drapes, rug and pillows. Bless Brandon's heart. He even says he likes it. Harper does, too. "My house looks like a funhouse. A circus of zig-zags!"

My great and talented friend, Tiffany, just started a nail blog. We share this obsession, though she's much more talented and creative than I am. 

I make cupcakes every Sunday night. I'm trying to learn to bake. As a good friend says, "It's not rocket scientist." It just can't be. It's just following directions. So then I send them to work with Brandon. He says they're getting eaten. I say he might be fibbing. 

And with that, Harper and Brandon have returned victoriously. Ammo and pink camo. And in the words of the great David Allen Coe, "If that ain't country, I'll kiss your..

Time for cupcakes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

On a dodgy day when you haven't contributed to society...or seemed to get yourself totally together before the day is over, you'll need to remember this. To immediately win the Nobel Prize.

Our life got flipped, turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute..just sit right here and tell you how I actually baked something that didn't suck.

I have a thing for blackberries. Always have. When I was a little girl, my dad and I would 'go looking' for wild ones in the woods behind my grandparents' house. And then I'd race Dad back to the house and I'd get dusted. Every time. It was our thing. I was always amazed by how fast he was. But I believe I've discussed, at some point, just how slow I am. Was. Have always been. Will be for eternity. Concrete blocks in sand, my feet. 1st eaten in zombie apocalypse slow. Anyway.

We had an unfortunate grout issue (boring myself to death, already) in our master bath a few weeks ago and have since been subject to many early-morning, loud, long repairs which rendered us housebound for much of the day. My banter with workmen before 8:00 a.m.? Don't buy a ticket to that show.

Anyway. We baked.

(Instead of drinking blackberry beer.. because up until now, that's how my 'thing' has manifested itself. Or just buying it at Harris Teeter and waiting longingly for an opportunity to drink it, which never comes. Because the only thing harder than waking up at 12, 2, and 4 with a teething baby is doing so with any amount of alcohol in your body.)

Ah, yes..:

A blackberry cobbler that's changed our lives.

It's basically Pioneer Woman's, but I found myself with no regular flour and used Bisquick instead. Then I tried it with flour, but I like Bisquick better. Holds together better.

Do this. If you do nothing else on a cold, Fall day, do this.

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter a 8x8 or a 9x9 baking dish.

Stick that stick of butter in the microwave and melt it.

Meanwhile, mix together 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of Bisquick.

Slowly incorporate one cup of milk into the sugar and Bisquick. You can slosh it all in there at one time, but it's going to be lumpy that way. Whatev. It's your bicep.

Slowly incorporate melted butter.

Pour the whole shebang into the buttered baking dish.

Evenly sprinkle two cups of blackberries on top. Or raspberries. Or both. Two cups.


Evenly sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar on top. If you skip this, you may as well throw the whole thing in the trashcan and hang your head in shame.  Or yank it out of the oven and pretend you didn't forget, if it's not too late. No, it'll still be fine... but shameful.

Cook it for an hour... or a little less is OK, too. I usually take it out at 45 minutes. You're looking for a little more than golden brown. And a little panicky (did I burn this, dammit??!) brown around the edges of the dish.

This is a total Courtney-approved recipe because if you overcook it a little, it's still great. And if you undercook it a little bit, that's alright, too, b/c it doesn't have egg and won't kill you dead. Just let it cool a little before you eat it and it'll still hold together OK.

Prepare to gain 5 lbs. in a month.

Make haste, while the blackberries and raspberries don't cost an arm and a leg.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Come on over and lemme teach you howta cook.

Because what could be easier, right? A can of pie fillin' - pick whichever one you like! and a box of Angel Food cake. 350. 25 minutes. Boom. ..Also? Zero Weight Watcher points for one piece. So there's that.


And this!

(obtained in the frantic pulling out of said cake as it rose approximately ONE CUBIC FOOT in the oven and threatened to, literally, stick to the top if I didn't pull it out RIGHT THEN, still jiggly as all get out)

Oh, that burn is gonna be lookin' mighty hot and open-a-vein-scar-like on Saturday night for my 10 year high school reunion. The planning of which, ironically, would make some do just that.

Zero points.

Nailed it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Possibly Unpopular Opinion of the Week

an "I know, right?"

when a simple "I know." or "Right." will do

tells me everything I need to know about you.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

hairbrush hostage

For my 18th birthday, Brandon burned me a CD. Very early 2000s, yes? Which I played constantly in my Camaro Z-28 convertible (yes. seriously.) until, one day, Mom had to drive my car. And she heard the CD. And she took it! For its explicit nature! fair enough. Trick Daddy never covered a nursery rhyme.

Lord, the yell fest that ensued when I realized she took it.

And said she wouldn't give it back! (Why didn't you just throw it away?!)

Because she was planning to use it as leverage. That's why.

And in my first offensive move of teenagerdom, I quit hollering.

And when she wasn't home, I took her favorite hairbrush. And hid it. And waited.

The first day, I felt awful. Mom scrambled around for 30 minutes. A whirling dervish of periwinkle pastel terry cloth. Late for work. The whole nine yards.

For the next week, she scrambled on.

Oh, y'all.. did she complain about that brush.

My resolve nearly buckled at the sight of her daily distress.

She went through the seven stages of grief, one of which was definitely Blame Courtney and Ransack Her Room. Multiple times.

Which may have revealed a lone empty Miller Lite can.

Which is when I quit feeling sorry for her at all.

After a terrible, terrible awful tongue-lashing, she went back to ransacking her own room. Daily.

See, best-brush-ever-for-trademark-hairdo had been procured a few years previous in a Clinique free gift.

Even so, 'replacements' were purchased of nearly every drug store variety along with those from multiple department store make-up counters.

And I giggled. And I reported to my friends daily. I hollered a little about the ransacked room. And car. And closets. You know, to make it seem genuine.

It was a big deal at school, as almost daily, someone would ask in passing, "Still have the hairbrush?"

Every now and then, a couple of days would go by and I would hear no tale of woe.

I would worry. ..Maybe I've waited too long to pull the string? Maybe she's resigned herself to a life of less fluff at the bristles of a Conair or Goody.

Until one day, I heard her on the phone with Clinique corporate. . . seeking a replacement.

As she listened intently, clutching tightly to the phone cord and her only hope, I saw her face fall in acceptance. Knowing the trail had gone cold.

It was time to strike (and/or haul ass, should the situation not go to plan)

"How badly do you want that brush back?" I asked.


"So if I could find it, you'd give me my CD back?"


"You swear?"

"Yes." (imagine a look of equal parts rage and relief, if possible - boondoggled, really.)

..So that's how I got it back.

..but not before she, honest to goodness, called me "Diabolical!" and meant it with every strand of her flat hair.

So, she never took a CD again, what with the threat of reciprocity so keen.

And instead, developed a classification system of sorts, pictured below:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Harper's 3rd Birthday Interview

Today is Harper's big day, as of 5:15 a.m., but the celebration has been going on for about 24 hours, now. It is my personal opinion that birthdays for kids are such a big deal - especially once they 'get' it - that there's no way all the fun can/should be packed into one day. Also, there's the matter of nap time. An entire 2 or 3 hours of precious hooting/hollering time lost to sleep. That will not do.

So we decorated a vanilla cake last night and tonight we'll have a chocolate.

Haters gonna hate.

Anyway, I love the interview idea. I'm going to ask the same questions every year on her birthday. However, she was particularly amenable yesterday and anyone with a 2/3 y/o knows you don't scoff at a good toddler mood. . .

Me:  Harper, since tomorrow is your birthday, I'm going to interview you.

Harper: Huh? Surprise!

How old are you? I'm two years old.

Right. Tomorrow, you'll be three years old.

Yeah. I'm three years old.

Who is your best friend? I don't know. 

What is your favorite thing to do? Nope. Not yet.

What's your favorite color? Purple...Pink!

What's your favorite food? Pink cake!

What is your favorite thing to do with your family? 1,2,3 families! Harper counts them all! ((ok..))

What is your favorite toy? Henry's squishy ball.

What do you want to be when you grow up? dinosaur hunter

What makes you happy? smiling

What makes you sad? happy

What is your favorite TV show? Bubble Guppies

What is your favorite book? 1 color for A,B,C Books or big heavy blue book (Berenstain Bears compilation) I have no idea about the former. I'm pretty sure it means coloring books with words. ..but these are totally not her favorite. Berenstain, yes. Huge fav.

((pause for first lengthy potty emergency/disaster..the details of which I do not care to retain))

Continued bath-side:

What do you like to learn about? Uhh.. Harper doesn't know. Pictures. Mommy, find the missing pictures to go in the hat tree. ((?))

What is the best part of your birthday? Pink cake!! Sooo ("so" is her new conjunction of choice and begins almost every sentence with it), we decorate a crown!

Where do you like to go? The car!! 

             Where do you like to go in the car? The red light stops the car. Daddy in the car! Let's go get 

What is your favorite treat? Chocolate!

What do you think about at night before you fall asleep? Bed.

What famous person would you like to meet? Grandma!

What do you want for your birthday? Candles and some eggs!

What's your favorite thing about your birthday? Huh. The cake.

Momma, more questions?

Before I can think of one. . . .


Harper begins making up her own. I type furiously.

What do in car? Mommy, Henry, Daddy, Harper.

What's Harper's brother's name? Henry!

Are you a boy or a girl? Girl! I'm a girl, Mom!

What does Harper do? Spinning in a pink dress.

What's the best color? Pink. 

Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

Happy Birthday, Momma!

Monday, June 18, 2012

I've heard just about enough.

This camel's back is getting weak. 

In three weeks, we're moving back to our hometown. 

I am a whirling dervish of packing and sorting and throwing away the last four years of our life. 

I can not wait to get back to Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Did you just raise an eyebrow?

It is home to Fort Bragg - you know.. where the men and women who protect your freedom work and train and live and have families.  You may have heard of it. 

You may have a story of a night you spent there. 

And if you did, or your grandma's cat's hamster's turtle's llama spent a night there, as sure as you have a mouth to spew it from, I'm sure you have an opinion.

But what, on Earth, makes you think it's a good idea to insult the city where I was born? Where my family, and my husband's family, have chosen to live for generations?

Maybe it would be a better idea for you to ask me about it, instead. 

And another thing:

Those of you who are from Fayetteville and moved off someplace and have gotten too big for your britches and run it down every chance you get? ..You're from there, too. For shame.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Top of the Muffin to ya - Weeks 4 & 5

Over the last two weeks, I've lost 2 lbs. Which is painfully slow, but exactly how it should be because I'm still (guys and gals not of the parent persuasion, look away now) breastfeeding.

I'm currently on the Don't Eat So Damn Much diet. Three meals. No snacks. Water. Duh.

Our whole house has had the plague, so running was put on the back burner in favor of not publicly coughing up a lung on a busy street corner.

However, it seems that simply keeping the house 'show-ready' with two babies is enough to have me doing the sleepy jerk by 10 p.m. every night.

Future Muffin posts may address the loathing I feel for the namers of 'salads' such as Strawberry Pretzel, Taffy Apple and Ambrosia. Yum. and.. dammit. Call it what it is. The big ass recipe.
And also.. these people who "forget to eat." Evolutionarily flawed or....advanced?

Off to scrub something before my psychotic break open house on Sunday.

Don't forget to check out Laura at Navigating the Mothership, Amanda at The Sassy Southern Belle and the baby brain!

Monday, April 16, 2012


Henry has it.

Just kidding.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Harper's literal life.

Harper: Mother (that's what she's been calling me since we got a fresh copy of her favorite scratch and sniff book, Little Bunny Follows His Nose. it gets a laugh. she persists.), I want to pick a bouquet (thank you, Fancy Nancy).

Me: Ok. Front yard or back?

Harper: Both!

((frenzied running about. choosing of azalea sprigs. occasional falling. whining. laughing. bee spotting. multiple "unexpected" presentations of flowers: "Close yo eyess, Momma. Supwise!! Ok. Now you do it. I cwose my eyes."))

Me: Harp, that is an excellent bouquet. Let's take your picture with it!

Harper: (always game for a photo. always.) Ohhhhkaaaay!!

Me: Ok. Hold your flowers up!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Top of the Muffin, to ya! Week 3

All Hell broke loose this week. . . 

Harper got sick on Monday - one of those feverish sniffle things. Where she'd wake up multiple times in the middle of the night, losing her marbles, because she couldn't breathe through her nose or. . . her throat hurt. . . or something. Coming from a, well, dramatic child who - just last night - flung herself on the floor and cried because one of her blackberries fell on the floor and expelled some blackberry juice. "There is gore! Please help!" You can imagine how the sniffles have the potential to be world-ending.

Henry started teething HARDCORE on Monday. I haven't put down the 17 lb baby since. Yep. Holding him now. He's kicked the computer off my lap twice.

I'm also currently holding a microphone and singing "The Farmer in the Dell" repeatedly, but that's neither here nor there. Especially since Harper continues to request "Lub Chack baby" but God, I hate the B-52s.


I was up forty jillion times every night.

Damn, I was tired. And it was cold this week!

One morning at 6:00 when Harper was up for the day and Henry was exhausted but. . . up, and Brandon suggested that I go for a run that night, I very nearly pulled a 'Harper' myself.

When Brandon really would get home from work, all I'd want to do is just. . . .sit down, but it's when we'd start working on the house. Because it's going on the market. In a week.

And don't even get me started on Easter lunch and subsequent leftovers. . . 


They'll always be there if I want to use them.

So I buckled down in other ways: I drank a ton of water and just tried to not make terrible decisions until I could come up for air.

And I have.

Harper slept through the night last night. Henry only woke twice.

Verdict: Down 2 lbs. for a total of 5. 

Don't forget to check out Laura at Navigating the Mothership for Fitness Friday and Amanda at The Sassy Southern Belle!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Top of the Muffin, to ya! - Week 2

This post comes to you from the couch portion of the couch to 5k, to which I stagger through the door, heaving and fall.

I kid. It's not that bad. Easy and fun, really.

Of course, it's only day 2. So there's that.

And make no mistake..

I'm that girl. The one you drive by and suck in a little air through your teeth, maybe wince, and shake your head. "Poor thing." I would look no less pathetic if I were wearing high-waisted acid wash jeans and sporting a fanny pack.


..Really though. You know how some people don't dress for the gym? They just go and run on the treadmill in like...khakis or cords? That makes me giggle every time.


This week, I focused on making small changes in addition to beginning a standard C25k program.

I quit 'stress eating.' This is where you might roll your eyes and if I see you do it, I will send Harper over to poke them out: Being with a toddler all day can be stressful when she's having a bad day. Stressful. Enough to go something. Someone hold me.

I quit sugary carbonated beverages. And for Pete's sake - no more big glasses of juice.

I quit the crockpot. (Y'all..seriously. Don't flood me with Pinterest 'healthy' crock pot recipes. I will pin the tail on that donkey eventually, but right now, nothing good (for me) comes out of that thing. Precisely because I want to eat the whole damn thing.)

I quit the Easter candy. I shake my head that I even have to write this.

I quit making cookies after dinner.

One rave this week - 

Cooookie. ..j/k. My humor? Brought to you by a 2 year old.

Dunkin' Donuts Egg White Flatbread. The veggie and turkey sausage options are both spot on. 


Down 3lbs.

Please, please check on Laura at Navigating the Mothership - she's so much healthier than I. And probably doesn't eat Dunkin' Donuts anything. And Sassy Southern Belle? How'd you do this week?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Top of the Muffin, to ya!

Instead of a devil, I think Lil Jon is on my shoulder. And all he says is "Yeeaah!"

Lil Jon, should I eat this Easter candy I bought for Harper? "Yeeeah!"

Should I have a bite (psssshh.. a bite..) of Harper's spwinkles doughnut? "Yeeeeah!"

Because Lil Jon wears baggy pants, honey badger don't care. 

He's also probably crunk.

But this much I know for certain: Very soon, gone will be the days of anonymity.

We're moving back to our hometown.


Where eyes cut and tongues wag if you go to the park looking like I looked this morning.

Bless my heart. And Lil Jon's.

I will hide behind the sweatpants of a rapper no longer. And if he wore yoga pants, I wouldn't hide behind them, either.

I'm tired of clinking my pimp cup of Coke.

Who's with me?

If you're interested, I'll link your blog so we can keep up with each other.


Start a Couch to 5k. . . eat better. . . exercise. . . write about it.

Sing it to me one mo time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My opus.

..the music of my life.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

11 Questions

Laura, at Navigating the Mothership, linked me on an 11 Questions 'meme.' Meme clearly means to invent and answer fortyleven questions while shirking all household/work responsibilities.

Laura is super funny and truthful and spot-on about being a momma with a sprinkle of hippie. Also, she says "yo" on the regular, which endears her to me. 

So, first: 11 facts about me. Random and I fear.. uninteresting.

1. I discuss nail polish at least once per day with my friend Tiffany. Rarely do we skip a day. RARELY. And we send pictures of our nails to each other. Today, I'm wearing Koala Beary by OPI. It's hot pink. It achieves opacity in two coats with absolutely no streaking. She's wearing Houston, We Have a Purple by
OPI. It's a jelly. Our favorite.

2. I've never been able to do a pull-up in my life. MY LIFE. My arm hang wasn't too swift, either. But the shuttle run? I will dust you in the shuttle run. Still. ..Set up the blocks. Our driveway is the perfect length.

3. I go on blogging hiatuses when I lose a follower. Formerly 83, I'm looking at YOU. That cut me deep, 83. Deep.

4. I would rather eat dirt than drink a glass of plain milk. However, I love all milk products.

5. I don't know my right from my left. Even if it seems like I don't pause when I answer, I do. Because I have to think about it. Every single time.

6. I never had hot tea until I moved to Wisconsin. And then, I was all, "I hate it! It's too strong!" ... Take the tea bag out, Courtney. Take it out. And now I drink it every day.

7. One time, I definitely did a 180 degree spin in the middle of the All-American Freeway in a rain storm. I think I hydroplaned, but not sure.. because in 3 seconds, I was facing the wrong direction in the road.  I never told anyone except Brandon. Ok, Mom. Commence freakout.

8. I am a good bowler, but I can not do that thing where the ball curves in and knocks down the pins. It seems like a sneaky and unnatural move anyway.

9. I have a serious fear of tornadoes and I'm pretty sure I was in one when I was in elementary school, sleeping over at a friend's house. Melissa.. did that actually happen?

10. My most terrifying recurring dream is that I'm driving up a hill and all of a sudden, the hill gets so steep that I'm driving straight up and I just know that at any moment, my car is going to fall right off of the road. Anyone want to diagnose the meaning of that craziness?

11. Once, Brandon and I drove through a snowstorm in Indiana and on icy roads through the West Virginia mountains in the middle of the night because there was no place to stop. I thought we were going to die. Seriously. It's the only time I really ever thought I was going to die.

Now, I answer Laura's 11 questions.

1. You can order anything off a brunch menu (it's magic and the future and thus it's a limitless menu) - what do you pick? All I can think about is one time we went to brunch at a super awesome restaurant with all of our friends and I was A: pregnant and B: stricken with horrifying morning sickness. I'd just like a re-do. And YES, I'd like the unlimited mimosas for $5. Please, and thank you.

2. Dream vacation spot and who do you bring? Resort igloo vacation in the Arctic Circle. I'd take Brandon, obviously, but Harper and Henry, too. Maybe they could sleep in a separate igloo. Or like.. an igloo with a ice door to our igloo so they could holler and play and it wouldn't be too loud. Adjoining igloos, if you will.

3. What TV show or movie best represents your life right now? Up All Night. Easily. I just had four cups of coffee and a box of Nerds! I'm ready to watch Friday Night Lights!

4. What TV show or movie would you like to live in for a week? Probably be The Office. . .and I actually lived it for two years in Wisconsin, so I think I'd fit in well.

5. What scandalized you as a child, as in something like finding a copy of Forever by Judy Blume on the shelf and reading it at the tender age of 11?  Please. I went to public school. Except for maybe being on the receiving end of the misinformation that "funk" was the f-word and being horrified when Mom would threaten to come by my third grade classroom and tell our class to "Get funky!"

6. What do you do fabulously that makes you want to high-five yourself? Ok. Two things. The first is something only I care about: I can look at any leftover food and judge the most appropriate size Tupperware container. It's a gift. I never have to repackage. I never have spillover. 100%. The other is only a smidge more important in the general spectrum of life survival: I never get lost. Ever. I always know where I am. This is especially impressive because I don't know my right from my left. Due in equal parts to Dad making me navigate every single weekend trip we ever took from the time I was 6 years old and mom making me lean the seat of the car back so I couldn't see where we were going and keep up with where we were based on how the car turned. ...Wait. Y'all didn't play "kidnapped" on the way home from school? I am a suburban Katniss Everdeen. I promise.

7. Are you a hugger? Or try to avoid getting hugged? What are your feelings about elderly people that kiss you wetly on the mouth? (There is only one answer for that last question.) I'm a total hugger, but am annoyed with hugs when the hugger is just trying to A: cop a feel on someone else's significant other - who do you think you're fooling? or B: establish dominance. On the aggregate, I'm afraid of elderly people. You never know what they'll do or say. So I'm generally terrified by the thought of one coming at me with wet lips. ..but not surprised. As I stated before... you just never know.

8. Name a pet peeve. Bandwagon Carolina fans. There. I said it.

9. Do you have a morning routine that you must do everyday? No. Thanks to Mr. I-don't-like-it-when-you-ingest-dairy-or-soy, even my one-eye-open stagger to the coffee maker is out the window.

10. What was the last thing you ate and drank? Cherry Pie Lara Bar and low acid orange juice. Both have changed my life.

11. What is your dream career? I'm doing it. I know, I know. Gag.

And now my questions:

1. If you could re-do one decision in your life, what would it be?

2. What's your all-time favorite scent? Not perfume, but.. like.. smell.

3. Do you remember your first kiss? Lol. Just take a minute to bathe in the awkwardness...... and then regale us with it.

4. Speaking of, what's the most awkward moment that you can ever recall?

5. What the worst trouble you ever got in in school? Heather Pavel, I did not make you squeeze that fire extinguisher handle.

6. If you could go back to a place you've visited, where would it be?

7. Describe the most perfect day of your life so far.

8. Do you have a firm handshake and do you think that matters? PS. I shake hands with the strength of.. the Hulk. I got tired of being squeezed to death, yo.

9. What size bed do you have? Validate your decision. Especially mention if it's a super tall bed. I do not understand the logic. What if you fall out? Wouldn't it hurt way worse?

10. What would you buy right now if I gave you $100?

11. Complete this sentence: I feel strongest when I . . . .

Feel free to create a blog just to answer these questions - you know you want an excuse to blog. And I'll link you if you do. But here's who I'm guilting into it: Hannah, Sarah and Karrie.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Possibly Unpopular Opinion of the Week

I hate to say this, because you're just so darn peppy - flitting around the kitchen..chopping things.. taking everything out of the refrigerator at once - but Rachael, I hate your 30 Minute Meals and not by virtue of the fact that they take longer than 30 minutes, but because by and large, they're gross.

PS. No one actually does that refrigerator thing. Be one with the people and we'll like you more. And quit saying 'EVOO' all the time.

In the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, I'm too drunk to taste this chicken.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

rollin' with the homies

It's clear that I'll lose a few people here, but. . . you know when you're up at 3 a.m. feeding a baby and your head falls back and you wake up three hours later with a baby sprawled lovingly across your lap? ..Cute, but.. you didn't uncross your legs so they're dead. And your head fell over sideways into a rather oops-you-actually-look-dead position that no neck should be in for three hours.

This is my life. Sometimes more than once per night.

Today, it caught up with me.

Just as I was beginning the approach to my patented sleeping-newborn-laydown-in-the-bassinet-without-waking-them move, with semi-dead leg, I kinked my kneck. I'm just leaving that typo as a testament to just how sleepy I am, these days. I just spelled neck with a silent "k."

A kinked neck is no biggie, but not when you're a stay-at-home mom. Heavy lifting, y'all. One biggie baby and one enormous toddler. And I toughed it out until 11:30 a.m. when I made the proclamation that Harper needed to put on her rain boots (they're her favs and the only ones she can really put on without help) and get her sippy cup, because we were going on a drive.

something like this.

Because driving is easier than lifting my arms above my shoulders.

I gingerly wrestled the biggest baby in the world into his car seat and did the same with Harper and we were off..

pictured: biggest (and sweetest) baby in the world

There are a few roads near our house that are long and picturesque and curvy and meant to convince the fair residents of this conglomeration that living here doesn't suck. So we drove to those roads.

We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for a hot chocolate (awesome mom!) but the only-slightly-more-than-lukewarmness of Harper's hot chocolate steamed up in her sippy cup and caused some sort of air pressure chocolate volcano (terrible mom!) which erupted all over her toddler face and started the screaming fit to end all screaming fits and made her look like a child of the dust bowl.. but


No sooner did we turn onto Harper's favorite road did four deer amble across, right in front of our car.

This is huge. Monumental. Amazing!

I'm all, "Quit crying about the chocolate spray to the face! Look! There's a family of deer! A mommy and a daddy and two babies! Oh my gracious! Look how big and close they are!"

Harper: "Oh Mommy! That's great. Duh deer are in duh road!"

((two seconds later))

Harper observes last deer clear the white line: "That should do it." (?)

"A giraffe now, please. And Santa, too."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Harper's Special Ingredient

Now that Henry has come along and is sans any vaccinations until he's 2 months old and we live in an insufficiently inoculated area, I've made the - possibly unpopular, yet safe - decision to keep him out of the public eye (and nose..and hands.. and mouth) for a few more weeks.

Until Brandon gets home each day, we must be creative in our entertainment pursuits. Like pioneers. Like pioneers who didn't feel like hitching up the wagon and fording the river to get to Target.

We do many strange things to keep ourselves (HARPER.) entertained. Yesterday, I got a look from a neighbor because Harper was the plane and Henry & I were the engine. An engine which operates loudly and in a single-file line around the front yard. In circles. The plane and/or engine may be required to flap their arms.  And when Harper called for the rocket booster (requiring an enthusiastic whoosh from the engine) just as the neighbor was walking by, what was I going to do? NOT engage the rocket booster? no. Anyway.

Conventional entertainment-wise, she helps me cook every night. Which is awesome because it means I actually cook every night. Sometimes awesome for Brandon.

As the sun sets on any given afternoon, you'll find Harper perched on the counter top gathering supplies and readying herself for her main tasks, which are pouring and mixing. Which looks like me struggling to keep or get any at all of what Harper is pouring or mixing into a bowl.

Yesterday was no different.

I particularly like making chicken pot pie because Harper hates it (which means she won't lick the spoon..) and it also means she takes her tasks so seriously but hates the smells so badly that she'll literally shudder her way through it.

Me: ((opening can)) "OK, pour in the Cream of Potato."
Harper: (peers inside can) "OK!" ((shudder))
Harper: Sticks in spoon ((shudder)) to loosen it up while I hold it.
Me: ((puts chicken in the bowl))
Harper: ((shudder))

So.. you see, she's all business and I see only a glimpse of her silly toddler self when she pours in the frozen peas and carrots (have I not yet paused to laud the fresh & wholesome nature of said pie?) and after Harper mangles we painstakingly crimp the edges of the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (lauding..) with a fork, she gets to play with the leftover dough. Which also makes her shudder, but only for a second.. in a good way.

Yesterday was special.

She must have been feeling a little frisky and confident in her preparation. Anticipating each ingredient, she called for each before she needed them and in no time, we were ready to pour her concoction into the pie pans. A little bit Julia Child.. A little bit Fancy Nancy.

As I walked over to Harper, who was still dutifully stirring the pie innards, I watched powerlessly - with hands full of waiting pie pans - as she, as quick as lightning, added her pièce de résistance. With brow-furrowing concentration, Harper spat in the chicken pot pie.

The End.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

a birdhouse.

When you have a baby around Christmas, some things get lost in the shuffle. And when you come up for air on this, the 12th day of January, you don't make a gingerbread house.

You make a birdhouse.

Aptly named, by Harper.

Me: ((squirts huge gob of icing at 9:30 AM and shakes head at questionable parenting)) Where do you want to stick the orange piece? 

Harp: In my mouth! 

After much brandishing of icing spoon (pictured).. and a calculated lick of the roof, she made her final pronouncement:

mmm....It tastes as good as it smells! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Indy returns.

Happy New Year Baby!

Well it finally happened.  My wife and I checked into the hospital around 11 AM on Dec 30th, and by 12:05 AM New Year’s Eve, we had a squirmy new addition to Team Family.  Grace Savannah. 7 lbs 0 oz, 19.5 inches, APGARs of 8 and 9…but nobody gives 10s anymore.  The poor thing looks too much like me for her own good, but I digress.  It was quite the event. 

For me it was pretty surreal.  During med school OB/Gyn rotations, I delivered a few dozen screaming balls of humanity into this world, but the game changes when that ball of humanity carries your genetic make-up.  From a logistical side, I knew what to expect. 


There would likely be gross sounds, smells, lots of weird fluids, and potentially one or more people in the room will poop*…medically speaking of course.  From an emotional perspective, I might as well have just popped in The Notebook on DVD and expected that, just because I’ve seen movies before, this one will be similar (yes, guys who are forced to watch that movie are also emotional wrecks by the end).

My wife, who typically has the stress threshold of a soufflé, was a champ.  Seriously.  I’ve never been so proud of her and glad that I’m a dude in my life.  She put a determined look on her face, and made it clear that we were not leaving there without a baby.  She only said one thing while she was pushing too.  “Don’t look down there.” 

Seriously?  That was a superfluous request.  Never in my wildest self-destructive fantasies did I ever have any desire to look “directly into the sun,” if you will.  I imagine that it is probably like that scene in Indiana Jones where the Nazis look at the lost ark and their faces melt off.  I’m a doctor, and medically these things don’t bother me a bit.  It’s just that I’m content keeping business and pleasure very separate. 

In the end, everything went according to plan, and we were able to take Grace home a couple of days later.  I’m sure I will follow this post with one about my first days as a terrified father, but right now, I need to take a nap.   A couple hours ago, I tried to put a dirty diaper back on Grace after I already changed her.

*Mandy would like me to make it very clear that she did not, in fact, poop.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

doin' alright for the shape I'm in

I knew I'd be sleep-deprived, but the beauty of the hell that is the perpetual worry of your first child is that you get to nap. If you can tear yourself from ensuring their chest rises and falls during their nap. Seriously... I watched Harper while she slept. Just in case.

Generally, though, when they crash, so can you. It's a beautiful thing. On maternity leave, if you want, you can nap every.single.time they do. With any luck, by the time your significant other arrives home for the evening, you can manage a coherent sentence or two.

When you have two children (or more.. bless your hearts), you aren't as nervous. You have tricks up your sleeve. You can burp a baby with the best of them. You can change a terrible awful diaper and they don't even cry. You know when they're hungry, when they're tired and how to get them to sleep. With any luck, your significant other also knows these things so that every once in a while, you get a 5 minute break.

Here's where the other shoe drops. The trade off: You can't nap. So in those first few weeks when your newborn sleeps all day and eats/fusses all night, all you can do is look longingly at the occupied Rock 'n Play and wish you were 21 inches long while you hoist a 30 lb toddler onto a slide - specifically labeled for outdoor use but unabashedly assembled in your basement because you'll do anything to keep your toddler occupied in the cold winter months - or climb into their playhouse (also far too big for the basement, but in there anyway..or this could just be me).

I'm managing to shower every day. ...because when you only sleep a few hours each night, sooner or later, you're gonna look in the mirror and scare yourself. Showering helps. Most days, I wear clothes that you won't confuse for pajamas. Some days, I even wear make up. I'm making this look easy.  

It's not.

I have finger paint on my clothes, something sticky and hard stuck in my hair and my socks don't match. Whatever you do, don't try to carry on a conversation with me or listen to what I say. Generally, if you look closely, you'll hear and see things like this:

1. Newborn care: Vaselining the wrong end of diaper. Thrice. Vaselining outside of diaper. Twice.

2. Housekeeping: Hoisting the regular, gross diaper-laden trash into the bright blue, amply marked, enormous Recycling can.

3. Disciplining my child (with nonsensical gibberish): "You can either stand here and scream about nothing or you can go to timeout." ((confused look from toddler))

4. Safeguarding my toddler from the wiles of a suddenly insurmountable mouthful of chocolate covered almonds: "Spit that in my mouth, right now!"  ((toddler: confused, again))

5. And because Brandon, my darling genius husband, is never exempt from scrutiny, and because he's been on vacation and keeping a few more of my newborn hours, it's gotten to him, too: A few days ago, he almost lost his marbles on the scale because he had gained 10 lbs in two days. ...but he was actually just holding Henry and forgot. Boom. Doctored.

More to come from the trenches..